Announcement | ASAA Conference Replacement Activities Online

Webinar Series

*NB. Program subject to change. All webinars will also be recorded and made accessible on demand. Watch for notices.

Panel: Perspectives on four Asian Cities – Manila, Delhi, Kathmandu and Dhaka

Wednesday 24 June, 1pm-2pm (AEST)
via Zoom (Register here)

Chair: Tanzil Shafique (University of Melbourne)
 Ishita Chatterjee (University of Melbourne), Neeraj Dangol (University of Melbourne), Stephanie Butcher (University of Melbourne)

Roundtable: The Future of Historical Justice in Southeast Asia

Monday 29 June, 10am-11am (AEST)
via Zoom (Register here)

Chair: Kate McGregor (University of Melbourne)
Panelists: Rachel Hughes (University of Melbourne), Lia Kent (Visiting Fellow, Australian National University), Ken Setiawan (University of Melbourne), Lisandro Claudio (University of California)

Roundtable: Informal Urbanities: Asia after COVID 19

*NEW DATE: Friday 3 July, 11.30-12.30pm (AEST)
via Zoom (Register here)

Chair: Anoma Pieris (University of Melbourne)
Discussant: Kim Dovey (Informal Urbanism Research Hub)
Panelists: Jeff Hou (University of Washington), Amanda Achmadi (University of Melbourne), Sidh Sintusingha (University of Melbourne), Jayde Roberts (University of New South Wales), Reden Recio (University of Melbourne)

Roundtable: Asian Australian Studies as a Subject for Future Research and Teaching

Thursday 20 August, 4pm-5pm (AEST)
via Zoom (Register here)
In association with the Asian Australian Studies Research Network (AASRN)

Chair: Monika Winarnita (Deakin University)
Panelists: Samira Khatun (SOAS), Chunyan Zhang (RMIT), Amrita Malhi (ANU), Farzana Yesmen Chowdhury (UQ), Sophie Loy-Wilson (University of Sydney)

Conference Announcement

Dear Conference ASAA 2020 Participants,

Over a year ago now I first met with a conference committee assembled from across several faculties at the University of Melbourne and we had an exciting meeting looking ahead to plan the July 2020 ASAA. We came up with a theme of Future Asias. Many of you submitted creative panels and roundtables addressing this theme.

Last Friday we announced our conference program of over 600 papers including speakers from 30 countries and plans for the conference with strong hope that the conference could proceed despite COVID-19 developments.

In the ensuing week, however, the Australian government has introduced self-distancing measures and strict bans on large non-essential gatherings first of a size of 500 people and now this is down to 100. Further to this the Government imposed a compulsory period of self-isolation of 14 days for all international travelers and from tonight a ban on all foreigners entering Australia. Following Government and University advice and for the safety of staff and students, the University of Melbourne has cancelled all conferences, workshops and public events indefinitely. No international visitors are to be hosted. All these measures have been taken to protect the health of both people here and visitors to our university and country.

These decisions mean that we are sadly now no longer to proceed with the conference in July. We therefore announce with deep regret that the 2020 ASAA is now cancelled.

How will we proceed from now?

The conference committee discussed all options for proceeding with the conference including going online but we determined that given the size of our conference we could not present a high-quality replacement conference in such a short period of time given the demands we are all facing at the moment in terms of quickly moving our teaching online. We do however encourage keynotes and roundtables to consider developing online presentations which we would be happy to promote.

We hope those who put together our many amazing panels will find ways to connect and discuss your work. We will be turning to the ASAA to ask for support to offer alternative opportunities to connect as a community. All ASAA members will soon receive a separate email about the ways you can stay involved and benefit from your membership of ASAA. We will also be encouraging the sub-regional councils to stay in touch with their members during this time.


Refunds for registration, accommodation and dinner fees are currently being processed. To facilitate this, you should have recently received an email from us with information on requesting a refund. If you have not received this correspondence please contact immediately.

Refunds will only be available up until the 30th of April.  After this time the conference accounts will be closed and no further refunds will be applicable.

We thank you for your patience during this process.

A special thank you to all who helped prepare this conference

As the Convenor of the conference I am truly devastated to see the conference cancelled because we had an amazing program. This program was the result of a joint effort from all of you as intended participants and panel organisers as well as the team that helped put this conference together.

That team is larger than you might imagine. It consists not only of the conference committee, but also our discipline champions who reviewed submissions and composed panels all of whom we name below and our major sponsors and partners including our sub-regional associations and the ASAA executive (apologies if we miss anyone!). Further to this the conference has been managed by a team of five people from Conference Design (named below) who have been overseeing logistics, putting together a professional website and program and managing some related travel bookings.

We as a conference committee would not have been able to host the conference without the financial support provided by the University of Melbourne to cover a venue fee waiver as well as a large monetary subsidy to enable us to hire professional support. We also thank the sub regional associations who contributed and funded sub regional keynotes.

I would like to extend my thanks to all of these people and apologise to you all for not being able to deliver the conference.

I wish you all the best with your research on Asia and let’s hope the next ASAA conference is a grand success,

Best wishes,

Kate McGregor

Organising Committee (UoM)

Kate McGregor (Convenor)

Jemma Purdey (Executive Assistant)

Jianlin Chen

Chloe Ho

Carman Fung

Wendy Li

Matt Galway

Amanda Gilbertson

Anoma Pieris

Fran Martin

Sidh Sintusingha

Jay Song

Pradeep Taneja

Melissa Conley Tyler

Disciplinary Champions

Anthropology, sociology and development studies
Rachel Diprose (lead), University of Melbourne
Sara Niner, Monash University

Asian Australian Studies
Jemma Purdey (lead), University of Melbourne
Michele Lobo, Deakin University
Lori Hamada, Monash University

Built Environment and Urban Studies
Anoma Peris (lead)
Sidh Sintusingha, University of Melbourne
Amanda Achmadi, University of Melbourne

Culture and Media
Fran Martin (lead), University of Melbourne
Paul Rae, University of Melbourne
Wonsun Shin, University of Melbourne
Claire Roberts, University of Melbourne

Economics and Political Economy
John Tang (lead), University of Melbourne
Eik Swee, University of Melbourne

Amanda Gilbertson (lead), University of Melbourne
Joseph Lo Bianco, University of Melbourne
Radhika Gorur, University of Melbourne

Gender and Sexuality
Claire Maree, University of Melbourne
Ben Hegarty, University of Melbourne

Kate McGregor (co-lead), University of Melbourne
Matt Galway (co-lead), University of Melbourne
Robyn Jeffery, retired
Mayuko Itoh, University of Melbourne

Human Geography and Demography
Rachel Hughes (lead), University of Melbourne
Trent Brown, University of Melbourne
Vicky Zhang, University of Melbourne
Arianne Utomo, University of Melbourne

Lewis Mayo, University of Melbourne
Edwin Jurriens, University of Melbourne
Delia Lin, University of Melbourne

Language and Linguistics
Michael Ewing, University of Melbourne
Shaoming Zhou, University of Melbourne
Jun Ohashi, University of Melbourne
Yongxian Luo, University of Melbourne

Law, Human Rights and Criminology
Jianlin Chen (lead), University of Melbourne
Sean Cooney, University of Melbourne
Tim Lindsey, University of Melbourne
Ying Liew, University of Melbourne

Melissa Crouch, UNSW

Politics, International Relations and Security
Pradeep Taneja (co-lead), University of Melbourne
Jay Song (co-lead), University of Melbourne
Sow Keat Tok, University of Melbourne
Dave McRae, University of Melbourne

Public Health
Nathan Grills, University of Melbourne

Conference Sponsors and Supporters

The University of Melbourne, DVCI, Michael Wesley and predecessors Ruth Fincher and Caroline Evans.

The University of Melbourne, Pro Vice Chancellor International, Adrian Little.

The University of Melbourne, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Russell Goulbourne.

The University of Melbourne, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, Julie Willis.

The University of Melbourne, Asian Law Centre Director, Sarah Biddhulp.

The University of Melbourne, Faculty of Arts Indonesia Strategy Group, Vedi Hadiz, guests coordinated by Wulan Dirgantoro and Edwin Jurriens.

The University of Melbourne Asia Institute, Vedi Hadiz.

The University of Melbourne, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Margaret Cameron.

The University of Melbourne, School of Social and Political Sciences, Karen Farquharson.

The University of Melbourne, Venue Management Team.

ASAA Executive: Edward Aspinall, Melissa Crouch, Lis Kramer, David Hundt and Georgina Drew.

The Japanese Studies Association of Australia, Beatrice Trefalt.

South Asian Studies Association of Australia, Priya Chako.

Indonesia Council, Jacqui Baker working with Wulan Dirgantoro.

Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia, Yeow-Tong.

Mainland Southeast Asia Association, Patrick Jory.

Society of Architecture Urban Historians of Asia/ BEvs, Anoma Pieris.

Asian Australian Studies Research Network, Mridula Chakraborty and Monika Winarnita.

Korean Studies Association of Australia,Roald Maliangkay and Jo Elfving-Hwang.

Chinese Studies Association of Australia, Jane Golley.

Myanmar Stream, Mike Griffiths.

Japan Foundation, Elicia O’Reilley.

Korea Foundation.

Asialink, Melissa Conley Tyler.

Asia Society, Eloise Dolan.

Conference Design Team

Anna Patterson

Liz Hafner

Jess Schiro

Ben Thiessen

Sam Morley

ASAA Plenary Keynote Speaker

Dr. Samia Khatun
Senior Lecturer, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London

Samia Khatun is Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She is a feminist historian of the British Empire, focussing on the life worlds and experiences of colonised peoples. Tackling the central role of the discipline of modern history in constructing myths of the superiority of white man, her research and writing develops methodologies to engage colonised peoples’ intellectual traditions to tackle gender, race and class oppressions and their intersections with environmental destruction in the colonial modern era. In doing so she take aim at a racist assumption that profoundly shapes contemporary scholarship about Asia and its diasporas: The claim that the knowledge traditions of Enlightened man have superseded the epistemologies of peoples colonised by European empires.

Regional Keynotes

South Asian Studies Association of Australia
Society of Architecture Urban Historians of Asia
Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia
China Studies Association of Australia
Ayesha Jalal
Tufts University
Jeffrey Hou
University of Washington
Michael Barr
Flinders University
Kam Louie
Honorary Professor at UNSW and HKU
Japanese Studies Association of Australia
Indonesia Council
Association of Mainland Southeast Asia Studies
Korean Studies Association of Australasia Sub-Region
Swee-Lin Ho
National University of Singapore
Garin Nugroho
Independent Filmmaker
Philip Hirsch
University of Sydney
Stephen Epstein
Victoria University of Wellington

Conference Host

The 23rd biennial conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is proudly supported by the University of Melbourne.

Visit their website at

ASAA Postgraduate Conference Awards 

The ASAA Postgraduate Conference Awards are supported by our endowment fund, managed by the Australian National University for the ASAA as the ASAA Presidents’ Fund. The ASAA is offering 10 awards, for 10 postgraduate students to attend the 2020 ASAA Conference at the University of Melbourne on 6-9 July.

For further details and the application form click HERE.

Organising Committee

  • Kate McGregor (convenor)
    School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts
  • Jemma Purdey
    Executive Assistant, UniMelb
  • Chloe Ho
    Postgraduate Representative, UniMelb
  • Carman Fung
    Postgraduate Representative, UniMelb
  • Wendy Li
    Postgraduate Representative, UniMelb
  • Jianlin Chen
    Faculty of Law
  • Matt Galway
    School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts
  • Amanda Gilbertson
    Australia India Institute
  • Anoma Pieris
    Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning
  • Fran Martin
    School of Culture and Communication, Faculty of Arts
  • Sidh Sintusingha
    Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning
  • Jay Song
    Korean Studies, Asia Institute, Faculty of Arts
  • Pradeep Taneja
    School of Social and Political Studies, Faculty of Arts
  • Melissa Conley Tyler
    Director of Diplomacy, Asialink, UniMelb

Disciplinary Leads

  • A/Prof Jianlin Chen
    Faculty of Law, University of Melbourne (Law, Human rights and Criminology)
  • Dr Rachel Diprose
    Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne (Anthropology, Sociology and Development)
  • Dr Michael Ewing
    Asia Institute, University of Melbourne (Language and Linguistics)
  • Dr Matthew Galway
    Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne (Politics, International Relations and Security)
  • Dr Pradeep Taneja
    Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne (Politics, International Relations and Security) 
  • Dr Amanda Gilbertson
    Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne (Education)
  • Dr Rachel Hughes
    Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne (Human Geography and Demography)
  • Dr Edwin Jurriens
    Asia Institute, University of Melbourne (Interdisciplinary)
  • Dr Claire Maree
    Asia Institute, University of Melbourne (Gender and Sexuality) 
  • A/Prof Fran Martin
    Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne (Culture and Media)
  • A/Prof Kate McGregor
    Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne (History)
  • Prof Anoma Pieris
    Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning, University of Melbourne (Built Environment and Urban studies)
  • Dr Jemma Purdey
    Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne (Australian Asians)
  • Dr John Tang
    Faculty of Economics, University of Melbourne (Economics and Political economy)

Meeting Venue

Established in 1853, the University of Melbourne is a public-spirited institution that makes distinctive contributions to society in researchlearning and teaching and engagement. It’s consistently ranked among the leading universities in the world, with international rankings of world universities placing it as number 1 in Australia and number 32 in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2017-2018).

Founding Members

Inaugural ASAA Conference, Melbourne 1976
L-R, Prof DP Singhal (UQ), Prof JD Legge (Monash), Prof Anthony Reid (ANU), Prof Nicholas Tarling (Auckland University)

Please join our mailing list to be updated as the planning of the conference proceeds.

ASAA acknowledges the traditional custodians of this land and we pay our respects to the Elders both past and present.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.

Photo Credits: Visit Victoria

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