Title: Revisiting the Imagined Communities: Identities, Nationalism, and Social Activism
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Justin Wu, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States (organizer, presenter)
Zardas Shuk-man Lee, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States (presenter)
Venera R. Khalikova, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (presenter)
Cemil Aydin University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States (chair, discussant)
Academic works have long focused on how people formulated various types of “imagined community” in different geopolitical contexts. Benefiting from the blossoming scholarship on global history and inter-Asian connections, this panel enriches the discussion of “imagined community” by exploring the following questions: How did the power dynamics in the (post-)colonial contexts and respective government’s (in)action prompt people across Asia to seek new identities? How did the people advocate multiple visions of “imagined community” by drawing on global events and circulation of ideas? How did the new sense of local, national, and/or regional identities shape their understanding of the wider world?
The papers in this panel cover extensive territories in Asia and the United States from the Second World War to the present. Using archival and ethnographic records, the papers provide cross-border and diachronic perspectives on the relationship between grass-root political activism and the formation of identities. Individually, the papers focus on Pan-Indian nationalism in Southeast Asia during the Second World War; anti-Japan protests by Hong Kong and Taiwanese students in the United States and their articulation of Chinese identity in the 1970s; and the reflection on “home(s)” for Hong Kong Indians during the 2019-2020 protests and the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong and India.