ATHENS, Ohio (July 25, 2006) -- Gene Ammarell, associate professor of anthropology, has been named director of Ohio University's Southeast Asian Studies Program. One of only seven National Resource Centers in Southeast Asian Studies in the United States, the program supports graduate and undergraduate study.
Before coming to Ohio University in 1996, Ammarell taught at Marlboro College in Vermont. He earned his doctorate in anthropology from Yale University. Ammarell has conducted ethnographic research for 20 years in the island village of Balobaloang in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, home to the Bugis people. Working within theories of cognitive anthropology, social change and, more recently, political ecology, he has focused his research on knowledge and practice of inter-island navigation and subsistence fishing.
Ammarell is the author of the 1999 book "Bugis Navigation," part of the Yale University Southeast Asia Studies Monograph Series. The Indonesian translation of that book will soon be published by Hasanuddin University Press. Supported by the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship Program, Ammarell spent the 2003-04 academic year on Balobaloang studying local and official responses to the destructive fishing practices of outsiders and the subsequent degradation of the reef and fishery adjacent to the island. He is an active member of the Association for Asian Studies and is the editor of Antara Kita, the e-newsletter of the Indonesian Studies Committee.
Ammarell replaces Drew McDaniel, who served as director of Southeast Asian Studies for the past five years and was recently named interim director of Ohio University's Center for International Studies. "Gene has special expertise on maritime Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia," McDaniel said. "This fits well with our special focus on the region. In addition, our program takes pride in being actively engaged in practical issues of the region, and Gene's knowledge of and concern for environmental problems gives us particular strength on the subject."
"This is a particularly exciting time at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies," Ammarell said. "We have just received notice from the U.S. Department of Education that we have been designated as a National Resource Center in Southeast Asian Studies. This grant comes on top of a two-year Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language grant, also from Department of Education, awarded to Southeast Asian Studies last year.
"These awards serve as a testimony to the creative energy of my predecessor, Drew McDaniel, to the center's assistant director, Karla Schneider, and to the many faculty and staff members and students who have worked so hard to make Ohio University's Center for Southeast Asian Studies one of the finest in the world. I am, therefore, honored to be taking over as center director, and I am committed to carrying on its proud tradition."
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