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Asian Studies Monthly Seminar
Chittagong, Bangladesh
2, Apr, 2011

Each month, the Asian Studies major organizes an academic seminar around the work of a faculty member or an AUW guest. This month, we feature Professor Se-Woong Koo, Stanford Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at AUW.

Date/Time: Thursday, April 7, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Location: 20G Café space

“West/East: Imperial Ambition and Ideas of Asia

Even if “Asia” is a concept as ancient as Greece and Rome, the conception of global geography consisting of the enlightened West and the blighted East can be traced back to the age of imperial ambition. Under the rule of Western civilization Asia was deemed a “dark,” “backward,” and “spiritual” place in dire need of modernization. “The West” was invented as a bringer of light, and civilization and modernity it was seen to embody were increasingly articulated using the metaphor of radiance in the elite discourse of both metropole and colonial space. The emergent Asian empire of Japan likewise appropriated light as the symbol par excellence of its civilizing capacity. The Chrysanthemum Throne in Tokyo assumed the reign name “Meiji” – the Enlightened Rule – declaring that Japan was the origin of the sun, a source of light equal in brilliance to that of the modernized West. Embedded in such assertion was an idea of Asia as already civilized and alight by Japan, a new regional hegemon.

All are welcome!