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Ethnic Minorities and Indigenous Peoples in Southeast Asia

October 25, 2008

NIAS – Nordic Institute of Asian-studies and Asian Dynamics Initiative at Copenhagen University, are organizing a seminar on Ethnic Minorities and Indigenous Peoples in Southeast Asia.

Since the post-modern turn in the social sciences, the constructionist perspective has reduced ethnicity, culture and, indeed, also peoples – all former key issues in anthropology – to exist only within inverted commas. Recent case studies often focus on how ethnic minority identities worldwide are deeply dependent on counter-colonial imagery and inverted mirroring of the mainstream population. Hence, minority identities are presented as constructed, created and imagined with little regard to any reality of alleged ethnic purity and or authenticity.

In the meantime, ‘ethnic minorities’ throughout South East Asia (and elsewhere for that matter) continue to experience very real clashes with their nation-states on the basis of very real sociocultural
and political differences, while some indigenous political representatives are trying to convert cultural/ ethnic specificity into special collective rights at the national level and at the United Nations’ international fora on indigenous peoples. Thus, ironically as it may seem, they take strategic advantage of static ethnic stereotypes of colonial origin as part of a decolonization process.

The seminar wishes to address how theoretical-constructionist perspectives and in-depth empirical perspectives can cross-fertilize rather than bypass one another in the case of South East Asian ethnic minorities.

The seminar will take place November 19, 2008 at NIAS – Leifsgade 33, 3 floor. 2300 Copenhagen S.

Organizers: NIAS and ADI
Venue: NIAS, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Leifsgade 33, 3 sal.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2008 10:49 am

    See also my entry “Why we should still study peoples”:

    http://johnpostill.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/why-we-should-still-study-peoples/

  2. October 26, 2008 1:37 pm

    Looks like a great conference, wish I could go. I agree, indigenous peoples of South Asia are still clashing with the nation-state, but they are also clashing now to a greater degree with NGOs, environmentalists, and developmental organizations as their traditional way of life is running into obstacles that are only partially the result of nation-state activities.

  3. October 27, 2008 11:54 pm

    Hi Advocate – do you mean South Asia or Southeast Asia?

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