Director's Message
Despite the enormous challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies has continued to offer compelling and timely programming, albeit now in modified, remote formats. Our ongoing Title VI federal grant funding has still enabled us to invite speakers who address topics from across the region and in a range of disciplines, now remotely, and often to substantially larger virtual audiences via Zoom. To commemorate our 20th anniversary this past year, we hosted 20 events including colloquia, panel discussions, film screenings, workshops, and conferences featuring prominent scholars, artists, activists and authors from across the globe.

During the academic year 2019-2020, UCLA CSEAS continued to provide crucial support to undergraduate and graduate students in the form of FLAS Fellowships for those studying Southeast Asian languages and pursuing Southeast Asia-related research topics. Even as our Center’s staff and faculty continue to work from home since March 2020, we have maintained our collaborative efforts with other units on campus on a variety of projects. Our Title VI grant has also enabled ongoing support for the UCLA Library in collection building, assistance for faculty in new course creation, supplemental funding for Southeast Asian language instruction, opportunities for educators through teacher training and language pedagogy workshops, and financial resources for faculty professional development and research.

In addition to these numerous undertakings this past academic year supported by federal funding, UCLA CSEAS also continues to benefit greatly from generous funding provided by Julia and Ken Gouw in support of Indonesian Studies in the form of summer travel grants and ongoing programming initiatives. Southeast Asia remains a critical global region, one struggling with a range of political, social, environmental, and economic challenges. Throughout the current pandemic and beyond, UCLA CSEAS is committed to sustaining its efforts to raise awareness about these crucial issues among students, faculty, and the larger Los Angeles community.

Professor George Dutton
Director, UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies
Professor, Asian Languages and Cultures
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Nguyet Tong
Assistant Director, UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies

Juliana Wijaya
Indonesian Studies Program Coordinator, UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies
Lecturer, Asian Languages and Cultures

Kitty Hu
Program Coordinator, UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies

Faculty Advisory Committee >>
Celebrating 20 Years
The Making of UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies

Professor Anthony Reid, founding director of UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies, fondly remembers the early years of the center that he helped establish over 20 years ago.

Reflecting on a lifetime connection to Southeast Asia

Barbara Gaerlan, Ph.D., assistant director of UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies from 1999 to 2017, reminisces about her work as the center celebrates its 20th anniversary. 

Academic Programs
A new, interdisciplinary Pilipino Studies minor launches

UCLA faculty and staff reflect on the journey to establish the minor that started a decade ago.

U.S. War in Laos – How Communities Sustain Life Today

The “Secret War” in Laos lives on in the war metals that are transformed into commodities and in the soil that withstood nine years of bombing.

We need thousands of stories about us – Viet Thanh Nguyen on activism

In celebrating and challenging Asia America, the Pulitzer Prize winner reflects upon his own undergraduate activism and urges Asian American Studies and Southeast Asian advocacy to center lived experiences.

Explorations of Filipino identity and belonging in the theater

A discussion with actors from the play “The Romance of Magno Rubio,” a story about Filipino farmworkers in the 1930s, challenged perspectives on race, representation, migration and perseverance.


Faculty Engagement
Bringing Thai classical music to students

As director of the UCLA Music of Thailand Ensemble, Professor Supeena Adler continues to push for musical and cultural engagement through remote instruction.

Inviting greater understanding of indigenous Southeast Asia

UCLA Professor Oona Paredes shares her personal experience of becoming interested in Indigenous studies and how she makes Indigenous peoples the center of both her research and teaching.

Renewing Ifugao history and cultural heritage through visual storytelling

A new animated film about a village in Ifugao, Philippines brings together many institutions and local organizations in an effort to invigorate highland archaeology and community engagement.

Read more>>

Student Opportunities
Bluesukan combines jazz and West Javanese traditions

Otto Stuparitz, Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology, discusses the central role of dialogue in Sundanese traditional music and jazz improvisation and the album release by his ensemble Bluesukan.

UCLA alumna on curating and researching Southeast Asian art

Mya Chau (UCLA 2020 Ph.D.) continues to draw from her study abroad experiences through UCLA to teach about Southeast Asian art and curate new exhibitions.

Using storytelling to build and challenge power

From filmmaking to grassroots organizing, Lan Nguyen, a UCLA Asian American studies M.A. alumna, works to strengthen working-class power and challenge stigmas.

UCLA alumna wins Rangel Fellowship to join the Foreign Service

Rachel Tang graduated from UCLA in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in political science and was a recipient of the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship.

Teacher Resources
Curriculum materials and resources made accessible online for teachers

As a National Resource Center designated by the Title VI grant under the U.S. Department of Education, UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies is committed to improving K-12 and post-secondary teaching and developing curricular materials for educators.


Southeast Asian history taught online and through a global lens

Dr. Dahlia Setiyawan, the associate chair for the history department at Windward School, shares about her current experience transitioning to remote instruction and her approach to teaching high school history.

CSEAS alum weaves Southeast Asia into his career in academia

Brandon Reilly is Associate Professor in History at Santa Monica College, where he teaches courses on East Asian, Southeast Asian, and world history. He received his Ph.D. in Southeast Asian History from UCLA in 2013.

Indonesian Studies Program
Faculty and students experience learning Indonesian remotely, together

With the transition to remote learning, Dr. Juliana Wijaya speaks about how she teaches Indonesian now and how that affects her relationship with the students.

Performers dissect Indonesian American identity in the arts

Mother-daughter duo Emiko Susilo and Ayu Larassanti, who are Indonesian American musicians and dancers, discuss the role of identity and heritage in their artistry.

Speaker series explores Indonesian American voices and stories

Wanting to build community and navigate personal histories, students at UCLA formed the Association of Indonesian Americans to carve out their own space.

Spiritual Landscapes and Global Transformations in Lembata, Indonesia

In Lembata, East Indonesia, families and healers work toward a better future while holding on to tradition. What is at stake in conserving local wisdoms during times of urgent change?

Read more >> 

Poor communities in Jakarta fight for their land and livelihoods

Dian Tri Irawaty, Ph.D. candidate in geography, reports on how her research on grassroots movements for housing rights in Jakarta and the communities around her have been affected by COVID-19.


Reconstructing Indonesia's 1965 Narrative through Imagery

Fulbright visiting scholar Elisabeth Ida Mulyani discusses her research and artwork dismantling dominant narratives about Indonesia 1965.


Connecting ancient foods to contemporary Indonesia

Three Indonesian Studies specialists discuss the links between the food networks and practices during the Early Modern Period and those of Southeast Asian cuisine today.

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