SOAN 312

Indonesia and Southeast Asia in Cultural Context

This course provides an anthropological overview of Southeast Asia, one of the most diverse and fascinating regions of the world, with a focus and required field component in Indonesia. Because of the Indonesia trip, the course requires an application and students are responsible for some expenses, including airfare. As a survey of Southeast Asian cultural groups and histories from an ethnographic perspective, the course begins on campus, but finishes in Yogyakarta, Central Java'a city often described as the cultural heart of Indonesia, and the country's center of higher education. In the first section of the class students investigate the prehistory, archaeology, and initial migration to the region. Students then examine the origins of agriculture and the development of complex state societies, and the influence of world religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and particularly Islam) in the cultural development of SE Asia. Students then look at case studies of `indigenous' peoples in the region. Students also explore the economic and cultural impact of European colonialism and the response of SE Asian people to the European presence, as well as the post-colonial period of nation building. The final section of the course is more geographically focused, and looks at the cultural component of many important issues in modern day Indonesia, including environmental decline and deforestation, the impact of globalization and industrialization, the problems of ethnic and religious minorities, and human rights concerns. Students develop individual research projects that incorporate both library research and ethnographic fieldwork while in Indonesia. The Indonesia portion of the course lasts approximately 18 days, beginning shortly after the semester ends, and features an immersive stay at a local university including language instruction, guest lectures by Indonesian scholars, trips to cultural and historic sites, ethnographic projects, a multi-night stay in a rural village, and potential trips to Bali or other neighboring islands. Puget Sound students stay in the dorms alongside Indonesian students, some of whom sit in on class sessions and help introduce the visitors to their culture and lifestyle through group activities. Two faculty members accompany the group, and course meetings continue abroad, while taking advantage of the Indonesian setting with ethnographic assignments and individualized research projects developed prior to departure. The course is limited to 10-12 students and requires an application and instructor permission. There are fees related to the trip, including the plane ticket. Contact the course instructor for more information.

NOTE: This course will require an 18-day field component in Indonesia, and will require students to pay their own airfare, as well as other potential program fees. Applications will be accepted from all students who have met the prerequisite of SOAN 200 (Cultural Anthropology), and a panel of two faculty members (the instructor and one other member from SOAN or the Asian Studies Program) will evaluate applications on the basis of: (1) academic performance, (2) well-articulated ability/willingness to deal with adverse situations and cultural difference, (3) recommendations by Puget Sound faculty members, (4) interest and enthusiasm for study in and about Southeast Asia, and (5) a clean disciplinary record at the university.

Prerequisites: SOAN 102, application, and permission of the instructor.