University of Nottingham Malaysia

Voices I

'Public Intellectuals and Public Discourse in South and South-East Asia'

Postcolonial societies in the Asian region have produced notable intellectuals who have been at the forefront of articulating public opinion and public concerns. Renato Constantino in the Philippines, Sulak Sivaraksa in Thailand and, of course, the late Pramoedya Ananta Toer in Indonesia all were intellectuals committed to questioning and challenging official discourses and strategies that they felt were of little benefit to many of society’s marginalized and dispossessed. 

How they have done this, how successful they have been, and the responses of the public and also those who are meant to serve the public in these different societies, are questions that we believe are crucial and need to be addressed. Indeed, we believe it is only by doing so that we can begin to understand the complex interplay between intellectuals, intellectual institutions such as universities and, indeed, governments in serving cultures that have undergone immense suffering, often through no fault of their own, and are in the process of rebuilding.

In this first series, we introduced seven eminent speakers from the region who addressed the issues - and indeed problems - of cultural diversity, conflict resolution, the role of the media and the state, and the changing parameters of public discourse and participation. Acknowledged public intellectuals themselves, they work in separate social and cultural environments and continue to engage with the core issues of the roles of intellectuals and institutions in postcolonial settings. Speakers included Farish Noor, Ubonrat Siriyuvasak, Sharaad Kuttan, Amir Muhammad, Anjali Monteiro & K.P. Jayasankar.

You can download the brochure (pdf) from the series to find out more.



School of Media, Languages and Cultures

University of Nottingham Malaysia
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Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

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