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Upcoming Events

Workshop: Circulating the Bay of Bengal, Miraculously: Translating Wonder and Travel in Southeast Asia

07 Feb 2017


About the Workshop
How do we write a history of travel and wonder? Can we enchant the history of Southeast Asia? Are there histories of wonder, saints, gods and spirits in societies of Southeast Asia that we can trace or write? How have Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and ‘Chinese religion’ interweaved across the Bay of Bengal? These are just some questions that this workshop aims to explore systematically.

This workshop aims to collect histories of travel, enchantment and wonder in Southeast Asia across the longue durée. It will bring together scholars whose work spans the geographic and temporal scope of societies, from the medieval era to the modern period, with a focus on ‘magical’ connections. The geographic and temporal scales of this conference are deliberately broad, largely because these are concepts and phenomena that traverse the length and breadth of religious history and experience. This workshop also aims to collect materials essential for writing a connected history of the Bay and Bengal, and for investigating the interweaving histories of Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and ‘Chinese religion’.

Workshop Programme
Tentative programme

Attendance to the Workshop is free of charge but registration is required. As seats are limited, please register early. Admission to the Workshop can only be taken as confirmed upon receiving the written acceptance from ISEAS.

To register, please complete this form and return it by fax to 6775-6264 or email at iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by Monday, 6 February 2017.
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Workshop on National Imaginations in Southeast Asian Art

20 Jan 2017

About the Workshop

The role of art in nation-building is not new. From French history paintings that glorified Napoleon’s reign to Soviet Socialist Realism, art has not only been yoked to the political objectives of the elite but also served as a narrator of nationhood. In this context, art has been deployed as sophisticated means to express political values and ideals seeking to capture the spirit and mentalities of successive periods.

Southeast Asian nations emerged from a whirlwind of ideologies such as anti-colonialism, communism, and socialism, with the Cold War as backdrop. These postcolonial nations have produced iconic art works and discourses that have captured the aspirations and struggles of the day. Indeed the political transitions and shifting ideologies experienced by many societies in the region progressively changed the way modern art was produced and perceived in terms of styles, subject matter, iconography, idioms and genres.

This workshop seeks to critically evaluate the ways in which Southeast Asian nations are imagined by artists and other cultural agents such as art critics, gallerists, collectors, independent curators or museums, and the state. It comes at a time when ‘national art’ is being redefined while more public and private institutions in the region are erected to re-imagine the narratives of nationhood. Whether through modern or contemporary art which interrogates the consequences of global capitalism, scholars are invited to explore how art is deployed either as a coalescing force for the imagination of the nation or a critical expression of its flaws and strains.

Keynote speaker:  Professor Patrick D Flores

Workshop programme: Tentative programme here.

Registration: Attendance to the Workshop is free of charge but registration is required by Thursday, 12 January 2017. To register, please complete this form and return it by fax: 6775-6264 or email it to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg. As seats are limited, please register early. Admission to the Workshop can only be taken as confirmed upon receiving the written acceptance from ISEAS. For any queries, please feel free to email: <iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg>.

Best wishes,

Dr Terence Chong & Dr Hélène Njoto

Conference Co-conveners

20 December 2016

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Workshop: The Heritage of Ancient and Urban Sites: Giving Voice to Local Priorities

14 Mar 2016


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.

For details on the workshop, click here

Please register before 10 March 2016. Click here to register.
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Workshop: Looking East at Sabah and Sarawak

04 Dec 2015

The Federation of Malaysia was created on 16 September 1963 through the merging of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak. Where ethnic demographics were concerned, Sabah and Sarawak, with their large native populations, helped to balance Singapore’s predominantly Chinese population. But when the original configuration of the federation broke down in 1965 and Singapore went its own way, the ethnic balance changed dramatically. The Sabahans and Sarawakians now found themselves small minorities within an increasingly Malay Muslim-dominated country. A gradual centralisation of power did in fact ensue, and more than half a century after the merger, Sabah and Sarawak are among the poorest states in the federation. Not only are Bumiputra minorities economically impoverished, they are also politically marginalized and their identities and languages threatened by aggressive assimilation policies implemented by the central power.

The Malaysia Studies Programme (MSP) at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute is pleased to present this one-day forum to discuss the situation of these East Malaysian states. We gather prominent scholars to speak on themes such as the politics and economics of federal-state relations; poverty and human development among the Orang Asal; the emergence and consolidation of Malay Muslim dominance; the social dynamics of the Chinese vote in Sarawak; customary native land rights; bumiputra minorities’ identity formation in the larger context of nation-building; and porous borders and (in)security in Sabah.

As attached here.

Attendance is free of charge but registration is required. Please register early as seats are limited. 
To register, please complete and email the attached Registration Form to <iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg> by 1 December 2015.
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Workshop: Islamic Developments in Southeast Asia

16 Nov 2015

Scholars have recently raised concerns over Southeast Asian Muslims becoming more conservative and radicalised, while others have noted the impact of Islamic influence and politics on multicultural societies in the region. While Southeast Asian Muslims have had a history of integrating local traditions with Islamic doctrines, the dakwah movement (referred to as Islamic resurgence) in 1970s, the increased ‘Arabisation’ of Muslim society, as well as visions of a caliphate in the Middle East, have change the complexion of Muslim communities and their relationship with other communities.

The Regional Social and Cultural Studies (RSCS) Programme at ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute presents the workshop on Islamic Developments in Southeast Asia. This one-day workshop will focus on Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. It brings together scholars who will speak on themes such as civil society, politics and the ulama in Malaysia; law and education in Malaysia; Middle Eastern influence on Islamic institutions in Indonesia; and Middle East influence on Singapore Islamic institutions.

The workshop’s aim is to explore issues such as the contemporary networks and flows of students, teachers, and literature from the Middle East to Southeast Asia, and within the region; understand the evolving nature of Shariah courts, bureaucracies and civil service; and the emergence and presence of Islamic culture/politics in contemporary society as well as the reaction from both Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

As attached here.


Attendance is free of charge but registration is required. Please register early as seats are limited.
To register, please complete and email this form to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 11 Nov 2015.
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Workshop: Chinese in Vietnam - Trends and Developments

06 Oct 2015

This workshop brings together contemporary research on the ethnic Chinese in Vietnam. The papers in this workshop will examine a variety of issues including the dynamic economic position of the ethnic Chinese in the country, their cultural negotiations with the broader community, business networks and tensions, temple rituals, and the impact that the rise of China has had on them. The aim of the workshop is to present research findings, update the existing literature, and to identify further areas of investigation into the lifeworlds of the Vietnamese Chinese.

This event is open for registration on a first-come, first-served basis.

The programme can be found here.

To register, please complete this form and email it to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by Wednesday, 6 October 2015. 


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The Ethnic Chinese of Myanmar: A Multidisciplinary Workshop

28 Aug 2015

With the opening up of Myanmar to foreign researchers over the last decade, more recent empirical research has also emerged concerning the ethnic Chinese of Myanmar. This workshop serves as a platform for reviewing the latest research on the topic from a multidisciplinary perspective.

The workshop covers issues related to political and social history, cultural identity, citizenship and subjectivity, and the impact of the rise of China on the Chinese community. At the same time, the workshop will facilitate networking and the exploration of further collaborative efforts to fill pertinent gaps in research on the Myanmar Chinese.

View Programme

Best wishes,

Dr Hui Yew-Foong
Co-coordinator of Workshop & ISEAS Senior Fellow


All registrations are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Admission to the workshop can only be taken as confirmed upon receiving written acceptance from the Institute.

To register, please complete and email this Registration Form to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg, latest by Tuesday, 25 August 2015. 

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