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asaa 2018 conference

Workshops and associated events

Events associated with the ASAA 2018 conference

Events, workshops and conferences of interest to ASAA 2018 conference attendees.

Postgraduate Workshops

9am – 12.30pm Monday 2 July 2018

The ASAA Postgraduate Workshop is designed to help higher degree research students think strategically about how to approach the job application process and what you can do to gain a competitive edge.

Find out more and apply here.

1.30pm – 4.30pm Monday 2 July 2018

Convenors: Dr Nick Cheesman; Dr April Biccum

Interpretation is the stuff of area studies. In their concern for language and its uses, for the historical construction of categories, the production of insider meanings, and the constitution of ideas through human relations, area studies enjoy much in common with the interpretive social sciences. In recent years a resurgent agenda for interpretive social research has carried its methods from the domains of anthropology and sociology to political science, international affairs, public policy and beyond. This agenda brings with it new opportunities for area studies scholars to engage in wider debates about research design. In this workshop, we explore how Asian studies scholars can contribute productively to this agenda, and more deliberately articulate what it means for us as scholars of Asia to work interpretively. The workshop will be in two parts. First, the convenors will introduce the new agenda for interpretive social science, differentiate it from qualitative research methods, and indicate the opportunities it presents for Asian studies scholars. Second, we will discuss participants’ work and how it can use and also inform interpretive methodologies.

For information on eligibility, stipends and how to apply, please see the call for application.

Pre-conference workshops

Presented by The Japan Foundation, Sydney.

Supported by The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Edith Cowan University and PwC Australia.

Time: 1 - 4PM

Date: 2 July 2018

Since the New Colombo Plan was piloted in 2014, the Australian government, universities and industry alike have been increasing efforts to promote student mobility between Australia and its neighbours in Asia and the broader the Indo-Pacific region.

What possibilities and challenges exist for partnerships between Australian universities and neighbouring universities in the Indo-Pacific region? In responding to this question, the roundtable will contribute to mobility efforts by providing a platform where involved bodies across public, private and tertiary sectors can exchange practical knowledge earned through recent experience with student mobility.

Japan is one of the most popular destinations for New Colombo Plan scholars. Drawing on case studies from the Japan-Australia relationship, the session will focus on sharing challenges, successes, learnings and future possibilities for student mobility initiatives with the broader Asian Studies community, with the aim of enriching exchange between Australia and other nations in the region. 

Find out more and register here.

Time: 9:30 - 5PM

Date: 2 July 2018

Convenor: Dr Melissa Crouch, The University of New South Wales

This workshop will feature presentations from contributors to a forthcoming volume on "Courts, Power and Legal Process in Indonesia: The Legacy of Dan S Lev". The volume will bring together leading scholars in the field of Indonesian Law and Politics to reflect on the dramatic changes to the judiciary in the past two decades. Each chapter will engage with the seminal work of the late Professor Dan Lev, the leading academic on law and politics in Indonesia of his generation (1960s-2000s). 20 years on from Indonesia’s democratic transition, there has not yet been a thoroughly and comprehensive analysis of how and why Indonesia’s courts have changed, and what this says about legal culture today. The conference will offer an expert examination of the challenges and prospects of judicial reform in Indonesia from a socio-legal perspective. 

Register here.

Time: 1 - 4PM

Date: 2 July 2018

Convenors: Dr Priya Chacko, The University of New South Wales; Dr Elizabeth Hill, The University of Sydney

South Asia is a region of entrenched and growing inequalities. The spectre of deepening economic inequality in the wake of liberalising economic reforms in the region has become an issue of intense debate. The growth of religious nationalism has raised concerns about heightened discrimination, political conflict and widening social inequities. The vast territorial, demographic and economic differences between countries in the region creates seemingly intractable geopolitical insecurities.

This workshop brings together scholars of South Asia to explore the causes and consequences of such inequalities. We also seek to explore possible ways of ameliorating the effects of inequality on the social, political and economic fabric of the region.

Register here fo this workshop.

Time: 1 - 4PM

Date: 2 July 2018

Convenor: Professor Michele Ford, University of Sydney

This half-day workshop focuses on labour relations in Southeast Asia. Participants from the region and elsewhere will share their analysis of changes in the institutional settings of industrial relations; the position, strategies and efficacy of trade unions (industrial and political); and the influence of external players, including the Global Union Federations, in this rapidly evolving region. Other topics of interest include the impact of global and regional forms of soft regulation in different country settings.

This workshop is closed.

Time: 1 - 4PM

Date: 2 July 2018

Convenor: Dr Thushara Dibley, University of Sydney

Research about disability in Asia is a small but growing area of inquiry. With most published work about disability being focused on the experience of disability in the Global North, there is a growing need for perspectives about disability from other parts of the world. This workshop brings together scholars with a shared interest in disability related research in Asia to discuss three key themes: how to frame research questions about disability in an Asian context; the benefits and drawbacks of engaging with disability practitioners through research; and, challenges and opportunities associated with funding research about disability. 

Register here.

Time: 9 - 4PM

Date: 2 July 2018

Convenor: Associate Professor Hans Pols, University of Sydney; Professor Robert Cribb, Australian National University 

Until recently, historians focusing on Southeast Asia have worked in relative isolation as they generally maintained contacts with individuals interested in the same country or area. In May 2017, the group "Historians of Southeast Asia" was established as an interest group within the Asian Studies Association of Australia to foster intellectual exchange and collaboration among historians. During our first meeting, it turned out that a trans-national focus stimulated participants to see their own work in a new perspective and to formulate new research questions. During this workshop, we invite historians focusing on Southeast Asia to discuss common interests. Historians focusing on other Asian countries are warmly invited to attend as well. 

Please contact the convenors for registration purposes.

Time: 1 - 4PM

Date: 2 July 2018

Convenor: Dr William Armour, University of New South Wales

This half-day workshop invites participants to share how they 'teach' their Area Studies courses. The workshop is targeted, but not limited to courses in which popular culture is featured. By focusing on the themes of practices and identities in context, the workshop aims to identify, evaluate and critique how our various contexts impact on our pedagogical practices and how any impact may have (or not) influenced the enactment of our teacher identities. The workshop is interested in exploring how participants approach their teaching practices and how these approaches have developed over time. The workshop allows space for extensive discussion of how practices are implemented, e.g. by considering the course design process including the formation of learning outcomes and their alignment with assessment, and how context plays a role in the designing of the course. Participants are requested to bring along their course outlines as stimulus materials for discussion with others.  

Please contact the convenor for registration purposes.

Time: 1 - 3PM

Date: 2 July 2018

Convenor: Dr Holly High

Hosted by the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC) at the University of Sydney

Masters of Wonder: Anthropology after the Flood is an ethnography of political success in Laos. It describes the journey of an ethnic Kantu village from the remote south eastern highlands to their current position as model village. It asks what anthropology can be in a setting where the usual cherished objects of the discipline – such as traditions, culture, and the primitive – are inundated with the temporality of unilinear progress and a relentless striving toward a future that seems to always be receding just out of grasp.

In this event, Holly High will give a reading from the manuscript. Professor Pierre Petit (ULB) will then comment on the manuscript as a whole, before turning the floor to general discussion. The event is modelled on a PhD “defence”: a rigorous discussion of an advanced piece of scholarly work with the aim of airing and improving it. 

Register here.

Time: 1.30 - 4PM

Date: 2 July 2018

Convenor: Professor Katherine Bowie, University of Wisconsin-Madison; President, Association of Asian Studies

Professor Bowie's participation at the ASAA sponsored by the ANU Southeast Asia Institute and the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre.

Much of the history of suffrage has assumed women’s enfranchisement began in the west.  Although much attention has largely focused on the American and British struggles of the early twentieth century, a newer generation of interdisciplinary scholars is exploring a more international timeline.  In fact, women first began voting in New Zealand in 1893 and in Australia in 1902.  Thailand presents another fascinating case because it can be documented that women were voting in local elections at least as early as 1897.  Furthermore, unlike in New Zealand and Australia where female suffrage was controversial, Thailand can lay claim to being the first country in the world where women gained suffrage at the same time as men and without any debate.  Nonetheless, although Thai women are active in various ways in Thai politics, they are not well represented in elected offices.  Drawing on the case of Thailand, this workshop will invite a discussion of the varying political roles of women, considering the possible relevance of varying degrees of matrilineality and other factors shaping their political involvement across Asia.

Please contact the convenor for regsitration purposes.

Associated Events

Infrastructuring China's Green Urban Future

Time: 12 – 1:30PM Monday 2 July 

Venue: New Law School Lecture Theatre 024, New Law School Building Annex Eastern Avenue, Camperdown, NSW 2006 

With the China Studies Centre and Associate Professor Pow CP, National University of Singapore

Drawing on fieldwork conducted in the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city (SSTEC) in China, this talk examines how urban infrastructure projects have been used to frame and ‘fix’ environmental problems in contemporary urban China.

Find out more and register here.


The Art of Puppetry: Networks and Survival in Southeast Asia

Time: 3 – 4:30PM Monday 2 July 

Venue: Room 420, Old Teachers College, University of Sydney

Join Dr Robin Ruizendaal, Director of the Taiyan Asian Puppet Theatre Museum and Artistic Director of the Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company for a lecture on the history of inter-regional networks of Southeast Asian performing arts and the revival and promotion of the art of puppetry in the region.

Find out more and register here.


Digital Activism in Southeast Asia

Time: 3 – 4:30PM Monday 2 July 

Venue: Room 3240, Abercrombie Business School, University of Sydney

Hosted by the Department of Indonesian Studies and the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre

Join Dr Asha Rathina Pandi from NUS and Abdul Rohman from NTU Singapore for a seminar digital activism in Southeast Asia. The seminar will include two talks: Satire and Political Mobilization in Malaysia; and The Episodes of Facebook Group for Information Sharing in Ambon 2011 Conflict.



Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art, 1945-1990 (Book Launch and Drinks)

Time: 5 – 7.30PM Monday 2 July with Power Publications

Venue: Refectory, Level 5, Abercrombie Business School, University of Sydney

Edited by Stephen H. Whiteman, Sarena Abdullah, Yvonne Low and Phoebe Scott

The book will be launched by Adrian Vickers, Professor of Southeast Asian Studies and co-author of The Pearl Frontier, winner of the University of Southern Queensland History Book Award at the 2016 Queensland Literary Awards.

Register here to attend.

Ambitious Alignments:
New Histories of Southest Asian Art, 1945–1990

These are gritty, painstaking, revealing studies of topics that are infrequently represented in research into art and its histories. When regarded collectively in this volume, the new in fields of Southeast Asian art is not only promised but inaugurated significantly. —T K Sabapathy, National University of Singapore

How does one define the art of a region without losing sight of cultural specificity? This question has often plagued art historical studies of the “global,” but this exceptional collaborative research effort, conceived through archival research, extensive fieldwork and new theoretical perspectives, succeeds where others have failed: in presenting transnational perspectives on post-war artistic practices and the processes of de-colonisation in Southeast Asia without losing sight of national singularities. — Nora A. Taylor, Alsdorf Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

This new volume, co-published by Power Publications and National Gallery Singapore, explores the art and architecture of Southeast Asia in the postwar period. Ten essays by emerging scholars draw upon unexplored archives and works of art, bearing witness to rich local histories and uncovering complex artistic exchanges across Cambodia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and beyond. 

The collection sheds new light on the significance of architecture, painting, installation, photography, and sculpture in the historical narratives of this period and offers fresh insights into artistic production and reception within the cultural and political contexts of postcolonialism and the Cold War, the legacies of which continue to shape the region today.

  • Histories of art, architecture, monuments and exhibitions based on new fieldwork and archival research
  • Research from Thailand, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines
  • More than 100 colour images

This book will appeal to readers interested in intersections of art history and the histories of modernism, postcolonialism, and the Cold War; the disciplines of architecture, photography, installation; and the histories and cultures of Southeast Asia.

Can't attend? Preorder your copy here.

Architecture in 21st Century China Special Forum:  A Reflexive Regionalist Approach to Practice (Forum and Drinks)

Time: 6 – 8PM Monday 2 July 2018 with the Society of Architectural and Urban Historians

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1110, Abercrombie Business School, University of Sydney

Register here

2018 Research Schowcase: Growing Sustainable Communities Globally

The symposium will focus on the interdisciplinary approaches needed to overcome these difficult challenges to ensure we improve the availability, quality and profitability of food production across the world. Researchers from the Sydney Institute of Agriculture will also highlight case studies which apply novel approaches to agriculture and give hope for a sustainable future.

See the full program and line up of speakers here.

Time: 8.30AM –  5AM Friday 6 July

Venue: Abercrombie Business School, Lecture Theatre 1040

Register here

Book Launches

Tuesday 3 July


ASAA Book Launch

ABS SR 2290

Wednesday 4 July


Participation Without Democracy: Containing Conflict in Southeast Asia

ABS SR 2203

In Women’s Words: Violence and Everyday Life during the Indonesian Occupation of East Timor, 1975-1999

ABS SR 2020

Life in Treaty Port China and Japan

ABS SR 2290

Thursday 5 July


The Indonesian Genocide of 1965 + The Army and the Indonesian Genocide: Mechanics of Mass Murder

ABS SR 2203

Style and Intersubjectivity in Youth Interaction

ABS SR 2290



Film Screenings

Wednesday 4 July


From Street to Prison: Hong Kong’s “Intimate Comrades”

ABS LT 2080


Within Every Woman

ABS LT 2150

Thursday 5 July


Jose’s Story + Time to Draw the Lie

ABS LT 2080



ABS LT 2150


Professional Development Discussion Panels

What Book Publishers Want: 10:40 – 12:00, Tuesday 3 July 2018

What Journal Editors Want: 13:30 – 14:50, Tuesday 3 July 2018

What Grant Committees Want: 15:30 – 16:50, Tuesday 3 July 2018

Beyond Asian Studies and its Research Material: 8:00 – 9:20, Wednesday 4 July 2018