Title Date & Time
Designing the early-American Colonial City in the Philippines, 1898-1916
Prof. Ian Morley


The importation of modern American urban design practices into East Asia during the opening decades of the twentieth century fundamentally redefined the environmental form of cities. Whilst it is acknowledged that the introduction of the City Beautiful led to the endorsement of spatial forms dissimilar to what had hitherto existed, not much is currently known about why city planning became such a fundamental component of governance at that time, and what impact urban design had upon the local civilization and the construction of nationhood. Consequently this presentation explains the form and meaning of the first generation of Asian City Beautiful projects implemented between 1905 and 1916 as part of America’s early colonial administration of the Philippines.

Short bio:

Ian Morley is an Assistant Professor of Urban History in the Department of History, and Assistant Professor (by Courtesy) on CUHK’s Urban Studies Programme. He has published widely on the design of built environments during the late-1800s and early-1900s. From 2009 to 2014 he was the Book Review Editor for Urban Morphology: Journal of the International Seminar on Urban Form.  He currently is an editorial board member of the journal  Planning  Perspectives  as  well  as  a  council member of the International Planning History Society. He is  the  recipient  of  the  2010,  2011,  and 2014 History Department Teaching Award.

10 Apr 2017 (Mon)
The ‘Magic’ of Modern Malaya: Remembering Histories of Muhammad's Guns
Dr. Teren Sevea


This talk explores Malay manuscripts pertaining to Muslim miracle-workers, or ‘magicians’ who were key intermediaries of guns in modern Malaya. These manuscripts are analysed to recount a history of worlds and environments wherein socioeconomic activities were associated with the Islamic esoteric science. I introduce here, professional miracle-workers who venerated as heirs of prophets and saints from earlier Islamic periods. Having inherited esoteric senses, and as direct ‘technological’ heirs of the Prophet’s guns, these miracle-workers were esteemed for their rituals and miracles in contemporary forests, mines, ‘workshops’ and stockades. This talk analyses elaborate Islamic genealogies and popular historical traditions, and investigates how ‘magical’ manuscripts are prime sources of socioeconomic histories and are informative about religio-economic sensibilities. This talk further presents my explorations into the cosmopolitanism of the Malay frontier.

Short bio:

Teren Sevea is an Assistant Professor at the Department of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses upon the history of religion and Islam in early modern and modern Southeast Asia, Islamic manuscripts of the Malay world, and Islamic connections across the Bay of Bengal. He is also the co-editor of a volume entitled Islamic Connections: Muslim Societies in South and Southeast Asia.

3 Apr 2017 (Mon)
Marital dissolution and transnational householding in Indonesia
Dr. Lucy Jordan


Transnational householding is an increasing phenomenon globally, and within many Southeast Asian countries families experience “doing family” across international borders. To date, there is little systematic longitudinal research that allows for close examination of how families, children and parents, sustain relationships over time and distance.  This paper explores the relationship between migration and marriage in Indonesia. We draw on two waves of data collected from the CHAMPSEA (Children Health and Migrant Parents in Southeast Asia) survey (2008, 2016), with a baseline sample of circa 1,000 households. The analysis contextualises an understanding of continuity and change in marital relationships and examines how aspects of the migration experience impact on marriage.  A fixed-effect model is applied to capture the possible causal relationship between migration and marital dissolution within the couples and to compare couples that have not been separated by migration with those that have.

Short bio:

Dr. Lucy Jordan (Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong) works at the intersection of social policy and population studies. Her professional and research experience emphasizes market-state-civil society strategies to address social protection needs and vulnerabilities of families and youth. The overarching question driving Dr.  Jordan’s scholarship and practice is to understand how government policies and practices influence and impact on intimate family life. Current research focuses on migration and the family in emerging economies of Asia including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Nepal and the Philippines.

Please click here for the Youtube video of Dr. Jordan's seminar.

13 Mar 2017 (Mon)
Contemporary Cambodia Cinema and the Afterlife of War
Dr. Y-Dang Troeung


Refugee testimonies of human rights abuses are often treated with distrust as a means of sustaining regimes of exclusion and denial. As part of a larger investigation of the relationship between the figure of the refugee and public discourses of distrust, this talk will consider the role of contemporary Cambodian cinema in countering ongoing legacies of denial related to the history of war and genocide in Cambodia. Although over four decades have elapsed, these events continue to haunt twentieth-century historical memory since state mechanisms such as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (also known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal) have proved to be limited in their capacity or will to redress the injustices of the past. In this context of non-reconciliation, Cambodian artists such as acclaimed filmmaker Rithy Panh have sought to forge an alternative space where truth can be pursued. This talk will focus specifically on Panh’s 2011 film Shiiku, The Catch and his 2013 Oscar-nominated film The Missing Picture, considering their experimentations with film form as well as their relevance to the current global refugee crisis.

Short bio:

Y-Dang Troeung is Assistant Professor of English at City University of Hong Kong, where she researchers and teaches in the fields of Asian and Asian diasporic literature in English, film studies, postcolonial literature, cultural studies, and human rights. Her current research project is a study of relationship between refugee narratives, surveillance, and survival in the aftermath of the war in Cambodia. Her publications can be found in Modern Fiction Studies, Canadian Literature, Interventions, University of Toronto Quarterly, Rethinking History, MELUS, ARIEL, and Concentric

Please click here for the Youtube video of Dr. Troeung's seminar.

23 Jan 2017 (Mon)
Revolusi! Rebolusyon!: A Filipino Revisiting of Benedict Anderson's
"The Languages of Indonesian Politics" (1966)
Prof. Ramon Guillermo


The essay "The Languages of Indonesian Politics" (1966) was one of the first published works in Benedict Anderson's long and distinguished career. In that seminal work, he introduced the concept of "revolutionary Malay" which he asserted was the basis for the construction of Bahasa Indonesia as a national language. According to him, the prerequisite for the development of "revolutionary Malay" was the appropriation of Dutch as the "inner language" of the bilingual nationalist intelligentsia. From its explosive rise, Anderson then traces the fate and vicissitudes of "revolutionary Malay" through the immediate post-revolutionary era, the downfall of Soeharto and the advent of Soeharto's Orde Baru. This paper proposes that the concept of "revolutionary Malay" could be employed as a comparative tool in understanding the earlier Philippine experience of language and revolution at the turn of the twentieth century. This study will therefore delve into the three vocabularies (i.e., nationalist, bureaucratic and radical) in Tagalog which Anderson saw as constituting a "revolutionary" vernacular. The different fates and trajectories of revolutionary Tagalog and Malay will be reflected upon.

Short bio:

Ramon Guillermo is Professor of Philippine Studies at the Dept. of Filipino and Philippine Literature, University of the Philippines - Diliman. He is the author of several works on indigenization theory, translation studies and digital philology. He worked with the late Benedict Anderson and Carlos Sardiña Galache on the translation of Isabelo de los Reyes's "Ang Diablo sa Filipinas ayon sa nasasabi sa  mga casulatan luma sa Kastila" (The Devil in the Philippines according to ancient Spanish documents) (Anvil Press 2014).

Please click here for the Youtube video of Prof. Guillermo's seminar.

31 Oct 2016 (Mon)
Operationalizing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in South East Asia
Prof. Amy Barrow


Since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 (SCR 1325) on 31 October 2000, the international community has seen the emergence of a normative framework on women, peace and security. National Action Plans have been adopted as one mechanism to strengthen the operationalization of SCR 1325. The substantive content of SCR 1325 appears highly relevant in Asian contexts given that several states have suffered significant instability and upheaval as a result of territorial disputes and protracted armed insurgency movements. Compared with other regions however, the development of National Action Plans across the region has lagged behind. Within South East Asia, ASEAN Member States have taken proactive steps to develop resolutions pertaining to women’s rights, particularly in relation to the prevention of violence against women. Individual member states have also adopted laws on gender-based violence, but regional and national responses to the UN’s series of resolutions on women, peace and security have not gained significant traction to date. This seminar analyses the operationalization of Security Council Resolution 1325 in South East Asia, focusing primarily on the Philippines, the first ASEAN member state to adopt a National Action Plan.

Short bio:

Amy Barrow is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where she is a founding member of the Centre for Rights and Justice. She has a keen interest in inter-disciplinary research, and to date her research has largely focused on the intersection between public international law, gender, peace and security. In 2014, she was awarded a General Research Fund grant from the Research Grants Committee to conduct empirical research on 'Evaluating the Effectiveness of Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women in Hong Kong.' Amy has been actively engaged with civil society activism focused on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. She is a member of the WILPF Academic Network, a think tank connecting academics and peace activists working on issues of gender, peace and security as well as a founding member of the Everywoman Everywhere Coalition, which grew out of the Initiative on Violence against Women at the Harvard Kennedy School's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Along with Joy Chia, she co-edited the book Gender, Violence and the State in Asia published by Routledge in July 2016.

Please click here for the Youtube video of Prof. Barrow's seminar.

17 Oct 2016 (Mon)
Under the Boot: Military-Civil Relations in Thailand since the Coup
Dr. Paul Chambers


Thailand’s May 2014 military putsch has ushered in a period of authoritarian control not seen in the country for 40 years. A spiraling number of Thais suspected by the ruling junta of subversion have been arrested for “attitude adjustment” with the number of political prisoners soaring to over 1000 persons. Allegations of torture and sexual abuse of prisoners by soldiers have grown. Political rights and liberties have been quashed. Military courts have become the dominant judiciary of Thailand. Soldiers and junta leaders act with legal impunity. Finally, the junta has sought to enact a new constitution which enshrines a greater political role for the military across the country.   In mid-2016 the junta has become even more repressive as opponents in Thai civil society increasingly test the limits of their resistance.  How successful has the junta been in establishing mechanism to ensure their perseverance in power? What are the internal and external challenges to the junta? What is the future of Thai military rule or the beginning of demilitarization? This presentation addresses these questions.

Short bio

Paul Chambers currently serves as Director of Research, Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEAA), Faculty of Law, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand and as Research Affiliate at both the German Institute of Global Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg, Germany, as well as the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) in Frankfurt, Germany.  His research interests focus on civil-military relations in Southeast Asia; international politics of Southeast Asia; dictatorship and democratization in Southeast Asia; and the Political Economy of Less Developed Nations in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. Chambers has written four books (three books on the security sector in Southeast Asia) as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters about the military, democratization, and international politics of Southeast Asia.  His articles have appeared in Asian Survey, Critical Asian Studies and the Journal of Contemporary Asia, among others. He has focused his research upon Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

Please click here for the Youtube video of Dr. Chambers' seminar.

12 Sep 2016 (Mon)