GLOCOM Platform
debates Media Reviews Tech Reviews Special Topics Books and Journals
Summary Page
Search with Google
Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #148: July 8, 2004

Modern Asian Studies

Journal Name: Modern Asian Studies: Volume 38 - Issue 01 - February 2004
Print ISSN: 0026-749X Online ISSN: 1469-8099

Islamization, Gentrification and Domestication: 'A Girls' Islamic Course' and Rural Muslims in Western Uttar Pradesh (pp1-53)
Patricia Jeffery, Roger Jeffery and Craig Jeffrey (University of Edinburgh)
Girls' education has been enduringly controversial in north India, and the disputes of the second half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century still echo in debates about girls' education in contemporary India. In this paper, we reflect on the education of rural Muslim girls in contemporary western Uttar Pradesh (UP), by examining an Islamic course for girls [Larkiyon ka Islalmi Course], written in Urdu and widely used in madrasahs there. First, we summarize the central themes in the Course: purifying religious practice; distancing demure, self-controlled, respectable woman from the lower orders; and the crucial role of women as competent homemakers. Having noted the conspicuous similarities between these themes and those in the nineteenth and early twentieth-century textbooks and advice manuals for girls and women, the second section examines the context in which the earlier genre emerged. Finally, we return to the present day. Particularly since September 11th 2001, madrasahs have found themselves the focus of hostile allegations that bear little or no relationship to the activities of the madrasahs that we studied. Nevertheless, madrasah education does have problematic implications. The special curricula for girls exemplifies how a particular kind of élite project has been sustained and transformed, and we aim to shed light on contemporary communal and class issues as well as on gender politics.

Private Lives, State Intervention: Cases of Runaway Marriage in Rural North India (pp55-84)
Prem Chowdhry
The introduction of modern concepts like adulthood and sanctity given to individual rights has legally turned the individual settlement of marriage between two consenting adults to be legitimate. Under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, except for certain incest taboos, the legal restrictions on marriage of two adult Hindus are almost non-existent. Briefly speaking, this means that under the law both sagotra (same gotra) and inter-caste marriages are permitted. Yet, the customary rules regulating marriages in most parts of north India are based upon caste endogamy, village and clan exogamy. While keeping within caste, they adopt the gotra or got, as is known in rural north India, rule of exogamy (gotra are an exogamous patrilineal clan whose members are thought to share patrilineal descent from a common ancestor). For marriage certain prohibited degrees of kinship have to be avoided. As a rule three or four got exogamy is followed by most caste groups upper or lower. Any break in this, though legally allowed, is not acceptable.

Conflict, Justice, and the Stranger-King Indigenous Roots of Colonial Rule in Indonesia and Elsewhere (pp85-144)
David Henley (Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology, KITLV) Leiden, Netherlands)
Historians of Indonesia often think of states, and especially colonial states, as predatory institutions encroaching aggressively on the territory and autonomy of freedom-loving stateless peoples. For Barbara and Leonard Andaya, early European expansion in Sumatra and the Moluccas was synonymous with the distortion or destruction of decentralized indigenous political systems based on cooperation, alliance, economic complementarity, and myths of common ancestry (B. W. Andaya 1993; L. Y. Andaya 1993). Anthony Reid (1997: 81) has described tribal societies like those of the Batak and Minangkabau in highland Sumatra as 'miracles of statelessness' which 'defended their autonomy by a mixture of guerilla warfare, diplomatic flexibility, and deliberate exaggeration of myths about their savagery' until ultimately overwhelmed by Dutch military power. Before colonialism, in this view, most Indonesians relied for security not on the protection of a powerful king, but on a 'complex web of contractual mutualities' embodying a 'robust pluralism' (Reid 1998: 29, 32). 'So persistently', concludes Reid (1997: 80-1), 'has each step towards stronger states in the archipelago arisen from trading ports, with external aid and inspiration, that one is inclined to seek the indigenous political dynamic in a genius for managing without states'. Henk Schulte Nordholt (2002: 54), for his part, cautions against any tendency to downplay the violent, repressive aspects of colonial and post-colonial government in Indonesia, expressing the hope that 'a new Indonesian historiography will succeed in liberating itself from the interests, perspective, and conceptual framework of the state'. An even more systematic attempt to demonize the (modern) state in Indonesia and elsewhere can be found in the work of James Scott (1998a, 1998b).

A Disguised Defeat: The Myanmar Campaign of the Qing Dynasty (pp145-189)
Yingcong Dai (William Paterson University of New Jersey)
The Qing Myanmar campaign (1765-1770) was the most disastrous frontier war that the Qing dynasty had ever waged. In the beginning, the Qianlong emperor (r. 1735-1795) of the Qing dynasty had envisaged winning this war in one easy stroke, as he deemed Myanmar no more than a remote barbarian tribe without any power. But he was wrong. After the Green Standard troops in Yunnan failed to bring the Myanmar to their knees, Qianlong sent his elite Manchu troops in. A regional conflict was thus escalated into a major frontier war that involved military maneuvers nationwide. At the front, the Manchu Bannermen had to deal with the unfamiliar tropical jungles and swamps, and above all, the lethal endemic diseases. Not only did one after another commander-in-chief of the Qing dynasty fail to conquer Myanmar, but the Qing troops also suffered extremely heavy casualties. After a gruelling four-year campaign, a truce was reached by the field commanders of the two sides at the end of 1769 with the Qing invading expedition failing to conquer Myanmar and withdrawing in disarray. To rehabilitate itself, the Qing dynasty kept a heavy military lineup in the border areas of Yunnan for about one decade in an attempt to wage another war while imposing a ban on inter-border trade for two decades.

Theoretical Approaches to Sri Lankan History and the Early Portuguese Period (pp190-226)
Alan Strathern (Clare Hall, University of Cambridge)
In the past twenty years or so the history of Sri Lanka has become a site of vibrant controversy, largely because the current ethnic conflict has loaded any kind of reflection on the historical boundaries of political, ethnic or religious identity with an immediate emotional charge. The intellectual reverberations of post-colonialism and the vigorous contributions of anthropologists have added rich strata of theoretical thinking. However, despite one or two calls to the contrary, the periods of Portuguese (1505-1658) and Dutch influence (1658-1796) in the island have tended to moulder on the periphery of these debates. The purpose of this article is to bring some of this thinking to bear on the evidence from the sixteenth century in order to stimulate fresh perspectives on both the events of that time and the models themselves. With the arrival of the Portuguese and their increasing involvement in the affairs of the island during the long reign of Bhuvanekabahu VII (1521-51), the darkness of the Kotte period is suddenly illuminated by wonderfully detailed flashes of events. The flurry of letters written by contemporary Portuguese settlers, officials and missionaries, and the attentions of Portuguese chroniclers such as João de Barros, Diogo do Couto, Gaspar Correia and Fernão de Queirós bring quite new forms of evidence into the historian's purview.

In Search of the British Indian in British India: White Orphans, Kipling's Kim, and Class in Colonial India (pp227-251)
Teresa Hubel (Huron University College, London, Ontario)
Contemporary scholars struggling to keep their work politically meaningful and efficacious often, with the best of intentions, invoke the triad of race, gender and class. But though this three-part mantra is persistently and even passionately recited, usually in the introductory paragraphs of a scholarly piece, 'attentive listening,' as historian Douglas M. Peers asserts, 'reveals that class is sounded with little more than a whisper' (825). Unlike the other two, class largely remains an under-explored and, consequently, little understood category of experience and inquiry. I can say with certainty that this is true in my own field of postcolonial studies, with its sub-discipline of colonial discourse analysis. In part because of the politically justifiable emphasis on race in postcolonial research and theory (and only later, through feminist insistence, was that emphasis broadened to include gender), we have yet to develop as sustained, various, and subtle a critique of class as that which now exists for race and gender.

Modern Asian Studies (2004)
Copyright ©2004 Cambridge University Press

(This journal is available online at:
Posted with permission from the publisher.

Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications