Spring 2010

Jan. 22:  Kenton Clymer, NIU, Dept. of History
The Trial of Gordon S. Seagrave, the Burma Surgeon for High Treason

Gordon S. Seagrave was a highly regarded missionary surgeon in Burma.  Born in that country, he was the son, grandson, and great grandson of American Baptist missionaries who had served in Burma.  Seagrave was well known in the United States from the 1930s to the 1960s, made famous by his several books, most notably The Burma Surgeon (1943) and The Burma Surgeon Returns (1946).  But in 1950, shortly after Burma's independence, the Burmese government put him on trial for high treason for allegedly assisting Karen rebels.
 This paper examines the trial and subsequent court cases, and explores the impact of the trial on American relations with the newly independent country at at time when  the Cold War was the central reality affecting US foreign policy.

Ja. 29:  Rosalie Arcala Hall, visiting Fulbright Scholar at Loyola
From Rebels to Soldiers: The Integration of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Falintil Combatants into the Philippine and East Timorese Armed Forces
The Philippines and East Timor have both absorbed ex-insurgents into their regular armed forces and police. In the Philippines, several thousand Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters were integrated into the army as part of the 1996 peace agreement and subsequently deployed in conflict areas in Mindanao. In East Timor, several hundred ex-Falintil combatants formed the core of the new army, the Falintil-Forcas de Defensa de Timor Leste (F-FDTL) under a UN-supervised demobilization and disarmament scheme.
 This lecture compares the political contexts, nature, scope and processes of the rebel integration projects in the two cases. It will also explore how integree identities (based on religion, ethnicity, region and gender) are re-negotiated or re-defined as the rebel-turned-soldiers move from non-state to state spaces. The implication of the integration policy to the future prospects for peace in both countries are also explored.

Feb. 5:  James Collins, Director, NIU, Center for Southeast Asian Studies
Dictionaries, Malay Dictionaries, and the NIU Dictionary of Malay
The Renaissance in Europe triggered the compiling of dictionaries: first new monolingual dictionaries of Latin, then bilingual and multilingual dictionaries of Latin, finally monolingual dictionaries of Europe's vernacular languages. That the Renaissance was also the era of voyages and exploration meant that compiling dictionaries of non-European languages became a major industry.  The first dictionary of Latin-Portuguese-Japanese, printed in Asia, appeared at Amakusa in 1595.
  Previously, Antonio Pigafetta had sailed with Magellan across the Pacific. In Brunei and eastern Indonesia (1521) he collected a 450-word vocabulary of Malay. The tradition of publishing dictionaries of Malay saw a boom in the 17th century when the Dutch became the major European players in Southeast Asia.  In 1701 the first Malay-English dictionary was published by Thomas Bowrey in London, later plagiarized in 1804 (Howison), and superseded by Marsden's 1812 dictionary.  But the publication of Wilkinson's Malay-English dictionary in 1932 set the standard for Malay (and Indonesian) dictionaries throughout the 20th century.
 Southeast Asian studies at NIU began in the late 1950's with the hiring of an historian of Malaya, Norman Parmer. Now in 2010, NIU has returned to its historic grounding in Malay language and culture to initiate the compilation of the Malay-English dictionary for the 21st century. Through funding from the US Department of Education, a team of five faculty members, one Malaysian colleague and six NIU students have begun to create a multimedia online learner's dictionary of Malay. 

Feb. 12:  Mace Bentley, NIU, Dept. of Geography
Enriching the Southeast Asian Classroom through Emerging Technology
This presentation will cover the definition and production of on-site podcasts and enhanced podcasts for incorporation into Southeast Asian courses. These audio/video formats are aimed at exposing students to topics discussed in class through placing them in distant locations.

Feb. 19:  Kikue Hamayotsu, NIU, Dept. of Political Science
Crises of Identity in PAS and Beyond: Islam and Politics in Post-March 8 Malaysia
Controversies and frictions related to Islam since the political ascendancy of the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, after the March 8, 2008 General Elections have revealed multiple crises of identity not only in PAS (Islamic Party of Malaysia) and Pakatan Rakyat, but also in broader Malaysian society. I argue that the pattern of frictions within PAS and Pakatan Rakyat has to do with the diminishing place of Muslim-Malay identity and interests in the avowedly multi-ethnic Pakatan Rakyat regime. I suggest that these frictions are largely attributed to the distinctive character and emphasis of the Islamization enterprises sponsored by the ruling regime under UMNO (United Malays National Organization) since the 1980s and growing Muslim anxiety and frustration about their position within the Malaysian polity.

Feb. 26:  Scott LaDeur, NIU, Dept. of Political Science (PhD Cand)
The Impact of Middle Powers on Congressional Foreign Policy Legislation: The Cases of Thailand
and Indonesia 1993?2008

This paper focuses on whether Southeast Asian states effectively lobby the U.S. Congress on foreign policy issues which affect their interests.  By examining Congressional actions from the last 15 years this paper seeks to discover what factors lend themselves to more successful lobbying.  Existing literature on foreign policy lobbying have either focused on states which have large ethnic diasporas in the United States such as Israel and Ireland, or on very powerful countries such as China and India.  More attention must be paid to the lobbying practices of less powerful states that do not have large, mobilized ethnic lobbies in the United States.  Using a new database of Congressional voting records, this paper uncovers the relative lobbying strength of several Southeast Asian states and what factors may explain their relative effectiveness in lobbying the U.S. Congress. 

March 5:  Rattana Lao, Columbia University, Comparative & International Educational Development
(PhD Cand)
Privatizing Thailand: The Autonomous University Act of 2003

The Asian Economic Crisis of 1997 has enormous impacts on education sector in Thailand.
The crisis accentuates the need for public sector in general and higher education in particular to become more efficient and competitive. Amongst all, the implementation of the Autonomous University Act of 2003, a quasi-privatization of public universities, represents a paradigm shift to Thailand higher education. This paper examines the political forces which led to the implementation of the Act. Emanating from the Diffusion Theory, Policy Borrowing and Lending frameworks, this paper aims to analyze the complex interplays between external and internal factors. While the presence of IMF and ADB exerts ?external pressure? to reform, it is argued that the Act is internally driven by reform-minded policymakers in Thailand. An insight to the politics of policy formulation is useful to understand the current trajectory and trends of higher education policy in Thailand.

March 19:  Barbara Watson-Andaya, Director, University of Hawai?I at Manoa
Center for Southeast Asian Studies
Christianity, Religion and Identity in a Muslim Environment: Mother Maria, Queen of Larantuka (Indonesia)
Mariology, the study of the veneration of Mary, has generated an enormous body of literature and over the centuries has been the topic of much debate. In Southeast Asia Mary?s position in local Christianity has been well documented in the Philippines, but much less attention has been given to other Catholic communities, such as Vietnam and Indonesia. Because popular belief focuses on the role of Mary as an intercessor, special value is attached to pilgrimages to sites where she is believed to have appeared or with which she has a personal association. The city fathers of Larantuka, eastern Flores, would very much like their town to join Fatima and Lourdes and to be internationally known for its unique relationship to Bunda Maria, Mother Mary. She is regarded not merely as Larantuka?s patron but as its Queen, most evident at Easter when thousands of pilgrims flock to view her image, an opportunity only possible once a year. While including some comparative remarks, this talk will offer some explanations for the special status of Bunda Maria in Larantuka, arguing that this was a combination of Church promotion, popular acceptance, and state promotion.

March 26:  Suchit Bunbongkarn, Institute of Security and International Studies, Chulalongkorn University
Thailand 101: Who, What, When, Where, and How

No abstract available.

April 2:  Amy Singer, Knox College (IL), Dept. of Anthropology/Sociology
Organic, Artisanal, Fancy, Salty: The Romance of Balinese Foods in American Markets
Crafted both by Balinese farmers and global economic arrangements, sea salt represents the productive labor of some and the consumptive desires of others. In between production and consumption, however, exist global pathways that transport commodities like sea salt to American specialty markets, chefs, and home-cooks. The systems that allow sea salt to be harvested in Bali and consumed in the United States require all kinds of people to interact in new ways and across great geographical, legislative, and cultural distances. The social relationships of food production and consumption are challenged and transformed by commodity networks such as these.
 In this paper, I will focus on the question of how sea salt is described, marketed, packaged, and understood by producers and consumers in both the United States and in Indonesia. I will discuss the divergent ways that sea salt is packaged and advertised, in grocery stores, as well as the different ways in which it is presented as an ?traditional? or ?artisanal? food product. I will focus on the sea salt that is currently being cultivated, exported, and sold by a Balinese farm owned by a young American couple.

April 9:  Jason Nguyen, Indiana University (Master?s Candidate), Ethnomusicology
A Brief Introduction to the Vietnamese Dan Bau
In this hybrid lecture/performance, I begin with a brief overview of the Vietnamese monochord known as the "dan bau" or "doc huyen cam." I cover the history of the instrument, its major characteristics, and the current performance practices of dan bau musicians in relation to the sphere of Vietnamese music genres, both "traditional" and "popular." In so doing, I demonstrate the basics of playing the instrument and give a sampling of the genres in which it is most heavily featured.
 In the performance that follows, entitled "Sketches on One String," I weave together poetry, prose, and dan bau accompaniment into a series of aural and descriptive images evocative of my experiences as a Vietnamese American who has learned to play and grown to love this unique instrument. The narrative asks the audience to question the divisions so prevalent in Vietnamese American life and in studies of this diaspora--traditional and modern, old and young, home and away, Vietnamese and American--while the musical style draws from corners as diverse as Vietnamese poetry recitation and American hip hop.

April 23:  Martha Ratliff, Wayne State University
Loanwords in Hmong: Report from the Loanword Typology Project

Between 2004 and 2008, a series of workshops was held at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany in order to come to agreement on the shape of a large comparative loanword database to be built on a sample of 40 languages with wide geographic distribution. This project was designed to provide preliminary answers to the following questions: how likely is it that a word with a given meaning will be borrowed?  To what extent does the nature of the contact situation play a role?  To what extent do linguistic factors such as semantic complexity, abstractness, and word class play a role?  White Hmong (Hmong Daw, Hmoob Dawb) is one of the languages included in this study; I contributed information about loanword status and loanword sources for Hmong words that correspond to the 1,460 common meanings in the database. Other Southeast Asian languages represented in the database include Thai, Vietnamese, Ceq Wong (a Mon-Khmer language), and Indonesian. In this talk, I will present an introduction to the on-line database, an overview of the foreign element within the Hmong lexicon, and some of the interesting loanword patterns that emerged in the course of work on the Hmong portion of the database.