About the LIASE Southeast Asia Symposium

Background | Goals | Media Coverage | Contact Information


University of Puget Sound received a LIASE Exploration Grant in March 2013 from the Henry Luce Foundation to develop a pilot model of field schools in Southeast Asia. A planning team of five Puget Sound faculty collaborated to develop a pilot model of field schools in Indonesia in spring/summer 2014, which was built around the "extended semester" model developed by Associate Professor Gareth Barkin over the course of previous course-trips in Indonesia. The Southeast Asia Symposium was developed as a way to integrate this and future field school experiences, as well as planned faculty initiatives in the region, back into campus culture and disseminate knowledge and experience gained through the broader LIASE program. The first Southeast Asia Symposium, focusing on student research in Indonesia and the following year's Malaysia program, took place in October, 2014.

In the spring of 2015, the university was awarded a full LIASE Implementation Grant for $400,000. The new LIASE program expands on the goals of the pilot project, institutionalizing the Southeast Asia Symposium as well as other programming that includes:

  • Southeast Asian field schools—intensive student learning abroad, conducted with Asian partners and involving a full semester of language and culture, plus three weeks of summer overseas research
  • Phased introduction of new Asian language courses—in Thai, Indonesian, and Malay—which currently are rarely taught as full-credit courses in Washington state
  • Grants for faculty members to explore and develop future Southeast Asian field schools or enhancements to the curriculum
  • An annual Southeast Asia Symposium that will draw international speakers and scholars from around the state, and that will be a resource center for Pacific Northwest partner colleges

Overview and Goals

  • The symposium draws together disparate elements of our field schools and faculty initiatives while placing a focus on reaching the campus community and infusing the knowledge and learning of these experiences across the university.
  • It brings together Southeast Asia scholars from around the Northwest along with speakers and artists from Southeast Asia in a two-day event that involves workshops, research panels, performances, and informational sessions.
  • In keeping with best practices in experiential education and study abroad, the symposium compels students from Southeast Asian field schools to reflect on, integrate, and share their experiences and their research.
  • In that process, field school students engage potential students applying to the next field school, and broadly raise peer and faculty interest and awareness in Southeast Asia.
  • The symposium also unifies all activities of our LIASE initiative at one time of the year creating greater impact than is possible through disparate workshops and speakers.
  • At the symposia, faculty involved in the LIASE field schools share with colleagues ideas to integrate environmental issues and Asian Studies, and take stock of the development of new points of entry to Southeast Asia in the Puget Sound curriculum.
  • Open to members of the campus communities of the NW5C colleges, our symposia are also forums to engage more domestic and international partners and create more points of entry to Southeast Asia in the Puget Sound curriculum.

University of Puget Sound is very grateful for the opportunity the LIASE grant has provided to develop this innovative experience. We look forward to building on the strong foundation established in the exploration phase, and institutionalizing a program of field initiatives over the years to come.

Media Coverage

Contact Information

The LIASE program is administered by University of Puget Sound faculty from a variety of departments and programs with expertise on Southeast Asian languages, cultural, and environmental topics.

Symposium Director
Gareth Barkin 

Symposium Support Specialist
Lisa Hutchinson

Mailing Address
LIASE Southeast Asia Symposium
University of Puget Sound
1500 N. Warner St. CMB 1092
Tacoma, WA 98416-1092

International Programs at Puget Sound
1500 N. Warner St. #1055
Tacoma, WA 98416-1055
Howarth Hall 215
voice 253.879.2515
fax 253.879.2648