The lasting significance of Van Leur’s pioneering essay ‘The Eighteenth Century as a Category in the Writing of Indonesian History’1 lies more in method than substance. Emphatic rejection of mechanically applying European-derived historical divisions to Indonesia’s past, coupled with emphasis on perceiving Asian history in its own terms, have greatly contributed to acceptance of an Asian-centric view of history. Even so, the type of research dealing with the period since that time presented in this volume tends to argue the reverse. That is, the eighteenth century provides a useful category for the study of Asian history in general and Indonesian history in particular.2