End of Empire – Online initiative by NIAS Press

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An online initiative with the title “End of Empire – 100 days in 1945 that changed Asia and the world” by NIAS press was launched recently to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Asia.

The initiative publishes day by day ‘real-time broadcasts’ of what happened in Asia at the end of World War II. The site combines daily events with commentary, photographs, maps, personal accounts and other material plus links to resources found elsewhere.

Aiming to balance the focus on European events in global public discussions and reminiscences of World War II, the project focuses on a brief, 100-day period at the end of the war across a broad sweep of eastern Asia – a time when the Indonesian and Vietnamese revolutions were born, the fragile wartime truce between Communists and Nationalists in China began to fray, and the first steps were made in Japan towards a new democratic order.

The website is part of a radical, multi-faceted project to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the war’s end and its immediate aftermath. This is done not just via the website but also in printed and electronic publications plus via social media. Nor does the project simply present existing scholarship. It also actively reaches beyond the academic world to encourage non-academics to come forward with primary source material unknown to historians and often limited to their own private circles.

Here, perhaps, is a model for scholarly publishing and learning that both exploits new technologies and retains traditional standards.

One of the great merits of this website is the way it conveys a sense of the fast pace of events in mid-1945 and their interconnectedness across the region at the time.

Those who may find the website difficult to navigate may want to consult the Facebook page for the project.

The outcome of the initiative is due to appear in published form as End of Empire: 100 Days that Changed Asia and the World edited by David Chandler, Robert Cribb and Li Narangoa.

(reported by Gerald Jackson and Inga-Lill Blomkvist)

Endangered Archives Programme – Call for applications 2015

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The Endangered Archives Programme has been running at the British Library since 2004 through funding by Arcadia, with the aim of preserving rare vulnerable archival material around the world. This aim is achieved through the award of grants to relocate the material to a safe local archival home where possible, to digitise the material, and to deposit copies with local archival partners and with the British Library. These digital collections are then available for researchers to access freely through the British Library website or by visiting the local archives. The digital collections from 144 projects are currently available online, nearly 5 million images.

The Endangered Archives Programme is now accepting grant applications for the next annual funding round – the deadline for submission of preliminary applications is 6 November 2015 and full details of the application procedures and documentation are available on the EAP website.

The Programme has helped to preserve manuscripts, rare printed books, newspapers and periodicals, audio and audio-visual materials, photographs and even rock inscriptions. Since 2004 approximately 270 projects have been funded, ranging from rare books in Armenia to Cham manuscripts in Vietnam.

To find out more about the Programme and previous digitisation projects, visit their Endangered Archives Blog.

(reported by Cathy Collins, Endangered Archives Programme at the British Library)

Locations of previous projects of the Endangered Archives Programme in Asia

Locations of previous projects of the Endangered Archives Programme in Asia

Thai music inventory online

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Thailand has an incredible variety of popular and traditional musics. The website Thaimusicinventory attempts to make Thai popular music available to people who are not Thai and also aims to facilitate the exchange of information and views between Thais and non-Thais. The Thai popular music industry is the most developed in the region and has an unbroken history that extends over 100 years (even through WWII). However, Thai popular music is generally not easily available outside Thailand and has not made any impression on Western sensibilities. The study of Thai music (both popular and traditional) is still in its infancy in comparison to that of China, Japan, Indonesia and India. Even in Thailand, the study of Thai popular music is often not considered to be a worthwhile activity.

This website hosts articles on various aspects of Thai popular music, some scholarly and some more popular in approach, as well as lesson plans for high school teachers.  There are also links to the Isan music performances filmed by John Draper’s Khon Kaen University Isan Culture Maintenance and Revitalization Program. Of particular interest is a newly added page illustrating the breadth of the Thai 78 rpm Discographical Framework.

The two main authors are Dr James Mitchell and Peter Garrity. James has studied and published widely on Thai music and Peter is a very well known figure in the Bangkok lukthung concert scene. Comments in Thai or English are encouraged and every effort to facilitate communication through these comments will be made.

This website is only for educational purposes and is intended to foster a love of Thai music and Thailand. It is not for commercial purposes.

The website has been developed with the generous support of the Australian Thai Institute, an Australian government body that seeks to build links between the two countries.

(information from the Thaimusicinventory website)


Online Exhibition on Sayyid `Uthman of Batavia

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From 1 December 2014 until 23 January 2015, the ‘Oude UB’ or Old University Library at Rapenburg 70, Leiden, highlighted aspects of the life and work of Sayyid `Uthman in the exhibition Sayyid `Uthman of Batavia (1822-1914): A Life in the Service of Islam and the Colonial Administration. This exhibition is now available online.

Sayyid ‘Uthman was the most prominent Islam scholar of his era in the Netherlands East Indies, providing guidance to the Muslim community. In 1889 the famous Dutch Islam scholar Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje engaged his services as an advisor and informant to the Colonial Government.

The exhibition was organised on the occasion of the publication of a monograph on Sayyid `Uthman by Dr Nico Kaptein (LIAS) in 2014. It was a joint effort of the Art Commission Oude UB, Leiden University Libraries and the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS). The exhibition displayed a selection of objects from the special collections of the Leiden University Libraries, including the recently incorporated collection ot the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), and showed how well the UBL and KITLV collections complement and reinforce each other.

The objects have long since been returned to the stacks and vaults of the University Library, but the Sayyid ‘Uthman exhibition is now permanently available in English online for the benefit of the academic community in the Netherlands, Indonesia and beyond. To view the exhibition, please visit the Leiden University website and click on the image thumbnail.

(reported by Dr. Nico J.G. Kaptein)

Genealogical tree of the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (Courtesy of Old University Library, Leiden)

Genealogical tree of the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (Courtesy of Old University Library, Leiden)

Southeast Asian photographic collections of the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) online

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From 1933, the EFEO engaged the services of a professional photographer, Jean Manikus, assisted by Nguyen Huu Tho, who created a photographic service that worked until 1959, resulting in the important heritage collections of the EFEO. When, under the pressure of political events, the EFEO had to move its headquarters from Hanoi to Saigon in September 1954, a copy of the photographic collection was sent to Paris where the headquarters of the School were eventually installed in 1961. The EFEO library in Paris was thus created, taking over from that of Hanoi.

Today, more than 180,000 photographic items are kept at the library in Paris. The media, reflecting the evolution of photographic techniques, are different in nature: glass plates with silver gelatino-bromide; negatives; slides; silver prints and colors; digital photos. The themes illustrate the richness of the disciplines researched at the EFEO: architecture, archeology, epigraphy, ethnography, art history etc. Because of the history of the School and its missions, Cambodia and Vietnam are particularly well represented in the collections and, to a lesser extent, Laos and Thailand.

These photographs attract major academic interest, complementing historical mission reports and publications in periodicals. In 2002, a digitization campaign was initiated in order to ensure the conservation of photographs and to disseminate the digitized photos to the academic community and the general public.

The content of the website (text, graphics etc.) is protected by legislation on intellectual property. Any reproduction, total or partial reproduction, any use, any adjustment or modification by any means and  by any person without the permission of the EFEO is strictly prohibited.
To access the digital photo collections please visit the EFEO website.
Online presentation of the EFEO photo collections

Online presentation of the EFEO photo collections

Update: SEALG Annual Meeting 2015

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The SEALG Annual Meeting 2015 is being organized as a joint conference with the SAALG (South Asia Archive and Library Group) and will take place in Paris on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th July 2015. This will be just before the EurASEAA15 Conference in Paris (6-10 July).

The SEALG/SAALG conference will give participants the chance to explore France’s collections and connections with South and Southeast Asia.

The tentative programme of the conference is as follows:

Friday, 3rd July:

– SEALG and SAALG meet at École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), Maison de l’Asie, 22, avenue du President Wilson, 75116, Paris for a mixture of SEA and SA topic talks during the day

Theme: “The French Connection – with South and Southeast Asia”

Confirmed speakers:

– Rachel Guidoni: Major South Asia Collections in French Libraries

– Arundhati Virmani: South Asia Collections at the Marseille’s Chamber of Commerce

– Mrs J. Filliozat: The odyssey of the Pali manuscript EFEO collection

– Holger Warnk: The Nachlass of Maurice Durand in the Library of Southeast Asian Studies in Frankfurt

– Cécile Capot: The history of the EFEO library

– Isabelle Dion and Olivia Pelletier: Archives about Indochina in the national overseas archives (ANOM)

– Jérôme Petit: Missionaries, travellers and scholars: the building of an Indian manuscripts collection at the National Library of France

– François Lagirarde: The Lanna Manuscripts Project at the EFEO

On Friday evening there will be the chance to meet socially at the conference dinner (not included in the fee, venue to be confirmed).

Saturday, 4th July

– On Saturday at 10am there will be a visit to the Musée Guimet, 6 Place d’Iéna- 75116, Paris, including a guided tour of selected collections and a visit to the library.

– On Saturday afternoon the SEALG AGM and another session of talks will be held at Musée Guimet.

Confirmed speakers for the SEALG Panel:

– Annabel Teh Gallop: Digitisation of Malay and Indonesian manuscripts: an overview

– Claudia Götze-Sam: From Special Subject Collection to Scientific Information Service: What does it mean for the Southeast Asian collection of the Berlin State Library?

– Liubov Goriaeva: French Studies of Malay-Indonesian written tradition: a Glance from Russia

– Jotika Khur-Yearn: Where the French and the Shan Meet: The Shan Political and Social Movements in the Reserved Zones of Upper Mekong Regions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

– Doris Jedamski: Ephemera – the Forgotten Ones?

The fee for the whole conference is £30 and includes talks, lunch and refreshments on Friday plus the visit to Musee Guimet on Saturday morning and additional SEALG talks on Saturday afternoon.

This year to help with planning we will be asking participants to book a place and to pay the conference fee in advance. To book a place please send an email , specifying which sessions you plan to attend, and whether you would like to attend the Saturday evening dinner (excluded from the conference fee). The final day for booking will be 22nd June and payment will be required by Friday 26th June.

For further information and recommended accommodation please enquire by email .

If you wish to present a paper at the SEALG session on Saturday afternoon, please contact Doris Jedamski by email.

We are looking forward to meet you in Paris!

5th International Conference on Lao Studies 2016

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July 8-10, 2016 at Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand

The International Conference on Lao Studies (ICLS) is held once every three years (starting after 2007), rotating among various academic institutions around the world. In 2005, Northern Illinois University became the first host of the First Lao Studies conference, followed by Arizona State University in 2007, Khon Kaen Univeristy, Thailand in 2010, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013.

The main purpose of the Lao Studies conferences is to provide an international forum for scholars to present and discuss various aspects of ethno-linguistic groups of Laos, the Lao Isan, cross-border ethnic groups in Laos’ neighboring countries, and overseas Lao.

The Lao PDR today has a population of more than six million people, comprising an amazing complex of ethnolinguistic groups. Moreover, the number of ethnic Lao people outside of the Lao PDR, including the Lao “diaspora” numbers as many as twenty-five million. In recent years there has been an increased interest in Laos and its peoples as subjects of serious discussion by scholars and the interested public alike. Indeed, there has been a flowering of scholarly publications on topics pertaining to Laos in the last several decades and a growing interest cultivated by the international media with its global reach. The First International Conference on Lao Studies at the Northern Illinois University heralded the burgeoning of a growing interest in Lao studies among a new generation of scholars. The subsequent conferences will build on that momentum.


The theme of the Fifth International Conference on Lao Studies is “Lao PDR in the ASEAN Context” with particular (though not exclusive) emphasis on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

All Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states have committed to creating a region which is highly competitive, equitable in economic development and fully integrated into the global economy. The establishment of the AEC in 2015 will bring enormous opportunities as well as great challenges for the individual member countries in the region, especially for Lao PDR.

Suggested topics for the conference range from economic studies, social sciences, studies on culture, language and history, art, literature, music, Buddhism, traditional knowledge, education, environment and health, and much more. For more details and deadlines for submission of paper presentations, posters, performances etc. please visit the conference homepage.


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