- Editors' Note
The November 2018 edition of SOJOURN will be the last in which a regular Editors' Note appears. The journal introduced this feature in March 2012, when it launched its twenty-eighth year of publication with the announcement that SOJOURN would begin to appear three times annually rather than two. That departure was grounded in the resolve of the Regional Social and Cultural Studies Programme of what was then still the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies to bring to readers a greater range of important scholarship in the pages of the journal. It came at a time when, in an increasing number of disciplines, both junior and senior scholars had begun to approach patterns of social change in Southeast Asia from often startlingly new angles. The editors of SOJOURN were determined to deepen ISEAS's commitment to advancing the innovative work of such scholars—working in Australia and New Zealand, China and Japan and Korea, Europe and the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, and above all in Southeast Asia itself.
The present issue of the journal validates the resolve of nearly six years ago. It showcases, for example, the work of two of the most creative young historians of Southeast Asia, Michael Pante and Lisandro Claudio, and highlights the clear bearing of their scholarship—in each case on the Philippines—on understandings of social change in the region today. Pante's article addresses the mid-twentieth-century effort to create a new main campus for the University of the Philippines on the "university town" model. Embedding the history of that Diliman campus in the social history of Quezon City1 and the political history of the Philippines, Pante pioneers a spatial approach to the study of the Southeast Asian university and of its relationship to society. It is an approach from which scholars concerned with contexts from Jurong to Pathein to Thủ Dầu Một to Padang might take inspiration. Pante's deftness in [End Page v] assembling elements of recent Philippine history into a vision all his own ensures that his article and the instalment of the SOJOURN Symposium in this issue of the journal—devoted to Claudio's latest book—complement each other brilliantly.
Chan Chia Theow's article, on a puzzling 1937 Chinese-language short story by Lin Cantian, shares with Pante's a concern with the social significance of space or place. Exemplifying the flourishing study of Southeast Asian literature and the increasing integration of work drawing on Chinese-language materials into English-language scholarship on the region,2 the article investigates what Chan usefully terms the "micro-dialectics of ethnicity" on the East Coast of interwar-era Malaya. It also suggests with extraordinary vividness the value of literary materials in the study of otherwise inaccessible dimensions of Southeast Asian experience. Readers captivated by that vividness, but without Chinese literacy, will be gratified to learn that Chan will soon publish an English translation of the curious and arresting story on which his article focuses, "Xila Ren" (The Man from Greece) (Chan forthcoming 2019).
Anthropological approaches to trade and scholarship on the social worlds of borderlands are natural foci for SOJOURN. The past half-decade has seen the journal publish a number of articles in these areas, including several at their intersection.3 Juan Zhang's contribution to this edition of the journal treats Chinese traders seeking their fortunes in trade along their country's border with Vietnam. It introduces patterns of flexible and informal regulation that structure both opportunities to prosper and relations between local authorities and traders. Zhang's informants allow her to bring perspective to the study of a borderland that is simultaneously national and regional. Her article thus enriches understanding of the broad and pressing issue of Sino-Southeast Asian relations and their determinants.4 As those relations continue to reshape Southeast Asian social worlds, SOJOURN is doubtless destined to publish additional scholarship on them, early and often.
Social and physical mobility have long been of a piece in Southeast Asia, as elsewhere. Migration is a central concern of SOJOURN.5 [End Page vi] Hy V. Luong's enlightening longitudinal study of communities in Northern, Central and...