When the title for this workshop was first mooted, the intention was to discuss the ways in which we perceive and represent or misrepresent this part of the world called increasingly 'Asia'. But are we Asianists? The 1960s saw the European reorganisation of the study of China and Japan. It was the era of the Cold War. This is all part of the history of the modern epistemology of what we all do. But still does not answer the question what is Asia - apart from the space that we have named on the map - and what/who is an Asianist. Collectively we may constitute a group of scholars who work on various part of a region we have chosen to call East Asia - but again where are its boundaries? Most if not all are disciplinary specialists of one country or linguistic space. Asia still needs to be invented in Asia, by Asians. It cannot be invented from the outside, and it cannot reconstituted from some mythical "traditional" past in a way similar to the self-invention and self-imagined nation-states of the past two hundred years.
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