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Breaking the Ashes

The Culture of Illicit Liquor in Sri Lanka

"I'm going to break the ashes," yelled one daily drinker to another as their paths crossed early in the morning in the Sri Lankan village Michele Ruth Gamburd calls Naeaegama. The drinker's cryptic comment compared the warming power of alcohol-in the form of his first shot of kasippu, the local moonshine-with the rekindled heat of a kitchen fire. As the adverse effects of globalization have brought poverty to many areas of the world, more people, particularly men, have increased their use and abuse of alcohol. Despite Buddhist prohibitions against the consumption of mind-altering substances, men in Naeaegama are drinking more, at a younger age, and the number of problem drinkers has begun to grow.

In Breaking the Ashes, Gamburd explores the changing role of alcohol. Her account is populated with lively characters, many of whom Gamburd has known since visiting the village for the first time as a child. In wonderfully clear prose Gamburd offers readers an understanding of the cultural context for social and antisocial alcohol consumption, insight into everyday and ceremonial drinking in Naeaegama, and an overview of the production of illicit alcohol. Breaking the Ashes includes a discussion of the key economic aspects that fuel conflicts between husbands and wives, moonshine-makers and police. Addressing Western and indigenous ways to conceptualize and treat alcohol dependence, Gamburd explores the repercussions-at the family as well as the community level-of alcohol's abuse.

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Brewed in Japan

The Evolution of the Japanese Beer Industry

Jeffrey W. Alexander

Spanning the earliest attempts to brew beer to the recent popularity of local craft brews, Brewed in Japan presents the first English-language exploration of beer's steady rise to become the "beverage of the masses." Alexander underscores the highly receptive nature of Japanese consumers, who adopted and domesticated beer in just a few generations, despite its entirely foreign origins. He also sheds light on the various social, cultural, and financial influences that combined to make beer Japan's leading alcoholic beverage by the 1960s. Japan's beer market is now among the most complex on earth, and it continues to evolve. Visit the author's website at www.brewedinjapan.com.

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Bridges to the Ancestors

Music, Myth, and Cultural Politics at an Indonesian Festival

by David D. Harnish

The spectacular Lingsar festival is held annually at a village temple complex built above the most abundant water springs on the island of Lombok, near Bali. Participants come to the festival not only for the efficacy of its rites but also for its spiritual, social, and musical experience. A nexus of religious, political, artistic, and agrarian interests, the festival also serves to harmonize relations between indigenous Sasak Muslims and migrant Balinese Hindus. Ethnic tensions, however, lie beneath the surface of cooperative behavior, and struggles regularly erupt over which group--Balinese or Sasak--owns the past and dominates the present. Bridges to the Ancestors is a broad ethnographic study of the festival based on over two decades of research. The work addresses the festival's players, performing arts, rites, and histories, and considers its relationship to the island's sociocultural and political trends. Music, the most public icon of the festival, has been largely responsible for overcoming differences between the island's two ethnic groups. Through the intermingling of Balinese and Sasak musics at the festival, a profound union has been forged, which participants confirm has been the event's primary social role. Bridges to the Ancestors effectively reveals the Lingsar festival as a site of cultural struggle as the author explores how history, identity, and power are constructed and negotiated. He addresses the fascinating interaction between music and myth and the forces of modernity, globalization, authenticity, tourism, religion, regionalism, and nationalism in maintaining "tradition."

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Britain and Sihanouk's Cambodia

Nicholas Tarling

Diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Britain at the height of the Cold War provide unique insights into the overall foreign policies of both nations. King Norodom Sihanouk’s strategy of preserving the independence and integrity of Cambodia through a policy of neutrality grew ever more challenging as the Cold War heated up in Indochina and conflict in Vietnam became a proxy war between the superpowers. Despite its alliance with the United States, Britain’s diplomatic objectives in the region largely aligned with Cambodia’s, and British criticism of US policy towards Cambodia was a problem in the alliance.British diplomatic records present a fascinating window into Cambodian decision-making, and the rationale behind Sihanouk’s sometimes apparently irrational policies. The reports yield new insights into Sihanouk's efforts to sustain Cambodia’s integrity vis-à-vis its more powerful neighbours.Equally, a fine-grained analysis of British-Cambodia relations reveals much about the dynamics of British foreign policy in the period. Britain's ultimate dependence on its powerful American ally limited its influence in the region. After 1967, indeed, it ceased to have a strategic role. Over the period, British frustrations grew, even as it remained consistent in its foreign policy objectives and approaches.

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The British Presence in Macau, 1635–1793

ROGÉRIO MIGUEL PUGA

For more than four centuries, Macau was the center of Portuguese trade and culture on the South China Coast. Until the founding of Hong Kong and the opening of other ports in the 1840s, it was also the main gateway to China for independent British merchants and their only place of permanent residence. Drawing extensively on Portuguese as well as British sources, The British Presence in Macau traces Anglo- Portuguese relations in South China from the first arrival of English trading ships in the 1630s to the establishment of factories at Canton, the beginnings of the opium trade, and the Macartney Embassy of 1793. Longstanding allies in the west, the British and Portuguese pursued more complex rela­tions in the east, as trading interests clashed under a Chinese imperial system and as the British increasingly asserted their power

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Brunei

From the Age of Commerce to Rentier State

Marie-Sybille de Vienne

Now an energy-rich sultanate, for centuries an important trading port in the South China Sea, Brunei has taken a different direction than its Persian Gulf peers. Immigration is restricted, and Brunei’s hydrocarbon wealth is invested conservatively, mostly outside the country. With some 393,000 inhabitants and today comprising 5,765 square kilometers in area (about the size of the American state of Delaware), Brunei first appears in the historical record at the end of the 10th century. After the Spanish attack of 1578, Brunei struggled to regain and expand its control on coastal West Borneo and to remain within the trading networks of the South China Sea. It later fell under British sway, and a residency was established in 1906, but it took the discovery of oil in Seria in 1929 before the colonial power began to establish the bases of a modern state. Governed by an absolute monarchy, Bruneians today nonetheless enjoy a high level of social protection and rule of law. Ranking second (after Singapore) in Southeast Asia in terms of standards of living, the sultanate is implementing an Islamic penal code for the first time of its history. Focusing on Brunei’s political economy, history and geography, this book aims to understand the forces behind Brunei’s to-and-fro of tradition and modernisation.

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The Buddha in Lanna

Art, Lineage, Power, and Place in Northern Thailand

Angela S. Chiu

For centuries, wherever Thai Buddhists have made their homes, statues of the Buddha have provided striking testament to the role of Buddhism in the lives of the people. The Buddha in Lanna offers the first in-depth historical study of the Thai tradition of donation of Buddha statues. Drawing on palm-leaf manuscripts and inscriptions, many never previously translated into English, the book reveals the key roles that Thai Buddha images have played in the social and economic worlds of their makers and devotees from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries.

Author Angela Chiu introduces stories from chronicles, histories, and legends written by monks in Lanna, a region centered in today’s northern Thailand. By examining the stories’ themes, structures, and motifs, she illuminates the complex conceptual and material aspects of Buddha images that influenced their functions in Lanna society. Buddha images were depicted as social agents and mediators, the focal points of pan-regional political-religious lineages and rivalries, indeed, as the very generators of history itself. In the chronicles, Buddha images also unified the Buddha with the northern Thai landscape, thereby integrating Buddhist and local conceptions of place. By comparing Thai Buddha statues with other representations of the Buddha, the author underscores the contribution of the Thai evidence to a broader understanding of how different types of Buddha representations were understood to mediate the “presence” of the Buddha.

The Buddha in Lanna focuses on the Thai Buddha image as a part of the wider society and history of its creators and worshippers beyond monastery walls, shedding much needed light on the Buddha image in history. With its impressive range of primary sources, this book will appeal to students and scholars of Buddhism and Buddhist art history, Thai studies, and Southeast Asian religious studies.

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The Buddha on Mecca’s Verandah

encounters, mobilities, and histories along the Malaysian-Thai border

Irving Chan Johnson

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Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road

By Johan Elverskog

In the contemporary world the meeting of Buddhism and Islam is most often imagined as one of violent confrontation. Indeed, the Taliban's destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001 seemed not only to reenact the infamous Muslim destruction of Nalanda monastery in the thirteenth century but also to reaffirm the stereotypes of Buddhism as a peaceful, rational philosophy and Islam as an inherently violent and irrational religion. But if Buddhist-Muslim history was simply repeated instances of Muslim militants attacking representations of the Buddha, how had the Bamiyan Buddha statues survived thirteen hundred years of Muslim rule?

Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road demonstrates that the history of Buddhist-Muslim interaction is much richer and more complex than many assume. This groundbreaking book covers Inner Asia from the eighth century through the Mongol empire and to the end of the Qing dynasty in the late nineteenth century. By exploring the meetings between Buddhists and Muslims along the Silk Road from Iran to China over more than a millennium, Johan Elverskog reveals that this long encounter was actually one of profound cross-cultural exchange in which two religious traditions were not only enriched but transformed in many ways.

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Buddhism and the Transformation of Old Age in Medieval Japan

Edward R. Drott

Scholars have long remarked on the frequency with which Japanese myths portrayed gods (kami) as old men or okina . Many of these "sacred elders" came to be featured in premodern theater, most prominently in Noh. In the closing decades of the twentieth-century, as the number of Japan's senior citizens climbed steadily, the sacred elder of premodern myth became a subject of renewed interest and was seen by some as evidence that the elderly in Japan had once been accorded a level of respect unknown in recent times. In Bodies in Time, Edward R. Drott charts the shifting sets of meanings ascribed to old age in medieval Japan, tracing the processes by which the aged body was transformed into a symbol of otherworldly power and the cultural, political, and religious circumstances that inspired its reimagination.


Drott examines how the aged body was used to conceptualize forms of difference and to convey religious meanings in a variety of texts: official chronicles, literary works, Buddhist legends and didactic tales. In early Japan, old age was most commonly seen as a mark of negative distinction, one that represented the ugliness, barrenness, and pollution against which the imperial court sought to define itself. From the late-Heian period, however, certain Buddhist authors seized upon the aged body as a symbolic medium though which to challenge traditional dichotomies between center and margin, high and low, and purity and defilement, crafting narratives that associated aged saints and avatars with the cults, lineages, sacred sites, or religious practices these authors sought to promote.


Contributing to a burgeoning literature on religion and the body, Bodies in Time applies approaches developed in gender studies to "denaturalize" old age as a matter of representation, identity, and performance. By tracking the ideological uses of old age in premodern Japan, this work breaks new ground, revealing the role of religion in the construction of generational categories and the ways in which religious ideas and practices can serve not only to naturalize, but also challenge "common sense" about the body.

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