These problems are prima facie evidence of how much Asia has changed and, with that, our ways of speaking about Asia, since Area Studies took shape in the years after World War II. The world of Global Modernity insists on the reconfiguration of relationships of power and culture as they were constituted in a modernity dominated by Euro/America. The domination continues in many ways, but it is unable to suppress claims for alternative modernities. The situation is one where critical scholarship needs to be mindful not only of old habits of Eurocentrism but also premature celebration of other ways of knowing, for they, too, are entangled in questions of power and domination. Radical transformations in all aspects of Asian societies once again call for analysis that is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional, which of necessity calls for radical adjustments in disciplinary boundaries in order to cope with ceaseless transformations of boundaries in the world we live in. Such scholarship, moreover, has greater responsibility than ever before to keep alive issues of ecological, social and cultural justice because it is possible that the predicament of human survival may be sharper presently than any time before.
Arif Dirlik is Knight Porofessor of Social Science, Professor of History and Anthropology, at the University of Oregon.He has written extensively on Modern China, Transnational Asian Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Globalization and other topics with specific relevance to Asia.