Please write an essay in response to any one (1) of the following questions drawing ONLY on course readings (required and further readings) and films (and the lectures if necessary). Please note that these are broad questions and require you to think across the course. A good response will incorporate multiple topics and readings, but only where relevant, and in a way that demonstrates actual engagement with the reading, not just a listing of it for the sake of adding references.
You are required to use a minimum of four (4) readings to answer the question.
Don’t worry if you feel that many of the questions overlap, or ask the same thing in different ways. They do – it’s for you to choose which way of posing it makes the most sense. While many of the questions are not specific to Asia, I would expect that your responses will be.
The essay should be between 1300 and 1500 words in length. It should follow standard citation and referencing practices.
The paper should be submitted to me by email as an attachment.
1. Is modernity a function of time, or of certain kinds of structural transformations, or of values? Are all phenomena of the present modern? Or those that conform to a certain capitalist global order? Or to values of rationality, secularism, liberalism, etc? Can one be modern along one axis and not another?
2. Is there only one form of modernity – capitalist modernity – of which we now all part? Or should we talk in terms of alternative or multiple modernities?
3. Does modernity proceed in linear fashion? What are the contradictions of modernity?
4. Can we assign normative value to modernity and the modern? Are they always “good” or preferred?
5. What does the study of modernity tell us about “tradition” / the “traditional”?
6. Does the emergence of new and strengthened forms of religiosity suggest that we are no longer modern?
7. To what extent can it be argued that colonialism was the “midwife” of modernity in Asia?
8. What has modernity / modernization meant for subaltern groups (those marginalized by virtue of class, caste, gender, ethnicity, or indigeneity)? Why would we expect the modernity / modernization to pose special problems and / or opportunities for subaltern groups?