Introdu[tion:
Rsia~Pal:ifi[
as Spa[e of [ultural Produ[tion
Rob illilson and Rrif Dirlik
You know, if we had more poeple like you around, the Pacific would
develop so rapidly you wouldn't see it.
-Epeli Hau'ofa, "The Glorious Pacific Way"
Isn't there in the East, notably in Oceania, a kind of rhizomatic model
that contrasts in every respect with the Western model of the tree?
-Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, "Rhizome"
While some historians have compared "the Asia-Pacific region" to
the hegemonic construction of a Pascalian sublime whose "circumference
is everywhere and center nowhere," others no less enchanted by the de-
territorializing power of oceanic vastness have projected the hypothesis as
a contemporary displacement of Voltaire's God: If such a region did not
exist, it would have to be invented by policy planners and social scientists
along the East-West axis to figure forth an integrated source of bound-
less markets, wondrous raw materials, and ever-expanding investments.
However inchoate this cognitive mapping of political location and cultural
identity, the Asia-Pacific region comprises, at this point of hyper-capitalist
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