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Hamka's Great Story presents Indonesia through the eyes of an impassioned, popular thinker who believed that Indonesians and Muslims everywhere should embrace the thrilling promises of modern life, and navigate its dangers, with Islam as their compass. Hamka (Haji Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah) was born when Indonesia was still a Dutch colony and came of age as the nation itself was emerging through tumultuous periods of Japanese occupation, revolution, and early independence. He became a prominent author and controversial public figure. In his lifetime of prodigious writing, Hamka advanced Islam as a liberating, enlightened, and hopeful body of beliefs around which the new nation could form and prosper. He embraced science, human agency, social justice, and democracy, arguing that these modern concepts comported with Islam's true teachings. Hamka unfolded this big idea-his Great Story-decade by decade in a vast outpouring of writing that included novels and poems and chatty newspaper columns, biographies, memoires, and histories, and lengthy studies of theology including a thirty-volume commentary on the Holy Qur'an. In introducing this influential figure and his ideas to a wider audience, this sweeping biography also illustrates a profound global process: how public debates about religion are shaping national societies in the postcolonial world.
Straddling the equator, Southeast Asia comprises Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines, as well as Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, and East Timor. Despite its extraordinary diversity of ethnicities, religions, and political systems, Southeast Asia plays a key role in global economies and geopolitics, especially in light of its strategic position bordering China and India. This Very Short Introduction explores the contemporary character of Southeast Asia's national societies through the lens of their historical evolution, from the eras of indigenous kingdoms and colonies under Western rule to the present's independent nation states. Deftly combining historical analysis and geopolitical insights, the book paints a bird's eye view of contemporary Southeast Asia as a community of diverse societies and traditions as well as a political theater-of-action nested between India and China and tangled in global economic traffic patterns, balance of powers, and environmental forces. As James R. Rush explains, archaic structures, such as religious and ethnic rivalries, tenacious feudal hierarchies, and age-old trade and migration patterns, remain rooted in today's Southeast Asia beneath the surface of modern national governments. The book draws on a wide range of examples from the major nations, including the ethno-religious violence in Myanmar, the Muslim-led rebellion in the southern Philippines, the Thai-Cambodian territorial rivalries, the Confucian-inspired governance in Singapore, the military rule and democratization in Indonesia, the environmental consequences of agribusiness, mining, and unchecked urbanization, and the big-power alignments and tensions involving the United States, China, and Japan. By delving into the cultural, political, and geographical background of Southeast Asia, Rush shows that Southeast Asia is unquestionably modern, but it is modern in distinctively Southeast Asian ways.
Opium smoking was a widespread social custom in nineteenth-century Java, and commercial trade in opium had far-reaching economic and political implications. As in many of the Dutch territories in the Indonesian archipelago, the drug was imported from elsewhere and sold throughout the island under a government monopoly - a system of revenue "farms." These monopoly franchises were regulated by the government and operated by members of Java's Chinese elite, who were frequently also local officials appointed by the Dutch. The farms thus helped support large Chinese patronage networks that vied for control of rural markets throughout Java. James Rush explains the workings of the opium farm system during its mature years by measuring the social, economic, and political reach of these monopolies within the Dutch-dominated colonial society. His analysis of the opium farm incorporates the social history of opium smoking in Java and of the Chinese officer elite that dominated not only the opium farming but also the island's Chinese community and much of its commercial economy. He describes the relations among the various classes of Chinese and Javanese, as well as the relation of the Chinese elite to the Dutch, and he traces the political interplay that smuggling and the black market stimulated among all these elements. An important contribution to the social and political history of Southeast Asia and now brought back to life as a member of Equinox Publishing's Classic Indonesia series, this book gives a new dimension to our knowledge of nineteenth-century Javanese society and the processes of social control and economic dominance during the colonial period. JAMES R. RUSH is a historian of modern Southeast Asia whose other works include The Last Tree: Reclaiming the Environment in Tropical Asia; Java: A Travellers' Anthology; and several volumes of contemporary Asian biography in the Ramon Magsaysay Awards series. His is associate professor of history at Arizona State University.
Offering insights into racial and cultural stereotyping and popular notions of imperialism, Asia in Western Fiction traces how Asia and Asians have been depicted in novels and other works of Western fiction, with an emphasis on works available in English. The eleven scholarly essays examine Western literary treatment of South, Southeast, and East Asia, as well as Muslim culture in general. Useful lists of novels and short stories either written in or translated into English are included.
Chronicling the increasingly devastating environmental situation in tropical Asia, this book describes citizen groups working throughout the region to avert a crisis. The author reviews the state of the habitat and discusses the evidence of environmental degradation that plagues the region, including dwindling forests, contaminated waterways, vulnerable coastal zones, overcrowded cities, and receding countryside. He also analyzes the link between state control of resources and environmental destruction, focusing on the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and India. This book may be of interest to environmentalists and those concerned with saving their natural heritage.
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