CALL FOR PAPERS: Urban Inequality and Rights to the City in Southeast Asia Rising Voices in Southeast Asian Studies SEAC / AAS Initiative


Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference 2024 (AAS2024 @ Seattle)
Submission deadline: July 15, 2023
The Southeast Asia Council (SEAC) of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) is seeking paper proposals from up-and-coming scholars – including graduate students – to join a “Rising Voices” panel on the topic of “Urban Inequality and Rights to the City in Southeast Asia” (See below for eligibility). We seek to recruit early career scholars from Southeast Asian countries to form a panel for inclusion in the 2024 Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, to be held in Seattle from March 14-17, 2024. SEAC will provide partial financial assistance for
presenters to attend the meetings. In addition to receiving financial support from the AAS/SEAC, this year’s Rising Voices Panel also has financial support provided by TRaNS: TransRegional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia.

Panel Topic Description

Warfare, global epidemics, democratic declines, militarization, and (neo)liberalization of economies have adversely affected the rights of ordinary people in Southeast Asian cities across time and space. Differential access to public services and to land tenure security have
jeopardized livelihoods and created new forms of urban precarity. This panel will examine debates over urban inequality and the right to flourish in the city, that is, to inhabit and enjoy inclusive and sustainable urban development that prioritize people over profit. This right hinges on the ability to refuse accumulation through dispossession and extraction, while demanding universal access to urban resources, including infrastructure, health care, and a non-toxic environment. Panelists are encouraged to approach the topic through an historical and/or
contemporary ethnographic lens that provides both empirical and theorical insights. Interdisciplinary methodologies are encouraged. Proposals may choose to focus on a singular Southeast Asian city or to conduct a comparative urban analysis across the region.

Some questions the panel may consider include:
1. What factors have contributed to an increase in urban social, environmental,
infrastructural, material, and health inequalities in recent years, and how has this rise in inequality impacted people’s rights to the city?
2. To what extent have recent political and economic changes in Southeast Asia (e.g., return to military rule or adoption of neoliberal policies) exacerbated inequality and created new forms of precarity in the city?
3. Are there identifiable regional trends or comparative patterns across nation-states affecting the rights of vulnerable populations in Southeast Asian cities?
4. How have technical solutions—such as infrastructure design and development— mitigated and/or reproduced racial and gender disparities in the city and compromised people’s rights to access public goods and services, like housing?
5. What have vulnerable populations done to advance their rights in Southeast Asian cities in the face of privatization and loss of their livelihoods and/or inclusive urban spaces accessible to all persons?
6. How have civil society and political organizations responded to the worsening rights situation of the urban poor and marginalized populations? What alternative visions for a more just urban future have they put forth? In what ways have they been successful? In what ways have they fallen short of their goals?

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

We seek papers by Southeast Asian scholars who are early career scholars, or “rising voices.” Rising voices are defined here as advanced graduate students (currently writing dissertations based on original field or archival research) or untenured faculty members (including tenuretrack assistant professors, adjuncts, and lecturers, or the approximate equivalent based on the academic tradition from which the scholar is coming). Applicants may be currently enrolled as students in, or employed by, any institution of higher education in the world. However, preference may be given to students or faculty currently based at underfunded institutions in non-high-income (and non-OCED) countries in Southeast Asia, as per AAS guidelines.

In addition to the stated goal of supporting rising voices from Southeast Asia, the primary criteria for selection will be the quality and cohesiveness of the proposals to form a viable panel. Please note that neither published papers nor papers under review can be accepted to Rising Voices. The panel is intended to be a Southeast Asia-focused panel. Submissions that do not substantively address issues pertaining to the region will not be considered. The selected panelists will be expected to attend the conference in person and comply with the deadline for paper submissions.
To submit a paper proposal, please provide the following items in the order listed below, all within a SINGLE Microsoft Word file or PDF document, by July 15, 2023:
a. Applicant’s Name, affiliation, and contact information, clearly indicating applicant’s current country of residence.
b. Paper abstract. 250 words in the format of the standard AAS paper proposal.
c. Brief bio-sketch of 200 words describing current and recent scholarly positions, a brief sentence or two about current research, and any significant publications. The model for this should be the standard blurb one sees on a faculty or student website.
d. Current curriculum vitae. Maximum 4 pages. Please save the file with the following filename: RisingVoices2024_ApplicantsFamilyName.pdf

Completed applications should be sent to the attention of Dr. Christina Schwenkel
( and Dr. Mitch Aso by the July 15, 2023 deadline. Late submissions orsubmissions that do not follow the above instructions will not be considered. Applicants should confirm in their email that their paper has not been published or submitted for review elsewhere.