Prof. Masami Usui
Doshisha University, Japan

Masami Usui received her BA and MA from Kobe College, Japan, and her second MA and Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1989.  After teaching at Hiroshima University, she is currently Professor of English at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan.  She has been doing her research and writings on Virginia Woolf and women writers, Asian American literature and culture, and popular culture.  She published papers in Japan, England, Korea, USA, Germany, etc., and contributed to Virginia Woolf and War (1991), Asian American Playwrights (2002), Literature in English: New Ethnical, Cultural, and Transnational Perspective (2013), Virginia Woolf and December 1910 (2014), etc.  Along with MLA, International Virginia Woolf Conference, International Popular Culture Conference, American Studies Association Conference, she has presented her papers at Academia Senica in Taiwan, ASAK and KAFSEL in Korea, MESEA in Hungary, CISLE in Canada, International Conference on Asian American Expressive Culture in Beijing, China, International Conference: The Cultural Translation and East Asia, Bangor, England, The 20th Annual Conference of EALA in Taiwan, and International PC/ACS Conference in Poland, and the 2014 International Symposium on Cross-Cultural Studies, Taiwan, International Conference: English Studies as Archive and as Prospecting the 80th Anniversary Conference, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia, The 3rd International Conference on Linguistics, Literature and Culture 2014, Penang, Malaysia, Expanding the Parameters of Asian American Literature: An International Conference, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian, China, The CISLE 2015, Gottingen University, Germany, the MLA International Symposium in Dusseldorf, Germany, and Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies.
Speech Title: Painters at War in Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World and Murakami Haruki’s A Murder of the Leader of Knights
Abstract: Both Kazuo Ishiguro, who just won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017, and Murakami Haruki, who has been expected to win the Prize for years, challenge a conflicting theme of painters at war in An Artist of the Floating World (1986) and A Murder of the Leader of Knights (2017) respectively. In both novels, aging painters forget what happened to them during the war and their memories buried deeply inside them are discovered and retold by those two writers. War and art has been one of the most essential subjects throughout history from ancient times, medieval era, the Renaissance, to modern and our contemporary eras. In Japan, military art and war artists were definitely recognized during such wars as the Sino-Japanese War (1894-5), the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), World War I (1914-1918), and finally World War II (1939-1945). Especially, Japanese official war artists during World War II represent the most crucial conflicts of politics and art, and their lives were determined after the war was over, especially under American occupation. The U.S, government confiscated the extant artwork and In spite of their involvement of wartime propaganda activities, some of Japanese painters cunningly survived, while the others underwent both official and personal hardships as suspected war criminals. Even though some painters were deeply involved in western art such as surrealism before the war, they changed their style into Japanese traditional painting after the war. Moreover, some painters attempted to express postwar reflections on Japan’s wartime experiences such as atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In examining painter’s muted selves and conflicts, it becomes possible to read their resistance against violence and chaos whose roots are traced back to World War II and which is reflected in the contemporary issues of global chaos.

Assoc. Prof. Maryna Romanets
University of Northern British Columbia, Canada

Dr. Maryna Romanets is an Associate Professor of English/Women's and Gender Studies. She holds two doctoral degrees, from the former Soviet Union and Canada. Prior to coming to UNBC taught in the Departments of English at the Chernivtsi State University, University of Saskatchewan, and University of Lethbridge. Her research interests include Comparative Literature, Postcolonial and World Literatures; Women’s Literature; and Contemporary Critical Theory. She has published articles on contemporary Irish, British and Ukrainian literatures focusing on the issues of representation and gender, postcolonialism and intertextual relations, and politics and language, as well as on the mechanisms of textual production and translation theory and praxis in Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, and USA. The author of Anamorphosic Texts and Reconfigured Visions: Improvised Traditions in Contemporary Ukrainian and Irish Literature (2007), she is currently working on a book project titled “Postcolonial ‘Erotomaniac’ Fictions and the Making of New Identities in Ukraine.”

Speech Title: Literatures of the “Forked Tongue:” Colonialism, Imperialism, Globalization, and the Expansion of English
Through centuries of colonialism, neocolonialism, Cold War expansionism, and, most recently, globalization, English has emerged as the major sources of foreign influence worldwide, as well as a transnational tool of communication. Since many of the former British colonies now use English as their official language, contemporary postcolonial cultural practices have been profoundly redefining the very concepts of homogeneous national cultures, the consensual or contiguous transmission of historical traditions, or “organic” ethnic communities. In the framework of these redefinitions and contestations, the issues of language have been playing an increasingly important role, because language is one of the most sensitive indicators in what Homi Bhabha calls the cultural “middle passage,” conceptualized as the cutting edge of translation and negotiation that carry the meaning of inter-national culture. It is noteworthy though that, for a certain part of postcolonial critique, language seems to become an ostensibly homogenizing factor in postcolonial literatures, whose critically acclaimed corpus is comprised exclusively of English-language textual productions. However, even in light of such reductionist approaches, for writers from postcolonial “peripheries,” English was never a tongue automatically possessed and painlessly acquired but laboriously learned. They are constantly aware of their linguistic legacy that comes together with possession and dispossession, territorial struggle and with the establishment and imposition of colonial culture. These authors represent, to borrow Gilles Deleuze’s and Félix Guattari’s term, “minor” literatures. Having exiled themselves into the major language of the colonizer, they appropriated it for “minor” uses, while twisting and infusing it with alien minoritarian linguistic, psychological, cultural, and historical sensibilities, and thus turning it into “idiolect.” Contaminated with the virus of continuous variations and mutations, the “regal” English language has disintegrated, along with the collapse of the British Empire, into multiple englishes of a diverse postcolonial world. Such interventions of “minor” outsiders into the boundaries of the standardized major culture resulted, according to French philosophers, in their empowerment. Indeed, for the past 20 years, the prestigious annual Booker Prize for fiction (including also the International Booker, the Best of the Booker, and the Lost Booker Prize) was awarded to 17 writers from the former colonies, who represent previously “missing” people and “silent” spaces, and for whom the rule of language has turned into a struggle for the historical and moral right to signify.

Assoc. Prof. Tan Choon Keong
Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia

Tan Choon Keong (PhD) is currently an Associate Professor with the Faculty of Psychology and Education, Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia. He has 15 years of experience as a lecturer in the discipline of e-learning, multimedia and educational technology at the university. He started his service as a secondary school English Language and had served the Ministry of Education for 11 years before joining Ilmu Khas Teacher Education Institute (IPG) as an educational technology lecturer. After serving 2 years at the IPG, he joined UMS in 2002. At the university, he served as Head for the E-Learning Unit for 13 years, Deputy Dean (Research and Innovation) for 2 years and Chief Editor for International Journal for E-Learning Practices (IJELP) for 2 years. Currently, he is still the Deputy Chief Editor for IJELP. He headed a research grant for studying the use of multi-sensory approach for English Language teaching in Kota Belud, Sabah (2012-2014) and another two grants for investigating the behaviour of East Malaysia’s English Language students in using technology for learning (Grant 1: 2015-2016, Grant 2: 2017-2018). He also participated in a few other research projects as Deputy Research Head involving rural school students in the use of multisensory approach to learn listening and speaking skills in English (2013-2015). Regarding the area of teacher development, he was as a Deputy Research Head for the TPACK project in University of Foreign Languages Studies, Da Nang and University of Languages and International Studies, Hanoi, Vietnam from 2015 to 2016. His main research interest is to improve English Language learning via ICT. He had published numerous journal papers on creativity, e-learning and multimedia in higher education.
Speech Title: Exploring TESL Pre-Service Teachers’ Technology Acceptance Perspectives towards Online Multimedia Materials Development: A Case Study in Sabah, East Malaysia
E-learning is often conceived to have a positive impact on both teachers and students in terms of the tenacity to learning and training, and the perceived attitudes towards e-learning environment. The purpose of this paper is to examine the perceptions of TESL pre-service teachers towards multimedia materials development via the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). The dimensions explored were perceived usefulness (PU), perceived ease of use (EU), satisfaction (SN) and intention to use (IN). Multimedia materials development was done via a Web 2.0 tool named Blendspace ( Data was elicited via survey approach and analysed quantitatively to support the investigation. The study involved 69 TESL pre-service teachers pursuing Bachelor of Education (TESL) programme in a public university in Sabah, East Malaysia. The results revealed that there were moderate level of acceptance in the observed PU (mean=3.82), EU (mean=3.52), SN (mean=3.35) and IN (mean=3.82). A further examination of the relationships showed that PU influenced the intention to use the Web 2.0 tool strongly (r = .63) and on the other hand EU also had strong influence on SN (r = .68). As predicted, the mean score for PU (3.82) was higher than EU (3.52). The study implicated that the design, pedagogical and navigational aspects of the Web 2.0 tool are important to obtain good SN and IN scores from the users.