Why museum professionals need to talk about Black Panther

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via The Hopkins Exhibitionist, 22 Feb 2018: Not directly related to Southeast Asia, and contains spoilers to the movie Blank Panther; but the scene in discussion takes place in a museum and is quite relevant in the Southeast Asian context where many exhibits were simple taken from their host countries and put on display:

It is worth considering the aspects of the scene that are realities in the modern museum. African artifacts such as those shown in the film’s museum are likely taken from a home country under suspicious circumstances, such as notable artifacts in real-life Britain like the Benin bronzes which now reside at the British Museum. It is often the case that individuals will know their own culture as well as or better than a curator, but are not considered valuable contributors because they lack a degree. People of color are less represented in museum spaces, and often experience undue discrimination while entering gallery spaces. Finally, museums are experiencing an influx of white women filling staff roles, leading to homogenized viewpoints, and lack senior staff with diverse backgrounds. With these truths represented in such a short but poignant scene, the tension between audiences and institutions is played out to the extreme.

It is uncomfortable for many institutions to even broach the subject of the museum’s complicated relationship with audiences of color, but Black Panther has created an impeccable opportunity for institutions to begin a dialogue with their community. So many people will see this film; the scene may only reinforce their conception of museums, or it may open their eyes to the realities of the complicated relationship between the universal museum and colonialism, and museums need to be prepared to actively engage with this topic rather than avoiding the uncomfortable truths that are now out in the open on cinema screens.

Source: Why museum professionals need to talk about Black Panther

Sylvain Vogel’s World of Extreme Linguistics

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via The Diplomat, 02 Feb 2018: Featuring Sylvain Vogel’s work on the Bunong people of Cambodia, who are a minority group and known for their skill in catching elephants. The Bunong are also mentioned in Latinis et al’s recent work about elephant rock art in Cambodia.

A French linguist’s quest to document the dying language of Cambodia’s Bunong people.

Source: Sylvain Vogel’s World of Extreme Linguistics

Language previously unknown to linguists discovered in Southeast Asia

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via Science Direct, 06 February 2018:

A language previously unknown to linguists — dubbed Jedek — has been found in the Malay Peninsula, researchers from Sweden report. The community in which Jedek is spoken is more gender-equal than Western societies, there is almost no interpersonal violence, they consciously encourage their children not to compete, and there are no laws or courts, according to the researchers.

Source: Language previously unknown to linguists discovered in Southeast Asia

[Job] Researcher, Southeast Asian history and society at Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague

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Applications close on March 9, 2018:

Eligibility: The position is open to researchers with a PhD degree in Southeast Asian Studies, History and/or Social Anthropology of Southeast Asia or related fields. The candidates must hold their PhD degree at the time of applying for the position or guarantee that they will receive it before the beginning of the position. Currently, we are NOT looking for specialists on literature or art history.

Research focus: History and social/cultural anthropology of Southeast Asia (with a preference for one or more mainland Southeast Asian countries – Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar) – premodern, modern or contemporary.

We expect candidates with experience in grant activities, a proven publishing record, an ability to work with relevant sources based on a sound knowledge of a selected Southeast Asian language and a fluent command of English as a prerequisite for both working in an international environment of the Oriental Institute as well as publishing.

Terms: The opening of the position is scheduled for June or September of 2018 (the details can be negotiated). The duration of the position is 3 years with a possibility of extension. The Institute will provide an office space, computer, proofreading services if required, library services (including a modest amount for books purchase), and funding for conference or research trips abroad. Researchers are expected to be in residence at the Oriental Institute in Prague. During their residence, researchers are required to produce academic publications and participate in Oriental Institute seminars and other events. This is a non-teaching position. The selected candidate may expect a gross monthly salary of 1,300-1,500 EUR, depending on their experience. We reserve the right not to fill this position.

Application: Please submit all of the following materials:
1) CV including Publication List;
2) Project proposal: In three to five pages, double spaced 12 pt. font, please explain the project you would undertake in the starting stage of your residence. In addition, please include a separate bibliography of works to demonstrate how this project relates to the current state of research.
3) Writing Samples:
a. Please include a writing sample of not more than 20 pages;
b. Please include a Dissertation Abstract of not more than 2 pages.
4) Two letters of Recommendation:
a. Please list the names, addresses and occupations of the two persons, not related to you, who will submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. Letters of recommendation must be submitted by the deadline for the application to be complete.

Deadline for applications: March 9, 2018

Notification: April/May 2018

Inquiries: Please direct inquiries to Dr. Tomáš Petrů – petru@orient.cas.cz
Mailing Instructions: Please send the application and letters electronically to: petru@orient.cas.cz

Sea nomads’ Singapore roots go back centuries

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via Straits Times, 28 January 2018: Several clans of Orang Laut (‘sea peoples’) are the indigenous population of Singapore, present before the founding of Singapore by the British. Today they are no longer seafaring and absorbed into the Malay ethnic group.

Singapore News -Ask 62-year-old university lecturer Mohamed Nassir Ismail about his roots and he will proudly declare that he is a “native Singaporean”.

Source: Sea nomads’ Singapore roots go back centuries, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Categories: Anthropology Singapore


[Job] Visiting Professor of East or Southeast Asian Cultural Anthropology

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Deadline for applications 16 March 2018. Details in the link below.

The Davidson College Department of Anthropology seeks applications for a two-year visiting position in East or Southeast Asian cultural anthropology with an anticipated start date of July 1, 2018. Area of expertise is open, but should complement existing departmental strengths and contribute to our four-field approach to the discipline.

Teaching load is five courses per year. In addition to courses in their area of expertise, the successful candidate will share periodic responsibility for required intro, theory, and methods courses (along with two other cultural anthropologists). Davidson emphasizes interdisciplinarity, so an ability to offer courses contributing to other majors, such as Environmental Studies, East Asian Studies, Digital Studies, etc. is a plus. In addition to teaching, the faculty member will advise and mentor undergraduates and may direct independent studies and involve students in their research.

Applications are only accepted online at http://employment.davidson.edu (search for the position under Faculty, then Anthropology). Please submit all application materials by March 16, 2018. Candidates should initially submit a cover letter (including a list of courses the applicant would be willing to offer), CV, a teaching philosophy statement, a description of current and past research, and a diversity/ inclusivity statement. The diversity/inclusivity statement, no longer than a single page, should describe how your teaching, research, and/or service might contribute to Davidson’s institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion. We also request the names and contact information for three references who will be contacted directly for selected candidates.

Davidson faculty enjoy a low faculty-student ratio, emphasis on and appreciation of excellence in teaching, and a collegial, respectful atmosphere that honors academic achievement and integrity. Davidson is strongly committed to achieving excellence and cultural diversity, and welcomes applications from women, members of minority groups, and others who would bring additional dimensions to the college’s mission.

Successful candidates should have demonstrated excellence in teaching undergraduates, an ongoing publication record, and continued research activity. The Ph.D. must be in hand at the time of appointment.

Source: Visiting Professor of East or Southeast Asian Cultural Anthropology

Talk: Death-rebirth as represented in Khmer religious iconography

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Readers in London may be interested in this talk by Prof Ang Choulean at SOAS.

Death-rebirth as represented in Khmer religious iconography
Professor Ang Choulean (Anthropologist)
Date: 29 September 2015
Time: 5:15 PM

For many cultures, it is commonplace to talk about death and rebirth as intimately linked one to he other, even as infinite cycles in Indian or Indianized cultures.

My aim here is to demonstrate how in Khmer contexts death-rebirth is iconographically symbolized by a demon called Reahu who is believed to cause eclipses. This demon is represented in various forms, especially in funerals. But it also appears that Reahu is quite often sculpted on monuments of ancient Cambodia, which may help us to better understand the meaning of the latter.

Details here.

A family of iron smiths who can trace their lineage 500 years

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The Jakarta Post features a family of iron smiths in Bali who have been practicing their craft for over 500 years.

Iron in their blood
Jakarta Post, 04 July 2013

“At the time our family arrived in Bali there was only the Bali Mula here — there were no cities at that time because kingdoms had not yet begun, so in a way our family helped in the establishment of the kingdom working as blacksmiths,” said Sunarta of the household utensils, farming implements and weapons crafted by his family that formed an integral element of developing settlements in Bali.

Iron work is so deeply ingrained into Sunarta’s being that he believes his smith’s tools and fire-breathing forge are continuations of himself, with different implements having a direct correlation with parts of his body.

Full story here.

Community-based tourism in Sukhothai

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Archaeology isn’t about ancient ruins and dead remains. Very often, the living still inhabit archaeological sites. The Nation features a project by Naresuan University to document the living traditions and lifestyle of the people inhabiting Sukohthai, Thailand’s first capital.

photo credit: nova031

A clearer eye on Sukhothai
The Nation, 05 January 2012
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Call for Papers: CUHK Anthropology Postgraduate Forum

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Deadline for the paper proposals in October 1.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong
4th Annual Postgraduate Student Forum
Asian Anthropology: Materiality, Movement, and Change
9 – 10 December 2011

The Department of Anthropology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, invites graduate students in Asia and elsewhere to present their current research at the 4th Annual Postgraduate Student Forum. The theme for this year’s conference is, “Asian Anthropology: Materiality, Movement, and Change.”

Hong Kong is a global city, a major node for trade, investment, and the exchange of ideas. The Postgraduate Student Forum seeks to encourage communication among young anthropologists in and of the Asian region, to help improve their research and to make the excellent research being conducted in Asia better known internationally.

Full details here.