Barbara Watson Andaya is Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. In 2005-06 she was President of the American Association of Asian Studies. Educated at the University of Sydney (BA, Dip.Ed.), she
taught in a high school before receiving her M.A. at the University of Hawai’i and her Ph.D. at Cornell University with a specialization in Southeast Asian history. In 1979 her dissertation was published as Perak, The Abode of Grace: A Study of an Eighteenth Century Malay State.
She maintains an active teaching and research interest across all Southeast Asia, but her specific area of expertise is the western Malay-Indonesia archipelago. She collaborated with Virginia Matheson Hooker in a translation of a nineteenth-century Malay text, Tuhfat al-Nafis by the Islamic scholar Raja Ali Haji, and with Leonard Andaya on A History of Malaya in 1982 (revised edition,
2000). Further research on Malay history led to the 1993 publication, To Live as Brothers: Southeast Sumatra in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Subsequently, her interests shifted to questions of gender in Southeast Asia, and in 2000 she received a Guggenheim Award,
which resulted in The Flaming Womb: Repositioning Women in Southeast Asian History, 1500-1800 (2006). Her current project is a history of Christian minority communities in Southeast Asia, 1511-1945.