Research Seminar Series (06/2020)

"Screen memories in Post-Soviet cinema"

Speaker:  Professor Kristian Feigelson, Sorbonne University

Date:       To be confirmed

Time:       To be confirmed

Venue:    The seminar series will be conducted via Zoom.

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam  (Logistics) and Dr Ana Grgic (Academic matters).


Speaker’s Profile

Kristian Feigelson sociologist, is a Professor in Film Studies at Sorbonne-Nouvelle. He contributed also to different Academic Journals and has published numerous works on film culture. For instance, he has edited different issues of the Film Journal Theoreme, on Hungarian , Russian and Soviet cinema, on Bollywood, on Cinema and Cities... He has also taught in different Universities in Europe , Asia , North and South America.  His articles are translated in different countries. His next forthcoming publication «Image Industry in East Asia , between globalisation and local identity ( China/Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Taiwan) » will be published in 2020 by Sorbonne Nouvelle Press University. In 2020, he was invited as a JSPS fellow at Tokyo University to work on a research program « Filming the Gulag » .


This seminar on line will explore the different relationships between history and memory in Soviet and Post-Soviet cinema. The last decade, media and cinema contributed to focus in the new Russia on the emergence of mythical narratives and “nationals epics”, rewriting the past. What are the media policies and their use of the past in Russia to-day ? Complex connections which are a legacy of the new Russia’s past and often remain unheard ?

At key moment in history and according the need of the regime, media policy aimed at focusing on narrative threads that identify with these different traditions from the past. For instance  at the height of the Stalinian Terror (1937), thanks to cinema, life becomes a veritable fairy tale inspiring the most unlikely of storylines in Soviet films comedies. The main periods of Soviet history have always brought about a particular sort of confrontation with questions of memory.  From a retrospective angle, questions may be raised about the chronology of Russian social and political history in their relationship to associated representations in the media. The very use of these different terms (history, memory…) takes us beyond chronology into a more general framework of interpretation between aesthetics and politics and between different public demands, for instance in different periods where there is a more or less pronounced instrumentalisation of the media.  In film, where the absence of written history encouraged paradoxical initiatives, this interaction between memory and history always encouraged ambiguities.  Eisenstein’s «  October », for instance, a party-commissioned film produced in 1927, brought new life to a debate; taking as its starting point an event which certainly overturned Russian society but which had received minimal media coverage when it happened, the film manipulated the course of Soviet history.  In the new Russia, in its own way the cinema is again reconstructing the myths and stereotypes of yesterday by turning them on their heads.  To a large extent the commercial cinema has therefore made itself into the vector of all the old and new myths of Russian modernity, drawing a large and willing public towards these fictions which are broadcast by the media of this New Russia.

This seminar will pick up this debate regarding the relations between history and memory in film on the basis of different Russian-Soviet examples.

Research Seminar Series (05/2020)

"Observing Trump - A Systems Theoretical Perspective"

Speaker:  Dr Markus Heidingsfelder, Xiamen University Malaysia

Date:       Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Time:       12pm

Venue:    The seminar series will be conducted via Zoom, or go to https://monash.zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID: 932 5153 3516 and password: 718561 . For registration, please click here

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam (Logistics) and Associate Professor Yeoh Seng Guan (Academic matters)

Speaker’s Profile

Markus Heidingsfelder is an Assistant Professor in the Journalism Department of Xiamen University Malaysia. He also serves as the co-organizer of the Futures of Media conference series and as the co-director of the Observed with Niklas Luhmann’s Systems Theory conference series. Dr. Heidingsfelder earned his master’s degree with a study of Marshall McLuhan’s work from the University of Cologne. He completed his PhD with a thesis on the fuzzy phenomenon of 'pop' at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich. He held appointments at DJS Munich, FU Berlin, HCU Hamburg, and LMU Munich. From 2014 he was a founding faculty member of Habib University, Pakistan, where he directed the institution's first Communication Studies & Design curriculum. His research explores the dynamic relationship between media and society, relying on a communication theory which understands society as the product of a complex plurality of different observers (minds, machines, swarms, nets, social systems like interaction systems, organizations or functional systems like politics, the law, the mass media etc.). Besides his academic credentials, Dr. Heidingsfelder has over 30 years of overlapping experience as a communications professional.


The heated debates about the current American president Donald Trump focus on the person, which is either demonized (as Anti-Christ, wannabe-dictator etc.) or praised (as sent by God, patriot etc.).

Based on key themes from the book "Trump - observed", this session will offer an alternative perspective on the Trump Presidency. Using the method of 2nd order observation, the author takes a closer look at the social structures involved: the immune system of society, values and norms, roles and persons, organisations (such as political parties or media houses) and social functional systems (such as politics, law, economy, mass media and science).

Heidingsfelder’s thesis is that the ‚system conflicts‘ between politics and the other sub-systems of society (economy, law, mass media, and science) are at the heart of what at times has been observed as the ‚Trump crisis‘.

Research Seminar Series (04/2020)

Reflecting on Online Church Communities + Book Launch - Malaysian Christians Online: Faith, Experience, and Social Engagement on the Internet

“Experiencing Spirituality Online, Really?"

Speaker:  Dr Tan Meng Yoe, Monash University Malaysia

Date:       Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Time:       4.00pm

Venue:    The seminar series will be conducted via Zoom (zoom link will be forwarded to the registrants). 
For registration, please click here

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam (Logistics) and Associate Professor Yeoh Seng Guan (Academic matters).


With an increased focus on the subject of online religion in recent times, it is worth asking the question: Can spirituality be experienced online? Drawing ideas from the book, Malaysian Christians Online, this session will consider a number of factors that can potentially shape the way we think about online Christianity, such as authenticity, authority, community, and materiality.

Speaker’s Profile

Tan Meng Yoe is a lecturer in communication with the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash

University Malaysia. He also currently serves as the course coordinator for the Master of Communication and Media Studies program.

He completed his PhD with Monash University Malaysia in 2014 after being awarded the Higher Degree by Research Scholarship in 2010. His thesis, The Digital Church: Urban Malaysian Christian Experiences in Cyberspace, was on the subject of online Christianity in Malaysia.

His research expertise is in the field of online religion, with related interests in politics and religion in Malaysia. He has studied and published on subjects like blogging and spirituality; religious engagement in online religious communities, and more. His ongoing curiosity is regarding the concept of “reality” in cyberspace, and whether spirituality can be experienced online.

Speaker:  Dr Sivin Kit, Program Executive for Public Theology and Interreligious Relations, Department for Theology, Mission and Justice, Lutheran World Federation

Date:       Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Time:       4.00pm

Venue:    The seminar series will be conducted via Zoom (zoom link will be forwarded to the registrants). For registration, please click here

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam (Logistics) and Associate Professor Yeoh Seng Guan (Academic matters).

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on churches globally, with many churches globally conducting services and other activities entirely online. With such a sudden shift in the church environment, what are some of the highlights, surprises, and challenges that have occured in the online church community during this time? Where does the church go from here?

Speaker's Profile

Rev Dr Sivin Kit currently serves as the Program Executive for Public Theology and Interreligious Relations with the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva. His focus is to pursue strategic theological questions and contribute in areas of religion in the public space, interreligious collaboration, and peacebuilding.

He has a B.Th and M.Theol from the South East Asia Graduate School of Theology; he received his PhD in Religion, Ethics, and Society from the University of Agder, Norway in 2014. Previously, Kit who is an ordained pastor with the Lutheran Church in Malaysia since 2003 served as a lecturer in Christian Theology and Religious Studies at the Malaysia Theological Seminary from January 2015 to June 2019. There he also taught courses on Christian Ethics, Homiletics, and Malaysian Studies.

Additionally, he took on the role as the Director of the Centre for Religion and Society while also being actively involved in civil society, interreligious engagement, and public discussions in the Malaysian new media scene. He has published articles in the fields of public theology, Christian-Muslim relations, ecumenism, and interreligious relations in South East Asia and East Asia. His wider interests includes contextual theology as well as religion and media.

Research Seminar Series (03/2020)

“Conflict, intervention, and tech: Critical perspectives on new technologies in societal conflict in Myanmar and beyond”

Speaker: Dr Stefan Bächtold

Date:      Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Time:       12.00pm

Venue:    The seminar series will be conducted via Zoom (zoom link will be forwarded to the registrants). To register, please click here.

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam (Logistics) and Dr Tan Meng Yoe
(Academic matters).

Speakers' Profile

Dr Stefan Bächtold is an Associated Researcher at swisspeace, specialised in evaluation approaches and collaborative learning processes for conflict-affected environments. He is a scholar, trainer, and evaluator currently based as a visiting post-doctoral fellow at Monash University in Kuala Lumpur.

He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Basel, Switzerland and a MA in social science from the Universities of Fribourg and Berne.

His research focus is on critical/postcolonial approaches, the role of new technologies in conflict, and the power relations that are structuring peacebuilding and aid interventions in Myanmar and globally. Previously, Stefan was swisspeace’s in-country focal point embedded in a local peacebuilding organisation in Myanmar; worked for Terre des Hommes in West Darfur; and at the Institute for Research on Management of Associations, Foundations and Cooperatives at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. In addition to South-East Asia, he has worked in Sudan (Darfur), Palestine (Gaza/West Bank), Bangladesh, and Senegal.


In June 2019, the Myanmar government imposed a shutdown of all mobile internet communications in parts of its Rakhine and Chin states. This internet 'blackout' has since turned into one of the world’s longest. While Myanmar has received considerable attention for its political transition, for its peace process, or more recently, for the international criminal court's investigations into accusations of genocide in Rakhine state, interest in the technological dimensions of these change processes have been limited.

This talk takes the 'blackout' as an entry point to critically analyse how new technologies reshape power structures in a context marked by armed conflict, international intervention, and transition. How do actors like the Myanmar government, civil society actors, or tech companies mobilise new technologies in their discourse and specific practices? And how do phenomena like online hate-speech and 'fake news' link to longstanding societal dynamics of inclusion/exclusion?

Rather than providing a fully formulated argument at this point, I would like to present different narratives pertaining to new technologies in societal conflict in Myanmar and explore how they relate to the (very different) context of Malaysia.

Research Seminar Series (02/2020)

“The Institutional Structure and Complexity of International Branch Campuses in Malaysia: A qualitative study”

Speaker: Mr Tirong Yang

Date:      Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Time:      10.00am

Venue:   The seminar series will be conducted via Zoom (zoom link will be forwarded to the registrants). To register, please click here.

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam (Logistics) and Prof Helen Nesadurai (Academic matters)


Speakers' Profile

Tirong Yang was a visiting PhD student at SASS, Monash Malaysia. He received his PhD from the South China Normal University (SCNU) where he serves as the director assistant in the Center for Southeast Asian Studies in SCNU. His research centers around comparative higher education, and education research on Southeast Asia. He spent a year (2018-2019) doing visiting study at the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Yang is currently involved in research projects on the topics of policies of language education policy, internationalization of higher education.

International branch campuses (IBCs) has been the critical actors in realizing the target of making Malaysia an educational hub. While certain types of IBCs from Australia, UK and China have been growing in Malaysia, the collective research on their development requires further effort. This research aims to form a different understanding of IBCs by focusing on their institutional structure and complexity. With a framework of regulative, normative, and cultural-cognitive institutions, the researcher conducted a qualitative analysis on the development of IBCs with data collecting from field observation, interview and official websites. The conclusion centers on the structure and complexity of institutions of IBCs in Malaysia.

Research Seminar Series (01/2020)

What we talk about when we talk about the Paris Agreement: Analogies in Global Environmental Politics

Speaker: Dr. Nicholas Chan

Date:      Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Time:       12.00pm

Venue:    Meeting room 2-6-41 (Building 2, Level 6, Room No. 41)

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam (Logistics) and A/Prof Yeoh Seng Guan 
(Academic matters).

Speakers' Profile

Dr Nicholas Chan is Lecturer in Global Studies at Monash University Malaysia and holds degrees in International Relations from the University of Oxford and Aberystwyth University. He specialises in global environmental politics, especially multilateral negotiations on climate change and ocean biodiversity. His most recent publication is Large Ocean States: Sovereignty, Small Islands and Marine Protected Areas in Global Ocean Governance, published in December 2018 in Global Governance.


Five years after the Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted, it has rapidly become the focal point for how global climate action is organised. But how has this diplomatic success affected other dimensions of global environmental politics beyond climate change? This paper explores how the Paris Agreement has been used as an analogy, and how diverse actors have interpreted the 'lessons' of the Paris Agreement for the governance of other environmental issue areas, from biodiversity to plastic pollution, chemicals and ocean sustainability: What does the Paris Agreement mean in non-climate contexts? This paper builds on and contributes to the long tradition of reasoning-by-analogy in both International Relations generally and global environmental politics specifically. It explores the social life and the meanings attached to the 'Paris Agreement', and the implications this has for institutional design and global cooperation on issue areas beyond climate change.