New Series: Continental Philosophy in Austral-Asia

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Continental philosophy left home in the second half of the twentieth century, to migrate to the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. It has established itself in the Anglophone world as a minor tradition in philosophy programmes, but also in cultural studies, literature, film, gender studies, sociology and politics programmes. Continental philosophy has been particularly well adapted to attempts to interrogate the socio-historical situation of European colonisation of the new worlds. From Foucault to Deleuze and Guattari to Derrida, Spivak, Agamben, Butler and beyond, continental approaches to philosophy have been able to explore, with apparently less cultural chauvinism, the specificity of the habitats in which thought finds itself. Through this adaptation, continental thought has also been taken up in novel and distinct ways. Not only has geographical displacement enabled continental philosophy to shed new light on antipodal modes of cultural and political life, it has also subjected continental philosophy itself to various kinds of critical pressure.

By responding to environmental, social, cultural and political contexts specific to the countries of Austral-Asia, and by virtue of their distance from the traditions, priorities and hierarchies of the North Atlantic world, philosophers in this region have become known for their original and surprising interpretations and articulations of the ‘continental’ tradition. Taking seriously the commitment to historicity and place found in that tradition, authors in this series challenge the centrality of European culture and shapes of life. They ask how continental philosophy comes to terms with the places that were rendered according to — but that also and in every case exceed and confound — the constraints of European imagination. They ask how the various social and political impasses in which Austral-Asian countries have become entrenched owe their provenance to European modes of thought and of life. They ask how continental philosophy may help to think beyond such impasses, for example: How does continental philosophy assist thinking about the relationship between colonising and indigenous peoples? Or about mutual responsibilities in a multicultural society? Or about our responsibilities to non-human others? How does continental philosophy respond to the challenges to imagination posed by the fragile ecologies of Australia, New Zealand and island nations in Asia that will be most affected by global warming? How does the world conceived according to European traditions of thought and language compare with the non-European worlds of Asia and the Pacific?

This series will seek to show the vicissitudes of European thought in the dreams it had for itself, once it left home to seek its fortune… and to become, perhaps, wiser, or at least more circumspect about its own purity. Far from an exercise in parochialism, then, “Continental Philosophy in Austral-Asia” presents new critical perspectives on philosophical methodologies practiced globally, thereby opening continental philosophy to novel imperatives and trajectories.

The series is developed in collaboration with members of the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy (ASCP), which was established in 1995 to recognise and support the burgeoning interest in Continental Philosophy in Australian Universities. The ASCP came to include philosophers working in New Zealand, and continues to attract international members and to develop networks with scholars in the broader Asian region. The Society also traverses disciplinary boundaries, serving scholars working with continental philosophy in the fields of English, Cultural Studies, Sociology, Political Theory, and Fine Art. Like the Society, the book series aims to represent the multifaceted and interdisciplinary ways in which continental philosophy is used in Australasia. And also like the Society, the book series will support and promote high quality work of early-career and established scholars alike.

Simone Bignall, P. Diego Bubbio, Joanne Faulkner and Paul Patton