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Fighting from a Distance Cover

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Fighting from a Distance

How Filipino Exiles Toppled a Dictator

Jose V. Fuentecilla

In this book, Jose V. Fuentecilla describes how Filipino exiles and immigrants in the United States played a crucial role in the grassroots revolution that overthrew the fourteen-year dictatorship of former President Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines in 1986. A member of one of the major U.S.-based anti-Marcos movements, Fuentecilla tells the story of how small groups of Filipino exiles--short on resources and shunned by some of their compatriots--overcame fear, apathy, and personal differences to form opposition organizations after Marcos' imposition of martial law and learned to lobby the U.S. government during the Cold War. The first full-length book to detail the history of U.S.-based opposition to the Marcos regime, Fighting From a Distance provides valuable lessons on how to persevere in fighting a well-entrenched opponent.

Filipino Piecemeal Sugar Strike of 19241925 Cover

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Filipino Piecemeal Sugar Strike of 19241925

John. E. Reinecke & Edward D. Beechert

The 1924 Filipino sugar strike came as a shocking blow to Hawaii's self-image. The tragic deaths at Hanapepe were regarded as an anomaly in Hawaii's peaceful, idyllic image. Yet as Reinecke's research clearly indicates, the sugar industry was building to a climax in the 1920s.

In the traditional sense, the strike was a "piecemeal" affair, lacking clear goals and having virtually no leadership or plans. These young, largely illiterate, Filipinos wrought massive changes into a more modern, industrial mode; into what was widely known thereafter as the Big Five. Evidence from the University of Hawaii's new archive collection, the H.S.P.A. Plantation Archives, not available to Dr. Reinecke completes the picture of the strike with evidence of the massive changes in management, recruitment and labor policies. The strike remains as he described it in his title: "The Piecemeal Strike." The new evidence rounds out the transformation of the industry.

The Floracrats Cover

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The Floracrats

State-Sponsored Science and the Failure of the Enlightenment in Indonesia

Andrew Goss

Situated along the line that divides the rich ecologies of Asia and Australia, the Indonesian archipelago is a hotbed for scientific exploration, and scientists from around the world have made key discoveries there. But why do the names of Indonesia’s own scientists rarely appear in the annals of scientific history? In The Floracrats Andrew Goss examines the professional lives of Indonesian naturalists and biologists, to show what happens to science when a powerful state becomes its greatest, and indeed only, patron.
    With only one purse to pay for research, Indonesia’s scientists followed a state agenda focused mainly on exploiting the country’s most valuable natural resources—above all its major export crops: quinine, sugar, coffee, tea, rubber, and indigo. The result was a class of botanic bureaucrats that Goss dubs the “floracrats.” Drawing on archives and oral histories, he shows how these scientists strove for the Enlightenment ideal of objective, universal, and useful knowledge, even as they betrayed that ideal by failing to share scientific knowledge with the general public. With each chapter, Goss details the phases of power and the personalities in Indonesia that have struggled with this dilemma, from the early colonial era, through independence, to the modern Indonesian state. Goss shows just how limiting dependence on an all-powerful state can be for a scientific community, no matter how idealistic its individual scientists may be.

Generation Later Cover

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Generation Later

Household Strategies and Economic Change in the Rural Philippines

James F. Eder

A Generation Later moves beyond analytical models of rural change that focus on the peasant/agricultural aspect of rural communities and makes a convincing case for an approach that integrates farm and nonfarm occupations and does justice to the conditions of occupational multiplicity that characterize, to an increasing extent, many of the rural communities in Asia. In this context, it challenges conventional (and simplistic) "peasant to proletarian" views of change. Rather than finding a dreary and dispirited landscape of sameness and hardship, it offers some empirical support for amore optimistic view of the region's future, one of growing household prosperity and widespread individual opportunity.

A Gentleman's Word Cover

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A Gentleman's Word

The Legacy of Subhas Chandra Bose in Southeast Asia

Nilanjana Sengupta

The great Indian nationalist leader Subhas Chandra Bose arrived in Singapore in 1943 to revitalize the Indian National Army (INA). Taking the opportunity of the Japanese occupation of parts of Southeast Asia, he launched armed struggle against British colonial rule in India. Two years later, that attempt failed at the eastern gates of India. Yet, it was a temporary failure because the INA helped set in motion a series of developments within India. These would culminate in its freedom in a further two years. Bose is household name in India. He is remembered in Southeast Asia as well, particularly among Indians. However, while his contributions to India’s independence movement have been recorded exhaustively, less is known about the legacy that he left behind in Southeast Asia. This book seeks to fill that gap in the international understanding of a great Indian nationalist and pan-Asianist. It records how participation in the nationalist struggle invested Southeast Asian Indians with a rare sense of dignity and helped foster a mushrooming of militant trade unions, making it difficult for the returning British planters to perpetuate their control over what had been a docile workforce. The INA’s Rani of Jhansi movement proved to be a pioneering effort at drawing Southeast Asian Indian women out of their traditional roles and expectations. It inspired some of them to take up mainstream roles for the cause of equality and emancipation. A Gentleman’s Word retraces this journey of self-discovery of those who were inspired by Subhas Chandra Bose. The great Indian nationalist leader Subhas Chandra Bose arrived in Singapore in 1943 to revitalize the Indian National Army (INA). Taking the opportunity of the Japanese occupation of parts of Southeast Asia, he launched armed struggle against British colonial rule in India. Two years later, that attempt failed at the eastern gates of India. Yet, it was a temporary failure because the INA helped set in motion a series of developments within India. These would culminate in its freedom in a further two years. Bose is household name in India. He is remembered in Southeast Asia as well, particularly among Indians. However, while his contributions to India’s independence movement have been recorded exhaustively, less is known about the legacy that he left behind in Southeast Asia. This book seeks to fill that gap in the international understanding of a great Indian nationalist and pan-Asianist. It records how participation in the nationalist struggle invested Southeast Asian Indians with a rare sense of dignity and helped foster a mushrooming of militant trade unions, making it difficult for the returning British planters to perpetuate their control over what had been a docile workforce. The INA’s Rani of Jhansi movement proved to be a pioneering effort at drawing Southeast Asian Indian women out of their traditional roles and expectations. It inspired some of them to take up mainstream roles for the cause of equality and emancipation. A Gentleman’s Word retraces this journey of self-discovery of those who were inspired by Subhas Chandra Bose.

Ghosts of the New City Cover

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Ghosts of the New City

Spirits, Urbanity, and the Ruins of Progress in Chiang Mai

Andrew Alan Johnson

Chiang Mai (literally, “new city”) suffered badly in the 1997 Asian financial crisis as the Northern Thai real estate bubble collapsed along with the Thai baht, crushing dreams of a renaissance of Northern prosperity. Years later, the ruins of the excesses of the 1990s still stain the skyline. Hopes for rebirth and fears of decline have their roots in Thai conceptions of progress, which draw from Buddhist and animist ideas of power and sacrality. Cities, Johnson argues, were centers where the charismatic power of kings and animist spirits were grounded; these entities assured progress by imbuing the space with sacred power that would avert disaster. Andrew Alan Johnson traces such magico-religious conceptions of potency and space from historical records through present-day popular religious practice and draws parallels between these and secular attempts at urban revitalization. For many Chiang Mai residents, new developments harbor the seeds of the crash, which manifest themselves in anxious stories of ghosts and criminals who conceal themselves behind the city’s progressive veneer. In Ghosts of the New City, Johnson shows how the trauma of the crash, brought back vividly by the political crisis of 2006, haunts efforts to remake the city.

The Ghosts of the Past in Southern Thailand Cover

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The Ghosts of the Past in Southern Thailand

Essays on the History and Historiography of Patani

Patrick Jory

At the heart of the on-going armed conflict in southern Thailand is a fundamental disagreement about the history of relations between the Patani Malays and the Thai kingdom.While the Thai royalist-nationalist version of history regards Patani as part of that kingdom "since time immemorial," Patani Malay nationalists look back to a golden age when the Sultanate of Patani was an independent, prosperous trading state and a renowned center for Islamic education and scholarship in Southeast Asia -- a time before it was defeated, broken up, and fell under the oppressive control of the Thai state. While still influential, in recent years these diametrically opposed views of the past have begun to make way for more nuanced and varied interpretations. Patani scholars, intellectuals and students now explore their history more freely and confidently than in the past, while the once-rigid Thai nationalist narrative is open to more pluralistic interpretations. There is growing interaction and dialogue between historians writing in Thai, Malay and English, and engagement with sources and scholarship in other languages, including Chinese and Arabic. In The Ghosts of the Past in Southern Thailand, thirteen historians who have worked on this sensitive region evaluate the current state of current historical writing about the Patani Malays of southern Thailand. The essays in this book demonstrate that an understanding of the conflict must take into account the historical dimensions of relations between Patani and the Thai kingdom, and the ongoing influence of these perceptions on Thai state officials, militants, and the local population.

Global Movements, Local Concerns Cover

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Global Movements, Local Concerns

Medicine and Health in Southeast Asia

edited by Laurence Monnais and Harold J. Cook

The development of medicine in Southeast Asia over the past two centuries has not been a simple imposition of European scientific medicine, but a complex and negotiated process that drew on Southeast Asian health experts, local medical traditions, and changing national and popular expectations. The contributors to this volume show how the practices of health in Southeast Asia over the past two centuries were mediated by local medical traditions, colonial interests, governments and policies, international interventions, and by a wide range of health agents and intermediaries. Their findings call into question many of the claims based on medicalization and biopolitics that treat change as a process of rupture. While governments, both colonial and national, used their powers to institute policies that affected large numbers of people, much healthcare remained rooted in a more interactive and locally-mediated experience, in which tradition, adaptation and hybridization is as important as innovation and conflict. "Semi-subaltern" Western-trained doctors adn varied traditional healers, many of them women, were among the cultural brokers involved in the building of healthcare systems, and helped circulate mixed practices and ideas about medicine and health even as they found their place in new professional and social hierarchies in an era of globalization.

The Government of Mistrust Cover

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The Government of Mistrust

Illegibility and Bureaucratic Power in Socialist Vietnam

Ken MacLean

Focusing on the creation and misuse of government documents in Vietnam since the 1920s, The Government of Mistrust reveals how profoundly the dynamics of bureaucracy have affected Vietnamese efforts to build a socialist society. In examining the flurries of paperwork and directives that moved back and forth between high- and low-level officials, Ken MacLean underscores a paradox: in trying to gather accurate information about the realities of life in rural areas, and thus better govern from Hanoi, the Vietnamese central government employed strategies that actually made the state increasingly illegible to itself.
            MacLean exposes a falsified world existing largely on paper. As high-level officials attempted to execute centralized planning via decrees, procedures, questionnaires, and audits, low-level officials and peasants used their own strategies to solve local problems. To obtain hoped-for aid from the central government, locals overstated their needs and underreported the resources they actually possessed. Higher-ups attempted to re-establish centralized control and legibility by creating yet more bureaucratic procedures. Amidst the resulting mistrust and ambiguity, many low-level officials were able to engage in strategic action and tactical maneuvering that have shaped socialism in Vietnam in surprising ways.

Hard Interests, Soft Illusions Cover

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Hard Interests, Soft Illusions

Southeast Asia and American Power

by Natasha Hamilton-Hart

In Hard Interests, Soft Illusions, Natasha Hamilton-Hart explores the belief held by foreign policy elites in much of Southeast Asia-Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam-that the United States is a relatively benign power. She argues that this belief is an important factor underpinning U.S. preeminence in the region, because beliefs inform specific foreign policy decisions and form the basis for broad orientations of alignment, opposition, or nonalignment. Such foundational beliefs, however, do not simply reflect objective facts and reasoning processes. Hamilton-Hart argues that they are driven by both interests-in this case the political and economic interests of ruling groups in Southeast Asia-and illusions.

Hamilton-Hart shows how the information landscape and standards of professional expertise within the foreign policy communities of Southeast Asia shape beliefs about the United States. These opinions frequently rest on deeply biased understandings of national history that dominate perceptions of the past and underlie strategic assessments of the present and future. Members of the foreign policy community rarely engage in probabilistic reasoning or effortful knowledge-testing strategies. This does not mean, she emphasizes, that the beliefs are insincere or merely instrumental rationalizations. Rather, cognitive and affective biases in the ways humans access and use information mean that interests influence beliefs; how they do so depends on available information, the social organization and practices of a professional sphere, and prevailing standards for generating knowledge.

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