This Week in Southeast Asian Studies (TWISEA)
August 14, 2015
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“[E]ach field school has been a unique experience, both for me and the students,” wrote Ben Marwick

This week, we will hear from Ben Marwick. He’s an Assistant Professor of Archeology at UW, and he’s currently leading the UW Archeology Field School in Vietnam. This is his third field school, and it is a “major achievement” for him. In fact, Ben created cross-institutional and cross-cultural collaboration by involving his Thai colleague from the National Science Museum of Thailand, who was part of his second field school in 2011 in Thailand, with his new Vietnamese collaborators from the Institute of Archaeology in Hanoi.
Ben also noted that each field school was a special event. “Each of these has emerged out of unique circumstances with my local collaborators, and so each field school has been a unique experience, both for me and the students,” he wrote. And there are a lot of moving pieces in planning for each field school. Ben explained, “[It] starts with a discussion with my research collaborators long in advance, and consideration about the suitability of the location to host students and support academic activities like seminars and lectures.”
During the field school, students from both UW and local university not only learn about archeology but also gain confidence and cultural competency. Ben wrote, “The students…learn advanced field methods in archaeological survey and excavation, basic laboratory methods, archaeological theory, culture history, and of course about the local culture and language. They also learn self-efficacy and how to manage pushing the boundaries of their comfort zone.”
The field school in Vietnam also reflects Ben’s evolving research interest. As a freshman in college, Ben was “drawn to archeology…because it seemed to be the perfect combination of a discipline that grounded in historical and behavioral questions, with lots of opportunity for exciting field research, and a rich tradition of empirical science.” He also began as “an archaeologist specializing on Australian prehistory.” But as he learned more about the archeology of Southeast Asia, he “was drawn…to find out more about how this region contributed to Australian prehistory.”

Ben expects that the field school in Vietnam will be a “very long-lived, fruitful and rewarding joint effort.” And we believe so. He also confessed that the one thing that he has “failed miserably on several occasions” was to order food for his students. He wrote, “On one memorable lunch in Hanoi I thought it would be best if we ordered from a set menu, to save time. We ended up with rather a lot of plain tofu, and not much of anything delicious.” Since the tofu incident, he has let his students help more with ordering food.

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Recommended Resources (3)
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

New items this week:

Items from last week:

  • Northwest Film Forum: "The Look of Silence," Aug 7-13.


    In an ambitious companion film to his Academy Award-nominated documentary, The Act of Killing, director Joshua Oppenheimer returns to the aftermath of the 1965 Indonesian genocide of communists and ethnic Chinese people in The Look of Silence. The documentary picks up the thread of its predecessor, and confronts the aging perpetrators of mass murder with the consequences of their crimes.


  • The Diplomat: Asia's 'Unruly' Children by James Buchanan - a great essay!


    Understanding cultural hegemony in Asia highlights the difficulties faced by young progressives fighting for change. 



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Jobs (3)

New item this week:

Previously Listed:

Fellowships and Funding (1)

New item this week:

  • PhD Scholarship in Indo-Pacific Environmental History: a fully funded three year PhD scholarship under the supervision of Emeritus Professor James Warren, lead Chief Investigator on the Australian Research Council Linkage Project ‘Hazards, Tipping Points, Adaptation and Collapse in the Indo-Pacific World, Post-1000 CE’ (LP150100649).

Previously listed:

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

New items this week:

Previously listed opportunities:

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