Talk : Landscape of Displacement: Mega-Plantations in Southeast Asia

Land­scape of Dis­place­ment: Mega-Plant­a­tions in South­east Asia

Land­scape of Dis­place­ment: Mega-Plant­a­tions in South­east Asia

When? Wed 8.12.2021 at 13.00-14.00, Helsinki (check the time zone), via Zoom

Recording will also be available on Unitube later.


Professor Noboru Ishikawa, Kyoto University, Japan. 


Dr. Helena Binti Muhamad Varkkey, Universiti , Malaysia

Chair of the Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Professor Maria Brockhaus


One significant feature of the Anthropocene, the geological epoch under discussion, is the repeated transportation of plants from different locations and their subsequent successful cultivation in other locations in the equatorial zone. After 1492, signaling the start of the so-called Columbian Exchange, plant commodities – such as rubber, sugarcane, coffee, and banana harvested and processed by the hands of enslaved and indentured labor – brought enormous fortunes to a global plantocracy and capitalism more generally. Focusing on maritime Southeast Asia as a case in point, I explore the displacement of plants and peoples of the Global South, both massively relocated, uprooted, and mobilized for mega-production systems. Special attention is given to key dimensions of oil palm plantation in Malaysian Borneo such as the scale of expansion, multifaceted modes of production, forced juxtaposition of landscapes, habitat fragmentation, socio-economic dispossession, environmental despoliation, and emerging urban-rural continuum.


Noboru Ishikawa (Ph.D. in Anthropology, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York) is a professor of anthropology at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University. He has conducted fieldwork in Sarawak (Malaysia) and West Kalimantan (Indonesia) over the past three decades, exploring issues such as the construction of national space in the borderland, highland–lowland relations, the stateless in Southeast Asian histories, plantation system, commodification of natural resources, and relations between nature and non-nature in the Anthropocene. 

His publications include: Anthropogenic Tropical Forests: Human-Nature Interfaces on the Plantation Frontier (2020 Springer), Between Frontiers: Nation and Identity in a Southeast Asian Borderland (2010 NUS Press; 2010 Ohio University Press; 2010 NIAS Press), Transborder Governance of Forests, Rivers and Seas (2010 Routledge), Flows and Movements in Southeast Asia: New Approaches to Transnationalism (2011 Kyoto University Press), and Dislocating Nation-States: Globalization in Asia and Africa (2005 Kyoto University Press; Trans Pacific Press 2005).