The newest special issue of positions: asia critique, “The End of Area: Biopolitics, Geopolitics, History,” edited by Gavin Walker and Naoki Sakai, is now available.
As the two universal forms of capitalism—the commodity and the nation-state—expand globally, and as technological innovation and cultural exchange challenge borders and national identities, traditional ideas of what constitutes “area” and “area studies” have become increasingly irrelevant. Yet despite critiques, area studies persists today, even as history renders it more and more obsolete.
Contributors to “The End of Area” explore what area studies can do when its object, “area,” detaches from the realm of geopolitics and enters also into the realm of biopolitics. This issue centers translation and the biopolitical as new theoretical mechanisms for area studies to order, combine, separate, and classify life.