Southeast Asia Seminar

Southeast Asia Seminar

Each year since 1977, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies has convened the Seminar to bring together junior and senior scholars for learning and exchange in Southeast Asian area studies. Initially, the seminar ran for two weeks, offering intensive lectures that provided an overview of the nature, culture, society, economy, and other aspects of the region and the basic knowledge needed to understand the concept of area studies. Subsequently, it became more topically focused, and the period had been shortened to one week for the convenience of participants. The seminar is open to graduate students and has attracted numerous participants each year, in particular many from within the region starting their engagement with Southeast Asian studies. Since the 1990s, with the increase in similar seminars off-campus, it has attracted increasing interest by choosing relevant topics and changing the format of participation.

    As the times have changed so has the seminar. Since the 33rd seminar in Kyoto, CSEAS has switched to an all-English seminar including lecturers from outside Japan. Since then, we have been holding a series of seminars in different countries in Southeast Asia, and participants have applied from all over the world. It provides a great opportunity for Japanese graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to exchange ideas with young scholars outside of Japan. The seminar has gradually shifted from a lecture-based format to a more participatory style in which lectures, field visits and group work provide the participants an opportunity to engage in multifaceted learning processes with not only the lecturers, but with local society and environments as well. The seminar now offers a unique framework for exchanges between young and upcoming scholars in the region helping to foster the next generation of researchers and expanding networks.

    In 2010, the seminar was in principle shifted from Kyoto to Southeast Asia, in recognition of the Center’s deep commitment to understanding the region through intensive and sustained involvement in the field. The organizers also redesigned the seminar format to enable more discussion with the lecturers, exchanges between participants, and consider the thematic issues from the local point of view. This approach lets the Center engage more closely with its partner institutions around the region, adding a new element of education and training to the collaborations that have been developed around research activities.

    Topics of the Seminar vary, but endeavor to incorporate a number of disciplinary perspectives in the annual theme – particularly the integration of ecological perspectives within social frameworks for understanding the dynamics of regional, national and local change.

    Several of the previous Japan-based Seminars had already pioneered field-based models of the “mobile workshop,” which has long been a part of the Center’s research tradition. What can a group see collectively when specialists from different backgrounds come together to conduct work on a shared research area? It is the consideration of this type of problematic that the Seminar hopes to foster among the participants. In addition to the value of multidisciplinary perspectives on an area, the Seminar also aims to cultivate added value in a heightened awareness of location of participants’ own individual specialization within a broader collaborative research framework.

The 44th Southeast Asia Seminar

Entitled “The Covid-19 Pandemic in Japanese and Southeast Asian Perspective: Histories, States, Markets, Societies,” this year’s seminar will be conducted online (via Zoom Webinar) on March 1, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m (Japan Standard Time/GMT+9:00), and, for only core participants, on March 2, 2021, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m (JST).

For more information, please click the link below.

SEA Seminar website


Past Southeast Asia Seminars

Year Country Theme
2019 Vietnam Economic Growth, Ecology, and Equality: Learning from Vietnam
2018 Bhutan Health and Rural Development based on the concept of Gross National Happiness
2017 Laos Economic Development in Laos and the Greater Mekong Region
2016 Myanmar The Promise and Challenge of Democracy in 21st Century Southeast Asia
2015 Japan Mapping the Aesthetics of Urban Life in Asian Cities: A Dialog with the Arts
2014 Cambodia Connectivity in Southeast Asia: Multidisciplinary approaches to understanding global transformations
2013 Malaysia Human-Nature Interactions in Southeast Asia: Trans-disciplinary approaches
2012 Philippines Cities and Cultures in Southeast Asia
2011 Thailand The Transformations of Human Landscape in Southeast Asia
2010 Indonesia New Concept Building for Sustainable Humanosphere and Society from the Equatorial Zone of Southeast Asia
2009 Japan “Region” and Regional Perspectives on/from Southeast Asia
2008 Japan Southeast Asia: Light and Shadow
2007 Japan Area Studies and Geographic Information Science: Observing, Analyzing and Relating the Time and Space of a Region
2006 Japan Areas Studies in Sites of “Development”: Environment, Poverty and Practice
2005 Japan Beyond Southeast Asia: The Frontier of Chinese and Overseas Chinese Studies
2004 Japan Engaging with the Field, Contributing to the Field: Diverse Approaches to Area Studies
2003 Japan Opening Mainland Southeast Asia: The Many Aspects of Market Economy Transformations
2002 Japan Life, Ageing, Sickness and Death in Southeast Asia: Perspectives from the Field
2001 Japan The Kaleidoscope of Southeast Asian History: Welcoming the 21st Century
2000 Japan 20th Century Southeast Asia: Trajectories and Prospects
1999 Japan Area Studies and Geographic Information: Fieldwork with Remote Sensing and GIS
1998 Japan The “Crisis” of the Southeast Asian Economy: Catalyst of Reform?
1997 Japan, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore Southeast Asia after the Era of Borders: From Vientiane to Singapore
1996 Japan The Many Forms of Rural Development
1995 Japan Southeast Asia from the Perspective of Human Formation
1994 Japan Southeast Asia and Human Existence
1993 Japan Area Studies Methods: From the Practice of Southeast Asian Studies
1992 Japan Area Studies Methods: From the Practice of Southeast Asian Studies
1991 Japan Southeast Asian Perspective on Nature, Development and Culture
1990 Japan Considering the Thai Economy: A View from Thailand
1989 Japan Southeast Asia as Marine Region: The Foundations of the Maritime World, Formation and Development of the Maritime World, Marine Regions and the Present
1988 Japan, Thailand Southeast Asia as a Frontier
1987 Japan Politics and Revolution in the Southeast Asian World
1986 Japan Approaches to the Southeast Asia World
1985 Japan The Malay World
1984 Japan Southeast Asian Economics from a North-South Perspectives
1983 Japan Agriculture in Southeast Asia
1982 Japan The Mainland Southeast Asian World
1981 Japan Indonesia and the Archipelagic World
1980 Japan  
1979 Japan  
1978 Japan Nature, Culture and Society in Southeast Asia
1977 Japan Rice-Producing Southeast Asia: Myrdal’s Asia, Environment and Rice Production in Southeast Asia