Forget Chineseness: On the Geopolitics of Cultural Identification

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Friday, March 24th, 2017

Friday, March 24, 20172:00PM - 4:00PM208N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
M5S 3K7
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Global Taiwan Lecture Series


Lecture Abstract:

Forget Chineseness provides a critical interpretation not only of discourses of Chinese identity—Chineseness—but also of how they have reflected differences between “Chinese” societies, such as in Hong Kong, Taiwan, PRC, Singapore and communities “overseas”. It asserts that identity has meaning not only in cultural, representational terms but is moreover a product of its embeddedness in specific entanglements of modernity, colonialism, nation-state formation, and globalization. By articulating these processes underlying institutional practices vis-à-vis public mindsets, it is thus possible to elucidate various epistemic moments that lay the basis for their socio-political transformation.
From a broader perspective, this should have salient ramifications for prevailing discussions of identity politics. Not only has the concept of identity been predicated on flawed notions of ethnicity and culture in the social “sciences”, but it has been acutely exacerbated by polarizing assumptions that drive our understanding of identity “politics”.

Speaker Bio:

Allen Chun is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. His research interests include socio-cultural theory, (trans)national identity, and (post)colonial formations. Most of his work has dealt with Chinese-speaking societies, contemporary and late traditional. In addition to a monograph, Unstructuring Chinese Society: The Fictions of Colonial Practice and the Changing Realities of “Land” in the New Territories of Hong Kong (2000), he edited a special double issue of Cultural Studies (vol. 14, nos. 3–4), “(Post)Colonialism and Its Discontents”; a special issue of Social Analysis (vol. 46, no. 2), “Global Dissonances”; and co-edited a book, Refashioning Pop Music in Asia: Cosmopolitan Flows, Political Tempos and Aesthetic Industries (2004). His major articles have appeared in diverse journals, including Toung Pao, Late Imperial China, History and Anthropology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Historical Sociology, Current Anthropology, Theory Culture & Society, boundary 2, Communal/Plural, Cultural Anthropology, Postcolonial Studies, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Critique of Anthropology, Anthropological Theory, and positions.


Eileen Lam


Allen Chun
Research Fellow, Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

Tong Lam
Associate Professor of History, University of Toronto

Main Sponsor

Munk School of Global Affairs


Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Toronto


Asian Institute

Dr. David Chu Community Network in Asia Pacific Studies


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