Title Thumbnail

Memory in the Mekong

Regional Identity, Schools, and Politics in Southeast Asia

216 pages
Teachers College Press

This edited collection explores the possibilities, perils, and politics of constructing a regional identity. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a multinational institution comprised of 10 member states, is dedicated to building a Southeast Asian regional identity that includes countries along Southeast Asia’s Mekong River delta: Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar.

After successfully establishing an economic community in 2015, where capital and people can freely move across national borders, ASEAN and its partners now aim to develop a sociocultural community that is fully functional in a wide range of sectors by 2025. As part of this vision, ASEAN wishes to construct a regional identity by uniting over 600 million people, which will be achieved partly through national school systems that teach shared histories. In this text, the contributors critically examine the many questions that arise in the face of this significant change: What does an ASEAN identity look like? Is it even possible or desirable to create a common identity across the diverse peoples of Southeast Asia? Given the divergent memories of history, how would a regional identity exist alongside national identity? Memory in the Mekong grapples with these questions by exploring issues of shared history, national identity, and schooling in a region that is frequently underexamined and underrepresented in Western scholarship.

Book Features:

  • First comparative study of regional identity and schools in the Mekong.
  • In-depth analysis of UNESCO Bangkok’s Shared Histories project.
  • Use of historical memory theoretical tools to understand identity formation, extending the work on imagined communities.
  • Chapters written by researchers from across the Mekong.
Author Bio

Will Brehm is an associate professor at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London. Yuto Kitamura is a professor at the Graduate School of Education, University of Tokyo.