The fluent Asia scholar? Language and area studies 2.0
As the ominous truism goes, area studies – and the humanities in general – is in crisis. Our last resort against the besieging hordes of reorganization-prone bureaucrats, we are led to believe, is a wholesale reconfiguration of its core tenets. Enter the New Asia Scholar, whose noble desire to innovate carries more than a whiff of Darwinian survival and adaptation. And, as the field of Asian Studies continues to reinvent itself, the question of how language will feature in its future manifestations becomes relevant once more.