Call for Papers - Southeast Asia and the World - 1st Southeast Asian Studies Graduate Conference, Harvard University


1st Southeast Asian Studies Graduate Conference
Harvard University

Friday, April 7 - Saturday, April 8, 2023

Conference Events:

  • Keynote: Professor Nurfadzilah Yahaya, Yale University Department of History
  • Film Screening: Tan Pin Pin, Singaporean Filmmaker, with post-screen Q&A moderated by Qui-Ha Hoang Nguyen, Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University MacMillan Center for Southeast Asian Studies
  • Professionalization Workshop: β€œTurn Your Dissertation Into a Book” with Harvard Faculty and the Director of the Asia Center Publications Program

Call for Papers:

Southeast Asia is a region whose identity and place in the world have long been debated. To think about Southeast Asia and the world is to ask what constitutes a region, what connects one place to another, and what it means to be part of β€œthe world.” More than half a century since Southeast Asian studies began to cohere as a field, the question of what, if anything, lends the scholarship a sense of cohesion continues to be remade by momentous developments in global politics. Whereas climate catastrophes and global pandemics reveal the fragility of borders, the persistence of ethnocentrism and racism continues to disclose the human-made permanence of the boundaries we have drawn, and still draw, between ourselves.

The Southeast Asia we engage in this conference is not limited to the subject matter of investigation. Rather, it could be interpreted as methods, zones of comparison and connection, circulation, and shared conversations. What are the linkages and obstacles across this region's geographical, political, cultural, social, literary, economic, and religious boundaries? How are the similarities and differences in the multilingual, multicultural, and multiethnic communities perceived, indexed, and analyzed? How do ecological challenges and other concomitant issues in the Anthropocene confront this region? How can knowledge and information from this region recalibrate our understanding of and provide remedies for the climate crisis? How do the (non-)fictional narratives reveal and explain the plethora of emerging issues in the region? In what ways do the political allegiances and institutions resist or reinforce the polarization of the world political arena? How do religions shape local and trans-local literary cultures, and how are they incorporated into social-political movements? These are just some questions to start.

The inaugural Harvard Southeast Asia Graduate Conference invites submissions engaging the possibilities of and limits to thinking about Southeast Asia and the world, regardless of disciplinary background. We welcome studies of Southeast Asia that examine the construction of nation-states, flows of transnational exchanges, and movements of diasporic communities, to name just a few areas of interest. Papers that creatively transgress political borders, traverse the distances between disciplinary locations, or interrogate the terrain on which we constitute our knowledge are welcome.

The areas of studies that we are interested in but not limited to include: (post-)colonial studies, empire studies, posthuman studies, animal studies, environmental humanities, (trans-)regional studies, Sinophone/Xenophone studies, diaspora and migration studies,  indigenous/native studies, histories of Southeast Asian art and architecture, religious studies, linguistics, regional/global health, studies of oceanic and archipelagic identities, economics and trade, foreign policy, international economic development, ASEAN and transboundary institutions, legal and justice studies, disaster and refugee, race, gender and identity, public health, science and technology, political and socioeconomic frameworks.

This is a pre-read conference. All participants are expected to read the papers in advance, as one of the critical objectives of the conference is to ensure panelists receive helpful feedback on the papers they have prepared.

Presentations will be limited to 5 minutes per panelist, after which the faculty discussant will offer a 15-minute response; most of the time will be spent on Q&A to facilitate interaction between panelists and participants.

Please submit a 300-word abstract, 100-word bio, and a 2-page maximum CV in a single PDF document together with a short biographical note, to by January 25, 2023. Please mention any audiovisual accommodation you might require in your submission. Presenters will be notified by early February 2023 and asked to submit a paper of no more than 7,000 words by March 13, 2023.

Please contact for any clarifications.

Harvard University's Asia-Related Resources