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Abstract

This essay reviews the influential work of a group of Leftist ‘sex liberation’ scholars who pioneered queer sexuality studies in Taiwan in the 1990s. In doing so, it focuses on their post-2000 political rift with the mainstream Taiwanese lgbt (tongzhi) rights movement. What ostensibly began as a split over views of same-sex marriage has developed into a contentious politics of Chinese versus Taiwanese national identity and what I call ‘tongzhi sovereignty’. In bringing together both national identity and sexual politics in Taiwan as increasingly intertwined sites of contestation, I argue that the two must be theorised in tandem. As a fertile site for unpacking this contentious divergence, I examine and problematise the way that cultural theorist Jasbir Puar’s popular concept of homonationalism has circulated in scholarship of cultural/sexuality studies about Taiwan as a slanted and largely unchecked analytic to criticise lgbt sociolegal progress and, for some scholars, obscures a pro-unification agenda.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Taiwan Studies
Author:

Abstract

This article makes the case for environmental protest aesthetics as part of a decolonial worlding that encompasses a variety of relational performative acts through which creative resistance to colonialism, capitalism, and resource exploitation is staged. These acts are understood as relational because in their graphics, image-text events in social media, and in their appearances at street protests, they refer to a system that they seek to subvert. The case studies drawn on are Fridays for Future, Klima Action Malaysia and the kristang community in Melaka. Inspired by research on worlding, the aesthetics of protest and performative acts these case studies are examined as manifestations of different facets of decolonial worlding, with a particular focus on the production and dissemination of visual material in the context of environmental protest.

Open Access
In: European Journal of East Asian Studies

Abstract

Brussels is an officially French-Dutch bilingual city, yet in reality, it is profoundly and increasingly multilingual. Earlier research on the linguistic situation in Brussels has predominantly focused on the competing dominant languages, resulting in very limited scholarly attention to smaller language communities. This paper addresses this blind spot by exploring the language repertoires, proficiencies and practices of members of the Chinese communities. Linking insights from language ecology to the study of language maintenance and shift, and informed by the questionnaire data, we discuss how the changing sociodemographic backgrounds of the participants affect the language maintenance and shift of the whole Chinese communities. Our results do not reveal a traditional pattern of shift toward the dominant majority languages, but rather hint at a community-level shift toward more complex multilingual repertoires with an increased role for English and Mandarin, in tune with Brussels’ increasingly international and multilingual context at large.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Overseas
Author:

Abstract

Almost all minority ethnic groups in Kazakhstan are immigrants. This means that in addition to their current place of residence, Kazakhstan (their “Second Homeland”), they also have a place of origin (their “Historical Homeland”). The leadership of the country has approached this situation, which offers opportunities as well as dangers, by explicitly exhorting the official ethnic representations of minorities to nurture contacts with their Historical Homelands. In this article the examples of the Chechens and Kurds will be used to show how the representations of both ethnicities actively and politically pursued this task. For both groups, representing a nation without an independent state, a fourth actor must be added to the “triangle nexus” familiar from diaspora studies, respectively Russia and Turkey, whose positions the Kazakhstani government cannot simply disregard. What emerges from the study is the strong emotional link of both minorities’ representatives with Kazakhstan as their Second Homeland.

Open Access
In: Central Asian Affairs

Abstract

This article analyses business transitions among Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs in France during the Covid-19 pandemic. Drawing on a historical overview of the development of ethnic Chinese businesses over the last century and an empirical study carried out in five different industrial sectors (import and export, retail, catering, hotel, and tobacco) of the French economy, we examine what challenges these entrepreneurs have faced during the pandemic, what strategies they have adopted in response to these challenges, and what has enabled them to shift business patterns and commercial practices in this unprecedented situation. Our findings show that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition of Chinese immigrant entrepreneurship in France, from offline operations to digital business. However, the pandemic may not be the direct cause of this business transition; rather, it has created unique conditions which facilitate the transition. Before the pandemic, some Chinese entrepreneurs had already made or partially made the transition to “integrating online and offline businesses,” “hiring beyond Chinese ethnic networks,” and “paying attention to the local country’s policy directions,” which helped them greatly reduce the negative impacts of the pandemic. During the pandemic, two unprecedented business opportunities were opened up: “fostering local production” and “seeking low-risk sectors,” which some Chinese entrepreneurs have proactively pursued since April/May 2020. These may be the new trends for Chinese entrepreneurs in France in the future. Theoretically, our study suggests that business transitions among Chinese entrepreneurs in France need to be examined beyond the framework of pure economic rationality, taking into consideration the intersection of new dynamics of Chinese migration into host country and the cross-cultural, cross-institutional, cross-thinking, and cross-border social engagement of the entrepreneurs themselves before, during, and after the pandemic.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Overseas
Author:

Abstract

The degree of institutionalized cooperation on security among three or more of the five Central Asian states remains moderate. Currently, regional security is nurtured in part via frameworks provided by external state and nonstate partners. A rational institutionalist perspective has been invoked, suggesting demand for regional security cooperation. This view also insinuates that it would be reasonable for these five states, because of their limited resources, to rely largely on external cooperation partners instead of being self-organized. This article discusses additional causal factors possibly responsible for the low degree of regionalism. Given varying foreign policy preferences and Kazakhstan’s consistent backing of far-reaching security regionalism, the argument that autocracies generally refrain from deep security cooperation cannot be sustained, nor does the sea change in Uzbekistan’s foreign policy in 2016, which could serve to nurture security regionalism in the future, align well with this argument.

Open Access
In: Central Asian Affairs
Author:

Abstract

Kasuga Wakamiya Onmatsuri is an important local festival celebrated every winter in Nara. While the festival has been analyzed from the point of view of its relations with religious institutions such as Kasuga Taisha and Kōfukuji, to date less attention has been paid to its historical transformations. Countering linear narratives that tend to portray it as largely unchanged since its inception, this chapter combines ethnography, historiography, and religious studies to provide a more multivocal analysis of the Onmatsuri. After an overview of its main celebrations, the chapter revisits the origins of the festival, describes the ontological multiplicity of its deities, and analyzes material elements that concur to its “fractal” features. Showing how these heterogeneous elements generate a diffuse “atmosphere of the past,” this study discusses practitioners’ accounts of ritual participation, as well as the relationship between ideological reconstructions of the past and material embodiments of religious symbols.

Open Access
In: Matsuri and Religion

Abstract

This article reflects on how the concept of regionalism has been used to explain and interpret Central Asian politics since independence. It argues that regionalism, often a norm-laden analytical category based on Eurocentric assumptions, tends to paint the region as “failed” and regional states as incapable of institutionalizing multilateral relations. In its place, the article suggests the concept of order, which is more neutral and—through its focus on the operation of sovereignty, diplomacy, international law, authoritarianism, and great power management—is able to incorporate elements of both the conflict and cooperation that have marked the region’s politics since 1991.

Open Access
In: Central Asian Affairs

Abstract

Since independence in 1965, the Singapore government has established a strongly mandated education policy with an English-first and official mother tongue Mandarin-second bilingualism. A majority of local-born Chinese have inclined toward a Western rather than Chinese identity, with some scholars regarding English as Singapore’s “new mother tongue.” Other research has found a more local identity built on Singlish, a localized form of English which adopts expressions from the ethnic mother tongues. However, a re-emergent China and new waves of mainland migrants over the past two decades seem to have strengthened Chinese language ideologies in the nation’s linguistic space. This article revisits the intriguing relationships between language and identity through a case study of Chineseness among young ethnic Chinese Singaporeans. Guided by a theory of identity and investment and founded on survey data, it investigates the Chinese language ideologies of university students and their agency in choosing for themselves a Chinese imagined identity and community. Our survey found that ethnic Chinese Singaporean university students still possess a strong affinity for Mandarin and a desire to develop this aspect of their identity, in the context of Singapore’s multiracial national identity. There exists a high propensity for imagined futures in Chineseness, with a majority of survey respondents who claimed English-speaking and bilingual identities also expressing the desire to become more bilingual and more Mandarin-speaking. This paper also deciphers the external and internal factors contributing to this development and suggests some areas of future research.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Overseas

Abstract

Late socialist countries are transforming faster than ever. Across China, Laos and Vietnam, where market economies coexist with socialist political rhetoric and the Communist party state’s rule, sweeping processes of change open up new vistas of imaginaries of the future alongside uncertainty and anxiety. These countries are three of very few living examples that combine capitalist economics with party state politics. Consequently, societal transformations in these contexts are subject to pressures and agendas not found elsewhere, and yet they are no less subject to global forces than elsewhere. As all three countries maintain substantial rural populations, and because those rural areas are themselves places of change, how rural people across these changing contexts undertake future making is a timely and significant question. The contributions in the issue address this question by engaging with lived experiences and government agendas across Laos, China and Vietnam, showing a politics of development in which desire and hope are entangled with the contradictions and struggles of late socialism.

Open Access
In: European Journal of East Asian Studies