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"Developments in the Scholarship on Southeast Asia" by Professor Leonard Y. Andaya


21 February 2018 - ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute kicked off its 50th anniversary celebrations with a Public Lecture by Prof Leonard Y Andaya entitled “Developments in the Scholarship on Southeast Asia”. Prof Andaya is Professor of Southeast Asian History at the University of Hawaii-Manoa and the inaugural Yusof Ishak Professor of Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore. The Public Lecture was chaired by Prof Wang Gungwu, Chairman of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute Board of Trustees.

From left to right: Prof Leonard Y Andaya and Professor Wang Gungwu. (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute) 

The Public Lecture focused on how research on Southeast Asia had evolved amidst the tumultuous political, economic and social transformations since the end of World War II. Prof Andaya touched on the origins of the concept of “Southeast Asia”, how the Cold War initially shaped (and perhaps still continues to) Southeast Asian studies, and the fierce debate about Southeast Asian studies for Southeast Asians. 

Professor Andaya speaking about the evolution of research on Southeast Asia. (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute) 

He also elaborated on the value of studying Southeast Asia, a region that boasts much diversity in ecological, cultural, literary, religious, political and economic terms. Even as a growing number of academics consider area studies passé, Southeast Asian studies continue to be relevant because of the rise of Asia and a need to more holistically understand the shift of power to the region. In this regard, innovations in ICT has helped, and continues to help, develop the scholarship in the region by bringing people and ideas together more easily and quickly. The Public Lecture concluded with a Q&A session.

Members of the audience during the Q&A session (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute) 

140 people attended the Public Lecture, with the audience comprising luminaries in the academic, business and policy fields.

The public lecture drew a large audience. (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute) 

View more photos of the Developments in the Scholarship on Southeast Asia lecture here.