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The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia
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    Donges, J. F. Donner, R. V. Marwan, N. Breitenbach, S. F. M. Rehfeld, K. and Kurths, J. 2015. Non-linear regime shifts in Holocene Asian monsoon variability: potential impacts on cultural change and migratory patterns. Climate of the Past, Vol. 11, Issue. 5, p. 709.

    Wessing, Robert 2013. The Osing Agricultural Spirit-Medium. Moussons, p. 111.

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  • Volume 1: From Early Times to c.1800
  • Edited by Nicholas Tarling, University of Auckland

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    The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia
    • Online ISBN: 9781139055475
    • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521355056
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Book description

Southeast Asia has long been seen as a unity, although other terms have been used to describe it: Further India, Little China, the Nanyang. The region has had a protracted maritime history. Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity are all represented. It has seen a quintet of colonial powers - Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain, the United States. Most recently, it has become one of the fastest growing parts of the world economy. The very term 'Southeast Asia' is clearly more than a geographical expression. The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia is a multi-authored treatment of the whole of mainland and island Southeast Asia from Burma to Indonesia. Unlike other histories of the region, it is not divided on a country-by-country basis and is not structured purely chronologically, but rather takes a thematic and regional approach to Southeast Asia's history. This volume, the first of two, covers the period from the region's pre-history up to the early nineteeenth century of the Christian era, tracing the development of early politics, the integration of religion with social and cultural life, the great changes caused by the advent of the Europeans in the region and the increasing incorporation of Southeast Asian trade into international markets. Under the editorship of Nicholas Tarling, Professor of History at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, each chapter is well integrated into the whole. Professor Tarling has assembled a highly respected team of international scholars who have presented the latest historical research on the region and succeeded in producing a provocative and exciting account of the region's history.

Reviews

‘… invaluable for historians wanting a broad picture of the region … should also be of more general interest.’

Source: Danny Yee’s Book Reviews

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  • 1 - The Writing of Southeast Asian History
    pp 1-50
    • By J. D. Legge, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521355056.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter discusses the development of the writing of Southeast Asian history and examines different types of indigenous writing, which contain views about the past: babads, hikayats, chronicles, literary works and inscriptions. The chapter identifies the main characteristics of historical writing and notices the principal shifts of focus, emphasis and modes of interpretation. It discusses the awareness of the presence of value dimensions in the interpretative shifts. Before World War II the study of Southeast Asian history may be divided into early history and the activities of the European powers. The autonomy debate, changing emphases in the approach to the study of Islam, the increasing interest in the remoter past, the focus on the nature of social structure and political authority were but some of the matters commanding the attention of historians in in the post-war period. A gradual shift was to be observed the interpretative modes of historians.
  • 2 - Southeast Asia before History
    pp 51-136
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521355056.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Southeast Asia is a region of anthropological and archaeological complexity. This chapter considers the environment of the region and examines how it may have changed through time. It discusses the present-day environments, climate and vegetation, changing nature, early humans, archaeological record, and the expansion of agricultural communities of Southeast Asia. The record of human settlement in Southeast Asia extends back in time for about one million years. During that time the landscapes and climates of the region have fluctuated considerably, according to the cyclical rhythm of changes associated with the Pleistocene glaciations in temperate latitudes. Remains of early humans of the species Homo erectus have been recovered extensively in Java and China. The late prehistoric archaeological record from the islands of Southeast Asia differs markedly from that of the northern mainland. Evidence from comparative linguistics suggest that some Austronesian societies were at least lightly ranked, especially in Java where Austronesian chiefly titles to have been retained from prehistoric times.
  • 3 - The Early Kingdoms
    pp 137-182
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521355056.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The historical record for Southeast Asia begins with the arrival of Chinese soldiers and officials along the shores of the South China Sea towards the end of the third century BC. The one most directly encountered by record-keeping Chinese officials lay in the plain of the Hong River, in what is today northern Vietnam. Champa is a generic term for the polities organized by Austronesian-speaking peoples along what is now the central coast of Vietnam. In the thirteenth century, the outer edge of authority enjoyed by Angkor and Pagan recoiled from the ambitions of Tai-speaking chieftains. The Tai peoples had for many generations inhabited the valleys leading from the Southeast Asian lowlands to the Yunnan plateau. The newly established Ming dynasty of China took an unprecedented interest in Southeast Asia, and it supported this interest with large naval patrols during the first two decades of the fifteenth century.
  • 4 - Economic History of Early Southeast Asia
    pp 183-275
    • By Kenneth Hall, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521355056.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The story of economic development in early Southeast Asia begins long before the Christian era. By the early Christian era, Southeast Asia had skilled farmers, musicians, metallurgists, and mariners. This chapter discusses East Java, the Singhasari and Majapahit empires, Southeast Asian Maritime Realm, temple-based political-economies, and trade and commercial expansion on the Southeast Asian mainland. Endowments to temples at both the state and local level represented the mobilization, organization, and pooling of economic resources to support portions of the overall ritual process of the temple. The Burmese state of Pagan, also drew economic support from a temple network. The chapter also shows that major structural changes were taking place in Southeast Asian society during the era from the first century to the fifteenth that were associated with an expanding Southeast Asian socio-economy. Early twentieth-century scholars tended to highlight the external forces that shaped Southeast Asia, and the court-based religious and political aspects of the epigraphic and literary sources.
  • 5 - Religion and Popular Beliefs of Southeast Asia before c. 1500
    pp 276-340
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521355056.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The world of Southeast Asia presents a variegated cultural pattern. This chapter concerns the transitional period from the beginning of the Christian era to the fifth century, in relation to some written sources both from Southeast Asia itself and from outside the area. On the mainland of Southeast Asia, it was ultimately Buddhism that came to dominate, but it is important to recognize that, from early times, Brahmanism and Buddhism were mingled in the cultural legacy bequeathed to all the 'Indianized' states. The religious developments in the island world of Southeast Asia are in many respects similar to those in the mainland, but there are important differences. The chapter emphasizes that the pre-partition India is a vast subcontinent with a written history that can be traced back to the second millennium BC. In contrast to the predominance of Theravada Buddhism on the mainland, Islam became the predominant religion of maritime Southeast Asia except for most of the Philippines.
  • 6 - Interactions with the Outside World and Adaptation in Southeast Asian Society, 1500–1800
    pp 341-401
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521355056.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter discusses innovations and adaptations such as those in ship technology and warship, which occurred in Southeast Asia as a result of the interactions between foreign groups and the local inhabitants between 1500 and 1800. The Southeast Asians received foreign groups with their new ideas, and they adopted and adapted those ideas which best suited their purposes. The partnership forged between the European governments and the foreign communities, mainly Chinese, created successful port-city states in Portuguese Melaka, Spanish Manila, and Dutch Batavia which came to challenge the political and economic authority of neighbouring Southeast Asian states. The situation in long-distance trade had changed dramatically with the introduction of new cargo ships and the armed merchantmen of the Europeans, and with the financial advantages of using Chinese-style junks for the China trade. The strength of Southeast Asian culture had always been its ability to select outside ideas and to adapt them to accepted practice.
  • 7 - Political Development between the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Centuries
    pp 402-459
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521355056.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The immense cultural diversity of Southeast Asia and the linguistic skills required to approach the sources have tended to encourage localized rather than general studies of the region. The sixteenth century saw developments which were to have far-reaching effects on the political evolution of Southeast Asia. One prominent feature of the period is the continuing expansion of international commerce and the consequent rise of new exchange centres. In the political development of Southeast Asia, the widening participation in international trade had significant repercussions. The economic climate of the early sixteenth century nurtured the movement towards political consolidation, a movement apparent not only among coastal ports, but among prominent interior centres as well. By the early seventeenth century, Siam and Burma were reaffirming their position as the two strongest political and economic powers in the region. The eighteenth-century island world appears far more culturally and politically fragmented than does the mainland.
  • 8 - Economic and Social Change, c. 1400–1800
    pp 460-507
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521355056.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The impact of the major economic trends in Southeast Asia during the period 1400-1800 can be understood to some extent by looking at the low population levels in the region till 1750. The region shared some of the notable economic cycles which affected Europe and China, as the period 1400-1620 was essentially one of boom in both those great markets. In terms of the overall level of commercialization in the region, it was local and regional trade which was most important. Cash-cropping brought wealth, international contacts, and social changes on a considerable scale. In most of the languages of Southeast Asia the state and the city were indistinguishable. The power and grandeur of the Southeast Asian country essentially resided in its capital. The early seventeenth century saw a clear trend towards state absolutism, most marked in those Southeast Asian states which survived as vigorous trade centres into the mid-seventeenth century.
  • 9 - Religious Developments in Southeast Asia c. 1500–1800
    pp 508-571
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521355056.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter draws on the European source material that becomes available in the sixteenth century to survey important features of indigenous beliefs as they were practised in areas then little touched by the world religions. An appreciation of the rapidity of Islam's spread in the sixteenth century necessitates a review of the historical context in which this advance occurred. The Christian presence in the archipelago undoubtedly contributed to the heightened consciousness of religious affiliation in the seventeenth century. An examination of religious developments up to 1800 reveals the retraction of the public role of women. Examination of religious developments suggests that Southeast Asians saw in the apparent forces of disintegration a call for renewed religious activity. The influence of Wahhabism has been traced in Minangkabau in the early nineteenth century, but the traffic between Southeast Asia and the Islamic heartlands had been steadily growing throughout the eighteenth century.
  • 10 - The Age of Transition: The Mid-Eighteenth to the Early Nineteenth Centuries
    pp 572-620
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521355056.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In island Southeast Asia, Western influence directly and indirectly stimulated development in the prosperous maritime centres before the end of the eighteenth century. Relative to these events, the forces which determined the cycles of change on the mainland remained internal. Much as in island Southeast Asia, geo-economic and religious factors were essential ingredients for territorial expansion and integration in the Theravada-influenced Irrawaddy-Salween and Chao Phraya valleys, from indeed at least the time of Pagan and Ayutthaya. The imperial policies of Burma, often challenging any economic and political rationale, were grounded in the philosophy that it was the ultimate end of the Buddhist state, through the ruler as its chief instrument, to extend the dhamma. Cambodia adopted a policy of dual allegiance or the image of the 'double-headed' bird, though its gaze fell more readily on Bangkok than on Vietnam. Vietnamese economic and political exploits in Cambodia were a direct symptom of the agrarian crisis within Vietnam.

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