Friday Forum - Spring Semester 2004-05

January 21, 2005 - Cliff Thompson (Law School, UW-Madison) 
"Developing Economic Law Capability in Indonesia" 
Law reform began in the 90s without sufficient Indonesian capacity to carry it out. The talk will focus upon the role of Thompson and others to help build a viable situation.

January 28, 2005 - Megan Sinnott (Anthro., Yale University) 
"Sexuality in Thailand and the Trouble with Queer: Why We Need to Bring Gender Back into the Study of Global Queer Sexuality" 
Scholars are increasingly turning to the topics of gay and lesbian sexualities in non-western settings, and the effects of transnationalism and globalization on these sexualities. However, the lack of feminist analysis of gender dynamics has led to decontextualized descriptions of homosexuality and transgenderism. An examination of the dynamics of the sex/gender order in Thailand will illustrate the importance of a feminist analysis for the understanding of male and female sexual subcultures.

February 4, 2005 - Joseph Errington ( Anthro., Yale) 
“Shapes of Change in Javanese Indonesia(n): Language and Identity in Troubled Times”
Since the fall of the New Order, movements for autonomy have emerged all over Indonesia, including newly fragmented regions of Java. This talk provides a language-centered outline of political and cultural issues involved in ongoing shifts from older, "official" versions of Javanese ethnicity to newer, more localized senses of collective identity.

February 11, 2005 -Philip Short ( Writer, BBC Correspondent '77-'98) 
"Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare" 
The Cambodian leader, Pol Pot, was the architect of a revolution whose radical egalitarianism exceeded any other in history. In the three years he held power, he transformed his country into a slave state in which more than a million people--a fifth of the population--perished. How did an idealistic dream of justice mutate into one of humanity's worst nightmares? The writer, Philip Short, discusses the causes of the Cambodian tragedy; the responsibility of outside powers, including the US; and the perils of imposing simplistic solution on complicated problems--an issue which remains highly relevant today.

February 18 - Ara Wilson (Women's Studies, Ohio State University) 
"The Intimate Economies of Bangkok"
This talk builds on my 2004 ethnography, The Intimate Economies of Bangkok, which examines the intimate effects of globalization on Thais by highlighting the interaction of global capitalism with local moral economies. Using a range of examples, including Amway, sex work, and shopping malls, I show how gender, ethnicity, and sexuality are intertwined with the expanse of the transnational market economy.

February 25, 2005 - Sally Ness (Dance, UC Riverside)
“Going Back to Bateson; Towards a Semeiotics of Balinese Dance”
Gregory Bateson's collaborative work with Margaret Mead on Balinese nonverbal activity is generally recognized as pioneering research that originated the field of visual anthropology. Bateson's extensive work filming Balinese body movement practices also produced a distinctive interpretive perspective on dance movement that deserves recognition as having anticipated analytical frameworks developed only many decades later. While Bateson's achievements were to a considerable extent methodologically driven, the question remains as to what distinctive features of Balinese dance also contributed to the development of Bateson's extraordinary analytical perspective.

March 4, 2005 - Alda Blanco (Spanish and Portuguese, UW-Madison) 
"Memory Work and Empire: Madrid's Philippine Exhibition, 1887" 
This paper analyzes the "General Exhibition of the Philippine Islands" which took place in Madrid in 1887. The only colonial exhibition to be held in Spain, it attempted to invigorate Spain's colonial relationship with the Philippines by displaying the material culture of the archipelago and its inhabitants.

March 11, 2005 - Steve McKay (Sociology, UW-Madison) 
"Born to Sail? Filipino Seafarers and the Colonial Construction of an Ethnic Labor Niche" 
The paper analyzes the historical rise and contemporary reproduction of the Filipino ethnic niche in global seafaring. I first document the role of three American colonial institutions that helped racialize Filipino labor and channel it into the US Navy and Merchant Marines. I then turn to how the contemporary Philippine state continues to regulate the labor niche and craft narratives of heroism and masculinity to reinforce it.

March 18, 2005 - No FF

April 1, 2005 - AAS No FF

April 8, 2005 - Panel with Dr. Srisompob Jitpiromsri, and Dr. Wattana Sugunnasil (Prince Songkhla University-Pattani)
“Violence and Conflicts in the Malay-Muslim Region of Southern Thailand”
Violence in the Malay-Muslim region of Southern Thailand has become a crisis since 2004. Why? How the Thai government's response to the crisis has failed, perhaps even exacerbate the crisis?

April 15, 2005 - Alexander Horstmann (Institut für Ethnologie, Westphalian University of Münster)
"Religious Purification and Resistance in Southern Thailand: The Tablighi Jama'at in Nakhon Si Thammarat"
The talk explores the tensions and the borderline between local and universal concepts of Islam. Research on the Thai-speaking Muslim communities in Nakhon Si Thammarat in the Gulf of Thailand reveals that the Tablighi Jama'at, probably the largest Islamic missionary movement of the world, are flourishing in Muslim villages, take over control of the mosques and of the local public sphere. Yet, as local Muslim authorities stick to the old ways, the purification campaign cannot be fully implemented.

April 22, 2005 - David Engel (Law School, State University of New York - Buffalo)
"Globalization and the Decline of Legal Consciousness: Torts, Ghosts, and Karma in Thailand"
Based on fieldwork in Chiangmai in the 1970s and in the 1990s, the talk explores the chaning role of law in the consicousness and behavior of ordinary Thai people, suggesting that injured people in Chianmai actually rely less on the law than in the past. The "decline of legal consciousness" can be explained in terms of a transformation in the relationship between Buddhism and locality-based remediation practices.

April 29, 2005 - Rene Lysloff (Ethnomusicology, UC-Riverside)
"Seni Posmo: The Dilemma of Contemporary Indonesian Music" 
Yogyakarta, the heart of Central Javanese traditional high culture, is also the epicenter of contemporary arts, including new music. These artists view themselves as postmodernists, rejecting the nihilist and reactionary urges in modernism, while drawing inspiration from traditional and popular forms even as they criticize the crass commercialism of pop or the elitist values of Western classical and Javanese court music. In this context postmodernism can also be seen as an expression of post-colonial sensibilities, an aesthetic strategy to embrace and reject Western cultural domination.