ASIA 399

Southeast Asia in Cultural, Economic, and Political Context

An overview of diversity and change in Southeast Asia, with a focus on, and field component in, Indonesia and Thailand. Students will examine the origins and development of complex state societies from an in-depth, ethnographic perspective. Students will explore issues of religious syncretism, gender, agriculture, the cultural impact of European colonialism, and the post-colonial period of nation building in Southeast Asia. Students will also delve into geographically focused case studies, which look at the cultural component of many important issues facing the region, including environmental decline and deforestation, the impact of globalization, the problems of ethnic and religious minorities, and other socio-cultural issues. The second half of the course will examine economic and political processes shaping the region. Specific topics include the economic legacies of colonialism, contemporary patterns of economic growth, patterns of change in rural communities, the process of urbanization and challenges faced by residents of Southeast Asian cities, the role of the state in managing development, democratization and human rights in Southeast Asia, and demographic patterns. The international portion of the course lasts approximately two weeks, and features an immersive stay at local universities in Indonesia and Thailand. The field component is required, and includes guest lectures by local scholars, trips to cultural and historic sites, ethnographic projects, and potential trips to neighbouring areas. Students will be responsible for their own airfare, as well as other potential program fees.

Prerequisites: SOAN 200 or IPE 201, application and instructor permission.