New Publication: Philippine Ancestral Gold by John N Miksic, Florina H. Capistrano- Baker and John Guy (eds.)

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Miksic, John, Florina H. Capistrano- Baker and John Guy (eds.), Philippine Ancestral Gold, Singapore: NUS Press, 2012

Philippine Ancestral Gold is a spectacular publication   in full-color that features more than 1,000 gold objects that were recovered in   the Philippines from the 1960s to 1981 and now form part of the collection of   the Ayala Museum in Manila. Many of these treasures were found in association   with tenth-to-twelfth century Chinese export ceramics, and formal similarities   with objects from other Southeast Asian cultures affirm regional affinities and   inter-island trade networks that flourished in the region before there was   regular contact with the Western world. Adornments of elite individuals and the   deities they adored include a spectacular array of golden sashes, necklaces,   pectorals, diadems, earrings, finger rings, and arm and leg ornaments.

The book situates these objects within the context of early   Southeast Asian history. In the first chapter, Floriana H. Capistrano-Baker   outlines the history of the collection and presents an overview of the objects   according to over-lapping categories of form, function, technology, and   geographic provenance. In the second chapter, John Miksic explains how the   collection contributes to a reassessment of the prehistory of Southeast Asia.   Miksic notes the persistence of indigenous forms and the localization of   imported traditions, and discusses the correlation between burial practices and   social organization and suggests that the removal of gold objects from   circulation through ritual burial is an indicator of non-hereditary leadership.   Chapter 3, John Guy examines the meaning and metamorphosis of forms in   comparison with related material recovered in the region. Guy highlights   stylistic similarities and differences between the Philippine objects and those   from such cultures as Java, Champa, and Borneo. He discusses as well the   important role of export ceramics in dating associated gold finds. Chapter 4   describes related finds from the Butuan-Surigao-Agusan region in light of the   rise and fall of different polities in Southeast Asia.

This extraordinary collection exists because of the passion and   dedication of Leandro and Cecilia Locsin, whose vision of preserving for future   generations these marvelous objects provides valuable glimpses into the   Philippine precolonial past, and is a remarkable homage to the Filipino people.

New Publication: Rethinking Cultural Resource Management in Southeast Asia: Preservation, Development, and Neglect by John Miksic, Goh Geok Yian and Sue O’Connor (eds.)

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Miksic, John, Goh Geok Yian and Sue O’Connor (eds.), Rethinking Cultural Resource Management in Southeast Asia: Preservation, Development, and Neglect , London: Anthem Press, 2011

Presenting both the need for – and difficulty of – introducing effective cultural resource management (CRM) in the region, ‘Rethinking Cultural Resource Management in Southeast Asia’ explores the challenges facing efforts to protect Southeast Asia’s indigenous cultures and archaeological sites from the ravages of tourism and economic development. Recognising the inapplicability of Euro-American solutions to this part of the world, the essays of this volume investigate their own set of region-specific CRM strategies, and acknowledge both the necessity and possibility of mediating between the conflicting interests of short-term profitability and long-term sustainability.

New Publication: Decentring & Diversifying Southeast Asian Studies: Perspectives from the Region by Goh Beng Lan (ed.)

Goh Beng Lan (ed.) Decentring & Diversifying Southeast Asian Studies: Perspectives from the Region, Singapore: ISEAS Publishing, 2011.

Current critical thinking on regions outside the West appears to have shifted from a preoccupation with the limitations of Western discourse to endeavours in fostering inter-referencing in Asian contexts as a means to decentre and diversify knowledge production (Chen 2010, Hillenbrand 2010). This book presents an instance of dialogue and elaborations among Southeast Asian scholars on their dilemmas and ethical recourse as they respond to the critique of area studies and new political-economic and cultural reconfigurations around them. It proposes that the contemplation of the future of Southeast Asian Studies by intellectuals in the region involves both epistemological and ethical questions: How can Southeast Asian intellectuals respond to current critical norms yet construct representations which are faithful to lived realities and meanings in the region and which can also challenge oppressive discourses at the official and oppositional levels? By insisting that theoretical distinctions are shaped by moral imperatives, this book hopes that it can help bring to an end the quarrel between insider-outsider or regional versus Eurocentric perspectives on Southeast Asia. The different interpretations between insider/regional or outsider/European perspectives may be more telling of distinct ethical-political imperatives in knowledge production than the ontology of Southeast Asia. Rather than being oppositional, these different perspectives may in fact complement each other.

New Publication: Old Javanese Gold by John N Miksic

Old Javanese Gold

Miksic, John N, Old Javanese Gold, 2nd revised ed., New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.

While ancient Javanese bronze and ironwork have long elicited interest, there is a lesser-known yet equally fascinating aspect of the Indonesian island’s history: gold artifacts, including jewelry, clothing accessories, statues, coins, and containers. Not only do these objects display exceptional craftsmanship, they also provide a significant source of information on Javanese society, culture, religion, economy, technology, and art from the 1st century BC to 1500 AD.

This revised and expanded edition of the 1990 publication Old Javanese Gold celebrates Valerie and Hunter Thompson’s 2007 gift of Javanese gold objects to the Yale University Art Gallery and the subsequent founding of the Department of Indo-Pacific Art. Along with entirely new photography and a fresh design, the book’s essays have been updated to incorporate recent discoveries — including the Wonoboyo hoard, one of the most important gold hoards ever excavated in Southeast Asia.

New Publication: Borobudur: Majestic Mysterious Magnificent by John N Miksic and Timbul Haryono

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Miksic, John N and Timbul Haryono Borobudur: Majestic Mysterious Magnificent,  Indonesia: BAB Publishing, 2010.

Buddhism might not have originated in Indonesia, but one of the world’s greatest Buddhist monuments stands handsomely in a volcano-rimmed valley on the island of Java in Indonesia. Celebrating the 9th-century wonder that models the Buddhist conception of the universe and has never failed to attract visits from thousands of tourists and spiritual pilgrims from the world over each year, this beautiful book provides insightful and inspiring texts from scholars who have dedicated years of their time studying the mystical monuments that are combined with attractive photos. Those who are keen on learning more about architecture, archaeolofy and ancient Asian history will find the deftly written texts in this volume as good reference. Those who merely want to keep a token to treasure the historical and monumental construction will find this book perfect to adjourn the coffee tables at their home.

New Publication: Research on the Ceramics Discovered at the Trowulan Site in Indonesia by John N Miksic and Meitoku, Kamei

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Miksic, John N and Kamei Meitoku Research on the Ceramics Discovered at the Trowulan Site in Indonesia,  Tokyo,Japan: Senshu University, 2010

A  collection of sherds donated to Dr. Miksic consists of very important examples  of Yuan Dynasty blue and white ceramics which are believed to have been  collected at Trowulan, east Java,   Indonesia. This  was the 14th-century capital of Majapahit, which claimed Singapore  as one of its dependencies.  The blue and white sherds are probably the  largest single collection of this type in the world. Dr. Miksic and Prof. Kamei  Meitoku of Senshu University, Japan, collaborated on a two-year project to  catalogue and analyze this material, which will be of interest to scholars  working on the development of Chinese porcelain in general, and in trade  between China and Southeast Asia in the 14th century.

New Publication: Figuring Catholicism: An Ethnohistory of the Santo Niño de Cebu by Julius Bautista

Bautista, Julius, Figuring Catholicism: An Ethnohistory of the  Santo Niño de Cebu, Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2010

This book is about a statue of Christ as a boy worshipped by millions of Filipinos from all walks of life. Today the Santo Niño – said to be  the same wooden figure brought to the islands by Ferdinand Magellan at the  moment of his 1521 “discovery” of the Philippines – is enshrined in a  bullet-proof glass case in a Basilica that hosts throngs of devotees during its  Friday novenas. The author combines ethnography with historiography and  discourse analysis to study how our most prevalent assumptions about the figure  are produced and disseminated. What ideas have sustained such assumptions after  all this time? How did the figure become such a popular “national” treasure? To  what can we attribute the Santo Niño’s appeal outside the official doctrines of  the Catholic faith? This book looks at historical documents, popular songs,  news articles, poems, and oral accounts to address such questions. In doing so,  the book describes the contours of a “figured” Catholicism as the context in  which we can think about the Santo Niño in ways we have not done before.

New Publication: The A to Z of Ancient Southeast Asia by John N Miksic

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Miksic, John N, The A to Z of Ancient Southeast Asia, Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2010

Anyone who has seen the stunning ruins at Angkor, Bagan, and Barabudur will readily understand why Southeast Asia is the host of so many United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization World Heritage Sites. As beautiful as the spiraling towers, intricate carvings, and delicate bas-reliefs adorning these monuments are, however, they just barely scratch the surface of the immense historical and cultural heritage of the region.

Covering the countries of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam during the period from the first to the fifteenth century, The A to Z of Ancient Southeast Asia helps us comprehend the vast and complex history of the region through a chronology, a glossary, a bibliography, an introduction, appendixes, maps, photographs, diagrams, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on the major (and many minor) sites, the more significant historical figures, the kingdoms they ruled over, the economic and social relations between them, and the artistic, cultural, and religious context.

New Publication: A Tour of Duty: Changing Patterns of Military Politics in Indonesia in the 1990s by Douglas Kammen and Siddharth Chandra

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Kammen, Douglas and Siddharth Chandra, A Tour of Duty: Changing Patterns of Military Politics in Indonesia in the 1990s,  Jakarta, Indonesia: Equinox Publishing, 2010

This is a study of the internal dynamics of the Indonesian Army in the decade and a half leading up to the fall of Soeharto. While the empirical analysis is limited to the Army, the findings have implications for the military as a whole. Throughout the work, we use the word Army when referring to the single service branch, and the terms “ABRI”, “Armed Forces”, and “military” interchangeably to refer to the four service branches together. While the changing size of the officer corps has presented the Army with certain new opportunities, it has also raised new conflicts and tensions. Primary among these are questions of changing career prospects, alterations in the nature of the military and its ability to continue its direct role in socio-political affairs, and emerging divisions between active and retired officers.

New Publication: Christianity and the State in Asia: Complicity and Conflict by Julius Bautista and Francis Khek Gee Lim (eds.)

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Bautista, Julius and Francis Khek Gek Lim (eds.), Christianity and the State in Asia: Complicity and Conflict , Londong and New York: Routledge, 2009

Christianity is one of the most rapidly growing religions in Asia. Despite the challenges of political marginalisation, church organisations throughout much of Asia are engaged in activities – such as charity, education and commentary on public morality – that may either converge or conflict with the state’s interests. Considering Christianity’s growing prominence, and the various ways Asian nation states respond to this growth, this book brings into sharper analytical focus the ways in which the faith is articulated at the local, regional and global level.
Contributors from diverse disciplinary and institutional backgrounds offer in-depth analyses of the complex interactions between Asian nation states and Christianity in the context of modernisation and nation-building. Exploring the social and political ramifications of Christian conversions in Asia and their impact on state policies, the book analyses how Christian followers, missionaries, theologians and activists negotiate their public roles and identities vis-a-vis various forms of Asian states, particularly in the context of post-colonial nation-building and socio-economic development.

This volume represents a critical contribution to the existing scholarship on Christianity’s global reach and its local manifestations, and demonstrates the significance of the Asian experience in our understanding of Christianity as a global religion.