AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 480

[ Interarea/Border-Crossing Sessions, Table of Contents | Panels by World Area Main Menu ]

Session 480: Western Concepts and East Asia 1600-2010

Cartography, Exploration, and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1912
William R. Stevenson, Doshisha University, Japan

In November 1911, Shirase Nobu (1861-1946) and his mixed crew of Japanese and Ainu explorers sailed into the Antarctic in a bid to become the first humans to stand above the South Pole. The expedition was part of an international geographic race, and represented Asia's first attempt to compete against the nations of Europe and North America in the realm of geographic exploration. Though the Japanese failed to reach the South Pole (only the British and the Norwegians succeeded), the expedition left its mark on the geographic and political landscape of the Pacific: it led to new and original cartographic efforts, it tied into Japanese expansionist activities of the 1930s, and it culminated with Japan's renunciation of all territorial claim to the Antarctic in the Peace Treaty of 1951. This paper, falling on the centennial anniversary of the venture, highlights the geographic claims and political implications of the expedition. Based in part on the cartographic record, the study shows how the explorers used European and North American ideas of exploration and territorial acquisition, and how they then combined these ideas to their own collection of both legitimate and falsified records in an effort to claim sections of the Antarctic for the Empire of Japan. In doing so, they attempted to show that the ability to explore knows no geographic boundary, and that the nations of the Far East – and in particular, the Japanese – were just as capable of exploration as the powers of the so-called West.

Politeness Strategies in Japanese, Chinese, and English
Janet Fu, University of Toronto, Canada

Politeness Strategies in Japanese, Chinese and English Previous studies have demonstrated the roles and features of politeness from different angles. This pragmatic issue drew scholars’ attention to politeness strategies. Brown and Levinson (1987) outline four main types of politeness strategies: bald on-record, negative politeness, positive politeness, and off-record or indirect strategies. Tannen (1986) claimed one of the politeness strategies that payoff is kind of self-defense. Some other scholars have also argued that social factors are associated with politeness strategies (the social-based approach). How politeness strategies shape language learning and how polite versions reflect individuals are topics that are under-researched. This paper highlights some politeness strategies have been used in Japanese, Chinese and English. I will compare the acceptance and refusing, and disagreement in conversational context of those three languages. I will discuss argue three points: 1) what major role in of politeness strategies that used in those three cultural groups; 2) what differences of those politeness strategies in three groups; 3) how those politeness strategies are employed in discourse level? The paper suggests that understanding different cultural politeness will help to develop good social relationship. The politeness strategies in different cultural group may have different ways. At the same time, they may share some similar strategies as well. Thus, politeness strategies are important for language research. Not only is the politeness itself important, but also people play politeness roles as a society or a community requires. The politeness strategies that people employ also reflect the relationship between language, ideology, and the adoption of new cultures.

How to Overcome Modernity? Comparing Two Waves of the Critique of Modernity in Wartime Japan and Contemporary China
Horng-Luen Wang, Academia Sinica, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

Modernity has been haunting numerous minds of cultural and political elites in East Asia since the nineteenth century. Regarded as originating from the West, modernity to the East is something to be achieved and overthrown at once. On the one hand, it is considered that the East has to catch up with the West in terms of material achievements (particularly economic performance and military power). On the other hand, it is also insisted that Western modernity has intrinsic contradictions that will eventually lead to disastrous outcomes, and it is only through the East that an alternative path for redemption is possible. Such a dichotomous mode of thinking has been dominating intellectual discourses in many instances. This paper examines two examples of such a mode of the critique of modernity: one is the attempt to "overcome modernity" by a group of cultural elites in wartime Japan; the other is what is known as "anti-modern modernity" advocated by Wang Hui and his followers, often labeled as the "New Left," in contemporary China. While these two intellectual endeavors are separated from each other for half a century, one can find striking resemblance between the two. Both the attempts have received wide attention and have caused heated controversies. In Japan, "Overcoming Modernity" (kingdai no chōkoku) first took the form of a symposium organized by the Literary Society (Bungakkai) in July 1942, which turned out to become an intellectual justification for military expansionism of the Japanese Empire under the name of the "Greater East Asian War." Although the symposium became "notorious" after the war, it has been a recurrent theme revisited by notable Japanese intellectuals such as Takeuchi Yoshimi, Hiromatsu Wataru, and Koyasu Nobukuni. On the other hand, Wang Hui's discussions of "anti-modern modernity" first emerged in the 1990s and gradually received wide attention from both inside and outside China in the 2000s. Acclaimed as a "distinctive Chinese voice," Wang's works can be understood as an attempt to overcome the pitfalls of Western modernity by suggesting an alternative path for the Chinese modernity. This paper will compare these two attempts to "overcome (Western) modernity" by examining three aspects: (1) the global, regional and national contexts in which they emerged; (2) how they view their significant neighbors in the region; and (3) their relations with the state and/or political authority. At the end of the paper, the moral implications behind this comparison will be further explored.

China and the Idea of Neoliberalism
Matthew G. Ferchen, Tsinghua University, China

The father of China’s “Reform and Opening” policies of the last thirty-plus years, Deng Xiaoping, did not set out to transform the Chinese economy into an exemplar of neoliberal reform. Yet by the turn of the millennium Deng would appear alongside Reagan, Thatcher and Pinochet as a poster child of neoliberalism. Even after his death, this legacy seemed to be carried on by Deng’s hand-chosen successors like the Prime Minister, Zhu Rongji, who reportedly displayed works of F.A. Hayek prominently on his desk. Yet, for every portrayal of China as having placed neoliberal ideas at the forefront of its reform strategy, there have been others both inside and outside of China who have emphasized the lack of ideational consensus that has persisted over China's reform period. Recent efforts to capture the essence of China’s political economy, and these often seemingly contradictory forms of state-economy ties, have focused on the idea of a “China Model” of development. This paper will track the development of neoliberal ideas and policies in China, emphasizing the ongoing debate within China and among outside observers about the nature of the country’s state-economy relations. In particular, the paper will demonstrate that neoliberal ideas and policies, as well as their main rivals, can best be understood as part of the central axis of Chinese state-economy relations: the political economy of "stability."