In characterizing one of the extraordinary achievements of positions: east asia cultures critique, one cannot overestimate a political investment gradually constituted, wittingly or unwittingly, throughout the career of the periodical by the editorial team to counteract the implicit separation between the West and Asia, a regime of what Johannes Fabian called “the denial of coevalness” that insists on two different temporalities in which area specialists and indigenous informants are supposed to live separately. It has been presumed that the positionality of area specialists is defined, instituted, and naturalized by the given fact of distance in geography, cultures, and religious traditions; degree in the development of capitalist modernization; and so forth; between the West and Asia. A discussion about the conceptual distinction of positionality from position elucidates that the positionality of area specialists, marked as being in the West as opposed to indigenous informants as being in Asia, has nothing to do with geography, culture, the degree of development in capitalist modernization, or religion. By challenging the discourse of the West and the Rest in which the disciplines of area studies have been couched, positions: east asia cultures critique has opened up a forum that inhabits the institutions of area studies but that has incessantly disrupted area studies' foundational commitment to the discourse of the West and the Rest.
Naoki Sakai; Positions and Positionalities: After Two Decades. positions 1 February 2012; 20 (1): 67–94. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-1471385
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