People’s Power and Resistance in Southeast Asia

Pouvoir et résistance populaires en Asie du Sud-Est


Friday, October 22, 2021


11:00 – 12:45

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Democracy has eroded to various extent in Southeast Asia over the past few years. To direct attention to important moments of people’s struggles and voices of resistance in response, this roundtable offers an avenue for dissecting and understanding opposition pushbacks against democratic backsliding within and beyond Southeast Asia. Panelists will discuss cases from Myanmar, Thailand, and Hong Kong, and draw comparisons of the linkages and solidarity of people’s power across these respective cases.

Shedding light on the latest episode of Myanmar’s pro-democracy struggle following the February 2021 military coup, Van Tran will document the conventional and digital strategies employed by both the Tatmadaw and anti-coup resistance. Tran will further discuss the patterns of online narratives and disinformation, and their impacts on contentious dynamics on the ground by analyzing the most viral social media contents on Facebook and events of protests and violence during the first few months after the coup. Akanit Horatanakun will then comment on the ideological contestation between state and popular nationalism, as manifested in the emergence of the 2020 student movement in Thailand. Horatanakun suggests that Thailand’s popular nationalism, particularly its liberal variant, has recently been consolidated through digital political learning, diffusion, and networks of connective actions of the young digital natives. Pimsiri “Mook” Petchnamrob, human rights activist, cultural critic, and documentary filmmaker, has stood on the front line of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement. In sharing her experience, Petchnamrob will bring a crucial perspective of the mobilization and precarity that students, protestors, and activists face in Thailand. Extending beyond Southeast Asia, Maggie Shum will speak about the evolution of protest repertoires resulting from the intensification of crackdowns by the Hong Kong government and Beijing on opposition and dissent at all levels in Hong Kong. Moreover, Shum will focus on resistance efforts by Hong Kong diasporas, and alliances formed by Hong Kongers with other democracy movements, such as the Milk Tea Alliance, from around the globe. Lastly, Erik Martinez Kuhonta will discuss the common and contrasting challenges that democracy and its activists and citizens currently face in Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia. In particular, Kuhonta will focus on the tactics of violence and repression that states have employed as well as the organizational, social, and collective responses that have come from ordinary people.

Convenor and Chair/Animateur et président: Nhu Truong, Yale University


Akanit Horatanakun, McGill University

Erik Martinez Kuhonta, Political Science, McGill University

Pimsiri Petchnamrob, ARTICLE 19

Maggie Shum, University of Notre Dame

Van Tran, Cornell University

Event poster



CCSEAS Conference 2021 |