SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies


The Politics of Shari's Law

The Politics of Shari'a Law: Islamist Activists and the State in Democratizing Indonesia

Author: Buehler, Michael
Cambridge University Press, 2016

The Islamization of politics in Indonesia after 1998 presents an underexplored puzzle: why has there been a rise in the number of shari'a laws despite the electoral decline of Islamist parties? Michael Buehler presents an analysis of the conditions under which Islamist activists situated outside formal party politics may capture and exert influence in Muslim-majority countries facing democratization. His analysis shows that introducing competitive elections creates new pressures for entrenched elites to mobilize and structure the electorate, thereby opening up new opportunities for Islamist activists to influence politics. Buehler's analysis of changing state-religion relations in formerly authoritarian Islamic countries illuminates broader theoretical debates on Islamization in the context of democratization. This timely text is essential reading for students, scholars, and government analysts.

Mandy Sadan - Book Publication - War and Peace

War and Peace in the Borderlands of Myanmar: The Kachin Ceasefire, 1994–2011
Author: Sadan, Mandy
Nias Press, 2016

This book brings together local activists with international academics and acclaimed independent researchers to reflect on these experiences from a variety of cultural, political, economic and social perspectives. Collectively, the authors shed critical light upon the reasons why an area that was once considered an important collaborator in the goal of political transition in Myanmar should most recently have seen the return of significant popular support for a resumption of armed conflict. The arguments and insights that the book offers raise important questions about the social, economic and political development of Myanmar’s ‘border regions’ in recent years that will be relevant long into the future, including after a nationwide ceasefire may be signed. 

Engendering the Buddhist State: Territory, Sovereignty and Sexual Difference in the Inventions of Angkor

Engendering the Buddhist State: Territory, Sovereignty and Sexual Difference in the Inventions of Angkor
Author: Thompson, Ashley
Routledge, 2016

Drawing from more than a decade of field and archival research, this monograph concerns Cambodian cultural history and historiography, with an ultimate aim of broadening and deepening bases for understanding the Cambodian Theravadin politico-cultural complex. The book takes the form of an interdisciplinary analysis of performative and representational strategies for constituting social collectivities, largely developed at Angkor.


IMG - Anne Booth - Book Cover Economic Change in Modern Indonesia

Economic Change in Modern Indonesia: Colonial and Post-Colonial Comparisons
Author: Booth, Anne 
Cambridge University Press, 2016

Indonesia is often viewed as a country with substantial natural resources which has achieved solid economic growth since the 1960s, but which still faces serious economic challenges. In 2010, its per capita GDP was only nineteen per cent of that of the Netherlands, and twenty-two per cent of that of Japan. In recent decades, per capita GDP has fallen behind that of neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Thailand, and behind China. In this accessible but thorough new study, Anne Booth explains the long-term factors which have influenced Indonesian economic performance, taking into account the Dutch colonial legacy and the reaction to it after the transfer of power in 1949. The first part of the book offers a chronological study of economic development from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first century, while the second part explores topics including the persistence of economic nationalism and the ongoing tensions between Indonesia's diverse regions.


Magic and Divination in Malay Illustrated Manuscripts

Magic and Divination in Malay Illustrated Manuscripts
Author: Yahya, Farouk
Brill, 2016

This book offers an integrated study of the texts and images of illustrated Malay manuscripts on magic and divination from private and public collections in Malaysia, the UK and Indonesia. Containing some of the rare examples of Malay painting, these manuscripts provide direct evidence for the intercultural connections between the Malay region, other parts of Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. In this richly illustrated volume many images and texts are gathered for the first time, making this book essential reading for all those interested in the practice of magic and divination, and the history of Malay, Southeast Asian and Islamic manuscript art.

 Genders and Sexualities in Indonesian Cinema

Genders and sexualities in Indonesian cinema: constructing gay, lesbi and waria identities on screen
Author: Murtagh, Ben
Routledge, 2014

Indonesia has a long and rich tradition of homosexual and transgender cultures, and the past 40 years in particular has seen an increased visibility of sexual minorities in the country, which has been reflected through film and popular culture. This book examines how representations of gay, lesbian and transgender individuals and communities have developed in Indonesian cinema during this period. The book first explores Indonesian engagement with waria (male-to-female transgender) identities and the emerging representation of gay and lesbi Indonesians during Suharto’s New Order regime (1966-98), before going on to the reimagining of these positions following the fall of the New Order, a period which saw the rebirth of the film industry with a new generation of directors, producers and actors. Using original interview research and focus groups with gay, lesbi and waria identified Indonesians, alongside the films themselves and a wealth of archival sources, the book contrasts the ways in which transgendered lives are actually lived with their representations on screen.



Mandy Sadan book pic
Being and Becoming Kachin: Histories Beyond the State in the Borderworlds of Burma

Author: Sadan, Mandy
Oxford University Press, 2013

Since independence in 1948, Burma has suffered from many internal conflicts. One of the longest of these has been in the Kachin State, in the far north of the country where Burma has borders with India to the west and China to the east. In Being and Becoming Kachin Mandy Sadan explores the origins of the armed movement that started in 1961 and considers why it has continued for so long. Being and Becoming Kachin places the problems that have led to hostilities between the political heartland of Burma and one of its most important peripheries in a longer perspective than is usually the case. It explains how the experience of globalisation and the geopolitics of competing imperial systems from the late eighteenth century onwards produced and then entrenched the politics of exclusion and resistance. However, it also uses detailed ethnographic research to explore the social and cultural dynamics of Kachin ethno-nationalism as it emerged during this period, providing a rich analysis that goes beyond the purely political. The research draws upon an extensive range of sources, including archival materials in Jinghpaw and an extensive study of ritual and ritual language. Making a wide variety of cross-disciplinary observations, it explains in depth and breadth how a region such as the Kachin State came into being. When combined with detailed local insights into how these experiences contributed to the historical development of modern Kachin ethno-nationalism, Being and Becoming Kachin encourages new ways of thinking about the Kachin region and its history of armed resistance, which has implications for how we understand many similar, troubled borderworlds in Burma and beyond.