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The Annual meeting of the SEASGRAD Conference will be held on October 7, 2023 on the campus of the University of California, Riverside in Riverside, CA.


Through this year’s theme, “On Hold/Holding On,” the conference organizers hope to foreground the embodied, material experiences of those located in Southeast Asia and those located within Southeast Asian diasporas. The phrase, “on hold,” signals the regimes of labor performed by Southeast Asian workers within the globalized circulation of materials, people, and information. “On hold,” after all, evokes the experience of being “put on hold” by a call center employee, who is potentially based in a nation like the Philippines. “On hold,” additionally, indexes a set of temporal experiences: postponement, waiting, deferral, delay. These experiences of time characterize the material realities of migrants, immigrants, workers, refugees, travelers, and others. Further, the phrase, “on hold,” indexes a set of research and archival practices, as it appears in library databases to indicate that an item is being held and is ready to be checked out. 


Meanwhile, “holding on” names various modes of relation that take shape in space and time. “Holding on” can describe physical acts in which one individual clings to an object or another. It can also refer to processes of memory-keeping in which one must hold onto the past. 


By bringing together the multiple and capacious meanings of “on hold” and “holding on,” we aim to study the ways that the material and embodied experiences of individuals physically located in Southeast Asia and/or situated within its various diasporas are central to the processes that undergird the flows of ideas, bodies, and objects around the world.


A special thank you to CHASS Dean's Office and the Center for Ideas and Society and the SEATRiP program for sponsoring our event.

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