The concept of Asian Pacific Studies is a "Combined condition of politics and economy within higher education, academia, scholarship, and knowledge production in each country, based on their respective histories.", (Anderson, 1992), and "all studies in or of the Pacific" (Teaiwa). Although not comprehensively covered in past historical work, new evidence has arisen showing that most countries in Asia were economic, political and educational powerhouses that equipped their people with the most modern aspects of today's life. Asian Pacific studies have shown other areas of research, the academic fields of Asia are evolving too and mainly by paying attention to the Asian voices like never before. A while ago, most Asian studies were centrally based on European history, not taking into consideration the wide variety of study areas from the home countries. However, that is about to change with the new changes with more attention being paid to the local setting unlike before.
Thongchai Winichakul's article - Asian Studies Across Academies, reflected the changes and potential issues with Asian studies, from the angles of Thai history, and culture. Winichakul started by stating the perspective of Asian countries history varies within and without the nations, that may relate to politics and economic factors. For example, Thai students often get into a disagreement with the American professors because they believe the history they were taught by in Thailand to be more official. Moreover, new concepts or theories could become unacceptable within Thailand because what happened in the past of colonial, resulting in such reaction to the western hegemony.
The example of students having different opinions on histories also was mentioned in a way, in Donald Davis's article. Because Asian Studies is an area of a study conducted by, especially the US, for government interest. The studies in the past orientated on theorising in Asian countries rather than trying to pay attention to caring and opening up to see their real culture and try to understand it. The second concept from Davis's reading is "from a generalised postulation about a universal morality. Levinas intended to convict us all of substituting representation of people for sociality with them." That says the scholars of Asian Pacific Studies should hear one another openly to get into an agreement of knowledge. Davis believes the trend of Asian studies will be the obliteration of the dichotomy between insiders and outsiders.
The dominant theme in the Asian Pacific studies research is the neglect observed before on natural history at the expense of European and other foreign countries studies. Also referred to as Orientalism by Donald R. David states explicitly that the ease with which Asian intellectual studies are dismissed and disparaged with is worrying. The educational system in Pacific Asia has predominantly been involved with the acquisition of different intellectual knowledge while leaving the native educational material untouched.
The ideology that international education is in a way better than the native is an inferiority complex exhibition sign. The inferiority complex may be as a result of underdevelopment in Pacific Asia that leads to the perception of their systems not matching up to those of the foreigners. Thongchai also notes that the 19th and 20th centuries were difficult for most Pacific Asian countries and therefore acclimatising to the changing world was necessary. Until after the cold war, most of these places remained underdeveloped and still alleviated from the outside world. One of the ways to achieve this was by adopting the habits of the foreign nations of educating and equipping their people with the necessary life skills.
However, with the new amendments in most of the Asian curriculum today, vast changes are expected to be observed with the incorporation of more local material in the educational system. Some of how this is to be achieved are by collaborative anthropology, engaged educational scholarship, and constructive groups for critical reviews of the educational material. Soon, it is expected that native educational concepts will take over from the foreign material that has been in the educational system for a long time. The original educational system will be more resourceful for the learners, and the locals since the utilisation of locally available resources and raw materials will open up new avenues for all.
Davis. D. R. (2014). Three Principles for an Asian Humanities. The Journal of Asian Studies Vol.74, No.1, 1-35, Retrieved August 26, 2018
Winichakul, T. (2014). Asian Studies Across Academies. The Journal of Asian Studies vol.73, No.4, 1-19, Retrieved August 26, 2018
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