Conceptions of State and Kingship in Southeast Asia

Conceptions of State and Kingship in Southeast Asia

Conceptions of State and Kingship in Southeast Asia

Conceptions of State and Kingship in Southeast Asia

Excerpt

Professor Robert Heine-Geldern of the University of Vienna is clearly the doyen of all anthropologists specializing in the whole region to which he himself has helped attach the label of "Southeast Asia." His broad anthropological training, his acute scholarship, and his deep humanistic interests have been devoted almost entirely to this area for forty very productive years. The section on "'Sudostasian", almost, three hundred pages in length, which he contributed in 1923 to the second volume of Georg Buschan's Illustrierte Volkerkunde is still, in spite of much outdating, the best available detailed account of the prehistoric and historic physical, linguistic, and cultural types of this anthropologically significant but complex part of Asia. His early definition of the Southeast Asian culture area as extending from Assam eastwards to include aboriginal Taiwan and from Southern China southwards through the Indian archipelago stands among anthropologists today. For the island world he adopted the Greek term "Indonesia", first advanced in the 1860's by the German anthropologist Bastian, later incorporated into the Malayo-Polynesian languages of the East Indies (although its use there was forbidden by the Dutch), and now the name of the sixth most populous nation of the world. This recognition of ethnographic Indonesia as a part of Southeast Asia has helped anthropologists understand some of the basic cultural similarities which existed in the region before it was influenced by Chinese, Indic, Moslem and North Atlantic civilizations.

The present paper by Dr. Heine-Geldern is an interesting contribution to an aspect of the political development of this region under influences coming particularly from or through India. The paper has been used at Cornell University as an assigned reading in courses on Southeast Asia since its first publication in The Far Eastern Quarterly. Now with the very kind editorial permission of the Far Eastern Association and of Dr. Heine-Geldern, and with a few minor changes incorporated at the suggestion of the author, the paper is issued by the Cornell Southeast Asia Program in the hope that it may be found useful in the increasing number of courses being given on this area in academic institutions.

This foreword is written with a special sense of gratitude by the undersigned, who began his anthropological studies of Southeast Asia in Vienna in 1930 under Dr. Heine-Geldern's able guidance. To a fine scholar and teacher who has done so much for Southeast Asian studies in America as elsewhere. sincere personal and professional thanks are offered.

Lauriston Sharp, Director Southeast Asia Program

Department of Far Eastern Studies Cornell University Ithaca, New York April, 1956 . . .

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