HKAC Art Shop Inspiration series x Lingnan University 50th Anniversary Lecture Series (2017 – 2018)
Anxious States: Culture and Politics in Singapore and Hong Kong
Eric Hotung Studio, LB/F Hong Kong Arts Centre
02/03 6:45-8pm
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).

Organised by the Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University
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