Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley
A number of Berkeley faculty worked in the Philippines during the initial decades of the American occupation in the early 1900s. David Barrows, who served as UC Berkeley’s Chancellor from 1919 to 1923, held a number of different positions in the U.S. colonial administration in the Philippines. Robert Sproul, who was President of the University of California system from 1930 to 1958, was administrator for the public education system in the Philippines in the 1920s. Alfred Kroeber, the pioneering American ethnographer, also worked in the Philippines and published a short monograph on the peoples of the islands. Bernard Moses, who founded the university’s political science department, was the first Secretary of Public Instruction for the Philippines, after serving as a member of the Taft Commission.
Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese were first taught on campus during World War II when the university became a training venue for intelligence officers headed for the Pacific.
In 1959 the Ford Foundation extended institutional grants to several major U.S. research universities to promote international studies. The Center for Southeast Asia Studies was founded in 1960 in part because of this support. Although it merged with the Center for South Asia Studies in 1969, it became a separate unit again in 1990. In 2017, CSEAS joined the Institute of East Asian Studies.
CSEAS has been a U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center for Southeast Asian Studies in a consortium with the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles since 2000.
CSEAS is a founding member of the Graduate Education and Training in Southeast Asian Studies (GETSEA) consortium which was established in 2020. GETSEA was formed with the mission of enhancing graduate education in Southeast Asian Studies across North America, and is supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. The Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University is the administrative host.
CSEAS is a consortium member of the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI), which is based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; a founding member of the American Institute for Indonesian Studies (AIFIS), an American Overseas Research Center (AORC); and a member of the Southeast Asia Language Council (SEALC), headquartered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.