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Writing Histories in SE Asia

Writing Regional and National Histories in Southeast Asia: Potentialities and Problems

A Joint Talk by Dr. Leonard Andaya and Dr. Barbara Watson Andaya, UH Mānoa. 

October 13, 2016
12:15 – 1:45pm
Tokioka Room, Moore Hall 319


One of the themes in Southeast Asian studies has concerned trends in historiography and the issues these raise for specialists. Whether we are concerned with regional or more specific national, communal or thematic histories, four dominant questions continue to surface. How should boundaries of a study be defined and where should they be set? What should be the basis for determining periodization in a non-Western area? What types of sources are available, both literate and non-literate, and how should they be interpreted?  To what extent do the themes that may emerge from the sources distinguish a region or a national culture?  With the expanding field of world history, these questions are particularly relevant for those historians who would like to see Southeast Asia better integrated into global studies. In this joint lecture, Leonard and Barbara Andaya will discuss the ways in which they have responded in the writing of a regional history of ‘early modern’ Southeast Asia and in their third revised edition of A History of Malaysia.

Speaker Bio

Barbara Watson Andaya is professor and chair of Asian Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Between 2003 and 2010 she was Director of the University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies and in 2005-06 she was President of the American Association of Asian Studies. In 2010 she was awarded the University of Hawai‘i Regents Medal for Excellence in Research. She has lived and taught in Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and the United States. Her specific area of expertise is the western Malay-Indonesia archipelago, on which she has published widely, but she maintains an active teaching and research interest across all Southeast Asia. She is the author of the book The Flaming Womb: Repositioning Women in Early Modern Southeast Asia (2006). With Leonard Y. Andaya she has co-authored A History of Malaysia (third edition, forthcoming 2016); and A History of Early Modern Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Her present project is a history of religious interaction in Southeast Asia, 1511-1900.

Leonard Y. Andaya is professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.  He has written extensively on the early modern history of Southeast Asia, particularly on Indonesia and Malaysia.  His most recent publications are Leaves of the Same Tree:  Trade and Ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka (Honolulu:  University of Hawaii Press, 2008) and, with Barbara Watson Andaya, A History of Early Modern Southeast Asia (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2015).  He is currently writing a book on the history of eastern Indonesia in the early modern period using a sea perspective.

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