Film Stardom in Southeast Asia

Posted on Jul 19, 2016

Film Stardom in Southeast Asia
Monash University Malaysia, 24 & 25 November 2016


All across Southeast Asia film stars have attained an important place in
popular culture, appearing in magazines and newspapers, on billboards and
cinema marquees, at public events and premieres, and now on the internet
and social media. While some are from cinemas from outside the region, such
as Hollywood or Hindi cinema, Southeast Asian cinemas have also built their
own distinctive star systems, which have produced a host of successful
stars. These stars often possess the general features of stardom commonly
noted in film scholarship, such as glamour and charisma, while at the same
time offering nationally (or even regionally) specific inflections of the
phenomenon, embodying local tastes, values and ideologies. Many have
reached stellar levels of fame, with Mitr Chaibancha in Thailand, P. Ramlee
in Malaysia and Nora Aunor in the Philippines, for example, all attaining
legendary status in their respective countries. And yet there is little
academic work focusing on the region’s stars.

This workshop on film stardom in Southeast Asia will contribute to
existing scholarship in Star Studies and Southeast Asian cinema studies in
a number of key ways. It will explore such questions as: how do Southeast
Asian film stars contribute to the marketing, business and economics of the
industries they work in? In what ways are Southeast Asian films shaped by
their stars, through their extra-filmic personas and/or their star
performances? How do the region’s stars give insight into the social and
political contexts of life in Southeast Asia? To what extent do film stars
offer a fresh perspective on Southeast Asian film history?

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Case studies of particular stars and star systems from the
  • Nationally specific ideas of stardom in Southeast Asia (e.g. in
    Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the
    Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam)
  • Stardom and identity (e.g. class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality)
  • Stars of independent and auteur cinema
  • Stardom’s relationship with empire and post-colonialism
  • The influence of stardom from other parts of the world (e.g.Hollywood, India, Hong Kong)
  • Religion and stardom in Southeast Asia
  • Transnational Southeast Asian stars
  • Stardom and Southeast Asian film genres
  • Stardom and performance (including the influence of regional
    performance traditions)
  • The role of stars in mediating notions of tradition and
  • Fans, audiences and reception studies

    This two-day workshop will be a closed-door event, only open to the
    workshop’s speakers and discussants. Speakers will give a 20-30 minute
    presentation, which will be followed by discussion and Q&A.

    Confirmed speakers include: Mary Ainslie (University of Nottingham,
    Malaysia), Katarzyna Ancuta (Assumption University of Thailand), Thomas
    Barker (University of Nottingham, Malaysia), Annette Hamilton (University
    of New South Wales), David Hanan (Monash University) and Rolando Tolentino
    (University of the Philippines, Diliman).

    The workshop will take place at Monash University Malaysia, located just
    outside Kuala Lumpur:

    If you are interested in participating please submit a 300-word abstract
    for a paper along with a short bio to Jonathan Driskell ( by 10 August 2016 (new extended deadline).

    Senior Lecturer and Undergraduate Course Coordinator

    School of Arts and Social Sciences
    Monash University Malaysia
    Jalan Lagoon Selatan
    47500 Bandar Sunway
    Selangor Darul Ehsan

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