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Transgressions, Tradition, and Modernity:

   Contemporary Malaysia, Southeast Asia

and Beyond


A Two-Day Colloquium organized by the Department of English

 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Universiti Malaya

  13 & 14 December 2017




“Are tradition and modernity antagonists, or are they two faces of the same human story?”



Previously conceptualised as two separate events, this two-day colloquium at the Department of English, University of Malaya, features plenary sessions and parallel symposia reflecting a spectrum of themes traditional, modern and transgressive, and represents the collaborative effort of both the academic staff and postgraduate students of the Department.  

 In line with this, the colloquium slogan is #bettertogether, advocating literature as a discipline that gives voice to transgression, but also space for reconciliation  -  the ideal discipline to give meaning and context to the wider interdisciplinary endeavours of the human race.    

This reconceptualised colloquium invites diversity in discussion: Are modernity and tradition  reconcilable? How emancipatory is the discourse of modernity? Is there a distinct Malaysian or Southeast Asian discourse or experience of modernity and if so, how does this articulate with the universalist project of modernity that has its roots in the European Enlightenment? What are the precarious and at times invisible social and cultural boundaries existing within our socio-political environment? How do we transgress those boundaries and reposition our ways of understanding?











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