East Asian Regional Conference in Alternative Geography (EARCAG)


Osaka City University, Japan, November 26-28, 2019

Field trip on Okinawa Island, November 29-December 1, 2019

Date & Venue

Date: November 26 to 28, 2019

Followed by a field trip to Okinawa from November 29 to December 1

Place: Osaka, Japan

Venue: Cultural Exchange Hall, University Media Center (University Library) , Osaka City University

main workshop themes

Shifting state-territoriality and the reconstruction of the geopolitical economy in East Asia

On-going de/reterritorialization and re-scaling under globalization and neoliberalism represent constant shift in state-territoriality that exercises differentiated control over various inter-state processes as a manifestation of spatial fix in the capitalist world economy. Such shift can be seen not only at the national level but also at the inter- and intra-national levels. This is mainly because various effects of the capitalist world economy have penetrated our daily life. The geopolitical economy thus (re)constructed in East Asia inevitably has multi-scalar effects on political, economic, social, and environmental affairs in the region which need to be explored from various geographical and comparative perspectives.

De/Re(b)ordering processes for a post-Westphalian stage?

The so-called New World Order, which was expected at the end of the Cold War, has not yet emerged. What we have seen instead is a series of geopolitical fluctuations, such as ethnic conflicts, nationalist resurgences, separatist movements, and fundamentalist violence. While globalizing forces facilitate de-territorializing/bordering processes, there has been an increasing demand for securing the existing socio-political (b)orders such as national identity, territorial sovereignty, and the inter-state system. This, however, does not at all mean that such (b)orders have been intact but that they have constantly been made and remade to cope with on-going structural changes in the geopolitical economy of the world. The question we can pose is whether or not such de/re(b)ordering processes show any symptoms for a post-Westphalian stage.

Inter-island liminality as a new aspect of trans-local/border interactions

Unlike the original (anthropological or temporal) meaning of liminality, geographers apply the term to illustrating spaces which people pass through and/or stay in for transit such as borders, frontiers, no man’s lands, and airports. In the case of East Asia, there are a number of chains of islands on the eastern fringe of the Eurasian Continent. These islands have both connected and separated different cultures and societies while being colonized by and decolonized from imperial powers. Such inter-island liminality has also become a cause of territorial dispute between neighboring states. However, trans-local/border interactions between the islands (and the continent) have also provided opportunities for socio-economic development such as border tourism, creating a new milieu for transnational connectivity.

The reconceptualization and transformation of East Asia in the context of China’s rise

Since the end of the Cold War, East Asia has become one of the economic growth poles in the world whose bases were prepared by leading developmentalist states in the region. East Asia consists of both continental and maritime states with complex historical backgrounds and interactions. Geopolitical and geo-economic disparities within the region are also large so that security instability continues to be an essential component of its regional dynamism. While superpowers such as the U.S. and Russia have been undoubtedly influential, the role of China as well as those of Japan and Korea is becoming crucial in the region. As seen in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, how East Asia is being discursively reconceptualized and materially transformed needs to be examined from geopolitical economic viewpoints.

Keynote speakers

Anssi Paasi (Political Geography, University of Oulu, Finland)

James D. Sidaway (Political Geography, National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Wang Chih-Ming (Cultural Studies, Academia Sinica, Taiwan)


Special guest speaker

Ibrahim Amir (Kurdish exile playwriter, Austria)