As technological innovation and cultural exchange challenge conventional borders, national identities, and notions of the nation-state, scholars have increasingly argued that the traditional concepts of “area” are ideological and political constructs tied to a schema of the world that no longer exists. This special issue of positions: asia critique posits that this “end of area” does not necessarily mean the end of area studies as a discipline. Rather, contributors suggest that “area” has detached itself from the realm of geopolitics and entered into the realm of biopolitics and biopower, which provides an opportunity to reevaluate and remap the goals of area studies. To address that change, this issue centers translation and the biopolitical as new theoretical mechanisms for area studies to order, combine, separate, and classify life. Topics include the concept of “area” itself; the philosophy of translation; reflections on Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques Derrida, and Edward Said; governmentality and biopower in the time of global capital; and biopolitical management of geocultural areas.
Contributors: Étienne Balibar, Ken C. Kawashima, Sandro Mezzadra, Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Naoki Sakai, Shu-Mei Shih, Jon Solomon, Tazaki Hideaki, Gavin Walker