Transformations of Cultural Traditions in Oceania

Changing ContextsChanging Contexts, Shifting Meanings: Transformations of Cultural Traditions in Oceania, edited by Elfriede Hermann, sheds new light on processes of cultural transformation at work in Oceania and analyzes them as products of interrelationships between culturally created meanings and specific contexts. In a series of inspiring essays, noted scholars of the region examine these interrelationships for insight into how cultural traditions are shaped on an ongoing basis.

September 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3366-4 / $58.00 (CLOTH)

New in the Dimensions of Asian Spirituality Series

KarmaKarma has become a household word in the modern world, where it is associated with the belief in rebirth determined by one’s deeds in earlier lives. This belief was and is widespread in the Indian subcontinent as is the word “karma” itself. In lucid and accessible prose, this book, by Johannes Bronkhorst, presents karma in its historical, cultural, and religious context.

Dimensions in Asian Spirituality
August 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3591-0 / $17.00 (PAPER)

From Art and Antiquarianism to Modern Chinese Historiography

PastimesPastimes: From Art and Antiquarianism to Modern Chinese Historiography, by Shana J. Brown, is the first book in English on Chinese jinshi, or antiquarianism, the pinnacle of traditional connoisseurship of ancient artifacts and inscriptions. As a scholarly field, jinshi was inaugurated in the Northern Song (960–1127) and remained popular until the early twentieth century. Literally the study of inscriptions on bronze vessels and stone steles, jinshi combined calligraphy and painting, the collection of artifacts, and philological and historical research. For aficionados of Chinese art, the practices of jinshi offer a fascinating glimpse into the lives of traditional Chinese scholars and artists, who spent their days roaming the sometimes seamy world of the commercial art market before attending elegant antiquarian parties, where they composed poetic tributes to their ancient objects of obsession. And during times of political upheaval, such as the nineteenth century, the art and artifact studies of jinshi legitimatized reform and contributed to a dynamic and progressive field of learning.

The history of jinshi offers insights that are relevant to Chinese cultural and intellectual history, art history, and politics. Scholars of the modern period will find the resiliency and continuing influence of jinshi to be an important counterpoint to received views on the trajectory of Chinese cultural and intellectual change.

“Shana Brown’s new study represents the first serious examination in any Western language of the phenomenon of what we have (somewhat disparagingly) called antiquarianism in modern Chinese culture. To her great credit, she not only accords her many subjects the respect they deserve, but she puts meat on the bones of what many have dismissed as hopelessly outdated, conservative culturalism. Many of the finest minds in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century China fall under the rubric of antiquarianism, and we have ignored their work at our peril.” —Joshua Fogel, York University

August 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3498-2 / $48.00 (CLOTH)

Prahus, Timber, and Illegality on the Margins of the Indonesian State

Madurese SeafarersThe Madurese are one of the great maritime and trading peoples of the Indonesian Archipelago. Madurese Seafarers: Prahus, Timber and Illegality on the Margins of the Indonesian State, by Kurt Stenross, takes readers into the trading villages of Madura, with their remarkable traditional vessels (perahu) that were powered by sail until the late twentieth century, and examines their informal-sector economic niches, notably the cattle, salt, and timber trades and the carriage of people. The book argues that the nature of village society, the physical characteristics of the island’s coast, cultural traditions of frugality and self-reliance, and an appetite for risk all contributed to the enduring success of Madurese traders.

ASAA Southeast Asia Publications
August 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3555-2 / $32.00 (PAPER)
For sale only in the U.S., its dependencies, Canada, and Mexico

Indonesian Islam and the Temptations of Radicalism

The End of InnocenceThe End of Innocence? Indonesian Islam and the Temptation of Radicalism, by Andree Feillard and Remy Madinier, is a translation of Le Fin de l’innocence? L’islam indonésien face à la tentation radicale de 1967 à nos jours, which was published to wide acclaim in 2006. It offers a unique overview of the role of Islam in Indonesian politics over the past few decades, paying close attention to the varying fortunes of key Islamist movements. The final chapter takes into account events that have taken place and publications that have appeared since 2006.

“There have been several books on Islam and politics in Indonesia in the post-Suharto period, but Feillard and Madinier’s work is by far the best. Engagingly written and comprehensive in its coverage, this brilliant book will be of interest to both specialists and the general reader interested in understanding the conundrum of politics in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.” —Robert Hefner, Director, Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs, Boston University

August 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3523-1 / $28.00 (PAPER)
For sale only in the U.S., its dependencies, Canada, and Mexico

Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia

Powers of ExclusionQuestions of who can access land and who is excluded from it underlie many recent social and political conflicts in Southeast Asia. Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia, by Derek Hall, Philip Hirsch, and Tania Murray Li, examines the key processes through which shifts in land relations are taking place, notably state land allocation and provision of property rights, the dramatic expansion of areas zoned for conservation, booms in the production of export-oriented crops, the conversion of farmland to post-agrarian uses, “intimate” exclusions involving kin and co-villagers, and mobilizations around land framed in terms of identity and belonging. In case studies drawn from seven countries, the authors find that four “powers of exclusion”—regulation, the market, force and legitimation—have combined to shape land relations in new and often surprising ways.

August 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3603-0 / $35.00 (PAPER)
For sale only in the U.S., its dependencies, Canada, and Mexico