SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Culture and Society of South East Asia

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2

A critical examination of ethnographic representations of South East Asia with reference to such topics as: 

  • gender, 
  • personhood, 
  • livelihood, 
  • warfare; 
  • ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ villages and states, 
  • domination and resistance; 
  • cosmologies, 
  • religious practices, 
  • theatre; 
  • indigenous historical and biographical writings.


This course is available to students on degrees in MA Area Studies as a minor only.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On successful completion of the course, a student will:

  • Have acquired a basic knowledge of the anthropology of Southeast Asia and of the complexities and diversity that characterise the societies and cultures of this region.
  • Be able to identify and evaluate critically key approaches/theories related to the production of anthropological knowledge related to this region.
  • Have acquired a deeper knowledge of selected themes and topics such as power, gender, violence, syncretism, etc.
  • Be able to reflect critically on and account for the advantages and disadvantages of the regionalisation of anthropological knowledge as applied to this particular area.
  • Be able to compare across different societies and cultures belonging to this region.

Method of assessment

The written exam will count for 60%. 2 pieces of coursework will count for 40% (20% each) towards the final mark.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules