By P Boomgaard
Water, in its many guises, has regularly performed a robust position in shaping Southeast Asian histories, cultures, societies, and economies. those essays signify a huge diversity of techniques to the learn of Southeast Asia with water because the valuable subject. because it was once uncovered to the ocean, the sector used to be extra available to open air political, financial and cultural impacts than many landlocked parts. easy accessibility via sea routes additionally inspired exchange. besides the fact that, a similar quick access made Southeast Asia liable to political regulate via powerful outsiders. the ocean is, in addition, a resource of nutrition, but additionally of many risks. even as, Southeast Asian societies and cultures are faced with and permeated by means of "water from heaven" within the kind of rain, flash floods, irrigation water, water in rivers, brooks, and swaps, water-driven strength crops, and pumped or piped water, as well as water as a provider of sewage and toxins. ultimately, the quantity offers with the position of water in class structures, ideals, myths, disorder, and therapeutic.
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Extra info for A world of water: rain, rivers and seas in Southeast Asian histories
He does feel, however, that this emphasis on tolerance is ‘a clear manifestation of the Western liberal imagination projected onto the region’s past’. Sanjay Subrahmanyam (1997:740) shares Reynolds’ suspicion that historians have allowed modern states too influential a role in shaping their perceptions. Subrahmanyam has been dismissive of Lieberman’s attempts to embed Southeast Asian history in a Eurasian comparative framework, because he feels that Lieberman ‘seeks to downplay the global and connected character of the early modern period, in order to reify certain chosen national entities’.
37 However, the consolidation of trans-state alliances and the resurgence of local identity politics in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries are now modifying earlier teleological assumptions. Historiography Given Southeast Asia’s exposure, and even apparent subjugation, to external influence, it is not surprising that questions of agency have a particular resonance for historians of the region. Braudel (1985:134) has commented on the ‘historiographical inequality’ between Europe and the rest of the world, but Southeast Asia often seems doubly disadvantaged.
Arasaratnam (1987:113) concludes that while Southeast Asia’s commerce with Gujerat may not have grown in the seventeenth century, it did not decline. Coromandel’s age-old commerce with Southeast Asia, notably Malacca, the Burmese and Thai coasts, as well as Malayan ports (Kedah, Perak, Johor), Aceh, Jambi and Banten, remained so profitable that east Indian merchants persisted in visiting there despite tariffs and fees imposed in Dutch controlled ports. Coromandel trade with the independent states of mainland Southeast Asia flourished.