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Southeast Asian Movement at Yale




Brownbag Insider


The Council for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) at Yale hosts a weekly lunchtime Brownbag Seminar Series that features invited speakers from a variety of disciplines and institutions. Speakers are chosen for their ability to contribute to discussions of ongoing research by Yale students and faculty, and to reach interested audiences throughout the University. The Council’s events are free and open to the public. 

Updated weekly, Brownbag Insider is brought to you by writers at SEAM who attend the lectures and distill key ideas into bite-sized reviews or reflection pieces. 




JAN 26

Disnunion: Anticommunist Nationalism and the Making of the Republic of Vietnam


Professor Nu-Anh TranAssistant Professor of History and Asian and Asian American Studies
University of Connecticut
Click here for Abstract and Speaker Info ︎︎︎

Reporting by Sharmaine Koh and Al Lim

Since the 1950s, the domestic politics of South Vietnam has puzzled Western observers. Though it claimed to be democratic, authoritarianism and factionalism defined the American-backed regime. Tran utilizespreviously neglected primary sources in Vietnamese and American archives to argue that Vietnamese politicians genuinely favored democracy but defined it in starkly different ways. ︎Read more 



FEB 01

A Year of Reckoning: 
Resistance to Myanmar’s Illegal Feb 1 Coup


Ma Thida (Moderator), Burmese Activist, Writer, and Visiting Research Scholar
Yale University
Click here for Registration and Info ︎︎︎

Reporting by Victoria Liando

One year after the military coup in Myanmar, the Council of Southeast Asian Studies at Yale invited activists, artists, dissidents, politicians, and scholars to share their different yet unified experiences in a webinar. Though some speakers remained anonymous or were unable to attend the webinar due to connection failures in Myanmar, their stories and calls to action are unquestionable testaments to their spirit amidst great suffering.︎Read more




FEB 23

The Unimagined Community:
Imperialism and Culture in South Vietnam


Duy Lap Nguyen, Associate Professor, World Cultures and Literatures
University of Houston
Click here for Abstract and Speaker Info ︎︎︎

Reporting by Jonathan Chan

Nguyen amply displays the reach of his expertise in examining the ideological underpinnings of the First Republic of Vietnam (1955-1963) under President Ngô Đình Diệm, as devised by his political advisor and brother Ngô Đình Nhu. Personalism and Marxist humanism, rather than pro-US conservatism, animated the Ngô's visions for the new South Vietnamese state.︎Read more





MAR 09

Reposessing Shanland: Ethnicity and Rock ‘n’ Roll Nostalgia in Upland Southeast Asia


Jane Ferguson, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Southeast Asian History School of Culture, ANU
Click here for Abstract and Speaker Info ︎︎︎

Reporting by Hannah Hernandez

Professor Jane Ferguson’s book builds on years of ethnographic research among communities of Shan soldiers and families, detailing the origins and complexities of their ethno-nationalist movement. Her talk is an important contribution that raised important issues like identity formation, state-building in the interstices, and the lived experiences of borderlands. > Read More




APR 06

Perspectives on the Situation in Myanmar


Tom Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar; Senior Robina Human Rights Fellow, Schell Center, Yale Law School; Associate, Asia Center, Harvard University
Click here for Speaker Info ︎︎︎

Reporting by Sharmaine Koh
Reporting by Firstname Lastnam
Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews does essential work to maintain the spotlight on the situation in Myanmar, particularly as the world’s attention is distracted by violence and conflict happening elsewhere today. Speaking to the Yale CSEAS, Andrews explained the work of expert investigators mandated by the UN to carry out independent fact-finding on human rights around the world, and shared the findings of recently-published reports he led.︎Read more



APR 13

“From Our Place to the Frontline”: A Zine on Life in Post-Coup Myanmar


Nguyen Phuong-Anh and Nguyen Tam, Undergraduate Students, Fulbright University
Click here for Speaker Info ︎︎︎

Reporting by Catherine Kausikan and Erica Vandenbulcke

Reporting by Firtname Lastname
Fulbright University students Nguyen Tam and Nguyen Phuong Anh discuss their mission to raise awareness about the Myanmar Coup among their peers in Vietnam. Collaborating with contacts at the Interim University Council - University of Yangon, they produced an English-language digital zine that is now reaching a wider audience than they anticipated. The independent publication, From Our Place to the Frontline, features interviews, poetry, artwork, and other Burmese reflections on post-coup life in Myanmar.︎Read more




APR 20

Spirit Possession in Buddhist Southeast Asia


Erik White, Independent Scholar


Click here for Speaker Info ︎︎︎

Reporting by Firstname Lastname

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APR 27

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Lan Duong, Associate Professor, Cinema and Media Studies 


Click here for Speaker Info ︎︎︎

Reporting by Firstname Lastname

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