Events - 14 Nov 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
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Public Lecture by Emeritus Professor Anthony Seegar (UCLA)
Room E561, 5th Floor, East Wing, Menzies Building (Building 11), Monash University Victoria
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
CSEAS Seminar Series
Indonesian transitions, public religion and women’s rights
Menzies Building 11 4th Floor, North Wing, Room N402, Clayton Vic
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Public Lecture by Emeritus Professor Anthony Seegar (UCLA)
Monash Music Auditorium, Building 68, Monash University, Clayton, Clayton Victoria

Past events

Trans-Asia Workshop on "post-imagined-communities"
S801/802, Monash University Caulfield
Event Date: 18/08/2017

Monash Asia Institute

Trans-Asia as method workshop

Approaching the bordering of the nation in a post-imagined-community age

 Date: 12-14:40, 18 August Friday

Venue: S-801/802, Monash University Caulfield campus

 The intensification of cross-border mobility, deepening of cultural diversity within the nation and the evolution of digital media have been drastically changing the landscape of the re-construction of the nation. While nationalism and jingoism are on the rise, the formula of "imagined community" needs to be fundamentally reconsidered. This workshop will discuss with participants how we approach to the bordering of the nation now with an aim to organize a collaborative project.       

Speakers from Monash University.

Prof. Koichi Iwabuchi (MAI)

Associate Prof. Gil Soo-Han (MFJ)

Associate Prof. Julian Millie (SoSS)

Light lunch will be provided.

RSVP to by 15 August

Trans-Asia as Method Workshop
S801 and S801, Level 8, S Building, Monash University Caulfield
Event Date: 18/08/2017

Approaching the bordering of the nation in a post-imagined-community age

The intensification of cross-border mobility,
deepening of cultural diversity within the nation
and the evolution of digital media have been
drastically changing the landscape of the reconstruction
of the nation. While nationalism and
jingoism are on the rise, the formula of “imagined
community” needs to be fundamentally
reconsidered. This workshop will discuss with
participants how we approach to the bordering
of the nation now with an aim to organize a
collaborative project.


Prof Koichi Iwabuchi (MAI)

Assoc Prof Gil Soo-Han (MFJ)

Assoc Prof Julian Millie (SoSS)

MAI/CSEAS presents
N5.02, 5th Floor, Menzies Building, Monash Clayton campus
Event Date: 17/08/2017

Joining the Counterinsurgency: Armed Civilian Mobilization in the Philippines

Steven Zech, Politics and International Relations, Monash University


Civilian Armed Force Geographical Units (CAGFUs) and other armed civilian groups in the Philippines serve an important auxiliary role in security provision. For decades, these community-based militias have played an active role in fighting armed revolutionary groups that challenge the state. Tens of thousands of “civilians” have taken up arms and participated in CAFGUs. Despite ties to state security forces, civilians exhibit significant agency in armed mobilization. What motivates community members to participate in CAFGUs? Existing scholarship suggests a variety of factors can influence individual participation, including: general conditions related to insecurity, economic opportunities, resources access, or permissive legal frameworks. Furthermore, factors related to individual threat perceptions, relationships with the state, emotions, and social pressures could also influence civilian participation in CAFGUs, among others. In this research, which I am conducting jointly with Joshua Eastin of Portland State University, I evaluate these explanations with new survey data, and data from personal interviews and community focus groups with CAFGU participants carried out in June and July 2017. The survey data provide descriptive statistics regarding many of factors driving civilian participation in local security institutions, while the interviews and focus groups help to identify the social processes and mechanisms. 


Dr. Steven Zech is a Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Monash University. He serves as Deputy Director for the Master of International Relations program and specializes in international relations, comparative politics, and research methodology. His general research interests include political violence and terrorism, non-state actors, human rights, social identity, and network analysis. Dr. Zech has worked as a researcher on collaborative projects related to nonviolent political change, global transnational terrorism, ethnic conflict, and militant violence in Iraq. He was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver between 2014 and 2016. In that position he conducted research for projects on "nonviolent action in violent settings." His dissertation and current book project, “Between Two Fires: Civilian Resistance during Internal Armed Conflict,” examines the origins and evolution of civilian self-defense forces in Peru and elsewhere. He carried out extensive fieldwork in the Ayacucho and Junín regions of Peru between 2011 and 2017. Dr. Zech has published numerous academic journal articles on terrorism and political violence, counterinsurgency, torture, and network analysis. He also contributes regularly to the blog Political Violence @ a Glance.


Rasan Piya
Building S, Level 8, Room 802, Monash University Caulfield
Event Date: 04/08/2017

Rasan Piya is a documentary on the life of renowned Hindustani
classical vocalist, Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, who represented the 16th
generation of Miyan Tansen’s lineage. He continued not just to
compose, but also to teach, travel and perform across all of India till he
passed away on 18th February 2016 at the age of 107 years.
This is the story of an extraordinary musician, poet and teacher; of
someone who has not only preserved but also added much to an
ancient Indian art form; of a brave man who overcame his physical
limitations to create beautiful music and inspire a whole generation of
musicians and music lovers.
The film explores the various influences that have shaped his life and
music, a life steeped in the rich culture of Awadh. It also offers a
commentary on the change that art in India has witnessed with the
decline of the riyasats (kingdoms) and the patronage they offered.
Lastly, the film attempts to draw one towards our ancient guru shishya
parampara, (traditional teacher-student relationship) as preserved
and practised by one its most revered exponents Rasan Piya.

Writer and director, Niharika Popli, graduated in Engineering from the
University of Delhi in 2010. She then worked with a children’s NGO in
Delhi, directing plays, writing and telling stories, and teaching. A chance
encounter with Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan at a SPIC-MACAY concert in
2007 moved Niharika tremendously. The purity of his music and his
zest for life inspired her to make her first feature length documentary
Rasan Piya. The documentary received the Special Jury Mention at
Mumbai International Film Festival 2016.

Global Local: Sharing Stories with the World
Event Date: 03/06/2017

Asia Pacific Writers and Translators, ELTHAMBookshop and Monash Asia Institute present:

A day of readings, discussions, book signings and intellectual engagement.


Osamah Sami;  John Safran;  Gabrielle Wang;  Chris Raja;  Supriya Singh;  Trevor Hay;  Susan Hawthorne;  Hoa Pham;  Jemma Purdey and more

$35 (includes a book of your choice).  $20 (students with valid ID card).  $30 (APWT members)

Prepaid bookings are essential.   Ph: 9439 8700 or elthambookshop@  Credit card payments also accepted over the phone.




Inaugural Herb Feith Professorial Lecture
HB40, H Building, Monash University Caulfield campus
Event Date: 01/06/2017

'Stories of Subversion, Subversive Stories: A Critique of Indonesia's Politics of Identity'

One dominant, durable and most dangerous idea has poisoned social life in Indonesia since independence. It is the modern notion that pure or authentic social identities are possible and highly desirable. This notion has repeatedly led not only to ambitious pursuits for the idealised identities (authentically Indonesian, purely Eastern, truly masculine, essential motherhood, or correctly Islamic). It has also prompted the combative commitments to disavow or mutilate elements of the nation deemed impure, less authentic, mixed or deviant.
Stories of the early formation of the nation, or the national revolution that led to Indonesia’s independence, have the potential to be radically subversive to this obsession, as inauthenticity and hybridity are the hallmarks of that history. In order to sustain the status quo, much of the rich and complex history of the colonialism and decolonisation must continue to be hidden, suppressed or denied to this day.

Ariel Heryanto was born and raised in Indonesia under the military dictatorship of the
New Order during the Cold War. Since March 2017, Herbert Feith is the Professor for the
Study of Indonesia at Monash University. Previously he worked at Universitas Kristen Satya
Wacana (Indonesia), The National University of Singapore, The University of Melbourne,
and The Australian National University. He is the author of Identity and Pleasure; The politics of Indonesian screen culture (2014); State Terrorism And Political Identity In Indonesia:  Fatally Belonging (2007), editor of Popular Culture in Indonesia: Fluid Identities in Post-Authoritarian Politics (2008). His current research investigates Indonesia’s postcoloniality.

RSVP to   by Monday 29 May 2017.

Filming the Political, Trespassing Rules and Boundaries
S901 Monash University, Caulfield Campus
Event Date: 24/05/2017

Focus theme seminar_3

Speaker: Ariel Heryanto.  Discussant: Olivia Khoo


No  other films have made as great a political impact upon Indonesia as Indonesia Calling 1946 Joris Ivens) and The Act of Killing (2012, Joshua Oppenheimer). Both are products of a trans-national collaboration.  Interestingly, both documentaries were not the films their respective directors had originally planned to make. The opportunity to make these highly celebrated films came by accident only after their film-makers encountered obstacles which stopped or delayed them from making their originally intended films. In this short presentation, we will compare the eventful making of these films, as well as their political significance
that transcend and trespass national boundaries and loyalties



Professor Vanashree

ICCR Chair of Indian Studies – Public Lecture on India 2017
Consulate General of India in Melbourne
Event Date: 19/05/2017

The Spectrum of Many Indias and the Theatre of Girish Karnad 

Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Chair of Indian Studies Public Lecture on India 2017 

by Professor Vanashree

Theatre traditions in India survive and gather new strength and legitimacy because they register our passionate struggle with the urge to speak out in the interest of social justice and truth......

Girish Karnad is one such playwright who believes that, as the repertory of its people, theatre has to be unequivocally the art of public life, having a public origin and public effect.

Through the worlds of his plays, Yayati, Hayavadana, Tale-Danda, The Fire and the Rain, Bali, Tughlaq, Wedding Album, Karnad allows us to enter into comprehensive dimensions of Indian experiential realities. In doing so, he invites us into the spectrum of many Indias: sexual, spiritual, intellectual, religious, moral, secular, and political, that created space in our history for frequent revolutionary ruptures drawing their core energy from the myth of freedom. ​As products of new theoretical, textual, material and cultural conditions reinforced by the experience of democracy, cultural autonomy and the sense of a new nationhood, they pushed into the public domain the issues which afflicted our society and called for rethinking. 

Karnad’s plays have made their presence felt in the last several decades for their highly radical content. As a playwright, his maturity of vision comes to the fore as a more consummate corollary to the theatre practices in India in Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada and Bengali.  

Karnad infuses a new energy in modern Indian drama in ensuring that it is not only meant to be the site of entertainment but also of the radical revolution of thought. Drawing upon a range of aesthetic conventions, both folk and classical, this presentation will demonstrate how Karnad’s performance methods pronounce commitment to sustaining the power of dramatic art as social energy. Delivered into the dialogues and visuals with the intent to produce and organize collective physical and mental experiences, Karnad makes the very act of theatre going a celebratory solidarity energizing the spirit of Indian democracy.

When:              Friday 19 May, 2017
Time:                3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Where:             Consulate General of India, 344 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004
Cost:                Free –  Please register as registration is required for catering purposes

Professor Vanashree 

Professor Vanashree is currently on deputation as the ICCR Chair in Indian Studies at the Centre for Theatre and Performance in the Faculty of Arts, Monash University.

She is a Professor at the Department of English, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India. She has also been the former chair of the department.

As a Fulbright Teaching Fellow, she taught at the Department of English, George Washington University. She worked as a UGC Research Associate at Jawaharlal Nehru University (1994-1998) and was also a Senior Fellow at Indo-American Center for Studies. Vanashree is the author and editor of several books, including Why Fiction Matters, Twentieth Century American Fiction: T.S. Eliot’s Children, Antony and Cleopatra, Poetics and Culture: Three Plays of Girish Karnad, Feminine Consciousness in The Fiction of Katherine Anne Porter, among others.

She has been the editor of Research and Criticism, the departmental journal of English, BHU. Her research papers, translated works and book reviews are published in national and international journals in India and USA and have been cited in several interdisciplinary academic researches.

Migrant Diplomacy Australia-Japan Museum Exchange to Foster Cultural Diversity
The Theatrette, Immigration Museum
Event Date: 19/05/2017

Organised by Monash Asia Institute, Monash University with partnership of Immigration Museum, Melbourne and Immigration Museum Tokyo (pilot program)

eduWith the intensification of human mobility and migration, the fostering of cultural diversity and inclusion is a key issue in a globalized world. Japan is no exception. Featuring Immigration Museum in Melbourne and Immigration Museum Tokyo (pilot project), whose establishment was inspired by the former, this symposium will discuss the significant role of the museum in promoting cultural diversity and inclusion in multicultural cities. We will discuss how to promote exchange and build up collaborative relations between Immigration Museum in Melbourne and Immigration Museum Tokyo and advance Australia-Japan bilateral relations on common ground of trans-Asian migration and cultural diversity.
This symposium is part of the project, Migrant Diplomacy: Exchange between Immigration Museum in Melbourne and Tokyo, which is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Migrant diplomacy-1

Journey to be continued: Experimental documentary on multicultural situations in Japan
Immigration Museum
Event Date: 18/05/2017

Journey to be continued

Director: Shigeaki Iwai

(Director, Immigration Museum Tokyo, pilot program)

This film experimentally documents the director's dialogue with migrant youth in Kani city in Gifu prefecture through artistic expression. It innovatively elucidates multicultural situations in Japan.

Journey to be continued_screening