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Imagined Ancestries of Vietnamese Communism

Ton Duc Thang and the Politics of History and Memory

By Christoph Giebel

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Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals of the Twentieth Century

Howard M Federspiel

This study examines the Indonesian Muslim intellectuals of the twentieth century and their approaches in dealing with the problems that faced Indonesian Muslims at that time. Like their intellectual ancestors in Islamic history, these recent Indonesian intellectuals carefully examined the society in which they lived. On one level they studied the original and historical teachings of Islam and attempted to fit that message to the Southeast Asian region. On another level they reacted to the great waves of culture that arrived from Europe, North America, and Asia throughout the twentieth century. They did all of this at a time when the Indonesian nation was forming itself, beginning with the nationalist movements of the early part of the century when the Dutch controlled the archipelago, and continuing into the last half of the century when Indonesia was an independent nation.

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Intertidal History in Island Southeast Asia

Submerged Genealogy and the Legacy of Coastal Capture

Jennifer L. Gaynor is Assistant Professor of History at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.


Intertidal History in Island Southeast Asia shows the vital part maritime Southeast Asians played in struggles against domination of the seventeenth-century spice trade by local and European rivals. Looking beyond the narrative of competing mercantile empires, it draws on European and Southeast Asian sources to illustrate Sama sea people's alliances and intermarriage with the sultanate of Makassar and the Bugis realm of Boné. Contrasting with later portrayals of the Sama as stateless pirates and sea gypsies, this history of shifting political and interethnic ties among the people of Sulawesi’s littorals and its land-based realms, along with their shared interests on distant coasts, exemplifies how regional maritime dynamics interacted with social and political worlds above the high-water mark.

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Inventing the Performing Arts

Modernity and Tradition in Colonial Indonesia

Matthew Isaac Cohen

Indonesia, with its mix of ethnic cultures, cosmopolitan ethos, and strong national ideology, offers a useful lens for examining the intertwining of tradition and modernity in globalized Asia. In Inventing the Performing Arts, Matthew Isaac Cohen explores the profound change in diverse arts practices from the nineteenth century until 1949. He demonstrates that modern modes of transportation and communication not only brought the Dutch colony of Indonesia into the world economy, but also stimulated the emergence of new art forms and modern attitudes to art, disembedded and remoored traditions, and hybridized foreign and local.


In the nineteenth century, access to novel forms of entertainment, such as the circus, and newspapers, which offered a new language of representation and criticism, wrought fundamental changes in theatrical, musical, and choreographic practices. Musical drama disseminated print literature to largely illiterate audiences starting in the 1870s, and spoken drama in the 1920s became a vehicle for exploring social issues. Twentieth-century institutions—including night fairs, the recording industry, schools, itinerant theatre, churches, cabarets, round-the-world cruises, and amusement parks—generated new ways of making, consuming, and comprehending the performing arts. Concerned over the loss of tradition and "Eastern" values, elites codified folk arts, established cultural preservation associations, and experimented in modern stagings of ancient stories. Urban nationalists excavated the past and amalgamated ethnic cultures in dramatic productions that imagined the Indonesian nation. The Japanese occupation (1942–1945) was brief but significant in cultural impact: plays, songs, and dances promoting anti-imperialism, Asian values, and war-time austerity measures were created by Indonesian intellectuals and artists in collaboration with Japanese and Korean civilian and military personnel. Artists were registered, playscripts censored, training programs developed, and a Cultural Center established.


Based on more than two decades of archival study in Indonesia, Europe, and the United States, this richly detailed, meticulously researched book demonstrates that traditional and modern artistic forms were created and conceived, that is "invented," in tandem. Intended as a general historical introduction to the performing arts in Indonesia, it will be of great interest to students and scholars of Indonesian performance, Asian traditions and modernities, global arts and culture, and local heritage.

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The Ironies of Freedom

Sex, Culture, and Neoliberal Governance in Vietnam

by Nguyen-vo Thu-huong

In the late 1980s, Vietnam joined the global economy after decades of war and relative isolation, demonstrating how a former socialist government can adapt to global market forces with their neoliberal emphasis on freedom of choice for entrepreneurs and consumers. The Ironies of Freedom examines an aspect of this new market: commercial sex.

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Islam and Politics in Indonesia

The Masyumi Party between Democracy and Integralism

Remy Madinier

The Masyumi Party, which was active in Indonesia from 1945 to 1960, constitutes the boldest attempt to date at reconciling Islam and democracy. Masyumi proposed a vision of society and government which was not bound by a literalist application of Islamic doctrine but rather inspired by the values of Islam. It set out moderate policies which were both favourable to the West and tolerant towards other religious communities in Indonesia. Although the party made significant strides towards the elaboration of a Muslim democracy, its achievements were nonetheless precarious: it was eventually outlawed in 1960 for having resisted Sukarno’s slide towards authoritarianism, and the refusal of Suharto’s regime to reinstate the party left its leaders disenchanted and marginalised. Many of those leaders subsequently turned to a form of Islam known as integralism, a radical doctrine echoing certain characteristics of 19th-century Catholic integralism, which contributed to the advent of Muslim neo-fundamentalism in Indonesia. This book examines the Masyumi Party from its roots in early 20th-century Muslim reformism to its contemporary legacy, and offers a perspective on political Islam which provides an alternative to the more widely-studied model of Middle-Eastern Islam. The party’s experience teaches us much about the fine line separating a moderate form of Islam open to democracy and a certain degree of secularisation from the sort of religious intransigence which can threaten the country’s denominational coexistence.

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Islamisation and Its Opponents in Java

A Political, Social, Cultural and Religious History, c. 1930 to Present

M.C. Ricklefs

The Javanese -- one of the largest ethnic groups in the Islamic world -- were once mostly "nominal Muslims", with pious believers a minority and the majority seemingly resistant to Islam's call for greater piety. Over the tumultuous period analyzed here -- from colonial rule through japanese occupation and Revolution to the chaotic democracy of the Sukarno period, the Soeharto regime's aspirant totalitarianism and the democratic period since -- the society has changed profundly to become an extraordinary example of the rising religiosity that marks the modern age. Islamisation and Its Opponents in Java draws on a formidable body of sources, including interviews, archival documents and a vast range of published material, to situate the Javanese religious experience from the 1930s to the present day in its local political, social, cultural and religious settings. The concluding part of the author’s monumental three-volume series assessing more than six centuries of the on-going Islamisation of the Javanese, the study has considerable relevance for much wider contexts. Beliefs, or disbeliefs, about the supernatural are important in all societies, and the final section of the book, which considers the significance of Java’s religious history in global contexts, shows how it exemplifies a profound contest of values in the universal human search for a better life.

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Journal, Memorials and Letters of Cornelis Matelieff de Jonge

Security, Diplomacy and Commerce in 17th-century Southeast Asia

Peter Borschberg

Admiral Cornelis Matelieff de Jonge, a Director in the Rotterdam chamber of the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) for three decades during the early 17th Century, set sail from the Dutch Republic in 1605. He launched an attack on Portuguese Melaka in 1606 and signed landmark treaties with the rulers of Johor (1606) and Ternate (1607). After his return to the Netherlands in the autumn of 1608 he wrote a series of epistolary reports and memoranda that were carefully studied by leading policy makers in the Republic, among them the renowned jurist Hugo Grotius, and Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. These materials contributed to the formulation of early VOC policy for the Southeast Asian region in the period 1605‒20, and they yield candid insights into key issues of trade, security and the diplomacy of regional polities and their relations with Spain and Portugal. Here translated into English for the first time, this collection of treaties, reports and excerpts from Matelieff's travelogue will be of great interest to students of Southeast Asian and early colonial history and of the history of international law.

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Journal of Burma Studies

Volume 1 (1997) through current issue

The Journal of Burma Studies is one of the only scholarly peer-reviewed printed journal exclusively on Burma. The Journal of Burma Studies is jointly sponsored by the Burma Studies Group and the Center for Burma Studies at Northern Illinois University. The Journal seeks to publish the best scholarly research focused on Burma/Myanmar and its minority and diasporic cultures from a variety of disciplines, ranging from art history and religious studies, to economics and law. Published since 1997, it draws together research and critical reflection on Burma/Myanmar from scholars across Asia, North America and Europe.

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Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society

Vol. 83 (2010) through current issue

The Journal of Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (JMBRAS) is published half-yearly by the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (MBRAS). It disseminates knowledge and matters of historical value pertaining to Malaysia and the surrounding region.

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