Long considered an isolated backwater of global cultural flows, a proud possessor of artistic traditions seemingly immune to international fashions, Southeast Asia is now coming into its own as a cultural powerhouse, refashioning old traditions and taking on new forms and ideas, with connections being rapidly formed between ASEAN member states in anticipation of the region’s Economic Community in 2015. This introduction positions this volume’s articles and the World Symposium on Global Encounters in Southeast Asian Performing Arts, where they were presented, in relation to the region’s cultural shifts. It argues that the critique and subversion of tradition is a sign of its vitality and future viability. A new paradigm is emerging in which Southeast Asian theatre and performance are not being treated as the West’s exotic “Other” or in relation to nation building but as a site drawing interested parties into a conversation regarding both local and global issues.


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pp. 353-368
Launched on MUSE
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