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Engaging the neighbours »

Australia and ASEAN since 1974

Authored by: Frank Frost
Publication date: July 2016
From modest beginnings in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has become the premier regional institution in Southeast Asia. The 10 members are pursuing cooperation to develop the ‘ASEAN Community’ and also sponsor wider dialogues that involve the major powers. Australia has been interested in ASEAN since its inauguration and was the first country to establish a multilateral link with the Association, in 1974. Australia and ASEAN have subsequently engaged and cooperated on many issues of mutual concern, including efforts to secure an agreement to resolve the Cambodia conflict (signed in 1991), the initiation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation grouping (1989) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (1994), the conclusion of the ASEAN–Australia–New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (signed in 2008) and the development of the East Asia Summit (from 2005). This book provides the first available detailed history of the evolution of Australia’s interactions with ASEAN. It assesses the origins and phases of development of Australia’s relations with ASEAN; the role ASEAN has played in Australian foreign policy since the 1970s; the ways in which the two sides have collaborated, and at times disagreed, in the pursuit of regional stability and security; and the key factors that will influence the relationship as it moves into its fifth decade.

Master poets, ritual masters »

The art of oral composition among the Rotenese of Eastern Indonesia

Authored by: James J. Fox
Publication date: April 2016
This is a study in oral poetic composition. It examines how oral poets compose their recitations. Specifically, it is a study of the recitations of 17 separate master poets from the Island of Rote recorded over a period of 50 years. Each of these poets offers his version of what is culturally considered to be the ‘same’ ritual chant. These compositions are examined in detail and their oral formulae are carefully compared to one another. Professor James J. Fox is an anthropologist who carried out his doctoral field research on the Island of Rote in eastern Indonesia in 1965–66. In 1965, he began recording the oral traditions of the island and developed a close association with numerous oral poets on the island. After many subsequent visits, in 2006, he began a nine-year project that brought groups of oral poets to Bali for week-long recording sessions. Recitations gathered over a period of 50 years are the basis for this book.

Connected and Disconnected in Viet Nam »

Remaking Social Relations in a Post-socialist Nation

Edited by: Philip Taylor
Publication date: March 2016
Vietnam’s shift to a market-based society has brought about profound realignments in its people’s relations with each other. As the nation continues its retreat from the legacies of war and socialism, significant social rifts have emerged that divide citizens by class, region and ethnicity. By drawing on social connections as a traditional resource, Vietnamese are able to accumulate wealth, overcome marginalisation and achieve social mobility. However, such relationship-building strategies are also fraught with peril for they have the potential to entrench pre-existing social divisions and lead to new forms of disconnectedness. This book examines the dynamics of connection and disconnection in the lives of contemporary Vietnamese. It features 11 chapters by anthropologists who draw upon research in both highland and lowland contexts to shed light on social capital disparities, migration inequalities and the benefits and perils of gift exchange. The authors investigate ethnic minority networks, the politics of poverty, patriotic citizenship, and the ‘heritagisation’ of culture. Tracing shifts in how Vietnamese people relate to their consociates and others, the chapters elucidate the social legacies of socialism, nation-building and the transition to a globalised market-based economy. With compelling case studies and including many previously unheard perspectives, this book offers original insights into social ties and divisions among the modern Vietnamese.

Maudu' »

A Way of Union with God

Authored by: Muhammad Adlin Sila
Publication date: November 2015
This volume offers a fascinating case study of the Sayyid community of Cikoang in South Sulawesi – in particular, an examination of the role of the descendants of Sayyid Jalaluddin al-‘Aidid, a Hadhrami merchant-teacher of great authority and charisma who is said to have initially settled in Gowa in the 17th century. It is of particular interest because the migration of Sayydid Jalaluddin occurred well before the major Hadhrami diaspora to Southeast Asia in the mid-19th century. Of particular interest is the way Sayyid Jalaluddin and his descendants became integrated within the Makassar community. Sayyid Jalaluddin’s legacy to the Cikoang community is the Tarekat Bahr ul-Nur, whose mystic teachings expound the creation of the world from the ‘Nur Muhammad’. A consequence of this teaching is an enormous emphasis on the celebration of Maudu’ (Maulid or the Birth of the Prophet) as expressed in the local assertion: ‘My existence on this earth is for nothing but Maudu’.’ Every year this prompts the Cikoang community to hold one of the most elaborate and colourful Maulid celebrations in Indonesia. This study was originally submitted as an MA thesis at ANU in 1998, but soon became recognised as an important contribution to Hadhrami studies. Its author, M. Adlin Sila, has since gone on to complete his PhD at ANU, Being Muslim in Bima of Sumbawa, Indonesia: Practice, Politics and Cultural Diversity. This study of Bima and its religious history establishes him as a major researcher on the diverse traditions of Islam in eastern Indonesia.

A New Era? »

Timor-Leste after the UN

Edited by: Sue Ingram, Lia Kent, Andrew McWilliam
Publication date: September 2015
Timor-Leste has made impressive progress since its historic achievement of independence in 2002. From the instability that blighted its early years, the fledgling democratic country has achieved strong economic growth and a gradual reinstatement of essential social services. A decade on in 2012, Presidential and Parliamentary elections produced smooth political transitions and the extended UN peacekeeping presence in the country came to an end. But significant challenges remain. This book, a product of the inaugural Timor-Leste Update held at The Australian National University in 2013 to mark the end of Timor-Leste’s first decade as a new nation, brings together a vibrant collection of papers from leading and emerging scholars and policy analysts. Collectively, the chapters provide a set of critical reflections on recent political, economic and social developments in Timor-Leste. The volume also looks to the future, highlighting a range of transitions, prospects and undoubted challenges facing the nation over the next 5–10 years. Key themes that inform the collection include nation-building in the shadow of history, trends in economic development, stability and social cohesion, and citizenship, democracy and social inclusion. The book is an indispensable guide to contemporary Timor-Leste.

Vietnam as if… »

Tales of youth, love and destiny

Authored by: Kim Huynh
Publication date: August 2015
Vietnam as if… follows five young people who have moved from the countryside to the city. Their dramatic everyday lives illuminate some of the most pressing issues in Vietnam today: ‘The Sticky Rice Seller’ explores gender roles; ‘The Ball Boy’ is all about the struggles of sexual and ethnic minorities; ‘The Professional’ examines relations between rich and poor; ‘The Goalkeeper’ delves into politics and ideology; and ‘The Student’ reflects upon family and faith. The stories also reboot several classics of Vietnamese literature for the twenty-first century, including ‘Floating Dumplings’ by feminist poet Ho Xuan Huong, Vu Trong Phung’s satire of French colonialism Dumb Luck, Nguyen Du’s epic account of fate and sacrifice ‘The Tale of Kieu’, and the proclamations of Ho Chi Minh. These novellas reveal the deepest sentiments of Vietnamese youth as they – like youth everywhere – come of age, fall in love and contest their destiny. In 2011 Kim Huynh returned to Vietnam, having left more than three decades earlier. He had few plans other than to experience as much of his birthplace as possible. That year he came into contact with a wide range of people and took on many trades. Kim drank and dined with government officials, went on pilgrimages with corporate tycoons and marched in the streets against foreign aggression. He sold sticky rice, was a tennis player and also a ball boy, attended all manner of rituals and celebrations, eavesdropped on people in cafés and restaurants, and went back to the classroom as both a student and a teacher. Rich in detail and broad in scope, these tales capture Kim’s experiences and imaginings of Vietnam as if….

Timor-Leste's Bill of Rights »

A Preliminary History

Authored by: Annemarie Devereux
Publication date: May 2015
The Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste of 2002 contains over 40 human rights provisions in its Bill of Rights. In addition to providing an overview of the process leading up to the adoption of the Constitution, this book brings together information relating to each section of the Bill of Rights, presenting: progressive texts produced during the process of the Constituent Assembly; highlights of the arguments put forward within the Constituent Assembly concerning the draft provisions, including alternative proposals advanced; submissions made by Timorese officials, civil society and international bodies; and the results of consultation with the broader community before and during the constitutional process. It is designed to be useful in particular to judges and legal practitioners called upon to interpret the Constitution, government officials and civil society actors involved in human rights work, as well as students of history and constitutional law in Timor-Leste and internationally.

Contextualising the Neolithic Occupation of Southern Vietnam »

The Role of Ceramics and Potters at An Son

Authored by: Carmen Sarjeant
Publication date: November 2014
Excavated in 2009, An Son, Long An Province, southern Vietnam has been dated to the second millennium BC, with evidence for neolithic occupation and burials. Very little is known about the neolithic period in southern Vietnam, and the routes and chronology for the appearance of cultivation, domestic animals, and ceramic and lithic technologies associated with sedentary settlements in mainland Southeast Asia are still debated. The ways in which the ceramic material culture at An Son conforms to the wider neolithic expression observed in Southeast Asia is investigated, and local and regional innovations are identified. The An Son ceramic assemblage is discussed in great detail to characterise the neolithic occupation, while considering the nature of craft production, manufacturing methods and the transference of traditions. Contextualising the neolithic in southern Vietnam is conducted through a comparative study of material culture between An Son and the sites of Bến Ðò, Bình Đa, Cù Lao Rùa, Cái Vạn, Cầu Sắt, Đa Kai, Đình Ông, Lộc Giang, Rạch Lá, Rạch Núi and Suối Linh, all in southern Vietnam. Another analysis is presented to contextualise An Son in the wider neolithic landscape of mainland Southeast Asia, between An Son and Ban Non Wat, early Ban Lum Khao, early Ban Chiang, early Non Nok Tha, Khok Charoen, Tha Kae, Khok Phanom Di, Nong Nor (phase 1), Samrong Sen, Laang Spean, Krek, Bàu Tró, Mán Bạc and Xóm Rền. The aspects of material culture at An Son that appear to have ancestral links are considered in this research as well as local interaction spheres.

Explorations in Semantic Parallelism »

Authored by: James J. Fox
Publication date: July 2014
This collection of eighteen papers explores issues in the study of semantic parallelism — a world-wide tradition in the composition of oral poetry. It is concerned with both comparative issues and the intensive study of a single living poetic tradition of composition in strict canonical parallelism. The papers in the volume were written at intervals from 1971 to 2014 — a period of over forty years. They are a summation of a career-long research effort that continues to take shape. The concluding essay reflects on possible directions for future research. Explorations in Semantic Parallelism also offers an enhanced epub: a downloadable ebook format with embedded video. Please download using the link below.

Losing Control »

Freedom of the Press in Asia

Publication date: January 2014
‘A free press is not a luxury. A free press is at the absolute core of equitable development’ according to World Bank President James Wolfensohn. A free press is also the key to transparency and good governance and is an indispensable feature of a democracy. So how does Asia rate? In Losing Control, leading journalists analyse the state of play in all the countries of North Asia and Southeast Asia. From the herd journalism of Japan to the Stalinist system of North Korea, Losing Control provides an inside look at journalism and freedom of the press in each country. One conclusion—a combination of new technology and greater democracy is breaking the shackles that once constrained the press in Asia. ‘Brings together Asia’s best and brightest observers of the press.’ Hamish McDonald, Foreign Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald ‘A rare insiders’ view exposing the real dynamics behind social and political change in Asia.’ Evan Williams, Foreign Correspondent, ABC TV ‘A timely and necessary contribution to the debate over the quality of freedom in Asia.’ Geoffrey Barker, The Australian Financial Review