Recently I went to a conference held by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley, entitled "Making Southeast Asian Culture: From Region To World." Thanks to Dr. Gui Weihsin, I was on a panel on literary transformations in Southeast Asia.
I wouldn't really say I'm a Southeast Asianist. In my main blog, I describe myself as being involved with UC Riverside's SEATRiP program not by research, but through my creative pursuits. I DO study Southeast Asian history and cultures, but that is because I write stories that are meant for a Southeast Asian audience. So when Dr. Gui invited me to submit an abstract for this conference, I wracked my brain trying to think of a good usable topic (that could, in the interests of an academic career, transform into a publishable paper) and thought of something completely different, but completely untenable, and he said, "why not just talk about your book? You edited it, you know the field, you'd be the only steampunk specialist there, and it's Southeast Asian literature."
I can do that?
And turns out, of course I can, which put me into the position of speaking as an academic about a book I personally edited. I was very uncomfortable because on the one hand, Dr. Gui was right, it IS Southeast Asian Literature (we've got one white woman in the entire Table of Contents; white women are very diverse these days) and I AM an expert on the field and it IS a great opportunity to tell people about the book, but on the other hand, I have been taught, in so many ways, that being proud of my work and what I've done and talking about it is kind of big-headed, arrogant, and kinda rude. But I have the support of many lovely people here at UCR, including my adviser, so I wrote it, and made a very nice Powerpoint (which I'm not actually putting up here).
So here is the transcript!