New Representations of Colonial SE Asia

The Colonial Documentary Film in South and Southeast Asia
Ian Aitken and Camille Deprez (Editors)

The first anthology to focus primarily on the use of official and colonial documentary films in the South and South-East Asian regions. Based on rare archival documents and films, this anthology is the first to focus primarily on the use of official and colonial documentary films in the South and South-East Asian regions. Drawing together a range of international scholars, the book sheds new light on historical, theoretical and empirical issues pertaining to the documentary film, in order to better comprehend the significant transformations of the form in the colonial, late colonial and immediate post-colonial period. Covering diverse geographical and colonial contexts in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Hong Kong, and focusing on under-researched or little-known films, it demonstrate the complex set of relations between the colonisers and the colonised throughout the region.

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Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia
David M. Pomfret

This is the first study of its kind to provide such a broadly comparative and in-depth analysis of children and empire. Youth and Empire brings to light new research and new interpretations on two relatively neglected fields of study: the history of imperialism in East and South East Asia and, more pointedly, the influence of childhood—and children’s voices—on modern empires.

By utilizing a diverse range of unpublished source materials drawn from three different continents, David M. Pomfret examines the emergence of children and childhood as a central historical force in the global history of empire in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This book is unusual in its scope, extending across the two empires of Britain and France and to points of intense impact in “tropical” places where indigenous, immigrant, and foreign cultures mixed: Hong Kong, Singapore, Saigon, and Hanoi. It thereby shows how childhood was crucial to definitions of race, and thus European authority, in these parts of the world. By examining the various contradictory and overlapping meanings of childhood in colonial Asia, Pomfret is able to provide new and often surprising readings of a set of problems that continue to trouble our contemporary world.

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Metroimperial Intimacies: Fantasy, Racial-Sexual Governance, and the Philippines in U.S. Imperialism, 1899-1913
Victor Román Mendoza

In Metroimperial Intimacies Victor Román Mendoza combines historical, literary, and archival analysis with queer-of-color critique to show how U.S. imperial incursions into the Philippines enabled the growth of unprecedented social and sexual intimacies between native Philippine and U.S. subjects. The real and imagined intimacies—whether expressed through friendship, love, or eroticism—threatened U.S. gender and sexuality norms. To codify U.S. heteronormative behavior, the colonial government prohibited anything loosely defined as perverse, which along with popular representations of Filipinos, regulated colonial subjects and depicted them as sexually available, diseased, and degenerate. Mendoza analyzes laws, military records, the writing of Philippine students in the United States, and popular representations of Philippine colonial subjects to show how their lives, bodies, and desires became the very battleground for the consolidation of repressive legal, economic, and political institutions and practices of the U.S. colonial state. By highlighting the importance of racial and gendered violence in maintaining control at home and abroad, Mendoza demonstrates that studies of U.S. sexuality must take into account the reach and impact of U.S. imperialism.
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Taming the Wild: Aborigines and Racial Knowledge in Colonial Malaya
Sandra Khor Manickam

In Malaysia race is viewed not as an external attribute attached to a person but rather as an innate characteristic. Starting from this foundation, race and indigeneity have featured prominently in Malaysian politics throughout the postwar era, influencing both the civil status and property rights of broad sectors of the population. Scientific opinion shapes Malaysian thinking about the subject as do stereotypes, but much of the discussion rests on concepts developed within the discipline of anthropology and by the colonial administration in a process that dates back to the early nineteenth century.

Taming the Wild examines the complex history of indigeneity and racial thought in the Malay Peninsula and the role played by the politics of knowledge in determining racial affinities, by charting the progression of thought concerning “indigenous” or “aboriginal” people. The author shows that the classifications of “indigenous” and “Malay” depend on a mixture of cultural, social, and religious knowledge that is compressed under the heading “race” but differs according to the circumstances under which it is produced and the uses to which it is put. By historicizing the categorization of aborigines and British engagement with “aboriginal” groups in Malaya, Taming the Wild situates racial knowledge within larger frames of anthropological and racial thought, and highlights the persistence of nineteenth-century understandings of indigeneity and Malayness in racial contestations in modern Malaysia.

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