SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of South East Asia

Introduction To South East Asia

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 1



Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course a student should have a broad and introductory awareness of the basic cultural, political, historical, religious, linguistic and literary issues at play both in the individual countries of SEA and in the region as a whole. They will in addition acquire the generic skills of learning how to write well-argued essays on topics relating to the course. This will require them in addition to synthesise material from lectures and from reading material provided in study packs. They will also learn how to present their own contributions through designated student-led seminars which will teach them generic skills of preparing and formulating arguments orally, together with use of presentational materials such as powerpoint, OHPs, handouts etc.


The course will be taught over 11 weeks with 2 contact hours per week.

Scope and syllabus

This is an introductory course to the study of South East Asia as a region and with focus on the individual countries in particular of Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. It will open with a framing of the region as a whole; an examination of religious, literary and cultural links between the constituent countries; a study of the language groups of the region and their linguistic profiles; specific lectures on the key religions of the region; and a series of country-specific lectures to indicate key areas of interest with regard to their study. One further session will be given over to the teaching of study skills and in particular essay writing skills. This course is intended to provide a grounding for subsequent thematic courses on SEA film and SEA literature that follow in term 2 of year 1 and in subsequent years.

This course is core for Year 1 of the degrees in BA South East Asian Studies and BA South East Asian Studies and . . 

This course is compulsory for Year 1 of the degrees BA Thai, BA Thai and another subject, BA Indonesian, BA Indonesian and another subject, BA Vietnamese and another subject, BA Burmese and another subject 

Method of assessment

One two hour written examination taken in May/June (70%); one piece of coursework to be submitted on the first monday after reading week, in the term in which the course is taught (15%); one piece of coursework to be submitted on the last day of the term in which the course is taught (15%).

Suggested reading

There is no reading list for this course. The course is taught with reference to a study pack with all necessary material enclosed.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules