Capitalizing Asian Studies: Critical Scholarship and the Production of Knowledge in a Globalizing World

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Tim Oakes


This paper explores the implications of the related trends of economic globalization and the corporatization of higher education in the United States for Asian area studies scholarship. It argues that the scales at which geographical knowledge is produced are increasingly in flux due to the shift in global political economy. Area studies scholarship is subsequently left scrambling to both understand this shift and make its knowledge production somehow relevant and valuable in an arena in which knowledge about Asia is being produced and diffused from an increasingly diverse array of sources. In response, the paper suggests that more attention to the production of scale is needed if area studies scholars are to comprehend the changing relationship between our categories of geographic knowledge and global political economy.

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Author Biography

Tim Oakes, University of Colorado, Boulder, U.S.A.

Tim Oakes is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a visiting research scholar at the Institiute for International Studies, University of Technology Sydney. He is the author of,

Tourism and Modernity in China

(Routledge, 1998), and has written extensively on the cultural geography of Chinese regional development. He is currently co-editing

Travels in Paradox

(with Claudio Minca) and

Translocal China

(with Louisa Schein) while preparing a new book on Chinese regionalism and cultural strategies of economic development, titled

Trading in Places

. His current research, supported by the US National Science Foundation, examines the cultural and ethnic politics of heritage tourism in China.