Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
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Published By Cambridge University Press

1474-0680, 0022-4634

Alexandre Barthel ◽  
Wasana Wongsurawat

The origins of the Cold War in Southeast Asia are most often located in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, in the late 1940s. Historians sometimes trace its origins to Japan's expansionist phase in the 1930s, which accelerated the decline of the European and American colonial order in this part of Asia. However, the necessity of the fight against communism appeared very clearly in the minds of the leaders of the major colonial powers well before the 1930s. Focused on the case of Siam, this article aims to show that the origins of the Cold War in Southeast Asia dated back to as early as the 1920s with the emergence of international cooperation in the fight against communism and the Thai elite's manipulation of imperialist powers to further their own political agenda and support their dominance in the domestic political arena. The Cold War in Southeast Asia was not only about the postwar fight against the spread of communism, but also closely intertwined with the decolonisation and nation-building efforts of every country in the region — including of the so-called un-colonised Thailand.

Kathie Carpenter

In Cambodia, orphan dance shows were once popular as a way to preserve endangered art forms and to cultivate children's dignity and well-being. But they came to be seen as exploitative instead, and today are nearly nonexistent. This article examines the confluence of changes that caused this reversal of opinion. The reversal is due to both covert factors such as changes in constructions of childhood, and overt factors such as changes in audience composition. The rise and fall of Cambodian orphan dance shows took place largely within foreign communities, with little local input.

Shin'ya Ueda

This article traces the transformation of Huế from an open migrant society to a closed community from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries through an examination of the village documents of Thanh Phước in Thừa Thiên Huế province. In Thanh Phước, the expansion of cultivated land reached its limits around the end of the seventeenth century. Subsequently, continuous population pressure resulted in the emergence of social groups with closed and fixed membership called làng and dòng họ after the eighteenth century. A significant feature of this social development was that the patrilineal kinship favoured by Confucianism was used to protect the vested interests of the earliest inhabitants of the village and their descendants. This indicates that the penetration of Confucianism among the common people and the development and stagnation of agriculture in early modern Vietnam were mutual, complementary phenomena.

Noah Keone Viernes

Film censorship screens the nation as a ‘way of seeing’ that is both fundamental to the art of governance and vulnerable to the flexibility of contemporary global images. In Thailand, this historically-conditioned regime arose in the geopolitics of the 1930 Film Act, the Motion Pictures and Video Act of 2008, and a coterminous regulation of visuality as a form of cultural governance. I pursue a close reading of two banned films by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Nontawat Numbenchapol, respectively, to illustrate the aesthetics of film censorship in light of the development of a national cinema, especially to consider the strategies that film-makers use to negotiate the governance of vision.

Kankan Xie

China's resistance to Japanese aggression escalated into a full-scale war in 1937. The continuously deteriorating situation stimulated the rise of Chinese nationalism in the diaspora communities worldwide. The Japanese invasion of China, accompanied by the emergence of the National Salvation Movement (NSM) in Southeast Asia, provided the overseas Chinese with a rare opportunity to re-examine their ‘Chineseness’, as well as their relationships with the colonial states and the increasingly self-aware indigenous populations. This research problematises traditional approaches that tend to regard the NSM as primarily driven by Chinese patriotism. Juxtaposing Malaya and Java at the same historical moment, the article argues that the emergence of the NSM was more than just a natural result of the rising Chinese nationalism. Local politics and the shifting political orientations of overseas Chinese communities also profoundly shaped how the NSM played out in different colonial states.

Sharmani Patricia Gabriel

This article focuses on racialisation as a signifying practice and cultural process that attributes difference in Malaysia. It attempts to think with and against the concept of racialisation with an aim to add to a clearer understanding of the cultural politics of ‘race’. It focuses on the hierarchies of power and marginalisation, visibility and invisibility, inclusion and exclusion that are built into dominant discourses and modes of knowledge production about race, citizenship, and culture in Malaysia. This article aims to show how the political mobilisation of race as a remnant of colonial governmentality disciplines social processes through the notion of multiculturalism. For this reason, it sets up state-endorsed ‘multiracialism’ and a people-driven ‘multiculturalism’ as oppositional ways of thinking about race. It concludes by briefly identifying some key drivers for cultural transformation and speculating if these people-centred processes can offer a more imaginative racial horizon.

Magdalena Kozłowska ◽  
Michał Lubina

This article deals with the Namsang project in Burma, run in the late 1950s and early 1960s to engage demobilised soldiers in establishing a series of cooperative villages modelled on Israeli settlements with Israeli technical and other assistance. The article explores the Burmese modernisation project in the context of the unification of the country and the birth of the Non-Aligned Movement. In its examination of the Namsang project, this article offers a microscopic view of the translation of planning practices to other contexts in general, but also asks some more specific questions, such as how Burmese and Israeli national identity, memory, and history defined the project agenda, what the planners’ ambitions were, and why the project failed.

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