Programme

The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies (ACCS) is an interdisciplinary conference held alongside The Asian Conference on Asian Studies (ACAS). 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 details of presentations and other programming. For more information about presenters, please visit the Speakers page.


Additional programming will be announced here shortly.

  • The Challenge of the Global South
    The Challenge of the Global South
    Keynote Presentation: Professor Vinay Lal
  • The Cities We Fled
    The Cities We Fled
    Featured Panel Presentation: Professor Susan Ballyn, Professor Baden Offord & Professor Donald E. Hall
  • IAFOR Silk Road Initiative Information Session
    IAFOR Silk Road Initiative Information Session
  • IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 | Award Winners Screening
    IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 | Award Winners Screening

Previous Programming

View details of programming for past ACCS conferences via the links below.

The Challenge of the Global South
Keynote Presentation: Professor Vinay Lal

It is commonly thought that the idea of the Global South received its first major articulation at the Afro-Asian Conference held at Bandung in 1955. However, the genealogy of the idea is far more complicated, since Bandung cannot be read only as an endeavour to forge solidarity between formerly colonised subjects or to create a third path that would steer clear of both the West and what was then the Soviet bloc. Rather, the challenge of Bandung, one that not only remains with us today but if anything has acquired ever greater urgency, is to understand whether the Global South can mount an intellectual and socio-cultural defence that would facilitate the conditions for an ecologically genuine survival of plurality. Two considerations, as I shall argue, must reign supreme in any such endeavour. First, centuries of colonial oppression had, among other devastating consequences, the effect of eviscerating memories and histories of South-South contacts, many of which preceded the interaction of most countries in the South with nations of the West. One consequence of colonialism that persists with us today is that nearly all intellectual exchanges within the South are mediated by the West. A second related but distinct consideration is that it cannot suffice to understand oppression through the categories made familiar by liberal and Marxist analyses, among them racism, class warfare, ‘economic terrorism’, the military-industrial complex, and so on. Western social science, in particular, has generated a nearly insurmountable imperialism of categories, such that the histories and experiences of people in the South are interpreted through the templates generated in the Western academy. Is it possible for the South to galvanise its intellectual inheritance and socio-cultural resources to offer dissenting frameworks of knowledge? It is in these terms that the challenge of the South must be understood.

Read presenter biographies.

The Cities We Fled
Featured Panel Presentation: Professor Susan Ballyn, Professor Baden Offord & Professor Donald E. Hall

In this panel, Susan Ballyn of the University of Barcelona, Baden Offord of Curtin University and Donald E. Hall of Lehigh University will discuss the cities of their birth: Bath (UK), Auckland (New Zealand) and Birmingham, Alabama (USA), respectively. While we often celebrate cities as places of vibrant artistic and cultural innovation and stimulation, cities can also feel like traps to some citizens if the values and priorities they embody are not compatible with the lives and interests of those inhabitants. In discussing their personal journeys out of their birth cities, the two panelists will pose questions to the audience for all to consider: What do we need from cities? How do some cities become lost in their pasts and therefore unable to embrace the changing needs of their populations? What causes some cities to languish, stagnate, and alienate, while other reinvent themselves and thrive? After speaking for 20-25 minutes each, the panelists will ask the audience to provide their own thoughts on cities as sites of pleasure and pain.

Read presenter biographies.

IAFOR Silk Road Initiative Information Session

As an organization, IAFOR’s mission is to promote international exchange, facilitate intercultural awareness, encourage interdisciplinary discussion, and generate and share new knowledge. In 2018, we are excited to launch a major new and ambitious international, intercultural and interdisciplinary research initiative which uses the silk road trade routes as a lens through which to study some of the world’s largest historical and contemporary geopolitical trends, shifts and exchanges.

IAFOR is headquartered in Japan, and the 2018 inauguration of this project aligns with the 150th Anniversary of the Meiji Restoration of 1868, when Japan opened its doors to the trade and ideas that would precipitate its rapid modernisation and its emergence as a global power. At a time when global trends can seem unpredictable, and futures fearful, the IAFOR Silk Road Initiative gives the opportunity to revisit the question of the impact of international relations from a long-term perspective.

This ambitious initiative will encourage individuals and institutions working across the world to support and undertake research centring on the contact between countries and regions in Europe and Asia – from Gibraltar to Japan – and the maritime routes that went beyond, into the South-East Continent and the Philippines, and later out into the Pacific Islands and the United States. The IAFOR Silk Road Initiative will be concerned with all aspects of this contact, and will examine both material and intellectual traces, as well as consequences.

For more information about the IAFOR Silk Road Initiative, click here.

IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 | Award Winners Screening

The IAFOR Documentary Photography Award was launched by The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) in 2015 as an international photography award that seeks to promote and assist in the professional development of emerging documentary photographers and photojournalists. The award has benefitted since the outset from the expertise of an outstanding panel of internationally renowned photographers, including Dr Paul Lowe as the Founding Judge, and Ed Kashi, Monica Allende, Simon Roberts, Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Simon Norfolk and Emma Bowkett as Guest Judges. Now in its third year, the award has already been widely recognised by those in the industry and has been supported by World Press Photo, Metro Imaging, MediaStorm, Think Tank Photo, University of the Arts London, RMIT University, British Journal of Photography, The Centre for Documentary Practice, and the Medill School of Journalism.

As an organisation, IAFOR’s mission is to promote international exchange, facilitate intercultural awareness, encourage interdisciplinary discussion, and generate and share new knowledge. In keeping with this mission, in appreciation of the great value of photography as a medium that can be shared across borders of language, culture and nation, and to influence and inform our academic work and programmes, the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award was launched as a competition that would help underline the importance of the organisation’s aims, and would promote and recognise best practice and excellence.

Winners of the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 were announced at The European Conference on Media, Communication & Film 2017 (EuroMedia2017) in Brighton, UK. The award follows the theme of the EuroMedia conference, with 2017’s theme being “History, Story, Narrative”. In support of up-and-coming talent, the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award is free to enter.

Access to the Award Winners Screening is included in the conference registration fee. For more information about the award, click here.

Image | From the project Single Mothers of Afghanistan by IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 Grand Prize Winner, Kiana Hayeri.