Gaze Back: A Poetry Reading by Marylyn Tan

Gaze Back: A Poetry Reading by Marylyn Tan

Tuesday November 8 at 4:30 PM

INTS1111 CHASS Interdisciplinary Round Lab

University of California-Riverside

(Photograph of Marylyn Tan by Rikei Caraphina)

Queer, female, and Chinese, Marylyn Tan is a linguistics graduate, poet, and artist who has been performing and disappointing since 2014. Her work trades in the conventionally vulgar, radically pleasurable, and unsanctioned, striving to emancipate and restore the alienated, endangered body. Tan is Poetry Editor at Singapore Unbound’s SUSPECT Journal, founder of multidisciplinary arts collective DIS/CONTENT (, and can be found in her habitat on instagram (@marylyn.orificial) and twitter (@grinchfucker). Her poetry collection, Gaze Back, was published by Ethos Books in 2018 and by Georgia Review in 2022. She lives in Singapore.

This event is co-sponsored by the University of California-Riverside’s Departments of English, Creative Writing, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Media & Cultural Studies, and SEATRiP and Center for Ideas and Society.

Questions? Please contact Weihsin Gui at

MLA 2023 Southeast Asian History in Literature Part II: Contesting Nations in Fictional Pasts

Southeast Asian History in Literature Part II: Contesting Nations in Fictional Pasts

Modern Language Association Convention. San Francisco, Jan. 2023

Sponsored by the MLA Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian Diasporic Forum

Description: This session is paired with Southeast Asian History in Literature Part I on general topic of history in literature proposed by the Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian Diasporic Forum. This session’s speakers examine how nationalism and national identity are negotiated and contested through literary representations of key or formative historical periods and figures in a particular country’s past. The range of Southeast Asian texts considered goes beyond historical fiction to include works written in different languages and genres. Our paired sessions expand the scholarship on Southeast Asian literature, which often occupies a minor place in established formations of postcolonial and global Anglophone literatures. In Nationalism and Southeast Asia (2004) Nicholas Tarling observes that “nation-, state- and regimebuilders share a desire to use the past” to establish their new postcolonial countries, and “a comparative regional approach” (239) is needed to analyze nationalist uses of history and highlight how cultural producers employ history and historiography to critique the often ethnocentric narratives and processes of nation-building. 

Our session examines how history is represented in comparative, regional, and transnational ways by Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian diasporic writers. Although Benedict Anderson’s references Southeast Asian fiction in his groundbreaking conceptualization of nations as Imagined Communities (1983), our speakers depart from Anderson’s emphasis on seriality and print culture, instead focusing on histories as contested narratives in Southeast Asian writing. Pheng Cheah’s Spectral Nationality (2003) also looks at some Southeast Asian texts to make the philosophical case that nationalism is a spectral rather than a vivifying concept. Our speakers take a different approach by examining formal elements of literary language, style, and narrative perspective that, taken together, envision alternative ways of constituting a nation and other modes of belonging beyond state-centered patriotism in Southeast Asia and its diasporas.

Jasmine An’s “Crafting/Contesting Thainess: Polyvocality in Contemporary Thai Fiction” examines contemporary Thai novels grappling with Thailand’s unique political history, where literary production is sometimes associated with the unimpeachability of the Thai monarchy. Veeraporn Nitiprapha’s The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth (trans. Kong Rithdee 2015), Pitchaya Sudbanthad’s Bangkok Wakes to Rain (2019), and Sunisa Manning’s A Good True Thai (2020) all contain multiple narrators and recount key political moments in Thailand’s history such as student protest movements and subsequent government repression. The polyvocality of these texts dramatizes the ongoing negotiations and contestations of defining Thainess that are obscured by the hegemonic narrative of Thailand’s three pillars: nation, religion, and monarchy.

William Arighi’s “Coasts and Waves: Baybayin, Wave Theory, and Canonicity in Ilustrado Thought” looks at late-nineteenth-century Filipino nationalist intellectuals who wished to recuperate a precolonial past through baybayin, a script derived from a Sulawesi script based on Sanskrit that was used to transcribe Tagalog before the Spanish arrival. Baybayin’s presumed association with Southeast Asian backwardness ultimately thwarted the Ilustrados’ desire for a medium for grounding their nascent national consciousness. The Ilustrados’ reflections on orthography in this period oriented Philippine intellectuals away from Southeast Asia and promoted a “literariness” inherited from Europeans based on ideas of universalism, permanence, and transparency.

Eunice Ying Ci Lim’s “Intuiting Shōnan-tō through Technologies of (Il)literacy” analyzes Jing-Jing Lee’s How We Disappeared (2019) as intergenerational and self-reflexive historical fiction. Shifting between Singapore during its World War II Japanese military occupation and its postcolonial present, Lee’s novel shows how the remembrance of imperialist history and the repurposing of a foregone modernity (represented by the short-lived vision of a Pan-Asian Shōnan-tō) is complicit in Singapore’s present-day modernizing and nationalizing agendas. Through linguistic illiteracy and narrative incoherence, the novel confronts and resists the implicit demands of national literary canonization and the global literary marketplace.

Hannah Ho Ming Yit and Rommel Curaming’s “Fictive Historical Identities of Enrique de Malacca in Novels” looks at a range of multilingual fiction about Enrique de Malacca, who was Ferdinand Magellan’s slave of Malay origin. Harun Aminurrashid’s Panglima Awang (1958), Carla M. Pacis’ Enrique El Negro (2002), and Danny Jalil’s Enrique the Black (2021) offer fictional biographies of Enrique that contribute to nationalist imaginations and contestations in Malaysia and the Philippines. While the earliest novel consolidates state discourses of Malay/sian identity, subsequent novels reconstruct Enrique’s identity apart from state-sponsored understandings, dispute and critique dominant discourses of gendered Malay identity and neocolonial power structures, and envision a culturally inclusive national body.


* Weihsin Gui. University of California-Riverside (presider)

* Jasmine An. University of Michigan. “Crafting/Contesting Thainess: Polyvocality in Contemporary Thai Fiction”

* William Arighi. Springfield College. “Coasts and Waves: Baybayin, Wave Theory, and Canonicity in Ilustrado Thought”

* Eunice Ying Ci Lim. Penn State University. “Intuiting Shōnan-tō through Technologies of (Il)literacy”

* Hannah Ming Yit Ho and Rommel Curaming. Universiti Brunei Darussalam. “Fictive Historical Identities of Enrique de Malacca in Novels”

Questions? Contact Weihsin Gui ( or Ryan Ku (

MLA 2023 Southeast Asian History in Literature Part I: Transnationalism, Immigration, Diaspora

Southeast Asian History in Literature Part I: Transnationalism, Immigration, Diaspora

Modern Language Association Convention. San Franciso, Jan. 2023

Sponsored by the MLA Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian Diasporic Forum

Description: In traditional terms the part of the world between China and India, Southeast Asia lies at a global crossroads where its powerful neighbors, the giants of the continent, have historically spread their influence and where the East met the West in the European scramble for “the (East) Indies.”

This intermediary position has led the region to be conceived, even prior to post–World War II globalization, as a transnational contact zone, thereby to be defined in reference to or from the perspective of external actors—whether South or East Asia or European colonizers. Given this not only geographical but also geopolitical overdetermination, this session (the first of two) seeks to tell the history of Southeast Asia from the literature of subjects who come from the region. How might an autonomous history of Southeast Asia be told? How has this history been told in literature from the region and its diaspora, given literature and history’s shared narrative structure and incommensurability? How do transnationalism, (post)coloniality, im/migration, displacement, gender, and sexuality complicate the relation between history and literature and give rise to alternatives to the discourse of the “motherland” written by the “fathers” of Southeast Asian nations?

Against hegemonic Western or Asian accounts, this session’s participants extract different aspects of Southeast Asian history from regional or diasporic literary texts that tend to be ignored or illegible in the West or that adopt Western forms to subvert them. 

Against the “global Malaysian novel”—a contentious category of successful novels often set in British Malaya but written in the U.S., Britain, or Australia—Brandon K. Liew focuses on Chin Kee Onn’s Ma-rai-ee and Lee Kok Liang’s London Does Not Belong to Me to foreground the ways in which colonial Malayan authors drew on a transnational readership to publicise local counter-discursive histories. Ying Xin Show reevaluates the significance of Sinophone literature in the history of Malayan independence through the work of Jin Zhimang, who practiced “literature as revolution” while also transcending revolutionary doctrine to write “good stories.” This dialectic between politics and aesthetics in Jin’s work is rooted, Show argues, in Jin’s part in the establishment of Mahua (Chinese Malayan) consciousness based on the rejection of diasporic ties to China in favor of building a new nation (Malaya) in which women and indigenous tribes were included. Turning to the King of Siam Rama VI’s translation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera The Mikado, Jakapat Koohapremkit examines the ways in which Rama VI represented Chinese immigrants in Siam antisemitically to distinguish the “civilized” Siamese from the “yellow peril” in America. Rama VI does this, Koohapremkit argues, with a wink, satirizing the idea of the modern woman and calling out European civilization for its antisemitism to suggest that Chinese immigrants can assimilate into Siamese society as long as they contribute to Rama VI’s nation-building project. Against the patriarchal depiction of Indo (Eurasian) women in Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s This Earth of Mankind, Jennifer Goodlander highlights the way in which Nh. Dini’s Departures portrays Indo women to offer an alternative narrative for subaltern hybridity in the context of transnationalism and postcoloniality. Christos Kalli reads the toxic substances (e.g., isopropyl acetate and tetrachloroethylene) that permeate contemporary Vietnamese American poems—specifically, Ocean Vuong’s “The Gift,” Cathy Linh Che’s “Dress-up,” and Paul Tran’s “Dry Clean”—as traces of the Vietnam War in the psyche of those who lived through it as well as of their descendants. Presented as unwashable, eminently harmful, and assaulting, these toxic substances, Kalli argues, reinscribe the traumatic histories of the war as well as the diasporic condition to which it gave rise.

These panelists not only focus on a variety of areas and literary genres but also employ a diverse, if also related, set of critical strategies in an attempt to unearth and interrogate history as it informs, seeps into, or is (re)imagined in literature. The diversity of the region itself, however, made us unable to represent all nations in the region in a single session; thus we are also organizing a second session (Southeast Asian History in Literature Part II). Our session would be of interest to MLA attendees working on area, postcolonial, diasporic, race, comparative, gender and sexuality, and interdisciplinary studies, not to mention on historicism and Southeast Asian literature. 


* Ryan Ku. Swarthmore College (presider)

* Brandon Liew. University of Melbourne. “Global Markets, Local Stories: A History of Malayan Literature as a Literature of Malayan History”

* Ying Xin Show. Australian National University. “Reassessing a failed revolution: Revolutionary Sinophone literature in Malaya”

* Jakapat Koohapremkit. University of Texas at Austin. “Performing Orientalism: Rama VI’s Rewriting of Siamese History”

* Jennifer Goodlander. Indiana U, Bloomington. “Transnational Identities: Rethinking Indo Women Literatures as Subaltern Histories about the Birth of the Indonesian Nation”

* Christos Kalli. University of Texas at Austin. “ ‘tetrachloroethylene launches on to the stain’: Chemicals and the Aftermaths of the Vietnam War in Contemporary Vietnamese American Poetry”

Questions? Contact Weihsin Gui ( or Ryan Ku (

Art, Authoritarianism, Activism in Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Symposium. 8 March 2022 (online)

Art, Authoritarianism, Activism in Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Symposium

Tuesday 8th March, 3:00 PM US Pacific time

On Zoom — register at

Speakers (click here for talk abstracts and speaker bios):

Elisabeth Arti Wulandari

Assistant Professor of Humanities, Clarkson University

Talk title: “Where are we headed?”: The Cultural Activism of Teater Garasi

Joanne Leow

Assistant Professor of English, University of Saskatchewan

Talk title: “Tear Down the House”: Tania De Rozario’s Queer Literary Circumventions

Weihsin Gui

Associate Professor of English, University of California-Riverside

Talk title: Art and Cities as Speculative Space in the Liquid City Comics Anthology

Organized by the Art, Activism, Authoritarianism in Contemporary Southeast Asia Interdisciplinary Working Group

Sponsored by the University of California-Riverside’s Center for Ideas and Society (CIS)

Questions? Please contact Weihsin Gui at

Art & Power: A Diaspora Dialogue on Myanmar/Burma

View the event recording on Youtube:
(Note: the documentary “LISTEN” on Chaw Ei Thein that was shown during the event has been omitted from the recording.)

“Art & Power: A Diaspora Dialogue on Myanmar/Burma”
Wednesday 10 March at 9:30-11:00 AM US Pacific Time on Zoom

Organized by Southeast Asia: Text, Ritual, Performance (SEATRiP) at the University of California-Riverside. Co-sponsored by UCR SEATRiP and the Performing Difference Faculty Commons. Special thanks to Professor Tammy Ho for designing the flyer.

Chaw Ei Thein

Chaw Ei Thein is highly regarded and internationally acclaimed as a painter and a conceptual as well as a performance artist. Her feminist approach to her art is both gracious and candid and has earned her accolades and recognition as one of the most important contemporary artists to emerge from Burma. Her numerous achievements include exhibiting the installation, “September Sweetness,” a collaboration with artist Richard Streitmatter Tran in the 2008 Singapore Biennial, and presenting “The Burmese Performance Art Scene: Challenges Faced by Burmese Artists” at the Asia House Gallery, London in 2007. She was awarded an Asian Cultural Council fellowship from 2009-2010, an Art Omi and Gardarev Center fellow in 2012, and held a Sea Change Residency by GAEA. (Image credit: Arts Initiative Tokyo)


Video profile of Chaw Ei Thein and her work (Free Dimension Project)

Asian Art Archive: Interview with Chaw Ei Thein


Mandy Moe Pwint Tu

Mandy Moe Pwint Tu is a writer and a poet from Yangon, Myanmar. She has been published in the journal of the Society of Classical Poets, Long Leaf Review, Santa Ana River River, Tint Journal, and Ample Remains. She has featured at the Perth Poetry Club and has represented Myanmar in the Perth Poetry Festival’s segment, Asian Connexions. She co-founded the Yangon Literary Magazine, which was featured in the BBC Radio 4 documentary Yangon Renaissance: Poets, Punks, and Painters. She is currently studying English and Women and Gender Studies at Sewanee: the University of the South. (Image credit: Sewanee University of the South)


“Language” (poem) in Santa Ana River Review

“Mother and the Moon” (poem) in Tint Journal

Interview with Tint Journal

Questions? Contact Weihsin Gui at weihsing “at”


Related links for donations and lending support:

Literary / Media Histories of (Post)colonial Southeast Asia 12 March 2021 9:30 AM

Symposium: Literary / Media Histories of (Post)colonial Southeast Asia

Friday 12 March 2021, 9:30 to 11:30 AM (US Pacific time / Los Angeles) on Zoom

Please register in advance at:


Elizabeth Wijaya. Assistant Professor of Visual Studies, University of Toronto. The Time Between Nations: Emerging Localities in Blood and Tears of the Overseas Chinese and Spirit of the Overseas Chinese.”

Abstract: Until they were discovered by Asian Film Archive in the China Film Archive and restored by the China Film Archive, Blood and Tears of the Overseas Chinese (Tsai Wen-chin, Singapore, 1946) and Spirit of the Overseas Chinese (Wan Hoi-ling, Singapore, 1946) were considered lost films. Produced by China Motion Film Picture Studio, both films in the melodrama mode overtly document anti-Japanese resistance during the occupation. Beginning with newly-arrived migrants from China just before the Occupation and ending in its aftermath, Spirit of the Overseas Chinese alludes to the National Salvation Movement and Singapore China Relief Fund Committee’s efforts to aid China while Blood and Tears of the Overseas Chinese revolves around guerilla efforts during the occupation. In both films, ethnicity, recent voyages and affiliation intertwine with the invocation of China as the nation (guo) and the unitary force of Chinese ethnicity. Yet, this patriotism takes place in a transitional time before new formations of nation-states—Singapore’s self-governance and eventual independence and the victory of the Communist Party of China in the 1949 civil war. This paper pursues the tensions between formal and informal institutions of the state and the affective contradictions in the gaps between ethnicity and nationalism in a time between nations.

Speaker bio: Elizabeth Wijaya is Assistant Professor of East Asian Cinema in the Department of Visual Studies and the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, where she is also founding curator of an online archive of East and Southeast Asian short films. For 2018–2019, she was a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities). She contributed a chapter on Singapore filmmaker Chiang Wei Liang, “Three Ecologies of Cinema, Migration, and the Sea: Chiang Wei Liang’s Short Films,” in Ecology and Chinese-language Cinema: Reimagining a Field (Routledge). She has published in Parallax and Derrida Today and co-edited a special issue ”Survival of the Death Sentence” for Parallax. She is working on a book manuscript, Luminous Flesh: The Visible and Invisible Worlds of Trans-Chinese Cinema. Her research has been supported by the Taiwan Fellowship (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan), the Tan Ean Kiam Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities (Tan Kah Kee and Tan Ean Kiam Foundation, Singapore), and Lee Teng Hui Fellowship (East Asia Program, Cornell). She completed her PhD in Comparative Literature at Cornell University. She is also co-founder of E&W Films, a Singapore-based production company.


“Migratory Times, Diaspora Moments: Films as Archives of Migration and Memories.” Jessica Tan.

“China Relief Fund 南洋华侨筹赈祖国难民总会.” Chinatownology.

“Ambivalent Fatherland: The Chinese National Salvation Movement in Malaya and Java, 1937-1941.” Harvard University Asia Center.

Nadine Chan. Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies, Claremont Graduate University. Cinematic Artifactuality and Postcolonial Memory.”

Abstract: Film registers time in a particularly uncanny way, one that reproduces temporalities resonant with postcolonial life. As technologies of deferred memory, colonial films are artifacts that bear meaning upon how we remember (or dismember) the colonial durabilities that remain with us today. This talk traces the afterlife of one particular colonial educational film called Proudly Presenting Yong Peng (1953) made during the Malayan Emergency into our postcolonial present.

Speaker bio: Nadine Chan is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies (Film and Media) at Claremont Graduate University. Chan has articles published in The Journal of Environmental Humanities, Cinema Journal, Studies in Documentary Film, Periscope for Social Text, Spectator, and the anthology Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film (Duke UP). Chan’s manuscript-in-progress, A Cinema Under the Palms: Colonial Worldmaking in an Unruly Medium examines cinema as a worldmaking and terraforming technology through the framework of counter-colonial “unruliness.” Her second project focuses on complexity, futurity, and uncertainty in visualizations of the Anthropocene. Her work has been supported by an SSRC research fellowship, a Harper-Schmidt postdoctoral fellowship at UChicago, and a Global Asia postdoctoral fellowship at NTU, Singapore.


Malayan Emergency 1948-1960 – Cold War Documentary.” The Cold War.

A New Life – Squatter Resettlement.” Colonial Film Catalog.


Cheryl Narumi Naruse. Assistant Professor of English and Mellon Assistant Professor in the Humanities, Tulane University. Theorizing the Singapore Anthology as Postcolonial Form.”

Abstract: This talk discusses how ideological and economic influences of UNESCO, local writing competitions, and the labor demands of manufacturing economy combine to establish the anthology as a key aesthetic form for nationalist expression in Singapore. The anthology is a literary form that has been otherwise ignored by postcolonial studies in favor of the novel. I examine what the Singapore anthology’s unexpected emergence as a popular literary form in the twenty-first century reveals about literary and national relations amidst capitalist pressures from the state and from the global literary market.

Speaker bio: Cheryl Narumi Naruse is Assistant Professor of English at Tulane University where she teaches classes in postcolonial literature from Asia and the Pacific Islands. She is currently completing her book manuscript, tentatively titled Postcolonial Capitalism: Setting Singapore as Global Asia. Naruse’s publications include articles in biography, Genre, and Verge: Studies in Global Asias as well as a chapter in Singapore Literature and Culture: Current Directions in Local and Global Contexts (Routledge). She has also co-edited a number of special issues: “Literature and Postcolonial Capitalism” for ARIEL; a Periscope dossier with co-panelist Nadine Chan, “Global Asia: Critical Aesthetics and Alternative Globalities” for Social Text Online, and “Singapore at 50: At the Intersections of Neoliberal Globalization and Postcoloniality” for Interventions. Her research has been supported by a postdoctoral fellowship at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (2015-16). For the MLA, Naruse served as the inaugural chair of the Southeast Asia and Southeast Asian Diasporic Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies Forum (2018-19). She is also the Southeast Asia section review editor for The Year’s Work in English Studies (Oxford UP).


The rise of the anthology.” Joy Fang.

Contemporary Literature from Singapore.” Weihsin Gui.

Philip Holden. Independent scholar. Translocal Translation: World Literature and the Southeast Asian Port City.”

Abstract: Since independence in 1965, the city-state of Singapore has become a global city, and what Jini Kim Watson has termed an “aspirational city” as a model for the Global South. Yet its literary texts, with a few exceptions, remain resolutely local in terms of publication and readership. My paper considers Singapore’s paradigmatic historical development as a Southeast Asian port city. Attending to the circulation of literary texts in such a context requires a movement beyond analysis that opposes port to city, that simply sees the cultural hybridity and literariness of the text critiquing structures of colonial and postcolonial governmentality. Rather, such texts emerge as translocal exercises in place-making, machines for the production of class-based locally embedded identities that are not simply national. Such a realization enables a reconsideration of lacunae in contemporary discussions of world literature, especially those concerning implied readership and processes of translation. If time permits, I will illustrate my discussion with reference to the writings of Han Suyin, Kuo Pao Kun, Alfian Sa’at and Latha (K. Kanigalatha).

Speaker bio: Philip Holden retired in 2018 as Professor of Literature at the National University of Singapore, having worked for 25 years in higher education in Singapore. His work in auto/biography studies includes the book Autobiography and Decolonization: Modernity, Masculinity and the Nation-State, and a number of scholarly articles in major scholarly journals such as biography, Life Writing, a/b: Auto/biography Studies, and Postcolonial Studies. He has also published widely on Singapore and Southeast Asian literatures, is the co-author of The Routledge Concise History of Southeast Asian Writing in English, and one of the editors of Writing Singapore, the most comprehensive historical anthology of Singapore literature in English. He is presently studying Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia, Canada.


Always Already Translated: Questions of Language in Singapore Literature.” Philip Holden.

An Interview with Alfian Sa’at.” Nazry Bahrawi.

Autobiography.” Alfian Sa’at.

Organized by Southeast Asia: Text, Ritual, Performance (SEATRiP) at the University of California-Riverside. Co-sponsored by UCR’s Departments of English, History, and Media and Cultural Studies.

Questions? Please contact Weihsin Gui at weihsing “at”

Southeast Asia & Southeast Asia diasporic panels at MLA 2021

[𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘: 𝗡𝗼𝘄 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗨𝗦 𝗘𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻 (𝗡𝗲𝘄 𝗬𝗼𝗿𝗸) 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘀𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀. 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗨𝗦 𝗣𝗮𝗰𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲.]

The upcoming January 2021 Modern Language Association Convention will be held online (link to the main convention page at the bottom of this post). I searched the online program & here’s a list of the sessions/panels I found that have content related to Southeast Asia & its diasporas. All dates & times are US Eastern Time (New York).

* Asian American Literature and Empire and Imperialism
Thursday, 7 January 2021
10:15 AM – 11:30 AM

* Postcolonial Optimism: Positive Affects and Alternative Futures
Thursday, 7 January 2021
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM

* Asian American Literature and Digital Humanities
Thursday, 7 January 2021
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM

* Migrant Worker Literature (organized by Southeast Asia & Southeast Asia Diasporic Forum)
Thursday, 7 January 2021
1:45 PM – 3:00 PM

* Authoritarianism and Southeast Asia (organized by Southeast Asia & Southeast Asia Diasporic Forum)
Friday, 8 January 2021
3:30 PM – 4:45 PM

* Southeast Asia and the Anthropocene
Saturday, 9 January 2021
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM

* Migrations and Diasporas in American Multiethnic Literature
Saturday, 9 January 2021
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM

* Decolonizing Comics and/as Activism
Sunday, 10 January 2021
1:45 PM – 3:00 PM

Convention webpage:

Meet the Author: Nuraliah Norasid & The Gatekeeper

The University of California-Riverside’s Southeast Asia: Text, Ritual, and Performance (SEATRIP) program will be hosting a “Meet the Author” event with Nuraliah Norasid, author of The Gatekeeper (Epigram Books, 2016). This event will be held on Zoom.

Date and Time: Monday 28 September, 9:30 PM (US Pacific time; Los Angeles) / Tuesday 29 September, 12:30 PM (Singapore time)

Zoom registration link:

Publisher’s synopsis of The Gatekeeper: “When young medusa Ria inadvertently turns an entire village to stone, she and her older sister flee to Nelroote, an underground settlement populated by other non-humans also marginalised by society. There she becomes their gatekeeper, hoping to seek redemption and love…until her friendship with a man from above threatens to dismantle the city she swore to protect.”

For readers in North America, digital versions of The Gatekeeper are available on Amazon ( and the Google Play Store (

This event is co-sponsored by the UCR English department, Comparative Literature department, Science Fiction and Cultures of Science program, and Singapore Unbound.

Nuraliah Norasid will also be part of a panel about “The Political Possibilities of the Short Story” with Ricco Villanueva Siasoco on Friday 2 October at 8:00 PM (US Eastern time; New York). This panel is part of the 2020 Singapore Literature Festival organized by Singapore Unbound. You can register for the panel at

Questions? Contact Weihsin Gui at weihsing at

Southeast Asian Literary & Cultural Studies: Navigating the Job Market

Southeast Asian Literary & Cultural Studies: Navigating the Job Market

Wednesday July 22, 2020 at 4:00pm Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Please join members of the Modern Language Association’s Southeast Asian & Southeast Asian Diasporic forum to discuss how candidates working in Southeast Asian literary and cultural studies can effectively navigate the academic job market. This conversation will provide an introduction to the application process with a focus on the cover letter, CVs, job ads, and the realities of the job market. Panelists will also share insights on how to pitch Southeast Asia specializations to positions in global anglophone, Asian American, Asian studies and language depts., and comparative literature.

Zoom Panelists:
* Brian Bernards, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages & Cultures & Comparative Literature, USC
* Weihsin Gui, Associate Professor of English & Director of SEATRiP, UC Riverside
* Sheela Jane Menon, Assistant Professor of English, Dickinson College
* Cheryl Naruse, Mellon Assistant Professor in the Humanities, Assistant Professor of English, Tulane University

Zoom Meeting ID: 946 5775 4203

Please email for the Zoom meeting link and password if you would like to attend.

Some brief readings to consider:

“How to Write a Successful Cover Letter” by Victoria Reyes

“Understanding Cover Letters” by Cheryl E. Ball

Alt-ac resources compiled by Jennifer Polk

“The Alt-Ac Job Search: A Case Study” by Leonard Cassuto


Southeast Asia-related Events at MLA 2020 in Seattle

Southeast Asia-related Events at MLA 2020 in Seattle.

Southeast Asia and the Oceanic.” 12:00 PM–1:15 PM Jan 9, 2020. WSCC Skagit 3

Panelists seek to add Southeast Asian perspectives to the transnational conversations on the oceanic, a critical framework that challenges national and land-based notions of literary and cultural studies. Oceanic imaginaries and methodologies are vital undercurrents in the study of Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian diasporic texts. This body of texts offers complex aesthetics and poetics of water bodies, water worlds, and postcolonial cultures. Related Material: For related material, write to after 1 Dec.

Presider: Joanne Leow, U of Saskatchewan


William Arighi, Springfield C

Nazry Bahrawi, Singapore U of Tech. and Design

Cheryl Narumi Naruse, Tulane U

Vinh Nguyen, U of Waterloo

E. K. Tan, Stony Brook U, State U of New York

Respondent: Vicente Rafael, U of Washington, Seattle


Settler Colonialism in Southeast Asia.” 12:00 PM–1:15 PM Jan 10, 2020. WSCC 619

Presider: Sheela Jane Menon, Dickinson C


1: Making Context Tangible through Form: Articulation of Life under Colonization through Graphic Storytelling

Shiladitya Sen, Montclair State U

2: Libraries, Archives, and Colonialism in Indonesia

Zoë McLaughlin, Michigan State U

3: Chinese Settler Colonialism in Sarawak: Sinophone and Anglophone Literary Perspectives from Elsewhere

Fiona Lee, U of Sydney

Respondent: Yu-ting Huang, Wesleyan U


Southeast Asian and Australian Literary and Cultural Connections.” 8:30 AM–9:45 AM Jan 11, 2020. WSCC Skagit 3

Panelists examine literary-cultural connections between Southeast Asian countries and Australia. What relationships between Southeast Asia and Australia emerge in literary representations? How do race, racism, and racial identification factor into these relationships? Do specific literary genres affect the structure and significance of these relationships and representations?

Presider: Weihsin Gui, U of California, Riverside


Ruth Yvonne Hsu, U of Hawai‘i, Mānoa

Eunice Ying Ci Lim, Penn State U, University Park

M. O’Brien, Central Washington U

Samuel Perks, Nanyang Technological U

Zhouling Tian, U of Wollongong

Elisabeth Arti Wulandari, Clarkson U


Transmedia Engagement and the Performance of Place in Southeast Asia.” 3:30 PM–4:45 PM Jan 11, 2020. WSCC Skagit 2

Presider: Brian Bernards, U of Southern California


1: Searching for a Global Place: Soh29 the Epic in Bali and Beyond

Jennifer Goodlander, Indiana U, Bloomington

2: The Expanding Island: Transmedial Critiques of Land Reclamation in Singapore

Joanne Leow, U of Saskatchewan

3: Mirror Space: The Unlocatability of Vietnamese People and Literature

Minh Vu, Yale U

4: Image Is Flat, Air Is Thick: Meteorological Media and the Visualization of the Southeast Asian Transboundary Haze

Nadine Chan, Claremont Graduate U


Southeast Asian Diasporic Authors in Conversation.” 8:30 AM–9:45 AM Jan 12, 2020. WSCC Skagit 3

A creative conversation among (and reading of excerpts by) authors whose acclaimed writings traverse and intersect with Southeast Asia, Australia, the United Kingdom, and North America. Authors discuss how their use of different genres (fiction, poetry, plays, comics) enables diverse imaginings of Southeast Asia and diaspora as complex modes of subjectivity, as imagined and lived spaces and regions, and as histories.

Presider: Brian Bernards, U of Southern California


Philip Holden, scholar-author

Lydia Kwa, author

Sonny Liew, comic artist-illustrator

Chi Vu, Victoria U, Melbourne