CSEAS presents a variety of lectures during the academic year. Video recordings of these programs are now available to watch on the CSEAS YouTube channel. Please check back regularly for updates of this listing.
2021/2022 Lecture Series & Events
TAMMARA SOMA, Assistant Professor in Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University
LEAH ZANI, Anthropologist, Author, and Poet based in Oakland, California
VON HERNANDEZ, Global Coordinator, Break Free From Plastic
DAVID R. BIGGS, Professor of History, University of California Riverside
Moderator: ALYSSA PAREDES, LSA Collegiate Fellow in Anthropology, University of Michigan
Watch the recording here.
QUI-HA HOANG NGUYEN, Yale University
Watch the recording here »
ALYSSA PAREDES, University of Michigan
Watch the recording here »
Panelists: ALFIAN SA’AT (Singaporean writer), MICHELLE LAZAR (National University of Singapore), ROBERT PHILLIPS (Ball State University), and PAVAN MANO (King's College London), with ADI SALEEM BHARAT (U-M) as the moderator
Watch the recording here »
SIDDHARTH CHANDRA, Michigan State University
Watch the recording here »
KALYANEE MAM, Award Winning Filmmaker
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A. MICHAEL STERN, United States Agency for International Development
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2020/2021 Lecture Series & Events
Sylvia Nam, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of California-Irvine
View the recording.
Diana Kim, Georgetown University
Explores the history of the dramatic reversal and colonial legacies that set the stage for the region’s drug problems today. View the recording.
Mark VanLandingham, Tulane University; Cam-Thanh Tran, Tulane University; and Aurora Le, University of Michigan
A film screening followed by a panel discussion. View the recording.
Sean David Christensen, Film Director
This event was a film screening of "Ghost Tape #10." Only the introduction and Q&A of the event were recorded. To view the film, please visit the film website. More details.
Scott Stonington, University of Michigan
This talk abstracts outward from Thailand to Southeast Asia and the globe to examine the effects of high-tech medicine on vital life transitions. More details.
Thongchai Winichakul, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
This talk discusses Professor Winichakul's latest book, Moments of Silence: the Unforgetting of the October 6, 1976, Massacre in Bangkok (University of Hawai`i, 2020). More details.
December 04, 2020
Hieu Phung, Lecturer, University of Michigan
This talk examines the history of drought from an area in eastern mainland Southeast Asia, the core of what would later become modern Vietnam. More details.
November 13, 2020
Nurfadzilah Yahaya, Assistant Professor of History, National University of Singapore
This lecture looks at the emblems of diasporic lives in the form of legal sources to explore the relationship between indigenous Southeast Asians, diasporas, and colonial authorities. More details.
October 23, 2020
Ricardo Padrón, Associate Professor of Spanish, University of Virginia
Ricardo Padrón will be discussing his new book, The Indies of the Setting Sun: How Early Modern Spain Mapped the Far East as the Transpacific West (Chicago, 2020). More details.
October 9, 2020
Amanda Flaim, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University
This lecture looks into Thailand’s practice of using DNA testing to verify the citizenship claims of stateless individuals. Although helpful, the practice produces an increasingly powerful and expansive infrastructure of body/border drawing, maintenance, and surveillance. More details.
September 18, 2020
Panelists: José Manuel ‘Chel’ Diokno, a human rights lawyer and founding dean of the De La Salle University College of Law; Inday Espina-Varona, award-winning journalist, former chair of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines; Carlos Conde, former journalist, and researcher of Human Rights Watch; Mike Navallo, lawyer and broadcast journalist; Odessa Gonzalez Benson (discussant), School of Social Work, University of Michigan; and Allen Hicken (moderator), Political Science, University of Michigan
This virtual roundtable discussion seeks to make sense of the many overlaps from the ground up between the state of press freedom in the Philippines and the ongoing efforts of the Duterte administration to control the pandemic. Philippine-based resource speakers will get together in what promises to be a multifocal discussion on the social and legal circumstances informing a country’s response to a global health crisis. Visit the event page for more details. If you would like to access the video, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your email address. More details.
Friday, June 28, 2019
Moniek van Rheenen, expert in Southeast Asian Studies; Jaye Starr, Muslim chaplain; Darin Stockdill, project manager at the U-M Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research; Bryon Maxey, expert in Middle Eastern Studies, U-M
This workshop introduces Grade 6-12 teachers to Islam in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the U.S. Midwest. Experts in the field, as well as members of Michigan’s Muslim community, lead the workshop and discussion.
April 12, 2019
Peter van der Veer, Professor of Anthropology, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen
This talk examines Germany as a country of and for refugees by focusing on two waves of refugees. The first is the influx of German refugees from Eastern Europe after the Second World War; the second is the influx of Vietnamese refugees to Western Germany and Vietnamese contract laborers to Eastern Germany around 1979. The paper asks a number of questions about the concept of ‘empathy’, about humanitarian ethics, and about global and national politics. It attempts to develop a comparative approach.
Friday, April 5, 2019
This presentation will profile the return of a rare Buddha image that was stolen from a remote temple in Bagan in 1988 and would travel around the world before finally being returned to its home country in 2012. This long saga, which involved looters, antique dealers, art historians, lawyers, ambassadors and curators, demonstrates the intricate complexities in restituting objects. The priceless sculpture was transported from Myanmar (also known as Burma) to Bangkok, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Paris. It would be saved from the auction block, before drawing the involvement of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and becoming the subject of a precedent setting lawsuit for antiquities.
March 15, 2019
Marlon James Sales, Postdoctoral Fellow in Critical Translation Studies, University of Michigan
Some of the oldest specimens of indigenous literacies in the Philippines are found in the linguistic texts written by Catholic missionaries who wanted to talk about Christianity in any of the archipelago’s many tongues. These texts, the object of the discipline we now refer to as missionary linguistics, constitute the earliest systematic attempt to reduce these languages into a set of replicable rules.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Orlando de Guzman, documentary filmmaker, Ilaya Films; Arlyn Gajilan, correspondent, Thompson Reuters; Tyrell Haberkorn, associate professor, Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Hkun Lat, freelance documentary photographer, Myanmar
Contemporary journalists covering the various countries of Southeast Asia face unprecedented challenges in the form of suppression, censorship, incarceration, and violence. This roundtable discussion presents perspectives from Myanmar, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Friday, January 25, 2019
Vicente Rafael, Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professorship in History, University of Washington
Under the regime of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, the so-called drug war in the Philippines has exacted an enormous toll. In this talk, I inquire into one of the earliest and most graphic responses to this war: the work of photojournalists.
Thursday, November 8, 2018
The Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) is Viet Nam’s largest annual time-series, citizen-centric, nationwide policy monitoring tool. Over the nine years of its operation, PAPI has collected the views of 103,059 randomly selected citizens about the country’s performance in governance and public administration, based on their direct interactions with local governments at different levels. PAPI generates information about the actual performance of local authorities in meeting citizen needs. By doing so, it has created constructive competition and promoted learning among local authorities, while enabling citizens to benchmark their local government’s performance and advocate for improvements.
Friday, October 19, 2018
In this talk, Dr Giang Nguyen-Thu will discuss her forthcoming book Television in Post-Reform Vietnam: Nation, Media, Market by Routledge (2018). Since the country’s economic reform in 1986, Vietnamese television has experienced a tremendous shift from a purely propagandist tool of the Party-State into an all-pervasive medium of popular culture.
Friday, October 12, 2018
Research on temple murals in Thailand has focused on those commissioned by the rich and famous—royalty, nobility, or wealthy entrepreneurs—in historic centers of power, such as Auytthaya, Thonburi, Bangkok and to a lesser extent the northern Lanna kingdom. Little has been written in either Thai or English about the unique early 20th century murals of ethnic Lao people in the Northeast, a region also known as Isan. These murals, rather than being inferior copies of those in the central region, are inspired by local Buddhist stories and practices and are executed with a verve and vision unique to their creators. Among their most distinctive characteristics are their diverse compositions and their location on the exterior of ordination halls.
Friday, September 14, 2018
Aim Sinpeng, Lecturer in Comparative Politics, University of Sydney
Aries Arugay, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of the Philippines Diliman
Filipinos spend more time on social media than anyone else in the world, yet little is understood about how social media impacts politics in the Philippines. The speakers have examined the broad relationship between Facebook usage and political participation in an increasingly digitally networked Philippines society. New scholarship in political communication espouses a strong positive relationship between social media and the rise of populist politicians, but this hypothesis may not hold true in the case of Rodrigo Duterte's electoral victory. Citing survey findings and social network analysis following the 2016 presidential election, the speakers will demonstrate that political engagement via Facebook played a key role in this unprecedented election, but not in ways previous research has posited. The speakers will use their findings to explain the implications for future political developments in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia.
Friday, March 9, 2018
Increasingly, Southeast Asian states fear that the United States is an unreliable ally. This feeling has been growing since the end of the Cold War. In the 1990s, the US and Southeast Asian clashed over the “Asian values debate” and predatory American actions during the Asian economic crisis. In the 2000s, Southeast Asia was alarmed by growing American imperial overstretch in the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The inability of the Obama administration to “rebalance” American foreign policy towards the Asia Pacific was a further cause for concern. Today, the erratic behavior of the Trump administration is adding to regional instability and uncertainty. A security vacuum is opening in Southeast Asia. China wants to fill this vacuum, but it is distrusted in the larger region. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) sees one of its purposes as shaping the regional security environment. Can it fill the hole left by the changing American regional role?
Friday, February 2, 2018
Contrary to its pious-sounding name, the Madurese performance tradition of salabâdhân (from Arabic-derived Madurese salabât, “supplication to God”) is known in its primary territory of Madura and mainland East Java as an arena for religious and social transgression. The focus of attention in contemporary performances is a nightlong process by which individual invited guests are formally called to give a substantial monetary gift to the host and to dance briefly to the accompaniment of a small but distinctively noisy gamelan ensemble. Both hosts and guests belong to a highly visible, politically powerful network of local “big men” or “tough guys” (known as blâtèr) from across the region—the sole patrons of this tradition.
Friday, October 13, 2017
In 1831, an assistant resident in colonial Java arrived home to find rocks apparently materializing in mid-air and falling inside his house; all efforts to find their source failed. The phenomenon stopped as mysteriously as it began some nine days later. Through a prominent eyewitness, a high-ranking Dutch military officer, news of the incident spread over time and space, ruining his reputation even as it lent strength to new occultist networks.
Friday, September 22, 2017
This presentation will survey the changing relations between the U.S. and Burma since World War II. The importance of Burma to American policy makers in the during the early Cold War has been forgotten, after Vietnam came to dominate US concerns about Southeast Asia in the 1960s.
Friday, September 8, 2017
Responding to growing interest in the transnational politics of decent work and inclusive development, this talk explores the drivers of Vietnam’s industrial relations reforms. It draws attention to: wildcat strikes, which triggered concerns about regime legitimacy; pressures on manufacturers from reputation-conscious buyers; the Trans Pacific Partnership’s stipulation of freedom of association; together with economic and geopolitical incentives to join TPP.
Friday, March 31, 2017
Today’s Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is a city of contrasts. New luxury housing developments rise from the rubble of demolished neighborhoods. Emergent forms of property rights, known in Vietnam as “land-use rights,” have produced both new real estate opportunities and unprecedented rates of dispossession.
Monday, March 27, 2017
Since 2012, Myanmar has experienced recurrent, sporadic, collective acts of lethal violence, realized through repeated public expressions that Muslims constitute an existential threat to Buddhists. Much of this has been directed at those who identify as Rohingya, but it has not been limited to this category. The panelists discuss the narratives, genealogies and typologies of this violence, drawing on scholarship from South and Southeast Asia.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Dance ethnologist Peter Paul De Guzman and ethnomusicologist Bernard Ellorin, Ph.D., will be giving a four-hour workshop on music and dances from the Muslim Societies of the Southern Philippines. This hands-on participatory workshop will focus on the Maranao and Sama-Tausug known for their rich dance and music vocabulary rooted in living traditions that are celebratory in nature. Both artist-scholars bring a wealth of information from intensive field research with native practitioners that will be shared with the Ann Arbor community.
Friday, March 10, 2017
Maitrii Aung-Thwin, Associate Professor of History at the National University of Singapore
Friday, February 3, 2017
In the last ten years, there has been a worldwide surge in mindfulness as an approach to coping with chronic pain, fueled partly by a turn away from opiates for palliation and toward more functionality-based models that require pain sufferers to incorporate their pain into daily life.
Friday, January 13, 2017
My presentation centers on the construction and use of Baguio, an American colonial retreat in the U.S. colonial Philippines located in the mountains of northern Luzon. It had been designed for U.S. officials to find relaxation and reprieve from the tropical heat of the lowlands and arguably from their colonial charges.
November 4, 2016
Erin Zaikis is a University of Michigan Ford School alum (B.A., 2010) and the founder of Sundara, a nonprofit organization that fights preventable hygiene related deaths and disease through a network of sustainable soap recycling initiatives in India, Myanmar and Uganda.
October 14, 2016
Over the past decade and a half, an increasing number of clinical trials have been conducted in Cambodia, making the country a source of data about HIV, malaria, and other conditions. Has Cambodia also shaped the practice of clinical trials? If so, how, and to what effect?
September 30, 2016
Since the mid-2000s, there has been a proliferation of writings that describe the middle-income trap, prescribe policy solutions for it, and highlight the need for broad coalitions to implement such policies. Yet the fact that leaders have rarely carried out this advice suggests that existing analyses do not explain why there is a trap.
March 11, 2016
In addition to their devotion to Theravada Buddhism, the Burmese people maintain a robust tradition of spirit (nat) worship. The purpose of the spirit worshipping rituals is to incarnate the spirits through the possession trance of a transvestite ritual specialist. The spirits are mostly historical figures who lived during Burma’s period of military and political strength in the 11th-12th centuries CE. Because of their unfortunate deaths, these spirits cannot be reincarnated, but are doomed to endlessly wander this earthly realm.
December 11, 2015
Challenges to the safety and security of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore have been longstanding; yet, actors have been slow in their pursuit of more durable, proactive frameworks. The 2007-8 creation of a Cooperative Mechanism was thus significant. What explains its creation? While most highlight the roles played by large states and large events, this presentation highlights, instead, the efforts of the Nippon Foundation of Japan in constructing need, building consensus, and in substantiating critical pieces of what would become the Cooperative Mechanism of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
September 25, 2015
Anthropologists have long theorized the social nature of death and mourning, especially rituals’ roles in easing the deceased’s and bereaved’s transitions from ordinary life to extraordinary loss and back to the mundane. This talk considers a neglected aspect: how practices of inscription at a funeral immediately following a tragic death help structure intersubjective moral relations and emotions through the mobilization of object-mediated affect.
October 3, 2014
Mary Margaret Steedly (PhD ‘89, University of Michigan), Professor of Social Anthropology, Harvard University
On August 17, 1945, Indonesia proclaimed its independence from Dutch colonial rule. Five years of diplomatic negotiation and sporadic armed struggle ensued. This was a time of aspiration, mobilization, and violence, in which Indonesian nationalists fought to expel the Dutch while also attempting to come to grips with the meaning of “independence.”
March 21, 2014
Sharmani Patricia Gabriel, University of Malaya; Visiting Scholar, CSEAS
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.
March 14, 2014
Andrew Weintraub, Professor of Music, University of Pittsburgh
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..
January 17, 2014
Alexander Cannon, Assistant Professor of Music History and Ethnomusicology, Western Michigan University
Cannon’s research investigates the changing practices of a genre of traditional music called don ca tài tu. 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
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 in the 1920s and its popular Islamized form of Christianity, the cultural anatomy of the largest reformist Muslim organization Muhammadiyah and its relation to missionary societies, and the proliferation of Gereja Pantakosta/Karismatik during the 21st-century and its ritualistic expressions in relation to Islamic renewals.
September 27, 2013
Andrew Mertha, Professor of Government, Cornell University
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.
September 6, 2013
Ooi Keat Gin, School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia
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.
May 3, 2013
Tom Chandler, Information Technology, Monash University, Australia
April 12, 2013
Gunalan Nadarajan, Dean, School of Art and Design
March 15, 2013
Part 1: Sony Bolton, University of Michigan. The Bureau for Non-Christian Tribes: Bioeconomics and Archival Bodies in Philippine History; Charley Sullivan, University of Michigan. “I hope to do something among the native races”: Anthropology, anthropometry and photography in the American racial project in the colonial Philippines
Part 2: Nerissa Balce, SUNY Stony Brook. Body Parts of Empire; Mark Rice, St. John Fisher College. Dean Worcester's Photographs and the Slippery Lines of Race
Part 3: Melissa Banta, Harvard University. The Governor General's Archive: Photographic Encounters in the Philippines, 1903-1911; Michael Price, Independent Scholar. The Place of Worcester in the History of Philippine Photographs
Part 4: Ricky Punzalan, University of Maryland. Archival Dispersion and Virtual Reunification: Understanding the Provenance of Worcester's Ethnographic Photographs; Analyn Salvador-Amores, University of the Philippines - Baguio. Worcester Photographs in Anthropological Fieldwork: Visualizing Igorot Material Culture from the Archives to the Cordilleras in northern Luzon, Philippines
February 8, 2013
Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
February 1, 2013