Historical Treaties of Southeast Asia

A research program in global diplomatic history

Historical Treaties of Southeast Asia is a collaborative research program in Global Diplomatic History financed by the Swedish Research Council and running from 2022 until the end of 2027.

A team of seven researchers based in Europe and Southeast Asia investigate the role of treaties and treaty-making in the imperial expansion and colonisation of Southeast Asia from the eighteenth to the early and twentieth century.

The researchers systematically analyse all bilateral treaties concluded between a European, American or Japanese imperial power and a Southeast Asian polity between the eighteenth and early twentieth century. In addition, a selected number of diplomatic treaty-making processes are studied in detail. In doing so, the project aims to bring about a new and more nuanced understanding modern imperialism of relevance not only to Southeast Asia but globally.


Seminar: Towards a new global history of Javanese court culture, politics and governance

2023-07-13 - 2023-07-14
Mangkunegaran Palace, Surakarta

Javanese courts and their significance as centers of governance, politics and culture have been the object of meticulous study. Few historians have however ventured to explore these courts and their histories beyond their Javanese or Indonesian contexts. This seminar aims to both decolonize, expand and ‘demystify’ our understanding of Javanese court culture beyond its overemphasized sanctified, ritual-ceremonial role in Javanese society. The aim is to focus on the worldly and human aspects of Javanese courts, and expose their ties to growing processes of global commercial and political interaction, intercultural diplomacy, colonial power.

More information and call for papers.

Call for papers ends 24th of March 2023. 

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All Dates

  • From 2023-07-13 to 2023-07-14

Southeast Asian perspectives on British and Dutch colonialism: New research project

Shadow figures depicted in an old manuscript

Historical Treaties of Southeast Asia program member Maarten Manse has been awarded a three-year project grant by the Swedish Research Council to explore the role of Southeast Asian actors in British and Dutch colonialism in the region.

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Colonialism, Slavery and Local Histories in Early Modern Asia

For several hundred years after 1498, seafaring European powers developed and co-opted a complicated network of commercial relations along the coastlands of the Indian Ocean World and Asia. For the most part, they did not open up new waterways but took advantage of existing systems of trade and exchange. European commerce was often established by brute force but also through negotiations and treaties, often in combination with violence or threats of violence.

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Manila, Philippines
Conference organized by the Historical Treaties of Southeast Asia research project.