erikwdavis

Posts Tagged ‘southeast asia’

Reading Report

In read on August 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm

No real reviews here, but a short list on what I’ve been reading this Summer, and how I generally feel about the books or articles.  What have you been reading?  Anything I should know about?  Let me know in the comments.

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Notice: Southeast Asia Digital Library Videos!

In notice on July 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm

An email on the Thai/Laos/Cambodia Studies Group mailing list alerted me to this amazing new archive from Northern Illinois University (NIU): The “Living Memory of the Khmer” video interview project. This will be of enormous value to a great number of people: historians, researchers, linguists, and anthropologists, of course, but also to students of the Khmer language, who can use these videos to get a sense of the way people actually speak.

Just fantastic; make sure to also check out the photo archives, such as Cambodian Then and Now.

SEADL Repository | Southeast Asia Digital Library.

April 22: Friday Forum Lecture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

In notice on April 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm

The good folks at the University of Wisconsin-Madison‘s Center for Southeast Asian Studies have invited me to give a lecture at their Friday Forum Series [schedule]. I’m honored by their invitation, and will be talking about a relatively new direction in my research: the role of ritual in the construction of multi-ethnic communities.

Raising The Neak Ta (Sino-Khmer Ritual)

The presentation is titled “Khmer Spirits, Chinese Bodies: Spirit Possession in Contemporary Sino-Khmer Communities in Cambodia,” and is related to a forthcoming contribution of the same title [Forthcoming in "Articulations with modernity: Religion and cultural crisis in Southeast Asia." Social Sciences in Asia Monograph Series. Brill, edited by Alexander Horstmann and Thomas Reuter.].

“Khmer spirits, Chinese bodies” explores two Neak Ta spirit possession rituals, performed by reconstituting and ascendant ethnic Chinese and Sino-Khmer community organizations and business groups throughout Cambodia. Neak Ta are ancestral place spirits conceived of as ‘ancestral spirits.’ This presentation examines the underlying Khmer beliefs and practices relating to Neak Ta cults, and focuses on the practices of spirit possession among Chinese Cambodians in these cults. The two examples discussed challenge a current typology of spirit possession and diasporic religion, opening up the possibility of diasporic practice that is localizing without assimilating.

Thanks also to those who have written in, congratulating me for my new position as the Chair of the Thailand/Laos/Cambodia Studies Group, succeeding the exceedingly successful tenure of Justin McDaniel.  I have very big shoes to fill on this front, and will rely on the continued good will and extensive knowledge base of the membership there, which I am so glad to have joined.

SOUNDING on Cambodia, September 3, 2010

In sounding on September 3, 2010 at 10:20 am

Holy Crap – I have almost never, in my entire museum-going life (and folks, I’m *married* to a curator, so I’ve been to a lot of museums) heard about an exhibit I want to see more than this one: “Life, Death, and Magic: 200 Years of Southeast Asian Art,” at the National Gallery of Australia, in Canberra.  the description of the exhibit is as follows:

For thousands of years, across mainland and island Southeast Asia, the deification of significant ancestors and the veneration of spirits of nature have formed the basis of traditional beliefs. It has also been the impetus for the creation of splendid and extraordinary works of art in fibre, stone, metal, wood and clay—made to protect and give pleasure to the living, to honour the ancestors and to secure safe passage for the human soul between this world and the afterlife.

Life death and magic: 2000 years of Southeast Asian ancestral art provides an evocative overview of the region’s ancestral arts and culture, from prehistoric times to the twenty-first century. Beautifully designed, it is prolifically illustrated with works of art from countries and regions including Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, East Timor, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia and southern China which are drawn from museums around the world and the National Gallery of Australia’s exceptional collection of Southeast Asian art.

Now, there’s no way I can raise the scratch to go see this exhibit, so I’m counting on my Australian friends to go, take photos if possible, and comment or post them somewhere.  This is astonishing looking work.  Thank Flying Spaghetti Monster they’re publishing a catalog.  Which I’ve already ordered. Massive Hat Tip to Alison of AlisoninCambodia for the notice.

NoelbyNature, the animating force behind the Southeast Asian Archaeology Blog, has some lovely notes and photos from excavations at Angkor Wat.

Hat tip to Igor Prawn for posting the nice graphic of the World’s Tallest Towers, including a space for the entirely hallucinatory and never-to-be built tower bragged about recently by PM Hun Sen.  Phnom Penh Post.

Also, Tuol Sleng, the notorious prison and torture center also called (more appropriately, S-21), rated a mention at Atlas Obscura.

RIP, Yoneo Ishii, great scholar of Southeast Asia

In comment on February 14, 2010 at 11:03 am

The great scholar and historian of Southeast Asia, Yosheo Ishii, has passed.  He passed on February 12, 2010, at the age of 81.  His published work on Buddhism in Thailand, including most especially his influential and magisterial work, Sangha, State, and Society.

A guru of Southeast Asian scholars, the great professor cultivated, encouraged, and influenced an enormous number of students, some of whom are themselves continuing this tradition of  generosity to their next generation. The memorials on the Thailand/Laos/Cambodia email list continue, and some of these scholars have made touching declarations, including this excerpt from one of my own teachers, Professor Charles Keyes of the University of Washington, who wrote touchingly that

Although Aj. Ishii has left behind his moral remains, his karmic legacy will continue to have very positive influences on generations of scholars of Thailand to come. I personally owe him a great debt for providing a model for being a student of Thai culture and history.

Rest in Peace, Ajaan Ishii.

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