Hsin-Hsing Chen, Shih-Hsin University Graduate Institute for Social Transformation Studies
Since the calls for “Inter-Asia” approach in cultural studies in the early 2000s, comparison between different Asian societies, or societies outside Western Europe and North America, has been a fruitful method in what Kuang-Hsing Chn calls “deimperilaized” knowledge production. The constant collaboration between workers’ health advocacy campaigns in the past decade--the Samsung Leukemia Case in South Korea and the RCA Case in Taiwan--is one such example, except the mutual learning has developed in much more layers: from STS scholarship to the mutual inspiration among the organized victim-activists. The case of contemporary South Korea and Taiwan is interesting in that despite close multi-faceted ties, including shared colonial and Cold-War history and parallel democratization process, their common working language today is largely English, which can only be imperfectly translated into Korean and Chinese in many contexts such as legal terminology or intimate emotions. This article traces the practical experience of how people negotiate the barriers toward closer collaboration between different roles in these two campaigns--STSers, lawyers, scientists, organizers and cultural activists, and the victims—and examines the usefulness of “deimperialization” in such cross-border collaborations and its implication for transnational STS.
Abstract submitted to open panel on Transnational STS at 4S 2020