Uncovering Legacies of Imperialism through Primary Sources

Module Summary

This module considers the use of photography and fiction to describe as well as encourage discussion about the nature of imperialism in Southeast Asia and its legacies. The PowerPoint file titled “Thinking about primary sources in the classroom: Using pictures to talk about colonialism” contains numerous photographs capturing pictorial manifestations of imperialism in Southeast Asia. These scenes suggest the complexity of the relationship under imperialism between Southeast Asians and Europeans. These photographs can be used separately or to stimulate discussion of three readings of fiction and poetry that similarly describe imperialism in Southeast Asia: 1) Rudyard Kipling’s The White Man’s Burden; 2) selections of Ma Ma Lay’s Not Out of Hate; and 3) selections of George Orwell’s Burmese Days.

This module is based on the presentation given by Barbara Andaya (Professor of Asian Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa) at the East-West Center’s 2011 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute for Teachers.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this module do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the East-West Center.

Optional Reading

The optional readings for this module are: 1) Rudyard Kipling, The White Man’s Burden; 2) Ma Ma Lay, Not Out of Hate; and 3) George Orwell, Burmese Days.

Teaching Materials

PowerPoint lecture (Using primary sources)
Course reading (Rudyard Kipling, Ma Ma Lay, and George Orwell)

Key topics include: Batavia/Jakarta, capitalism, culture and cultural exchange, Decolonization, democracy, development, Dutch East Indies/Netherlands Indies, East India Company, European powers, French Indochina, imperialism/colonialism, independence movements, Malaya/British Malaya, Malays, nationalism, trade and the economy, VOC, WWII in Southeast Asia.

We welcome comments from teachers on how you have integrated this material into your teaching, including what was useful and what wasn’t, and what additional resources you would like to see in or recommend for this module.