Bart Tramer and a fellow student at ANU. Image supplied

Bart Tramer and a fellow student at ANU

Bart Tramer wins the Anthony Reid Prize

13th January 2019

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I am truly honoured to have been awarded the Anthony Reid Prize for Southeast Asian Studies! My interest in the Southeast Asia region, specifically Myanmar and Thailand, began long ago during my military service with the United States Navy and intensified throughout my undergraduate study at the University of California in Berkeley. The opportunity to study Southeast Asia at the ANU, with its large number of regional experts, allowed me to cultivate that interest and gain a much deeper understanding of the region. This award is certainly the capstone achievement of my education to date!

Upon graduation, I accepted an opportunity in the United States federal government’s Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) program. I am currently working for the U.S. Air Force in Los Angeles as a program manager assigned to the Space and Missile Systems Center, where I work in space satellite acquisitions. My assignment in Los Angeles is a 2 year assignment ending in July of 2020. I’m enjoying this unique opportunity to learn about how the US Department of Defense handles its acquisitions process, including how it plans to move forward with a more rapid model of acquisitions to keep pace with its adversaries. Additionally, I continue to keep an eye towards a possible future in continued academic research on the Southeast Asia region.

Writing my thesis, “Lukthung: Sociopolitical Representation and Popular Music in Thailand”, was perhaps the most difficult project I have undertaken. Lukthung is a form of popular music often referred to as “Thai country music” and is typically associated with people from the more rural, northeast region of the Thailand (Isan).

I travelled through Thailand which brought great opportunities, like being able to attend lukthung shows in Isan, but also several challenges, like nearly losing my computer due to a break in!
During the writing period, if I felt lost and confused about the path my thesis was taking, I benefited from the help of my mentor and supervisor Dr. Jane Ferguson, who was always there to keep me on track while still allowing me the independence to pursue the topic with my own voice. I was happy with the thesis I submitted, but could not help but think “could I have done more?” or “what did I miss?”. I realize now that the most important thing to do is to believe in yourself and your abilities...and enjoy the topic!

I am so happy to be a recipient, and I also want to thank Professor Anthony Reid for his support of Southeast Asian studies through this prize.

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