SEASSI Lecture Series



2018 Lecture Series


Thursday, June 21, 2018
2:30-4:00pm, 8417 Sewell Social Sciences Building
Peace Settlements, Symbolic Constructions and the Agency of Ruins by David Biggs (Associate Professor of History at the University of California at Riverside).
     For many people living in the villages around Huế in 1954, the violence and destruction of the Indochina War was nothing compared to the chaos that followed the Geneva Accords.  Bands of French soldiers, mostly recruits from North Africa, roamed the hills of the former Việt Minh Interzone stripping them of trees while living on airdropped rations and ammo.  Meanwhile on the coast, resettled paramilitary groups from the north competed openly with national police and a national army for control of turf. And despite having no official government position, the younger brother of Ngô Đình Diệm established a secret police unit that terrorized all he deemed his enemies, using an abandoned French military bunker in the hills for a torture and interrogation center.  All of these ruined spaces—former Việt Minh resistance zones (chiến khu), French bunkers-turned-torture sites, and villages subjected to factional violence—shaped the geography of nation-building and later the American War. With boundaries largely invisible to newcomers, especially Americans, these spaces nevertheless remained deeply symbolic in the memories of local people. In 1957-58, South Vietnamese settlers with American bulldozers built development centers and special forces bases on the rubble of evacuated Việt Minh barracks; and in July 1964, mixed battalions of NLF and North Vietnamese infantry launched their first attacks south of the DMZ on these same sites.  




Previous Lecture Series

2017 Lecture Series:

  • Combating Human Trafficking from a Southeast Asian Periphery by Dr. Amelia Joan Liwe, (Senior Lecturer, International Relations, Universitas Pelita Harapan (UPH), Karawaci, Indonesia and SEASSI Indonesian Language Coordinator).

  • Rethinking Equality: Legibility, Belonging, and the Politics of Marriage in Minnesota by Kong P. Pha (PhD Candidate in American Studies, University of Minnesota

  • Centering Southeast Asian Perspectives in the Teaching of Southeast Asia: A Methodology by Dr. Margaret Bodemer (History & Asian Studies California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo).

  • Music, Language, and the Aesthetics of Virtuosity by Dr. Christi-Anne Castro (Associate Professor, Ethnomusicology, and Director, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan)

  • From the Vietnam War to the Dirty War: The Resettlement of Southeast Asian Refugees and the Politics of Cold War Humanitarianism, 1979-1985 Lecture by Dr. Sam Vong (Assistant Professor, History, University of Texas at Austin)

  • The Russian Revolution in the Eyes of a Thai Royal Lecture by Mr. Jeffrey Shane (Southeast Asia Reference Librarian, Thai Studies & History Subject Specialist; Curator of the David K. Wyatt Thai Collection; and Southeast Asian Studies Affiliated Faculty at Ohio University)


2016 Lecture Series:

  • Whatever Happened to 'Comrade'? The Politics of Gender and Development in Vietnam by Dr. Kristy Kelly (Assistant Professor of Global and International Education, Drexel University)

  • Dissonant Voices: Music and Identity in the Tagalog Zarzuelas of Early Twentieth Century Manila by Isidora Miranda (PhD candidate, Historical Musicology University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • Smoke, Fire and Rain in Muslim Southeast Asia: Environmental Ethics in a Time of Burning by Anna M. Gade, (Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, UW-Madison)


2015 Lecture Series:

  • Human Trafficking in South-East Asia: Seeking Lasting Solutions by Michael Nowlin, Interim Deputy Country Director for Cambodia, Hagar International

  • To the Medical Archipelago: Stratification in Vietnam’s Health Care Sector by Dr. Martha Lincoln, Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley School of Public Health

  • Indonesian Media Ownership in the Digital Era by Dr Ross Tapsell, Lecturer in Asian Studies, The Australian National University


2014 Lecture Series:

  • Campaigning for All Indonesians: The Politics of Social Welfare in Indonesia by Eunsook Jung, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science,University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.


2013 Lecture Series:

  • Books and Book Collecting in 19th Century Vietnam by Prof. George Dutton, Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, and Incoming Director, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Univ. of California-Los Angeles

  • Travel Writing in Southeast Asian Perspectives. by Ian Lowman (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia, UW-Madison)

  • Reform of Economic Law in Southeast Asia: Cases from Three Countries -- Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. by John Davis (Counsel, YKVN Lawyers, Hanoi, Vietnam and Lecturer, EBA Program, Faculty of Economics, Chulalongkorn University)


2012 Lecture Series:

  • Political Humor: The Vessantara Jataka In Historical Perspective. by Katherine Bowie (Professor, Department of Anthropology and Director, Center for SE Asian Studies)

  • "Green Islam" in Indonesia. by Prof. Anna M. Gade (Associate Professor of Languages and Cultures of Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • The Phu Nyai Politics: Social Mobility of Ethnic Minority Students in Laos. by Dr. Manynooch Faming (Honorary Lecturer, Anthropology Research Center, Sociology Department, University of Hong Kong)

  • Indonesian Heritage Lost, Found and Sold: Reinventing Indentity-Inspired Arts in Post-Touristic Times. by Kathleen M. Adams (Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies, Loyola University Chicago)


2011 Lecture Series:

  • Rice Plus: Widows' Economic Practices in Rural Cambodia by Dr. Susan H. Lee (Senior Lecturer, Social Sciences, Boston University)

  • Interpreting an Event: The funeral of Gen. Vang Pao. by Prof. Kao-Ly Yang, Anthropology (Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, California State University-Fresno)

  • Besmirched with Blood: an Emotional History of Transnational Romance in Colonial Singapore. by Prof. Tamara Loos, (Associate Professor, History and Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University)

  • Archaeological Investigations of Vietnam’s Ancient Capital by Prof. Nam Kim, (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology University of Wisconsin-Madison)


2010 Lecture Series:

  • Sodomy II, or what do one Mongolian model (blowed up real good), three frogs, 12 hydroelectric power plants, and millions (allegedly) of freshly-documented Filipino immigrants have to do with the political situation in Malaysia today? by Clare Boulanger

  • Thailand's Crisis (not over yet) by Prof. Thongchai Winichakul (History, UW-Madison)

  • Philiphe Binh and the Problem of Vietnamese Historical Biography by Prof. George Dutton (Associate Professor, Dept. of Asian Languages & Cultures, UCLA)

  • The Social Life of Companionable Objects: Living with Indonesian Things by Prof. Kenneth George (Anthropology, UW-Madison)


2009 Lecture Series:

  • Opium, Power, People: Anthropological Understandings of a Drug Interdiction Project in Thailand. by Prof. Kathleen Gillogly (Department of Anthropology and Sociology, UW-Parkside)

  • Policing America's Empire: Philippine Pacification and the Rise of the Surveillance State. by Prof. Alfred W. McCoy (Department of History, UW-Madison)

  • Cannibalism and Race Transformation in a Mekong Delta at War, 1945-52 . by Shawn McHale (Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies and Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, George Washington University)

  • Holy Matrimony? The Politics of Polygamy in Indonesia. by Prof. Suzanne A Brenner (Department of Anthropology, UC-San Diego)

  • Cambodian Buddhism and Cambodian Magic - Conceiving Religion. by Prof. Erik Davis (Department of Religious Studies, Macalester College)


2008 Lecture Series:

  • Moving Costs: Internal migration in Vietnam since Doi Moi by Ian Coxhead, Professor of Agricutural and Applied Economics, UW-Madison.

  • The Price of Rice: Has globalization hurt Southeast Asia's poor? Ian Coxhead, Professor of Agricutural and Applied Economics, UW-Madison.


2007 Lecture Series:

  • Gender and Vietnam by Giang Han Tran, Fulbright Scholar of Sociology at Temple University

  • The Study of Religion and the Understanding of Southeast Asia: Three Lectures on Three Challenges by Charles Hallisey, Professor, Languages and Cultures of Asia at UW-Madison

  • Three Lectures on Politics in the Philippines by Paul Hutchcroft, Professor of Politics at UW-Madison

  • Special Lecture: Like a Paid Prison Sentence with a Good Chance of Drowning by Steve McKay, Professor of Sociology

  • Two Lectures on Globalization and Development in Southeast Asia by Ian Coxhead, Professor of Applied and Agricultural Economics at UW-Madison


2006 -"Dictatorship and Democracy in Burma" by Ian Holliday, Humanities & Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong; "Southeast Asian Theater in the 21st Century" by Evan Winnet, Theater and Dance, Macalester College

2005 - "The Ramayana" taught by Frank Smith (Khmer coordinator) and Amelia Liwe (Indonesian Coordinator)

2004 - "Islam in Southeast Asia" taught by Anna Gade (Religion, Oberlin College)


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Contact Us!
Please direct any questions to the SEASSI Program Coordinator:

Jinda Moore
Center for Southeast Asian Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
207 Ingraham Hall
1155 Observatory Dr.
Madison, WI 53706
phone: (608) 263-1755 email: