Cultural Expertise on Southeast Asia and Asylum Expert Witnessing

Lecture | October 24 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 3335 Dwinelle Hall

 ChorSwang Ngin, Professor of Anthropology, CSU Los Angeles

 Center for Southeast Asia Studies, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies

What is "cultural expertise"? And what is Southeast Asian Studies useful for? This talk will review these questions illustrated with asylum cases from Indonesia, Myanmar, and Malaysia, to advocate for the teaching and learning of Southeast Asian Studies within the framework of “Cultural Expertise in Litigation”— a current project Prof. Ngin is involved in at Oxford University.

ChorSwang Ngin (Ph.D., UC Davis) has done extensive ethnographic and consulting work in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Southern California and for the past 18 years has served as an anthropological expert witness for asylum seekers from Asia. Her research focuses on explicating the connections among the topics of race, ethnicity and culture, as exemplified by the communities in Asia and among the Asian immigrants in Southern California. Her most recent publication is Identities on Trial in the United States: Asylum Seekers from Asia (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), which received the American Anthropological Association’s GAD New Directions Award in 2019. She is the founder of the B.A. degree program in Asian and Asian American Studies (AAAS) at CSU Los Angeles, and is also a playwright whose co-authored play, The Houseguest from Xinjiang, enjoyed several staged readings and a production in 2017. She has just completed a term as Academic Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at Oxford University.

 cseas@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3609