27 September, 2012

Asia Annual 2010: Nationhood and Identity Movements in Asia: Colonial and Post-colonial Times

Asia Annual 2010: Nationhood and Identity Movements in Asia: Colonial and Post-colonial Times

By- Swarupa Gupta (ed)

This volume tells a new story of Asian nationalisms, moving beyond stereotypical representations of Asia as the exoticized/subjugated ‘other’ of Orientalism. It focuses on the interface between Asian forms of nationhood and identity-movements. Dispensing with Western prisms of looking at colonial/Asian nationalisms, it rethinks the relation between the West and the rest, by returning agency to Asians. Using a multidisciplinary methodology, this volume tracks constellations of unity predating the colonial modern, and sees how these operate within spirals of continuity through change. It traces and compares hitherto unexplored nationalist experiences in West, Central, South, South East and East Asia, gathered under the rubric of an internally-differentiated model of Asian nationalism. This moves beyond sectional micro-studies, connecting intra-regional, inter-regional and transnational/international identities in Asia. Seeing how pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial identities meld in specific contexts, this volume contains original thematic essays which fall into categories of: (1) Nationhood, Place and History; (2) Nationalism and State-Building; (3) Cultural Nationalism and Linguistic Identity; (4) Nationalisms in Eurasia; (5) Transnational Identities; and (6) Gender and Identity-Movements. What emerges is no single, uniform model of Asian nationalism, but different (from Western/European) forms of nationhood.  Multiple pathways lead to discoveries of non-Western Asian experiences of nationhood through insiders’ narratives (intra-Asian voices). These make it possible to dream of a new Asia which avoids the snare of post-colonial inevitabilities of fragmentation, fundamentalisms and core-periphery problems. Arguing that the continuation of the colonial into the post-colonial can have positive possibilities, shaping new policies, spatialities, intercultural dialogue/cooperation, and economic/material connections, this volume shows how Asia emerges as a key-player in the history and contemporaneity of nationalism.

Swarupa Gupta, Ph D. (SOAS, London, 2004) is a Fellow at Maulana Azad Inst. Of Asian Studies (Ministry of Culture, Government of India) and Guest Faculty Member, Department of History, Presidency University, Calcutta

ISBN  978-81-7304-960-6  2012   366p.   Rs.1150/Pounds 65

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