Nahdlatul Ulama and the politics trap

« Nahdlatul Ulama and the politics trap » by Greg Fealy, 11 July 2018, New Mandala

At first glance, Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), has never been in a stronger position. It has a record number of members in cabinet. It enjoys close relations with the president, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), has privileged access to the corridors of power and is the beneficiary of increasingly generous largesse from the state, all of which are boosting the range of services and opportunities that it can provide to its vast membership. NU’s president, Ma’ruf Amin, is also the chairman of the influential Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) and numerous other senior nahdliyyin (NU members) hold strategic positions in the bureaucracy, state-owned enterprises and the corporate sector. NU’s campaign to promote its “moderate”, culturally embedded Islam Nusantara (Archipelagic Islam) concept has won government endorsement and attracted international attention. In short, NU’s status as the pre-eminent Islamic organisation in Indonesia has never seemed more secure.

A closer look, however, suggests that the organisation’s position is more vulnerable and its future more uncertain than its current exuberant confidence might indicate. Indeed, NU is to an extent emblematic of some of the challenges facing Indonesia’s civil society more broadly. Among these are the increasing influence of conservative views at the grassroots, the hazards of engagement with party politics, and the increasingly blurred boundary between the state and civil society as the latter seeks to capture state resources, and governments seek to co-opt civic organisations such as NU to service their goals.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/nahdlatul-ulama-politics-trap/

2018 Malaysia Update – Regime change in Malaysia: how, why and the future

2018 Malaysia Update – Regime change in Malaysia: how, why and the future, 12 October 2018, Weston Theatre, JG Crawford Building (132), Lennox Crossing, ANU

The ANU Malaysia Institute will hold the 2018 Malaysia Update conference on Friday, 12 October. The conference provides an opportunity to examine the recent momentous changes in Malaysia, including the first regime change since independence in 1957, attempts to establish a new democratic nation, and its regional impact.

The conference will feature world-class expertise from leading academics of Malaysian Studies. Attendees will include academics within the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, as well as government representatives and policymakers, diplomats, students, and the general public. The aim of the conference is to providing fresh thinking about the ways forward for the study of Malaysian society in scholarship as well as reflect on recent changes in Malaysia’s politics, economics and society which may reflect policy-making decisions.

Speakers include :

  • Meredith Weiss, State University of New York
  • Terence Gomez, University of Malaya
  • Amanda Whiting, The University of Melbourne
  • Vilashini Somiah, IMAN Research
  • Hew Wai Weng, Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • Serina Rahman, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore
  • Sophie Lemiere, Harvard University
  • James Chin, University of Tasmania
  • Bridget Welsh, John Cabot University

The full conference program will be available in August. Registration is free but essential via Eventbrite.

Voir : http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/cap-events/2018-10-12/2018-malaysia-update-regime-change-malaysia-how-why-and-future

Podcast : The Karen in 2017: Resilience, Aspirations and Politics

« The Karen in 2017: Resilience, Aspirations and Politics », 15 June 2017, Oxford University

A one-day workshop on ‘The Karen in 2017: Resilience, Aspirations and Politics’ was organised by Dr Matthew J. Walton was held on 15th June 2017 at St Antony’s College.

A list of papers given is provided below, please see the links for a number of audio recordings.

The Karen and the Gift of Education​
Pia Joliffe (University of Oxford)
Audio Podcast

The Karen, Education and the Diaspora
Bob Anderson (Mobile Education Partnerships)
Audio Podcast

Perinatal Depression in Migrant and Refugee Karen and Burmese women in Tak province, Thailand
Gracia Fellmeth (University of Oxford)
Audio Podcast

Coming of Age in Hpa-an: Hope and Visions of the Good Life
Justine Chambers (Australian National University)
Audio Podcast

Non-state welfare and the politics of abandonment: Northern Karen State in the shadow of the 1990s
Gerard McCarthy (Australian National University)
Audio Podcast

Vulnerability, Poverty and Displacement and the absence of Interim Arrangements: Karen Communities in Ceasefire areas of Southeast Burma/Myanmar
Tim Schroeder (Covenant Consult / Friedensau Adventist University)
Audio Podcast

From Conflict to Ceasefire: Landmines as a form of community protection in Eastern Myanmar
Greg Cathcart
Audio Podcast

Comparing the KNU and KIO ceasefire experiences
David Brenner (University of Surrey)
Audio Podcast

Humanitarian Aid and the Karen
Alexander Horstmann (Tallinn University)
Audio Podcast

‘Everything has changed’ yet ‘I have nothing’: the Transborder lives of Karen women from Hpa-an, Myanmar
Indre Calmaite (Central European University)
Audio Podcast

History of Social Suffering and the Social Agent
Father Vinai (The Seven Fountain Jesuit Regional Retreat Centre / People for Others Foundation)

Roundtable Discussion: The Future of Karen in Myanmar/Burma and the diaspora
Benedict Rogers, Martin Smith, Richard Dolan and Justine Chambers
Audio Podcast

Voir : https://www.sant.ox.ac.uk/karen-2017-resilience-aspirations-and-politics

Podcast : Gender, Rights and Justice in a Transitioning Myanmar

« Gender, Rights and Justice in a Transitioning Myanmar », 13-14 November 2017, Oxford University

A two-day workshop on ‘Gender, Rights and Justice in a Transitioning Myanmar’ organised by Drs Daw Khin Mar Mar Kyi and Matthew J. Walton was held at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford on 13th and 14th November 2017. Part of the Oxford-Myanmar Policy Brief Series.

A list of papers given is provided below, please see the links for a number of audio recordings.

Female MPs and the Protection of Human Rights
May Win Myint (Central Executive Committee, National League of Democracy)
Audio podcast

Gender and Education
Aye Aye Chit (Mandalay Medical University)
Audio Podcast

Law and Gender Based Violence in Transitioning Myanmar
Sandra Htar Htar (Akhaya Women)
Audio Podcast

Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls in Myanmar
Janet Jackson (United Nations Population Fund)
Audio Podcast

Constructing Female Citizenship: Education and Activism in Transition
Elizabeth Maber (University of Amsterdam)
Audio Podcast

Ending Impunity is the Key to Combatting Gender Based Violence
Naw Wah Ku Shee (Women League of Burma)
Audio Podcast

Gender and Health
Aye Aye Chit (Mandalay Medical University)
Audio Podcast

Gender and Drug Policy
Mai Hla Aye (Central European University)
Audio Podcast

Voir : https://www.sant.ox.ac.uk/gender-rights-and-justice-transitioning-myanmar

Asian Studies Review, vol. 42, n° 2, 2018

Asian Studies Review, vol. 42, n° 2, 2018. Special issue : Competing Visions of the Rule of Law in Southeast Asia : Power, Rhetoric and Governance

Guest Editors: Melissa Curley, Björn Dressel and Stephen McCarthy

Articles

Competing Visions of the Rule of Law in Southeast Asia: Power, Rhetoric and Governance by Melissa Curley, Björn Dressel and Stephen McCarthy

ASEAN as a “Rules-based Community”: Business as Usual by Kelly Gerard

Rule of Law Expedited: Land Title Reform and Justice in Burma (Myanmar) by Stephen McCarthy

Governing Civil Society in Cambodia: Implications of the NGO Law for the “Rule of Law” by Melissa Curley

Thailand’s Traditional Trinity and the Rule of Law: Can They Coexist? by Björn Dressel

Dilemmas in the Construction of a Socialist Law-based State in Vietnam: Electoral Integrity and Reform by Thiem H. Bui

Book Reviews

Megha Amrith, Caring for strangers: Filipino medical workers in Asia by Mina Roces

Pia Jolliffe, Learning, migration and intergenerational relations: the Karen and the gift of education by Violet Cho

Hema Devare, Ganga to Mekong: a cultural voyage through textiles by Natali Jane Pearson

Voir : https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/casr20/current

 

 

Yanger : Tracing the Roots of Halmahera String Bands

Yanger : Tracing the Roots of Halmahera String Bands, 8 June 2018, Aural Archipelago

We can begin by zooming in on Halmahera, an island shaped like a pair of chromosomes, a miniature twin of the lotus-like Sulawesi to the west. One of the largest islands in Maluku, Halmahera was nonetheless historically dwarfed by the tiny island kingdoms which cling to its eastern shores: the small, volcano-studded Ternate, Tidore, and Bacan. Halmahera had its own mysterious kingdom on this western flank called Jailolo, a name so powerful it was once used to refer to the whole island. Still, it’s a peripheral place, especially in modern day Indonesia.

Spend a week in Halmahera, like I did, and you’ll find a place where traces of these rich, world-changing histories are still apparent: nutmeg trees cling to the perfect volcanic dome of Mt. Jailolo, and old colonial-era forts crumble near its black sand beaches. You’re also bound to find music: there’s tifa, booming log drums also found across Melanesia; there’s togal, music for conspicuously western dances played on a violin-like fiddle called fiol. Then there’s my favorite of all, a music at once familiar and enigmatic, a music which wraps up hundreds of years of history in a tuneful package: yanger.

Yanger, you could say, is the local take on a string band tradition that spans the Pacific. It is partly from this angle that yanger gets its familiarity: just as yanger combines upbeat lutes, rubbery bass, and major key melodies, so too do its cousins across the Melanesian and Polynesian world, from string bands in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu all the way to joyous yospan in Papua and similar forms across the border in PNG. While Halmahera sits on the edge of the Melanesian world, yanger‘s link with this wider world of Pacific Island string bands is a mystery. While those musics seem intuitively like long-lost cousins, their histories are completely different, with those styles often being the result of Western contact during and after World War II. A different, perhaps more complex set of histories is at play here with yanger in Halmahera.

Lire la suite et écouter les enregistrements  sur : http://www.auralarchipelago.com/

 

 

Pirates lands: Governance and maritime piracy

Seminar : « Pirates lands : Governance and maritime piracy » by Ursula Daxecker, 21 June 2018, KITLV

Abstract
Piracy—like civil war, terrorism, and other organized crime—is a problem of weak and fragile states. But while helpful in identifying the countries most affected by maritime piracy, focusing on the weakness of entire countries does little to further our understanding of why piracy clusters close to some coastal communities but not to others. Our book argues that local governance and infrastructural development help explain pirate location. Pirate operations require substantial upfront investments, aided by proximity to markets and infrastructure. For sophisticated attacks, a group leader or boss provides pirates with a boat, fuel, equipment, and money to bribe officials. We therefore expect that in weak or failed states, pirates will operate in coastal areas where local governance is weak enough to incentivize collusion among pirates and authorities, yet strong enough to ensure that infrastructure and markets are sufficiently developed to permit the organization of sustained piracy. We examine our arguments empirically in quantitative analyses of local governance patterns and piracy in Indonesia. Field research conducted in Indonesia’s Riau Islands helps us to further assess the plausibility of theoretical mechanisms. Interviews with former pirates, community members, and journalists highlight the importance of access to markets and infrastructure for pirate operations, and also provided us with numerous examples of tacit and active collusion by local governance providers and the community.

Speaker
Ursula Daxecker is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam and a member of the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research. Her work explores the determinants of election violence and organized crime. She is currently completing a book manuscript on maritime piracy (co-authored with Brandon Prins). She also recently completed a four-year research project collecting disaggregated data on electoral contention and violence funded by the Dutch Science Foundation and the EC’s Marie Curie actions. She is associate editor at European Journal of International Relations and International Interactions. Her work is published in British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Public Choice, Electoral Studies, among others.

Voir : http://www.kitlv.nl/event/seminar-piracy-riau-ursula-daxecker/

 

Bridging Worlds, Illumining the Archives : An International Conference in Honor of Professor Resil B. Mojares

Bridging Worlds, Illumining the Archives : An International Conference in Honor of Professor Resil B. Mojares, 30-31 July 2018, Novotel Manila Araneta Center, Quezon City

We are pleased to inform you that the international journal Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints School of Social Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University and the Southeast Asian Studies Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University are organizing an international conference titled “Bridging Worlds, Illumining the Archive: An International Conference in Honor of Professor Resil B. Mojares.” It will be held on 30–31 July 2018 at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center Cubao, Quezon City.

In a prolific career spanning five decades, Resil B. Mojares has produced a remarkable body of work that combines meticulous research, incisive analysis, and elegant, lyrical writing.

An exemplary home-grown and -educated activist, intellectual, institution-builder, and man of letters, Mojares has made important, often pioneering, contributions to diverse fields and subjects, ranging from Philippine literature (Origins and Rise of the Filipino Novel: A Generic Study of the Novel until 1940; [co-ed.] the two-volume Sugilanong Sugboanon), architecture (Casa Gorordo in Cebu: Urban Residence in a Philippine Province, 1860–1920), theater and social history (Theater in Society, Society in Theater: Social History of a Cebuano Village, 1840–1940), to intellectual history (Brains of the Nation: Pedro Paterno, T. H. Pardo de Tavera, Isabelo de los Reyes, and the Production of Modern Knowledge), biography (Vicente Sotto: Maverick Senator; The Man Who Would be President: Serging Osmeña and Philippine Politics; Aboitiz: Family and Firm in the Philippines), history and politics (The War Against the Americans: Resistance and Collaboration in Cebu, 1899–1906; [co-ed.] From Marcos to Aquino: Local Perspectives on the Political Transition in the Philippines).

Apart from book-length works, Mojares has also produced occasional essays (collected in House of Memory; Waiting for Mariang Makiling: Essays in Philippine Cultural History; Isabelo’s Archive; The Resil Mojares Reader; and Interrogations in Philippine Cultural History) that have done much to illuminate “what is obscure, hidden, and marginal” in a plurilingual, pluricultural Philippines. His works blur “the boundaries between academic and literary writing,” while simultaneously building on, and questioning, the “idea and performance of the archive—capacious, diverse, makeshift, open-ended, and polymorphic, and one ‘national’ in its motive and ambition” (Mojares, “Writing the Archive,” Manila Review Issue 5, Sept. 2014).

The perspectives Mojares brings to his study of Philippine history, politics, society, culture, and the arts are methodologically eclectic and capable of moving effortlessly between and across local, national, regional (subnational and supranational), and transnational scales.

This international conference celebrates the life, career, and writings of Resil B. Mojares. It aims not only to assess Professor Mojares’s influence, but also to engage with the ideas, issues, and contexts brought up by his writings on and across various fields of inquiry.

This call for participation is addressed to those who wish to attend the conference but not present papers. Interested parties are requested to complete and submit the registration form, and remit their registration fees, on or before 27 July 2017.

For Philippine participants: P5,500
For overseas participants: US$120
On-site registration (30–31 July 2018): P6,000, with no assured conference packet.

For inquiries, please email philstudies.soss@ateneo.edu

CFP : The Rohingya Crisis : A Multidimensional Tragedy

CFP : The Rohingya Crisis : A Multidimensional Tragedy, 24/08/2018, Asia Centre Bangkok

The Rohingya Crisis sparked by the 25 August 2017 attacks on Government forces by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) in Rakhine State, Myanmar, triggered one of the worst humanitarian crises in contemporary history – “a textbook case of ethnic cleansing”. In a matter of a few months over 750,000 Rohingya people, mostly women and children, fled to Bangladesh. Five months later, as of 23 January 2018, the Rohingya were subjected to a repatriation agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar that was postponed. The current human rights discourse centers on pointing out the discrimination practices against the Rohingyas, the failure of moral leadership previously embodied in Aung San Suu Kyi, the impotence of ASEAN, the need for accountability for atrocities committed by the Myanmar military and the determination of voluntariness when the Rohingya refugees are repatriated. This call invites contributions that go beyond and delve deeper into this multidimensional tragedy. It is an opportunity for researchers who have been investigating different aspects of the crisis to highlight their work. Researchers of selected papers will be invited to participate in a 1 day conference in Bangkok, to mark the anniversary of one of the largest humanitarian catastrophes in Southeast Asia. Selected papers will be compiled and published as an edited volume.

Key Themes: Papers will address critical issues spanning the following themes
ARSA : Unpack ARSA’s role in the crisis
Development: Evaluate economic growth’s role for values change
Elites: Dissect the elites’ conflicting interests
Fake News: Examine the role of misinformation in generating violence
Geopolitics: Capture the external global and regional power dimensions
Hosts: Examine the role of Bangladesh and other destination countries
Human Trafficking: Identify illicit networks and their exploitative practices
Identity: Sketch the competing ethnic and religious political positions
Prejudice: Explain the inflexible attitudes against the Rohingyas
Rakhine Perspective: Articulate the majority-minority dimensions
SGBV: Analyse the different sexual and gender based violence

Submission Guidelines
Submit your abstract (and eventual final papers) to: contact@asiacentre.co.th

An initial 300 word abstract should be sent to Dr. James Gomez and Dr. Robin Ramcharan by 28 February 2018. Full papers will be due by 1 June 2018 and will be peer reviewed. Research articles should be between 5,000 to 6,000 words (incl. footnotes and references).

Project Coordination
As part of this project, a coordination meeting with selected authors is scheduled at Asia Centre, Bangkok, for 24 August 2018, marking the one year anniversary of the attacks by ARSA in Rakhine State. The meeting shall take stock of the latest developments and finalize the selected papers. Authors will thereafter revise their papers, which shall be submitted to the publisher on 1 October 2018.

Project Financing
This is a self-funded project. Hence, each participant is requested to contribute US$ 300 net, which will cover the costs of the meeting, catering, communication as well as editorial costs. Authors shall secure their own funds for travel, daily subsistence and accommodation while in Bangkok.

Registration
All keynote speakers, presenters and participants are required to complete the Conference Registration Form and submit at the time of abstract submission and/or application to participate. The Registration Form is available at the event website at https://asiacentre.co.th/event/the-rohingya-crisis-a-multidimensional-tragedy/

Important Dates
Abstract Submission: 30 June 2018
Abstract Acceptance: notification within three days of submission
Payment of conference fees: upon acceptance of abstract
Full paper submission: latest 31 July 2018
Please contact the Events Coordinator at research@asiacentre.co.th if you need an extension or are not able to produce a full paper in time for the conference

Visit the Call for Papers for more information: https://asiacentre.co.th/event/the-rohingya-crisis-a-multidimensional-tragedy/

Enquiries: contact@asiacentre.co.th

Twenty years of Indonesian democracy—how many more?

« Twenty years of Indonesian democracy—how many more? » by Edward Aspinall, 24 May 2018, New Mandala

When Indonesia’s New Order regime met its end in May 1998, I was a PhD student researching Indonesian opposition movements while teaching Indonesian language and politics at a university in Sydney. Along with other lecturers and students, I watched the live broadcast of Suharto’s resignation speech, listening to the words of one of our colleagues as she translated the president’s fateful words for Australian TV. Clustered around a television screen in a poky AV lab, everyone present felt awed by the immensity of what we were witnessing, relieved that a dangerous political impasse had been broken, and nervously hopeful about the future after so many long years of political stagnation.

The extraordinary achievements of political reform in the years that followed formed one of the great success stories of the so-called “third wave” of democratisation—the worldwide surge of regime change that began in Southern Europe in the mid-1970s and then spread through Latin America, Africa and Asia. The post-Suharto democracy has now lasted longer than did Indonesia’s earlier period of parliamentary democracy (1950–1957), and the subsequent Guided Democracy regime (1957–65). While it still has another dozen years to pass the record set by Suharto’s New Order, Indonesian democracy has proved that it has staying power.

What few would question, though, is that the quality of Indonesia’s democracy was a problem from the beginning—and that under President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) democratic quality has begun to slide dramatically.

Earlier this year, the Economist Intelligence Unit gave Indonesia its largest downgrading in its Democracy Index since scoring began in 2006. With a score of 6.39 out of a possible maximum of 10, the country is now bumping down toward the bottom of the index’s category of “flawed democracies”, on the verge—if it sinks just a little lower—of crossing into the category of “hybrid regime”. This downgrading of Indonesia’s position follows similar drops for the country in other democracy indices like the Freedom in the World survey compiled by Freedom House.

Indonesia’s trajectory is not bucking the global trend. Around the world, democracy is in retreat. Freedom House says democracy is facing “its most serious crisis in decades”, with 71 countries experiencing declines in political rights and civil liberties in 2017 and only 35 registering gains, making 2017 the twelfth year in a row showing global democratic recession.

Unlike during an earlier era of military coups, today the primary source of democratic backsliding is elected politicians. Leaders such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán undermine the rule of law, manipulate institutions for their own political advantage, and restrict the space for democratic opposition. Elected despotism is, increasingly, the order of the day. Indeed, as I argue here, the primary threat to Indonesia’s democratic system today comes not from actors outside the arena of formal politics, like the military or Islamic extremists, but the politicians that Indonesians themselves have chosen.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/20-years-reformasi/

Research internship: ‘Digital humanities and traditional Indonesian literature’

Research internship: ‘Digital humanities and traditional Indonesian literature’

As of September 1, 2018, KITLV is offering a three-months’ internship for an MA-student in literature, history, computer science or area studies.

Intership
The intern will assist dr. Kathryn Wellen with a pilot study which uses digital humanities techniques to study family relations in state formation in early modern Indonesian history.  The intern’s tasks will be to:

  • assemble data from published (translations of) five or six Indonesian texts;
  • analyze assembled data using geographic and network analyses;
  • assist in planning a second, larger-scale study using similar methods.

The internship will take place at the KITLV and will be for 3 months, 3 days per week. (This is equal to 10 ECT.  Academic credit may be arranged with the intern’s academic institution.)  The intern is encouraged to participate in the intellectual life of KITLV and the Leiden University Centre for Digital Humanities.

Knowledge of digital humanities (particularly knowledge of network analysis and GIS software) is strongly preferred.  Knowledge of Indonesian or Dutch is also desirable.

KITLV offers:

  • the opportunity to gain working experience at an international research institute
  • the opportunity to give a presentation during a research meeting and to attend seminars within and outside KITLV to expand your academic network.
  • an internship fee of 180 euro bruto per month (based on 3 days per week) and if needed travel expenses will be covered.

Deadline application
Please send your application consisting of an expression of interest and cv including the names of at least two references to Dr. Kathryn Wellen: ln.vltik@nellew. The deadline for this application is June 28, 2018.

Voir : http://www.kitlv.nl/research-internship-digital-humanities-traditional-indonesian-literature/

Another Chinese paper stamp in a Malay manuscript

Red Chinese paper stamp of an animal, in Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiah, 1805. MSS Malay B.6, ff. 60v-61r.

Another Chinese paper stamp in a Malay manuscript by Annabel Teh Gallop, 05/06/2018, Asian and African Studies Blog, British Library

A few years ago, I became intrigued by the red ink stamps of Chinese paper makers occasionally glimpsed on the pages of Malay and Javanese manuscripts in the British Library, and in a post on Malay manuscripts on Chinese paper illustrated all the examples encountered so far. Recently, another example has surfaced, in a fine illuminated copy of the Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiah, copied by Muhammad Kasim in 1805. The manuscript was previously owned by John Leyden, and is therefore most likely to have been copied in Penang, where Leyden spent four months convalescing from late 1805 to early 1806. On the bottom left hand corner of f. 61 r is a red ink stamp of an animal, a rather rotund quadruped resembling a hippopotamus or rhinoceros.

Continuer la lecture de Another Chinese paper stamp in a Malay manuscript

Monarchical Manipulation in Cambodia

Geoffrey C. Gunn, Monarchical Manipulation in Cambodia : France, Japan, and the Sihanouk Crusade for Independence, NIAS Press, 2018

First book to explain the agency of Cambodian monarchs in the face of broader colonial manipulation and international power plays.
• Explores the historic interplay of charismatic power and political patronage in Cambodia.
• Focuses on the tumultuous wartime and early post-war events surrounding Sihanouk’s ‘crusade’ for Cambodia’s independence.

One figure strides across modern Cambodian history – Norodom Sihanouk. From his accession to the throne of Cambodia in 1941 until his extravagant funeral ceremony in 2013, the prince turned ‘king father’ in later life never dodged controversy. But this is not a biography of Sihanouk; the focus is upon the final decades of the French protectorate, the rise of a counter-elite and winning of Cambodia’s independence.
Manipulation of the 1,000-year-old monarchy comes to the heart of this book, as does indigenous resistance, Buddhist activism, French cultural creationism, the rise of radical republicanism, Thai recidivism and wartime Japanese machinations. Carried through into the postwar period, the seeds of Cambodia’s own destruction were being sown in the jungle perimeters, rubber plantations, schools and monkhood, and even in the classrooms of prestigious French institutions.
Deeply embedded Khmer cultural conventions and the interplay of charismatic power and patronage are not irrelevant to this discussion, indeed inform us as to the future and even present-day patterns of political behaviour. The skill of the young Sihanouk in navigating between Vichy France, Japanese militarists, republican opportunists, armed rural insurgency and French proconsuls is brought to life by a range of new archival documentation. A book is also a work of premonition as much inquiry, exploring how did a country of such grace and natural bounty come to be associated with the worst excesses of mass murder and genocide experienced in the twentieth century. The long political prelude as exposed in this book makes the now clichéd ‘tragedy of Cambodian history’ much more comprehensible.

Voir : http://www.niaspress.dk/books/monarchical-manipulation-cambodia

Remembering the Present : Mindfulness in Buddhist Asia

Julia L. Cassaniti, Remembering the Present : Mindfulness in Buddhist Asia, Cornell University Press, 2018

What is mindfulness, and how does it vary as a concept across different cultures? How does mindfulness find expression in practice in the Buddhist cultures of Southeast Asia? What role does mindfulness play in everyday life? J. L. Cassaniti answers these fundamental questions and more through an engaged ethnographic investigation of what it means to « remember the present » in a region strongly influenced by Buddhist thought.

Focusing on Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, Remembering the Present examines the meanings, practices, and purposes of mindfulness. Using the experiences of people in Buddhist monasteries, hospitals, markets, and homes in the region, Cassaniti shows how an attention to memory informs how people live today and how mindfulness is intimately tied to local constructions of time, affect, power, emotion, and selfhood. By looking at how these people incorporate Theravada Buddhism into their daily lives, Cassaniti provides a signal contribution to the psychological anthropology of religious experience.

Remembering the Present heeds the call made by researchers in the psychological sciences and the Buddhist side of mindfulness studies for better understandings of what mindfulness is and can be. Cassaniti addresses fundamental questions about selfhood, identity, and how a deeper appreciation of the many contexts and complexities intrinsic in sati (mindfulness in the Pali language) can help people lead richer, fuller, and healthier lives. Remembering the Present shows how mindfulness needs to be understood within the cultural and historical influences from which it has emerged.

Ecouter l’entretien avec Julia Cassaniti sur son livre : http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?gcoi=80140107114010

 

More Than Words : Transforming Script, Agency, and Collective Life in Bali

Richard Fox, More Than Words : Transforming Script, Agency, and Collective Life in Bali, Cornell University Press, september 2018

Grounded in ethnographic and archival research on the Indonesian island of Bali, More Than Words challenges conventional understandings of textuality and writing as they pertain to the religious traditions of Southeast Asia. Through a nuanced study of Balinese script as employed in rites of healing, sorcery, and self-defense, Richard Fox explores the aims and desires embodied in the production and use of palm-leaf manuscripts, amulets, and other inscribed objects.

Balinese often attribute both life and independent volition to manuscripts and copperplate inscriptions, presenting them with elaborate offerings. Commonly addressed with personal honorifics, these script-bearing objects may become partners with humans and other sentient beings in relations of exchange and mutual obligation. The question is how such practices of « the living letter » may be related to more recently emergent conceptions of writing—linked to academic philology, reform Hinduism, and local politics—which take Balinese letters to be a symbol of cultural heritage, and a neutral medium for the transmission of textual meaning. More than Words shows how Balinese practices of apotropaic writing—on palm-leaves, amulets, and bodies—challenge these notions, and yet coexist alongside them. Reflecting on this coexistence, Fox develops a theoretical approach to writing centered on the premise that such contradictory sensibilities hold wider significance than previously recognized for the history and practice of religion in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Voir : http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140106255130&fa=author&person_id=5894#content