Rethinking Resistance in Asia

The Japanese public intellectual and sinologist Takeuchi Yoshimi (1910-1977) has become famous today for constructing a critique of Eurocentrism that anticipates contemporary postcolonial theory. However, scholars often overlook how his critique of Eurocentrism was connected to his aim to create a socialist politics beyond conventional oppositions between left and right.  Takeuchi asked why the Japanese left was unable to connect with the Japanese people and found the answer in the left’s ignorance of the subtle ways in which politics emerges out of everyday life.  He found such a politics of everyday resistance in revolutionary China.  Although many have questioned Takeuchi’s idealized vision of Mao’s China, his constructions of new visions of politics and the everyday speak to our contemporary world where people feel increasingly alienated from the political mechanisms that regulated their lives.

Viren Murthy teaches transnational Asian History and researches Chinese and Japanese intellectual history in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of The Political Philosophy of Zhang Taiyan: The Resistance of Consciousness (2011), co-editor with Axel Schneider of The Challenge of Linear Time: Nationhood and the Politics of History in East Asia (2013), and co-editor with Prasenjit Duara and Andrew Sartori of A Companion to Global Historical Thought (2014).  He has published articles in Modern Intellectual HistoryModern ChinaFrontiers of History in China and Positions: Asia Critique.

Aditya Nigam is Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016
4.30 pm, CSDS Seminar Room