Call for Papers ASEAS 14(2)


This special issue of the Austrian Journal of Southeast Asia Studies focuses on multiculturalism in the lingual and cultural education systems in ASEAN member countries. Countries in Southeast Asia share the same characteristics of being ethnically and culturally diverse. Indonesia alone, for example, has as many as 300 ethnic groups who speak 240 different languages. Cambodia, with its relatively small population of 16 million, has 36 ethnic and linguistic minorities. To keep a balance between unity and diversity is a challenge that countries in the region share.

Compared to the present time, the management of cultural diversity was not an issue in the past. In many vassal states, ethnic groups could retain their linguistic and cultural identities, while the existence of cultural diversity among tributary states helped strengthen the power of the overlords. But from the beginning of the 19th century, this gradually changed. In Thailand, for example, the encroachment of Western imperialism made the ruling class to initiate nation-building projects. Since then, people of diverse ethnicities and cultures have been subsumed under the same national identity. In other Southeast Asian countries, the nation-building projects became prominent after they gained independence following the end of the World War II. Most countries relied on a centralized, unitary nation-state model to assimilate people of diverse ethnicities and cultures living within the same territory.

In all Southeast Asian countries, ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity has been perceived as a threat to national unity, and education has been used as one of the tools to unify people. Mono-cultural education policies, such as the prohibition of other languages in schools, a centralized curriculum, and the closing of schools set up by ethnic and religious groups, were implemented across countries in the region. These policies deprived ethnic groups and indigenous people of their cultural practices and identities. The result was resentment, marginalization, and, at times, persistent conflicts, as in the case of Muslims in the southernmost provinces of Thailand. In recent years, transnational migration around the region has become remarkable, further complicating the issue of cultural diversity.

This special issue focuses on the movements to reclaim linguistic and cultural rights that have been initiated across countries in the region and examines contemporary issues resulting from the transnational flow of people around Southeast Asia. It welcomes critical papers on the region’s cultural and lingual variety and the struggles connected to them from a variety of disciplines, such as linguistics, cultural studies, geography, human rights studies, development studies, anthropology, political science, or history. Thus, empirical and/or theoretical/conceptual papers on topics are welcomed including but not limited to:

  • Cultural and lingual rights of religious, ethnic, and other minorities in ASEAN border regions;
  • Representation of multiculturalism and multilingualism in national museums;
  • Language and cultural policies in ASEAN member countries;
  • Language and cultural education in ASEAN member countries;
  • Cultural and lingual integration of (non-)registered immigrants/ refugees;
  • Historical and theoretical reflections on ethnic nationalism in Southeast Asia.

Guest Editor: Thithimadee Arphattananon (Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University)

Managing Editor: Lukas Christian Husa (Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University)

Submission Deadline: 15 December 2020

Issue Publication: 31 December 2021

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