Professor of History
Office: 346 McGraw Hall
Phone: (607) 254-6564
Fax: (607) 255-0469
Office Hours: Wednesdays: 10am to 12noon or by appointment
Research and Teaching Interests
Much of my work has centered on the history of people, ideas, and material in motion in and around Southeast Asia, especially in the late colonial age. My first book, Secret Trades, Porous Borders: Smuggling and States Along a Southeast Asian Frontier (Yale, 2005), examined many of these ideas by analyzing the history of smuggling in the region. My last book project was called The Longest Journey: Southeast Asians and the Pilgrimage to Mecca (Oxford, 2013), and this book attempted to write a history of this very broad topic from earliest times to the present. I am also the editor or co-editor of a number of other books, on the global Hajj; on trans-nationalism in Asia as seen through time-periods, and also through place; on Burmese lives under a coercive regime; on the state of the field of Indonesian Studies, and Indonesian sources more generally; on Chinese trade down to Southeast Asia, and Southeast Asian contacts west to the Middle East; and finally on the relationship between History and Anthropology as disciplines. I’m now working on a book about the linked maritime histories of Asia, from Yemen east to Yokohoma.
For more information and links to current courses, go to: History's Courses Page
Courses Taught at Cornell
Ocean: The Sea In Human History
The Pacific Horizon
The History of Things
Archipelago: Worlds of Indonesia
The Indian Ocean World
Monsoon Kingdoms: Pre-Modern Southeast Asian History
History of Modern Southeast Asia, 1600-Present
Peddlers, Pirates, and Prostitutes: Subaltern Histories of Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia in the World System, 1500-Present
Crime and Diaspora in Southeast Asia 1750-1950
History of Modern Asia
Undergraduate Historiography Seminar
Graduate Historiography Seminar
Ph.D. Yale University, 1999
M.Phil Yale University, 1995
M.A. Yale University, 1993
B.A. Haverford College, 1989
• (co-editor), The Hajj: Pilgrimage in Islam (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016).
• (co-editor), Asia Inside Out: Changing Times (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015).
• (co-editor), Asia Inside Out: Connected Places (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015).
• (co-editor), Burmese Lives: Ordinary Life Stories Under the Burmese Regime (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).
• (editor), Producing Indonesia: The State of the Field of Indonesian Studies (Cornell: SEAP Publications, 2014).
• (author) The Longest Journey: Southeast Asians and the Pilgrimage to Mecca (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013). 368 pp.
• (co-editor) Chinese Circulations: Capital, Commodities and Networks in Southeast Asia (Durham: Duke University Press, 2011).
• (co-editor) Clio/Anthropos: Exploring the Boundaries Between History and Anthropology (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2009).
• (co-editor), The Indonesia Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009).
• (editor), Southeast Asia and the Middle East: Islam, Movement, and the Longue Duree (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2009).
• (author) Secret Trades, Porous Borders: Smuggling and States Along a Southeast Asian Frontier, 1865-1915 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005). 437 pp.
** (Winner of the Harry J. Benda Prize from the Association of Asian Studies, 2007)
Articles and Book Chapters
“Introduction” in The Hajj: Pilgrimage in Islam (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp. 1-12.
“The Hajj by Sea” in The Hajj: Pilgrimage in Islam(New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp. 113-130.
“Jagged Landscapes: Conceptualizing Borders and Boundaries in the History of Human Societies” Journal of Borderlands Studies 11, 2015: 1-20.
“Introduction: Structuring Moments in Asian Connections” in Eric Tagliacozzo, et al., eds., Asia Inside Out: Changing Times (Volume I) (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015), pp. 1-22.
“Before the Gangrene Set in: The Dutch East Indies in 1910” in Eric Tagliacozzo, et al., eds., Asia Inside Out: Changing Times (Volume I) (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015), pp. 226-249.
“Introduction: Spatial Assemblages” in Eric Tagliacozzo, et al., eds., Asia Inside Out: Connected Places (Volume II) (Cambridge; Harvard University Press, 2015), pp. 1-30.
“Southeast Asia’s Middle East: Shifting Geographies of Islam and Trade Across the Indian Ocean” in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (Duke University Press), vol. 34, #3, 2014.
“Burmese and Muslim: Islam in the Sangha State” in Wen-Chin Chang and Eric Tagliacozzo, eds., Burmese Lives: Ordinary Life Under the Burmese Regime (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 83-108.
“Introduction: Burmese Lives” in Wen-Chin Chang and Eric Tagliacozzo, eds., Burmese Lives: Ordinary Life Stories Under the Burmese Regime (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 1-22.
“The State of the Field of Indonesian Studies” in Eric Tagliacozzo, ed., Producing Indonesia: The State of the Field of Indonesian Studies (Ithaca: Southeast Asia Program, 2014), pp. 1-18.
“Gradations of Colonialism in Southeast Asia’s “In-Between Places”, in Norman Owen, A New History of Southeast Asia (New York: Routledge, 2013): 36-46.
“Borneo in Motion: Geology, Biota, and Contraband in Transnational Circuits” TRANS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press) 1, 1: 2013: 52-77.
"Strange Parallels and the Big Picture: 'Asia' Writ Large Over a Turbulent Millennium" Journal of Asian Studies (Cambridge University Press), 70, 4, 2011: 939-963.
"Trans-Regional Indonesia Over One Thousand Years: The Art of the Long View" INDONESIA (Cornell University Press), 90, 2010: 1-15.
“Navigating Communities: Distance, Place, and Race in Maritime Southeast Asia” in Asian Ethnicity(Routledge), 10, 2, 2009: 97-120.
“Contraband and Violence: Lessons from the Southeast Asian Case” in Crime, Law, and Social Change (Springer), 52, 3, 2009: 243-252.
“Morphological Shifts in Southeast Asian Prostitution: The Long Twentieth Century” Journal of Global History (Cambridge University Press/LSE), 3, 2008: 251-273.
“The National Archives (Jakarta) and the Writing of Transnational Histories of Indonesia” Itinerario, (Leiden University Press) 32, 2, 2008: 81-95.
“Thinking Marginally: Ethno-Historical Notes on the Nature of Smuggling in Human Societies” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 18, 2, 2008: 144-164.
“An Urban Ocean: Notes on the Historical Evolution of Coastal Cities in Greater SE Asia” Journal of Urban History (Sage/UNC Press), 33, 6, 2007: 911-932.
“Onto the Coast and Into the Forest: Ramifications of the China Trade on the History of Northwest Borneo, 900-1900” in Reed Wadley (ed), Histories of the Borneo Environment, (Leiden: KITLV Press), 2005: 25-60.
“The Lit Archipelago: Coastlighting and the Imperial Optic in Insular Southeast Asia, 1860-1910” Technology and Culture (Johns Hopkins University Press), 46, 2, 2005: 306-328.
“Ambiguous Commodities, Unstable Frontiers: The Case of Burma, Siam, and Imperial Britain, 1800-1900”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, (Cambridge University Press) 46: 2, 2004: 354-377.
“Tropical Spaces, Frozen Frontiers: The Evolution of Border Enforcement in Nineteenth Century Insular Southeast Asia” in Remco Raben, et al., (eds), Locating Southeast Asia, (Ohio/Singapore University Presses), 2004: 149-174.
“A Necklace of Fins: Marine Goods Trading in Maritime Southeast Asia, 1780-1860” International Journal of Asian Studies [Cambridge University Press], 1/1, 2004: 23-48.
"Border-Line Legal: Chinese Communities and ‘Illicit’ Activity in Insular Southeast Asia" in Ng Chin Keong (ed) Maritime China and the Overseas Chinese in Transition, 1750-1850, (Wiesbaden: HV, 2004): 61-76.
“Finding Captivity Among the Peasantry: The Malay/Indonesian World, 1850-1925”, South East Asia Research, [University of London Press] 11/2, 2003: 171-200.
“Hydrography, Technology, Coercion: Mapping the Sea in Southeast Asian Imperialism, 1850-1900” Archipel: Etudes Interdisciplinaires sur le Monde Insulindien, [Ecole des Hautes Etudes/SS, Paris], 65, 2003: 89-107.
“Amphora, Whisper, Text: Ways of Writing Southeast Asian History” CROSSROADS: Interdisciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, [N. Illinois University Press] 16/1, 2002: 128-158.
“Smuggling in Southeast Asia: History and its Contemporary Vectors in an Unbounded Region” Critical Asian Studies, (Routledge), 34/2, 2002: 193-220.
“Trade, Production, and Incorporation: The Indian Ocean in Flux, 1600-1900” Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History, [Leiden University Press] 26/1, 2002: 75-106.
“Border Permeability and the State in Southeast Asia: Contraband and Regional Security”, in Contemporary Southeast Asia [ISEAS Press], 23, 2, 2001: 254-274.
"Kettle on a Slow Boil: Batavia's Threat Perceptions in the Indies' Outer Islands, 1870-1910" Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, [Cambridge and Singapore University Presses] 31, #1, 2000: 70-100.