The Southeast Asia Collection highlights the regional wars from the 1970s to the 1980s, including a series on Southeast Asian refugees in America, along with materials on regional economic development, especially in the Mekong River Basin. The collection contains hundreds of reports on agricultural and industrial projects in the region, examining everything from the impact of electrification on village life in Thailand to a description of a Soviet-built hospital in Cambodia in 1961, to an assessment of herbicide in Vietnam in 1971.
Collected primarily by Joel Halpern and James Hafner, the collection includes background, field, and situation reports by U.S. Operations Missions and U.S. Agency for International Development; reports, publications, statistics, and background information from other U.S. government agencies, governments of Laos and Thailand, and the United Nations; correspondence, reports, and reference materials of nongovernmental organizations; reports and essays by individuals about Southeast Asia; news releases and newspapers; published and unpublished bibliographies; and interviews with U.S. military personnel. Most material comes from governmental and organizational sources, but there are papers by, and debriefs of, numerous individuals.
The collection is open for research.
Background on Joel M. Halpern and James Hafner
Following undergraduate study in history and anthropology at the University of Michigan (BA, 1950), Joel M. Halpern studied at the renowned anthropology department and Russian Institute, (renamed the Harriman Institute in 1982) at Columbia University. He received his doctorate in 1956 for a study of the village of Orasac in Serbia in the former Yugoslavia. The resulting work became the basis of his Ainsley award winning book, A Serbian Village (N.Y., 1958). He began his career with the Human Relations Area Files office at the American University in Washington, D.C. working on a Laos handbook. Subsequently, he went to that country as a Field Service Officer with the Community Development Division of the U.S. International Cooperation Administration. He served as chair of the Mekong Seminar of the Southeast Asia Development Advisory Group of the Asia Society which advised the U.S. Aid program. Halpern was a member of the faculty at UCLA, Brandeis, and the Russian Research Center at Harvard (1965-1967) before coming to UMass Amherst in 1967.
Halpern's work in Laos began as a Junior Foreign Service Officer with the US Operations Mission (USOM) in the late 1950s. He left in 1959 after completing some of the first American scholarship of the region including his twenty-two part study, the Laos Project Papers. He also produced numerous other works on Laos and relations between the United States and Laos during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Ultimately, Halpern returned to Southeast Asia in 1969 as the chair of the Southeast Asia Development Advisory Group (SEADAG) Mekong Seminar. The SEADAG Mekong Seminar focused on the creation of a number of dams along the Mekong River in Laos and Thailand. Joel Halpern remains a Professor Emeritus of the Anthropology Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
James A. Hafner received his B.A. from Miami University (Ohio) and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He became a member of the University of Massachusetts Amherst faculty in 1970. He has extensive experience in Southeast Asia, primarily in Laos and Thailand. His studies included working with the United Nations Mekong Committee studying the Pa Mong Dam project and its impact on the people of Laos and Thailand as well as other projec involving international development. Hafner's experience in Southeast Asia also includes working on U.S. Department of State Mekong Basin Development projects and a Senior Fulbright Fellowship to study on rural development at Khon Kaen University in Thailand.
Many of his teaching and research interests focused on processes of rural social and economic change in the context of the development process. His past research in Southeast Asia involved studies of traditional water transport systems, the impacts of highway development on the development process, population ecology and rural poverty, and new models and strategies for participatory and integrated rural development. He is currently completing work on a study of the political ecology of forest use and access in Thailand while working on a review of long-term population-land use dynamics in the northeast region of that country. This focus evolved from research begun in 1983 under his Fulbright Award and subsequent work begun in 1985 with an interdisciplinary team of Thai foresters and social scientists to study forest land encroachment and land use in upper watershed areas of northeast Thailand.
Collected and donated by both Joel M. Halpern and James A. Hafner, the Southeast Asia Collection highlights international development efforts focused on this specific region between the 1950s and the 1980s, with significant material on the Mekong River Basin. A secondary focus of the collection is the regional wars in Southeast Asia in the 1960s-1980s including numerous publications concerning the anti-war and social movements in the United States and a series on Southeast Asian Refugees in America.
The collection includes reports, propaganda, pamphlets, articles, memoranda, news releases, newspapers, journals, and bibliographies from governmental, non-governmental, and personal sources. Though not comprehensive, this collection offers a look at how the United States and other nations (including the UN) approached the idea of International Aid in the 1960s and 1970s. Various reports, writings and collections of pamphlets and printed materials provide numerous different aspects of international development during this period. Significantly, the collection also includes numerous pamphlets and writings of the anti-war movement of the 1960s as well as newspapers clippings of events related to the anti-war movement in the United States.
The collection also features publications and information issued from governmental organizations such as SEADAG, Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), the USOM and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as numerous articles, papers and other materials produced in support of international development efforts in Southeast Asia. Material concerning the wars in Southeast Asia from the 1960s through the 1980s takes the form of articles, pamphlets and other writings investigating the war and events during the war as well as anti-war materials from the United States. This also includes declassified or unclassified manuals from the U.S. Army, Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and other governmental organizations. With international development efforts often tied to the outcomes of the conflicts in Southeast Asia, there is considerable overlap between these materials.
Finally, items on the refugee population within the United States were drawn from Joel Halpern's work with Lucy Nguyen, then of the United Asia Learning Research Center at UMass. Materials in this series include newspapers, governmental and non-governmental papers and pamphlets, local events and other items related to refugees settled in the United States as a result of the wars in Southeast Asia.
Consists of printed documents generated by United States Operations Missions and the later incarnation as United States Agency of International Development. US Operations Missions and USAID began with the Marshall Plan, initiated by George Marshall after World War II. The success of the Marshall Plan prompted President Harry S. Truman to begin an international aid agency to help combat the spread of communism and create markets for US goods. In the 1961 President Kennedy signed in the Foreign Assistance Act to create the Agency for International Development. During the 1960s, USAID continued to provide international development aid in what was called the "decade of development". In the 1970s, USAID began to focus on basic human needs such as providing food and nutrition assistance, population planning, health and education. This series includes USOM/ Laos, USOM/ Thailand, USOM/ Vietnam and general Southeast Asia USOM materials. These papers consist largely of background, field and situation reports, and are arranged alphabetically by keyword within each country.
Contains annual reports, publications, statistics, and background information from agencies of the U.S. Government. Also included are documents from the Governments of Cambodia, Great Britain, Laos, Switzerland, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United Nations. Included are United Nations documents from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (UNECAFE), and a significant amount of work from the Committee for the Coordination of Investigations of the Lower Mekong Basin. The Committee for the Coordination of the Investigations of the Lower Mekong Basin had the objective of water and water related resources. The Committee was investigating concerns include hydroelectric power, irrigation, flood control, drainage, navigation improvement, watershed management, and water supply.
Encompasses papers of other organizations concerned with Southeast Asia. It is arranged alphabetically by organization name, and includes reports, reference materials, correspondence and other papers. Among the Organizations which are represented include: University of Hawaii; Vietnam Resource Center; Asia Foundation; the Southeast Asia Development Advisory Group (SEADAG); U.S. Institute of Peace, Khmer Buddhist Research Center; and the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights.
Contains printed works such as official press releases, newspapers, and journals in this series span the late 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, and cover various topics with specific focus on the wars of this period. Numerous different pamphlets printed in the United States and elsewhere as well as newspaper and journal articles provide insight into the anti-war movement in the United States as well as opinions and views of the wars in Southeast Asia from other places as well. Works such as Project Air War, a large pamphlet from 1971 as well as other works such as WIN: The Hanoi diary of David McReynolds are good examples of anti-war material produced during this period. Also included are pamphlets such as the Progressive Labor Party's Defeat U.S. Imperialism!, which contains radical arguments against the wars in Southeast Asia and America's involvement in this part of the world.
Comprised of published and unpublished bibliographies relating to Southeast Asia. There are bibliographies from many different sources including libraries, organizations such as UNECAFE, SEADAG, Cornell University, and documents from the USOM/USAID. The series contains bibliographies specific to countries as well as bibliographies about Southeast Asia General. The various bibliographies give detailed references for background and statistical information on Southeast Asia. It also includes references for information on the Hmong, a hill tribe which resides in mountainous regions of Southeast Asia, particularly Laos and Thailand.
Incorporates event memorabilia, newsletters, press releases, memoranda, statistics, newsletters, and newspapers, originating from both governmental and non-governmental sources. Also included are autobiographies, biographies, and articles written by and about Southeast Asians in America. It is organized by country of origin.
Includes information organized by country. This series includes documents that were not easily organized into any of the previoU.S. series or were specific to a country not covered in other series. Series 7 includes documents from different organizations and publications by individual authors. The materials in this series cover a wide variety of subjects from the United States air war, Communism in Cambodia, documents in English, French and other languages. Also included are documents such as Lao language textbooks and documents concerning varioU.S. cultures from Southeast Asia such as the Hmong. The documents in this series are from many countries across Southeast Asia.
Acquired from Joel M. Halpern and James A. Hafner.
Processed by Jason Fuller, May 2013.
For materials related to Southeast Asia, see:
Cite as: Southeast Asia Collection (MS 407). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.