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Exchanging Fashion: Cross-cultural Influences in Southeast Asia and Early Modern Europe by Professor Barbara Watson Andaya

Ngee Ann Auditorium 13 Oct 2017 7-8:30pm
13Oct2017_WatsonAndaya 1800

The circumnavigation of the globe in 1522 marked the beginning of a new chapter in global history, ushering in a period of ever-increasing cross-cultural contacts. Such contacts can be examined in many different contexts, but this presentation will focus on the ways in which trade between Europe and Southeast Asia fostered curiosity and emulation in clothing. While fashionable Europeans were intrigued by the unusual fabrics and ornamentation, like feathers and tortoiseshell, that Asia provided, the demand for exotic textiles and jewellery from distant lands is similarly evident in the courts of Southeast Asia. In discussing these influences as they moved between Southeast Asia and Europe and within Asia itself, the presentation will argue that fashion became part of a “network of knowledge” that helped to provoke curiosity and interest in cultures and societies they might never have otherwise encountered.

About the speaker

Barbara Watson Andaya is a professor in the Asian Studies Program at the University of Hawai’i and former director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. Currently she is a visiting professor at Yale/NUS and visiting senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. She obtained her PhD at Cornell University with a specialisation in Southeast Asian history.

Her career has involved teaching and researching in Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and, since 1994, the Hawai’i. She maintains an active teaching and research interest across all Southeast Asia, but her specific area of expertise is the western Malay-Indonesia archipelago. In 2000 she received a John Simon Guggenheim Award, which resulted in The Flaming Womb: Repositioning Women in Southeast Asian History, 1500–1800. Her current project is a history of religious interaction in Southeast Asia, 1511–1900, with a special focus on Christianity.


This lecture is free. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. No registration is required.


Image: Ceremonial robe (kawai). Peranakan Museum, Gift of Mr and Mrs Lee Kip Lee