Workshop on ‘Revisiting the “Captive Mind:” Intellectual Imperialism in the Contemporary Asian Academy’

Date: 25 September 2021
Time: 10:30 AM IST/2 PM JST–2 PM IST/5:30 PM JST

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Meeting ID: 874 8967 0907
Passcode: 419100

Abstract of the workshop:
Looking back at the formation of academic research and institutes in Asia, Syed Hussain Alatas wrote an influential paper describing the situation as  “intellectual imperialism.”  He argued that even if actual colonial power structures were dismantled, there still remained in large segments of contemporary Asian academic production,  a “captive mind” which was “incapable of forming original problems” due to the continuation of structures which privilege modes of knowing directly imported from western scholarship (Alatas 2000).  Syed Farid Alatas continued his father’s work, theorizing a “global division of labour” where the non-West continued to be dependent on Europe and North America for theoretical and material resources for academic production (Alatas 2003).  

This workshop seeks to understand and critically examine the relevance of intellectual imperialism today as Asian universities pursue a goal of internationalization in attempts to reach a global standard.  Policies such as promotion of publishing in journals with an “impact factor” (i.e. journals which are operated from the imperialist centres of Europe or North America), or hiring academics trained in these centres over indigenously trained academics are examples of such efforts. These policies coincide with ongoing developmentalist logics in which discourses from the imperialist centres continue to shape academic disciplinary knowledge production in Asian countries.

Panelists and Talk Titles:
Takamichi Serizawa, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan
Revisiting the discontinuity of Japanese historical studies of the Philippines: Wartime “Nanyō-shi” and Postwar Southeast Asian studies

Narumi Shitara, Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan
The Globalization of Japanese Academia: A citation analysis of seven journals for Southeast Asian studies published in Japan during 1987-2016

Boon Kia Meng, Research Institute of Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan
The ‘Captive Mind’ and Counterinsurgency in Malaysia: An Exploratory Study

Nishaant Choksi, IIT-Gandhinagar, India
Jaison Manjaly, IIT-Gandhinagar, India
Politics of Knowledge Production in India’s 2020 National Education Policy

Syed Farid Alatas, National University Singapore, Singapore