Abstracts of Fall 2011 Lecture Series


Friday, September 9
Philip Yampolsky, Director, Robert E. Brown Center for World Music, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Lecture title: Music of Timor: East and West
National governments would like us to think of their cultures as discrete, and academic research also tends to accept these political and administrative categories, but they often have little to do with ethnic, linguistic, or cultural affinities.  Land in the islands stretching from Sumatra in the west to New Guinea in the east belongs to five countries, yet there has been extensive intermixture of peoples, cultures, and languages across the boundaries. In this presentation Philip Yampolsky will offer an overview of the music of Timor, an island whose western half belongs to Indonesia and whose eastern half is the newly independent Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. “There is great variety in the music of Timor, but this multiplicity has nothing to do with the international border,” Yampolsky says. “For one thing, some music is the same on both sides of the border; for another, there are striking correspondences with music in regions far from Timor.” The presentation will focus on the diversity of music, particularly group singing, in the island of Timor and in the wider region encompassing eastern Indonesia, Timor-Leste, and Papua New Guinea. “To put it simply,” Yampolsky says, “it is astounding how many different ways of singing together can be found in maritime Southeast Asia, and how many of those many ways are represented in Timor.

Friday, September 16
Tomoyuki Shibata,
Assistant Professor, Public Health, School of Nursing and Health Studies, College of Health and Human Sciences, Northern Illinois University
Lecture title: Promoting United Nations Millennium Development Goals in Southeast Asia
Assistant Professor Tomoyuki Shibata spent a month in Makassar, Indonesia, this summer collaborating with Hasanuddin University (UNHAS) on research examining the impact of environmental factors on children’s health, focusing on the three leading causes of early childhood death: pneumonia, diarrhea, and injuries. “It has been estimated that various environmental factors, including chemical, biological, physical and socioeconomic factors, contribute to twenty-four percent of the global disease burden and twenty-three percent of all deaths,” says Shibata. “Environmental risk factors for children have been estimated to be five times greater than the total population.” Indonesia has a population of 243 million; the mortality rate for children under the age of five is forty-one per thousand, compared to eight per thousand in the U.S. (population 310 million). Shibata, accompanied by NIU graduate student Lindsey Watson, visited a solid-waste disposal site and low-, middle-, and high-income residential areas in Makassar to survey residents and collect environmental samples. Shibata’s project is the first of several collaborative initiatives between NIU and UNHAS promoting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in Southeast Asia.

Friday, September 23
Judith Hermanson, Director, Center for NGO Leadership and Development (NGOLD) and Associate Professor, Division of Public Administration and Department of Political Science, Northern Illinois University
Lecture title: Urban Challenges in Indonesia and the Philippines
In this century, for the first time more people live in urban areas than in rural. The rapidity of growth and the density of populations have created city systems in many places that are unsustainable. Cities are also increasingly the places where poverty is concentrated with a rapid acceleration of urban poverty. In the 21st century, we are observing the “urbanization of poverty” with the rapid acceleration of urban poverty. Although historically associated with economic development, urbanization today has become a mixed blessing and the complexity of the issues increasingly difficult to address. The Cities Alliance¹ identifies two alternative urban scenarios: one of cities characterized by increasing poverty, social exclusion and decline; the other of inclusive cities characterized by equitable and sustainable growth. This presentation will focus on some of the steps being taken to develop positive alternatives in the Philippines and Indonesia and will describe models of inclusive, pro-poor development through civil society organizations and social enterprise that might be applied to give greater voice and opportunity to the urban poor.
¹The Cities Alliance is a global coalition of cities and their development partners committed to scaling up successful approaches to reducing poverty.

Friday, September 30
Judy Ledgerwood
, Professor, Anthropology and Director, Cambodia Life History Project, Northern Illinois University
Lecture Title: Remembering the Killing Fields: An Exhibit at the Cambodian American Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial, Chicago
The Cambodia Life History Project began in 2006, a five-year venture to collect the life histories of Cambodian elders who survived the Khmer Rouge era, 1975–79, and tell some of these stories in an exhibit at the Cambodian American Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial in Chicago. An ongoing collaboration between NIU and the museum, the grant-funded project was directed by Ledgerwood, a cultural anthropologist with many years in the field studying the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge period in Cambodia. Ledgerwood found eager assistance among both American and Cambodian students at NIU who conducted the interviews of 48 elder survivors, videotaping some of them as they relived painful memories. These interviews and videotapes form the basis of the exhibit, which opened Sept. 15 and will be on display at the museum for a year. “The importance of the Cambodia Life History Project comes through clearly when you meet the survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime,” Ledgerwood says. “As they are aging, many of them feel strongly that they want to tell their stories before they are gone. The exhibit provides a venue for these Khmer survivors to tell their stories to each other and to the Chicago community.”

Friday, October 7
Eric Jones
, Associate Professor, History, Northern Illinois University
Lecture Title: The Good Orientalism? The Hopes and Horrors of Customary Law in Colonial Indonesia
Initiated by pre-eminent Dutch comparative law scholar Cornelis van Vollenhoven, the colonial-era Customary Law project was an important 50-year endeavor to record and codify adat, hundreds of legal traditions and customary practices of the disparate peoples of the then Dutch East Indies. This codification of customary law undoubtedly had a dark side, e.g., allowing the colonial state to exclude natives from the progressive rights and privileges granted Europeans, such as modern land tenure and labor rights. But using Van Vollenhoven and his work, Jones argues for a more careful, case by case, use of the Orientalist label, the scarlet O.

Friday, October 14
James Wilson
, Assistant Professor, Geography, Northern Illinois University
Lecture Title: A Public Health Geographic Information System for a City in South Sulawesi
A Geographic Information System integrates a wide range of disparate thematic data that can be analyzed and visualized in the form of maps and graphs.  This functionality is important for researchers and decision-makers alike.  How do we know if public health interventions are working or where do we begin in developing a program aimed at reducing and even eliminating disease?  These are the underlying questions a GIS designed to manage and analyze public health events can help answer.  As part of a broader project for monitoring childhood health in Makassar, Indonesia, a prototype public health oriented GIS is being developed in a collaborative effort between the School of Public Health at Hasanuddin University and NIU. The goal is to create a GIS that will assist public health workers in resource management and assessing progress towards the reduction and elimination of childhood diseases.

Friday, October 21
Laura Iandola
, PhD candidate, History, Northern Illinois University
Lecture Title: Seen/Unseen: Visual Narratives of the Indonesian Genocide
Why is there so little historical awareness of the Indonesian genocide of 1965-66? If, as Susan Sontag asserts, "something now becomes real by being photographed," then photographs must be acknowledged as playing a crucial role in our understanding of the phenomenon of genocide, as historical memory has become inextricably entwined with visual perception. The visual legacy of the massacres in Indonesia is sparse, and many of these photographs were staged or manipulated. Iandola explores key visual narratives that were constructed to distort the reality of events in Indonesia during this turbulent period of its history.

Friday, October 28
No Lecture; Attend Southeast Asia Culture Night
, Wirtz Hall Auditorium

Friday, November 4
Michael Sullivan
, Director, Center for Khmer Studies, Cambodia
Lecture Title: Research and Rebuilding after Civil War: On the Ground with the Center for Khmer Studies
The Center for Khmer Studies was established in 1999 as an international, non-governmental organization in Cambodia, with headquarters in Siem Reap, a few miles from the temples of Angkor Wat. Cambodian students, scholars, and the public are welcome to use the CKS library and its 11,000 books, journals, periodicals, and internet access to off-shore libraries and databases. For a country that had its tertiary sector devastated by three decades of civil war, this is a precious intellectual commodity, according to CKS Director Michael Sullivan. The center is the only member institution of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) in Southeast Asia; it has administrative offices in New York and Paris in addition to a satellite office in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. A crossroads for in-country logistical research, the center provides capacity-building programs for Cambodian scholars and fellowships for American and French students and scholars seeking to learn and conduct research on Cambodian historical, cultural, and socio-economic issues.

Friday, November 11
James Hoesterey
, ACLS Faculty Fellow, University of Michigan
Lecture Title: Shaming the State: Pop Preachers, Psikologi Islami, and the Anti-Pornography Campaign in Indonesia
The anti-pornography bill was one of the most divisive pieces of legislation in post-authoritarian Indonesia. Opponents of the bill bemoaned the Islamization of Indonesia, whereas those in favor lamented the degradation of national morality. From his public pulpit, celebrity TV preacher cum pop psychologist Abdullah Gymnastiar admonished politicians for not having any shame. During television programs, congressional testimonies, and public rallies to support the anti-pornography legislation, Gymnastiar summoned government officials to heal the Indonesian state through an Islamic Psychology – or Psikologi Islami -- that depends on shame as a productive social and moral force. In this paper I explore how Gymnastiar invoked a politics of affect that sought to redefine the moral and religious commitments of state officials and citizen-believers.

Friday, November 18
Catherine Raymond
, Professor, Art History and Director, Center for Burma Studies, Northern Illinois University
Lecture Title: Skin Deep: The Global Art of Tattoos
SPECIAL NOTE: This lecture is part of an International Programs luncheon, and will be held from 11:45 - 1:30 p.m., in the Holmes Student Center Sky Room. This event is part of International Week and is co-sponsored by the Division of International Programs, the Center for Burma Studies, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the Latino Resource Center and Phi Beta Delta. A light lunch will be served.

Friday, November 26
No lecture; Thanksgiving Break