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Entanglements of Custom and Modernity in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste
Across Melanesia, the ways in which people connect to land are being transformed by processes of modernization—globalization, the building of states and nations, practices and imaginaries of development, the legacies of colonialism, and the complexities of postcolonial encounters. Melanesian peoples are becoming landowners, Stead argues, both in the sense that these processes of change compel forms of property relations, and in the sense that “landowner” and “custom landowner” become identities to be wielded against the encroachment of both state and capital. In places where customary forms of land tenure have long been dominant, deeply intertwined with senses of self and relationships with others, land now becomes a crucible upon which social relations, power, and culture are reconfigured and reimagined.
Employing a multi-sited ethnographic approach, Becoming Landowners explores these transformations to land and life as they unfold across two Melanesian countries. The chapters move between coasts and inland mountain ranges, between urban centers and rural villages, telling the stories of people and places who are always situated and particular but who also share powerful commonalities of experience. These include a subsistence-based community shaped by the legacies of colonialism and occupation in remote Timor-Leste, villagers in Papua New Guinea resisting a mining operation and the government agents supporting it, an urban East Timorese settlement resisting eviction by the nation-state its residents hoped would represent them in the post-independence era, and people and groups in both countries who are struggling for, with, and sometimes against the formal codification of their claims to land and place. In each of these instances, customary and modern forms of connection to land are propelled into complex and dynamic configurations, theorized here in an innovative way as entanglements of custom and modernity.
Moving between multiple sites, scales, and forms of collectivity, Becoming Landowners reveals entanglements as spaces of deep ambivalence. Here, structures of power are destabilized in ways that can lend themselves to the diminishing of local autonomy in the face of the state and capital. At the same time, the destabilization of power also creates new possibilities for the reassertion of that autonomy, and of the customary forms of connection to land in which it is grounded.
Scripting Modernity in Japanese Drama, 1900-1930
In the opening decades of the twentieth century in Japan, practically every major author wrote plays that were published and performed. The plays were seen not simply as the emergence of a new literary form but as a manifestation of modernity itself, transforming the stage into a site for the exploration of new ideas and ways of being. A Beggar’s Art is the first book in English to examine the full range of early twentieth-century Japanese drama. Accompanying his study, M. Cody Poulton provides his translations of representative one-act plays. Poulton looks at the emergence of drama as a modern literary and artistic form and chronicles the creation of modern Japanese drama as a reaction to both traditional (particularly kabuki) dramaturgy and European drama. Translations and productions of the latter became the model for the so-called New Theater (shingeki), where the question of how to be both modern and Japanese at the same time was hotly contested. Following introductory essays on the development of Japanese drama from the 1880s to the early 1930s, are translations of nine seminal one-act plays by nine dramatists, including two women, Okada Yachiyo and Hasegawa Shigure. The subject matter of these plays is that of modern drama everywhere: discord between men and women, between parents and children, and the resulting disintegration of marriages and families. Both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat make their appearances; modern pretensions are lampooned and modern predicaments lamented in equal measure. Realism (as evidenced in the plays of Kikuchi Kan and Tanaka Chikao) prevails as the mode of modernity, but other styles are presented: the symbolism of Izumi Kyoka, Suzuki Senzaburo’s brittle melodrama, Kubota Mantaro’s minimalistic lyricism, Akita Ujaku’s politically incisive expressionism, and even a proto-absurdist work by Japan’s master of prewar drama, Kishida Kunio. With its combination of new translations and informative and theoretically engaging essays, A Beggar’s Art will prove invaluable for students and researchers in world theater and Japanese studies, particularly those with an interest in modern Japanese literature and culture.
An analytically innovative work, Begin Here widens the current critical focus of Asian North American literary studies by proposing an integrated thematic and narratological approach to the practice of autobiography. It demonstrates how Asian North American memoirs of childhood challenge the construction and performative potential of national experiences. This understanding influences theoretical approaches to ethnic life writing, expanding the boundaries of traditional autobiography by negotiating narrative techniques and genre and raising complex questions about self-representation and the construction of cultural memory. By examining the artistic project of some fifty Asian North American writers who deploy their childhood narratives in the representation of the individual processes of self-identification and negotiation of cultural and national affiliation, this work provides a comprehensive overview of Asian North American autobiographies of childhood published over the last century. Importantly, it also attends to new ways of writing autobiographies, employing comics, blending verse, prose, diaries, and life writing for children, and using relational approaches to self-identification, among others.
The Sacred Book of Japan's Hidden Christians
In 1865 a French priest was visited by a small group of Japanese at his newly built church in Nagasaki. They were descendants of Japan's first Christians, the survivors of brutal religious persecution under the Tokugawa government. The Kakure Kirishitan, or "hidden Christians," had practiced their religion in secret for several hundred years. Sometime after their visit the priest received a copy of the Kakure bible, the Tenchi Hajimari no Koto, "Beginning of Heaven and Earth," an intriguing amalgam of Bible stories, Japanese fables, and Roman Catholic doctrine. Whelan offers a complete translation of this unique work accompanied by an illuminating commentary that provides the first theory of origin and evolution of the Tenchi. Today, the few Kakure Kirishitan communities still in existence view the Tenchi as strange and flawed, expressing a distorted form of Christianity. It is, however, the only text produced by the Kakure Kirishitan that depicts their highly syncretistic tradition and provides a colorful window through which to examine the dynamics of religious acculturation.
The Visual Communication of Character and Culture
Beijing Opera Costumes is the first in-depth English-language book focused exclusively on the costumes of Jingju, the highest form of stage arts in China. This comprehensive volume provides both theory and analysis of the costumes and the method of their selection for the roles as well as technical information on embroidery, patterns, and construction. Extensive descriptions illuminate the use of colors and surface images derived from historical dress and modified for the stage. Details on makeup, hairstyles, and dressing techniques present a complete view of the Jingju performer from head to toe. Meticulously researched in Taipei and Beijing, this definitive work begins with an outline of the rich and complex history of Beijing opera and significant developments in design over the past millennium. Chapters on costume theory and design elements and their modification to create a wide variety of images are followed by presentations of individual costumes together with their historical background and use of color and pattern. A survey of the accessories and headdresses, makeup and hairstyles, accompanies the discussion of each costume. The intricacies of choosing costumes for a production and dressing actors are also discussed. Lavishly illustrated with more than 250 color and black-and-white photographs and pattern drafts, Beijing Opera Costumes is an indispensable record of and resource for Jingju as it is performed in China today. Textile artists will appreciate the beauty of the colors and designs as well as the information on embroidery techniques and symbolism of the images. China scholars will value the contextual analysis and theater specialists the explication of costumes in relation to performance. Finally, costume designers will relish the opportunity to examine in detail their art in another cultural setting and theatrical style.
The Social Ethics of Engaged Buddhism
Engaged Buddhism is the contemporary movement of nonviolent social and political activism found throughout the Buddhist world. Its ethical theory sees the world in terms of cause and effect, a view that discourages its practitioners from becoming adversaries, blaming or condemning the other. Its leaders make some of the most important contributions in the Buddhist world to thinking about issues in political theory, human rights, nonviolence, and social justice. Being Benevolence provides for the first time a rich overview of the main ideas and arguments of prominent Engaged Buddhist thinkers and activists on a variety of questions: What kind of political system should modern Asian states have? What are the pros and cons of Western "liberalism"? Can Buddhism support the idea of human rights? Can there ever be a nonviolent nation-state? It identifies the roots of Engaged Buddhist social ethics in such traditional Buddhist concepts and practices as interdependence, compassion, and meditation, and shows how these are applied to particular social and political issues. It illuminates the movement’s metaphysical views on the individual and society and goes on to examine how Engaged Buddhists respond to fundamental questions in political theory concerning the proper balance between the individual and society. The second half of the volume focuses on applied social-political issues: human rights, nonviolence, and social justice.
Leadership and Democracy in the Pacific Islands
Politicians everywhere tend to attract cynicism and inspire disillusionment. They are supposed to epitomize the promise of democratic government and yet invariably find themselves cast as the enemy of every virtue that system seeks to uphold. In the Pacific, “politician” has become a byword for corruption, graft, and misconduct. This was not always the case—the independence generation is still remembered as strong leaders—but today’s leaders are commonly associated with malaise and despair. Once heroes of self-determination, politicians are now the targets of donor attempts to institute “good governance,” while Fiji’s 2006 coup was partly justified on the grounds that they needed “cleaning up.”
But who are these much-maligned figures? How did they come to arrive in politics? What is it like to be a politician? Why do they enter, stay, and leave? Drawing on more than 110 interviews and other published sources, including autobiographies and biographies, Being Political provides a collective portrait of the region’s political elite. This is an insider account of political life in the Pacific as seen through the eyes of those who have done the job.
Corbett shows that politics is a messy, unpredictable, and, at times, dirty business that nonetheless inspires service and sacrifice. Being a politician has changed since independence, but politics continues to be deeply imbedded in the lives of individuals, families, and communities; an account that belies the common characterization of democracy in the Pacific as a “façade” or “foreign flower.”
Ultimately, this is a sympathetic counter-narrative to the populist critique. We come to know politicians as people with hopes and fears, pains and pleasures, vices and virtues. As such, this book is a must-read for all those who believe in the promise of representative government.
A Personal Account of the Secret U.S.-Japan Okinawa Reversion Negotiations
This volume affords a fascinating and rare look at the sensitive issue of nuclear diplomacy between two critical Cold War allies, the United States and Japan, during the 1960s. Challenging the silence of the official bureaucracies in Washington and Tokyo, Wakaizumi Kei reveals the truth behind the secret 1969 agreement that ensured the eventual reversion of Okinawa to Japanese jurisdiction in 1972. Revelation of this secret accord created considerable controversy in Japan when Wakaizumi's memoir was first published in 1994. With the publication of this translation, his description of the events leading up to the closed-door agreement is available to an English-language audience for the first time. At a time when security matters are once again predominant in the U.S.-Japan alliance, Professor Wakaizumi's account is a timely reminder of the gap between official, media-filtered descriptions of diplomatic relations and the private discussions of national leaders. The long-standing reluctance of the Japanese government to declassify its postwar diplomatic records has meant that Japan's side of its relationship with the U.S. has been only partially revealed. The Best Course Available attempts to correct this shortcoming and at the same time provides insight into the complicated and arcane process of foreign policymaking, national leadership, and domestic politics in Japan after 1945.
Stories of Cloth, Lives, and Travels from Sumba
Textiles have long been integral to the social life and cosmology of the people of East Sumba, Indonesia. In recent decades, Sumbanese have entered a larger world economy as their textiles have joined the commodity flow of an international “ethnic arts” market stimulated by Indonesia’s tourist trade. Through the individual stories of those involved in the contemporary production and trade of local cloth—including animists, Christians, and Moslems; Sumbanese, Indonesian Chinese, and Westerners; inventive geniuses, master artisans, and exploited weavers; rogues, entrepeneurs, nobles, and servants—a vivid account emerges of the inner workings of a so-called “traditional” society and its arts responding inventively to decades of international collecting.
Changing Academic and Public Perspectives
In 2008, 140 years after it had annexed Ainu lands, the Japanese government shocked observers by finally recognizing Ainu as an Indigenous people. In this moment of unparalleled political change, it was Uzawa Kanako, a young Ainu activist, who signalled the necessity of moving beyond the historical legacy of “Ainu studies.” Mired in a colonial mindset of abject academic practices, Ainu Studies was an umbrella term for an approach that claimed scientific authority vis-à-vis Ainu, who became its research objects. As a result of this legacy, a latent sense of suspicion still hangs over the purposes and intentions of non-Ainu researchers.
This major new volume seeks to re-address the role of academic scholarship in Ainu social, cultural, and political affairs. Placing Ainu firmly into current debates over Indigeneity, Beyond Ainu Studies provides a broad yet critical overview of the history and current status of Ainu research. With chapters from scholars as well as Ainu activists and artists, it addresses a range of topics including history, ethnography, linguistics, tourism, legal mobilization, hunter-gatherer studies, the Ainu diaspora, gender, and clothwork. In its ambition to reframe the question of Ainu research in light of political reforms that are transforming Ainu society today, this book will be of interest to scholars and students in Indigenous studies as well as in anthropology and Asian studies.