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Sidenotes to the 8th FUTH Summer University (II)

2018-09-06

 蘇 淑芬
ICCS of NCTU and IICS of UST have held the 8th FUTH Summer University “Toward Decolonizing Cold War Knowledge: Facing Contemporary Border Politics” at NCTU HA Building 2, between July 9 to 13, 2018.
 
With the support of Ministry of Education’s Taiwan Experience Education Program (TEEP), this summer school was a result of continuous collaboration with the Flying University of Transnational Humanities (FUTH), after the 2016 and 2017 “Transnational Network for the Critical Inter-Asia Cultural Studies” winter camps. Course contents of the summer school were planned and developed by core researchers from ICCS & IICS’s SPROUT project “Conflict, Justice, and Decolonization: Critical Studies in Inter-Asian Societies”, while the lecturers involved scholars from East Asia and Southeast Asia.
 
Renowned scholars such as Jie-Hyun LIM, Frank Hadler, John Hutnyk, Alfred Gerstl, Friedrich Edelmayer, Ute Wallenboeck, Agnes Schick-Chen, Rusaslina Idrus, Davorn Sisavath, Viren Murthy and TSUBOI Hideto had lectured in the summer school, covering a variety of topics including (post) Cold War studies, memory, history and civil rights etc. During the program, a total number of 33 participants (including 7 postdoc fellows) from South Korea, Japan, Turkey, Poland, Romania, Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries formed four study groups, in which they shared individual research projects related to the topics among themselves.
 
The entire program was conducted in English to facilitate international exchanges and for the participants to share their research problematics. The Taiwan-based “International Institute for Cultural Studies” strives to locate Taiwan as a hub to connect Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia through historical links and contemporary common problems in these regions. The Institute continues to put “critical studies in Inter-Asia societies” as the subject of research, as to observe different forms of associations between Asian societies in terms of migration, history, conflicts, mutual influences and benefits etc. In doing so, we hope to build up a forward-looking and sustainable international academic platform.
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Preliminary Report of 8th Flying University of Transnational Humanities
Towards Decolonizing Cold War Knowledge: Facing Contemporary Border Politics
In confronting the traumatic episodic of our generation, from the refugee crisis, violent militarization to the prevailing crisis of democracy amongst other, the summer school does entail deeper needs of theorization of the world around us. It is a call of action for all of us not to limit ourselves within the academic silo, but to provoke on the question of visibility and democratization on the everyday questions of border. Hence, the approach reflects on the diversity of participants, ranging from grassroots community organizers, scholar-activist circles to knowledge and cultural workers -.
The summer school builds on a series of dense “conversations” from lectures to plenary sessions, if I may put it this way, since I believe in the continuously ongoing engagement of which illustrates the need for critical dialogical engagement to emerge. In relation to this, the arrangement of seminars for fellow student-researchers to share their intellectual projects also contributes to the weaving of several intertwining agenda, not only contributing directly to the larger thematic focus on decolonizing knowledge production in the macro-scale, but also taking  place within critical exchanges between the participants.
Reflecting on the visible challenges of contemporary border politics, from the socio-economic exploitation of transnational labour movements to the existing conundrums of the nation-state power relations, and further to the questions of indigeneity and decoloniality, the summer school provides another dimension to the root discourse of citizenship – the everyday process of bordering which needs to be addressed consistently. In here, the rethinking process of citizenships are very much processual and must be made visible, then only democracy will prevail. Hence, it is necessary to allow multiformity of networking and open ended rhizomatic democratization to be provoked beyond the rigid logic of political and neoliberal consensus.
Lastly, the question of border is very much a spatial conceptualization thus the need to locate our engagement within the public spheres has been one of the fundamental problems. Through which, I deeply believe it is possible to link the fragmentary embedded moments of Cold War traumas in contemporary events. Only with transgressive intent powered within the political society and the continuous re-positioning of subalternity and de-geographizing of border politics, then various issues can be further problematized, as part of the summer school’s collective attempt, and the critical vantage points will slowly emerge.
 
Writer: Zikri Rahman(Institute of Social Research and Cultural Studies, National Chiao Tung University)

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