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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:24 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #269: February 19, 2007

Modern Asian Studies

Journal Name: Modern Asian Studies: Volume 41 - Issue 01 - January 2007
Print ISSN: 0026-749X Online ISSN: 1469-8099

Research Articles

Language and the History of Colonial Education: The case of Hong Kong (pp1-40)
ANTHONY SWEETING and EDWARD VICKERS (Institute of Education, London)
Judith Brown, in her Epilogue to Volume IV of The Oxford History of the British Empire (OHBE), states that of the legacies of the British Empire, the 'most significant of all is the legacy of the school and the university', and in particular the role of English as an international language. Brown's acknowledgement of the importance of colonial education renders all the more striking the lack of attention given to this subject in the OHBE as a whole. For example, while Volume IV contains chapters on 'Gender in the British Empire', 'Critics of Empire in Britain', 'The Popular Culture of Empire in Britain', and 'The British Empire and the Muslim World', education receives barely two dozen references, buried in the text of other chapters. These offer glimpses into the development of literacy in parts of Africa, the expansion of state educational provision in Ceylon, and the concern of Nigeria's colonial authorities regarding the socially and politically destabilizing effects of the spread of Western education; but taken together they provide no overall analysis of colonial education policies, systems of schooling or curricula. Notwithstanding what some have criticised as its ultra-orthodox overall approach, with regard to this particular field the OHBE more-or-less accurately represents the current state of research. Despite a number of interesting forays on the periphery, the history of colonial education remains a vast and largely unexplored field of enquiry: the dark continent of imperial historiography.

Chinese Diasporic Culture and National Identity: The Taming of the Tiger Balm Gardens in Singapore (pp41-76)
JIANLI HUANG (National University of Singapore) and LYSA HONG (National University of Singapore)
The Tiger Balm Gardens or Haw Par Villa, built in the 1930s by overseas Chinese pharmaceuticals tycoon Aw Boon Haw, has been and remains a symbol of the positioning of Singapore's Chineseness. In the colonial era, it marked the success not only of one man but also of the Chinese migrant community. In the later period of nation-building, it was initially considered as a challenge to multiracialism and nationhood. However, as state policy shifted towards an ethnicized cultural identity as prompted by the rise of Asia as a major economic force, especially China, the Villa was renovated first into an orientalized theme park and then resuscitated as the repository of diasporic Chinese entrepreneurship. Amidst these state initiatives, the history of the Villa and its founder were sidelined.

Did Aurangzeb Ban Music? Questions for the Historiography of his Reign (pp77-120)
KATHERINE BUTLER BROWN (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University)
Bury [music] so deep under the earth that no sound or echo of it may rise again.

- Attributed to Aurangzeb

There is no safer way to blacken a person's reputation in the estimate of following generations than to attribute a wanton holocaust of wasted beauty to him.

- Antonia Fraser on Oliver Cromwell

Information Technology Professionals and the New-Rich Middle Class in Chennai (Madras) (pp121-150)
C. J. FULLER and HARIPRIYA NARASIMHAN (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Since 1991, when the policy of economic liberalisation began in earnest, the size and prosperity of India's middle class have grown considerably. Yet sound sociological and ethnographic information about its social structure and cultural values is still sparse, and as André Béteille (2003a: 75) comments: 'Everything or nearly everything that is written about the Indian middle class is written by middle-class Indians…[who] tend to oscillate between self-recrimination and self-congratulation' (cf. Béteille 2003b: 185). The former is exemplified by Pavan Varma's The Great Indian Middle Class (1998), which excoriates this class for its selfish materialism and the 'retreat from idealism' that was manifest in the smaller, 'traditional middle class' of the earlier, post-independence period (ibid.: 89). A good example of the opposite tendency is Gurcharan Das's India Unbound (2002), which celebrates 'the rise of a confident new middle class' (ibid.: 280). Das's diagnosis of what has changed is actually very similar to Varma's, but he insists that the new middle class is no 'greedier' than the old one, and the 'chief difference is that there is less hypocrisy and more self-confidence' (ibid.: 290).

A Tale of Two Cities: The Aftermath of Partition for Lahore and Amritsar 1947–1957 (pp151-185)
IAN TALBOT (University of Southampton)
Such modern cities as Breslau and Smyrna have suffered widespread destruction and demographic transformation in the wake of armed invasion. The neighbouring Punjabi cities of Lahore and Amritsar shared this experience, at the time of the 1947 division of the Indian subcontinent. Almost 40 per cent of Amritsar's houses were destroyed or damaged and its Muslim population fell from 49 per cent of the population on the eve of partition to just 00.52 per cent in 1951. Six thousand houses were damaged in Lahore and its Hindu and Sikh population who formed over a third of the population departed for India. The Luftwaffe had destroyed some 4185 houses in Coventry in an air raid for ever associated with the concept of concentrated bombing. The greater damage in peacetime Lahore and Amritsar was a result of disturbances surrounding the end of British rule. The cities lay at the heart of the region which bore the brunt of the 1947 upheaval. Ten million Punjabis were uprooted. In all around 13 million people were displaced by partition. This was the largest migration in a century whose wars and ethnic conflicts rendered millions of people homeless. The cities' proximity to the border (see map.) meant that they received large numbers of refugees. There were a million in Lahore alone in April 1948, two fifths of whom were housed in camps.

Visual Culture and the Politics of Locality in Modern India: A Review Essay (pp187-220)
AJAY J. SINHA (Mount Holyoke College, U.S.A.)
"The fundamental event of the modern age is the conquest of the world as picture."

Martin Heidegger

"Historical monuments, we can argue, live their modern lives primarily as images."

Tapati Guha-Thakurta

Modern Asian Studies (2007)
Copyright ©2007 Cambridge University Press

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