You are here: Home Links & Resources Academic News related … CONFERENCE | Southeast Asia Today …

CONFERENCE | Southeast Asia Today (Bonn, 26.-28.10.2012)

Southeast Asia Today: Dynamics, Contradictions, Perspectives

The European view on Southeast Asia was once polarized between geostrategic interventions and solidarity movements. Today, Europe looks admiringly towards a region that seems to have successfully risen to the challenge of globalisation. As one of the world’s global export factories, it is with China one of the economically most dynamic regions of the world. At the same time, many former authoritarian regimes have given way to democracies. With ASEAN, a regional counterpart to Europe is emerging.
However, cracks are emerging behind the surface of successful modernisation. Industrialisation and development have brought about deep social and cultural changes that create new contradictions. While Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have enjoyed economic success, much of their wealth is created by migrant workers from neighbouring countries. Millions of people from the “periphery” members of ASEAN have to set out to the Gulf States or to East Asia in order to feed their families. The increasing urbanisation of the region is changing the old Southeast Asia, whose past culture was based on rice-growing agriculture. Economic development was accompanied by ecological crisis that is acquiring a new urgency in the context of climate change. The new democracies are polarizing between elite factions that seek to neutralise civil society by cooptation and repression.

The conference discusses the main tendencies of these dynamics and contradictions in five panels made up of the following internationally renowned guest speakers (attendence to be confirmed):
For the first panel on Land and Water, we have invited the Filipino author and editor of the Journal of Peasant Studies, Jun Borras and the British Water- and Urbanisation specialist, Prof. Teti Armiati Argo, to develop key ideas on the changing political ecology of these two key resources in dialogue with each other.
In the Panel on Migration, we are asking (amongst others) Nicola Piper from the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute in Freiburg to explore how the feminisation of migration is changing societies across Southeast Asia.
In the panel on Democracy in Thailand, the exiled Professor Ji Giles Ungpakorn will be discussing the perspectives of the red shirt movement and democratic development in Thailand with the Thai trade union activist Lek Yimprasert and the creator of the German website „Kein Schönes Thailand“ Mark Teufel.
In the panel on Civil Society and Development we ask Prof. Oscar Salemink from Copenhagen University and Gabi Waibel from the Center for Development Research whether civil society is a utopia for Southeast Asia, particularly given its uneasy relation with increasing international development interventions.
In the panel on Urbanity we take a closer look at lifestyles and structures outside of the megacities. Two Dutch experts will offer us insights on the dynamics of middling cities in Sumatra (Freek Colombijn) and on national symbols in Indonesian cities (Peter Nas).

Each panel is connected to a workshop that will offer space for continuing and deepening the discussion. These workshops will take place concurrently on Sunday morning.

In addition to these themes, the conference also aims to offer a discussion on theoretical, methodological and regional perspectives in research and teaching of Southeast Asian Studies. To this end, the Department of Southeast Asian Studies of Bonn will present its profile to be discussed with representatives from other Departments of Southeast Asian Studies in Germany and with our international guests.


Please register by 10. October 2012 here


Download Flyer here

Download Poster here

Filed under: