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Leiden anthropologists well-represented during Tour of Asia

The new Asian Library in the centre of Leiden accommodates the dispersed Asian collection of Leiden University. The festive opening of the Asian Library was marked by the Tour of Asia, an exciting knowledge festival, with workshops, talks and film screenings. Leiden anthropologists that work on Asia were well-represented.

Indonesia Today and Ten Years from Now

Moderated by KITLV’s Henk Schulte Nordholt, a panel of Leiden and Indonesian scholars dwelled on the future perspectives of Indonesian society and culture, ten years from now onwards, specifically looking at what it would imply for the nation’s politics, law, economy, and culture.

Bart Barendregt (CA/DS) together with Rapti Miedema (NWO) reflected on the question to what extent Indonesian youth has the future. They concluded that at least today’s youth has less of a (interest in the) past with watershed historical breaks such as decolonization, 1965 or 1998 increasingly losing importance to today’s post-post 1998 generation.  According to them a young frequently travelling, well-educated and digitally literate middle-class will in 2027 have changed the face of Indonesian public life forever, and often so in very predictable ways! 

Community and Culture In and Across Asia’s Borderlands

In a very well attended session of the Tour of Asia, Erik de Maaker (CA/DS) and Carola Lorea (IIAS & Heidelberg) discussed how Asia’s borderlands provide an increasingly dynamic canvas to explore questions of migration, citizenship, ethnicity and belonging.

The association of people to ‘place’, either in terms of origin, destination or longing, creates ‘spaces’ articulated with reference to culture, language and religion. They explored these dynamics in the lives of people inhabiting borderland areas as well as in diasporic communities across Asian borders. Lorea talked about transnational linkages among the descendants of Bengali settlers who were after the partition of India and Pakistan resettled on the Andaman islands. De Maaker discussed changing place attachment in the uplands of India’s Northeast, where the creation of international borders has been conducive towards increasingly differentiated and unequal notions of citizenship. The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A with the people attending.

Photo credits: Carola Lorea
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