Southeast Asia Seminar 2014 – Connectivity in Southeast Asia –

Connectivity in Southeast Asia: Multidisciplinary approaches to understanding global transformations

Connectivity has always been a part of Southeast Asian culture and nature and defined relations both within and beyond nations in the region. This seminar will explore and examine the interface between both old and new forms of connectivity in the region. Through multidisciplinary approaches that tackle the concept of connectivity, it will also shed light on how people, products and ideas are linked across spatial and temporal boundaries both in the past and the present. Vibrant forms of connectivity have always existed in Southeast Asia.
However, how did cultural, religious, political, and economic flows enable long-distance connectivity between places and peoples across the region in the past? And what are the significant new lines of connectivity that enhance or disrupt the old modes of connectivity?
Increasing participation in a global economy, increasing mobility, and regional integration has accelerated connectivity in people’s lives in Southeast Asia at a national, regional, and global level. People, goods, services, and information are moving faster than ever creating new connections. Under these dynamic global conditions, how are the mutual interactions between human activity and the natural environment changing?
In 2015, Southeast Asia will undergo a major transformation and become ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). On one hand, this shows an effort to formalize region-wide connectivity and integration. What forms of grassroots and informal connectivity are emerging in the region? How will institutional connectivity between nations and across civilsocieties influence each other?
The seminar will focus on themes of particular relevance to reviewing connectivity in Southeast Asia from a multidisciplinary perspective in order to assess the dynamism and interconnectedness of the region. We approach this region in terms of connectivity: historical, geographical, religious, and cultural. Though four sessions “Scale of connectivity: linking places across borders,” “Mobility and Connectivity,” “Human Nature Connectivity,” and “Communicative connectivity: information, media, and language” as well as field observations in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the seminar will examine how places and people have been connected and consider the multiple spatial connections in Southeast Asia, including migration flows, media, telecommunication lines, cultural diffusions, trade networks, resource flows, and social movements.