From heart-to-heart chats to 'national conversations', dialogue is often held up as a model of responsible and productive interaction. Yet at times, calls for more dialogue seem to mask monological presuppositions that 'everyone' will end up agreeing to the same thing.

In this talk, Professor Matt Tomlinson examines the different meanings of monologue and dialogue and the ways they are related in political and religious speech. Drawing on detailed and long-term ethnographic research in Fiji, Samoa, and Australia, he describes the ways in which political and religious speakers make claims about what counts as dialogue, who gets to participate, and what happens when dialogue fails to take shape or falls apart. Examples come from diverse contexts ranging from casual kava-session conversations to formal chiefly oratory and from spirit mediums’ dialogues with the dead to preachers’ assertions of what they consider universal truths. In examining the relationship between monologue and dialogue, Matt explores themes of challenge, vulnerability, consensus, and commitment. Ultimately, monologue and dialogue can be seen as always co-present tendencies in particular political and religious speech genres.

 

Agenda

6-7pm Academic Lecture

7-7.30pm Networking drinks & canapes

 

About the Speaker

Matt Tomlinson is Professor at the School of Culture, History and Language in the College of Asia and the Pacific.

He is a sociocultural anthropologist who studies the relationship between language, politics, and religious ritual. His work focuses on how people organise themselves to communicate with 'extrahuman' figures (including God, ancestors, and spirits) and what social effects such ritual communication has.

Matt's diverse research interests encompass various aspects of Oceania, including Fiji, Samoa, and Australia. He delves into language, culture, religion, ritual, theology, Christianity, and spiritualism.

Read more about Matt's profile here.

 

Professorial Lecture Series

This public lecture is the second in a series of four lectures that aim to celebrate our esteemed academics and showcase their areas of expertise in research and teaching.

 

 

Professorial Lecture Series

This public lecture is the third in a series of four lectures that aim to celebrate our esteemed academics and showcase their areas of expertise in research and teaching.

About the event

Intra-state conflicts have become ever-more common in the past forty years. Since WWII, more than half have recurred within five years of being resolved, usually by some form of agreement. Many such conflicts originate in disagreements about resource exploitation, and they tend to recur even more rapidly than others.

It is common for intra-state conflicts to initially involve, or give rise to, demands for territorial control of part of the country concerned and hence involve self-determination issues. In various parts of the Pacific and Asia, post-conflict constitution-making/constitution-building has seen movement away from the influence of colonial constitutional models and the development of some innovative approaches to conflict prevention and/or resolution.

In this presentation, drawing on over forty years of experience of involvement in efforts to use constitutions to prevent or resolve such conflicts in eight countries in Asia and the Pacific, as well as Uganda, Professor Anthony Regan considers what might be learnt about sustainable conflict prevention and resolution through choices not only of processes for constitution-making and amendment, but also the content of both new constitutions and constitutional amendments. In relation to process, the issue of broad-based inclusivity is of critical importance. In relation to constitutional content, he examines some possibilities for compromises on demands for ‘external’ self-determination; ‘creative’ possibilities for ‘internal’ self-determination; and approaches to resolution of resource exploitation-related conflicts.

 

Agenda

6-7pm Academic lecture

7-7.30pm Networking drinks & canapes

 

About the speaker

Professor Anthony Regan is a constitutional lawyer, who has lived and worked in Papua New Guinea for 17 years, where he was a lawyer for various government bodies, and taught at the University of Papua New Guinea. He has undertaken constitutional advising work in Uganda (full-time for over three years, 1991–94), Timor L’Este, Fiji, Solomon Islands and India (in relation to resolution of the Naga secessionist conflict). He has been a long-term adviser to the Bougainville parties during the Bougainville peace process, and 2002–04 was an adviser to the Constitutional Commission and Constituent Assembly that developed the Constitution of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Anthony's diverse research interests include constitution-making processes, constitutional design in conflict resolution, and conflict analysis and resolution, especially in conflicts involving identity, resources and self-determination issues.

Read more about Anthony's profile here.

 

 

Dyah Ayu Kartika addresses the impact of anti-gender movements on gender-related issues and policies in Indonesia and their broader implications for the country's democracy.

The fight for gender equality in Indonesia achieved substantial gains after the country’s transition to democracy began in 1998. However, such gains have prompted a backlash from conservative movements, and in particular from Islamist groups. Such groups oppose feminist values and agendas, and instead promote religiously conservative interpretations of gender roles. Islamist groups have mobilised against a range of gender-progressive laws and regulations, including a bill proposed in 2022 on sexual violence. Importantly, women-led alliances of conservative Islamist groups are at the forefront of opposition to feminist-inspired legal change. The backlash against gender activism is not isolated to Indonesia. Scholars argue ‘anti-gender movements’ have been growing all around the world. Anti-gender movements oppose emancipatory claims on gender, sex, and sexuality and cast such claims as a moral threats. The movements have recently gained prominence as part of a broader rise in right-wing populism and democratic backsliding around the globe. 

Against this backdrop, my doctoral research project asks: What explains the recent rise in women-led anti-gender activism in Indonesia, and what has been its impact on women’s rights in the country? How similar and how different is this form of anti-gender activism to what analysts observe in other parts of the world, and in particular other Muslim-majority countries? To answer these questions, the project will use counter-movement theory as the overarching analytical framework, emphasising the dynamic interplay between social movements, counter-movements, and the state. In doing so, this project will offer the first systematic investigation into the growing visibility of anti-gender movements in Indonesia, with a view to reflecting on how such movements contribute to, or are impacted by, broader problems of democratic regression.

 

Dyah Ayu Kartika (Kathy) commenced her PhD studies in February 2023. She previously worked as a research analyst in a Jakarta-based think tank, the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC). She was also part of the Indonesian fellows for New Mandala, an academic blog hosted by The Australian National University, to provide analysis on gender issues during Indonesia’s 2019 election.

Professorial Lecture Series

This public lecture marks the culmination of our Professorial Lecture Series this year, a captivating series of four presentations, all dedicated to honouring our distinguished academics while highlighting their profound contributions to research and education.

 

About the event

Ambitious claims are often made today for big data analytics as the preeminent tool for understanding and predicting human behaviour. In this talk, Professor Benjamin Penny will 'zoom in' to consider the value of a micro- rather than a macro-perspective, focusing on the utility of the specific, the local, and the individual for analysing human society.

A famous aphorism, variously attributed to Roman Jakobson and Nietzsche, has it that philology is the art of reading slowly. It was only after Benjamin had completed many years of his education in Chinese that he realised that reading slowly had been the foundation of his disciplinary practice.

The intense focus philology has on the specific ramifications of each word as we read has been a key methodological underpinning of Benjamin's work. While 'big data' analytics undoubtedly has its value taking the specific instance seriously - a single life, one group of religious practitioners, the small data - can still be beautiful.

 

Agenda

6-7pm Academic lecture

7-7.30pm Networking drinks & canapes

 

About the speaker

Benjamin Penny is a professor of Chinese history and religion in the School of Culture, History and Language at ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. His research examines religious and spiritual movements in modern and contemporary China as well as in medieval times; Taiwanese religion and society, and expatriate society in the treaty ports in the nineteenth century.

Read more about Benjamin's profile here.

 

 

Moderated by Dr Katrin Travouillon from our  Department of Political and Social Change, the panelists make two key arguments. Firstly, the term ‘interference’ is not confined to actions that challenge a regime’s leadership, but may also encompass acts of shoring up regimes that lack popular support. Secondly, China’s ‘non-interference’ rhetoric is not demonstrated in the context of Cambodia, where it has on multiple occasions, interfered to reinforce Prime Minister Hun Sen’s leadership.

To illustrate the above arguments, the discussants will touch upon the history of Beijing’s interference in Cambodia with a focus on areas where Hun Sen’s regime backs China’s geostrategic interests.

This panel discussion will examine China’s non-interference policy, taking Cambodia as a case study.

Event Speakers

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Sovinda Po

Sovinda is a PhD candidate in International Relations at Griffith University and a Senior Research Fellow at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace. His research agenda evolves the relationship between China and mainland Southeast Asia and the strategic use of minilateral institutions by both major powers and small states.

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Dr Kearrin Sims

Kearrin is a critical development scholar trained in sociology and international relations. Through ethnographic research methods and extensive in-country fieldwork, Kearrin examines the uneven ways in which development projects and interventions are encountered and experienced by vulnerable communities.