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The Limits of Alignment

Southeast Asia and the Great Powers since 1975

John D. Ciorciari

The Limits of Alignment is an engaging and accessible study that explores how small states and middle powers of Southeast Asia ensure their security in a world where they are overshadowed by greater powers. John D. Ciorciari challenges a central concep

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Lines in Water

Religious Boundaries in South Asia

edited by Eliza Kent

This collection examines the projections and fantasies, conflict and cooperation, and borrowing and purifying that takes place around religious boundaries in South Asia and in the South Asian diaspora. These essays illustrate how people negotiate social divisions constructed on the basis of religious differences by describing, defining, maintaining, and blurring those religious boundaries in diverse ways. The authors approach religious traditions from a variety of angles including healing and pilgrimage practices, artistic performances, and national holidays. The principal strength of the volume lies in the way its regionally specific case studies generate insights that are more commonly associated with religious pluralism.

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Lords of Things

The Fashioning of the Siamese Monarchy's Modern Image

Maurizio Peleggi

Lords of Things offers a fascinating interpretation of modernity in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Siam by focusing on the novel material possessions and social practices adopted by the royal elite to refashion its self and public image in the early stages of globalization. It examines the westernized modes of consumption and self-presentation, the residential and representational architecture, and the public spectacles appropriated by the Bangkok court not as byproducts of institutional reformation initiated by modernizing sovereigns, but as practices and objects constitutive of the very identity of the royalty as a civilized and civilizing class. Bringing a wealth of new source material into a theoretically informed discussion, Lords of Things will be required reading for historians of Thailand and Southeast Asia scholars generally. It represents a welcome change from previous studies of Siamese modernization that are almost exclusively concerned with the institutional and economic dimensions of the process or with foreign relations, and will appeal greatly to those interested in transnational cultural flows, the culture of colonialism, the invention of tradition, and the relationship between consumption and identity formation in the modern era.

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Losing Binh Dinh

The Failure of Pacification and Vietnamization, 1969 - 1971

Boylan's careful and well-documented analysis of US and South Vietnamese counterinsurgency efforts in Binh Dinh province is a powerful and convincing refutation of those Revisionists who have counter-factually asserted that the US had won the war by 1970—only to have it lost because of the failure of Congress to support Saigon after the 1973 Paris agreement.

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The Lost Territories

Thailand’s History of National Humiliation

Shane Strate

It is a cherished belief among Thai people that their country was never colonized. Yet politicians, scholars, and other media figures chronically inveigh against Western colonialism and the imperialist theft of Thai territory. Thai historians insist that the country adapted to the Western dominated world order more successfully than other Southeast Asian kingdoms and celebrate their proud history of independence. But many Thai leaders view the West as a threat and portray Thailand as a victim. Clearly Thailand’s relationship with the West is ambivalent.

The Lost Territories explores this conundrum by examining two important and contrasting strands of Thai historiography: the well-known Royal-Nationalist ideology, which celebrates Thailand’s long history of uninterrupted independence; and what the author terms “National Humiliation discourse,” its mirror image. Shane Strate examines the origins and consequences of National Humiliation discourse, showing how the modern Thai state has used the idea of national humiliation to sponsor a form of anti-Western nationalism. Unlike triumphalist Royal-Nationalist narratives, National Humiliation history depicts Thailand as a victim of Western imperialist bullying. Focusing on key themes such as extraterritoriality, trade imbalances, and territorial loss, National Humiliation history maintains that the West impeded Thailand’s development even while professing its support and cooperation. Although the state remains the hero in this narrative, it is a tragic heroism defined by suffering and foreign oppression.

Through his insightful analysis of state and media sources, Strate demonstrates how Thai politicians have deployed National Humiliation imagery in support of ethnic chauvinism and military expansion. The Lost Territories will be of particular interest to historians and political scientists for the light it sheds on many episodes of Thai foreign policy, including the contemporary dispute over Preah Vihear. The book’s analysis of the manipulation of historical memory will interest academics exploring similar phenomena worldwide.

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The Lotus Unleashed

The Buddhist Peace Movement in South Vietnam, 1964-1966

Robert J. Topmiller

During the Vietnam War, Vietnamese Buddhist peace activists made extraordinary sacrifices—including self-immolation—to try to end the fighting. They hoped to establish a neutralist government that would broker peace with the Communists and expel the Americans. Robert J. Topmiller explores South Vietnamese attitudes toward the war, the insurgency, and U.S. intervention, and lays bare the dissension within the U.S. military. The Lotus Unleashed is one of the few studies to illuminate the impact of internal Vietnamese politics on U.S. decision-making and to examine the power of a nonviolent movement to confront a violent superpower.

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Malay Secret Societies in the Northern Malay States, 1821-1940s

Mahani MusaMahani Musa

This study describes the origins, function and role of secret societies in the Malay society. The Malay secret societies emerged in the northern Malay states of the west coast of the Malay peninsula between 1821 and the 1940s. These societies were the main avenue to solve various problems which resulted from socio-economic development and competition among the Malays. They reflected an early Malay mode of organization at a time when political parties and associations had yet to be formed. Some of these societies started as religious and welfare organizations. Later they deteriorated into criminal activities due to the failure of the existing leadership to control these tendencies. Just like the Chinese secret societies, members of the Malay secret societies were bound by an oath of secrecy which made detection by the police rather difficult.

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Mapping Chinese Rangoon

Place and Nation among the Sino-Burmese

Jayde Lin Roberts

Mapping Chinese Rangoon is both an intimate exploration of the Sino-Burmese, people of Chinese descent who identify with and choose to remain in Burma/Myanmar, and an illumination of twenty-first-century Burma during its emergence from decades of military-imposed isolation. This spatial ethnography examines how the Sino-Burmese have lived in between states, cognizant of the insecurity in their unclear political status but aware of the social and economic possibilities in this gray zone between two oppressive regimes.

For the Sino-Burmese in Rangoon, the labels of Chinese and Tayout (the Burmese equivalent of Chinese) fail to recognize the linguistic and cultural differences between the separate groups that have settled in the city—Hokkien, Cantonese, and Hakka—and conflate this diverse population with the state actions of the People’s Republic of China and the supposed dominance of the overseas Chinese network. In this first English-language study of the Sino-Burmese, Mapping Chinese Rangoon examines the concepts of ethnicity, territory, and nation in an area where ethnicity is inextricably tied to state violence.

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Masked

The Life of Anna Leonowens, Schoolmistress at the Court of Siam

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Medical Education in East Asia

Past and Future

Edited by Lincoln C. Chen, Michael R. Reich, and Jennifer Ryan

Pivotal to Asia’s future will be the robustness of its medical universities. Lessons learned in the past and the challenges facing these schools in the future are outlined in this collection, which offers valuable insights for other medical education systems as well. The populations in these rapidly growing countries rely on healthcare systems that can vigorously respond to the concerns of shifting demographics, disease, and epidemics. The collected works focus on the education of physicians and health professionals, policy debates, cooperative efforts, and medical education reform movements.

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