East Asia is a region of signal importance for global order because of its economic dynamism and growing heft, China's challenge to the United States as incumbent regional and global hegemon, and other conflict hotspots like the Korean peninsula. This requires academic analysis that both appreciates the subtleties inherent to this region and can relate them to the wider systemic context. Many analysts have begun to allude to the challenging characteristics that are present in the international relations of East Asia, in particular struggling to explain how growing levels of economic interdependence can coexist with heightened security tensions. This article offers a research prospectus that suggests ways of analyzing these apparently contradictory trends. It proposes the development of research questions and approaches that are more suited to studying the international relations of a region with characteristics that we define as dual, hybrid, and contingent. We propose a Conjunctions Analytical Framework that explores what happens at the conjunctions of the regional-global and the unit-regional/global levels of analysis-the "grey areas" where social formations meet and interact. We aim to help shape the future study of the IR of East Asia and to suggest more effective ways of analyzing the complex reality of East Asia's regional and global politics.