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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.
The Life and Death of a Modern Hawaiian Warrior
Big Happiness is extremely important to our community. Mark Panek’s biography of Percy Kipapa speaks to the consequences of the destruction of Hawai‘i’s rural neighborhoods, unchecked development, the ice epidemic, the failures of government, sumo, intricate family and neighbor relationships, and more. What is most impressive is Panek’s ability to weave all of these complex topics together in a seamless narrative that connects all the dots. Part mystery, part investigative journalism, part poignant Island portrait, this work contains an emotional element that binds the reader to the subjects in a dignified yet touching way, showing compassion and even affection for people while revealing their flaws and shortcomings. This book will resonate with an Island audience and with anyone interested in Hawai‘i. —Victoria Kneubuhl, Hawai‘i writer and playwright
"This book tells of personal triumphs and failures, and also the triumphs and failures of families, communities, organizations, agencies, governments, and churches dealing with the multiple consequences of ‘progress’ in contemporary Hawai‘i. There have been heroes and villains at all levels—frequently, the same individuals and agencies are both at the same time. The story of Percy Kipapa is especially poignant because professional sumo gave him a unique opportunity to transcend Hawai‘i’s culture of colonialism, racism, poverty, and drug addiction, which in the end all brought him down anyway. Mark Panek has done a masterful job of weaving these strands together."—Reverend Bob Nakata, former Hawai‘i state senator
"Spanning the history of Waikane and the brutality of Japan’s national sport, Big Happiness is a remarkably ambitious piece that links one man’s murder to the ice epidemic, land development, and political corruption in Hawai‘i. Mark Panek’s meticulously researched, skillfully written, heartbreaking story, filled with voices that ring true, is an indictment of an entire system that crushed a gentle giant. While other Hawai‘i writers dwell in ‘take me back to da kine’ nostalgia, Panek tells it like it really is." —Chris McKinney, author of The Tattoo and Mililani Mauka
Chinese Intergenerational Relations in Modern Singapore
Since gaining independence in 1965, Singapore has become the most trade-intensive economy in the world and the richest country in Southeast Asia. This transformation has been accompanied by the emergence of a deep generational divide. More complex than simple disparities of education or changes in income and consumption patterns, this growing gulf encompasses language, religion, and social memory. The Binding Tie explores how expectations and obligations between generations are being challenged, reworked, and reaffirmed in the face of far-reaching societal change. The family remains a pivotal feature of Singaporean society and the primary unit of support. The author focuses on the middle generation, caught between elderly parents who grew up speaking dialect and their own children who speak English and Mandarin. In analyzing the forces that bind these generations together, she deploys the idea of an intergenerational "contract," which serves as a metaphor for customary obligations and expectations. She convincingly examines the many different levels at which the contract operates within Singaporean families and offers striking examples of the meaningful ways in which intergenerational support and transactions are performed, resisted, and renegotiated. Her rich material, drawn from ethnographic fieldwork among middle-class Chinese, provides insights into the complex interplay of fragmenting and integrating forces. The Binding Tie makes a critical contribution to the study of intergenerational relations in modern, rapidly changing societies and conveys a vivid and nuanced picture of the challenges Singaporean families face in today’s hypermodern world. It will be of interest to researchers and students in a range of fields, including anthropology, sociology, Asian studies, demography, development studies, and family studies.
Vol. 1 (1978) through current issue
For thirty years, Biography has been an important forum for well-considered biographical scholarship. It features stimulating articles that explore the theoretical, generic, historical, and cultural dimensions of life-writing; and the integration of literature, history, the arts, and the social sciences as they relate to biography. Each issue also offers insightful reviews, concise excerpts of reviews published elsewhere, an annual bibliography of works about biography, and listings of upcoming events, calls for papers, and news from the field.
Stories and a Novella
Together, the five stories and novella in this collection follow the lives of first- and second-generation Indian Americans living in contemporary California. The characters share a similar sensibility: a sense that immigration is a distant memory, yet an experience that continues to shape the decisions they make in subtle and surprising ways as they go about the complicated business of everyday living. The collection is anchored by the title novella about a love triangle between an aging, blind writer, his younger beautiful wife, and a young man desperate to start a writing life. Over several months, the three will get to know one another and move toward a moment that will change the lives of each of them forever.
The Donglin Faction and its Repression, 16201627
From 1625 to 1627 scholar-officials belonging to a militant Confucianist group known as the "Donglin Faction" suffered one of the most gruesome political repressions in China's history. Many were purged from key positions in the central government for their relentless push for a national moral rearmament under the Tianqi emperor. While their martyrs' deaths won them a lasting reputation for heroism and steadfastness, their opponents are remembered for fatally degrading the quality of Ming political life with their arrests and tortures of Donglin partisans. John Dardess employs a wide range of little-used primary sources (letters, diaries, eyewitness accounts, memorials, imperial edicts) to provide a remarkably detailed narrative of the inner workings of Ming government and of this dramatic period as a whole. Comparing the repression with the Tiananmen demonstrations of 1989, he argues that Tiananmen offers compelling clues to a rereading of the events of the 1620s. Leaders of both movements were less interested in practical reform than in communicating sincere moral feelings to rulers and the public. In the end the protesters succeeded in commemorating their dead and imprisoned and in disgracing those responsible for the violence. A work of unprecedented depth skillfully told, Blood and History in China will be appreciated by specialists in intellectual history and Ming and early Qing studies.<
A Study and Translation of the <i>Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā-sūtra</i>
Bodhisattvas of the Forest delves into the socioreligious milieu of the authors, editors, and propagators of the Rastrapalapariprccha-sutra (Questions of Rastrapala), a Buddhist text circulating in India during the first half of the first millennium C.E. In this meticulously researched study, Daniel Boucher first reflects upon the problems that plague historians of Mahayana Buddhism, whose previous efforts to comprehend the tradition have often ignored the social dynamics that motivated some of the innovations of this new literature. Following that is a careful analysis of several motifs found in the Indian text and an examination of the value of the earliest Chinese translation for charting the sutra’s evolution. The first part of the study looks at the relationship between the bodily glorification of the Buddha and the ascetic career—spanning thousands of lifetimes—that produced it within the socioeconomic world of early medieval Buddhist monasticism. The authors of the Rastrapala sharply criticize their monastic contemporaries for rejecting the rigorous lifestyle of the first Buddhist communities, an ideal that, for the sutra’s authors, self-consciously imitates the disciplines and sacrifices of the Buddha’s own bodhisattva career, the very career that led to his acquisition of bodily perfection. Thus, Boucher reveals the ways in which the authors of the Rastrapala authors co-opted this topos concerning the bodily perfection of the Buddha from the Mainstream tradition to subvert their co-religionists whose behavior they regarded as representing a degenerate version of that tradition. In Part 2 Boucher focuses on the third-century Chinese translation of the sutra attributed to Dharmaraksa and traces the changes in the translation to the late tenth century. The significance of this translation, Boucher explains, is to be found in the ways it differs from all other witnesses. These differences, which are significant, almost certainly reveal an earlier shape of the sutra before later editors were inspired to alter dramatically the text’s tone and rhetoric. The early Chinese translations, though invaluable in revealing developments in the Indian milieu that led to changes in the text, present particular challenges to the interpreter. It takes an understanding of not only their abstruse idiom, but also the process by which they were rendered from an undetermined Indian language into a Chinese cultural uh_product. One of the signal contributions of this study is Boucher’s skill at identifying the traces left by the process and ability to uncover clues about the nature of the source text as well as the world of the principal recipients. Bodhisattvas of the Forest concludes with an annotated translation of the Rastrapalapariprccha-sutra based on a new reading of its earliest extant Sanskrit manuscript. The translation takes note of important variants in Chinese and Tibetan versions to correct the many corruptions of the Sanskrit manuscript.