Workshop: Eyes Across the Indian Ocean

Date: Wednesday 19th November 2014 Time: 10.00am – 12.30pm Place: John Medley-216B Building Map: This half-day gathering is the first event of the ‘Indian Ocean Research and Action Network’ ( ). An initiative of a group of early career researchers at the University of Melbourne, IORAN connects scholars, artists and activists working to increase co-operation and understanding across the unevenly globalising region encompassed by the Indian Ocean. The network fosters engagements between innovative projects focusing on societies along the Indian Ocean rim, highlighting connections and acting as a focal point for Australian researchers in the region. Forging partnerships between university-based researchers and the broader community, IORAN hosts interdisciplinary seminars, student workshops and public events. In recent years, the Indian Ocean has emerged as a new cartography of empire as writers in Security Studies and International Relations increasingly identify the region as the cradle of a post-US world order and. Alongside this rising tide of interest in contemporary geo-politics across the Indian Ocean, historians, artists and writers over the last decade have explored the region as a ‘liquid continent’ that has long connected various peoples since the code governing monsoon winds was deciphered in 7th century BC. As Aboriginal communities on the northern coasts of the Australian mainland have long insisted, dynamic networks threading Australia into the Indian Ocean world long predate European colonisation and over the last three centuries new axes of mobility have emerged at times threading the very interior reaches of Australian deserts into an oceanic ecumene. The aim of the IORAN is to support and encourage dynamic, often overlooked perspectives onto the region from an Australian standpoint. This workshop will bring together scholars at the University of Melbourne and presenters will speak for 15 – 20 minutes about their scholarly and/or creative projects casting critical eyes across the Indian Ocean. Attendees:

  1. Shakira Hussein (Asia Institute):
  2. Amanda Gilbertson (SSPS):
  3. Coel Kirkby (Law):
  4. Kate McGregor (History):
  5. Nadia Faragaab (Burji Arts):
  6. Samia Khatun (History):
  7. Andy May (History):
  8. Sudhya Pahuja (Law):
  9. Adil Khan (Law, International Visitor):

For more information, please contact Samia Khatun on +61 408 225 035

Colonial Northeast India: December 2014 Conference (Delhi)

The draft program has been announced for the Colonial Northeast India: Local Histories, Regional Cultures, Global Connections Conference, to be held at the India International Centre in Delhi, 1-2 December 2014. The event is being convened by Associate Professor Andrew J. May and is a collaboration between the Universities of Delhi, Melbourne and Toronto, with financial support from the University of Melbourne’s International Research & Research Training Fund. Limited additional places are available for anyone wishing to attend the conference—please contact to register.

DAY 1: Monday 1 December 2014
Annexe Lecture Room 2
9:00  Welcome and Introduction of Themes

Prof. Upinder Singh, Head of History Department, Delhi University

Andrew J. May (University of Melbourne)

Jayeeta Sharma (University of Toronto)

David Vumlallian Zou (University of Delhi)

Session 1
9:30  Governance & State Formation 

Gunnel Cederlöf (KTH/the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, and Shiv Nadar University, UP), ‘The making of subjects on British India’s north-eastern frontier’.

Reeju Ray (University of Toronto), ‘Placing the Khasi Jaintiah Hills: looking beyond “Frontier” Hills and “Hill Tribals”’.

Horreisem Ruivah (University of Delhi), ‘From lineage to state: The making of the Meitei state in the Manipur valley’.

Annexe Lecture Room 1 Annexe Lecture Room 2
Session 2 Session 3
11:30  Art, Text, Histories 

Natasa Thoudam (IIT, Bombay), ‘A history from the margin: a dialogue between public and private histories in Maharaj Kumari Binodini Devi’s historical novel, Boro Sahib Ongbi Sanatombi (The princess and the political agent)’.

Binata Nongmaithem (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), ‘The liminalities of colonial historical discourse in Manipur’.

Prachee Dewri (University of Delhi), ‘Bishnuprasad Rava and the Sattra: individual & political interventions’

 Space & Identity 

Zilpha A. Modi (Rajiv Gandhi University), ‘The making of a frontier community: experiences of the Lisus of Arunachal Pradesh’.

Alimpana Goswami (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati), ‘Negotiating political identity: the Rabhas of Assam’.

Swargajyoti Gohain (Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi), ‘Buffer politics and the colonial production of Monyul as margin’.

1:00 LUNCH
Annexe Lecture Room 1 Annexe Lecture Room 2
Session 4 Session 5
2:00  Commerce & Communication 

Nabanita Sharma (University of Delhi), ‘Trade and politics in pre- and early colonial Assam’.

Thangboi Zou (North Eastern Hill University, Shillong), ‘Mapping the flow of goods and marketplaces in the Lushai Hills under Colonial dispensation’.

Santosh Hasnu (University of Delhi), ‘Road transport across British Assam during World War II’.

 Boundaries & Mobilities 

Chingngaih Vualnam (University of Hyderabad), ‘Notions of history and identity: pre-colonial and colonial Manipur’.

Anandaroop Sen (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), ‘Raiding a history: practices of place making in colonial Tippera (Tripura)’.

Monimalika Sengupta (Monash University, Australia), ‘North eastern provinces marginalise Chittagong Hill Tracts’ refugees in return’.

Annexe Lecture Room 1 Annexe Lecture Room 2
Session 6 Session 7
4:00  Colonial Ethnographies 

Sodolakpou Panmei (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), ‘State(s) of ethnographic enquiry: narratives on the Nagas of British India’s north east frontier, 1824-1945’.

Saagar Tewari (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), ‘Anthropology and administration: towards an intellectual history of the “tribal question” (1920-1950)’.

 Colonial Constructions 

Kuldeep Patowary (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), ‘Understanding the “new” east: early colonial perceptions of Assam’.

Tannishtha Bhattacharjee (University of Delhi), ‘Strategies and challenges of construction and assertion of identities in the Khasi Hills of the first half of the 19th century’.

5:00 BREAK 
Annexe Lecture Room 2
Session 8
6:00-7:30 History and MediaScreening and Panel Discussion: TBC
DAY 2: Tuesday 2 December 2014
Annexe Lecture Room 1 Annexe Lecture Room 2
Session 9 Session 10
9:30  Myths & Representations

Vibha Arora (Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi), ‘Tracing the colonial imaginary of the Lepchas in the Eastern Himalayas’.

Debojyoti Das (Birkbeck, University of London), ‘Visual anthropology and the knowledge of the ‘other’: representing colonial anti-slavery expedition through photography in Naga Hills’.

Madeline Tham (North Eastern Hill University, Shillong), ‘Colonial commentary on a Khasi Myth’.

Land, Law & Rights 

Arupjyoti Saikia (Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati), ‘Elephants, zamindars and state: history of contested hunting rights in Western Assam’.

Lalsanglen Haokip (University of Delhi), ‘Land and law in Manipur circa 1891-1947’.

Debarati Bagchi (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), ‘The “entangled” landed rights in colonial Sylhet: revisiting the agrarian question’.

Annexe Lecture Room 1 Annexe Lecture Room 2
Session 11 Session 12
11:30  Entering the Archive

Deepak Naorem (University of Delhi), ‘Writing the ‘Japanese Laan’: past, history writing, gazetteer history’.

Samyak Ghosh (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata), ‘Writing the Kachari world: Colonial representations of precolonial pasts and the making of history’.

Limayangla Pongener (Nagaland University), ‘Naga scholarship and its colonial archive’.


Vikash Kumar (University of Delhi), ‘Disciplining the “wild” Santal body under colonial rule’.

Sudip Saha (North Eastern Hill University, Shillong), ‘Malaria and mortality in Assam tea plantations: rethinking the environmental context’.

Ryntihlin Jennifer War ((Martin Luther Christian University) & Sandra Albert (Indian Institute of Public Health, Shillong), ‘Shame, sin and guilt: the influence of Christianity on sexuality among Khasi youth in Meghalaya, northeast India’

1:00  LUNCH 
Annexe Lecture Room 1 Annexe Lecture Room 2
Session 13 Session 14
2:00  Identity & Resistance

Anira Phipon Lepcha (Sikkim University), ‘Christian missionaries intervention and the social changes of the Lepchas in Sikkim (20th century)’.

B.L. Nongbri (John Roberts Theological Seminary), ‘Seng Khasi movement as a cultural resistance to colonial intrusion: A historical appraisal’.

Hemijyoti Medhi (Tezpur University), ‘Khadi and its myriad weaves: Mahila Samitis’ Sipini Bhoral (Weavers’ Stores) in late Colonial Assam’.

 Local Narratives & Beliefs 

Aparajita De (Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics) & Rajib Nandi (Institute of Social Studies Trust, New Delhi), ‘Reconstructing the past: the making of Darjeeling through colonial and local narratives’.

Rinzi Lama (Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay), ‘Assimilation of the practices: an exploration of practices in Darjeeling’.

Michael Kolb (Assam Don Bosco University), ‘The history of C. Kemprai: folklore or a challenge to sanitised skullduggery?’

Annexe Lecture Room 2
Session 15
3:30  Making Histories

David Reid Syiemlieh

Jayeeta Sharma (University of Toronto)

Andrew May (University of Melbourne)


Melbourne Symposium: Inter-Asia Cultural Research Methods – 12 September 2014

A Half-Day Symposium
Inter-Asia Cultural Research Methods
Friday 12 September 2014
1-3pm, Linkway (4th Floor, John Medley Building)
The University of Melbourne, Parkville


Since the late 1990s, the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies project has emerged to become an intellectual movement and a transborder collective that attempts to contribute to the integration of an imagined Asia at the level of knowledge production. It formulates ‘Asia as method’ as an alternative approach to the West-oriented singularity in order to multiply frames of references and sites of identification. In this half-day symposium, leading scholars will discuss their involvement with the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies project, and showcase the ‘inter-Asia’ cultural research methods in their work.


Daniel P.S. Goh (National University of Singapore) (Faculty of Arts Visiting Scholar, University of Melbourne)

Comparative Cultural and Urban Research: History, Heritage and Re-urbanisation in Three Asian Cities.

Melani Budianta (University of Indonesia)

Cultural Studies and Inter-Southeast Asian Cultural Flow

Fran Martin (University of Melbourne)

Inter-Asia Cultural Research and Transborder Collaborations


Respondent: Jini Kim Watson (New York University)

Chair: Audrey Yue (University of Melbourne)

Hosted by: Asian Cultural Research Network; Research Unit in Public Cultures; The Faculty of Arts Indonesia Initiative; School of Culture and Communication, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne. Convened by Associate Professor Audrey Yue.

This event is free. Refreshments will be served. For catering purposes, please RSVP to Charmaine Monteiro ( by Wednesday 10 September 2014.

Welcome Morning Tea for Professor Guoqi Xu, the University of Hong Kong

You are invited to attend a Welcome Morning Tea for Professor Guoqi Xu, from the University of Hong Kong, who has recently joined the History program as a Faculty of Arts Asia Scholar. The Morning Tea will take place on Wednesday 27 August at 10.00am in the Seventh Floor Staff Common Room, Arts West. If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP to Hannah Loney at <> by Monday 25 August for catering purposes. If anyone is able to bake a cake for the occasion this would be much appreciated – please let Hannah know in advance.

Professor Xu will be based at the University of Melbourne for one month per year over the next three years, and will make an important contribution to the teaching of our program. He is a distinguished historian of Chinese and global history, WW1 and Asia, as well as Sino-foreign (and especially US) relations. He has published extensively in these fields. His current research projects explore ideas of “China and Chineseness”, and Asia and the Great War (under contract for Oxford University Press).

Kind regards,

Hannah Loney
For Professor Kate Darian-Smith, Chair, History

New Research in Southeast Asian Studies Workshop

A postgraduate workshop, “New Research in Southeast Asian Studies”, will be held on Friday 22 August, 10.30am-12.30pm, Venue TBA, followed by lunch.

The workshop is hosted by the Asia History Hub and the Indonesia Forum at the University of Melbourne. It will be held in conjunction with the visit of Professor Bambang Purwanto from Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, who will be coming to visit the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies from 11-30 August 2014 as part of the Faculty of Arts Indonesia Initiative. Professor Purwanto is an historian of Indonesia focusing on Indonesian historiography and the history of slavery, medicine and heritage.

The Workshop will focus on critical engagement with new research in Southeast Asian Studies and will include presentations by four current PhD candidates at the University of Melbourne:

Jason Sze Chieh Ng (School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts) – ‘Emerging Perspectives on the Malayan Emergency’

Sunsanee McDonnell (Asia Institute, Faculty of Arts) – ‘New Research in Southeast Asian Borderlands’

Aninda Moezier (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning) – Spatial Organization and Gender Relations in Minangkabau, Indonesia

Hani Yulindrasari (Gender Studies, School of Social and Political Sciences) – Negotiating Masculinity: Lived Experience of Male Teachers in Indonesian Early Childhood Education

 The presenters will each recommend two recent scholarly publications for the group to read beforehand (to be distributed on Friday 15 August) and will provide a brief introduction/presentation, followed by a roundtable discussion. The workshop will be focused on creating critical discussion amongst postgraduate students.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Hannah Loney at by Friday 8 August 2014.

Morning tea welcome for Asia scholars

Asia History Hub is holding a morning tea to welcome Dr Simon Creak, historian of Southeast Asia (Laos), and Associate Professor Peidong Sun, Fudan University, Partner Investigator on an ARC Discovery Project and visiting the School for a month.  All welcome.  Time: 10.30 a.m.  Venue: Arts West, 7th Floor tearoom. Tuesday 29 July 2014.

‘Who will marry my daughter? Shanghai Parental Match-Making Corner and the Zhiqing Generation’

Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies

Seminar on Thursday 31 July 2014

 Presented by Associate Professor Peidong Sun

Department of History, Fudan University


“Who will marry my daughter? Shanghai Parental Match-Making Corner and the Zhiqing Generation

Chaired by Professor Christine Wong

This seminar explores the parental Matchmaking Corner in Shanghai, where many parents, who had been sent down to the countryside for re-education in their teens during the Maoist years, locate prospects for their children. Based on participant observation and interviews, it reveals a complicated picture of parental matchmaking practices and new expectations of marriage from the parents’ perspectives, as well as parental concerns, anxieties, and frustrations about the marriage market in a changing urban environment.


Venue:       Room 321, Level 3, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, The University of Melbourne

Date:          Thursday 31 July 2014

Time:          5.30pm to 7.00pm



To register and for further information please contact Fiona Ross at