About Southeast Asia Studies at Yale

About Southeast Asia Studies at Yale


The COUNCIL ON SOUTHEAST ASIA STUDIES at Yale University oversees a multifaceted interdisciplinary program located within the WHITNEY AND BETTY MACMILLAN CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AND AREA STUDIES.

The Council aims to facilitate training of graduate and undergraduate students, and to promote education, research, and intellectual exchange on the cultures, politics and economies of Southeast Asia (primarily Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), both historical and contemporary. (View Map of Southeast Asia - PDF)

Established in 1947, Southeast Asia Studies was the first formal area studies program at Yale - and the first in the United States to embark on the study of Southeast Asia in all disciplines. The SEAS curriculum was an outgrowth of Yale faculty participation in Army Specialized Training Programs in languages and area studies initiated during World War II, and was formally encorporated into University arts and sciences thanks to funding from the Carnegie Corporation and the efforts of several dedicated Yale faculty. (See History)

Current Council faculty members are affiliated with a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, as well as professional schools such as the Yale School of the Environment.  Under the supervision of its curator, and with Council contributions, Yale maintains one of the most extensive Southeast Asia library collections in the United States.  (See Library)

In addition to formal instruction in Indonesian and Vietnamese language studies, the Council also endeavors to provide support for other relevant language training or tutoring needed by any serious student, including summer language study in the U.S. and abroad, and contributes to initiatives such as Yale’s Directed Independent Language Study in lesser-taught languages. (See Language Studies)

The Council supports learning and scholarship on the region through summer research fellowships, and by coordinating an annual program of seminars, lectures, workshops, conferences, cultural events, film screenings, and educational activities open to faculty, students, and the general public.

Publications by the Yale Council on Southeast Asia Studies have included a Cultural Report Series, a Bibliography Series, and a Translation Series, with volumes (now out of print) dating from 1948-1979. The Council continues to edit and publish its long-running Monograph series, the first volume of which was printed in 1961. This series includes books on the history, cultures, and politics of Southeast Asia, as well as economic and anthropological subjects relevant to the region. (See Publications)