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Asia

Asia Book List

Cover of 'Gongs and Pop Songs'

Gongs and Pop Songs
Sounding Minangkabau in Indonesia
By Jennifer A. Fraser

Scholarship on the musical traditions of Indonesia has long focused on practices from Java and Bali, including famed gamelan traditions, at the expense of the wide diversity of other musical forms within the archipelago. Jennifer A. Fraser counters this tendency by exploring a little-known gong tradition from Sumatra called talempong, long associated with people who identify themselves as Minangkabau.

Cover of 'Land for the People'

Land for the People
The State and Agrarian Conflict in Indonesia
Edited by Anton Lucas and Carol Warren

Half of Indonesia’s massive population still lives on farms, and for these tens of millions of people the revolutionary promise of land reform remains largely unfulfilled. The Basic Agrarian Law, enacted in the wake of the Indonesian revolution, was supposed to provide access to land and equitable returns for peasant farmers. But fifty years later, the law’s objectives of social justice have not been achieved.

Cover of 'Wartime in Burma'

Wartime in Burma
A Diary, January to June 1942
By Theippan Maung Wa
· Edited by L. E. Bagshawe and Anna J. Allott

This diary, begun after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and covering the invasion of Burma up to June 1942, is a moving account of the dilemmas faced by the well-loved and prolific Burmese author Theippan Maung Wa (a pseudonym of U Sein Tin) and his family. At the time of the Japanese invasion, U Sein Tin was deputy secretary in the Ministry of Home and Defense Affairs.

Cover of 'Realizing the Dream of R. A. Kartini'

Realizing the Dream of R. A. Kartini
Her Sisters’ Letters from Colonial Java
Edited by Joost J. Coté

Realizing the Dream of R. A. Kartini: Her Sisters’ Letters from Colonial Java presents a unique collection of documents reflecting the lives, attitudes, and politics of four Javanese women in the early twentieth century. Joost J. Coté translates the correspondence between Raden Ajeng Kartini, Indonesia’s first feminist, and her sisters, revealing for the first time her sisters’ contributions in defining and carrying out her ideals.

Finalist for the 2006 Harry J. Benda Prize in Southeast Asian Studies
Cover of 'Power Plays'

Power Plays
Wayang Golek Puppet Theater of West Java
By Andrew N. Weintraub

Based on ethnographic fieldwork spanning twenty years, Power Plays is the first scholarly book in English on wayang golek, the Sundanese rod-puppet theater of West Java. It is a detailed and lively account of the ways in which performers of this major Asian theatrical form have engaged with political discourses in Indonesia. Wayang golek has shaped, as well, the technological and commercial conditions of art and performance in a modernizing society.

Cover of 'Islam and the State in Indonesia'

Islam and the State in Indonesia
By Bahtiar Effendy

Since the unraveling of Western colonialism in the mid-twentieth century, Muslim nations have struggled to reconcile Islamic ideas and political movements with the state. In Indonesia, in particular, Islam and the state have long been at an impasse. While the ritual dimension of Islam has been allowed to flourish, political Islam has been defeated by various means.

Cover of 'Tensions of Empire'

Tensions of Empire
Japan and Southeast Asia in the Colonial and Postcolonial World
By Ken’ichi Goto
· Edited by Paul H. Kratoska

Beginning with the closing decade of European colonial rule in Southeast Asia and covering the wartime Japanese empire and its postwar disintegration, Tensions of Empire focuses on the Japanese in Southeast Asia, Indonesians in Japan, and the legacy of the war in Southeast Asia. It also examines Japanese perceptions of Southeast Asia and the lingering ambivalence toward Japanese involvement in Asia and toward the war in particular.

Cover of 'Television, Nation, and Culture in Indonesia'

Television, Nation, and Culture in Indonesia
By Philip Kitley

The culture of television in Indonesia began with its establishment in 1962 as a public broadcasting service. From that time, through the deregulation of television broadcasting in 1990 and the establishment of commercial channels, television can be understood, Philip Kitley argues, as a part of the New Order's national culture project, designed to legitimate an idealized Indonesian national cultural identity.

Cover of 'Victorian Travelers and the Opening of China 1842-1907'

Victorian Travelers and the Opening of China 1842-1907
By Susan Shoenbauer Thurin

Three men and three women: a plant collector, a merchant and his novelist wife, a military officer, and two famous women travelers went to China between the Opium War and the formal end of the opium trade, 1842-1907. Their range of perspectives, their acquaintance with one another and their similar scope of travel to Hong Kong, the treaty ports, and Sichuan lend intensity to their picture of China and the Western presence there.

Cover of 'Theater and Martial Arts in West Sumatra'

Theater and Martial Arts in West Sumatra
Randai and Silek of the Minangkabau
By Kirstin Pauka

Randai, the popular folk theater tradition of the Minangkabau ethnic group in West Sumatra, has evolved to include influences of martial arts, storytelling, and folk songs. Theater and Martial Arts in West Sumatra describes the origin, development, and cultural background of randai and highlights two recent developments: the emergence of female performers and modern staging techniques.

Cover of 'The Green Archipelago'

The Green Archipelago
Forestry in Preindustrial Japan
By Conrad Totman

This inaugural volume in the Ohio University Press Series in Ecology and History is the paperback edition of Conrad Totman’s widely acclaimed study of Japan’s environmental policies over the centuries. Professor Totman raises the critical question of how Japan’s steeply mountainous woodland has remained biologically healthy despite centuries of intensive exploitation by a dense human population that has always been dependent on wood and other forest products.

Cover of 'Japanese Empire in the Tropics'

Japanese Empire in the Tropics
Selected Documents and Reports of the Japanese Period in Sarawak, Northwest Borneo, 1941–1945
By Ooi Keat Gin

Although the Japanese interregnum was brief, its dramatic commencement and equally dramatic conclusion represented a watershed in the history of the young state of Sarawak. In recent years, there has been a groundswell of interest in the war years, culminating in an attempt at reassessment of the Japanese occupation in Southeast Asia by Western and Japanese scholars as well as by those from Southeast Asia.

Cover of 'Good-Bye to Old Peking'

Good-Bye to Old Peking
The Wartime Letters of U.S. Marine Captain John Seymour Letcher, 1937–1939
Edited by Katie Letcher Lyle and Roger B. Jeans

For two and a half years (1937-1939), Captain John Seymour Letcher commanded a company of the U.S. Embassy Marine Guard in Peking. During that time, he wrote a series of letters to his parents in Virginia describing the life of a Westerner in the former imperial city. During that same time, China was invaded by Japan.

Cover of 'Hands Across the Sea?'

Hands Across the Sea?
U.S.-Japan Relations, 1961-1981
By Timothy P. Maga

In 1961, the U.S. economy and military remained unassailable in the eyes of the world. Within twenty years, America faced defeat in Vietnam and its economy had been shaken. Japan was now considered the great economic superpower, while the U.S. and Japan reversed roles as surplus and debtor nations. Hands across the Sea? examines this reversal of roles, determining how and why America and Japan became the post-World War II era's most argumentative allies.

Cover of 'Imagining Indonesia'

Imagining Indonesia
Cultural Politics and Political Culture
Edited by Jim Schiller and Barbara Martin-Schiller

Increased interest in Indonesian culture and politics is reflected in this work's effort to advance and reject various notions of what it means to be Indonesian. It also addresses perceptions of how Indonesia's citizens and state officials should interact.