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By Institute Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) (Singapore).

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Extra info for Decentring & diversifying Southeast Asian studies

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Hence, while a territorially bounded concept of the region may be theoretically deconstructed, the lived reality of regional identity and geography cannot be ignored. Furthermore, this lived reality is consolidated by institutions such as ASEAN, not to mention various other seemingly apolitical forms of regional association in educational exchanges, sports events, and so on.

The overview of regional practices in the humanities, social sciences, and area studies in Southeast Asia provided above suggests that, while conditioned by Euro-American disciplinary and theoretical traditions, regional academic practices have diverged from them in significant ways. For Southeast Asian scholars, thinking about the local is inevitably a combination of their location in time, as well as their intellectual politics to resist domination and recover subjugated knowledge. In contrast to Euro-American settings, where area studies have lost their capacity to structure knowledge, Southeast Asian Studies has become an established reality in the region, being offered in an increasing number of institutions.

What is perhaps unique is that while disagreements abound over what constitutes “national”, there appears to be a general commitment to the idea of “national” across all the cohorts, although this commitment is more complicated among the younger scholars, given theoretical pressures to repudiate “national”. Among the senior scholars, for instance, allegiance to “national” is manifested in the intellectual anger of Taufik against a Java-centric national history of Indonesia which ignores contributions from nationalist movements in Aceh and West Sumatra.

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