Office: GR 3.128 Meets
in: GR 3.606.
Tues, Thurs 11:30-12:45 pm Class
url for updates: http://murrayleaf.org/SandSEAsiaSyl2017.htm
Political Economy of South and Southeast Asia. Political Economy, for this
course, means everything relevant to the success of nation-states. This includes relations to other
nation-states. South Asia is the Indian peninsula. Southeast Asia is the great swath of countries from Burma and Thailand
through Malaysia to Indonesia and Australia.
This is a region of great
cultural, political, economic, religious, and historical diversity. This course surveys the region by selectively examining key countries
and their mutual interactions.
The major countries, which will
always be included, are Pakistan, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.
Additional countries, which will be included according to student interest and
available material, include Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma, Vietnam,
Malaysia, Singapore, East Timor and New Zealand.
South and South East Asia together make up over
half the area and population of the Old World.
It is a huge region of enormous cultural and geographical
diversity, which no-one could possibly survey in detail in a single semester. So the course strategy is to
focus primarily on the national and international institutions and relations
that have the most effect on the overall welfare and social and political
stability of the region, using very good surveys and some supplementary
readings that will give additional flavor of the distinctive details of the
We have three major texts.
we proceed from north-west to south-east, South-Asia to Southeast Asia. One reason is that this has
been the general direction of migration through the region throughout history
and pre-history. Following the
order of the texts, for South Asia we proceed country by country giving a
little history and mainly a contemporary portrait of each.
Then we take up Southeast Asia and proceed topically, from
past to present, and end up with a survey of contemporary conditions country by
country arranged by cultural-geographic groups.
A major recurrent two-edged problem in the
modern period (the last two hundred years or so) is the importance of older ethnic
identities as a barrier to forming effective national political systems and the
importance of nationalism as a barrier to building interregional cooperation. Another problem is the often stunning alienation of urban elites from
For each week, in addition to the readings in
the text I will have a variety of readings or other kinds of information to
give a sense of the flavor of the culture that the text is leaving out. More and more information is on the web every month, including local
newspapers and other locally generated information.
I will focus particularly on what
makes each place especially puzzling for Americans, and what needs to be taken
into account to make accurate interpretations of what one sees and hears when
one is there.
This will include two films and a
variety of additional short readings.
Members of the class will take the lead for
each block of readings by giving their own understanding and their own view of
the issues it raises, particularly behaviors and events that are either well
explained or for which the explanations do not make sense. The preparations should reflect your
understandings from the texts, other sources named in the syllabus, and any
additional information you can get. Wikipedia is very useful, but be careful
that you are reading something worth believing. It often has information on small but
important topics that is not available anywhere else that you can get to. I do not object to you using it,
although since the articles are unsigned you should be especially careful to
assure that the information is reliable.
You should also think carefully about what biases it might reflect. I
don’t want to prescribe so much that you don’t have room to bring up
things that strike you as particularly interesting, and I have specific
questions for most of the preparations to consider, but as a basic framework
you should probably cover the following:
1. Location and natural resources. This should
include means of subsistence—basic foods and where they come from.
2. Borders: Are they stable, such as following
natural features, or are they artificial or arbitrary and likely to change?
3. Major internal social groups, and their
place in the political economy of the country. Most countries in this region have a
dominant ethnic group that is a large group in one area, where the capital
usually is, and other smaller groups on the peripheries.
4. Form of government, and history if it has
5. Political economy: What are the general living conditions,
what are the major problems, and what has been or is being done to resolve
6. Prospects for democracy, if you have not
already covered this in the previous discussion.
This syllabus will be
updated as we go along to include who is doing preparations and changes that
reflect your interests, weather, and perhaps news events. For the latest
syllabus go to murrayleaf.org—not eLearning. The heading of the syllabus will always include
the date of the last update.
Please remember that a grade is primarily the
instructor’s attempt to convey to the student an
evaluation of what they have learned.
The grade will depend on two examinations
and a paper.
The exams will probably be take
home. We will decide in class, once we see who we are and what our interests
The exams will count 30% each, the
Among other things, you should be
able to draw a map of each region, locating the main geographical features and
There is no make-up work or extra
If you miss an examination without
making prior arrangements, you have failed it.
For guidelines and suggestions for your term
papers, click here.
Fourth Edition, 2009. Stanley Wolpert.
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: University of California Press; 4 edition (August 17, 2009)
and Politics in South Asia: Sixth Edition. Y. Malik et. al. [Paperback] $43.55
This is very repetitious, but I cannot find
To make it easier to pull out
important information, I have developed the template for classroom analyses in
the section above titled “preparations.” It is not mandatory and should not stop
you from including things of usual interest to yourself or the class. It is only intended to be helpful.
Publisher: Westview Press; 7th edition (August
Asia: Past And Present, 7th Edition. D SarDesai [paperback] $45.83
Publisher: Westview Press; 5 Sub edition
(September 11, 2003)
Note: If you got the 6th editions of the Malik
and Sardesai books because the earlier version of the syllabus said to, it will
not be a problem.
The 7th editions provide updates,
but the main descriptions are still the same.
I will set up a Box (UTD dropbox) folder for
the course and put small readings in it, as copyright laws permit. Each of you will get a link to it.
Some helpful and interesting websites:
Small blurb on a film on M. A. Jinnah planned to answer to the
portrait of Jinnah in the movie Gandhi.
Nehru's Tryst With Destiny
Speech (statement of his vision for India.) on YouTube
Rights Data Analysis Group, India
Since the class is discussion and not lecture,
recordings are of limited value, but when I can make them I will post them. I
will put them in the Box, labeled by date. They will usually
be wp3 format. They are named by the date of the class.
Topics week by week
1. Introduction to the Course
10 Jan 2014.
If you can, get the books and look at them. Also look at the maps I have posted on the website.
We will see and discuss slides
from my work in India.
Use the week to read all of Wolpert.
week, 17 Jan 2017. India.
watch the film Gandhi and discuss it and Wolpert’s history together.
This will carry over to 19 January and probably Jan 24. It is a great film, and
provides a good introduction to the region. Pay attention to the background; the
director is very good at getting it right.
Wolpert. This provides important
background for Pakistan as well.
3. 3rd week.
2017. Gandhi and Communalism
Finish film Gandhi in class. Communalism is not Communism; it is
conflict between ethnic/religious groups.
This is very important throughout the entire South and Southeast Asian
region. We will discuss it, and
also discuss basic Indian ideas of ethics and society that it calls upon. These are embodied in the system of
philosophy called Vedanta. It
is embodied in a Word document I have but in the Box titled Poems from the
Vedas. Actually the first two are from the Vedas (Agni and Purush) while the other two are
from the Upanishads, which are ancient commentaries on the Vedas.
26 Jan 2017 The rural-urban divide
Read the chapters on India and Pakistan in Malik et. al.
Leaf, M. 1985 The Punjab Crisis Asian Survey, Vol.
25, No. 5, pp. 475-498 JSTOR
Gurharpal Singh. 1987. "Understanding the "Punjab
Problem." Asian Survey. JSTOR.
Wade, R. 1982. Corruption: Where does the money go? Econ and
Political Weekly (dropbox).
I will give a demonstration
of Indian farm planning. This basic type of traditional peasant farming exists
through all the areas we will discuss.
The reading is: “The Physical Farm Budget: An Indigenous Optimizing Algorithm” in Mathematical Anthropology and Cultural
Theory. 1:1. Nov. 2000. (This
is an all-electronic journal that permits mathematically active simulations to
accompany the articles in a downloadable form.) I also put a couple more
spreadsheets in the Box. They are
4. 4th week.
31 Jan 2017. Pakistan
part of what you should know will already have been covered in talking about
Wolpert and the film Gandhi.
Pakistan. Still on
India and Pakistan but now concentrating on Pakistan.
For Pakistan read the chapters
on Pakistan in Malik. Also: Leaf Chronology of MQM.
Also: Constitution of Pakistan.
Preamble. Also look at the First Schedule. Understand what it means to say that the section on basic
rights does not apply.
will describe the idea
of Factions and the importance of pluralism.
Look on the web for newspaper
Dawn (http://www.dawn.com). It is Pakistan's major paper, and it is very good.
Specific question on Pakistan:
When they get a chance, Pakistanis vote overwhelming for democracy and
secularism, and against corruption. Yet the political and economic system continues to be
dominated by the military and an oligarchy of historically wealthy landlord
families together with a new (but often overlapping) industrial/economic elite
who use their wealth to get goveernmental power and power to get more wealth.
How does this small
group stay in control in face of massive public preference for something else?
Feb 2017 Religion and Politics
Leaf continues with description
of types of organizational ideas: factions, administration, the
government. Government of India Act
of 1938 importance for the region, but especially Pakistan in the absense of a
Read chapters on Bangladesh in Malik.
We decided to start each unit with the preparation, then Leaf will follow
7 Feb 2017 Bangladesh
Specific question for
Bangladesh: The country started as Peoples Republic, meaning a Marxist state.
It started relatively
democratically but became progressively more authoritarian. The first elected head of
state (Mujibur Rahman) was assassinated. He was succeeded by a military coup.
After some turmoil this
led to the election of one of the coup leaders as a civilian Ziaur Rahman (aka
Zia). Since then, one of the two dominant parties has been led by Mujib's
daughter and the other by the widow of President Zia(ur
Rahman). Why did this happen?
I will show introductory power point on Bangladesh in class and we will
9 Feb 2017 I
will try again to convey a sense of how rational but also how tightly constrained
rural life is, using results from the Flood Response Study.
6. 6th week. Sri Lanka.
Read the Sri Lanka chapters in Malik. Sri Lanka
is one of the very few cases in modern history of a country that started off
with a good democratic constitution and a decent standard of living and
undermined itself steadily thereafter.
Watch: Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields. On You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mbl-Elax9uo
Al Jazeera story on aftermath of Sri Lanka civil war.
violence of the LTTE in Sri Lanka is similar to the violence of what are Maoist
or “Naxalite” movements in India and Nepal. The LTTE in Sri Lanka did not identify
itself as Maoist but they were widely reported as having links to and getting
support from Indian Maoist groups. Their ways of operating were the same.
14 Feb 2017
Sri Lanka Preparation: JD
key question to focus on is: How did the wealthiest and probably best governed
part of Britain’s Empire in South Asia, that gained independence with a
well-worked out constitution and good foreign exchange reserves (unlike India
or Pakistan), descend into ethnic civil war?
16 Feb 2017
will show slides from my visit there in 1992, focusing on the role of NGOs
against the background of the increasingly deadly civil war. This brings out
aspects not in the book.
7. 7th week. Nepal.
Read the Nepal Chapters in Malik.
Nepal, too, is a seemingly
successful country that descended into civil war. In this case, however, the
country was not a colony, nor was it a democracy. It was legally
independent, although under British hegemony. In theory, this
meant that the British oversaw its international affairs, but left its domestic
affairs alone. It was also a monarchy. So the question for you is how did the
monarchy manage to remain in power despite strong pressure for democracy and
the example of India next door? The rest of the dynamic, represented by the
rise of the Maoists, is that when an oligarchy can control the mechanisms of
democratic reform, these mechanisms can themselves become tainted and efforts
to achieve what most people view as freedom from domination then take forms
that are violent and anti-democratic.
21 Feb 2017 Nepal
Again we have the problem of
explaining how small and mainly urban groups can control power, but in this
case we also have a rural movement that unseats them—at least in good part.
Nepal Preparation: JC
Again we have the problem of
explaining how small and mainly urban groups can control power, but in this
case we also have a rural movement that unseats them—at least in good part.
account stops in 2007. Since
then the monarchy has been ended, the country has declared itself a republic,
the Maoists are included in the Parliament, and so far they have given up the
demand that establish their own authoritarian state although they have not
clearly promised to stop seeking it. So a second question you might try to consider is: What
could Nepal do to assure that this does not happen?
23 Feb 2017
Bhutan Preparation: TS
I have not been to Nepal,
although I do know about it as part of Indian history. Following Tiffany on Bhutan, which is a
large chunk of the high Himalayas east of Nepal, I will show photos from
Kashmir and the Himalayas just West of Nepal, talk about the Himalayan region
and cultures generally, and also fill in gaps in the political history.
MAKE UP MIDTERM. 28 Feb 2017
The midterm will be on South Asia.
We will make it up in class;
take-home essay format.
Think of questions. We will discuss them and make up the exam in class on Feb 28. Possible
topics are the importance of constitutions, the difficulty of attaining
democracy, the persistence of corruption, the persistence of religious and
ethnic conflict (although from the pattern we can see that the religions and
ethnic identities themselves are not the causes of the conflict), the
persistent abilities of small groups of very wealthy people to retain political
power, the persistence of poverty, the relation between the government and the
economy, the conflict or contrast between traditional identities and national
identities, and of course why Gandhi’s example worked in India and
why it was not followed, or why there were not other Gandhis, in other
These are topics, not questions. Questions need to be designed to allow you to explain what is important
about the topic in a brief, focused, way. The midterm is here: SSEAsiaMidterm.pdf If
the link does not work, it is also in the Box dropbox.
2 March 2017. Thursday. Start the introduction to Southeast Asia: Historical/Cultural
overview and Colonialism.
I will provide overall background for the
the film The Ancient Seamasters on
Youtube. It describes how insular Southeast Asia was populated. After about 46
minutes some parts are repeated, but it there is enough new material to continue
watching. It gives good background to SarDesai’s detail and should be
easy to understand and remember. We will talk about the sailing and
navigation. Note the way the sails
are mounted on the traditional boats. https://youtube/47kAtmYTCmY
Sardesai’s book is arranged thematically first, and then by region. We will
discuss by region. To
do so, we will break out of each thematic section the parts that pertain to
each of the regions we will be concerned with.
today read Sardesai’s Part I and Part II. Cultural Heritage and Colonial
Interlude. I will provide a general discussion of historical regions and social
evolution, comparing it and linking it to what we have already covered for
South Asia and we can have preparations on the major colonial regimes.
8th Week. Colonialism and the Wars for Independence.
7 and 9 Mar 2017 Preparations on Colonial impact
week we will focus on the Colonial interlude for the region as a whole. A question often asked by people in
these regions about the colonial powers that ruled them, is “How can they be so
nice to us in their home country, and so awful to us over here?” The question is more important,
theoretically, than it may seem to be. Colonialism gives way to nationalism;
the answer to the question, as it was arrivd at by those who were colonized, is
very relevant to why and how this happened.
Watch Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8OFDLuY46Q. This is an NBC Background presentation, seemingly made with US National
Security Administration support. It is focused on the Cold War conflict as a
whole, but implicitly is actually comparing independence movements in Vietnam
and the Philipinnes. It
gives a good sense of the way foreign perceptions overrode local concerns in
shaping international actions in the region.
This is a
Dutch documentary on the Indonesian war for independence on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8U2QImMSzwE It makes the complexities easier
to see and remember.
(probably two per day):
Colonialism: Robert M.
Colonialism: John V
Colonialism: Priyaanka A
Colonialism (Imperialism): Cami E
14 and 16 March
From here on
we go country by country, from mainland Southeast Asia to the South Pacific.
9. 9th week. Myanmar and Thailand:
These are The main continental countries in the
South Asian Cultural Sphere within the Southeast Asian continental landmass.
Sardesai 15 and 20 (Myanmar), and 11, 16 and 21 (Thailand).
21 March 2016. Myanmar:
background: Review article in dropbox on Furnival's Plural Society and
Leach's Political Systems of Highland Burma. H. G. Lee 2009. Also: Lintner 1984. The Shans and the Shan
State of Burma, pdf. In the dropbox.
Background rural concerns: This is a good background
article by Al Jazeera on minority ethnic independence movements in Myanmar: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/12/201112193521860555.html
The main question here is to
explain first of all long military dictatorship and the way they closed the
country off. How
did they manage? And
secondly why have they now started to open up (apparently genuinely).
edition covers the latter. Sixth edition does not.
Myanmar Preparation: Imani H
Here, there are two big
questions. The first is why and how
they sank into such a long-standing military dictatorship, and the second is
why and how they seem to be democratising so suddently. An important part of
their situation is the continuing low-key civil war, or rebellion, of the
tribal people in the hills resisting the “Burmese” ethnic plurality in the main rice-growing river valleys.
Preparation on one or more of these
groups: Chin, Kachin, or Shan: Iqbal S.
I will talk about Kachin social
organization as described by Leach.
23 Mar 2016. Thailand:
on rural concerns: Leaf, ThaiSketch
Durenberger, P. 1976.
Economy of a Lisu village.”
is one of the important rural ethnic groups.
There is a very good recent documentary
of Thai politics, including the accession of the new king. It includes the relations between
monarchy, military, redshirts, and yellowshirts. The url is: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2016/12/thailand-footsteps-king-161206075540477.html
Thailand Preparation: MD
Thailand is a monarchy and was never a colony.
They have done well, generally. So in this case the question is how they
have managed it. How do you explain it?
I have some photos.
10. 10th Week. Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos:
Sardesai chapters 17, 18, 25, 26. Most of the chapters cover more than one of
these countries at a time, and they are adjacent. This
makes historical and political sense. The borders are also fairly porous, and the recent wars in one have
leaked over into the others.
28 Mar 2016. Vietnam:
Preparation on Vietnam: DK
Here, the big question is how
they have managed to defeat two major world powers (France and the US) to
finally gain independence, and another (China) to keep it.
30 Mar 2016. Cambodia and Laos
Preparation on Cambodia and
And in this case the main
puzzle is the horror story of the Khmer Rouge, especially in contrast to
Thailand and Viet Nam.
11. 11th week. Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunai.
Sardesai Chapters 12 (general), 13 and 19
Background on rural concerns: Brosius, P.
Significance and Social Being in Ifugao Agricultural Production. Ethnology.
This is a good video on youtube on Banaue rice
terraces (like Bali) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb2sdsHUCLQ
This is a very good Wikipedia article on land
reform in the Philippines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_reform_in_the_Philippines
4 Apr 2017 Philippines:
Philippines Preparation: MK
Main question is the
persistent problem of corruption. Why is it so intractable? Does ethnic
diversity and difficulty of travel (hence local isolation) help maintain it?
on conflictsing claims of Vietnam, Philippines, and China in South China Sea:
6 April 2017. Malaysia, Brunai,
and Singapore Sar Desai Chapter 24
stories: This is a brief piece that gives an internal sense of the relation
between Singapore and Malaysia: https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2012/04/21/malaysians-vs-singaporeans-lets-get-this-over-with/
Powerpoints on Thailand and Philippines.
General background on Malaysia and Singapore.
12. 12th week. Continuing Malaysia, Brunei, and
Preparation on Huks, others,
and land reform in the Philippines:
Preparation: Alex F
Singapore Preparation: Mei
In all three cases, the main
problems concern the nature of the ethnic politics. Brunei is also something
like the Lichtenstein or Doha of the South Pacific.
Apr 2017 Indonesia Sar Desai Chapters 14, 22, 23, and 27
Indonesian Constitution is in the dropbox.
Here is an Al Jazeera report on the Papua New
Guinea movement to seek independence from Indonesia, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/08/201182814172453998.html They
have many other articles.
on Indonesia: John van DS
The question is whether democracy
can now be considered secure.
Preparation on Megawati Sukarno-Putri, who was
crucial in Indonesia’s shift from authoritarianism to democracy: Matthew
Preparation on East Timor
rebellion and independence: Connor Ma
Preparation on the protests
and outcome in Aceh: Imani H
Preparation on public debate
and constitutional change in Indonesia vs Vietnam (Comparing democratic
processes.) Irum A
readings for Irum’s
preparation are new, and in the Box.com. They are: “A New
Generation and New Thinking in Vietnamese Legal Scholarship,” by Mark Sidell,
and “Public Discourse and Constitutional Change: A Comparison of Vietnam and
Indonesia,” by John Gillespie. Both are in Vol 11, Asian Journal of
Comparative Law, Cambridge University Press. They are in our library. The first
article introduces the second. This link should work: https://www-cambridge-org.libproxy.utdallas.edu/core/journals/asian-journal-of-comparative-law/issue/1B6B7FF6769C8F664DD11A37D2A747A1
13. 13th week. Bali and the
persistence of Indigenous cultures.
Most likely, Bali represents a continuation of the kind of
culture that existed all across Indonesia before Muslim and Chinese influences
spread into the area from the West, much like Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand
on the Southeast Asian mainland.
In class we will watch the film The Goddess
and the Computer. This describes the indigenous system of irrigation management
It is the only available study that lets you see how much intelligence
and social discipline goes into managing these kinds of intensive, highly
productive, and sustainable agricltural systems. The time is 51 minutes, so we should be
able to see it in one day. This
gets us back to considering traditional systems of farming. It also nicely shows the many relations
between local ethnic identity and local systems of production—and how insensitive to this
the governments usually are.
there is time we will resume presentations, starting with John on Indonesia.
20 April Polynesian Sailing
with previous presentations that were not finished.
Polynesian sailing and Navigation. Irum A
Here is a special issue of an
online journal devoted to some aspects: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/3fw7j6dp
There are also other documents
on youtube like the Ancient Seamasters. One is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxgUjyqN7FU&t=46s
Assertion of Polynesian identities in Pacific Islands, Tahiti and the Cook
Islands: Robert Jarzabeck
Preparation: Australia’s role in the region: Connor
14. 14th Week. Final Examination and Conclusion.
25 Apr 2017. Setting Final Exam / Review. Same process as for midterm. Submit questions by the 23rd
evening to be sure I can include them in a handout to discuss. As we discuss the final exam we need to
connect three major themes: the development of national identities, the
development of national governments, and economic development that incorporates
the interests and productive activities associated with the many ethnic
identities in each political region.
27 Apr 2017. Last Class Day.
Culture at the grass roots and bringing the
story up to the present. If there are no preparations
remaining to do, I hope to use the time to return to discussing indigenous
systems of household farming and the conflict, all across the region, between
urban culture (which is also governmental culture) and local culture. This will also get us into
DUE: 2 MAY 2017 5 PM.
TERM PAPERS DUE: 8 MAY 2017 5 PM. MONDAY
17. Not a
South and Southeast
Asia food study group meeting. Pot luck dinner at my house with
class members bringing regional food HAS BEEN CANCELED.
& Instructor Policies
I do not provide for extra credit or make up
work. It takes too much of
my time and it is too hard to do it in a way that is fair for other students. You are expected to complete all assignments on
time. Anything not handed
in on time is failed, unless you have made an arrangement with me in advance.
Standard UTD policies are procedures for all
classes are on the U T Dallas website at: http://coursebook.utdallas.edu/syllabus-policies/.