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The Southeast Asia Connection
Trade and Polities in the Eurasian World Economy, 500 BC–AD 500
Sing C. Chew
188 pages, 11 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78533-788-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 2018)
eISBN 978-1-78533-789-5 eBook
“The information in each chapter is connected logically, interpreted carefully, and discussed thoughtfully. The scope of this book is admirable, given the wealth of information and the diversity of Southeast Asia’s peoples, histories, cultures, and languages. This valuable book successfully demonstrates the great potential of studies on Southeast Asia, and Chew’s efforts should be appreciated by scholars in the region and worldwide.” • Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
“Rather than seeing Southeast Asia as a regional backwater for maritime trade to skirt and land trade to evade in this era, Chew makes a strong and persuasive case for it being more central than marginal and not merely a political-economic-cultural pastiche created primarily by external forces and influences…No doubt, we have much to learn about the ancient world economy but Sing Chew's interpretation is a strong step in the right direction.” • William R. Thompson, Indiana University
“As is typical for Sing Chew, he takes a familiar topic and examines it from different perspectives, and weaves those perspectives into a new and informative approach. In doing so, he prompts a reader to rethink Southeast Asia’s roles in world history. Whether or not one fully accepts Chew’s re-centering of early Southeast Asian history in Southeast Asia, his discussion is thoughtful and provocative.” • Thomas D. Hall, DePauw University
“With considerable analytical rigor and clarity in exposition, Chew uncovers the intriguing networks, connectivity, and interactions between Southeast Asia and the First Eurasian World System (during 200 BC–AD 500). Chew’s volume is an outstanding contribution to both world history and Southeast Asian Studies.” • Alvin Y. So, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The contribution of Southeast Asia to the world economy (during the late prehistoric and early historic periods) has not received much attention. It has often been viewed as a region of peripheral entrepôts, especially in the early centuries of the current era. Recent archaeological evidence revealed the existence of established and productive polities in Southeast Asia in the early parts of the historic period and earlier. This book recalibrates these interactions of Southeast Asia with other parts of the world economy, and gives the region its due instead of treating it as little more than of marginal interest.
Sing C. Chew is Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research–UFZ, Leipzig, Germany, and Emeritus Professor at Humboldt State University. He is the founding Editor of the interdisciplinary journal, Nature and Culture, and is the author of numerous publications and books including a trilogy on world ecological degradation over five thousand years of world history.