University of Wisconsin–Madison


< 2017 >
  • Symposium on Gender and Sexualities in Southeast Asia: 206 Ingraham

    Room 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

    Room 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

    Symposium on Gender and Sexualities in Southeast Asia
    Hosted by Catriona Miller and Caitlin Benedetto

    8:00AM – 8:30AM: Breakfast (Bagels Forever)
    8:30AM – 9:30AM: Tamara Loos
    9:45AM – 10:45AM: Cindy I-Fen Cheng
    11:00AM – 12:00PM: Carla Jones
    12: 00PM – 1:00PM: Lunch (Lao Laan Xang)
    1:00PM – 2:00PM: Michael Peletz
    2:00PM – 4:00PM: Roundtable


    “Sexual Consent under Empire: Siam’s Phichan Bulayong (พิชาญ บุลยง, René Guyon) and Childhood Sexuality.” Tamara Loos, History, Cornell University

    The transnational history of debates about the age of consent reveals that it has been used as a tool of the state to regulate the sexuality of women, non-whites, colonial subjects, homosexuals, and transracial sex. Rarely has it been used to regulate the sexuality of “children,” a category that defies simplistic definition. I consider these debates as they played out in the writings and work of one man in Siam—René Guyon— a French lawyer hired in 1908 by Siam to “modernize” Siam’s civil codes on family, marriage, and the age of consent. Sent to Siam to Westernize Siamese law, Guyon ironically became an advocate for the liberation of sexuality in the West based on his fifty years of experience with legal reform and with sexual practice in Siam. Guyon wrote a nine-volume Study of Sexual Ethics (1929–1944), several volumes of which were published in Europe and America, and contributed frequently to sexology journals, where he garnered respect among his sexological peers. A study of his writing reveals how the age of sexual consent in Siam served as a dense transfer point for relations of power based on gender, race, age and empire. Guyon’s laudable sexually progressive tenets earned him the praise of sexologists and early sexual rights activists, who downplay or ignore the misogyny founding his philosophy.

    (En)gendering the “Gift of Freedom” Cindy I-Fen Cheng, History, University of Wisconsin – Madison

    Following the aftermath of the Southeast Asia War, the admittance of refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia helped to restore the nation’s sense of exceptionalism. It cast the U.S. as the bestower of “the gift of freedom,” glossing over its role in forcibly displacing the people of Southeast Asia. This talk explores the gendered dimensions of the gift of freedom. It examines oral histories and a diaristic documentary that detail the lived experiences of Cambodians residing in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco to show the various ways in which the Cambodian American mother carries forward the promises and limits of American freedom.

    Neoliberalism and the Punitive Turn in Southeast Asia: Implications for Gender, Sexuality, and Graduated Pluralism, Michael G. Peletz, Anthropology, Emory University

    This presentation draws on long-term ethnographic research spanning the period 1978-2013 to illustrate how neoliberalism and the punitive cultural-political turn that commonly goes hand-in-hand with it have informed dynamics of gender and sexuality in Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia and Indonesia. Related goals include elucidating how concepts of “gender pluralism” and “graduated pluralism” that I have developed elsewhere in relation to Southeast Asia’s early modern period can facilitate our understanding of these dynamics; and exploring some of the comparative and theoretical implications of my arguments, including their relevance for an understanding of the rising tide of punitiveness in the United States.

    “The Female Illness of Our Time”: Exposure, Cover and Scandal in Indonesia. Carla Jones, Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder

    What is the work of exposure? During the same decade in which post-authoritarian political culture in Indonesia has focused on curing corruption through exposure, Islamic aesthetic styling has become a feature of public life. Apparently the opposite of exposure—cover—Islamic styling has become especially prominent in accounts of scandal. Indonesian women therefore make appearance choices that are interpreted in a national context in which seeing is not believing and in which gossip about sources of wealth is fueled by speculation about personal styles. It is in this context that forms of flamboyant pious Islamic dress have become appealing to individual Indonesian women, yet have broadly come in for critique as expressions of insincerity. Building on the tradition of scholarship on gender in Southeast Asia that has expanded North American conceptions of the intersection of gender and politics, I argue that scholarship and examples from Indonesia over the past decade can inform our analysis of political upheaval in contemporary elsewheres. I ask how the concept of scandal, as the tantalizing but shocking revelation of secrets, is always gendered, both in its accusation and its defense.

  • Friday Forum: Brett Reilly

    Room 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

    Room 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

    Before the First Indochina War: Redefining the Origins of Vietnam’s Civil War

    “Việt Gian!!! [Race Traitor!!!]” A Việt Minh and non-communist Vietnamese soldier accuse one another in 1947. From a Vietnam Nationalist Party affiliated paper in Huế, Sóng Mới, 16 June 1947. 

    Brett Reilly
    Ph. D. Candidate
    History Department

    Debates among historians of the Indochina Wars have centered on the degree to which they were characterized by colonialism or communism. Histories of the First Indochina War – predominantly authored by diplomatic historians – offer a distinct periodization of the conflict. First, an anti-colonial phase (1945-1948) characterized as a clear-cut battle between returning French colonialists and Vietnamese nationalists; second, a Cold War phase (1949-1954) when French diplomats internationalized the war and the Vietnamese, without other recourse, aligned with the Soviet bloc. Finally, with the division of Vietnam after 1954, American support for an illegitimate South Vietnamese state cemented the Cold War in Indochina.

    This periodization is largely based on an exogenous interpretation of the First Indochina War’s causes and a focus on external actors. Conversely, this paper argues for an understanding of the Indochina Wars as an endogenous process that originated within Vietnamese society, and not simply a tragedy authored by French colonialists or American internationalists. Achieving this understanding requires looking beyond 1945, back toward 1935 and even 1925. From Marseille to Saigon and Kunming to Canton, this paper follows the heated debates and battles between Vietnamese as they struggled over the character and pace of reform and revolution in Indochina. By expanding the periodization of the conflict between Vietnam’s communist and nationalist organizations, and the civil war that would only end in 1975, we can see it originated in this earlier era.

  • Book Reading: Mai Neng Moua- The Bride Price

    Room 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

    Room 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

  • Indonesian Night 2017

    Permias Madison (Indonesian Student Association at UW-Madison) returns with its annual celebration of culture, heritage, and tradition! This year, we invite you to join us as we present traditional music and dance from all over Indonesia, along with a modern interpretation of the legend of Nyi Roro Kidul, the mythical Queen of the Southern Oceans.

    Indonesian Night 2017 will be featuring:
    Music : Balinese Gamelan (Bali), Angklung (West Java)
    Dance: Tari Kepas (Sulawesi), Saman (Aceh), Tari Kalimantan (Kalimantan), Sajojo (Papua).

    Performers: Indonesian Dance of Illinois, UW-Madison students, and Indonesian Community.

    Authentic Indonesian food will be served, and FOOD AND ADMISSION ARE FREE. It’s a unique experience unlike any other here in Madison, and we hope to see you there!

    Doors open at 6:00pm and the show begins at 6:30pm
    ROOM B10 – Ingraham Hall
    Open for all UW students and faculties.

  • Friday Forum: Dr. Valerie Kozel

    Room 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

    Room 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

    Has Vietnam ‘Made Poverty History’?

     Dr. Valerie Kozel
    Adjunct Associate Professor
    La Follette School of Public Affairs
    Former World Bank Senior Economist

    The World Bank worked together with the Ministry of Labor and Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the Government Statistics Office (GSO), and Vietnamese research institutes and universities to update the government’s poverty standards and reframe the national debate about progress and remaining challenges.  Consensus was reached that Vietnam has not (yet) made poverty history, and in important respects, the task of poverty reduction is becoming more difficult. The remaining poor are harder to reach; they face difficult challenges—of isolation, limited assets, low levels of education, poor health status—and poverty reduction is becoming less responsive to economic growth.  Ethnic minority poverty remains a growing, persistent, and poorly addressed challenge.  Based on updated statistics and standards, 58 percent of ethnic minorities still live below the poverty line in 2014, compared to only 6 percent of the Kinh majority, and share of  minorities among Vietnam’s remaining poor increased to 60 percent.

  • Friday Forum: Dr. Alison Carter

    Room 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

    Room 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

    “Looking Beyond the Temples:
    Exploring the Residences of the Ancient Angkorians”

    Alison Carter
    Assistant Professor of Anthropology
    University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

    Angkor, centered in the modern nation of Cambodia, was one of the largest preindustrial settlements in the world and has been the focus of more than a century of epigraphic, art historical, and architectural research. However, few scholars have examined the lives of the people who built the temples, kept the shrines running, produced the food, and managed the water. This presentation will focus on my recent work with the Greater Angkor Project examining Angkorian habitation areas and specifically the June-July 2015 excavation of a house mound within the Angkor Wat temple enclosure. Through this multidisciplinary research, we aim to better understand the nature and timing of occupation within the Angkor Wat temple enclosure and the types of activities taking place within an Angkorian household.

    Co-sponsored by the Archaeology Brown Bag Lecture Series
  • Friday Forum: Dr. James Thomas Collins

    Room 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

    Room 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

    “Documentation and revitalization of Indonesia’s minority languages:
    A tale of two projects”

    Emeritus Professor James T. Collins
    Principle Research Fellow
    Institute of Ethnic Studies
    Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

    In the last twenty years, language documentation of endangered languages has emerged as a new field of linguistics with contemporary priorities and procedures. Significant funding from diverse sources, including the Volkswagen Stiftung, the Arcadia Fund and the Documenting Endangered Languages Programme, has yielded accessible, archived materials of high quality. Very often these language documentation projects and programs are linked to aspirations of language revitalization. Recently, however, some consideration has been given to the strength of that link. As Peter Austin (2016), one of the leading scholars engaged in language documentation, somewhat indirectly pointed out:

    “…there are opportunities for language documentation to adopt a more socially-engaged approach to languages to and linguistic research, including better engagement with language revitalisation.”

    Beginning in 2015, Malaysian and Indonesian fieldworkers, in collaboration with a few experienced foreign scholars, have launched two projects focused specifically on language revitalization. The first project, Language networks and variation of the Bandanese (Eastern Indonesia), was funded by the Kone Foundation of Finland, under the direction of Prof. Timo Kaartinen (Helsinki University). The second project, Attitudes Towards Language Choice and Ethnicity: Multigenerational Divergence and Rapprochement, was funded by the Toyota Foundation of Japan under the direction of Dr Chong Shin (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia)

    These projects may represent a paradigm shift or, at least, a reshuffle of priorities. By putting language revitalization first with documentation as a spin-off, new procedures and new products are being tested. Perhaps this reshuffle will contribute to the empowerment of local communities to revitalize their own languages.