Traversing Between Containment and Transboundariness: Cultural Strategies of Transnationalism in Cold War Asia

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Traversing Between Containment and Transboundariness: Cultural Strategies of Transnationalism in Cold War Asia
Stream: History
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Authors:
Han Sang Kim, Ajou University, South Korea (organizer, presenter)
Shichi Lan, National Chengchi University, Taiwan (presenter)
Yuka Tsuchiya, Kyoto University, Japan (presenter)
Laura Harrington, Boston University, United States (presenter)
Shunya Yoshimi, University of Tokyo, Japan (chair, discussant)

Abstract:

Although Cold War battle lines in Europe were basically fixed by the mid-1950s, Cold War Asia remained the site of a proliferation of bloc-building strategies that focused, not only on forging bipartite alliances with superpowers, but on imagining diverse transnational communities within each bloc. This panel explores selected interventions designed to foster such new collective identities. They comprise a range of players and configurations—from state and private actors on the “free world” side, to efforts to create communities that bridged the communist/anti-communist divide. Han Sang Kim investigates how media narratives of air mobility served to construct a collective South Korean subjectivity that could contain the unseen communist states of North Korea, the Soviet Union, and China, even as they also made possible imagined mobility within "free Asia". Shichi Lan looks into National Chengchi University’s U.S.-supported training of overseas Chinese students (qiaosheng) in the 1950s and 60s and traces those qiaosheng graduates’ career trajectories that formed a transnational network of Chinese journalists and media. Yuka Tsuchiya explores how space development became an important theme of the U.S. public diplomacy after the Sputnik Shock in 1957 and how it was received in Asian countries, using the records of USIA and the State Department, as well as Japanese-language sources. Laura Harrington unearths an Asia Foundation-funded film project about the life of the Buddha and shows how, although never completed, it functioned as a locus through which Asians and Americans used Buddhism to pursue multiple and competing bloc-building efforts. Shunya Yoshimi will serve as chair and commentator.