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Critical texts in Southeast Asian studies?

2 replies, 2 voices Last updated by Weihsin Gui 5 years ago
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    Weihsin Gui

    Dear colleagues:

    What are some of the key critical or theoretical texts (monographs, anthologies, or journal articles/essays) that you consider important to your work in Southeast Asian / Southeast Asian diasporic studies? I’d like to get a conversation going so we can have a pool of interesting and provocative texts to draw on.

    Here are 3 of mine:

    _Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity_. Joshua Barker

    _ Postcolonialism Urbanism: Southeast Asian Cities and Global Processes_ . Ed. Ryan Bishop, John Phillips, Wei Wei Yeo

    _Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty_. Aihwa Ong.


    Brian Bernards

    Here are three texts that I have considered important to my work in (and knowledge about) Southeast Asia and SE Asian lit, one for each of the aforementioned categories:

    Scholarly Monograph:

    Knowing Southeast Asian Subjects.  Ed. Laurie J. Sears.  Seattle: University of Washington Press / Singapore: NUS Press, 2007.

    Literary Anthology:

    Virtual Lotus: Modern Fiction of Southeast Asia.  Ed. Teri Shaffer Yamada.  Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2002.

    Journal/Special Issue:

    Postcolonial Studies 11, no. 3 (September 2008), Special Issue on “Southeast Asia’s Absence in Postcolonial Studies.”  Ed. Chua Beng Huat.


    Weihsin Gui

    (Apologies for the thread necromancy. I hope we can keep this discussion thread active since there’s a lot of new and interesting scholarship being published about SEAsia in recent years.)

    Hello everyone! Some time ago I borrowed a copy of the 1939 _Higher Education in Malaya_ report, which is a 150-page document by a commission appointed by the British colonial secretary.

    I made a camera-capture PDF of it since the original print document was in rather poor and fragile condition and might not survive a lot of physical handling.

    If anyone’s working on colonial Malaya and is interested in referring to this report, please let me know ( and I’d be happy to share the PDF with you.

    Here’s a link to a bibliographical citation from Singapore’s National Library Board for your reference. –

    – Weihsin

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