Becoming a Transnational Scholar of Southeast Asia

Course Description

The Department of History, Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta plan to continue holding its second year summer school on transnationalism in Southeast Asia following on the successful summer school on transnationalism held at the Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada in 2018 with the title “Transnational History: Becoming a Cosmopolitan Historian.” The theme of the second summer school is a broadening of the application of transnationalism in looking not just at historical phenomenon, but present day economic, social, religious, cultural and political phenomenon in the city of Yogyakarta that is rooted in transnational forces and flows. By looking at how transnational flows create emergent potentialities that disrupt regulatory, moral and cultural spaces tethered on notions of fixed spaces and boundaries, the disruptive forces of transnationalism have resulted in categorizing certain people, things, practices and ideas as illegal, illicit, immoral and other pejorative notions; for instances illegal immigrants, drugs or ‘western-customs’. At the same time, other people, things, practices and ideas are considered as legal, legitimate and good. The movement of these groups from one society or country to another has resulted in placing these groups on either side of the legal, licit and moral framework resulting in contestations and reformulation of the framework themselves. These interplay between legal and illegal and moral and immoral thus represent a way in which societies ‘move forward’, by contesting the boundaries and framework of what are considered as good, bad or neutral.

We intend to look into these phenomena critically through theoretical, historical and social science discussion on various transnational manifestations in the city of Yogyakarta. These transnational phenomena appear in the form of social spaces, cultural events, economies and belief systems and represent the intertwining of transnational and local spaces and societies. These represented long historical phenomena from the period when Southeast Asia was part of that Asian trade network that brought over foreign culture, religion and social practices that would be entwined in the city’s identities. These same historical forces  continue today and become engaged or re-engaged with present day flows; for instance, the rise of modern religion whether Islam, Christianity or Buddhism resulting in new flows such as pilgrimages to ‘new’ holy sites of the old Borobudur, or how ideas of the mysterious and transcendental East has created a tourist networks of ‘hippies’ on the hunt for spiritual enlightenment, or new practices that were brought over from Indonesian migrant workers and their discrimination at the hands of officials or the rise of Kpop or JPop and its relations with the racial notions of identities of Asian cool or new re-engagement with old forms of sexualities, religious beliefs and how these are met in today’s democratic Indonesia. These and others represent the field study in which students could engage, theorize and historicize such phenomenon in order to understand and appreciate them. These changes are often disruptive and result in dismay, discrimination, banning and, perhaps even, persecution. Understanding how some of these flows came to be regarded as normal while others persecuted is an important component of the critical education of the summer school.

Learning Outcome

  • To emphasize understanding about history and transnationalism in Southeast Asia
  • To discuss contemporary issues related to transnationalism in Southeast Asia in culture, gender sexuality, economy and religion context.
  • To emphasize understanding about transnationalism process network in Southeast Asia.

Method and Output

The aim of the summer school is to provide the means for students in the field of history and social sciences to critically engage with transnational phenomenon by analyzing its manifestation in the city of Yogyakarta. By holding this exercise as a multicultural and multinational venture with students from around the Southeast Asia region and beyond, it allows students to distance themselves from their national narratives and regulatory, moral and cultural spaces. This distance allows them to open dialogue and re-examine their territorialized notions of legal and moral perspectives. The summer school is a cosmopolitan and denationalizing exercise; gathering students from around the world in order to facilitate a transnational dialogue. The dangers of placing people, things, practices and ideas within these legal and moral framework is apparent when one confronts its human victim; whether they be victims of state apparatus or criminals profiting from these transnational flows. At the same time, the creation of transnational spaces results in emergent identities, practices and ideas that are positive, uplifting and creative. This positive aspect of transnationalism also requires a critical perspective in understanding its relationship with the wider society and with the wider transnational flows. Students will be equipped with theoretical lectures on transnationalism and transnational history, but also engage in field studies into communities, organizations or activities in the city of Yogyakarta. The transnational approach allows such a local and semi-isolated place like Yogyakarta to be a rich node of global processes because its framework inherently decenter nodal connections. It also allows us to see in what way has Europe, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and so forth are reflected in the history and phenomenon of Yogyakarta. such exercise will allow students to identity transnational connections with their own local histories, identities and practices.

Time & Place

Date                            : July 22nd – August 2nd, 2019

Time                           : 08.30 am-15.00 pm

Course Venue           : Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada

Field Research         : Communities in Yogyakarta


  1. Prof. Dr. Atsushi Ota (Keio University, Japan)
  2. Prof. Dr. Bambang Purwanto (Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia)
  3. Prof. Dr. Danny Wong Tze Ken (University of Malaya, Malaysia)
  4. Prof. Dr. Itty Abraham (National University of Singapore, Singapore)
  5. Prof. Dr. Jos Gommans (Leiden University, Netherlands)
  6. Prof. Dr. Kathrine McGregor (Melbourne University, Australia)
  7. Asst. Prof. Dr. Adisorn Muakpimai (Thammasat University, Thailand)
  8. Asst. Prof. Dr. Bhawan Ruangsilp (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand)
  9. Dr. Ariel C. Lopez (University of Philippine, Philippine)
  10. Dr. Erwan Agus Purwanto (Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, UGM)
  11. Dr. Farabi Fakih, M.Phil. (Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia)
  12. Dr. Francis A. Gealogo (Ateneo de Manila University, Philippine)
  13. Dr. Laksmi A. Savitri, M.Si. (Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia) in confirmation-
  14. Dr. Pham Van Thuy (Vietnam National University, Vietnam)
  15. Dr. Phil. Shiskha Prabawaningtyas (Paramadina University, Indonesia)
  16. Dr. Sri Margana, M.Phil. (Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia)
  17. Dr. Suzie Handajani, M.A. (Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia)
  18. Dr. Yerry Wirawan (Sanata Dharma University, Indonesia)
  19. Dr. Yoseph Djakababa (Pelita Harapan University, Indonesia)
  20. Alia Swastika (ARK Galerie)
  21. Yulianti, PhD. Candidate (Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada/ Leiden University)


The course is free but limited to 36 participants only and please read carefully important information below:

  • Applicants are BA/MA students of Humanity Studies and Social Sciences all over the world
  • Application should include a CV, a short letter of motivation that also indicates the student’s main fields of interest, personal photo, scan of passport and student card.
  • Communication during the course will be in English
  • All selected applicants from outside Yogyakarta are granted free accommodation
  • All selected applicants are expected to secure their own travel expense and itinerary from and to their home country
  • Refreshments and lunches during the course are available

If you’re interested please fill in the registration form at no later than May 30th, 2019.

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