Upcoming Talk by L. Ayu Saraswati, 2013 NWSA Gloria Anzaldúa Book Prize Winner

Saraswati-SensingBeautyOn Friday, October 18, 12:30–2:00 pm, author L. Ayu Saraswati, assistant professor in women’s studies at UH-Manoa, will speak on the topic of her book, Seeing Beauty, Sensing Race in Transnational Indonesia. Dr. Saraswati recently received the 2013 National Women’s Studies Association Gloria Anzaldúa book prize for her work, which explores and analyzes Indonesia’s changing beauty ideals.

Sponsored by the UHM Women’s Studies Colloquium Series and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the free event will take place in Saunders Hall 244. University of Hawai‘i Bookstore will have books available for purchase. The public is invited to the talk, followed by a book signing and refreshments.

Dread and Enchantment in an Indonesian Literary Archive

Situated TestimoniesThe Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer made a distinction between a “downstream” literary reality and an “upstream” historical reality. Pramoedya suggested that literature has an effect on the upstream flow of history and that it can in fact change history. In Situated Testimonies: Dread and Enchantment in an Indonesian Literary Archive, Laurie J. Sears illuminates this process by considering a selection of Dutch Indies and Indonesian literary works that span the twentieth century and beyond and by showing how authors like Louis Couperus and Maria Dermoût help retell and remodel history.

“This is a remarkable book in the way it attempts to tease out and crash through the barriers of self-restricting and self-restraining area studies. Situated Testimonies poses a challenge to Indonesianists as well as to many beyond the field. It is an adventure embarked upon with the help of Freud, Lacan, and other friends and foes. Sears demonstrates both the benefits and tribulations of such an endeavor. At its best, her book attains an impressive simplicity as it uncovers a sense of the world in both its subjects—the colonial and postcolonial literary figures—and its author as she thinks and writes about them.” —Rudolf Mrazek, University of Michigan

June 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3683-2 / $57.00 (CLOTH)

New in the Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory Series

Potent LandscapesPotent Landscapes: Place and Mobility in Eastern Indonesia, by Catherine Allerton, is an ethnographic investigation of the power of the landscape and the implications of that power for human needs, behavior, and emotions. Based on two years of fieldwork in rural Flores, the book situates place-making and mobility of the Manggarai within the larger contexts of diverse human-environment interactions as well as adat revival in postcolonial Indonesia. Although it focuses on social life in one region of eastern Indonesia, the work engages with broader theoretical discussions of landscape, travel, materiality, cultural politics, kinship, and animism.

Potent Landscapes is a brilliant new work that breaks fresh ground in the anthropological study of place and culture in Southeast Asia. Bringing a phenomenological interest in ‘dwelling’ to her ethnographic portrayal of everyday life in the southern Manggarai settlements of West Flores, Indonesia, Catherine Allerton takes readers on a revealing and richly rewarding journey into the ‘shape of the land’ there. Her book offers a wealth of ideas and comparative material for scholars working in other parts of Asia and the Pacific, and an accessible account sure to fascinate and inspire students of anthropology.” —Kenneth M. George, University of Wisconsin-Madison

April 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3800-3 / $25.00 (PAPER)

Forest of StruggleIn a village community in the highlands of Cambodia’s Southwest, people struggle to rebuild their lives after nearly thirty years of war and genocide. Recovery is a tenuous process as villagers attempt to shape a future while contending with the terrible rupture of the Pol Pot era. Forest of Struggle: Moralities of Remembrance in Upland Cambodia, by Eve Monique Zucker, tracks the fragile progress of restoring the bonds of community in O’Thmaa and its environs, the site of a Khmer Rouge base and battlefield for nearly three decades between 1970 and 1998.

“With an ethnographer’s acumen, Zucker shows us how the members of a community in post-conflict Cambodia have sought to rebuild their lives, a process involving complicated issues of trust, social memory, and moral order. Forest of Struggle is a must-read for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of social suffering and the remaking of social worlds after prolonged conflict and genocide.” —Alexander Hinton, Rutgers University

April 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3805-8 / $28.00 (PAPER)

View a full list of titles in the series Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning and Memory.

Portraits of Southeast Asian Modernity

Figures of Southeast Asia ModernityFigures of Southeast Asian Modernity, edited by Joshua Baker, Erik Harms, and Johan Lindquist, brings together the fieldwork of over eighty scholars and covers the nine major countries of the region: Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. An introduction outlines important social transformations in Southeast Asia and key theoretical and methodological innovations that result from ethnographic attention to the study of key figures. Each section begins with an introduction by a country editor followed by short essays offering vivid and intimate portraits set against the background of contemporary Southeast Asia. The result is a volume that combines scholarly rigor with a meaningful, up-to-date portrayal of a region of the world undergoing rapid change. A reference bibliography offers suggestions for further reading.

“The idea of capturing recent transformations of Southeast Asia through vignettes about familiar yet idiosyncratic individuals is brilliant. The everyday experiences and aspirations of people trying to make sense of their lives and dreams convey a complex and often surprising view of contemporary cross-currents, upheavals, anxieties, and struggles in a volatile region. This volume offers a great way for students to understand and empathize with ordinary people and nations in rapid motion.” —Aihwa Ong, co-editor of Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments in the Art of Being Global

January 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3741-9 / $25.00 (PAPER)