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)

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)