Towards a “contrapuntal” anthropology of the global

Chris Vasantkumar


This essay explores the paradox of how Aihwa Ong’s classic work on Chineseness managed to remain in but not of China. Identifying the central importance of Edward Said’s notion of “contrapuntal analysis” to Ong’s approach to both Chineseness and modernity in general, it suggests the usefulness of this method for an anthropology of the global that seeks to make sense of a world in which American paramountcy is no longer guaranteed.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/711679