Inspirational Speakers

More information on the inspirational speakers will be updated soon on this page.

Due to safety regulations, our room for general meetings and inspirational speakers, A0.01, is unfortunately limited to 450 participants.

Inspirational talk 1: The Absurdity of Thailands Security State
Prof. Puangthong R. Pawakapan
Chulalongkorn University

The Thai military has maintained almost absolute control over the countrys internal security affairs since the Cold War periodNormal socioeconomic and political issues have been securitized and militarized Projects such as development of special economic zones and tourism promotion are dressed up as internal security protection. The absurd expansion of what constitutes national security threats has allowed the military to augment its political power and lucrative businessesThe mechanisms for checking and balancing the military’s business empire are paralyzedin the name of national securityDespite its uncompromising use of an iron fist against dissenting voices, its national security narrative and legitimacy have been critically challenged by the youth movement and the young progressive political party It is, however, saddening to witness hundreds of the young braves being charged, imprisoned, and fleeing the country

Puangthong Pawakapan is professor at Faculty of Political Science,Chulalongkorn University. Her academic expertise is in the field of Thailand’s military and politics and Southeast Asian studies. Her latest book is Infiltrating Society: The Thai Military Internal Security Affairs (2021). She is the co-founder of a digital archives, Documentation of the October 6 www.doct6.com. She has also been active in political activism, such as the Campaign Committee to Amend Article 112 the lese majeste lawin 2012, the People Information Center, which produced a factfinding report on the violent crackdown of the Red Shirt demonstration in April-May 2010, and the Academic Network for Civil Rights. Right after the coup d’état in May 2014, she was summoned and interrogated by the junta. In 2021, the Apple Company notified her that her phone was hacked by a state-sponsored spyware. With assistance from Citizen Lab, her phone was hacked four times by a malicious Pegasus spyware.

Puangthong has received research fellowships from several institutes: the Cambodian Genocide Program at Yale University, the Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center at Stanford University, Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the Harvard Yenching Institute at Harvard University.

Inspirational talk 2: Out of Agriculture: The 1850s - 2010s Java and Southern Germany compare
Prof. Dr. Pujo Semedi
Universitas Gadjah Mada

Java and Southern Germany experienced agrarian liberalization at almost the same time: the 1810s and the 1800s. Similarly, the legalization of private land ownership occurred around the same period, in the 1850s for Southern Germany and the 1870s for Java. However, agricultural liberalization in Southern Germany was soon followed by manufacture industrialization, while in Java the industrialization was focused on agriculture through the establishment of global market-oriented plantations. In Southern Germany the agricultural labor force steadily migrated to the manufacture sector, and in the 1890s, manufacture overtook agriculture as the highest contributor to gross national product. Meanwhile in Java, the agricultural labor force was kept in agriculture and was transformed from free farmers into cheaply paid colonial plantation koelies. It was only in the 1970s that Java experienced significant out-migration from agriculture, with millions of Javanese leaving their villages to find work in the cities. This heralded the madness of the annual rite of going home for the Eid festivities (mudik), in which hundreds of thousands of vehicles fight their way out of Jakarta and millions of dollars are burned for gasoline to allow ex-farmers to return to their home village.

On this occasion I will explore the background to the differences of out-of-agriculture migration in Southern Germany and Java and the consequences of these changes in both societies. By any means, comparative study is not new in humanities, as exemplified by J.S. Furnivall (1939, Netherlands India: A Study of Plural Economy), Eric Wolf (1957, Closed Corporate Peasant Communities in Mesoamerica and Central Java), Clifford Geertz (1971, Islam Observed) and Jack Goody (1983, The Development of the Family and Marriage in Europe). Most such studies are comparisons of two or more “other” societies, rather than between the researchers’ own society vis-a-vis other societies, which allows the researchers to engage in reflexivity to understand the other societies. In this case, I wish to understand the dynamic of German rural society, where capitalism is a homegrown political-economy force, based on my experience as a Javanese scholar where capitalism came as an external force brought about by colonialism.

Inspirational talk 3:
Layan Nijem
DeCoSEAS research collective
University of Amsterdam

DeCoSEAS is a transnational research project focused on hearing and listening as dialogical modes of knowledge formation in order to renegotiate established understandings of heritage curation. For more information, please refer to their website.