Cultivating the Humanities and Social Sciences: Addressing Multiple Marginalities in South and Southeast Asia

December 8-10, 2022
Chiang Mai University, Thailand

A Symposium organized by the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) and the Regional Center for Social Science  and Sustainable Development (RCSD) as part of the AAS “Cultivating the Humanities & Social Sciences Initiative,” supported by Sweden.

For more photos from the symposium, please visit the AAS Flickr page.

As part of a new transnational Project supporting under-resourced scholars of Asia, this three-day symposium brought together early-career scholars, students, artists, and public intellectuals to reflect critically on issues of social, cultural, economic, and political marginalization.

With generous support from Sweden, the symposium on Cultivating the Humanities and Social Sciences: Addressing Multiple Marginalities builds on a prior series of skill-building workshops organized by the Project’s implementing partners located in Cambodia, India, Pakistan, and Thailand. This event highlighted current research and local perspectives from communities in South and Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on strengthening emerging scholars’ analytic and interpretive competencies. The symposium focused especially on conflict and post-conflict areas, where marginalization has entailed multiple intersecting forms of exclusion, inequity, and vulnerability.

Watch video from a workshop on publishing held at the symposium, featuring Joseph Alter from the Journal of Asian Studies and Trasvin Jittidecharak from Silkworm Books.

Part I Part II

Organized around a series of roundtable discussions, research presentations, and workshops, the symposium showcased new scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences on a wide array of topics and questions that both emerge from and affect the region. Issues addressed included, but were not limited to, gender and transgender inequalities; local strategies to mitigate environmental risk; forced-displacement and scholars-at-risk; natural resource conservation and human rights; digital humanities and activism; and non-traditional security issues.

A priority for the symposium was to reframe academic debate in a manner that centers perspectives from the margins and enables participation from under-resourced scholars and institutions in South and Southeast Asia. The emerging scholars selected by the Project’s regional partners served as the driving force in these conversations—furthering their research and analytical skills, sharing local knowledge and strategies for coping with censorship and authoritarianism, exploring possibilities for partnership, and expanding their professional networks across borders and between the margins.