SOAS University of London

Centres and Institutes Office

Making a Difference – Representing/Constructing the Other in Asian/African Media, Cinema and Languages

Making a Difference
Please refer to the programme

Date: 16 February 2012Time: 12:00 AM

Finishes: 18 February 2012Time: All Day

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Conference


Annual Conference for the Consortium for African and Asian Studies (CAAS)

Each individual has the need to define ‘the Other’ in opposition to oneself.  Theories on Otherness such as Lacan’s or Simmel’s, emphasize that ‘we’ need ‘them’ to define our own identities. This need to define oneself can also be taken to a broader socio-cultural level, where the construction of Otherness is used in order to define who belongs to a respective culture and society, who belongs to a region, an ethnic group or a nation. Choosing who to include and who to exclude, helps to create a sense of unity and identity. In our globalising world, representations of Otherness grow increasingly influential and the issues more complicated, with implications for international relations. Otherness, serving as a sphere of projection for the desires of oneself, can assume multiple roles. As the threatening, enemy-like Other, as a refuge, as role-model, the appropriations are numerous, but all of them are united by the fact that the Other assumes the shape required by those who are creating this Other to contrast or complement their Self. Otherness is also constructed by language (i.e. what characters say and how they say it).  Reflection on the representation/construction in the media can also help individuals gain understanding of languages, cultures and intercultural communication.

The aim of the conference is to bring together scholars from across the world to discuss the representations of 'Otherness' in Asian and African media cultures. The usual focus of research on Otherness is the gaze of the Other towards the West or vice versa, but rarely is research concerned with images that non-Western societies have of other non-Western societies. Consequently, we shall explore how Otherness is constructed when the ‘Other’ cannot be considered as totally 'alien', but when familiarity might also be of vital importance.

Programme and Book of Abstracts

Programme / Book of Abstracts

Organiser: Centres & Programmes Office

Contact email:

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4892/3

Sponsor: British Academy, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, SOAS Faculty of Languages and Cultures