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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 15:24 02/16/2009
Journal Abstracts #319: February 16, 2009

Modern Asian Studies

Journal Name: Modern Asian Studies: Volume 42 - Issue 04 - July 2008
Print ISSN: 0026-749X Online ISSN: 1469-8099

Research Articles

Race, Sex and Slavery: 'Forced Labour' in Central Asia and Afghanistan in the Early 19th Century (pp629-671)
B. D. HOPKINS (University of Cambridge)
The word 'slavery' conjures images of cruelty, racial bigotry and economic exploitation associated with the plantation complex crucial to the Atlantic trading economy from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. Yet this was only one manifestation of practices of human bondage. This article examines the practice of 'slavery' in a very different context, looking at Central Asia, Afghanistan and the Punjab in the early nineteenth century. Here, bondage was largely a social institution with economic ramifications, in contrast to its Atlantic counterpart. Slavery served a social, and often sexual function in many of these societies, with the majority of slaves being female domestic servants and concubines. Its victims were often religiously, rather than racially defined, although bondage was a cross-confessional phenomenon. The practice continued to be widespread throughout the region into the early twentieth century.

The Sinking of the S.S. Kowshing: International Law, Diplomacy, and the Sino-Japanese War (pp673-703)
DOUGLAS HOWLAND (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)
In July 1894, the Japanese navy sank the British steamship Kowshing, leased by China to transport troops to Korea. Diplomatic negotiations over compensation for the loss of the ship persisted for the next decade. In insisting upon China's responsibility, the British Foreign Office forsook the judgments of international legal experts and demonstrated that its main goals were to support British commercial interests and to encourage the position of Japan in East Asia. The surprising denoument of the Kowshing incident was China's payment of damages for the ship in 1903.

Cleansing the Nation: Urban Entertainments and Moral Reform in Interwar Japan (pp705-731)
ELISE K. TIPTON (University of Sydney)
This article focuses on Japanese government restrictions and regulation of urban entertainments during the 1920s and 1930s as examples of attempts to rectify what was perceived as the declining morals of a modernizing, industrializing Japanese society. In this respect it adds another dimension to depictions of the Second World War as opposition to the cultural as well as political hegemony of the major Western powers. However, although war no doubt gave added impetus to the state's desire to unify popular support and sense of loyalty to the nation, morality campaigns had been initiated even before war had become an imminent possibility. Restrictions were imposed on cafés, dance halls and other modern entertainments, representing opposition to Westernizing, modernizing trends in social values and behaviour that had become prominent in the cities during the 1920s-individualism, materialism, sexuality, and more particularly, female sexuality. Middle class Protestants played a significant role in promoting and shaping these policies. Although such reformers disagreed with the government on other matters, they actively enlisted governmental support to carry out a moral cleansing of the 'spiritual pests' infesting the nation.

'A Picturesque but Hopeless Resistance': Rehe in 1933 (pp )
RICHARD T. PHILLIPS (School of Asian Studies, The University of Auckland, New Zealand)
The Japanese invasion of Rehe in 1933 proved to be a walkover, despite the intense rhetoric of resistance which had characterised statements by leaders in north China in early 1933. This article looks at the local context of the governorship of Tang Yulin, at the role of Zhang Xueliang and regional leaders, and at the central government's involvement, principally through Song Ziwen (T.V. Soong), in order to understand China's failure in Rehe. This failure strongly influenced the subsequent Tanggu truce and affected the careers of Song and Zhang in the short term, but did not deter Jiang Jieshi from continuing his anti-communist encirclement campaigns.

'Only Religions Count in Vietnam': Thich Tri Quang and the Vietnam War (pp751-782)
JAMES McALLISTER (Department of Political Science, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267)
Thich Tri Quang has long been one of the most controversial actors in the history of the Vietnam War. Scholars on the right have argued that Tri Quang was in all likelihood a communist agent operating at the behest of Hanoi. Scholars on the left have argued that Tri Quang was a peaceful religious leader devoted to democracy and a rapid end to the war. This article argues that neither of these interpretations is persuasive. As American officials rightly concluded throughout the war, there was no compelling evidence to suggest that Tri Quang was a communist agent or in any way sympathetic to the goals of Hanoi or the NLF. Drawing on the extensive archival evidence of Tri Quang's conversations with American officials, it is apparent that Tri Quang was in fact strongly anti-communist and quite receptive to the use of American military power against North Vietnam and China. The main factor that led to conflict between the Buddhist movement and the Johnson administration was Tri Quang's insistence that the military regimes that followed Ngo Dinh Diem were hostile to Buddhism and incapable of leading the struggle against Communism to a successful conclusion.

Professional Middle Class Youth in Post-Reform Vietnam: Identity, Continuity and Change (pp783-813)
VICTOR T. KING (Department of East Asian Studies, University of Leeds, UK), PHUONG AN NGUYEN (School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds) and NGUYEN HUU MINH (Institute for Family and Gender Studies, Hanoi, Vietnam)
There is very little information or analysis on middle class youth in Vietnam. This paper begins to fill this gap in our knowledge by utilising data on urban, educated professional youth from the Survey Assessment of Vietnamese Youth (2003–04) and an ethnographic investigation in Hanoi between 1999 and 2002. It considers some of the conceptual and analytical issues in addressing the character and definition of the middle class in Southeast Asia more generally, and provides contextual information on the emergence of the middle class in Vietnam and the transformation of the class structure there. The information available suggests that the expanding young middle class in Vietnam exhibits many of the characteristics of the middle class everywhere-possession of cultural capital, a firm interest in and commitment to education, an orientation to consumption and to accessing news and information, and aspirations to improve and develop in personal and career terms. However, the continuing close relationship between members of the middle class and the Vietnamese state suggests that there is little evidence as yet of the middle class developing a political identity or of the emergence of civil society. The data demonstrate continuity in state-generated employment and education between the current generation and its predecessor, which arises from the continuing influence of the state on Vietnamese society in its role as provider of employment, career paths, education and scholarships, as well as from the continuing influence of the senior generation on their children.

In the Name of Adat: Regional Perspectives on Reform, Tradition, and Democracy in Indonesia (pp815-852)
DAVID HENLEY (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), Leiden) and JAMIE S. DAVIDSON (National University of Singapore)
This article examines the revival of adat (custom) in post-Suharto Indonesia, a movement which few Indonesia-watchers predicted. Four general reasons for the rise of adat revivalism are identified. The first is the support, both ideological and concrete, of international organizations and networks committed to the rights of indigenous peoples. The second is the uncertainty, together with the opportunities, attendant on the processes of democratization and decentralization which followed the end of Suharto's authoritarian rule. The third is the oppression of marginal population groups under the New Order. The fourth root is historical, having to do with the positive role which adat has played in the country's political imagination since the beginning of Indonesian nationalism. Adat as a political cause involves a set of loosely related ideals which, rightly or wrongly, are associated with the past: authenticity, community, order, and justice. These ideals have been invoked in varying proportions to pursue a wide variety of political ends, including the control of resources and the exclusion of rivals as well as the protection, empowerment, and mobilization of underprivileged groups.

Modern Asian Studies (2008)
Copyright ©2007 Cambridge University Press

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