East and West
What do the terms "East" and "West" mean within the multifarious overlapping structures of political, economic, and cultural power and exchange that have defined the course of modernity? Is it meaningful to compare aesthetic phenomena and philosophical systems from Western and East Asian cultures in the absence of a direct element of allusion or reference – and do such gestures risk replicating, at the level of theory, the very forms of imperialist dominion that they seek to undermine? Are scholars of East Asia doomed to be "specialists" in an academic landscape where general theoretical applicability and interdisciplinary relevance are rewarded above all else? These are the questions that the Society for Intercultural Comparative Studies will be asking in its upcoming conference.
We hope not for final and definitive answers to these questions – a task which, even were it desirable, would be well beyond the capabilities of any one generation of scholars – but for a heightened awareness of their importance (as much political and ethical as methodological and epistemic) for all academic work in the nascent century.
Friday, March 30, 2001
Saturday, March 31, 2001
Sunday, April 1, 2001
2000 The Trustees of Princeton University