Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

Past Summer Schools

2014, "The Return of the Past: Memory Making and Heritage in Southeast Asia" (HU/UGM/USM)

Post-colonial states in the Southeast Asian region have been described as being strongly oriented towards the future, prioritizing modernization and development. In recent years however, the past seems to have taken on a renewed relevance. This intensive two-week course brings experts from Berlin, Penang and Yogyakarta together to discuss memory and its transmission as a social, cultural and political phenomenon. Hegemonic state-centred narratives about the past are compared with bottom-up popular memories in order to understand how multiple identities are formed, contested and modified.

In the first week of the summer school, lecturers of various disciplinary backgrounds (history, political science, anthropology) introduced students to some of the main theories on memory and heritage and give them insights into important research that has been done on these issues in Southeast Asia. During the second week, participants formed small groups and visited various pre-colonial, colonial and contemporary memory sites in the Yogyakarta region and spoke with people connected to these sites. Each group presented their findings on the final day of the summer school.

The lecturers who taught in this program included Prof. Dr. Vincent Houben,  Prof. Dr. Bambang Purwanto, Dr. Soon Chuan Yean, Dr. Sri Margana, Dr. Olivia Killias, Dr. Lye Tuck Po, Dr. Budiawan, Rosa Cordillera Castillo, Aleah Connley and Uji Nugroho Winardi.


Academic Coordination Committee 2014:

Aleah Connley, M.A.

Dr. Olivia Killias

Widaratih Kamiso, M.A.


2011-2013, "(In)Congruities between Nation, State and Civil Society" (HU/USM)

In the context of the cooperation between Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) and University Sains Malaysia (USM) an annual joint summer school program has been established in 2011.

Each year in late February / early March, lecturers and students from the two partner universities and beyond are teaching, studying and doing research together in the framework of a compact two-week course that addresses the congruities and incongruities between nation, state and civil society that have shaped the countries in Southeast Asia.

By taking into consideration macro- as well as micro-perspectives, the complex relation between nation(building), state and civil society are examined from various theoretical standpoints and disciplinary perspectives. More specifically, the participants are exposed to looking at how non-government organizations (NGOs), in the context of social movements in Southeast Asia, play important roles in developing civil society structures with limited participatory possibilities. Countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia or the Philippines show the possibilities, boundaries and responses of this engagement with the states in Southeast Asia.

In the first week of the summer school, lecturers of various disciplinary backgrounds (history, political science, psychology and anthropology) introduce the students to some of the main theories on nation, state and civil society and give them insights into important research that has been carried out on these issues in Southeast Asia – from political patronage in a Filipino village to the role of transnational Islam as a civil society movement, to the systematic exclusion of indigenous populations from the nation-state projects. Participants are expected to read the assigned literature beforehand. During the summer school, students are encouraged to interact with fellow students from USM and Humboldt-Universität on these matters, to share and exchange ideas and experiences as well as on what it actually means to do “area studies” – both in/from Asian and Europe.

During the second week, participants have the opportunity to engage in discussions with local NGOs, covering a range of topics such as environmental, women's and human rights as well as religious, arts and culture matters, and to ask how these are translated into practice by the respective actors. Here, the participants can focus on areas of their own interest; they are given the opportunity to formulate ideas and questions they can later on use for their own research, for instance in the context of their coursework.

The list of lecturers who have taught in this program so far includes scholars such as Ahmad Fauzi, Azeem Farouk, Azmil Tayeb, Frederik Holst, Vincent Houben, Olivia Killias, Francis Loh, Lye Tuck Po, Noraida Endut, Norzarina Zaharim, Saskia Schäfer, Shakila Abdul Manan and Soon Chuan Yean.


Academic Coordination Committee 2013:

Dr. Frederik Holst

Dr. Norzarina Mohd Zaharim

Dr. Olivia Killias

Dr. Soon Chuan Yean


Academic Coordination Committee 2012:

Dr. Frederik Holst

Prof. Sivamurugan a/l Pandian


Academic Coordination Committee 2011:

Dr. Frederik Holst

Prof. Sivamurugan a/l Pandian