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Comparative Remarks on Tibetan Dice and Mālā Divination: Tools, Poetry, Structures, and Ritual Dimensions
Divining with Achi and Tārā is a book on Tibetan methods of prognostics with dice and prayer beads ( mālā). Jan-Ulrich Sobisch offers a thorough discussion of Chinese, Indian, Turkic, and Tibetan traditions of divination, its techniques, rituals, tools, and poetic language. Interviews with Tibetan masters of divination introduce the main part with a translation of a dice divination manual of the deity Achi that is still part of a living tradition. Solvej Nielsen contributes further interviews, a mālā divination of Tārā and its oral tradition, and very useful glossaries of the terminology of Tibetan divination and fortune telling. Appendices provide lists of deities and spirits and of numerous identified ritual remedies and supports that are an essential element of a still vibrant Tibetan culture.
Understanding Chaoben Culture
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.
The Relationship between Religion and Capitalism in Modern China
Probably the most fundamental relationship in human history is that of the Market versus the Oikos (= the authoritarian ruled house, family, household or the State). Its main features and elements are analysed and newly defined as are its relations with town–country antagonisms or capitalism, nation, race, religion, and so on. Because it concerns a rather universal relationship, the definitions of the relevant elements are developed over time (from ancient Greeks to Nazi contexts) and place (in the West and the East, particularly China). Max Weber is chosen as our “sparring partner,” starting with his popular analysis of the relationship of capitalism and religion in the West and of Chinese society in the East
Religion and Techno-Politics in Asia
The Mission of Development interrogates the complex relationships between Christian mission and international development in Asia from the 19th century to the new millennium. Through historically and ethnographically grounded case studies, contributors examine how missionaries have adapted to and shaped the age of development and processes of ‘technocratisation’, as well as how mission and development have sometimes come to be cast in opposition. The volume takes up an increasingly prominent strand in contemporary research that reverses the prior occlusion of the entanglements between religion and development. It breaks new ground through its analysis of the techno-politics of both development and mission, and by focusing on the importance of engagements and encounters in the field in Asia.
Practices, Politics, and Identities
This volume explores the changing place of Islam in contemporary Central Asia, understanding religion as a “societal shaper” – a roadmap for navigating quickly evolving social and cultural values. Islam can take on multiple colors and identities, from a purely transcendental faith in God to a cauldron of ideological ferment for political ideology, via diverse culture-, community-, and history-based phenomena. The volumes discusses what it means to be a Muslim in today’s Central Asia by looking at both historical and sociological features, investigates the relationship between Islam, politics and the state, the changing role of Islam in terms of societal values, and the issue of female attire as a public debate. Contributors include: Aurélie Biard, Tim Epkenhans, Nurgul Esenamanova, Azamat Junisbai, Barbara Junisbai, Marlene Laruelle, Marintha Miles, Emil Nasritdinov, Shahnoza Nozimova, Yaacov Ro'i, Wendell Schwab, Manja Stephan-Emmrich, Rano Turaeva, Alon Wainer, Alexander Wolters, Galina M. Yemelianova, Baurzhan Zhussupov
In this book Sita van Bemmelen offers an account of changes in Toba Batak society (Sumatra, Indonesia) due to Christianity and Dutch colonial rule (1861-1942) with a focus on customs and customary law related to the life cycle and gender relations. The first part, a historical ethnography, describes them as they existed at the onset of colonial rule. The second part zooms in on the negotiations between the Toba Batak elite, the missionaries of the German Rhenish Mission and colonial administrators about these customs showing the evolving views on desirable modernity of each contestant. The pillars of the Toba patrilineal kinship system were challenged, but alterations changed the way it was reproduced and gender relations for ever.
Life in Shinjang Documented from Public Spaces
The current volume presents a selection of 126 texts in Uyghur posted in public spaces, translated, and annotated for this book. The author started photographing Uyghur texts in 2008 at the time of the Beijing olympics and continued to do so during 2009, the year of the so-called “Urumqi uprising” of July 5. This event generated a stream of texts posted in public spaces that reflected the efforts made by the authorities to re-establish control. In the course of his travels in the years thereafter the author continued to add to the corpus of photographed Uyghur texts. At the same time he started collecting, as comprehensively as possible, various types of folders, brochures, handouts, and product wrappings with texts illustrating aspects of Uyghur culture and society. The texts, published here for the first time, are primary source materials documenting a wide variety of aspects of daily life of the Uyghurs in Shinjang. The implicit messages or explicit references contained in many of these texts give them significance as clues towards an understanding of the existential realities they reflect or illustrate.
In Cultural Constellations, Place-Making and Ethnicity in Eastern India, c. 1850-1927, Swarupa Gupta outlines a fresh paradigm moving beyond stereotypical representations of eastern India as a site of ethnic fragmentation. The book traces unities by exploring intersections between (1) cultural constellations; (2) place-making and (3) ethnicity.
Centralising place-making, it tells the story of how people made places, mediating caste / religious / linguistic contestations. It offers new meanings of ‘region’ in Eastern Indian and global contexts by showing how an interregional arena comprising Bengal, Assam and Orissa was forged.
Using historical tracts, novels, poetry and travelogues, the book argues that commonalities in Eastern India were linked to imaginings of Indian nationhood. The analysis contains interpretive strategies for mediating federalist separatisms and fragmentation in contemporary India.
Confronting Capital and Empire inquires into the relationship between philosophy, politics and capitalism by rethinking Kyoto School philosophy in relation to history. The Kyoto School was an influential group of Japanese philosophers loosely related to Kyoto Imperial University’s philosophy department, including such diverse thinkers as Nishida Kitarō, Tanabe Hajime, Nakai Masakazu and Tosaka Jun.

Confronting Capital and Empire presents a new perspective on the Kyoto School by bringing the school into dialogue with Marx and the underlying questions of Marxist theory. The volume brings together essays that analyse Kyoto School thinkers through a Marxian and/or critical theoretical perspective, asking: in what ways did Kyoto School thinkers engage with their historical moment? What were the political possibilities immanent in their thought? And how does Kyoto School philosophy speak to the pressing historical and political questions of our own moment?
Interpreting the Qurʾān in 17th Century Aceh
In Malay Court Religion, Culture and Language: Interpreting the Qurʾān in 17th Century Aceh Peter G. Riddell undertakes a detailed study of the two earliest works of Qur’anic exegesis from the Malay-Indonesian world. Riddell explores the 17th century context in the Sultanate of Aceh that produced the two works, and the history of both texts. He argues that political, social and religious factors provide important windows into the content and approaches of both Qur’anic commentaries. He also provides a transliteration of the Jawi Malay text of both commentaries on sūra 18 of the Qur'ān ( al-Kahf), as well as an annotated translation into English. This work represents an important contribution to the search for greater understanding of the early Islamic history of the Malay-Indonesian world.