SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies

Postgraduate Conference "Movement: Southeast Asia"


Date: 22 September 2017Time: 9:00 AM

Finishes: 22 September 2017Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B104

Type of Event: Conference


With evolving political, social, and cultural currents in Southeast Asia, movement is an important discursive lens to understand the dynamism of the region. Reflecting on movements, and change—from prehistory to the contemporary period—can improve our understanding of Southeast Asia, in terms of its constituent nation-states, peoples, and cultures, and as a region as well as an area of study. For this first postgraduate conference on Southeast Asia at SOAS, we invite papers that consider “movement.” For example, how can we critically investigate migration? Conflict and displacement? Diaspora and transnationalism? Trade? The movement of objects in and out of the region? Political movements? Social movements? Artistic movements? The movement of bodies in performance? Exchanges of ideas? Musical, visual, or filmic influences? Translation? Changes in the natural or architectural landscape? Climate change, resources, and resilience? Or indeed rethinking the delimitations of Southeast Asia as a region—and as an object of “area studies”?


The conference is open to all, free of charge but registration is essential. Please register here

This conference is organised by postgraduate students with the generous support from the SOAS Centre of South East Asian Studies and the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics


 9:00 - Registration

 9:45 - Welcome address – Dr. Ashley Thompson (Chair, Centre of South East Asian Studies, SOAS)

 Panel I - Directions and Diasporas

10:00 - 10:25 Therese Marie Sunga (University of Manchester) - Jewish Refugees and the Philippine Response, 1938 - 1942

10:25 - 10:50 Etty Prihantini Theresia (Goethe University) - On the Night Train to West Berlin: Trajectories of former Indonesian students in the East Bloc seeking asylum in (West) Germany after 1965

10:50 - 11:15 Muhammad Buana (Leiden University) - A Travelling Belief of Migrant Paddy Goddess: From India to Java and South Sulawesi.

11:15 - 11:30 - Coffee break

Panel II - Transfer and Transmission

11:30 - 11:55 Frizki Yulianti & Ratih Herningtyas (Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta)- “Lunch Box” Mini Drama: Korean gastro diplomacy and communication strategies to enhance state’s promotion towards Muslim countries

11:55- 12:20 Kathryn Dyt (Australian National University) - Weathering the Realm: The Nguyễn postal route and the transmission of weather information in 19th-century Vietnam

12:20 - 12:45 Treepon Kirdnark (SOAS) - Re-constructing “Good Muslims” through the Halal Media Movement: Negotiating Thai Muslim identity in online disruptive visual spaces


12:45 - 13:45 - Lunch break

13:45 - 14:45 - Keynote Lecture - Dr.Tamsin Barber (Oxford Brookes University)

“Multidirectional Movements” in Southeast Asia: Vietnam and the Vietnamese diaspora in the UK

14:45 - 15:00 - Coffee break

Panel III - Rupture and Resilience

15:00 - 15:25 Thanachate Wisaijorn (Loughborough University) - Spatial and Temporal Interpretations: Everyday practices of Thai Ban on the Thai-Lao river/land border at Khong Chiam-Sanasomboun

15:25 - 15:50 Chris Weeks (SOAS) - Human Trafficking in the Philippines: Who’s most at risk following natural disasters?

15:50 - 16:15 Ryan Wolfson-Ford (University of Wisconsin-Madison) - The Lao Issara: A political, social, cultural movement


16:15 - 17:00 Roundtable discussion - Positionality: Researching Southeast Asia

Featured speaker: Dr. Rasmi Shoocongdej (SOAS Centenary Fellow, Silpakorn University)

Discussants: Esha Pillay (SOAS, MA) & Vera Mey (SOAS, PhD) in Conversation with Aria Danaparamita (SOAS, MA)

Keynote Lecture: “Multidirectional Movements” in Southeast Asia: Vietnam and the Vietnamese diaspora in the UK

Southeast Asia is a rapidly transforming and modernising region which is composed of diverse populations, nations and histories. The discursive lens of ‘movement’ offers us the potential to capture and understand a broad range of dynamic transformations taking place historically and in the present day. The notion of ‘movement’ may be used in two ways; firstly, as a way to encompass the more tangible flows within, and outside of, Southeast Asia - the migration of peoples, exportation of goods, culture, and capital in different directions (from East to West, and inter-regionally), secondly; it may refer to the less tangible movement of ideas, ideological shifts, and those of global power and recognition. In this talk, I use the example of Vietnam and the Vietnamese diaspora to explore some of these movements and assess the impact of more concrete geographical/physical movement upon the more ideational and abstract shifts or movements (and vice versa). Using the examples of three ‘movement’ eras in recent Vietnamese history; the movement of refugees from Vietnam in the 1970s, the transformation of identities (and identity politics) in the diaspora, and shifts in global consciousness among the youth in contemporary Vietnam; I focus on the role of power and how the legacy of old imperial power relations continue to shape such movements and consider the limits and possibilities of new forms of agency within these coercive structures.

Speaker Biographies

Tamsin Barber (Oxford Brooks University)  is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Oxford Brookes University. Her research interests are in ‘race’, ethnicity, youth and migration with a focus on exclusion, inclusion, belonging and identity formation among the UK Vietnamese.  Her recent 2015 monograph ‘’Oriental’ Identities in Super-Diverse Britain: Young Vietnamese in London’ analyses constructions of identity and belonging among the Vietnamese diaspora in London. Her interest has been to understand how this population challenges and disrupts more dominant constructions of ‘racial’ and ethnic groups in Britain and how processes of Orientalism shape the experience of the East and Southeast Asians in Britain more broadly. Her current research examines two areas: firstly, the emerging Southeast/East Asian youth identities and social spaces in urban Britain and the changing significance of ‘race’ and ethnicity in ‘superdiverse’ contexts (with Dr. Diana Yeh, City University, Funded by the British Academy) and secondly, the motivations, journeys and reflections of new labour migrants between Vietnam and the UK (with Dr. Phuc Van Nguyen, Trung Vuong University, Vietnam, Funded by the Newton Mobility Fund).

Professor Shoocongdej (SOAS Centenary Fellow, Silpakorn University) is an associate professor of archaeology and a director of graduate program in Archaeology, Silpakorn University, Thailand. Her areas of interest include Southeast Asian prehistory, cave archaeology, conflict and cultural destructions, archaeology and ethnic voices, heritage management in multicultural areas, archaeology of WW II, and archaeology and contemporary arts. She is actively involved in archaeological developments and activities in global communities (e.g. Committee of Research and Exploration, National Geographic Society, an expert member of International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management). Apart from professional services, she has been intensively working with local communities and Thai general public on heritage protection and archaeological education.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of South East Asian Studies

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