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CSEAS Symposium: Nation-Building in War: The Experience of Republican Vietnam, 1955-1975

CSEAS will host a two-day symposium on October 17-18 on the experience of nation-building in South Vietnam before 1975.

During this period, many Vietnamese sought a non-communist future for their country with the support of the U.S. Over more than two decades, these men and women worked together toward that goal as much as fought against each other over differences in visions and policies. This took place within the broader context of large-scale military conflicts (the civil war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam and the Cold War between the superpowers).

Scholarship on the subject has focused mostly on that broader context of warfare while overlooking the project of nation-building carried out by South Vietnamese. In fact, much more took place in politics, society, culture, and the economy than in the military realm. Another bias of scholarship is its obsession with external intervention and its corresponding neglect of Vietnamese agency. While the U.S. played a crucial role in the viability of South Vietnam as an independent entity, South Vietnamese efforts have not been fully appreciated.

This symposium hopes to document and analyze such Vietnamese efforts in both military and other areas of nation-building by presenting panels of South Vietnamese officials, politicians, academics, and journalists who were active participants in historical developments, paired with panels of young scholars who will be asked to place the testimonies of participants in their contexts and to evaluate their significance.

Organizers: Peter Zinoman, Professor of History, UC Berkeley; Tuong Vu, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Oregon

Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) awards for 2016-17

CSEAS awarded FLAS fellowships for 2016-17 to incoming graduate students Jonathan Baldoza (Asian Studies) to study Indonesian and Yasmin Golan (Folklore) to study Vietnamese and to continuing graduate students Tomas Leon (Environmental Health Sciences) to study Thai, Michelle Phillips (Sociology) and Caleb Caswell-Levy (Integrative Biology) to study Indonesian and Phung Su (Sociology) to study Vietnamese. Blair Dishon (Linguistics/South & Southeast Asian Studies) received a FLAS undergraduate fellowship to study Thai.

As a U.S. Department of Education Title VI-funded National Resource Center, CSEAS administers Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for students who plan to study a Southeast Asian language during the academic year or summer. Academic year FLAS fellowships for graduate students cover tuition fees and provide a stipend of $15,000. Undergraduate fellowships provide a $10,000 award towards tuition and a $5,000 stipend.

Symposium on the legacy of Prof. Benedict Anderson

CSEAS offers condolences to colleagues at Cornell University as well as the family and friends of Prof. Benedict Anderson, who passed away in East Java on December 12. Although known most widely for his book Imagined Communities, Prof. Anderson is a seminal figure in the field of Southeast Asian Studies, whose works on Indonesia, on Thailand and on the Philippines are of particular note. Prof. Anderson was instrumental in developing and guiding the renowned Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University, and was the advisor and mentor for many students at Cornell over the years, including CSEAS Chair Pheng Cheah, Vice Chair Sarah Maxim and CSEAS core faculty Nancy Lee Peluso, Peter Zinoman and Jeffrey Hadler. A symposium on his work and legacy, hosted by CSEAS, was held at UC Berkeley on Friday, February 19, 2016. Some tributes from UC Berkeley faculty, including CSEAS core faculty, are available on this special page of our website.

UC Berkeley-UCLA Southeast Asian Studies Conference, April 22-23, 2016

The Center for Southeast Asia Studies at UC Berkeley and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at UCLA held a conference on the theme Making Southeast Asian Cultures: From Region to World from April 22-23, 2016 on the UC Berkeley campus. The conference sought to reopen the question of Southeast Asia’s culture both by looking back at the history of the region and at the dynamic transnational processes at work in contemporary globalization that actively make Southeast Asian cultures today. A special priority of the conference was to highlight current research on Southeast Asia being carried out in the University of California and California State University systems. The keynote speaker was Prof. Melani Budianta from the University of Indonesia. Please see the conference website for the program.