This course examines contemporary Southeast Asia. As one of the most diverse regions in the world, the region confounds easy characterization. The first part of the course provides students with a broad overview of the social, cultural, and political institutions of the region with a focus on Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The second part turns to contemporary issues including political and economic development, religious change, and cultural constructions of identity. Readings include academic essays, short stories, and full-length ethnographies.