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Anticolonialism in Southeast Asia

Categories And Features Of Anticolonialism, Colonial Origins Of The Idea, Nationalism And The Idea Of Anticolonialism

Anticolonialism in Southeast Asia has been considered from a wide range of perspectives, resulting in deliberation over its character and place in the region's history. Generally, anti-colonialism refers to one type of Southeast Asian response to the encounter with Euro-American colonialism. One might then describe anticolonialism as including everything from the personalities, institutions, and resistance movements that arose in direct response to the establishment of colonies in Southeast Asia, to the growth of literary expressions, rituals, history, and popular culture that emerged within that historical context. More specifically, anticolonialism has also come to represent the ways in which colonized peoples protested, resisted, or expressed dissatisfaction with changes imposed by colonial authorities.

Because of the nature and history of colonialism in Southeast Asia (which occurred over four centuries involving different actors, intensities, locations, and agendas), expressions of anticolonialism in the region tend to reflect the circumstances and characteristics particular to each locality. So the study of anticolonial movements in the Spanish colonies was understood in the context of a "Philippine history" that was different from the historical context in which colonialism (and anticolonialism) would be examined in the case of nineteenth-century Myanmar (then known as Burma), whose history and colonial experience under the British had unfolded in quite a different manner. At the same time, scholars have also done extensive comparative work, demonstrating similarities in the way Southeast Asians articulated protest. In this regard, scholars have concentrated on the different forms of anticolonial expression in order to demonstrate variation and coherency in Southeast Asian cultural history. As a result, a distinctive and uniform "Southeast Asian" response to colonialism has yet to be clearly defined.

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