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Changing Lives in Laos: New Perspectives on Society, Politics, and Culture in Laos


During the last two decades, Laos has undergone major transformations due to a massive influx of foreign investment. Improved communications and new forms of mobility have dramatically altered rural life. Changing Lives in Laos brings together contributions from young scholars that look closely at these transitions and the resulting rise of a new social, cultural, and economic order. The essays in this volume draw on original fieldwork and provide fresh analyses of topics such as the structures of power, the politics of territoriality, and new forms of sociability in emerging urban spaces.

About the Author

Vanina Boute is associate professor in the sociology department at the University of Picardie, France. Vatthana Pholsena is associate professor in the Department of Southeast Asia Studies at the National University of Singapore and a fellow of the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

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Cold War and Decolonisation: Australia’s Policy towards Britain’s End of Empire in Southeast Asia

In this book, Andrea Benvenuti discusses the development of Australia’s foreign and defense policies toward Malaya and Singapore in light of the redefinition of Britain’s imperial role in Southeast Asia and the formation of new postcolonial states. Benvenuti sheds light on the impact of Britain on Australia’s political and strategic interests in Southeast Asia during the Cold War. It will be of interest to historians of Australia’s foreign relations, Southeast Asia, and the British Empire and decolonization.

About the Author

Andrea Benvenuti is a senior lecturer in international relations and European studies at the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

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Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus

$37.47 $28.00

Singapore is changing. The consensus that the PAP government has constructed and maintained over five decades is fraying. The assumptions that underpin Singaporean exceptionalism are no longer accepted as easily and readily as before. Among these are the ideas that the country is uniquely vulnerable, that this vulnerability limits its policy and political options, that good governance demands a degree of political consensus that ordinary democratic arrangements cannot produce, and that the countryÍs success requires a competitive meritocracy accompanied by relatively little income or wealth redistribution. But the policy and political conundrums that Singapore faces today are complex and defy easy answers. Confronted with a political landscape that is likely to become more contested, how should the government respond? What reforms should it pursue? This collection of essays suggests that a far-reaching and radical rethinking of the country’s policies and institutions is necessary, even if it weakens the very consensus that enabled Singapore to succeed in its first fifty years.


Mediating Islam: Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia

$35.30 $33.00

What is Islamic journalism? This study examines day-to-day journalism as practiced by Muslim professionals at five exemplary news organizations in Malaysia (Haraka, Republika and Malaysiakini) and Indonesia (Tempo and Sabili).

Janet Steele explores how these various publications observe universal principles of journalism and do so through an Islamic idiom.

Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300_1800


Beneath the modern skyscrapers of Singapore lie the remains of a much older trading port, prosperous and cosmopolitan and a key node in the maritime Silk Road. This book synthesizes 25 years of archaeological research to reconstruct the 14th-century port of Singapore in greater detail than is possible for any other early Southeast Asian city. The picture that emerges is of a port where people processed raw materials, used money, and had specialized occupations. Within its defensive wall, the city was well organized and prosperous, with a cosmopolitan population that included residents from China, other parts of Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean. Fully illustrated, with more than 300 maps and colour photos, Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea presents Singapore’s history in the context of Asia’s long-distance maritime trade in the years between 1300 and 1800: it amounts to a dramatic new understanding of Singapore’s pre-colonial past.

Sovereign Women in a Muslim Kingdom: The Sultanahs of Aceh, 1641-1699


From a corroboration of contemporary indigenous texts and European Companies’ sources, especially the VOC’s, this book provides new evidence and a fresh perspective on the women who ruled in succession in Aceh for half a decade of the seventeenth century. Where women rulers are usually seen as unnatural calamities, a violation of nature comparable to having hens instead of roosters crowing at dawn, or even forbidden justified in the name of religion, this book demonstrates how their rule was legitimised by both Islam and adat (indigenous customary laws). It provides original insights on women style of leadership, their unique relations with their male elite and foreign European envoys who visited their court and interrogates received views on kingship in the Malay world and how an indigenous polity responded to European Companies in the age of early east-west encounters during Southeast Asia’s Age of Commerce.

About the Author

Sher Banu A.L. Khan is assistant professor at the Malay Studies Department, National University of Singapore

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Thai Art: Currencies of the Contemporary

Since the 1990s, Thai contemporary art has achieved international recognition, circulating globally by way of biennials, museums, and commercial galleries. Many Thai artists have shed identification with their nation; but “Thainess” remains an interpretive crutch for understanding their work. In this book, the curator and critic David Teh examines the tension between the global and the local in Thai contemporary art. Writing the first serious study of Thai art since 1992, he describes the competing claims to contemporaneity, as staked in Thailand and on behalf of Thai art elsewhere. He shows how the values of the global art world are exchanged with local ones, how they do and don’t correspond, and how these discrepancies have been exploited. How can we make sense of globally circulating art without forgoing the interpretive resources of the local, national, or regional context? Teh examines the work of artists who straddle the local and the global, becoming willing agents of assimilation yet resisting homogenization. He describes the transition from an artistic subjectivity couched in terms of national community to a more qualified, postnational one, against the backdrop of the singular but waning sovereignty of the Thai monarchy and sustained political and economic turmoil.

About the Author

David Teh is assistant professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore. He is an independent curator and critic who has organized exhibits in Europe, Australia, and across Southeast Asia.

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