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Critical Perspectives on US-Southeast Asia Relations

  • Columbia University - International Affairs Building, Room 918 420 West 118th Street New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)
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To what extent has the United States (and its western and regional allies) emphasized an agenda of democracy promotion, and to what extent have geopolitical, economic or other considerations loomed larger? What role did the United States play in endorsing – or indeed deterring – military coups in Thailand and elsewhere in the region? How did western governments and international agencies react to the 1997 Asian economic crisis, which had considerable ramifications for political change in Southeast Asia? How salient were American and western policies during times of political transition in the region, such as the ouster of Marcos, the downfall of Indonesia’s Suharto, or the recent “opening up” of Burma? To what extent have Southeast Asian nations sought to craft reforms or import new political institutions – such as election commissions or constitutional courts – based largely on international urgings? How far are Southeast Asian governments and peoples “victims” of US policies, and how far do they exert significant agency in their relationships with the West? Who exactly is manipulating whom in these interactions?

This two-day workshop will bring together scholars doing critical studies of bilateral relations between the United States, its western and regional allies, and a range of countries in Southeast Asia, both during the late Cold War era and since.

This is an intensive academic workshop event during which we will be closely reviewing papers by the presenters. We can welcome a limited number of audience members, but request that anyone wishing to take part please register here: All academic enquiries to Duncan McCargo, Enquiries of a practical nature should be directed to the workshop co-ordinator Christina Huguet, .