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Ascetic Culture

Renunciation and Worldly Engagement

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Edited by K. Ishwaran

The collection of papers in Ascetic Culture: Renunciation and Worldly Engagement was entirely conceived and developed by K. Ishwaran, who died in June 1998. The original concept was to focus on "Tradition and Innovation in Monastic Life in South Asia", a topic which combined two of Ishwaran’s major interests: comparative studies of the monastic systems of south Asia, and criticism of Western anthropological and sociological assumptions of tradition and modernity being antithetical, especially with regard to traditional religions.
Ishwaran saw this collection of papers as reinforcing the "demise of universalistic projects, all encompassing grand master narratives and similar globally integrative, theoretical or empirical enterprises in social discourse" flowing from the post-structural and post-modernist revolutions in the social sciences. Later he conceived of broadening this topic to be more liberally comparative, to include major religious traditions around the world. The new title was to be "Tradition and Modernity in Monastic orders in Contemporary Societies". Finally, he broadened the theme to the present title of his collection.

Taken together, the articles appearing in this book strongly support Ishwaran’s theses. First, is the obvious point that eremitism and asceticism are far more complex than commonly understood in the scholarly world. If ever a general understanding of these interrelated phenomena is developed, careful examination not only how they are found in these cultures and traditions but also study of their particular manifestations in individual movements, places, cultures, social groups etc. must take place. The second thesis is clearly established by the range of these papers: ascetic traditions are not only inimical to modernity, they may be found at the heart of certain contemporary social and cultural developments.

K. Ishwaran has rendered the study of religion in particular and the social sciences in general an important service with this anthology.

Contributers are John E. Cort, Alan Davies, Balkrishna G. Gokhale, Daniel Gold, Shaman Hatley, Sohail Inayatullah, Klaus K. Klostermaier, David Miller, S.A. Nigosian, Jordan Paper, and Earle H. Waugh.

Local and Global: Social Transformation in Southeast Asia

Essays in Honour of Professor Syed Hussein Alatas

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Edited by Riaz Hassan

Globalization, modernization and colonialism have played a pivotal role in the social transformation of Southeast Asian societies. The essays in this volume examine three aspects of this transformation: social change and development, the role of intellectuals, religion and cultural values. The volume honours the distinguished Malaysian sociologist Syed Hussein Alatas and his seminal contributions to the sociology of Southeast Asian societies. They have been written by his present and former colleagues, friends and students. Their contributions, reflect, complement and extend the influence of his ideas on contemporary research and social science scholarship.

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M. Reza Pirbhai

Despite late reconsideration, a dominant paradigm rooted in Orientalist essentialisations of Islam as statically ‘legalistic’ and Muslims as uniformly ‘transgressive’ when local customs are engaged, continues to distort perspectives of South Asia's past and present. This has led to misrepresentations of pre-colonial Muslim norms and undue emphasis on colonial reforms alone when charting the course to post-coloniality. This book presents and challenges staple perspectives with a comprehensive reinterpretation of doctrinal sources, literary expressions and colonial records spanning the period from the reign of the 'Great Mughals' to end of the 'British Raj' (1526-1947). The result is an alternative vision of this transformative period in South Asian history, and an original paradigm of Islamic doctrine and Muslim practice applicable more broadly.

Edited by Walton Look Lai and Chee-Beng Tan

The Chinese migration to the Latin America/Caribbean region is an understudied dimension of the Asian American experience. There are three distinct periods in the history of this migration: the early colonial period (pre-19th century), when the profitable three-century trade connection between Manila and Acapulco led to the first Asian migrations to Mexico and Peru; the classic migration period (19th to early twentieth centuries), marked by the coolie trade known to Chinese diaspora studies; and the renewed immigration of the late 20th century to the present. Written by specialists on the Chinese in Latin America and the Caribbean, this book tells the story of Asian migration to the Americas and contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the Chinese in this important part of the world.

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Edited by Kwok-bun Chan, Tak-sing Cheung and Agnes Ku

The annual is a venue of publication for sociological studies of Chinese societies and the Chinese all over the world. The main focus is on social transformations in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the mainland, Singapore and Chinese overseas.

Places of Memory in Modern China

History, Politics, and Identity

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Edited by Marc Andre Matten

In the last decades, the scholarship on issues of national and cultural identity of China has been constantly on the rise. This edited volume aims at addressing these issues by applying Pierre Nora’s approach of places of memory ( lieux de mémoire) to the Chinese context.

The volume assembles a number of articles that focus on the most significant places of memory in modern and contemporary China, ranging from Qin Shihuang’s Terracotta Warriors to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The genesis and nature of these places are discussed in detail by combining approaches of both cultural and historical sciences. In addition, issues of cultural memory and politics are addressed in order to question the ideological construction of these places.

Science, War and Imperialism

India in the Second World War

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Jagdish Sinha

Why could not the Second World War catalyse science in India as it did in the West? This is one of the central questions of this volume on the British policy towards science and technology in India. Its focus is on education, research, innovation and organisation of science in such sectors as industry, agriculture, public health and transport and communications. In the process the author comes across revealing developments where science played a crucial role: an Anglo-American tussle for dominance in the region, the clash between capitalism and socialism, and the entry of neo-colonialism triggering Cold War in Asia. Many faces of humanity and science are on view --- British scientists concerned about India’s development, and Indian scientists planning for national reconstruction. Of interest to all those aiming for a better understanding of the impact of science, war and international influences on the socio-economic progress in India - or other erstwhile colonies.

Global Chinese Literature

Critical Essays

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Edited by Jing Tsu and David Der-wei Wang

This path-breaking collection of critical essays introduces a diverse range of approaches to open up the field of modern Chinese literature to new cross-regional, local, and global analyses. Each of the ten essays deals with a particular conceptual problem or case study of different locations and modalities of Chinese-language, or Sinophone, production. From language to music, literature to popular culture, minority politics to internal diaspora, theories of sinography to China's quest for the Nobel Prize, this volume brings together leading and new voices in the study of Chinese literature from a variety of comparative and intranational perspectives. Contributors include scholars from Asia, North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. It is an indispensable reference for anyone interested in contemporary China and the global politics of Sinophone literature.

``This thought-provoking anthology has opened up many fascinating questions. Although its intended readership is scholars from literary studies, anyone who is interested in the interplay between language, ethnicity and identity should not miss it.``
Zhengdao Ye, The Australian National University

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Razia Akter

This study, done within the comprehensive Weberian framework, focuses on religion and social change in Bangladesh through an imaginative use of qualitative as well as quantitative methods of modern social research.
It first provides a sociological interpretation of the origin and development of Islam in Bengal using historical and literary works on Bengal. The main contribution is based on two sample surveys conducted by Mrs. Banu in 20 villages of Bangladesh and in three areas in the metropolitan Dhaka city. Using these survey data, she gives a sociological analysis of Islamic religious beliefs and practices in contemporary Bangladesh, and more importantly, she studies the impact of the Islamic religious beliefs on the socio- economic development and political culture in present-day Bangladesh. She also shows how Islam compares with modern education in social 'transforming capacity'.
This careful and rigorous work is a notable contribution to sociology of religion and helps to deepen our understanding of the interactions between religious and social changes common to many parts of the Third World.

Asia in the Making of Christianity

Conversion, Agency, and Indigeneity, 1600s to the Present

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Edited by Richard Fox Young and Jonathan A. Seitz

Drawing on first person accounts, Asia in the Making of Christianity studies conversion in the lives of Christians throughout Asia, past and present. Fifteen contributors treat perennial questions about conversion: continuity and discontinuity, conversion and communal conflict, and the politics of conversion. Some study individuals (An Chunggŭn of Korea, Liang Fa of China, Nehemiah Goreh of India), while others treat ethnolinguistic groups or large-scale movements. Converts sometimes appear as proto-nationalists, while others are suspected of cultural treason. Some transition effortlessly from leadership in one religious community into Christian ministry, while others re-convert to new forms of Christianity. The accounts collected here underscore the complexity of conversion, balancing individual agency with broader social trends and combining micro- with macrocontextual approaches.