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First-Year Seminar--Non-Western History (103-6-22)


Exploring Southeast Asia


Haydon Leslie Cherry
Harris Hall - Room 217
Haydon Cherry is originally from New Zealand. He received his first degree from the National University of Singapore in Southeast Asian Studies and his Ph.D. from Yale University in History. His first book, Down and Out in Saigon: Stories of the Poor in a Colonial City, 1900-1940 will be published by Yale University Press. The book traces the changing social and economic history of the poor in colonial Saigon (now Hồ Chí Minh City) by following the lives of six individuals (a prostitute, a Chinese coolie, a rickshaw puller, an orphan, an invalid, and a destitute Frenchman) in the first decades of the twentieth century. At Northwestern, Haydon teaches the history of Southeast Asia as well as modern global history. Outside of the classroom, Haydon enjoys watching cricket and baseball, reading the novels of Iris Murdoch, and listening to the music of Wagner, Bruckner, and Mahler.

Meeting Info

Harris Hall L05: Tues, Thurs 3:30PM - 4:50PM

Overview of class

This seminar introduces the history of Southeast Asia from earliest times through the writings of travellers to the region. We will read texts in translation by South Asian sailors, Chinese monks and emissaries, and European merchants, priests, explorers, and early settlers, among others. We will also read the writings of Southeast Asians in response to these visitors. Together we will examine a variety of literary genres and modes of cross-cultural discourse better to understand the history of this complex and fascinating region.

Learning Objectives

1. Gain an introductory understanding of the history of modern Southeast Asia. 2. Learn to read literary texts closely and carefully with a sensitivity to language, imagery, setting, character, and plot. 3. Learn to think critically about the relationship between history and literary representations. 4. Learn to write clear, well-organized, lively, argumentative prose.

Evaluation Method

Best 3 of 4 2,000 word essays; seminar discussion.

Class Attributes

WCAS First-Year Seminar

Enrollment Requirements

Enrollment Requirements: Reserved for First Year & Sophomore only