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Dept. of Asian Languages and Civilizations: Southeast Asia Seminar Series

  • September 27, 2013 ~ September 27, 2013
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SNU's Dept. of Asian Languages and Civilizations has launched"Southeast Asia Seminar Series" starting with Inaugural Lectures on September 27, 2013.

Southeast Asia Seminar Series: Inaugural lectures
Date: 27 September 2013
Time: 14:00-17:00
Venue: Shinyang (Building #4) International Conference Room 302
Chairperson: Prof. Koh Keng We (Asian History, SNU)

Speaker: Prof. Barbara Andaya (Asian Studies, University of Hawai’i)
Subject: The Ever-Present Sea: Cosmologies and Religious Beliefs around the “Single Ocean.”

In recent years a number of scholars have argued that littoral and ocean-going communities can have more in common with each other than with inland societies in the same country. To date comparative work has tended to focus on the empirical evidence supplied by case studies, pointing to similarities in modes of coastal livelihood, involvement in maritime trade networks, navigational and ship-building skills, and the nature of gender relations. These studies have also shown that the lives of peoples economically reliant on the sea are fraught with unpredictability, and that belief in omens and the efficacy of spirit propitiation are a common means of ensuring good fortune in fishing or trade as well as protection against shipwreck or pirate attack. Not surprisingly, such beliefs can readily be found in maritime societies around the “single ocean” that reaches from Africa to Japan, where legends and cosmological beliefs gave sea deities and the rituals associated with them a central place. In examining a range of literary and historical sources from the premodern period, this paper argues that a preoccupation with the sea was retained even as beliefs and practices associated with world religions like Islam or Buddhism were adopted. In appropriating the metaphor of the ocean, and in transforming land-based divinities into powerful sea spirits, coastal communities retained their ancient connections with the ocean while acknowledging links that bound them to inland centers of spiritual authority.

About the speaker: Prof. Barbara Andaya
Barbara Watson Andaya (BA Sydney, MA Hawai‘i, Ph.D. Cornell) is Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawai’i. Between 2003 and 2010 she was Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and in 2005-06 she was President of the American Association of Asian Studies. In 2000 she received a John Simon Guggenheim Award, and in 2010 she received the University of Hawai‘i Regents Medal for Excellence in Research. She has lived and taught in Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and the United States. Her specific area of expertise is the western Malay-Indonesia archipelago, but she maintains an active teaching and research interest across all Southeast Asia. Her publications include Perak, The Abode of Grace: A Study of an Eighteenth Century Malay State (1979), co-editor Tuhfat al-Nafis (The Precious Gift) (1982), co-author A History of Malaysia (1982; revised edition, 2000); To Live as Brothers: Southeast Sumatra in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (1993);The Flaming Womb: Repositioning Women in Early Modern Southeast Asia (2006). She is completing a history of Early Modern Southeast Asia with Leonard Y. Andaya for Cambridge University Press. Her present project is a history of Christian localization in Southeast Asia, 1511-1900.

Speaker: Prof. Leonard Andaya (Southeast Asian History, University of Hawai’i)
Subject: “Flights of Fancy”: Birds of Paradise and Global Trade

Southeast Asia has long been a source of exotic goods for the rest of the world, and none was more exotic than the feathers of the bird of paradise. When the bird reached the market, it was packed in such a way that it gave rise to the belief that it was born in the air and never descended to the ground. Even its demise was cloaked in other worldly terms because it was thought that, when its death was close approaching, it would fly straight into the sun into oblivion. Because of these wondrous traits, it was known by some native groups and by early Europeans as the “bird of the gods.” This essay examines both these mythical and the actual characteristics of this bird, and then shows how such a creature came to play such a varied role both within the lands where they are found, as well as in the lands that imported its feathers. This presentation uses a cultural approach to trade to provide a more human dimension to global exchange.

About the speaker: Prof. Leonard Andaya
Leonard Y. Andaya is a professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu. He has written extensively on the early modern history of Southeast Asia, particularly on Indonesia and Malaysia. His most recent publications are The World of Maluku: Eastern Indonesia in the Early Modern Period (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993), a revised edition (with Barbara Watson Andaya) of A History of Malaysia (London: Palgrave, 2000), and Leaves of the Same Tree: Trade and Ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008). He is completing a manuscript with Barbara Watson Andaya on the early modern history of Southeast Asia for Cambridge University Press. His latest research examines the complex network of relationships in eastern Indonesia that helped bind together the disparate cultural communities into a functioning unity in the early modern period.

Registration: Admission is free. We would greatly appreciate if you RSVP Ms LEE Kyoung Won via email:
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