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Southeast Asian Studies Library Resources: Reference Materials

SEA Rererence Section

The Southeast Asia Collection has a comprehensive reference section that includes dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks and other informative materials. 

There is also a general reference section on the first floor of Founders Memorial Library.

For more information and availability search the NIU Online Catalog.


Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia and Africa

This encyclopedia provides concise information about countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The goal of this publication is to convey what daily life is like for people in these regions, so that we may understand the importance of cultural sociology, appreciate the effects of cultural forces around the world, and learn the history of countries and cultures within these regions.

 Everyday Life in Southeast Asia (2011)

A survey of the peoples, cultures and societies of Southeast Asia, with essays focusing on the lives of ordinary people and describing family and household organizations, religions, popular culture and the arts, the legacies of war and recovery, globalization, and the environment.

Southeast Asia in World History (2009)

A survey of the history of Southeast Asia from ancient times to the present, paying particular attention to the region's role in world history and the distinctive societies that arose over time.

History, Culture, and Region in Southeast Asian Perspectives

A new edition of this classic study of mandala Southeast Asia. The revised book includes a substantial, retrospective postscript examining contemporary scholarship that has contributed to the understanding of Southeast Asian history since 1982.

A History of Southeast Asia

A History of Southeast Asia narrates the history of the region from earliest recorded times until today, covering present-day Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia and East Timor. Concisely written and filled with historical anecdotes of key individuals and events, this authoritative volume is presented in three parts, covering both mainland and maritime Southeast Asia.

Historical Dictionary of Ancient Southeast Asia

Covering the countries of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam during the period from the first to the fifteenth century, the Historical Dictionary of Ancient Southeast Asia helps us comprehend the vast and complex history of the region through a chronology, a glossary, a bibliography, an introduction, appendixes, maps, photographs, diagrams, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on the major (and many minor) sites, the more significant historical figures, the kingdoms they ruled over, the economic and social relations between them, and the artistic, cultural, and religious context.

The A to Z of the Peoples of the Southeast Asian Massif

This book offers hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on about 200 groups, the six countries they live in, some of their leaders, and their political, economic, social, cultural and religious aspects. The chronology covers important events. The introduction discusses both the diversities and similarities of the groups' ethnicities, languages, religious practices, and customs. And the bibliography supplements the dictionary entries.

Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Southeast Asia

Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Southeast Asia contains profiles of each Southeast Asian country. Following this, it provides more than 450 alphabetically arranged individual entries providing detailed accounts and analyses on major episodes and treaties, political parties and institutions, civil society movements, and regional and international organizations. Biographies of significant political leaders and personalities, both past and present, are also provided. Entries are comprehensively cross-referenced, and an index by country directs readers to all entries concerning a particular country. The Dictionary also includes an extensive bibliography that serves as a guide to further reading.


The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia (2010)

An account of the Theravada Buddhist thought and practice in the Southeast Asian societies of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka,


Sultans, Shamans, and Saints: Islam and Muslims in Southeast Asia (2007)

Sultans, Shamans, and Saints looks at Islam in Southeast Asia during four major eras: its arrival (to 1300), the first flowering of Islamic identity (1300–1800), the era of imperialism (1800–1945), and the era of independent nation-states (1945–2000). Each chapter opens with a general background summary that places events in the greater Asian/Southeast Asian context, followed by an overview of prominent ethnic groups, political events, customs and cultures, religious factors, and art forms.

Encyclopedia of Religion

Among Library Journal's picks of the most important reference works of the millennium, Mircea Eliade's Encyclopedia of Religion won the American Library Associations' Dartmouth Medal in 1988 and is widely regarded as the standard reference work in the field. This second edition, which is intended to reflect both changes in academia and in the world since 1987, includes almost all of the 2,750 original entries - many heavily updated - as well as approximately 600 entirely new articles. Preserving the best of Eliade's cross-cultural approach, while emphasizing religion's role within everyday life and as a unique experience from culture to culture, this new edition is the definitive work in the field for the 21st century.

Islamic Philosophy A-Z

A unique introductory guide to the rich, complex and diverse tradition of Islamic philosophy. Islamic Philosophy A-Z comprises over 100 concise entries, alphabetically ordered and cross-referenced for easy access. All the essential aspects of Islamic philosophy are covered here: key figures, schools, concepts, topics, and issues.


Historical Dictionary of East Timor (2011)

Historical Dictionary of East Timor relates the history of East Timor through a chronology, introductory essay, expansive bibliography and over 200 dictionary entries on significant events, places, organizations, and other aspects of East Timor history from the earliest times to the present.

Historical Dictionary of Singapore (2010)

The new edition of the Historical Dictionary of Singapore relates the history of this country through a chronology, an introductory essay, an expansive bibliography, and over 500 cross-referenced dictionary entries on significant persons, events, places, organizations, and other aspects of Singapore history from the earliest times to the present.

Passport Vietnam: Your Pocket Guide to Vietnamese Business, Customs and Etiquette (2011)

A comprehensive guide to the culture, etiquette and communication of Vietnam. Focus is given mainly to business and office situations and how to properly behave in a work setting. The book provides a section on regional differences, and cultural stereotypes, as well as a quick overview of Vietnam, facts about the country, and some basic Vietnamese phases.

Northern Illinois University

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Hao Phan
Hao Phan

Southeast Asia Curator

University Libraries

Nothern Illinois University

DeKalb, IL 60115


Phone: 815-753-1809

Fax: 815-753-9803