Covid Connections

While the Covid-19 pandemic has been a global disaster, killing and disabling many thousands of people, our forced isolation has led us to rely on alternative ways to communicate. Unable to sustain our preferred face-to-face interactions, we have discovered that interactive technology exists to permit us to continue to connect. In fact, this global threat has compelled us to use technology to bridge the distances between us and to reach out in ways that were infrequently utilized before the pandemic struck. This page of our website is intended to highlight how members of our faculty and staff have developed innovative and meaningful connections with our global colleagues, particularly in Southeast Asia. As we launch this page, we are confident that these connections will grow, even after the pandemic has ended. Below we describe several of the connections that have been made between our faculty and staff  and a number of global institution, organizations, and groups that share our interest in Southeast Asia. When possible, we have provided links to these events.


Professor Ian Baird (Geography Department, Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and coordinator of the Hmong Studies Consortium, UW-Madison) was invited to give an online lecture at the Asien-Afrika-Institut at Universität Hamburg, Germany, on February 1, 2021. His talk examines how sovereign power variously shifted over space and time, with the goal of using Champassak royalty to better understand how royal sovereignty works. The recording of his lecture titled “Champassak Royalty and Sovereignty” can be accessed here.

Professor Baird was also invited to give an online lecture for the Mekong Land Research Forum in the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development at Chiang Mai University (Thailand) on June 23, 2021. His talk focused on the many challenges and limitations that plantation developers face in southern Laos and northeastern Cambodia. In particular, his lecture considered how problems associated with plantation development often emerge due to fluctuating crop prices as well as poor planning that partially stems from investors adopting a “resource frontier” mindset. The recording of his talk titled “Problems for the Plantations: Challenges for large-scale land concessions in Laos and Cambodia” can be accessed here.


On November 11 (2020), Professor Alfred W. McCoy served as a member of dissertation defense committee for Eric Gutierrez, a doctoral student at the Institute of Social Sciences, Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Sitting virtually with Professor McCoy in the committee chairs were Professors Kendra McSweeny (Ohio State), Kees Biekart (Erasmus), Julia Buxton (Manchester), Dave Taylor (Swansea), Feroza Tedja (ISS-Erasmus), Jun Borras (ISS-Erasmus), and Rector Magnificus , ISS, Erasmus University Inge Hutter. Gutierrez’s dissertation was titled “Criminals without Borders” (a study of the global drug war) and he earned a doctorate cum laude, which is given only in 5% of all cases.


Dr. Erlin Barnard was an invited speaker in a webinar “The Teaching of Indonesian as a Foreign Language (BIPA) across Five Continents” organized by State University of Jakarta, on October 31 (2020). She has also been invited to become part of the Virtual Public Lecture (VPL) P2P – People to People Initiative 2020 committee on BIPA, sponsored by Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, The Indonesian State University Rectors Council, Indonesian Scientific Diaspora in the U.S. and Canada, The Education Attaché, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia Washington D.C.

Dr. Barnard is scheduled to give an online lecture on Materials Development in Spring (2021).


Professor Tyrell Haberkorn (Asian Languages & Cultures, UW-Madison) helped to organize and moderate a virtual roundtable, convened on October 28 (2020), titled: “Uprising in Thailand”. Spreakers included Allen Hicken (University of Michigan), Daungyewa Utarasint (NYU-Abu Dhabi), Erik Kuhonta (McGill University), Penchan Phoborisut (CSU-Fullerton), Tamara Loos (Cornell University), and Thak Chaloemtiarana (Cornell University) discussed the past, present, and future of the current uprising in which hundreds of thousands of people went to the streets throughout Thailand. What do the protestors want, and what was the genesis of the protests? How do the protest strategies compare with those used in earlier struggles and across the region? What transformations may unfold, and why are they significant? What is driving the state response to the protests?

This round table was a success, attended by 340 participants. Click here to watch the recording.


Since its publication in 2019, the book by Professor Anna Gade (Environmental Studies and Religion, UW-Madison), Muslim Environmentalisms has drawn interest not only from academics in the US but also from a wide range of scholars and religious leaders in Indonesia, the country focus of the book. Gade has been invited to give talks & discussions on her book for audiences in Indonesia and has done so in Indonesia. Her first book discussion was held on September 18th (2020) and was sponsored by Pusat Pengajian Islam (Center for Islamic Studies), Universitas Nasional, Indonesia. The recording of this event can be watched here.

In addition, Professor Gade was invited to give a virtual talk on October 27 (2020) for the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Washington DC, as a part of its Serial Webinar series on US Higher Education Policy.


Professor Nam Kim (Anthropology Department, UW-Madison) was an invited speaker for History Hit TV’s podcast series “The Ancients” on October 24 (2020). Professor Kim was interviewed by host Tristan Hughes on “Legendary Cổ Loa: Vietnam’s Ancient Capital.” History Hit TV is a British online platform which provides various documentaries, interviews and short films on various historical topics through video, podcasts, and articles. Click here to listen to the podcast.


Professor Alfred W. McCoy (History, UW-Madison) was invited as the keynote speaker on the “Geopolitics of Philippines Politics” for the National Conference of Philippines Political Science Association, in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, on August 24 (2020). This event was attended by 500 people and was followed by nearly an hour of questions and answers, all focused on the geopolitical conundrums of the Philippines, caught between two superpowers, Beijing & Washington.


Dr. Eunsook Jung (Assistant Dean, College of Letters & Sciences, UW-Madison) was invited to present three talks in Indonesia, in Indonesian. She was an invited speaker for the “Webinar Partisipasi Masyarakat Sipil dalam Penyusunan Kebijakan Publik di Tiga Benus (Webinar on Civil Participation in Drafting Public Policies in Three Continents) which was organized by the Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Gunung Djati Bandung on September 30 (2020).

A month later, October 29 (2020), Dr. Jung was invited to present another talk in Indonesian titled “Bedah Buku The New Santri” (Singapore, ISEAS). In this event, she was part of a group discussion of this new edited volume on the challenges to traditional religious authority. Dr. Jung’s chapter in this book is entitled “Mobilizing on Morality: Conservative Islamic Movements and Policy Impact in Contemporary Indonesia.”

Dr. Jung’s latest talk titled, “Seminar INTERNASIONAL dan BEDAH BUKU on NEW SANTRI : Future Challenges and Opportunities,” was held on November 10 (2020) by the Komite Pusat Kajian Kebijakan Publik Bisnis dan Industri, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember in collaboration with LKAS and Alumni Pascasarjana UINSA (Sunan Ampel State Islamic University Surabaya). Click here to watch the talk.


Dr. Michael Cullinane (Center for SE Asian Studies, UW-Madison) was invited to deliver a talk sponsored by the University of San Carlos Museum & the Philippine National Historical Commission on September 18 (2020). The presentation was titled “Ang Kaagi sa mga Kaagi: Biographical Journeys through the History of Cebu” and was attended by 131 participants across the Philippines. Watch the recording of this talk here.

On October 23 (2020), he was also invited by the Cebu-based heritage & cultural organization, Hambin (Hamiling Binilin), to present a talk commemorating the 60th anniversary of the death of Sergio Osmeña, Cebu’s most prominent political leader. This talk, titled “The Osmeñas and Their Lands, 1770-1940,” was streamed live on the Facebook page of Hambin and the recoding can be watched here.


Professor Anne Hansen (History, UW-Madison) was an invited speaker for two episodes of the Cambodian Buddhist Monk Society TV program “Buddhasasana” (CBMS TV), a joint Cambodian-US series. The program, targeting Cambodian monks and to lay people in both the US and Cambodia, was streamed by The Cambodia Buddhist Monk Society USA’s Facebook page. Professor Hansen’s first talk was focused on “Ideas of the Dharma and Mental Health” aired on June 20 (2020: click here to watch) and her second talk on “Mental Illness and Khmer History” aired on July 11 (2020: click here to watch).