TRANSLATING WONDER AND TRAVEL IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
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’.
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.
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 email@example.com. 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: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Dr Terence Chong & Dr Hélène Njoto
20 December 2016