Is UNESCO World Heritage recognition a blessing or burden? Evidence from developing Asian countries

via The Conversation, 11 July 2018: a piece by Josephine Caust

With colleague Dr Mariana Vecco, I recently published a research article about these issues. Some of our recommendations for vulnerable sites include:

  • introducing control of visitor numbers as a matter of urgency
  • tighter planning controls on adjacent development
  • querying the use of sites for any tourist activities
  • auditing sites for damage already incurred.

All of this should occur if UNESCO status is to be continued. However, there is also a bigger conversation we need to have – should tourists visit vulnerable sites and practices?

Hoi An is still a beautiful town but the presence of “wall to wall” tourists mars it. Sadly, as long as UNESCO status is used more as a marketing device than a route to preservation, the situation will continue to deteriorate.

Source: Is UNESCO World Heritage recognition a blessing or burden? Evidence from developing Asian countries

The prehistoric peopling of Southeast Asia

Earlier this month, a fascinating paper was published in Science about the genetic origins of Southeast Asian populations. Analysis of genomes from 25 ancient samples reveal that rather the neither of the existing theories (hunter-gathering Hoabinhians, or agriculturalists from China) are correct, and that there are four ancient populations the form the basis of all modern Southeast Asian populations today.

The prehistoric peopling of Southeast Asia
McColl et al.
Science 06 Jul 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6397, pp. 88-92
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat3628

The human occupation history of Southeast Asia (SEA) remains heavily debated. Current evidence suggests that SEA was occupied by Hòabìnhian hunter-gatherers until ~4000 years ago, when farming economies developed and expanded, restricting foraging groups to remote habitats. Some argue that agricultural development was indigenous; others favor the “two layer” hypothesis that posits a southward expansion of farmers giving rise to present-day Southeast Asian genetic diversity. By sequencing 26 ancient human genomes (25 from SEA, 1 Japanese Jōmon), we show that neither interpretation fits the complexity of Southeast Asian history: Both Hòabìnhian hunter-gatherers and East Asian farmers contributed to current Southeast Asian diversity, with further migrations affecting island SEA and Vietnam. Our results help resolve one of the long-standing controversies in Southeast Asian prehistory.

See also:

MOWCAP-Asia Culture Center Grants Program – Deadline this week

Just a reminder for the MOWCAP-Asia Culture Center Grants Program – the deadline is this week!

The MOWCAP-ACC grants program supports the efforts of the many groups and organisations that collect, and preserve and provide access to documentary heritage from the Asia-Pacific region. It aims to encourage collaboration and partnerships to undertake projects (e.g. preservation of materials, digitizing, exhibitions, publications etc) as well as to develop skills and resources (eg. workshops, training programs, expert assessments etc).

Grants of up to $US 10,000 are available for the preservation and sharing of the documentary heritage of the Asia-Pacific. Grants are required to be fully expended, and the project completed and acquitted, within a 6-month period (July-December 2018). The grants are administered through the MOWCAP Office, Asian Culture Center, Gwangju, Republic of Korea.

Source: The MOWCAP-Asia Culture Center Grants Program

Cockatoo in medieval text reveals extent of East-West trade in the 13th century

Cockatoo drawings in a 13th century Vatican manuscript reveal the extent of the global trade network of the period: cockatoos are native to eastern Island Southeast Asia and Australia, and the manuscript refers to a gift of a yellow-crested cockatoo to Frederick II from the Sultan of Egypt al-Malik Muhammad al-Kamil.

Frederick II of Hohenstaufen’s Australasian cockatoo: Symbol of detente between East and West and evidence of the Ayyubids’ global reach

Frederick II of Sicily made contact with the Kurdish al-Malik Muhammad al-Kamil in 1217 – a year before al-Malik became sultan of Egypt. The two rulers communicated regularly over the following twenty years, exchanging letters, books and rare and exotic animals. The focus of this article is the Sulphur-crested or Yellow-crested Cockatoo the sultan sent Frederick. A written description and four sketches of this parrot survive in a mid thirteenth-century manuscript in the Vatican Library. This article reviews these images, revealing that Australasian cockatoos were present in the Middle East in the medieval period and exploring how and why one reached Europe in the mid thirteenth century.

Source: Frederick II of Hohenstaufen’s Australasian cockatoo: Symbol of detente between East and West and evidence of the Ayyubids’ global reach | Parergon

See also:

CFP: International Convention of Asia Scholars 2019

ICAS 11 Leiden, 16-19 July 2019
The 11th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) is the most inclusive international gathering in the field of Asian Studies. ICAS attracts participants from over 60 countries to engage in global dialogues on Asia that transcend boundaries between academic disciplines and geographic areas. The meeting place for the eleventh edition of ICAS is Leiden, the Netherlands. The historic city of Leiden is home to one of the oldest universities, Leiden University, and several of the most renowned Asia research centers. Leiden University will be the main host of ICAS 11, partnering with the city, research institutions and museums, who share equally rich Asian and global connections.

Call for proposals – deadline: 10 October 2018
The submission deadline for proposals of Individual Abstracts, Panels, Roundtables, Book presentations and PhD Dissertation presentations is 10 October 2018.

Official website: International Convention of Asia Scholars 2019

Why the Sangh Parivar’s Idea of Building a ‘Hindu Dham’ in Cambodia Is Wrong

via The Wire, 16 June 2018:

Project Hindu dham in Cambodia is not just misinformed: it is a regressive step in the history of India-Southeast Asia relations that could start a dangerous chain of religious disharmony and unrest.

The chief rationale for this project appears to be the grand Vaishnava temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Five hundred acres of land has been acquired and 1,008 Shivalingas established to mark the creation of a fifth dham for Hindus. The project is evidently well-funded. Its chief proponents perceive this enterprise as a ‘cultural investment’, an apt way to promote Hinduism beyond India, to revitalise historical links between South and Southeast Asian nations, and to encourage trans-Asian pilgrim networks.

Source: Why the Sangh Parivar’s Idea of Building a ‘Hindu Dham’ in Cambodia Is Wrong

[Paper] Complex history of dog (Canis familiaris) origins and translocations in the Pacific revealed by ancient mitogenomes

New paper in Nature about the origins and spread of dogs in Southeast Asia and the Pacific by Kreig et al.

Article

Complex history of dog (Canis familiaris) origins and translocations in the Pacific revealed by ancient mitogenomes

Archaeological evidence suggests that dogs were introduced to the islands of Oceania via Island Southeast Asia around 3,300 years ago, and reached the eastern islands of Polynesia by the fourteenth century AD. This dispersal is intimately tied to human expansion, but the involvement of dogs in Pacific migrations is not well understood. Our analyses of seven new complete ancient mitogenomes and five partial mtDNA sequences from archaeological dog specimens from Mainland and Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific suggests at least three dog dispersal events into the region, in addition to the introduction of dingoes to Australia. We see an early introduction of dogs to Island Southeast Asia, which does not appear to extend into the islands of Oceania. A shared haplogroup identified between Iron Age Taiwanese dogs, terminal-Lapita and post-Lapita dogs suggests that at least one dog lineage was introduced to Near Oceania by or as the result of interactions with Austronesian language speakers associated with the Lapita Cultural Complex. We did not find any evidence that these dogs were successfully transported beyond New Guinea. Finally, we identify a widespread dog clade found across the Pacific, including the islands of Polynesia, which likely suggests a post-Lapita dog introduction from southern Island Southeast Asia.

Source: Nature

Postdoctoral fellowship: Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History

Closing date is 30 June 2018

The Centre hosts a three-month postdoctoral fellowship in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities

The Centre hosts a three-month postdoctoral fellowship in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities

The three-month CMSCH-IASH Visiting Postdoctoral Fellowship in Modern and Contemporary History is intended to encourage outstanding early-career interdisciplinary research and scholarly collaboration in the broad field of modern and contemporary history. The fellow will be affiliated with the Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities.

Each year, the CMSCH will select an interdisciplinary research theme and applicants will need to show that their research addresses this theme. Otherwise, there is no limit on geographical area or time period, as long as the bulk of the applicant’s research falls within the ‘modern and contemporary’ period (c.1800-present).

Source: Postdoctoral fellowship

An Incredibly Detailed Map Of Medieval Trade Routes

via Merchant Machine, 19 May 2018: Trade routes of the world in the 11th and 12th centuries, including Southeast Asia!

Map created by reddit user martinjanmansson. Click to zoom in. The map above is probably the most detailed map of Medieval Trade Routes in Europe, Asia and Africa in the 11th and 12th centuries you can find online. It includes major and minor locations, major and minor routes, sea routes, canals

Source: An Incredibly Detailed Map Of Medieval Trade Routes

[Job]: Collections Assistant (Asian Anthropology)

Application deadline is 10 June 2018. Details and link below.

Collections Assistant (Asian Anthropology) (Fixed Term) in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.
The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) is one of the nine University of Cambridge Museums and Botanic Garden (UCM). It is a sub-Department of the University Department of Social Anthropology and is a key resource for University teaching and research, particularly in collaboration with the Departments of Social Anthropology and Archaeology. Its world-class collections attract visiting researchers from all over the world and it maintains an active programme of temporary exhibitions and loans to major exhibitions within the UK and internationally. MAA’s collections are Designated for their national and international importance. For further information about the Museum’s staff, collections, and programmes, see www.maa.cam.ac.uk.

The Museum has embarked on a partnership with the Cambridge Rivers Project, aimed at researching and making accessible the extensive collections of artefacts from Asia for which it cares. Approximately 80,000 artefacts, 50,000 photographs and a rich documentary archive chart Cambridge’s role in archaeological and anthropological research across the continent, from the 1880s and through the twentieth century. The stories they contain are of importance to communities, scholars and publics worldwide as well as in Britain, illuminating the diversity of human experience and creativity, as well as complex shared histories of cross-cultural encounter that MAA is committed to telling. For more information on the Cambridge Rivers Project and its activities, see www.cambridgerivers.com

To support this project, MAA is seeking to appoint a full-time Collections Assistant (Asian Anthropology) for one year to work with Senior Curator for Anthropology Dr Mark Elliott, Collections Manager for Anthropology Rachel Hand, and researchers from the Cambridge Rivers Project to document, photograph and research collections from East, Southeast and South Asia, predominantly in the anthropology collections. The role will involve facilitating research access and supporting the work of the Cambridge Rivers Project, maintaining appropriate standards of documentation and collections care, and carrying out research to improve knowledge of the collections.

The successful candidate will have an understanding of and interest in museum collections with a background in Asian anthropology, archaeology or a related discipline, and demonstrated experience of object research. Knowledge of a relevant language is desirable. S/he will have very good IT skills including spreadsheets and basic word processing and experience with collections management systems. Excellent attention to detail and very good written and verbal communication skills are essential as well as excellent organisational skills and the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Source: http://www.jobs.cam.ac.uk/job/17533/