A World of Water: Rain, Rivers and Seas in Southeast Asian Histories

$38.00 SGD

Forthcoming - April 2020

Edited by Peter Boomgaard

Water, in its many guises, has always played a powerful role in shaping Southeast Asian histories, cultures, societies and economies. This volume, the rewritten results of an international workshop, with participants from eight countries, contains thirteen essays, representing a broad range of approaches to the study of Southeast Asia with water as the central theme.

As it was exposed to the sea, the region was more accessible to outside political, economic and cultural influences than many landlocked areas. Easy access through sea routes also stimulated trade from an early age. However, the same easy access made Southeast Asia vulnerable to political control by strong outsiders. The sea is, moreover, a source of food, but also of many hazards.

At the same time, Southeast Asian societies and cultures are confronted with and permeated by 'water from heaven' in the form of rain, flash floods, irrigation water, water in rivers, brooks and swamps, water-driven power plants, and pumped or piped water, in addition to water as a carrier of sewage and pollution.

Finally, the volume deals with the role of water in classification systems, beliefs, myths, illness and healing.

Peter Boomgaard is Senior Researcher at KITLV, Leiden, and Professor of Environmental History of Southeast Asia at the University of Amsterdam.

Publication Year: 2007
276 pages, 241mm x 165mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-371-8, Paperback

NUS Press and KITLV Press