Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Strange Parallels in World History

After decades of research and scholarly publication Professor Victor L. Lieberman of the University of Michigan currently ranks as the foremost historian of early modern Burma in the world. In the recent first volume of a two volume series, Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context, C.800-1830: Integration on the Mainland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), he begins an investigation into the strange parallels between the long duree history of mainland Southeast Asia and other regions of the world.

In 2004 he was honored with the coveted World History Association Book Prize for this book . An excerpt and sample chapter from the book are available from the Cambridge University Press. You can also search the contents of the book using Google Book Search. Online reviews have been written by professors Volker Grabowsky and F.K.L. Chit Hlaing. Professor Lieberman's previous book "Burmese Administrative Cycles: Anarchy and Conquest, c. 1580–1760" (Princeton, N.J. 1984) won the Harry J. Benda prize in Southeast Asian Studies. The best place to get a complete list of professor Lieberman's extensive articles on early modern Burmese history is to search through Michael Charney's bibliography of secondary literature on Burma. A speech by professor Anthony Reid of the National University of Singapore talks about professor Lieberman's critique of the idea of a seventeenth century crisis or watershed in Southeast Asian history applied to the Burmese mainland.

Professor Lieberman was recently awarded a Collegiate Professorship in History at the University of Michigan, which he named the Marvin B. Becker Chair after his late colleague. His student Dr. Michael Charney is carrying on his tradition of scholarship on pre-modern Burma as a lecturer at his alma mater the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London which has long been a center for the study of Burmese history, language, and literature.