CCSEAS Conference will honour York Professors Emeriti for work in Asian studies

York Centre for Asian Research YCAR

York University Professors Emeriti Judith Nagata and Penny Van Esterik, who are faculty associates of York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR), will be honoured at the 33rd Biennial Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies (CCSEAS) conference running Oct. 26 to 28 at York University.

The panels honouring Nagata and Van Esterik will take place on Oct. 27 at 11am and 3:15pm respectively, in Room 0001 Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Building (Keele campus).

Judith Nagata York U
Judith Nagata
Penny Van Esterick
Penny Van Esterik

The CCSEAS is a national association that brings together scholars, students, policy makers and activists with an interest in Southeast Asia and its connections to the rest of the world. Nagata and Professor Van Esterik, both from the Department of Anthropology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (LAPS), are active and long-standing members of the CCSEAS and stalwarts of Southeast Asian studies in Canada.

“Their distinguished careers and research contributions have been the cornerstone of the Southeast Asian studies community at York and in Canada more broadly,” said Abidin Kusno, CCSEAS president and YCAR director.

This year, the CCSEAS conference committee has organized special panels with former students and colleagues of Nagata and Van Esterik in honour of their contributions to the field. The panels will focus on the impact of their research and engage with the contemporary relevance of their work.

Nagata will be recognized for her work on regional and transnational religious ethnic identity politics. Her extensive fieldwork based research in Malaysia and Indonesia has contributed an understanding of religion that pushes the boundaries of how we categorize and study religion. Currently, she is following trends in humanistic Buddhism in Taiwan, Southeast Asia and Canada. Nagata has also been a key figure in shaping how CCSEAS has evolved over the years and has been the lead organizer of many CCSEAS initiatives.

Van Esterik, a feminist anthropologist and one of the world’s leading breastfeeding activists, will be honoured for her research that emphasizes the importance of nurturing others. She began her career with a focus on Southeast Asian studies as a result of the increasing demand for knowledge about Southeast Asia during the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Van Esterik’s work spans material culture production, medical anthropology and food and nutrition studies through empirical cases from Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR.

The featured panels honouring Nagata and Van Esterik’s highlight this year’s conference theme, “People In and Out of Place,” which emphasizes Southeast Asia’s regional dynamic as the crossroads of different peoples, histories, cultures, and politics.

The theme will also be on display through multiple interdisciplinary panels, a special opening address by Ricardo D. Trimillos (University of Hawai’i), and a keynote address by Goh Beng Lan (National University Singapore).

Trimillos’s address, “Places and Spaces for Dancing and Musicking Filipinicity: Imagining Barangay, Crew, Ethnie, and Nation”, explores the historical performance of Filipino identity in the Philippines and in the diaspora. Goh Beng Lan’s (National University of Singapore) keynote, “Silent Resistance in Malaysia: Changing Mindsets as New Radical Politics”, will examine the impact of Islamization on the future of radical politics in Malaysia.

Conference organizers said they are looking forward to hosting international scholars, dignitaries, and community members over three days at York for an enriching interdisciplinary conversation on pertinent matters in Southeast Asian studies.

The CCSEAS conference is open to the public. For more information visit