The Newsletter

Maritime piracy

Maritime piracy has become a focal point of media attention. Together with governments and military experts, the media tends to link maritime piracy with international terrorism as an ongoing threat in the post-Cold War era. In particular the Strait of Malacca, the strategic sea-lane linking the oil fields of the Middle East and the production economies of East Asia and beyond, is portrayed as a future battlefield.

Indigenous peoples’ movements

Diplomats from around the world are currently discussing final revisions to the UN Draft Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to be presented at the forthcoming meeting of the General Assembly. It remains doubtful whether agreement will be achieved on outstanding issues – from definitions of key concepts like ‘indigenous people’ to the granting of particular rights ...

East Asian geopolitics revisited

Asia accounts for more than half of the world’s population. China is the only Asian nation with a permanent seat on the Security Council. Japan, a member of the G8 and a major contributor to the UN, the IMF and the World Bank, is completely under-represented in their leadership. Asian nations are virtually excluded from the ranks of those thought to underwrite global order and stability. The setting of ‘global standards’ seems to be the preserve of non-Asian powers.

Internet in China

China’s first email, according to legend, was sent by professor QIAN Tianbai and was entitled ‘Crossing the Great Wall to join the world’. Since that first email was sent on 20 September 1987, China has been using the internet to join the world in remarkable ways, making the Great Wall not just crossable, but rather meaningless.

Imagining Asian Studies / Elderly Care in Indonesia

Four of the ten fastest-growing elderly populations worldwide can be found in Southeast Asia, and Indonesia has perhaps the most striking profile of them all. As the strengths and weaknesses of current provisions for the elderly are the best guide to the future, a sound knowledge of existing arrangements and their limitations is a necessary baseline for any examination of the issue. Is current support adequate? What gaps are there? How may a good level of support be defined? What capacity is there in current family and community arrangements to encompass a three or fourfold increase in the elderly? What role can local and international organizations most effectively play? These and other searching questions need to be asked, and the need to delve into the workings of local support networks means that answers will depend on data that economic and social surveys alone cannot provide.

Mega-Urbanization in Asia

Picture a grid connecting existing urban centres, avoiding the areas that are considered uninhabitable due to altitude, lack of water, extreme climatic conditions, and some other factors. In his effort to map the future of the city and urbanization, the famous Greek urbanist C.A. Doxiadis, who published the journal Ekistics, projected this world city and called it Ecumenopolis (Doxiadis 1972). Then and now many feel horrified by the thought of a completely integrated settlement structure covering the earth’s crust with tentacles on all continents. This article introduces this issue’s theme ‘Mega-Urbanization in Asia’.

Psychiatry in Asia

Academic interest in the history of psychiatry and a general fascination with how ‘madness’ fared during the modern period were particularly prominent in Western countries during the 1970s and 1980s in the wake of Foucault’s ground-breaking work on Madness and Civilization and the high-profile campaigns of the anti-psychiatry movement. More recently, problems arising from the de-institutionalization of the mentally ill and the search for safe and financially and socially viable community care options and preventative mental health care measures have rekindled this earlier interest.

Asian Homosexualities

The 1990s, as the articles in the upcoming pages demonstrate, have witnessed a growth of both Western and Asian scholarly interest in same-sex sexuality in contemporary and traditional Asian societies. We have just begun to scrutinize the wealth of historical documents on the subject, and to reconstruct conceptual models buried underneath modern discourses on health and sexuality largely of Western origin (if often appearing in quite different ideological guises).

Sports in Asia

Since the early twentieth century, sports have continued to play significant roles in the formation processes of nations and nation states. Few modern states have abstained from the educative and disciplinary opportunities embedded in the curricula of physical education and sports. Furthermore, states and their representatives have become increasingly aware of the symbolic value and practical benefits of international sporting events ...

Afghanistan: Picking up the Pieces

Lest we forget,the burning of cultural objects such as musical instruments and manuscripts, the destruction of statues and images considered idols, and the wartime pillage and trade in valuable cultural artefacts – none of this type of devastation is new to humankind. However, seemingly out of sight and memory, as we turn our gazes away, some of the shards left behind in the rubble are picked up and saved. When considering this issue’s theme section, we were hesitant that anything on Afghanistan would wade into the mire of political debate, which is not our mandate; however, and especially in this case, to assume a dismissive posture to political issues would also be inappropriate. Thus, we asked some prominent scholars to describe their work, their findings and, if possible, their experiences in the field ...


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