CUHK MAICS online talks on Islamic femininity and revolutionary pan-Asianism in Jan 2021

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The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s MA in Intercultural Studies Program invites everyone to two Zoom talks on Islamic femininity and revolutionary pan-Asianism in Jan 2021. For inquiries, please contact


"Philippine Asianist Thought and Southeast Asian Pan-Asianist Action in the ‘Periphery’ of Asia at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” Dr. Nicole CuUnjieng Aboitiz (University of Cambridge), Jan 13, Wed, 12pm (Hong Kong time)

ABSTRACT: In the Philippines from 1872-1912, one sees an early instance of the transition of power that would take place in the region—from the Old World, European imperial powers to the emerging, New World, American global power and the rise of Japan. Indeed, the turn of the twentieth century was a turning point for imperial and Southeast Asian history, with imperial subjugation and incorporation hardening empires and firing local resistance across the entire region. Yet, this transnational and regional historical setting has barely been incorporated into the locally- and Western-orientated historiography of the Philippine Revolution. What impact did the Revolution have in Southeast Asia, and what intellectual threads in the Philippine political discourses connected it to the corollary anti-imperial and positive political imaginings of its Asian neighbors?

The important global moment of the late nineteenth century—with all the changes in technology, sovereignty, human exchange, and ideology that it wrought—is too often apprehended in Asian historiography through a bilateral framework privileging relations with the West. 'Asian Place, Filipino Nation' charts the emplotment of ‘place’ in the proto-national thought and revolutionary organizing of turn-of-the-twentieth-century Filipino thinkers, and how their Pan-Asian political organizing and their constructions of the place of ‘Asia’ and of the spatial registers of race/Malayness connected them to their regional neighbors undertaking the same work. It unearths precisely what ground the Philippine nation has built itself upon intellectually, excavating its neglected cosmopolitan and transnational Asian moorings in particular, in order to reconnect modern Philippine history to that of Southeast and East Asia, from which it has been historiographically separated. It does so with an eye toward Vietnam and contemporaneous scholar-gentry Asianist political thought and organizing.

BIO: Dr. Nicole CuUnjieng Aboitiz is a Research Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, working on global intellectual history and Southeast Asian cultural-environmental history. She holds a PhD in Southeast Asian and International History with Distinction from Yale University and was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. Her first book, 'Asian Place, Filipino Nation: A Global Intellectual History of the Philippine Revolution, 1887-1912' was published by Columbia University Press in 2020. She is the Executive Director of the Toynbee Prize Foundation, the premiere organization for global history.

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"Re-imagining Muslim Women,” Dr. Annisa R. Beta (University of Melbourne), Jan 14, Thu, 12:45 pm (Hong Kong time)

ABSTRACT: Young Muslim women are today seen as the key figure of change in Muslim societies. We have heard success stories of Malala Yousafzai or Sultana who have challenged the supposedly ‘backward’ and ‘oppressive’ patriarchal Muslim cultures and are celebrated in Western discourses of progress. A Muslim girl or young woman can only be a legible subject of (Western) modernity when her empowerment is engendered from her opposition to and her ‘will to improve’ her own culture. There seems to be a difficulty in understanding how young women from different Muslim countries are complex and highly diverse. There also seems to be a lack of critical understanding about class, racial, and ethnic differences that make some young Muslim women more visible than others. Focusing on Indonesia, where the world’s largest Muslim population resides, this presentation will discuss how young Muslim women have exerted their influence and shifted its social, cultural, and political topography. This presentation points to the urgency of making sense of how young Muslim womanhood today can no longer be understood via the ‘victim and heroine’ model popular within the Western discourses around Muslim and/or Third World girls. Instead, we should understand how for many young Muslim women, their subjectivity today is embedded in neoliberal and market-based rationalities of everyday life.

BIO: Dr. Annisa R. Beta is a Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the School of Culture and Communication, the University of Melbourne. Her research is broadly concerned with youth, new media, and political subjectivity in Southeast Asia. Before moving to Melbourne, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore, from 2018 to 2019. She received her Ph.D. from National University of Singapore in 2018. While finishing her doctoral degree, she was also a Visiting Student Researcher at the University of California Berkeley in 2016. She has published her work in ‘New Media & Society,’ ‘International Communication Gazette,’ ‘Media and Communication,’ ‘Asiascape: Digital Asia,’ and ‘Feminist Media Studies’. Her forthcoming articles will be published in ‘Inter-Asia Cultural Studies,’ and ‘Continuum’. She has also published her writing with ‘South China Morning Post,’ ‘The Jakarta Post,’ and

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