This spring, the University of Washington’s Institute for Transnational Studies, housed in the Jackson School of International Studies, funded a rare gathering of five UW graduate students in Asian Studies (four from the Department of Anthropology and one from the Department of Forestry) and one faculty member for a dissertation writing workshop. A guesthouse in the hills of West Java, Indonesia, not far from Jakarta, provided a comfortable and constructive setting. Graduate students from the Department of Anthropology included Cheryll Alipio (who is writing a dissertation on circuits of capital in Philippine migrant families), Mia Siscawati (who is conducting field research on the social histories of scientific forestry in Indonesia), Yu Huang (who works on shrimp aquaculture in China), and Anusorn Unno (who is investigating Muslim identities in Southern Thailand). Graduate student Asep Suntana from the UW’s Department of Forestry presented his work on biofuel and public policy in Indonesia. Associate Professor of Anthropology at the UW, Celia Lowe, who is in Indonesia this year on a Fulbright fellowship studying controversies over the avian influenza epidemic in Indonesia, led the workshop. Two other Indonesian participants, Suraya Afiff, head of the Graduate Program in Anthropology at the University of Indonesia, and A. Hadi Pramono, graduate student in Geography from the University of Hawai’i, also joined the group. The workshop offered an excellent opportunity for PhD candidates working on topics related to Southeast Asia and China to obtain new insights from cross-disciplinary discussion and regional comparison, while also making progress towards completing their dissertations. At the end of the workshop, time was set aside for sightseeing before the participants had to return home.
Pictured left to right: Yu Huang, Asep Suntana, Anusorn Unno, Cheryll Alipio, Celia Lowe, Suraya Afiff, Mia Siscawati, and A. Hadi Pramono