FACULTY OF HUMANITIES UNIVERSITAS INDONESIA
THE 4TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CHINESE-INDONESIAN STUDIES (ICCIS)
“CHINA’S IMPACT ON SOUTHEAST ASIA AND ITS DIASPORIC COMMUNITIES: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE”
China’s presence in the Southeast Asian region has been significantly visible for centuries. It has contributed to the making of Southeast Asia from age to age, dating back to the 1st century, and has helped shape the dynamics of the region’s economic, political, and cultural development to the present. The nature of China’s relations with countries in the region also varies from one country to another, depending on the historical contexts of each, and thus making it complex and challenging to be studied.
China’s cultural innovation manifests in its ideas, values, and products which spread and influence cultural development in Southeast Asia. Evidence of cultural encounters dates back to thousands of years ago in almost all parts of the region. Since the 2000s, China has been rapidly globalized, and using the slogan “rising in peace”, today China has become a world’s superpower with a determining role to play. This situation naturally presents opportunities as well as ‘threats’ to many nations across the globe.
It is safe to say that China’s presence in the region is undeniable and becomes inevitable to whatever trajectory and shape Southeast Asia will take in the future. Studies and research are still urgently needed on various countries in the region to obtain a better picture of China’s impact on each of the countries along the span of history in multiple sectors, and eventually to better understand what the region will be in the future in terms of its relations with China.
The study of Chinese diasporic communities in Indonesia has been somewhat disconnected from the external dynamics that is closely related to what happens in China and the East Asian and Southeast Asian regions in general. Research and knowledge production about contemporary Chinese-Indonesian communities, for instance, seem to be conducted as if in isolation and detached from other Chinese diasporic communities in the Southeast Asian region, and even more so as far as the mainland China is concerned. There is a strategic need to reconnect the studies of Chinese diaspora to changes and new developments taking place in China, not because of any essentialist goal but particularly because China has become a new global economic and cultural phenomenon known as the “rising China”.
Taking into accounts the changes and development happening in the mainland China in the studies of Chinese communities outside China will open up new possibilities and horizons in the research and scholarship on Chinese diasporic communities in Indonesia as well as in the larger context of Southeast Asia.
Therefore, the 4th International Conference on Chinese-Indonesian Studies (ICCIS) held at the Faculty of Humanities Universitas Indonesia in 2017 will expand its traditional boundaries of exploration from merely focusing at Chinese-Indonesian communities to looking at diasporic communities in a larger context or scope that encompasses the Southeast Asian region, and by also looking closer at what has taken place in China from a historical perspective all the way to the contemporary era.