Tine M. GammeltoftHaunting Images: A Cultural Account of Selective Reproduction in Vietnam

University of California Press, 2014

by Carla Nappi on July 22, 2014

Tine M. Gammeltoft

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[Cross-posted from New Books in East Asian StudiesTine Gammeltoft’s new book explores the process of reproductive decision making in contemporary Hanoi. Haunting Images: A Cultural Account of Selective Reproduction in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2014) develops an anthropology of belonging, paying special attention to the ways that women and their communities understand and make decisions based on ultrasound imaging technologies. In the course of making life-and-death decisions, the subjects of Gammeltoft’s book confronted ethically demanding circumstances through which they forged moral selves. Inspired by the work of Emmanuel Levinas, Haunting Images considers their reproductive choices as acts of collective belonging, producing the subjectivities of both mother and fetus. The book considers these choices in light of the extended repercussions of Agent Orange in Vietnam, the local specificity of biopower, national concepts of “population quality,” and the precarity of individual attachments to social collectives. The second half of the book follows the experiences of women who were informed via 3D ultrasound scans that the children they expected would be anomalous, tracing their choices, questions, contexts, and encounters with childhood disability.  It is a powerful and deeply affecting study

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Rachel RinaldoMobilizing Piety: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Islamic Studies] Are Islam and feminism inherently at odds? Is there a contradiction between piety and gender justice? This is the guiding theme for Rachel Rinaldo, professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, in her book Mobilizing Piety: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia (Oxford University Press, 2013). After more than eighteen months of fieldwork [...]

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[Cross-posted from New Book in Asian American Studies] While it has become typical to see Filipina/o migrants working in nursing or domestic work in the United States, many are surprised to see Filipina/os doing the same work in Hong Kong, Israel, and Dubai. Indeed, Filipina/o workers are ubiquitous around the globe, and may be the world’s first truly [...]

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[Cross-posted from New Books in French Studies] There is a city in the Southern hills of Vietnam where honeymooners travel each year to affirm their love at high altitude, breathing in the alpine air and soaking in the legacies of French colonialism. Developed by the French in the nineteenth century, Dalat remains a contemporary tourist destination fully [...]

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Deborah Mayersen and Annie PohlmanGenocide and Mass Atrocities in Asia: Legacies and Prevention

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Genocide Studies] Genocide studies has been a growth field for a couple of decades.  Books and articles have appeared steadily, universities have created programs and centers and the broader public has become increasingly interested in the subject. Nevertheless, there remain some aspects of the field and some geographic regions that remain dramatically understudied. [...]

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Michael LaffanThe Makings of Indonesian Islam: Orientalism and the Narration of a Sufi Past

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[Cross-posted from New Book in Islamic Studies] Indonesia is often highlighted as having the right kind of Islam, ‘moderate’ and ‘peaceful.’ Whether that remains true (if it ever was a reality) will be tested in the future but what about the past? How did we end up with this picture of Islam in Indonesia? Michael Laffan, Professor [...]

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Noboru IshikawaBetween Frontiers: Nation and Identity in a South East Asian Borderland

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[Crossposted from New Books in South Asian Studies] Borneo (Indonesian: Kalimantan) is an island where three very different nation-states meet: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. The Indonesian province of Kalimantan occupies most of the island; of the rest, all except one percent is taken up by the Malaysian provinces of Sabah and Sarawak. The tiny but [...]

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David SilbeyA War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902

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James WillbanksAbandoning Vietnam: How America Left and South Vietnam Lost Its War

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[Crossposted from New Books in History] U.S. forces invade a distant country in order to disarm an international threat to American security. They fight well, and win every major battle decisively. They become occupiers, and find themselves engaged in a low-level guerrilla war against a determined though shadowy enemy. The American-backed government has a tenuous [...]

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