Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Dr Chrishandra Sebastiampillai is interested in supervising research in the following areas: film stardom and celebrity, representations of race and identity in cinema, Philippine cinema and Southeast Asian cinema.


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Dr Chrishandra Sebastiampillai is Lecturer in Film, Television and Screen Studies at Monash University Malaysia. She completed her PhD in Film and Television at Monash University, exploring a nationally specific form of stardom in Philippine cinema - the ‘love team’, or the film couple in the early 1970s, a period that coincided with the early stages of Martial Law.

This research builds on her earlier Honours dissertation, which examined a contemporary love team in popular Philippine cinema. Her research on Southeast Asian stardom is ongoing, with a recent paper that investigates Henry Golding’s transnational mixed-race Asian identity in his fledgling career. Currently, she is conducting research on representations of Malaysian heritage houses on screen and the potential of film-induced tourism related to these films and TV series.

She teaches Southeast Asian Cinema at Monash, a unit that focuses on the established and emerging cinemas in the region in addition to Film, Television and Screen Studies: Approaches, an introductory course to the major.

Research interests

Her research interests include film stardom and celebrity, representations of race and identity in cinema, Philippine cinema and Southeast Asian cinema.

She is particularly interested in how Southeast Asian cinemas have distinct identities while still sharing broad themes across the region that include the struggle for independence, reflecting on colonial histories, building national identities in the aftermath of colonization, and representations of modern individuals that engage with questions of tradition in Southeast Asian societies.

Monash teaching commitment

Before joining Monash University Malaysia as a full time lecturer, Chrishandra tutored and lectured extensively within the Film and Communication majors since 2014. For Film Television and Screen Studies (FTVSS), she teaches an introductory course in addition to a third year unit on Southeast Asian cinema. She also lectured for a Masters unit in Communication titled ‘Celebrity, Fashion and Publicity’, and was a sessional lecturer in Sunway University.

Over the years, she has tutored for a range of FTVSS subjects including Film Studies: Forms and Approaches, stardom and celebrity, and film genre. For Communication, she has tutored subjects on communication policy, media, culture and power, and an introductory unit on communication technologies and practices.

Chrishandra believes that teaching should be simple and relatable - that even difficult concepts can be made accessible by using examples that are relevant to the audience. This has in the past included using memes about Captain America to teach the liberal democratic approach to culture, and stick figures to illustrate Althusser’s concept of interpellation.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

Film and Television, Doctor of Philosophy, MONASH UNIVERSITY

Award Date: 21 Aug 2019

Film and Television, Honours Degree of Bachelor of Arts, MONASH UNIVERSITY

Award Date: 23 Nov 2014

Communications and International Studies, Bachelor of Arts, MONASH UNIVERSITY

Award Date: 17 Nov 2012

Research area keywords

  • Film Studies
  • Television Studies
  • Star Studies
  • Southeast Asian Cinema
  • Philippine cinema