The course focuses on modern Southeast Asia since the end of the colonial period until the present day. Instead of the traditional interpretation, which sees a trend towards authoritarianism, we shall read history and politics in contemporary Southeast Asia as an unresolved conflict between two competing systems -- dictatorship and democracy. The authoritarian regimes of Marcos, Suharto (including the 1965 killings in Indonesia), Mahathir, Lee Kuan Yew, the Khmer Rouge, Burma/Myanmar, the monarchy and military in Thailand, and Vietnam since 1989 will provide some case studies through which to analyse Southeast Asian political dynamics, including corruption, nepotism, social movements, the impact of the Internet and Facebook trolls on elections, the rise of populist leaders, and the links between religion and politics. In addition, you will learn about contemporary issues such as migration, the rise of the middle classes, the many faces of tourism, and ethnic minorities such as the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.
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