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

CFP: special issue of Antipodes journal on Southeast Asian & Australian Literary & Cultural Connections

CFP: special issue of Antipodes journal on Southeast Asian and Australian Literary and Cultural Connections

We invite essay submissions for a special issue of Antipodes, journal of the American Association for Australasian Studies (AAALS) on the topic of Southeast Asian and Australian Literary and Cultural Connections. This special section will be guest edited by Weihsin Gui (University of California-Riverside) and Cheryl Narumi Naruse (Tulane University).

Although there are numerous monographs and essay anthologies in the social sciences on the political, historical, and social ties between Southeast Asia and Australia, with one exception there has not been a recent substantive study of literary and cultural productions that arise because of such connections. José Wendell Capili’s recent literary history, Migrations and Mediations (2016), traces the emergence and growth of Southeast Asian diasporic writing in Australia from the 1970s to the present day. Building on Capili’s work, we welcome essays on authors such as Teo Hsu-ming, Lau Siew Mei, Simone Lazaroo, Beth Yahp, Julie Koh, Dewi Anggraeni, Nam Le, Hoa Pham, Merlinda Bobis, Arlene Chai among others.

The submission deadline is March 2, 2020. Essays should be 5500-7000 words in length and follow the latest MLA citation style and Antipodes guidelines. Arguments should address one or more of the following questions: What kind of relationships between specific Southeast Asian countries/cultures and Australia emerge in the literary text you are writing about? How does national and diasporic identity, migrant and refugee subjectivity, colonialism and racism/racial identification factor into these relationships? Does the specific genre of a literary text (for e.g. memoir, short story, lyric poetry) affect the structure and significance of these relationships and representations?

Please contact the guest editors Weihsin Gui ( and Cheryl Narumi Naruse ( if you have any questions. All essays should be submitted through the journal’s website (see below) and must go through peer review and editorial evaluation per the journal’s standing policy. Antipodes is published by Wayne State University Press. More information about the journal and submission process can be found here:

CFP ACLA 2020: Fictions of the Neoliberal City

“Fictions of the Neoliberal City” (proposed seminar for ACLA 2020 Chicago, March 19-22)

How does late-twentieth and early twenty-first century fiction represent neoliberal urban spaces and city life? While there are numerous studies about literature and the modern city in various cultural and geographical contexts, contemporary fiction’s engagement with neoliberalized urban milieus hasn’t been substantially explored. Extant scholarship about neoliberal urbanism comes primarily from the social sciences, such as Jason Hackworth’s Neoliberal City (2006), Tuna Taşan-Kok and Guy Baeten’s Contradictions of Neoliberal Planning (2012), and Gavin Shatkin’s Contesting the Indian City (2014).

Yet it can be no accident that, in their introduction to a 2018 special issue of Novel: A Forum on Fiction about neoliberalism, John Marx and Nancy Armstrong discuss the figures of the dumpster diver and garbage picker along with the prevalence of contemporary novels about garbage and other types of literal and figurative refuse. The detritus of urban existence is one possible motif within what Patricia Yaeger calls a metropoetics that maps out different structures and forces at work in today’s cities. As editor of a 2007 special issue of PMLA on cities, Yaeger highlights overurbanization, infrastructure, shelter, and counterpublics as key topics for metropoetics, but other subjects are undoubtedly worth examining across a range of cityscapes and literary forms. For instance, Yaeger’s call to address the “staggering sublime” reproduced by the “lacks” and “zeros” of non-western overurbanized spaces has been taken up by Achille Mbembe in “The Zero World: Materials and the Machine” (2014) and more recently, the contributors of Planned Violence: Post/Colonial Infrastructure, Literature, and Culture (2018), who among other issues, explore modes of re-opening, repair, and occupation that undercut colonial and neoliberal forms of violence in urban worlds.

Our proposed seminar takes its cue from these scholars and also from Aihwa Ong’s insight that “the proliferation of neoliberal techniques thus contributes to the blossoming of an urban terrain of unanticipated borrowings, appropriations, and alliances that cut across” social, political, and economic boundaries (“Introduction: The Art of Being Global”, 5). We ask: how does prose fiction use existing or develop new metropoetics to depict, negotiate, and interrogate neoliberal urban spaces and city life?

Topics of interest include but are not limited to: infrastructures of violence; interstitial subcultures; turning waste to repair; new materialist and posthumanist urbanisms; conservation and development; public transit and urban mobility; aesthetic innovation in city writing; contesting neoliberal regimes in/through urban forms.

Please submit abstract with bio between 8/31 and 9/23 via the ACLA portal (; please do not send abstracts directly to the seminar organizers. Questions? Contact Weihsin Gui at or Rituparna Mitra at

CFP: Deadline extended to March 20 – Southeast Asia & Australia for MLA 2020

***Deadline extended to March 20***

This call is for a proposed collaborative session between the Southeast Asia/Southeast Asia Diasporic Forum of the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Association for Australasian Literary Studies (AAALS) at the January 2020 MLA conference in Seattle. Given the geographical proximity and intertwined histories of several Southeast Asian countries and Australia, we envision a session that explores existing and emerging literary and cultural connections between them across a range of writing, media, and languages.

Although there are numerous monographs and essay anthologies in the social sciences on the ties between Southeast Asia and Australia (and the wider region of Oceania), with one exception there has not been a recent substantive study of literary and cultural productions that arise because of such connections. In Tseen Khoo’s Banana-Bending: Asian-Australian and Asian-Canadian Literatures (2003), Alice Pung’s edited anthology Growing Up Asian in Australia (2008), Amerasia journal’s 2010 special issue comparing Asian Australia and Asian America, and more recently the Journal of Postcolonial Writing’s 2016 special issue on Asian Australian writing, most of the works discussed are by authors of East Asian and South Asian descent, although there is some attention given to writing by a few authors of Southeast Asian ancestry.

We take our lead for this collaborative session from José Wendell Capili’s recent literary history, Migrations and Mediations (2016), which traces the emergence and growth of Southeast Asian diasporic writing in Australia from the 1970s to the present day. Thus, we welcome papers on authors such as Hsu-ming Teo, Lau Siew Mei, Simone Lazaroo, Julie Koh, Dewi Anggraeni, Nam Le, Hoa Pham, Merlinda Bobis, Arlene Chai, and others. We also invite papers that focus on exchanges and collaborations between Southeast Asian and Indigenous authors and artists. Topics of interest include (but are not limited to): colonialism and race/multiculturalism, nationalism and national culture, migration and diaspora, critical refugee studies, transnationalism and globalization.

Please send 250-word abstracts and 100-word speaker bios, as well as any questions, to Weihsin Gui ( and Brenda Machosky ( by March 20, 2019. Please note that speakers whose papers are accepted for this session will need to become members of the Modern Language Association by April 7, 2019 in order to participate in the conference itself.

Southeast Asia-related panels & talks @ MLA2019

Our Southeast Asia & Southeast Asia Diasporic forum in the Modern Language Association will have 3 panels at the January 2019 Chicago MLA conference. I’m also giving a 2nd talk on Sonny Liew’s earlier work (Frankie & Poo) in a special session on postcolonial graphic narratives. Details below.

If you’re giving an MLA talk that’s related to SEAsia (even if the panel isn’t focused on SEAsia) & would like to spread the word, please send me a message ( & I’ll add it to this list.



Race, Nation, and Empire in Southeast Asian Life Writing”

Thursday, 3 January 7:00 PM-8:15 PM, Columbus H (Hyatt Regency)

Presiding: John David Zuern (U of Hawai‘i, Mānoa)


1. ‘The Malays Are the Malaise’: Racialism in the Life Writing of Hugh Clifford and Munsyi Abdullah, Nazry Bahrawi (Singapore U of Tech. and Design)

2. Biofiction and Singapore’s Histories in Sonny Liew’s Graphic Narratives, Weihsin Gui (U of California, Riverside)

3. Nation and Migration in Tash Aw’s The Face: Strangers on a Pier (2015), Sheela Jane Menon (Dickinson C)



Diasporas, Aesthetics, and Southeast Asia”

Sat 5 Jan 8:30 AM-9:45 AM, Colorado (Sheraton Grand)

Sponsoring Entity: CLCS Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian Diasporic

Presiding: Cheryl Narumi Naruse (Tulane U)


1. Decolonizing History at Iowa, Paul Nadal (Princeton U)

2. Intersectionality of Anti-Catholicism, Anticolonialism, and Anti-Confucianism in Three Graphic Novels from the Francophone Vietnamese Diaspora, Henri-Simon Blanc-Hoang (Defense Language Inst.)

3. One or Several Tigers: A Space Opera of Diasporic Proportions, Shao-ling Ma (Yale-NUS C)

4. Writing Backward: Landscapes and/as Discourses in Contemporary Sinophone and Anglophone Mahua Literature, Song Han (Hong Kong U of Science and Tech.)



Southeast Asian Textual Translations and Transactions”

Sun 6 Jan 1:45 PM-3:00 PM, Ohio (Sheraton Grand)

Sponsoring Entity: CLCS Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian Diasporic

Presiding: Brian Bernards (U of Southern California)


1. A Thai Winter Sonata: Cinematic Adaptation, Inter-Asian Tourism, and K-Drama Desire in Hello Stranger, Brian Bernards (U of Southern California)

2. Grotesque Postcoloniality in Modern Southeast Asian Drama and Theater, Elisabeth Arti Wulandari (Universitas Sanata Dharma)

3. Beasts of the Indian Ocean: The Arab-Malay Poetics of Hikayat Kalilah dan Dimnah, Nazry Bahrawi (Singapore U of Tech. and Design)

4. Legitimating Visions: Melodrama and the Nanyang Imaginary in Contemporary Southeast Asian Cinema, Adrian Ellis Alarilla (U of Washington, Seattle)

Aesthetics, Politics, and the Postcolonial Graphic Narrative”

Sun 6 Jan 1:45 PM-3:00 PM, Gold Coast (Hyatt Regency)


1. Comic-Chronotope in Postcolonial Graphic Narratives: Contextualizing Clandestine Immigration, Susmitha Udayan (U of New Mexico, Albuquerque)

2. Human Rights in the Postcolonial Islamic Graphic Novel , Esra Mirze Santesso (U of Georgia)

3. Graphic Narrative and the Aesthetics of Complicity, Muhib Nabulsi (U of Queensland)

4. Graphic Narratives, Transnational Aesthetics, and Political Critique in Singapore: Sonny Liew’s Frankie and Poo, Weihsin Gui (U of California, Riverside)

Southeast Asia-focused Events @ MLA 2018

Southeast Asia-focused Events at the MLA 2018 Conference

There will be not one but *three* events at the 2018 Modern Language Association conference in New York City focused on Southeast Asian literature and culture. The first event is on Thursday January 4 and the other two on Saturday January 6. All three events will be at the Hilton Hotel. See below for more details.



#1. “Southeast Asia and Its Empires” (Roundtable)

Date/Time: Thursday 4 January 5:15 PM-6:30 PM

Location: Concourse B (Hilton)

From the Dutch in Indonesia to the British and Japanese in Malaya to the Americans in Vietnam and the Philippines, Southeast Asia has had long and deep histories of imperial presence. This session examines what literary and cultural productions from the Southeast Asian region can reveal about the workings of empire, past and ongoing imbalances of power, legacies of exploitation, and marginalized subjectivities.

* Presiding:

Joanne Leow (U of Saskatchewan)

Cheryl Narumi Naruse (Tulane U, New Orleans)

* Speakers:

Nadine Chan (U of Chicago, Chicago)

Usha Chandradas (Lasalle C of the Arts, Singapore)

Joanne Leow (U of Saskatchewan)

Su Fang Ng (Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State U)

Thy Phu (U of Western Ontario)



#2. “Southeast Asia as Method and Concept of World Literature” (Roundtable)

Date/Time: Saturday, 6 January 12:00 PM-1:15 PM

Location: Gramercy East (Hilton)

This session considers how Southeast Asian literature and scholarship’s ongoing efforts of deimperialization contest the boundaries of world literature. Participants focus on how the region’s literary and cultural production engages histories of imperialism, colonialism, and the Cold War, interrogating how Southeast Asia offers alternative methods and concepts for understanding the contributions and limitations of world literature.

* Presiding:

Ben Vu Tran (Vanderbilt U, Nashville)

* Speakers:

Rachel Harrison (SOAS, U of London)

Sheela Jane Menon (Dickinson C)

Vinh Nguyen (Harvard U, Cambridge)

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


#3. “Narratives of Resistance and Resilience in Southeast Asian Security Regimes” (special session)

Date/Time: Saturday, 6 January 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Location: Concourse B (Hilton)

* Presiding

Weihsin Gui (U of California, Riverside, Riverside)

For panel proposal and paper abstracts, please contact

* Presentations

1. Resilient Spaces and Sociality in Last Train From Tanjong Pagar, Weihsin Gui (U of California, Riverside)

2. Foreign Talent and the Specter of Foreign Workers in The Inlet, Michelle O’Brien (U of British Columbia)

3. Socialism’s Underworld: Crime and Gold, Ben Vu Tran (Vanderbilt U) 

4. Covert Videography, Undocumented Migration, Concealed Burmeseness, Brian Bernards (U of Southern California)