October 1, 2015
archives, projects, publications
Southeast Asia, World War II
An online initiative with the title “End of Empire – 100 days in 1945 that changed Asia and the world” by NIAS press was launched recently to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Asia.
The initiative publishes day by day ‘real-time broadcasts’ of what happened in Asia at the end of World War II. The site combines daily events with commentary, photographs, maps, personal accounts and other material plus links to resources found elsewhere.
Aiming to balance the focus on European events in global public discussions and reminiscences of World War II, the project focuses on a brief, 100-day period at the end of the war across a broad sweep of eastern Asia – a time when the Indonesian and Vietnamese revolutions were born, the fragile wartime truce between Communists and Nationalists in China began to fray, and the first steps were made in Japan towards a new democratic order.
The website is part of a radical, multi-faceted project to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the war’s end and its immediate aftermath. This is done not just via the website but also in printed and electronic publications plus via social media. Nor does the project simply present existing scholarship. It also actively reaches beyond the academic world to encourage non-academics to come forward with primary source material unknown to historians and often limited to their own private circles.
Here, perhaps, is a model for scholarly publishing and learning that both exploits new technologies and retains traditional standards.
One of the great merits of this website is the way it conveys a sense of the fast pace of events in mid-1945 and their interconnectedness across the region at the time.
Those who may find the website difficult to navigate may want to consult the Facebook page for the project.
The outcome of the initiative is due to appear in published form as End of Empire: 100 Days that Changed Asia and the World edited by David Chandler, Robert Cribb and Li Narangoa.
(reported by Gerald Jackson and Inga-Lill Blomkvist)
August 28, 2014
An interesting article with the title “An Introduction to the World of Shan Manuscripts” by our member Jotika Khur-Yearn has appeared on the blog of the SOAS Subject Librarians. It gives a short overview of the Shan manuscript tradition and collections of Shan manuscripts in the UK. Jotika is currently working on an exhibition of Shan manuscripts which will be on display at the Wolfson Gallery of the SOAS Library in London in November and December 2014. More details about the upcoming exhibition will follow on this blog nearer the time.
Detail of a cover of a Shan folding book (pap tup) held at the British Library (Or.12040)
May 28, 2014
publication, Southeast Asian Studies
All scholarly books experience a brief moment of freshness at publication. Thereafter they age, some gracefully, while a select few works mature becoming timeless classics in their field. However, far too many studies wither under the pitiless sun of passing time, fading into irrelevance.
Sadly, most books do not become utterly irrelevant, let alone valueless; they are simply forgotten. And yet, time and again, something happens in the world that apparently is new but which is beautifully explained – given context – by one of these old texts.
NIAS books are not immune to ageing, either, but NIAS Press have decided to do something about the obsession with new and the stampede towards obsolescence – hence the launching of a new website with which they aim to link current events (especially in Asia) to Asia research published by NIAS.
Their new blog, NIAS Inside, is a website demonstrating that fine scholarship is timeless and it will be worth watching.
More information and the latest NIAS Press catalogue can be found on the NIAS Press homepage.
(Source: NIAS Press Newsletter May 2014)
November 27, 2013
The Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania has published its latest CDNLAO Newsletter, No. 78, November 2013.
A list of contents of the online newsletter, which include articles on rare book collections at the National Library of Myanmar, manuscript collections at the National Library of Thailand, and an exhibition on family histories and collections at the National Library of Singapore is available from the CDNLAO homepage.
The Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania (CDNLAO) meets every year to discuss library issues of common interest and to promote resource and information sharing within the Asia Pacific region. The first meeting was held in 1979 and the Directors of National Libraries agreed at this meeting that the main aims of CDNLAO would be to exchange information and promote cooperation for the development of libraries in Asia and Oceania, to assist libraries in less developed countries through cooperation, and to understand the state of the art of library development among libraries in Asia and Oceania.