People, Power, Politics, Pandemics & Other Perils in Southeast Asia is the 35th biennial conference of the Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies. It is organized by a dedicated team of scholars at the University of British Columbia and co-chaired by Nora Angeles and Kai Ostwald.

The Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies (CCSEAS) brings together scholars, students, policy makers and activists with an interest in Southeast Asia and its connections to the rest of the world. The CCSEAS organizes a biennial conference and publishes a biannual student-run newsletter. The York Centre for Asian Research at York University is the home of the CCSEAS Secretariat. For more information, please visit https://ccseas.ca.

We would love to have your ideas and support for the Council’s revitalization. Email us at ccseas@yorku.ca or find us on Twitter @CCSEAS_CCEASE and Facebook.


This year’s CCSEAS Conference comes to you around the world from the Musqueam First Nation’s traditional, ancestral and unceded territories where the University of British Columbia-Vancouver is located.

When CCSEAS Executive Board members accepted our roles and duties in October 2019, COVID-19’s Patient Zero was probably not yet infected. Never did we imagine how the ensuring realities would drastically change our lives and how our plans for our next biennial meeting would evolve gradually from grandiosity to simplicity. Life can sometimes have that unexpectedly cruel way of saying thanks, but no thanks.

Amidst the many losses, deaths, illnesses, and health issues we faced, the Conference Organizing Committee across the country pulled through. Making that painful decision of offering the Conference mainly online was agonizing, and also a big relief. While initially hopeful this would be our first in-person Conference after COVID, we could not confidently put “post” before the word pandemic.

Still, this 2021 Conference is an event of many firsts. It is our first ever CCSEAS Conference by Zoom. The first to not have our traditional Southeast Asian dinner, human pyramid, live cultural performances and associated workshops. A record number of paper submissions, including poster sessions we are doing for the first time.

This year’s Conference theme, “People, Power, Politics, Pandemics & Other Perils in Southeast Asia,” is intentionally diagnostic, prognostic, pragmatic, and prosaic. We give ourselves no credit for some intuitive, perceptive and anticipatory insight. Much had transpired in the Southeast Asian region in the last two years – heroic efforts to curtail the spread of the virus across the region, military coups, hotly contested national elections, the second wave of a genocidal massacre against a minority group in Myanmar, major corruption scandals, among other disturbing episodic events. What else is new? On the joyful note, a Filipina (Heidilyn Diaz) earned the first Olympic Gold Medal for her country. Another Filipina (Maria Ressa) won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, joining four previous winners from Southeast Asia – all won under the category of Peace. That still elusive peace.

As we made peace with ourselves and found comfort in our decision to bring you this Conference remotely, we hope you too find comfort in the quality of research scholarship you will hear and read.

We thank the UBC Institute for Asian Research (UBC-IAR), University of Victoria Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives (CAPI), York University Centre for Asian Research (YCAR), and International Development Research Council (IDRC) for their financial and logistical contributions to this Conference.

We also thank our community partners – Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Society (SEACHS), National Pilipino Canadian Cultural Centre (NPC3), Pinoy Pride Vancouver (PPV), University of the Philippines Alumni Association of BC (UPAABC) and the various Southeast Asian Consulate-General Offices, for promoting this event to their networks within the Canadian Southeast Asian community and beyond.

I specially acknowledge my Conference Co-Chair Dr Kai Ostwald at UBC; members of the Local Organizing Committee at UBC –Salihin Subhan, Constant Courtin, Isabel Chew, Louisa-May Khoo, and Nila Ayu Utami – all dedicated doctoral candidates at UBC; Anh Nguyen, our conference website designer and administrator; SEACHS’s Anna Nguyen and Thai Hoa Le; other UBC student volunteers, and ever-reliable Alicia Filipowich and Alex Felipe, CCSEAS Secretariat.

Heartfelt thanks go to colleagues and friends who agreed to serve as Chairs and Discussants on several panels, all poster and paper presenters, and artists who all made this possible. We curated SEA short films on Youtube for your easy access. We are grateful for SEACHS performers and a feature by Vietnamese Canadian film-maker Carol Nguyen.

Marami pong salamat. Mabuhay kayong lahat!

Leonora C. Angeles

Guidance for Chairs/Convenors/Discussants

Conseils aux présidents/animateurs/intervenants du CCEASE

Thank you very much for serving as Convenor/Chair/Discussant of the 35th CCSEAS Biennial Conference. Here are a few reminders to make your role(s) go smoothly.

Nous vous remercions d'avoir accepté de jouer le rôle d'animateur/président/intervenant de la 35e conférence biennale du CCEASE. Voici quelques rappels pour que votre (vos) rôle(s) se déroule(nt) sans anicroches.


Cultural Performances and Films

“Let Us Together Stop COvID-19” by SEACHS

“Vietnamese Traditional Dance” by SEACHS

Carol Nguyen’s Feature Film, “No Crying at the Dinner Table”

Katoi (Lunar Cinema, Malaysia)

Haikal (The Salad Show, Malaysia)

Home (Vidsee, Malaysia Drama)

Janji Kita Tahu (As Long as We Know, The Ming Thing, Malaysia)

Kinabuhi - Livelihood, on plight of coconut farmers (Spur Films, Philippines)

Taya (Bet, Cinemalaya, Philippines)

Mithi (Fervent Wish, Asia Pacific Institute, Philippines

Pa -He wants to be like grandpa but mother disapproves (The Scene City, Singapore)

Someone was watching when she shoved the domestic worker (Vidsee, Singapore)

Contact & Support

For more information about the conference, please contact us at ccseas@yorku.ca. If you are having technical difficulties during the conference, please email both ccseas@yorku.ca and the facilitator of the stream for your panel or roundtable.


Community Partners


The deadline to register is Wednesday, 20 October 2021.


CCSEAS Conference 2021 | ccseas@yorku.ca