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Five Southeast Asian Histories
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.
East and West
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.
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.
Protestantism and the Hmong in Vietnam
In the mid-1980s, a radio program with a compelling spiritual message was accidentally received by listeners in Vietnam’s remote northern highlands. The Protestant evangelical communication had been created in the Hmong language by the Far East Broadcasting Company specifically for war refugees in Laos. The Vietnamese Hmong related the content to their traditional expectation of salvation by a Hmong messiah-king who would lead them out of subjugation, and they appropriated the evangelical message for themselves.�
Today, the New Way (Kev Cai Tshiab) has some three hundred thousand followers in Vietnam. Tâm T. T. Ngô reveals the complex politics of religion and ethnic relations in contemporary Vietnam and illuminates the dynamic interplay between local and global forces, socialist and postsocialist state building, cold war and post–cold war antagonisms, Hmong transnationalism, and U.S.-led evangelical expansionism.
Globalization, Territory, and Clandestine Groups in Southeast Asia
The increased ability of clandestine groups to operate with little regard for borders or geography is often taken to be one of the dark consequences of a brave new globalized world. Yet even for terrorists and smugglers, the world is not flat; states exert formidable control over the technologies of globalization, and difficult terrain poses many of the same problems today as it has throughout human history.
In No Man's Land, Justin V. Hastings examines the complex relationship that illicit groups have with modern technology-and how and when geography still matters. Based on often difficult fieldwork in Southeast Asia, Hastings traces the logistics networks, command and control structures, and training programs of three distinct clandestine organizations: the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, the insurgent Free Aceh Movement, and organized criminals in the form of smugglers and maritime pirates. Hastings also compares the experiences of these groups to others outside Southeast Asia, including al-Qaeda, the Tamil Tigers, and the Somali pirates.
Through reportage, memoirs, government archives, interrogation documents, and interviews with people on both sides of the law, he finds that despite their differences, these organizations are constrained and shaped by territory and technology in similar ways. In remote or hostile environments, where access to the infrastructure of globalization is limited, clandestine groups must set up their own costly alternatives. Even when successful, Hastings concludes, criminal, insurgent and terrorist organizations are not nearly as mobile as pessimistic views of the sinister side of globalization might suggest.
The Mongolian Naval Expedition to Java in the 13th Century
What would a history that put women at the centre of the rise and fall of kingdoms be like? When the armies of Khubilai arrived on Java in 1293, they found themselves in the middle of two warring states. Two historical traditions developed concerning the ensuing events: the official Chinese dynastic records in which no women are mentioned, and a number of Javanese histories and poems in which everything depends upon the actions and fates of certain women. The Chinese account has long been regarded as factual, whilst the Javanese versions have been dismissed as mere romance, their women stereotypical representations of male fantasies. But what happens if the women and the narratives about them are taken seriously rather than dismissed? Of Palm Wine, Women and War offers just such a reading.
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.
Indonesian Labor and Indigenous Encounters in Australia's Northern Trading Network
Remarkable for its meticulous archival research and moving life stories, The Pearl Frontier offers a new way of imagining Australian historical connections with Indonesia. This compelling view of maritime mobility demonstrates how, in the colonial quest for the valuable pearl-shell, Australians came to rely on the skill and labor of Indonesian islanders, drawing them into their northern pearling trade empire. From the 1860s onwards the pearl-shell industry developed alongside British colonial conquests across Australia’s northern coast and prompted the Dutch to consolidate their hold over the Netherlands East Indies. Inspired by tales of pirates and priceless pearls, the pearl frontier witnessed the maritime equivalent of a gold rush; with traders, entrepreneurs, and willing workers coming from across the globe. But like so many other frontier zones it soon became notorious for its reliance on slave-like conditions for indigenous and Indonesian workers. These allegations prompted the imposition of a strict regime of indentured labor migration that was to last for almost a century before giving way to international criticism in the era of decolonization. The Pearl Frontier reveals how Asian migration and the struggle against the restrictive White Australia policy left a rich legacy of mixed Asian-Indigenous heritage that lives on along Australia’s northern coastline.
Instead of the mythologies of racial purity, propagated by settler colonies and European empires, the authors dissect the social and economic life of the port cities around the Australian- Indonesian maritime zone and lay open the complex, cosmopolitan relationships that shaped their histories and their present situations.