Northwestern Events Calendar


History Lecture – Arc of Containment: Britain, The United States, and Anticommunism in Southeast Asia

When: Tuesday, April 23, 2019
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM Central

Where: Harris Hall, 108, 1881 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Annerys Cano   847.467.4045

Group: History Department

Co-Sponsor: Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS)

Category: Academic


Presented by Wen-Qing Ngoei

Major studies of American foreign relations treat U.S. failures in Vietnam as the end of both a short-lived American empire and western imperialism in Southeast Asia. This talk contends that Vietnam was an exception to the region’s overall pro-U.S. trajectory after World War II, that British neocolonialism and Southeast Asian anticommunism melded with preexisting local antipathy toward China and the Chinese diaspora to usher the region from formal colonialism to U.S. hegemony. By the 1970s, Southeast Asia’s anticommunist nationalists had established, with U.S. support, a geostrategic arc of states that contained Vietnam and China as well as upheld American predominance in the region.

Wen-Qing Ngoei is assistant professor of history at Nanyang Technological University. He completed his PhD at Northwestern University and did postdoctoral stints at Northwestern and Yale University. Ngoei’s book, Arc of Containment: Britain, the United States, and Anticommunism in Southeast Asia (Cornell University Press, 2019), argues that British decolonization intertwined with Southeast Asian anticommunism to shape U.S. policy in the wider region. He has published in Diplomatic History (2017) and his prize-winning essay on the domino theory appears in the Journal of American-East Asian Relations (2014).

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