February 1-2, 2001 – Kuan-hsing Chen: Lecture & Seminar

Club 51: On the Question of the Culture of U.S. Imperialism
Thursday, February 1/ 4:00PM/ Oakes Mural Room

Inter-Asia Cultural Studies: Politics and Prospects
Friday, February 2/ 10:00AM-12:00PM/ Oakes Mural Room

Seminar Reading: Editorial Statement from the inaugural issue of Inter-Asia Cultural Studies: Movements.
Copies of the readings are available to the UCSC community at the Center for Cultural Studies office or may be requested via email cult@hum.ucsc.edu). Please make email requests at least one week in advance.

Kuan-hsing Chen is Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Coordinator of the Center for Asia-Pacific/Cultural Studies at National Tsing-Hua University in Taiwan. He held previous appointments at City University of New York and UC Berkeley, and is founding editor of Inter-Asia Cultural Studies: Movements, a Routledge journal that began publication in 1999. His publications, in English and Chinese, consist of work in cultural studies, including a volume on Stuart Hall, and on imperialism and postcolonial criticism. His recent edited volume, Trajectories: Cultural Studies Inter-Asia(Routledge, 2000, in English and Chinese), has contributed to the reshaping of cultural study in East Asia, and has created important common ground for scholars from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, China, Australia, the US, and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region. Kuan-hsing Chen’s work has treated subjects as diverse as karaoke, Taiwanese new cinema, Samuel Huntington’s civilizationalist work, and new Taiwanese subjectivity. Forthcoming books include Intellectual Moods and Geo-Colonial Sites: Cultural Studies from the Postmodern to Decolonization(in press in Chinese), and The Imperialist Eye: The Decolonization Question.

Kuan-hsing Chen’s talk stems from his work on Taiwanese nation formation and US imperialism. “Club 51” refers to a bizarre Taiwanese political organization advocating US statehood for Taiwan. Chen’s analysis suggests that the Club 51 phenomenon represents what is in fact a new politics of place in the global era, whose significance goes beyond issues of PRC-Taiwanese relations. For his seminar, Chen will discuss the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies project. This will be of particular interest to local scholars who may want to participate in the journal’s activities, which include conferences, special issues, and colloquia. Chen and his colleagues founded the journal at what they considered a crucial moment in Asian cultural politics.

Since the 1980’s, a pervasive rhetoric of the ‘rise of Asia’ has come to mean more than the concentrated flow of capital into and out of the region. It has come to constitute a structure of feeling that is ubiquitous yet ambiguously felt throughout Asia. Historically, this feeling of the ‘rise of Asia’ is complicated by the region’s colonial past. While Asia’s political, cultural and economic position in the global system will continue to fluctuate, there is a need to question and critique the rhetorical unities of both the ‘rise’ and of ‘Asia’…On the other hand, no matter whether there are common experiences shared by sub-regional histories, there is an urgent need for forging political links across these sub-regions. Hence, ‘Inter-Asia’ cultural studies.