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Author: H. Geertz
In Storytelling in Bali, Hildred Geertz makes a case for the importance of the role of informal storytelling as an engine of social change in Bali in the 1930s. This is a study of more than 200 texts dictated by the painters of the village of Batuan in 1936 to the anthropologist Gregory Bateson. It is completed by three years field work in Batuan in the 1980s.

The tales reveal a set of strong ambivalences about the magical powers of kings, priests and sorcerers, and about social strains within villages and families. These narratives were related in the daily settings of home and coffee shop and also in the spectacular dance-dramas of the time.
Ghost Movies in Southeast Asia and Beyond explores ghost movies, one of the most popular film genres in East and Southeast Asia, by focusing on movie narratives, the cultural contexts of their origins and audience reception.

In the middle of the Asian crisis of the late 1990s, ghost movies became major box office hits. The emergence of the phenomenally popular “J-Horror” genre inspired similar ghost movie productions in Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Singapore. Ghost movies are embedded and reflected in national as well as transnational cultures and politics, in narrative traditions, in the social worlds of the audience, and in the perceptual experience of each individual. They reflect upon the identity crises and traumas of the living as well as of the dead, and they unfold affection and attraction in the border zone between amusement and thrill, secular and religious worldviews. This makes the genre interesting not only for sociologists, anthropologists, media and film scholars, but also for scholars of religion.
Author: Helen M. Creese
In Bali in the Early Nineteenth Century, Helen Creese examines the nature of the earliest sustained cross-cultural encounter between the Balinese and the Dutch through the eyewitness accounts of Pierre Dubois, the first colonial official to live in Bali. From 1828 to 1831, Dubois served as Civil Administrator to the Badung court in southern Bali. He later recorded his Balinese experiences for the Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences in a series of personal letters to an anonymous correspondent. This first ethnography of Bali provides rich, perceptive descriptions of early nineteenth-century Balinese politics, society, religion and culture. The book includes a complete edition and translation of Dubois’ Légère Idée de Balie en 1830/Sketch of Bali in 1830.
The Turkic-Turkish Theme in Traditional Malay Literature is the first detailed study of the representation of the Turkic peoples and Ottoman Turks in Malay literature between the 14th–19th centuries. Drawing on a wide range of texts, Vladimir Braginsky uncovers manifold metamorphoses and diverse forms of localisation of this Turkic-Turkish theme. This theme has strongly influenced the religious and political ideals and political mythology of Malay society. By creating fictional rather than realistic portrayals of the Turks and Turkey, imagining the king of Rum as the origin point of Malay dynasties, and dreaming of Ottoman assistance in the jihad against the colonial powers, Malay literati ultimately sought to empower the Malay ‘self’ by bringing it closer to the Turkish ‘other’.
Editor: Barbara Hatley
Performance events have long had a central place in Indonesian societies in displaying power, affirming social relations, celebrating shared values, and at times conveying potent political critique. How have they responded to the momentous social and political changes of recent years - the dismantling of the centralised, authoritarian Suharto regime and its replacement with a more open, regionally-focused political system, the rapid expansion of global cultural influence?
Investigations of diverse performance genres from different regions illustrate the way general socio-political processes play out locally, and how particular groups are responding. Exploring performed understandings of identity and community, such studies expand knowledge of a complex, contested period of change in Indonesia and the workings of contemporary performance in giving it expression.
With contributions by Chua Beng Huat, Alexandra Crosby, Barbara Hatley, Ariel Heryanto, Brett Hough, Rachmah Ida, Reza Idria, Edwin Jurriens, Yoshi Fajar Kresno Murti, Neneng Yanti K Lahpan, Ugoran Prasad, Wawan Sofwan, Aline Scott-Maxwell, Fridus Steijlen, Alia Swastika, Denise Varney.