GENEALOGIES OF IDENTITY POLITICS
Conference Convenors: Dr Mridula Nath Chakraborty, Faculty of Arts, Monash University & Professor Anoma Pieris, Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning, University of Melbourne
Conference Organising Committee: Dr Sukhmani Khorana (University of Wollongong), Dr Nadia Rhook (University of Western Australia), Dr Tim Steains (University of Sydney), Dr Monika Winarnita (La Trobe University), Dr Denise Woods (Curtin University), & Jan Molloy (Immigration Museum)
It has been at least half a decade since Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy traced the shift from the older racist order based on “nature” and biology” to “national” and/or “ethnic” culture. This shift has not resulted in any disruption of the old paradigms of racism, but rather spawned a hydra-headed creature, of new colonialisms and new global capitalist regimes, that replicate themselves constantly in order to mobilise technologies of governance in contemporary societies. As Pooja Rangan and Rey Chow have argued, the move towards identity politics/coalitions and biopolitics have the potential of both negative-repressive as well as generative-creative functions. In Australia, identity-based politics now permeate every aspect of political, social and cultural life, from equity gap to environmentalism (Ghassan Hage), from arts/performance cultures to Asian-Aboriginal reconciliation (Jacqueline Lo), from racialized state violence to new media terror consciousnesses (Suvendrini Perera).
Asian Australian Studies itself traditionally employed strategic essentialisms in fashioning Asian Australian identities that resist racialising structures (Lo). However, essentialisms such as these are sometimes charged with reproducing the logics and boundaries of race – the very structures anti-racist politics attempt to undermine (e.g. Gilroy, Chow). Sometimes progressive critiques of identity are mobilised to delegitimise studies of race and ethnic identity altogether. How then do we examine and, even, mobilise Asian Australian identity in light of these critiques of ‘identity politics’? How have Asian Australian identities and identity politics changed over time, and are there new or emerging forms of these phenomena in the present day? How do eruptions of protest by far-right groups leverage these dissonances in identity-based coalitions, and what can anti-racism advocates do about it?
Themes and topics
Papers and panels are invited on the following topics related to Asian-Australian identity construction refracted through the lens of new and old racisms.
Constructing Asian Australian Identities:
• Birth of a Nation: Creating, documenting and marking Asian-Australia identities
• Genealogies of race, class and identity within Asian Australian diasporic generations
• Art, activism and aesthetics in the cultivation of Asian Australian cultures
• The management politics of multiculturalism vis-à-vis Asian Australian minorities
• Lateral inequalities and discrimination amongst Asian Australian communities
• Representation and ‘value’ in expressions of Asian Australian arts and culture
• ‘Asian Australian’ academics/public intellectuals and the creation of a distinctive public sphere
• Material and spatial/architectural practices mobilised in Asian Australian identity formation
• Archiving Asian-Australian identities
Interrogating Asian Australian Identities
• Black lives matter and who gets to be ‘black’ in Asian Australia?
• Aboriginal-Asian Australia: convergences and contradictions
• Politicising Asian Australians: Is this necessary, and why?
• New racisms in policy making and social engineering
• ‘Pure’ versus hyphenated/biracial Asian Australia
• Digital Asian Australians in the ‘real’ world?
• Crazy Rich Asians versus politically-(in)correct ones?
• Tensions between economic and political migrants and/or refugees
Contesting Identities through Asian Australia
• Polarisation, protest and Asian-centred identity politics
• Whither #metoo in Asian Australia?
• New racisms within colour blind politics
• ‘subtle asian traits’ and emerging Asian Australian identification
• Solidarities and comparisons across the settler colonies: Asian-Americans, Asian-Canadians and Asian-Australians
Please note that attendees and presenters will be required to register and pay a registration fee via the conference website. Early bird and concession fees will be available.