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New Books in Southeast Asian Studies

Interviews with Scholars of Southeast Asia about their New BooksSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

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Serhat Unaldi, “Working Towards the Monarchy: The Politics of Space in Downtown Bangkok” (U. of Hawaii Press, 2016)

In Working Towards the Monarchy: The Politics of Space in Downtown Bangkok (University of Hawaii Press, 2016), Serhat Unaldi offers a provocative and original interpretation of the relationship between space, architecture and power in one of Southeast Asia’s biggest and most complicated cities. Climbing the towers and exploring the alleyways of Siam-Ratchaprasong, that part of Bangkok famous for its gaudy malls, pretentious hotels and tourist strips, Unaldi finds that the charismatic authority of the royal institution has combined with the political economy of the capitalist marketplace to form a highly potent yet unstable admixture of elements for modern state formation. The dense concentration of forces for elite domination of Thailand in these few city blocks at once affirms and celebrates the project’s success, enabling the dominant classes to be seen exactly as they would have themselves seen. But these spaces are also fraught with danger, subject to instability caused by realignments among erstwhile allies within, and to increasingly overt challenges to the status quo from opponents without — expressed most dramatically in the antigovernment protests of 2010, which left in their wake the smoldering ruins of the very architectural hierarchy intended to signify modernity via proper relations of inequality.Serhat Unaldi joins New Books in Southeast Asian Studies to talk about Siam Paragon and the politics of space, the appeal of Thaksin Shinawatra, the Erawan Shrine and its others, disappeared and hidden palaces, Phibun Songkhram and the making of Chulalongkorn University, and how all roads in Bangkok lead to the monarchy. Nick Cheesman is a fellow at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University and in 2016-17 a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He can be reached at nick.cheesman@anu.edu.au Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

57mins

28 Mar 2017

Rank #1

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Astrid Noren-Nilsson, “Cambodia’s Second Kingdom: Nation, Imagination, and Democracy (Cornell Southeast Asia Program, 2016)

Billed as “an exploration of the role of nationalist imaginings, discourses, and narratives in Cambodia since the 1993 reintroduction of a multiparty democratic system,” Cambodia’s Second Kingdom: Nation, Imagination, and Democracy (Cornell Southeast Asia Program, 2016) pays special attention to how competing nationalistic imaginings are a prominent part of contestation in the country’s post-war reconstruction politics. These imaginings, the book’s author Astrid Noren-Nilsson argues, constitute resources with which parties obtain popular support and win elections. In making her case, she draws on an impressive array of primary sources, including extensive interview data with members of Cambodia’s political elite.Duncan McCargo speaks with Astrid Noren-Nilsson for New Books in Southeast Asian Studies on the sidelines of the 2017 EuroSEAS conference at the University of Oxford, where Cambodia’s Second Kingdom was shortlisted for the EuroSEAS social science book prize.You may also be interested in:Sophal Ear, Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines DemocracyPatrick Jory, Thailand’s Theory of Monarchy: The Vessantara Jataka and the Idea of the Perfect Man Duncan McCargo is Professor of Political Science at the University of Leeds and Visiting Professor of Political Science, Columbia University Nick Cheesman is a fellow in the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. He can be reached at nick.cheesman@anu.edu.au. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

42mins

3 Oct 2017

Rank #2

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Kathlene Baldanza, “Ming China and Vietnam: Negotiating Borders in Early Modern Asia” (Cambridge UP, 2016)

In Ming China and Vietnam: Negotiating Borders in Early Modern Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2016), Kathlene Baldanza explores the complex diplomatic exchanges between China and Vietnam from the 13th to the 17th centuries. Drawing on vast material of both Chinese and Vietnamese primary sources, Baldanza challenges conventional narratives that focus on Chinese aggression and Vietnamese resistance, instead highlighting Vietnam’s use of East Asian classical culture as an ideological threat to China.  As such, Sino-Viet relations, read through the seven interrelated biographies covered here, should be understood as a process of negotiation and compromise. Ricarda Brosch is a curatorial assistant at the Asian Art Museum Berlin (Museum fur Asiatische Kunst Berlin Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz), which is due to reopen as part of the Humboldt Forum in 2019. You can find out more about her work by following her on Twitter @RicardaBeatrix or getting in touch via ricarda.brosch@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

30mins

7 May 2018

Rank #3

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Valerie Francisco-Menchavez, “The Labor of Care: Filipina Migrants and Transnational Families in the Digital Age” (U Illinois Press, 2018)

Dr. Valerie Francisco-Menchavez‘s new book, The Labor of Care: Filipina Migrants and Transnational Families in the Digital Age (University of Illinois Press, 2018) traces how globalization, neoliberalism and new technology have reshaped migrant care work from the Philippines. The book is the result of five years of research interviewing migrant women and participating in their communities, as well as intermittent trips to the Philippines where Dr. Francisco-Menchavez spent time speaking with the families and extended families of migrant workers. Her book attempts to redefine notions of care and overseas employment that focus solely on the worker’s labor, and rather to understand a form of what she calls “multidirectional care,” which describes the ways in which “transnational family members activate multiple resources, people, and networks to redefine care work in the family” (23). Dr. Francisco-Menchavez explores this larger network of care to understand how migrant work affects gender roles and creates new solidarities. Christopher B. Patterson teaches at the University of British Columbia, Social Justice Institute. He is the author of Transitive Cultures: Anglophone Literature of the Transpacific and Stamped: an anti-travel novel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

1hr

13 Aug 2018

Rank #4

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Jeremy Yellen, "The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere: When Total Empire Met Total War" (Cornell UP, 2019)

Jeremy Yellen’s The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere: When Total Empire Met Total War (Cornell University Press, 2019) is a challenging transnational exploration of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Japan’s ambitious, confused, and much maligned attempt to create a new bloc order in East and Southeast Asia during World War II. Yellen’s book is welcome both as the first book-length treatment of the Sphere in English and for also being innovative in both approach and analysis. The book is divided into two parts, each addressing one of the “two Pacific Wars,” as Yellen puts it: a “war of empires” and “an anticolonial war… for independence.” The first half of the book treats the Japanese “high policy” of the Sphere. Here, Yellen not only provides—through the Coprosperity Sphere—a provocative new reading of the Tripartite Pact and the imbrication of Japan’s regional and global geopolitical strategies, but also outlines an important timeline of how Japanese conceptualizations of the Sphere evolved with the changing economic, political, and military expediencies of the Pacific War. Though ideas about the Sphere as a regional order of hierarchical solidarity with Japan at its apex, a “grand strategy of opportunism” rooted in the “sphere-of-influence diplomacy” and “cooperative imperialism” of Japan’s bombastic and enigmatic foreign minister, Matsuoka Yōsuke, Yellen shows that plans for the Sphere only became specific and concrete when Japan’s war situation descended into increasing desperation from 1942 on. The second half of the book shifts gears to examine responses to the Sphere in the Philippines and Burma. Yellen shows that for local nationalist elites like Burma’s first prime minister Ba Maw, whether Japanese rhetoric about the creation of more-or-less liberal international order within the Sphere for the top-echelon nations like Burma and the Philippines was genuine or self-serving, “even sham independence brought opportunity.” By focusing on these pragmatic nationalists (“patriotic collaborators”) Yellen contributes to a growing body of literature on empire that refuses to be pigeonholed by binaries of virtuous resistance and traitorous collaboration.This podcast was recorded as a lecture/dialogue for a live audience at Nagoya University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

1hr 17mins

25 Nov 2019

Rank #5

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Tyrell Haberkorn, “Revolution Interrupted: Farmers, Students, Law and Violence in Northern Thailand” (U of Wisconsin Press, 2011)

In a foreword to Tyrell Haberkorn‘s first book, Revolution Interrupted: Farmers, Students, Law and Violence in Northern Thailand (Wisconsin University Press, 2011), Thongchai Winichakul observes, “Haberkorn writes to prevent the fading of life to oblivion, recounting stories that bring the forgotten back to life.” She does this and more. By recalling the forgotten story of farmers who risked and paid with their lives to struggle against repressive forces in the mid-1970s during a period of intense political turmoil in Thailand she writes to refract light from the past onto events in the present. She also raises compelling questions about the meaning of law and its relationship to the violence and impunity that pervade Southeast Asia today.Revolution Interrupted is a study of rare nuance, sincerity and reflection, with much to offer not only to area studies scholars but also to researchers of political violence everywhere. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

56mins

13 Sep 2014

Rank #6

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Michael Hawkins, “Making Moros: Imperial Historicism and American Military Rule in the Philippines’ Muslim South” (NIU Press, 2012)

For many Muslim communities particular religious identities were formulated or hardened within colonial realities. These types of cultural encounters were structural for the various Muslim tribes in the southern Philippine islands of Mindanao and Sulu during the turn of the twentieth century. In Making Moros: Imperial Historicism and American Military Rule in the Philippines’ Muslim South (Northern Illinois University Press, 2012), Michael Hawkins, Assistant Professor of history at Creighton University, demonstrates the dramatic consequences of this short historical moment for Filipino Muslims. Between 1899-1913, professional ethnographers and military officers worked to represent Filipino Muslims as noble primitive warriors. Various communal identities were fused into a singular construction, the Moro. Moro identity was constructed in the American imagination to serve colonial civilizing agendas. Ultimately, this period served as a crucial moment for Filipino Muslim identity and is looked back upon with nostalgia. In our conversation we discussed imperial historicism, colonial legitimacy, taxonomy and classification, capitalism, slavery in American and Moro society, communal remembrance, frontiers, and Islamic authenticity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

59mins

12 Dec 2014

Rank #7

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Karen Teoh, “Schooling Diaspora: Women, Education, and the Overseas Chinese in British Malaya and Singapore, 1850s to 1960s” (Oxford UP, 2018)

In Schooling Diaspora: Women, Education, and the Overseas Chinese in British Malaya and Singapore, 1850s to 1960s (Oxford University Press, 2018), Karen Teoh relates the history of English and Chinese girls’ schools that overseas Chinese founded and attended from the 1850s to the 1960s in British Malaya and Singapore. She examines the strategies of missionaries, colonial authorities, and Chinese reformists and revolutionaries for educating girls, as well as the impact that this education had on identity formation among overseas Chinese women and larger society. These schools would help to produce what society ‘needed’, in the form of better wives and mothers, or workers and citizens of developing nation-states, while ensuring compliance with desired ideals. Chinese women in diaspora found that failing to conform to any number of state priorities could lead to social disapproval, marginalization, or even outright deportation.Through vivid oral histories, and by bridging Chinese and Southeast Asian history, British imperialism, gender, and the history of education, Schooling Diaspora shows how these diasporic women contributed to the development of a new figure: the educated transnational Chinese woman. Karen M. Teoh is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Asian Studies Program at Stonehill College (Massachusetts). Her research focuses on Chinese migration and diaspora from the 17th century to the present, and examines how changing notions of gender roles, ethnicity, and cultural hybridity have shaped the identities of groups and individuals. Tyler Yank is a senior doctoral candidate in History at McGill University (Montreal, Canada). Her work explores bonded women and British Empire in the western Indian Ocean World. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

32mins

17 Apr 2018

Rank #8

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Paul Thomas Chamberlin, "The Cold War's Killing Fields: Rethinking the Long Peace" (Harper, 2018)

Paul Thomas Chamberlin has written a book about the Cold War that makes important claims about the nature and reasons for genocide in the last half of the Twentieth Century. In The Cold War's Killing Fields: Rethinking the Long Peace (Harper, 2018), Chamberlin reminds us that the Cold War was not at all Cold for hundreds of millions of people.  He argues that the Soviet Union and the US competed fiercely over the states and people living in a wide swath of land starting in Manchuria, running south into South East Asia and then turning west into South Asia and the Middle East.  This zone received a huge percentage of aid and support from the superpowers.  This zone saw by far the most military interventions by the superpowers.  And this zone saw millions of people die in conflicts tied to the Cold War.Chamberlin reminds us that these conflicts were not simply instigated and propelled by the superpowers.  Instead, the Cold War intersected with colonial and post-colonial conflicts in complicated and nonlinear ways.  Similarly, he argues that the nature of these conflicts changed dramatically over time, from Maoist people's revolutions to conflicts driven by sectarian struggles.By making the broader contours of this period clearer, Chamberlin is able to put genocides in Indonesia, Cambodia, Bangladesh and others into a common framework.   In doing so, he's written a book that is not explicitly about genocide, but says a great deal about genocidal violence in the second half of the twentieth century.Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University. He’s the author of four modules in the Reacting to the Past series, including The Needs of Others: Human Rights, International Organizations and Intervention in Rwanda, 1994. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

1hr 4mins

13 Jun 2019

Rank #9

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Erik Braun, “The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw” (University of Chicago Press, 2013)

Erik Braun‘s recent book, The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw (University of Chicago Press, 2013), examines the spread of Burmese Buddhist meditation practices during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the social, political, and intellectual historical contexts that gave rise to this development. Braun accomplishes this by focusing on the role that the Burmese monk Ledi Sayadaw (1846-1923) played in this movement, drawing primarily on Ledi Sayadaw’s own writings, three biographies, polemical responses to Ledi Sayadaw’s writings, and contemporaneous periodicals.Central to the book is the importance of the Abhidhamma (Buddhist metaphysics or psychology) in Burmese Buddhist monasticism and, more specifically, the way in which Ledi Sayadaw spread the study of the Abhidhamma among the laity and used it as the foundation for insight meditation. In contrast to many recent proponents of insight meditation (both Asian and not), who emphasize technique at the expense of study and theory, Ledi Sayadaw saw insight meditation and study of the Abhidhamma as an inseparable pair, with the latter serving as a basis for the former. Braun places Ledi Sayadaw’s approach in the larger context of Buddhist and Burmese theories about meditation, exploring the different views on the relationships among samatha (concentration meditation), the jhanas (stages of meditative absorption), insight meditation as direct awareness of sensory and mental experience, and insight meditation as discursive thinking informed by Abhidhammic categories.Exploring the cultural milieu of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Burma, Braun demonstrates that Ledi Sayadaw exhibits characteristics that we would regard as traditional (e.g., the importance he grants to literary competence, his belief in Buddhist cosmology) as well as those we might think of as modern (e.g., his charismatic style of preaching, his focus on the laity). In addition, as opposed to Buddhist reformers who argued that Buddhism was in fact applicable to and accorded with modernity (being synonymous with the West, in most such cases), Ledi Sayadaw flipped this relationship on its head by asserting that modernity (e.g., Western science) was in agreement with Buddhism. In so doing he avoided the usual contradictions between Buddhism and modernity but without apparently compromising the Buddhist worldview in the process. Braun places Ledi Sayadaw’s thoughts on these matters in the larger historical context of colonialism: Burma was annexed by the British (in three stages: 1826, 1852, 1886) and many Burmese believed that Buddhism’s final days were nigh. Ledi Sayadaw’s theories, then, were in part a response to a new environment in which Buddhist monks were losing their traditional position as educators, and in which the age-old relationship between the sa Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

1hr 7mins

8 Jan 2015

Rank #10

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Bradley Camp Davis, “Imperial Bandits: Outlaws and Rebels in the China-Vietnam Borderlands” (U of Washington Press, 2017)

Recent years have seen an upsurge in studies asking questions about, and in, borderlands. The topic is certainly not new to scholars of mainland Southeast Asia, but as Bradley Camp Davis shows in Imperial Bandits: Outlaws and Rebels in the China-Vietnam Borderlands (University of Washington Press, 2017), plenty of work remains to be done on the parallel processes of border and state formation in the region. Drawing on Chinese, Vietnamese and French written sources as well as hundreds of interviews with villagers in the uplands of Yunnan and northern Vietnam, Davis tells the story of a half-century of violence, trade and taxation at the hands of competing armed groups; of their alliances and wars with lowland states, and of the bandit as symbol in nationalist and local histories and memorials today.Bradley Camp Davis joins New Books in Southeast Asian Studies to discuss the malleability of bandits and banditry, Black Flags and Yellow Flags, the merits of oral traditions in study of history, and the place of the imperial bandit in movie and museum.You may also be interested in:Pamela McElwee, Forests are Gold: Trees, People and Environmental Rule in Vietnam Geraldo L. Cadava, Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland Nick Cheesman is a fellow at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University and in 2016-17 a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He can be reached at nick.cheesman@anu.edu.au Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

40mins

29 Jul 2017

Rank #11

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Peter Maguire and Mike Ritter, “Thai Stick” (Columbia Press, 2013)

Reading Peter Maguire and Mike Ritter‘s book Thai Stick: Surfers, Scammers and the Untold Story of the Marijuana Trade (Columbia Press, 2013) is the most fun I have had doing this podcast. Maguire makes a point during the interview that police officers preferred to arrest marijuana smugglers because they were so laid back and safe to handle. You get the same feeling reading his account of the members of the roaming hippy/surfer community who fund their lifestyle through ‘scams’, that is, smuggling marijuana into Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. Maguire is a former pro-surfer and he communicates the culture of the surfer and their dedication to their past-time. Drug smuggling has a very utilitarian role. While the surfers smoke drugs and have the connections to buy them; a good smuggling run can fund many years on the international surfing trail. Thus they are not drug smugglers who surf but surfers who take advantage of the profit margin of smuggling.Reading the book made me think that they were almost outside the scope of the podcast; this is not organised crime but the occasional foray into crime. It is also the story of invincible young men taking on the impossible in an often amateurish manner and succeeding. However, as Maguire explains, the lure of money can change people and some of the people in the story reverse this equation. This is a story of a time that has passed. There was an innocence in the story during the 1960s and 70s that has been overtaken by the hard edge of the international drug trade. This is an important and overlooked story in the history of crime. The book provides an insight into how people can turn to crime in a manner that contradicts the strongly held theories of the life-course criminologists. I hope the book inspires others to study these marginal areas of crime. As you will hear in the interview, I have volunteered to do so myself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

38mins

29 Mar 2014

Rank #12

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Christopher Goscha, "Vietnam: A New History" (Basic Books, 2016)

More than forty year after its end the Vietnam War casts a long shadow over our understanding of Vietnam’s modern history. But the acute focus on the war has perhaps distorted our understanding of modern Vietnam. Christopher Goscha’s award-winning new book, Vietnam: A New History (Basic Books, 2016), brilliantly paints a picture of an ancient, diverse, and complex country which had already begun to modernize before the arrival of the French (let alone the Americans) and which was itself an imperial power. In Vietnam: a New History Ho Chi Minh and the communists were not the only anti-colonial nationalists, but rather one of a number of groups fired by the radical new idea of republicanism.Vietnam: a New History takes us beyond the bitter divide in Vietnamese historiography between the “orthodox” and “revisionist” interpretations of Vietnam’s modern history. Goscha provokes the reader to become aware of the haunting possibility that Vietnam’s modern history could have been different – which in turn stimulates the reader to think of new possibilities for a future Vietnam.Listeners of this episode might also enjoy listening to:Max Hastings, Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975 (Harper, 2018)Ken Maclean, The Government of Mistrust: Illegibility and Bureaucratic Power in Socialist Vietnam (U of Wisconsin Press, 2013)Patrick Jory teaches Southeast Asian History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland. He can be reached at: p.jory@uq.edu.au. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

42mins

26 Feb 2019

Rank #13

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Michitake Aso, "Rubber and the Making of Vietnam: An Ecological History, 1897-1975" (UNC Press, 2018)

How can the history of rubber be used as a way to understand the history of 20th-century Vietnam? In this episode of New Books in History, Michael G. Vann talks about Rubber and the Making of Vietnam: An Ecological History, 1897-1975 (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), with Michitake Aso, an Associate Professor of history at SUNY Albany. This extremely well-researched study of Vietnamese rubber plantations from the colonial origins to their near destruction during the American war opens new insights into the development of contemporary Vietnam. Dr. Aso explains such things as the difference between environmental and ecological history, how rubber plantations symbolized a type of French colonial modernization, the changing nature of French science, and the role of plantations in the First and Second Indochina Wars.Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford, 2018). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

1hr 23mins

11 Oct 2019

Rank #14

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Alexander L. Hinton, "Man or Monster?: The Trial of a Khmer Rouge Torturer" (Duke UP, 2016)

Can justice heal? Must there be justice in order to heal? Is there such a thing as justice, something to be striven for regardless of context?Alexander L. Hinton thinks through these questions in a pair of new books. The two are companion pieces, each using Cambodia in a different way as a lens through which to look at the notion of transitional justice. In The Justice Facade: Trials of Transition in Cambodia (Oxford University Press, 2018), he argues there is something deeply mistaken in the way thinkers and practitioners have imagined and employed transitional justice in the past half-century. Justice, Hinton argues, is much more deeply embedded in localities and particularity than conventional notions of transitional justice allow. Rather than striving toward a universal notion of justice, what is needed is a deeply rooted sense of the way local actors, organizations and values understand and respond to calls for justice. Transitional justice requires a thorough understanding of local societies, of the way that global and local institutions intersect and interact.In Man or Monster?: The Trial of a Khmer Rouge Torturer (Duke University Press, 2016), Hinton turns his eye toward a more granular question of justice. Hinton witnessed most of the trial of Duch, the Khmer Rouge commander of the S-21 prison. The book takes us through the trial day by day, carefully observing not just the words spoken, but the manner and responses of witnesses and judges. In doing so, Hinton asks us to wonder how we should understand someone like Duch, someone who oversaw the murder of thousands of people yet presented himself as trapped by orders and by context. Using the words of the prosecutor and defense attorneys, he wonders whether we should better understand Duch as a man or as a monster, and asks what it would mean if we accepted his essential humanity.Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University. He’s the author of four modules in the Reacting to the Past series, including The Needs of Others: Human Rights, International Organizations and Intervention in Rwanda, 1994, published by W. W. Norton Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

1hr 17mins

4 Nov 2019

Rank #15

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Jothie Rajah, “Authoritarian Rule of Law: Legislation, Discourse and Legitimacy in Singapore” (Cambridge UP, 2012)

In Authoritarian Rule of Law: Legislation, Discourse and Legitimacy in Singapore (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Jothie Rajah tells a compelling story of the rule of law as discourse and praxis serving illiberal ends. Through a series of case studies on legislation criminalizing vandalism and regulating the print media, legal profession, and religion in Singapore, Rajah raises critical questions about the meaning and place of law in a postcolony that celebrates colonialism as a cause of its modernity, prosperity and plurality. Terrence Halliday describes Rajah’s work as “theoretically innovative, empirically compelling, and gracefully written”, adding that it “has far-reaching consequences for national leaders who seek ‘third ways’ in which economic development is partitioned from political liberalism”. As Halliday suggests, the contents of Authoritarian Rule of Law transcend the confines of the small city-state with which it is primarily concerned, and go to global debates about legislation, discourse and legitimacy, as well as to the inherent tensions in the rule-of-law ideal itself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

48mins

15 Dec 2014

Rank #16

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Katherine A. Bowie, “Of Beggars and Buddhas: The Politics of Humor in the Vessantara Jataka in Thailand” (U Wisconsin Press, 2017)

From the sidelines of the Asian Studies Association of Australia’s biennial conference, where she presented the inaugural keynote address of the Association of Mainland Southeast Asia Scholars, Katherine A. Bowie, joined New Books in Southeast Asian Studies to talk about Of Beggars and Buddhas: The Politics of Humor in the Vessantara Jataka in Thailand (University of Wisconsin Press, 2017).Bowie at first hated the Vessantara Jataka: a story in which women and children are objects to be given away so as to demonstrate extraordinary generosity of the Buddha-to-be. But she reconciled her initially negative reaction with a growing awareness of the possibility for the story to offer up counter-hegemonic and deeply humorous readings. This awareness led her, through oral historical and archival work, to track the movement of the story across Thailand’s north, northeast and central regions. Along the way she found considerable divergence in how it has been told and received. In those parts of the country where Bangkok’s control has been greatest, the story’s subversive teeth have been blunted or removed, while in those farthest from the central ruler, villagers can at least recount its satirical contents, even if the full blown bawdy vaudeville style performances of yore, with monks as lead entertainers, are today largely a thing of the past.Participating in the discussion as a special guest on this episode is Patrick Jory, whose Thailand’s Theory of Monarchy: The Vessantara Jataka and the Idea of the Perfect Man, has already featured on the channel. Nick Cheesman is a fellow at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. He can be reached at nick.cheesman@anu.edu.au Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

43mins

27 Jul 2018

Rank #17

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Peter Zinoman, “Vietnamese Colonial Republican: The Political Vision of Vu Trong Phung” (U California Press, 2013)

Over the course of the 1930s, Vietnamese author Vũ Trọng Phụng published eight novels, hundreds of works of narrative nonfiction, stories, plays, essays and articles. He was a best-selling writer in his own day who sharpened his acute literary talents, Peter Zinoman observes in the opening pages of Vietnamese Colonial Republican: The Political Vision of Vu Trong Phung (University of California Press, 2014), “as a lower-class, untraveled, half-educated, opium addicted, colonized subject from a remote outpost of France’s second-rate empire”. He died in 1939, aged just 28. Today he is remembered as a literary giant, for Zinoman, comparable to Orwell in the English-reading world. Like Orwell, he was a complex and defiant figure whose work crossed genres and drew deeply on his rich life experiences as well as his wide reading in literature, politics, and psychology. His views on a range of topics attracted heated debate in his own lifetime, in which he engaged vigorously. He had a persistent interest in sexuality and sexual promiscuity, and for this some critics labeled his work obscene. After his death, he was for a quarter century denounced and banned by the ruling communist party, before being rehabilitated in the 1990s.Peter Zinoman joins New Books in Southeast Asian Studies to discuss Vũ Trọng Phụng’s life and oeuvre, why he is best characterized as a Vietnamese colonial republican, and how a reappraisal of his political interests and commitments through this category opens up opportunities for a more nuanced account of Vietnamese political history beyond the usual binaries of pro-French versus anti-French; collaborators versus nationalists; and capitalists versus communists.Listeners of this episode might also be interested in: * Eric Jennings, Imperial Heights: Dalat and the Making and Undoing of French Indochina* Ken Maclean, The Government of Mistrust: Illegibility and Bureaucratic Power in Socialist Vietnam Nick Cheesman is a fellow at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. He can be reached at nick.cheesman@anu.edu.au Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

43mins

19 Nov 2018

Rank #18

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Claire Edington, "Beyond the Asylum: Mental Illness in French Colonial Vietnam" (Cornell UP, 2019)

Both colonies and insane asylums are well known institutions of power. But what of asylums in Europe’s early 20th-century colonial empires? How did they operate? Who was confined in them? Who worked there? What was daily life like in such an institution? How did Western medical experts and the colonized population understand mental illness and its treatment? How did colonial racism impact mental illness? In this episode we chat with Claire Edington, Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego, about her new book of Beyond the Asylum: Mental Illness in French Colonial Vietnam (Cornell University Press, 2019).Beyond the Asylum draws from extensive archival research in Vietnam and France. A gifted writer, Edington is particularly good at presenting the life stories of patients, doctors, and workers drawn into French Indochina’s mental health system. She also looks at the families of patients and the Vietnamese language popular press, as they tried to make sense of troubling issues around mental health, including how the French colonizers understood and treated psychological afflictions. More than a history of the asylum as an institution, Edington uses mental health care facilities as a prism to explore crucial transformations of Vietnamese society in the era of high imperialism. This wide-ranging conversation will be of interest to listeners interested in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, imperialism, French history, and the study and treatment of mental illness. The book is an excellent complement to the increasingly rich historiography of colonial Vietnam.Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford, 2018). When he’s not reading or talking about new books with smart people, Mike can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, California. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

1hr 12mins

13 Nov 2019

Rank #19

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Victoria Reyes, "Global Borderlands: Fantasy, Violence, and Empire in Subic Bay, Philippines" (Stanford UP, 2019)

Increasing levels of globalization have led to the proliferation of spaces of international exchange. In her new book, Global Borderlands: Fantasy, Violence, and Empire in Subic Bay, Philippines (Stanford, 2019), sociologist Victoria Reyes looks at one such space, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, in the Philippines, to understand how they are contested and imagined by different sets of actors in everyday life. She sees freeport zones, places intended to attract foreign investment through the relaxing of domestic economic laws, as examples of what she calls “global borderlands,” or “a place controlled by foreigners and one where the rules that govern socioeconomic life differ from those outside its walls” (2) (other examples include Acapulco, NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus, and any embassy or consulate around the world). They are where two or more legal systems coexist, and where the very notion of state sovereignty gets negotiated on the ground. Through ethnographic and historical-comparative analysis, Reyes shows the origins of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, and looks in-depth at the wide array of contexts—military agreements, family arrangements, intimate encounters, shopping, and workplaces—to reveal these meanings and their underlying mechanisms. The result is a conceptual framework that social science scholars can apply to any space where international political, economic, and cultural tensions emerge.Richard E. Ocejo is associate professor of sociology at John Jay College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He is the author of Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy (Princeton University Press, 2017), about the transformation of low-status occupations into cool, cultural taste-making jobs (cocktail bartenders, craft distillers, upscale men’s barbers, and whole animal butchers), and of Upscaling Downtown: From Bowery Saloons to Cocktail Bars in New York City (Princeton University Press, 2014), about growth policies, nightlife, and conflict in gentrified neighborhoods. His work has appeared in such journals as City & Community, Poetics, Ethnography, and the European Journal of Cultural Studies. He is also the editor of Urban Ethnography: Legacies and Challenges (Emerald, 2012) and Ethnography and the City: Readings on Doing Urban Fieldwork (Routledge, 2012), a co-Book Editor at City & Community, and serves on the editorial boards of the journals Contemporary Sociology, Work and Occupations, Metropolitics, and the Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography. Finally, he is the director of the MA program in International Migration Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/southeast-asian-studies

1hr 12mins

4 Dec 2019

Rank #20