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The history of political-economic thought has been built up over the centuries with a uniform focus on European and North American thinkers. Intellectuals beyond the North Atlantic have been largely understood as the passive recipients of already formed economic categories and arguments. This view has often been accepted not only by scholars and observers in Europe but also in many other places such as Russia, India, China, Japan, and the Ottoman Empire. In this regard, the articles included in this collection explicitly differentiate from this diffusionist approach (“born in Western Europe, then flowed everywhere else”).
Liberal utilitarianism is usually presented as a current of thought mostly inspired by Jeremy Bentham and other Western European thinkers, and eventually diffused in other parts of the world. This paper adopts a different approach and shows, on the one hand, how the Bentham brothers’ experiences in Russia and serfdom in particular inspired their invention of the Panopticon. The latter was not related to deviance (Foucault's interpretation), but to labor organization and surveillance. On the other hand, the interplay between utilitarianism and colonial India led Bentham, then James and John Stuart Mill, and ultimately Henry Maine to revise utilitarianism, in particular the relationship between law, labor, and political economy. In both the Britain–Russia interplay and Britain–India interplay, the tension between universalism and particularism of philosophical, social and economic categories was at work.
How to conceptualize the broad dissemination of economic concepts in colonial South Asia? This article uses an essay by a mid-nineteenth-century Bengali, Peary Chand Mittra, as a point of departure to approach this problem in South Asian historiography. In the first part, the essay locates the conditions of possibility for Mittra's political-economic analysis of Bengal's agrarian social order within an imperial and commercial space of extended interdependencies. The aim is not to explain the specificity of Mittra's politics so much as to highlight his recourse to political-economic concepts to ground his analysis. In the second part, the essay suggests that the grounding of political economy's colonial histories within histories of imperial space needs to be supplemented by closer attention to new normative impulses and aspirations emerging directly from agrarian society in the region. This second emphasis provides better grounds for grasping the depth and durability of political economy's reach into political and ethical claims across social space in the Subcontinent in the twentieth century. It thus broaches the necessity of subaltern histories of political economy.
In this paper, I will focus on the emergence and uses of political economy in late-nineteenth–early-twentieth century China. I will discuss how the concept of “economy” came to be conceived as an autonomous sphere of human life, with its own rules and its own order, and how the production of “wealth” was conceptually divorced from ethics, politics, and administration. For this purpose, I will focus on a group which played a key role in reshaping the social and political discourse of the empire: a group of nationalist reformers who wanted to transform the Qing empire into a constitutional monarchy. I will explore how these reformers brought together two different sets of traditions – the Chinese imperial traditions of literati statecraft on the one hand, and mostly British, French, and German traditions of political economy on the other – and how they used them to naturalize a particular idea of what the “Chinese nation” was and should be.
New areas of research and education are emerging under the banner of Global Asian Studies (GAS). This paper examines the intellectual background of the rise of GAS and proposes a research agenda for the further development of GAS to facilitate the extraction of globally relevant findings with the potential to restore an intellectual foundation for connectedness in an increasingly divided world. The paper examines the ongoing repositioning of Asia studies in relation to the Asianization of Asian studies, new methodologies for a new era, the increasing importance of multi-lingual research, and theorizes the potential of area studies “inside-out” in relation to trends in and studies of globalization. Proposing four focal themes as a platform from which a new GAS may depart, this manifesto paper aims primarily to open up a discussion to eventually serve as a foundation for sustained research and education in the field of GAS.
In response to Sato and Sonoda's “Asian Studies ‘inside out’: research agenda for the development of Global Asian Studies,” members of the Global Asias Collaborative at Rutgers University – comprised of a diverse group of scholars of Asia and the Asian diaspora located in history, literature, art history, geography, among other disciplines – offer responses to this generative prompt to remap the place and field of “Asia” in its heterogeneous and interwoven temporalities and topologies.
After more than four decades since its reunification since 1975, Vietnam has achieved remarkable results in social and economic development. With the rapid speed of recent modernization, society has loosened numerous old values related to the family and promoted individual freedoms. Marriage and family affairs, including divorce, have modernized with liberal characteristics. The paper examines the trends of divorce and reasons for divorce using statistical data from the Vietnam People's Supreme Court and from the government's annual population statistics. The analysis compiled and analysed a database of every divorce case at six urban and rural districts in Can Tho province. The analysis highlights changes in the reasons for divorce in the South in comparison with previous divorce studies in the North of Vietnam, discussed in relation to modernization, individualism and gender equality. The analysis is supported by interview data with thirty male and female divorcees.
Challenging the myth of premodern Korea as ethnically homogenous, this study focuses on immigrant marriages in Chosŏn Korea following Japanese invasions (Imjin War, 1592–1598). By examining household registers and genealogies, I investigate the status of women who married into the families of Japanese and Ming Chinese immigrants and the social consequences of such marriages. The results unexpectedly indicate that immigrant families rarely intermarried, preferring integration with local families. As a means of acquiring social and cultural capital, Korean brides from elite families were vital to the success of immigrant families in forming social networks and in producing candidates for the civil service examinations, with failure to obtain such a bride proving a potential long-term obstacle to social advancement. There is a noticeable difference between families of Chinese and Japanese origin in this context due to the preference shown by Korean families for the descendants of Ming generals over Japanese defectors. Contributing to a growing number of studies that question whether the Korean family was fully “Confucianized” in the seventeenth century with a consequent decline in the status of women, this study argues that women possessed social and cultural capital and held particular value for immigrant families.
This paper presents micro finance as a traditional system of mutual help networks in East Asia. These are called “Rotating Savings and Credit Associations” (ROSCAS) and can also be seen in other areas. Micro finance means that invested money is small and managed by members. Mutual help actions are divided into three categories: reciprocal, redistributional, and unidirectional action. The content of redistribution is labor, goods, and money. ROSCAS are the distributional action of money. It has been called tanaomoshi or mujin in Japan. ROSCAS have different names: South Korean ke, Chinese kai (huì), and Taiwanese hyokai (biāo huì) can be compared with the already well-studied Japanese case through the results of an interview survey and fact-finding fieldwork study. The purpose of the paper is to show that ROSCAS are important not only economically but also socially in terms of friendship and bonds. The economy is embedded in social relations and institutions. Although ROSCAS have almost disappeared from modern life and some are interest-oriented, they contributed to sustainable communities and can still be identified in East Asia. The paper concludes that modern societies might do well to reconsider ROSCAS as mutual help networks in search of ways of reconstructing communities.
It has become known that the Confucius Institute (CI) and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office (Qiaoban) are operated as tools of state-led mechanism, or Chinese statecraft with the ultimate goal of expanding China's cultural soft power. Following the direction, Xi Jinping has been pushing the notion of the “Chinese dream,” focusing on the realm of Chinese traditional culture and launching a new state-led mechanism. This article examines an emerging state-led mechanism known as “Chinese Homeland Bookstores” (CHBs), which was proposed by a provincial government-financed state-owned enterprise, and recently expanded to Thailand and various Mekong countries. I contend that the entities, such as CHBs and also CI and Qiaoban, are being extensively utilized as part of a larger state apparatus supporting the regime's Chinese traditional culture campaign. However, the CHB case and those of other government-led institutions illustrate how they combine nation-state work with market-oriented business strategies, to effectively promote Chinese culture “going out” with a focus on financial sustainability.