Dr Gaik Cheng Khoo

UK Host Institution: University of Cambridge
Project status

Durian Stories

There has been little work done on the Southeast Asian durian beyond the focus on its smell. Therefore, my proposed collaborative research project with Dr. Liana Chua is to examine the social life of the durian through indigenous and colonial historical accounts and images, personal family stories and visual art by contemporary Southeast Asian and Asian artists. We approach the durian as object and subject. Acknowledging the emergent ecological problems caused by new durian mega-plantations, in our analysis of the durian’s human-nonhuman relationships, we ask ‘What stories have yet to be told about and by the durian that transcend the olfactory?’ Our research themes align with current scholarship in environmental humanities, art history and film studies. To explore these themes further, I am organising a seven-member workshop with UK researchers preoccupied with the Anthropocene and investigating human-nonhuman relationships in visual art.

Outputs and Media

'Doing Right By Our Durian'

Podcast episode on Business FM Radio 89.9. Evening Edition, 25th September 2023

'Contesting mono-epistemic modernity in Interchange (2016)'

Presentation at the Colonial Natures Conference - University of Cambridge, 24th May 2023

'Durian Dreaming: Consumption Vs Production and the Ethics of the Durian Supply Chain'

Online lecture series organised by the Southwest Frontier Ethnic Minority Research Center - Yunnan University, 30th May 2023

'Developing a sustainable and ecological model for the Malaysian durian industry with a focus on producers'

Social Anthropology seminar - University of Cambridge 21st June 2023

'The Role of Agrochemical Representatives in the Durian Industry'

Presentation at the Malaysian Studies Conference, 15th August 2023

Sign up to our email newsletters