New Releases from the UH Press: Part Two

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Living with Risk: Precarity and Bangkok’s Urban Poor
Tamaki Endo

Living with Risk examines how lower class communities in the inner city and the urban fringe of Bangkok view their employment prospects and living conditions, and how they manage risk. The author draws on two case studies, one considering the situation of women who became self-employed after losing factory jobs during Thailand’s economic restructuring in the late 1990s, and the second a community displaced by a devastating fire.

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The Khmer Lands of Vietnam: Environment, Cosmology, and Sovereignty
Philip Taylor

This groundbreaking book reveals the sophisticated ecological repertoire deployed by the Khmer Krom to deal with a complex river delta, and charts their diverse adaptations to a changing environment. In addition, it provides an ethnographically grounded exposition of Khmer mythic thought that shows how the Khmer Krom position themselves within a landscape imbued with life-sustaining potential, magical sovereign power and cosmological significance.

Ghosts of the New City: Spirits, Urbanity, and the Ruins of Progress in Chiang Mai
Andrew Alan Johnson

Chiang Mai (literally, “new city”) suffered badly in the 1997 Asian financial crisis as the Northern Thai real estate bubble collapsed along with the Thai baht, crushing dreams of a renaissance of Northern prosperity. Years later, the ruins of the excesses of the 1990s still stain the skyline. In Ghosts of the New City, Andrew Alan Johnson shows how the trauma of the crash, brought back vividly by the political crisis of 2006, haunts efforts to remake the city.

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Essential Trade: Vietnamese Women in a Changing Marketplace
Ann Marie Leshkowich

Based on ethnographic fieldwork and life history interviewing conducted over nearly two decades, Essential Trade explores how women cloth and clothing traders like Ngoc have plied their wares through four decades of political and economic transformation: civil war, postwar economic restructuring, socialist cooperativization, and the frenetic competition of market socialism. It provides a compelling account of postwar southern Vietnam as seen through the eyes of the dynamic women who have navigated forty years of profound change while building their businesses in the stalls of Ben Thanh market.

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The Divine Eye and the Diaspora: Vietnamese Syncretism Becomes Transpacific Caodaism
Janet Alison Hoskins

What is the relationship between syncretism and diaspora? Caodaism is a large but almost unknown new religion that provides answers to this question. Born in Vietnam during the struggles of decolonization, shattered and spatially dispersed by cold war conflicts, it is now reshaping the goals of its four million followers. Colorful and strikingly eclectic, its “outrageous syncretism” incorporates Chinese, Buddhist, and Western religions as well as world figures like Victor Hugo, Jeanne d’Arc, Vladimir Lenin, and (in the USA) Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism.

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Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus
Sudhir Thomas; Vadaketh and Donald Low

This collection of essays suggests that a far-reaching and radical rethinking of the country’s policies and institutions is necessary, even if it weakens the very consensus that enabled Singapore to succeed in its first 50 years. Confronted with a more critical and sceptical public and an increasingly contested political landscape how will politics and policy making in Singapore evolve? What reforms should the government pursue?

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