East Asia in the Global Economy
275 Madison Avenue, Suite 2114
New York, NY 10016
How can we understand “East Asia” as a geographical category, as a subject of popular discourse, in particular, as an actor in the contemporary global economy? In this class, students will explore the pivotal transformations, imperialisms, economic conditions, and cultural discourses that have produced East Asia as a category of analysis. What are the histories, features, and particular experiences with capitalism that bind together places ranging from Japan to Korea to China? And what can the emergence of East Asia as a political and economic formation teach us about the nature of both politics and the world market?
To answer these questions, we’ll begin with the late-19th century destabilization of the China-centered regional order, abetted by European and American imperialism, and Japan’s concomitant modernization and industrialization, which set the stage for the growth of modern capitalism. What drove Japan to transform its political economy in the first half of the 20th century and embark on imperial ventures throughout greater Asia? In what ways did the experience of multiple colonizations and two world wars re-shape the discursive construction and material underpinning of “East Asia”? Turning our attention to the post-war era, we will examine how the Cold War geopolitical economy, maintained under U.S. hegemony, reconfigured the regional order and conditioned the subsequent emergence of the “East Asian miracle.” What was the “developmental state model” and in what ways was it unique? Finally, students will analyze the international and domestic forces that contributed to a variety of East Asian experiences with globalization and neoliberalism, delving in particular into China’s peculiar path from communism to economic reform. What kind of political economy is it—capitalist, “state capitalist,” “socialist market economy,” or something other? And what do the struggles between state, society, and capital within and across East Asia teach us about the world political economy?
Course ScheduleMonday, 6:30-9:30pm
October 15 — November 05, 2018