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Past Events

Lecture: Cultural Heritage and Inter-Asian Interactions

12 Jul 2016
NALANDA-SRIWIJAYA CENTRE

About the Lecture

As Founding Dean (Academic Planning) for the historic revival of Nalanda University, Prof Sharma organised a collaborative conference in Rajgir, Bihar on “Cultural Heritage, Environment, Ecology and Inter-Asian Interactions” in January 2014. The partner—carefully chosen for their long years of work in and about Asia—was the Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS). It was a first for both NU and IIAS to do a conference in India, and that too in Rajgir, Bihar: a space that had been off grid for academic purposes for more than eight centuries after the erasure of ancient Nalanda and its unique pan-Asian heritage.

The Nalanda project aimed to recover lost narratives and to exhume Asian connection buried in the grave of late 18th, 19th and early 20th century colonialisms. Its stated aim was to go beyond the image of an Asia uninflected by either Oriental, colonial discourse or its obverse, the post-colonial, uber-nationalistic one. Naturally then, the critical and conflicted subject of cultural heritage seemed to be the best way to explore both historical connections and historical ruptures—and to go beyond them.

The deliberations, debates and discussions were marked by intense concern about the nature of the new Asian states and their individuated cultural mythology. One that left little room for the transnational, the transregional and the inter-Asian as well as the local, the regional and the communal. This talk will explore and formulate questions about certain key ideas: Is my heritage your heritage? Is intangible heritage a country cousin to tangible heritage? Is culture singular, hermetically sealed or, particularly in the context of the long history of Asian civilisational dialogue, is it plural, porous and connected?

About the Speaker

Anjana Sharma is Visiting Senior Fellow at NSC. She is an Associate Professor at the Department of English, University of Delhi, India. From 2011–2015, she was Founding Dean (Academic Planning) at Nalanda University located in Rajgir, Bihar, India. She obtained her PhD from the Department of English, the Pennsylvania State University, USA in 1990. Her dissertation was subsequently published as Autobiography of Desire: English Jacobin Women Novelists of the 1790s (Macmillan, 2004). It contested the hegemony of British Romantic poetry and provided a counterculture account through archival work on pamphlets, periodicals, memoirs, and novels of the pro-French revolutionary writers in England in the 1790s. She has since then taught and published widely in this area.

Her other areas of interest are Indian Writing in English with a special focus on gender and culture. Her recent work is on the representation of Mahatma Gandhi in the public sphere in 1947. The Nalanda experience, where she conceptualised and built the first two schools of Historical Studies and Ecology and Environment Studies, shaped her most recent research on inter-Asian heritage and its transregional dynamics anchored in travel, trade, literature, arts and aesthetics. She is also actively engaged in writing for popular newspapers and weeklies on the interface between literature, life, and the concerns that shape liberal arts and interdisciplinary studies in higher education. 

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to nscevents@iseas.edu.sg by 11 July 2016.
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Lecture: Chinese Involvement in the Trade of Eastern Indonesia in the Early Modern Period

09 Jun 2016
NALANDA SRIWIJAYA CENTRE

About the Lecture
This presentation focuses on Chinese trade activity in eastern Indonesia, home of many of the most desired products in the China market. The “trinity of spices”—clove, nutmeg, and mace—are indigenous to northern Maluku, while sandalwood, tortoiseshell, and tripang were found in greater quantities in eastern Indonesia than elsewhere in the world in the early modern period (c. 1400 – c. 1830s). While much has been written about the international Chinese routes between China and Southeast Asia, far fewer studies have focused on the vital role played by local Chinese in making the system work. Even a cursory examination of the documents reveals the intricacies of regional trade beginning with the various Kapitan Cina based in Batavia, Makassar, and smaller port towns; to the secondary collectors scattered throughout the island world; and finally the Chinese individual traders long resident in the local communities who were the main interface with the primary collectors or were collectors themselves. It is a testament to the adaptability of the Chinese to local conditions and cultures that made them indispensable in trade, as well as in mining, planting of cash crops, and in providing the necessary services that enabled the European port cities of Melaka, Manila, and Batavia to survive and prosper.


About the Speaker
Leonard Andaya, Visiting Senior Fellow at NSC, is a Professor of Southeast Asian History at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa in Honolulu. He has written extensively on the early modern history of Southeast Asia, particularly on Indonesia and Malaysia. His most recent books are Leaves of the Same Tree: Trade and Ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008), and with Barbara Watson Andaya, A History of Early Modern Southeast Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015). His current research focuses on the complex network of relationships in eastern Indonesia that helped bind together the disparate cultural communities into a functioning unity in the early modern period. It offers a non-state model of a polity that can be applied to peripheral societies in the seas, the jungles, and the hills, not only in Southeast Asia, but in other parts of the world.

Registration
To register, please fill in this form and email to nscevents@iseas.edu.sg by 8 June 2016.
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Opening of Photography Exhibition: 'The Dig: 100 Days of the Empress Place Rescue Archaeology Excavation'

30 Apr 2016
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Lecture: Javanese Mouse Deer and Chinese Lions: Early Islamic Sinicised Imprints in Java’s North Coast Sculpture (15th – early 17th century)

29 Mar 2016
NALANDA-SRIWIJAYA CENTRE

ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Dr Hélène Njoto is a Visiting Fellow at the Nalanda–Sriwijaya Centre (NSC), ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute. She specialises in Indonesian art and architecture history from the 15th to the early 19th centuries CE. After graduating from the Sorbonne (BA and MA), she received her PhD from the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS).
 
During her fellowship at NSC, Hélène Njoto has conducted research on the early Islamic Javanese art history. In addition, she recently lectured Art and Architectural History for the 2015 NSC Archaeological Field School in Cambodia. She co-convened a workshop on cultural heritage in Southeast Asia, and is co-organising an Art History and Conservation Summer Programme in July 2016 (SOAS & NSC).
 
Her publications include articles on the Javanese mosque (BEFEO 100, 2014/January 2016); Pasisir wooden sculpture (Archipel 2014); Western representations of Indonesia from the 17th to the 19th c. (Histoire de l’Art, 2002); historical studies of Indonesian institutions such as those related to the art market (Archipel, 2006); and cultural heritage conservation (IRASEC, January 2016).
 
ABOUT THE LECTURE
Little is known about the early Islamic period in Java due to the scarcity of textual and material sources from the 14th–15th centuries onwards. The rare historical sources available, however, agree on the cosmopolitan nature of initial Muslim communities along Java’s north coast and the large presence of Chinese among them. Some of the most prominent Muslim lords of this period, considered as the first propagators of Islam in Java, are thought to have been of Chinese descent. Revered as Holy Men (wali) until today, these Muslim lords’ mausolea are visited throughout the year by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims mainly coming from Java and other parts of the Malay world.
 
The current research sheds light on the identity of these early figures of Islamisation through analysis of material culture. More specifically, it concentrates on wooden and stone funerary art as well as palace sculpture. This source of information dating approximately from the 15th to the 17th centuries CE remained almost unstudied. The focus concerns eight funerary sites containing the mausolea of the earliest Muslim lords, five of whom are among the most revered holy men of Java, also referred to as the “Nine Saints” (Wali Songo). The stone and wooden sculpted décor of their mausolea exhibits a blend of local and foreign motifs, which provide rare historical data on cultural exchanges that took place during this period.
 
The main narrative on this transition period’s artistic production emphasises a strong continuity of shapes and motifs between the Hindu-Buddhist period and early centuries following the coming of Islam. However, the inclusion of a few unique sinicised motifs such as the Chinese lion in most of the research sites seem to suggest an emergent appreciation for symbols of power seemingly inspired by China and Vietnam among the new Muslim elite of Java.

REGISTRATION
For registration, please fill in this form and email to nscevents@iseas.edu.sg by 28 March 2016.
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Workshop: The Heritage of Ancient and Urban Sites: Giving Voice to Local Priorities

14 Mar 2016
NALANDA-SRIWIJAYA CENTRE

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP





The workshop brings together heritage professionals, policymakers and grassroots organisations from six countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand. Speakers present their work with local, regional and global communities in voicing local priorities at ancient and urban heritage sites. Each country is at a critical juncture in relation to public awareness and commitment on issues of cultural heritage.

Discussion of ancient and urban sites in local, transborder and international contexts can highlight commonalities and differences in defining and effecting greater community participation. Speakers will present local experiences and expertise in an open and non-prescriptive manner. Selected papers will be published.

PROGRAMME
For details on the workshop, click here

REGISTRATION
Please register before 10 March 2016. Click here to register.
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Lecture: Documenting Southeast Asia’s Pre-1500 Past: Contested Agencies in the Extended Eastern Indian Ocean, c. 500–1500

18 Nov 2015
NALANDA-SRIWIJAYA CENTRE


ABOUT THE LECTURE
This presentation will address Southeast Asia’s evolutionary international importance c. 500–1500, when the Southeast Asia region became a major source, consumer, and intermediary in the Indian Ocean maritime trade, diplomatic, and knowledge networks prior to significant European contact. Movements of variable goods, ideas, and people through the Southeast Asia extended Indian Ocean maritime passageway, made possible by seasonal monsoon winds, had regional and wider consequence that resulted in new Southeast Asia patterns of networked urbanization, diplomacy, trade, religion, and emigration that intersected and interacted to create a Southeast Asian world that had not previously existed.

This study is focal on Southeast Asia’s initiatives in contrast to prior views that have seen early Southeast Asia societies subject to the external agencies of Chinese, South Asians, and Middle Easterners. In recent years new regional archaeological and shipwreck recoveries have allowed the re-reading of other primary sources, including contemporary epigraphic, chronicle, and fictional literary compositions as these collectively document Southeast Asia’s contributions to the pre-1500 “borderless” Indian Ocean world. In this critical era transitional Southeast Asian societies assumed entrepreneurial roles in the adoption and adaptations of Indian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern concepts and constructions to pre-existing social and economic patterns, from scripts and languages to literary genres and motifs, from religious texts and discourses to associated art and architectural forms, as these were associated with new state, commercial, religious, societal, and urban networking patterns.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Kenneth R. Hall, Professor of History at Ball State University (Indiana, USA), is a Senior Research Fellow in the Nalanda–Sriwijaya Centre at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore. He has published a series of monographs and journal articles that address early Southeast Asia and south Indian history, most recently A History of Early Southeast Asia: Maritime Trade and Societal Development, c. 100–1500 (2011); and Networks of Trade, Polity, and Societal Integration in Chola-Era South India, c. 875–1400 (2014); and edited and co-authored Secondary Cities and Urban Networking in the Indian Ocean Realm, c. 1400–1800 (2008); The Growth of Non-Western Cities: Primary and Secondary Urban Networking, c. 900–1900 (2011); New Perspectives in the History and Historiography of Southeast Asia (2011); and Structural Change and Societal Integration in Early South India (2001/2005).

He is on the advisory board of The Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, and was a Fulbright Senior Scholar/Professor of comparative religion at Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia (2003–2004) and Southeast Asian studies at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (2012).

REGISTRATION
For registration, please fill in this form and email to nscevents@iseas.edu.sg  by 17 Nov 2015.
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Lecture: Analyzing Cambodian Cave Art: Ecology, Social Dimensions, Networks and Supply Chains

03 Nov 2015
NALANDA-SRIWIJAYA CENTRE LECTURE SERIES


ABOUT THE LECTURE
Southeast Asia contains some of the earliest art known to the planet. Recently dated sites indicate cave/rock art was produced 35–40,000 years ago. Southeast Asia has a widespread and longstanding tradition of cave/rock art extending to the present. Nevertheless, relations among sites and the people who produced the art remain obscure and tenuous. Meanings and purposes are equally ambiguous. Many sites frequently depict animals and humans. Analyzed correctly, however, this reveals information about past cultures, practices, environment and ecology. Subsequently, this helps elucidate clues to assist a greater understanding of past industries and supply-chain networks.

The Kanam cave art site, researched in Jan 2015, depicts an abundance of elephants, humans and deer. The dates of the paintings and site use remain unknown, but it very well may relate to elephant capturing, training and deer hunting industries. The results of the research were recently presented at the IFRAO Conference held in Careres, Spain (31 Aug–4 Sep: “Symbols in the Landscape: Rock Art and its Context”). Fieldwork, methodology, results and implications will be discussed.


ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Dr D. Kyle Latinis, Visiting Fellow at the NSC, currently researches the Historical Ecology of Southeast Asia—an approach which combines ethnographic, historic and archaeological data to examine long term human-environment trends, inclusive of internal and external socio-economic factors and resource exploitation. He will also assist with projects and field training in Mainland Southeast Asia, having over 20 years of experience in Cambodia. Dr Latinis earned a PhD at the National University of Singapore, Department of Southeast Asian Studies (2008) and a PhD in Ecological Anthropology at the University of Hawaii, Department of Anthropology (1999). Recently, he was a Director and Senior Social Scientist with the US Department of Defense (2011–2014; including 18 months of applied research in Afghanistan), and Dean of Graduate Studies and Social Sciences at the University of Cambodia (2009–2011). Previous fieldwork and research throughout the 1990s and early 2000s focused on east Indonesia (Maluku, Papua Barat, Sulawesi) and proximate areas in the Pacific.

He has also participated in several Singapore heritage projects since 1995 where he first worked with Prof John Miksic at the Fort Canning and Empress Place archaeological sites. His most recent (2014) research publication is: “The Social and Ecological Trajectory of Prehistoric Cambodian Earthworks” Asian Perspectives, 52(2):327–346.


REGISTRATION
To register, please complete this reply form and return it by fax: 6775-6264 or email: nscevents@iseas.edu.sg  by 2 November 2015.

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Seminar: Angkor, Diversity, and Archaeological Explorations at Phnom Kulen, Cambodia: Understanding the Sema Site Enigma

25 Aug 2015



REGISTRATION

To register, please complete this form and email it to nscevents@iseas.edu.sg by 24 August 2015.



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Can there be People's Invented Traditions? Some Evidence from the Sino-Vietnamese Imperial Romance: The Tale of a Prince

23 Jul 2015

Chang Yufen is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. She received her PhD in sociology from the University of Michigan in 2013. Her research interests lie in historical sociology, nationalism, social movements, as well as Sino-Southeast Asian cultural interactions.

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