This introduction to a special issue of the journal SOJOURN begins with a brief overview of the challenges to area studies following the publication of Edward Said's Orientalism in 1978. In the 1990s, area studies faced further criticism by proponents of globalization theories. Although these criticisms adversely affected the situation of Southeast Asian studies, especially in the United States, in the region itself the field remained healthy, as demonstrated in SOJOURN's thirty years of publication. A persisting theme in the articles included in this issue is the relationship between state and subject, nation and citizen, which is explored in several different contexts. A second theme concerns the interaction of global and area studies, especially in regard to the application of Western theory in non-Western environments, and the extent to which locally produced knowledge can contribute to global conversations. The essay ends with comments on the current strength of Southeast Asian studies in the region itself, and on the role of SOJOURN in contributing to that strength.


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pp. ix-xxxv
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