The 38th Singapore Lecture by His Excellency Tran Dai Quang, President of The Socialist Republic of Vietnam

 

 

Lecture: New Data on Early Settlement Processes and State Formation in Highland Sumatra, Indonesia

 


NALANDA-SRIWIJAYA CENTRE LECTURE SERIES

 

ABOUT THE LECTURE

Little is known about the settlement processes that created the unique cultural diversity in the highlands of Sumatra. Recent archaeological investigations have yielded new evidence of the polity of Indonesia’s last Hindu-Buddhist king, Ādityavarman (ca. 1343–75), who established his centre of reign in the highland of West Sumatra. Essential to the development of Ādityavarman’s trading kingdom were various economic factors such as gold resources, a surplus obtained by wet rice cultivation, the development of specialised crafts like metalworking, and the control of trading networks to the coastal areas. This early phase of state formation was also substantiated by increasing sociopolitical integration marked by ceremonial structures and stone inscriptions. This seminar will thus show an increase in territorial consolidation and socio-economic complexity which initiated a dense settlement pattern in this highland region from the 14th century.


ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Dr Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz
is Visiting Fellow at NSC. She teaches Southeast Asian cultures and archaeology at several German universities. She has a PhD in Art History from Technical University of Darmstadt and an M.A. in Art History, Archaeology, and Southeast Asian regional studies from Frankfurt University, Germany. She served as research assistant for excavations conducted in Syria (2009–2010) and Sumatra, Indonesia in 2003–2008 and 2011–2014. She was formerly a Visiting Associate of the Archaeology Unit of NSC and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute in Singapore, and has been a member of the academic committee of the European Association of Southeast Asian archaeologists (EASEAA) since 2010. Her main interests are Southeast Asia’s maritime cultural heritage, settlement history, architecture, and ancient material culture.

REGISTRATION
To register, please fill in this form and email to nscevents@iseas.edu.sg.

 

Lecture: Was Angkor more Esoteric Buddhist than Brahmanical?

 

NALANDA-SRIWIJAYA CENTRE LECTURE SERIES

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Peter Sharrock is a historian of Khmer Empire art at Angkor and is Senior Teaching Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He was a Reuters correspondent during the American war in Indochina and joined the pioneering post-war visitors to Angkor in the 1990s. Dr Sharrock’s doctorate presented a new interpretation of the Buddhism and imperial politics of Jayavarman VII, the greatest king of ancient Cambodia. His recent publications include: Banteay Chhmar, Garrison-temple of the Khmer Empire (2015) and Descending Dragon, Rising Tiger: a History of Vietnam (2014).

ABOUT THE LECTURE
An inscription that recently surfaced in Paris is changing the history of the ancient Khmer Empire at its apogee in the 12th century. Now numbered K. 1297, it shows that Angkor reached its ultimate sway as one of the world’s great empires under Buddhist kings, with the notable exception of the conquering Viṣṇu devotee king Sūryavarman II (1113–49 CE), who constructed the splendid monument of Angkor Wat.

The new inscription brings into the history Sūryavarman’s younger brother, who reigned as the Buddhist king Tribhuvanādityavarman from 1149-77 CE, before he was killed in the only recorded raid on Angkor by the neighbouring Chams. He emerges as an Esoteric Buddhist and a major templebuilder, true to the tradition of his Mahīdharapura dynasty, whose genealogy he recites in some detail. Thus we learn that when the reign of the famous Vaiṣṇava Sūryavarman ended in 1149 CE (date previously unknown), he was succeeded by his younger Esoteric Buddhist brother, who went on to construct eight (as yet unidentified) Buddhist temples.

All this constitutes a major revision of middle period of the greatest century of expansion of Angkor and it alters the religious balance of Angkor towards Buddhism.

REGISTRATION
To register, please email this registration form to nscevents@iseas.edu.sg. Thank you.

 

Lecture: Cultural Heritage and Inter-Asian Interactions

 

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.

 

Lecture: Busy Neighbourhood: Peninsular Thailand and the Network of Trade and Social Interaction in the Gulf of Siam since the Iron Age

 

NALANDA-SRIWIJAYA CENTRE

 

ABOUT THE LECTURE

This talk provides preliminary observations concerning social developments in Peninsular Thailand that emerged from ancient trade and social interaction networks in the Gulf of Siam. It is based on historical and archaeological data including recently discovered evidence from the Thai peninsula. Archaeological research suggests sites such as Khao Sam Kaeo and Phukhao Thong were trade and production centres for ornaments and other artefacts since the late centuries BCE. It is likely that the ornaments were produced to fulfill a growing market in the Gulf of Siam and beyond to the east. However, the market did not include the Bay of Bengal or India to the west as previously hypothesized. The new evidence points to the existence of a neighbourhood of communities and kingdoms around the Gulf of Siam that evolved into a busy hub of trade to include the passage of people and ideas. Current research results indicate that important kingdoms in Peninsular Thailand in the early historic period only emerged along the Gulf. Later in the 15th century, the Kingdom of Ayutthaya launched campaigns from the vast floodplains of Central Thailand to conquer the Thai Peninsula. Similar to the Funan polity of the 1st – 6th centuries, this was an attempt to control the Gulf network that played a significant role in Peninsular Thailand.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Dr Wannasarn Noonsuk is a lecturer for the PhD Program in Asian Studies and head of the Research Archaeology Unit at Walailak University, Thailand. In 2002, His Majesty the King of Thailand, awarded him the Anandamahidol Scholarship for his graduate studies. Dr Wannasarn received his M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii and his PhD in History of Art and Archaeology from Cornell University in 2012. He has written several books and articles on the kingdom of Tambralinga and archaeology of Peninsular Thailand.

REGISTRATION

For registration, please fill in this form and email to nscevents@iseas.edu.sg by 14 July 2016.

 

Lecture: Chinese Involvement in the Trade of Eastern Indonesia in the Early Modern Period

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

Lecture: The Importance of Asia in the EU’s Global Strategy

 

ASEAN STUDIES CENTRE


ABOUT THE LECTURE
The role and relevance of the European Union (EU) in the Asia-Pacific region is influenced by a rising China and its relations with the US, ASEAN’s efforts to assert its centrality in the region, and Japan’s eagerness to regain the stronger role it once held. As the largest economy in the world on aggregate, the EU collectively is expected to play a commensurate role in international politics and master the serious challenges faced.

Based on the Treaty of Lisbon, the EU has developed a policy framework for Asia which is constantly updated and further developed. Featuring a ‘comprehensive’ approach, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission has strived to integrate foreign, trade and development policies, engage in crisis management, and resolve the ever-evolving area of non-traditional security threats. The lecture will outline EU’s objectives in Asia in the bilateral (free trade and political framework agreements) and multilateral contexts (ASEAN, ARF, ASEM), and emphasis the interdependence of Asia and Europe as important stakeholders in each other’s security.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Professor Michael Reiterer is the Principal Advisor at the Asia-Pacific   Department of the European External Action Service (EEAS), former EU ambassador to Switzerland, Minister/Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Japan, ASEM Counsellor. His previous assignments include Austrian Deputy Trade Commissioner to Japan (Tokyo) 1985-1989 and to Western Africa (Abidjan, Côte d’ Ivoire) 1982-1985; research assistant at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Geneva (1981).

REGISTRATION
For registration, please fill in this form and email to ascevents@iseas.edu.sg by 25 February 2016.

 

Lecture: ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 and Mega-FTAs: Implication for Development Strategies in the New Era

 

ASEAN STUDIES CENTRE


ABOUT THE LECTURE

ASEAN has been a pioneer for implementing an innovative development strategy in which the mechanics of production networks or the second unbundling has aggressively been exploited.  Beginning with slow global value chains, countries start linking with fast and well-coordinated international production networks and then initiate forming industrial agglomeration in which local firms take part in the vertical division of labor with multinationals and take advantage of technology transfer and spillover to activate process innovation.  For some advanced countries, the creation of innovation hubs for active product innovation became an immediate challenge.
In this context, four pillars of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2015 together with the effort of enhancing connectivity have greatly contributed to the development of links with production networks by latecomers and the narrowing of geographical development gaps.  ASEAN should now focus more on policy efforts for forming industrial agglomerations and innovation hubs in order to not only narrow industrial development gaps but, nurture and attract intellectual human resources.  From this viewpoint, AEC Blueprint 2025 will be reviewed and evaluated.

In addition, potential impacts of mega-FTAs including Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on ASEAN will also be discussed.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Fukunari Kimura has been Professor, Faculty of Economics, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan since 2000 and also the Dean, Graduate School of Economics, Keio University since 2015.  He is also Chief Economist, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Jakarta, Indonesia since 2008.  He serves as a co-editor of the Journal of the Japanese and International Economies.  He was born in Tokyo in 1958 and received his Bachelor of Laws from the Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo in 1982, Master of Science and Ph.D. from the Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990 and 1991.  He worked for the International Development Center of Japan as Researcher in 1982-1986, the Department of Economics, State University of New York at Albany as Assistant Professor in 1991-1994, and the Faculty of Economics, Keio University as Associate Professor in 1994-2000.  His major is international trade and development economics.  In particular, he has recently been active in writing academic/semi-academic books and articles on international production networks and economic integration in East Asia.

REGISTRATION

For registration, please fill in this form and email to ascevents@iseas.edu.sg by 21 January 2016.

 

Lecture: ASEAN’s Focus and Priorities in 2016: Preview of Lao PDR’s Chairmanship

 

ASEAN STUDIES CENTRE


ABOUT THE LECTURE

The recently-concluded 27th ASEAN Summit witnessed the signing of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the establishment of the ASEAN Community.  In addition to agreeing to declare the establishment of the ASEAN Community on 31 December 2015, the member states also affirmed their commitment to implement the ASEAN 2025 Agenda. The member states also saw Malaysia passing on the ASEAN chairmanship baton to Lao PDR at the summit. While Laos is gearing up to welcome an exciting year of summits and high level meetings, there are doubts on whether the momentum towards building a more cohesive and integrated ASEAN, accumulated over the past decades, will continue in this next phase of community building. Questions have arisen, among others, as to ASEAN’s continued ability to manage internal conflicts as well as the regional balance of power, the feasibility of the ASEAN Economic Community, and the ever-elusive common ASEAN identity.

What will be Lao PDR’s priorities and goals of community building?  What can ASEAN member states expect from its chairmanship? What will Lao PDR’s contribution be in promoting peace, stability and development in the region? This lecture will provide a preview of Lao PDR’s goals and priorities for ASEAN in 2016 under its chairmanship.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Ambassador Yong Chanthalangsy is the Director-General of the Institute of Foreign Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR and the Chair of the ASEAN Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ASEAN-ISIS) network. He was also formerly Lao Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

REGISTRATION
For registration, please fill in this form and email to ascevents@iseas.edu.sg by 17 December 2015.