The Southeast Asian Frontier Workshop is interested in hosting innovative discussions concerning the ongoing or past process of frontierization in Southeast Asian locales. The workshop aims to catalyze productive academic discussion and production concerning Southeast Asian frontiers while fostering a network of Southeast Asianists who hold academic interest in the region’s frontiers. Participants across the discipline of humanities, social science, and environmental studies are welcome to join. This workshop is a planned series, with each series discussing a specific geographical designation. For the first series, we will start with the Southeast Asian highlands.
Large-scale forest and land fires have been occurring in Indonesia since the 1970s but within the last two decades the intensity of these fires especially in the outer islands and their effects on neighboring countries in regard to cross-border haze have triggered high media attention and new political engagements both nationally and internationally. As a direct consequence, the Indonesian government has recently taken stern measures by prohibiting farmers from burning land and forests as part of their agricultural practices. The cause of large-scale forest and land fires is complex and involves multiple actors and institutions ranging from small-scale swidden farmers to large scale plantation companies. However once again subsistence agriculture is directly linked to deforestation and small-scale subsistence farmers and their traditional activities of swidden agriculture is targeted as among the main perpetrators of forest and land fires. In the talk I will discus the ‘business of fire’ and how the burning of land and forest is part of a larger assemblage of appropriating land and make it investable for largescale plantation development.
From a semiotic perspective, Anthropocene manifests as a massive multiplication and spread of abstract symbols that lack referential connection with biological and material processes. Such growth of symbols is anti-ecological because of the large amounts of matter and energy required to produce and upkeep various media and artifacts that embody signs. As symbols are based on human conventions, they cannot also react directly to changes in environmental and ecological processes (described as dissent by David Low 2009). Alternatively, Eduardo Kohn (2013) and Andrew Whitehouse (2015) proposed the concept of semiotic ground to denote the semiotic basis of the ecosystem. It may be claimed that iconic and indexical signs constitute a common semiotic ground for human and non-human species alike that is also connected to the patterns of the material realm. In the biological realm, organisms rely on the presence of objects (as environmental constraints, properties, and resources). In icons and indexes exists a connection between object and interpretation and, accordingly, between material and semiotic realms. Highlands are especially rich environments with a number of constraints, patterns and resources. In ecocultures, we should find ways of grounding the culture, that is, reestablishing the connection between the human symbolic sphere and ecosystems that are predominantly iconic and indexical. Semiosphere could here be reinterpreted as the ecosemiosphere – a semiotic system comprising all species and their umwelts, alongside the diverse semiotic relations (including humans with their culture) that they have in the given ecosystem, and also the material supporting structures that enable the ecosemiosphere to thrive (Maran 2021).
SEAF Workshop Series #1: Highlands have excitedly accepted 36 panelists who will be presenting in 9 panels. Our panel themes are:
The Travel and Accommodation Grants are available for the 10 selected presenters who do not have any other sources of funding to attend the workshop on-site in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
To compete for the Travel and Accommodation Grants presenters should submit their full paper by 25th July 2022 through the online submission system.
All submitted papers will automatically be eligible to compete for the Best Paper Prize IDR 5,000,000.
SEAF Workshop Series #1: Highlands is an hybrid event. We welcome non-presenter participants to engage with our workshop in virtual or on-site venue.