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Remaking Area StudiesTeaching and Learning across Asia and the Pacific$
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Terence Wesley-Smith and Jon Goss

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833213

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833213.001.0001

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Locating Asia Pacific

Locating Asia Pacific

The Politics and Practice of Global Division

(p.41) Chapter 3 Locating Asia Pacific
Remaking Area Studies

Martin W. Lewis

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines different metageographical schemes used to divide the world into civilizational, continental, and oceanic realms. It also looks at various constructs of “Asia” and “the Pacific” before outlining the requirements for an alternate regionalization scheme to inform area studies. It argues that the discourse of competing civilizations and that of continents share common historical and intellectual roots, both grounded in ideas of immutable physical, cultural, social, and economic features. Oceans too are often incorrectly seen as simple, natural units of geography, self-evident points of reference for dividing up the world. Area studies cannot simply discard regional categories, problematic as they are. Instead, they must be used in ways that acknowledge their complexity as well as their contingent and constructed nature, while entertaining “alternative, overlapping, noncongruent regionalization schemes, paying particular attention to dynamic border zones.”

Keywords:   area studies, Asia, Pacific, regionalization, civilizations, continents, regional categories

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