Cultures of Southeast Asia
This course examines Southeast Asia from the perspective of its peoples. What are the enduring arrangements of power and belief that distinguish this region, and how have these arrangements been transformed by processes of globalization, modernization and development? To answer these questions, we explore some classic themes in the study of the region: relations between lowland states and their highland neighbors; colonialism, nationalism and wars of national liberation; “mandalas” of power and the relations between centers and peripheries; the role of women in Southeast Asian societies. We will also dedicate ourselves to more intensive case studies of specific topics. For instance, we investigate in some detail the question of land in Southeast Asia – its use, its meanings, and the ways that it possessed as property. Similarly we discuss the question of national borders in the region, and the movements of people, things and ideas across them.
*Image credit: Tyra De Kleen, Wayang (Javanese Theatre), New Series, Publication No. 3 (Stockholm, Sweden: The Ethnographical Museum of Sweden, 1937).