This course examines select problems in the history of both mainland and island Southeast Asia from the start of the first millenium C.E. to the early 19th century, on the eve of colonial rule. Its focus is simultaneously political, cultural, and economic. It seeks to explain why, particularly on the mainland, localized political and economic systems coalesced with increasing speed and success, chiefly from the 15th century, and why similar integrative trends in the island world were less sustained. But at the same time it seeks to explore in open-ended fashion the relation between international and domestic economic stimuli, cultural importation and cultural creativity, institutional demands and patrimonial norms. Principal thematic topics include: Indianization, the rise of the classical states and their chief features, the collapse of the classical states, reintegration on the mainland, the age of commerce thesis, comparisons between Theravada, Neo-Confucian, the Muslim Southeast Asia, the early role of Europeans, the 18th century crises, Southeast Asia on the eve of colonial intervention.
Requirements: Meets weekly, two to three research papers using secondary sources, no final exam, all graduate and advanced undergraduates welcome.