This new work explores the formation of populist urban programs in post-Suharto Jakarta and the cultural and political contradictions that have arisen as a result of the continuing influence of the Suharto-era’s neoliberal ideology of development. Analyzing a spectrum of urban agendas from waterfront city to green environment and housing for the poor, Kusno deepens our understanding of the spatial mediation of power, the interaction between elite and populist urban imaginings, and how past ideologies are integral to the present even as they are newly reconfigured.
After the New Order will be essential reading for anyone—including Asianists, urban historians, social scientists, architects, and planners—concerned with the interplay of space, power, and identity.
In Dilemmas of Adulthood, Nancy Rosenberger investigates the nature of long-term resistance in a longitudinal study of more than fifty Japanese women over two decades. Between 25 and 35 years of age when first interviewed in 1993, the women represent a generation straddling the stable roles of post-war modernity and the risky but exciting possibilities of late modernity.
Rosenberger’s analysis establishes long-term resistance as a vital type of social change in late modernity where the sway of media, global ideas, and friends vies strongly with the influence of family, school, and work. Women are at the nexus of these contradictions, dissatisfied with post-war normative roles in family, work, and leisure and yet—in Japan as elsewhere—committed to a search for self that shifts uneasily between self-actualization and selfishness. The women’s rich narratives and conversations recount their ambivalent defiance of social norms and attempts to live diverse lives as acceptable adults. Dilemmas of Adulthood is essential for anyone wishing to understand how Japanese women have maneuvered their lives in the economic decline and pushed for individuation in the 1990s and 2000s.
November 2013, 224 pages, 2 illustrations
$24.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3696-2, Cloth
$50.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3887-4, Paper
This ambitious work provides a comprehensive, empirically grounded study of the production, circulation, and reception of Japanese popular culture in Asia. While many studies typically employ an interactive approach that focuses on the “meaning” of popular culture from an anthropological or cultural studies point of view, Regionalizing Culture emphasizes that the consumption side and contextual meaning of popular culture are not the only salient factors in accounting for its proliferation. The production side and organizational aspects are also important. In addition to presenting individual case studies, the book offers a big-picture view of the dramatic changes that have taken place in popular culture production and circulation in Asia over the past two decades.
“This highly informative book provides a comprehensive examination of the successful deployment of Japanese popular culture throughout East Asia. Surveying a broad spectrum of cultural products, including games, animation, and TV drama, it argues both that there is a Japanese model to popular cultural production and that that model of cultural commodification has contributed to the regionalization of East Asia. The use of extensive interviews with diverse stakeholders, including both industry personnel and audience, provides a fresh approach to the subject that will satisfy a growing interest in Japanese popular culture in university curriculum.” —Lisa Leung, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
October 2013, 256 pages, 13 illustrations
$42.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3694-8, Cloth
Colonialism, Maasina Rule, and the Origins of Malaitan Kastom is a political history of the island of Malaita in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate from 1927, when the last violent resistance to colonial rule was crushed, to 1953 and the inauguration of the island’s first representative political body, the Malaita Council. At the book’s heart is a political movement known as Maasina Rule, which dominated political affairs in the southeastern Solomons for many years after World War II. The movement’s ideology, kastom, was grounded in the determination that only Malaitans themselves could properly chart their future through application of Malaitan sensibilities and methods, free from British interference.
Kastom promoted a radical transformation of Malaitan lives by sweeping social engineering projects and alternative governing and legal structures. When the government tried to suppress Maasina Rule through force, its followers brought colonial administration on the island to a halt for several years through a labor strike and massive civil resistance actions that overflowed government prison camps. David Akin draws on extensive archival and field research to present a practice-based analysis of colonial officers’ interactions with Malaitans in the years leading up to and during Maasina Rule.
Sounding Out Heritage explores the cultural politics that have shaped the recent history and practice of a unique style of folk song that originated in Bắc Ninh province, northern Vietnam. The book delves into the rich and complicated history of quan họ, showing the changes it has undergone over the last sixty years as it moved from village practice onto the professional stage. Interweaving an examination of folk music, cultural nationalism, and cultural heritage with an in-depth ethnographic account of the changing social practice of quan họ folk song, author Lauren Meeker presents a vivid and historically contextualized picture of the quan họ “soundscape.”
Village practitioners, ordinary people who love to sing quan họ, must now negotiate increased attention from those outside the village and their own designation as “living treasures.” Professional singers, with their different performance styles and representational practices, have been incorporated into the quan họ soundscape in an effort to highlight and popularize the culture of Bắc Ninh province in the national context. Sounding Out Heritage offers an in-depth account of the impact of cultural politics on the lives and practices of quan họ folk singers in Vietnam and shows compellingly how a tradition can mean many things to many people.
Eccentric artists are “the vagaries of humanity” that inhabit the deviant underside of Japanese society: This was the conclusion drawn by pre–World War II commentators on most early modern Japanese artists. Postwar scholarship, as it searched for evidence of Japan’s modern roots, concluded the opposite: The eccentric, mad, and strange are moral exemplars, paragons of virtue, and shining hallmarks of modern consciousness. In recent years, the pendulum has swung again, this time in favor of viewing these oddballs as failures and dropouts without lasting cultural significance.
This work corrects the disciplinary (and exclusionary) nature of such interpretations by reconsidering the sudden and dramatic emergence of aesthetic eccentricity during the Edo period (1600–1868). A study of impressive historical and disciplinary breadth, The Aesthetics of Strangeness also makes extensive use of primary sources, many previously overlooked in existing English scholarship. Its coverage of the entire Edo period and engagement with both Chinese and native Japanese traditions reinterprets Edo-period tastes and perceptions of normalcy. By wedding art history to intellectual history, literature, aesthetics, and cultural practice, W. Puck Brecher strives for a broadly interdisciplinary perspective on this topic. The Aesthetics of Strangeness demystifies this emergent paradigm by illuminating the conditions and tensions under which certain rubrics of strangeness— ki and kyō particularly—were appointed as aesthetic criteria. Its revision of early modern Japanese culture constitutes an important contribution to the field.
On Saturday, May 11, 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., at Native Books/Nā Mea Hawai‘i, she will speak on her search to reclaim her origins, as well as discoveries of wider interest on Hawaiian identity and ancestry. Light refreshments will be provided at the free presentation. (She will start with a bit of hula, so come early!)
Thursday, November 8, 12 noon to 1:15 p.m. Wendy S. Arbeit shares her experiences in researching Hawaiian cultural and utilitarian objects, her techniques used in revealing their patterns, and how she documented them with detailed line drawings in her award-winning book, Links to the Past: The Work of Early Hawaiian Artisans.
Some of the questions that will be addressed:
What went into tracking down those artifacts now scattered across the globe?
What do the 1,400 illustrations tell you about pre- and early contact Hawaiian culture and the ways it changed in response to Westerners?
What sort of questions are raised by the grouping of so many objects?
Thursday, November 8, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
BYU-Hawaii professor and former competitive surfer Isaiah Walker will give a lecture at Arizona State University on his thought-provoking book, Waves of Resistance: Surfing and History in Twentieth-Century Hawai‘i. Walker explains how Hawaiian surfers have successfully resisted colonial encroachment in the po‘ina nalu (surf zone). In making his case, he also explores empowerment and masculinity, media representation of islanders, identity struggles, and other topics. The talk is open to the public and will be held in West Hall, Room 135, at ASU in Tempe. For more information, see the ASU calendar posting.
Tuesday, November 13, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
See below listing under November 18 for George and Willa Tanabe’s Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i.
Saturday, November 17, 3:00 p.m.
San Diego resident Leilani Holmes will visit Basically Books in Hilo, Hawai‘i to discuss and sign copies of her recent work, Ancestry of Experience: A Journey Into Hawaiian Ways of Knowing. Born in Honolulu in 1952 to a Hawaiian mother, Holmes was adopted as an infant by a haole (Caucasian) couple who moved to Ohio when she was four years old. The book recounts, explores, and analyzes the author’s quest to reclaim her origins and come to terms with the duality inherent in being an indigenous adoptee. The two-column format of the book mirrors this dichotomy, with a personal, conversational style of narrative on one side, and academic explanatory text on the other.
Saturday, November 17, 4:00 p.m.
Seattle author/poet/artist Alan Chong Lau will be at the Wing Luke Museum’s Tateuchi Story Theatre to join his sister, food writer Linda Lau Anusasananan, as she reads from The Hakka Cookbook, published by University of California Press. (Read a related post on the UC Press blog here.) Alan Lau provided the artwork for the book, done in a similarly whimsical, sumi-e style that illustrates his UH Press-published book of poetry, Blues and Greens: A Produce Worker’s Journal.
Sunday, November 18, 2:00 p.m. George J. Tanabe and Willa Jane Tanabe will appear at Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana Center, for a signing of their just-released guidebook, Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i: An Illustrated Guide. The Tanabes personally visited each of the ninety temples still in existence, and took photographs not only the buildings’ exteriors but of the ornate altars and interior details. Over 360 of these color photos are contained in the book. Descriptions of each temple and explanations of the symbolism of objects and design elements will help temple visitors decipher the meaning behind these physical expressions. Also at this event, information will be distributed on the related exhibit due to open December 1 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i.
Last-minute update: On Tuesday, November 13, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., George and Willa Tanabe will give a PowerPoint lecture at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin Annex Temple (makai of the main temple), 1727 Pali Highway. Open to the public, with a $10 fee. For more information, click here for a link to the Dharma Light Project brochure and map, or call 808-536-7044.
Jim Tranquada, coauthor of The ‘Ukulele: A History, had a minute of fame on the CBS Sunday Morning Showthat aired October 14 across the U.S. The entire six-minute segment by reporter Seth Doane and producer Kay Lim featured international uke star Jake Shimabukuro, the Kamaka ‘ukulelefactory, and teacher Roy Sakuma (impresario of the annual Ukulele Festival Hawaii). Tranquada shared that the instrument now widely identified as a Hawaiian icon actually was introduced by Portuguese immigrants from the island of Madeira, off the coast of Morocco.
As related news, The ‘Ukulele: A History has received thumbs-up reviews from Library Journal and ForeWord Magazine. The former recommends the book for “any comprehensive music collection (and, really, for any popular music collection),” while the latter calls it “a fascinating musical and social history that not only supports Tranquada and King’s argument for a rehabilitation of the instrument’s image, but also sets the stage for a full-scale ‘ukulele revival.” Read the full reviews: Library Journal | ForeWord
Roughly half a world away, on another island, the “Uke Ireland & Ukuhooley Blog” has posted a comparative review of Tranquada and King’s history with Ian Whitcomb’s recent Ukulele Heroes (Hal Leonard Books). Embedded within that blog post is a video review by Ukester Brown, a ‘ukulele player in Minnesota, who recommends both books, for different reasons. According to the information on the Uke Ireland site, every Saturday there’s a UkuHooley Meetup at the Dun Laoghaire Club in Dublin—perhaps another example of how the ‘ukulele has become an international cultural phenomenon!
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