This course will focus on the transformative process through which the nations of contemporary Southeast Asia have confronted political crises and instability and the various levels of success with which they have attempted to implement comprehensive programs of reform. This course will analyze several different areas of political activity, such as: state-led initiatives (political economy) regarding development and resource distribution; citizen and opposition movements both within and outside formal state institutions which seek to influence, alter, or overturn state action and policy; institution-building and the cultivation of social capital; and regional and transnational flows of capital and labor which act in alliance with or in opposition to national economic institutions. Specific topics will include a comparative analysis of state policy; the relationship between illicit economies (such as narcotics) and ethnic insurgency; the nascent political voice of religion and ethnicity as nationalist or opposition ideologies; the expansion and influence of local NGOs (legal aid, human rights, women’s rights, etc.); political violence and alternative paths to the expression of discontent; and corruption. After a general overview of Southeast Asia as a regional political theater, we will turn our attention to a series of in-depth case studies.
Subfield: Comparative Politics