Modern Times in Southeast Asia, 1920s-1970s


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This book reveals how everyday experiences of being ‘modern’ (c. 1920s-70s) indexed continuity and change in the transition from colonialism to independence and after in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the contributors to this interdisciplinary volume recover modern times at the intersection of public and private domains, encompassing sex, religion, art, film, literature and urban space. The authors examine the conditions and representations of modernity, as shaped by elites and the governed, by actors, artists, novelists and non-fiction writers. Plural encounters in cities, through spiritual communities, art, high and popular culture saw Southeast Asians fashioning modern times in dialogue with global capitalism, consumer culture and second-wave feminism.

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Susie Protschky is Senior Lecturer in History at Monash University, editor of Photography, Modernity and the Governed in Late-Colonial Indonesia (Amsterdam University Press, 2015), and author of Photographic Subjects: Monarchy, Photography and the Dutch East Indies (Manchester University Press, forthcoming).

Tom van den Berge is Senior Researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) in Leiden. He is the author of H.J. van Mook, 1894-1965: Een vrij en gelukkig Indonesië (THOTH, 2014).
"Located at the crossroads of history, cultural studies, religious studies and anthropology, the collection of papers in Modern Times in Southeast Asia, 1920s-1970s offers a notable example of research on the colonial-to-postcolonial transitions in different countries of the region.[...] The attention to detail and the interpretative quality of the contributions, as well as the broad variety of topics and approaches, make Modern Times a stimulating work, highly recommended to anyone interested in issues of social and cultural change in contemporary Southeast Asia."
– Roger Casas, Institute for Social Anthropology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, in Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 35.3 (2020).
List of Illustrations and Tables
Notes on Contributors

1. Modern Times in Southeast Asia, 1920s–1970s, Susie Protschky
2. Modern Living in Third- World Suburbia: Quezon City, 1939– 1976, Michael D. Pante
3. Mediated Publicness and Islamic Modernity in Indonesia, Julian Millie
4. New Spiritual Movements, Scholars, and “Greater India” in Indonesia, Marieke Bloembergen
5. Picasso in the Tropics: European Modern Painting in Indonesia, 1920–1957, Tom van den Berge
6. Women, Film, and Modern Malay Identities, Timothy P. Barnard
7. Talking Sex, Making Love: P. Moe Nin and Intimate Modernity in Colonial Burma, Chie Ikeya
8. Contested Modernities and Spectres of Progress in Twentieth-Century Siam/Thailand, Janit Feangfu and Rachael V. Harrison
9. Modernity and the Body: Franco- Vietnamese Children in the Colonial Era and Beyond, Christina Firpo

Scholars of Southeast Asia, modernity, and twentieth-century history; academic libraries, specialists and postgraduate students.
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