Asian Studies Series

The Asian Studies Series editorial board is not currently taking on any new book proposals.

The editorial committee of the Asian Studies Series interprets ‘Asia’ broadly in terms of region. To date, our titles cover such disciplines as contemporary art, international relations, history, literature, politics, and crime. We are particularly interested in monographs or edited collections that make use of sources in Asian languages.

Please note: The following list of titles is sorted by publication date, with the most recent first.

Displaying results 1 to 17 of 17.

Living Art »

Indonesian Artists Engage Politics, Society and History

Publication date: November 2022
Living Art: Indonesian Artists Engage Politics, Society and History is inspired by the conviction of so many of Indonesia’s Independence-era artists that there is continuing interaction between art and everyday life. In the 1970s, Sanento Yuliman, Indonesia’s foremost art historian of the late twentieth century, further developed that concept, stating: ‘New Indonesian Art cannot wholly be understood without locating it in the context of the larger framework of Indonesian society and culture’ and the ‘whole force of history’. The essays in this book accept Yuliman’s challenge to analyse the intellectual, sociopolitical and historical landscape that Indonesia’s artists inhabited from the 1930s into the first decades of the new millennium, including their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The inclusion of one of Yuliman’s most influential essays, translated into English for the first time, offers those outside Indonesia an insight into a formative period in the generation of new art knowledge in Indonesia. The volume also features essays by T. K. Sabapathy, Jim Supangkat, Alia Swastika, Wulan Dirgantoro and FX Harsono, as well as the three editors (Elly Kent, Virginia Hooker and Caroline Turner). The book’s contributors present recent research on issues rarely addressed in English-language texts on Indonesian art, including the inspirations and achievements of women artists despite social and political barriers; Islam- inspired art; artistic ideologies; the intergenerational effects of trauma; and the impacts of geopolitical change and global art worlds that emerged in the 1990s. The Epilogue introduces speculations from contemporary practitioners on what the future might hold for artists in Indonesia. Extensively illustrated, Living Art contributes to the acknowledgement and analysis of the diversity of Indonesia’s contemporary art and offers new insights into Indonesian art history, as well as the contemporary art histories of Southeast Asia and Asia more generally.
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Experiments with Marxism-Leninism in Cold War Southeast Asia »

Publication date: September 2022
One of the most contentious theatres of the global conflict between capitalism and communism was Southeast Asia. From the 1920s until the end of the Cold War, the region was racked by international and internal wars that claimed the lives of millions and fundamentally altered societies in the region for generations. Most of the 11 countries that compose Southeast Asia were host to the development of sizable communist parties that actively (and sometimes violently) contested for political power. These parties were the object of fierce repression by European colonial powers, post-independence governments and the United States. Southeast Asia communist parties were also the object of a great deal of analysis both during and after these conflicts. This book brings together a host of expert scholars, many of whom are either Southeast Asia–based or from the countries under analysis, to present the most expansive and comprehensive study to date on ideological and practical experiments with Marxism-Leninism in Southeast Asia. The bulk of this edited volume presents the contents of these revolutionary ideologies on their own terms and their transformations in praxis by using primary source materials that are free of the preconceptions and distortions of counterinsurgent narratives. A unifying strength of this work is its focus on using primary sources in the original languages of the insurgents themselves.
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Bridging Australia and Japan: Volume 2 »

The writings of David Sissons, historian and political scientist

Publication date: August 2020
This book is volume two of the writings of David Sissons, who first established his academic career as a political scientist specialising in Japanese politics, and later shifted his focus to the history of Australia–Japan relations. In this volume, we reproduce his writings on Japanese politics, the Pacific War and Australian war crimes trials after the war. He was a pioneer in these fields, carrying out research across cultural and language borders, and influenced numerous researchers who followed in his footsteps. Much of what he wrote, however, remained unpublished at the time of his death in 2006, and so the editors have included a selection of his hitherto unpublished work along with some of his published writings. Breaking Japanese Diplomatic Codes, edited by Desmond Ball and Keiko Tamura, was published in 2013, and the first volume of Bridging Australia and Japan was published in 2016. This book completes this series, which reproduces many of David Sissons’ writings. The current volume covers a wide range of topics, from Japanese wartime intentions towards Australia, the Cowra Breakout, and Sissons’ early writings on Japanese politics. Republished in this volume is his comprehensive essay on the Australian war crimes trials, which influenced the field of military justice research. Georgina Fitzpatrick and Keiko Tamura have also contributed essays reflecting on his research. Sissons was an extraordinarily meticulous researcher, leaving no stone unturned in his search for accuracy and completeness of understanding, and should be considered one of Australia’s major historians. His writings deal not only with diplomatic negotiations and decision-making, but also the lives of ordinary and often nameless people and their engagements with their host society. His warm humanity in recording ordinary people’s lives as well as his balanced examination of historical incidents and issues from both Australian and Japanese perspectives are hallmarks of his scholarship.
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Fluid Matter(s) »

Flow and Transformation in the History of the Body

Publication date: August 2020
Once upon a time, doctors across Eurasia imagined human beings in ways that strike us today as profoundly strange and alien. For over 2,000 years, they worried anxiously about fluids to which our modern doctors spare hardly a thought (such as sweat, phlegm and qi) and they obsessed over details (such as whether a person’s pores were open or closed) whose meaning and vital importance have now largely faded from memory. Through a series of case studies from Europe, India, China, Mongolia and Japan, Fluid Matter(s) suggests ways to make sense of this strange and dimly remembered past, and urges us to reflect anew on the significance of fluids and flows in the history of medicine. The book also urges us, more generally, to reimagine the way in which we narrate history. The articles here are essays, in the original French sense. They are exploratory trials, experiments to illustrate some of the ways in which digital texts can go beyond the affordances of print. They test visual effects that are inconceivable on a paper page, but that are easily conjured on an electronic screen. Fluid Matter(s) is the first work of its kind: a study that narrates the body’s past in a form that embodies new futures for narrative.

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Re-imagining Japan after Fukushima »

Authored by: Tamaki Mihic
Publication date: March 2020
The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster (collectively referred to as ‘3.11’, the date of the earthquake), had a lasting impact on Japan’s identity and global image. In its immediate aftermath, mainstream media presented the country as a disciplined, resilient and composed nation, united in the face of a natural disaster. However, 3.11 also drew worldwide attention to the negative aspects of Japanese government and society, thought to have caused the unresolved situation at Fukushima. Spurred by heightened emotions following the triple disaster, the Japanese became increasingly polarised between these two views of how to represent themselves. How did literature and popular culture respond to this dilemma? Re-imagining Japan after Fukushima attempts to answer that question by analysing how Japan was portrayed in post-3.11 fiction. Texts are selected from the Japanese, English and French languages, and the portrayals are also compared with those from non-fiction discourse. This book argues that cultural responses to 3.11 had a significant role to play in re-imagining Japan after Fukushima.
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Power, Protection and Magic in Thailand »

The Cosmos of a Southern Policeman

Authored by: Craig J. Reynolds
Publication date: October 2019
This biographical study of an unusual southern policeman explores the relationship between religion and power in Thailand during the early twentieth century when parts of the country were remote and banditry was rife. Khun Phan (1898–2006), known as Lion Lawman, sometimes used rather too much lethal force in carrying out his orders. He was the most famous graduate of a monastic academy in the mid-south, whose senior teachers imparted occult knowledge favoured by fighters on both sides of the law. Khun Phan imbibed this knowledge to confront the risks and uncertainty that lay ahead and bolster his confidence and self-reliance for his struggle with adversaries. Against the background of national events, the story is rooted in the mid-south where the policeman was born and died. Based on a wide range of works in Thai language, on field trips to the region and on interviews with local and regional scholars as well as the policeman’s descendants, this generously illustrated book, accompanied by short video clips, brings to life the distinctive environment of the lakes district on the Malay Peninsula.
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Pacific Exposures »

Photography and the Australia–Japan Relationship

Publication date: December 2018
Photography has been a key means by which Australians have sought to define their relationships with Japan. From the fascination with all things Japanese in the late nineteenth century, through the era of ‘White Australia’, the bitter enmity of the Pacific War, the path to reconciliation in the post-war period and the culturally complicated bilateralism of today, Australians have used their cameras to express a divided sense of conflict and kinship with a country that has by turns fascinated and infuriated. The remarkable photographs collected and discussed here for the first time shed new light on the history of Australia’s engagement with its most important regional partner. Pacific Exposures argues that photographs tell an important story of cultural production, response and reaction—not only about how Australians have pictured Japan over the decades, but how they see their own place in the Asia-Pacific. ‘Pacific Exposures presents the first study of the photographic exchanges between Australia and Japan—its photographers, personalities, motivations, anxieties and tensions—based on a diverse range of archival materials, interviews, and well-chosen photographs.’ — Dr Luke Gartlan, University of St Andrews ‘[Pacific Exposures] will become a key text on Australia’s interactions with Japan, and the way that photographs can inform cross-cultural relations through their production, consumption and circulation.’ — Prof. Kate Darian-Smith, University of Tasmania In the media Listen to the ABC Radio interview: Japan in Focus (from 13:06).
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Read till it shatters »

Nationalism and identity in modern Thai literature

Authored by: Thak Chaloemtiarana
Publication date: August 2018
This book introduces readers to modern Thai literature through the themes of modernity, nationalism, identity and gender. In the cultural, political and social transformations that occurred in Thailand during the first half of the twentieth century, Thai literature was one of the vehicles that moved the changes. Taking seriously ‘read till it shatters’, a Thai phrase that instructs readers to take apart the text, to break it down, to deconstruct it, Thak Chaloemtiarana challenges the Thai literary canon from the margins and suggests ways of expanding and enriching it. Thai literature is scarce in translation and requires the skills of a scholar fluent in Thai to comprehend it. Thak is a political scientist turned literary scholar who is bilingual in Thai and English and an avid reader of Thai fiction by authors up and down the social scale. Here he offers lively insights into his favourite literary genres with fresh readings of early Thai novels, Sino-Thai biographies and memoirs of the rich and famous. ‘Thak Chaloemtiarana is an inquisitive man. Late in his career he switched from politics to literature. In these chapters, he draws on a lifetime of reading about writers and writing in Thailand over the past century. He nods towards the usual big names—King Vajiravudh, Luang Wichit, Kulap Saipradit, Kukrit Pramoj—but spends more time on those found in the lesser visited stacks of the libraries, the secondhand bookstalls, and the shelf by the supermarket checkout. His themes are familiar—Thailand and the West, Thai nationalism, the Thai-Chinese, and women under patriarchy—but the angles of vision are original. With a cast ranging from motor-racing princes through sexy Egyptian mummies and a feminist serial murderer to starlets touting breast-enhancement techniques, this book educates, enlightens, and entertains.’ — Dr Chris Baker, Bangkok-based author with Pasuk Phongpaichit, A History of Ayutthaya (Cambridge 2017)
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New Worlds from Below »

Informal life politics and grassroots action in twenty-first-century Northeast Asia

Publication date: March 2017
In Asia today, the grand ideologies of the past have lost their power over the popular imagination. Even in many of the region’s democracies, popular engagement in the political process faces profound challenges. Yet amidst this landscape of political disenchantment, groups of ordinary people across Asia are finding new ways to take control of their own lives, respond to threats to their physical and cultural survival, and build better futures. This collection of essays by prominent scholars and activists traces the rise of a quiet politics of survival from the villages of China to Japan’s Minamata and Fukushima, and from the street art of Seoul and Hong Kong to the illegal markets of North Korea. Introducing an innovative conceptual framework, New Worlds from Below shows how informal grassroots politics in Northeast Asia is generating new ideas and practices that have region-wide and global relevance.
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Bridging Australia and Japan: Volume 1 »

The writings of David Sissons, historian and political scientist

Publication date: December 2016
This book represents volume one of the writings of David Sissons, who for most of his career pioneered research on the history of relations between Australia and Japan. Much of what he wrote remained unpublished at the time of his death in 2006, and so the editors have included a selection of his hitherto unpublished work along with some of his published writings. Breaking Japanese Diplomatic Codes, edited by Desmond Ball and Keiko Tamura, was published in 2013 and forms a part of the series that reproduces many of Sissons’ writings. In the current volume, the topics covered are wide. They range from contacts between the two countries as far back as the early 19th century, Japanese pearl divers in northern Australia, Japanese prostitutes in Australia, the wool trade, the notorious ‘trade diversion episode’ of 1936, and a study of the Japan historian James Murdoch. Sissons was an extraordinarily meticulous researcher, leaving no stone unturned in his search for accuracy and completeness of understanding, and should be considered one of Australia’s major historians. His writings deal with not only diplomatic negotiations and decision-making, but also the lives of ordinary and often nameless people and their engagements with their host society. His warm humanity in recording ordinary people’s lives as well as his balanced examination of historical incidents and issues from both Australian and Japanese perspectives are a hallmark of his scholarship.
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Eyewitness to Early Reform in Myanmar »

Authored by: Trevor Wilson
Publication date: March 2016
By 2000, a ruthless military regime had ruled Myanmar for more than a decade, polarising opinion inside and outside Burma/Myanmar — with Western countries locked into non-UN sanctions and Asian countries and the rest of the world locked into unenthusiastic cooperation with Myanmar. While the United Nations and its agencies faced numerous obstacles as they sought to encourage national reconciliation in Myanmar, conditions in Myanmar were slowly starting to change. With a reform faction in charge, the military regime itself after 1999 slowly began experimenting with modest changes, before committing in 2008 to transfer power via a constitutional referendum and national elections, both of which it effectively controlled. This book provides the first eyewitness account of the early reform experiments.
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Contemporary Asian Art and Exhibitions »

Connectivities and World-making

Publication date: October 2014
“… a diverse and stimulating group of essays that together represents a significant contribution to thinking about the nascent field of contemporary Asian art studies … Contemporary Asian Art and Exhibitions: Connectivities and World-making … brings together essays by significant academics, curators and artist working in Australia, Asia and the United Kingdom that reflect on contemporary art in the Asia-Pacific region, and Australia’s cultural interconnections with Asia. It will be a welcome addition to the body of literature related to these emergent areas of art historical study. ” — Dr Claire Roberts, Senior Lecturer in Art History, University of Adelaide This volume draws together essays by leading art experts observing the dramatic developments in Asian art and exhibitions in the last two decades. The authors explore new regional and global connections and new ways of understanding contemporary Asian art in the twenty-first century. The essays coalesce around four key themes: world-making; intra-Asian regional connections; art’s affective capacity in cross-cultural engagement; and Australia’s cultural connections with Asia. In exploring these themes, the essays adopt a diversity of approaches and encompass art history, art theory, visual culture and museum studies, as well as curatorial and artistic practice. With introductory and concluding essays by editors Michelle Antoinette and Caroline Turner this volume features contributions from key writers on the region and on contemporary art: Patrick D Flores, John Clark, Chaitanya Sambrani, Pat Hoffie, Charles Merewether, Marsha Meskimmon, Francis Maravillas, Oscar Ho, Alison Carroll and Jacqueline Lo. Richly illustrated with artworks by leading contemporary Asian artists, Contemporary Asian Art and Exhibitions: Connectivities and World-making will be essential reading for those interested in recent developments in contemporary Asian art, including students and scholars of art history, Asian studies, museum studies, visual and cultural studies.
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Tajikistan »

A Political and Social History

Authored by: Kirill Nourzhanov, Christian Bleuer
Publication date: October 2013
This book is a historical study of the Tajiks in Central Asia from the ancient times to the post-Soviet period. For millennia, these descendants of the original Aryan settlers were part of many different empires set up by Greek, Arab, Turkic and Russian invaders, as well as their own, most notably during the Middle Ages. The emergence of the modern state of Tajikistan began after 1917 under Soviet rule, and culminated in the promulgation of independence from the moribund USSR in 1991. In the subsequent civil war that raged between 1992 and 1997, Tajikistan came close to becoming a failed state. The legacy of that internal conflict remains critical to understanding politics in Tajikistan a generation later. Exploring the patterns of ethnic identity and the exigencies of state formation, the book argues that despite a strong sense of belonging underpinned by shared history, mythology and cultural traits, the Tajiks have not succeeded in forming a consolidated nation. The politics of the Russian colonial administration, the national-territorial delimitation under Stalin, and the Soviet strategy of socio-economic modernisation contributed to the preservation and reification of sub-ethnic cleavages and regional identities. The book demonstrates the impact of region-based elite clans on Tajikistan’s political trajectory in the twilight years of the Soviet era, and identifies objective and subjective factors that led to the civil war. It concludes with a survey of the process of national reconciliation after 1997, and the formal and informal political actors, including Islamist groups, who compete for influence in Tajik society. “Tajikistan: A Political and Social History is the best source of information on this important country in the English language. Drs Nourzhanov and Bleuer present a comprehensive yet detailed account of the past and prospects of this emerging nation, and have filled one of the major gaps in Central Asian scholarship. This book must be read by those who wish to grasp the vagaries of Central Asia’s evolving political and cultural landscapes.” — Reuel Hanks, Professor of Geography, Oklahoma State University, and Editor of the Journal of Central Asian Studies.  “If Tajikistan is known outside its region, it is often for the civil war that gravely damaged it. This volume authoritatively provides the longer perspective to the unsettling events of the 1990s and skilfully explains them in terms of history, social structure, and sub-state identities. In addition to highlighting a wealth of local factors, it is insightful on the ways in which antagonists can be transformed into broader ethnic and regional blocs. Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer are erudite guides to an understudied part of Central Asia, while astutely instructing us about larger patterns of state-society relations and their impact on the logic of conflict.” — James Piscatori, Professor of International Relations, Durham University.
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Breaking Japanese Diplomatic Codes »

David Sissons and D Special Section during the Second World War

Publication date: September 2013
During the Second World War, Australia maintained a super-secret organisation, the Diplomatic (or ‘D’) Special Section, dedicated to breaking Japanese diplomatic codes. The Section has remained officially secret as successive Australian Governments have consistently refused to admit that Australia ever intercepted diplomatic communications, even in war-time. This book recounts the history of the Special Section and describes its code-breaking activities. It was a small but very select organisation, whose ‘technical’ members came from the worlds of Classics and Mathematics. It concentrated on lower-grade Japanese diplomatic codes and cyphers, such as J-19 (FUJI), LA and GEAM. However, towards the end of the war it also worked on some Soviet messages, evidently contributing to the effort to track down intelligence leakages from Australia to the Soviet Union. This volume has been produced primarily as a result of painstaking efforts by David Sissons, who served in the Section for a brief period in 1945. From the 1980s through to his death in 2006, Sissons devoted much of his time as an academic in the Department of International Relations at ANU to compiling as much information as possible about the history and activities of the Section through correspondence with his former colleagues and through locating a report on Japanese diplomatic codes and cyphers which had been written by members of the Section in 1946. Selections of this correspondence, along with the 1946 report, are reproduced in this volume. They comprise a unique historical record, immensely useful to scholars and practitioners concerned with the science of cryptography as well as historians of the cryptological aspects of the war in the Pacific. “This publication fills an important gap in the present available knowledge concerning code-breaking in Australia during World War II. It also gives overdue recognition to the important contribution made by David Sissons to this subject”. — Professor John Mack, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sydney.
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Business and the Risk of Crime in China »

Authored by: Roderic Broadhurst, John Bacon-Shone, Brigitte Bouhours, Thierry Bouhours
Publication date: December 2011
The book analyses the results of a large scale victimisation survey that was conducted in 2005–06 with businesses in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xi’an. It also provides comprehensive background materials on crime and the criminal justice system in China. The survey, which measured common and non-conventional crime such as fraud, IP theft and corruption, is important because few crime victim surveys have been conducted with Chinese populations and it provides an understanding of some dimensions of crime in non-western societies. In addition, China is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and it attracts a great amount of foreign investment; however, corruption and economic crimes are perceived by some investors as significant obstacles to good business practices. Key policy implications of the survey are discussed.
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Soeharto's New Order and Its Legacy »

Essays in honour of Harold Crouch

Publication date: August 2010
Indonesia’s President Soeharto led one of the most durable and effective authoritarian regimes of the second half of the twentieth century. Yet his rule ended in ignominy, and much of the turbulence and corruption of the subsequent years was blamed on his legacy. More than a decade after Soeharto’s resignation, Indonesia is a consolidating democracy and the time has come to reconsider the place of his regime in modern Indonesian history, and its lasting impact. This book begins this task by bringing together a collection of leading experts on Indonesia to examine Soeharto and his legacy from diverse perspectives. In presenting their analyses, these authors pay tribute to Harold Crouch, an Australian political scientist who remains one of the greatest chroniclers of the Soeharto regime and its aftermath.
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The Disaster of the Third Princess »

Essays on The Tale of Genji

Authored by: Royall Tyler
Publication date: June 2009
These seven essays by the most recent English translator of The Tale of Genji emphasize three major interpretive issues. What is the place of the hero (Hikaru Genji) in the work? What story gives the narrative underlying continuity and form? And how does the closing section of the tale (especially the ten “Uji chapters”) relate to what precedes it? Written over a period of nine years, the essays suggest fresh, thought-provoking perspectives on Japan’s greatest literary classic.
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