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Author: Matthew Martin
In previous studies of South Asian Tantric ritual, scholars tend to focus on one region or context. For the first time, Tantra, Ritual Performance and Politics in Nepal and Kerala: Embodying the Goddess-clan offers a comparative approach to Tantric mediumship as observed in two locales: Navadurgā rituals in Bhaktapur, Nepal, and Teyyāṭṭam in North Kerala. In this book, Matthew Martin advances a new theory of ritual, which spotlights the way dancer-mediums embody medieval goddess-clans and ancestor deities, through offerings of food and sacrifice, that synchronize their denizens with the land in spiralling web-like ritual networks. Uniquely interdisciplinary in style, this study synthesizes cultural history, ethnography, and theory to explore the continuities – historical, societal, and political – that characterize these ritual traditions across the subcontinent.
Author: Ario Seto

Abstract

Drawing on the experience of three Indonesian online communities, this paper argues that civic engagement organized by online communities is not simply an outcome of compassion or social solidarity but also a mitigating circumstance of community building. The durability of organizing civic engagement, therefore, relies on the transformation of online communities and members’ capacity for community management—that is, how the community could upscale its form and activities. Failing in upscaling the community can lead to community abandonment. Community upscaling relies on the success of institutionalizing civic engagement activities, community adaptation to new chat platforms, conserving interpersonal communication within the same online location, and generating new community trajectories.

In: Asiascape: Digital Asia
In: Asiascape: Digital Asia

Abstract

This article introduces the special issue on ‘Digital Activism’ by exploring some of the trends in social media activism and scholarship thereof. The authors ask to what extent this literature helps us understand Asian forms of online activism, which forms of activism have relatively done well, and whether Asian activism requires its own theorizing. Most of all, it is a plea for a careful and ethnographically informed approach to digital activism. Although outwardly they look similar and use the same templates, manuals, or even similar media strategies, not all forms of online activism promote democratic values. Furthermore, we argue that much of what happens under the banner of digital activism is not necessarily politics with a capital P but, rather, consists of everyday forms of engagement, with sometimes seemingly vulgar contents and often familiar routines and natural forms, yet in their impact such ‘banal activism’ may have political implications.

In: Asiascape: Digital Asia

Abstract

This paper demonstrates how protest tactics, such as the use of hashtags, can be co-opted by counter-protesters, as evidenced by how the cybertroopers operated against the Bersih 4 protest in 2015. This is achieved via focusing the analysis on how geographic places were communicated on Twitter around the time of the protest. The Bersih movement in Malaysia is an example of how a digital-savvy social movement organisation (SMO) operates in a hybrid regime. In this paper, I explore a form of reaction that, on the surface, appeared to be a bottom-up initiative against the Bersih movement. Based on the fieldwork conducted around the Bersih 4 protest in 2015, I focus on place mentions on Twitter to detect the cybertroopers who attempted to disrupt the discussion and narrative through the use of hashtags.

In: Asiascape: Digital Asia
Author: Annisa R. Beta

Abstract

This article reconsiders contemporary digital activism in an increasingly pious Indonesia and responds to Eva F. Nisa’s 2018 paper on young Muslim women as daʾwa (proselytization) activists published in this journal. This paper asks: How have today’s socially mediated publics in Indonesia influenced the figure of the daʾwa activist? How are these daʾwa activists different from those in the past? I argue that the daʾwa activists are the products of a Muslimah intimate public, part of a networked public within which young women discuss, engage with, and express how they ‘feel’ about issues that interest them, and celebrate self-improvement and self-enterprise, combined with religious self-cultivation. Within this public daʾwa activists have two key characteristics. First, market logics and commercial interests are fundamental to their daʾwa. Second, the daʾwa accounts frame controversial and political issues through specific visual ethics that engender a sense of intimacy with their followers.

In: Asiascape: Digital Asia
The Movement and its Centennial Legacy
Read an interview with Carlos Yu-Kai Lin.

Remembering May Fourth: The Movement and its Centennial Legacy is a collective work of thirteen scholars who reflect on the question of how to remember the May Fourth Movement, one of the most iconic socio-political events in the history of modern China. The book discusses a wide range of issues concerning the relations between politics and memory, between writing and ritualizing, between fiction and reality, and between theory and practice. Remembering May Fourth thus calls into question the ways in which the movement is remembered, while at the same time calling for the need to create new memories of the movement.
Author: Nicholas Kaldis

Abstract

Exploring, among other things, Lu Xun’s configuration of his characters’ relationships to then-dominant ideological discourses, this chapter teases out heretofore seldom observed or altogether unremarked upon vital features of his canonical works. The chapter is grounded in the conviction that an attunement to the insights internal to a text can expand our understanding of a literary work, its intellectual-historical context, and its author. It affirms the relevance of the concept of aesthetic cognition and the value of a hermeneutics of engagement in the study of modern Chinese literature.

In: Remembering May Fourth