CCSEAS Conference Report 2009
Tineke Hellwig, The University of British Columbia
On October 15-17, 2009 the University of British Columbia in Vancouver hosted the 29th CCSEAS confer- ence Engaging Southeast Asia: Centres and Peripheries. The Asian Centre and C.K. Choi building on campus served as the main venues where the registration, opening reception, paper presentations, keynote address and dinner took place. Around one hundred and forty delegates from eighteen countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam attended and presented papers. The topics addressed in the forty sessions reflect the full spectrum of disciplinary fields in- cluding politics and governance, historical perspectives, migration, economics, agricultural practices, ecology and the environment, religion, cultural production, activism and identity studies. The papers generated a productive exchange of ideas and scholarly debate.
In his welcoming remarks UBC President Stephen Toope reflected on human rights and global relations in the Southeast Asian region. He started his address with the poem ―On Kanbawza Road‖ by Canadian poet and constitutional expert Frank Scott, which poignantly illustrates east-west relations in Burma. Professor Toope, whose research interests are in the fields of international law, human rights and interna-
tional dispute resolution, worked as an advisor to the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Historian Alexander Woodside, UBC Professor Emeritus, delivered the keynote address, Southeast Asia and the Social Sci- ences Crisis: From Two Solitudes to the Malaise of Modernity? He started from the premise that at the end of the 20th century a num- ber of Western scholars proclaimed the social sci- ences were in crisis. But none of these “crisis” advo- cates thought their argu- ments needed to consider the ways in which the so- cial sciences were being internationalized outside the West, including in Southeast Asia. Experience there suggests that one of the reasons for the crisis is the way in which the language associated with contemporary “internationalizations” of state formation and economic development obscures the persistent survival of classical problems in political and social thought from before the Industrial Revolution. His talk discussed the eternal land question in Vietnam as an example to document the point, and to suggest that the social sciences should not just deprovincialize their notions of space but their notions of time as well.
At the CCSEAS AGM Philip Kelly presented his president‘s report explaining the CASA and CCSEAS developments of the past two years and its financial im- plications, and the members elected a new executive committee. The dinner that followed consisted of a great variety of Indonesian dishes and desserts, and the music and dance performance by the Lao Benevolent Associa- tion of BC under the inspiring directorship of Vireth Sisounthone added lustre to the evening. Delegates were invited to join in the Laotian fone dancing.
The CCSEAS executive was able to provide travel funding to twenty-five student presenters and is grateful to have received financial support and assistance from the VP Research offices at UBC and York University, UBC Faculty of Arts and departments of Asian Studies and His- tory, Women‘s and Gender Studies Program, the North- west Regional Consortium Fund (Prof. Terry McGee), the Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai Consulates General, and Canadian Asian Studies Association. The 2009 conference was highly successful and lived up to the CCSEAS nick-name ― Convivial Council for Southeast Asian Studies.
For a list of all sessions that took place at CCSEAS 2009, click here.
For a list of all participants who attended CCSEAS 2009, click here.