In-between Dissimilation and Assimilation: Artistic Responses to Post-colonial Issues of Internal Ethnic Others in East Asia and the Commonwealth

CCW PhD student Hiroki Yamamoto presented his paper ‘In-between Dissimilation and Assimilation: Artistic Responses to Post-colonial Issues of Internal Ethnic Others in East Asia and the Commonwealth’ at the 6th Global Conference: Strangers, Aliens and Foreigners, held on 1-3 November in  Prague.

His paper was a comparative study of artistic responses between East Asia and the UK to the issue of ethnic minority (for example, the black immigrants in the UK and the Korean-Japanese in Japan). In Yamamoto’s presentation he made a comparison of artistic responses to post-colonial issues of internal ethnic ‘others’ between East Asia and the Commonwealth, from after the war until the present time. East Asia is quite similar to the Commonwealth in that they are ‘imagined’ cultural unities that include a large number of unsettled post-colonial issues of internal ethnic others derived from their colonial policies in the past. On the other hand, their artistic responses to the post-colonial issues have been quite different when for example these issues are frequently treated as taboo in the realm of art in East Asia, whereas Black artists have tackled with post-colonial issues through artistic and cultural interventions in the UK. Yamamoto’s full abstract can be found on the conference website.

The conference itself sought to explore the crucial place that strangers, aliens and foreigners have for the constitution of self, communities and societies. In particular the project assessed world transformations, like phenomena we associate with the term ‘globalisation’, new forms of migration and the massive movements of people across the globe, as well as the impact they have on the conceptions we hold of self and other. The project explored and assessed a number of key core themes, including:

1. transformations of self
2. boundaries, communities and nations
3. economies, institutions and migrants
4. art and representations
5. self (inevitably) linked to other

The conference was hosted by Inter-Disciplinary.Net, an enabling resource which supports the exploration, development and publication of work that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. Their network is a dynamic fabric of opportunities that can be created only within an interdisciplinary framework. Inter-Disciplinary.Net is committed to inter-, multi- and trans-disciplinary pursuits and to the raising of awareness of such work.

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