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Fwd: Towards a Global and Bottom-Up History of the South China Sea Islands Dispute, Oct 21st 3:30 ET

Towards a Global and Bottom-Up History of the South China Sea Islands Dispute

Date and Time: October 21, 2021, 3:30 - 5:00 pm EDT Location: Online Event Speaker: Chris P.C. Chung, Doctoral candidate in History, University of Toronto Discussant: Li Chen, Associate Professor of History, Global Asia Studies, Law, and Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto Moderator: Sida Liu, Acting Director of the Global Taiwan Studies Program at the Asian Institute, Associate Professor of Sociology and Law, University of Toronto Sponsor: Global Taiwan Studies Program at the Asian Institute Registraton Link: Event Description: Both Taiwan and mainland China today claim numerous contested features in the South China Sea as “inherent” Chinese territory “since ancient times” — the Pratas, Paracel, and Spratly Islands, Macclesfield Bank, and Scarborough Shoal. This portrays a static and monolithic Chinese state as having ‘always’ territorially minded or largely neglected the islands, and as having neatly disseminated national narratives of the islands onto its populace. Likewise, non-government peoples who historically interacted with the islands, such as fishers, merchants, and community organizations, are commonly subsumed under the nation-state as markers or demonstrators of national sovereignty claims. In this talk, Chris P. C. Chung discusses the contours of a global and bottom-up approach that decenters the dispute’s origins from the nation-state. He examines predominantly top-down government archival files on the islands from the bottom-up; traces the global historical connections and developments that vitally fuelled the modern formation of China’s island claims in the early 20th century; and dissects the central roles that non-government peoples with widely diverging interests and worldviews played in Chinese maritime discourse production. This decentering approach yields a more critical and comprehensive history of maritime claims-making — and of national identity formation — in Taiwan and mainland China.


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