Upcoming online events: Publishing a first book on Southeast Asia

15 September and 13 October 2020

Two online events for late-candidature PhD students and ECRs offered by the Asian Studies Association of Australia & Association of Mainland Southeast Asia Scholars

Getting close to the end of a PhD in Southeast Asian studies, or recently completed? Thinking about whether or not you might try to turn that thesis into a book, and if so, how? Then these back-to-back events are for you. Hosted by the editors of the Southeast Asia Publications Series of the Asian Studies Association of Australia, published by NUS Press (with University of Hawai’i and NIAS), the two events will work through some of the dos and don’ts of turning a thesis in Southeast Asian studies into an academic book.

In the first, we will have an informal conversation about what to keep in mind when preparing to turn your thesis into a book, how to get started, get a contract, and get it finished. We’ll also talk about the state of academic book publishing generally, and reflect on publishing during and after a pandemic. In the second, a colleague from the ANU’s Academic Skills centre will join us to help review and discuss your book pitches and plans.

Eligibility: Both events are open to PhDs in the humanities, arts and social sciences who are in their last year of candidature, under examination, and up to five years out from graduation at institutions in Australia and New Zealand (including students and graduates who are residing currently in other countries) whose theses are based on substantive research in or on one or more parts of Southeast Asia. ASAA membership is not required (though it is encouraged).

Registration: Participants can attend either or both events. Registration for the first is open now and will remain open up until the day beforehand—though early registration would be appreciated. Registration for the second, which will be in two sessions, will open immediately after the first event and close two weeks beforehand. Participants will be capped at 20 and asked to submit a mock or draft book proposal, which we will share prior to meeting and discuss on the day.

Details follow. We hope you can join us!

1. Talking about publishing a first book on Southeast Asia

Date:                     15 September 2020, 10.30-12.00 AEST

To register:         https://anu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwqdu6ppzMoE9TG5m9lLJFhsOknTVp57jbu

2. Working on a proposal to publish a first book on Southeast Asia

Date:                     13 October 2020, 10.30-12.00; 13.00-14.30 AEST

Register by:        29 September 2020, 23.59 AEST

To register:         https://anu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJElce2qrT8iHtTNt4KkJi3ofFEi_4O4Hsrf

Send inquiries to:

Nick Cheesman, nick.cheesman@anu.edu.au

Ed Aspinall, edward.aspinall@anu.edu.au


The winners of the two new ASAA Book Prizes, and the John Legge Prize for the Best Thesis in Asian Studies:

Early Career book prize

Winner: Vannessa Hearman (2018) Unmarked Graves: Death and Survival in the Anti-Communist Violence in East Java, Indonesia. NUS Press.

Hearman offers an original and highly engaging account of anti-communist violence in East Java. This book weaves together rich narratives drawn from oral history interviews, appealing to a broad interdisciplinary audience. A critical contribution to the historiography of the Left in Indonesia, this book both reveals the suffering of the past while speaking to present hopes and struggles for the acknowledgement of the tragic massacre of 1965-66.

Highly commended:

Josh Stenberg (2019) Minority Stages: Sino-Indonesian Performance and Public Display. University of Hawaii Press. Members of the panel commended the book highly. They were impressed by the polished writing, the boldness in tackling six different genres of performance across a wide sweep of Indonesia and the author’s ability to use sources in Dutch, Chinese English and Indonesian.

Burhanuddin Muhtadi (2019) Vote Buying in Indonesia: The Mechanics of Electoral Bribery. Palgrave Macmillan. Members of the panel commended the book highly. They were impressed by the application of mixed methods, including quantitative analysis, to explain the patterns and effectiveness of vote-buying in Indonesia.

Hiroko Matsuda (2019) Liminality of the Japanese Empire: Border Crossings from Okinawa to Colonial Taiwan. University of Hawai’i Press. Members of the panel commended the book highly. They were impressed by the skilful weaving together of analysis at different scales, from the individual to the empire; the richness of the historical narrative that unfolds; and the author’s ability to combine oral history interviews with archival sources in Japanese, Chinese and English.

Mid-career Book Prize

Winner: Susie Protschky (2019) Photographic Subjects: Monarchy and Visual Culture in Colonial Indonesia. Manchester University Press.

Photographic Subjects undertakes a study of the regency of Queen Wilhelmina (1898-1948) through the lens of the medium of photography, which in the period revolutionised from being an elite studio practice to a mass medium. Susie Protschky’s study represents a fine intervention into the ‘visual turn’ in historiographies of empire, demonstrating how an ostensibly European technology became embedded in Javanese visual practices over the period. The book is firmly projected as an intervention into studies of Indonesian and Dutch societies, but also engages with other European empires. The author demonstrates how photographs of the Queen became used as proxies in colonial celebrations and in various political and social rituals, undertaking a fascinating analysis of gender politics as she demonstrates the projection of the ‘familiarisation’ of the House of Orange through portrait photography en famille. Protschky studies the visual rhetoric in ‘vernacular’ or amateur photography in the hands of Indonesian subjects, demonstrating their strong agency, cosmopolitan sensibilities and growing nationalist sentiments. She furthers the field through her coinage of terms such as ‘snapshot diplomacy’, by extending histories of ethnographic photographs in imperial contexts, and by analysing war photography, militarised parades and spectacles designed to celebrate Dutch sovereignty in Indonesia. Concluding, Protschky demonstrates that by projecting the Dutch queen into the Indies and demonstrating signs of enlightenment (literally through genres of snapshots featuring elaborate electrification) photography aided imperialism but was equally a medium which enabled elements of creativity and therefore subjectivity for Indonesians. The book is tightly organised, concise and the photography sprinkled liberally throughout carries the arguments beautifully. It makes strong contributions to histories of photography, within Asian Studies but also beyond.

John Legge Prize for Best Thesis in Asian Studies (2019)

Winner: Sophie Chao, In the Shadow of the Palms: Plant-Human Relations Among the Marind-Anim, West Papua.  (Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University).

In this remarkable thesis, Sophie Chao provides a ground-breaking exploration and analysis of dynamic plant-human-capital relationships in West Papua. The study centres on the devastation wrought by state-sponsored agro-industrial capitalism in the form of oil palm plantations, as experienced and perceived by the Marind-Anim people of Merauke District. Beautifully written, theoretically sophisticated, and deeply empathetic, the study shows how a lethal process of botanical colonization has disrupted existing multispecies networks and reconfigured people’s ways of being in the world. The effects on places, persons, time, and indeed dreams are persuasively explained as interlinked processes of deterritorialization and detemporalization. Rooted in cultural anthropological methods and informed by post-humanist theory, the analytical approach incorporates insights from environmental humanities, science and technology studies, plant science, ethnobotany, political economy and more. The thesis is extremely ambitious in its conceptual and theoretical aims, and required a high degree of political and ethical sensitivity in the associated fieldwork. It has emphatically delivered on all fronts. It seems destined to inform and provoke productive debate over sustainable environmental, economic and social systems, in Indonesia and elsewhere.

Forthcoming events from the ASAA 2020 Conference

Visions of the Future in 20th Century Indonesia Friday, 2 October 2020, 4-7pm AEST, 1-4pm WIB and 8-11am CET Panel 1: Ravando, Bronwyn Anne Beech Jones, Heather Goodall, John Ingleson Panel 2: Jonathan Tehusijarana, Paula Hendrikx, Rhoma Dwi Aria Yuliantri, Gerry van Klinken Postgraduate Workshops Panel 1: From PhD to Book. Recent experiences in the […]

Nominations for the 2021-2022 ASAA council are now open.

Members may vote by following this link.

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Upcoming Online Events: Publishing a first book on Southeast Asia

Two online events for late-candidature PhD students and ECRs offered by the Asian Studies Association of Australia & Association of Mainland Southeast Asia Scholars