Representations of Race in East Asian Empire
This essay summarizes the theoretical framework of the collection. The modes and policies of imperial systems make race intelligible through the representational logic of ‘differential inclusion’. This logic is basic to colonial projects that sought to establish race as a baseline, or naturalized state, that could be used to create and sustain a sense of imperial subject-hood. While such racialist politics may be mirrored in concrete developments such as shifts in state boundaries or policies on language and citizenship, it is equally important to stress just how much the criteria for deciding who was to be included as an imperial subject and who was to be excluded depended for their effectiveness upon the affective power of everyday representations of race. Affect may thus be used as an analytical category that brings together the protean constructability of race with its representational function in an imperial politics of inclusion/exclusion.
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