Ethnography of Southeast Asia

Featured Books

* The Peoples of Southeast Asia Today: Ethnography, Ethnology, and Change in a Complex Region
* Performance, Popular Culture, and Piety in Muslim Southeast Asia
* Anarchic Solidarity: Autonomy, Equality, and Fellowship in Southeast Asia
* Bernatzik. Southeast Asia
* Latah in South-East Asia: The History and Ethnography of a Culture-bound Syndrome

The Peoples of Southeast Asia Today: Ethnography, Ethnology, and Change in a Complex Region

The Peoples of Southeast Asia Today

by Robert L. Winzeler
AltaMira Press, 2011

Southeast Asia is a remarkably diverse region: geographically, of mountains and lowlands, coasts and interior; ecologically, of hunters/gatherers, swidden cultivators, agriculturalists, and city dwellers; religiously, of multiple indigenous practices coexisting with the world’s largest formal religions–Buddhism, Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant), Islam, and Hinduism. Winzeler (emer., anthropology, Univ. of Nevada, Reno) captures all of this in his remarkably inclusive book, a rare and very useful attempt to encompass the complete region, both the northern mainland and the southern islands. He succeeds by simultaneously sketching the region and the anthropological efforts to understand it, alternating broad-brush generalization with focused case example. This is a book, then, that is valuable as a resource both on the region and on how people have tried to understand it. Although the book as a whole is an essential reference, the three chapters that outline the range of religious beliefs and practices (including the difficult subject of conversion) deserve particular note for their insight and balance. Winzeler also provides a thoughtful review, pro and con, of tourism. (CHOICE 20111001)

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Performance, Popular Culture, and Piety in Muslim Southeast Asia

 Performance, Popular Culture, and Piety in Muslim Southeast Asia

edited by Timothy P. Daniels
Palgrove Macmillan, 2013

The Muslim-majority nations of Malaysia and Indonesia are famous for their extraordinary arts and Islamic revival movements. Using ethnographic methods to analyze performance text, social and historical context, and local perspectives, the contributors to this volume address how pious notions and practices intersect with contemporary religio-ethical projects and sociopolitical dynamics. This collection provides an extensive view of dance, music, television series, and film in rural, urban, and mass-mediated contexts and how pious Islamic discourses are encoded and embodied in these public cultural forms.

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Anarchic Solidarity: Autonomy, Equality, and Fellowship in Southeast Asia 

Anarchic Solidarity

edited by Thomas Gibson and Kenneth Sillander
Palgrave Macmillan, 2011

This collection of essays offers insightful views of the origins of egalitarianism, political autonomy, and social solidarity among small-scale societies in Southeast Asia. Theoretically reflective and rich in ethnographic details, the volume provides a solid foundation for further research on social solidarity and small-scale societies.

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Bernatzik. Southeast Asia 

Bernatzik. Southeast Asia

by Kevin Conru
5Continents, 2008

The final volume in the three part Hugo Bernatzik series explores the Austrian photographer’s work undertaken in Southeast Asia, during a time when he was at the height of his powers, both technically, artistically, and from an anthropological perspective.

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Latah in South-East Asia: The History and Ethnography of a Culture-bound Syndrome

Latah in South-East Asia: The History and Ethnography of a Culture-bound Syndrome

by Robert L. Winzeler
Cambridge University Press, 2008

Latah, the Malayan hyperstartle pattern, has fascinated Western observers since the late nineteenth century and is widely regarded as a “culture-bound syndrome.” Robert Winzeler critically reviews the literature on the subject, and presents new ethnographic information based on his own fieldwork in Malaya and Borneo. He considers the biological and psychological hypotheses that have been proposed to account for latah, and explains the ways in which local people understand it. Arguing that latah has specific social functions, he concludes that it is not appropriate to regard it as an “illness” or a “syndrome.”

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