“Ishikawa has a deep and long-term knowledge of his subject. The mixture of historical, anthropological, and sociological approaches is inspiring, and Ishikawa mixes these genres skillfully. A detailed and impressive thick description permeates the book from the first page to the last, but it is also theoretically sophisticated. This combination sets it apart from quite a few other studies.”
Eric Tagliacozzo, Cornell University
“This is such a marvelous book. I love the way it brings a structural analysis of capitalism and the state into a deep reading of history and ethnography. The international politics, smuggling, ethnic formation, asymmetrical labor migration, and location work on isolated and little-known Cape Dato typify the striking particularity of transnational modernity. I will enjoy teaching it and will recommend it to many—far beyond the boundaries of Southeast Asian studies.”
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, University of California, Santa Cruz
A staple of postwar academic writing, “nationalism” is a contentious and often unanalyzed abstraction. It is generally treated as something “imagined,” “fashioned,” and “disseminated,”
as an idea located in the mind, in printed matter, on maps, in symbols such as flags and anthems, and in collective memory. Between Frontiers restores the nation to the social field from which it has
been abstracted by looking at how the concept shapes the existence
of people in border zones, where they live between nations.
Noboru Ishikawa grounds his discussion of border zones in materials gathered during two years of archival research and fieldwork relating to the boundary that separates Malaysian from Indonesian territory in western Borneo. His book considers how the state maintains its national space and how people strategically situate themselves by their community, nation, and ethnic group designated as national territory. Examining these issues in the context of concrete circumstances, where a village boundary coincides with a national border, allows him to delineate the dialectical relationship between nation-state and borderland society both as history and as process. Scholars across the humanities and social sciences will learn from this masterful linking of history and ethnography, and of macro and micro perspectives.
Noboru Ishikawa is an associate professor of social anthropology at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University. His publications include Dislocating Nation-States: Globalization in Asia and Africa. More info →
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Like a number of Netherlanders in the post–World War II era, Inez Hollander only gradually became aware of her family’s connections with its Dutch colonial past, including a Creole great-grandmother. For the most part, such personal stories have been, if not entirely silenced, at least only whispered about in Holland, where society has remained uncomfortable with many aspects of the country’s relationship with its colonial empire.
Millions of Chinese have left the mainland over the last two centuries in search of new beginnings. The majority went to Southeast Asia, and the single largest destination was the colony of the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia. Wherever the Chinese landed they prospered, but in Indonesia, even though some families made fortunes, they never felt they quite belonged.
Indonesian Exports, Peasant Agriculture and the World Economy 1850–2000
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By Hiroyoshi Kano
The Indonesian economy, like the Indonesian nation state, took shape as part of the colonial transformation of the archipelago by the Dutch in the mid-nineteenth century. The agricultural sector of the economy provided food and labor to the export sector, which was firmly incorporated into the world economy through international trade. This economic pattern survived several shifts and persisted even after Indonesia became independent in the mid-twentieth century.
China has been an important player in the international economy for two thousand years and has historically exerted enormous influence over the development and nature of political and economic affairs in the regions beyond its borders, especially its neighbors.