The Global Futures of World Regions Conference Briefs
The New Asias  

The nations and populations of Asia are bound to leave large environmental, economic, and political footprints on the world map of the twenty-first century.

The Pacific Century envisioned after World War II was re-invigorated by the rapid rise of South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan in the 1970s. In the 1980s, the consensus opinion emerged that Japan would move the region into that future. Today, many analysts believe that this leadership-role is falling to the People's Republic of China, yet some argue that a geopolitically non-threatening India with its Western-style democracy, English-speaking work force and stronger protection of intellectual property rights could upstage China.

Diverse cultural heritages, historical confrontations and unequal levels of modernization in Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia point to the reality of various "Asias" experiencing and producing globalization. There are many provocative issues.

Take Southwest Asia and North Africa for instance: Does this region belong to the new Asias or the new Europe? Which new configurations of capitalism and its socio-political-cultural embedding will take hold in the Asias? How would an "Asian" economic and political governance work? Will globalization advance by dividing into European, American and Asian globalizations? Will regional divisions fracture the new Asias?

Methodological and theoretical questions will have to be considered as well. For example, How can research provide global comparability in a globally connected world, measure or specify the globality of a region?

Taking the position that one can no longer speak of a single Asia and that the old continental mythologies and traditional East-West schemes are spent conceptually, the New Asias Conference will probe the potential futures of an important cluster of regions.