Degree Programs

The Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies offers an undergraduate major and a graduate degree in South and Southeast Asian Studies. The Global Studies major supports a regional focus on Asia for the undergraduate degree. The Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies program in the Department of Ethnic Studies offers courses in the study of the Southeast Asian diaspora in the U.S. 

Many of the university's professional degree programs, such as those offered by the Goldman School of Public Policy and the School of Public Health, allow for a focus on Southeast Asia, while many Ph.D. programs in the College of Letters & Science, the College of Environmental Design and the College of Natural Resources support a concentration on Southeast Asia within the major field. The Joint Medical Program, a five-year M.S./M.D. degree program, offered through UC Berkeley's School of Public Health and the UC San Francisco School of Medicine, allows students to pursue an area focus on Southeast Asia. 

Recent Ph.D. Dissertations

Buddhist Studies

Trent Walker, "Unfolding Buddhism: Communal Scripts, Localized Translations, and the Work of the Dying in Cambodian Chanted Leporellos", 2018

Comparative Literature

Trinh My Luu, "Law and Literature in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam", 2019

Ethnic Studies

Kim Tran, "Refugees in a World on Fire: Dispossession, Diaspora and the Possibilities of Queer Resistance", 2018


Matthew Berry, “Confucian Terrorism: Phan Bội Châu and the Imagining of Modern Vietnam”, 2020  

Kevin Li, "Entrepreneurs of Disorder: The Binh Xuyen and the Decolonization of Vietnam", 2020

Ryan Nelson, “South Vietnam's Awakening: A Novel Developmental History, 1963 to 1967”, 2020          

Cindy Nguyen, "Reading and Misreading: The Social Life of Libraries and Colonial Control in Vietnam, 1865-1958", 2019

Loan Chau Pham, “Going Global: The International Relations of the People’s Army of Vietnam during the Indochina Wars, 1930-1964”, 2020  

Brandon Williams, “The Will to Develop Isn’t Enough: The International Labor Organization, Indonesia, and India in Decades of Cold War and Development”, 2020    

Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Kanokwalee Suteethorn, "Urban Forests in Temple Landscapes The Cultural Services of an Urban Forest within a Temple Garden: The Bangkok Experience", 2018


Kenneth Baclawksi Jr., "Discourse connectedness: The syntax-discourse structure interface”, 2019

Medical Anthropology (joint program with UC San Francisco)

Maryani Rasidjan, "Population Anxiety in Black Papua: The Politics of Reproduction and Racialization in Peripheral Indonesia", 2019


Evyn Le Espiritu, "Archipelago of Resettlement: Vietnamese Refugee Settlers in Guam and Israel-Palestine", 2018

South & Southeast Asian Studies

Thibodi Buakamsri, "Travelers, Dreamers, Adventurers and Agitators: Common Worlds and Uncommon Lives Across Nineteenth-Century Cambodia", 2018

Kankan Xie, "Estranged Comrades: Global Networks of Indonesian Communism, 1926-1932", 2019

Recent Books by Alumni

The Spirit Ambulance: Choreographing the End of Life in Thailand (UC Press, 2020) by Scott Stonington (Ph.D., Medical Anthropology, 2009)

Traces of Trauma: Cambodian Visual Culture and National Identity in the Aftermath of Genocide (University of Hawaii Press, 2019) by Boreth Ly (Ph.D., History of Art, 2002)

Anthropogenic Rivers: The Production of Uncertainty in Lao Hydropower (Cornell University Press, 2019) by Jerome Whitington (Ph.D., Anthropology, 2008)

Las Vegas in Singapore: Violence, Progress and the Crisis of Nationalist Modernity (National University of Singapore Press, 2019) by Lee Kah-Wee (Ph.D., City & Regional Planning, 2012)

Beyond Debt: Islamic Experiments in Global Finance (University of Chicago Press, 2018) by Daromir Rudnyckyj (Ph.D., Anthropology, 2006)

The Politics of Love in Myanmar: LGBT Mobilization and Human Rights as a Way of Life (Stanford University Press, 2018) by Lynette J. Chua (Ph.D., Jurisprudence & Social Policy, 2011)

America's Vietnam: The Longue Durée of U.S. Literature and Empire (Temple University Press, 2018) by Marguerite Nguyen (Ph.D., English, 2008)

Migrant Returns: Manila, Development, and Transnational Connectivity (Duke University Press, 2017) by Eric  J. Pido (Ph.D., Ethnic Studies, 2011)

Post-Mandarin: Masculinity and Aesthetic Modernity in Colonial Vietnam (Fordham University Press, 2017) by Ben Tran (Ph.D., Comparative Literature, 2008)

Imperial Intoxication: Alcohol and the Making of Colonial Indochina (University of Hawaii Press, 2017) by Gerard Sasges (Ph.D., History, 2006)

Vietnam’s Communist Revolution: The Power and Limits of Ideology (Cambridge University Press, 2017) by Tuong Vu (Ph.D., Political Science, 2004)

Dealing in Desire: Asian Ascendancy, Western Decline, and the Hidden Currencies of Global Sex Work (UC Press, 2015) by Kimberly Kay Hoang (Ph.D., Sociology, 2011)

Stunning Males and Powerful Females: Gender and Tradition in East Javanese Dance (University of Illinois Press, 2015) by Christina Sunardi (Ph.D., Music, 2007)

Javaphilia: American Love Affairs with Javanese Music and Dance (University of Hawaii Press, 2015) by Henry Spiller (Ph.D., Music, 2001)

Creating a Buddhist Community: A Thai Temple in Silicon Valley (Temple University Press, 2015) by Jiemin Bao (Ph.D., Anthropology, 1994)

From the Land of Shadows: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Cambodian Diaspora (NYU Press, 2015) by Khatharya Um (Ph.D., Political Science, 1990)

Securing Paradise: Tourism and Militarism in Hawai‘i and the Philippines (Duke University Press, 2013) by Vernadette Gonzalez (Ph.D., Ethnic Studies, 2004)

Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2012) by Sophal Ear (Ph.D., Political Science, 2006)

Imperial Heights: Dalat and the Making and Undoing of French Indochina (UC Press, 2012) by Eric Jennings (Ph.D., History, 1998)

Mixed Medicines: Health and Culture in French Colonial Cambodia (University of Chicago Press, 2011) by Sokhieng Au (Ph.D., History, 2005)