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Webinar: China and Southeast Asia’s Borderlands, Sovereignty & Land Use

Date: Friday, November 20, 2020

Time: 2:00-3:30 p.m. HST

Registration link:

China’s land and resource investment in Sino/Southeast Asian borderlands has created new economic opportunities and sets of social relations. Panelists in this session focus on grounded geopolitics and how they get refracted through Chinese investments in large-scale agribusiness and other activities in these border zones. They highlight the complexities of Chinese engagement on Southeast Asia’s borders (past and present) and how they have varied in response to changing local and national interests. 


Dr. Erica Fox Brindley is a Professor of Asian Studies, History, and Philosophy at Penn State. She is interested in cultural and intellectual history, as well as the premodern, borderlands history of SEAMZ (Southeast Asian Maritime Zone), which includes South China and northern Southeast Asia.

Dr. Juliet Lu is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Atkinson Center for Sustainability, Cornell University. She is a political ecologist and a global China scholar, and studies the political economy of Chinese rubber plantations in Laos, the history of state territorial control in China’s borderlands, and the social and environmental impacts of China’s rising investment and development activities across Southeast Asia. 

Dr. Andrew Ong is a Visiting Fellow at the Myanmar Studies Program of ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. He is an anthropologist working on armed insurgency in Myanmar. His new research focuses on Chinese business communities in Northern and Eastern Myanmar in relation to Chinese investment and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Dr. Kevin Woods is a Senior Policy Analyst at Forest Trends in Washington, DC, where he co-manages their Myanmar programs for land/resource governance decentralization, customary land rights, and political federalism. He is also an Adjunct Fellow at the East-West Center and Adjunct Associate Professor at UHM Geography and Environment. His current research examines forms of violence and techniques of rule in the making of state territories along the China-Myanmar border.

Dr. Cathy Clayton, Associate Professor, Asian Studies, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, will moderate this webinar series. With more than 20 years’ research experience in Macao, her focus on conceptions and practices of Chinese sovereignty throughout and after colonial interventions offers insights on dynamics and tensions along the Sino-Southeast Asian borderlands.

This webinar is part of the Crossing Borders: International Affairs between China and Southeast Asia 2020-2021 Roundtable Series co-hosted by the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and the East-West Center.