Seminar in Modern Southeast Asian History: Thinking Big (Week 3)

This week in the seminar we looked at “big history,” that is, history that is large in scope, be that temporal (i.e., looking at a society over the longue durée) or spatial (looking comparatively at a topic across a large geographic area).

The most famous work on Southeast Asian history that falls into this category is undoubtedly Victor Lieberman’s, Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context, c. 800–1830, a work that examines the trend toward state centralization in Southeast Asia over a long period of time, and then places that history in a global context.

Strange Parallels, is thus “big” in its examination of the past at both the temporal and spatial levels.

I’ve assigned Strange Parallels in seminars before, but this time we decided to look at a series of articles that take a “big” approach to the past in various ways by another scholar, historian Eric Tagliacozzo of Cornell University. My intent here was to try to give students a sense of not only what different forms of “big” history can look like, but to also give a sense of what “big” scholarly output looks like as well, as Tagliacozzo has been extremely productive, and in the academic world that is important.

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Modern Southeast Asian History Seminar: Water (Week 2)

This is a video summary of a weekly seminar that I am teaching (Fall 2017) on modern Southeast Asian History.

The readings from this week are listed below.

Peter Boomgaard, ed., A World of Water: Rain, Rivers and Seas in Southeast Asian Histories (Leiden: KITLV Press, 2007).

Jonathan Rigg, ed., The Gift of Water: Water Management, Cosmology and the State in South East Asia (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 1992).

Lindsay Lloyd-Smith, Eric Tagliacozzo, “Water in Southeast Asia: Navigating Contradictions,” Trans –Regional and –National Studies of Southeast Asia Vol. 4, No. 2 (2016): 229-238.

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