SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

H254 Indigenous Warfare & Society in Early Modern Southeast Asia, 1300-1830

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2019/2020
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Full Year

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The objectives of this course are two-fold. The course is arranged topically in order to make clearer to the student how a certain related set of developments (firearm technologies, for example) impacted –and to what degree-- the overall trajectory of warfare in the region and aided some societies while disadvantaging others in regional state competition and warfare. In short, this course attempts to show students what mattered and why and how these results differentiated the region from international, or at least European, experiences. 

The second objective is to provide some understanding, through an examination of warfare prior to the European advance, why Southeast Asia as a region, lost in the long early-modern military technological race with Europe and South and East Asia. 

In other words, the course also seeks to show students the relationship between inter-regional technology transfer and intra-regional political change and why Europe gained the upper hand prior to the nineteenth century and was able to manipulate these links to gain control of the region by the end of that century. It is hoped that students will leave the course with a strong comprehension of how technological, cultural, and political change in the context of warfare interconnected and helped shaped the region as we know it today.

At the end of the course, a student should be able to:

  • Understand the major developments in warfare technologies, organization, and culture of South East Asia during the period covered by the course and to develop independent perspectives based on the prevailing secondary literature on the subject.
  • Write a competent well-structured essay making substantial use of materials in a research library, but not necessarily in an archive.
  • Complete a meaningful unseen paper within a limited time period, independent of reference materials, on the major aspects of history of warfare in South East Asia.


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