The Question of Southeast Asian Subjectivity: The Contrary Example of Benedict Anderson’s Cosmopolitan Leanings (12/13台大校史館外文系會議室)

    類別: 學術演講


Title: The Question of Southeast Asian Subjectivity: The Contrary Example of Benedict Anderson’s Cosmopolitan Leanings

Speaker: Prof. Pheng Cheah (Professor of Rhetoric and Geography, University of California, Berkeley)

Moderator: Prof. Liang Ya Liou 劉亮雅教授 (Professor, National Taiwan University)

Time: 3:00 pm. ~ 5:00 pm, Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Venue: DFLL Conference Room, Gallery of University History (校史館外文系會議室)

Co-Organized by College of Foreign Language & Literature, NCCU




As a passionate defender of nationalism, Benedict Anderson was predictably skeptical of cosmopolitanism and postnationalism.  The “cosmopolitan” hybridity of diasporic subjectivities in a globalized world, he argued, is a form of collective subjectivity that lacks universality and often leads to a form of long-distance ethnic nationalism with deplorable political consequences.  This paper focuses on the curious turn to cosmopolitanism in Anderson’s later writings, where he reformulates the structural openness of the nation qua community of language as a demotic cosmopolitanism grounded in the porosity of languages and their tendency toward hybridization.  What type of collective consciousness does this generate and what are some of its political consequences and limits?  What are its implications for understanding Southeast Asian consciousness today in the era of ASEAN?



About the speaker:

Pheng Cheah is Professor of Rhetoric and Geography and Chair of the Center for Southeast Asia Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1999. He has published extensively on the theory and practice of cosmopolitanism. His books include Spectral Nationality: Passages of Freedom from Kant to Postcolonial Literatures of Liberation (Columbia University Press, 2003), Inhuman Conditions: On Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights (Harvard University Press, 2006) and most recently, What is a World? On Postcolonial Literature as World Literature (Duke University Press, 2016). His co-edited books include Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation (U of Minnesota P, 1998), Grounds of


Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

National Taiwan University

Tel: 02 3366 3208


20171213 Pheng Cheah