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Message-Id: <199804161130.HAA22304@h-net.msu.edu4
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 07:30:38 -0400
Reply-To: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA@h-net.msu.edu4
Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA@h-net.msu.edu4
From: Steven A. Leibo, The Sage Colleges <leibo@cnsvax.albany.edu4
Subject: H-ASIA: Book for Intro SE Asia

Book for Intro SE Asia

A dialog from the H-Asia list, April 1998

Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998
From: Naomi Standen <nstanden@staff.uwsuper.edu4

I need to find a book on SE Asia that will work at the intro level.

I teach a course on premodern E and SE Asia (dates in process of moving) in which the focus is on 'exchange', broadly understood - this is a method of narrowing it down and still finding a common theme through which to look at the region. I'm using _As I crossed a bridge of dreams_ and Levathes, _When China ruled the seas_, and I need something equally accessible that preferably is from, or deals with, SE Asia. Something that illuminates issues of kingship in the formative period of the SE Asian polities would be ideal, but I'll take what there is! If it was a primary source would also be nice, but again, I don't think I can afford to be too fussy, since there doesn't appear to be much out there - it isn't leaping out at me, anyway.

Many thanks, again.

Naomi Standen
Department of History, Politics and Society
University of Wisconsin-Superior

Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 08:25:33 -0400
From: Shawn McHale <mchale@gwis2.circ.gwu.edu4

Naomi Standen posted a query about a book on premodern SEA to use in an introductory course. My first question is: what centuries are you talking about? but assuming that readings on the 15th century on would do, here are few suggestions.

Anthony Reid, __Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 1450-160: the Lands Below the Winds (New Haven, Yale, 1988). Excellent, extremely readable. Reid tries to give a Braudelian inspired total history of the region. one can certainly quibble with some of his findings (he is strongest when writing about the Malay world, weaker on mainland SEA) but this book is a clear winner.

Michael Adas, From Avoidance to Confrontation: Peasant Protest in Precolonial and colonial Southeast Asia. Originally in __Comparative Studies in society and History__ sometime in 1981, reprinted in Nicholas Dirks, ed., __colonialism and Culture__. this is a classic article, one that argues that SEA sees a shift from avoidance protest on the part of the peasantry (footdragging, moving to new areas, etc.) to avoid impositions of the state to, in the colonial period, confrontation. A good article for class discussion

Articles by Victor Lieberman -- he has recently published some on SEA and Eurasia . . . .

All the above are general takes on Southeast Asia. It might be good to counter the general pictures sketched out above with a specific case history. One possibility: Li Tana's new (1998) monograph on Nguyen Cochinchina in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. That may be too advanced for introductory classes, maybe not. Li Tana looks at Nguyen interactions with Chinese, Japanese, uplanders, and others in the process of developing the south of Vietnam. I forget the exact title (I think it is __Nguyen Cochinchina in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries__ (Ithaca, NY: Southeast Asia Program, 1998).

Shawn McHale
Assistant Professor of History and International Relations
George Washington University

Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 From: John Wills <jwills@almaak.usc.edu4

I use the second volume of Anthony Reid's SOUTHEAST ASIA IN THE AGE OF COMMERCE in an upper-level undergraduate course in early modern world history. It's tough for them, dense, full of unfamiliar names, but they get it. As a paper assignment each of them selects one of the main centers discussed -- Melaka, west Java, Aceh, etc. -- and traces the discussions of it through the various chapters of a topically organized book, bringing together and evaluating how well that particular case fits Reid's master narrative. JW.

Jack Wills
(John E. Wills, Jr.)
Department of History
University of Southern California
Los Angeles CA 90089-0034
213/740-1676; fax 213/740-6999

Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 14:19:33 +0000
From: Robert Cribb <cribb@nias.ku.dk4

Milton Osborne, _Southeast Asia: an illustrated introductory history_ is fairly basic, but scholarly sound and very readable.

Prof. Robert Cribb, Director
Nordic Institute of Asian Studies,
Leifsgade 33,
2300 Copenhagen-S, Denmark
tel. (+45) 32 54 88 44;
fax (+45) 32 96 25 30
email: cribb@nias.ku.dk

Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 14:19:33 +0000
From: Carolyn Brewer <carolyn@central.murdoch.edu.au4

The only suggestion I have is to supplement it with some individual essays such as those written by Michele Rosaldo, Louise Lamphere and Sherry Ortner.

Dr. Brewer adds in a second post: The gender analysis in Reid's text, _Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce_ is grossly generalised seemingly taken from a from a few examples in the Philippine context and extrapolated to the whole of the SEA area. If Reid's book is to be used as a course text this problem needs to be pointed out and thoroughly discussed.

Carolyn Brewer

Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998
From: Shawn McHale <mchale@gwis2.circ.gwu.edu4

Carolyn Brewer, in a previous post, suggests that good readings on SE Asia for an introductory class would be writings by Louise Lamphere, sherry Ortner, and Michele rosaldo. Why? Ortner is a Nepal specialist. Michele Rosaldo wrote (before her death) on the upland Philippines (from an anthropological perspective). Louise Lamphere is, as far as I can tell, a specialist on the United states and immigration.

Since the original query was on sources on southeast Asian history, this seems an odd choice of sources. Given that what is written on southeast Asian gender history is not voluminous, perhaps a better place than any of the above, for anthropological views of gender in SEA, would be the edited volume by Jane Atkinson and Shelly Errington. but if you want to look at questions of gender in SEA history, secondary material is out there. A lot of it is not by feminist scholars, but it can be used nonetheless by a critical reader (e.g. Oliver Wolters's book on Southeast Asia.)

Shawn McHale
Assistant Professor of History and International Relations
George Washington University

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998
From: Wing-kai To <wto@bridgew.edu4

Following Shawn McHale's posting about anthropological studies of gender, see also the recent volume edited by Aihwa Ong and Michael Peletz, entitled _Bewitching Women, Pious Men_ (UC Press, 1995).

Wing-kai To
Bridgewater State College

Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998
From: Naomi Standen <nstanden@staff.uwsuper.edu4

My thanks to those who have offered suggestions for an intro book to use on SE Asia - Reid was by far the most popular choice, followed by Milton Osborne.

These suggestions sadly seem to confirm what I thought when I sent the original query - there is nothing for the premodern period in terms of translated texts, or even sourcebooks, except, perhaps, for some passages contained in scholarly works.

The ideal I was seeking was a translated text from one of the early states of the region (say, the Khmer empire, or one of the insular states - I am hazy as to how realistic it is to expect such things from such places at such times) that could act as a contrast/complement to the Heian work _As I crossed a bridge of dreams_. But it is evidently not to be, at least just yet.

This does seem an astonishing gap in the literature, but then, there weren't so many of these things even for (premodern) China until relatively recently, and there are, I suppose, fewer people working on SE Asia. If anyone out there is working on such a book or books, I'm sure I'm not the only person who would love to know about it/them.

Naomi Standen
Department of History, Politics and Society
University of Wisconsin-Superior

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 10:08:54 +0000
From: larrya@asiasoc.org

Al McCoy's _The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia_ should definitely be consulted for starters.

Larry Ashmun
Asia Society