Advancements in knowledge in the 21st century are continually produced within the vast sphere of cultures, which interweave as they exist symbiotically for the benefit of humankind. Knowledge across cultures expands in constant evolution, which defines and shapes consciousness about reality that gives meanings to social ideals and values. Regardless of divergence, peoples of varied cultures live in mutual concord with adherence to the veracity of human affairs.
However, the modern world is confronted with intricacies that pose challenges to people’s capabilities of forbearance and survival. Thus, there is an imperative to be addressed: the necessity to inform about and elaborate the diverse cultures of peoples of the world for better knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of humanity that goes beyond differences and conflicts. Every person needs to recognize the importance of sharing knowledge for the common good. This was the premise of the Inter-Asian Cultural Studies (IACS) Society Conference 2019.
The IACS Society Conference 2019, with the theme “Fluid Circuits: Cultures of Knowledge after the Digital Turn” was held in Silliman University, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. It was organized by the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (IACS) Society in cooperation with Silliman University. It was successful in creating an avenue where scholars and experts converge in meaningful, profound discourses that centered on culture and society. Relevant topics on cultures were brought to light through research works that showed excellent scholarship. Exuding vivacity and anticipation, local and foreign scholars, teachers, and students took active participation in the three-day conference.
The paper presenters from the University of Santo Tomas include: Prof. Maria Alexandra Iñigo-Chua, Ph.D. (Conservatory of Music), Ms. Kristine May D. Martinez (Faculty of Arts and Letters), and Mr. Tito R. Quiling, Jr., (Faculty of Arts and Letters). Chua presented her research work titled “Rethinking and Reimagining the Musical Works of Julio Nakpil (1867-1960) in the Context of Philippine Modernity, Colonial Transculturation, and Cultural Hybridity.” Martinez presented “’Will you ever be cured, Keiko…?’: Being an “Oddball” and a “Foreign Object” in Japan — A Research Paper on Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman,” while “Thin Walls, Thick Skin: Identity–Formation and Spaces of Ephemerality in Peque Gallaga’s Scorpio Nights” was presented by Quiling.
Praiseworthy about this international conference was the participation of the first-rate guest speakers who are luminaries in the field of cultural studies. The speakers exhibited brilliance as they presented themselves before an audience of intellectuals engaged in absorbing and processing information from the lectures. The speakers’ prominence was a testament to their expertise on and stellar achievements in cultural studies. The keynote speakers were Dr. Caroline Hau (Kyoto University), Dr. Patrick Flores (University of the Philippines – Diliman), and Dr. Vicente Rafael (University of Washington). These speakers went into detail in explicating various developments in knowledge related to local and global cultures.
The plenary session speakers were also outstanding in their lectures on cultural studies: Dr. J. Neil Garcia (University of the Philippines – Diliman), Dr. Ding Naifei (National Central University, Taiwan), Dr. Audrey Yue (National University of Singapore), Dr. Ramon Guillermo (University of the Philippines – Diliman), Dr. Hsing-wen Chang (Ambedkar University, India), Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana (Lingnan University, Hong Kong), Dr. Jonathan Corpus Ong (UMass Amherst, USA), Dr. Nishant Shah (ARTez, Netherlands), and Dr. Amie Parry (National Central University, Taiwan).