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Eric Tagliacozzo Tagliacozzo

Professor of History

Office: 346 McGraw Hall
Phone: (607) 254-6564
Fax: (607) 255-0469

Office Hours: Thursday: 1:30-3:30 and 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. Several edited volumes also look at Southeast Asia's connections with the Middle East; at the idea of Indonesia over a two thousand year-period; at Sino-Southeast Asian contact over the last millennium; and at the meeting of History and Anthropology generally (and conceptually) as disciplines. My newest book project is called The Longest Journey: Southeast Asians and the Pilgrimage to Mecca (Oxford, 2013), and this book attempts to write a history of this very broad topic from earliest times to the present.


Fall 2015:
HIST 1402
FWS: Global Islam
HIST 1910
Introduction to Modern Asian History Syllabus
Spring 2016:
HIST 3960/6960
Southeast Asian History from the Eighteenth Century
HIST 4922
Ocean: The Sea in Human History

Other Courses Taught at Cornell

Global Islam
Ocean: The Sea In Human History
The Pacific Horizon
The History of Things
Archipelago: Worlds of Indonesia
The Indian Ocean World
History of Pre-Modern Southeast Asia to the 18th Century
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


Recent Publications


    • The Longest Journey: Southeast Asians and the Pilgrimage to Mecca (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013). 368 pp.

    • 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)

    • (editor), Southeast Asia and the Middle East: Islam, Movement, and the Longue Duree (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2009).

    • (co-editor), The Indonesia Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009).

    • (co-editor) Clio/Anthropos: Exploring the Boundaries Between History and Anthropology (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2009).

    • (co-editor) Chinese Circulations: Capital, Commodities and Networks in Southeast Asia (Durham: Duke University Press, 2011).

    • (editor), Producing Indonesia: The State of the Field of Indonesian Studies (Cornell: SEAP Publications, 2014).

    • (co-editor), Burmese Lives: Ordinary Life Stories Under the Burmese Regime (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).

    • (co-editor), Asia Inside Out: Changing Times (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015).

    • (co-editor), Asia Inside Out: Connected Places (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015).


Some Recent Articles and Book Chapters (I will update this, eventually!):

"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 HistoryCROSSROADS: 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.



The Comparative Muslim Societies Program

Cornell Modern Indonesia Project

The journal INDONESIA

Cornell's Southeast Asia Program