The Story of Southeast Asia

$28.00 SGD

Eric C. Thompson

The oldest figurative cave paintings in the world are found on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Hand stencils and animals painted some 45,000 years ago attest to a long history of human creativity. The Story of Southeast Asia tells how the peoples of the region have crafted their diverse societies and cultures over thousands of years. Southeast Asia has been a remarkable crossroads of global connections for millennia. Whereas other regions have been defined by centralizing forces, Southeast Asia’s story is one of complex networks of trade, ideas, and social relationships. Southeast Asians have created, localized, and remade their own cultural values by drawing on influences from around the world.

Marshalling the latest literature from anthropology, archaeology, history and other disciplines, Eric C. Thompson highlights broad themes that cut across history: including the making—and evasion—of states, adoption of diverse religious practices, tolerance and flexibility regarding gender, processes of forging modern identities, struggles over sovereignty, and the making of modern nations in a postcolonial world. This readable, single-volume history reckons with the narrative pull of familiar colonial and national perspectives, but maintains a regional and deep-historical focus. It will be a stimulating read for scholars as well as students and newcomers to Southeast Asian history.

"Taking a truly long view extending from prehistory to the present, Thompson provides a comprehensive portrait of this complex and engaging region without flattening its sometimes bewildering cultural variety or its peoples’ capacity for innovation and adaptation." – Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University

Eric C. Thompson is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the National University of Singapore.

Publication Year: 2024
320pp / 229 x 152mm
21 b/w maps, 35 b/w figures
ISBN: 978-981-325-234-9