The Channel: A Podcast from the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS)


Acoustic Atmospheres in Palau with Birgit Abels

Season 1, Ep. 18

Birgit Abels is professor of cultural musicology at the University of Göttingen. She has conducted ethnographic and ethnomusicological research in multiple sites across Asia, and she is the Principal Investoigor on the European Research Council project Sound Knowledge: Alternative Epistemologies of Music in the Western Pacific Island WorldToday we are talking about Birgit’s new book, Music Worlding in Palau: Chanting, Atmospheres and Meaningfulness. The book was released in 2022 as part of the Global Asia series published by IIAS and Amsterdam University Press. Chanting holds a special place in Palau. In this conversation, Birgit discusses the theoretical dimension of her work and walks listeners through some specific field recordings. As you’ll hear, sound and music offer a window into much broader issues, raising questions of the self, community, politics, and becoming. Music Worlding in Palau was also released as an Open Access title, so it is free to download at the Amsterdam University Press website.

More Episodes


Political Transformation in Southeast Asia with Nhu Truong, Erik Martinez Kuhonta, Maggie Shum, and Megan Ryan

Season 1, Ep. 19
On this episode, we welcome four guests to discuss democratic backsliding and rising authoritarianism in Southeast Asia, and also grassroots mobilizations in response to such phenomena. The first iteration of this group came together as a roundtable at the conference of the Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies in 2021. The convenor and chair of that roundtable was Nhu Truong. Nhu is Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Affairs at Denison University. She was joined by two more of our guests: Erik Martinez Kuhonta, Director of the Institute for the Study of International Development and Associate Professor of Political Science at McGill University; and Maggie Shum, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Penn State Erie. Our fourth guest, Megan Ryan, was not part of the original roundtable, but her research is right in line with the theme of rising illiberalism in the region. She is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Michigan and was a 2020 United States Institute of Peace Scholar. In their conversation, the guests chat about political repression and resistance across Southeast Asia, comparing and contrasting different cases while always keeping the more global trend towards authoritarianism in view.This will be our last episode of 2022, and we want to thank everyone for tuning and making our first year such a success. We will be back next month, but in the meantime, we wish all of our listeners a happy holiday season and Happy New Year!