Beyond Imperial Aesthetics: Theorizing Art and Politics in East Asia

Panel Discussion | March 19 | 5-7 p.m. | 3335 Dwinelle Hall

 Naoki Sakai, Cornell University; Mayumo Inoue, Hitotsubashi University

 Miryam Sas, UC Berkeley; Steve Choe, San Francisco State University

 Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS), Center for Japanese Studies (CJS)

Observing that the division between theory and empiricism remains inextricably linked to imperial modernity, manifest at the most basic level in the binary between “the West” and “Asia,” the authors in the forthcoming collection Beyond Imperial Aesthetics (co-edited by Mayumo Inoue and Steve Choe, Hong Kong University Press, 2019) reexamine art and aesthetics to challenge these oppositions in order to reconceptualize politics and knowledge production in East Asia.

If the seemingly universal operation of capital and militarism in East Asia requires locally specific definitions of biopolitical concepts to function smoothly, this book critiques the circuit of power between the universalism of capital and particularism of nation and culture in the context of East Asia after 1945. Treating aesthetic experiences in art at large as the bases for going beyond imperial categories, the contributors discuss new modes of sensing, thinking, and living that have been unimaginable within the mainstream modality of Asian studies, a discipline that has reproduced the colonial regime of knowledge production.

Moderated by the book's co-editor Steve Choe, this book event will feature presentations by the book’s contributor Naoki Sakai and co-editor Mayumo Inoue, followed by a commentary from Miryam Sas.

Naoki Sakai (Comparative Literature and Asian Studies, Cornell University)
Mayumo Inoue (Comparative Literature, Hitotsubashi University)

Miryam Sas (Comparative Literature and Film & Media, UC Berkeley)

Steve Choe (Film Studies, San Francisco State University)

This event is free and open to the public. Wheelchair accessible., 510-642-3415