Area Studies is the New Philology

Knowledge production continuously transforms alongside changes in society and technology. At times, however, societal and technological changes are so profound that forms of knowledge that had previously been considered of central importance get displaced by new ways of knowing.

We are currently living in such a time of profound social and technological change (think globalization and the Digital Revolution), and area studies is a realm of knowledge production that is losing its position of previously held importance.

Interestingly, were we to look back at the rise of area studies in the decades following World War II, another time of profound change (think decolonization and the Cold War), we would find that area studies at that time itself replaced an earlier way of investigating and knowing the world: philology (the study of literary texts).

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What the Internet Can Tell us about the Field of Asian Studies

Anyone who has visited my flash blog about the need to transform Asian Studies for the digital age (Content Asian Studies) or who has read my piece in the Mekong Review on the decline of Asian Studies knows that I think a lot about the changes that are taking place in the world today (the rise of the Internet, the decline of the Humanities, etc.) and how those changes affect those of us who work in the field of Asian Studies.

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