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 Gaurav Desai
    Professor Gaurav Desai
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
  • Dr Brian Victoria
    Dr Brian Victoria
    Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, UK
  • Professor Emerita Sue Ballyn
    Professor Emerita Sue Ballyn
    Barcelona University, Spain
  • Professor Donald E. Hall
    Professor Donald E. Hall
    Lehigh University, USA
  • Professor Emeritus Yasue Arimitsu
    Professor Emeritus Yasue Arimitsu
    Doshisha University, Japan
  • Professor Holger Briel
    Professor Holger Briel
    Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China
  • Dr Seiko Yasumoto
    Dr Seiko Yasumoto
Professor Gaurav Desai
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

Biography

Gaurav Desai is Professor of English at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Author of Subject to Colonialism: African Self-fashioning and the Colonial Library (Duke University Press, 2001) and editor of Teaching the African Novel (MLA, 2009), he has guest edited a volume of essays on “Culture and the Law” (South Atlantic Quarterly, 100.4, 2001), on “Actually Existing Colonialisms” (Journal of Contemporary Thought, 24, 2006), on “Asian African Literatures” (Research in African Literatures, 42.3, 2011), and co-edited a volume of essays on “Multi-Ethnic Literatures and the Idea of Social Justice” (MELUS, 28.1, Spring 2003). Postcolonialisms: An Anthology of Cultural Theory and Criticism (Rutgers University Press, 2005) which he co-edited with Supriya Nair has become a standard reference and classroom text since its publication. Among Desai’s other publications are articles in edited collections and journals such as PMLA, Genders, Representations, Boundary2, Interventions, Research in African Literatures, African Studies Review and Cultural Critique. Recipient of a residential fellowship at the National Humanities Center in 2001, Desai has also been awarded a Rockefeller Foundation award for a residency at the Bellagio Center in Italy, a visiting fellowship at the Center for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and the Humanities at the University of Cambridge, and an ACLS Burkhardt Fellowship for his research. In 2004, Desai was made a life member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. His latest book on narratives of Indian Ocean connections between Africa and India, Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India and the Afrasian Imagination (Columbia University Press, 2013), received the 2014 Rene Wellek Prize from the American Comparative Literature Association and was a finalist for the Bethwell Ogot Prize from the African Studies Association as well as the Asia-Africa Book Prize awarded by the International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden.

Keynote Presentation | Precarious Futures, Precarious Pasts: Migritude and Planetarity
Dr Brian Victoria
Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, UK

Biography

Brian Victoria is a native of Omaha, Nebraska and a 1961 graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska. He holds a MA in Buddhist Studies from Sōtō Zen sect-affiliated Komazawa University in Tokyo, and a PhD from the Department of Religious Studies at Temple University.

In addition to a second, enlarged edition of Zen At War (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), Brian's major writings include Zen War Stories (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003); an autobiographical work in Japanese entitled Gaijin de ari, Zen bozu de ari (As a Foreigner, As a Zen Priest), published by San-ichi Shobo in 1971; Zen Master Dōgen, coauthored with Prof. Yokoi Yūhō of Aichi-gakuin University (Weatherhill, 1976); and a translation of The Zen Life by Sato Koji (Weatherhill, 1972). In addition, Brian has published numerous journal articles, focusing on the relationship of not only Buddhism but religion in general, to violence and warfare.

From 2005 to 2013 Brian was a Professor of Japanese Studies and director of the AEA “Japan and Its Buddhist Traditions Program” at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, OH, USA. From 2013-2015 he was a Visiting Research Fellow at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, Japan where he is writing a book tentatively entitled: Zen Terror in 1930s Japan. Brian currently continues his research as a Fellow of the Oxford Center for Buddhist Studies and is a fully ordained Buddhist priest in the Sōtō Zen sect.

Featured Presentation | Buddhist Terrorism?
Professor Emerita Sue Ballyn
Barcelona University, Spain

Biography

Sue Ballyn is Professor Emerita at Barcelona University from where she graduated with a BA in 1982. Her MA thesis on the writings of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes won the Faculty prize in 1983. In 1986 she won the Faculty prize again, this time for her PhD thesis on Australian Poetry, the first PhD on Australian Literature in Spain.

She joined the English and German Philology Department on graduation 1982 and has remained at the university ever since. In 1990 she founded the Australian Studies Program which was recognised as an official Barcelona University Observatory - Studies Centre in 2000, known as CEA, Observatorio Centre d’Estudis Australians. It is the only Australian Studies Centre in Spain and one of the most active in Europe.

Over the last twenty-five years, Sue Ballyn’s research has been focused on foreign convicts transported to Australia, in particular Spanish, Portuguese, Hispanics and Sephardim, and she works closely with the Female Convicts Research Centre, Tasmania. She has published and lectured widely in the area, very often in collaboration with Prof. Lucy Frost. 2016 will see the publication of a book on Adelaide de la Thoreza, a Spanish convict, written by herself and Lucy Frost.

More recently she has become involved in a project on ageing in literature DEDAL-LIT at Lleida University which in turn is part of a European project on ageing: SIforAge. As part of this project she is working on Human Rights and the Elderly, an area she started to research in 1992. In 2016 a book of interviews with elderly women, with the working title Stories of Experience, will be published as part of this project. These oral stories are the result of field work she has carried out in Barcelona.

She is also involved in a ministry funded Project, run out of the Australian Studies Centre and headed by Dr Bill Phillips, on Postcolonial Crime Fiction (POCRIF) This last project has inevitably intertwined itself with her work on convicts and Australia. She currently holds the position of Profesor Emerita and Founder/Co-Director of the Australian Studies Centre, at Barcelona University.

Spotlight Presentation | “(…) For those in peril on the sea”: The Important Role of Surgeons on Convict Transports
Featured Panel Presentation | The Challenges of Doing Cultural Studies Today
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.

Featured Panel Presentation | The Challenges of Doing Cultural Studies Today
Professor Emeritus Yasue Arimitsu
Doshisha University, Japan

Biography

Yasue Arimitsu is Professor Emeritus of English and Australian Studies, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. She is the author of Finding a Place: Landscape and the Search for Identity in the Early Novels of Patrick White (1986) and Australian Identity: Struggle and Transformation in Australian Literature (2003). She co-authored An Introduction to Australian Studies, 2nd Edition (2007). She has also edited and contributed to translating Diamond Dog: An Anthology of Contemporary Australian Short Stories ― Reflections on Multicultural Society (2008). Her article “Nation and Literature: Literary Possibilities in a Multicultural Society” was published in Racism, Slavery, and Literature (2010), edited by Wolfgang Zach/Ulrich Pallua, and another article, “Nam Le’s The Boat: A Reflection of Multiple Selves”, was published in Literatures in English: New Ethical, Cultural, and Transnational Perspectives (2013), edited by Michael Kenneally, Rhona Richman Kenneally and Wolfgang Zach. She was the president of the Australian Studies Association of Japan (2010 to 2013), and is currently the president of the Australia New Zealand Literary Society of Japan (since 2014). She has recently edited and authored Contemporary Australian Studies: Literature, History, Film and Media Studies in a Globalizing Age (2016).

Featured Presentation | Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Studies in Today’s University Systems
Featured Panel Presentation | The Challenges of Doing Cultural Studies Today
Professor Holger Briel
Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China

Biography

Professor Holger Briel from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University is the editor of the IAFOR Journal on Cultural Studies. Professor Briel holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Theory from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University Michigan, Ann Arbor. He also holds a B.A. in English from Eberhardt- Karls-Uiversitat Tubingen, Germany. Professor Briel also completed a portion of his graduate studies at the Universite de Paris, Sorbonne. Professor Briel has taught at several universities in the past including: UGSM-Monarch Business School (Switzerland), the Department of Communications & Media Studies at the University of Nicosia (Cyprus), the University of Innsbruck, Austria, the New York University Skopje (Macedonia) where he held Vice-Rector and Deanship positions, Aristotle University Thessaloniki, and the University of Athens (Greece) and the University of Surrey (UK). Over the years he has been the recipient of many research grants and fellowships and is a well-published academic with many books, book chapters and peer reviewed articles on Cultural Studies. Professor Briel is also a member of the EU Council for Higher Education.

Spotlight Presentation | Not Just Your Average Cartoon – “Mainzelmännchen” As Agents of Conservative TV Propaganda
Dr Seiko Yasumoto

Biography

Dr Seiko Yasumoto lectures and carries out research on Japanese and East Asian media and cultural studies at the University of Sydney. Her primary research, which she has published widely, includes Japanese government media policy and broadcasting media within the domain of popular culture. The scope includes transmission of content, textual analysis, copyright, media industries, adaptation theory, youth culture, audience analysis and trans-national media cultural flows in Japan and East Asia. She is the editor of the IAFOR Journal of Asian Studies, guest editor of the Journal of the Oriental Society of Australia special edition on Global Media 2010 and co-editor of the scholarly journal Ilha Do Desterro a Journal of English Language, Literatures in English and Cultural Studies: Expression, Identity and Society.Vol.2006. She was the Japan and North, East Asia regional representative of the Asian Studies of Association of Australia (2009-2012), is an editorial board member of the Oriental Society of Australia, the East Asian Popular Culture Association and Journalism and Mass communication USA. She holds a prestigious Teaching Excellence Award from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Sydney, Australia.

Spotlight Presentation | Cross-Cultural Engagement and Media Integration
in Japan and East Asia