Postgraduate Course: Anthropology of Southeast Asia (PGSP11615)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Southeast Asia has often been characterised by anthropologists and historians as a region of great cultural diversity, but it also appears to have an underlying cultural unity. The themes of diversity and unity can be discerned through the lens of some prominent topics of anthropological analysis across the region - including ecology, religion, kinship, and politics. Through careful readings of classic and contemporary ethnographies of Southeast Asia together with films and fictional writing, this course will consider both locally salient social issues and the changing anthropological engagement with Southeast Asia over time.
Southeast Asia has often been characterised by anthropologists and historians as a region of great cultural diversity, but it also appears to have an underlying cultural unity. The themes of diversity and unity can be discerned through the lens of some prominent topics of anthropological analysis across the region - including ecology, religion, kinship, and politics. Through careful readings of classic and contemporary ethnographies of Southeast Asia together with films and fictional writing, this course will consider both locally salient social issues and the changing anthropological engagement with Southeast Asia over time. In doing so, it will critically reflect on the political and historical contexts of the anthropological scholarship of the region, and its significance beyond Southeast Asia itself.
This course addresses a broad range of questions that may include: How has Southeast Asia been studied by anthropologists? What accounts for the themes and topics that have loomed large in the ethnography of this region? How has the anthropology of Southeast Asia contributed to wider debates in social and cultural anthropology? What is a region and what does it mean to study one marked by sheer diversity, but also shared experiences, such as Southeast Asia? Who gets to study Southeast Asia?
Topics to be covered by this course may vary each year, but these may include: potency, power, and the Southeast Asian state; ecology, agriculture, and trade; colonialism and its afterlives; religion and religious diversity; kinship and relatedness; Southeast Asian persons, personhood, and biographies; gender relations and sexualities; violence and warfare; migration and citizenship; education and professional work; elections, populism, and corruption; trolls and influencers; and the politics of intimacy.
At the heart of this course are weekly two-hour seminars that will centre on selected readings. Through these seminars, students will engage with key texts on Southeast Asia. Students will also have the opportunity to engage with films, music, and other genres that complement assigned readings. In working with these materials, students will hone their analytical skills and their understanding of what it means to develop anthropological concepts and arguments through a sustained engagement with a region.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Other Study Hours 4,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Blog posts of 200-300 words, generated in groups during weekly seminars and uploaded to the course blog (10%)
Seminar participation and presentation (10%)
Mid-semester short essay (book/media review) (20%; 1500 words)
A final essay at the end of the term addressing one question selected from a given list (60%; 3000 words)
||Short essays will be returned before the submission of the final essay. Further guidance on how to approach the two essays will be provided in class, and during guidance and feedback hours.
Formative feedback on seminar participation and group blog posts will be given during Weeks 4-5. Summative feedback will be given at the end of the semester.
Feedback on class presentations will be given within 7 days after these are delivered.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Participate at an advanced level in debates regarding the history and cultures of Southeast Asia, issues regarding regional cultural difference, and the relation between the anthropology of Southeast Asia and the work of social anthropology more generally¿¿
- Demonstrate extensive and specialist knowledge of key approaches from social anthropology, from other social science disciplines, and from some interdisciplinary materials such as films and novels in understanding and evaluating issues concerning Southeast Asia
- Provide advanced-level contributions to academic and public debates regarding regional issues and make links between Southeast Asia and the wider world
- Show an advanced, critical understanding of a selection of approaches and debates within the anthropology of Southeast Asia
- Convey complex ideas in a concise and clear way
|Anderson, Benedict. 2018. A Life Beyond Boundaries. London: Verso Books. |
Barker, Joshua, Johan A. Lindquist, and Erik Harms, eds. 2013. Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity. Honolulu: University of Hawai i Press.
Kleinen, John. 2013. New Trends in the Anthropology of Southeast Asia. TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia 1 (1): 121-35.
Steedley, Mary Margaret. 1999. The State of Culture Theory in the Anthropology of Southeast Asia. Annual Review of Anthropology 28: 431-54.
Thomson, Eric C., and Vineeta Sinha, eds. 2019. Southeast Asian Anthropologies: National Traditions and Transnational Practices. Singapore: NUS Press.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||This course will help students to become University of Edinburgh graduates who:
Have the passion to engage pressing local and global issues ¿ through exposure to anthropological accounts pertaining to a significant region of the world
Are curious and independent learners ¿ through active participation in seminars, and critical evaluation of ideas, evidence, and experiences from various sources
Are skilled communicators ¿ through discussing complex topics in a respectful manner that entails not only talking with, but listening to, others
|Course organiser||Dr Resto Cruz
|Course secretary||Mr Adam Petras