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HKAC Art Shop Inspiration series x Lingnan University 50th Anniversary Lecture Series (2017-2018)
Anxious States: Culture and Politics in Singapore and Hong Kong

Date & Time:
02/03/2018  From 6:45 pm to 8:30 pm

HKAC Art Shop Inspiration series x Lingnan University 50th Anniversary Lecture Series (2017 – 2018)

Anxious States: Culture and Politics in Singapore and Hong Kong
Since Singapore and Hong Kong are the two most economically successful, ethnic Chinese dominant city-states in Asia, comparisons have always been made between these locations. Fundamental to the Singaporean collective social life is a realization that ‘the world does not need Singapore but Singapore needs the world’. The demand for immigrants to supplement the small local workforce is constant, adding complexity to the domestic multi-ethnic population and geopolitical situation, and confounding the processes of individual and national identity formation.  The constant demand of physical space threatens to erase heritage, social memories and individual biographies, yet simultaneously encourages a progressive future-mindedness. The prevalent social anxieties undergird a wide political consensus that emphasizes stability, cohesion and political order. This has engendered a ‘politics of the middle ground’, favoured by the long governing single-party dominant parliament, that marginalizes liberal individual rights and individuals who falls out of the ‘middle’. Are such anxieties broadly shared by Hong Kong and its people? And, if they are, how might some of these anxieties be culturally and politically expressed, and in what institutional structural configurations? 

Chua Beng Huat is currently Head, Urban Studies, Yale-NUS College and Professor, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore. He has served concurrently as Provost Chair Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Science (2009-2017), Research Leader, Cultural Studies in Asia Research Cluster, Asia Research Institute (2000-2015); Convenor Cultural Studies Programmes (2008-2013) and Head, the Department of Sociology (2009-2015), National University of Singapore. He is co-executive editor of the journal, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies.

His book publications include: as author, The Golden Shoe: Building Singapore’s Financial District (1989), Communitarian Ideology and Democracy in Singapore (1995,1997) and Political Legitimacy and Housing: Stakeholding in Singapore (1997), Life is Not Complete without Shopping (2003), Structure, Audience and Soft Power in East Asian Pop Culture (2012) and, Political Liberalism Disavowed: communitarianism and state capitalism in Singapore (2017); as editor, Consumption in Asia: lifestyles and identities (2000), Communitarian Politics in Asia (2004), Elections as Popular Culture in Asia (2007), (Co-editor, Chen Kuan-Hsing) Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Reader (2007), East Asia Pop Culture: Analysing the Korean Wave (2008) and Port Cities in Asia and Europe (2008).

Tejaswini Niranjana is Professor and Head, Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong. She is co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore, which offered an innovative inter-disciplinary PhD programme from 2000-2012. She is the current Chair of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society.

She is the author of Siting Translation: History, Post-structuralism and the Colonial Context (Berkeley, 1992), Mobilizing India: Women, Music and Migration between India and Trinidad (Durham, 2006), and a forthcoming monograph on musicophilia in Mumbai. Her most recent edited volume, with Wang Xiaoming, is Genealogies of the Present: Situating Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (Delhi, 2015).

Registration: Click HERE


Eric Hotung Studio, LB/F Hong Kong Arts Centre


Free admission


Organised by the Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University; Co-organised by Hong Kong Arts Centre


Conducted in English

Past Event:

14/11/2017 7pm - 8pm

The Ecology of Images
The idea that ecology is a form of critical and unorthodox thinking that urgently addresses the crises of our time finds a number of parallels in contemporary cinema. Films like Jia Zhengke’s Still Life, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, or Tsai Mingliang’s Stray Dogs develop what might be called an ‘ecology of images.’ These films do not so much deal directly with ecological crisis as with the less perceptible social-political forms and affective structures—the ‘slow violence’-- that bring about such a crisis. In their treatment of the cinematic image, these films advance a kind of ecological thinking in their own right.

Ackbar Abbas is internationally renowned for his writings on Hong Kong and China. His book, Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance (published in 1997 by University of Minnesota Press) is a path-breaking work in urban studies and cultural theory. His scholarship spans a range of cultural practices, from cinema to architecture to the visual arts. He has been writing on art and visual culture in China, and speaking at important international art events like the Sydney, Venice and Moscow Biennales on Asian art. Before moving to UCI in 2006, he was Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong. He is also currently Adjunct Professor, Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University.

Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance

Prof Stephen CK Chan
Stephen Chan is Professor of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University, and Chair of the international Association for Cultural Studies. He was the founding Head of LU’s Cultural Studies Department in 2000. Chan received his BA and MPhil (Chinese/Comparative Literature) from University of Hong Kong, and PhD in Literature from University of California, San Diego. Published on Hong Kong culture, film, literature, education and cultural studies, Chan’s current interests are cultural politics and identity formation; martial arts cinema; pedagogy, performance and creativity studies. He edited “Hong Kong at a Crossroads” for Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (vol. 16, no. 3, 2015).

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