A guide to resources and research on Southeast Asia
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Featured New Materials about SE Asia
Electrifying Indonesia by Anto MohsinElectrifying Indonesia tells the story of the entanglement of politics and technology during Indonesia's rapid post-World War II development. As a central part of its nation-building project, the Indonesian state sought to supply electricity to the entire country, bringing transformative socioeconomic benefits across its heterogeneous territories and populations. While this project was driven by nationalistic impulses, it was also motivated by a genuine interest in social justice. The entanglement of these two ideologies--nation-building and equity--shaped how electrification was carried out, including how the state chose the technologies it did. Private companies and electric cooperatives vied with the hegemonic state power company to participate in a monumental undertaking that would transform daily life for all Indonesians, especially rural citizens. In this innovative volume, Anto Mohsin brings Indonesian studies together with science and technology studies to understand a crucial period in modern Indonesian history. He shows that attempts to illuminate the country were inseparable from the effort to maintain the new nation-state, chart its path to independence, and legitimize ruling regimes. In exchange for an often dramatically improved standard of living, people gave their votes, and their acquiescence, to the ruling government.
Publication Date: 2023-12-05
Monsoon Marketplace by Elmo GonzagaProvides vivid accounts of commercial and leisure spaces that captivated the public imagination in the past but have since been destroyed, forgotten, or refurbished. Monsoon Marketplace uncovers the entangled vernacular cultures of capitalist modernity, mass consumption, and media spectatorship in two understudied postcolonial Asian cities across three crucial historical moments. Juxtaposing Manila and Singapore, it analyzes print and audiovisual representations of popular commercial and leisure spaces during the colonial occupation in the 1930s, national development in the 1960s, and neoliberal globalization in the 2000s. Engaging with the work of creators including Nick Joaquin, Kevin Kwan, and P. Ramlee, it discusses figures of female shoppers in 1930s Manila, languid expatriates in 1930s Singapore, street hawkers in 1960s Singapore, youthful activists in 1960s Manila, call center agents in 2000s Manila, and super-rich investors in 2000s Singapore. Looking at the historical transformation of Calle Escolta, Avenida Rizal, Raffles Place, and Orchard Road, it focuses on Crystal Arcade, the Manila Carnival, the Great World and New World Amusement Parks, and Change Alley, all of which had once captivated the public imagination but have since vanished from the cityscape. Instead of treating capitalism, media, and modernity as overarching systems or processes, the book examines how their configurations and experiences are contingent, variable, pluralistic, and archipelagic. Diverging from critical theories and cultural studies that see consumerism and spectatorship as sources of alienation, docility, and fantasy, it explores how they create new possibilities for agency, collectivity, and resistance.
Publication Date: 2023-12-05
Reflections on Myanmar by Reshmi BanerjeeMyanmar is known for its engaging history, rich cultural heritage, and diverse ethnic communities. Its tumultuous political past has been discussed by academics and policy makers for decades; however, the land of the Shwedagon cannot only be defined by conflict and contestation. Myanmar is complex and multi-layered with innumerable issues shaping its identity and manifold interpretations creating its distinctiveness. A deeper comprehension of its past glory with thoughtful deliberation on its socio-economic challenges helps to understand the country better. This book fills this gap by focusing on four broad themes--reminiscence, restoration, re-evaluation, and resurrection. It studies interconnected issues ranging from nostalgia and belonging to Myanmar's contribution to art and heritage (through its museums, cinema, folk traditions); from the problems of landlessness, resource dispossession, and climate change to the experience of marginalized groups. The author weaves these themes into a common narrative of discovering Myanmar through a holistic lens. The book aims to explore the country through its history, culture, communities, and challenges. A unique contribution, the book highlights the myriad facets of Myanmar by contemplating on its inherent strengths and visible weaknesses. It would be indispensable for scholars and researchers of Southeast Asian studies, Asian studies, area studies, Myanmar studies, political studies, cultural studies, and sociology.
Publication Date: 2023-01-01
Strangers in the Family by Guo-Quan SengIn Strangers in the Family, Guo-Quan Seng provides a gendered history of settler Chinese community formation in Indonesia during the Dutch colonial period (1816-1942). At the heart of this story lies the creolization of patrilineal Confucian marital and familial norms to the colonial legal, moral, and sexual conditions of urban Java. Departing from male-centered narratives of Ooverseas Chinese communities, Strangers in the Family tells the history of community- formation from the perspective of women who were subordinate to, and alienated from, full Chinese selfhood. From native concubines and mothers, creole Chinese daughters, and wives and matriarchs, to the first generation of colonial-educated feminists, Seng showcases women's moral agency as they negotiated, manipulated, and debated men in positions of authority over their rights in marriage formation and dissolution. In dialogue with critical studies of colonial Eurasian intimacies, this book explores Asian-centered inter-ethnic patterns of intimate encounters. It shows how contestations over women's place in marriage and in society were formative of a Chinese racial identity in colonial Indonesia.
Publication Date: 2023-11-15
Republican Vietnam, 1963-1975 by Trinh M. Luu (Editor, Contribution by); Jason Gibbs (Contribution by);English-language scholarship all too often dismisses South Vietnam as an American creation, a product of US imperialism. Republican Vietnam, 1963-1975 boldly upends this depiction, exposing a diverse and dynamic portrait of the Second Republic. In twelve essays, each based on original archival research, the volume brings to life the Second Republic in all its complexities, displaying how politicians, students, educators, publishers, journalists, musicians, religious leaders, businessmen, and ordinary citizens built a highly intricate society--with dazzling entrepreneurial zeal, an outspoken press, globally engaged religions, a vibrant intellectual and associational culture, and a level of artistic production that remains unmatched since the Vietnam War. That inspired and frenzied age, though short lived, held a resilient spirit that Vietnamese refugees have kept alive. The trove of vernacular music and print media, not to mention the many associations the Vietnamese diaspora founded, exemplify the republican values that once energized South Vietnamese culture. But this nuanced society has appeared in popular media and American scholarship as a hopelessly dependent nation, led by corrupt dictators beholden to US interests. In contrast to such negative stereotypes, this account situates South Vietnamese front and center as agents of their own histories. Republican Vietnam is the first collection of scholarly essays on the Second Republic since the end of the Vietnam War. It is also among the first to use republicanism as a lens to re-examine twentieth-century Vietnamese history, the Vietnam War, and the diaspora. The twelve essays together show how war, in tandem with external intervention, shaped South Vietnam's economy, culture, and the life of every individual and family. By featuring works from Vietnamese and Vietnamese diasporic studies, this text takes the important step of bridging the two fields, laying the foundation for cross-disciplinary projects in the future.
Publication Date: 2023-09-30
Toward a Public Theology in Myanmar by Lal Tin Hre (Editor);The essays in this volume reflect the journey of a team from Myanmar and India listening and learning from each other. The intention is for theologians, pastors, and public intellectuals from Southeast Asia, starting from the Association of Theological Education in South East Asia (ATESEA), to initiate or strengthen discussions on the theme of Public Witness. In situations where the discussion has begun, we hope this contribution will add to the process. At a fundamental level, this volume will trigger a rethinking of Mission in Myanmar in the context of re-imposed military rule. The volume is divided into three parts. The first offers an introduction, leading up to the book and to the Association of Theological Education in Myanmar (ATEM), the second a section on theology of Public Witness and broad theoretical formulations concluding with a wide array of the contemporary issues on the ground. The articles come out of the five workshops, for professional theologians from seminaries, social activists from a Christian faith background and pastors.
Publication Date: 2023-10-10
Some People Need Killing by Patricia EvangelistaTIME'S #1 NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR * A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR * "Riveting . . . Evangelista's book is an extraordinary testament to half a decade of state-sanctioned terror. It's also a timely warning for the state of democracy."--The Atlantic "Tragic, elegant, vital . . . Evangelista risked her life to tell this story."--Tara Westover, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Educated A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, The Economist, Chicago Public Library, CrimeReads, The Mary Sue "My job is to go to places where people die. I pack my bags, talk to the survivors, write my stories, then go home to wait for the next catastrophe. I don't wait very long." Journalist Patricia Evangelista came of age in the aftermath of a street revolution that forged a new future for the Philippines. Three decades later, in the face of mounting inequality, the nation discovered the fragility of its democratic institutions under the regime of strongman Rodrigo Duterte. Some People Need Killing is Evangelista's meticulously reported and deeply human chronicle of the Philippines' drug war. For six years, Evangelista chronicled the killings carried out by police and vigilantes in the name of Duterte's war on drugs--a war that has led to the slaughter of thousands--immersing herself in the world of killers and survivors and capturing the atmosphere of fear created when an elected president decides that some lives are worth less than others. The book takes its title from a vigilante whose words seemed to reflect the psychological accommodation that most of the country had made: "I'm really not a bad guy," he said. "I'm not all bad. Some people need killing." A profound act of witness and a tour de force of literary journalism, Some People Need Killing is also a brilliant dissection of the grammar of violence and an important investigation of the human impulses to dominate and resist.
Publication Date: 2023-10-17
Reciprocal Mobilities by Mark DizonThroughout the eighteenth century, independent Indigenous people from the borderlands of the Philippines visited the centers of Spanish colonial rule in the archipelago. Their travels are the counternarratives to one-dimensional stories of Spanish conquest of, and Indigenous resistance in, interior frontiers. Indigenous inhabitants on the island of Luzon constantly moved about--visiting allies and launching raids--and thus shaped history in the process. Their mobility allows us to glimpse their agency in colonial interactions in the early modern period. The landscape contains the traces of how they moved as well as how they channeled and impeded mobility in the borderlands. Mark Dizon views the colonial interactions in Philippine borderlands through the lens of reciprocal mobilities. Spanish mobilities of conquests and conversions had their counterpart in Indigenous visits and ambushes. Colonial encounters were not isolated individual events but rather a connected web of approaches, rebuffs, rapprochements, and dispersals. They took place not only in the exploration of remote forests and mountains but also in conjunction with Indigenous travels to colonial cities like Manila. Indigenous people of the borderlands were not immobile, timeless actors; they created history in their wake as they journeyed through the borderlands and beyond.
Publication Date: 2023-09-12
Vietnam, a War, Not a Country by Ron Eyerman; Todd Madigan; Magnus RingVietnam: A War, Not a Countryexplores the conflicting ways in which the American-Vietnamese War has been collectively remembered and represented from the perspective of the war's three primary belligerents: the Vietnamese communists, the South Vietnamese, and the Americans. The book examines how the three different collectives memorialize this traumatizing historical event. Within each of these three groups there exists a number of competing narratives, generating not only a sense of shared meaning and community, but also impassioned social conflict. In order to trace these narratives within each collectivity, the authors develop the concept of arenas of memory, distinct discourses that are tied to specific individuals, organizations, and institutions that advocate specific narratives through specific forms of media. Their analysis leads them to make the case as to whether each of these societies experienced a cultural trauma as a result of the way in which the war is remembered.
Publication Date: 2023-06-19
Ummah yet Proletariat by Lin HongxuanFrom 1965 to 1966, at least 500,000 Indonesians were killed in military-directed violence that targeted suspected Communists. Muslim politicians justified the killings, arguing that Marxism posed an existential threat to all religions. Since then, the demonization of Marxism, as well as the presumed irreconcilability of Islam and Marxism, has permeated Indonesian society. Today, the Indonesian military and Islamic political parties regularly invoke the spectre of Marxism as an enduring threat that would destroy the republic if left unchecked. In Ummah Yet Proletariat, Lin Hongxuan explores the relationship between Islam and Marxism in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) and Indonesia from the publication of the first Communist periodical in 1915 to the beginning of the 1965-66 massacres. Lin demonstrates how, in contrast to state-driven narratives, Muslim identity and Marxist analytical frameworks coexisted in Indonesian minds, as well as how individuals' Islamic faith shaped their openness to Marxist ideas. Examining Indonesian-language print culture, including newspapers, books, pamphlets, memoirs, letters, novels, plays, and poetry, Lin shows how deeply embedded confluences of Islam and Marxism were in the Indonesian nationalist project. He argues that these confluences were the result of Indonesian participation in networks of intellectual exchange across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, of Indonesians "translating" the world to Indonesia in an ambitious project of creative adaptation.
Publication Date: 2023-08-18
The Unheard Stories of the Rohingyas by A. K. M. Ahsan Ullah; Diotima ChattorajThe 2017 persecution of the Rohingyas resulted in around a million Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh, India and Malaysia. This book investigates the complex challenges of managing the large-scale refugee exodus in Bangladesh and how best to resolve these challenges in the future. Using a mixed-method approach that includes a survey, key informant interviews and numerous short case studies of persecution, the authors also examine the problematic influence of the media, as local depictions of Rohingya refugees often caused further tension and division in the midst of the refugee crisis. The book's analysis offers a deeper understanding of the causes and drivers of identity-based politics among Myanmar's Rohingya.
Publication Date: 2023-08-29
Systemic Silencing by Katharine E. McGregorThe system of prostitution imposed and enforced by the Japanese military during its wartime occupation of several countries in East and Southeast Asia is today well-known and uniformly condemned. Transnational activist movements have sought to recognize and redress survivors of this World War II-era system, euphemistically known as "comfort women," for decades, with a major wave beginning in the 1990s. However, Indonesian survivors, and even the system's history in Indonesia to begin with, have largely been sidelined, even within the country itself. Here, Katharine E. McGregor not only untangles the history of the system during the war, but also unpacks the context surrounding the slow and faltering efforts to address it. With careful attention to the historical, social, and political conditions surrounding sexual violence in Indonesia, supported by exhaustive research and archival diligence, she uncovers a critical piece of Indonesian history and the ongoing efforts to bring it to the public eye. Critically, she establishes that the transnational part of activism surrounding victims of the system is both necessary and fraught, a complexity of geopolitics and international relationships on one hand and a question of personal networks, linguistic differences, and cultural challenges on the other.
Publication Date: 2023-08-29
Counter-Hispanization in the Colonial Philippines by John Blanco
Publication Date: 2023-08-14
Between War and the State by Van Nguyen-Marshall
Publication Date: 2023-07-15
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