This Week in Southeast Asian Studies (TWISEA)
February 3, 2017
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TWISEA is being renovated. We hope that you will enjoy the new format when we introduce it in the near future!
Southeast Asian films highlight diversity in this year’s Seattle Asian American Film Festival
This week we are featuring an article by our MA student Adrian Alarilla to get you excited about the upcoming Seattle Asian American Film Festival.

Never Forget (2016)

Growing up in the Philippines, I consumed a lot of local media that oftentimes featured people who looked like me, a fact I took for granted until I migrated to the United States. Only then did I realize that Hollywood has a dearth of Asian American representation. In fact, according to a New York Times article by Amanda Hess, “Though Asian Americans make up 5.4 percent of the United States population, only 1.4 percent of lead characters in a sample of studio films released in 2014 were Asian.” Due to this, many immigrant kids grew up without film characters that looked like them and that they could look up to.

In an effort to counteract this #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF) is the only film festival in Seattle to provide a space for Asian American voices, perspectives and histories by screening independent films that reflect the diversity and richness of the city’s Asian American community. This year, SAAFF is going strong and celebrating its five year anniversary.

Some of the films in this year’s lineup are made by and are about Southeast Asian and Diasporic Southeast Asian subjects. There is “Never Forget,” a visually stunning and heartwarming story of a young nurse who must travel back to her homeland in Southern Vietnam to attend her family’s funeral. In “Nước” (Water/Homeland), a queer Vietnamese American teen attempts to piece together and understand their mom's experience as a Vietnam War refugee. In “Painted Nails,” we witness the American dream crumble when Van, a Vietnamese nail salon worker, discovers her health problems, including two miscarriages, are the result of toxic chemicals in the products used in her salon. In “Meh’s Tammakhoung,” a young Lao-Cambodian man grows closer to his grandma through her Tammakhoung (papaya salad) recipe. Toronto-based musical group Datu’s music video for their song “Bones” plays with Filipino superstition, mythology, and ritual, clashing indigenous kulintang beats with North-American swagger. And in our opening Night film “A Taste of Home,” Singaporean filmmakers Tay and Val explore some of Seattle Chinatown’s historical establishments Chinatown that give them a taste of home even though they’re far away from their homeland.

Of course, there are many more films that you can check out as well. Come celebrate the diversity of Asian American with SAAFF, which takes place at SIFF Cinema
Egyptian on February 23, 2017 and the Northwest Film Forum from February 24 – 26, 2017. For more information, and to buy tickets, check out SAAFF’s website. I hope to see you there!

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Upcoming Events (2)

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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

Newly Listed:

  • The Office of Global Affairs has just launched, a resource for UW faculty, staff and students from nations affected by the recent executive order on immigration (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen). It provides updated travel recommendations as well as campus, state and federal resources.

  • Professor of Asian Studies at U.S. Army War College, Pennsylvania - deadline November 14

  • 2-year Administrative Assistant at East-West Center, Hawaii - deadline November 15

Previously Listed:


A big congratulations to Dr. Christina Sunardi for receiving the Philip Brett Award for her book Stunning Males and Powerful Females by the American Musicological Society!

  • The Office of Global Affairs has just launched, a resource for UW faculty, staff and students from nations affected by the recent executive order on immigration (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen). It provides updated travel recommendations as well as campus, state and federal resources.

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Fellowships and Funding

Newly Listed:

  • For students looking for individual grants for research or travel:
      Check in with the Office of Financial Aid about where you can find lists of educational resources first – scholarships, grants, fellowships, etc. that you can apply for. Beyond that, though, there is a Fundraising Resource center at the Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library. Here’s the info on Foundation Directory Online (the subscription service) that I recommend students check out. Call the number to find out where to go - you have to go to the reference desk and tell the librarian you want to access the FDO database and they can set you up with the password and logon and get you going.
    “Interactive and searchable database for grant seekers and fundraisers from the Foundation Center covering 100,000 grantmakers. Both the Foundation Directory Online and the Fundraising Resource Center print collection are available only at the Central Library. For more information call 386-4636.”

  • JSIS funding database.
    Please encourage any faculty who are interested in securing additional funding or funding special projects to run some keyword searches.

  • One week fact-finding trip in Indonesia in October 2017, Carnegie Council's Asia Dialogues - due March 1

Previously Listed:

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

Previously listed opportunities:

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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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