New issue of TAI CULTURE on “Tai Ahom in Assam”

A new issue of the Interdiciplinary Tai Studies Series TAI CULTURE dedicated to the topic “Tai Ahom in Assam” is now available. The 210 p. volume was edited in collaboration between SEACOM southeast asia communication centre Berlin (Germany) and the Purna Kanta Buragohain Institute for Tai and Southeast Asian Studies, Guwahati, Assam (India).

Although there exist a good number of studies and publications on Assam and the Tai Ahom altogether – mostly written by Tai Ahom or other scholars from India, and many of the works are in Assamese language – in general there has been limited awareness among other Tai peoples of Asia and among international scholars on the historical role, development, achievements, and specific characteristics of the Tai people who are called Ahom in Northeast India, and about their former Tai kingdom in Assam.

This new volume aims to shed more light on the history and culture of the Tai Ahom, and to give indigenous Ahom researchers and scholars from Assam a voice in an international publication as they are able to research and interpret primary sources in Ahom and Assamese languages.

The volume consists of 16 research articles, photo reports, bibliographies and glossaries, including articles on the Buddhist Tai ethnic groups in NE India, Impressions and thoughts on the Tai Ahom and other Tai in NE India, Tai Studies in Assam, the Historical background of Tai Ahom law, Ahom warfare, the Diplomatic relations of the Tai Ahom court, Tai Ahom-Assamese dictionary manuscripts, Inscriptions in Tai Ahom language, the Priestly classes of the Tai Ahom, Tai Ahom cosmology and traditions, Burial sites of Tai Ahom kings, and many more.

The volume can be ordered via the SEACOM homepage (click on “TAI CULTURE”).

© Photo by Oliver Raendchen, 2013.

© Photo by Oliver Raendchen, 2013.


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Shan Manuscripts in the UK

Southeast Asia Library Group (SEALG)

An interesting article with the title “An Introduction to the World of Shan Manuscripts” by our member Jotika Khur-Yearn has appeared on the blog of the SOAS Subject Librarians. It gives a short overview of the Shan manuscript tradition and collections of Shan manuscripts in the UK. Jotika is currently working on an exhibition of Shan manuscripts which will be on display at the Wolfson Gallery of the SOAS Library in London in November and December 2014. More details about the upcoming exhibition will follow on this blog nearer the time.

Detail of a cover of a Shan folding book (pap tup) held at the British Library (Or.12040) Detail of a cover of a Shan folding book (pap tup) held at the British Library (Or.12040)

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Conference on “Food, Feeding and Eating In and Out of Asia”

University of Copenhagen, 24-26 June 2015

The Asian Dynamics Initiative (ADI) is pleased to announce the 7th annual international ADI conference on “Food, Feeding and Eating In and Out of Asia”.

The conference will span three days and feature distinguished keynote speakers as well as interdisciplinary panels.

Food, feeding and eating activities are as old as life itself, but recently there has been a heightened interest in such issues within policy-making, international relations, and academic scholarship ranging from the bio-medical, philosophical, historical, and political to the social, cultural, economic, and religious. Food is both global and local: while foods, cuisines, recipes, people, and culinary cosmopolitanisms have been in global circuits of flows and circulations through various periods of history, the smells, sights, sounds, textures, and tastes of local foodscapes may evoke memories of ‘home’ and imaginations of travel alike. Moreover, with increasing numbers of people concentrated in large cities and urban agglomerations, the challenges of feeding people are becoming ever more complex. Against the backdrop of globalisation of Asia and Asian foods, this conference focuses on the wide-ranging aspects of production, consumption, distribution, disposal, and circulation of foods in and out of Asia.

ADI is a cross-faculty and interdisciplinary effort to meet the current challenges and demands for better knowledge of and deeper insights into Asian matters. This conference is the 7th in a series of annual, interdisciplinary conferences initiated by ADI in 2008.

For more information, call for panels, keynote speakers, and registration please visit the conference homepage.


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Conference on Manuscripts and Archives, Hamburg

The Centre of the Studies of Manuscripts Cultures (University of Hamburg) organizes a conference on Manuscripts and Archives from 19-22 November 2014. Contributions from the field of Southeast Asian manuscript cultures are most welcome and are encouraged. Proposals should be submitted as soon as possible.

The conference will explore the complex topic of the archive in a historical, systematic and comparative dimension and try to contextualise it in the broader context of manuscript cultures by addressing the following questions: How, by whom and for which purpose are archival records produced? Is there any observable difference from literary manuscripts concerning materials, formats, producers (scribes)? Where are they stored, how organised? Are there other objects stored together with the records? Which practices are involved inside the archive, how and by whom are they used? Is there a term or a concept of archive as opposed to library, museum, cabinet (of curiosities) and the like? Is there a relation to historiography? Is there an archival science (archivology)?

The conference takes place at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Warburgstraße 26, Hamburg, Germany.

Participation in the conference is free of charge and vistors are welcome.

For more detailed information and registration please visit the CSMC website:

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Illustrated manuscript of Thai poetry

An amazing illustrated manuscript of Thai poetry can be viewed online on the World Digital Library website.
This Thai folding book (samut khoi), which is being kept at the Bavarian State Library in Munich (Bayrische Staatsbibliothek), dates from the second half of the 19th century. It contains poems by an unknown author. The poems tell of the loss of a beloved woman. Not only is each poem a work of art in itself, many of them are also accompanied by illustrations of outstanding quality showing mythological figures and motifs from Thai literary works, including the Ramayana.

To view a fully digitised copy of the manuscript, please view the WDL website.

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Vietnam War Museum Ho Chi Minh City – Virtual Tour

Throughout Vietnam there are museums, references, and memorials dedicated to the Vietnam War and the wars in Indochina. In the city of Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, we probably find best and most comprehensive museum dedicated to the Vietnam War.

The organisation Vietnamitas en Madrid has created a virtual tour to the Vietnam War Museum (War Remnants Museum) for all those who can not travel to Saigon, or for travellers who had no time to see the museum during their visit to the city.

The virtual visit to the Vietnam War Museum  is composed of a collection of videos and photos to show the exterior exhibition areas, the exhibition halls and the 3 floors of the Museum of Saigon Guerra. The largest part of the museum are the exterior areas. In the grounds of the Museum are displayed machinery of war and heavy artillery that the Viet Cong captured from U.S. Army: aircraft, fighters, helicopters, tanks, bombs, anti-aircraft artillery, flamethrowers, etc.

The interior houses collections of propaganda posters, photographs and videos documenting the effects of Agent Orange, of which many are truly shocking. Also included are collections of guns, ammunition and landmines, battle scenes, gear and medals of American soldiers.

The museum stands as a reminder of the atrocities of the Vietnam War in particular, and of the inhumanity of any war.

To enter the virtual tour of the Vietnam War Museum, please visit the homepage of the Vietnamitas en Madrid organisation.


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ASEASUK 2014 Conference

ASEASUK, the Association for Southeast Asian Studies in the UK, announces that its 28th Annual Conference will take place at the University of Brighton, UK from 12th to 14th September 2014.

Themed conference panels are as follows:
•Framing South East Asia: The role of the Museum
•Southeast Asian Performing Arts: Tradition in Modernity
•Malay/Indonesian Manuscript Studies
•Digital/Ritual: Southeast Asia and new global media
•Contemporary architectural and urban practices in Southeast Asia
•Resilience and responsibility in tourism
•Assembling Infrastructure: Development, Counterinsurgency and Political Struggle in Myanmar/Burma
•Political ecology, resilience and environmental justice in a changing Southeast Asia
•Conceptualizing political modernity in Southeast Asia
•Illiberal Pluralism in SE Asia’s Economic Reform Experience
•Contemporary Politics in Cambodia
•Constitutional Politics in Burma/Myanmar
•Gender, Migrations and Racialisation in Southeast Asia
•Rethinking Gender and Development in Southeast Asia: Methodological Entanglements.
•Emerging Scholars Panel
•Open panel

For more detailed information please view the conference homepage.

Brighton pavillion

Brighton pavillion

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