Centre of Southeast Asian Studies

Closure of Centre of Southeast Asian Studies

The Centre of Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) was established in 1964, soon after the founding of Monash University, in recognition of the importance of the Southeast Asian region to the university and the expertise of Monash staff in this field. It continued to maintain an international reputation for excellence in scholarship on Southeast Asia. Leading international scholars, in particular in the fields of Indonesian, Cambodian and Malaysian studies, contributed to the activities of the Centre while teaching and researching in a wide range of disciplines including  anthropology, economics, education, geography, history, law, linguistics, literature, music, politics and sociology.

Since the mid-1960s Monash awarded more than 300 postgraduate research degrees for work on Southeast Asia. While these students mainly worked in discipline-based departments, the Centre of Southeast Asian Studies provided invaluable opportunities for cross-disciplinary interchange and debate.

A major activity of the Centre was its fortnightly seminar series. The seminars, presented by leading scholars of Southeast Asia and more junior researchers and postgraduate students, cover both major current issues in the region and more specialised topics.

The Centre hosted many large international conferences over the years, as well as smaller workshops. Most of the major conferences focussed on Indonesia, dealing with topics such as state and civil society in Indonesia, democracy in the 1950s and 1960s, the politics of middle class Indonesia and the recent economic and political crisis. Important conferences were also organized on Cambodia and other parts of the region.

As well as providing analysis and expert commentary on the current economic and political situation in the region, and especially in Indonesia, the Centre was involved at a more practical level. The Centre played an important coordination and training role for the independent observers monitoring both the 1999 presidential elections in Indonesia and the independence referendum in East Timor.

The Centre was closed in August 2018, following the establishment of the Herb Feith Indonesian Engagement Centre. The new Centre builds on our strong engagement with Indonesia and the legacy of the Centre of Southeast Asian Studies.

It will continue collaboration and outreach with Indonesia and will be a dynamic and contemporary platform for Monash researchers engaging with Indonesia.

The Herb Feith Indonesian Engagement Centre will be headed up by Prof Ariel Heryanto, Herb Feith Professor for the Study of Indonesia.


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