SOAS University of London

Centres and Institutes Office

Events calendar: Centres and Institutes Office

The Centres & Institutes Office provides School-wide event management support on all aspects of event delivery. 

See below for the calendar of events organised by the SOAS Centres & Institutes Office.

For further information about any of the events please contact the Centres & Institutes Office

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  • China 1949: Year of Revolution
  • Graham Hutchings (University of Oxford China Centre and University of Nottingham)
  • This talk will explore something of the human drama at the heart of the 1949 story, and show how the communist conquest of mainland China in that year provides a key to understanding the behaviour of the Chinese state under Xi Jinping, more than 70 years later.

  • Maritime Trade and Shipwrecks: Recent Discoveries from Vietnam and Central Thailand
  • Abhirada Komoot (PhD Candidate, University of Western Australia) and Do Truong Giang (Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences)
  • Abhirada Komoot will discuss The Phanom-Surin Shipwreck and Cultural Exchange between Mainland Southeast Asia and the wider Indian Ocean World, and Do Truong Giang will talk about Champa’s Long-distance Cultural Exchange: A View from Maritime Archaeology and History.

  • Why China Should Democratize (and sooner rather than later)
  • Professor Joseph Wong (Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto)
  • In this webinar, Professor Wong argues the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) should consider democratizing sooner rather than later, to usher in democratic reform in China, and importantly, for the regime to maintain political power

  • Artist talk series: Yinka Shonibare in Conversation with Gus Casely-Hayford
  • Yinka Shonibare, CBE and Dr Gus Casely-Hayford (Director, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art)
  • Yinka Shonibare, CBE, and Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford, Director of Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, will discuss Shonibare’s career path as an artist and current projects—both in the UK and internationally.



  • Moroccan Cinema Uncut: Decentred Voices, Transnational Perspectives
  • Will Higbee (University of Exeter), Florence Martin (Goucher College), Jamal Bahmad (Mohammed V University)
  • This is the first book length study to consider the transnational dimension of Moroccan cinema. It argues that Moroccan cinema has de-orbited from Francophone cinema and Morocco's postcolonial legacy to become a transnational cinema.

  • LGBTQ in Iran
  • Various
  • This seminar is an introductory session with three Iranian academics providing an overview of their research into the Iranian LGBTQ community. 



  • The Arab Winter: Democratic Consolidation, Civil War, and Radical Islamists
  • Stephen J. King (Georgetown University)
  • This unique comparative analysis of countries before, during and after the Arab Spring seeks to explain the divergent outcomes, disappointing and even harrowing results of efforts to overcome democratic consolidation challenges, from the tentative democracy in Tunisia to the emergence of the Islamic State, and civil war and authoritarian retrenchment everywhere else.

  • CPS Annual Lecture 2021: The Apartheid Paradigm
  • Raef Zreik (Tel Aviv University)
  • Professor Zreik will offer an interpretation regarding the recent increase in the deployment of the Apartheid paradigm to describe the current reality in Palestine-Israel.

  • Chinese Vaccine Diplomacy in Africa - A Global Perspective
  • Various speakers
  • China and Africa have long decades of interaction. The vaccine diplomacy is simply a counterpoint of 'vaccine wars' that have swept Europe itself - especially between the UK and EU. In Africa/China terms, this diplomacy is just one further aspect of old rivalries between China and the West - albeit conducted within the crisis of a pandemic - but also may be seen as a genuine Chinese outreach that echoes the nature of an earlier relationship between the two continents.

  • History, Fiction, and Japan
  • Prof Amy Stanley (Northwestern University)
  • This talk, from a Japan historian whose work has often been miscategorized as fiction, considers the opportunities and dangers of borrowing the narrative strategies of the novel, and presents some ideas about why fiction and history are so often confused when we talk and write about Japan.

  • Angkor Wat, Cambodia: A Transcultural History of Heritage?
  • Michael Falser (Heidelberg University/Technical University of Munich)
  • Michael Falser will take you on a journey, one that will give you the chance to see some of the results of his recent monograph Angkor Wat. A Transcultural History of Heritage (DeGruyter, Berlin 2020), which traced the multiple lives of Angkor Wat over a 150-year-long period from the 1860s to the 2010s, and presented for the first time a kind of visual anthology of the temple with more than 1,400 historic photographs, architectural plans and samples of public media.

  • The Arab Uprisings Ten Years on: A Continuing Process
  • Gilbert Achcar (SOAS) in conversation with Dina Matar (SOAS)
  • Ten years ago, most of the Arabic-speaking countries were shaken by the chain of uprisings that was called the Arab Spring. Three years later, it looked as if the hopes raised in 2011 had been defeated, with the partial exception of Tunisia where democratic gains have been preserved.

  • Rescuing Art History from the Nation: Late Chosŏn Korea between Europe and Edo Japan
  • Prof J.P. Park (University of Oxford)
  • By introducing evidence that testifies to the late Chosŏn public’s active interest in Japanese art, this paper will point to the neglected exchange of art and ideas between early modern Korea and Japan, and expose how age-old academic conventions and nationalisms remain firmly fixed in the study of East Asian art history.

  • Agrarian change in the Chao Phraya delta (1950-2020)
  • François Molle (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)
  • The Chao Phraya delta has been the historical heart of commercial rice production in Thailand since the Bowring Treaty (1855). In the early 1900s, it accounted for 70% of the country’s production and 100% of exports. What happened to this agrarian system in the following 100 years?

  • Epistolary Revolution in Chosŏn Korea
  • Asst Prof Hwisang Cho (Emory University)
  • While discussing his book The Power of the Brush: Epistolary Practices in Chosŏn Korea (Washington 2020), Hwisang Cho will give a survey of the “epistolary revolution” that shaped Korean society from the sixteenth century to the present.



  • LOOT: Britain and the Benin Bronzes
  • Barnaby Phillips (Author), Enotie Paul Ogbebor (Visual artist and singer/songwriter)
  • The story of a powerful West African kingdom & British imperial greed. The dispersal of the Bronzes and today’s debate about their future.

  • 10th Annual Igbo Conference - A New Dawn: Rebirth, Renewal, Regeneration
  • The Igbo Conference is an annual international conference that aims to encourage and promote Igbo Studies in the UK and beyond. It seeks to provide a forum for intellectual and cultural exchange between scholars, practitioners, students and members of the community, serving as a unique bridge between the community and academia.

  • Do Not Disturb
  • Michela Wrong (Author), Miles Tendi (University of Oxford), Susan Thomson (Colgate University)
  • Join us for the launch of 'Do Not Disturb' by award-winning author Michela Wrong.

  • Shadows & Illuminations
  • Robert Lemelson (UCLA)
  • A film screening of Shadows & Illuminations. A film that follows an older Balinese man, Nyoman Kereta, as he struggles with the intrusion of spirits into his consciousness. Kereta says he has been living in two worlds, the world of his family and community and the world of the spirits, for the past 40 years.

  • China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage
  • Didi Kirsten Tatlow (German Council on Foreign Relations; Projekt Sinopsis)
  • For decades, the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese state have operated a vast, intricate and highly successful system of science and technology transfer from overseas to “serve the country.” This seminar will present the findings of Didi Kirsten Tatlow's recent co-authored book explaining how the system works - and why it is becoming an existential challenge to democracies.

  • Few Strings Attached: Why Countries Join the Belt and Road Initiative
  • Prof. M. Taylor Fravel (Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Although the motives for China’s development of the Belt and Road Initiative have been well studied, scholars have yet to examine why partner states seek to join in the first place. Professor Fravel will talk about his paper, which seeks to fill this gap by focusing on the memorandums of understanding (MOUs) that states sign with China to formally join BRI.


  • The China Debate 2021: China will Sustain its Economic Rise
  • Various speakers
  • Will China be able to sustain its economic rise? Will the economic miracle that has defined China’s development during the last four decades be a sufficient basis from which to lift it out of the Middle-Income Trap? Will the changes in the international environment unleashed by Xi’s assertive foreign policy and the US-China Trade War prove to be insurmountable obstacles? These are a few of the questions which this debate will address.

  • What does a world with less water mean for the Middle East?
  • Peter Schwartzstein (journalist)
  • As the driest part of the planet, the Middle East never had much water to begin with. But a potent combination of climate shocks, rampant mismanagement, and increasing demand is pushing the region to the brink.

  • African Migration, Human Rights and Literature
  • Prof Fareda Banda (SOAS)
  • This innovative book looks at the topic of migration through the prism of law and literature. The author uses a rich mix of novels, short stories, literary realism, human rights and comparative literature to explore the experiences of African migrants and asylum seekers.

  • Book Launch: The Colonizing Self, by Hagar Kotef
  • The Colonizing Self explores the cultural, political, and theoretical apparatuses that enable people and nations to construct a home on the ruins of other people’s homes or to feel that they belong to spaces of dispossession.

  • War and Genocide in South Sudan
  • Clémence Pinaud (Indiana University, Bloomington)
  • Using more than a decade's worth of fieldwork in South Sudan, Clémence Pinaud here explores the relationship between predatory wealth accumulation, state formation, and a form of racism―extreme ethnic group entitlement―that has the potential to result in genocide.

  • The Politics of Restitution
  • Jos van Beurden (Researcher, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Hilmar Farid (Director General of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia)
  • Jos van Beurden will present Lessons for the Future: Returns by the Netherlands to Indonesia in the 2010s and the 1970s, and Hilmar Farid will discuss The Future of Restitution: What is Possible?

  • How Fangyan became Dialects: A history of language and nationalism in China
  • Gina Anne Tam (Trinity University - San Antonio, Texas)
  • What does it mean to speak the Chinese language? The most common answer to this question would be Mandarin, the national language of the People’s Republic of China. Yet within China, the languages spoken on the streets of China's cities and towns are often not its national language.

  • Artefacts, Identities and Restitution
  • Phacharaphorn Phanomvan (Lecturer, University of Oxford), Charlotte Galloway (Honorary Associate Professor, Australian National University)
  • Phacharaphorn Phanomvan will present Plai Bat: Reclaiming Heritage, Social Media, and Modern Nationalism and Charlotte Galloway will discuss Repatriation, Restitution and Myanmar. 



  • Chinese neostatist thinkers and the restructuring of Hong Kong
  • Prof. Sebastian Veg (EHESS)
  • The recent changes to Hong Kong’s constitutional framework, including the 2020 National Security Law and the 2021 Electoral Reform, are not simply an adjustment, but can be seen as a comprehensive “restructuring”. What are the ideas underpinning these changes and do they hold significance beyond Hong Kong?

  • The Great Decoupling: China, America and the Struggle for Technological Supremacy
  • Nigel Inkster (International Institute for Strategic Studies and SOAS University of London)
  • The USA and China have become locked in a struggle for control of the commanding heights of advanced technologies. This struggle has been a major factor in what has become known as The Great Decoupling, a progressive technology disengagement that has major economic and political implications for the entire planet. 

  • Re-visiting the Rwandan Genocide
  • Omar Shahabudin McDoom (London School of Economics)
  • The Path to Genocide in Rwanda: Security, Opportunity, and Authority in an Ethnocratic State (Cambridge University Press, 2021) draws on extensive and unique field evidence, collected over many years, to offer rigorous answers to two simple but fundamental questions often asked about the genocide. How and why did it occur? And how and why did many Rwandans participate in it?

  • SOAS Annual Philippine Studies Conference 2021
  • The 6th SOAS Annual Philippine Studies Conference aims to bring together academics in the fields of the humanities and the social sciences, as well as artists, writers and performers that are based in the Visayas. The objective of the conference is to bring together key people in Visayan scholarship and cultural production and develop a body of discourse on Visayan cultural practices.




  • Digital Humanities Approaches to the Study of Baybayin
  • Prof Ramon Guillermo (University of the Philippines Diliman)
  • The lecture aims to demonstrate how methods from Digital Humanities can be used to deepen our understanding of the inner workings of the baybayin writing system.




  • Decolonising Curating and the Museum in Southeast Asia
  • This lecture series will explore what it means to decolonise the museum and curatorial practice in a Southeast Asian context. The speakers cover a range of topics, including the display of Buddhist and Hindu sculpture, ethnographic and colonial collections, curating contemporary art, and the use and exhibition of Southeast Asian material in western museums.

  • China’s Quest for Environmental Sustainability: An International Business Perspective
  • Prof. Maoliang Bu (School of Business, Nanjing University; Hopkins-Nanjing Center)
  • This seminar will share Dr. Bu’s research on China’s environmental sustainability from the intersectional field of international business (IB), sustainable development, and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The presenter will reflect from broader perspectives (including history, geography, and political science) while focusing on the insights from international business.

  • Critical Reflections on Middle East Economics
  • Hassan Hakimian (HBKU and SOAS)
  • The knowledge of Middle Eastern economies as an autonomous field is of relatively recent origins and has evolved in uneven ways. Unlike some other regions, which have played a more active role in the genesis or evolution of development theory and practice (notably Latin America), the contri­bution of Middle Eastern economies has been more limited and to a large extent confined to recent decades.

  • The Making of China’s Wolf Warrior Diplomacy: A Book Talk with Peter Martin
  • Peter Martin, Defense Policy and Intelligence Reporter for Bloomberg News
  • Peter Martin joins us for a discussion on his book, "China's Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy," which charts China's transformation from an isolated and impoverished communist state to a global superpower from the perspective of those on the front line: China's diplomats.

  • The Mass Biopolitics of Medicine in Socialist China
  • Ban Wang, William Haas Professor in Chinese Studies, Stanford University
  • This talk will discuss the films Spring Comes to Withered Trees (Kumu fengchun 枯木逢春, 1961) and Spring Shoots (Chunmiao春苗, 1975). 

  • BARAZA - Swahili Studies Conference
  • The aim of the meeting is to foster academic interaction and exchange about new or emerging research, developing ideas and interests for mutual benefit among Swahili scholars and students.


  • Biden’s China Policy: Old Wine in New Bottles?
  • Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
  • Professor Andrew J. Nathan will discuss the elements of Biden's China strategy and assess what he is likely to achieve.

  • Carbon neutrality and life cycle thinking
  • Ming Xu, Professor and Director of China Programs, School for Environment and Sustainability Professor, University of Michigan
  • This talk will discuss the landscape of carbon neutrality commitments around the world including in China, and the roles that life cycle thinking plays in carbon neutrality.