A flood of new book reviews

from Press News, posted 12/11/2009 - 11:54

 Recently, we have been swamped with new reviews of different NIAS books. Here is a selection.

Breeds of Empire
This book is full of interest. The geographical and historical core of it may be found in the sub-title. Its chief authors, Greg Bankoff and Sandra Swart, are respectively authorities on the Philippines and Southern Africa: the former discusses the introduction of horses in the Philippines, their role in its colonial history, their impact on and adaptation to the environment; the latter the role of horses in settler South Africa and the emergence of the ‘Besotho pony’ in Lesotho.
Nicholas Tarling, New Zealand Asia Institute, in IIAS Newsletter 52, 2009

Women’s Political Participation and Representation in Asia
In his introduction to this volume, editor and contributor Kazuki Iwanaga argues that “research [on women in politics] has been done almost exclusively in advanced industrial democracies with little, if any, attention paid to Asia.” This collection of articles is an attempt to remedy that deficit. The book is ambitious, and as is often the case with edited volumes, the work presented is uneven in quality. Nonetheless, in highlighting work done by a global team of researchers, many of them natives of the countries on which they report, and ranging from investigations of female chief executives in South Asian nations to women in Chinese village politics, these collected chapters make an important contribution to the study of women and politics outside of Western Europe and the United States.
Robin M. Le Blanc, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, USA, in Pacific Affairs (Volume 82, No. 4)

Constructing Singapore
Although Barr and Skrbis have not told me anything that I did not know in broad outline, they do provide a substantial and interesting evidential base for their study and add a great deal of detail on the inner workings of Singapore’s particular ‘factory’ system of elite production and, in more culturally specific terms, the schooling of its mandarinate. I enjoyed reading what they had to say.
Professor V.T. (Terry) King, University of Leeds, in ASEASUK News 46, 2009

Proper Islamic Consumption
This volume does make an important contribution to our understanding of the responses of socially mobile, religiously committed communities to the opportunities and perils presented by modernisation. It also tells us something about the debates concerning the meanings and practices of Islam within an aggressive, globalised, secularised modernity. In Malaysia this is an especially intriguing issue because it is the Malay‐dominated state which has been crucial in generating and shaping a particular kind of modernity in order to address the problems posed for nation‐building by a quite radical form of ethnic pluralism.
Professor V.T. (Terry) King, University of Leeds, in ASEASUK News 46, 2009

Tourism in Southeast Asia
Unlike many edited books that have a cursory introduction and conclusion, the editors have made substantial contributions to this book, not only in some cases by writing individual chapters but, particularly, by providing chapters that introduce concepts, synthesise the literature, and provide a context in which country‐wide and more local case studies can be placed. Indeed, several of these chapters are worthy of attention by readers whose interests lie primarily in tourism in other regions. The references for each chapter are gathered into one bibliography at the end of the book and this is a helpful resource for, as I read the book, I came across seemingly valuable sources that I had overlooked or had not even been aware of previously. There is also an index that combines both places and concepts. The book is nicely produced, well edited and reasonably priced, at least in the paper version. The content is sound and the presentations are generally free of unnecessary jargon. While the focus is on Southeast Asia, tourism is global phenomenon with far‐reaching implications for this region as well as for the world as a whole. As such, the work merits the attention of regional specialists, tourism scholars, and all those interested in cultural change and community well‐being, regardless of discipline.
Geoffrey Wall, University of Waterloo, Canada, in ASEASUK News 46, 2009

The Sociology of Southeast Asia
This is a textbook. It does not claim to offer any new approach to our understanding of the region, whether conceptual or applied. Instead, it fills a gap in the available literature for a ‘user‐friendly’ introduction to the sociology of Southeast Asia. … There are few – if any – scholars who could have produced a text which is, at once, so forbiddingly well‐informed (the bibliography extends to 46 pages) but also gently approachable. King, in effect, takes the student or scholar by the hand and leads them through the maze of theoretical frameworks, regional differences, historical contingencies and transformational processes that comprise the region. … King says that writing this book was an ‘arduous’ process. I can’t say that it shows.
Jonathan Rigg, University of Durham, in ASEASUK News 46, 2009

Gender Politics in Asia
… an excellent introduction to the subject written in a lively and interesting manner, accessible to a general as well as an academic readership. I would strongly recommend Gender politics in Asia as a key text for anyone interested in and/or studying gender roles in Asia.
Colette Balmain, in ASEASUK News 46, 2009


Press news

  • Aug. 9 2019
    Carol Ann Boshier's book 'Mapping Cultural Nationalism: The Scholars of the Burma Research Society,1910-1935' has been shortlisted for the EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize 2019. Congratulations!

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