Scholars are invited to submit proposals for individual papers and organized panels.The deadline for the submission of proposals is on 30 August 2005 , and for full papers (only for presenters receiving travel grants), 30 October 2005.

For individual papers, please provide the title, 250-word abstract, name and affiliation, and contact details. Individual presentations should run no longer than 15-20 minutes, excluding time for questions. The Organizing Committee will organize the papers into panels based on theme so please state your preferred theme in the on-line registration form. The Organizing Committee cannot guarantee, however, that such requests will be accommodated. To submit a proposal, please apply on-line.

Organized panels should consist of four paper readers and one moderator. Please provide a title, brief description of the panel, 250-word abstracts for each paper, and the names and institutional affiliations of all panel participants, except for the moderator, whom the organizers can provide.  Each panel is allotted 1 hours, inclusive of open forum. Please submit the panel proposal to

In addition to the foregoing, SEASREP has organized several panels, some of which need paper presenters.

Papers for the following SEASREP panels are needed. Applicants for the panels below, please fill in the registration form.


Panel Descriptions

Tradition and Border Crossings: The Creation of Contemporary Performance in Southeast Asia
Tan Sooi Beng, Universiti Sains Malaysia (organizer)

Tradition-based contemporary performances have emerged in Southeast Asia in recent times as new modes of practice. Artists from both traditional and contemporary backgrounds are reinterpreting the traditional arts as the basis for new performances. The new forms are accessible to non-traditional audiences in local, national, and international venues. Tradition is not only appropriated by these performers but is changed in the process.

In their search for new aesthetic languages that could express their experiences, the artists incorporate techniques, images, texts, myths, music, and dance movements drawn from the rich traditions of Asia. They need not necessarily look to Euro-American forms for inspiration. They also create more relevant forms by collaborating with other artists in theatre, dance, music, and visual arts, crossing ethnic and national boundaries. Such collaborations expand their creativity enabling them to move into new areas of experimentation and interculturalism.

Practitioners of new tradition-based contemporary performances are recreating their own postcolonial modern identities and representations of their countries which are both global and local. As agents of change, they create new forms to project their new selves as they adapt to the times. Their visions of what is cultural identity might be diverse but they are liberated from the simple dichotomies of East/West, traditional/ modern, self/other. The reinvention of traditional structures integral to new directions helps to keep traditions alive.

Tradition-based contemporary performances may be used by religious authorities to cleanse' ritual theatre of performance elements considered unIslamic. They could be reinvented as spectacles by governments to awe audiences and to show that the nation is developed but has its own identity.

This panel illustrates that globalization does not lead to a culturally homogeneous world culture as some would believe. Rather, globalization generates difference and new forms of cultural identity. The outlook of Southeast Asian performers may be global as they draw their resources and ideas from the diverse cultures of the world. However, they also look toward Asian sensibilities, form, and structure as the bases for their compositions.

Abstracts focusing on the content, meanings, aesthetics, politics, and intercultural articulations of contemporary tradition-based Southeast Asian theatre, dance or music may be submitted for consideration.

Transnational Migration and the Social Aspects of Remittances in Southeast Asia
Brenda Yeoh, National University of Singapore

As transnational migration facilitates the distribution of family members across space, remittance flows often feature as an important link between family members located in both "source" and "destination" countries. The increasing feminisation of migration in Southeast Asia has also led to the growing importance of remittances by female migrants working in the domestic service sector. While there is considerable work on the economic significance of remittance transfers as part of transnational labour migration, less has been done on the social aspects of such transfers. To fill this gap in the literature, papers on the following, in the context of Southeast Asia, are invited for this panel:

a) The social organization of the transfer of earnings from the host countries to the home countries. While it is known that migrant workers have historically depended on informal fund transfer system to remit their earnings from the countries of work to their countries of origin in Asia, more needs to be done to clarify the actual mode of remittance transfer in contemporary Southeast Asia.

b) The social impacts of the use of financial remittances by "left-behind" family members. Although there is a general consensus that remittances constitute a valuable economic contribution to the family, their longer term social effects are contentious. Among the uses of remittances are the fulfillment of basic necessities, investment purposes and the purchase of luxury goods. While a large proportion of remittances are used to sustain basic necessities, the distribution of remittances to other expenses, mitigated by kin obligations, help determine the long-term social benefits to the family. More work also needs to be done on the gender consequences of remittances, for example, on the educational opportunities of male vis--vis female siblings.

c) The transfer and impact of social remittances. Migrants do not remit only financial resources or goods, but also ideas and behaviours (e.g. toward democracy, equality, human rights, gender, family relations, community relations, aspiration for social mobility). These social forms of remittances may affect family relations and structures, gender roles, class and race relations, caste hierarchies or political participation. Existing studies on monetary remittances need to be complemented by more research on social transfers of ideas and values.

New Media, Pop Cultures, In(ter) Asia
Ariel Heryanto, University of Melbourne

One concomitant aspect of the deepening industrialization in Southeast Asia since the 1980s, and particularly after the cold war, is the series of new phenomena in mass communication, entertainment industries, and identity formations predicated on consumption. Although these phenomena are not separable from the political and economic dynamics of the region, they cannot be simply reducible to, or merely be understood as a consequence of the latter. The Asian economic meltdown in 1997 had immediate and negative impacts on incumbent governments while pop cultures have been reinvigorated like never before. In contrast to political and economic studies of the new (industrializing) Asia, those on pop cultures have generally been scant, empirically oriented, and country-based.

The panel seeks to (a) build on existing literature on these new phenomena in comparative perspectives, (b) recognize some of the latest developments and insights, and (c) raise theoretical and methodological questions that may inspire new ways of investigating this territory, and throw light on the trajectories of Southeast Asian studies as an area studies in this region.

This panel invites papers that deal especially with new media technology (including radio, television, film, and internet), as important sites of production and consumption of popular cultures (not only the aesthetic genres like pop music or soap operas, but also sports, fashion, travels, shopping) within contemporary Southeast Asian societies. Papers can make a comparative analysis of practices or texts from more than one country in Southeast Asia (for instance, a comparative study of the Bangkok and Jakarta film festivals). They can focus on one cultural text or practice that involves significant interaction of peoples, cultures, and media from two or more countries in Southeast Asia (for instance an internet discussion group, shopping, travel, or a radio program with active participation of people from the Philippines and Singapore). Or they can analyze the reception (or rejection) in one Southeast Asian country of one particular form of pop culture from another Asian country (for instance Indonesian dangdut, Hong Kong films, Japanese anime, or Bollywood films).

Although this invitation is open to papers on any aspect broadly indicated above, priorities will be given to those that have one or more of these three features: (1) a comparative perspective, dealing with more than one social group, or one country in Asia, at least one of which should be in Southeast Asia; (2) the cultures or people under study are culturally (not simply nationally) different. For instance, a study of Indonesian film Pachinko (set entirely in Japan, featuring the interaction of an Indonesian protagonist with Japanese associates) would be preferable to one that investigates one of several films that were jointly produced by Indonesian and Malaysian film makers (who share a common language and religion); (3) include a section that draw selected theories of high relevance into the discussion, or/and address questions of methodologies and strategies that will be of importance to the current debate on (Southeast) Asian studies in (Southeast) Asia.

Reconstructing the Nation-States in Southeast Asia
Miriam Ferrer, University of the Philippines

This panel will feature papers examining how the ethnopolitical/separatist movements that challenge present-day nation-states in Southeast Asia are being or can be addressed through a reconstruction of the state. Discussion on the reconstruction of the state may be approached conceptually/theoretically, historically, anthropologically, and/or in practical terms such as through analysis of autonomy laws/frameworks and constitutional reform, and/or examination of themes like territorial/homeland claims and boundaries, sovereignty, ancestral domains, and customary laws.

Single cases or comparative studies on Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar/Burma on this theme will make up the panel.

A call for papers will be announced, and a final list will be drawn from among the best drafts/paper abstracts, taking into account representation of cases. Comparative case studies would be preferred.

Transborder Migration and Religion
Diana Wong, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Much of the work on intra-regional migration in the region has focused on socio-economic issues, with very little attention paid to the role of religion in contemporary migrations and migrant lives. Anecdotal evidence however, points to the lively presence of religious faith as well as transnational religious institutions in the contemporary migration landscape in the region. The panel intends to initiate discussion on this hitherto neglected dimension of religion in migration, and invites papers covering any aspect of the intersection between the two, including:

  • everyday religious behavior of migrants in the diaspora

  • pastoral care of religious institutions such as the church

  • emergence/spread of religious groupings among migrant communities.

"Local Histories" of Southeast Asian Studies
Resil Mojares, University of San Carlos

Recent attention has been given to the need to ground Southeast Asian Studies in the region (i.e., "Southeast Asian Studies in Southeast Asia / by Southeast Asians") and to recognize that it has a longer and more significant "local history" than commonly recognized. [See, for instance, Anthony Reid, "Completing the Circle: Southeast Asian Studies in Southeast Asia," Asia Research Institute Working Papers Series, no. 12 (2003).]

The panel aims to explore this local history by focusing on the careers of Southeast Asian intellectuals (preferably nineteenth- and early-twentieth century) who undertook the study of the "region" (however imagined or defined) or consciously located themselves and their work in this regional context. Two examples may be cited: the Filipino T.H. Pardo de Tavera, who studied Malay, Javanese, and Sanskrit at the Ecole Nationale des Langues Orientales in Paris, earned a diploma in Malay in 1885, and published (beginning in 1884) on Philippine palaeography and languages in the context of the region; or Nguyen Van Hoang, who taught Vietnamese also at Ecole Nationale des Langues Orientales in 1932-35, studied in Leiden and London, and published on housebuilding patterns in Southeast Asia in 1934.

The panel however welcomes papers from those who may wish to use other axes for understanding the early history of Southeast Asian Studies, such as publications, scientific societies, and educational institutions.

"Transnational Marriage and the State*"
'Changing Family in Asia' Research Cluster, Mika Toyota, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (organizer)

Growth in the number of transnational marriages along with the intensification of transnational family networks is becoming more and more visible in Asia. At the same time, we also observe the increasing restrictions imposed on this form of migration by states. This panel will examine the impact of structural factors -- the politics of legal recognition, logistical barriers to rights, and the issues of citizenship -- in the context of transnational marriages, i.e. marriages between individuals of different nationalities.

Since the late 1990s, the "family" has emerged as an important analytical unit of scholarly migration research in the Asia-Pacific region. Many of the existing studies look at the role of the family in shaping decision-making and coping strategies as well as the impact of mobility on new evolving forms of family relations. Much of the literature has centred on labour migration and gender, whereas mobility associated with marriage and divorce has featured far less prominently and warrants further investigation.

Looking back at the history of the region, the situation where family members are separated over long distances for prolonged stints is not something new. What is new, however, is the power of the nation-state in this process, and its custodial attitude to 'its' citizens, expressed in the assumption that a specific family unit belongs to just one nation, regardless of its shifting or migratory character in practice.

Our panel aims to investigate the processes and consequences of institutional control over the "transnational family" in East and Southeast Asia. In particular, we will look at the ways in which transnational marriages are recognised, how the family unit is defined, and how legal statuses, including access to social benefits, are assigned to 'foreign' spouses and children.

Key questions:

  • What were the ways in which marriage was institutionalised in different historical epochs in Southeast and East Asia?
  • What kinds of family laws and regulations have been put into place? How is transnational marriage recognised and registered by the states?
  • What are the pitfalls in the process? Are there any gender-related differences in the various states' treatment of partners and offspring of such marriages?

Key issues:

  • Politics of legal recognition (inclusion and exclusion)
  • The gap between marriage registration and household registration
  • The process of legal recognition of children of such marriages and their access to state welfare and education systems
  • Citizenship requirements, categories and processes
  • The ideology of the state in their control over 'family'

* This is a part of a larger project of the 'Changing Family in Asia' Research Cluster under the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. In 2006, the cluster intends to organise a bigger workshop on "Trans-boundary marriages and the state", to include issues related to transnational marriage, as well as other trans-boundary marriages (such as marriages contracted by individuals of different religio-legal systems, or marriages that are outside legal and state-defined boundaries).