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Nalanda-Sriwijaya Series


The Nalanda-Sriwijaya Series, established under the publications programme of the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore, has been created as a publications avenue for the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre. The Centre focuses on the ways in which Asian polities and societies have interacted over time. To this end, the series invites submissions which engage with Asian historical connectivities. Such works might examine political relations between states, the trading, financial and other networks which connected regions, cultural, linguistic and intellectual interactions between societies, or religious links across and between large parts of Asia.

Series Editor: Derek Heng

Past Editors: Tansen Sen (Baruch College, City University of New York) and Geoff Wade (Australian National University)
We welcome submissions of proposals that meet the criteria of this series. Should you wish to send in a proposal, please contact the Series Editor at: derek.heng@yale-nus.edu.sg.











About Us


The Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore, pursues research on historical interactions among Asian societies and civilisations. It serves as a forum for comprehensive study of the ways in which Asian polities and societies have interacted over time through religious, cultural, and economic exchanges and diasporic networks. The Centre also offers innovative strategies for examining the manifestations of hybridity, convergence and mutual learning in a globalising Asia. It sees the following as it main aims:

1. To develop the ‘Nalanda idea’ of building for contemporary Asia an appreciation of Asian achievements and mutual learning, as exemplified by the cosmopolitan Buddhist centre of learning in Nalanda, as well as the ‘Sriwijaya idea’ of Southeast Asia as a place of mediation and linkages among the great civilisations.

2. To encourage and develop skills needed to understand the civilisations of Asia and their interrelationships.

3. To build regional research capacities and infrastructure for the study of the historical interactions among the civilisations and societies of Asia.

If you wish to download our brochure (pdf), click here

NSC Field School


Mount Penanggunan, East, Java, Indonesia (Credit: Hadi Sidomulyo)

Quicklinks: Overview | News | Previous Cohorts: 2018201720162015, 2013, 2012


The NSC Field School began in 2012 with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Singapore). The NSC Field School aims to increase knowledge of the meaningful interactions between Asian countries, with particular attention to intra-Asian engagement in the last two millennia, and create a community of East Asia Summit (EAS) scholars. The NSC Field School intentions will enhance practical skills; expand professional networks; and strengthen partnerships during the process of experiential learning.

Between 2012 and 2017 the NSC Field Schools were conducted in Cambodia and Singapore, and in 2018 the NSC Field School was conducted in East Java, Indonesia, and Singapore.  Institutions within the EAS that have collaborated in this project in Cambodia include the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA); the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA Authority); the National Authority for Preah Vihear (NAPV); the Royal Academy of Cambodia; Sydney University; Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional (ARKENAS; National Centre for Archaeological Research), Indonesia;  Ubaya Penanggungan Centre (UPC) and the Australian National University.

The 18 East Asia Summit countries are: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.


To be updated



State Formation and Social Formation in Southeast Asia

While significant scholarship has been published on the nature and development of the nation-state in Southeast Asia, as well as the issues and dynamics of social groups in the region in the contemporary era, relatively few historical studies have been carried out to develop paradigms of state and social formation in pre-modern and early modern Southeast Asia apart from the ones that had been developed in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Under this project, the centre is interested in looking at the formation of port-cities and port polities in Maritime Southeast Asia; the various modes of urban genesis and forms; the notions and nature of political centres; and the evolving nature and parameters of regional geo-politics in Maritime Southeast Asia.

Archaeological Research
One of NSC’s current endeavours under this theme is the Archaeology Unit’s Phnom Kulen project. Phnom Kulen, believed to be the site of early urbanization of Angkor, marks the foundation of a polity in a form and magnitude unprecedented in premodern Southeast Asia. This project explores the settlement patterns and urban evolution in the highlands of Northwest Cambodia.

Economic Interaction within Southeast Asia, and between Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean Littoral and the South China Sea Littoral

Economic interaction has, throughout history, been a fundamental force driving the history of Maritime Southeast Asia. This interaction includes trade or commercial exchanges, fiscal policies and currency systems, natural and value-added or manufactured products and production processes and material cultures. Equally important are the natural and man-made resources and the environmental and geographical contexts from which they have been drawn.

NSC aims to produce more detailed studies of the aforementioned aspects of economic interaction that are under-represented in the current corpus of secondary literature. This would include the development of approaches within which historical data on trade goods may be interpreted, framed and/or analysed. Additionally, the generation of usable data would be an important scholarly endeavour to further our understanding of this critical aspect of Southeast Asian history.

Archaeological Research
Noteworthy archaeological activities under this theme include the multi-year projects on the economic interaction at Banten Lama, a thriving 17th century trading port settlement in West Java, where enormous quantities of trade ceramics from China, Japan, Europe and Southeast Asia are recovered. Banten at its height was the largest city in the Indonesian archipelago, and its economic reach overwhelmed Batavia. The archaeological excavations at Banten investigate the socio-political interactions between the disparate foreign entities (such as the Dutch East Indies Company, British East Indies Company, Chinese merchants) and the local communities.

Culture and Identity

Pertinent to any understanding of societies and states located within such a communicatively dynamic region as Maritime Asia is the development and nature of culture and identity, and their evolution over time. The dialectic between trans-regional cultural phenomena, such as the spread of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, or the adoption and use of such high languages as Sanskrit and Pali, on the one hand, versus the generation of indigenous cultural markers, co-existence of local languages and cultural hybridisation on the other, deserves significant attention, not least because much of the issues pertaining to ethnic and cultural diversity in contemporary Southeast Asia have their roots in the pre-modern era. The processes and parameters of cultural negotiation and construction also have significant echoes through time.

Four key areas that the centre is keen to further research on are: religion; art history and visual culture; diaspora and migration; and language and literature.

Archaeological Research
Manifestations of culture and identity in early Southeast Asian societies exist in both the textual and non-textual traditions. However, in Southeast Asia, the recorded past are often embedded in non-textual traditions, and are instead frequently readily accessible in the extant material culture, ceramics in particular. Southeast Asians, in fact, were among the first people in the world to implement high-fired ceramic technology.

In Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, kilns indicative of a high degree of technical prowess have been found. Southeast Asian potters were obviously aware of Chinese technology in this field, but it is important to note that each region of Southeast Asia developed its own form of kiln construction and styles of products in accordance with local needs and tastes. The study of early ceramic technology provides excellent opportunities for studying the interaction of local, regional, and long-distance communication, technology, and artistic accomplishments.

Note that while NSC recognizes the role of archaeology in providing a unique dimension in interpreting cultures through the material record, the centre also welcomes research proposals that examine both the tangible and intangible elements of beliefs, behaviours, and customs of Southeast Asian societies.

Digital databases

The Centre will create a digital repository that will help preserve, store and disseminate knowledge pertinent to research on pre-modern Southeast Asian and intra-Asian interactions. While the purview of this effort will be centred on the three key research themes identified above, their use is envisaged to extend beyond that scope, to include applications to scholarship on the Indian Ocean Littoral and the South China Sea Littoral.

NSC is developing two databases: archaeological and textual. The archaeological database will contain a collection of artefacts recovered from Temasik-period (c. 14th century) sites in Singapore, while the textual database will hold primary textual data from NSC’s research projects particularly those that involve substantial works on transliteration and translations.

About Us


The 1993 APEC Leaders’ Education Initiative (ALEI) established, among other things, APEC Study Centres in the universities and research institutes of member economies with a view towards promoting APEC-related studies and the exchange of scholars and students.

The Singapore APEC Study Centre was subsequently established at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in 1994 by the Ministry of Education, Singapore. It is part of the Institute’s Regional Economic Studies Programme. The Centre is headed by the Director of ISEAS and assisted by a Centre Coordinator.

The Centre undertakes research, disseminates information, facilitates discussions on APEC-related issues, and promotes linkages with other APEC Study Centres. The Centre also liaises with the APEC Secretariat, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) and other organizations working on APEC. The Centre analyses developments in the APEC process and its main areas of interest include: international economics; production networks; trade arrangements; connectivity; regionalism; and Southeast Asian economies. Besides regular publications, the Centre manages seminars and symposia on issues related to APEC.

The Centre is part of a consortium of around a hundred APEC Study Centres based in academic and research institutions in the 21 member economies of APEC. The consortium’s major activity is an annual conference held in the APEC host economy for the year. The first APEC Study Centre Consortium (ASCC) Conference was held in Manila in 1996. In July 2009, the Singapore APEC Study Centre hosted the ASCC Conference as part of APEC Singapore 2009.

About Us


The ASEAN Studies Centre (ASC) was established in 2008 to research on issues pertaining to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as an institution and a process. Through research, publications, conferences, media engagement and outreach activities, ASC seeks to promote greater understanding of ASEAN and to contribute toward regional cooperation and integration. The Centre conducts studies and provides inputs to stakeholders on issues and matters that call for collective ASEAN actions and responses, especially those pertinent to building the ASEAN Community.

As part of the Centre’s on-going effort to raise awareness and lead discussions on ASEAN matters, our Fellows actively share their research findings and opinions on ASEAN developments and issues in major news outlets and online platforms. ASC organizes events such as the ASEAN Roundtable and the ASEAN Lecture Series which feature and engage high-level policy-makers, eminent scholars, public intellectuals and business leaders discussing transformative ideas that will shape the development of the region, in addition to fostering a better understanding of ASEAN. Our quarterly publication ASEANFocus connects the wider audience to important developments in Southeast Asia with in-depth analytical pieces at the same time enhancing understanding and awareness on ASEAN.

Some of the Centre’s research focus areas include ASEAN relations with the major powers, the regional security architecture, economic integration, regional trade liberalisation, economic regionalism, movement of labour, development gap, connectivity, illegal and irregular movement of people, people-to-people connectivity, environmental security (including transboundary haze).

Click on each of the links below for more information on the ASC team.