Although Yale does not offer a degree in Southeast Asia Studies, for those students interested in this area of specialization, the courses below are fully, substantially, or partially Southeast Asian in content.

Course numbers: 001-499 undergrad *; 500-800 graduate; a/b - fall/spring


ANTH 244- Modern Southeast Asia
Erik Harms
(Substantial Southeast Asian content)

This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the extraordinary diversity of Southeast Asian peoples, cultures, and political economy. Broadly focused on the nation-states that have emerged since the end of World War II (Brunei, Burma [Myanmar], Cambodia, Indonesia, East Timor, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), the course explores the benefits and limits to a regional perspective. Crossing both national and disciplinary boundaries, the course introduces students to key elements of Southeast Asian geography, history, language and literature, belief systems, marriage and family, music, art, agriculture, industrialization and urbanization, politics and government, ecological challenges, and economic change. In addition to providing a broad and comparative survey of “traditional” Southeast Asia, the course places special emphasis on the intellectual and practical challenges associated with modernization and development, highlighting the ways different Southeast Asian nations contend with the forces of globalization. The principle readings include key works from a multidisciplinary range of fields covering anthropology, art, economics, geography, history, literature, music, and political science. No prior knowledge of Southeast Asia is expected.

GLBL394a/ER&M 392a/EVST 422A/ANTH 409a/F&ES 422a - Climate and Society. Th 1:30-3:20

Michael R. Dove
(some/partial Southeast Asian content)

Seminar on the major traditions of thought and debate regarding climate, climate change, and society, drawing largely on the social sciences and humanities. Section I, overview of the course. Section II, disaster: the social origins of disastrous events; and the attribution of societal ‘collapse’ to extreme climatic events. Section III, causality: the revelatory character of climatic perturbation; politics and the history of efforts to control weather/climate; and 19th-20th century theories of environmental determinism. Section IV, history and culture: the ancient tradition of explaining differences among people in terms of differences in climate; and cross-cultural differences in views of climate.  Section V, knowledge: the study of folk knowledge of climate; and local views of climatic perturbation and change. Section VI, politics: knowledge, humor, and symbolism in North-South climate debates. The goal of the course is to examine the embedded historical, cultural, and political drivers of current climate change debates and discourses. This coursecan be applied towards Yale College distributional requirements in Social Science and Writing. The course is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. Enrollment capped,

ANTH 541a, Agrarian Societies: Culture, Society, History, and Development (See also ENV 753a /HIST 965a / PLSC 779a
Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan
(Some/partial Southeast Asian content)
An interdisciplinary examination of agrarian societies, contemporary and historical, Western and non-Western. Major analytical perspectives from anthropology, economics, history, political science, and environmental studies are used to develop a meaning-centered and historically-grounded account of the transformation of rural societies. Four-hour lecture-plus-discussion. (open to undergraduates with special permission)

F&ES 520a/ANTH 581a Power, Knowledge, and the Environment MON 1:00-3:50. 
Michael R. Dove
(Substantial Southeast Asian content)

Introductory graduate course on the social science of contemporary environmental and natural resource challenges, paying special attention to issues involving power and knowledge. Section I, overview of the course. Section II, disasters and environmental perturbation: pandemics, and the social dimensions of disaster. Section III, power and politics: river restoration in Nepal; the conceptual boundaries of resource systems, and the political ecology of water in Mumbai. Section IV, methods: the dynamics of working within development projects; and a multi-sited study of irrigation in Egypt. Section V, local communities: representing the poor, development discourse, and indigenous peoples and knowledge. The goal of the course is to develop analytic distance from current conservation and development debates and discourses. This is a core course for MEM students in YSE, and a core course in the combined YSE/Anthropology degree program. Enrollment is capped.

ANTH 796b, Biopolitics of Human-Nonhuman Relations. Seminar on post-humanism and multi-species ethnography.  (See also ENV 796b)
Michael R. Dove
(Substantial Southeast Asian content)
Seminar on the “post-humanist” turn toward multispecies ethnography. Section I, introduction to the course.  Section II, the ontological turn: multispecies ethnography; and ecology and human consciousness; Section III, fauna: human-animal conflict?; hunting and politics; and the bushmeat ‘crisis’.  Section IV, flora: ‘weedy/invasive/pest’ species; and ethnobotany.  Section V, the long and broad view: the history of natural history; and the classics.  Section VI, class contributions: student-selected readings; student presentations of seminar papers; and lecture by teaching fellow.  Enrollment capped.


951a or b Directed Research in Ethnology & Social Anthropology
952a or b Directed Research in Linguistics


ENV 422a, Climate and Society from Past to Present (See ANTH 409a)
Michael R. Dove
(Some/partial Southeast Asian content)

ENV 520a, Power, Knowledge, and the Environment: Social Science Theory and Method (See ANTH 581a)
Michael R. Dove
(Substantial Southeast Asian content)

ENV 753a, Agrarian Societies: Culture, Society, History, and Development (see See ANTH 541a)
Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan, Marcela Echeverri Munoz, Elisabeth Wood
(Some/partial Southeast Asian content)

ENV 796b Biopolitics of Human-Nonhuman Relations. Seminar on post-humanism and multi-species ethnography.
(See ANTH 796b)
Michael R. Dove
(Substantial Southeast Asian content)


EVST 422a, Climate and Society from Past to Present (See ANTH 409a)
Michael R. Dove
(Some/partial Southeast Asian content)

ER&M 221 Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies
Quan Tran
(some/partial Southeast Asian content)
This multi-disciplinary seminar explores the historical and contemporary experiences of Southeast Asian refugees living in the United States. The course examines the historical contexts that created Southeast Asian refugee diasporas and community formations in the US as well as contemporary social, political, cultural, and economic issues concerning these communities. Organized thematically, this course is comparative in scope as it addresses topics such as: colonialism, imperialism, war, nation-building, global capitalism, migration experiences, resettlement, intergenerational dynamics, interracial/ethnic relations, and knowledge and cultural production.



HIST 317J- History of Infrastructure in Asia 
Nurfadzilah Yahaya

This seminar looks at the history of infrastructure throughout Asia from ancient times till the 21st century. How did human beings aim to achieve sustainability through time? What were the differences between pre-colonial, colonial, and postcolonial infrastructure? The areas we delve into include urban planning, agriculture, military communications, waste management, transportation, and energy.

HIST 037a – History of Indian Ocean Crossings
Nurfadzilah Yahaya
(substantial Southeast Asian content)
This seminar explores the history of the Indian Ocean from the Red Sea region to South Asia, and onward to Southeast Asia through two creative works by Amitav Ghosh. The first work is In an Antique Land, an autobiographical account of his time in Egypt as an anthropologist in the late twentieth century that he interspersed with that of the history of a Jewish merchant in Aden and Malabar in the twelfth century when Indian Ocean trade formed the backbone of international economy. The second book, Sea of Poppies is the first novel in his epic trilogy on the Indian Ocean, which traces the journey of a diverse group people from the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia and China during the nineteenth century. This seminar breaks out of conventional regional fields by closely following historical actors on the ground. Each session explores several core themes for historical research namely commerce, mobility, labor, climate, cosmopolitanism, colonialism, and modernization.

HIST 312J – Colonialism, Nationalism, and Identity in Myanmar
Frances O’Morchoe and David Moe
This course explores the history of colonialism and postcolonial nation-building in Myanmar in order to understand the roots of nationalism, militarism, and ethnic and religious conflict. It explores some theoretical and practical ways for understanding ethnic identity and for imagining a new nation beyond nationalism and ethnic conflict. This class is taught jointly with Parami University in Myanmar. Classes at Yale take place in person, but some students from Myanmar will join remotely. This partnership allows broader, transnational discussions about issues like ethnicity, nationalism, political power, citizenship, and human rights-which are relevant not only in Myanmar but in many contexts around the world.

HIST 328J – History of Indonesia
Nurfadzilah Yahaya
(substantial Southeast Asian content)
This seminar explores the history of Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world. As a diverse archipelago of more than 10,000 islands in Southeast Asia, it has a rich and diverse history with different languages, religions as well as rich flora and fauna. We will explore the history of Indonesia from its earliest beginnings to the recent times through themes such as religion, environmental history, colonialism, revolution, Cold War, and democracy. We begin with examining the relationship between Buddhism, Hinduism and royal power in the Srivijaya and Majapahit empires. We explore how Indonesia became the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world today.  Next we look at the impact of Portuguese and Spanish imperialism followed by the Dutch imperialism that lasted for several centuries, uniting the archipelago under common Dutch rule. We will trace how Indonesia was transformed during the Second World War to become one of the world’s largest democracies in 1945. We will look at secessionist movements in Aceh, and Indonesian colonisation of East Timor. We look at impact of climate change since being an archipelago, Indonesia is particularly susceptible to flooding due to rising sea levels, a fact that has prompted the government to move their capital to Borneo with the evocative and historical name of ‘Nusantara.’

HIST 389 – History of Islamic World
Nurfadzilah Yahaya
(partial Southeast Asian content)
This lecture course introduces students to the history of the Islamic world beginning with Muhammad in the seventh century followed by the rule of the Four Caliphs. We then explore the impact of the First Civil War and the subsequent deepening rift between Sunni and Shi’i. We explore how the faith spread to rest of the Arab world, Africa, Europe, Persia, South Asia, Central Asia, East Asia and South East Asia. We will trace the rise and fall of successive major Muslim empires – Umayyad, Abbasid, Ottoman, and Mughal. The course offers a broad introduction to political and theological philosophy and its bearing on modern Islamic political thought and governance historically in diverse contexts. We will also explore Sufism, Islamic law in its various forms, gender relations, and impact of non-Muslim rule on Muslims globally.  (No prior knowledge is necessary for this course). 

HIST 458J  Environmentalism from the Global South
Sunil Amrith
(partial Southeast Asian content)
Most histories of the environmental movement still privilege the American and European experience. This research seminar examines the diverse forms of environmental thought and activism that have emerged from the global South—drawing examples from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America—since the early twentieth century. The course examines: the environmental legacies of colonialism, the role of ecology in anticolonial movements, early articulations of environmental justice in the 1970s, the role of violence and repression in state responses to environmental activism, the rise of increasingly networked environmental movements from the Global South that made themselves heard at the Rio Earth Summit of 1992—which took place 30 years ago, and the moral and political histories that underpin the negotiating stance of countries of the Global South in climate change negotiations. This class makes extensive use of primary sources, including material from the Yale collections and it straddles the boundaries between environmental, intellectual, and political history.

HIST 897  Environment, Medicine, and Science in South & Southeast Asia  (see also SAST 837)
Sunil Amrith
(substantial Southeast Asian content)
This graduate seminar explores the cutting edge of scholarship in histories of environment, medicine, and science in South and Southeast Asia. The course draws examples from both South and Southeast Asia–among our aims is to examine who in their field has challenged or reimagined the conventional boundaries of area studies. The class is designed to serve as preparation for qualifying examinations across a range of fields and as a starting point for students who envisage dissertation projects that engage with these areas of scholarship. Our focus, throughout, is on archives, approaches, and methodologies (including new approaches to research that have been necessitated by the pandemic). Readings and topics are tailored to the interests of the students in the class.  Students have the choice of writing a historiographical paper or producing an original research paper.

HIST 899a – Readings in History of Southeast Asia
Nurfadzilah Yahaya
(substantial Southeast Asian content)
This graduate seminar explores the major works in the history of Southeast Asia from the earliest period until modern day in their many facets—political, cultural, and social. Our focus is on questions or regional boundaries, interpretation of sources, methodology, periodization, and translation.

HIST 965a Agrarian Societies: Culture, Society, History, and Development
Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan, Marcela Echeverri Munoz
(Some/partial Southeast Asian content)
See ANTH 541a for course description



MUSI 232a/b, Central Javanese Gamelan Ensemble. 
Phil Acimovic
An introduction to performing the orchestral music of central Java and to the theoretical and aesthetic discourses of the gamelan tradition. Students form the nucleus of a gamelan ensemble that consists primarily of tuned gongs and metallophones; interested students may arrange for additional private instruction on more challenging instruments. The course culminates in a public performance by the ensemble. This course may be repeated for credit.  No previous musical experience required.  (permission of instructor required; meets during reading period)
See also, Yale Gamelan Suprabanggo

MUSI 233b, Cultures and Performing Arts of Central Java
Phil Acimovic
This course explores how music and theatre traditions engage with culture, history, and tradition of performing arts in central Java with a particular focus on the role of the gamelan ensemble. Students gain first-hand experience in Javanese Wayang theater, a traditional shadow puppet performance in which the gamelan serves as a musical accompanist. This course is designed to not only give performative and practical experience of central Javanese gamelan in the traditional style, but also presents opportunities for students to examine cultural and historical aspects of the shadow puppetry tradition and gamelan music in central Java. We focus specifically on 1) the musical language and structure of central Javanese gamelan music in the context of shadow puppetry performance, 2) the historical tradition and practice of shadow puppetry, and 3) livelihood of traditional performing arts in contemporary sociocultural and religious contexts. (Prerequisite: MUSI 232 or permission of the instructor)


*PHIL 210(summer) Eastern Philosophy. Quang Phu Van
(Substantial Southeast Asian content)
An Introduction to Eastern philosophy through the study of philosophical and religious texts. Topics include reality and illusion, knowledge, self, right and wrong, nonattachment, meditation, aesthetics, meaning of life, and death. (summer offering tbd)


PLSC 779a Agarian Societies: Culture, Society, History, and Development. See ANTH 541a for description.
Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan
(some/partial Southeast Asian content)


RLST 246 Beyond the Typology: Christian-Buddhist Engagement in Southeast Asia
(substantial Southeast Asian content)
Fall 2023

David Thang Moe, PhD

Southeast Asia is one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse regions in the world, yet this region and its religions do not receive sufficient attention. This region is home to three world religions—Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. This course pays particular attention to Christian-Buddhist engagement from the colonial past to the post-colonial present. We will consider questions such as, “How did foreign missionaries make contact with Buddhists in a colonial period,?” “What is the result of the colonial legacy of foreign missionaries?,” and “How do local Christians and Buddhists understand their ethnic identity and religious otherness in a post-colonial period?” This course will introduce students to the comparative study of Christian-Buddhist origins, movements, teachings, ethics, political and spiritual involvements. We will fill in some gaps by balancing the nuanced approaches to religious doctrines and lived experiences. We will also examine the problem of a misleading typology—exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism—and discern how the interreligious ethics of compassion should serve as a way for a Christian-Buddhist’s hospitable engagement and for building a multicultural nation in Southeast Asia. Looking at these religious dynamics in Southeast Asia can also be applied to all kinds of Christian-Buddhist engagement elsewhere in the pluralistic world, including in the U.S.      

There are no prerequisites for this course. This course is designed to be accessible for anyone.



BURM 110a and 120bElementary Burmese I and II   (Cornell University)
SCI Class - taught via videoconference.  These courses aim to train students to achieve basic skills in Burmese. Students will learn basic spoken Burmese, and will also develop competency in reading and writing Burmese script.


(Click on -> Indonesian Language Studies at Yale)
Courses at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels (110-180) are open to both graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate students should consult with their home departments regarding course credit.

INDN 110a and 120b, Elementary Indonesian I and II. Indriyo Sukmono
An introductory course in standard Indonesian with emphasis on developing communicative skills through systematic survey of grammar and graded exercises. Introduction to reading in the second term, leading to mastery of language patterns, essential vocabulary, and basic cultural competence. 1.5 Course cr

INDN 130a and 140b, Intermediate Indonesian I and II. Dinny Risri Aletheiani
Continued practice in colloquial Indonesian conversation and reading and discussion of texts. (After INDN 120 or equivalent) 1.5 Course cr

INDN 150a or 150b, Advanced Indonesian I. Indriyo Sukmono, Dinny Risri Aletheiani
Development of speaking, listening, writing, and grammar skills to an advanced level. A semi-directed study in which the focus of the course depends on the research interests of the students.
Prerequisite: INDN 140 or equivalent.

INDN 160b, Advanced Indonesian II. Indriyo Sukmono
Continued development of advanced level fluency. Prerequisite: INDN 150 or equivalent and permission of the instructor.

INDN 180b Advanced Indonesian: Research and Creative Project on Indonesia. Dinny Risri Aletheiani
Continuation of INDN 170. Students advance their communicative competence in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Use of Indonesian book chapters, Web pages, printed and electronic articles, social networking posts, newsgroups, and letters.

INDN 470a/471b, Independent Tutorial. Dinny Risri Aletheiani
For undergraduate students with advanced Indonesian language skills who wish to engage in concentrated reading and research on material not otherwise offered in courses. The work must be supervised by an adviser and must terminate in a term paper or its equivalent. (Pre-requisites: completion of Advanced Indonesian, Permission of instructor/submission of project proposal)

INDN 560 a/b, Readings in Indonesian.  Dinny Risri Aletheiani, Indriyo Sukmono
For graduate students with advanced Indonesian language skills preparing for academic performance and/or research purposes. (Prerequisite: INDN 560 or equivalent; permission of the instructor)


KHMR 110a and 120bElementary Khmer I and II (Hannah Phan, Cornell University)
SCI Class - taught via videoconference. Basic structures of modern standard Cambodian introduced through the integration of communicative practice, reading, writing, and listening comprehension. Introduction to Khmer society and culture. Course taught through distance learning using videoconferencing technology from Cornell University. Enrollment limited; interested students should e-mail for more information.

KHMR 130a and 140b, Intermediate Khmer I and II  (Hannah Phan, Cornell University)
SCI Class - taught via videoconference.  Students communicate in day-to-day conversation using complex questions and answers. The course focuses on reading, writing, speaking, and listening to Khmer words, long sentences, and texts. The course also emphasizes grammar, sentence structure and using words correctly. Course taught through distance learning using videoconferencing technology from Cornell University. Enrollment limited; interested students should e-mail for more information. Prerequisites: KHMR 120/130 or equivalent.


(Click on -> Vietnamese Studies at Yale)
Courses at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels (110-180) are open to both graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate students should consult with their home departments regarding course credit.

VIET 110a and 120b, Elementary Vietnamese I and II. Quang Phu Van
Students acquire basic working ability in Vietnamese including sociocultural knowledge. Attention paid to integrated skills such as speaking, listening, writing (Roman script), and reading. No previous knowledge of or experience with Vietnamese language required.

VIET 132a and 142b: Accelerated Vietnamese I and II Quang Phu Van
Courses follow a community-based language model designed for heritage students or speakers who comprehend and speak informal Vietnamese on topics related to everyday situations but do not read or write Vietnamese. Study of interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational communicative modes, as well as standard foreign language education (communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities). Students will engage with Vietnamese American communities in New Haven and beyond.
(Permission of instructor required)

VIET 220b  Introduction to Vietnamese Culture, Values, and Literature Quang Phu Van
Introduction to Vietnamese culture and values. Topics include cultural and national identity, aesthetics, the meaning of life, war, and death. Selected readings from Zen poems, folklore, autobiographies, and religious and philosophical writings. Course is taught in English and is an alternative to Western perspectives. Readings in translation. No previous knowledge of Vietnamese required. (This course can be applied towards the Humanities and Arts Yale College distributional requirement).

VIET 150a, Advanced Vietnamese. Quang Phu Van

Aims to enable students to achieve greater fluency and accuracy in the language beyond the intermediate level and to solidify reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Topics will include social, economic, and cultural practices, gender issues, notions of power, taboo, etc. Prerequisite: VIET 140 or equivalent.

VIET 470a / 471b, Independent Tutorial Quang Phu Van
For undergraduate students with advanced Vietnamese language skills who wish to engage in concentrated reading and research on material not otherwise offered in courses. The work must be supervised by an adviser and must terminate in a term paper or its equivalent. (Permission of instructor/submission of project proposal)

VIET 570b Readings in Vietnamese Quang Phu Van
For graduate students with advanced Vietnamese language skills who wish to engage in concentrated reading and research.



  *Yale undergraduates seeking CREDIT for approved non-Yale summer or term abroad courses must apply through the Yale Center for International Experience (CIPE) - see CIPE website for list of currently approved programs. Applications to receive credit for non-listed summer programs can also be submitted - > CLICK HERE for information.  All applications must be submitted prior to enrollment, and by the required application deadline.  See also, Yale credit transfer terms and requirements.

Programs below are Coordinated by Yale Study Abroad, Yale Center for International Experience. Approved for Yale College credit.



International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI)
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Academically challenging and intensely experiential, ISDSI courses are expeditions into the cultures and ecology of Thailand. Each course is focused on understanding sustainable development and is designed in collaboration with local communities.

SIT Indonesia: Arts, Religion, and Social Change
Bedulu, Indonesia
Examine the important roles played by Indonesia’s six officially recognized religions and the arts in shaping sociocultural discourses in Bali and Java. This program, based in Bali, blends contemporary culture and politics with rich cultural traditions in the arts and religion.

SIT Vietnam: Culture, Social Change and Development (academic year - University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam).
Academic studies followed by service learning field project - examine Vietnam’s traditional culture and value systems as well as the country’s more recent economic, social, and environmental change.
Apply through >Yale Center for International Experience.


See also Summer Language Study Abroad >