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When did the Cold War in East Asia really begin? According to ADI-NIAS researcher Kuan-Jen Chen, the answer is 1945 – if we view the Cold War through a maritime lens. In conversation with NIAS Director Duncan McCargo, KJ explains how he is using Japanese and Taiwanese sources to gain a more nuanced perspective on East Asian Cold War maritime history, which is far from a simple narrative of American naval dominance. KJ also discusses the relevance of the Cold War context to understanding recent geostrategic developments in the region, and why he is trying to put international historians into a more fruitful dialogue with scholars of international relations.
Kuan-Jen Chen (https://kjchen.net/) is the Asian Dynamics Initiative-Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Postdoctoral Fellow in Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen. He has published articles in various journals including Cold War History and the Journal of American-East Asian Relations. KJ is currently completing a book based on his Cambridge PhD, entitled The Making of America’s Maritime Order in Cold War East Asia: Sovereignty, Local Interests, and International Security.
KJ was recently jointly awarded Taiwan’s 2021 Openbook Award in Translation for his co-translation into Chinese of Barak Kushner’s Men to Devils, Devils to Men: Japanese War Crimes and Chinese Justice, Harvard 2015 (see NBN podcast here).
The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University.
We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.
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