Friday Forum - Spring Semester 2003-04

January 23, 2004 - Michael Malley (Political Science, Ohio University)
"Incompatible Institutions? Centralized Parties, Fragmented Legislatures, and Decentralization in Indonesia"
Abstract: Decentralization is a common goal of countries around the world, including several in Southeast Asia. One of the most ambitious efforts to empower local governments is taking place in Indonesia. Critics typically attribute the widespread corruption and other problems that have accompanied its implementation to shortcomings in the laws that govern decentralization and to the venality of Indonesian politicians. I argue that such problems are also the unintended consequence of other institutions. Paradoxically, the laws that democratized Indonesia also tend to limit local voters' ability to hold their elected officials accountable. This tends to create a permissive environment for corruption, clientelism, and other practices that place the private interests of elected officials above the public interest.

January 30, 2004 - Julian Go (Sociology, Univ. of Illinois, Champaigne-Urbana)
"American Empire and the Politics of Meaning in Puerto Rico and the Philippines."
Abstract: Between 1898 and 1902, the United States asserted sovereignty over two far-flung territories, the Philippines and Puerto Rico, thereby turning itself into an overseas colonial empire. How was this made possible? The use of guns and bullets tells one part of the story, the other part has to do with the making of meaning. To establish its rule, the American regimes relied upon "cultural power," deploying signs and symbols to win hearts and minds. A closer examination of how those signs and symbols were received by the Puerto Rican and Filipino elite shows the workings of this form of power, as well as its limits.

February 6, 2004 - Courtney Johnson (Spanish & Portuguese, UW-Madison)
"White Love? White Masks? Institutionalizing a Filipino Hispanist Intelligentsia 1898-1908"

February 13, 2004 - Victoria Beard (Geography, UW-Madison)
"The Localization of Development and the Risk of Elite Capture: An Analysis of Community-Based Poverty Alleviation in Indonesia"

February 20, 2004 - Kevin Niemi (Center for Biology Education, UW-Madison)
"Reform and the Thai Classroom: A View of U.S. Science Education in Thailand". Dr. Niemi assesses the Thai educational system and reflects upon the goals and challenges of the current educational reform efforts in Thailand.

February 27, 2004 - Victor Bascara (English & Asian American Studies, UW-Madison)
"Where Isolationism Meets Colonialism: The Anomalous Spectacle of the Filipino American Domestic". 
Abstract: What better way to reckon with anarchy of empire in the making of U.S. culture than to examine one of the great ironies of interwar isolationism: the Filipino American Domestic?

March 26 , 2004 - Chatchai Panananon (Fulbright Scholar, N. Central College, IL) 
"Ayutthayan Slavery in the Bankok Legal Code"

April 2 , 2004 - Warwick Anderson (Medical School, University of Wisconsin-Madison) 
"Colony As An Exemplary Site: Disease, Affect and Citizenship at Culion and in the Philippines"

April 16, 2004 - Charnvit Kasetsiri (Former Rector of Thammasat, Visiting Professor, U. of Hawai'i) 
"From Colonization to Globalization: Will the Mekong River Survive?"

April 23 , 2004 - Ben Brimmer ( Department of Music, University of California, Berkeley) 
"The Cultural Ecology of Learning, Memory, and Performance: Some Javanese & Balinese Musical Examples"

April 30 , 2004 - Chalong Soontravinich (History, Chulalongkorn University) 
"Small Arms, Romance, and Crime and Violence in Post World War II Thai Society"