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Ronald Suleski

In this exciting book, Ronald Suleski introduces daily life for the common people of China in the century from 1850 to 1950. They were semi-literate, yet they have left us written accounts of their hopes, fears, and values. They have left us the hand-written manuscripts ( chaoben 抄本) now flooding the antiques markets in China. These documents represent a new and heretofore overlooked category of historical sources.
Suleski gives a detailed explanation of the interaction of chaoben with the lives of the people. He offers examples of why they were so important to the poor laboring masses: people wanted horoscopes predicting their future, information about the ghosts causing them headaches, a few written words to help them trade in the rural markets, and many more examples are given. The book contains a special appendix giving the first complete translation into English of a chaoben describing the ghosts and goblins that bedeviled the poor working classes.

China: Promise or Threat?

A Comparison of Cultures

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Horst Jürgen Helle

In China: Promise or Threat? Helle compares the cultures of China and the West through both private and public spheres. For China, the private sphere of family life is well developed while behaviour in public relating to matters of government and the law is less reliable. In contrast, the West operates in reverse. The book’s twelve chapters investigate the causes and effects of threats to the environment, military confrontations, religious differences, fundamentals of cultural history, and the countries’ orientations for finding solutions to societal problems, all informed by the Confucian impulse to recapture the lost splendour of a past versus faith in progress toward a blessed future. The West has promoted individualism while China is locked in its kinship society.

Large-Scale Land Acquisitions

Focus on South-East Asia

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Edited by Christophe Gironde, Christophe Golay and Peter Messerli

Large-scale land acquisitions, or ‘land grabbing’, has become a key research topic among scholars interested in agrarian change, development, and the environment. The term ‘land acquisitions’ refers to a highly contested process in terms of governance and impacts on livelihoods and human rights. This book focuses on South-East Asia. A series of thematic and in-depth case studies put ‘land grabbing’ into specific historical and institutional contexts. The volume also offers a human rights analysis of the phenomenon, examining the potential and limits of human rights mechanisms aimed at preventing and mitigating land grabs' negative consequences.

Cars, Conduits, and Kampongs

The Modernization of the Indonesian City, 1920-1960

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Edited by Freek Colombijn and Joost Coté

Cars, Conduits and Kampongs offers a wide panorama of the modernization of the cities in Indonesia between 1920 and 1960. The contributions present a case for asserting that Indonesian cities were not merely the backdrop to processes of modernization and rising nationalism, but formed a causal factor. Modernization, urbanization, and decolonization were intrinsically linked. The various chapters deal with such innovations as the provision of medical treatments, fresh water and sanitation, the implementation of town planning and housing designs, and policies for coping with increased motorized traffic and industrialization. The contributors share a broad critique of the economic and political dimensions of colonialism, but remain alert to the agency of colonial subjects who respond, often critically, to a European modernity.
Contributors include: Freek Colombijn, Joost Coté, Saki Murakami, Michelle Kooy, Karen Bakker, Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, Hans Versnel, Farabi Fakih, Radjimo Sastro Wijono, Gustaaf Reerink, Arjan Veering, Johny A. Khusyairi, Purnawan Basundoro, Ida Liana Tanjung, and Sarkawi B. Husain
A full text Open Access version is also available.

Series:

Gerben Nooteboom

Forgotten People deals with people living at the fringes of the Indonesian society. It describes and analyses their livelihoods and styles of making a living from an insider perspective. While Indonesia has experienced steady economic growth for more than a decade, the livelihoods and lifestyles of poor people and migrants confronted with poverty and insecurity have received less attention. This book describes and analyses diversity in livelihood strategies, risk-taking and local forms of social security (social welfare) of people living below or close to the Indonesian poverty line. It puts two categories of forgotten people at the centre. Peasants, living in remote areas in rural Java, and Madurese migrants craving for a better life in urban and rural East Kalimantan.

A full text Open Access version is also available.

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Edited by Jeroen Duindam and Sabine Dabringhaus

Maintaining the connections between the dynastic court and the provinces was a major challenge for pre-modern governments. The allegiance of governors shifted easily from the centre to the provinces. Ritual and festive occasions, equally important to generate cohesion, were rarely shaped wholly by either side. Agents & Interactions examines these connections in late imperial China, early modern Europe, and the Ottoman empire. Contributions highlight the different and evolving notions of the governor, the choreography of rulers touring their realm, and the interpretations of sources describing such events. Important intercultural parallels appear, and it becomes clear that the domains of politics and culture cannot be separated. The chapters in this volume suggest important revisions and outline an agenda for comparison.

This title is available online in its entirety in Open Access

Contributors include: Patricia Buckley Ebrey, Jürgen Osterhammel, R. Kent Guy, Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly, I. Metin Kunt, Michael G. Chang, Margit Thøfner, Yingcong Dai, Neil Murphy, Christian Büschges


The Making of Middle Indonesia

Middle Classes in Kupang town, 1930s-1980s

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Gerry van Klinken

What holds Indonesia together? 'A strong leader' is the answer most often given. This book looks instead at a middle level of society. Middle classes in provincial towns around the vast archipelago mediate between the state and society and help to constitute state power. 'Middle Indonesia' is a social zone connecting extremes. The Making of Middle Indonesia examines the rise of an indigenous middle class in one provincial town far removed from the capital city. Spanning the late colonial to early New Order periods, it develops an unusual, associational notion of political power. 'Soft' modalities of power included non-elite provincial people in the emerging Indonesian state. At the same time, growing inequalities produced class tensions that exploded in violence in 1965-1966.
Full text (Open Access)

In Search of Middle Indonesia

Middle Classes in Provincial Towns

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Edited by Gerry van Klinken and Ward Berenschot

The post-1998 surge in local politics has moved the provincial town back to centre stage. This book examines the Indonesian middle class (now 43%!) up close in the place where its members are most at home: the town. Middle Indonesia generates national political forces, yet it is neither particularly rich nor geographically central. This is an overwhelmingly lower middle class, a conservative petty bourgeoisie barely out of poverty and tied to the state. Middle Indonesia rather resists than welcomes globalized, open markets. Politically, it enjoys democracy but uses its political skills and clientelistic networks to make the system work to its advantage, which is not necessarily that of either the national elites or the poor.
Contributors include Ward Berenschot, Joseph Errington, Noorhaidi Hasan, Gerry van Klinken, Cornelis Lay, Wenty Marina Minza, Jan Newberry, Amalinda Savirani, Sylvia Tidey, Nicolaas Warouw, and Ben White. Photographs by S. Chris Brown.
Full text (Open Access)

Dutch Commerce and Chinese Merchants in Java

Colonial Relationships in Trade and Finance, 1800-1942

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Alexander Claver

Trading enterprise figures prominently in Indonesian history. Commercial activities penetrated deep into the economy, politics and society of the former Netherlands Indies. Dutch Commerce and Chinese Merchants in Java describes this, largely forgotten, world of commerce. During the period 1800-1942 this vanished world was, however, bustling. Merchants of very different background and stature cooperated and competed with each other. Trading relations were forged and dissolved, contracts were honoured and broken, fortunes were made and lost.
Using unpublished archival sources in Indonesia and the Netherlands Alexander Claver recounts the diverse trading mechanisms, complex credit relations and countless participants involved. How Dutch, Chinese, and Arab traders related to each other in such demanding business environment is the fascinating story of this book.
Full text (Open Access)

Sonic Modernities in the Malay World

A History of Popular Music, Social Distinction and Novel Lifestyles (1930s – 2000s)

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Edited by Bart Barendregt

Sonic Modernities situates Southeast Asian popular music in specific socio-historical settings, hoping that a focus on popular culture and history may shed light on how some people in a particular part of the world have been witnessing the emergence of all things modern. In its focus on pioneering artists, their creative use of new genres and border crossing technologies it aims at a rewriting of Southeast Asia’s twentieth century from the perspective of popular music makers, the entertainment industry and its ever changing audiences.
Contributors include: Bart Barendregt, Philip Yampolsky, Jan van der Putten, Adil Johan, Andrew Weintraub, Emma Baulch, Lars Gjelstad, Bettina David, Jeremy Wallach, Kees van Dijk, Wim van Zanten and Tan Sooi Beng.
Full text (Open Access)