During the academic year the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) presents a variety of lectures. Audio and video recordings of CSEAS programs are available below, and many can also be viewed on the CSEAS YouTube channel. Please check back regularly for our latest talks.
Some events are also available for live streaming.
Fridays-at-Noon Lecture Series 2013-2014
March 21, 2014 - Sharmani Patricia Gabriel (Professor of English, University of Malaya; CSEAS Visiting Scholar)
Beyond Pluralism: Rethinking Race in Malaysia
For too long, thinking about race in Malaysia has been directed by state discourse. The state-driven paradigm of pluralism, as manifested in the separate and separable “Malay”/ “Chinese”/ “Indian”/ “Others” racial categorizations, with their origins in the political economy of nineteenth-century British colonial rule, is deeply embedded in ideologies, policies, and practices and also integrated into formal structures and institutions. Although these categories of race and naming have lost much of their salience on the ground, the state continues to mobilize them as a primary marker of difference and differentiation between groups. The inherent violence of the hegemonic “MCIO” construct has also engendered inequalities by exercising enormous power as the basis for dominance and control. In spite of the pervasiveness of state representations, social shifts and transitions – as epitomized by cultural representations in literature and, also, film, music, the visual and performing arts – are signs of transformation and transcendence that suggest a move away from race-based thinking. These social indicators offer us a space to begin a new conversation about race in Malaysia. This lecture explores the significance of these changes in challenging dominant constructions of race and their implications for cultural politics and Malaysian Studies. By focusing on the tensions between state constructions of race and cultural practices and productions “from below”, this lecture contends that the disjunction that exists between “how we are represented and how we have come to represent ourselves” constitutes an important point of departure for knowledge construction. Since state and other hegemonic actors who benefit from dominant racial paradigms have a vested interest in maintaining them and tend to resist reform and innovation, it is imperative that the attempt to rearticulate race is done at, from, and through this site of ideological and conceptual rupture. The term “rethinking” in the title, then, points not only to the new directions in Malaysian social relations but also to the need to conceive new paradigms in the light of evolving social and cultural realities.
March 14, 2014 - Andrew Weintraub (Professor of Music, University of Pittsburgh)
From Street Singer to President: Music, Politics, and Islam in Indonesia
In 2012, celebrated musician, Muslim orator, and film star Rhoma Irama announced his candidacy for president of Indonesia. Backed by the National Awakening Party (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa, PKB), and with strong support from Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Rhoma Irama’s bid for the presidency provides an interesting case study of politics, Islam, and celebrity in Indonesia. Beloved by some and reviled by others, Rhoma Irama has long been involved in national politics, first as an outspoken member of the United Development Party (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan, PPP), and then, switching allegiance, as a member of the Functional Work Group (Golongan Karya, or Golkar) in 1988. In this presentation, Weintraub examines the discourse surrounding Rhoma Irama’s campaign for the presidency as a way of understanding the relationship between politics and Islam in Indonesia. Rhoma Irama’s campaign speeches, interviews, songs, and musical performance style raise questions about the nature of morality, plurality, and democracy in Indonesia.
January 17, 2014 - Dr. Alexander Cannon (Assistant Professor of Music History and Ethnomusicology, Western Michigan University)
Battleground of Creativities: "Vietnamese Tài Tu Music in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
Dr. Cannon’s research investigates the changing practices of a genre of traditional music called don ca tài tu. As a recipient of the Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowship, he conducted 15 months of extensive fieldwork research in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta in 2008 and 2009 and returns every year to continue his research. In 2011, he completed his doctoral dissertation at the University of Michigan on charismatic musicianship in Vietnam titled “Making Tradition Charismatic: Music, Memory and Alliance in Contemporary Southern Vietnam” under the guidance of Professor Joseph Lam.
November 15, 2013 - En-Chieh Chao (Post-Doctoral Researcher, Academia Sinica)
The Dialogism of Religious Renewals: The Co-Constitution of Christian and Islamic Movements in Java Since the Late 19th Century
Christianity in Java is an understudied topic. Its influence in the culture and history of Indonesia has long been neglected and recently outshined by the enthusiasm to study Islam in Java. This talk highlights significant interlacing relations between Christianity and Islam since the late 19th century, including Gerakan Jemaat Kristen Jawa Merdeka (“The Independent Javanese Christian Movement”) in the 1920s and its popular Islamized form of Christianity, the cultural anatomy of the largest reformist Muslim organization Muhammadiyah (“The Followers of The Prophet”) and its relation to missionary societies, and the proliferation of Gereja Pantakosta/Karismatik (Pentecostal/Charismatic church) during the 21st-century and its ritualistic expressions in relation to Islamic renewals. Taking a Bakhtinian approach to examine cultural complexity in Javanese society, this presentation will explore “religions” as “movements” that are not a priori entities disconnected from one another, but constantly negotiated as part of a larger social heteroglossia that critically informs people’s religious identities.
September 27, 2013 - Andrew Mertha (Professor of Government, Cornell University)
Brothers in Arms: Chinese Aid to the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979
Beijing's extensive engagement with the developing world suggests an inexorably rising China, securing a degree of economic and political dominance unthinkable a decade ago. Yet, China’s experience with its first-ever client state, Democratic Kampuchea, suggests the effectiveness of Chinese foreign aid and the efficacy of Chinese influence that comes with it is only as good as the institutions that manage such a relationship. Cosponsored by the U-M Center for Chinese Studies.
September 6, 2013 - Ooi Keat Gin (School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia)
War and 'Peace': Borneo, 1941-1950
Borneo, the third largest island located in the middle of Southeast Asia, underwent a turbulent decade in the 1940s that to a large extent brought changes and transformations but at the same time retained continuities. The ugly face of war and all the vicissitudes and uncertainties that it entailed dominated the first half of the decade. When war ended there emerged civil troubles and revolutionary struggles. The war experience had impacts on post-war developments, some leading to tragedy while others triumphed over formidable odds.
Previous Years' Webcasts
In 1999, Pramoedya Ananta Toer visited the University of Michigan and gave a reading from his memoir, Nyanyi Sunyi Seorang Bisu. His visit was supported by the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and the Centers for South and Southeast Asian Studies. Nancy Florida, professor of Indonesian Languages and Literatures in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, read the English translation of his selections of text. His memoir is published in English as The Mute’s Soliloquy (Penguin).
Pramoedya passed away in 2006, leaving behind a corpus of work, from short stories and novels to articles and criticism. He is most famous for his quartet of novels which tell Indonesia’s history, the Buru Quartet: Bumi Manusia, Anak Semua Bangsa, Jejak Langkah, and Rumah Kacah (This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps, and House of Glass).
After the 1965 coup, Pramoedya was imprisoned in the storm of political repression that swept the country. He was held for 14 years on the penal colony of Buru, a prison used by the Dutch colonial government for political prisons and maintained for the same purpose by Suharto’s government. He was beaten when he was arrested, leaving him with little hearing for the rest of his life. While imprisoned, he was not allowed to write, and so he composed his quartet orally, telling the story to his fellow inmates.
After being moved from Buru, he was held under house arrest in Jakarta until 1992, but still would not leave the country while Suharto was still in power, fearing that he would not be allowed to return. His first visit to the United States was in 1999, to coincide with the English language publication of his memoir, The Mute’s Soliloquy.
It was on that trip that he visited the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Michigan, and gave this reading.
Gamelan Concert: Featuring Anon Suneko
March 26, 2013
October 12 - Michael Dunne (President of Dunne & Co) "A Road Less Travelled: What Happens When You Go to Asia Straight After Graduation from Michigan" Part of the Centennial Alumni Lecture series. Co-sponsored by Rackham Graduate School, the Center for Chinese Studies, Nam Center for Korean Studies, and LSA DMC.
November 9 - C. Michele Thompson (Professor, Southeast Asian History, Southern Connecticut State University) "Historic Interactions Between Chinese and Vietnamese Medicine" Co-sponsored by American Council of Learned Societies/Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation and the Dept. of Asian Languages and Cultures
November 16 - Marco Garrido (Doctoral Candidate, Sociology Department, U of M) "Acts of Sincerity: Explaining Joseph Estrada's Appeal Among Metro Manila's Urban Poor"
December 7 - Rasmi Shoocongdej (Silpakorn University and 2012 Fulbright Scholar, U of Illinois-Chicago) "Archaeology of WWII: White skeletal road in Khun Yuan district, Mae Hong Son Province, a borderland between Thailand and Myanma" Co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and Museum of Anthropology
February 1 - Jennifer Fraser (Assistant Professor, Ethnomusicology, Oberlin College) "The Art of Grieving: West Sumatra's Worst Earthquake in Music Videos"
February 8 - Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung (University of Massachusetts, Lowell) "Grassroots Approach to Poverty Alleviation in Contemporary Burma/Myanmar"
April 12 - Gunalan Nadarajan (Dean, Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design) "Contemporary Media Arts in Southeast Asia"
May 3 - Tom Chandler (Information Technology, Monash University, Australia) "Animating the Accounts of Zhou Daguan"
The Development of Javanese Creative Arts
Rahayu Supanggah, Composer and Professor, Indonesian Institute of the Arts, Surakarta
Presented on 9/23/2011
Vernacular Art in the Study of Thai Buddhism
Justin McDaniels, University of Pennsylvania
Indigeneity, Locality, and Recognition: Shifting Engagements with Modernity in an Indonesian Mining Town
Kathryn Robinson, Professor, Australian National University
Presented on 11/14/2011
Assessing Vulnerability Under Extreme Conditions in Myanmar
David Napier, University College, London
Presented on 1/27/2012
Rent(s) Asunder: Sectorial Extraction Possibilities and Bribery by Multinational Corporations
Edmund Malesky, Political Scientist, University of California, San Diego
Presented on 2/10/2012
Say Cheese: Images of Imprisonment in the Dutch East Indies
Rudolf Mrazek, University of Michigan
Presented on 2/17/2012
A graduate student conference organized by the Southeast Asia Research Group of the University of Michigan. Co-sponsored by the Luce Foundation, Rackham Graduate School, the Departments of Anthropology, History, Political Science, and Sociology.
Understanding the Colors of Thai Politics
Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker
Presented on 4/15/2011
Magigal and Igal-jin of Bajau Kubang: Invoking Liminality for the Spirits of the Ancestors in Semporna, Sabah
Mohd. Anis Md. Nor, University of Malaya
Language as Power, Performance as Intention: Women's Islam in Indonesia
Anne Rasmussen, College of William and Mary
National Religion and its Others in Colonial Vietnam
Charles Keith, Michigan State University
Melted Earth: The Politics and Poetics of Dispossession in Sarawak
Peter Brosius, University of Georgia
Making Sense of Strange Places: Mining and Railway Construction in Burma and the Gold Coast
Michael Charney, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Audio | Video
PANEL 1: MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTS
Performing Tradition and Hybridity in Southeast Asia
PANEL 2: HISTORY & ANTHROPOLOGY
Unsettling Territories in Southeast Asia
PANEL 3: CULTURAL SOCIOLOGY & DEVELOPMENT
Culture & Power in the Southeast Asian Marketplace
PANEL 4: LAW, POLITICS & PUBLIC POLICY
Regionalism and Liberalism in Southeast Asia
50TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION
Looking Back and Looking Forward: Changing Southeast Asian Studies
Peranakan Chinese Music in Singapore
Lee Tong Soon, Department of Music, Emory University
The Changing Face of Corruption: Some Experiences from Asia
Sirilaksana Khoman, Thai National Counter Corruption Commission
Criminal Justice or Charade? The Khmer Rouge Tribunal John Ciorciari, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Video of our March 2009 conference on Pluralism and Democracy in Southeast Asian Islam can be viewed through the following links:
Information about the conference can be found here.
Deciding What is Learned; Learning What to Decide: Education and Political Behavior in Vietnam Casey Lucius, Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School
Presented 03/6/2009 Audio
Systemic Vulnerability, Coalitions, and Economic Upgrading in Southeast Asia Bryan Ritchie, James Madison College, Michigan State University
Presented 02/13/2009 Audio
The Internet and Censorship in Thailand Pitch Pongsawat, Hughes Visiting Scholar, Chulalongkorn University
Presented 01/16/2009 Audio
Migrant workers and HIV risk in Thailand Kathy Ford, School of Public Health, University of Michigan
Presented 12/5/2008 Audio
Space, Ethnicity and Memory-Making Among Diasporic Minority Peoples: The Igorots and Muslims in the Philippines Maria Nela Florendo, Fulbright Scholar, University of the Philippines - Baguio
Presented 11/21/2008 Audio
Free in the Forest: Popular Neoliberalism and the Aftermath of War in the U.S. Pacific Northwest Anna Tsing, Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar
Presented 11/7/2008 Audio
Anti-Art in Vietnam: Adventures in (in)visual Anthropology Nora Taylor, Department of Art History, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Presented 10/31/2008 Audio
Mass Action, History, Parties and the 2009 Elections in Indonesia: The Politics of an Unfinished Nation Max Lane, Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore
Presented 10/24/2008 Audio
The Indian Uprising and the Haunting of Justice in Malaysia Andrew Willford, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University
Presented 10/17/08 Audio
How I Went To The Philippines To Research For A Novel And Ended Up Swimming In My Sardine Can Of Worms R. Zamora Linmark, Poet and Novelist
Presented 10/10/2008 Audio
Hearts, Minds, and Herbicides: Rethinking the Chemical War in Vietnam Ed Martini, Department of History, Western Michigan University
Presented 9/12/2008 Audio