Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: American Ethnological Society
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: The Political
Secondary Theme: Resilience
Through this panel, we examine the stark afterlives of socialist and (neo)liberal revolutions found in various geographical locations across Asia. We consider today’s nation/state-formation in the light (and shadows) of the memories, traces, and legacies of socialist and (neo)liberal revolutions that took place in the last half of the twentieth century in and around the borders of Mongolia, Russia, China, North Korea, South Korea, and Vietnam. By considering both state-led and counter-state projects of building political alternatives and altering national identity and borders, we aim to draw out the parallels, intersections, and relations between such projects and critically challenge the implications of visually leveling and restricting the State (“system”) to the top, counter-state efforts to the bottom, and social movement and change to the streets. Relatedly, we try to understand and undertake “revolutionary” world-making to mean not just the state-driven projects or counter-state social activism alone. It is our aim to consider a multiplicity of socially complex attempts by diverse social agents, including economists, former student activists, Chan Buddhist practitioners, and families living across and along the multiple nation/state-borders, whose influences are just as powerful. To appreciate the complexities of making sense of revolutionary and post-revolutionary change and of making selves in the midst of change, our papers highlight everyday scales and dimensions of building alternatives and crafting visions of national and/or trans-national collective life. In particular, we inquire what kinds of ethical and moral entanglements comprise and challenge today’s projects of alternative politics, alter-nation, and state (trans)formation taking shape in different parts of Asia, which often get separated and bounded by the sub-categories of “Asia,” such as Eurasia and Southeast Asia. In doing so, we attempt to bring into perspective multiple ethnographic theorizations and approaches to studying historical change, political imagination, social transformation, and moral practice, as well as their inter-relationships.