Joshua Chun Wah Kam
I’m Josh, a third-year PhD student in the Department of Asian Studies, helming the graduate conference committee for spring 2024. I study culinary history in my native Malaysia. Food was a big pivot for me; in another life, I studied histories of desire in classical Javanese and Malay literature during a Fulbright Fellowship in Indonesia (2019) and my subsequent MA at the University of Michigan (2021). My current projects center on other kinds of desire, tracing the aftertastes and leftover longings of twentieth-century restaurants. It’s hard to imagine a better intellectual home for my projects than SEAP, among my cosmopolitan colleagues and our many, many cuisines. Some of our best ideas come together over the diasporic dinner table–itself a de facto tradition of the program. I’m excited to helm this year’s conference, and to meet the confluence of scholars arriving in snowy Ithaca. Dress warmly. We’ll see ya here in the spring!
Sampurasun! I’m a 2nd year PhD student in the History of Art Department where I study the material culture of Maritime Southeast Asia under the guidance of Dr. Kaja McGowan. I’m fascinated by the agimat, objects believed to have magical and protective powers, in the part of the world where I grew up. Before attending Cornell, I taught undergrads at Ateneo de Manila, and pursued graduate studies at Columbia. I spent a year learning Indonesian languages from 2017-2018 in Bandung. Before that, I lived in Berlin during the hipster invasion.
Aside from being the co-captain of the Graduate Student Committee, I am one of eight Digital Humanities Fellows of the Olin Library and recipient of this year’s Milton Barnett Scholarship. Outside academia, I am father to Martina, my four year old pride and joy. I play tennis, mahjong, and enjoy ballroom dance.
Greetings, fellow Southeast Asianists! An advisee of Drs. Iftikhar Dadi and Kaja McGowan in the History of Art Department, I study modern and contemporary art of Southeast Asia with a focus on artistic practices that engage with eco-spiritual concerns, but really my interests are broader than that. I embrace intellectual promiscuity while I still can as an early-stage PhD student! Some of my current projects include: revisiting turn-of-the-century works of modernists who are left behind by the “global” turn to contemporary art in Malaysia, unpacking Bali as a regional and global node for artistic exchanges throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, and addressing the oversight of geometric abstract discourse in Southeast Asian art.
In my spare time, I commune with nature, devour novels, and host dinner parties.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions for the co-chairs or for the Graduate Student Committee about the conference.