Aug 11, 2022  
Course Catalog 2020-2021 
Course Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

POLS 298 - Nationhood and Statehood in Southeast Asia

This course surveys the formation of modern Southeast Asian states—Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia—and especially the role of national identity in their construction. We begin by examining Southeast Asia’s pre-colonial history and then study how Western colonialism transformed the region’s economies and societies. Beginning in the twentieth century, Southeast Asia became a veritable sociopolitical laboratory as former colonies gained their independence and experimented with diverse political and economic strategies. Drawing on political science, sociology, literature, and film, we will study how new forms of national identity became fused with various religious ideas and political ideologies to create new nation-states. At times, this transformation seemed miraculous, such as in Singapore’s dramatic metamorphosis from a rough-and-tumble colonial trading post to a global business hub. At other times, it was horrific, such as in the brutal genocide by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. What explains the different forms of nationalism in Southeast Asia? Why did so many Southeast Asian states transform into authoritarian regimes? The answers promise to hold lessons not just for Southeast Asia, but also for developing regions elsewhere.  

Credits 1