Southeast Asian Heritage in a global context


Double Panel

Part 1

Session 1
Tue 09:30-11:00 REC A2.11

Part 2

Session 2
Tue 11:30-13:00 REC A2.11



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Over the past decade, history and heritage are increasingly called upon as a tool to facilitate trade and diplomatic relations, open borders, foster intercultural dialogue, and influence the creation of new geo-political landscapes.

Governments and communities in Southeast Asia often find themselves at the epicenter of such dynamic and controversial processes. Consider, for example, the 2013 South China Sea dispute launched by the Philippines against China with the International Arbitral Tribunal. Notably, China rejected the 2016 ruling and the overall validity of international law by citing “historical precedence.” And the Chinese government is hardly alone in turning to history and heritage in staking alternative geopolitical claims. Governments in Southeast Asia are now actively invoking their own (maritime) heritage to establish (new) geopolitical positions and alliances. For nearly a decade, for example, Indonesia has championed the revival of the history, heritage, and memories of the Spice Route. Initially conceived as a means to ignite heritage conversations across the Indonesian archipelago, the Spice Route movement has now grown into a comprehensive global initiative featuring academic dialogues, filed visits, and cultural exchanges across Asia, Africa, and Europe.

With these trends in mind, we ask:
How does the history and heritage of Southeast Asia inform our understanding of global interactions today? How do they matter in the space of international affairs and geopolitical alliances?
Do the immense historical heritage and traditions of Southeast Asia count in constructing (new) visions for global order?
Whose heritage is being invoked and mobilized, and when?
How are national, regional, and global boundaries redrawn with the help of heritage narratives?
How can the curation and presentation of diverse heritage voices and memories come to bear on larger geopolitical, regional, and national claims?