Developments in Academic Geography and its Relationship with Geographical Education – The Case of Southeast Asia


  • Chew-Hung CHANG, Shyam Anand SINGH Nanyang Technological University SINGAPORE


Geography curriculum, Southeast Asia, Politicization, Developments in Academic Geography


For over 30 years, the Southeast Asian Geography Association (SEAGA) has provided a dynamic platform for the exchange of knowledge, research findings, and ideas among academics, policymakers, and educators from Southeast Asia and those working on Southeast Asia. Using Marsden’s (1989) notion of the politicization of geography by significant power groups, this article describes a critical narrative of the key trends, themes, and topics defining scholarly discourse in the community of SEAGA and its potential impact on school geography in the region. For each of the three decades (1990-1999, 2000-2009, and 2010-2019), the authors analyzed significant themes and issues for each period. Employing purposive sampling of conference proceedings and topics presented between 1990 and 2017, the authors found the following trends over the years: i) the pluralization and diversification of themes and topics; ii) an increasing interest for cross-thematic studies, and iii) a greater emphasis on sustainability and environmental issues in recent years. Based on these observations, the authors acknowledge that the evolution of discourses in SEAGA conferences is also a part of broader thematic shifts in international publications such as the Journal of Geography and has a direct bearing on changes in the geography curriculum in schools in other places around the world. In addition, there is a natural confluence of academic geographers and geography educators in the region in discoursing topics that matter to Southeast Asia.250 words maximum.