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The Center for Southeast Asian Studies organizes and sponsors a number of events such as lectures, film screening, workshops, symposia, conferences, exhibits, and performances throughout the year.  Several of these events are in collaboration with other U-M units, and are often free and open to the public. To see what we have planned for this semester, please visit our 2020 Lecture Series page.

CSEAS Lecture. Crossroads, Crossings, and Transgressions: Deconstructing Borders and Barriers in Southeast Asian/American Studies

Khatharya Um, Associate Professor and Coordinator, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Friday, February 16, 2018
4:00-5:00 PM
Kalamazoo Room Michigan League Map
While Southeast Asia has long been a crossroad of influences and transnational movements, the rise of Asia-Pacific as an economic and political power center has brought increased attention to regional dynamics, transnational connections, processes and practices. Transnational flows of people, goods, capital, and ideas have engendered optimism about exchange, interdependence, and understanding, while persisting conflicts over resources, territorial claims, and national belonging have animated the discourse about borders, boundaries, lines of differentiation and stratification, crossings and transgressions in the examination of both the causes and consequences of conflict. These new im/mobilities and spatialities, in turn, compel a re-thinking of prevailing approaches and epistemologies that have been delimited by disciplinary boundaries.

This talk maps and interrogates the ways in which global and regional forces and dynamics inform new im/mobilities, spatialities, and belongings, and the negotiations that Southeast Asian individuals and communities have to engage at multiple levels and in multiple arenas. It is particularly attentive to the linkages between macro forces and the micro politics of the everyday struggle to survive and resist. It critiques and problematizes the binary between area and Ethnic/American Studies, and argues for a more expansive analytical approach that focuses on continuum, intersectionality, and relationality between peoples, communities, histories, and fields of study without abandonment of historical, contextual, and experiential specificities.

Professor Khatharya Um is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, and affiliated faculty of Global Studies, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the Center for Race and Gender. She is also Faculty Adviser for the Berkeley Human Rights Center, member of the UC system-wide Faculty Advisory Board on Southeast Asia, and Faculty Academic Director of Berkeley Study Abroad.

Professor Um received her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley where she was also the Chancellor’s Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow. Her research and teaching interests focus simultaneously on Southeast Asia and Southeast Asian American communities and include migration, diaspora and transnational studies, colonial and post colonial studies, and genocide studies. She is the author of From the Land of Shadows: War, Revolution and the Making of the Cambodian Diaspora (NYU Press, 2015) and lead co-editor of Southeast Asian Migration: People on the Move in Search of Work, Refuge and Belonging (Sussex Academic Press, 2015), and has published numerous scholarly articles on Southeast Asia and Southeast Asian American communities.

In addition to her academic work, Professor Um is also actively involved in community advocacy, principally on issues of refugee integration and of educational access for linguistically and culturally diverse students. She has served on numerous national and community Boards of Directors, including as Board Chair of the Washington DC- based Southeast Asian Resource Action Center, and as President of the National Association for the Education and Advancement of Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese Americans. She was also Founder and Chair of the National Cambodian American Organization, Commissioner of the National Cambodian Health Crisis Initiative, and member of the Panel of Experts of the NEA Quality Schools Project.

Professor Um has received numerous awards for her community leadership and service, including congressional recognitions from Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. She was a Chancellor Public Scholar and the first Cambodian American woman to receive a Ph.D.
Building: Michigan League
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Asia, Discussion, Southeast Asia
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Southeast Asian Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures, Department of Anthropology