Make a Donation to the New Books Network

The New Books Network is run by volunteers, but the network has expenses. If you like what we do, consider making a contribution

Meredith WeissStudent Activism in Malaysia: Crucible, Mirror, Sideshow

Cornell SEAP/NUS Press, 2011

by Nick Cheesman on April 11, 2015

Meredith Weiss

View on Amazon

Think of student activism in Asia and what comes to mind? The democracy movement in China during 1989? Or Burma the year before? The tumultuous student politics of Thailand in the mid 70s? Perhaps the 2014 protests in Hong Kong. For most of us, student politics in Malaysia probably isn’t the first thing we’d think of. But not Meredith Weiss, author of Student Activism in Malaysia: Crucible, Mirror, Sideshow (Cornell SEAP & NUS Press, 2011), who provides a definitive account of student politics and university life in this Southeast Asian country, from the colonial period to the present.

The number of scholarly monographs on Malaysia is relatively small, and few are as meticulously researched and referenced as this book. For these reasons alone, Student Activism in Malaysia deserves close attention. Weiss writes to recover lost history, and she does so with keen insight and nuance. At the same time, she pushes the reader to rethink what the categories of “student” and “activist” mean—not only in Malaysia or Southeast Asia, but also in the modern world.

{ 0 comments }

Alicia TurnerSaving Buddhism: The Impermanence of Religion in Colonial Burma

March 13, 2015

In Saving Buddhism: The Impermanence of Religion in Colonial Burma (University of Hawaii Press, 2014), Alicia Turner tells the story of how Burmese Buddhists reimagined their lives, their religious practice and politics in the period of 1890 to 1920, following the fall of Mandalay to the British. Whereas many histories narrate the modern anti-colonial struggle in […]

Read the full article →

Andrew WalkerThailand’s Political Peasants: Power in the Modern Rural Economy

February 16, 2015

Over the last decade, debates about political turmoil in Thailand have loomed large in talk shows, chat rooms and public lectures. From the military coup of 2006 that ousted the government of Thaksin Shinawatra, through the tumultuous years after the restoration of civilian government and the latest coup of 2014, events in Thailand have held […]

Read the full article →

Robert Cribb, Helen Gilbert, and Helen TiffinWild Man from Borneo: A Cultural History of the Orangutan

January 15, 2015

Robert Cribb and his co-authors Helen Gilbert and Helen Tiffin have together drawn on the resources of history, literature, film, science, and cultural theory to write Wild Man from Borneo: A Cultural History of the Orangutan (University of Hawaii Press, 2014), an unusual and fascinating story spanning four centuries of human-orangutan encounters in Southeast Asia […]

Read the full article →

Erik BraunThe Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw

January 9, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Buddhist Studies] Erik Braun’s recent book, The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw (University of Chicago Press, 2013), examines the spread of Burmese Buddhist meditation practices during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the social, political, and intellectual historical contexts that gave rise to this development.  Braun accomplishes […]

Read the full article →

Jothie RajahAuthoritarian Rule of Law: Legislation, Discourse and Legitimacy in Singapore

December 15, 2014

In Authoritarian Rule of Law: Legislation, Discourse and Legitimacy in Singapore (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Jothie Rajah tells a compelling story of the rule of law as discourse and praxis serving illiberal ends. Through a series of case studies on legislation criminalizing vandalism and regulating the print media, legal profession, and religion in Singapore, Rajah raises critical […]

Read the full article →

Michael HawkinsMaking Moros: Imperial Historicism and American Military Rule in the Philippines’ Muslim South

December 12, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Islamic Studies] For many Muslim communities particular religious identities were formulated or hardened within colonial realities. These types of cultural encounters were structural for the various Muslim tribes in the southern Philippine islands of Mindanao and Sulu during the turn of the twentieth century. In Making Moros: Imperial Historicism and American Military […]

Read the full article →

Dan SlaterOrdering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia

November 14, 2014

Few books on Southeast Asia cover as much geographic, historical and theoretical ground as Dan Slater’s Ordering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Working across seven case studies, the book argues that existing theories of institutionalization don’t account for regional variation in regime type. Tracing causal processes from […]

Read the full article →

Denise CruzTranspacific Femininities: The Making of the Modern Filipina

November 4, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Asian American Studies] Denise Cruz's Transpacific Femininities: The Making of the Modern Filipina (Duke University Press, 2012) traces representations of Filipinas in literature and popular culture during periods of transitional power in the Philippines, from the transition from Spanish to American colonial power, then to Japanese Imperialism, then to independence and the Cold War, and […]

Read the full article →

Thierry CruvellierThe Master of Confessions: The Making of a Khmer Rouge Torturer

October 31, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Genocide Studies] What is justice for a man who supervised the interrogation and killing of thousands?  Especially a man who now claims to be a Christian and to be, at least in some ways and cases, repentant for his crimes? Thierry Cruvellier has written a fascinating book about the trial of 'Duch' the […]

Read the full article →