Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

(22) “Saving the Soul of Our Youth:” Religious Education and Ethical Dilemmas in Southeast Asia

3/22/2018
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Madison A, Mezzanine Level

Across Southeast Asia, youth and their future have figured prominently in national and regional debates on education and development. Public discourses surrounding Southeast Asian youth tend to depict contemporary youth as a troubled generation experiencing moral decay, as youth themselves face issues with changing public education, economies, and family structures. Within this context, religious actors and institutions across Southeast Asia have pushed for various educational initiatives that aim to provide youth with a religiously-grounded moral foundation and to create a young generation whose ethical sensibilities align with the interests of the religious institutions. However, how youth experience religious education is not always as the institutions expect. The aim of this panel is to provide a nuanced understanding of these educational initiatives through the perspectives of Southeast Asian youth. The four papers show how Southeast Asian youth navigate, negotiate, and challenge the different demands and pressures placed on them by the state, the family, the market, and religious institutions. The papers examine this process of negotiation from the angles of gender, class, national identity, emotions, and romance. By presenting two case studies of Islamic education in Indonesia and Malaysia, and two of Buddhist education in Thailand and Vietnam, the panel traverses across national boundaries and religious traditions to investigate the convergences and tensions in religious education for Southeast Asian youth. In taking a comparative approach, it endeavors to provoke a critical discussion of the role of youth in the configuration and transformation of the religious fields and institutions across Southeast Asia. 

Presentations:

Dat Nguyen

Boston University, Massachusetts

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Erica Larson

Boston University, Kansas

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Erica Larson

Boston University, Kansas

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Sarah Kelman

University of California, Santa Cruz, California

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Michael Chladek

University of Chicago, Illinois

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Dat Nguyen

Boston University, Massachusetts

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Ann Marie Leshkowich

College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts

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