The Critical Asia Archives: Events and Theories inaugural issue, Society Must Go On! is out now and can be accessed here.
Critical Asia Archives: Events and Theories is an online platform of blog publications, created in 2020 by Asia Theories Network to curate and archive contributions from committed scholars and intellectuals from various Asian and related societies. The publication is semi-annual, with each issue consisting of several independent (or interdependent when deemed fit) sets of blogs. The contents discuss important socio-political, intellectual, and cultural events which demand engagements from the perspectives of critical theoretical thought. By featuring “archives” as well as “events” prominently in the platform title, we nevertheless envision something more than the compilation and documentation of events in Asia by like-minded scholars who share a common interest in critical theory. Critical theory, it could be argued, inhabits at once the institutionalized spaces of academia and the messy terrains of political and social practices outside its gated communities, the latter of which is the source of theory’s renewable vitality but tends to be disavowed at the expense of professionalization. To many of us, it is this keen awareness and the discontent with critical theory’s status as “just another specialty” that brought us together and formed Asia Theories Network in the first place. For, on more than etymological grounds, the term “theoria” involves multiple connotations—from the usual sense of contemplation and reflection, to witnessing in a public setting, to invocation and supplication, and by extension, response and intervention. It is in the senses of witnessing, of critical thought being invoked in our responses to the events from which we cannot extricate ourselves, that we establish this online platform, which aspires to generate a “history of the present” that is both timely and untimely.