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Excerpt: The Philippines — From Earliest Times to the Present

Key Issues in Asian Studies (KIAS) is an AAS book series of short, classroom-ready texts intended for high-school and undergraduate readers. Today, we are pleased to bring you an excerpt from the latest KIAS title, The Philippines: From Earliest Times to the Present, written by historian Damon L. Woods. In this brief volume, Woods provides readers with an overview of Philippine history, culture, and politics. Starting in the year 900CE, Woods traces the archipelago’s past, exploring the regional ties that connected its inhabitants with others in the Pacific Ocean long before the arrival of European ships in the 16th century. Woods then devotes chapters to the years of Spanish, American, and Japanese rule, followed by an in-depth discussion of political and social developments in the decades following Philippine independence in 1946. As Woods notes in the excerpt below, “This book is a story of the Philippines that depicts Filipinos as active participants in their own history rather than passive ac ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Yoshikuni Igarashi

Yoshikuni Igarashi is Professor of History at Vanderbilt University and author of Homecomings: The Belated Return of Japan’s Lost Soldiers, published by Columbia University Press and winner of the honorable mention for the 2018 AAS John Whitney Hall Book Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. Homecomings focuses on the former soldiers who belatedly returned to postwar Japan after the end of the Asia Pacific War. It pays particular attention to Japanese POWs detained in Siberian labor camps and soldiers who survived in the jungles of the South Pacific for more than a quarter century. Their returns at various points in postwar history, beginning in the late 1940s and continuing into the 1970s, caused tension between the returnees, who brought home memories of traumatic loss, and Japanese society, which had been separated from the war for a number of years. The book examines the returnees’ struggle to articulate their experiences as well as the ways in which their voices thr ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Sara Dickey

Sara Dickey is Professor of Anthropology at Bowdoin College and author of Living Class in Urban India, published by Rutgers University Press and winner of the 2018 AAS Ananda Kent Coomaraswamy Prize Honorable Mention. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. Most broadly, I explore what it is like to “live class” every day, at all levels of the class hierarchy, for Madurai residents as they navigate the inequalities of late capitalism. The book’s analytical frame emphasizes the role that moralized class identities and relations themselves play in producing the politics of class. Drawing from over 30 years of fieldwork, I concentrate on subjective aspects of class, examining both immediate and long-term impacts. My study reveals the material consequences of local class identities while simultaneously highlighting the poignant drive for dignity in the face of moralizing class stereotypes. I examine these processes in a variety of spheres—debt and credit, consumption, the ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Jaeeun Kim

Jaeeun Kim is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Korea Foundation Assistant Professor of Korean Studies at the University of Michigan. She is author of Contested Embrace: Transborder Membership Politics in Twentieth-Century Korea, published by Stanford University Press and recipient of the 2018 AAS James B. Palais Book Prize Honorable Mention. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. My book analyzes transborder membership politics in and around the Korean peninsula, focusing on the complex relationships between the states in the Korean peninsula, colonial-era ethnic Korean migrants and their descen­dants, and the states in which they have resided. The book explores when, how, and why a state seeks to claim a certain transborder population as “its own,” and how transborder coethnics participate in this process as they seek long-distance membership on their own terms. The spatio-temporal scope of the book covers critical politico-legal and social transformations in northeast Asia ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Daniel A. Hirshberg

Daniel A. Hirshberg is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Mary Washington and author of Remembering the Lotus-Born: Padmasambhava in the History of Tibet’s Golden Age, published by Wisdom Publications and winner of Honorable Mention for the 2018 AAS E. Gene Smith Book Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. In Remembering the Lotus-Born I rely on an interdisciplinary approach to Buddhism, historiography, and cultural memory theory to explore the construction and evolution of what is arguably Tibet’s most popular narrative, its conversion to Buddhism under the “Lotus-Born” guru, Padmasambhava (eighth century). An historically shady Indian tantrika, he was invited to Tibet during the imperial apogee under Tri Songdetsen (d. ca. 800). Remembering the Lotus-Born focuses on the biographical and historical narratives of Nyangrel Nyima Özer (1124–92), who is renowned as the first of the great Buddhist “treasure revealers.&rd ...

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