The Research Problem:
Nationalisms in Asia have recently been as complex and volatile as their implications for Asia and the world are momentous. However, current scholarship has failed to register their dimensions and implications. Most accounts discount nationalisms' importance, even their possibility, in the post-cold war, globalizing world which is deemed to have diminished the importance of borders and entire apparatuses of nations and states national cultures, identities and governments (e.g. Hobsbawm 1996, B. Anderson 1996). If the trajectory of nationalisms in Asia in the 20th century was intimately tied to imperialism, the emergence of Communism, and, by implication, Non-Alignment, with the demise of Communism in Europe and its excoriation in China, nationalisms in Asia have become demoted to a minor concern. What now holds popular attention is the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in West and Central Asia in particular.
Other accounts, captive of Samuel Huntington's much vaunted "Clash of Civilizations" thesis, hold that the main forms of geo-political confrontation are defined in terms of civilizations. This view ignores both the internal specificities and the international importance of concrete national formations, as well as downplaying the range of relations possible among states. Major policy-makers and analysts have seen current events surrounding the War on Terrorism, mistakenly in our view, as confirming this thesis.