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Mission to Siam Cover

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Mission to Siam

Joan Acocella (ed.) & Jessie Mackinnon Hartzell

"Here ... I have really lived." Jessie MacKinnon Hartzell arrived in Northern Thailand in 1912, the young wife of a recently ordained Presbyterian missionary. Thousands of miles lay between her and her grandparents' farm in Nova Scotia, where she had been born and raised. But over the next sixteen years, Thailand became her beloved new home. She was awed by its physical beauty--the great rivers, the orchid-studded hills--and became devoted to its people. Beginning as a nurse, she eventually directed a small hospital. There she discovered her talent for organization and hard work. She also found, to her grief, that her work separated her from her children. Mission to Siam casts unexpected light on colonialism, the Asia missions, and the convulsive changes that a newly united Thailand underwent in the early twentieth century. It is a significant contribution to the handful of published works that describe firsthand the experience of women missionaries. This is a heartfelt account by a strong, intelligent woman caught between what she owed her family and what she felt she owed herself: a calling, a career, and adventure. With a biographical essay by Joan Acocella and an introduction by Rosalind C. Morris.

Modern Noise, Fluid Genres Cover

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Modern Noise, Fluid Genres

Popular Music in Indonesia, 1997–2001

Jeremy Wallach

What happens to “local” sound when globalization exposes musicians and audiences to cultural influences from around the world? Jeremy Wallach explores this question as it plays out in the eclectic, evolving world of Indonesian music after the fall of the repressive Soeharto regime. Against the backdrop of Indonesia’s chaotic and momentous transition to democracy, Wallach takes us to recording studios, music stores, concert venues, university campuses, video shoots, and urban neighborhoods.
Integrating ground-level ethnographic research with insights drawn from contemporary cultural theory, he shows that access to globally circulating music and technologies has neither extinguished nor homogenized local music-making in Indonesia. Instead, it has provided young Indonesians with creative possibilities for exploring their identity in a diverse nation undergoing dramatic changes in an increasingly interconnected world. Ultimately, he finds, the unofficial, multicultural nationalism of Indonesian popular music provides a viable alternative to the religious, ethnic, regional, and class-based extremism that continues to threaten unity and democracy in that country.

Modern Thai Buddhism and Buddhadasa Bhikkhu: A Social History Cover

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Modern Thai Buddhism and Buddhadasa Bhikkhu: A Social History

Tomomi Ito

The Buddhist monk Buddhadasa Bhikku (1906-1993) injected fresh life into Thai Buddhism by exploring and teaching little known transcendent aspects of the religion. His investigations excited both monks and lay people, and gave rise to vigorous discussion in shops, temple and yards and newly founded Buddhist associations. While these discussions included serious exchanges on doctrine and practice, they also included jokes and light humour, criticisms of weak evidence for various positions, and rumours that Buddhadasa was a communist sympathizer. Some of this material was captured in Buddhist journals and in numerous "pocket books" aimed at a general audience. Departing from the classical method of studying Buddhism through philology, Tomomi Ito's account of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu draws on this popular literature and on detailed interviews with a very broad spectrum of the people involved in these exchanges. The result is a lively intellectual and social history of contemporary Thai Buddhism built around the life of an exceptional monk who captured the interest of Buddhists pursuing spiritual depth in the context of the ideologcial conflicts of the Cold War.

Murder Most Foul Cover

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Murder Most Foul

A Panorama of Social Life in Melaka from the 1780s to the 1820s

Radin Fernando

This book presents a tapestry of social history of Melaka rich in details as never before, using the court records from the 1780s through to the 1820s serendipitously preserved. Through the eyes of Dutch judges who carefully recorded crimes committed in the town, Radin Fernando weaves a fascinating narrative of social history of ordinary people caught in the most serious of all crimes, murder, as both perpetrators and victims. They speak for themselves, revealing their anxiety, anguish, humour and mischief, feelings common in human life but rarely encountered in history books, projecting a lively picture of the life of ordinary people in Melaka.

Muslims and Matriarchs Cover

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Muslims and Matriarchs

Cultural Resilience in Indonesia through Jihad and Colonialism

Muslims and Matriarchs is a history of an unusual, probably heretical, and ultimately resilient cultural system. The Minangkabau culture of West Sumatra, Indonesia, is well known as the world's largest matrilineal culture; Minangkabau people are also Muslim and famous for their piety. In this book, Jeffrey Hadler examines the changing ideas of home and family in Minangkabau from the late eighteenth century to the 1930s.

Minangkabau has experienced a sustained and sometimes violent debate between Muslim reformists and preservers of indigenous culture. During a protracted and bloody civil war of the early nineteenth century, neo-Wahhabi reformists sought to replace the matriarchate with a society modeled on that of the Prophet Muhammad. In capitulating, the reformists formulated an uneasy truce that sought to find a balance between Islamic law and local custom. With the incorporation of highland West Sumatra into the Dutch empire in the aftermath of this war, the colonial state entered an ongoing conversation. These existing tensions between colonial ideas of progress, Islamic reformism, and local custom ultimately strengthened the matriarchate.

The ferment generated by the trinity of oppositions created social conditions that account for the disproportionately large number of Minangkabau leaders in Indonesian politics across the twentieth century. The endurance of the matriarchate is testimony to the fortitude of local tradition, the unexpected flexibility of reformist Islam, and the ultimate weakness of colonialism. Muslims and Matriarchs is particularly timely in that it describes a society that experienced a neo-Wahhabi jihad and an extended period of Western occupation but remained intellectually and theologically flexible and diverse.

Nagapattinam to Suvarnadwipa Cover

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Nagapattinam to Suvarnadwipa

Reflections on the Chola Naval Expeditions to Southeast Asia

Hermann Kulke, K Kesavapany and Vijay Sakhuja

The expansion of the Cholas from their base in the Kaveri Delta saw this growing power subdue the kingdoms of southern India, as well as occupy Sri Lanka and the Maldives, by the early eleventh century. It was also during this period that the Cholas initiated links with Song China. Concurrently, the Southeast Asian polity of Sriwijaya had, through its Sumatran and Malayan ports, come to occupy a key position in East-West maritime trade, requiring engagement with both Song China to the north and the Chola kingdom to its west. The apparently friendly relations pursued were, however, to be disrupted in 1025 by Chola naval expeditions against fourteen key port cities in Southeast Asia. This volume examines the background, course and effects of these expeditions, as well as the regional context of the events. It brings to light many aspects of this key period in Asian history. Unprecedented in the degree of detail assigned to the story of the Chola expeditions, this volume is also unique in that it includes translations of the contemporary Tamil and Sanskrit inscriptions relating to Southeast Asia and of the Song dynasty Chinese texts relating to the Chola Kingdom.

Nation Building Cover

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Nation Building

Five Southeast Asian Histories

Wang Gungwu

The book addresses questions such as: how should historians treat the earlier pasts of each country and the nationalism that guided the nation-building tasks? Where did political culture come in, especially when dealing with modern challenges of class, secularism and ethnicity? What part do external or regional pressures play when the nations are still being built? The authors have thought deeply about the issues of writing nation-building histories and have tried to put them not only in the perspective of Southeast Asian developments of the past five decades, but also the larger areas of historiography today.

Nationalism and Globalization Cover

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Nationalism and Globalization

East and West

Leo Suryadinata

Nationalism and globalization are two major contradicting forces in the world today. The roles that these two forces play and the impact of globalization on countries differ. Both Western and Asian "nation-states" have faced the challenge of globalization in recent decades, and the challenge has become more intense since the 1990s. The decline of communism and socialism as ideologies, and the decreasing importance of national boundaries for capital, companies and even labour, have had profound implications for national identity. Thus, the impact of globalization on "nation-states" is not identical. How have "nation-states" coped with globalization? Has it led to stronger nationalism or national disintegration? What has happened to national identity? Is the concept of "nation" still relevant in the era of globalization? To answer these questions, twelve countries -- six from the West (France, UK, USA, Yugoslavia, Australia, and Russia) and six from Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, China, and India) have been selected for study. These countries represent a wide range of national experiences — from "old" states to "new" states, from mono-ethnic nations to multi-ethnic ones, and from surviving nation-states to decaying ones. Apart from the individual country studies, the last chapter summarizes and compares the findings of these country studies, throwing light on the various types of nationalism, and the gains and losses of these countries in the process of globalization.

New Perspectives and Research on Malaysian History Cover

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New Perspectives and Research on Malaysian History

Cheah Boon Kheng

Historiography is both the study of the writing of history, and the history of historical writings. The book deals with the current research interests, methods, thinking and trends in Malaysian historical writing. The individual essays focus not only on new historical sources and methodologies, but also on debates between different schools of Malaysian historians on conceptual issues and on ways to reconstruct the Malaysian past. For a long time the primary object of Malaysian historical studies has been the nation-state, but some of the historians in this volume now argue that local history, social history, economic history, and the role of women, minorities and marginalized groups like trishaw riders are equally important concerns within Malaysia's socially diverse and multi-ethnic society. The essays also discuss challenges Malaysian historians face from new movements like post-modernism in representing historical truth and objectivity. This book should be of interest not only to students of Malaysian history, but also to the general reader.

Offshore Asia Cover

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Offshore Asia

Maritime Interactions in Eastern Asia before Steamships

This exemplary work of international collaboration takes a comparative approach to the histories of Northeast and Southeast Asia, with contributions from scholars from Japan, Korea and the English-speaking academic world. The new scholarship represented by this volume demonstrates that the vast and growing commercial interactions between the countries of eastern Asia have long historical roots. The so-called “opening” to Western trade in the mid-nineteenth century, which is typically seen as the beginning of this process, is shown to be rather the reversal of a relatively temporary phase of state consolidation in the long eighteenth century.

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