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Program for Early Modern Southeast Asia (PEMSEA)


We are excited to announce the establishment of the Program for Early Modern Southeast Asia (PEMSEA), a new cross-institutional collaboration with UCLA and the University of Washington. The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded a grant of $740,000 to the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) to support the project Early Modern Period Transitions in Southeast Asia: Environmental Dynamics, Social Change, and Globalization, described as “an exciting project” by Luce Program Director for Asia, Helena Kolenda.

The grant was awarded through the Luce Initiative on Southeast Asia and will establish the Program for Early Modern Southeast Asia (PEMSEA), directed by Stephen Acabado, associate professor of anthropology and core faculty member of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. Acabado also serves as director of UCLA CSEAS, and is an alumni of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

Faculty from UH Mānoa and the University of Washington will serve as collaborators on the grant. The project will run from July 2021 through June 2027 with an additional $1.4 million institutional support from various units at UCLA including the International Institute, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, Dean of Humanities and Dean of Social Sciences.

The first activity of PEMSEA will be a series of virtual workshops, Historicizing Disaster Risk Management: The Ecology of Mt. Isarog and its Environs, starting August 2021, co-sponsored by Asia-based partners, Partido State University, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and the National Chengchi University’s Center for Taiwan-Philippines Indigenous Knowledge, Local Knowledge, and Sustainable Studies.

Over the course of the grant, PEMSEA will develop an interdisciplinary research program to expand and revitalize Southeast Asian studies and offer new directions for integrated scholarship through through undergraduate and graduate student training, annual interdisciplinary workshops and field schools, community engagement and logistical support for studies on Early Modern Period Southeast Asia. The research program intends to provide baseline environmental histories from different locations in SE Asia using multidisciplinary approaches.

More info on the grant, go here.

More info on PEMSEA, visit their website.