MODULE – Asian Political Thought

Asian Political Thought

Pracha Hutanuwatr

We live in an extremely complex and interdependent world. Many things happen to us and we don’t know their causes and conditions.  These include financial crises of boom and bust, unemployment, continual debt of farmers, extremist & fundamentalist groups of all sorts, regional and civil wars etc.  It is important for spiritual leaders and social change makers to understand hidden discourses and underlying structural arrangements, as well as looking into the emerging alternatives around the world.

During these days we will also wrestle with big concepts such as neoliberalism, globalization, corporate-capitalism, failings of socialisms, gender justice, consumerism, media analysis, money & debt, social justice, sustainability, etc
.

We will also explore the classical and contemporary philosophy of politics and political ideas in Asia as well as their influence at the grassroots to this day, and also explore alternatives to the present globalised political, economic and cultural model from broad non-Western and specific Asian perspectives.  Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of structural violence and alternatives on contemporary crises.

There is alot of criticism of negative Western influences in Asia, but do Asians really have their own alternatives? Asia is home not only to great spiritual and religious traditions of the world, but also to  philosophies of politics and political ideas. Yet during the period of colonialism, Western concepts of progress and neo-colonialism have both consciously and deliberately erased the path of political ideas and political traditions in Asia.

This workshop on Asian political thought explores the classical and contemporary philosophy of politics and political ideas in Asia as well as their influence at the grassroots to this day. This workshop will also explore alternatives to the present globalised political, economic and cultural model from broad non-Western and specific Asian perspectives.

Learning Themes

-Critical understanding of the role and impact of colonialism in Asia
-Why we need to recognise and rebuild Asian political thought?
-What are the characteristics of Asian democracy?
– Relevance of Gandhi and commentary of ” HIND SWARAJ”
-Mao’s Red Book in view of political and economic changes in China since 1949
-Cultural Revolution in China, Understanding Post-Mao Era and Knowing Deng and his influence
– Masao Maruyama and the impact of his works on Japanese politics, society and culture
– Lee Kuan Yew and the Singapore model of development – Debate!
-Rise and influence of authoritarian capitalism in Southeast Asia
– Currents of Political Thought in Iran, Egypt and Middle East
 
Recommended Readings and Websites:
 
M.K Gandhi, Hind Swaraj, or Indian Home Rule, Navajivan Publishing House, India