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Asian History

Asian History Book List

Named a Choice Reviews Outstanding Academic Title for 2017
Cover of 'Viet Nam'

Viet Nam
Tradition and Change
By Hữu Ngọc
· Edited by Lady Borton and Elizabeth F. Collins

During his 20 years as a columnist for Việt Nam News, Huu Ngoc both charmed and educated an international readership with his simple but elegant glimpses into Vietnamese culture. These selections from his column are perfectly suited to students of Vietnamese history and culture and travelers seeking an introduction to the country and its people.

Cover of 'Sino–Malay Trade and Diplomacy from the Tenth through the Fourteenth Century'

Sino–Malay Trade and Diplomacy from the Tenth through the Fourteenth Century
By Derek Heng

China has been an important player in the international economy for two thousand years and has historically exerted enormous influence over the development and nature of political and economic affairs in the regions beyond its borders, especially its neighbors.

Cover of 'Wartime in Burma'

Wartime in Burma
A Diary, January to June 1942
By Theippan Maung Wa
· Edited by L. E. Bagshawe and Anna J. Allott

This diary, begun after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and covering the invasion of Burma up to June 1942, is a moving account of the dilemmas faced by the well-loved and prolific Burmese author Theippan Maung Wa (a pseudonym of U Sein Tin) and his family. At the time of the Japanese invasion, U Sein Tin was deputy secretary in the Ministry of Home and Defense Affairs.

Winner of the 2008 Benda Prize
Cover of 'The Komedie Stamboel'

The Komedie Stamboel
Popular Theater in Colonial Indonesia, 1891–1903
By Matthew Isaac Cohen

Originating in 1891 in the port city of Surabaya, the Komedie Stamboel, or Istanbul-style theater, toured colonial Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia by rail and steamship. The company performed musical versions of the Arabian Nights and European fairy tales and operas such as Sleeping Beauty and Aida, as well as Indian and Persian romances, Southeast Asian chronicles, true crime stories, and political allegories.

Cover of 'Locating Southeast Asia'

Locating Southeast Asia
Geographies of Knowledge and Politics of Space
Edited by Paul H. Kratoska, Remco Raben, and Henk Schulte Nordholt

Southeast Asia summons images of tropical forests and mountains, islands and seas, and a multitude of languages, cultures, and religions. Yet the area has never formed a unified political vision nor has it developed cultural unity. Academics have defined Southeast Asia over the years as what is left over after subtracting Australia, the South Pacific islands, China and India.

Cover of 'Islam and the State in Indonesia'

Islam and the State in Indonesia
By Bahtiar Effendy

Since the unraveling of Western colonialism in the mid-twentieth century, Muslim nations have struggled to reconcile Islamic ideas and political movements with the state. In Indonesia, in particular, Islam and the state have long been at an impasse. While the ritual dimension of Islam has been allowed to flourish, political Islam has been defeated by various means.

Cover of 'Inventing Global Ecology'

Inventing Global Ecology
Tracking the Biodiversity Ideal in India, 1947–1997
By Michael L. Lewis

Inventing Global Ecology grapples with how we should understand the development of global ecology in the twentieth century. Using India as the case study, Professor Michael Lewis considers the development of conservation policies and conservation sciences since the end of World War II and the role of United States scientists, ideas, and institutions in this process.

Cover of 'Tensions of Empire'

Tensions of Empire
Japan and Southeast Asia in the Colonial and Postcolonial World
By Ken’ichi Goto
· Edited by Paul H. Kratoska

Beginning with the closing decade of European colonial rule in Southeast Asia and covering the wartime Japanese empire and its postwar disintegration, Tensions of Empire focuses on the Japanese in Southeast Asia, Indonesians in Japan, and the legacy of the war in Southeast Asia. It also examines Japanese perceptions of Southeast Asia and the lingering ambivalence toward Japanese involvement in Asia and toward the war in particular.

Cover of 'New Terrains in Southeast Asian History'

New Terrains in Southeast Asian History
Edited by Abu Talib Ahmad and Tan Liok Ee

At a watershed moment in the scholarly approach to the history of this important region, New Terrains in Southeast Asian History captures the richness and diversity of historical discourse among Southeast Asian scholars. Through the perspectives of scholars who live and work within the region, the book offers readers a rare opportunity to enter into the world of Southeast Asian historiography.

Cover of 'Surabaya, City of Work'

Surabaya, City of Work
A Socioeconomic History, 1900–2000
By Howard Dick

Surabaya is Indonesia's second largest city but is not well known to the outside world. Yet in 1900, Surabaya was a bigger city than Jakarta and one of the main commercial centers of Asia. Collapse of sugar exports during the 1930s depression, followed by the Japanese occupation, revolution, and independence, brought on a long period of stagnation and retreat from the international economy.

Cover of 'Tropical Pioneers'

Tropical Pioneers
Human Agency and Ecological Change in the Highlands of Sri Lanka, 1800–1900
By James L. A. Webb Jr.

In 1800, the highlands of Sri Lanka had some of the most biologically diverse primary tropical rainforest ecosystems in the world. By 1900, only a few craggy corners and mountain caps had been spared the fire stick. Highland villagers, through the extension of slash-and-burn agriculture, and British managers, through the creation of plantations—first of coffee, then cinchona, and finally tea—had removed virtually the entire primary forest cover.

Cover of 'Television, Nation, and Culture in Indonesia'

Television, Nation, and Culture in Indonesia
By Philip Kitley

The culture of television in Indonesia began with its establishment in 1962 as a public broadcasting service. From that time, through the deregulation of television broadcasting in 1990 and the establishment of commercial channels, television can be understood, Philip Kitley argues, as a part of the New Order's national culture project, designed to legitimate an idealized Indonesian national cultural identity.

Cover of 'The Green Archipelago'

The Green Archipelago
Forestry in Preindustrial Japan
By Conrad Totman

This inaugural volume in the Ohio University Press Series in Ecology and History is the paperback edition of Conrad Totman’s widely acclaimed study of Japan’s environmental policies over the centuries. Professor Totman raises the critical question of how Japan’s steeply mountainous woodland has remained biologically healthy despite centuries of intensive exploitation by a dense human population that has always been dependent on wood and other forest products.

Cover of 'Japanese Empire in the Tropics'

Japanese Empire in the Tropics
Selected Documents and Reports of the Japanese Period in Sarawak, Northwest Borneo, 1941–1945
By Ooi Keat Gin

Although the Japanese interregnum was brief, its dramatic commencement and equally dramatic conclusion represented a watershed in the history of the young state of Sarawak. In recent years, there has been a groundswell of interest in the war years, culminating in an attempt at reassessment of the Japanese occupation in Southeast Asia by Western and Japanese scholars as well as by those from Southeast Asia.

Cover of 'Myth and History in the Historiography of Early Burma'

Myth and History in the Historiography of Early Burma
Paradigms, Primary Sources, and Prejudices
By Michael A. Aung-Thwin

After careful re-reading and analysis of original Old Burmese and other primary sources, the author discovered that four out of the five events considered to be the most important in the history of early Burma, and believed to have been historically accurate, are actually late-nineteenth and twentieth-century inventions of colonial historians caught in their own intellectual and political world.