Introduction: “Bandung/Third World 60 Years” – in memory of Professor Sam Moyo
Ten years ago, the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies journal published a special issue on “Bandung/Third Worldism” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1955 Bandung Conference (Vol. 6, no. 4, 2005). Time flies. After a decade, we find ourselves in a more intensely difficult time and in a different context. Over the past 60 years, the world has been reshaped greatly. By now, the celebrated BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have become the driving engines of world economy; and Indonesia, where the Bandung Conference was held, is visibly on the forefront of the Southeast Asia regional economic growth. These ex/socialist, ex/colonized and ex/third world countries seem to have emerged as the leading edge of global capitalism. There is a need at this conjuncture to critically reflect on the histories, the trajectories and the conditions of the world being transformed. Are these rising economies, with a revolutionary and anti-imperialist past, able to create new forms of operation to break the conquering and exploitative logics of capitalism, or simply to reproduce what they were fighting against? If the complexities of the current situations demand us to move beyond an either/or understanding, what are the legacies of the Bandung and its spirits, which can be mobilized to imagine new forms of solidarity for a better world? On a more intellectual level, we will also need to sort out the changing conditions of knowledge production in diverse locations of Third World. Having achieved certain degree of autonomy, are we now better equipped to connect and reconnect critical circles of thought (local and regional formations growing in the past 60 years) located in the (ex) third world to forge different modes of knowledge production? How to develop different modes and systems of knowledge to account for and confront the complexity of the living world on different levels of abstraction has been and will continue to be the central concerns of the Inter-Asia Project.
Notes on contributor
Kuan-Hsing Chen teaches in the Institute for Social Research and Cultural Studies, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan. His most recent monograph is Asia as Method: Toward Deimperialization (2010, Duke University Press).