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Whose history? Contested ownership about shipwrecks in Southeast Asia


A Talk by Dr. Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz, Nalanda Srivijaya Centre ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore

Various groups claim their property rights on historic shipwrecks. The focus on the establishment of ownership rights is controversially discussed in Southeast Asia. I therefore aim to explore the range of rights and obligations which allocate the variety of uses and benefits of shipwrecks in the present discourse. Apart from government bodies, there are other powerful stakeholders whose views must be taken into account, ranging from local and regional communities to international groups.

Changing perceptions of the threats posed to underwater cultural heritage, as defined according to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage of 2001, are raising the awareness of its historical significance in many Southeast Asian countries.

For further information, please contact Ms. Noor Yusrina Hashim at 03-7967 7823.

About Dr Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz

Dr Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz is Visiting Fellow at ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute. She teaches Southeast Asian cultures and archaeology at several German universities. She holds a PhD in Art History from Technical University of Darmstadt and an M.A. in Art History, Archaeology, and Southeast Asian regional studies from Frankfurt University, Germany.

She served as research assistant for excavations conducted in Syria and Indonesia. She was formerly a Visiting Associate and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute in Singapore, and has been a member of the academic committee of the European Association of Southeast Asian archaeologists (EASEAA) since 2010.

Her main interests are settlement history, architecture, and ancient material culture. Recent notable publications are: “Struggles over historic shipwrecks in Indonesia. Economic versus preservation interests”, in: B. Hauser-Schäublin, L. V. Prott (ed.), Cultural property and contested ownership. The trafficking of artefacts and the quest for restitution. New York 2016, 85-107; „Im Schatten von Angkor. Archäologie und Geschichte von Südostasien“ [In the shadow of Angkor. Archaeology and history in Southeast Asia]. (ed. with A. Reinecke) Darmstadt 2015.

11th October 2016
2:00 PM
ASEM Room,
Asia-Europe Institute,
University of Malaya
Last Updated: 17/02/2020