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Contests over heritage in Asia are intensifying and reflect the growing prominence of political and social disputes over historical narratives shaping heritage sites and practices, and the meanings attached to them. These contests emphasize that heritage is a means of narrating the past that demarcates, constitutes, produces, and polices political and social borders in the present. In its spaces, varied intersections of actors, networks, and scales of governance interact, negotiate and compete, resulting in heritage sites that are cut through by borders of memory.

This volume, edited by Edward Boyle and Steven Ivings, and with contributions from scholars across the humanities, history, social sciences, and Asian studies, interrogates how particular actors and narratives make heritage and how borders of memory shape the sites they produce.
Genre, Print Culture and Knowledge Formation, 1902–1912
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Unlike previous studies that have examined the late Qing utopian imagination as an ahistorical motif, a literary theme, and a translation phenomenon, in this book Shuk Man Leung considers utopian fiction as a knowledge apparatus that helped develop Chinese nationalism and modernity. Based on untapped primary sources in Chinese, English, and Japanese, her research reveals how utopian imagination, blooming after Liang Qichao’s publication of The Future of New China, served as a tool of knowledge formation and dissemination that transformed China’s public sphere and catalysed historical change.

Embracing interdisciplinary approach from genre studies, studies on modern Chinese newspapers and intellectual history, this book provides an analysis of the development of utopian literary practices, epistemic meanings, and fictional narratives and the interactions between traditional and imported knowledge that helped shape the discourse in early 20th century China.
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Abstract

In the late twentieth century, former industrial warehouses throughout the globe have found a new lease of life as ideal spaces for the exhibition of contemporary arts. Following the diversification of artistic practices at the turn of the 1960s, abandoned factories offered ideal opportunities for the development of new artistic forms such as installation and performative works. In parallel, former military and surveillance sites have on occasion encountered a similar fate. In Southeast Asia, the transformation of former military barracks and compounds into exhibition spaces runs parallel to the regeneration of industrial buildings. In the cultural repurposing of military infrastructures, however, a question arises as to the remaining visibility and agency of their former function. To what extent, in what manner, does the weight of history transpire within the walls of the gallery? This chapter aims to reflect on the repurposed functionalities of different types of former military sites in Southeast and East Asia, and the manner through which military history and heritage survives in these places, visibly and invisibly. Repurposed military and surveillance sites offer an opportunity to consider the changing textures of geopolitics, and the ongoing interrogations they ask of our contemporary societies.

In: Heritage, Contested Sites, and Borders of Memory in the Asia Pacific
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Abstract

This chapter examines the postwar fate of Japan’s Asia-Pacific war relics and sites through the example of the Imperial Japanese Army 16th Division garrison in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward. Since its move to Kyoto in 1907, the 16th Division played a major part in the Asia-Pacific War including some of its darker episodes such as the 1937 Nanking Massacre. After the war, the 16th Division garrison was repurposed as schools and residential areas, while various veterans and war bereaved groups sought to memorialize and commemorate the former Japanese Army there. Yet in the process, much of the site’s ruinous past was forgotten or downplayed. This changed in the 1980s when groups of civic activists and historians sought to reinsert critical memories and histories at the garrison, as well as to use the site to teach about the horrors of war and the importance of peace. But these efforts were met with fierce resistance from some of the former garrison’s other stakeholders, and the issue of how to narrate and remember the past remains contested at the site today. This chapter argues that the roots of this contestation lie in the underlying tension between memory, history, and heritage. While no longer a simple ‘site of memory’, the garrison remains averse to being incorporated into critical histories of its past, and is thus stuck at the border of memory and history.

In: Heritage, Contested Sites, and Borders of Memory in the Asia Pacific
In: Utopian Fiction in China
In: Utopian Fiction in China
Author:

Abstract

In the official narrative of the postcolonial Singaporean state, Chinatown is the cradle of Chinese community development, but such a claim can be made only retrospectively. The maintenance of Chinatown in Singapore demonstrates the official desire to establish cultural, ethnic, and historical links between a lived present and an imagined past. By extension, Chinatown is defined as a Chinese cradle on the basis of a constructed and highly essentialized Chinese identity in Singapore. This chapter suggests that an essentially new Chinatown has resulted from the state’s urban redevelopment plans. No longer organic in its growth and composition, the new Chinatown nonetheless has the symbols – pagodas, red lanterns, stone lions, and Chinatown arches – that would strike the casual tourist as being intuitively Chinese. At the national level, the mere existence of the new Chinatown has reduced or simplified the diversity of Chinese communities in Singapore, subsuming the various dialect groups under the Chinese label. The transformation of Chinatown is best exemplified in its Chinese New Year celebrations, which feature the participation of other ethnic groups in Singapore, notably the Indians and Malays. The site and festivities have become multiracial, in line with the official narrative that Singapore is a multiracial and socially harmonious nation. In effect, the new Chinatown has evolved into not only a transnational heritage site but also a multiracial showroom of cultural diversity contributing to nation-building in Singapore.

In: Heritage, Contested Sites, and Borders of Memory in the Asia Pacific
Author:

Abstract

The conclusion brings together the themes of the volume, and emphasizes the heuristic value of using borders to think through how heritage comes into being, and the significance of a multiplicity of borders to its creation, contested nature, and maintenance. The cases presented across the volume demonstrate the varied geographical, physical, political, generational, temporal, psychological and cultural borders that come to shape the meanings accorded to sites of heritage being preserved into the future. The conclusion then moves on to discuss the heritage-related imaginaries which may be necessary for sustaining interest in specific heritages, and which should therefore be analysed when reflecting on what the future holds for the sites featured in this book. The borders of memory approach offers a powerful framework through which to chart the potential trajectories of heritage status and survival into the future. By identifying where borders of memory lie and how contestations at those meeting points run through processes of heritage creation, preservation and disappearance, a more nuanced picture emerges of what the past means in our present-day lives.

In: Heritage, Contested Sites, and Borders of Memory in the Asia Pacific
In: Utopian Fiction in China
In: Utopian Fiction in China