#PHISO2022 Exploratory Workshop: “Where is Southeast Asia in International Relations?”

Southeast Asia is home to a vast range of political systems, regime types, historical pathways, social identities and conflicts, and religious and ideological trends, making it one of the world’s most politically diverse regions. With the complex developments and growing internal challenges in the region, Southeast Asia has become a significant region of study. 

Southeast Asia remains at the periphery of International Relations (IR) theory and practice, albeit the burgeoning decolonial calls and contributions to epistemologically focus on the region’s agency, diverse cultures, history, and colonial legacies. These shifts have been mirrored by new scholarly paths, with Southeast Asia serving as a theoretical underpinning for the growth of non-Western views and perspectives to IR. However, despite the critical and pivotal developments in the region’s economy, security, natural environment, governance, human rights, public health, etc., Southeast Asia is still secondary in importance relative to Great Powers and other global regions. 

This workshop, titled “Where is Southeast Asia in International Relations?”, organized by the Philippine International Studies Organization (PHISO), probes to locate Southeast Asia within contemporary IR discourses. It invites interconnections and multidisciplinary contributions from scholars and practitioners to provide a comprehensive approach to the study of IR in the Southeast Asian region, in view of the rise of non-Western IR. 

PHISO welcomes submissions that explore the intersections of IR with other disciplines in the study of Southeast Asia, particularly ruminating over how Southeast Asian studies can decolonize IR theory and practice. What are the implications of these intersections to IR pedagogy and research? We also welcome papers that delve into specific intra- and inter-regional issues unconfined within a nation-state-centric view. What new horizons open from alternative viewpoints? How can these non-state-centric visions inform policy and promote greater social justice in Southeast Asia and beyond?

Possible Topics: 

Locating Southeast Asia in IR includes an exploration of a wide array of disciplines, subject areas, and concepts. In this regard, while we are open to any topics, ideas or themes related to Southeast Asian IR, submissions for this year’s PHISO workshop may submit abstract/papers related but not limited to the following topics:

  • Southeast Asia and Feminism 

Gender became an acceptable category and theoretical instrument for understanding global power relations and constructive alternative world regimes. This topic aims to shed light on how feminism in Southeast Asia is influenced by international politics and how it contributes to decolonizing IR.

  • Geopolitics in Southeast Asia

With Great Powers vying for influence in Southeast Asia, border and maritime disputes continue to threaten the national security of Southeast Asian countries. This topic will delve into Southeast Asian geopolitics, focusing on the region’s key maritime territorial issues and their impact on the national security of States. What do these disputes mean for IR research and pedagogy?

  • Southeast Asia and Migration

Even though international migration has a long and storied history in Southeast Asia, it has grown in scope, diversity and importance in recent years. With migration being an established structural feature of the region, how can it influence IR pedagogy in Southeast Asia? How can it inform policy in the region?

  • Southeast Asia, Environment, and the Anthropocene

Southeast Asia continues to be threatened by a myriad of environmental problems. The Anthropocene, a geological epoch that describes the veritable impact of human activity on the planet’s ecology, has become a major source of concern among academics in the region. However, throughout a long, convoluted history of mutual contact between animals, humans, and landscapes, Southeast Asia offers an opportunity to examine human influences on their environment. With that said, how do we situate biodiversity and environmental conservation in the Anthropocene in Southeast Asia? How can we also locate the Anthropocene in IR?

  • Human Rights in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is a diverse and dynamic region with a wide range of human rights issues that mostly affect the most vulnerable groups and individuals. What are the key challenges in the region that constrain countries from addressing human rights concerns? What are the implications of these to IR pedagogy and research?

  • Southeast Asia and Violent Extremism  

Violent extremism has been a threat in Southeast Asia for decades. The ways and means by which nation-states and communities face this security threat will consequently shape the trajectory of IR’s theory and practice. As such, how does violent extremism impact international relations in the region? 

  • Digitization, Technology, and Cybersecurity in Southeast Asia 

Southeast Asia’s digital economy is continuously expanding, but it also raises vulnerability to cybersecurity threats. With the escalating and prevalent cybersecurity incidents and threats in Southeast Asia, what can the region do to preserve regional stability? How can these inform policy and affect IR? 

  • Southeast Asian Integration

For over five decades, ASEAN has evolved into one of the most veritable regional movements in the world. What new internal and external realities are reshaping Southeast Asian integration. How does ASEAN experience rethink regional and international organizations?  

  • Southeast Asian Indigenous Worldviews

The region is home to a multitude of languages, ethnic identities, religions, and cultures. Despite centuries of colonial impositions, the present onslaught of globalization, and the demand to conform to an essentialized national identity, indigenous belief systems and ways of life continue to persist. How can these indigenous Southeast Asian worldviews deepen IR theorizing and as a consequence decolonize the discipline?

  • Religion in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is quite religiously diverse. It has become untenable to bracket religion from the study of IR. As such, we ask, what is the role of religion in IR theory and practice? How do religious ideas frame people’s understanding of the world? How does religion influence public policy in Southeast Asia? How does faith shape people’s attitudes towards the operations of political systems in the region?

  • Health politics in Southeast Asia

There exist national and regional challenges in addressing the political complexities of maintaining effective and functional healthcare systems. For this reason, the reality of healthcare systems in Southeast Asia is much more nuanced that it requires an in-depth examination of all aspects encompassing countries’ healthcare policies, practices, and politics. What healthcare policy challenges exist in Southeast Asia today? What have been the developments of healthcare policy and politics in and throughout Southeast Asia over the past years?

  • Thinking the international in Southeast Asia

As a small region within Asia, Southeast Asian countries, through ASEAN, have been working together to integrate their economies and collaborate politically and economically on issues of mutual concern, therefore boosting the region’s impact on global events. Does Southeast Asia already consider themselves to be within the realm of the international? Where is Southeast Asia in the global context?

  • Resilience and governance in Southeast Asia

The pandemic’s vast global consequences demonstrate how disasters can ruin livelihoods and businesses and displace and kill thousands of people. Due to the fact that Southeast Asia is one of Asia’s most disaster-prone areas, there has been a rising awareness and acceptance in the region that recognizing and controlling disaster risk through resilience and governance is critical for Southeast Asia’s long-term growth and sustainability. How are resilience and governance connected in a post-pandemic era in Southeast Asia? How can they contribute to the long-term growth and sustainability of the region?

  • The current state of Southeast Asian Economy

Poor infrastructure and challenges from their colonial pasts have long held Southeast Asian countries back, but progress has been gradually achieved across all sectors and businesses. Throughout the past 2 years, however, the COVID-19 pandemic caused economic havoc in Southeast Asian countries. In this regard, how will this development change the current and future economic state of Southeast Asia? In relation to the global political economy, what is the economic outlook in Southeast Asia?

  • Southeast Asian Demography

Because of the significant drop in birth rates and the increase of life expectancy in certain countries, major demographic shifts are occurring in the region. Majority of the population of Southeast Asia has been aging, but several countries still have large proportions of young people. Hence, what challenges will the region face in the next years as the population of countries will continue to decline post-pandemic? How can Southeast Asian countries address or mitigate the challenges associated with an aging population?

  • Social movements in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is a region under perpetual political and social transformation. It is home to myriad forms of social movements concerned with social justice, women’s rights, labor, environment, human rights, and civil and political rights, among others. Global phenomena and local politics are two entities that cannot be separated in the study of social movements nowadays. How, then, do social movements in the region affect the international realm? What role do social movements play in the region’s and Southeast Asian states’ social and cultural environments, and vice versa?

  • Arts, Culture, Entertainment, and Sports in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asian countries’ diverse cultures have developed artistic forms and manifestations that are deeply linked to their society, religion, and history. The gaming environment in Southeast Asia is also unlike any other in the world. It has always had a huge influence on the world evolution of competitive e-sports. The region has been dominating e-sports, such as Mobile Legends, the most popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), and breaking global records, making their mark in the gaming and entertainment world. With this, what do the diverse arts, culture, entertainment, and sports in the region say about Southeast Asia? How can these contribute to the expansion and integration of the region’s position in the international realm?

  • Southeast Asia’s contribution to IR theory and practice

Western conceptions dominate the field of International Relations (IR), but Southeast Asia is serving as a theoretical underpinning for the growth of non-Western views and perspectives to IR. The region’s contributions to IR theory and practice are seen in its role in global and regional politics, as well as their economic and security relations within the Southeast Asian region and the rest of the world. As such, it is important to determine what these specific contributions to IR theory and practice are. How can these contributions help decolonize IR?

To submit your abstract proposal, click here.

%d bloggers like this: