02.114 The Multicultural Archipelago in History and Story

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This course provides a general view of multicultural experiences in the SE Asian archipelago (including peninsular Malaysia) through historical and literary lenses.  Starting with a concept of multiculturalism developed for this region in particular, the course introduces the long-term historical tendency of Malayo-Indonesian civilization to absorb foreign ideas and persons, and goes on to considers both (1) how the pluralistic culture of the region was affected in the modern period by increasing immigration (by both indigenous groups moving within  the archipelago and non-indigenous groups  moving into the archipelago), as well as by European colonization and the introduction of modernization; and (2) how the lives of colonial subjects protested against both native norms and colonial governance. Important literary works by Javanese, Malay, English, Dutch, and Chinese authors dating from the 19th and 20th centuries are informed by recent histories of these same groups by contemporary scholars of the SE Asian archipelago. Overall, the course examines the multiplicity of cultures within the archipelago as fluid groupings shaped through human effort both from the top and the bottom of the social and political structures.

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Instructor
J. Casey Hammond