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In the 1940s, the British king, the Dutch queen and the Japanese emperor reigned over colonial possessions in Asia, whose ‘protected’ indigenous monarchs included Indian and Himalayan maharajas, Shan princes in Burma, and sultans in the Malay states and the Dutch East Indies, as well as the Vietnamese emperor and the Cambodian and Lao king in the French republican empire, and the ‘white raja’ of Sarawak. Decolonisation posed the question about the form of government to be adopted in successor states to the colonial empires and about the fate of local dynasties. As their possessions gained independence, the European and Japanese monarchies also had to adapt to a post-imperial world. This collection of original essays by an international group of distinguished historians argues that the institution of monarchy, and individual monarchs, occupied key roles in the process of decolonisation. It analyses the role of monarchy (both foreign and indigenous) in the late colonial period and with decolonisation. It examines the post-colonial fate of thrones buffeted and sometimes destroyed by republicanism and radicalism. It assesses the ways that surviving dynasties and the descendants of abolished dynasties have adapted to new social and political orders, and it considers the legacies left by extant and defunct dynasties in contemporary Asia.

Transcendence, sacrifice, and aspiration

This innovative and timely reassessment of political theology opens new lines of critical investigation into the intersections of religion and politics in contemporary Asia. Political Theologies and Development in Asia pioneers the theo-political analysis of Asian politics and in so doing moves beyond a focus on the (Post-)Christian West that has to date dominated scholarly discussions on this theme. It also locates ‘development’ as a vital focus for critical investigations into Asian political theologies. The volume includes contributions by leading anthropologists, sociologists, and political scientists. Each chapter brings new theoretical approaches into conversation with detailed empirical case studies grounded in modern Asia. Not only does the volume illustrate the value and import of this approach to a diverse set of contemporary Asian societies and religions, but it also provides a forceful argument for why political theology itself requires this broader horizon to remain relevant and critical. The focus on ‘development’ – conceptualised broadly here as a set of modern transnational networks of ideas and practices of improvement that connect geographically disparate locations¬¬ – enables a fresh and critical analysis of the ways in which political theology is imagined, materialised, and contested both within and beyond particular nation-states. Investigating the sacred dimensions of power through concepts of transcendence, sacrifice, and victimhood, and aspiration and salvation, the chapters in this collection demonstrate how European and Asian modernities are bound together through genealogical, institutional, and theo-political entanglements, as well as a long history of global interactions.

Rethinking Europe’s strategies and policies
Authors: Weiqing Song and Jianwei Wang

Since the mid-1990s, the European Union has defined the Asia-Pacific as one of its key strategic targets on its ambitious road towards global power. The EU has ever since made consistent efforts to implement strategies, policies and activities in the Asia-Pacific. Over the past decades, big changes have taken place on both sides and the wider world. It is high time to evaluate the EU’s performance in its Asian policy. In fact, the EU is at crossroads with its Asia Pacific policy. On several aspects, the EU is compelled to redefine its interests and roles, and rethink its strategies and policies towards the dynamic and ever-important Asia-Pacific region of the contemporary world. This volume addresses this theme, by elaborating the general context, major issues and countries in the EU’s Asia-Pacific policy. It covers issues and areas of traditional security, economy and trade, public diplomacy, and human security and focuses on the EU’s relations with China, Japan, the ASEAN countries and Australasia.

A collapsing empire in the age of war and revolution

The 1916 revolt was a key event in the history of Central Asia, and of the Russian Empire in the First World War. This volume is the first comprehensive reassessment of its causes, course and consequences in English for over sixty years. It draws together a new generation of leading historians from North America, Japan, Europe, Russia and Central Asia, working with Russian archival sources, oral narratives, poetry and song in Kazakh and Kyrgyz. These illuminate in unprecedented detail the origins and causes of the revolt, and the immense human suffering which it entailed. They also situate the revolt in a global perspective as part of a chain of rebellions and disturbances that shook the world’s empires, as they crumbled under the pressures of total war.

Open Access (free)
Gurharpal Singh

216 AREAS 14 South Asia gurharpal singh In the theorization and general discussion of democratization South Asia occupies a distinctive space. The region, comprising India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives, is home to 1.4 billion people (almost 22 per cent of the world’s population), of whom around 550 million live below the poverty line. As recent events have demonstrated, in the popular imagination South Asia is commonly characterized as suffering from chronic political instability, protracted ethnic conflicts and the

in Democratization through the looking-glass
Open Access (free)
Shaun Breslin

11 East Asia shaun breslin The task of writing about democratization in East Asia as a whole is a hugely problematic one. It is a region that contains massive diversity in political and economic systems and one that remains in a state of considerable flux and transition. A key element in this transition is the end of the Cold War, and the resulting reduction in US tolerance of authoritarianism so long as that authoritarianism was overtly anti-communist. It is also a region where, as in East and Central Europe, communist party states are struggling with the

in Democratization through the looking-glass

This book addresses some of the neglected problems, people and vulnerabilities of the Asia-Pacific region. It talks about emancipation, human security, 'security politics', language and threat-construction. The book is divided into three sections: agents; strategies and contexts; and futures. The first section outlines a range of possible agents or actors potentially capable of redressing individual suffering and vulnerability in the region. It examines East Asian regional institutions and dynamics of regionalism as potential sources of 'progressive' security discourses and practices. There is focus on the progressive security potential of regional institutions and regionalism has become increasingly prominent in literature on security in the Asia-Pacific. Two common interpretations of the role of epistemic communities in the construction of security are contested: that they are either passive sources of governmental legitimacy, or autonomous agents with the capacity of constructing or creating state interests. The second section reviews strategies and contexts, outlining a range of different sites of insecurity in the region, the ways in which dominant security discourses and practices emerge, and the extent to which such discourses are contested in different contexts. Indonesian government's approach to minority groups and separatism, the issue of civil unrest and human rights abuses in Burma, and the Australian government's attitude towards refugees and asylum-seekers are discussed. The third section deals with security futures, specifically discussing the question of what alternative security discourses and practices might look like. Finally, the book outlines a feminist critical security discourse and examines its applicability to the Asia-Pacific region.

Any reader who has ever visited Asia knows that the great bulk of Western-language fiction about Asian cultures turns on stereotypes. This book, a collection of essays, explores the problem of entering Asian societies through Western fiction, since this is the major port of entry for most school children, university students and most adults. In the thirteenth century, serious attempts were made to understand Asian literature for its own sake. Hau Kioou Choaan, a typical Chinese novel, was quite different from the wild and magical pseudo-Oriental tales. European perceptions of the Muslim world are centuries old, originating in medieval Christendom's encounter with Islam in the age of the Crusades. There is explicit and sustained criticism of medieval mores and values in Scott's novels set in the Middle Ages, and this is to be true of much English-language historical fiction of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Even mediocre novels take on momentary importance because of the pervasive power of India. The awesome, remote and inaccessible Himalayas inevitably became for Western writers an idealised setting for novels of magic, romance and high adventure, and for travellers' tales that read like fiction. Chinese fictions flourish in many guises. Most contemporary Hong Kong fiction reinforced corrupt mandarins, barbaric punishments and heathens. Of the novels about Japan published after 1945, two may serve to frame a discussion of Japanese behaviour as it could be observed (or imagined) by prisoners of war: Black Fountains and Three Bamboos.

Abstract only
Colette Balmain

In their introduction to Rogue Flows: Trans-Asian Cultural Traffic , Iwabuchi, Muecke and Thomas suggest that ‘the globalisation of media and popular/consumer culture is still based upon an assumption of unbeatable Western (American) domination, and the arguments are focussed on how the Rest resist, imitate or appropriate the West’ ( 2004 : 9). In these terms manifestations of the gothic within

in Globalgothic
Abstract only
John M. MacKenzie

Imperial museums in Asia were unquestionably distinctive compared with those of the territories of white settlement. Despite similarities in foundation, cultural and historical, social and economic differences produced contrasting characteristics. In the first place, western-style Asian museums developed out of the foundation of the Asiatic(k) Society of Bengal in Calcutta

in Museums and empire