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News From the North: Activities at USM

  Chin Yee Whah  

ASEAN Inter-University Seminar The School of Social Sciences of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) had just hosted the 6 th ASEAN Inter-University Seminar on Social Development in collaboration with the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore. The seminar was held at USM from 14-16 May focused on the theme of “Decentering South East Asia?” The seminar started with a keynote address by Professor Wan Zawawi Ibrahim from the Institute of Malay World and Civilisation (ATMA), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia , and also a Committee member of the Malaysian Social Science Association (PSSM). In the lecture, Professor Zawawi focused on his anthropological studies of the Orang Asli in Malaysia , and related it to theme of the seminar.

A total of 79 papers were presented with participants from various parts of the world, namely Singapore , Indonesia , The Philippines, Vietnam , Australia , New Zealand , Japan , Taiwan , Finland , Sweden , Denmark , and the United States . The papers were subdivided into 22 panels ranging from De-centering Class-State Relationship; Economy of the Region; Globalisation, politics, culture, health and consumption; Civil Society and ASEAN; Education, Family, poverty and Community Development; Environment, Religion, Entrepreneurship, politics of citizenship, corruption, IT & Work; Modernisation in Southeast Asia; and Migration and Displacement.

The seminar ended with a bidding for the next venue of the 7 th ASEAN Inter-University Seminar. There were two representatives who bid to be the host; one from the Surabaya University of Indonesia and the other from the Ho Chi Minh Open University of Vietnam. Both had equal support after two rounds of voting and the venue has yet to be decided. If interested to visit Surabaya or Ho Chi Minh City , write your paper from now on.

Current research

The research projects currently undertaking by some of the staffs at the Schools of Social Sciences of USM are:

•  Ethnic Conflict and Civil Society, 2004-2005 by Professor Johan Saravananmuttu and Professor Ashutosh Varshney for the Michigan University . This project is funded by the Michigan University and USM;

•  Collaborative Country Research on Inequality, human Security and Ethnicity, 2004 by Associate Professor Maznah Mohamad, funded by the Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University;

•  Peace Building in Multi-Ethnic, Multi-Religious South East Asia by Professor Loh Kok Wah and Associate Professor Mustafa Kamal, funded by the Ford Foundation. This project involves collaboration with colleagues from Thailand , Indonesia and Philippines ;

•  The Management of High-rise Medium and Low Cost Residential Building: Practical Guidelines by Associate Professor Tiun Ling Ta, funded by INSPEN, NAPREC;

•  Japanese Food Culture in Malaysia by Dr. Azrina Husin, funded by The Sumitomo Foundation; and

•  Bumiputera-Chinese Partnership in Technology-based Industries in Post NEP and NDP Malaysia by Dr. Chin Yee Whah, funded by USM.
  Note : Dr Chin Yee Whah is a Lecturer at the School of the Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia and a Committee Member of PSSM. The Editorial Board welcomes reports of activities from other institutions as well to be published in Berita PSSM.