Penang, Malaysia - One of the aims is to bring together scholars and civil society workers from across Asia to debate and dialogue on the state of research and study in the area of culture, communication, conflict and peace.

This ongoing series of international conferences was first convened in Bangkok in 2006. It was agreed in Bangkok that the organizers would host this conference annually at different venues and in the following year, 2007, the conference was held at the City University of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, we also agreed to henceforth name our collective SPICES - to reflect the diversity and richness of Asian cultures. Hence, SPICES 2008. This third international conference with the theme Commercialization, Contestation and Creative Culture will be held at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang in August 2008.


1. To bring together scholars and civil society workers from across Asia to debate and dialogue on the state of research and study in the area of culture, communication, conflict and peace.

2. To discuss papers with new ideas and agenda that would move forward the trajectories of Inter-Asia culture and communication with open borders.

3. To network between research institutions and universities, and individual scholars, researchers and civil society workers of diverse experience and interdisciplinary background.

4. To create focal points for future exchange of knowledge and people who share common interests.


Commercialization and globalization have undoubtedly impacted on the development of cultural forms and strategies in the region. All too often the impact has been deemed ‘negative’, principally by local politicians and self-appointed cultural guardians, guided by their own political agendas. Such assertions, many times nostalgically yearning for a mythical past, assume the domination of certain cultural forms and practices and the subordination of ‘national’ cultures. Yet, despite some evidence to suggest the possible ‘levelling-down’ of cultures, at the same time, we see everywhere around us in the region the emergence and even development of alternative cultural forms and strategies. The young have been particularly adept at incorporating globalized cultural products and coming up with hybridized forms that speak of and from their own daily cultural experiences.

These developments pose contemporary challenges, both theoretically and politically.

Theoretically, these developments force us to reconsider possibly simplistic notions such as cultural domination and subordination, cultural authenticity and cultural autonomy. They also require us to analyze current cultural and communications practices and strategies and possibly come up with alternative forms of explanation which look at the linkages between the global, the national and the local.

Politically, the emergence and development of these new cultural strategies, not guided by official exhortations and often creatively challenging them, raise questions about the liberating potential of creative culture, often developed by members of civil society. Official discourses about ‘authentic’ cultures and the links with, for example, ethnicity and religion, are challenged.

Apart from addressing these developments, Spices 2008 aims to explore the sustainability of such indigenous developments and the capacities required for their expansion.


1. Creative Culture: The Global, the National and the Local
2. Learning to Labour: Cultural Production and Consumption
3. Contested Space? Cultural Resistance, Alternative Practices and Popular Music in Malaysia
4. Rambo Doesn’t Care: Burmese Migrants and the Contested Spaces of Human Rights in Thailand
5. Identity and differences: National Cinema at the cross roads in Malaysia
6. Contestations and Indigenous Culture
7. Gender and Popular Culture
8. Popular Music: Commercialisation, Cooptation and Consumption
9. Youth Cultures: Communicating Across Borders
10. Media, Conscientisation and Marginalised Communities
11. Transnational Film Culture and National Cinema
12. Media Reform and Cultural Politics
13. Commercialisation, Community and Culture

Paper Format

Full papers must be submitted by 30th June 2008. The appropriate format is MS Word ONLY.

Other formats will not be accepted.

A compilation CD of these papers will be provided to all participants. The Secretariat has the right to proceed with or to call off any panel.


Developed Nations*
Non Student USD 150.00
Student USD 75.00

Developing Nations**
Non Student USD 75.00
Student USD 35.00

All Conference participants, including paper presenters, must pay registration fees. An official letter from a university or institution is required to establish the status of ‘student’. ‘Post – Doctoral Researcher’ is not regarded as ‘student’.

* Developed Nations: USA, EC, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa.

** Developing Nations: Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan.


Centre for Policy Research and International Studies (CenPRIS)
Universiti Sains Malaysia
11800, Penang

Tel: +604 653 3455 / 653 3389
Fax: +604 659 1624

Email: [email protected]

Contacts: Dr. Mahyuddin Ahmad & Ms. Aniza Daud


From 07 Aug 2008
Until 09 Aug 2008
Penang, Malaysia
News topics: