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The Indonesia Reader: History Culture Politics Asia Indonesia Tineke Hellwig Duke University Press Books


10th December 2012 History Books 6 Comments

Editors Hellwig (Asian studies, Univ. of British Columbia; In the Shadow of Change: Images of Women in Indonesian Literature) and Tagliacozzo (history & Asian studies, Cornell Univ.; Secret Trades, Porous Borders: Smuggling and States Along a Southeast Asian Frontier, 1865–1915) here introduce the understudied nation of Indonesia. Reading their book is like exploring an eclectic, brightly colored museum—and leaving with a multifaceted understanding of one nation’s history and cultures. The book is chronologically organized into ten sections, each beginning with an introduction by the editors and then providing ten to 12 engaging pieces relating to the time period. The primary sources included here are the book’s gems; they range from fifth-century stone pillars and writings by travelers throughout many centuries to fiction, newspaper articles, manifestos, and more in the 20th and 21st centuries. Unfortunately, there are a couple of minor drawbacks. First, the introductions do not always provide background on the applicable author’s affiliations. Second, both Indonesian words and social science terms need definitions. Finally, future versions of this book would benefit from suggestions for additional reading. Recommended for all students of Asian studies.—Karen Sobel, Univ. of Denver Lib.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

“Hellwig and Tagliacozzo . . . have collected a rich, engaging and broad array of sources which reveal Indonesia’s distant past and this makes The Indonesia Reader of immense value to historians of all kinds.” – David Jansen, Contemporary Southeast Asia

“[A]n extraordinary cornucopia of sources that illustrate some of the pivotal and unique moments in Indonesia’s life.” – Laura Noszlopy, IIAS Newsletter

“Using narratives of history, culture and politics to approach Indonesia, The Reader provides a stimulating, challenging and provocative portrait presented through texts chosen on either because they pull apart the concept of ‘Indonesia’ or because they strengthen it. . . . The Indonesia Reader is a vital text. It is not only accessible for a generalist audience, but may also provide some more seasoned professionals with new perspectives through the many alternatives to the nationalistic interpretations of Indonesia that it presents.” – Andy Fuller, Inside Indonesia

“What a pleasure to find such an attractive new reader, a boon to anyone who teaches about Indonesia, and for the students and travellers for which it was designed!” – David Reeve, Asian Studies Review

“This is an excellent debut in a new series of World Readers from Duke University Press. With more than 150 selections, two leading Indonesia scholars have put together an original introduction to Indonesian society, politics, and culture. It achieves variety, yet remains coherent through its thematic selections. The Indonesia Reader is a well-made book in every sense: the translations, about one-fourth of them prepared for this book, are excellent; the contextualization before each selection is sharp yet not overbearing; and the production value is high. . . . [T]his reader will make for rewarding reading.” – Andrew Goss, Journal of World History

“[I]t is of great value for instructors developing courses that include Indonesia in such fields as history, political science, or Asian studies. Those with a background in Indonesian studies should also enjoy the book, not least because it presents a wide range of viewpoints about the archipelago over time. . . . [T]he editors’ cogent introductions for each excerpt help set the materials in context. Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries.” – S. Maxim, Choice

“Tineke Hellwig and Eric Tagliacozzo have woven together a variety of observations across time to help gain some insight into the astonishingly varied story of a fascinating nation. From reflections on the role of interoceanic trade, the flow of world religions, and the fight for independence and, ultimately, a just society, the book offers a key corpus of documents to debate and contextualize.”—Michael Laffan, Princeton University

“With selections including scholarly pieces, manifestoes, interviews, speeches, and inscriptions, this volume captures the long sweep of the Indonesian archipelago’s history while emphasizing its spectacular diversity. This is a Reader that deserves to be read.”—Rudof Mrázek, University of Michigan

Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, encompassing nearly eighteen thousand islands. The fourth-most populous nation in the world, it has a larger Muslim population than any other. The Indonesia Reader is a unique introduction to this extraordinary country. Assembled for the traveler, student, and expert alike, the Reader includes more than 150 selections: journalists’ articles, explorers’ chronicles, photographs, poetry, stories, cartoons, drawings, letters, speeches, and more. Many pieces are by Indonesians; some are translated into English for the first time. All have introductions by the volume’s editors. Well-known figures such as Indonesia’s acclaimed novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer and the American anthropologist Clifford Geertz are featured alongside other artists and scholars, as well as politicians, revolutionaries, colonists, scientists, and activists.

Organized chronologically, the volume addresses early Indonesian civilizations; contact with traders from India, China, and the Arab Middle East; and the European colonization of Indonesia, which culminated in centuries of Dutch rule. Selections offer insight into Japan’s occupation (1942–45), the establishment of an independent Indonesia, and the post-independence era, from Sukarno’s presidency (1945–67), through Suharto’s dictatorial regime (1967–98), to the present Reformasi period. Themes of resistance and activism recur: in a book excerpt decrying the exploitation of Java’s natural wealth by the Dutch; in the writing of Raden Ajeng Kartini (1879–1904), a Javanese princess considered the icon of Indonesian feminism; in a 1978 statement from East Timor objecting to annexation by Indonesia; and in an essay by the founder of Indonesia’s first gay activist group. From fifth-century Sanskrit inscriptions in stone to selections related to the 2002 Bali bombings and the 2004 tsunami, The Indonesia Reader conveys the long history and the cultural, ethnic, and ecological diversity of this far-flung archipelago nation.

“Hellwig and Tagliacozzo . . . have collected a rich, engaging and broad array of sources which reveal Indonesia’s distant past and this makes The Indonesia Reader of immense value to historians of all kinds.” – David Jansen, Contemporary Southeast Asia

“[A]n extraordinary cornucopia of sources that illustrate some of the pivotal and unique moments in Indonesia’s life.” – Laura Noszlopy, IIAS Newsletter

“Using narratives of history, culture and politics to approach Indonesia, The Reader provides a stimulating, challenging and provocative portrait presented through texts chosen on either because they pull apart the concept of ‘Indonesia’ or because they strengthen it. . . . The Indonesia Reader is a vital text. It is not only accessible for a generalist audience, but may also provide some more seasoned professionals with new perspectives through the many alternatives to the nationalistic interpretations of Indonesia that it presents.” – Andy Fuller, Inside Indonesia

“What a pleasure to find such an attractive new reader, a boon to anyone who teaches about Indonesia, and for the students and travellers for which it was designed!” – David Reeve, Asian Studies Review

“This is an excellent debut in a new series of World Readers from Duke University Press. With more than 150 selections, two leading Indonesia scholars have put together an original introduction to Indonesian society, politics, and culture. It achieves variety, yet remains coherent through its thematic selections. The Indonesia Reader is a well-made book in every sense: the translations, about one-fourth of them prepared for this book, are excellent; the contextualization before each selection is sharp yet not overbearing; and the production value is high. . . . [T]his reader will make for rewarding reading.” – Andrew Goss, Journal of World History

“[I]t is of great value for instructors developing courses that include Indonesia in such fields as history, political science, or Asian studies. Those with a background in Indonesian studies should also enjoy the book, not least because it presents a wide range of viewpoints about the archipelago over time. . . . [T]he editors’ cogent introductions for each excerpt help set the materials in context. Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries.” – S. Maxim, Choice

“Tineke Hellwig and Eric Tagliacozzo have woven together a variety of observations across time to help gain some insight into the astonishingly varied story of a fascinating nation. From reflections on the role of interoceanic trade, the flow of world religions, and the fight for independence and, ultimately, a just society, the book offers a key corpus of documents to debate and contextualize.”—Michael Laffan, Princeton University

“With selections including scholarly pieces, manifestoes, interviews, speeches, and inscriptions, this volume captures the long sweep of the Indonesian archipelago’s history while emphasizing its spectacular diversity. This is a Reader that deserves to be read.”—Rudof Mrázek, University of Michigan

The Indonesia Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The World Readers)

Bali: Sekala & Niskala

Fred Eiseman’s 28 years of experiences in Bali and his love of Balinese culture prompted him to write this book.

In Bali, what you seesekalais a colorful world of ceremony, ritual, dance, and drama. What you don’t seeniskalais the doctrine underlying the pageants, the code underlying the rites, and the magic underlying the dance. Bali: Sekala & Niskala explores both tangibles and intangibles in the realm of Balinese religion, ritual and performing arts.

Bali: Sekala & Niskala










  • 6 responses to "The Indonesia Reader: History Culture Politics Asia Indonesia Tineke Hellwig Duke University Press Books"

  • saitards
    17:43 on December 10th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book covers Balinese religions and culture in ways that are both informative and useful for the serious traveller/tourist or casual student of Bali.

    Having spent six months in Bali in the ’70′s and having read extensively, I am even more enthusiastic about this book.

    Volume two covers more limited and esoteric topics.

    You should get a good map to accompany this book.

  • mikedonovan
    2:03 on December 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    It was difficult to find a book on the subject, I found it at amazon and received the book within a week, perfect quality, I am very happy with it.

  • Jeffrey Bennett
    9:20 on December 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I am Balinese and live in Ubud in the cultural center of Bali.

    In the Eighties I used to see Fred Eiseman, with a notebook and pen in his hand, at temple ceremonies all over the island, and in my restaurant, taking voluminous notes. I often wondered what he was up to.

    Now I know. He has produced the most detailed descriptions yet of most aspects of Balinese life and culture. He lives down in Jimbaran on the south coast, so many of his descriptions relate particularly to that area – practices change a bit in different places.

    He understands the Balinese language, which is not the case with many academics, who visit Bali briefly and write learned treatises, and don’t always get it right.

    Fred’s book is extremely well researched, and my only criticism is the detail (in places) and the repetition. That is because the book is a collection of essays. It does mean, however, that you can dip in and out of any chapter. They are self-contained, and that is useful.

  • go steve
    19:30 on December 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    A compilation of essays about Balinese religion and culture, author sometimes ends up repeating himself (though he does warn the reader of this, right off the bat). But it’s really a wonderful volume for anyone who wants an in-depth understanding of the Balinese.

    Eiseman is thorough in his detail, but the style is not at all dry and academic. There are lovely little personal anecdotes, and it really comes from the heart of a man who has spent much of his life in Bali.

    Cosmology and religion are covered in this volume, such as an explanation of how a home is built with respect to cosmic forces and directions. There is a valuable guide to festivals, complete with calendar. Especially fun is Balinese astrology, and the author writes extensively about this.

    A possible approach: read the Lonely Planet cultural section first, then go to Bali, then read Eiseman.

  • Capt Bligh
    5:13 on December 12th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Although it won’t tell you where to stay or which restaurant to visit, the book is a great, unpretensious guide to the elaborate daily rituals of the Balinese, written by an American who’s developed something of an obsession with Bali. It offers the clearest descriptions available of mask making, Balinese dance, temple rituals and offerings. The book is so good you’ll find it on every coffee table in Bali.

  • ChrisSc
    9:28 on December 12th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Its not a history book; but a collections or snippits of informations, the average reader would get a very brief overview of Indonesia. Just a wetting of the tongue; and a shallow view. Read PRAMOEDYA ANANTA TOER (Buru Quartet – 4 books) and then this book.

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