HUMN 2024 Ethnographies of Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102346

Coordinator Geir Henning Presterudstuen Opens in new window

Description This subject will introduce students to ethnographic field study through a close examination of the anthropology of two regions with which Australia is geographically and politically aligned; the Pacific Islands and South-east Asia. Drawing upon classic and contemporary ethnography the subject will provide opportunities for comparative and trans-historical studies of how cultures in these regions have been constructed and changed in relation to larger global dynamics. It will also provide an insight into the ways in which anthropological theory is developed in the context of attempts to explain and interpret cultural difference. Key topics of study, explored through case studies, will include the colonial experience, traditions and modernities, nations and nationalism, transnationalism, religion, social conflict, and material cultures. The subject will include ethnographic films.

School Social Sciences

Discipline Anthropology

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Apply anthropological concepts to the description of cultural diversity in South-east Asia and the Pacific islands.
  2. Analyse some of the ways symbolic cultures and traditions are influenced by political, material and environmental factors.
  3. Draw upon ethnographic case studies to explain regional similarities and differences.
  4. Apply anthropological theories to case studies about cultural change.
  5. Analyse some ways visual anthropology (film, photography) can effectively aid in the description of cultural phenomena.

Subject Content

1. The peoples of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
2. The South Pacific and Southeast Asia in the colonial imagination.
3. Melanesian and Polynesian anthropologies.
4. Chiefs and Big Men ? governance and tradition.
5. Gifts, symbols and material culture.
6. Anthropologies of Southeast Asia: Indonesia and Thailand.
7. The village, the nation and nationalism in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
8. Global interventions: the IMF, the World Bank and INGOs in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Laos.
9. Commodifying culture ? Southeast Asia and the pacific as tourist destinations.
10. Australia in the Region.


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Critical Review: Ethnographic Film Critique/Analysis 1000 words 25 N Individual
2A. Poster (20%) 2B. Presentation (5%): Poster Presentation 500 words plus visuals 25 N Individual
Analytical essay 1500 words 50 N Individual

Structures that include subject