‘Network Asia: Globalisation and regional studies’
Prof. Prasenjit Duara,
National University of Singapore,
Accelerating globalization has ironically intensified regional connections and interdependencies as much in relation to capital, people and culture as to shared regional resources or ‘commons’ – water, air, microbes, security risks, etc. Whereas US based area studies was an effect of the US government’s requirement of language and area studies of new nations, the present moment of area studies ought to reflect upon history and society from the present imperatives of regional connections. This cannot be at the expense of national or local processes; but the speaker believes that we can better understand these processes by viewing them from the perspective of regional and global commons.
Historically the region known as Asia had no strict boundaries; but it was densely interconnected by networks of trade and religion. These informal networks had profound implications on the relationship between culture and society across the region. Today, there is an emerging consensus that continuing our pursuit of existing modes of production, consumption and the political economic arrangements underpinning them will endanger planetary sustainability sooner than we realize. The speaker seeks to demonstrate how the intersecting networks of political, cultural and civil society organizations across these societies—particularly around ASEAN-- can provide an alternate framework to rethink the future of the historical region from the perspective of sustainable modernity.
Prof. Prasenjit Duara is Raffles Professor of Humanities, Director of Asia Research Institute, and Director of Research, Humanities and Social Sciences, at the National University of Singapore, Singapore. He has a BA and MA from the University of Delhi and a Ph.D from Harvard University, USA.