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Bookshelf Spotlight: SE Asian Masculinity & Gender Politics

Featured Books

* Men and Masculinities in Southeast Asia
* Bewitching Women, Pious Men: Gender and Body Politics in Southeast Asia
* Maskulinitas: Culture, Gender and Politics in Indonesia
* Gender Pluralism: Southeast Asia Since Early Modern Times
* Fantasizing the Feminine in Indonesia

Men and Masculinities in Southeast Asia

by Michele Ford, Lenore Lyons
Routledge, 2010

This book brings together extensive recent innovative research on the study of men and masculinities in Southeast Asia. Drawing on rich ethnographic fieldwork from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Timor-Leste, the book examines both dominant and marginal constructions of heterosexual masculinity and the ways in which these are performed in different localized contexts in insular and mainland Southeast Asia. Through the presentation of detailed ethnographic studies on topics ranging from the professional practices of Filipino merchant seafarers to the sex lives of Thai migrant workers to the stand-over tactics of Indonesian gangsters, the authors in this collection challenge the idea of emerging globalizing forms of masculinities. Where existing studies of gender in Asia tend to concentrate on women, East Asia and gay men, this book fills a significant gap and demonstrates, overall, how gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality and nationality shape contemporary understandings of what it means to be a ‘man’ in contemporary Southeast Asia.

Routledge | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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Bewitching Women, Pious Men: Gender and Body Politics in Southeast Asia

by Michael G Peletz, Aihwa Ong
University of California Press, 1995

This impressive array of essays considers the contingent and shifting meanings of gender and the body in contemporary Southeast Asia. By analyzing femininity and masculinity as fluid processes rather than social or biological givens, the authors provide new ways of understanding how gender intersects with local, national, and transnational forms of knowledge and power. Contributors cut across disciplinary boundaries and draw on fresh fieldwork and textual analysis, including newspaper accounts, radio reports, and feminist writing. Their subjects range widely#58; the writings of feminist Filipinas; Thai stories of widow ghosts; eye-witness accounts of a beheading; narratives of bewitching genitals, recalcitrant husbands, and market women as femmes fatales. Geographically, the essays cover Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. The essays bring to this region the theoretical insights of gender theory, political economy, and cultural studies. Gender and other forms of inequality and difference emerge as changing systems of symbols and meanings. Bodies are explored as sites of political, economic, and cultural transformation. The issues raised in these pages make important connections between behavior, bodies, domination, and resistance in this dynamic and vibrant region.

University of California Press | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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Maskulinitas: Culture, Gender and Politics in Indonesia

by Marshall Clark
Monash Asia Institute, 2010

Maskulinitas is a ground-breaking treatment of the representation of men and masculinity in Indonesian culture, from Suharto’s New Order era to the present. It includes critical analysis of Indonesian cultural expression in literature, cinema, society and politics. Drawing on the ideas of Bakhtin, Bourdieu, Maier and others, Marshall Clark explores, with acute insight and a critical eye, constructions of the masculine in contemporary Indonesian society. This book also challenges the way scholars of Indonesia have held firm to the categories and frameworks of gender studies —a field still often equated with women’s studies–while offering fascinating insights into representations and images of men as engendered and engendering subjects.” A timely addition to the generally conservative field of scholarship on gender in Southeast Asia, Maskulinitas demonstrates that gender studies needs to encompass ‘the man question’, especially considering Indonesia’s strongly patriarchal society, where the norms of feminine subordination and submission are legitimised [sic] by the ideologies of the state and the strictures of religion. Ultimately, this book challenges us with the notion that if the subordinate status of Indonesian women is to be highlighted and some sort of gender equality achieved, then the representations, subjectivities and practices of Indonesian men must be addressed.

Monash Asia Institute | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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Gender Pluralism: Southeast Asia Since Early Modern Times

by Michael G. Peletz
Routledge, 2009

This book examines three big ideas: difference, legitimacy, and pluralism. Of chief concern is how people construe and deal with variation among fellow human beings. Why under certain circumstances do people embrace even sanctify differences, or at least begrudgingly tolerate them, and why in other contexts are people less receptive to difference, sometimes overtly hostile to it and bent on its eradication? What are the cultural and political conditions conducive to the positive valorization and acceptance of difference? And, conversely, what conditions undermine or erode such positive views and acceptance? This book examines pluralism in gendered fields and domains in Southeast Asia since the early modern era, which historians and anthropologists of the region commonly define as the period extending roughly from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

Routledge | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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Fantasizing the Feminine in Indonesia

edited by Laurie J. Sears
Duke University Press, 1996

The stories of Indonesian women have often been told by Indonesian men and Dutch men and women. This volume asks how these representations—reproduced, transformed, and circulated in history, ethnography, and literature—have circumscribed feminine behavior in colonial and postcolonial Indonesia. Presenting dialogues between prominent scholars of and from Indonesia and Indonesian women working in professional, activist, religious, and literary domains, the book dissolves essentialist notions of “women” and “Indonesia” that have arisen out of the tensions of empire.
The contributors examine the ways in which Indonesian women and men are enmeshed in networks of power and then pursue the stories of those who, sometimes at great political risk, challenge these powers. In this juxtaposition of voices and stories, we see how indigenous patriarchal fantasies of feminine behavior merged with Dutch colonial notions of proper wives and mothers to produce the Indonesian government’s present approach to controlling the images and actions of women. Facing the theoretical challenge of building a truly cross-cultural feminist analysis, Fantasizing the Feminine takes us into an ongoing conversation that reveals the contradictions of postcolonial positionings and the fragility of postmodern identities.
This book will be welcomed by readers with interests in contemporary Indonesian politics and society as well as historians, anthropologists, and other scholars concerned with literature, gender, and cultural studies.

Duke University Press | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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