Weatherhead East Asian Institute Event
Please join for a lecture with:
Ching-Chang Chen, Associate Professor, Department of Global Studies
Ryukoku University, Kyoto
Visiting Fellow in the Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs
New School, New York
Andrew Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science
Department of Political Science, Columbia University
This talk invites the audience to reflect on how we usually look at the world around us, East Asian international relations in this case, and consider what if we stop using the familiar state-centric, great-power-centered lens to do so. Specifically, it will excavate the discursive practices employed by relevant state and substate actors in framing, contesting and (dis)assembling totalizing claims over Ryukyu/Okinawa and Taiwan, as Japan’s and China’s margins, since the late nineteenth century. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s conceptions of power as productive and discursive and Giorgio Agamben’s analysis of the logic of sovereign power, Dr. Chen argues that the aforementioned “margins” as spaces of exception are sites central to the constitution, production and maintenance of Chinese and Japanese state identities, which have been repeatedly performed through violent material and discursive practices concealing these two states’ lack of ontological foundation. His talk will look at how the state-centric narratives employed by the Chinese and Japanese authorities have worked to limit, curtail and suppress their locally generated counter-narratives in such cases as the Mudanshe Incident/Taiwan Expedition (1874), the Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands dispute and boundary-making between Okinawa and Taiwan. At the same time, these cases also show that measures to contain resistance to the state’s production of “exceptions” cannot fully succeed, not least because the state would fade away should its identity formation be successful in the terms in which it is articulated.
About the Speaker:
Ching-Chang Chen is an associate professor in the Department of Global Studies at Ryukoku University, Kyoto and a visiting fellow in the Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs at the New School, New York. Having served in Taiwan’s military as a low-ranking army officer stationed on an offshore island near the People’s Republic, he was attracted to the field of critical security studies and published on the relationship between threat perceptions and national identity construction in Issues & Studies and Journal of Chinese Political Science. His interest in such perceptions, in turn, led him to study knowledge production about the “international” in different geocultural sites. In International Relations of the Asia Pacific, Asian Perspective, Cambridge Review of International Affairs and the Oxford Bibliographies, he takes issue with a common tendency in the study of International Relations that treats various states and non-/substate actors in Asia as mere research objects, as if they had no own ideas about world politics or no history that can inform IR theorizing. Dr. Chen is a co-editor of The North Korea Crisis and Regional Responses (East-West Center, 2015) and has contributed to such volumes as Critical Imaginations in International Relations (Routledge, 2016), Palgrave Handbook of Disciplinary and Regional Approaches to Peace (Palgrave, 2016), Asia in International Relations: Unlearning Imperial Power Relations (Routledge, 2017), and China and International Theory: The Balance of Relationships (Routledge, 2019).
This is a Weatherhead East Asian Institute Lectures and Panels event.
No registration required.
February 26, 2020
4:00 PM-5:30 PM
International Affairs Building, Room 918
420 W 118th Street