Write up about the Conference
The 7th European Association for Southeast Asian Studies (EuroSEAS) was held at the School of Social and Political Science (ISCSP), University of Lisbon (formerly the Technical University of Lisbon), Portugal from 2 to 5 July 2013. The Conference was attended not only by European and Southeast Asian scholars doing research in various field of social sciences and humanities in Southeast Asia but also other scholars from other parts of the world who are doing research in topics relevant to Southeast Asia. Keynote speakers were Jorge Sampaio, former President of Portugal and the first United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilization, and Duncan McCargo, Professor at the University of Leads and prominent political science scholar doing research in Thai and Southeast Asian politics. Paper presenters represent diverse academic backgrounds, from prominent scholars and published academics to graduate students still developing their dissertation.
EuroSEAS is an international initiative to foster scholarly cooperation within Europe in the field of Southeast Asian Studies. It was founded in 1992 and its the only pan-European scientific organization dedicated to Southeast Asian studies. EuroSEAS members work in all areas of humanities ans social sciences, from archaeology to economics, from anthropology to linguistics. The Association is governed by a Board, elected every three years, composed by 9 members and 9 deputy members, plus the Chairperson and the Secretary. The Secretariat is hosted by ISCSP, University of Lisbon. The main EuroSEAS activity is the organization of an international conference bringing together hundreds of specialist of Southeast Asia from all over the world. The first 6 conference were held respectively in Leiden, 1995; Hamburg, 1998; London, 2001; Paris, 2004; Naples, 2007 and Gothenburg, 2010. The 7th conference will take place in Lisbon in July 2013.
Feedback on paper presented
I was able to get positive feedback from the rest of the panelists, reactors and members of the audience. Being the only Southeast Asian in the panel (the rest being Europeans doing research in Southeast Asia), I have the advantage of knowing more about the context of my research inquiry. My paper is also the only one dealing with different dimensions of dangers being faced by people everyday. The rest of my panel were focused on only one issue per paper, e.g. flooding, disasters, youth in extreme and dangerous activities, etc. However, because of their expertise in different ares, they were also able to give interesting insights and suggestions for improvement of my current paper and future research related to the current one. Below are some of the comments:
- How do you see the possibility of local government in the Philippines adopting the index your team has designed? Can local governments finance this? Who will finance this? Are local governments willing to use the proposed human security index?
- How do people in the different communities where research was conducted view government? Do they trust government? Do they have expectations of government?
- What do you expect would be different in human security concerns and issues on the part of the people in the Philippines compared with the other countries? It would be interesting to know what is different in terms of human security concerns of Filipinos when compared with other Southeast Asian countries and European countries. Another interesting aspect would be the differences in terms of human security concerns among the different communities in the Philippines.
- How different are the security concerns in rural and urban areas in the Philippines.
- Can you include in the index transport and road safety?
- Do you expect that your human security index is completely different from the more Western-oriented or developed ones?
- The study is very interesting and European scholars would be interested in learning more about the project and its continuation in the future. One scholar expressed that she is looking forward to the continuation of the project and hearing more about the results of the project in the future.
- For scholars working on indigenous communities and responses to disasters in the Philippines (like one of the paper presenters in the same panel), the paper / research’s questions to people about their sense of security, threats to their security and resilience in the face of disasters would be very helpful and may yield some more interesting findings.
Future directions of research presented
In terms of the immediate plans, I will be revising my conference paper as the panel conveners have already planned on submitting to Disaster Prevention and Management (an ISI-listed social science journal that critically looks at disasters a a comprehensive phenomenon that cover conflicts) a proposal to come up with a special issue. The special issue will be composed of papers presented in our panel entitled “X-Treme Situations – Uncertain Normality: Ethnographies of Everyday Life in Dangerous Places in Southeast Asia” as well as other papers that may fit the theme. The journal editors already informed the panel conveners that the time frame for the special issue is as follows: submission of manuscripts (end of September 2013); deadline for reviewers / referees to submit their reviews (end of November 2013); submission of revised manuscripts (end of January 2014); finalization of accepted manuscripts for publication (April 2014); and target publication (2014).
In terms of longer-term plans, the author plans to continue researching on human security issues by proposing projects that will extend the study to more diverse areas in the Philippines and revise the draft human security index to highlight the lessons from the yield as well as discuss more closely to the prospect of mainstreaming the index in local and national government planning, monitoring and evaluation.
Potential foreign collaborators
Panel conveners and presenters who will likely be part of the special journal issue publication project and/or who have expressed interest in continuing the discussion on common research issues for possible future research collaboration:
- Gerben Nooteboom (Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
- Roanne van Voorst (The Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research [AISSR], University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
- Ben Wisner (Earth Science / Aon-Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre, University College London, United Kingdom)
- Jorgen Hellmann (School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweeden)
- Marie Thynell (School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweeden)
- Greg Bankoff (Dept. of History, University of Hull, United Kingdom)
- Dorothea Hilhorst (Disaster Studies, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands)
Other important contacts and insights
The conference provided me an opportunity to reconnect with previous contacts as well as build new contacts who could be helpful not only from the perspective of individual professional development but also for institutional collaboration. It was an opportunity to reconnect with two recent Visiting Professors of the Dept. of Political Science, University of the Philippines, Diliman. namely Andreas Ufen (German Institute of Global and Area Studies and University of Hamburg, Germany) and Meredith Weiss (University of Albany, USA), as well as two former Visiting Research Fellows of the Third World Studies Center, University of the Philippines, namely Akiko Watanabe (Tokyo University, Japan) and Gwenola Ricordeau (Université Lille 1 – Clersé, France). I was also able to meet again friends and political science colleagues working on Philippine politics and government, namely Paul Hutchcroft (Australian National University) and Marx Thompson (City University of Hong Kong). We discussed possible research collaboration and faculty exchanges in the near future, including pinpointing promising junior colleagues in the Dept. of Political Science, UP Diliman who can be recommended for PhD. Fellowships.
The Conference also enabled me to get updated with what other scholars are doing in the field of Southeast Asian studies, covering debates in the theoretical, methodological and empirical evidence levels. At the same time, I got a chance to meet other scholars who are also interested in researching in the Philippines and developing institutional collaboration arrangements between their universities and the University of the Philippines. For instance, Giovanni Maltese (University of Heidelberg) is not only interested in developing research collaboration in the field of religion, politics and elections but also institutional collaboration between UP and the University of Heidelberg in terms of faculty and student exchanges. He will be visiting the Philippines by end of August and will drop by to discuss with me and my colleagues in the Department of Political Science the details of possible collaboration. There are also advanced graduate students planning to do field work in the Philippines like Raimond Duijsens (The Netherlands Red Cross) who would like to inquire about research fellowship positions in the Third World Studies Center. There are also opportunities for future conferences related with Southeast Asian studies, particularly politics.
The conference also provided an opportunity to meet Filipino scholars based in other universities abroad, e.g. Mina Roces (Australian University), either as faculty or graduate students, and discuss not only Philippine issue but also opportunities for research, publication and teaching. I also got to meet other scholars who specialized in various aspects of Philippine studies and noted that while Filipino scholars have been advancing the interest to study Philippines worldwide, there is also a solid group of foreign scholars, both young and old, who are also sustaining this interest in various disciplines and issues.
Short write-up of one’s participation (to be used to feature/publicize the grantee’s participation in the conference)
Associate Professor Maria Ela L. Atienza, Ph.D., of the Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines, Diliman, attended and presented a paper at the 7th European Association for Southeast Asian Studies (EuroSEAS). The conference was held at the School of Social and Political Sciences (ISCSP), University of Lisbon (formerly the Technical University of Lisbon), Portugal from 2 to 5 July 2013. Dr. Atienza presented her paper entitled “People’s Views about Human Security, Security Threats and Capacity to Mitigate Threats: A Study of Five Municipalities in the Philippines” in the panel entitled “X-Treme Situations – Uncertain Normality: Ethnographies of Everyday Life in Dangerous Places in Southeast Asia”.
Dr. Atienza’s paper is based on the findings of two recently completed, unpublished study of the University of the Philippines’ Third World Studies Center (TWSC) entitled Developing a Human Security Index for the Philippines: An Exploratory Study in Selected Conflict Areas (2010). The current paper employs the proposed human security index (HSI) developed by the TWSC project team to measure human security in several municipalities in the Philippines. The concept of human security used in this research is the comprehensive definition which covers both “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want” dimensions. The people’s sense of security in the following seven dimensions: economic, environmental, food, health, community, personal and political security, is analyzed in the context of the more scholarly understanding of human security.
The municipalities, namely Gubat, Mulanay, Janiuay, Murcia and Indanan, where the proposed index was pilot tested all have a history of violent conflicts or insurgency and they also face other multiple security threats, e.g. typhoons and floods, deforestation, lack of food, climate change, limited livelihood opportunities, lack of regular water supplies, etc. Though surveys, focus group discussions and interviews, people were asked about their understanding of human security and experiences, threats to individuals and the community, and their capacity, as individuals and as a community, to cope with and/or do something about these threats.
Dr. Atienza was the only Southeast Asian in the panel. Her paper was well-received by the rest of the panel as well as the members of the audience. They inquired about issues such as the the possibility of institutionalizing the index in local governments. Filipino people’s trust in government, differences in terms of human security concerns in different types of communities in the Philippines, people’s sense of resilience, etc. The panel is planning to come up with a publication project from all the papers presented.
EuroSEAS is an international initiative to foster scholarly cooperation within Europe in the field of Southeast Asian studies. It was founded in 1992 and it is only pan-European scientific organization dedicated to Southeast Asian studies. EuroSEAS members work in all ares of humanities and social sciences, from archeology to economics, from anthropology to linguistics. The main EuroSEAS activity is the organization of an international conference bringing together hundreds of specialists of Southeast from all over the world. The first 6 conferences were held respectively in Leiden, 1995; Hamburg, 1998; London, 2001; Paris 2004; Naples, 2007 and Gotherburg, 2010. The 7th conference will take place in Lisbon in July 2013.
The conference was attended not only by European and Southeast Asian scholars doing research in various field of social sciences and humanities in Southeast Asia but also other scholars from other parts of the world who are doing research in topics relevant to Southeast Asia. Keynote speakers were Jorge Sampaio, former President of Portugal and the first United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Duncan McCargo, Professor at the University of Leads and prominent political science scholar doing research in Thai and Southeast Asian politics. Paper presenters represent diverse academic backgrounds, from the prominent scholars and published academics to graduate students still developing their dissertation.