Eighth Annual Conference

 Protesting Cartography2


March 7-8, 2014
Royce Hall 306 & 314


Across the global 20th and 21st centuries, the idea of the modern nation and processes of modernity have predominantly referred to progressive change and growth, whether in economic, (geo)political, or cultural realms. Recent scholarship in the Humanities has been productively questioning such singular, grand narratives, especially their perpetuation of spatial inequalities between the broadly conceived West and non-West and their imposition of developmental timescales across a range of territories: borderlands, islands, global cities, maritime cartographies, and homelands. How can transnational studies as a developing, interdisciplinary field of inquiry contribute to the conceptualization of alternative and contested global modernities?

This conference proposes to bring a transnational perspective to bear on diverse forms of modernity, particularly as they are expressed in various realms of culture. Discussion will explore representations of time and space in literature, film, new media, theory etc., focusing on cities—global, or otherwise—in Asia and Africa, the borderlands of Hawaii and mainland United States, the “developing global South,” networks of the Indian Ocean, and the deterritorialized nation (island and diasporic). Ultimately, we ask, how do heterogeneous time and space disentangle controlling narratives of global modernity?


Keynote speakers:
Allan deSouza, Artist and Associate Professor, Department of Art Practice, UC Berkeley

Guest Speakers include:
Jemima Pierre, Assistant Professor (Vanderbilt University)
J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, Associate Professor (Wesleyan University)
Julia Waters, Associate Professor (University of Reading)
Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor (UC Santa Cruz)
Jini Kim Watson, Associate Professor (NYU)



1:00 pm


David Schaberg
Dean of Humanities (UCLA)
Françoise Lionnet and Steven Nelson
Directors, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, “Cultures in Transnational Perspective” Program

1:30 pm

"Interrogating Modern Transnational Heritage"

Melissa Tandiwe Myambo

Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor (UCLA), "Heritage Migration and Transnational Cultural Time Zones: African and Asian Diasporas ‘Return’ to Emerging Modernity"

Jemima Pierre

Assistant Professor (Vanderbilt University), “Expats, Afropolitans, or Heritage Tourists?: Race, Class, and Diaspora Returns to Africa”

Discussant: Yogita Goyal, Associate Professor (UCLA)


Coffee Break

3:15 pm

"Hawaii and Queer Archives of Modernity"

Chase Smith

Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor (UCLA), “Don who? Don Ho”: Hawaii, Modernity and the Don Ho Episode

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui

Associate Professor (Wesleyan University), “Hawaiian Indigeneity, (Same-Sex) Marriage, and the Racial Politics of Colonial Modernity”

Discussant: Rachel Lee, Associate Professor (UCLA)

4:45 pm
Coffee Break



"Reframing Insular Ethno/Geo Politics"

Emmanuel Bruno Jean-François 

Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor (UCLA), “Rethinking Boundaries through Transgenerational Narratives: Diasporic Ethnicity, Nation-State Citizenship, and Poetics of the Island in Mauritian Literature”

Julia Waters

Associate Professor (University of Reading), “Differently Mauritian: Heterogeneous Belonging in Contemporary Mauritian Fiction”

Discussant: Vinay Lal, Associate Professor (UCLA)

6:30 pm




10:00 am

“Queer Asia as Critique"

Alvin Wong
Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor (UCLA), “Queer Anti-Capitalism in Transnational ‘China(s)’ ”

Anjali Arondekar

Associate Professor (UC Santa Cruz), “Area Impossible: Sexuality and South Asia”

Discussant: Sean Metzger, Assistant Professor (UCLA)

11:30 am 

Coffee Break

11:45 am

“Mediated 'Asian' Urbansims"

Anne Cong-Huyen 

Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor (UCLA), “Dubai vs. Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City: A Case of Comparative Asian Global Cities”

Jini Kim Watson

Associate Professor (NYU), “Aspirational City: Singapore and the Dialectics of Desire and Modernity”

Discussant: Dell Upton, Professor (UCLA)

1:15 pm

Lunch Break

2:30 pm

Creative Keynote Address, Royce Hall 306

Allan deSouza

Artist and Associate Professor, Department of Art Practice, UC Berkeley
Introduced by Steven Nelson, Associate Professor and Mellon Program Co-director (UCLA)

4:00 pm

Closing Reception, Royce Hall 314