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This website is no longer active but remains online as an archive of the work of the Asian Migrations Research Theme, which ran between 2012 and 2016. Some of its work has been succeeded by the Centre for Global Migrations.

Go to the Centre for Global Migrations website.

Asia and Education Conference

11-13 December 2015, St David Lecture Theatre Complex

Keynote speaker Keita Takayama from the University of New England and 27 presenters contributed their research in this international event. Keita's address was entitled "Deploying postcolonial predicaments of researching 'Asia'. Dr Takayama also presented a public lecture on 11 December entitled:'How do we make sense of the "Pisa effect" in education?' The Asia and Education Conference featured nine sessions and covered the following topics: Students' experiences and perspectives; Higher education; Culture and nation; Curriculum, citizenship and values; Systems and leadership; Teachers' work and lives, and Migration and learning. No speakers were video-taped.

Art performance/talk:

Ghost in the Ear: Poetry of the Transgraphic/Interlingual/Heterophonic Imagination

21 November 2015, 5–6:30 pm, Dunedin Public Art Gallery

In the first half of this art performance/talk, visiting US-based translingual poet and multimedia artist Jonathan Stalling performed selections of his work from three book length collections (Grotto Heaven, Yingelishi, and Lost Wax), along with new work from his large-scale conceptual project to create and propagate a Chinese orthography for writing and learning English (in and through Chinese characters), a project he calls SinoEnglish. Each of Stalling's works attempts to collapse the accepted parameters that demarcate linguistic difference, to resource and amplify interlingual consciousness through opening aesthetic, phonetic, and graphic structures, and to prepare the mind to hear/see/feel the increasing interconnectedness between English and Chinese as languages of globalization. The second half of the event was guided by audience questions and interaction. Dr Stalling was prepared to touch upon topics including translation studies, transgraphic writing systems, interlanguage poetics, language identity and politics, Chinese/English poetry, entrepreneurship and innovation as it relates to poetry and art, etc.

Sponsored by the University of Otago's Asian Migrations Research Theme, this free event was a collaboration between the University of Otago and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

See further details here:

Jonathan Stalling works at the intersection of Chinese and English languages, literatures, philosophy and culture though several interdisciplinary points of entry. He is the Curator of the Chinese Literature Translation Collection and Archive at the University of Oklahoma Library and an Associate Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma specializing in East-West Poetics, Comparative Literature, and Translation Studies. Dr. Stalling is the founding editor of Chinese Literature Today magazine and book series (University of Oklahoma Press) and the founder Co-Director of the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series. Stalling is the Deputy Director of Beijing Normal University's Center for the Study of China's Literature Abroad and is the 2015 Poet in Residence at Beijing University (first Westerner to hold this position). Stalling's Opera, Yingelishi, was performed at Yunnan University His books include Poetics of Emptiness (Fordham University Press), Grotto Heaven (Chax Press), Yingelishi(Counterpath Press), his latest book Lost Wax: Translation through the Void just came out from TinFish Press. Dr Stalling is an editor of The Chinese Character as a Medium for Poetry (Fordham UP), and a forthcoming anthology of Chinese Novellas. As a translator, Stalling's book-length collection: Winter Sun: The Poetry of Shi Zhi (Oklahoma University Press) was a finalist of the National Translation Award in 2014 and finally, Stalling is an inventor with patents pending on a Chinese character-based system of learning English phonetics embodied in various software platforms. An early account of this work can be found on his TEDx talk:

Postgraduate Mini-symposium

24 August 2015, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Four students, Dylan Gaffney, Marie Nissanka, Nicholas Sutton and Sara Rahmani, scholarship winners from this past year, presented their research findings during the combined CCCS/AMRT postgraduate symposium on 24 August 2015. Gaffney addressed “Diaspora and material culture in Papua New Guinea: an archaeological approach to migration studies.” Nissanka's topic was “Framing multiculturalism within the civics textbooks of Sri Lanka.” Sutton focused on “Regional interaction networks in southern Papua New Guinea during the late Holocene: evidence from the sourcing of chert artefacts.” Rahmani's research explored “Vipassana Meditation in New Zealand.” This event was hosted by the AMRT and was held in the Billiard Room on the first floor of the Otago Staff Club, Dunedin campus. This event commenced at 9.30 am and concluded at 1 pm.

Visiting Scholar Seminar

24 August 2015 University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Immediately following the Postgraduate Mini-symposium (1pm) held in the Billiard Room, Staff Club venue. Dr Masataka Yamaguchi, a visiting scholar and linguist, presented an hour-long seminar entitled “A Call for More Transnational Linkages between New Zealand and Japan through Education.” Presently, Dr Yamaguchi is with the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Queensland. This was a return visit for Dr Yamaguchi, who was previously based with the Department of English and Linguistics, Humanities Division, at the University of Otago's Dunedin campus until 2012.

Migrant Cross-Cultural Encounters: A Multidisciplinary Conference

24-26 November 2014, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Historical and contemporary global migration involves a range of cross-cultural encounters, but how are these interactions discussed, debated, and defined?
This three-day multidisciplinary conference sought to examine past and present migrant encounters with other peoples in a diverse range of locations. We welcomed papers from all disciplinary angles from both academics and independent researchers concerned with this issue.

The conference organisers were: Professor Angela McCarthy, Dr Angela Wanhalla, and Associate Professor Jacqui Leckie.

To find out more about the conference and the keynote speakers visit the conference website


Colloquium on 'Multiculturalism in New Zealand'

10 November, 2014, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Keynote speaker: Professor Paul Spoonley (Massey University).

Organized by Professor Elaine Reese (Psychology, Otago), Dr Katherine Smits (Head of Politics and International Relations, Auckland) and Associate Professor Takashi Shogimen (History and Art History, Otago).

Co-sponsored by:
Comparative and Cross-Cultural Studies (CCCS) and the Asian Migrations Research Theme.


Un-thinking Asian Migrations: Spaces of flows and intersections

25-26 August 2014, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

This symposium set out to question and challenge current Asian migration studies. It aimed to build upon the interdisciplinary foundations inherent in the field and, as the area begins to reach maturity, suggested that there is now a need to broaden, re-think and more importantly, un-think how Asian migration studies are currently conceived. The symposium proposed that a broadening of the concept of migration should encompass the movement of ideas, cultures, and objects (as well as people) to offer new, different and fruitful avenues of research that embrace the diversity of scholarship in this field.

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Public Lecture: 'From World History to World Literature: A Proposal for a New Comparative Method'

9 December 2013. Professor Shu-mei Shih, Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures, Comparative Literature and Asian American Studies, UCLA and the University of Hong Kong

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Master Class with Professor Shu-mei Shih, 10 December 2013

Five doctoral candidates from across departments and disciplines participated in this Master Class. Participants were asked to read two articles written by Professor Shih, and to introduce their own research noting any connections with Professor Shih's work, particularly in relation to the readings on Sinophone studies and their provocative rejection of terms like "diaspora" and "Chineseness." Participants were also given the opportunity to ask questions about professional development, such as publishing and the job search.


Public Lecture: 'Indigenization, Immigration, and the Cultural Transformation of Japanese Christianity'

15 November, 2013. Professor Mark R. Mullins, Faculty of Arts – School of Asian Studies, University of Auckland

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Premier New Zealand screening of the documentary 'Hafu: the mixed race experience in Japan'

24 October 2013

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The screening was followed by an informal panel discussion featuring; Megumi Nishikura (Director of Hafu), Dr Adam Doering (Centre for Sustainability (CSAFE), Department of Tourism, University of Otago), Dr Yuko Shibata (Department of Languages and Cultures, University of Otago), Dr Vanessa Ward (Department of History and Art History, University of Otago).


Public lecture: 'How the Mahāparinirvāṇa-mahāsūtra Won the Heart of East Asian Buddhism, and the Quixotic Quest for Essence in Asian Religions'

19 October, 2013. Dr Michael Radich, Senior Lecturer, Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

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Public Lecture: 'Living on the Borders of Postwar Japan; Three Journeys'

15 October, 2013. Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

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Postgraduate Master Class with Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki

16 October 2013

This Master Class was attended by eight postgraduate students and early career researchers from across disciplines and departments at the University of Otago. It was designed to support PhD students and early career researchers in their own research journeys. Participants were asked to share a written and verbal summary of their research, and Professor Morris-Suzuki then responded to each of these presentations, making suggestions and asking questions, before inviting discussion amongst the wider group.

'Migration in Turbulent Times' with Professor Morris-Suzuki, Dr Jim Headley (Politics, Otago) and Associate Professor Jacqueline Leckie (Anthropology and Archaeology, Otago)

17 October, 2013

This discussion centred on the movement of people, ideas and cultures across and within territorial borders during turbulent moments in the twentieth century. The three participants contributed their respective research interests and expertise on different geographical regions to the discussion (East Asia in the mid-twentieth century; Eastern Europe in the latter part of the century; and longer term diasporic movements in the Pacific).

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Public Lecture: 'Asian Migrants in Australasia: A Socio-Demographic Perspective'

5 September, 2013. Dr Yaghoob Foroutan, Research Associate, University of Waikato and Assistant Professor at the University of Mazandaran, Iran

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Public Lecture: 'Managing Multiculturalism: Immigration, Population Policy and Citizenship in Singapore'

29 April, 2013. Professor Chua Beng Huat, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore

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Public Lecture: 'Migrants, Refugees and Diasporas: The Indian Experience'

12 September, 2012. Professor Partha Ghosh, Professor of South Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

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Master Class with Professor Haroon Akram-Lodhi

7 June 2012

This Master Class for postgraduate students and early career researchers associated with the Asian Migrations Research Theme focussed on issues of methods, methodology, ethics and research design.

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