Guest Contributor: Marshall Clark

This is the inaugural edition of the monthly digest of the Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia (MASSA), a regional grouping within the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA). The format of this digest is modeled on the monthly digest of the Indonesia Council, which is also a regional chapter of the ASAA. We extend our thanks to the moderator of the Indonesia Digest, Dr. Nadirsyah Hosen, for his support. Our apologies for any readers who may be a member of both lists – in time, with input from Society members, we hope that the MASSA digest will take on its own unique character and content.

The Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia has a very modest fee structure, and you can subscribe or renew your subscription here : . Please be mindful of the fact that we are in a ‘transition phase’ between the old and new treasurer, so this website may change address in the next few months. Any questions please contact the new Secretary/Treasurer, Dr. Marshall Clark at [email protected].

We also urge those of you who find this bulletin useful or who attend the biennial Malaysia and Singapore Society Colloquium to become financial members of the ASAA. You can now join online at

The Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia digest is circulated monthly. If you have information about conferences, Malaysia or Singapore-related news, resources, job opportunities, new books etc, send it in at any time by replying to this email. Please send the information in the body of your email, using the format that appears in the digest. DO NOT send PDF flyers or a reference without an abstract.

If you know of anyone who may like to be added to the list please ask them to contact the list moderator, Marshall Clark, directly at [email protected].


Here is the spot to send in any news details relating to Malaysia, Singapore or MASSA.

The first major bit of news is to warmly thank – once again! – the outgoing President of MASSA, Prof Amarjit Kaur and the outgoing Secretary/Treasurer, Prof Ian Metcalfe.

We also congratulate Prof. Harry Aveling on his successful election as the new President of the Society. Harry writes: “On behalf of the Society, I would like to extend our most sincere thanks to Professors Amarjit Kaur and Ian Metcalfe for the many years of service they have given to MASSA. The Society is a compact, highly efficient organisation of long standing, and a model to many other regional associations in the ASAA. Our thanks too to Dr Gaik Cheng Khoo and Dr Amrita Malhi, Dr Yasuko Kobayashi and Prof. John Funston, for the enormous amount of work they contributed to making the recent colloquium such an intellectually stimulating and friendly event. We look forward to seeing you all at the 17th Colloquium in Melbourne in the latter part of 2011. With every good wish for the New Year, Harry Aveling, President, Malaysia & Singapore Society.”

As Harry mentions above, the next MASSA Colloquium will be held in Melbourne in late 2011, most likely in the month of December. More information will be provided in future editions of the digest and posted on the web.

The International Malay Language Speech Contest of 2011 is to be held at the Putrajaya Convention Centre, Malaysia, 25 February-8 March. For more details about rules, prizes and registration, please contact Mrs Saodah at [email protected] or [email protected].


Julie Chernov Hwang (2010) ‘When Parties Swing: Islamist Parties and Institutional Moderation in Malaysia and Indonesia’, 18 (4) South East Asia Research 635-674.

This article examines the extent to which the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) are becoming more moderate in their strategy and ideology. The author contends that both parties are struggling over the extent to which they should moderate in response both to strategic incentives present in the Malaysian and Indonesian political systems and to the political learning process whereby both parties are coming to understand the preferences of voters in their respective political systems. This process is complicated by divisions in the parties between pragmatists who would postpone controversial goals to reach out to non-devout voters, and purists who prioritize ideological authenticity.


Please send in any titles and abstracts for the next digest!


Greg Lopez, PhD candidate at the Crawford School of Economics and Government, ANU, would like to alert members to New Mandala as a platform to publicise research work or work in progress (in relation to Malaysia or Southeast Asia). He can be contacted at [email protected]



Date: 15 April 2011

Abstract deadline: 15 February 2011

Workshop Location: Deakin University Melbourne City Centre

The countries of the European Union (EU) are established democracies. However, their identities and futures remain contested, particularly given their current crises and difficulties. East Asia is not without its own challenges in terms of regional integration. Among other factors such as the economic and political diversity in the region, the antagonistic character of Sino-Japanese relations is often blamed for the lack of political integration. Southeast Asia is characterised by a number of very different political systems, ranging from Burma’s military regime to a weakly consolidated democracy in Indonesia. Increasing democratisation occurring throughout the Southeast Asian region in some of the larger member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) is placing new pressures on traditional modes of regional interaction. Indonesia and the Philippines, for example, are actively seeking to reform ASEAN into an organisation that subscribes to democratic values. Yet the realization of a more ‘participatory regionalism’ in Southeast Asia, one that engages civil society and pushes for a greater openness, faces considerable barriers. Europe also has its own challenges in terms of developing ‘participatory regionalism’ – and there is still a question-mark over whether the big powers of Asia are willing to learn from ASEAN’s identity, norms and practices of co-operation, as well as the recent efforts of some countries to ‘democratise’ ASEAN. The workshop particularly seeks to examine 1) trends in debating democracies, identities and futures in Europe and East Asia 2) changing trends in democratisation in the countries of East Asia; 3) the possibilities for regional decision-making processes to be based on democratic principles; and 4) whether there are useful lessons from Europe. The conference will ask a number of salient questions: does the transformative power of the European Union (EU), which has led to increased debate regarding concepts of ‘Europeanisation’ or ‘European identity’, have relevance in the East Asian context? Does EU’s drive towards the diffusion of ideas carry analytical weight in the East Asian context? Are any of the East Asian countries welcoming, shaping or supporting the diffusion of European ideas? Are any East Asian countries seeking to reject them? And which ideas are being diffused? This workshop welcomes papers or panels on any of the above topics. Please send a 200-word abstract with your biographical information to one or both of the conference conveners: Dr. Marshall Clark ([email protected]) or Assoc. Prof. Philomena Murray ([email protected]) by 15 February 2011.

Date: July 5-7, 2012

Abstract deadline: June 30, 2011

Location: National University of Singapore

The First International Conference on the Legal Histories of the British Empire will be held in Singapore from July 5-7, 2012. The Faculty of Law at the National University of Singapore is the local host. The Conference is supported by the American Society of Legal History, the Australian and New Zealand Legal History Association, and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History. The Conference is designed to provide a vehicle for a wide ranging sample of current scholarship on imperial and colonial legal history – cultural, institutional, social, biographical, doctrinal, prosopographical and theoretical. The objectives are: (1) to bring together scholars (senior, junior and graduate students) working in the fields of imperial and comparative colonial legal history, to share the work that is already underway, and (2) to encourage those with an incipient interest in these fields and others to join in this scholarly endeavour and expand the field. Without in any way limiting the range of topics considered at the Conference, the following are just some areas of contemporary and comparative research interest: the treatment of Aboriginal and Indigenous populations; property rights; the treatment of the unfree – slaves and convicts; the administration of justice and the rule of law; constitutional evolution; the colonial judiciary; the legal professions; the transference of legal culture and ideology within the Empire; master and servant law; regulation of labour, labour movement and indenture; crime and criminal justice; formal and informal resolution of private disputes; law and economic development; the law and gender; women’s rights; the law of libel and press freedom; discrimination against ethnic majorities and minorities; martial law in colonial settings; internal security of the colonial state. This Call for Papers invites submissions for both papers and panels. Submissions of papers should be accompanied by an abstract of 300 words maximum in length and sent to Dr. David Williams, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland ([email protected]), cc. Professor John McLaren, Faculty of Law University of Victoria, British Columbia ([email protected]). The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2011. General inquiries about the Conference should be addressed to Professor McLaren.


Date: 19-26 June 2011

Registration deadline: 15 January 2011

Location: Leiden, the Netherlands

From 19-26 June 2011, the International Institute for Asian Studies will organize a summer programme in Leiden, the Netherlands, for MA and PhD students about “Heritage Conserved and Contested: Asian and European Perspectives.” This first Summer Programme in Asian Studies aims to shed light on the various definitions, interests, and practices associated with the question of cultural heritage in Asia and Europe. The programme will be run by two world-renown scholars in the fields of cultural heritage theory and cultural Asian history, respectively: Prof. Michael Herzfeld (Harvard University) and Prof. Nira Wickramasinghe (Leiden University). Registration closes: 15 January 2011. For information and registration, please visit


Date: April 29-30 April, 2011

Abstract deadline: January 28, 2011

Symposium location: University of Sydney

Within the Muslim World, there are spirited voices at the forefront of a new Islamic reformation. Serving as a bridge between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds, they are also key actors in defining the ummah and the wider global community in the twenty-first century. These progressive Muslims contend that the uncoupling of state power from religious authority is an imperative requirement of an inclusive and plural Islam that guarantees freedom, equality and justice. For them, the neutrality of the secular democratic state facilitates the growth of a genuine religiosity because it allows Muslims to discuss and debate fresh interpretations of the scriptures and their own religious practices. This commitment to the separation of state power and religious authority mirrors the views of prominent classical jurists, who denied ruling elites a monopoly over religion in order to prevent Islam from being exploited for earthly political ends. In the spirit of prominent classical jurists, the contemporary engagement with Islamic thought within the framework of ijtihad has become a powerful aliran in Muslim societies, a driver of theological and socio-political reform. By re-reading the scriptural sources and re-interpreting Islamic theology and religious practices, progressive Muslims are effectively resisting ideologies, authorities and institutions that propagate gender inequality, uphold theocracy, impose traditional sharia law, promote literal readings of the sacred texts and support exclusivist interpretations of Islam. A two-day international symposium will be held at the University of Sydney in April 29-30, 2011. The event will be co-hosted by the Department of Government and International Relations and the Sydney Democracy Initiative (SDI), University of Sydney and supported by the Australia-Malaysia Institute, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Please direct enquiries to the conference coordinators: Associate Professor Lily Rahim: [email protected] and Mr. Naser Ghobadzadeh: [email protected]

The 8th ASLI Conference 2011

The deadline for submission is 7 January 2011

We are pleased to announce that the Asian Law Institute (ASLI) and the Faculty of Law, Kyushu University are holding the 8th Annual ASLI conference in Kyushu, Fukuoka, Japan on 26th and 27th May 2011. Within the broad conference theme of “Law in a Sustainable Asia”, five of the parallel sessions will focus on selected sub-themes: (1) general perspectives on sustainability (studying aspects such as sustainable development, environmental justice, green development, or conservation ethics); (2) the economic dimension of sustainability (exploring, among other issues, corporate social responsibility, corporate sustainability, sustainable finance, economic opportunity or transnational commons); (3) the environmental dimension of sustainability (examining pollution control, climate change, food security, natural resource management, bio-diversity etc); (4) the participatory dimension of sustainability (looking at community partnership, civil society participation, stakeholder participation, community participation and the like); (5) the social dimension of sustainability (examining issues such as peace, security and social justice, liveable cities, cultural heritage and diversity, law and development, social capital or planning and land use). See


2011 Round ANRC PhD Overseas Travel Fellowships. Applications are invited from individuals currently enrolled in a PhD program in an Australian university who are researching Southeast Asia. Funding is available for students to conduct specific, defined tasks in the Netherlands related to their PhD. These tasks could include fieldwork, consulting an archive or library, engaging in language or disciplinary study, or consulting academic experts. PhD projects should address topics related to the humanities or social sciences. Funds will cover economy class return travel between Australia and the Netherlands plus a living allowance for a period of between one and six months. The research trip must occur within the term of the PhD enrolment, and take place in the period May, 2011 – June, 2012. Up to four Fellowships will be offered in this round. Further enquiries: [email protected], tel 02 6125 0693. Closing date: 25 February 2011.


Southeast Asian Research Special Issue, Victims, Survivors, Mourners, Re-constructors: Southeast Asian Responses to Massive Social Destruction. In the last decades Southeast Asia has experienced civil wars as well as major “natural” disasters (typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis). This issue of SEAR focusses on the aftermath of such massive collective deaths, especially seen in the long period. We examine what happens after environmental, social and human destruction has happened with its load of psychological, physical and social suffering. More precisely, we are interested in how Southeast Asian societies live after catastrophes, what processes they go through in order to make sense of the disaster and to cope with the destruction. We would like to call the applicants’ attention onto a few common themes: Social resilience (including the discussion of the concept); Categories of suffering; Policies of memory; Helping and being helped. The core of this special issue consists of papers presented in 2010 6th Euroseas Conference (Gotheborg, 27th-29th August). We would now like to invite more scholars to contribute to the issue. The schedule is tight as the publication is expected in June 2012. Deadline for proposals: 15th January. Deadline for submission of full articles (max. 10.000 words, abstract and bibliographical references included): 15th March. Abstract should be about 400 words long and clearly state a theoretical issue and the context it is going to be examined within. The result of the proposal will be communicated within 5 days from the deadline of submission. Contributions about all Southeast Asian areas will be fully considered, but we especially encourage scholars writing about peninsular and insular Southeast Asia.For further information contact the guest editors Anne Guillou, CNRS, Paris ([email protected]) and Silvia Vignato, Universit├а di Milano-Bicocca, Italy ([email protected]).


Department of Government, Law and International Affairs, Murray State University. Tenure-track position in political science with a regional specialization in China/Southeast Asia to begin August 2011. Qualifications: Ph.D. in political science with specialization in comparative politics or international relations. ABD’s with a documented plan of completion by appointment date will be considered. Ability to teach in the area of Southeast Asian Politics, including China, must be reflected in graduate-level course work and/or teaching experience. Preference will be given to applicants able to teach research methods or American Government.. Responsibilities: Teaching dutes may include Comparative Asian Political Sytems; Introduction to Comparative Political Systems; Introduction to International Relations and other related comparative politics or international relations courses. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate a commitment to scholarship and service as well as excellence in teaching and must also be able to use multiple delivery methods in non-traditional formats. Deadline: February 15, 2011. To Apply: Please visit

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Modern Southeast Asian Studies, Columbia University. The Weatherhead East Asian Institute (WEAI) invites applications for its 2011-2012 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Modern Southeast Asian Studies. The Fellow will devote half time to his or her own research and will teach one course on Southeast Asia per semester. The Fellow will also participate in initiatives such as the INTERACT program aimed at improving global literacy specifically with regard to Southeast Asian studies among Columbia students, and will be an integral participant in day-to-day activities at the WEAI. Candidates from all social science disciplines, including history, are welcome to apply. The fellowship will cover a 10-month period beginning August 1, 2011, and comes with a stipend of $45,000 plus benefits. Applicants must have completed all PhD degree requirements (completed and filed the dissertation) between July 2007 and July 2011. Applicants must have completed their PhD in a social science discipline, including history, working on modern Southeast Asia. Applications from individuals who hold or have held regular faculty positions will not be considered. All application materials (including letters of reference) must be received by the Institute on or before January 19, 2011. For more information on the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Modern Southeast Asian Studies, contact Celia Bhattacharya, Program officer, by phone at 212-854-9206 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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