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Current Research

The Center for Southeast Asia Studies is an Organized Research Unit (ORU) in the University of California system, under the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at Berkeley. An advisory committee of UC Berkeley faculty members with research interests in Southeast Asia, led by a faculty Chair, supervises CSEAS, directing its outreach and research programs and strategic direction. The CSEAS research platform highlights both individual faculty member projects as well as interdisciplinary approaches involving faculty members working in different departments. 


Faculty Research

Pheng Cheah is the Chair of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. His latest book is What is a World?: Postcolonial Literature as World Literature (Duke University Press, 2016). Prof. Cheah was a panelist at a conference on world studies at the University of Hong Kong in June 2016. He was the organizer of the international conference, 'Siting Postcolonialiity' held at the University of Hong Kong in June 2015.

Catherine Ceniza Choy is leading a UC Berkeley Social Science Matrix research team on "Migration, Racialization, and Gender” in Fall 2016 and is also the project director of a 2016-17 Institute of International Studies Interdisciplinary Faculty Group on "Gender and the Trans-Pacific World." Prof. Choy was based in Sout Korea in 2015-16 as a Fulbright Scholar. Her most recent book is Global Families: A History of Asian International Adoption (NYU Press, 2013). 

Penny Edwards is developing a book manuscript on the life in exile of Prince Myingun Min of Burma and received a Mellon Project Grant (2011-2013) awarded by UC Berkeley’s College of Letters and Sciences for a biographical project exploring the lives of Alexandra David Neel, Yongden Lama, Mirra Alfassa, Sri Aurobindo, Suzanne Karpeles and Chuon Nath. 

Jeffrey Hadler was awarded the Harry Benda Prize at the 2011 Association of Asian Studies annual meeting for his book, Muslims and Matriarchs: Cultural Resilience in Indonesia through Jihad and Colonialism (Cornell, 2008). The Benda Prize is given annually by the AAS Southeast Asia Council to an outstanding younger scholar for a first book in the field of Southeast Asian Studies. This was the third time this prestigious award has been given to a UC Berkeley faculty member. Prof. Hadler's current research project focuses on the Indonesian painter Nashar who was active in the 1960s and into the 1970s. 

Aihwa Ong gave the 25th Wertheim Lecture at the University of Amsterdam in May 2016. Her 2014 Moses Memorial Lecture at UC Berkeley on the topic, "Where the Wild Genes Are" can be viewed online. Her new book is Fungible Life: Experiment in the Asian City of Life (Duke University Press, 2016).

Nancy Lee Peluso is working on a manuscript examining forests and land issues in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Her research on small-scale gold mining in West Kalimantan was outlined in an article in the academic blog New Mandala in July 2015, with an accompanying video essay. Prof. Jeff Hadler and Prof. Peluso were the convenors for UCLA's April 2013 Indonesian Studies conference, "Critical Histories of Activism: Indonesia's New Order and Its Legacies". She is the co-organizer, with Eric Sheppard and Helga Leitner at UCLA, of a special workshop on Indonesian land issues to be held at UCLA in October 2016.

Sylvia Tiwon contributed the article, “Lust of the Eye: The Act of Killing and Aesthetic Sensibility” to a special issue of Critical Asian Studies focused on the award-winning documentary about Indonesia. 

Khatharya Um is Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies. Her latest book is From the Land of Shadows: War, Revolution and the Making of the Cambodian Diaspora (NYU Press, 2015). Prof. Um participated in the April 2013 Seasons of Cambodia festival in New York City, including moderating a symposium on Cambodian culture and the arts at the Asia Society, with Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, Him Sophy and Sopheap Pich. This discussion is available as a webcast

Peter Zinoman continues to serve as co-editor of the Journal of Vietnamese Studies. He is co-organizer, with Prof. Tuong Vu (University of Oregon), of a symposium on nation-building in South Vietnam to be held at UC Berkeley in October 2016. His most recent book is Vietnamese Colonial Republican: The Political Vision of Vu Trong Phung (University of California Press, 2013).