Under the CIRA grant, we have carried out our proposed project to near completion. Advised by Professors Shu-mei Shih, Miriam Silverberg, and Gi-wook Shin, our study group has brought together students from various disciplines on the UCLA campus around the problems of comparative colonialism. After initial group readings and discussions in the fall of 2001 focusing on texts by Hannah Arendt, Leo Ching, and Kuan-Hsing Chen, we were able to develop a number of specific research questions regarding colonialism in East Asia that seemed applicable to much of our individual research projects. We took these questions into two subsequent workshops over the course of the first year of the grant: first in February 2002 with Professor Ann Stoler (University of Michigan), and then in May 2002 with Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty (University of Chicago). Each of these workshops involved preparatory reading and preliminary group discussions, followed by a day-long session with the invited faculty member, bringing these visiting scholars' valuable perspectives to bear on our own work in East Asian colonialism.
These group readings, discussions, and workshops culminated in a day-long February 2003 conference, held during the second year of the grant. The conference, titled "Reconfiguring Colonialism: Negotiations of Colonial Cultures in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan," brought together seven graduate student presenters from our study group and three panelists: Professors Edward Soja (UCLA), Leo Ching (Duke University), and Namhee Lee (UCLA). The papers presented at this conference reflected the knowledge and insights gained in our previous group work, and represented both a diversity of discipline and perspective as well as a shared focus on East Asia under Japanese imperialism.
Our study group is currently in the publication phase of the project. The papers presented at the conference, in addition to other papers submitted by group members and contributions by faculty members who have been involved with the project, are being revised and collected into a volume for editing and eventual submission to a university press in early 2004.