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The Culture of Illicit Liquor in Sri Lanka
"I'm going to break the ashes," yelled one daily drinker to another as their paths crossed early in the morning in the Sri Lankan village Michele Ruth Gamburd calls Naeaegama. The drinker's cryptic comment compared the warming power of alcohol-in the form of his first shot of kasippu, the local moonshine-with the rekindled heat of a kitchen fire. As the adverse effects of globalization have brought poverty to many areas of the world, more people, particularly men, have increased their use and abuse of alcohol. Despite Buddhist prohibitions against the consumption of mind-altering substances, men in Naeaegama are drinking more, at a younger age, and the number of problem drinkers has begun to grow.
In Breaking the Ashes, Gamburd explores the changing role of alcohol. Her account is populated with lively characters, many of whom Gamburd has known since visiting the village for the first time as a child. In wonderfully clear prose Gamburd offers readers an understanding of the cultural context for social and antisocial alcohol consumption, insight into everyday and ceremonial drinking in Naeaegama, and an overview of the production of illicit alcohol. Breaking the Ashes includes a discussion of the key economic aspects that fuel conflicts between husbands and wives, moonshine-makers and police. Addressing Western and indigenous ways to conceptualize and treat alcohol dependence, Gamburd explores the repercussions-at the family as well as the community level-of alcohol's abuse.
Music, Myth, and Cultural Politics at an Indonesian Festival
The spectacular Lingsar festival is held annually at a village temple complex built above the most abundant water springs on the island of Lombok, near Bali. Participants come to the festival not only for the efficacy of its rites but also for its spiritual, social, and musical experience. A nexus of religious, political, artistic, and agrarian interests, the festival also serves to harmonize relations between indigenous Sasak Muslims and migrant Balinese Hindus. Ethnic tensions, however, lie beneath the surface of cooperative behavior, and struggles regularly erupt over which group--Balinese or Sasak--owns the past and dominates the present. Bridges to the Ancestors is a broad ethnographic study of the festival based on over two decades of research. The work addresses the festival's players, performing arts, rites, and histories, and considers its relationship to the island's sociocultural and political trends. Music, the most public icon of the festival, has been largely responsible for overcoming differences between the island's two ethnic groups. Through the intermingling of Balinese and Sasak musics at the festival, a profound union has been forged, which participants confirm has been the event's primary social role. Bridges to the Ancestors effectively reveals the Lingsar festival as a site of cultural struggle as the author explores how history, identity, and power are constructed and negotiated. He addresses the fascinating interaction between music and myth and the forces of modernity, globalization, authenticity, tourism, religion, regionalism, and nationalism in maintaining "tradition."
For more than four centuries, Macau was the center of Portuguese trade and culture on the South China Coast. Until the founding of Hong Kong and the opening of other ports in the 1840s, it was also the main gateway to China for independent British merchants and their only place of permanent residence. Drawing extensively on Portuguese as well as British sources, The British Presence in Macau traces Anglo- Portuguese relations in South China from the first arrival of English trading ships in the 1630s to the establishment of factories at Canton, the beginnings of the opium trade, and the Macartney Embassy of 1793. Longstanding allies in the west, the British and Portuguese pursued more complex relations in the east, as trading interests clashed under a Chinese imperial system and as the British increasingly asserted their power
In the contemporary world the meeting of Buddhism and Islam is most often imagined as one of violent confrontation. Indeed, the Taliban's destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001 seemed not only to reenact the infamous Muslim destruction of Nalanda monastery in the thirteenth century but also to reaffirm the stereotypes of Buddhism as a peaceful, rational philosophy and Islam as an inherently violent and irrational religion. But if Buddhist-Muslim history was simply repeated instances of Muslim militants attacking representations of the Buddha, how had the Bamiyan Buddha statues survived thirteen hundred years of Muslim rule?
Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road demonstrates that the history of Buddhist-Muslim interaction is much richer and more complex than many assume. This groundbreaking book covers Inner Asia from the eighth century through the Mongol empire and to the end of the Qing dynasty in the late nineteenth century. By exploring the meetings between Buddhists and Muslims along the Silk Road from Iran to China over more than a millennium, Johan Elverskog reveals that this long encounter was actually one of profound cross-cultural exchange in which two religious traditions were not only enriched but transformed in many ways.
Religion and the State, 16601990
Buddhism in Taiwan is the first work in a Western language to examine the institutional and political history of Chinese Buddhism in Taiwan. Tracing Buddhism's development on the island from Qing times through the late 1980s, it seeks to shed light on the ways in which changing social circumstances have impacted Buddhist thought and practice. It looks in particular at a number of significant changes that modernization has brought: the decline in clerical ordinations, the increasing prominence of nuns within the monastic order, the enhanced role of the laity, alterations in the content of lay precepts, the abandonment of funerals as a major source of income, the monastic order's loss of special recognition from the government, and the founding of large, international organizations. Charles Jones begins his survey with the earliest mention of Buddhism in Taiwan in historical records from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and continues through the formation of pan-Taiwan Buddhist organizations during the Japanese occupation (1895-1945). A review of the role of the Buddhist Association of the Republic of China (BAROC) follows, and the volume concludes with the rise of large independent Buddhist movements that fully emerged after the end of martial law and the removal of restrictions of civic organizations in the late 1980s. Jones provides a careful and balanced review of primary and secondary sources and translations of government and Buddhist documents, extensive bibliographies of major figures, detailed histories of prominent temples, and an exhaustive summary of recent Taiwanese scholarship. Buddhism in Taiwan promises to be a classic in the field of modern Chinese Buddhism. Scholars of the religion, history, political science, sociology, and anthropology of Taiwan will find its systematic and thorough approach stimulating as well as highly informative.
This is the first study in a half century of one of the least known societies in the contemporary world. Burma at the Turn of the 21st Century provides insight into the everyday lives, concerns, and values of the people of this reclusive nation. Prominent anthropologists and religion scholars with in-depth, long-term knowledge of central Burma offer detailed analyses of the ways in which Burmese actively manage and create lives for themselves in the shadow of a military dictatorship. Their research crosses the domains of religious, political, and social life, examining public festivals and performance, local-state relations, literary life, lottery frenzies, mass meditators, political rumors and black humor, the value of children, changing male identities, and more in this impressive, wide-ranging collection.
Economic Development and Social Change on an Asian Rice Frontier, 1852–1941
In the decades following its annexation to the Indian Empire in 1852, Lower Burma (the Irrawaddy-Sittang delta region) was transformed from an underdeveloped and sparsely populated backwater of the Konbaung Empire into the world’s largest exporter of rice. This seminal and far-reaching work focuses on two major aspects of that transformation: the growth of the agrarian sector of the rice industry of Lower Burma and the history of the plural society that evolved largely in response to rapid economic expansion.