Call for Contributors: Insurgent Southeast Asia

Tian An Wong's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Asian History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, South Asian History / Studies, Southeast Asian History / Studies

Call for Contributors: Insurgent Southeast Asia

Proposal Instructions: Send a 1-page abstract (300–500 words) and CV, or general inquiries to tiananw@umich.edu by 15 Jan 2021, and final submission (4000–7000 words) by August 15, 2022.

Description: Besides the general effects of the covid-19 pandemic in every Southeast Asian country, various protests, insurgencies, and resistances have taken place such as in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. At the same time, the anti-authoritarian and anti-oppressive movements that have developed in recent years, are often confined to the frame of the nation-state.

Whereas Southeast Asia on the whole possesses a shared history of Western colonialism, Japanese imperialism, and Chinese influence, it is primarily conceived of as a disjoint collection of discrete social groupings, both theoretically and politically. Indeed, Southeast Asia is a highly complex region with different languages, cultures, histories, and political systems which hinder easy forms of collaboration or solidarity, even as the winds of a new Cold War bring fears of proxy wars and regional instability. Analyses of Southeast Asia, even comparative ones, have not been able to offer comprehensive understanding of the multi-layered dialectical relations that constitute the contemporary subaltern, migrant, lumpenproletarian, and indigenous networks which both inform and implicate the recent social movements in their attempts and failures to challenge the hegemony of the status quo.

How might we think through the ongoing insurgencies and counter-insurgencies arising in Southeast Asia? How are they dis/connected with each other, or mediated by Western and Chinese politics and ideologies? As a region unstable—or, as James Scott writes, ungovernable—both in terms of local politics and imagined community, how might we conceive of “Southeast Asia as method,” as a play on Chen Kuan-Hsing’s “Asia as Method”?

This book aims to bring together contributions from academics thinking through and activists involved in contemporary social and revolutionary movements in Southeast Asia and their connections. As an edited volume, this initiative hopes to make a timely intervention into the study of contemporary Southeast Asian movements through transnational and critical perspectives. Ideal contributors will:

  • Contextualize the current crises in Southeast Asia within larger historical flows, at the intersection of postcolonialism, nationalism, abolition, and capitalism;
  • Critique hegemonic relations and structures produced through the nation-state, racial dynamics, gender constructions, and the afterlife of colonialism;
  • Offer political visions of the future that imagine liberation beyond militarism, statecraft, carcerality, and capitalism, towards indigenous sovereignty and participatory democracy;
  • Dialogue with various Southeast Asian movements and interventions, building towards a coalitional politics, thinking through and beyond the emerging contours of a new Cold War shaped by U.S.-China relations.
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