What are the landscapes of Southeast Asia? How are they inhabited, cultivated, framed, curated, and witnessed—and by whom? A reading group run by Dr Nicole CuUnjieng Aboitiz (Clare Hall Research Fellow) and Dr Michael Edwards seeks to explore these questions and more during Michaelmas 2021 and Lent 2022.
Seven meetings will be run over the two terms, and all are welcome to join what promises to be a lively discussion.
Landscape has featured prominently in studies of Southeast Asia: literally, as the terrain across which contested processes of development and dispossession play out, often through the entanglement of human and non-human lives; as well as metaphorically, as a way of thinking about fraught histories of political transition, for example, or about the diversity characterising religious life across the region. In these ways, landscapes emerge from accretions of memory and meaning, even as they also draw the eye to horizons along which futures are imagined. Southeast Asian Studies has its own traditions and techniques of viewing that determine what stands as figure, what as ground, and what gets altogether left out of the frame.
This reading group is an opportunity to explore these various landscapes in and of Southeast Asia through discussions ranging from the place of the image in workings of the democratic public sphere, and the relation between the city and ideas of paradise and wilderness, to the figures of the frontier and periphery and their location in histories and geographies of capitalism.
Dr Nicole CuUnjieng Aboitiz is a Research Fellow at Clare Hall. She researches global intellectual history. Her recent book on the Philippine Revolution, Asian Place, Filipino Nation, traces the histories of Southeast and East Asia through an innovative reconsideration of the revolution’s transnational political setting and regional intellectual foundations.
Please email Dr CuUnjieng Aboitiz if you’re interested in joining, and a specific reading session schedule and Zoom links will follow via email.