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Riddles of Yellow and Red
The bitter oppositions of Thai politics can seem strangely lacking in ideological substance. How might they be explained? In one of his last lectures, Benedict Anderson considers a crucial but overlooked factor: divisions within the country’s Sino-Thai communities.
What explains the extraordinary longevity of Indonesia’s ‘New Order’, and what are the legacies of three decades of dictatorship? Benedict Anderson details Suharto’s career, from colonial army to crony capitalism, and explores the consequences of his rule—political, social, cultural—for a disorientated, amnesiac present.
Political education in the dungeons of Barcelona, and the converging tracks of Filipino and Cuban revolutionaries as the 400-year-old Spanish empire enters its final throes. Benedict Anderson concludes his exploration of the late 19th-century world setting of José Rizal’s explosive anti-colonial novels.
In the World-Shadow of Bismarck and Nobel
After the literary revelations of ‘Nitroglycerine in the Pomegranate’ (NLR 27), a new political reading of José Rizal’s astonishing last novel. Imperial power, anarchist bombings and anti-colonial insurrection in the gifted young Filipino’s vision of a 19th-century global landscape.
Petrus Dadi Ratu
What lay behind the greatest counter-revolutionary massacre of the 20th century, the extermination of the Indonesian Left in 1965? How did the Suharto dictatorship come to power? The extraordinary testimony of a survivor on the bloody mystery at the source of its tyranny.
Ice Empire and Ice Hockey: Two Fin de Siecle Dreams
At the beginning of September 1939, the Reichswehr invaded Poland from the West; two weeks later the Red Army invaded from the East. On September 28, Hitler and Stalin signed a partition agreement which gave each tyrant half of a sad country which had only twenty-one years of modern nation-state . . . read more
Indonesian Nationalism Today and in the Future
In my experience, nationalism is frequently misunderstood. For that reason, I will begin my remarks by discussing briefly two common kinds of misunderstanding, using Indonesia as an example of a phenomenon almost universal in this century which is now crawling to its end.footnote* The first is that nationalism is something . . . read more
Radicalism after Communism in Thailand and Indonesia
One might think that ‘after Communism’ is an uncomplicated idea, experience, or socio-political condition, but in the two countries of South-East Asia which I intend to discuss—namely, colonized, Muslim Indonesia, and uncolonized, Buddhist Thailand—‘after Communism’ has markedly different meanings, which therefore in turn affect the imaginary of contemporary radicalism. To . . . read more
The New World Disorder
It is quite possible that historians of the 2050s, looking back into our now closing century, will pick out, as one deep tectonic movement stretching across more than two centuries, the disintegration of the great polyethnic, polyglot, and often polyreligious monarchical empires built up so painfully in mediaeval and early . . . read more
Murder and Progress in Modern Siam
In 1983, one of the biggest box-office hits in Siam was a remarkable film entitled Mue Puen. English-language advertisements translated this title as ‘The Gunman’, but an alternative, probably better, translation would be ‘The Gunmen’. For the director invited his audiences to contemplate the contrast between two hired assassins—hero and . . . read more
Cacique Democracy and the Philippines: Origins and Dreams
About this time last year, President Corazon Aquino told a most instructive lie. Addressing the Filipino-Chinese Federated Chambers of Commerce on 9 March 1987, she described her appearance before them as a ‘homecoming,’ since her great-grandfather had been a poor immigrant from southeast China’s Fukien province. footnote1 Doubtless her desperate . . . read more
James Fenton’s Slideshow
Political tourists come in three types, two of them quite traditional, one suggestively new. On the one hand, there are all those people who see in dramatic political developments in someone else’s country a hopeful or hellish vision of the future of their own. Since they set off knowing what . . . read more