Frontiers of Memory in the Asia-Pacific

Difficult Heritage and the Transnational Politics of Postcolonial Nationalism


Edited by Shu-Mei Huang, Hyun Kyung Lee, and Edward Vickers

ISBN : 978-988-8754-14-4


August 2022

260 pages, 6″ x 9″, 18 b&w illus.

  • HK$650.00

Frontiers of Memory in the Asia-Pacific explores the making and consumption of conflict-related heritage throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Contributing to a growing literature on ‘difficult heritage’, this collection advances our understanding of how places of pain, shame, oppression, and trauma have been appropriated and refashioned as ‘heritage’ in a number of societies in contemporary East and Southeast Asia and Oceania. The authors analyse how the repackaging of difficult pasts as heritage can serve either to reinforce borders, transcend them, or even achieve both simultaneously, depending on the political agendas that inform the heritage-making process. They also examine the ways in which these processes respond to colonialism, decolonization, and nationalism. The volume shows how efforts to preserve various sites of ‘difficult heritage’ can involve the construction of new borders in the mind between what is commemorated and what is often deliberately obscured or forgotten.

Taken together, the studies presented here suggest new directions for comparative research into difficult heritage across Asia and beyond, applying an interdisciplinary and critical perspective that spans history, heritage studies, memory studies, urban studies, architecture, and international relations.

Shu-Mei Huang is an associate professor at the Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, National Taiwan University.

Hyun Kyung Lee is a research professor in the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea.

Edward Vickers is professor of comparative education and holds the UNESCO Chair on Education for Peace, Social Justice, and Global Citizenship at Kyushu University, Japan.


Tomoko Ako, University of Tokyo

Roslynn Ang, Sapporo Upopo Hozonkai

Lachlan B. Barber, Hong Kong Baptist University

Edward Boyle, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto

Lu Pan, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Anoma Pieris, The University of Melbourne, Australia

Desmond Hok-Man Sham, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University

‘Bringing together an excellent range of cases from diverse locations across the Asia Pacific, this book is an important contribution not only to this part of the world but to understandings of heritage struggles, especially in relation to colonial histories, more widely.’

—Sharon Macdonald, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

‘This collection is an important contribution to our understanding of the place of Asia within global memory culture. Going beyond the “tunnel vision” of national memories, it provides us with a sophisticated examination of the ways the “difficult heritage” of colonialism, revolution, and war intersects with contemporary politics to produce an Asia-Pacific memory sphere.’

Ran Zwigenberg, Pennsylvania State University