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ANTH 244, Yale College, Fall ‘17

This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the extraordinary diversity of Southeast Asian peoples, cultures, and political economy. Broadly focused on the nation-states that have emerged since the end of World War II (Brunei, Burma [Myanmar], Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), the course explores the benefits and limits to a regional perspective. Crossing both national and disciplinary boundaries, the course will introduce students to key elements of Southeast Asian geography, history, language and literature, belief systems, marriage and family, music, art and architecture, agriculture, industrialization and urbanization, politics and government, ecological challenges, and economic change. In addition to providing a broad and comparative survey of “traditional” Southeast Asia, the course will place special emphasis on the intellectual and practical challenges associated with modernization and development, highlighting the ways different Southeast Asian nations contend with the forces of globalization.

The principle readings will include key works from a multidisciplinary range of fields covering anthropology, art and architecture, economics, geography, history, literature, music, and political science. No prior knowledge of Southeast Asia is expected.