As the global influence of Asian nations like India and China rapidly increases, it is even more apparent that established International Relations theory is based on Western traditions. Could the emergent international system follow a new framework unbound by the prevailing Western-centric discourses?
SGPIA Professor L.H.M. Ling joined other scholars in this debate last Saturday, February 27 for the Beyond ‘West’ and ‘Rest’ Afrasian International Symposium in Kyoto, Japan. Professor Ling addressed the symposium with a keynote speech titled Koanizing IR: Flipping the Logic of Epistemic Violence. The speech focused on a research paper Professor Ling wrote for the symposium that explored how the Buddhist teachings of koans (commonly translated as riddles or puzzles) might apply to the discipline of International Relations.
A section of the paper’s abstract explains, “Buddhist koans open a heterotopic (out-of-the-normal) space for irreverence and questioning, creativity and playfulness. The goal: enlightenment. From this basis, we can flip five centuries of epistemic violence from colonial knowledge production to a greater sense of understanding and compassion in and for the global.”