Societies and Environments in Southeast Asia CSDS-IRASEC Academic Seminar 2016-2017

Societies and Environments in Southeast Asia

Co-organized by Institute of Research on Contemporary Southeast Asia (IRASEC) and Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS), Chulalongkorn University

In partnership with Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University; the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD), Chiang Mai University; and the Siamese Association of Sociologists and Anthropologists (SASA)

This seminar aims to discuss the relationship between Southeast Asian societies and their natural environments using an anthropological approach and considering contemporary socio-political challenges.

On a comparative basis, the seminar will explore the diversity of modes of interaction between humans and non-humans (gods, plants, animals, spirits). In light of Philippe Descola’s inspiring work Beyond Nature and Culture, the seminar would question the ways Southeast Asian societies do reflect upon the specific articulation between “nature” and “culture” developed by the West. What are the vernacular equivalents of the notions? How the Western ways of sorting things and beings out as natural or cultural are re-appropriated and discussed? And finally, how may we understand the forms that connect the social to the cosmic order within an Hindu-Buddhist context?

In this regard, we will examine how the relationships between societies and environment are reformulated and reshaped by development practices, technical knowledge systems and contemporary environmental challenges: water resource management, deforestation, ecosystem preservation, energy resources, and land-use changes.


Date and Time : November 2016 to April 2017 from 14.30 to 16.30 pm.

Venue : Alumni Meeting Room, 12th Floor, Faculty of Political Science Chulalongkorn University

Audience : Open to researchers, Master and Ph.D. scholars and public.


Program :

1. Friday, November 4th, 2016: Introduction session. Beyond nature and culture in Southeast Asian Societies.

Abigaël Pesses and Stéphane Rennesson (Institute of Research on Contemporary Southeast Asia – IRASEC-CNRS)

2. Friday, December 16th, 2016:  Beyond Nature and Culture of Modern Thai Water Engineering: The Ontology of Infrastructure.

Jakkrit Sangkhamanee (CSDS, Board and Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University)

3. Friday, January 20th, 2017: Politics of nature conservation in Thailand.

Pinkaew Laungaramsri (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Social Science, Chiang Mai University)

4. Friday, February 24th, 2017: Understanding an active volcano: animism and naturalism in the central javanese society

Adeline Martinez (IRASEC, University of Aix-Marseille)

5. Friday, March 17th, 2017: Web of relations: the way of giving, taking and reciprocating in the Moken’s world.

Narumon Arunotai (Research Unit on Cultural Dynamics and Ethnicity, Social Research Institute, Chulalongkorn University)

6. Friday, April 28th, 2017: Neak ta (land guardian spirits) in Cambodia. Reflections on the ideas of humanity and nature from the Khmer perspective. 

Anne Guillou (IRASEC-CNRS)


Special Lecture (Bangkok and Chiang Mai), November 2017: Philippe Descola, Professor to the Chair in Anthropology of Nature at the College of France.


Blog of the seminar


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