UCB-UCLA Consortium National Resource Center for Southeast Asia

In 2000 the CSEAS joined with the Center for Southeast Asia Studies at UC Berkeley to form a consortium. The same year the UCLA-UCB consortium was designated a US Department of Education National Resource Center for Southeast Asian Studies, one of only a small number in the country.

The Centers for Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley and UCLA are committed to:

  • strengthening training in the major languages of Southeast Asia in conjunction with area studies training in the field;
  • supporting graduate and undergraduate teaching, research, outreach;
  • sponsoring community activities related to Southeast Asia and Southeast Asians.

These two Centers form a consortium National Resource Center, which is funded by the "Title VI of the Higher Education Act" of 1965. The U.S. Department of Education supports a small number of other Southeast Asia National Resource Centers at major universities.

The strong and growing programs around these activities highlight the two campus' cooperative efforts to establish a strong, statewide base for Southeast Asia Studies, and to have a national impact. The consortium's mission is to provide two exceptional institutions for promoting understanding of Southeast Asian languages, cultures, political economies, and environments. Programs encompass on-campus and off-campus cultural and academic event support for university teaching, curriculum development and professional development for K-12 teachers and faculty in California's many state and community colleges. Both Center web sites provide links to Southeast Asian Internet resources, to other statewide higher education institutions and California's many Southeast Asian communities.

While each campus has significant individual strengths, the cooperation as a consortium has created new opportunities that further benefit educators and students. UC Berkeley offers undergraduate major and a minor, master's degree, and doctorate programs in Southeast Asia Studies. UC Los Angeles has an undergraduate major and a minor in Southeast Asia Studies. Both campuses have strong doctorate programs based in departments, interdisciplinary programs, and the professional schools. Students and faculty are supported by language training in Vietnamese, Tagalog/Filipino, Thai, Khmer (at UC Berkeley only), and Indonesian; most of these-as well as the more than 200 non-language Southeast Asia-related courses across the humanities, social sciences, and professional schools--have higher enrollments than comparable courses at most U.S. universities.

The great strength of this consortium, and of the two campuses individually, lies in the number, quality, and range of faculty teaching Southeast Asia courses and conducting research in the region. Within the last Department of Education grant cycle, three new permanent non-language faculty members were added at UCB and four at UCLA, working on topics ranging from history and literature to environmental politics and sociology. Four new language instructors have also been appointed to teach languages never previously taught (Khmer at UCB and Indonesian at UCLA) and existing language offerings (Advanced Vietnamese at both UCB and UCLA) has increased. The learning opportunities created by these faculty appointments are augmented by major interdisciplinary teaching programs on both campuses in Development Studies, Political Economy, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Environmental Studies, just to name a few.

The libraries at Berkeley and UCLA are ranked third and seventh, respectively, in the United States. The UCB library system has one of the three strongest Southeast Asian collections in the country. Both campuses have significant collections of vernacular and colonial-language materials, which continue to grow.

The Berkeley collections are ranked with those of Yale, Cornell, and the Library of Congress in size, scope, staffing, research reference service, and cooperation with other libraries. The collection is strong in both western and vernacular language holdings in prewar and postwar periods, emphasizing the social sciences and humanities. There are major pre-W.W.II collections in western languages on Burma, the Philippines, and Indochina, including runs of annual reports of the colonial administrators throughout the region. Indonesian collections are among the most comprehensive in the world, including large quantities of Dutch colonial literature and all the major journals. Library holdings of the professional schools and colleges have been critical to the collection since pre-war days. The Berkeley Biosciences Library has an extensive collection of colonial and early post-colonial forestry and agricultural journals from Southeast Asia; the Boalt School of Law holds key journals on natural resource law dating from the 19th century.

Goals include increasing language-teaching capacities in order to teach three levels of language for at least three major Southeast Asian languages on each campus. We also hope to increase FLAS funding opportunities for our rapidly increasing pools of Southeast Asian Studies-oriented graduate students, to continue expanding Southeast Asia library collections in both print and non-print media, and address teacher training priorities at the K-12, community college, and doctorate degree levels.

Published: Monday, October 10, 2005