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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Laurie J Sears
HSTAS 221
Seattle Campus

History of Southeast Asia

Surveys Southeast Asian civilizations at the outset of Western colonial rule; the colonial impact on the traditional societies of Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines; nineteenth- and twentieth-century nationalist and revolutionary movements; emergence of Southeast Asia as a region in the modern world. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 221.

Class description

This course is an introduction to a selection of the countries of Southeast Asia: Indonesia, the Malay world, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Viet Nam. The goal will be to gain a multi-faceted understanding of the human condition in these countries by focusing on politics, religion, gender, film, and literatures. Several broad theoretical themes will be introduced: the representation of Southeast Asian Islam, images of the Vietnam-Cambodian-American Wars in history, literature, and film, and the historical antecedents of contemporary ethnic, religious, and political identities.

Student learning goals

Become familiar with 4 countries in the region of Southeast Asia.

Learn to do oral history interviews.

Learn to think critically about history, literature, film, and other media.

Learn to express ideas in written and oral form.

Learn to work in groups to produce films, websites, plays, or other types of projects.

General method of instruction

Assigned Readings: Novel Without a Name Dhuong thu Huong (novel) Dream Jungle Jessica Hagedorn (novel) Dancing in Cambodia (travel writing) Amitav Ghosh (available as PDF from Instructor) Child of all Nations (novel) Pramoedya Ananta Toer Lectures, films, discussion, group projects, and in-class writing.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

There will be lectures and a discussion session each week. Attendance at both is mandatory. There will be a map exercise, 2 in-class writing assignments, 1 5-6 pp. take-home essay comparing several of the assigned books, and final group projects. The Discussion sections will integrate reading assignments with material presented in lectures. The discussion sections are an integral part of the course.

Professor and Teaching Assistant will assign grades based on participation in section, in-class writing assignments, participation in group projects, and final take-home ssays.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Laurie J Sears
Date: 01/05/2013