The maritime region of the islands now comprising most of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia is not a piece of geography, a subset of “Southeast Asia.” It has its own identity. In his new book, Empire of the Winds, The Global Role of Asia’s Great Archipelago, Philip Bowring takes a long, broad look at its history, from the end of the Ice Age to today, with a focus on events before 1600. Sailing prowess, wind systems, and the imperative of trade drove an exchange of goods, people, and ideas that shaped the world, as well as Austronesian Asia itself. He explains why this history needs more attention at a time when Euro- and Sino-centric narratives predominate.
About the speaker
Philip Bowring is a journalist, originally from the UK, who has worked in Asia since 1973, and previously in Australia, Africa, and London. He was with the Far Eastern Economic Review for many years, latterly as editor. He has also been a correspondent for the Financial Times; a columnist for the International Herald Tribune; and contributor to other publications, including the Guardian, the South China Morning Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He has an MA in History from Cambridge University.
Image: Javanese boats and one Chinese vessel off Banten Island, 1601. by Theodore de Bry. Philip Bowring's collection.
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