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Southeast Asian Library Collection Supported


Luce Foundation Supports UCR Libraries’ Efforts to Build Southeast Asian Collection

The Libraries’ additions will support expanding studies of the region’ arts and humanities.

(June 1, 2005)

Balinese dancer performing Barong dance.

Balinese dancer performing Barong dance.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — www.ucr.edu — The University of California, Riverside Libraries’ drive to bolster their collection in support of Southeast Asian studies is getting a boost from the Henry Luce Foundation, which approved a three-year, $150,000 grant in support of the effort.

Grant funding has begun and is scheduled to continue until the end of February 2008, said UCR Librarian Ruth Jackson.

“We are very grateful to the Luce Foundation for recognizing the fact that the university is making a significant and unique contribution to the advance of Southeast Asian studies,” said Jackson.

The Luce foundation recognized that fact in 2001 when it approved a four-year, $400,000 grant providing seed money to develop the program at UCR, which focuses on the arts, literature, religious studies, social work and tourism of the region.

The program developed at UCR is called Southeast Asia Texts, Rituals and Performance (SEATRiP), and focuses on eight countries: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor, the Philippines and Vietnam. It is seen as crucial at UC Riverside because one-fifth of its undergraduate students claim family or ethnic ties with a region that has a population of about 500 million. The program has positioned UCR to join UCLA and UC Berkeley as the third UC campus to offer a program in Southeast Asia studies.

Campus leaders have hired eminent scholars of the region such as Hendrik M.J. Maier, a recognized international leader in the field of Indonesian language and literature from Leiden University in the Netherlands. Campus laeders also hired Mariam Beevi Lam, who specializes on the Vietnamese language and Vietnamese textual and cinematic productions.

Other key hires included Religious Studies Assistant Professor Justin Thomas McDaniel, who comes from Ohio University, where he taught courses in Hinduism, Buddhism, myth and symbolism, Southeast Asian history and the study of religion. From the University of Washington, UCR hired David Biggs, who studies ancient and contemporary Southeast Asia, Vietnam, environmental history, and applications of historical maps and geographic information analysis.

But new programs place demands on library collections and that’s where the latest grant comes in. The current Luce Foundation grant will help the UCR Libraries initiate its acquisition program with the Library of Congress to begin evaluating and purchasing key research resources such as documents, journals, multimedia and digital materials.

Meanwhile, the campus will identify the needs of its faculty involved in Southeast Asia studies. Faculty will also be asked to identify valuable and available resources as they travel in the region.

University money will leverage Luce Foundation funds to develop a solid library collection and follow up with sustained and targeted acquisitions. Currently, the UCR Libraries’ Asian collection totals about 50,000 mostly Chinese, Japanese and Korean titles.

In the current fiscal year, the university Libraries have set aside $30,000 in new funding to support the Southeast Asia program, which will bolster the $50,000 from the Luce Foundation.

Faculty and library leaders will evaluate the acquisition efforts using the following criteria:

  • Comparative analysis of the strength of UCR’s collection compared with other university collections of the region such as those at the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin.

  • Surveys of faculty satisfaction with the quality of the collection and the efforts being made to add to it.

  • Charting graduate student satisfaction with the availability of resources to support their study and research.


The campus has shown a commitment to Southeast Asia studies through the formation of the Southeast Asian Performing Arts Studies Center, established in 1997 to examine the links performing arts forge between the region and its expatriate communities, which lives largely in California.

The late Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc established the Henry Luce Foundation in 1936. The foundation supports programs focusing on American art, East Asia, higher education, theology, public policy and the environment, and women in science and engineering.

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