[Seminar] Whither Cultural Studies? Dissent, Despair, and Pedagogy in Hong Kong

Friday, December 1, 2017, 3–5 pm
Harbour Centre 1600
515 W. Hastings St., Vancouver
Registration: sfu.ca/itcr/events

Recent experiences in civil disobedience, social antagonism and political prosecution in Hong Kong demonstrate substantially how dissent is the condition of possibility for identity-imaginary, freedom and democracy. In light of the latest trend towards authoritarian governance, we could see in the ‘failed’ resistances experienced so far by the HK people the roots of what is to come. We may re-think why people today first take dissent and now despair to be the vehicle for coping with the shifting social affectivity in a political colony locked inside a vacuum of hope.

Cultural Studies as an intellectual project is grounded in the contextual critique of power, hegemony and consensus. However, it also learns to face the dire condition of its continual work in the contemporary times. The moment is now to ponder the raison d’etre of what we do in face of the institutional paradox we live by. What indeed can one learn from the Hong Kong experience? And how can we as intellectuals and educators engage with a cultural situation edging away from trust, tolerance and credibility? Is there a pedagogy to handle dissent and despair for cultural studies?

Stephen Ching-kiu Chan 陳清僑 is a Professor of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University. He was the founding programme director of its BA Cultural Studies degree in 1999 and  was also the Programme Director of the Master of Cultural Studies degree in 2003–2008.

Chan is currently the Chair of  the international Association for Cultural Studies (ACS) .  He has served on the ACS  Board representing the Asia constituency since 2008.  He is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Consortium for Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Institutes formed in 2010.

Chan received his education at the University of Hong Kong (BA in Chinese and Comparative Literature 1978, MPhil in Comparative Literature 1981) and the University of California, San Diego (PhD in Literature 1986).  Before joining Lingnan in 1998, he had taught English, Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

As the Deputy Coordinator of Lingnan’s Kwan Fong Cultural Research and Development Programme (2004–), Chan leads and oversees projects in cultural research, education, and policy. Published internationally on Hong Kong culture, film, literature, education and cultural studies, Chan’s current scholarly interest is in applied cultural research and education, urban creativity, cultural and creative enterprise, audience development and cultural policy. He serves on the editorial board of a number of leading journals in the field such as Cultural Studies, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, and Router: A Journal in Cultural Studies, Communication and Society.

Chan is active in the civil society associated with the culture and education sectors. He is an advisor of the HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity and a member of The Professional Commons, an independent policy think-tank. He joined The Civic Party as a founding member in 2006, and has chaired its Community and Social Development Policy Branch. He served on the HKSAR Chief Executive Election Committee (2007–2010) representing the Higher Education sub-sector, and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (2008–2010) representing the Criticism constituency. In 2011, he has been appointed as a part-time member of the Central Policy Unit of the HKSAR Government.

This event is organized by SFU’s Institute for Transpacific Cultural Research & co-sponsored by UBC’s Hong Kong Studies Initiative and the Centre for Culture, Identity & Education.