Critical Asian Studies Special Section on Academia and Activism in Southeast Asia

How do activism and academia shape one another?

YCAR associates, Philip Kelly, Ethel Tungohan and Chaya Ocampo Go, together with Elisabeth Kramer (University of Sydney), Jason Morris-Jung (SIM University) and Dominique Caouette (Université de Montréal), organized a special section of the July 2017 issue of Critical Asian Studies to reflect on this question.

The special section represents the critical and wide-ranging scholarship shared at a March 2017 York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) workshop, “Research at the Interface of Activism and Academia in Southeast Asia.”  The workshop was held alongside the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) annual conference in Toronto, and co-sponsored by the AAS Southeast Asia Council.

The authors included in the special section write about their experiences in navigating their roles as academics conducting socially engaged research in Southeast Asia.  They offer insights into the emotional and intellectual challenges of this kind of work in a range of contexts.

“A growing number of scholars believe that their work should not only contribute to knowledge creation but should also be part of an ongoing effort to improve the communities within which they work,” said Tungohan.

The papers illustrate how the relationship between academia and activism varies across Southeast Asia, and represent research on Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Find the papers at

Read the YFILE story about the publication.