31 July 2024

South Asia from Asia Initiative

A RIH-funded interdisciplinary research project

The aim of this initiative will be in three main areas: research, pedagogy, and public interaction. Research: it will develop research collaboration between interdisciplinary members, and give a venue to present research. Pedagogy: there will be mentoring of PG and UG students interested in South Asia, as well as course development. Public interaction: it will hold public talks and events highlighting South Asian connections in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and East Asia.

Project team

CUHK Faculty of Arts
Leilah Vevaina (ANT)
Venera Khalikova (ANT)
Wyman Tang (ANT)
Stuart McManus (HIS)
Yao Zhihua (PHIL)
Hayden Kee (PHIL)

CUHK Other Faculties
Christopher Roberts (LAW)
Nishant Shah (COM)

CUHK RPG Students
LI Xing (Program Coordinator)
Amy Phua
Varsha Upraity
Ina Goel

Non-CUHK
Alastair McClure (HKU History)
Devika Shankar (HKU History)
Rashna D. Nicholson (HKU English)

Project objectives

The aim of this initiative would be in three main areas:
• Research: form research collaboration between interdisciplinary members; venue to present research
• Pedagogy: mentoring of PG and UG students interested in South Asia; course development
• public interaction: public talks and events highlighting South Asia connections in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and East Asia

If this initiative were successful, it could lead to:
• funding 2024-5 and beyond
• a Collaborative Research Grant
• Faculty of Arts collaborative teaching
• RGC Inter-University funding
• Further recruitment of UG and PG students from South Asia/working on South Asia

Project brief description

While CUHK and particularly the Faculty of Arts excels in the study of Hong Kong, Mainland China, and East Asia more broadly, several faculty members and RPG students have research expertise in South Asia or South Asian diasporas and cultures within East Asia. Instead of focusing this Initiative on research on South Asia, firmly within a kind of area-studies paradigm, it seeks to think across broad regional worlds and fixed disciplinary foci to emphasizing the complex connections across entrenched, imaginary geographies produced by area studies paradigms and geo-political realities. The Initiative seeks to build on the strengths of our current faculty research and reach forward to think through Asian connections from the perspective of Hong Kong, rather than the West, that is, research and connections on South Asia from Asia.

In terms of research, the Initiative would be a venue for faculty members to present work and foster collaboration within and beyond CUHK. These collaboration could lead to individual papers, workshops, collaborative research grants, new course proposals, and even RGC Inter-university funding. Its pedagogical aim is to foster strong mentoring relations between students and faculty members, in particular, RPG students working on these connections. With its web presence, the Initiative also hopes to aid as a recruitment tool for prospective students from South Asia and those who wish to study these connections within the Faculty of Arts. In terms of public interaction, the group hopes to highlight the historical and continuing ties between South Asian diasporas and culture, and Hong Kong.

(15 Dec. 2023) The Expansion of Halal Certification and the Role of China: Leaders, Followers, and Halal Diplomacy Speaker: Dr. Zaynab El Bernoussi, NYU-Abu Dhabi
(19 Mar. 2024) Surviving the Sanctuary City: Asylum-Seeking Work in Nepali New York  Speaker:  Dr Tina Shrestha, Waseda University

(2 Apr. 2024) Seeking Sisterhood: Travel Writing, Asia, and the Search for Muslim Women’s Solidarity in Colonial India  Speaker: Dr. Daniel Majchrowicz (Northwestern University)

15 Apr.2024 An Ayurvedic Pill for COVID-19: Media Discourse on Alternative Treatments during the Pandemic in India Speaker: Dr. Venera R. Khalikova, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, CUHK