Professor, Institute of Asian Studies
Victor T. King is Professor of Borneo Studies, UBD-Institute of Asian Studies. He is a sociologist-anthropologist, and is also Emeritus Professor in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds; Professorial Research Associate in the Centre of South East Asian Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; and Senior Editorial Advisor in the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Thailand, where he also served as an Adjunct Professor. During the last six years he has edited/co-edited seven books on topics ranging across tourism in Asia, UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia, ethnodevelopment, Southeast Asian Studies, Borneo Studies, and human insecurities in Southeast Asia.
MA with distinction, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London;
Ba, PhD, Sociology and Anthropology, University of Hull
Sociology and anthropology of Southeast Asia; tourism, culture and heritage; ethnicity and identity; development studies; museum ethnographic and photographic studies; Southeast Asia as a region and the rationale of Southeast Asian Studies.
It has been 50 years since Professor Donald Brown undertook his pioneering research on Brunei history, society and culture. To mark the occasion scholars from within and outside Brunei approaching 20 scholars have gathered together to examine critically and also celebrate various aspects of Professor Brown's work. This project establishes Brunei firmly in its well-deserved position on the anthropological-historical map of Southeast Asia. It also confirms the role that Professor Brown's seminal and pioneering studies of Brunei has played in stimulating further research., and his internationally recognized work in our more general understanding of human nature, culture, behavior and history.
Chiang Mai is the major tourist hub in northern Thailand, and has a long-established tourism industry. The project takes stock of these developments, evaluates the existing literature and proposes some directions for future research. This is especially significant as the Thai authorities for heritage and culture have recently placed Chiang Mai and its historical importance as the capital of the Kingdom of Lanna on its Tentative List for submission for UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Part of the purpose of the project is also to evaluate the contribution of Professor Erik Cohen to the sociological-anthropological study of tourism in Thailand more generally. Two papers have already been published on his work and a third is in preparation.
The research questions posed comprise: Are there still some research areas to explore in Southeast Asian studies? Are there Southeast Asian societies and cultures still considered as ‘exotic’’, not-yet-explored and ready for new scholarly investigation? Can we come up with new methodologies, research materials and concepts to understand the rapid transformations of Southeast Asian peoples and cultures? Out of these changes, what is new and exciting empirically and conceptually, and what has transformed our current understandings of the human condition in Southeast Asia? How have our changing approaches and the changing societies and cultures which we study influenced what we have discovered and how we have analyzed those findings in changing socio-cultural, economic and political contexts? To address this range of questions, the Institute of Asian Studies (IAS) and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) organized an international conference on 30 – 31 July 2018 at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. The conference gave the opportunity to fifteen researchers in a range of disciplines embracing the social sciences and humanities (history, philology, geography/development, language and literature, sociology and anthropology) to reflect on their personal relationships to the research terrain, their fieldwork or their engagement with archives and library materials. The conference also brought together scholars who are representative of a range of ethnicities, generations, and scientific traditions (American, British, French, Australian, Southeast Asian). An important theme for conference participants was to encourage them to reflect on and rethink their experiences of these changes both in their continuing personal and institutional research trajectories and in the ongoing need to address the ever-changing subjects of their studies. If a personal account might illuminate the motives and interests that could have inspired and edified research, it can also challenge our perceptions of the project of accessing and gathering research materials, the subject/object researched, and the societies themselves. An important focus which has not been sufficiently examined in the more recent formal methodological and ‘scientistic’ arenas which have given rise to several edited books on the region comprised the more informal and unexpected experiences of research, not simply those of personal encounters, of moral, intellectual and emotional investment with research subjects and their contextualization, but also ‘the importance of being wrong’, of ‘methodological blunders and mishaps’, ‘empirical errors’, ‘theoretical dead-ends’, historical misinterpretations’, ‘silencing as method’, ‘the anthropology of remembering’, ‘translation and self-reflexivity’, ‘shifting tracks and improvised itineraries’, ‘generational and digital challenges’, ‘the ethnography of secrets’, ‘trans-border and local narratives in a regional context’ and ‘language change and moving identities’. The proposal for an edited book has been agreed; and the project is ongoing.
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UNESCO in Southeast Asia: World Heritage Sites in Comparative Perspective, Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2016; Introduction 'World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia: Issues, Prospects and Problems', pp. 1-34; and 'Melaka as A World Heritage Site: Melaka as Malaysia', pp. 140-168.
Borneo Studies in History, Society and Culture, Singapore: Springer, 2017 (with Zawawi Ibrahim and Noor Hasharina Hassan; 'Introductory Remarks', pp. 1-12); Victor T. King, 'Some Preliminary Thoughts on Early Anthropology in Borneo', pp. 15-34; 'Borneo and Beyond: Reflections on Borneo Studies, Anthropology and the Social Sciences', pp. 72-124; 'Identities in Borneo: Constructions and Transformations', pp. 177-208; 'Borneo Studies: Perspectives from a Jobbing Social Scientist', pp. 511-532.
Tourism in East and Southeast Asia: Critical Concepts in Asian Studies: 4 volume Reader, London and New York: Routledge, 2018 (with David Harrison and Jeremy S. Eades, General Introduction to volume I, 'The Background: Concepts, Region and History', pp. 1-9) ; Victor T. King, 'Encounters and Mobilities: Conceptual Issues in Tourism Studies in Southeast Asia', volume I, pp. 32-53; 'Introduction to volume III, The Global and the Local: Tourism, Identity and Culture', pp. 1-7.
Tourism and Monarchy in Southeast Asia, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016 (with Ploysri Porananond; 'Introduction: Tourism and Monarchy in Southeast Asia from Symbolism to Commoditization', pp. 1-19; Victor T. King, 'Brunei Darussalam: 'A Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures', pp. 20-38).
Sustainability of Cultural and Natural Heritage, editor, special issue of Sustainability, Switzerland, MDPI Open Access, issues 2015-2016, 12 papers: 2015, 7(2), 1712-1729; 2015, 7(6), 6412-6434; 2015, 7(7), 8151-8177; 2015, 7(8), 10244-102-80; 2016, 8(1), No 47; 2016, 8(3), No. 258; 2016, 8(3), No. 261; 2016, 8(6), No. 570; 2016, 8(6), No. 591; 2016, 8(8), No. 792; 2016, 8(8), No. 886; 2016, 8(9), No. 891.
Human Insecurities in Southeast Asia, Singapore: Springer, 2016 (with Paul Carnegie and Zawawi Ibrahim; 'Introduction' and 'Conclusion', pp. 1-5, 193-195; and Victor T. King, 'Of Risk, Uncertainty, Safety and Trust: Relocating Human Insecurities', pp. 7-19; a development of this chapter is Paul Carnegie and Victor T. King, 'Toward a Social Science Understanding of Human Security', Journal of Human Security Studies, 2018, 7(1), pp. 1-17).
Tourism and Ethnodevelopment: Inclusion, Empowerment and Self-determination (with Ismar Lima de Borges; 'Tourism and Ethnodevelopment: An Introduction', pp. 3-23 ), London and New York: Routledge, 2018.
Tourism in Southeast Asia: Challenges and New Directions, ed. Copenhagen: NIAS Press and Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2008 (with Michael Hitchcock and Michael Parnwell, 'Introduction: Tourism in Southeast Asia Revisited', pp. 1-42).
Tourism in South-East Asia, London: Routledge, 1993, reprint, 2019, hardback and paper in the Routledge Library Editions series, Business and Economics in Asia vol 32, with a new Preface, pp. xi-xiv (with Michael Hitchcock and Michael Parnwell; 'Tourism in South-East Asia: Introduction, pp. 1-31; Victor T. King, 'Tourism and Culture in Malaysia', pp. 99-116);
The Peoples of Borneo
VT King, Oxford: Blackwell, 1993
The Modern Anthropology of South-East Asia: an introduction,
VT King, WD Wilder, London Routledge, reprint, 2006; translated into Indonesian as Antropologi Modern Asia Tenggara: Sebuah Pengantar, Yoyakarta: Kreasi Wacana, 2012.
The Sociology of Southeast Asia: Transformations in a Developing Region
VT King, Copenhagen: NIAS Press, reprint, 2011.
People of the Weeping Forest: Tradition and Change in Borneo, JB Avé, VT King, Leiden: National Museum of Ethnology, 1986, and a Dutch edition, Borneo: Oerwoud in ondergang: Culturen op drift, 1985 (a catalogue and monograph to accompany the exhibition at the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde [National Museum of Ethnology], Leiden, 1985, opened by Sir David Attenborough.
(1) From 2006 to 2012 he served as Executive Director of the White Rose East Asia Centre which was a joint venture between Asian Studies (specifically Chinese and Japanese Studies) at the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield. At any one time there were up to 50 researchers, post-doctoral fellows and over 30 research students who came under the auspices of the Centre, with a programme of curriculum development, early career training and Asian language provision. During that time, and in close cooperation with senior colleagues in the Centre, funding grants of over 6 million pounds sterling were awarded from such bodies as the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Sasakawa Foundation, and several research and charitable bodies in China and Japan.
(2) From 2009 to 2014 a comparative research project on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia, supported primarily by The British Academy, with institutional funding from a range of participating universities brought in grants amounting to 60,000 pounds sterling.
All research outputs, conference presentations, consultancy reports are listed in the website (victortking.org, victortking.co.uk and victortking.com).
He is currently co-editor of a Routledge series on The Modern Anthropology of Southeast Asia, and is interested in receiving promising book proposals for the series.
He has 36 items in Scopus-listed publications with 176 citations.
The Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development, Chiang Mai University, where he is Senior Editorial Adviser to two book series (1) Critical Perspectives on Regional Integration and (2) Consortium of Development Studies in Southeast Asia (CDSSEA), currently comprising 40 volumes; a second stage in the series is being planned; he is also on the Editorial Board of the Asian Journal of Tourism Research in the Centre for Asian Tourism Research.
The Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, Busan University of Foreign Studies, South Korea where he is Co-Chair Editor of its journal Suvannabhumi: Multi-disciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies in the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies.
For many years from 1988 to 2000 he worked with UK government departments in trade and industry to develop the interface between British business and exporters, and their work in Southeast Asia, particularly in the field of cultural understanding.