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The Australian National University

Symposium: Gender, mobility regimes and social transformation in Asia

Presenter/s: Keynote speakers: Dr Raka Shome, National University of Singapore; Prof Pei-Chia Lan, National Taiwan University; Prof Purnima Mankekar SCC Visiting Asia Scholar, UCLA

Event type: Symposium

Event date: Thursday, 3 November 2016 - 10:30am

Event venue: Forum Theatre, Arts West (Building 148) The University of Melbourne, PARKVILLE VIC 3010

This symposium explores the inter- relations between gender, mobility regimes and social transformation in Asia, where rapid globalisation and an increase in ‘neoliberal’-style governance in many nations have reinforced major reconfigurations of the ways in which gender is lived and imagined.

Gender is taking on new expressions, shaped by wider political and economic demands for participation in flexible labour, intimate markets, geographic mobilities, and social reproduction. In this symposium, we explore how contemporary regimes of governance in Asia impact on the spatial and social movements of people (migrants, refugees, expatriates, sex workers, and tourists) as well as mobile forms of media and technology, and examine the economic, political, affective, and especially gendered dimensions of these forms of mobility. We investigate how social actors navigate the challenges put forward by regulatory regimes, as they contest and negotiate social and spatial mobility. We explore how interdisciplinary methods and theories can productively engage with the operations of mobility regimes in the making and un-making of gender relations and the various forms of affective (dis)attachments that this entails.

This symposium brings together scholars from gender studies, anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, development studies and related disciplines in our region to problematise current methodological and theoretical paradigms, and seeks to provide new insights into the relationship between mobility regimes, gender and social transformation.

The symposium begins on Thursday evening, 3 November, with a public keynote lecture from Dr Raka Shome of the National University of Singapore, followed by a catered reception in Arts Hall. On Friday 4 November the symposium proper will take place, with opening and closing public keynote lectures delivered by Professor Purnima Mankekar (visiting SCC Asia scholar; UCLA) and Professor Pei-Chia Lan (National Taiwan University) respectively. Additionally, Dr Raka Shome will lead a masterclass for graduate students on Thursday 3 November prior to the symposium.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Raka Shome, National University of Singapore

Dr Raka Shome writes on postcolonial cultures, transnational feminism, and media/communication cultures. Her current research interests are in Asian modernities; contemporary Indian nationalism; transnational relations of India, racism and media in a global context, transnational media cultures and gender, and the transnational politics of knowledge production as a communication issue. Dr. Shome has published numerous articles and book chapters in leading journals and anthologies in the field of Media and Communication Studies. She is the author of Diana and Beyond: White Femininity, National Identity, and Contemporary Media Culture (University of Illinois Press, 2014), a book that examines how new sets of postcolonial relations in contemporary western cultures are mediated through images of white femininity and how such mediation is often transnationally linked to non- western/non-white frames of domesticity.

Professor Pei-Chia Lan, National Taiwan University

Pei-Chia Lan is Professor of Sociology at National Taiwan University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, a Fullbright scholar at New York University, and a Radcliffe- Yenching fellow at Harvard University. Her book Global Cinderellas: Migrant Domestics and Newly Rich Employers in Taiwan (Duke University Press, 2006) won a Distinguished Book Award from the Sex and Gender section of the American Sociological Association and ICAS (International Convention of Asian Scholars) Book Prize: Best Study in Social Science. She is currently working on a book manuscript about parenting and class inequality in the context of globalisation and immigration.

Professor Purnima Mankekar, SCC Visiting Asia Scholar; UCLA

Purnima Mankekar is Professor in the Departments of Gender Studies, Asian American Studies, and Film, Television, and Digital Media at UCLA. Her research areas include: theories of affect, feminist media studies, transnational cultural studies, feminist anthropology and ethnography, and South Asian/American studies. She is currently concluding long- term ethnographic research in the Business Process Outsourcing industry in Bangalore, India, in collaboration with Akhil Gupta. She was a Senior Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore in 2013 and is currently a visiting Asia Scholar at the School of Culture and Communication at The University of Melbourne. Her books include Screening Culture, Viewing Politics: An Ethnography of Womanhood in Postcolonial India (Duke University Press, 1999) which was awarded the Kovacs Best Book Award by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies; Caste and Outcast (co-edited with Gordon Chang and Akhil Gupta, Stanford University Press, 2002); Media, Erotics, and Transnational Asia (co-edited with Louisa Schein, Duke University Press, 2013); and Unsettling India: Affect, Temporality, Transnationality (Duke University Press, 2015). 

Key Information:

  • RHD Masterclass on Contemporary Postcolonial Theory with Dr Raka Shome, Thursday, 3 November 2016, 10:30am - 2:00pm
  • Opening Public Keynote Lecture (Dr Raka Shome, National University of Singapore), Thursday, 3 November 2016, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Symposium: Friday, 4 November 2016, 9:30am - 5:00pm

Events are free. Registration is required. Seating is limited.

This symposium is co-sponsored by the Asia Institute, the Research Unit in Public Cultures, the School of Culture and Communication, and the Gender Studies program at The University of Melbourne.


Dr Ana Dragojlovic (Gender Studies, Asia Institute)

Associate Professor Fran Martin (ARC Future Fellow, School of Culture and Communication)

Associate Professor Audrey Yue (Director, Research Unit in Public Cultures) 

Further Information:

For further information about the symposium, including full abstracts and biographies of all confirmed speakers and registration details, see the symposium website or contact Joshua Pocius. Please see the attached flyer for more information.



Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute