SOAS University of London

About SOAS

Professor Victor Lieberman

Professor Victor Liebermann

Victor Lieberman is Marvin B. Becker Collegiate Professor of History and Professor of Southeast Asian History at the University of Michigan, and a highly distinguished historian of the pre-modern world. After graduating from Yale in 1967, he came to SOAS in the early 1970s to work on the early modern history of Burma, under the supervision of Professor C.D. Cowan. He completed his London doctorate in 1976, his thesis later being published by Princeton University Press, with the title Burmese Administrative Cycles: Anarchy and Conquest, c.1580-1760. This book, which has had a major impact on research into the early modern history of mainland South East Asia, sought to explain why, between the late sixteenth and mid-eighteenth centuries C.E., Burma experienced alternating periods of effective political leadership and military conquest and then anarchy and administrative collapse.

Professor Lieberman moved to the University of Michigan in 1984, where he has remained. His major work in these years has been a highly ambitious two-volume study published by Cambridge University Press, Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context, c.800-1830. The first volume appeared in 2003, the second in 2009. This immensely detailed study of a thousand years of South East Asian political, economic, and cultural history seeks to overcome the fragmentation of early South East Asian historiography and, crucially, for the first time to connect South East Asia to world history, to the history of the vast Eurasian landmass over the millennium.