This Week in Southeast Asian Studies (TWISEA)
October 9, 2015
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“'...'[S]eeing' into the body is a form of healing expertise in biomedicine and Buddhist healing, yet this expertise is not primarily about fact-making, and is mediated by uncertainties about training, ethics, and intervention from other-than-biomedical actors, such as spirits,” wrote Jenna Grant.
This week we will hear from Jenna Grant. She is a new assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology of UW. Her research interests involve anthropology of science, technology, and medicine and visual studies in Cambodia. What drew her to Cambodia was “an interplay of love and work.” She moved to Sisophon (in the Northwest) with her partner when he took a job there, and her work on a WHO study of drug-related HIV risk in Poipet and Phnom Penh drew her interest towards the complex histories and politics of health interventions in Cambodia.
In Cambodia, Jenna learned Khmer and began to shape her research project. Originally, she intended “to study an international HIV prevention clinical trial that had been halted by the Prime Minister.” The topic, however, proved too controversial. Jenna quickly adapted by changing her dissertation topic to examining “biomedical imaging, such as ultrasound and x-ray, in Phnom Penh.” She conducted her research “in imaging wards of public hospitals and private clinics; with people who had used imaging technologies; and in Cambodian and French archives.”

For this academic year, Jenna hopes to connect with colleagues at UW, work on her book manuscript and help her family settle. Jenna is also teaching ANTH 475 (Perspectives in Medical Anthropology). The class is quite popular, so enrollment has been closed. If you are interested in taking a class with Jenna, you are in luck. For Winter Quarter, she will be teaching ANTH 479B (Topics in Medical Anthropology: Medicine and Technology) and ANTH 469B (Special Topics: Southeast Asian Modernities). And For Spring Quarter, she will be teaching ANTH 352 (Buddhism and Society) – which will focus on life, death and medicine.
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Upcoming Events (3)

On Sep 30, the first day of instructions, the Burmese poet Maung Yu Py and other participants of the International Writing Program's Fall Residency for 2015 came to UW to read their poetry. The event was low-key with coffee and tea served for 25 people in Peterson Room. But their words lingered and filled the room, like a warm embrace from an old friend.

Posters, Banners, and Scribbles

by Karen Strassler


Today, Oct 9, 3:30 - 5:30 PM
Communications (CMU) 226


Since 1998, the urban street has become a particularly dense zone of communication and in Indonesia. The unprecedented access to the street as a surface for inscription in the post-Suharto period has been celebrated as a material embodiment of a new democratic era of openness and popular participation. Yet the polyphony of the street with its chaotic mix of advertising, sloganeering, art, and graffiti also serves as a potent symbol of the breakdown of order that accompanied the end of state control over public discourse. Like pollution and traffic, the visual noise of the city has become a subject of public concern, spurring debate about who has the right to mark city surfaces, which kind of inscriptions are of value, and when and how public writing should be regulated. These debates, I argue, entail imaginings of and contests over the nature of the post-authoritarian public sphere.

Karen Strassler is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Queens College and CUNY Graduate Center. Her current research centers on media and the work of images in Indonesia’s post-authoritarian public sphere. Her book, Refracted Visions: Popular Photography and National Modernity in Java (Duke UP, 2010), examined the role of photography in the production of national subjects, spaces, and imaginaries in postcolonial Indonesia.

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Protecting Human Rights in Cambodia

by Stephen Rosenbaum


Mon, Oct 12, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
William H. Gates Hall, Room 117

The current Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia is the product of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, which ended the prolonged civil war following the fall of the Khmer Rouge. In it, Cambodia’s King is declared to be “the protector of rights and freedom for all citizens and the guarantor of international treaties” and “shall rule according to the Constitution and to the principles of liberal democracy." From the revered God-Kings of the Angkor Empire to the chameleonic Norodom Sihanouk, the King has played a powerful and influential role in the nation. Rosenbaum asks whether the King can actually help advance the human rights agenda, by supporting the activities of NGOs, IGOs, academic institutions, labor unions and grassroots movements for economic and social justice.

Stephen Rosenbaum is Associate Professor, Golden Gate University School of Law and John & Elizabeth Boalt Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Earlier this year, he held the post of Professor of Law, American University of Phnom Penh and in 2012-14 was a Visiting Senior Lecturer, University of Washington School of Law.

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Horror Movies from Southeast Asia

Kamar 207 (Indonesia)

Tue, Oct 13, 6:00-8:30PM
UW, Thomson Hall, Room 101

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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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  • Featured courses for Fall 2015
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Jobs (1)

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Fellowships and Funding (4)

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For general information on funding sources, including FLAS, visit the SEAC website
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Conferences and Calls for Papers (3)

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