26 Mar 2009 - 28 Mar 2009All dayMill Lane Lecture Room 2 and 3 and CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane


Liana Chua
Joanna Cook
Nick Long
Lee Wilson

The study of power in contemporary South-east Asia has never been more timely. Over the last half-century, the region has undergone innumerable far-reaching changes. It has witnessed the rise of postcolonial nation-states, rapid industrialization, economic growth and democratization but also genocide, political upheaval and widespread repression.

Power lies at the core of these important developments, whether in the form of brute military force or as a more capillary 'disciplinary' influence on religious and political subjectivities. New religious, economic and political movements — all drawing deeply on local traditions while proposing new forms of personhood, civil and political society — cut across national, cultural, ideological and sectarian boundaries.

Yet for all that power can be detected in the region, there seems to be little specifically South-east Asian about contemporary scholarly analyses. This is both puzzling and ironic given the central role that earlier ethnographic studies of South-east Asia once played in Identifying distinctively regional modalities of power, prompting us to reconsider how 'power' could be most profitably studied in South-east Asian contexts.

Continuity and Change will be a major interdisciplinary and International conference on South-east Asia. Its key aim is to reopen the debate on the issue of 'power'  — both in real life and academic scholarship — as it is manifest across the region. Conference themes and questions will include:

•    Are there, or were there ever, distinctly 'South-east Asian' notions of power that could still exist as alternatives or complements to Western folk and political models?
•    Are scholars' analytic imaginaries of power in relation to nationhood and governance congruent with the imaginaries of South-east Asians witnessing or involved in such projects and processes?
•    What are the shapes that 'power' takes?
•    How have recent theoretical developments within various disciplines reshaped our understanding of the nature and location of power?
•    How useful is the concept of 'South-east Asia' as a geographical, political and analytical entity in dealing with these issues?


Keynote Speakers:

James Scott (Political Science, Yale)
Introducing “Zomia”: Site of the Last Great Enclosure Movement of (relatively) Stateless Peoples in Mountainous Southeast Asia

Shelly Errington (Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz)
Cosmic Centers and the Subject of the 21st Century


Film screening: Terlena: the Breaking of a Nation, http://www.millache.org/
Andre Vltchek (Filmmaker and Political Commentator)

Other Speakers:
Catherine Allerton (LSE)
Andrew Beatty (Brunel University)
Deidre  de la Cruz (University of Michigan)
Nicholas Farrelly (Australian National University)
Michele Ford (University of Sydney)
Nicola Frost (School of Oriental and African Studies)
Holly High (University of Sydney)
David R. M. Irving (University of Cambridge)
Ingrid Jordt (University of Wisconsin, Milaukee)
Lee Kah Wee (U.C. Berkeley)
Tomas Larsson (University of Cambridge)
Heather Maclachlan (Cornell University)
Yanuar Nugroho (University of Manchester)
Avery Poole (University of British Columbia)
Victor V Ramraj (National University of Singapore)
Loren Ryter (University of Michigan)
Markus Schlecker (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)
Sarinda Singh (University of Queensland)
Ruth Toulson (Denison University)
Dimitri Tsintjilonis (University of Edinburgh)
Krisna Uk (University of Cambridge)
Adrian Vickers (University of Sydney)
Andrew Walker   (Australian National University)
Shu-Yuan Yang (Harvard University)


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk