CFP: AAR Panel Rethinking the Center and the Margin in Southeast Asian Religions

Brooke Schedneck's picture

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to draw your attention to the AAR's co-sponsored panel call for papers between The Space, Place, and Religion Unit and the Religions of Southeast Asia Unit. The deadline for submissions is March 1st and the conference will take place from November 19-22 in Denver, Colorado. Please contact me if you are interested in submitting a paper or putting together a panel (

Rethinking the Center and the Margin in Southeast Asian Religions

This session would consider the way Southeast Asian kingdoms were traditionally designed around a central seat of power. Stanley Tambiah famously called this design “galactic polity” and likened it to the concept of the mandala with its core and its container. Today, Southeast Asian nation-states continue to have significant capitals surrounded by smaller cities and village communities. This session revisits this theory of Southeast Asian political-religious space making to ask how mandala theories continue to illuminate new aspects of Southeast Asian culture and how they obscure other forms of place making. Where do centers dominate religious place making? Do we find peripheries, marginal spaces, that display religion without reference to a center? How should we understand the ways in which marginal groups assemble their religious spaces? We are interested in ethnographic or historical research on these questions as well as theoretical reflections regarding place-making in Southeast Asia.