Southeast Asian Scripts: From the Centers to the Margins

Joshua  Kueh's picture

I would like to pass along word of an upcoming online lecture hosted by the Library of Congress entitled “Southeast Asian Scripts: From the Centers to the Margins.” This lecture is part of the Endangered Alphabets and Why We Write lecture series—the third of three livestreamed talks by Tim Brookes, a world authority on endangered writing systems and the director of the Endangered Alphabets Project. For more information on this lecture and the two other lectures in the series, please see the following:


Lecture 3: Southeast Asian Scripts: From the Centers to the Margins

Wednesday April 21, 12:00pm to 1:30pm EDT

Register via Zoom:

This lecture focuses on two distinct but related writing traditions in Southeast Asia: those at centers of power and those at the margins. Looking at centers, the lecture examines religious manuscript production in Indonesia. For the margins, the focus will be on Zomia—a geographically and culturally peripheral area corresponding to the uplands of mainland Southeast Asia—where writing and resistance to centralizing states will be among the themes discussed.



Lecture 1:  Africa: Writing beyond Writing

Wednesday April 7, 11:00am to 12:30pm EDT (already taken place)

This lecture looks at astonishing inventions in African communication systems using visual symbols.  Some of them we recognize as writing.  Some show how limited our definition of writing has been. 


Lecture 2: Script Invention and Revitalization in Eastern and Northeastern India since 1950

Wednesday April 14, 11:00am-12:30pm EDT

Register via Zoom:

Tim Brookes will discuss the recent history of two areas of India that have seen vibrant movements to create or recreate writing systems for languages, such as Santali and Sora. These efforts by communities who speak these languages provide alternatives to external pressures to render languages in dominant scripts like Devanagari and the Roman alphabet.


Thank you.

Best regards,

Joshua Kueh
Southeast Asia Reference Librarian
Asian Division
Library of Congress

REMINDER: Virtual lecture on Southeast Asian languages and scripts this Wednesday!

Southeast Asian Scripts: From the Centers to the Margins
Wednesday April 21, 12:00pm-1:30pm EDT
Featured speaker: Tim Brookes (Director, Endangered Alphabets Project)
Registration via Zoom:

Presented by the Library of Congress Asian Division and the Endangered Alphabets Project