This Week in Southeast Asian Studies (TWISEA)
July 21, 2016
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South China Seas Decision by International Tribunal
Last week, the International Arbitral Tribunal released its findings on a case filed by the Philippines, against China, with regard to disputes in the South China Sea. The five-member Tribunal ruled on the merits of the Philippines’ case, which was based on international law as described in the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS; 1982). Since 1949, China has repeatedly asserted, via its “9-dash line” map, that it maintains traditional rights to nearly the entirety of the area known as the South China Seas (also called the West Philippine Sea), including exclusive rights to fishing, to land forms (e.g., reefs, atolls, rocks), and to economic activity above, in, and under the sea. 
The area of specific contention in this case was the Spratly Islands, which are claimed by China, the Philippines, and Viet Nam. Many of the land features in the Spratly Islands lie within the Philippines’ 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Over the past several decades, China has embarked on land reclamation activities on several of the reefs and shoals in the Spratlys. While China has made no direct statements about what has been built, satellite imagery shows what appear to be military facilities on several of the features.
The rulings of PCA Case #2013-19, released by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, essentially provided legal jurisdiction to the Philippines for all matters addressed in the suit. Further, the rulings called out China for its violation of international agreements on harvesting of endangered species and environmental care. Some believe that China’s claims are motivated by energy security needs, others by fishing protectionism, and still others by international security concerns. For a discussion of these and other motivations, see this article by the Jackson School’s own Scott Montgomery.
Earlier this month, the Jackson School Master of Arts in Applied International Studies (MAAIS) program held a two-day international crisis negotiation simulation on the South China Seas disputes and claims.
The tribunal findings did not consider any disputes between Viet Nam and the Philippines. The two nations are working to resolve those conflicting claims between themselves.

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Featured Courses

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Featured Courses - Fall 2016

ANTHROPOLOGY ANTH 479/JSIS 486 D (5 cr) with Jenna Grant
Medicine, Science, and Technology in Southeast Asia

MW 130-320 CDH 115

HISTORY HSTCMP 485/CHID 485 (5 cr) with Vicente Rafael
Comparative Colonialism

TTh 330-520 SMI 211

MUSIC MUSEN 411/MUSEN 511 (1 cr) with Christina Sunardi
Gamelan Ensembles

MW 330-450 MUS  058

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES JSIS 486 A/JSIS 586 A (5 cr) with Judith Henchy
Special Topics in Southeast Asian Studies
Th 130-420 SMI 111
This is an important class for incoming MA students, as well as other senior undergrads and grad students in other departments.

SOCIOLOGY SOC 470 (5 cr) with Charles Hirschman 
Contemporary Southeast Asia
MW 900-1020 SAV 131

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Upcoming Events 

  • Asia Talks: Kyaw Thu, Burmese Actor and Activis Tuesday, September 13, 2016 Seattle Asian Art Museum, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. See something new at this screening of the documentaryWalking a Fine Line, followed by a short talk and discussion with special guests Kyaw Thu, President, Free Funeral Services Society and Therese Caouette, Southeast Asia Regional Advisor, Partners Asia.
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Recommended Resources

This section lists news items and other recently-published resources that have been recommended by faculty and grad students over the past week. To submit an item for next week, email

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Newly Listed:

  • URGENT! UCSI International School Subang, Malaysia is currently hiring for these vacancies: ESL Teacher, General Science Teacher, Drama Teacher, Physics Teacher, Chemistry Teacher, Biology Teacher, and Humanities Teacher. Must have teaching experience. The academic year begins 8 August 2016. Email resumes to

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Fellowships and Funding

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Conferences and Calls for Papers

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  • Amerasia Journal, "Exhibiting Race and Culture" Call for Papers, with Guest Editors Professor Constance Chen (Loyola Marymount University), and Professor Melody Rod-ari (Loyola Marymount University) The issue is planned for Summer/Fall 2017 publication. Deadline for paper submittal - November 15, 2016

  • International Convention of Asia Scholars announces that ICAS 10 will take place in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from 20 - 23 July 2017. Call for Proposals (abstracts, panels,- deadline October 10, 2016

  • The AAS Program Committee is accepting Organized Panel proposals, Roundtable proposals, Workshop proposals, and Individual Paper proposals for review and consideration. The 2017 AAS Annual Conference will take place next spring in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 16-19, 2017 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto hotel.


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