Fall 2008

Documenting Change in Southeast Asia

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-91


Doreen Lee (Section 01)


(CP) This course is an advanced seminar that explores the political changes from 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 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 great defining movement of the twentieth century, 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 include oral histories, photography, political art, and studies of technology. Documenting Change in Southeast Asia acknowledges the shifting landscape engendered by new sites of political power and protest, as well as new sites of theoretical interest. Students are invited to debate the frames of reference for each unit theme and to discuss different units. For a final paper, students are encouraged to compare countries as well as to think critically about any topic that takes up issues of political modernity in “Southeast Asia.” Instructor consent required. Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Lee.