SE Asia as a unit of study
A. Southeast Asia is a term that arose in WW2 that describes regions south of
China and east of India. Now se Asia is made up of 11 countries. Land
countries: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, Myanmar, and
island countries: Philippines, Malaysia (unusually shape west Malaysia
and east Malaysia), Indonesia, Brunei, East Timor, Singapore (city states)
B. One of the fastest growing economies along with coastal China. Most
dynamic sector of world economy. Principle motor of world economy
C. Before late 20
century, southeast china at the crossroads of trade. Spices
in SE Asia drove Columbus to look for cloves, nutmeg and mace, the most
valuable spices. With the eve of WW2, rubber, tin, oil, made Japan want to
control SE Asia. Subsequently, Vietnam after WW2 becomes important in
D. SE Asia illustrates problems and patterns. What prompted colonialism?
Relates to India, Middle East, Africa, countries that all have to wrestle
with western domination. What effect did colonialism have on countries.
Why did some countries become resolutely anti colonial while some
countries were grateful for colonialism. Why after colonialism, army plays
a critical role? Generic question: is western democracy transferable to
non-western European countries—a critical question in the contemporary
world. Why was the developed world the first to develop (Western
Europe). Why was the non-Western world poor for most of its history?
Why did the Industrial resolution start in the West? Does democracy
produce economic growth, or does economic growth produce democracy?
Is there a correlation? (Southeast Asia says a lot on this question)
E. SE Asia intrinsically colorful and diverse. Relatively small part of the
world with every major religion-- Hinduism, Buddhism Christianity,
Islam, Confucianism. Major political: monarchies, civilian governments,
communities, army rule, whole plethora of political systems. Some of the
most exciting art and architecture. Complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia,
largest religious site. Sites in Java.