- Space, Theory, and Hegemony: The Dual Crises of Asian Area Studies and Cultural Studies
- Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 33, Number S, 2018
- pp. S199-S241
- View Citation
- Additional Information
The classical form of area studies based on the notion of culture-language areas has been critiqued by globalization theorists and poststructuralists as old-fashioned (pre-globalization) and theoretically naïve (empirical). However, the death of area studies would leave students of Asian societies in a theoretically and politically fraught situation. While the essentialism of classical area studies must be abandoned, the critiques presented by globalization and poststructuralist theorists often presume that capitalist globalization entails the erasure of borders, the homogenization of cultures, and the end of spatiality as a domain of theoretically significant difference. These views are critiqued as ideologically driven and empirically unfounded. Geography remains a theoretically significant domain of discursive and cultural difference under globalization. A theoretically sophisticated area studies project therefore remains an essential method for understanding the twenty-first century world.