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pISSN : 2092-738X / eISSN : 2799-7839
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2018, Vol.10, No.1

  • 1.

    Between Orientalism and Ornamentalism: Colonial Perceptions of Southeast Asian Rulers: 1850-1914

    Stephen KECK | 2018, 10(1) | pp.7~34 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    Finding distinguishing characteristics of Southeast Asia has proven to be a significant challenge: by focusing on the encounters which primarily colonial British writers had with the region’s state rulers, it becomes possible to recover the early conceptualizations of regional governance. The writings of Henry Yule, Anna Leonowens, Sir George Scott, and Hugh Clifford all document the “orientalist” features of Western discourses because these writers at once were affected by it as they contributed to it. The discourse about royalty and rulers was central to many of the tropes associated with orientalism, but also with ‘ornamentalism’. David Cannadine has shown that ornamentalism (in which British conceptualized many imperial practices in relation to their own hierarchical conceptions of society) was as critical a feature of imperial outlook as was orientalism. The need to understand ruling elites was at the heart of the imperialist project. Tracing the ways in which colonizing powers represented the region’s ruling elite offers a new avenue for recognizing the affinities of the regional experience. Beyond orientalism, the paper explores questions about the representation and * Academic Director and Professor of History, Emirates Diplomatic Academy, presentation of authority. Understanding the conceptualizations of rulers is connected to the comprehension of social organization—including representations of “traditional society.”
  • 2.

    Islamization or Arabization? The Arab Cultural Influence on the South Sulawesi Muslim Community since the Islamization in the 17th Century

    Wahyuddin Halim | 2018, 10(1) | pp.35~61 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This paper explores the influence of Arab culture on the culture of Bugis-Makassar, the two major ethnic groups in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, particularly after their Islamization in the early 17th century. The paper argues that since then, the on-going process of Islamization in the region has also brought a continuous flow of ideas and cultural practices from Mecca to Indonesia by means of the hajj pilgrims, Arab traders, and the establishment of Islamic educational institutions that emphasized the teaching and use of Arabic language in education. These factors, among others, have facilitated a cultural inflow which enabled cultural practices borne of West Asia (Middle East) to be integrated into local customs and beliefs. The paper particularly depicts the most observable forms of Arabic cultural integration, acculturation, and assimilation into the Bugis-Makassar culture such as the use of Arabic in Islamic schools and religious sermons; the Arab-style dressing by religious scholars, teachers, and students; the wearing of the hijab (head cover) by women; and the change of people’s names from local into Arabic. By utilizing the historical and anthropological approach, this paper investigates this dynamic process of adaptation and integration of a foreign culture that first came through the Islamization of a local culture, exploring the role of an Islamic missionary and educational institutions in mediating and maintaining such cultural integration processes.
  • 3.

    Of Scent and Sensibility: Embodied Ways of Seeing in Southeast Asian Cultures

    Boreth Ly | 2018, 10(1) | pp.63~91 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    One of the goals of this article is to continue the momentum begun by emerging scholarship on theory and practice of writing about visual culture of and in Southeast Asia. I hope to offer culturally sensitive and embodied ways of looking at images and objects as sites/sights of cultural knowledge as further theoretical intervention. The argument put forward in my essay is three-fold: first, I critique the prevailing logocentric approach in the field of Southeast Asian Studies and I argue that in a postcolonial, global, and transnational period, it is important to be inclusive of other objects as sites/sights of social, political and cultural analysis beyond written and oral texts. Second, I argue that although it has its own political and theoretical problems, the evolving field of Visual Studies as it is practiced in the United States is one of many ways to decolonize the prevailing logocentric approach to Southeast Asian Studies. Third, I argue that if one reads these Euro-American derived theories of vision and visuality through the lens of what Walter Mignolo calls “colonial difference(s),” then Visual Studies as an evolving field has the potential to offer more nuanced local ways of looking at and understanding objects, vision, and visuality. Last, I point out that unlike in the West where there is an understanding of pure, objective and empirical vision, local Southeast Asian perspectives on objects and visions are more embodied and multi-sensorial. I argue that if one is ethically mindful of the local cultural ways of seeing and knowing objects, then the evolving field of Visual Studies offers a much-needed intervention to the privileged, lingering logocentric approach to Southeast Asian Studies. Moreover, these alternative methods might help to decolonize method and theory in academic disciplines that were invented during the colonial period.
  • 4.

    Tributary Relations of Vietnam and Japan with China during the Feudal Period: Some Reference Points

    Nguyen Thi My Hanh | 2018, 10(1) | pp.93~116 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    Under feudalism, besides imploring investiture, tribute is said to be one of the two most typical activities at the core of diplomatic relations between China and the region, in particular, Vietnam and Japan. By using the comparative method and interdisciplinary approach, the author shows that there are many differences between Vietnam and Japan with regards to tribute activity with China during the feudal period. For example, the start and end of China’s tributary activities with Vietnam and Japan are not the same. The period of Japanese tributary activity was much more loosened than Vietnam. Vietnamese tributary relation was political, while Japan placed economic benefits as the main priority. In particular, the author also proved that although Japan and China had differences in behavior and level of dependence on the tributary activity of Vietnam, both Vietnam and Japan maintained independence and autonomy. Based on the historical, cultural, and geographical characteristics, as well as the position and force correlation of each country in relation to China, this article also explains the causes of these similarities and differences.
  • 5.

    Questioning the Legitimation of Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Certification in Independent Smallholders Inside Company Concession Areas

    Bondan Widyatmoko | 2018, 10(1) | pp.117~147 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    Only a few researchers highlighted the implementation of Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification. These neglected the importance of analyzing the different trajectories of the relations of production in Indonesian palm oil development. As a result, there is a prevailing doubtful attitude on ISPO legitimation. This paper aims to identify how independent smallholder pilot projects give meaning to ISPO legitimation and implementation. It explores production relations in a smallholder community, focusing on land ownership, the formation of a cooperative, and response capability in cases of failure. This paper reveals that the project brought greater understanding to the community with regards to sustainability, as well as strengthened cooperation between the company and the cooperative. This, despite the community’s confronting the same problems of land legality as other independent farmers, as the community is located inside the company concession (Hak Guna Usaha, HGU).
  • 6.

    Electoralism, Ritual Process,

    Filomeno V. Aguilar Jr. | 2018, 10(1) | pp.149~174 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    Southeast Asians participate in elections eagerly, a fact indexed by the high electoral participation rates across a range of political conditions in the region. What gives elections in Southeast Asia such high legitimacy? Using data from Indonesia and the Philippines, this article emphasizes the need to understand peoples’ rationalities, which are informed by meanings generated by prevailing cultural practices. From this perspective, electoralism can be understood as a cultural phenomenon that conforms to the structure of a ritual. Despite the democratic deficit in many electoral exercises, elections share the attractiveness and fun of traditional community festivities. Voters participate in elections as a testament to membership in a community. Although they do not always transform the existing social arrangements, elections embed contradictory impulses in the same way that cockfights do. A procedure of formal democracy authored elsewhere, electoralism has been localized in Southeast Asia and invested with indigenous significance.