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This Week in Southeast Asian Studies (TWISEA)
April 5, 2016
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Ethnography & Understanding
Ulil Amri (right) with his family at SEAC Annual Fall Reception 2015
Ulil is a PhD student in Anthropology. He's also an international student from Indonesia. His research focuses on “climate change discourse and religious environmental movement in Indonesia.” "I am interested in investigating how faith based organizations get involved in tackling the impact of the climate change in the country," he said.

Ulil chose to attend UW for two reasons. First, the Anthropology Department has a “strong social-cultural program,” which he believed would help him “achieve…[his] academic goals.” And second, he found the Southeast Asian studies program appealing since it “hosts numbers of scholars” who are researching Southeast Asia.
 
For dissertation research, Ulil will be conducting ethnography to understand “how faith based organizations get involved in tackling the impact of the climate change in the country [Indonesia].” “I will spend most of the fieldwork time to ‘live and work with’ my interlocutors (the members of the faith based organizations) in order to better understand the way they do their everyday work in producing biodiesel, and being involved in the climate change action,” Ulil said.
 
The one important tip Ulil has for conducting ethnography is to emphasize “understanding.” “I tried to avoid ‘explaining’ what people are doing, but tried to understand the way they do their activity. By doing so, I believe I will be able to show the holistic picture of my research,” he explained. In addition, by focusing on understanding, Ulil believes that his research will become a “social or collaborative project.” “I am not the only ethnographer in the project, my interlocutors also contribute to it. They are the ‘real ethnographers, not me,” he added.  

Besides being a graduate student, Ulil is also a husband and a father of two young children. So, his schedule is not only about classes. “So far, I just spend some time with family in the morning, school in the afternoon, and then back home in the evening,” Ulil said. And a sense of humor does help with the transition. For instance, Ulil’s 4-year old son Rausyan was obsessed with snow. The boy constantly asked his father, “When is the snow coming, dad? I want to see it!” At one point, Ulil was contemplating driving him to Mount Rainier, so that he would stop asking to see snow. For his daughter Raisya, food became a talking point. She became a much better eater. And she had grown so much since they arrived in Seattle that Ulil’s family in Indonesia often joked, “When you finish your school and are going back home, you may consider leaving Raisya there.”
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Upcoming Events (4)

Research in the New Myanmar

 

Patrick McCormick
Researcher and Representative of EFEO, Branch Office in Myanmar


Today, April 5, 4:00-5:30 p.m.

Thomson Hall, Room 101

As Burma begins to open up, there is great interest in doing research, both as foreign researchers doing their own projects, and as working with local researchers. Since 2010, many foreign governments and universities have tried to engage with local universities, but have found challenging an environment of low educational standards resulting from decades of neglect, not to mention difficult bureaucratic hurdles. Think tanks and civil society organizations act as centers of knowledge creation, not the universities. Patrick will speak both about the changing possibilities for engaging with local universities and about the social research of local organizations.

Event Link
Facebook Link
 

Book Talk | Untying Ethnic Pasts from the Nation: Writing New Histories for the Mons of Burma
 

Patrick McCormick
Researcher and Representative of EFEO, Branch Office in Myanmar


Tomorrow, April 6, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Thomson Hall, Room 317
Ideas of the nation, ethnicity, and the nation-state continue to shape how we write the past in Burma, even as history as a discipline has moved beyond those premises elsewhere. The histories of most Burmese minorities have never been confined only to the modern nation-state of Burma. The pasts of many, such as of the Mons—one of the oldest civilization of Southeast Asia—have become incorporated into a national past, bound to Burma, and largely relegated to “ancient times.” Strikingly, Mon nationalists and intellectuals largely embrace this situation as a way to promote their visions of the past and future.
 
What are the possibilities for moving beyond these confines to talk about Mons in the past without following the logic of a national or ethnic history? Whose interests would such a project serve?

Event Link
Facebook Link

Movie Night

The Vertical Ray of the Sun


Thursday, April 14, 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Thomson 101
It has been 15 years since the movie made its debut in France and Vietnam. But the story of three sisters in modern-day Hanoi seeking advice from each other on every subject, even the most intimate, and each having a secret is still very relevant. Love, family and loyalty are constantly questioned -- what matters most?

Come join us. Popcorn and soft drinks will be provided.


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Back to the Source: Music from Central Java


Friday, April 22, 2016, 8:00pm

Wayward Music Series at the Chapel Performance Space
Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Seattle

Tickets at the door, $5–15
Information: gamelanpacifica.orgwaywardmusic.org
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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 seac@uw.edu.

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Jobs

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Fellowships and Funding

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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

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Study Abroad

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Educators: Sign up for our K-14 educator emails for events and resources geared specifically towards teachers. 

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