Initiatives > Regional Projects in Southeast Asia
For information on intiatives in the individual nations of the region, click here!
Christianity in Southeast Asia
Professor Barbara Watson Andaya is working on a new historical study of Christianity in Southeast Asia, examining the varying motivations for conversion and the processes by which Southeast Asians became active agents in transforming imported teachings into an indigenous faith.
At present, Andaya is working on two articles. The first article attempts to explain the veneration for “Mother Maria” in the region, giving particular attention to eastern Indonesia. Andaya's second article will compare the reception given to Christianity in three areas of Indonesia’s present Nusa Tenggara Timur province: eastern Flores (Catholicism, 1500s), the island of Roti (Protestantism, 1600s) and Sumba (highly resistant to Christian missionizing, 1800s).
Mekong Ethnobotany and Conservation
Professor Will McClatchey will be offering a course on Mekong Ethnobotany and Conservation in Spring 2009. The course will provide a high-level, integrated biological science and area-studies approach relevant to student researchers working in Southeast Asia. The course is designed for students from Botany (and other Biological sciences) and from the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Geography and other Area Studies programs.
Luce Archaeology Program
As the recipient of a major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation's East Asian Archaeology and Early History Initiative, and with additional support from participating entities within the University of Hawaii, the Anthropology Department is pleased to introduce a new program aimed at training junior professionals from East and Southeast Asia in Asian archaeology, history, art, and heritage management.
Southeast Asia Photograph Exhibition
In 2007, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies organized Islamic Cultures in Reflection: A Southeast Asia Photograph Exhibition.” Curated by graduate students Anthony Medrano and Sapril Akhmady, the mission of the exhibition was to visually and substantially address the cultural diversity of Islam in the region. This is an important effort, in itself, given the dominant image and narrative of Islam in American society. Whether it is a Bugis wedding where the bride is beautifully adorned in gold or a colorful classroom full of public school teachers playing games in Mindanao, the hope of this exhibition is to enrich the public’s knowledge of Islam.
“The people,” noted Barbara Watson Andaya, Director of the Center, “were able to contribute to a process that was to give Southeast Asian Islam a distinctive character which it has retained to the present day.” It is this “distinctive character” that inspired the exhibition, and energized college students to submit their photographs from places as distant as Aceh and Ithaca.
The photos have been exhibited across Hawaii and the mainland United States. This exhibit was made possible by a generous grant from the Hawaii Council for the Humanities.
Southeast Asian Filmmakers in Hawaii
In 2008, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies is marking the third year of its partnership with the Hawaii International Film Festival!
In 2007, we've worked with HIFF to screen the best films from Southeast Asia. CSEAS's participation included a presentation of our newly-subtitled classic Malay language film 1950 (B.J. Rahjans, Singapore, 1950). Other films from Southeast Asia included The Deserted Valley (Pham Nhue Giang, Viet Nam), Owl and the Sparrow (Stephane Gauger, Viet Nam/USA), The Rebel (Charlie Nguyen, Viet Nam/USA), Ploy (Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand), Sick Nurses (Piraphan Laoyont and Thodsapol Siriwiwat, Thailand), Denias (jon De Rantau, Indonesia), Foster Child (Brillante Mendoza, Philippines), Invisible City (Tan Pin Pin, Singapore), and The Home Song Stories Tony Ayres, Australia/Singapore). The Hawaii chapter of NETPAC also hosted a Vietnamese Cinema Symposium in conjunction with the film festival. The symposium served as a launch vehicle for the new publication Modernity and Nationality in Vietnamese Cinema (Nho Phoung Lan, NETPAC, 2007).
In 2006, the Center and HIFF screened 23 films with Southeast Asian themes, 15 of which were feature films from Southeast Asia, and brought a dozen filmmakers from the region to Hawaii for the festival! Our guests included, from Indonesia, director Nia Dinata and actress Jajang C. Noer for Love for Share; from Malaysia, producer Elyna Shukri and actress Sharifah Amani for Yasmin Ahmad's Gubra; from Singapore, Bee Thiam Tan of the Asian Film Archive; from Thailand, director Yongyooth Thongkongtoon of Metrosexual and the directors of the chilling horror film Shudder, Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom; from the Philippines, producer Raymond Lee for Maximo Oliveros, film critic Alexis Tioseco of Criticine, actress Phoemela Baranda and director Romeo Candidio from Ang Pamana: The Inheritance. Much to the great joy of Southeast Asian film fans at the festival, films from the region garnered three of the top festival awards, including Love For Share (Indonesia) which captured the Golden Orchid for Best Feature Film, 4:30, (Singapore, Royston Tan) which took home the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film and Majidee (Malaysia, Azharr Rudin) was honored as Best Short Film.
Planning is now under way for more exciting Southeast Asia offerings at the 28th Hawaii International Film Festival, October 9 to 19, 2008. Stay tuned for further news!
Comparative Dictionary of Austronesian Languages
One of the long-term projects of Bob Blust, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Hawaii, is a comparative dictionary of the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) languages. This project was initially funded by a National Science Foundation grant from 1990-1995, and it employed several graduate students. So far over 2,000 single-spaced pages of analyzed data and reconstructions have been produced; the project is about 25% done and is slated to be completed over the next two years.
Literature in Translation in Southeast Asia
The University's course on Literature in Translation in Southeast Asia (IP 361), last offered in 2007, for instance, brought in several overseas guests; Alam Payind, Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at The Ohio State University, gave several presentations; Jonathan Rigg, from the University of Durham, spent a week on campus during which time he gave several lectures, including the third in a special School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies lecture series. Because of the prominence of the Ilokano program at the University of Hawai'i, the Center also contributed to the 2007 Nakem Coference held at Mariano Marcos State University in the Philippines.
Natural Disasters in Southeast Asia
In Fall 2006, the University of Hawaii hosted a seminar on natural disasters in Southeast Asia, conducted by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning under the direction of Michael Douglass and James Spencer. It was truly amazing to see how much expertise and experience we had on campus related to all aspects of earthquakes, hurricanes, and epidemics. Greg Bankoff, from the University of Auckland, a historian who has worked extensively on natural disasters, especially in the Philippines, was a valuable guest, delivering several lectures and contributing to our ongoing brown bag lunchtime talks.