Speakers

The Asian Conference on Asian Studies (ACAS) is an interdisciplinary conference held alongside The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies (ACCS). Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for either conference will allow delegates to attend sessions in the other.

This page provides information about presenters. For details of presentations and other programming, please visit the Programme page.


  • Professor Vinay Lal
    Professor Vinay Lal
    The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA
  • Professor Helen Gilbert
    Professor Helen Gilbert
    Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
  • Dr Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
    Dr Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
    Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
  • Professor Donald E. Hall
    Professor Donald E. Hall
    Lehigh University, USA
  • Professor Haruko Satoh
    Professor Haruko Satoh
    Osaka University, Japan
  • Professor Pavin Chachavalpongpun
    Professor Pavin Chachavalpongpun
    Kyoto University, Japan
  • Dr Takuma Melber
    Dr Takuma Melber
    The University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • Dr Colin Dürkop
    Dr Colin Dürkop
    Visiting Fellow, Kyoto University, Japan

Previous Speakers

View details of speakers at past ACAS conferences via the links below.

Professor Vinay Lal
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA

Biography

Vinay Lal is Professor of History and Asian American Studies at UCLA. He earned his Ph.D. with Distinction from the University of Chicago in 1992 after undergraduate and Master’s degrees in literature and philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. He writes widely on Indian history, historiography, public and popular culture in India, the Indian diaspora, colonialism, human rights, and the architecture of nonviolence, Gandhi, and the global politics of knowledge systems. His seventeen books include the two-volume Oxford Anthology of the Modern Indian City (Oxford, 2013); Political Hinduism: The Religious Imagination in Public Spheres (ed., Oxford, 2009); The Future of Knowledge and Culture: A Dictionary for the Twenty-first Century, co-edited with Ashis Nandy (Viking Penguin, 2005); Of Cricket, Guinness and Gandhi: Essays on Indian History and Culture (Penguin, 2005); The History of History: Politics and Scholarship in Modern India (Oxford, 2003); Empire of Knowledge: Culture and Plurality in the Global Economy (Pluto Press, 2002); and, most recently, India and the Unthinkable: Backwaters Collective on Metaphysics and Politics I, co-edited with Roby Rajan (Oxford, 2016) and A Passionate Life: Writings by and on Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay (Zubaan Books, 2017), co-edited with Ellen Carol DuBois. His work has been translated into Hindi, Urdu, Kannada, French, German, Spanish, Finnish, Korean, and Persian. Works in progress include two books on Gandhi, a political study of fasting, and a book on internet Hinduism. He also has the distinction of being listed among the “101 Most Dangerous Professors in America” in David Horowitz’s book, The Professors, quite likely the only fifteen minutes of fame he will ever have in his life. He blogs at vinaylal.wordpress.com and maintains a YouTube channel.

Keynote Presentation (2018) | The Challenge of the Global South
Professor Helen Gilbert
Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

Biography

Helen Gilbert is Professor of Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London, and current Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at the University of Tokyo. Educated in Australia and Canada, her primary academic interest lies in the theatre and performance of marginalised cultures. Over the last three decades, her research has spanned artistic works and practices drawn from diverse parts of the world, with special emphasis on contemporary theatre in Australasia, Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand. Thematically, she concentrates on issues relating to race and representation, indigeneity, cultural identity, nationalism, democracy, diplomacy and the politics and aesthetics of cross-cultural engagement. Theoretically, her work attempts to extend postcolonial analytical models to better account for performative praxis.

From 2009–14, she led a transnational European Research Council-funded project on indigenous performance across the Americas, the Pacific, Australia and South Africa. A major performance-based exhibition, EcoCentrix: Indigenous Arts, Sustainable Acts (2013), emerged from this interdisciplinary work, along with several edited books, including Recasting Commodity and Spectacle in the Indigenous Americas (2014) and In the Balance: Indigeneity, Performance, Globalization (2017). The exhibition brought images, objects, sounds, performances and live art installations by over 40 international artists to London and was shortlisted for a UK national engagement award. A monograph synthesising the project’s pioneering insights is also near completion; it focuses on transnational aspects of indigenous performance, paying special attention to environmental justice, belonging, commodity culture, heritage and reconciliation.

Professor Gilbert recently completed a fellowship at the Rachel Carson Centre for Environment and Society in Munich, supported by a Humboldt Prize for career achievements in international theatre studies. Her early books in this field include Post-colonial Drama: Theory, Practice, Politics (co-authored with Joanne Tompkins, 1996) and two award-winning monographs: Performance and Cosmopolitics: Cross Cultural Transactions in Australasia (co-authored with Jacqueline Lo, 2007), and Sightlines: Race, Gender and Nation in Contemporary Australian Theatre (1998). She has also published in animal studies, among other eclectic topics. With Helen Tiffin and Robert Cribb, she wrote Wild Man from Borneo: A Cultural History of the Orangutan (2014), which studies the species boundary between humans and orangutans as imagined by scientists, philosophers, artists and the public at large over the past three centuries. Her research is now turning towards performance and activism in the age of the Anthropocene.

Keynote Presentation (2018) | Indigenous Resurgence and Environmental Justice on the Global Stage
Dr Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

Biography

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong–born editor, translator, and poet. She is the founding co-editor of the first Hong Kong-based online literary publication, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (founded in 2007), and an editor of the academic journals Victorian Network and Hong Kong Studies (Chinese University Press). Her translations have appeared in World Literature Today, Chinese Literature Today, and Pathlight: New Chinese Writing, Drunken Boat, among other places. She holds an MPhil from the University of Hong Kong and a PhD from King’s College London, and she is currently Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, where she teaches poetics, fiction, and modern drama. She has scholarly books forthcoming from Springer and Palgrave. Her first poetry collection is Hula Hooping (Chameleon Press) and she is the recipient of the 2015 Young Artist Award in Literary Arts presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. She is a Vice President of PEN Hong Kong.

Keynote Presentation | Poetic Resistance and Empowerment
Professor Donald E. Hall
Lehigh University, USA

Biography

Donald E. Hall has published widely in the fields of British Studies, Gender Theory, Cultural Studies, and Professional Studies. Prior to arriving at Lehigh in 2011, he served as Jackson Distinguished Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English (and previously Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages) at West Virginia University (WVU). Before his tenure at WVU, he was Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), where he taught for 13 years. He is a recipient of the University Distinguished Teaching Award at CSUN, was a visiting professor at the National University of Rwanda, was 2001 Lansdowne Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Victoria (Canada), was Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Cultural Studies at Karl Franzens University in Graz, Austria, for 2004-05, and was Fulbright Specialist at the University of Helsinki for 2006. He has also taught in Sweden, Romania, Hungary, and China. He has served on numerous panels and committees for the Modern Language Association (MLA), including the Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion and the Convention Program Committee. In 2012, he served as national President of the Association of Departments of English. In 2013, he was elected to and began serving on the Executive Council of the MLA.

His current and forthcoming work examines issues such as professional responsibility and academic community-building, the dialogics of social change and ethical intellectualism, and the Victorian (and our continuing) interest in the deployment of instrumental agency over our social, vocational, and sexual selves. His book, The Academic Community: A Manual For Change, was published by Ohio State University Press in the fall of 2007. His tenth book, Reading Sexualities: Hermeneutic Theory and the Future of Queer Studies, was published in the spring of 2009. In 2012, he and Annamarie Jagose, of the University of Auckland, collaborated on a volume titled The Routledge Queer Studies Reader, which was published in July of that year. He continues to lecture worldwide on the value of a liberal arts education and the need for nurturing global competencies in students and interdisciplinary dialogue in and beyond the classroom.

Keynote Presentation (2018) | The Cities We Fled

Previous Presentations

Featured Panel Presentation (2017) | The Challenges of Doing Cultural Studies Today
Professor Haruko Satoh
Osaka University, Japan

Biography

Haruko Satoh is Specially Appointed Professor at the Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), where she teaches Japan’s relations with Asia and identity in international relations. She is also co-director of the OSIPP-IAFOR Research Centre and she was previously part of the MEXT Reinventing Japan project on “Peace and Human Security in Asia (PAHSA)” with six Southeast Asian and four Japanese universities.

In the past she has worked at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), Chatham House, and Gaiko Forum. Her interests are primarily in state theory, Japanese nationalism and identity politics. Recent publications include: “China in Japan’s Nation-state Identity” in James DJ Brown & Jeff Kingston (eds) Japan’s Foreign Relations in Asia (Routledge, 2018); “Japan’s ‘Postmodern’ Possibility with China: A View from Kansai” in Lam Peng Er (ed), China-Japan Relations in the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017); “Rethinking Security in Japan: In Search of a Post-‘Postwar’ Narrative” in Jain & Lam (Eds.), Japan’s Strategic Challenges in a Changing Regional Environment (World Scientific, 2012); “Through the Looking-glass: China’s Rise as Seen from Japan”, (co-authored with Toshiya Hoshino), Journal of Asian Public Policy, 5(2), 181–198, (July 2012); “Post- 3.11 Japan: A Matter of Restoring Trust?”, ISPI Analysis No. 83 (December 2011); “Legitimacy Deficit in Japan: The Road to True Popular Sovereignty” in Kane, Loy & Patapan (Eds.), Political Legitimacy in Asia: New Leadership Challenges (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), “Japan: Re-engaging with China Meaningfully” in Tang, Li & Acharya (eds), Living with China: Regional States and China through Crises and Turning Points, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). Professor Satoh is a member of IAFOR’s Academic Governing Board. She is Chair of the Politics, Law & International Relations section of the International Academic Advisory Board.

Featured Panel Presentation (2018) | Fearful Futures: Rescuing Asian Democracy
Professor Pavin Chachavalpongpun
Kyoto University, Japan

Biography

Pavin Chachavalpongpun is associate professor at Kyoto University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies. He is also a guest professor at Japan's Doshisha University. Earning his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, he is the author of “A Plastic Nation: The Curse of Thainess in Thai-Burmese Relations” and “Reinventing Thailand: Thaksin and His Foreign Policy”. He is currently working on two book manuscripts, as editor; “Coup, King, Crisis: Thailand’s Troubled Politics since the 2014 Coup” and “Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Thailand”. Pavin is also the chief editor of the online journal “Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia” in which all articles are translated from English into Japanese, Thai, Bahasa and Vietnamese.

After Thailand's military coup of 2014, Pavin was twice summoned for his critical views of Thailand's military and monarchy. On rejecting the summons, Thailand's junta issued a warrant for his arrest and revoked his Thai passport. This forced him to apply for refugee status in Japan.

Featured Panel Presentation (2018) | Fearful Futures: Rescuing Asian Democracy
Dr Takuma Melber
The University of Heidelberg, Germany

Biography

Dr Takuma Melber is lecturer and coordinator of the Master Transcultural Studies Programme at The University of Heidelberg. A son of a German father and a Japanese mother, he is a historian by training. He studied Medieval and Modern History, Ancient History and Sociology at the Universities of Mainz and Zurich (2003 to 2009) and received his PhD in 2016.

His doctoral dissertation titled ”Between Collaboration and Resistance: The Japanese occupation policy in Malaya and Singapore, 1942-1945” (submitted to the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz) was awarded with the “Förderpreis für Militärgeschichte und Militärtechnikgeschichte 2017 (2. Platz)” (award for Military history and military technology history 2017 (2nd place)), one of the most famous awards for younger historians in Germany. He was also awarded with the “Wilhelm-Deist-Award for Military History 2009”. His book on the Pearl Harbor attack based on Japanese sources was also published in German.

He has been visiting scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE; 2013), the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of Waseda University (Tokyo, 2010/11) and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies of Kyoto University (2018). He has also worked as an expert adviser for various documentaries on Japan and World War II / Pacific War and comments on the subject for German newspapers, TV and radio stations.

Featured Panel Presentation (2018) | Fearful Futures: Rescuing Asian Democracy
Dr Colin Dürkop
Visiting Fellow, Kyoto University, Japan

Biography

Colin Dürkop has been working for the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), one of the German political foundations, for the past 29 years. Before his last posting in Ankara, he was KAS Regional Representative for Korea/Japan and Director of the KAS Political Dialogue Programme Asia in Singapore. From 2002 to 2009 he edited the journal Panorama: Insights into Southeast Asian and European Affairs. He also served at the Foundation's headquarters in Germany as the Director of the Asia Department. Earlier, he did stints as KAS Country Representative in Thailand, consulted World Bank projects in Thailand and Turkey and took part in various German bilateral aid consultancy projects. He started his career as an economist at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome.

Colin Dürkop received his PhD in Economic and Social Sciences from the University of Innsbruck/Austria.

Currently he is a visiting research fellow at Kyoto University's Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS).

Featured Panel Presentation (2018) | Fearful Futures: Rescuing Asian Democracy