'Under globalization, the project of area studies and its relationship to the fields of cultural, ethnic, and gender studies has grown more complex and more in need of the rigorous reexamination that this volume and its distinguished contributors undertake. In the aftermath of World War II, area studies were created in large part to supply information on potential enemies of the United States. The essays in Learning Places argue, however, that the post–Cold War era has seen these programs largely degenerate into little more than public relations firms for the areas they research.
A tremendous amount of money flows—particularly within the sphere of East Asian studies, the contributors claim—from foreign agencies and governments to U.S. universities to underwrite courses on their histories and societies. In the process, this volume argues, such funds have gone beyond support to the wholesale subsidization of students in graduate programs, threatening the very integrity of research agendas. Native authority has been elevated to a position of primacy; Asian-born academics are presumed to be definitive commentators in Asian studies, for example. Area studies, the contributors believe, has outlived the original reason for its construction. The essays in this volume examine particular topics such as the development of cultural studies and hyphenated studies (such as African-American, Asian-American, Mexican-American) in the context of the failure of area studies, the corporatization of the contemporary university, the prehistory of postcolonial discourse, and the problematic impact of unformulated political goals on international activism.
Learning Places points to the necessity, the difficulty, and the possibility in higher education of breaking free from an entrenched Cold War narrative and making the study of a specific area part of the agenda of education generally. The book will appeal to all whose research has a local component, as well as to those interested in the future course of higher education generally.' - from publisher's website.
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Chapter headings
Introduction: The 'Afterlife' of Area Studies
Ivory Tower in Escrow
Ando Shoeki - 'The Forgotten Thinker' in Japanese History
Objectivism and the Eradication of Critique in Japanese History
Theory, Area Studies, Cultural Studies: Issues of Pedagogy in Multiculturalism
Signs of our Times: A Discussion of Homi Bhabha's The Location of Culture
Postcoloniality's Unconscious / Area Studies' Desire
Asian Exclusion Acts
Areas, Disciplines, and Ethnicity
Can American Studies be Area Studies?
Imagining 'Asia-Pacific' Today: Forgetting Colonialism in the Magical Free Markets of the American Pacific
Boundary Displacement: The State, the Foundations, and Area Studies during and after the Cold War
The Disappearance of Modern Japan: Japan and Social Science
Bad Karma in Asia
From Politics to Culture: Modern Japanese Literary Studies in the Age of Cultural Studies
Questions of Japanese Cinema: Disciplinary Boundaries and the Invention of the Scholarly Object
Learning Places: The Afterlives of Area Studies
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Learning Places: The Afterlives of Area Studies

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