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Southeast Asian Studies Center

Identifier: RHC-UA-30--5

Scope and Contents

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies records are a subgroup within the Academic Centers record group of the University Archives.  There are two series in the collection:  Southeast Asian Center materials and Peace Corps records which are further divided into specific programs (ex. Malaya). The records primarily date from 1961 to 1967, with newsletters from the Southeast Asian Studies Center continuing to the present time.  Correspondence and reports document the Center's history.  The Peace Corps records contain correspondence from all over the world detailing the establishment of training programs on the NIU campus as well as reports, proposals, and financial records.  The largest sub-series documents the Malaya and Thailand Training Programs.  Orientation aids, reports, and correspondence reveal a great deal of information on the health status and political make-up of Thailand, Malaysia, and the Phillippines.  The collection is an excellent source for political science research.


  • Created: 1961+
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1961+
  • Other: Date acquired: 00/00/1970

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to the records.

Conditions Governing Use

Literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Biographical or Historical Information

In 1961 NIU President Leslie Holmes appointed several faculty members to develop a new interdisciplinary program focusing on Southeast Asia.  Under the leadership of Professor Daniel Wit (former Chairman of the Political Science Department) and Professor J. Norman Parmer (former Chairman of the History Department), the new program received approval from the Board of Governors in 1963.  At the same time the Center for Southeast Asian Studies was created to stimulate and direct the new program.  Professor M. Ladd Thomas of the Department of Political Science served as the first Center Coordinator. From the beginning the Center became involved in training programs.  Under a contract with the Center, a small group of missionaries trained for lay work in Indonesia.  Under Professor Thomas' direction, the Center also was responsible for Peace Corps training programs for Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.  This activity ended in 1968 when the Peace Corps transferred its training programs to the host countries. The Interinstitutional Council on Asian Studies in Illinois organized in 1970 to promote more effective use of Asian resources in the state.  The Council awarded the Center several grants to facilitate state-wide sharing of its Southeast Asian resources.  To minimize overlapping instruction in Southeast Asian languages and area specialization, the Center cooperated with the Center for Asian Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana, and the Center for Vietnamese Studies, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. The primary focus of the Center is on Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.  Over thirty courses taught by members of the Departments of Art (History), Anthropology, Geography, History, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Political Science, and Sociology are offered.  These courses cover a wide variety of topics and some additional courses focus on China, Japan, India, Pakistan, and the Middle East.

Note written by Tenth Anniversary Report


20.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Method of Acquisition

The University Archives acquired the Center for Southeast Asian Studies' records in several installments beginning in the mid-1970's.

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Repository Details

Part of the Northern Illinois University Repository

Founders Memorial Library
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb IL 60115 US