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Joint Project: Conflict, Justice, and Decolonization: Critical Studies of Inter-Asian Societies
The International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS), based at National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), in Hsinchu, was established in 2013. ICCS is an inter-university academic institution and research center, bridging four major universities participating in the University System of Taiwan (UST), namely National Chiao Tung University, National Tsing Hua University, National Central University and National Yangming University. This network started in 2003, involving 80 scholars and featuring four research clusters: Critical Studies and Asian Modernity, Contemporary Thought Trends and Social Movement, Gender/Sexuality Studies, and Visual Cultural Studies.
Starting from 2018, ICCS is now launching a five year project funded by the Ministry of Education through the SPROUT Project: Conflict, Justice, and Decolonization: Critical Studies in Inter-Asian Societies.
OUR MISSION: The mission of ICCS is to promote and cultivate cutting-edge interdisciplinary research that addresses critical issues related to the current and future concerns of Asian societies in a regional and global context.
OUR GOAL: Situated in Taiwan, our goal will be to establish the ICCS as a leading research center for the development of critical studies of inter-Asian societies through geo-political, socio-historical and cultural-literary-artistic analysis. We aim to provide opportunities to scholars, post-graduate students, NGOs and creative artists around the world to visit and interact with researchers to work on common interests and agendas.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of ICCS’s theme, Conflict, Justice, and Decolonization: Critical Studies in Inter-Asian Societies, is to investigate urgent questions related to different forms of conflict, injustice and the possibilities of knowledge decolonization mutually affecting Asian societies. This main theme highlights five subprojects:
Reevaluation of History
Implemented by Subproject I “The Politics of Memory and the Art of Governance: Inter-Asian Studies on State, Society, Ethnicity and History” and Subproject II “Inter-Asian Decolonization of Knowledge under the Shadow of Post/Cold War Culture.” Interdisciplinary research brings together scholars in historiography, sociology, literature, the history of thought, economic history, anthropology, and political philosophy.
Analysis of Contemporary Issues
Implemented by Subproject III “The Emerging Political Economy of the 21st Century: The New Rise of China, Neoliberalism, and Neocolonialism” and Subproject IV “Aging Modernity, Reconfiguration of Urban Space, Migration and Subalternity.” Participated by scholars in sociology, communication, urban studies, anthropology, indigenous studies, migrant workers studies, and political philosophy.
Future Society of Co-Existence and Equality
Implemented by Subproject V “Toward a Society of Equality and Coexistence in the Inter-Asian Context: Civic Participation, Legal Reform, Social and Artistic Intervention, Trans-local Free Association.” Participated by scholars in political philosophy, legal theory, art studies, and artistic practice.
PROJECT BACKGROUND: In the post-Cold War era, one has witnessed radical changes associated with the expansion of multinational corporations, global financial restructuring, and the advent of neoliberal regimes. The blurring of national borders is in fact a cover for deeper transformations in the nature of the local economy, regional relationships, new geopolitical practices and ecological environments.
On the one hand, the immediate effects on local societies include widening economic inequality, large-scale proletarianization, increased low-wage labor migration, forced eviction and land expropriation under the rubric of urban renewal and national development, the emergence of neo-racism and neo-nationalism in the populist sphere, ethnic segregation, revival of slavery, rampant environmental pollution, etc. On the other hand, machinations of power on a regional and global scale, especially along the Pacific Rim, in both East and Southeast Asia, have been precipitated by a rising China and its expansionist One Belt, One Road strategy to forge a new world network, the repositioning of U.S. interests in Asia and the balance of trade with China, tensions in the South China Sea and over North Korea, the realignment of power among ASEAN nations, the ongoing uncertainty with regard to PRC-Taiwan cross-strait relations, etc.
These various conflicts, both overt and potential, did not occur just in the 21st century. These politico-economic frictions, rivalries and animosities have formed over a long history, from Cold War ideological tensions, exacerbated by colonial rule and World Wars, over a pre-existing landscape of feudal societies and celestial empires. This framework of culture, society and polity forms a complex template for the critical study of Asian societies and their formative interactions to the present.
International Center for Cultural Studies at National Chiao Tung University aims to become an influential institution for inter-Asia critical studies for Taiwan and international academics across the humanities and social sciences. Our center brings together researchers across departments and institutions, with experts in sociology, anthropology, economic history, political philosophy, the history of thought, material history, gender studies, discourse analysis, and artistic practice. Our interdisciplinary researchers work together on the joint project of “Conflict, Justice, and Decolonization: Critical Studies of Inter-Asian Societies.” We are a team of 36 researchers, and we are currently working on five subprojects and 36 topics:
Through these projects, we hope to pursue four goals: outreach, connection, cultivation, and practice. Our strategies for the year 2019 are as follows:
1. Establish an international network, build an alliance with international research institutes, and reinforce international collaboration
2. Invite distinguished international scholars to foster a global research environment
3. Cultivate talents, fulfill educational goals, train future leaders in academic and professional roles
4. Facilitate dialogues between academia and society, promote diversity in knowledge production, and implement social practice
5. Academic publishing in books, journals, and articles
6. Strengthen the various functions of our website: http://iccs.nctu.edu.tw