A History of Southeast Asia
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A History of Southeast Asia : Critical Crossroads

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A History of Southeast Asia: Critical Crossroads presents a comprehensive history of Southeast Asia from our earliest knowledge of its civilizations and religious patterns up to the present day.






Incorporates environmental, social, economic, and gender issues to tell a multi-dimensional story of Southeast Asian history from earliest times to the present
Argues that while the region remains a highly diverse mix of religions, ethnicities, and political systems, it demands more attention for how it manages such diversity while being receptive to new ideas and technologies
Demonstrates how Southeast Asia can offer alternatives to state-centric models of history more broadly




2016 PROSE Award Honorable Mention for Textbook in the Humanities
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Product details

  • Paperback | 476 pages
  • 172 x 245 x 22mm | 821.99g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1118513002
  • 9781118513002
  • 203,175

Back cover copy

"Reid's book is elegantly written, carefully crafted, and amply effective in its articulation and presentation of a clear, coherent, and compelling account of Southeast Asian history. The book is a stunning achievement, certain to become the history of Southeast Asia for many years to come."

John Sidel, London School of Economics, UK

"Anthony Reid has not only summarized his broad and deep knowledge of Southeast Asian history but entered into dialog with other scholars from a variety of fields to produce what will be the authoritative history of this region for years to come."

Mary Somers Heidhues, Göttingen, Germany

"A really wonderful history, one that I think will find a large audience, and deservingly so. This new volume will be a very significant contribution to the field."

Eric Tagliacozzo, Cornell University, USA

Few places in the world possess greater historical complexity than the culturally diverse region of Southeast Asia. A History of Southeast Asia: Critical Crossroads presents a comprehensive, single-volume history of Southeast Asia from its encounters with agriculture, metallurgy, and religion to the late emergence of the ten states that make up this region today. Breaking from the dominant colonial and nationalist narrative that highlights Southeast Asia's quest for statehood as its defining characteristic, historian Anthony Reid shifts the primary focus to factors of greater relevance to its inhabitants, such as environmental, religious, social, cultural, demographic, health, and intellectual changes. The result is a fuller and more richly detailed account of the region's complex and nuanced history.

Reid reveals Southeast Asia's distinctive gender pattern was challenged first by scriptural religions and later by European models of middle-class domesticity. Also covered is the seventeenth-century impoverishment of the region relative to European society, and Southeast Asia's "peasantization" during the high colonial era. Concluding chapters focus on transformative events of the twentieth century: from the region's development as a major battleground for the Pacific War with its aftermath of decolonization and the Cold War to the region's long-awaited emergence from poverty, dictatorship, and conflict in the final decades of the century. A History of Southeast Asia: Critical Crossroads is indispensable for understanding the historic rhythm of this important crossroads of the Asian continent.
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Table of contents

List of Tables xi


List of Maps xii


List of Illustrations xiii


Series Editor s Preface xiv


Preface xvii


Glossary xxii


Abbreviations xxv


1 People in the Humid Tropics 1


Benign Climate, Dangerous Environment 1


Forests, Water, and People 4


Why a Low but Diverse Population? 6


Agriculture and Modern Language Families 10


The Rice Revolution and Population Concentration 13


The Agricultural Basis of State and Society 16


Food and Clothes 18


Women and Men 21


Not China, not India 26


2 Buddha and Shiva Below the Winds 30


Debates about Indic States 30


Bronze, Iron, and Earthenware in the Archaeological Record 32


The Buddhist Ecumene and Sanskritization 34


Shiva and Nagara in the Charter Era, 900 1300 39


Austronesian Gateway Ports the Negeri 45


Dai Viet and the Border with China 47


The Stateless Majority in the Charter Era 49


Thirteenth/Fourteenth ]Century Crisis 53


3 Trade and Its Networks 57


Land and Sea Routes 57


Specialized Production 59


Integration of the Asian Maritime Markets 62


Austronesian and Indian Pioneers 63


The East Asian Trading System of 1280 1500 65


The Islamic Network 69


The Europeans 71


4 Cities and Production for the World, 1490 1640 74


Southeast Asia s Age of Commerce 74


Crops for the World Market 76


Ships and Traders 80


Cities as Centers of Innovation 81


Trade, Guns, and New State Forms 85


Asian Commercial Organization 91


5 Religious Revolution and Early Modernity, 1350 1630 96


Southeast Asian Religion 97


Theravada Cosmopolis and the Mainland States 98


Islamic Beginnings: Traders and Mystics 101


Polarizations of the First Global War, 1530 1610 106


Rival Universalisms 111


Pluralities, Religious Boundaries, and the Highland Savage 114


6 Asian European Encounters, 1509 1688 120


The Euro ]Chinese Cities 120


Women as Cultural Mediators 125


Cultural Hybridities 130


Islam s Age of Discovery 133


Southeast Asian Enlightenments Makassar and Ayutthaya 135


Gunpowder Kings as an Early Modern Form 139


7 The Crisis of the Seventeenth Century 142


The Great Divergence Debate 142


Southeast Asians Lose the Profits of Long ]Distance Trade 144


Global Climate and Local Crises 149


Political Consequences of the Crisis 152


8 Vernacular Identities, 1660 1820 157


Eighteenth ]Century Consolidation 157


Religious Syncretism and Localization 158


Performance in Palace, Pagoda, and Village 167


History, Myth, and Identity 172


Consolidation and its Limitations 175


9 Expansion of the Sinicized World 177


Fifteenth ]Century Revolution in Dai Viet 177


Viet Expansion, Nam Tien 179


Cochin ]China s Plural Southern Frontier 183


The Greater Viet Nam of the Nguyen 185


The Commercial Expansion of a Chinese Century, 1740 1840 188


Chinese on Southern Economic Frontiers 191


10 Becoming a Tropical Plantation, 1780 1900 196


Pepper and Coffee 197


Commercialization of Staple Crops 198


The New Monopolies: Opium and Tobacco 200


Java s Coerced Colonial Agriculture 204


Plantations and Haciendas 207


Mono ]crop Rice Economies of the Mainland Deltas 209


Pre ]colonial and Colonial Growth Compared 211


11 The Last Stand of Asian Autonomies, 1820 1910 213


Siam as Civilized Survivor 214


Konbaung Burma a Doomed Modernization 219


High Confucian Fundamentalism Nguyen Viet Nam 224


Protected Negeri 227


Muslim Alternatives in Sumatra 230


Bali Apocalypse 233


Mobile Big Men in the Eastern Islands 235


The Last State Evaders 237


12 Making States, 1824 1940 240


European Nationalisms and Demarcations 240


From Many to Two Polities in Nusantara 241


Maximal Burma, Viable Siam 246


Westphalia and the Middle Kingdom 250


Building State Infrastructures 251


How Many States in Indochina? 255


Ethnic Construction in the New Sovereign Spaces 256


States, not Nations 260


13 Population, Peasantization, and Poverty, 1830 1940 261


More People 261


Involution and Peasantization 263


Dual Economy and the Absent Bourgeoisie 266


Subordinating Women 268


Shared Poverty and Health Crises 272


14 Consuming Modernity, 1850 2000 276


Housing for a Fragile Environment 276


The Evolution of Foods 278


Fish, Salt, and Meat 279


Stimulants and Drinks 281


Cloth and Clothing 284


Modern Dress and Identity 286


Performance, from Festival to Film 289


15 Progress and Modernity, 1900 1940 295


From Despair to Hope 296


Education and a New Elite 302


Victory of the National Idea in the 1930s 306


Negotiating the Maleness of Modernity 314


16 Mid ]Twentieth ]Century Crisis, 1930 1954 319


Economic Crisis 319


Japanese Occupation 323


1945 the Revolutionary Moment 331


Independence Revolutionary or Negotiated? 341


17 The Military, Monarchy, and Marx: The Authoritarian Turn, 1950 1998 347


Democracy s Brief Springtime 347


Guns Inherit the Revolutions 350


Dictatorship Philippine Style 358


Remaking Protected Monarchies 359


Twilight of the Indochina Kings 364


Reinventing a Thai Dhammaraja 367


Communist Authoritarianism 370


18 The Commercial Turnaround, 1965 373


Economic Growth at Last 373


More Rice, Fewer Babies 376


Opening the Command Economies 378


Gains and Losses 380


Darker Costs Environmental Degradation and Corruption 384


19 Making Nations, Making Minorities, 1945 390


The High Modernist Moment, 1945 1980 390


Education and National Identity 394


Puritan Globalism 400


Joining an Integrated but Plural World 405


20 The Southeast Asian Region in the World 413


The Regional Idea 414


Global Comparisons 419


References 423


Further Reading 431


Index 436
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Review quote

"Among the book s many virtues is Reid s ability to break down the two thousand years he had to cover in order to guide the reader through space and time. ...Written in a straightforward, no-nonsense style, the book will be accessible to many, with judiciously chosen quotations to enliven the story." (Australian Institute of International Affairs, 1 November 2015) Understanding the region is therefore not just a matter of intellectual curiosity but also of considerable topical importance. Despite its textbook-like appearance, History is eminently readable. It succeeds at both providing a broad-brush overview of this complex region, presenting it from within, identifying and tracing major themes, while at the same time delivering a wealth of fascinating and intriguing detail. (Asian Review of Books, 25 November 2015)
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About Anthony Reid

Anthony Reid is Professor Emeritus at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. He has taught and researched Southeast Asian history for 50 years, in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia and the United States. He was Founding Director of the Asia Research Institute in Singapore. He has authored or edited numerous books on aspects of Southeast Asian history from the 14th to the 21st centuries, including explorations on slavery, freedom, Islam, gender, the Chinese minority and its Jewish analogy, population, and economic history.
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Rating details

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