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Book Review


  West Heavens: India-China Summit onSocial Thought

  Compiled by Zhang Songren,Kuan Hsing Chen, and GaoShiming, Shanghai People’sPublishing House,January 2014

  Seven great Indian mindswere invited to the 8th ShanghaiBiennale in 2010 to sharetheir insights and ideas, whichhave been documented in WestHeavens: India-China Summiton Social Thought. Alongwith their themed speeches,the book also compiles relateddiscussions and comments bywell-known Chinese scholars,including Wang Hui, DaiJinhua, and Zhang Rulun. Theexchange and debate among themost active scholars from Chinaand India are of great value andpractical significance. Theirtopics focus on globalizationand modernization, emergingfrom post-colonialism, modernnationalism, and visual arts.

  Editor-in-chief Zhang Songrenis a famous critic, curator, and artdirector of Hanart TZ Gallery.Over the last few years, he hasfocused on accelerating avantgarde.The book has collectedthe insights and ideas of SaratMaharaj, a professor from LundUniversity in Sweden, ParthaChatterjee, a representative ofplebeianism from India, PrasenjitDuara, a historian and sinologist,Ashis Nandy, an outstandingscholar of post-colonialismfrom Australia, TejaswiniNiranjana, a senior fellow at theCentre for the Study of Cultureand Society, Bangalore, DipeshChakrabarty, first editor ofPost-Colony Studies and editorof American Historical Review,and Homi K. Bhabha, one ofthe world’s three most famouspost-colonial theorists, specializingin post-colonial research,culture, literature, and artcriticism.

  India as Method

  Text by Kuan Hsing Chen

  Throughout the 20th Century, the gaze of Asianthinkers was fixed on Europe and NorthAmerica. For a hundred years, the basic frameof reference for knowledge revolved around the Euro-American experiences. This framework developedover the course of a century into a highly resilientknowledge structure that created enormous difficultiesfor Asian thought. It brought about a narrowingof critical perspectives, excluding diverse historicalexperiences, which should have provided alternativeframes of reference. Even more worryingly, Westernmodes of knowledge became virtually the only paradigmfor knowledge production. History has shownthat this kind of knowledge is woefully inadequate aswe try to comprehend, grasp and explain the livingenvironments in which we exist. Thus, we want to generateexchange between intellectuals from each Asiansub-region, make us see the existence of each other,and turn the historical experience of each region into apotential point of reference for other Asian regions.

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