Introduction to the Civilizations of Southeast Asia: Power, Performance and Identity

Category: Southeast Asian
Course #: SEASIAN 10A [CCN #23641]
Units: 4
Times and Locations:
TTh 12:30-2 pm, DWIN189
This Gateway course introduces the culture and history of mainland Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) with an emphasis on Southeast Asian voices.   Our themes for 2020 are identity, power, and performance. From royal courts and temples to modern screen and stage; theatre and cinema to legal tribunals and political campaigns, we will consider questions of cultural identity, spiritual prowess, and political power.  Our early texts include Queen Indradevi inscription (Angkor); the Thiri Rama, Reamker and Phra Lak Phra Lam (the Ramayana in Burma, Cambodia and Laos),  and Buddhist Jataka in Thailand. Our modern film and fiction include Vũ Trọng Phụng’s Dumb Luck (Vietnam),  Nu Nu Yi’s Smile as they bow (Burma), Anysay Keola’s movie At the horizon (Laos), and Tian Viasna’s graphic memoir Year of the Rabbit (Cambodia).  Through these texts we will explore the continuity, rupture and adaptation of performance traditions, against key moments, movements and themes in the modern history, politics and society of Southeast Asia.   Students will design and develop a research project on a topic of their choice situated in mainland Southeast Asia, in consultation with Professor Penny Edwards and Graduate Student Instructor Qiao Dai.  Assignments include primary source analyses, reflection essays, and the final research project.