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History professor hosts conference on teaching Southeast Asia



History_IconPaul Rodell, Ph.D., of the Department of History at Georgia Southern University is coordinating a Teaching Southeast Asia workshop for college and university faculty members in Georgia. The conference is April 11 and 12 at Georgia Perimeter College’s Clarkston campus, admission is free and includes five regular sessions, a Friday evening program and lunch Saturday.

“The workshop model is based on the one used by the Asian Studies Development Program of the East-West Center in Honolulu,” Rodell said. “I am a fellow of the EWC and have participated in two of their summer seminars in Hawaii and organized and hosted another seminar in Savannah a few years ago. All of the speakers at the April conference will present their topics in a way that provides incentives and tools to incorporate a variety of aspects about Southeast Asia into existing curriculum.”

The conference will open Friday with a session by Rodell on approaching the history of Southeast Asia. The session will include several resources, including a free book of primary source documents, articles and maps. Other Friday sessions include Jonathan Leightner, Ph.D., of Georgia Regents University discussing the 1997 economic meltdown in Asia; Robert Batchelor, Ph.D., of Georgia Southern University speaking on his discovery of the Selden Map; Eric Kendrick, Ph.D., of Georgia Perimeter College discussing the role of minorities in Laos, Vietnam and Burma; and another presentation by Rodell on the classroom use of translated Southeast Asian literature. Friday will conclude with a session on using YouTube to explore Southeast Asian music for historical, sociological, political and religious themes.

“My presentation will be a bit of a ‘show-and-tell’,” said Batchelor, “but participants will come away with a portfolio of new texts, images and techniques for teaching the history of Southeast Asia and the Selden Map.”

The Teaching Southeast Asia conference is sponsored by the Asia Council of the University System of Georgia, which was developed about 20 years ago, along with several other regional councils, in an attempt to internalize curriculum.

“I was appointed by Professor Jacek Lubecki, the director of the Center of International Studies, as Georgia Southern’s representative to the Asia Council,” said Rodell. “All the councils develop study abroad programs for undergraduates and promote faculty development.”

“This is the third conference focusing on the teaching of Asia,” he said. “The first was offered for teaching India in the undergraduate curriculum, and last year the focus was on China. For logistical reasons, we had to hold the workshop near Atlanta, but I hope that faculty members from south Georgia and other areas will attend, too. Faculty statewide need these kinds of programs!”

For more information about the conference or to register, contact Rodell at


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