MAI Bulletin – MAY 2015

MAI Bulletin-May2015

From the MAI Acting Director’s Desk

April was the cruellest month. While Vanuatu was still reeling from Cyclone Pam in March, Nepal was shaken by an earthquake of the magnitude of 7.8-8.1, with massive loss to life and resources. As The Diplomat reports, the Asia-Pacific has accounted for 61 percent of global losses from disasters in the past 20 years, with more than 1.6 billion people affected in the region since 2000 (http://thediplomat.com/2015/04/natural-disasters-preparing-for-the-big-one/). Closer to home, heavy rains flooded New South Wales farmlands. On the one hand is the need for immediate relief, so I urge you to donate generously to The Australian Red Cross’s Nepal Region Earthquake Appeal. On the other, what is clearly required is an urgent re-assessment of research and planning into regional as well as national vulnerability resulting from climate change. At Monash, recent studies pointed to how “Social identity underpins views on climate change”: http://www.monash.edu/news/show/actions-and-beliefs-behind-climate-change-stance

Other social issues have ranged across the Monash Asia Institute firmament. Professor Koichi Iwabuchi was successful in securing Toyota Foundation funding of 6.4 million yen for an international collaborative project he is leading on reconsidering multiculturalism from a transAsian/East Asian perspective. Please join me in congratulating Professor Iwabuchi, who is currently away on OSP. http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/mai/toyota-foundation-grant-trans-asian-multiculturalism/.

There were numerous internal highlights in research on Asia in the 2015 Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Engineering Interdisciplinary Research (IDR) Seed Funding Scheme. Congratulations to Samanthi Gunawardana, Dharma Arunachalam, Swati Parashar, Yu Bai and Xiao-Ling Zhao on the success of their project on “Affordable and relocatable modular housing for building resilient communities in developing and post-war regions” focusing on Sri Lanka. Congratulations also to the team led by Mridula Nath Chakraborty, Graham Currie, Swati Parashar, Alexa Delbosc and Anita Harris, for the project “Women Without Fear: gender violence, urban transport and public space in metropolitan India”: a workshop on the topic will be held at MAI 2nd-4th June 2015; details will be announced soon in the bulletin and on the MAI website.

MAI has occasion to celebrate the arrival of three brand new books in May. Congratulations to Marika (former Director of MAI, who continues to diversify her research interests); David (our eminent Adjunct at MAI and specialist in Tibetan Buddhism) and Dan (who joined the Asian Cultural and Media Studies research cluster while he was completing a PhD at Monash).

The European Union and India: Rhetoric or Meaningful Partnership? co-authored by Pascaline Winand, Marika Vicziany and Poonam Datar (Edward Elgar Publishing).

 Asian Horizons: Giuseppe Tucci’s Buddhist, Indian, Himalayan and Central Asian Studies edited by Angelo Andrea Di Castro and David Templeman (Monash University Press)

Independent Chinese Documentary: Alternative Visions, Alternative Publics by Dan Edwards (Edinburgh University Press).

At the IITB-Monash Academy, Dr Murali Sastry was appointed as Chief Executive Officer from 1 June 2015. He is one of India’s leading nanotechnologists and brings with him close to 25 years research experience in the field of materials chemistry with a focus on nanotechnology. At the Faculty of Arts, we look forward to enhanced collaboration with IITB-Monash Research Academy in the newly launched dual-badged PhD program in the Arts.

After the warm, and extremely well-attended, evening where three books on Indonesia were launched by the Konsul Jeneral, the Honorable Ibu Dewi Sawitri Wahab, May promises to continue with an exciting schedule of seminars and events: we look forward to seeing you all there.

8th May, 4:30 pm-6:00 pm: Our Trans-Asia as Method seminar features Samanthi Gunawardana, Sara Niner, Swati Parashar and Eka Srimulyani with a focus on “Bride-prices and dowries on a changing Asia”:

http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/mai/events/trans-asia-as-method-seminar-bride-prices-and-dowries-in-a-changing-asia/

15th May, 12:00-4:00 pm: MAI Research Day returns to us with a new line-up of Asian scholars at Monash: watch this space for details on cutting-edge research and academic speed-dating collaboration. Do let us know if you would like to join in and tell us about your recent work.

28th May, 5:00-7:00 pm: We will be bringing to you two very exciting Indonesian young writers, who will be visiting Melbourne for the Emerging Writers Festival. Ni Made Purnamasari and Aan Mansyurin will be with us for an evening of readings and we also promise a special surprise dance recital for your pleasure. Again, do watch the MAI space for details and updates.

Please let us know of new developments in research in the Asian region: we would love to keep in touch with you and know more about your work.

Mridula