UK Southeast Asianists
Dr Tilman Frasch, senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University will be in Myanmar from 1 May to 10 June 2013 to complete research on a revised list of inscriptions from the Bagan period. He gave the following papers: ‘Tropische Kühle: Kultur, Komfort und Konsum in asiatischen Kolonialstädten, ca. 1830–1920’ [Tropical coolness: culture, comfort and consumption in Asian colonial cities, c. 1830–1920] at the Darmstadt University of Technology’s history postgraduate seminar, Germany, April 2013; ‘Das “schwarze Loch” von Pagan: Zur Siedlungsgeschichte einer werdenden Hauptstadt, ca. 800–1200’ [The 'black hole' of Pagan: On the settlement history of a nascent capital, c. 800–1200] at the German Archaeological Institute, Commission for Archaeology of Non-European Cultures, Bonn, and ‘Locations of coolness in colonial Rangoon and Singapore’ at the Lancaster University workshop on Public Sphere in Colonial Southeast Asia, both in January 2013; in September 2012 in Ireland: ‘Towards “Buddhintern”: Asian Buddhist networks before the 19th century’ at the conference on Southeast Asia as a Crossroads for Buddhist Exchange, Cork University College, and ‘Pilgrims’ inscriptions and the question of pilgrimage: the case of Pagan at the 14th conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists (EurASEAA), Dublin; ‘Imperial osmosis: enquiring Buddhist connections between Pagan and Angkor in the 12th and 13th centuries’ at the conference on Early Myanmar and its Global Connections, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, and at the Myanmar Historical Research Department, Yangon, February 2012.
Dr Adam Tyson is now Lecturer in Southeast Asian Politics at the University of Leeds. His current research funded by University of Malaya is on talent and mobility in Malaysia. Adam will be at the forthcoming 7th Euroseas conference (2–6 July 2013) in Lisbon and will present a paper on ‘Everday identities in motion: situating Malaysians across multiple causeways’.
Mrs Jana Igunma (British Library), curator of the Thai, Lao and Cambodian collections reports that the five-year project ‘Digitisation of Thai manuscripts from the Thai, Lao and Cambodian Collections at the British Library’ ended in November 2012. Sixty Thai manuscripts and the entire Chakrabongse Archive of Royal Letters with more than 8,000 folios were digitised and made available online via the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts Viewer . The majority of the manuscripts included in this project are illuminated Buddhist folding books (samut khoi) from Central Thailand dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Among the highlights are several manuscripts illustrated with scenes from the legend of Phra Malai, The Ten Birth Tales of the Buddha, a Traiphum manuscript, a Kammavaca and treatises on elephants and cats. The Chakrabongse Archive of Royal Letters contains letters written by King Chulalongkorn, King Vajiravudh and Prince Chakrabongse between 1896 and 1915 while Prince Chakrabongse lived and studied in Britain and Russia. They cover a range of personal and political topics and are an important source for the understanding of the history of Thailand’s relations with European countries. In February-March 2013, another project to catalogue the manuscripts in Khmer (Khòm) script held in the British Library was effected in collaboration with visiting scholar, Dr Yohei Shimizu, from Otani University, Kyoto.
Jana presented a paper on ‘Representations of the female in Thai manuscript painting’, at the 14th EurASEAA international conference in Dublin, in September 2012. She also gave a poster presentation: ‘Aksòn Khòm: Khmer heritage in Thai and Lao manuscript cultures’, at the Walailak University international conference on Asian Studies, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand, in February 2013.
Dr Annabel Teh Gallop, curator for Indonesian and Malay collections (British Library), gave the keynote addess, ‘The early use of seals in the Malay world’, at the international conference on ‘Seals as symbols of power and authority in Southeast Asia’, organised jointly by University of Malaya and EFEO, Kuala Lumpur, 8 November 2012. She also gave a postgraduate seminar in the History Department at University of Malaya on 9 November 2012 on ‘Inscriptions on Malay seals’.
Annabel also reports that the travelling photographic exhibition arising out of the British Academy-funded ASEASUK-BIAA research project ‘Islam, Trade and Politics across the Indian Ocean’ continues to travel around the UK, and is currently at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. It will next be shown at the Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centre in London and the British Museum (for schedule see: ). A Turkish version of the exhibition opened in Istanbul in April 2013 and an Indonesian version is in preparation.
Professor Jonathan Rigg (Durham University) undertook a research trip to Thailand in January 2013, working with Professor Buapun Promphaking of Khon Kaen University and Dr Ann Le Mare, also of Durham. The trip was funded from a British Academy grant entitled ‘Personalising the middle-income trap’ and also included a writing workshop for early career researchers from Khon Kaen, Mahasarakham and Ubon Ratchathani universities. After 20 years in Durham, Jonathan will be leaving in August 2013 to take up a position in the Geography Department at the National University of Singapore.
Dr Carool Kersten (King’s College London) made a research trip in February–March 2013 visiting Medan, Danau Toba region, Yogyakarta, Bandung and Bogor for his two forthcoming books on Islam in Indonesia (the first will be published by Hurst and Oxford University Press for UK and US editions respectively and the second by Edinburgh University Press). Carool presented two papers last year: ‘Indonesian debates on secularity and religiosity: Islamists, liberal Muslims, and Islamic post-traditionalists’ at the Teaching & Studying Religion 2nd annual symposium, Sociology of Religion Group, British Sociological Association, London,13 December 2012, and ‘Free-floating gamekeepers or organic gardeners? Muslim intellectuals in Indonesia’ at the workshop on The Public Role of Muslim Intellectuals: Historical Perspectives to Contemporary Challenges, St Antony’s College and the Middle East Centre, Oxford University, 30 April 2012.
Professor Victor (Terry) King (University of Leeds/Universiti Brunei Darrusalam) is currently back in the UK after five months as Eminent Visiting Professor at the Institute of Asian Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). He will be returning to Brunei at the end of May. He presented an address and overview paper entitled ‘Human insecurities in Southeast Asia: uncertainty, risk and trust’ (10 December 2012, UBD) at the Institute of Asian Studies’ and the National University of Singapore’s ASEAN Inter-university Seminar on Human Insecurities in Southeast Asia. He will be co-editing a volume arising from this seminar. He also organised and chaired a workshop entitled Borneo Studies: the state-of-the-art and future directions (30 November–1 December 2012, UBD); a major initiative from this workshop is the establishment of a network of research institutions and a website to exchange information and encourage collaboration across Borneo to be coordinated by UBD. He also delivered two papers: ‘Introductory remarks: Borneo and beyond: the contribution of anthropology to Borneo studies and the wider world’ and ‘Identities in Borneo: constructions and transformations’. He will be co-editing a volume based on this workshop with two colleagues from UBD. Arising from the workshop he has submitted a paper to the Institute of Asian Studies, UBD Working Paper series entitled ‘Borneo and beyond: Borneo studies, anthropology and the social sciences’ (109 pp). He has re-established his links with the Brunei Museum, an institution at which he spent a sabbatical in the mid 1980s, and has edited (and written a Foreword to) the manuscript of Pudarno Binchin (Curator of Ethnography at the Museum) entitled Singing Siram Ditaan: composition, performance and transmission of epic tales of Derato in Brunei Dusun society. It is to be published in the Borneo Research Council’s Classic Text Series of Oral Literature. Terry also attended the 2nd Southeast Asian Studies Symposium, Project Southeast Asia, University of Oxford, 9–10 March, 2013, presenting a paper on ‘Identities in Borneo: constructions and transformations’ in the panel Understanding Borneo-Kalimantan through Interdisciplinary Perspectives, and joining a roundtable discussion on the future of Borneo Studies with Professor Michael Leigh (Sydney), Dr Rommel Curaming (UBD) and Dr Sanib Said (UNIMAS). On 11 March 2013 he also examined a PhD thesis by Bernadette Tyas-Susanti on ‘Conserving religious heritage through people-involved management: the case of mosques and Chinese temples in the urban coastal area of Java, Indonesia’ in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath. Terry is now engaged in editing a book entitled ‘UNESCO in Southeast Asia: World Heritage Sites in comparative perspective’; a proposal for publication is currently under review. Terry has submitted a chapter entitled ‘Southeast Asian Studies: the conundrum of area and method’ which is to be included in a volume with the provisional title ‘Methodology in Southeast Asian Studies’, edited by Mikko Huotari, Judith Schlehe, and Jürgen Ruland at the University of Freiburg.
Centre of South East Asian Studies, SOAS,University of London
Dr Felicia Hughes-Freeland is working on performance and heritage in Southeast Asia and preparing conference papers, field research and a book proposal on the subject. She was the invited expert at the workshop on Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Midas Touch? (1–2 March 2013), Sinergia research project, Basel and Neuchatel Universities, Switzerland. On 12 March she gave a paper on ‘Hybridity and fusion in a Java-Japan dance experiment’ at SOAS’ Music Department public seminar series.
Professor William Clarence-Smith’s ongoing research topics cover ‘Syrians’ in the colonial Philippines c.1860s to c.1940s, rubber in World War II, and global mules. He presented the following papers: ‘Of mules and men: hybrid power in the making of a global world order, c1500-c1945,’ at the European University Institute seminar series, Florence, 13 February 2013 as well as at the Imperial and World History seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, 25 February 2013;‘Mules in the English empire, nineteenth and twentieth centuries,’ at the London School of Economics and Political Science’s History and Economic Development Group annual workshop, 23 February 2013; keynote lecture on ‘Global slavery: definitions and debates,’ at a SOAS film workshop on Silences and Taboos: ethical dilemmas in making African slavery visible on film, 30 January 2013; ‘Réflexions sur les impérialismes non-occidentaux,’ SFHOM et Outre-Mers, revue d’histoire, centenaire, workshop, Institut d’Études Politiques, Paris, 7 December 2012.
Dr Russell Jones is compiling a corpus of images and names found in the watermarks of Malay manuscripts for an eventual database, and welcomes discussion and collaboration with anyone interested in this field. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Lim Peng Han, Visting Research Fellow at the University of Malaya delivered the following papers: ‘The transformations and development of badminton as a global sport dominated by Asian players, teams, sponsors and brands: multidisciplinary perspectives’ at the 8th annual conference of the Asian Studies Association of Hong Kong on Transformation, Development and Culture in Asia: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 8–9 March 2013; ‘The Portuguese, Dutch and English presence in the Malay Peninsula and the planting of Christian missions and Christian schools: Shifting from religious teachings to secular curriculum, 1511-1899’ at the workshop on Orders and Itineraries: Buddhist, Islamic and Christian Networks in Southern Asia, c.900-1900, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, 21–22 February 2013; ‘A history of Malay secular schools in colonial and post-colonial Singapore, 1819-1985’, at the Jalinan-Budi seminar series, Malay Language and Culture Department, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 29 August 2012; ‘The Aroozoo sisters and their world of books, libraries and literature, 1940s – 1990s’, at the Buildings, Books & Blackboards: Intersection Narratives conference, RMIT University, Melbourne, 28 November–1 December 2012, the combined conference of the Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society (ANZHES), Mechanic’s Institutes Worldwide and the 10th Australian Library History Forum.
Dr Keiko Miura (Waseda University/Göttingen University) undertook research in September 2012 on the cultural landscape of Bali province that had been nominated as a World Heritage Site in 2011. This trip was made in the context of the research project on wet rice agriculture and related rites in Bali with the Institute of Wet Rice Culture, Waseda University in Tokyo, with which Keiko has been involved since 2004.
Keiko is also in the second phase of research on Angkor for three years as a Fellow of Cultural Property Group, Göttingen University, she has been undertaking research on the illicit traffic of Cambodian artefacts and restitution since 2011. In this connection she made monthly research trips (July to August 2012, and February to March 2013), following two weeks of a research trip in August 2011. Keiko delivered the following papers: ‘Cultural heritage, illicit excavation and trade in Cambodia: report on the current state of research’, at a research meeting of the Interdisciplinary Cultural Property Research Group, Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany, 16 October 2012 and ‘Think globally and act locally in Angkor World Heritage Site’, at the World Heritage on the Ground: Ethnographic Perspectives workshop, Max-Planck-Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany, 11–12 October 2012.
Robert Taylor is Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. He gave a lecture on ‘The emergence of Myanmar against the backdrop of the changing international landscape' at the Myanmar Institute for Strategic and International Studies in Yangon on 28 March. He will be giving a paper entitled 'Myanmar's “pivot” to the shibboleth of “democracy”’ at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace on 10 May 2013 in Phnom Penh.
Professor Michael Hitchcock (Macau University of Science and Technology) has received a grant for the project ‘Telling the Macau story: developing the total travel experience’ (MOP 100,000). He was one of the keynote speakers at the 4th biennial International Tourism Studies Association (ITSA) conference in Bali in August 2012 and spoke on negotiating tourism and culture in the Southeast Asian region.
Dr PJ Thum is currently Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore and co-ordinator of Project Southeast Asia, University of Oxford.