Developments in the Scholarship on Southeast Asia by Professor Leonard Y. Andaya


Chaired by Professor Wang Gungwu,
Chairman of ISEAS Board of Trustees

This is the first of a special series of public lectures to commemorate the 50th anniversary of ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute in 2018.

Lecture Synopsis

Since the formal beginning of the “region” of Southeast Asia as a field of study in the late 1950s in the US, there has been a proliferation of studies employing methods from the traditional disciplines as well as new interdisciplinary approaches. This prodigious output has not been confined to universities but has included NGOs, think tanks, international agencies, and even Thai cremation volumes. The ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute has been a major player through its steady stream of publications on contemporary and historical subjects. Of the various factors accounting for research in Southeast Asian studies, current events must count as perhaps the most significant. Based on this understanding, I will review the earlier interests in Southeast Asia dominated by foreign scholars, and show how these interests have shifted over the decades in part because of global concerns but primarily because of the involvement of Southeast Asians themselves in studying their own nation and region.

About the Speaker

Professor Leonard Y. Andaya received his BA from Yale University and an MA and PhD from Cornell University.  He is at present professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Hawai’i, and has written extensively on the early modern period, particularly of Indonesia and Malaysia.  His most recent publications are Leaves of the Same Tree:  Trade and Ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka (Honolulu:  University of Hawaii Press, 2008); (with Barbara Watson Andaya) A History of Early Modern Southeast Asia (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2015); and (with Barbara Watson Andaya) A History of Malaysia, Third Edition (London:  Palgrave, 2017).  He was the Tan Chin Tuan Professor in Malay Studies at the National University Singapore (NUS) in 2011-2012 and is currently the inaugural holder of the Yusof Ishak Chair in the Social Sciences at NUS.  He is currently writing a history of eastern Indonesia in the early modern period.

To register, please fill in this form and email to by 19 February 2018.


Feb 21 2018


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2