the thesis managed to dredge up a first-class, so this is cool & I will, alas, be forced to adorn myself with convocation frippery this october at behest of the parents.
meanwhile I have managed to acquire a glorious 4 volume set of the Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, which I will be consuming in toto over the next few months. I’ve always been sympathetic to the Braudelian idea that nation states are arbitrarily carved-up portions of a larger geographically-defined landscape; thus, Braudel’s ‘Mediterranean’ rather than Italy, Greece, Spain etc. But it seems to me that ‘Southeast Asia’, though regarded as a regional promontory into the Indian and Pacific Oceans, is ultimately itself defined through the delineation of nation states (so, we’d include Burma, but not really India, in our study of Southeast Asia — or Laos and Vietnam, but not China). The boundaries of nation states are porous, as are the boundaries of the historian’s geographical focus. Are we better off operating thematically rather than regionally, then?
at any rate, in deference to this sympathy, I’m increasingly considering extending the geographical purview of my PhD — though this will certainly mean not limiting myself exclusively to British Malaya, I’m not sure what it will include yet.