What About Asia?: Revisiting Asian Studies by Josine Stremmelaar, Paul van der Velde

By Josine Stremmelaar, Paul van der Velde

As Asia has develop into extra trendy at the overseas scene in contemporary decades—economically, politically, and culturally—the scholarly self-discipline of Asian stories has grown commensurately. yet significant questions stay concerning the scope of the self-discipline and its objectives. What approximately Asia? either surveys the present country of the controversy on Asian reports and indicates a number of fruitful instructions for destiny exploration, in particular by utilizing multiregional and interdisciplinary approaches.** [C:\Users\Microsoft\Documents\Calibre Library]

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Why not in non-university institutions? This takes us to the third axis, namely, the University/non-university one. For many years, we imagined that only at the university could we acquire and reproduce knowledge about Asia, whether approached from the disciplinary or area studies perspective. However, many governments and international funding bodies felt that to obtain knowledge about Asia one need not go to the university, but could acquire it through non-academic but research-oriented institutions established outside the university structure to serve particular purposes.

In social science debates about globalization it is sometimes argued that the 19th century nation-state is on its way out and is being succeeded by global actors, such as the UN and the World Bank. Such a position is going too far, in my opinion, but what we do see is a transformation of the national state and the rise of what the sociologist Manuel Castells has called ‘the Network Society’. indd 39 25-09-2006 12:02:28 Peter van der Veer citizens, but he forgets that that capacity has only been available to the welfare states of the West.

Although there is no doubt that when the funding is national the research interests are in some ways also tied to national interests; the great advantage of area studies is that it can put the “national” into a global context. I have tried to show that one needs an understanding of colonial Indonesia and global Islam to better grasp the dilemma of postcolonial Netherlands. In this way area studies of Asia are crucial for the understanding of Western societies. As opposed to the universalizing tendency in the social sciences, area studies can offer a comparative and historical angle that will promote better knowledge than the extrapolation of western models of the economy or the psyche to the rest of the world.

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