The Channel: A Podcast from the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS)
Political Transformation in Southeast Asia with Nhu Truong, Erik Martinez Kuhonta, Maggie Shum, and Megan Ryan
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!
24. Textiles and Artisans with Daan van Dartel, Lipika Bansal, and Kirit Chitara43:37This episode features a conversation hosted by Aarti Kawlra, the Academic Director of the Humanities Across Borders program here at IIAS, in which she speaks with three guests: Daan van Dartel, Curator of Popular Culture and Fashion at the National Museum of World Cultures in the Netherlands; Lipika Bansal, a researcher, social designer, and the founder of Textiel Factorij in Amsterdam; and, finally, Kirit Chitara, an artist based in India. In September 2022, IIAS and Humanities Across Borders hosted an In Situ Graduate School entitled Textiles and Dyes as Transnational, Global Knowledge. As Aarti and others collaborated on this event with various textile-related institutions, she met this group and heard the story of Kirit, who had previously found the artwork of his grandfather hanging in the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. This raised all sorts of perennial questions about power in the production and display of art, and in this conversation, the groups discusses such issues of provenance and attribution, of curation and collaboration.
23. A Muslim Hub in Western India with Sanderien Verstappen35:02Sanderien Verstappen is Assistant Professor of anthropology at the University of Vienna. In addition to her writing, she is also a filmmaker and the founding director of the Vienna Visual Anthropology Lab. Sanderien’s latest book is New Lives in Anand: Building a Muslim Hub in Western India, published last year by University of Washington Press. In 2002, when widespread anti-Muslim violence broke out across Gujarat, India, the town of Anand was perceived as something of a safe haven. Against this historical backdrop, the book ethnographically explores contemporary Anand. In the decades since 2002, the town became a hub for Muslims at multiple scales – an aspirational destination for rural villagers, a regional center in western India, and a place linked to diasporic sites abroad. In this episode, Sanderien discusses her multifaceted work in Anand, touching on themes of transnationalism, place-making, and multi-sited ethnography.
22. CinemAsia Film Festival with Jia Zhao and Darunee Terdtoontaveedej36:52Today on the podcast, we welcome Jia Zhao and Darunee Terdtoontaveedej, both of whom are on the team that organizes the CinemAsia Film Festival. Jia is the Artistic Director for the festival, and Darunee is a Film Programmer for CinemAsia and helps organize special events, particularly focusing on LGBTQ programming. CinemAsia is one of the largest and longest-running Asian film festivals in Europe. For nearly two decades, CinemAsia has sought to bring greater attention to Asian cinema and Asian filmmakers. This year’s festival took place from March 7 through March 12 in Amsterdam, and Jia and Darunee took some time during the festival to come on The Channel. In this episode, we discuss the history of CinemAsia and how it fits into broader cultural conversations about diasporic cultures, Asian identity, and the politics of representation onscreen. You can find more information about the festival and its various programs at https://cinemasia.nl/en/.
21. The Trauma of Caste (Guest Episode: SASSpod)54:17On this episode of The Channel, we’re bringing you a full episode from our friends over at the Center for South Asia at Stanford University. SASSpod is hosted by Lalita du Perron and features a regular stream of excellent, in-depth discussions. According to the show’s website, “The podcasts feature a wide range of topics, ranging from poetry to politics, from manuscript collecting to music, from business to Bollywood. Every podcast consists of an informal and infative conversation about South Asia and its meaning in the world, in our lives, and at Stanford.” We recommend that all of our listeners tune in and subscribe. In the episode of SASSpod that we're playing today, Lalita du Perron talks to Thenmozhi Soundararajan of Equality Labs about her forthcoming book The Trauma of Caste, survivor power, caste in Silicon Valley, the importance of mentorship, and healing for all.
20. Hooligan Sparrow (Guest Episode: East Asia for All)45:32For our first episode of 2023, we’re bringing you a full episode from our friends over at East Asia for All, a podcast dedicated to all things East Asian pop culture. East Asia for All is hosted by Melissa Brzycki and Stephanie Montgomery, and according to the show’s website, “As pop culture nerds who also have a decade of experience living and traveling in East Asia, they have personally seen how people from outside of the region are engaging with its popular culture with increasing intensity and richness, but also how differences in language and culture often result in a limited understanding of pop cultural works.” On each episode, they discuss pop cultural products as both fans and academics, blending consumer appreciation with critical insight, and their episodes often come with pedagogical resources as well. It’s a great podcast, and we encourage you to tune in and subscribe to East Asia for All wherever you get your podcasts. In this crossover episode, the hosts – along with Gail Hershatter, Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California Santa Cruz – have a fascinating discussion of the 2017 documentary Hooligan Sparrow, feminist activism, and political repression in contemporary China.
18. Acoustic Atmospheres in Palau with Birgit Abels41:39Birgit 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 World. Today 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.
17. Critical Heritage Studies with Edwin Pietersma45:29Edwin Pietersma is an historian and anthropologist who specializes in modern and colonial Asian history. Broadly, his research focuses on the concepts of modernity and colonialism in Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. Edwin is an alumni of a special initiative here at IIAS, the Dual Degree in Critical Heritage Studies of Asia and Europe. This program encourages an interdisciplinary, multi-sited, and critical approach to issues of heritage, broadly conceived. It is a partnership between multiple institutions, enabling students to study at multiple institutions over the course of the program. Through this course of study, Edwin received his MA in Asian Studies from Leiden University and his MA in Anthropology from National Taiwan University in Taipei, in addition to a certificate in Critical Heritage Studies from IIAS. In this conversation, Edwin and I discuss his experience of the program. For more information on Edwin's ongoing research, visit http://www.historywithedwin.com/.
16. Asian Arts with Cecily Cook26:16This episode features a conversation with Cecily Cook, former Director of Programs at the Asian Cultural Council in New York. Cecily has had a long career at the intersection of Asia and the arts. Over the course of decades, she has worked in various roles, and at various institutions, in support of the artistic and cultural exchange between different Asian countries and the United States. In addition to serving as Director of Programs for the Asian Cultural Council, she has also worked as a consultant, a curator, and a director for organizations dedicated to the visual and performing arts. In this episode, Cecily discusses her background in folklore and how that led to a career in Asian arts. In so doing, she describes the importance of art and artists, as well as the role of knowledge infrastructure systems—like the Asian Cultural Council—to foster artistic work and make a impact in the world.