Events - 23 Oct 13

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
12:00 pm

Monash Asia Institute, Room H5.95, Building H, Caulfield Victoria
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
JSC Seminar Series
Japanese Studies Centre
Japanese Studies Centre Auditorium, Building 54 (next to the bus loop), Monash University, Clayton Campus, Clayton Australia

Past events

Herb Feith Foundation Seminar
HB40, H Building, Monash University Caulfield campus
Event Date: 05/04/2018

Bali 1928 Repatriation Project:  Rediscovering Local Knowledge through Music Recordings and Films of Bali, 1928-1930s
Speaker:  Edward Herbst


Early 20th-century Bali experienced the fall of kingdoms, trauma of colonialism,
decentralization of arts and enticements of tourism. Our acquisition and research of the 1928
Odeon-Beka recordings and 1930s films by McPhee, Covarrubias, Bateson, Belo, and de
Maré with Holt came as the last artists of that generation were available to “repatriate” their
memories of improvisation, experimentation, playfulness, and nuance of music and dance
of the era.
This multimedia presentation details strategies for repatriation of these unprecedented
resources. Aural-visual evidence challenges socio-cultural hegemonies, demonstrating
diverse regional innovations, helped and hindered by inter-village and inter-institutional
masilur ‘sharing, cooperation’ and jengah ‘competition.’

Edward Herbst is director of the Bali 1928 Repatriation Project. He researched gamelan,
gong-smithing, acoustics, and dance-theater in 1972 toward his B.A. at Bennington College.
In 1980–81 he focused on vocal music for his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan
University. He collaborated as composer and solo vocalist on Sardono Kusumo’s Maha Buta
and The Sorceress of Dirah. Herbst and Bali 1928 have been funded since 2003 by the
Ford, Henry Luce, Andrew W. Mellon, Robert Lemelson, and Wenner-Gren Foundations, Asian
Cultural Council, and Fulbright Senior Research Scholar Program. Author of Voices in Bali,
his Bali 1928 essays are downloadable on –
and OUP’s forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation.




MAI and LLCL Joint Seminar
N5.02, 5th Floor, Menzies Building, Monash Clayton campus
Event Date: 29/03/2018

Building a Global Bookshelf:  Asian Classics for the Nineteenth-Century, General Reader

Presenter:  Dr Alexander Bubb, Roehampton University



‘It has been my endeavour in this book,’ announced the Anglo-
German writer Helen Zimmern in the preface to her 1883 edition
of the Shahnameh, ‘to popularize the tales told by the Persian
poet Firdusi [sic] in his immortal epic.’ She freely confessed to
almost no knowledge of Persian, explaining that she had derived
most of her text from a recent French edition, but justified her
work on the basis of its rendering the medieval poem accessible
to the Victorian general reader. This was a very different notion
of ‘the public’ than that entertained by Joseph Champion—a
colleague of William Jones—and James Atkinson when they had
produced the first English versions of the Persian epic three
generations beforehand. My current project hangs on Zimmern’s
word ‘popularize’. It explores the production of popular or
‘people’s editions’ of classical literature from Asia, and seeks to
explain how—in the course of the nineteenth century—texts that
were hitherto the preserve mainly of scholars and imperial
administrators were distributed to typical drawing-room shelves
in Britain, America, Australia and the wider empire.


Dr Alex Bubb is a Senior Lecturer in English at Roehampton
University in London. He works on nineteenth-century literature
in Britain, Ireland and India and aims to view late Victorian
culture from a global perspective. In 2016 he published Meeting
Without Knowing It: Kipling and Yeats at the Fin de Siècle
(Oxford University Press), a comparative study of the two poets
and their interlinked networks in 1890s London. He has also
published articles on aspects of modern Indian history, including
Irishmen in the colonial armies, and early railway contractors in
Bombay. He is currently a Marie Curie visiting fellow in the Long
Room Hub at Trinity College, where he is doing his best to write
his second monograph on popular translations of classic
literature from Asia, and the consumption of these editions by the
English ‘general reader’.

RSVP: Dr Chris Murray

T:  9905 4897


Marriage, Gender and Islam in Indonesia: Women Negotiating Informal Marriage, Divorce and Desire: Maria Platt (Australia-Indonesia Centre)
Building S, Level 9, Room 901, Monash University Caulfield
Event Date: 28/03/2018


In this seminar, Maria discusses the key ideas behind her book Marriage, Gender and Islam in Indonesia: Women Negotiating Informal Marriage, Divorce and Desire, which draws upon ethnographic case studies from the eastern Indonesian island of Lombok. Maria conducted fieldwork in a village on the outskirts of the city of Mataram for an 18-month period between 2007 and 2009. Her research focussed on the lives of married Muslim women – the majority of whose unions were not registered with the state.

In discussing unregistered marriage, Maria discusses a new approach for theorising marital experiences as playing out across a dynamic marital continuum, in a community where early marriage, divorce and remarriage are common place for Muslim women. In this seminar Maria will also consider how local modalities of Islam shape gender relations in Lombok and how these modalities are actively negotiated by women in pursuing their marital desires.


Maria Platt is currently is the Coordinator of the Australia-Indonesia Centre Infrastructure Cluster based at Monash Univeristy. She has over a decade of experience in conducting research and managing projects in the Southeast Asian context, with a particular focus on Indonesia. After a trip across Indonesia in the mid-2000s Maria became interested in understanding more about the country and the people that lived there and began her PhD in 2006.

After completing her studies, Maria returned to Southeast Asia to work at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where she was based until late 2016. Maria’s other research interests lie in the areas of gender, changing ideas of family and marriage, and the politics of identity and citizenship, particularly in the Indonesian context.

Maria received her PhD in Anthropology from La Trobe University in 2011, and has a Bachelor in Applied Science (Health Promotion) (Hons) from Deakin University.


Use promo code FLR40 at checkout to receive discount

Teaching 'Asia and Australia's Engagement with Asia' in primary education: A comparative analysis of different States' curriculum
E457, Lecture Theatre
Event Date: 23/03/2018

Assoc Prof Zane Ma Rhea and Dr Hongzhi Zhang
(Faculty of Education)

The cross-curriculum priority of Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia that is designed to help Australians navigate their regional relationship with Asia into the future has opened up the classrooms to inclusion of Asian texts and Asian perspectives but whose texts and whose perspectives? This paper will comparatively analyse the relevant curriculum contents of cross-curriculum priority Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia from different States and Territories curriculums in Australia. We have employed a critical interpretative research methodology to analyse data for this paper to examine how the Australian government’s innovation policy and its new business development policies that are predicated on strengthening its partnerships with Asia are being supported by the new Australian Curriculum and its State and Territory derivatives.

The authors have undertaken a thorough review of literature and policy documents, the Australian Curriculum, and relevant State and Territory policies and curriculum guiding frameworks. We have found that relevant curriculum content of cross-curriculum priority Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia is unevenly distributed across the different learning areas and general capabilities. We further found that the inclusion of mandated content varies in the new Australian Curriculum and its State and Territory derivatives across key ideas, in the learning areas, and in the explanatory materials.

Light luncheon will be served so kindly RSVP

RSVP:  Tuesday 20 March  to E:

International Symposium  "Promoting Diversity: Mobility, Creativity and Socio-Cultural Inclusion in East Asia"
Rikkyo University
Event Date: 17/03/2018 - 18/03/2018

 "Promoting Diversity: Mobility, Creativity and Socio-Cultural Inclusion in East Asia"

 17-18 March 2018

Rikkyo University, Ikebukuro Campus, Tokyo

Organized by  Monash Asia Institute, Monash University & Trans-East-Asia Multiculturalism Project (TEAM)

Supported by Kajima Foundation

In a globalized world in which people's mobility and accompanying human encounter and exchange have been more and more intensifying, the promotion of diversity in society is a shared key issue. The current promotion of diversity tends to be more economy-driven as business sectors put an emphasis on the enhancement of diversity in terms of women, LGBTIs, and foreign nationals/people of diverse ethnic backgrounds to make the workplace more innovative, productive and globally competitive. The viewpoints on the promotion of diversity for economic activities and cultural perceptions are not identical as the emphasis on the pragmatic utility and inclusive promotion of diversity are often incommensurable. What kind of diversity is being promoted, while not others, is a crucial question. At the same time, it is an open question whether the business-driven stress on the promotion of diversity is entirely unconnected to and has no (unintended) impact on the advancement of socio-cultural inclusion. A wider attention to diversity might involve various social actors such as artists, educators, NGO/NPOs and local administrative agencies together with migrants and ethnic minority communities in ways to positively enhance the social perception of existing and growing ethnic diversity. This conference will critically and innovatively consider whether and how the business-driven promotion of diversity enhances socio-cultural inclusion through comparative examination of and mutual learning from East Asian cases (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong/China) by attending to similar and different experiences and problems of the promotion of diversity in the region The conference also aims to facilitate productive intellectual exchanges among academics, administrators, educators, NGO/NPOs and young cultural performers/practitioners of migrant and ethnic communities over the possibilities and limitations of promoting ethnic diversity as a positive asset to enrich society. We expect that the participants will develop relational networks and collaboratively make policy recommendations including the design of a public pedagogical program to advance social praxis of promoting diversity in an inclusive manner across borders and sectors.

Key issues to be discussed are as follows but not exclusive to others:

- How diversity is discussed in relation to the enhancement of (business) creativity and enrichment of society and what kinds of diversity is promoted, while others are not.

- Whether and how business-driven promotion of diversity eventually stimulates the discussion and practice of enhancing cultural inclusion in society

- How various local actors (policy makers, administrative agencies, education sectors and NGO/NPOs etc.) that work with multicultural issues engage with diversity and what kinds of strategies are taken; and how people and/or communities concerned (migrants and ethnic minorities) are involved in it

- How the positive image of diversity is and can be envisioned and visualized?

- What kind of social learning programs and events will effectively promote the understanding of the significance of diversity to make society inclusive?

- How can we facilitate collaboration across national borders?

- How the discussion in this conference is relevant and applicable to the project of Tokyo Olympic 2020 whose slogan is "unity in diversity"?

We are inviting proposals for paper presentations on these issues, although proposals that are in other ways relevant to the topic will also be considered. We welcome a proposal by non-academic persons or organizations that engage with the promotion of cultural diversity. We accept proposals either in English or Japanese. Please send your paper proposals (less than 200 words) with your affiliation details and e-mail address no later than 20 November to: Please clearly put “Paper proposal for Cultural Diversity” in the subject line. Acceptance of proposals will be notified by early December. Please kindly be advised that we will not be able to offer financial support for participants’ travel costs.

We look very much forward to receiving your proposals!

MAI and NCSAS invite you to meet and speak with Professor Lord Meghnad Desai
S901 Monash University, Caulfield Campus
Event Date: 16/03/2018

We invite all scholars from all universities in Melbourne to join us
for this special event. PhD students most welcome.

Professor Lord Desai, eminent scholar and Member of the House of
Lords, UK will be discussing with us 'Research Trends in South
Asian Studies'.

Professor Lord Desai's career has spanned many disciplines, but his great passion has been for the arts and trends in global economic and civil society. In 2018 Monash University Publishing is bringing out a collection of his difficult-to-access published and unpublished

We will begin with Prof Lord Desai suggesting what the main trends in South Asian scholarship are in Britain, the USA and South Asia and then we will invite participants to explain what they are working on and why. 

Monash Arts Public Lecture
Lecture Theatre H1.26, Level 1, Building H, Monash University Caulfield Campus
Event Date: 16/02/2018

Dr Haedar Nashir

Chairman of Muhammadiyah

We are pleased to invite you to a Distinguished Public Lecture hosted by the Monash Asia Institute (MAI) in collaboration with the Monash Office of Global Engagement, with Dr. Haedar Nashir as the speaker on the topic of Muhammadiyah and Progressive Islam in Indonesia.

Dr. Nashir is the current chairman of Muhammadiyah, which is the second largest Islamic 
organization in Indonesia. 9277 schools, 171 universities, 500 hospitals and nursing homes sit 
under Muhammadiyah. A member since 1983, Dr. Nashir was elected as a member of the central leadership board (2005-2015) and then Chairman in 2015. During his visit to Monash, he will be accompanied by 37 university representatives associated with Muhammadiyah.
Dr. Nashir will introduce the concept of Islam with progress (Islam berkemajuan) which was launched in the 47th national congress in Makassar, Indonesia. Dr. Nashir will explore the ways in which Muhammadiyah institutions counter the growing narrative of Islamic conservatism and socio-economic problems in Indonesia.

Registration 2:45pm
Lecture start 3:15pm
Networking & refreshments 4:30 - 5:00pm
VENUE: Lecture Theatre Room 126, Building H, Monash University Caulfield Campus
DRESS: Smart 
COST: Free
RSVPWednesday February 14, 2018

South-Asia Citywide Conference
Building S, Level 8, Room 802, Monash University Caulfield
Event Date: 17/11/2017

Monash Asia Institute (MA) with Australia India Institute and Melbourne South Asian Studies Group (MSASG)

A conference for Melbourne based graduate students working on topics related to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

MAI with Australia India Institute and The Melbourne South Asian Studies Group invite graduate students writing PhD theses related to any of the countries of South Asia to present their work at a day-long conference.

The conference is intended to bring together graduate students from around the city to share their interest in the region and galvanise the chance to talk about their work to a knowledgeable audience of peers.

Citiwide flyer_final

TO PARTICIPATE, please send your name, institutional and disciplinary affiliation, a title of your thesis and a very brief description (100 words or less) to Surjeet Dhanji by Wednesday 5 November 2017

Monash Asia Institute (MAI) and Japanese Studies Centre (JSC) Special Public Seminar
Japanese Studies Centre
Event Date: 01/11/2017

Kyoka Tominaga_flyerC


From Counterculture to Subculture The Study of Social Movement in Japan after the 3.11 Disaster

This presentation discusses from a cultural perspective how young activists deconstruct conventional forms of organization and collective identity to construct alternative type of activism in contemporary Japan. Previous studies have regarded social movement as an organizational behavior based on collective political identity. However, the situation has drastically shifted after the 3.11 nuclear disaster. Some research shows that Japanese youth protesters no longer have definitive political membership and organizational principle in their activism. They tend to participate in demonstrations as individual and do not commit themselves to long-term participation in a particular activism. This presentation argues that the shift of youth movement has much to do with the decline of youth counterculture in the era of individualization. Youth's participation in social movement does not show a shared ideology, principle, political style against the mainstream, which counterculture used to have and differentiate into numerous kinds of subcultures with individualized fashion, preference and purpose of political participation.

Presenter:  Associate Professor Kyoko Tominaga, Ritsumeikan University, Japan

Discussant: Professor Carolyn Stevens, Japanese Studies Centre, Monash University

followed by lunch reception.

Please RSVP by 27 October to

Other Asians, Asia's Otherings
Monash University, Caulfield Campus
Event Date: 30/10/2017 - 31/10/2017

Inclusionary Utopias, Exclusionary Politics

30 & 31 October 2017
Monash University Caulfield Campus, Melbourne

Conference program_mai

Register Now

MAI is pleased to invite you to its Conference on “OTHER ASIANS, ASIA’S OTHERING; Inclusionary Utopias, Exclusionary Politics” on 30-31 October 2017. The conference will open with a public keynote address by Professor Krishna Sen (The University of Western Australia) in the evening of 30 October 2017. On the next day, there will be three panel sessions, each focussing on one of the MAI central research themes for 2017 (see below). Overall, the conference deals with two distinct but related issues; empirical observation and questions of method: recent changes in Asia and the challenge of analysing these changes.

CHANGES IN ASIA: Asia has changed dramatically in multiple dimensions in the past three decades, of which the speed and scope of demographic mobility and cultural fluidity are some of the most striking. We witness the escalation and intensification of mobility, diversity and connectivity in relation to newly configured politics of inclusion/exclusion. Why and how politics of race has gained momentum for a while in some circles, while politics of religion, gender, or class gained more currency in other times or social settings? Where and when do they intersect, blend, or contradict across Asia and over trans-Asia?

STUDYING ASIA: Ironically, when such rapid changes taking place across Asia and require fresh analyses and comprehension, formal training “Asian studies” in schools and universities outside Asia has been in serious decline or under institutional threat. Where such studies survive, there has been a significant rise of Asians studying Asia outside Asia, including Australia in its multiple framework and focus: studying Asia ‘in’ Australia, studying ‘Asians in Australia’ and studying ‘Australia as part of Asia’. What does it mean to study Asia in the new millennium? How and why the Cold War-styled “Asian studies” has been outdated; how today’s Asia poses institutional and methodological challenges to studying Asia, in and/or outside Asia? How can trans-Asia approaches contribute to the debate?

The papers will examine MAI's three key themes: 1) Migrants, Diaspora & Identity politics; 2) Mobility, Diversity & Inclusion; 3) Media and cultural practices, although proposals that are in other intriguing ways relevant to the conference topic will also be considered. Papers will focus on a single nation or metropolitan area in Asia, but priority has been given to papers with focus on trans-Asian issues, international dimension of a local issue, a comparative perspective of more than one nation, or innovative insights into the future of studying Asia in Australia. Innovative approaches and new interrogations of methods of studying Asia are most welcome. Early Career Researches are strongly encouraged.

Download the Conference Program... (PDF)

Register for the Conference...


Any enquiries should be directed to

Koichi Iwabuchi, Ariel Heryanto, Mridula Nath Chakraborty, Julian Millie (Co-conveners)
Monash Asia Institute, Monash University