Kuan-Hsing CHEN and CHUA Beng Huat
The inaugurating issue of Inter-Asia Cultural Studies: Movements (hereafter IACS) was launched in April 2000. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of publication, the journal has organized a series of events, including a symposium to review the project in April 2009 in Hsinchu, a public forum in June in Seoul, a pre-conference panel and a keynote session within the 2009 Inter-Asia Cultural Typhoon conference, held in Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in early July. Materials collected in this special issue on the 10th Anniversary are mainly from these instances. In addition, other concerned friends involved in the editorial collective, advisory work, or otherwise were invited to critique the project and to suggest directions they would like the journal to pursue in the future. In short, we envision this special issue on the 10th anniversary to be a critical assessment of what the journal has achieved, as well as a moment of self-critique in order to reground ourselves so as to move forward to confront the new challenges facing us today and in the future decade to come.
A decade ago, for teaching a graduate seminar it was very difficult to find reading materials directly out of the region. In the past decade, IACS has accumulated a body of work directly out of Asia, which would not have been produced without the journal as a vehicle for generating knowledge. Some of the representative essays are collected in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Reader (Routledge, 2007). We have fulfilled the minimal requirement to deliver manuscripts of every issue to the publisher on time. To our knowledge, some of the special issues have been regarded as breaking new grounds, and some of the essays have been considered as highly original work. There are also serious criticisms of the quality of some of the work the journal has published and included in anthologies of Cultural Studies. Whether this body of work will have a chance to shape a new mode of knowledge in the future remains to be evaluated. One thing is certain that there are large rooms for improvement. We need to be more organized, more proactive and more rigorous with our editorial details.
In addition to the ten volumes of essays, we have organized six larger scale Inter-Asia Cultural Studies conferences (1998 in Taipei, 2000 in Fukuoka, 2004 in Bangalore, 2005 in Seoul, 2007 in Shanghai and 2009 in Tokyo; the next one is scheduled to take place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2011). Without institutional back up, these events were voluntarily organized by friends who shared the vision of the project. We have formed the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society based in Seoul, since 2005, with the clear purpose to extend and enlarge participation by constructing a platform for younger intellectuals to come together. The 2007 Shanghai Conference was our first open call for panel conference and the 2008 Seoul Summer Camp was the first gathering designed for graduate students. We hope that these events will engender friendships (networks) early for a next generation so that exciting and unpredictable intellectual work may emerge to break through the problematic conditions of knowledge in which our generation has been and still is caught.
Active members of our network across the region have organized many other related activities, such as conferences, workshops, lectures, public forums, etc. Knowingly or not, the IACS network has also facilitated other forms of interaction, among which is the conference for East Asian Critical Journals and, IACS is allied with the Inter-Asia Graduate School of NGO Studies based in Sung Kong Hoe University, Seoul. Other links, groupings and events have also spun off from the network. Adding all these together, we have suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a “movement” which is expanding, unpredictable and uncontrollable. Perhaps, it is not too much of an exaggeration to say that IACS itself has become a small movement, which is an integral part of the larger intellectual movement towards the integration of Asia, and the role of the Journal is to contribute to the transformation of global knowledge production.
The IACS editorial office has taken the opportunity of the 10th anniversary symposium to compile the materials generated in the past decade into a volume (upon request and see www), released in April 2009. The compilation work was done quickly and we may have missed certain information and hope that interested readers can help us with providing related materials.
The present special issue and the aforementioned events happening in 2009 have been an important moment of the IACS project. The future directions will be shaped by criticisms and suggestions within and beyond the network. More concrete ideas have emerged in the two meeting in April (in Hsinchu) and in July (in Tokyo) 2009, to further institutional links, in the form of building a Consortium of Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Institutions within which future programs can be more systematically organized, and Center for the Study of Culture and Society and the Sung Kung Hoe University will be at the center to coordinate and implement these new projects. Meanwhile, we welcome our reader’s inputs in any form. We sincerely wish to have criticisms from all directions, without which the project cannot find new inspirations.
It is impossible to thank all the individuals who have supported the IACS project in the past 10 years. There are too many to be listed here. Besides showing our sincere appreciation for the infinite number of anonymous reviewers, we do want to acknowledge the following institutions which have helped the project to grow: Japan Foundation (Oka-Fukuroi Mariko), National Science Council (ROC), National University of Singapore (Asia Research Institute in particular), National Tsing Hua University (Hsinchu), Kyushu University (Ota Yoshinobu), Center for the Study of Culture and Society (Ashish Rajadhyaksha), Korean National University of Arts (Kim Soyoung), Shanghai University (Wang Xiaoming and Sun Xiaozhong), Northeast Asia History Foundation (Professor Kim ), Cultural Typhoon, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (Masanori Kashiwazaki and Minoru Iwasaki), and Routledge Publisher (Taylor and Francis). We wish to show our appreciation to the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation (Professors Yun-han Chu and Ki-Che A. Leung) for rescuing the project during its difficult moment. The editorial office has been relocated to National Chiao Tung University since August 2008; we thank the University for promising stable support so that the office can operate more smoothly.
Finally, members of the editorial collective have to be heavily acknowledged for their unfailing support, and, in particular, the executive committee members (Tejaswini Niranjana, Shunya Yoshimi, and Heeyeon Cho) for their time and energy in holding all threads together. The editorial staff members who have helped and continue to help cover the past 10 years events must be gratefully acknowledged: Liu Chun-yu (Emma), Lin Chia-hsuan, Grace Wu, Oiwan Lam, Su Shu-fen, Peter Liu and Mon Wong. Zheng Shengxun has to be singled out for his non-stop, 10 years of hard work to maintain the website and all the related designs. Only with all of their committed work has the IACS project been sustained and continues to fly.
We dedicate this 10th Anniversary special issue to Masao Miyoshi (1928-2009) who had supported the Inter-Asia project since the inaugurating issue, which was dedicated to the late Professor Renato Constantino. Masao was more than a moving spirit for the project. He was like a ghost haunting, protecting and challenging us all the time. What we have learned from the mad man of Wheeler Hall is an unprecedented embodiment of fearlessness, imagination and commitment to critique. After all, Masao was among that last generation of modern critical Asian intellectuals who had both inherited and broken away from the literati cultural tradition. That productive tension running on all fronts shaped an original thinker. Let’s hope Masao’s critical ethos will continue to boost and energize struggles for a better world. "La lucha continua," the struggle continues on all fronts...