Navigation auf

Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies URPP Asia and Europe (2006–2017)

Asian Postmodernities and their Legacies

Graduate Student Workshop, 30–31 March 2012


University Research Priority Program (URPP) Asia and Europe Institute of East Asian Studies, Department of Sinology.

Key themes:

Spaces & boundaries, environmental issues, body & gender, theories & methods

The workshop is intended to bring together graduate students in the humanities and social sciences who are (1) developing dissertations proposals or are already in more advanced phases of research or dissertation writing; and who are (2) also dealing with the abovementioned issues in the context of contemporary Asian states and societies.

Deadlines for Registration & Abstract Submission:

For self-supporting participants: 31 January 2012
For participants applying for funding from the organizers: 15 January 2012
Maximum length of abstract: 500 words. Language: English or Chinese.


During the 1990s scholars from various fields engaged in different ways with the topic of modernity. The recent mushrooming interest in modernity might be roughly described as an interaction of three significantly intertwined conceptions: that of the excess called «postmodernity», that of the better understanding of modernity, and finally that of the plurality of ideas, theories and methods.

In the 1970s and 1980s postmodernism emerged as a new influential and transdisciplinary movement in the social sciences and humanities. Postmodern perception did not acknowledge established standards of universal truth and criticized many assumptions of Western philosophy. Among these assumptions were those concerning the structures of western social and political economy, and the concept of historical «progress». Above all, grand theories of development were challenged. Simultaneously and beyond intellectual enterprise, postmodernism, with its fondness for pastiche, playfulness, hybridity, and its scandalous affairs with popular culture, challenged the classical Western aesthetic.

Chinese, and South (East) Asian postmodernities are part of Asian and global modernities. They are inscribed as constant states into modernization projects (Lyotard 1989). Postmodernities involve the ongoing and ceaseless rewriting of modernities in a way that questions both periodization and progress in cultural history. Their proponents do not belong to a new age but they nevertheless rewrite some of the claims of modernity, for example the claim that its legitimacy is grounded on the concept of the liberation of humanity through science and technology (Lyotard 1991). Their legacy includes the critical reflection of key issues such as economical and geopolitical power, modes of production, reproduction and of the implied gendered subject-position.

This workshop will primarily focus on new perspectives on contemporary Chinese and (South) East Asian societies derived from cultural studies, postcolonial studies, literary studies, visual studies and gender studies. It will however be open to other approaches (e.g. historical, political or geographical).

Weiterführende Informationen