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The Second International APRU Conference: independence and after in Southeast Asia: old and new interpretations.

Date / Place: 14-15 August 2007, Penang, Malaysia

Organizer: Asia-Pacific Research Unit (APRU), School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

Content: First Announcement and Call for Papers / Panels

The region of what is today referred to as Southeast Asia is home to eleven sovereign nation states, viz. Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand (formerly Siam), Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, and Timor Leste. Except for the newly independent Timor Leste, the remaining aforesaid countries comprise members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) that was established in 1967. The combination of sustained economic growth, comparative political stability, regional cooperation in the spirit of ASEAN, and an overall gradual rise in the standard of living across the region portends well for a promising future for Southeast Asia.

The year 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of Merdeka (independence) for Malaysia. Malaysia's attainment of political independence from British colonial rule in August 1957 was through constitutional means with the smooth handing over of sovereignty and administration from the British government to Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the prime minister and architect of Merdeka A decade earlier, two other fellow nations achieved their freedom but through bloodshed in the process, namely Burma (1946) and the Philippines (1946). Indonesia was plunged into a conflict of nearly half a decade before independence became a reality. The Indochina states of Laos and Cambodia, with the status of French colonial protectorates, became sovereign states in 1954. Neighboring Vietnam, however, had to struggle for another two decades before it attained independence. The city-tate of Singapore gained independence from colonial rule through merging with Malaysia in 1963; two years later (1965) Singapore seceded from the Federation of Malaysia to chart its own course. The Sultanate of Brunei finally decided to stand on its own as a sovereign nation in 1984 since becoming a British protectorate nearly a century ago. The notable exception--thanks to the then geopolitical circumstances and prudent native leaders--is Thailand, which escaped the European shackles by remaining the only independent, sovereign nation-state in the region. Timor Leste was the most recent in 2002 to be freed from a colonizing power.

The discourse of nations achieving political independence and the characterization of the years that followed as the "postcolonial" period has long been a mainstay of the academic agenda in studies of Southeast Asia, particularly in the disciplines of history, political science, economics, literature and language, anthropology, and sociology. The road to independence was often long and arduous. The years following the attainment of national sovereignty were equally troublesome and problematic with seemingly insurmountable challenges. Whilst Malaysia faced the sensitive issue of managing race relations, the Philippines struggled with a leftist insurgency, and Thailand's seesaw with weak civilian governments and military juntas. Meanwhile Myanmar was secluded under a military dictatorship, and Cambodia's nightmare following the establishment of a genocidal regime. The ups and downs of nation-building, the maintenance of political stability and economic sustainability are but some of the major issues that faced post-independent nation-states of Southeast Asia.

Deadline for Abstracts: 15 January 2007

Deadline for Working Papers: 1 June 2007

Individual Participants: Individuals are invited to present a 20-minute working paper relevant to any aspect of the conference's theme. They are requested to submit an abstract (150-200 words) to the Secretariat.

Specialized Panels: Scholars who wish to organize a panel (4-5 presenters; 1-hour per panel) based on a particular topic relevant to the conference's overall theme are to submit to the Secretariat the following materials:
Proposed Panel: Abstract (350-400 words)
Convenor / Panelist I: Abstract (150-200 words)
Panelist II: Abstract (150-200 words)
Panelist III: Abstract (150-200 words)
Panelist IV: Abstract (150-200 words)
Panelist V: Abstract (150-200 words)

Organizing Committee

Associate Professor Dr OOI Keat Gin (Chairperson) (, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

Dr SHAKILA Abdul Manan (Secretary) ( Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

Further Information

The Conference Secretariat The Second International Conference (2APRU) Asia-Pacific Research Unit (APRU) School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia 11800 Penang Malaysia

Tel: 604 6533888 Ext. 3377; Fax: 604 6563707

E-mail: Website:
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Title Annotation:ANNOUNCEMENTS
Publication:Borneo Research Bulletin
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Previous Article:Eighth biennial meetings.
Next Article:The Second International Conference in the History of Medicine in Southeast Asia (HOMSEA): treating diseases and epidemics in Southeast Asia over the...

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