« The Tale of Prince Vessantara », until 09 September 2018, Ashmolean Museum (University of Oxford)
The Buddha is believed to have had many lives before being born as Siddhartha Gautama. Stories of his past lives are known as jatakas (‘birth stories’). They play an important role in teaching Buddhist values.
The Vessantara Jataka is the last and most popular of the jataka tales. Here the Buddha was born as Prince Vessantara of the Sivi Kingdom, a very generous man who gave away everything, including his wife and children, to help others. His actions demonstrate the virtue of generosity, which in Buddhism is one of the ‘perfections’ required to achieve enlightenment.
The tale is often illustrated in Southeast Asian and Sri Lankan art. Buddhists can gain merit by making and commissioning these images. This display, drawn from the Ashmolean’s own collection, highlights a selection of Burmese and Sri Lankan drawings, paintings and woodcarvings of the story dating to the 19th century.
Ward Berenschot, « The Political Economy of Clientelism: A Comparative Study of Indonesia’s Patronage Democracy », 19/03/2018, Comparative Political Studies
What kind of economic development curtails clientelistic politics? Most of the literature addressing this relationship focuses narrowly on vote buying, resulting in theories that emphasize the importance of declining poverty rates and a growing middle class. This article employs a combination of ethnographic fieldwork and an expert survey to engage in a first-ever, more comprehensive comparative study of within-country variation of clientelistic politics. I find a pattern that poorly matches these dominant theories: Clientelism is perceived to be less intense in rural, poverty-prone Java, while scores are high in relatively wealthy yet state-dependent provincial capitals. On the basis of these findings, I develop an alternative perspective on the relationship between economic development and clientelism. Emphasizing the importance of societal constraints, I argue that the concentration of control over economic activities fosters clientelism because it stifles the public sphere and inhibits effective scrutiny and disciplining of politico-business elites.
« Javanese Manuscripts from Yogyakarta Digitisation Project launched by Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X » by Annabel Teh Gallop, 21/03/2018, Asian and African Studies Blog (British Library)
On 20 March 2018 Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, Governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta, visited the British Library to launch the Javanese Manuscripts from Yogyakarta Digitisation Project.Through the generous support of Mr S P Lohia, over the next twelve months 75 Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta now held in the British Library will be digitised, and will be made fully and freely accessible online through the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts website. On completion of the project in March 2019, complete sets of the 30,000 digital images will be presented to the Libraries and Archives Board of Yogyakarta (Badan Perpustakaan dan Arsip Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta) and to the National Library (Perpustakaan Nasional) of Indonesia in Jakarta. The manuscripts will also be accessible through Mr Lohia’s website, SPLRareBooks.
The 75 Javanese manuscripts to be digitised include 70 known or believed to have been taken by British troops following an armed assault on the Palace (Kraton) of Yogyakarta in June 1812 by forces under the command of the Lieutenant-Governor of Java, Thomas Stamford Raffles, as well as five other related manuscripts. The manuscripts primarily comprise works on Javanese history, literature and ethics, Islamic stories and compilations of wayang (shadow theatre) tales, as well as court papers, written in Javanese in both Javanese characters (hanacaraka) and in modified Arabic script (pegon), on European and locally-made Javanese paper (dluwang). Some of these manuscripts are by now well known, such as the Babad bedah ing Ngayogyakarta, Add. 12330, a personal account by Pangéran Arya Panular (ca. 1771-1826) of the British attack on the Kraton and its aftermath, published by Peter Carey (1992), and the Babad ing Sangkala, ‘Chronogram chronicle’, MSS Jav 36(B), dated 1738 and identified by Merle Ricklefs (1978) as the oldest surviving original copy of a Javanese chronicle so far known. Peter Carey (1980 & 2000) has also published the Archive of Yogyakarta, two volumes of court documents, correspondence and legal papers. However, many of the other manuscripts have never been published.
Certains de ces manuscrits sont d’ores et déjà accessibles en ligne sur le site de la British Library (voir ci-dessous).
« National Gallery Singapore brings major show of works by Latiff Mohidin to Paris’s Centre Pompidou » by Gareth Harris, 5 /03/2018, The Art Newspaper
The exhibition of 1960s works by the Malaysian artist is part of a long-term plan to turn Euro-centric Modernism on its head
The National Gallery Singapore is going global, presenting its first show at the Centre Pompidou in Paris as part of the joint Reframing Modernism initiative launched by both institutions. The exhibition in Paris, Latiff Mohidin; Pago Pago 1960-69 (until 28 May), includes more than 70 works by the eponymous Malaysian artist and poet drawn from private and public collections in Singapore and Malaysia.
Reframing Modernism “was developed in the spirit of re-examining the currents and perspectives which have shaped existing notions of Modernism”, write Eugene Tan, the director of the National Gallery Singapore, and Bernard Blistène, director of the Centre Pompidou’s Musée national d’art moderne, in the exhibition catalogue.
Both institutions are keen to “contribute to a more nuanced understanding of interactions between southeast Asia and Euro-America from a decentralised perspective”. In 2016, the Beaubourg gallery loaned works by artists such as Picasso and Chagall to the Reframing Modernism show held at the National Gallery Singapore, putting southeast Asian works in a new global context.
Prints, poetry, sculptural objects and writings on display reflect Mohidin’s multifaceted practice during the 1960s. The co-curators—Catherine David of the Centre Pompidou and Shabbir Hussain Mustafa of the National Gallery Singapore—demonstrate how Mohidin was exposed to movements such as German Expressionism and Cubism during his time studying at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in west Berlin from 1961 to 1964. Key works on show include Nature Morte I, Paysage de Berlin (verso; 1962), and the work on paper Un garcon (1963).
In the second half of the 1960s, Mohidin travelled across southeast Asia against a turbulent political backdrop whereby various nationalist movements had begun to prevail (Singapore split from the Malyasian Federation in 1965, for instance). The artist also forged important relationships with other avant-garde thinkers such as the writer Goenawan Mohamad in Jakarta. Mohidin dubbed this dialogue, and the new aesthetic taking shape regionally, Pago Pago.
Hussain Mustafa outlines the process, saying: “Mohidin evokes the consciousness that emerged through these travels with a phrase, Pago Pago, a manner of thinking and working that complicated Western Modernism through the initiation of dialogues with other avant-garde thinkers in southeast Asia.”
Mohidin describes how the Pago Pago works are made, saying in the exhibition catalogue: “Each Pago Pago object is constructed with a black contour… sometimes the colouring came after the shape had taken form. The bottom ground is uniformly the same colour, like the Berlin still-life paintings. In terms of the brush technique, although Pago Pago has fewer brush strokes, there is significant control over the form, the curves, the leaves.” His poetry of the time is, meanwhile, in free verse form, echoing the biomorphic aspect of his art.
The Lee Kong Chian (LKC) Research Fellowship aims to facilitate new research and publishing about Singapore and Southeast Asian culture, economy and heritage. This will enrich the Southeast Asia-centric collections and resources of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library at the National Library of Singapore (NLS) and the National Archives of Singapore (NAS).
We welcome talented scholars and researchers to use our resources and services, and to collaborate with us on joint research projects to create new knowledge.
Preference is given to the following fields of research for 2018:
Early printing history in Singapore – relating to Malay press and colonial history
Peranakan literary works – literature in Malay by the Straits Chinese of Singapore and Malaysia
Critical inquiry on Singapore contemporary literature/ writers (or any art genres) post 1965
Comparative studies between colonial and post-independence Singapore and/or Southeast Asia
Social history of Singapore from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century through legal documents of the Koh Seow Chuan Collection
Study of Japanese occupation through the Lim Shao Bin collection
Business history through the use of NLS’s donor collections
Early textbooks in twentieth century Singapore
Asian diaspora in the Southeast Asia with special reference to Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia
Study of colonial governors and administrators in Singapore
Maritime development in early Singapore
Social history of early communities in Singapore
Early land transaction in Singapore
In-depth study or comparative study of early Singapore newspapers
Study of the Royal Air Force Seletar Association archives from the NAS collections
Research on Chinese dialect group using the oral history collection
Social history of Singapore through NLS’s photographs collection (from donors and private collections from NLS and NAS)
Who Can Apply?
The LKC Research Fellowship is open to both local and foreign applicants who are able to undertake prescribed research topics that raise awareness of our collections. Successful applicants should have scholarly and research credentials or their equivalent. Applicants could be curators, historians, academics or independent researchers who should preferably have an established record of achievement in their chosen field of research and the potential to excel further.
Terms of the Award
The award of the Fellowship is for a period of six months.
A stipend of up to a maximum of S$2,000 per month will be provided to help LKC Research Fellows meet living expenses, local transportation and photocopying expenses.
In addition to the stipend, overseas Fellows will be provided with a one-time relocation package of $1,500, a one-time return airfare of up to $1500 (reimbursement basis), and monthly accommodation allowance of up to $2,500 (reimbursement basis).
For foreign applicants, please click here to download a guide for overseas candidates.
For further information/How to Apply, please click here for more details.
Applications should be emailed to LKCRF@nlb.gov.sg or mailed to the following address by 27 April 2018.
Attn: The Administrator
Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship
National Library Headquarters
National Library Board
100 Victoria Street,
Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be made known within 3 months of the closing date.
For further information about the Fellowship, please contact:
The Administrator, Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship
Tel: 6718 3247
« Civil Society and Authoritarianism in Cold War Southeast Asia, »
at the United Kingdom Association of Southeast Asian Studies annual conference at the University of Leeds, from September 5 to 7, 2018.
Paper proposals on Vietnam are especially welcome, but please pass on this announcement to any colleagues working on relevant topics from any part of Southeast Asia.
Proposal abstracts of approx. 250 words should be submitted to Sean Fear at email@example.com May 31, 2018.
The recent history of Southeast Asia has long been understood in the popular imagination through the lens of the Cold War; indeed, even the term “Southeast Asia” itself became prominent as a strategic geographical designation by Allied forces during the Second World War and its aftermath. But although somewhat subsumed in English-language scholarship by events such as the U.S.-Soviet rivalry or the Vietnam War, the region’s postwar history has been characterised by complex relations between authoritarian governments and a range of civil society groups. Far from superpower proxies, both governments and opposition repurposed and exploited Cold War rhetoric and foreign intervention to pursue domestic political ends.
Growing access to local archives, however, has contributed to new research which challenges previous superpower-driven narratives, and highlights local agency. This panel builds on these promising lines of inquiry by exploring the complex and evolving relationship between state and civil society in Cold War Southeast Asia. We welcome papers which focus on the impact of international or transnational networks; the mobility of people and information; the rise of grassroots political and religious movements; the role of authoritarian government; political journalism; or the impact of the environment on political and social change, among other themes.
Here is an abstract for a panel co-convened by Phill Wilcox (University of London) and Sonemany Nigole (Université Libre de Bruxelles) at the ASEAS conference, which will be held at the University of Leeds on September 5-7 this year:
What does it mean to be one of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the world? This status, created by the United Nations (UN) in 1971, counts within its members the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, which has intended to depart from LDC status since 1996 (the new exit target is by 2030). Meeting the objectives of the UN Millennium Development Goals is a preoccupation of the Lao authorities and an often-repeated statement across the country in official discourse. To whom is this rhetoric addressed? Moreover, how to fulfill these objectives and at the same time meet the goals of other public or private institutions (ASEAN, Foreign Direct Investment from China, Vietnam and Thailand) in which Laos is similarly engaged?
Laos has been “under an Aid Regime” for numerous years, yet the LDC status also carries with it certain advantages such as receiving help for international trade, for debt reduction, and public assistance for development. Therefore, what does “development” mean for the actors of change (Lao State, officials, NGO and international cooperation members, funders, beneficiaries, etc.)? What does it produce in terms of legitimacy, national identity and policies?
This panel takes these broad themes as its starting point, exploring what is meant by development and modernity in Laos, agendas of development from different points of view, who the various actors and agents of change are, the uniqueness (or not) of the context, and the implications and consequences of development programs and initiatives within and beyond Laos.
Format for Abstracts:
Please submit your abstracts as a Word document with the following format: Title of abstract, Your name, institution & email address, Body of abstract (max. 250 words).
Photomicrograph is from a ‘Dong Son drum’ ( SEALIP/TH/KS/2) showing equi-axed cored microstructure, image courtesy of Pira Venunan.The article demonstrates Upper Thai-Malay Peninsula’s Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea interaction spheres. The analysis of copper-base artifacts also contributes to defining the political and economic organization of the early trading-polities that emerged during the first millennium BC.
The McConnell Foundation Scholarship for SAIL 2018!
Program Date: June 27 – July 31, 2018
The Center for Lao Studies is very please to announce that through the generous support of The McConnell Foundation, we will be offering up to four (4) fellowships for exceptional applicants to attend SAIL program for this summer.
Special Issue: Contestations of Gender, Sexuality and Morality in Contemporary Indonesia
Guest Editors: Maria Platt, Sharyn Graham Davies and Linda Rae Bennett
Contestations of Gender, Sexuality and Morality in Contemporary Indonesia by Maria Platt, Sharyn Graham Davies and Linda Rae Bennett
Moralising Rhetoric and Imperfect Realities: Breastfeeding Promotions and the Experiences of Recently Delivered Mothers in Urban Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Belinda Rina Marie Spagnoletti, Linda Rae Bennett, Michelle Kermode and Siswanto Agus Wilopo
Virtually (Im)moral: Pious Indonesian Muslim Women’s Use of Facebook by Hanny Savitri Hartono
From Divine Instruction to Human Invention: The Constitution of Indonesian Christian Young People’s Sexual Subjectivities through the Dominant Discourse of Sexual Morality by Teguh Wijaya Mulya
Skins of Morality: Bio-borders, Ephemeral Citizenship and Policing Women in Indonesia by Sharyn Graham Davies
Migration, Moralities and Moratoriums: Female Labour Migrants and the Tensions of Protectionism in Indonesia by Maria Platt
Other Articles (ASE)
The Trap of Neo-patrimonialism: Social Accountability and Good Governance in Cambodia by Danilo Vuković and Marija Babović
Contesting Disciplinary Power: Transnational Domestic Labour in the Global South by Linda A. Lumayag
Book Reviews (ASE)
Ronit Ricci, Exile in colonial Asia: kings, convicts, commemoration by Anthony H. Johns
Asmah Haji Omar (ed.), Languages in the Malaysian education system: monolingual strands in multilingual settings by Zuwati Hasim
Ann Wigglesworth, Activism and aid: young citizens’ experiences of development and democracy in Timor-Leste by Natali Jane Pearson
Natasha Pairaudeau, Mobile citizens: French Indians in Indochina, 1858–1954 by Robert Aldrich