Speaker: Jacqueline L. Hazelton, Assistant Professor, Department of Strategy and Policy, U.S. Naval War College

A now little-known British adventurer named James Brooke ruled absolutely over a substantial territory in Sarawak, on the island of Borneo in what is now Malaysia, in the 19th century. He bequeathed his country to his descendants, who ruled until the last "White Rajah" sold Brooke's Sarawak to the British Crown after World War II. The story of the Brookes of Sarawak is full of tropes from Romantic-era novels, from the prodigal son returning to England unrecognizable from smallpox scars, to battles with pirates and headhunters, to the suicide of a faithful man of business who helps his master perpetrate a fraud and then kills himself out of remorse. Behind the drama are serious questions about how the three "White Rajahs" controlled their multi-ethnic, multi-faith, mountainous, unruly territory for a century. the speaker will argue that the Brooke rajahs used a combination of political accommodation of local political elites and a balancing strategy to build fighting alliances against troublesome challengers to their rule.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

For more information, email the International Security Program Assistant at susan_lynch@harvard.edu.