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The Cold War, Imperial Aesthetics, And Area Studies

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Chapter Summary

The Cold War provides a parameter to assess the so-called post-Cold War period since 1989. In the distinction between sovereignty and capital, the high Cold War was marked by a confrontation between sovereign states enmeshed in the condition of great power politics. In the post-Cold War era, the classical terrain of power politics, appeared to melt away into an all-encompassing imperial aesthetics. During the Cold War, area studies targeted specific geographical areas of strategic importance to the United States and were very much a power-driven project. As the parameter for the study of Chinese history and society during the Cold War, the modernization discourse was subjected to occasional critique in the sixties and early seventies, but now it is becoming the hegemonic paradigm.

Keywords: area studies; Chinese history; cold war; imperial aesthetics; United States

10.1163/ej.9789004175167.i-447.98
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