MAI Events, Conferences, and Seminar series

In addition to regular seminar series organised by the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, the Japanese Studies Centre, the National Centre for South Asian Studies, and the Centre for Malaysian Studies, MAI provides international conferences and seminar series.



Date/Time Event
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Sindhi Identity and Indonesian Film and Television Industry
The Gallery, Sir Louis Matheson Library, Monash Clayton Campus, Clayton VIC
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

A Sunday Afternoon of Music from Indonesia and Thailand
M Pavillion, 26 Ancora Imparo Way, Monash University, Clayton Campus, Monash University
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Malaysia Update 2018
S801/802, Monash University Caulfield, Caulfield East VIC
12/11/2018 - 14/11/2018
All Day
Featured events
International Conference on Gender and Sexuality in Asia (CoGen 2018)
Monash University Malaysia,, Bandar Sunway, Subang Jaya,
19/10/2019 - 20/10/2019
All Day
Front Page events
Call for Papers: Cultural Industries in Ageing Asia
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul South Korea

Past events

CSEAS/MAI presentation
Event Date: 08/10/2018

Pathways of Umma: Malaysian faith tourists in Aceh

Associate Professor Sumit Mandal, University of Nottingham Malaysia


Tens of thousands of Malaysian tourists have travelled to Aceh in Indonesia annually in the last decade. This transnational flow began after a tsunami devastated parts of Aceh in 2004 and a three-decade war in the province ended in 2005. The number of Malaysian tourists grew from nearly 6,000 in 2008 to about 25,000 in 2017. Although Peninsular Malaysia and Aceh have a long history of interaction, the growth in the number of visitors to Aceh has been dramatic, especially since travel to the province was tightly controlled during the war years. This paper proposes that Aceh has been transformed in the imagination of Malaysians into a sacred landscape in which surviving Islamic structures are read as signs of potency. It argues that this representation is sustained in part by a series of Aceh-centred popular historical novels published in Malaysia and stories about keramat (Muslim shrines) that are familiar to people across the region. The paper examines the flow of Malaysians to Aceh to offer an understanding of umma (Islamic community) that is grounded in history and dynamic rather the universal terms by which it is typically understood.

Biographical Sketch

Sumit Mandal is an Associate Professor at the School of Politics, History and International Relations at the University of Nottingham Malaysia. He works on transregional histories of the Malay world and is currently doing research on Muslim shrines in selected locations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa. His work develops cultural geographies that expand the scope of ethno-national terms of belonging to accommodate more multifarious and transregional histories. His research interests extend to the question of interethnic interaction in Malaysia and Indonesia. He is the author of Becoming Arab: Creole Histories and Modern Identity in the Malay World (Cambridge, 2018).


ASEAN and slavery
Room E561, 5th Floor, East Wing, Menzies Building (Building 11)
Event Date: 05/09/2018

Monash Asia Institute Inter-faculty Dialogue


 When? September 5, 2018, 2.00-3.30,

Where? Elizabeth Burchill Room, E561 (5th floor, east wing, Menzies Building).


Professor Jean Allain (Law)

Does Slavery Exist Today?

Prof Jean Allain is a leading legal scholar on issues of human trafficking and modern slavery and Special Adviser to Anti-Slavery International, the world's oldest international human rights organisation.

Prof Allain is also Professor of International Law with the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) at the University of Hull, UK. He is also Extraordinary Professor, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Prof Allain holds a Doctorate from the Graduate Institute for International Studies, University of Geneva; during his graduate studies he clerked for the first President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.


Dr Natalia Antolak-Saper (Law)

The Role of Domestic/Regional Criminal Liability in ASEAN Member States for Human Trafficking and Slavery. 

Natalia Antolak-Saper is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, Monash University. Natalia graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Criminology, and a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours. She completed her professional training with Lander & Rogers Lawyers, and was admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and of the High Court of Australia. Her PhD examined the extent to which the media impacts upon sentencing policy. She has published articles on diverse topics including directed verdicts, bail conditions, and gambling regulation. Her research areas are in comparative criminal law and procedure, and domestic and international sentencing. In 2017, she received the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law’s Gold Medal for her contributions to the reform of criminal law. In 2018, she gave plenary paper on ‘Human Trafficking and Migrant Related Crimes: What Role for the ICC?’. 


A/Prof Heli Askola (Law)

The potential and pitfalls of the ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

Bio: Heli Askola is A/Prof at the Monash Law Faculty, where she researches the legal responses to trafficking in human beings, irregular migration and violence against women; comparative immigration and citizenship policies; and transnational law, especially European Union free movement law.


Dr Antje Missbach (Anthropology)

Trafficking within migrant smuggling operations: Are underage transporters ‘victims’ or ‘perpetrators’

Antje Missbach is a senior research lecturer at the School of Social Sciences at Monash University in Melbourne. Before moving to Monash, she was a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Melbourne Law School (2011-2014) and she also held positions as post-doctoral fellow at the Berlin Graduate School for Muslim Cultures and Societies and as lecturer at the Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg. She studied Southeast Asian Studies and European Ethnology at Humboldt University in Berlin and obtained her PhD from the Australian National University in 2010. She is the author of Troubled Transit: Asylum seekers stuck in Indonesia (ISEAS, 2015) and Politics and Conflict in Indonesia: The Role of the Acehnese Diaspora (Routledge, 2011).

Her research interests include the socio-legal dimensions of forced migration in Southeast Asia, border regimes, asylum policies and refugee protection in the Asia-Pacific, as well as diaspora politics and long-distance nationalism. Lately, she has also started to develop an interest in trafficking in persons and forced labour, particularly concerning minors, migrants and other vulnerable persons.


Dr Sara Niner (Anthropology)

Gender and culture in Timor Leste 

She is an expert in the field of gender and international development with a particular interest in those issues in the post-conflict environment of Timor-Leste and is widely published in this field.  As a regional gender expert, Dr Niner has often worked and reported on gender issues in S. E. Asia for local and international development agencies. She is currently undertaking research through the Oxfam Monash Partnership  of Oxfam partnered Savings and Loans Schemes in Timor-Leste. Further work on the links between gender inequity, empowerment and the economy is also being developed with a network of researchers focussed on the Asia Paci.


Professor Robert Thompson (Political Science).

Selected Political Science Approaches to Researching Policymaking in Intergovernmental Organisations

Robert joined Monash in 2017, having previously held positions in the Netherlands (at the Universities of Groningen and Utrecht), Ireland (at Trinity College Dublin) and the United Kingdom (at the University of Strathclyde). His research focuses on international comparisons of democratic representation, and various forms of international governance. In one area of ongoing research Robert and his colleagues are examining the conditions under which politicians keep and break the promises they make to voters when they enter government office. In another area of ongoing research Robert and his colleagues are seeking to understand negotiations and policymaking in international organizations with a focus on the European Union and the United Nations (particularly UNFCCC). He is author of Resolving Controversy in the European Union (Cambridge University Press), and a series of articles and book chapters on national, EU, and international politics.


Promoting Diversity Through Museum Practice
Immigration Museum Theatrette
Event Date: 04/09/2018


Symposium_4 SepG

Practices and Challenges of Promoting Diversity at Museums in Japan
Katsuhiko Hibino
Artist, Dean of Faculty of Fine Arts and Professor at Intermedia Art
Department of Tokyo University of the Arts.
Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu

Sawako Inaniwa
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum Curator, Chief of Education and Public

Co-creating FIRST PEOPLES EXHIBITION with the Yulendj elders -
Through the voices and languages of Victoria's Koorie Community
Isabel Morphy-Walsh
Senior Koorie Programs Officer, First Peoples Immigration Museum

The Multicultural Museums Network - GRANDMOTHERS EXHIBITION
Adriana Gombert
Assistant Director, Education and Programs, Jewish Museum,

Multicultural Japan: Diversity and inclusion in a newly-emerging immigration country
Yasuko Hiraoka Myer Room, Sidney Myer Asia Centre
Event Date: 29/08/2018

While Japan is often labelled as “homogeneous,” it has long-standing multicultural and multi-ethnic communities which have been growing in the last few decades as more migrants enter the country. This trend is expected to continue further as the Japanese government has been relaxing its immigration policy to a broader range of migrants due to accelerating population ageing and resultant labour shortages in the coming years. To what extent are migrants integrated in Japanese society, and what are the present and future challenges? This seminar will feature four scholars who have been conducting research on immigration, multiculturalism, and inclusion in Japan from different disciplinary approaches. They will address new immigration policy developments, diversity promotion, practices of integration and inclusion in contemporary Japan.

“Japanese Immigration Policy at the Crossroads”

Professor Keizo Yamawaki (Meiji University): Prof. Yamawaki specialises in migrant integration policy He has advised numerous local governments and ministries of the Japanese government. Since 2010, he has worked with the Council of Europe and the Japan Foundation to promote exchange of ideas and good practices in migrant integration between Japan and Europe. In 2012-2013, he was based in Europe as a visiting fellow of the University of Oxford and the Migration Policy Group, Brussels. In 2018, he received the Japanese Foreign Minister's Commendation for his work on migrant integration.

“Diversity promotion and its implications for multicultural inclusion in Japan”

Professor Koichi Iwabuchi (Monash University): Dr Iwabuchi is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies and Director of Monash Asia Institute. His main interests are cultural globalization, trans-Asian cultural flows and connections, and multicultural inclusion and cultural citizenship in the Japanese and East Asian contexts. He leads TEAM project (Trans-East-Asia Multiculturalism), which promotes transnational exchange and collaboration among film makers, performers, NGOs, NPOs and researchers to promote multicultural inclusion in East Asia.

 “(Re-)locating the international student in multicultural Japan”

Dr Jeremy Breaden (Monash University): Dr Breaden is Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the Japanese Studies program in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics at Monash University. His research interests include globalisation and social change in contemporary Japan and Japanese-English translation and cultural mediation in international business settings. His latest book is Articulating Asia in Japanese Higher Education: Policy, partnership and mobility (2018).

“The challenges of skilled migration in Japan”

A/Prof Nana Oishi (The University of Melbourne): Dr Nana Oishi specialises in skilled migration, diversity and inclusion. Prior to her current position, she was Professor of Sociology at Sophia University in Tokyo and Policy Analyst at the International Labour Organization (ILO). She has served the United Nations Expert Meeting on Migration, Development and Social Protection and various national advisory boards on immigration in Japan. She received several awards including the Recognition Award from the International Federation of University Women.  

 Please book through:


Book Launch
HB40, H Building, Monash University Caulfield campus
Event Date: 23/08/2018

Soul Catcher:  Java's Fiery Prince Mangkungara I, 1726-1795


Soul Catcher: Java's Fiery Prince Mangkunagara I, 1726-1795

by Merle Ricklefs
Featuring addresses by Professor Merle Ricklefs, Emeritus Professor Virginia Hooker (ANU), Ass. Professor Stuart Robson (Monash)
When: August 23, 2018, at 5.15 (refreshments) for 5.45 start  
Where: HB40 (basement, Building H), Monash Caulfield Campus

About the book:

Mangkunagara I (1726-95) was one of the most flamboyant figures of 18th-century Java. A charismatic rebel from 1740 to 1757 and one of the foremost military commanders of his age, he won the loyalty of many followers. He was also a devout Muslim of the Mystic Synthesis style, a devotee of Javanese culture and a lover of beautiful women and Dutch gin. His enemies—the Surakarta court, his uncle the rebel and later Sultan Mangkubumi of Yogyakarta and the Dutch East India Company—were unable to subdue him, even when they united against him. In 1757 he settled as a semi-independent prince in Surakarta, pursuing his objective of as much independence as possible by means other than war, a frustrating time for a man who was a fighter to his fingertips. Professor Ricklefs here employs an extraordinary range of sources in Dutch and Javanese—among them Mangkunagara I’s voluminous autobiographical account of his years at war, the earliest autobiography in Javanese so far known—to bring this important figure to life. As he does so, our understanding of Java’s devastating civil war of the mid-18th century is transformed and much light is shed on Islam and culture in Java.

Soul Catcher_M Ricklefs

The 2018 Malaysian General elections: The People have spoken
Room E561, 5th Floor, East Wing, Menzies Building (Building 11)
Event Date: 21/08/2018

Professor Jayum Anak Jawan

Professor Mohammad Agus bin Yusoff

Dr. Azhar bin Ahmad


The 2018 Malaysian general elections have been dubbed as the “mother of all general elections”. This was due to the fact that unlike previous general elections, this one has a high degree of uncertainty for the ruling party. All previous general elections had been generally expected to be won by BN. But in the 2018 general elections, although there was a general consensus that BN has a slight edge, the challenge mounted by the opposition could not be discounted has it has been done previously. Many former BN bigwigs had either left the ruling coalition or were being fired. Retired members of the BN coalition found reasons to return and make a comeback under different political banner. These all add up to the excitement.

This seminar will examine the patterns of voting based on a number of factors such as ethnicity, state and region. Three scholars from Malaysia will address different areas in explaining the patters of voting in the 2018 general elections. Jayum Jawan from Universiti Putra Malaysia will be speaking on Sabah and Sarawak’s role and what the pattern of political support there mean for the national coalition BN and the main component UMNO. Mohammad Agus Yusoff from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia will speak of the general voting pattern in West Malaysia, looking at explaining voting patterns among Malays, Chinese and Indian and how these voting patterns shape alignment of state government in the post 2018 elections. Azhar Ahmad will speak on the General Elections in Perak that was seen by many analysts as “hot” state because of the narrow margin of BN win in the state in two previous general elections in 2008 and 2013.

About the speakers:

JAYUM ANAK JAWAN: PhD (Hull); MA (Appalachian State); BA (UNC-A). Professor of Politics & Government, Department of Government & Civilization Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Former Tun Abdul Razak Chair (15) & Visiting Professor of Political Science, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, US. Area of specialization/ research: Politics & Government; Elections & Ethnic Relations.


MOHAMMAD AGUS BIN YUSOFF (Dato’): PhD; MA (Manchester); BA (Hons) (University of Malaya): Professor of Political Science, Politics & Security Research Center, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Area of specialization/ research: Comparative Politics, Malaysian and Indonesia Politics, Federalism and Elections


AZHAR BIN AHMAD (Dato’): PhD, MSc. (UPM); BA (OUM): works as Special Task Officer to former Perak Menteri Besar (Chief Minister). Areas of Specialization: Politics of Malaysia and Indonesia; Student movement. Extensive ground experience in politics, having assisted the Chief Minister in various capacities, including grassroots politics during recent general elections.


Public Lecture:
H1.16, Level 1, Building H, Monash University Caulfield Campus
Event Date: 27/07/2018

Cak Imin

Islam and Nationalism in Indonesia

This distinguished public lecture 'Islam and Nationalism in Indonesia' addresses the task of nation-building, posing opportunities and challenges for Muslim leaders in Indonesia, within the demands for nation creation based on Islamic norms and the modern nation-state.

Current key issues facing Indonesia can be viewed from the role of Islam in the process of nation-building across the country. Abdul Muhaimin Iskandar (Cak Imin), the Deputy Speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly, will explore how Islam contributes to the development of culture, politics, and economy in Indonesia.

This free event is open to alumni, staff, students and the public.


Muhaimin Iskandar is also known as Cak Imin. He was born in Jombang, East Java, Indonesia. Muhaimin studied at Madrasah Tsanawiyah Negeri Jombang and Madrasah Aliyah Negeri (managed by Ministry of Religious Affairs) in Yogyakarta. Muhaimin attended Gadjah Mada University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences. He pursued further studies with a master’s degree from the University of Indonesia. Muhaimin graduated in 2001, specialising in Communications.

Throughout his university education, Muhaimin was vocal in discussion forums and in student movement. He joined the Indonesian Islamic Student Movement (PMII) and was elected Chairman of the Yogyakarta PMII branch in 1994-1997. He was also active in the National Youth Committee of Indonesia (KNPI).

Muhaimin's political career coincided with the birth of the Reform Era. In 1998, he worked with leaders of the Nahdlatul Ulama movement, including Abdurrahman Wahid to establish the Partai Kebangkita Bangsa (PKB) or National Awakening Party. He was appointed as the Secretary General (Sekjend).

In the 1999 election, Muhaimin was elected as a member of Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Republik Indonesia (also known as the People’s Representative Council of the Republic of Indonesia). At 33 years old, Muhaimin became the Vice Chairman of the House of Representatives from 1999-2004, and was among the youngest leaders at the time.

His career continued to build as Chairman of the PKB. In the 2004 elections, Muhaimin was re-elected to the House of Representatives and again became Vice Chairman of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia from 2004-2009. In the following election, Muhaimin was successful for the third time, in becoming a member of the House of Representatives. He was asked by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyo to become Minister of Manpower and Transmigration between 2009-2014.

When his term ended in 2014, Muhaimin was unanimously re-elected as the Chairman of the PKB, and was considered key in raising the PKB’s election votes in 2014. His success continues in his delivery of PKB cadres to ministers in the Joko Widodo Working Cabinet from 2014-2019.


Friday 27th July, 2018

6:00pm for a 6:20pm start
(concludes at 7:30pm)

H116, Monash University - Caulfield Campus
(900 Dandenong Rd, Caulfield East, 3145)

By Thursday 26th July, 2018

Monash Arts Events Team



Following the lecture, a networking opportunity with finger food is provided. Registration is essential for catering purposes.



Piety, Politics and Popularity of Muslim Preachers in Indonesia and Malaysia
E561, Menzies Building, Monash Clayton Campus
Event Date: 12/07/2018




In both Malaysia and Indonesia, popular Muslim preachers are playing an increasingly important role in shaping Muslims’ religious attitudes, consumption patterns and political opinions. 

This talk highlights a few popular preaching figures, exploring their religious affiliations, business activities and political engagement.

In more specific, it focuses on the online and offline preaching activities of Felix Siauw, a popular yet conservative preacher in Indonesia and his team, YukNgaji.

It explores how their preaching entail a combination of popular culture and political Islam, gaul (down-to-earth) sensibilities and conservative attitudes, as well as visual persuasion and Islamist agenda. It examines a broader change in the trend of Islamic preaching —
one in which piety, politics, and popularity are interconnected, and in which the social media, visual images and market forces area increasingly shape and shaped by the faces of political Islam.


Hew Wai Weng
Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia
Hew Wai Weng is research fellow at Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (IKMAS,UKM). He has been writing on Chinese Muslim identities, Hui migration, and cultural politics of urban Muslim middle-classes in
Malaysia and Indonesia. He is the author of Chinese Ways of Being Muslim: Negotiating Ethnicity and Religiosity in Indonesia (NIAS Press 2017).

Making Asian Art Public Conversation
MADA, G104, Monash University Caulfield Campus
Event Date: 29/06/2018

"Korean Wave" Still Matters? Present and Future Directions
S901 Monash University, Caulfield Campus
Event Date: 07/06/2018 - 08/06/2018

International Conference

 “Korean Wave” Still Matters?  Present and Future Directions (PROGRAM UPLOADED)

7-8 June 2018

Monash University Caulfield Campus, Melbourne

Monash Asia Institute (MAI), Asian Cultural and Media Studies Research Cluster (ACMSRC) and Korean Studies Program of Monash University are pleased to welcome submissions of paper abstracts for the conference, “Korean Wave” Still Matters? Present and Future Directions", which will be held on 7 & 8 June 2018.

Since its initial appearance in Taiwanese and Chinese media in 1997, the term Hallyu has meant different things to different people. It proved to be an effective nationalistic marketing and soft power strategy for the South Korean government and entertainment industries while many fans and casual users alike consumed South Korean cultural contents without any conscious regard for the interests of the state. It also has been received in diverse ways by a wide range of followers in terms of regions, gender, sexuality, ethnicity. As such, Korean Wave has been attracting scholarly interests of many researchers of diverse disciplines across and beyond Asian regions.

Acknowledging the recent vicennial of the Korean Wave, we welcome papers that revisit studies of the Korean Wave and discuss its present and future directions both in and outside of South Korea and Asian regions. Topics of interest include but are not limited to whether or how the discourse of Korean Wave or Hallyu remains relevant today and to whom, new and old sociocultural issues to be explored, South Korean popular culture’s interaction with other national/regional popular cultures and cultural industries such as Indonesian pop or the hip hop culture in China, global implications for the critical study of popular culture in a digital age.

Any enquiries should be directed to