In the past few decades, scholars have become more concerned about the political-economy of knowledge production in colonial/post-colonial societies. While critical analysis has been directed towards missionaries, colonial officials, post-colonial governments, mass-media, universities, and multi-national corporations, the connections between transnational advocacy networks and the production of academic knowledge has received less attention in the epistemological construction of Asia.
The participants of this panel acknowledge the growing importance of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in producing narratives about Asian societies. Today, networks of NGOs produce a significant amount of primary and secondary sources that have become an important part of our bibliographies, research projects, and publications on places deemed to be “underdeveloped” or “post-conflict” in character.
Collectively, this panel critically examines the role of NGOs in the historical construction of Asia. Individually, the papers explore the construction of human-rights, environmental, gender, and democracy discourses and their effect upon how we have come to understand East Timorese history, Muslim marriage law in Bangladesh, forest conservation in Cambodia, and bio-diversity in the Philippines.