Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Welcome to Juxtapose

Welcome to Juxtapose, the blog for researchers studying contemporary India and China.

This blog has been created in conjunction with an upcoming workshop at Wolfson College, Oxford, and details about that and other Juxtapose projects will follow here on the blog.

Over the past 20 years, India and China have experienced rapid economic growth that has transformed their positions in the world, their view of themselves, and their impact on the planet. Today they form 40% of the world’s population, consume 50% of the energy increase projected in the coming 20 years, and emit 35% of the global GHG (2011). Despite their uneven economic growth they are by far the two largest consumers of mobile phone technology (2011), and are increasingly significant producers of globally exported culture in the form of films, books, art and web content. Without a doubt, they represent growing sources of both “soft” and “hard” power.

However, with growth has come the unbearable burden of development: environmental degradation, social and regional inequality, physical and mental health problems, mass migration, and grassroots riot. While ongoing industrialisation and urbanisation has generated a host of similar problems, India and China tackle their challenges in very different ways, reflecting their contrasting political systems: democracy and autocracy.

The fascinating tension created by the similarities and differences between the two countries has given rise to ever more interest in recent years, but oftentimes, in practical terms, we face more problems than solutions. Making reasonable comparisons using vastly different types of data and organising principles, trying to break down the divide between East- and South- Asian Studies departments, connecting the dots between Asian academic groups, creating new methodologies, new architectures, new ways of launching research that we believe has never been more pertinent, powerful or valuable. In the face of these challenges, our aim is to stimulate comparative and interdisciplinary projects which are not being given their due space in Area studies, to break down siloed thinking,  and instead bridge intellectual conversation between scholars who work on different areas, disciplines and topics. 

In short, we intend Juxtapose to be a forum for discussing ongoing projects and problems in studying Contemporary China and Contemporary India together today, and we welcome the contributions of academics, industry professionals and independent researchers from all disciplines, and in all fields. We anticipate differences of opinion, great collaborations, and lively debate.

We look forward to having you join the discussion,

Danielle de Feo-Giet & Ma Yuge


About us:
The two founders are Oxford DPhil students who are conducting frontier comparative work on India and China. Yuge’s DPhil thesis explores how the different institutional environment and political system affect the relationship between state regulation and low carbon development of India and China, while Danielle’s research focuses on how popular entertainment films in the two countries are reflecting and crafting changes in cultural identity and ideals as part of the social transformation  in the reform era.