SEASSI Lecture Series



2016 Lecture Series

Wednesday, July 20, 2016
3:00pm, 206 Ingraham Hall
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)
     This presentation is about a development policy called gender mainstreaming and how gender equality discourses and practices are engaged, resisted, ignored and otherwise transformed in the process of implementation in Vietnam. Based on nearly two decades of ethnographic fieldwork, Dr. Kelly shows how gender and development practitioners translate international gender-mainstreaming policies into local practice, moving them beyond planning and rhetoric to affect local, cultural change. In the process, Vietnamese nationalist, socialist and post-colonial feminist notions of equality are reframed to reflect liberal and neoliberal assumptions about gender and development. These new assumptions privilege individual rights, markets, free choice and the household economy. As a result, new Vietnamese feminisms emerge disavowing the social, cultural, and economic forces producing inequality, turning activist attention away from structural problems to focus on individual needs. In the process, they redefine gender equality as the responsibility of individually empowered citizens rather than the state, and risk (re)producing the very gender-generation-class inequalities that they imagined gender mainstreaming to address.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016
3:00pm, 206 Ingrasham Hall
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)
     The end of Spanish colonialism and the beginning of the American colonial administration at the turn of the twentieth century mark an important period in Philippine history. This period remains a crucial turning point in the anti-colonial struggles that fueled aspirations for Filipino nationhood and national identity. Three centuries of Hispanic colonial contact, however, gave rise to a multi-faceted cultural life, fusing local practices with outside influences. One product of this cultural fusion was the zarzuela, a repurposing of the Spanish music-theatrical genre, which became one of the primary forms of artistic production where local composers, singers, and musicians could channel their skills to create a new form of popular entertainment in Manila. Because of the widespread popularity of the genre at this particular moment in Philippine history, the zarzuela largely came to be seen, heard, and imagined as distinctly Filipino by subsequent scholars of Philippine music and theater, who regarded it largely as a tool of anti-colonial subversion.
     Upon closer examination of specific works, however, I argue that the Tagalog zarzuelas’ efforts to promote a sense of Filipino autonomy and cultural identity also came with caricatures and exoticizing practices inherent in music-theatrical representations of foreign “others.” In particular, I will look at how two works, Minda Mora (1904) and La Venta de Filipinas al Japon (1906), negotiated a wider range of identities apart from the broader notion of a ‘national’ Filipino identity, and commented on existing social hierarchies, questions of race and ethnicity, and gender issues in a society that became increasingly vocal about its own aspirations for modernization. Seen thus, these two works are striking examples of how Tagalog zarzuelas demonstrate the complex relationship between music and identity, and how they defy neat and tidy definitions of cultural nationalism that have long been associated with the repertoire. .
Lecture Series Image


Tuesday, June 16, 2016
2:30pm, 206 Ingraham Hall
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.
     This presentation describes responses to the peat forest fires in Indonesia in 2015, as well as the smoke that covered much that nation, the Malaysian peninsula, and other parts of Southeast Asia. Considering local and global interests involved from the perspective of environmental humanities, the talk demonstrates how human and biological, physical and atmospheric, as well as moral systems connect to environmental degradation and climate impacts of the burning. Recognizing these all to be dimensions of creation from a perspective of Islamic adab (practical ethics), the paper explains how rain can stop the smoke and fire within both real and imagined worlds.


Previous Lecture Series

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: