Confronting the “Ends” of Area: On Transpacific Accountability

Has Japanese Studies ever been a discipline? Who was it for? Conversations about its disciplinary survival continue and repeat attempts to contend with the deconstructive critique of “area.” According to reactions to the deconstructive critique of Area Studies, which began its course in the 1980s, we stand on the epistemological precipice of not simply the decline, but the death of the disciplines that comprise, for example, “Asian Studies” and “Latin American Studies.” Yet, efforts to undo Cold War era formations of knowledge production, in turn, have galvanized projects that seek to validate area studies through the rhetoric of their “re-birth,” often in formats that purport an interdisciplinary awareness to the diversifying demographics of higher education. 

In this webinar, our aim will be to openly discuss the contradictions between the goal of “antiracist pedagogy” and the limits and possibilities of “Japanese Studies.” In emphasizing a framework of transpacific accountability that interrogates the “area” model through engaging critical race and Indigenous epistemologies, the webinar proposes a confrontation with the perceived crisis of area fields as an opening for a way to rethink and re-orient antiracist pedagogy. Highlighting a comparative study of race across Japan and Latin America as a case for the transpacific framework, the webinar introduces critical approaches to the histories of racism, militarism, nationalism, capitalism, and heterosexism in research and pedagogy across and after the “ends” of area. 

View the Webinar Recording here