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UW Southeast Asia Center Graduate Student Conference 2017

Dr. Charles Hirschman presenting the keynote

April 14, 2017

This week we are featuring an article written by History PhD student and SEAC affiliate Lin Hongxuan.

On 23 and 24 March 2017, the University of Washington Southeast Asia Center organized and hosted a graduate student conference, entitled “The Palimpsestic Past and Present of Southeast Asia: Rewriting Lives Beyond Boundaries.” The conference theme was formulated to honor the intellectual legacy of the late Professor Benedict R. O’G. Anderson (1936-2015), who was giant in the field of Southeast Asian studies and whose work continues to be required reading for both undergraduate and graduate students today. The conference attracted submissions from a variety of disciplines and universities, and many of these submissions were of exceedingly high caliber. With regret, the organizing committee and the Southeast Asian Studies community had to winnow all the submissions down to twelve papers, which were selected for presentation in the conference.

We were also privileged to have a number of highly respected academics serve as discussants for the presenters’ papers: our very own Professor Charles Hirschman, Professor Eric Tagliacozzo of Cornell University, and (UW History department alumnus) Professor David Biggs of UC Riverside. The discussants provided insightful comments on the presenters’ papers, and were kind enough to hold a series of concurrent workshops on topics as varied as teaching, publishing, and using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software. These workshops proved to be highly popular and exceedingly well-attended, despite the fact that the conference was held during the UW Spring break. In addition to the presentations and workshops, the conference also included an incredibly engaging special guest lecture by Professor Mitch Hendrickson of the University of Illinois at Chicago, on the palimpsestic archaeological record of the Khmer Empire, as seen through iron smelting sites. An added bonus was the screening of a trifecta of Southeast Asian films, two of which were by our very own graduate student, Adrian Alarilla.

The diversity of the programming and the excellent quality of the papers presented made the conference a truly memorable one, and the organizing committee would like to thank the many people who contributed time and effort to make this possible, as well as the audience for attending. It is events like this which make UW a vibrant and dynamic center for the study of Southeast Asia!


On behalf of the organizing committee,


Arthit Jiamrattanyoo

Dimas Iqbal Romadhon

Lin Hongxuan

Rebakah Daro Minarchek