Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

About Us


Welcome to the department of
Southeast Asian History and Society





Research and Teaching Goals
  • Development of a comprehensive regional approach that aims to advance the theoretical and methodological debate within area studies as New Area Studies
  • Approach of an emic perspective
  • Comparative analysis of the entanglements of historical as well as contemporary local, transnational and global dynamics
  • Development of localized and contextualized, multidimensional knowledge
  • “Region” as a flexible heuristic instrument
  • Research into situated social phenomena
  • Reflexive translation and recognition of the limits of translatability
  • Disciplinary multiplicity by integrating ethnological approaches into New Area Studies


Main Topics of Interest
  • Theory and history of area studies
  • Colonial and imperial history
  • History of labor
  • Islam in Southeast Asia
  • Popular religion in mainland Southeast Asia
  • Memory and violence


Regional Foci
  • Indonesia
  • Cambodia
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam



Who to Approach

Prof. Vincent Houben

  • Professor of Southeast Asian History and Society
  • Email: sea-history.asa (at)


Dr. Rosa Cordillera A. Castillo

  • Assistant Professor
  • Email: rosa.castillo (at)


Petra Sugita-Andrée

  • Secretariat
  • Email: sea-history.asa (at)


Danny KretschmerJona Pomerance

  • Student Assistants
  • Email: hiwi-soa (at)



Information for Students

  • General information: Study at IAAW
  • Coordinator B.A. Regionalstudien Asien/Afrika: Stefan Hoffmann (ba-iaaw [at]
  • Coordinator M.A. Moderne Süd- und Südostasienstudien: Sadia Bajwa (sadia.bajwa [at]



SEA Newsletter

For current (though mostly German) information on events as well as department-related notifications, you can subscribe to our newsletter (soa-news [at] through the following address:

If you’d like to circulate information via the newsletter yourself, you can contact our student assistants: hiwi-soa [at]