This collection of twenty-one essays in honour of Professor Barend Jan Terwiel deals with a wide range of issues spanning various periods of time, both modern and pre-modern, in countries throughout Southeast Asia. The contributors have been inspired to challenge and unravel established paradigms of this diverse region’s history and in doing so propose new insights and interpretations.
Renowned historian Thongchai Winichakul sets the scene by discussing Thai history in the context of Siam’s colonial conditions before B. J. Terwiel himself reviews the controversy surrounding the Ram Khamhaeng inscription. Other topics covered include the rise of Thai nationalism, concepts of gender and ethnicity and the role of magic and religion in contemporary society. The view then widens from Thailand to look at issues of historiography in Laos, dialogue and interaction between Europeans and various Southeast Asian nations using Dutch and Portugese sources, and issues such as the relationship between myth and nation in Vietnam, Buddhism and political legitimisation in Burma, and migration and stereotypes in Indonesia.
In effect, this publication sets about debunking the myths and commonly held perceptions of Southeast Asia’s vibrant and at times volatile history.