Fall 2007

Documenting Change in Southeast Asia

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-91


Doreen Lee (Section 01)


This course is an advanced seminar that explores the political changes of the late colonial to the contemporary period in Southeast Asia. In this class we will look at the political and cultural inventions that have shaped Southeast Asia as a field of knowledge, beginning from the age of colonial expansion and consolidation of power in the region, to the birth of the nation-state and its various incarnations in the nationalist era, independence, the cold war, civil wars, insurgencies, and the development era of the 1970s-1990s. Throughout this course, we will return to the recurring idea of Nationalism as the twentieth century's great defining movement, encapsulating the spectrum of radical possibilities and counter-revolutionary politics, as well as the unequal relations between the centers and margins of the nation-state. Politics, language, history and modern cultural identities have emerged as the products of cultural change and ingenuity. What falls under the lens of scholarship on Southeast Asia now includes oral histories, photography, political art, and studies of technology. This course will acknowledge the shifting landscape engendered by new sites of political power and protest, as well as new sites of theoretical interest. Students will consider and debate the frames of reference for each unit theme and draw connections among different units. For the final paper, students will be encouraged to think comparatively among countries as well as critically on any topic that takes up issues of political modernity in "Southeast Asia." Not open to first year students. Limited to 20 students. First semester. Professor Lee.