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New Book on Southeast Asia and China

Professor Chang-Yau Hoon of the Institute of Asian Studies at Universiti Brunei Darussalam has recently co-authored a book together with Ying-kit Chan of the National University of Singapore entitled Southeast Asia in China: Historical Entanglements and Contemporary Engagements (Lexington Books, 2023).

This volume examines various interactions and connections between Southeast Asia and China, both historical and contemporary, and it is innovative in that it attempts to do so from a Southeast Asian perspective.

Professor David Shambaugh from George Washington University, who is also the author of Where Great Powers Meet: American & China in Southeast Asia commented that: “This unique volume is a significant contribution to understanding Southeast Asia’s relations with China. Rather than viewing the relationship through the too-familiar perspective of China’s impact on the region, this thoughtful and well-researched study reverses the analysis to examine Southeast Asia’s roles in, and impact on, China over time. It is a necessary corrective to existing scholarship and a welcome addition to the field, which should be read by all those seeking to understand the ‘inner history’ of interactions between Southeast Asian societies and China.”

Professor Paul Evans from the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia wrote: “A valuable and overdue assessment of the neglected side of the China-Southeast Asian connection — Southeast Asian influence in China…. An unsentimental and self-confident view from the periphery, it speaks to the multitude of interactions that have shaped contemporary international relations and revealed the limits and possibilities of Southeast Asian agency. Stimulating for regional and international relations specialists alike.”

Please see below for the full abstract of the book.

As part of “China’s south,” Southeast Asia has historically assumed a peripheral position when juxtaposed against the power of the Chinese state. In the existing scholarly literature, the power asymmetry is reflected in the ostensible bias where most studies are about China’s presence in or engagement with Southeast Asia rather than the reverse; studies on the presence or influence of Southeast Asia in China have been a marginal enterprise.

The present volume aims to fill this void by exploring the historical entanglements and contemporary engagements of Southeast Asia(ns) in China through a Southeast Asian perspective. As China seeks to understand Southeast Asia’s presence in the country on its own terms, it is also engaged in a process of self-discovery and defining where and how it should stand in relation to the region.

Departing from the discourse of China as the a priori center dominating the scholarship on China–Southeast Asia relations, the present volume hopes to subvert such power relations in order to bring fresh perspectives on the historical and contemporary contributions of Southeast Asia(ns) in China.

Hoon, Chang-Yau and Ying-kit Chan. 2023. Southeast Asia in China: Historical Entanglements and Contemporary Engagements. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books.