UH Press around the Web: Summer Snips 2013

The Summer 2013 issue of Hyphen Magazine (#27 – The Sex Issue) has an interview with Amy Sueyoshi on her book, Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi. 

Stephen Hong Sohn’s Asian American Literature Fans Megapost blog review for May 31 included one for Relative Histories: Mediating History in Asian American Family Memoirs by Rocío Davis. (Look for the third title from the top.)

There’s still time to donate to an IndieGoGo project to raise money for a CD of 26 original and unique songs inspired by the poetry of the late Wayne Kaumualii Westlake. UH Press published the posthumous 2009 collection, Westlake: Poems by Wayne Kaumualii Westlake (1947-1984).

Robert J. Cabin, author of Restoring Paradise: Rethinking and Rebuilding Nature in Hawai‘i, wrote a related article in Earth Island Journal on successful ecological restoration projects. He also addressed questions on restoration ecology in an article earlier this year in American Scientist, titled “Nature Is Dead. Long Live Nature!” (Full article requires subscription or institutional access.)

Seeing Beauty, Sensing Race in Transnational Indonesia

Seeing BeautyIn Indonesia, light skin color has been desirable throughout recorded history. Seeing Beauty, Sensing Race in Transnational Indonesia, by L. Ayu Saraswati, explores Indonesia’s changing beauty ideals and traces them to a number of influences: first to ninth-century India and some of the oldest surviving Indonesian literary works; then, a thousand years later, to the impact of Dutch colonialism and the wartime occupation of Japan; and finally, in the post-colonial period, to the popularity of American culture.

“In this book L. Ayu Saraswati offers a lucid and compelling accounting of how ideas of beauty and race circulate and become affective in transnational Indonesia. Offering a distinctive approach to global culture as an affective domain, as well a sharp and nuanced critique of histories of whiteness, this book will be of tremendous value to all scholars and students interested in unlearning the affective and aesthetic scripts of race.” —Sara Ahmed, Professor of Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, and author of On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012)

Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning and Memory
March 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3736-5 / $25.00 (PAPER)

JANM’S “Discover Nikkei” Interviews Amy Sueyoshi

SueyoshiQueerCompulsionsOn Saturday, January 19, 2:00 p.m., SFSU associate dean Amy Sueyoshi will appear at the Japanese American National Museum for a reading, discussion, and signing of her book, Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi. In advance of her talk, JANM’s Discover Nikkei online network has published an in-depth interview by Andrew Way Leong (Northwestern University), posted in two parts.

Click here to read part 1, then link to part 2 from there (or simply click here).

Dr. Sueyoshi will also give a talk at the San Francisco Public Library on Tuesday, February 26. For more details, see the SFPL calendar.

A review of Queer Compulsions published in this month’s The Gay & Lesbian Review, which calls the book “…an important study. It is also worthwhile as a fascinating portrait of biracial and same-sex relationships at a pivotal time in American history.” An equally positive review appeared earlier in Nichi Bei Weekly.

Spirit Possession and Its Provocation of the Modern

Fertile DisorderIn her innovative new book, Fertile Disorder: Spirit Possession and Its Provocation of the Modern, Kalpana Ram reflects on the way spirit possession unsettles some of the foundational assumptions of modernity. What is a human subject under the varied conditions commonly associated with possession? What kind of subjectivity must already be in place to allow such a transformation to occur? How does it alter our understanding of memory and emotion if these assail us in the form of ghosts rather than as attributes of subjective experience? What does it mean to worship deities who are afflictive and capricious, yet bear an intimate relationship to justice? What is a “human” body if it can be taken over by a whole array of entities? What is agency if people can be “claimed” in this manner? What is gender if, while possessed, a woman is a woman no longer?

Drawing on spirit possession among women and the rich traditions of subaltern religion in Tamil Nadu, South India, Ram concludes that the basis for constructing an alternative understanding of human agency need not rest on the usual requirements of a fully present consciousness or on the exercise of choice and planning. Instead of relegating possession, ghosts, and demons to the domain of the exotic, Ram uses spirit possession to illuminate ordinary experiences and relationships.

“Ram’s extraordinary capacity to combine meticulous ethnography of spirit possession and other expressions of ‘female disorder’ in Tamil Nadu with deep and provocative reflections on the history of modernity in the subcontinent is what gives this book its freshness and originality. Scholars in diverse fields, from South Asian feminist and subaltern studies to those constituted by anthropological and postcolonial critiques of contemporary forms of modernization, should find this book to be of absorbing interest.” —Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago

January 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3630-6 / $57.00 (CLOTH)

Anti-trafficking and the Sex Trade along the Mekong

The Perfect Business
For those at the high end of the trafficking chain, the sex trade is an alluring and lucrative business: the supply of girls is constant, the costs of operations are low, and interference from law enforcement is weak to non-existent. Anti-trafficking organizations and governments commonly appropriate such market metaphors of supply and demand as they struggle with the moral-political dimensions of a business involving trade, labor, prostitution, migration, and national borders. But how apt are they? Is the sex trade really the perfect business? The Perfect Business? Anti-Trafficking and the Sex Trade along the Mekong, by Sverre Molland, is a provocative new book that examines the social worlds and interrelationships of traffickers, victims, and trafficking activists along the Thai-Lao border. It explores local efforts to reconcile international legal concepts, the bureaucratic prescriptions of aid organizations, and global development ideologies with on-the-ground realities of sexual commerce.

Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory
September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3653-5 / $26.00 (PAPER)

New in Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory

Refiguring Women Refiguring Women, Colonialism, and Modernity in Burma, by Chie Ikeya, presents the first study of one of the most prevalent and critical topics of public discourse in colonial Burma: the woman of the khit kala—“the woman of the times”—who burst onto the covers and pages of novels, newspapers, and advertisements in the 1920s. Educated and politicized, earner and consumer, “Burmese” and “Westernized,” she embodied the possibilities and challenges of the modern era, as well as the hopes and fears it evoked. In Refiguring Women, Ikeya interrogates what these shifting and competing images of the feminine reveal about the experience of modernity in colonial Burma. She marshals a wide range of hitherto unexamined Burmese language sources to analyze both the discursive figurations of the woman of the khit kala and the choices and actions of actual women who—whether pursuing higher education, becoming political, or adopting new clothes and hairstyles—unsettled existing norms and contributed to making the woman of the khit kala the privileged idiom for debating colonialism, modernization, and nationalism.

Refiguring Women not only marks a milestone in Burmese historiography but makes a significant contribution to our appreciation of how ‘being modern‘ was understood in colonized societies. Deftly integrating visual and literary representations of Burmese women with the experiences of a people living under colonial control, this pioneering study explores previously untapped sources to provide new insights on the entangled relations between gender, colonialism, and modernity.” —Barbara Andaya, University of Hawai‘i, Manoa

Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory
January 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3461-6 / $45.00 (CLOTH)