Visiting Student Scholar: Scott Ma
Project title: Hidden pleasures, forgotten truths: Capitalism, discourse, and ethnicity in the social construction of the Japanese "Chinatown"
Date： Feb 8th, 2023
Venue：Room 101, HA Building 2, Hsinchu Guang Fu Campus, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University
*Providing online participation using ZOOM ：https://us02web.zoom.us/j/
MEETING ID：817 3911 0271
Reseach Project Abstract:This article studies the discursive formation of the concept of "Chinatown" in contemporary Japan. It argues that a contradictory and ethnic assumption, that a Chinatown houses Chinese humans, grounds the discourses of both academics and activists invowlved in constructing Chinatown. Drawing on psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan's theory of discourse, it distinguishes between these two subject positions, examining how the nonsensical assumption of Chinese humanity relies on a circular operation of enjoyment of their discourses in differing but complementary ways. As evidence, the article performs close readings of the writing of two important figures in the elaboration of Japanese Chinatowns, cultural geographer Yamashita Kiyomi and Yokohama Chinatown leader Hayashi Kensei. If Yamashita's academic discourse consciously claims authority based on access to objective knowledge, it unconsciously enjoys the subjugation of those less knowledgeable. If Hayashi's activist discourse consciously demands recognition of minority difference from the Japanese public, it unconsciously enjoys a refusal to allow himself to be known through a disavowed self-identification as an object of desire. These discourses are contextualized within the recent history of Chinatown and its relationship to ethnic commodification. The representativeness of Yamashita and Hayashi is furthermore evidenced by comparison with other important actors involved in constructing Chinatown.
Visiting Student:Scott Ma is a Master's student at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University, Japan. His research interests include the history of postwar urban planning and the ideology of globalism in contemporary Japanese culture. He is the author of "Fantasies of Europe, fantasies of Japan: Isekai and the narrative logic of Japanese Occidentalism," forthcoming in the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, and "The Politics of curating japonisme: International art exhibition and soft power in contemporary Japanese cultural diplomacy," forthcoming in the Journal of Japonisme. A historian by training, Scott completed his BA in History and French at Swarthmore College (USA) and, before coming to Waseda, studied at National Taiwan University and Nagoya University.
Moderator and commentator:
Prof. Joyce C.H.Liu Professor Emeritus, Specially Appointed Professor International Program in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
Director, International Center for Cultural Studies, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
Director, International Program in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, University System of Taiwan
Keywords: psychoanalysis, migration, capitalism, Lacanian discourse analysis, Overseas Chinese, race