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date: 07 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter asks how to make sense of ‘Asia’—an impossible object of study—and what it means today in light of the rise of China after the age of the opium wars and full-on imperialism. To what extent, the chapter asks, is Asia today best understood as a China-centred global system? Certainly, the PRC poses a number of challenges to current theories about colonialism, sovereignty and the alleged end of the Cold War. Equally clear is that, although sometimes designated as ‘non-colonized’, the PRC is deeply influenced by modern imperialism and neoliberalism. The chapter picks up on the ‘missed opportunity’ between postcolonial and China studies, offering a series of reflections on overlaps between them—e.g. in terms of modernization theory, Orientalism and Occidentalism, totalitarianism—as well as opening up avenues for further debate.

Keywords: Asia, China, Orientalism, Occidentalism, modernization, neoliberalism

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