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UCLA's Anthony Reid Named Fukuoka Laureate

UCLA historian Anthony Reid was named July 1 as a recipient of the prestigious Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize for his work in Southeast Asian historiography.

The award was conferred during ceremonies in Fukuoka, Japan, on 18-21 September 2002. 

The Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes were established to honor the outstanding work of individuals or organizations to preserve and create unique and diverse cultures in Asia.  It aims to preserve and foster Asian culture and promote the recognition of its prestigious value with a view to instituting a basic framework for mutual learning and extensive interaction for Asian people.

The academic prize is presented every year to one to two persons/groups who have made outstanding achievements in the field of Asian studies, thus contributing to the promotion of the world’s understanding of Asia. Previous winners of the Academic Prize include Clifford Geertz, Benedict Anderson, and NUS’s Wang Gungwu.

The citation from the Fukuoka Prize Secretariat read:

Professor Anthony Reid is a historian who has played a leading role in an new type of historical research that has resulted in the creation of a different historical viewpoint of the region. In his research into Southeast Asian history, Professor Reid has systematically focused on the climate, the population, and the various vital aspects of the everyday life of the people that had previously been passed over. His work has incorporated research into such subjects as diet, marriage, ceremonies, women, and amusements.

After studying history and economics at Victoria University of Wellington, he earned a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge. He later taught at many universities, including the University of Malaya and the Australian National University, continuing his research as well as the training of the next generation of scholars.

The point of departure for his research was the revolutionary period in Indonesia from 1945 to 1950. His work gained wide international acclaim, especially, for his two-volume study, Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce. Influenced by the French historical school Les Annales, Professor Reid studied an enormous number of historical records to create a new type of historical research. His arguments are formulated from the everyday life of the people, and include both the shared and unique characteristics of the nations of Southeast Asia created by large-scale maritime trade from 1450 to 1680, as well as the diversity of the natural environment and religion. His discoveries and insights from this regional research created a new picture of Southeast Asia as a region linked to global historical trends, wining him wide international recognition.

Professor Reid later extended his field of inquiry to contemporary Southeast Asian historical research. He has continued his wide-ranging studies, which include a comparative examination of the position of Chinese in Southeast Asia and Jews in Central Europe in the first half of the 20th century, as well as focusing on the unification and internal conflicts of Indonesia.

Thus, Professor Reid has created a landmark in Southeast Asian historical research and opened a new field in this area by studying the everyday existance of the people from many different perspectives, based on their daily lives filled with energy and vitality. Professor Reid is the leading scholar in this field, and a worthy choice for the Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.