New Book: “Mediums, Monks, and Amulets”

A new book by Dr. Pattana Kitiarsa, teacher of the anthropology of Southeast Asia and popular Buddhism in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore.

Publisher’s description:

Mediums, Monks, and Amulets is a sophisticated yet accessible study of the state of popular Buddhist beliefs as they are practiced in Thailand today. Using a combination of focused case studies and analysis, Pattana Kitiarsa explores the nature and evolution of popular Buddhism over the past three decades by focusing on those individuals who practice, popularize, and profit from it.

The case studies profiled in this book include prominent spirit mediums and magic monks, the lottery fever surrounding the posthumous cult of folk singer, Phumphuang Duangchan, the Chatukham‐Rammathep amulet craze, and the cult of wealth attributed to preeminent monk, Luang Pho Khun. It also explores the history of both popular and official opinion surrounding supernatural Buddhism and its clashes with the rationalist, modernizing policies of Thailand’s monarchy and government.

Mediums, Monks, and Amulets contests the viewpoint that supernatural elements within popular Buddhism are a symptom of the decline of the religion. Instead, it argues that this hybridity between traditional Buddhist beliefs and elements from other religions is in fact a symptom of the health and wealth of Buddhism, as it negotiates large‐scale commercialization and global modernity.

For more information see here…


The new book edited by DORISEA researchers Prof. Dr. Volker Grabowsky, Bounleuth Sengsoulin, Khamvone Boulyaphonh, together with Kongdeuane Nettavong, and Hans Georg Berger has just been published by Anantha Publishing:

The first book on Lao Philology and Linguistics to be published for decades.  Includes a facsimile of an early dictionary of Lao and Pali terms compiled by a Buddhist monk, historic photographs from the Buddhist Archive of Photography and scholarly texts by Lao and German researchers.  An Academic Landmark!
(Publisher’s description)

Editors: Kongdeuane Nettavong; Bounleuth Sengsoulin; Khamvone Boulyaphonh; Volker Grabowsky; Hans Georg Berger
Publisher: Anantha Publishing
Series: Publications of the Buddhist Archive of Photography
Publishing date: May 2012
ISBN: 978-0-9844483-9-5 (Soft Cover)
Pages: 269

“a benchmark in the study of Thai Buddhism”

… sees Erick White in the latest book by Justin McDaniel, The Lovelorn Ghost and the Magical Monk: Practicing Buddhism in Modern Thailand, thus dedicating a review of 33 (!) pages to it. His “critical reflections on some of the technical academic arguments advanced explicitly and implicitly” by McDaniel’s work “from the perspective of an anthropologist” can be downloaded at the end of an abbreviated version posted on New Mandala, the ANU hosted blog for “anecdote, analysis and new perspectives on mainland Southeast Asia”.

Eleven countries from ancient times up to the 21st century in eleven chapters?

“Southeast Asia in World History”, the latest book by Craig A. Lockard, Ben and Joyce Rosenberg Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, is relatively small – only 272 pages! – compared to the scope of it’s subject – eleven countries from ancient times up to the 21st century! – but according to Akiko Sugiyama also “the most accessible single-volume survey history thus far available”.

If you want to know how and why Sugiyama comes to this conclusion take a look at his review available online at H-Soz-u-Kult.

New Book: Frederik Holst – “Ethnicization and Identity Construction in Malaysia”

The new monograph “Ethnicization and Identity Construction in Malaysia” by DORISEA-Associate Dr. Frederik Holst has just been published in the Routledge Malaysian Studies Series:

“This book is the first monograph to provide an in-depth and multifaceted study of the processes of ethnicization and identity construction in Malaysia, from the colonial period until the present. In his analysis, the author takes multiple layers of ethnicization into account and shows how these have shaped Malaysia’s socio-political system and society in different ways. Moving beyond a center-focused, top-down-oriented perception of identity politics, this work highlights on the one hand the role and position of a multitude of actors – from grassroots level to  mainstream politics – who contribute to the persistence of ethnicization in Malaysia in numerous ways. On the other hand, it also shows where and under which circumstances possibilities for transethnic cooperation arise.

A multi-disciplinary approach, substantiated by empirical data based on qualitative and quantitative methodologies, provides a perspective that moves beyond stereotypical narrations of Malaysia as being constituted by mainly three separate, homogenous groups. At the same time, this book gives a detailed and comprehensive account of political and historical developments and constitutes a rich resource for any Malaysia-related research.

While the focus of this publication lies on Malaysia, the concept of manifestations and implementations of ethnicization provides an analytical framework that can also be applied in the study of ethnicization and identity construction elsewhere in the region and beyond.”

(Publisher’s description)

“Animismus” im Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Noch bis zum 6. Mai gibt es im Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin die Ausstellung “Animismus” zu sehen, welche “die gegenwärtig auf breiter Ebene stattfindende Neubewertung der Moderne im Sinne von Bruno Latours Titel ‘Wir sind nie modern gewesen’ aufgreift”. Ein offizieller Guide zum Animismus-Programm ist direkt online verfügbar bzw. kann auch als PDF-Booklet heruntergeladen werden.
Zwei Texte zur Ausstellung aus dem Feuilleton der Süddeutschen Zeitung wurden uns mit freundlicher Genehmigung des Verlags bereitgestellt und können hier eingesehen werden:

“Revision der Moderne (I): Wenn Statuen sterben”

“Schläft ein Geist in allen Dingen – Revision der Moderne (II): Die Geisteswissenschaften entdecken den Animismus”

© Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH, München.

Die Ausstellung ist Teil eines mehrteiligen Projekts, zu dem noch die bereits stattgefundene Konferenz gehört, ebenso wie der mit theoretischen Texten zum Thema der Ausstellung gefüllte und von Irene Albers und Anselm Franke herausgegebene Band “Animismus – Revisionen der Moderne”, der im diaphanes Verlag erschienen ist.

320 Seiten, Broschur
ISBN 978-3-03734-188-9
€ 29,90 / CHF 44,90

Neuerscheinung: Peter J. Bräunlein – “Zur Aktualität von Victor W. Turner”

Das neue Buch von DORISEA-Forscher Prof. Dr. Peter J. Bräunlein ist erschienen:

Zur Aktualität von Victor W. Turner
Einleitung in sein Werk

Aus der Reihe: Aktuelle und klassische Sozial- und Kulturwissenschaftler|innen

Verlag Springer VS, 2012. 187 S. Br.
ISBN: 978-3-531-16907-1

Einen digitalen Einblick ins Buch gibt es bei Google Books, erhältlich ist es z.B. über


Rezension zu “Kleine Geschichte Thailands” (Volker Grabowsky)

In der aktuellen Ausgabe 12 (2/2012) von “sehepunkte”, einem Rezensionsjournal für die Geschichts-wissenschaften, rezensiert Sven Trakulhun das in der beck’schen  reihe des C.H.Beck-Verlags erschienene Buch “Kleine Geschichte Thailands” von DORISEA-Mitarbeiter Volker Grabowsky. Die Rezension ist hier verfügbar.

Grabowsky, Volker
Kleine Geschichte Thailands
2010. 208 S.: mit 4 Karten. Paperback
(Beck`sche Reihe: bsr;1818)
C.H.BECK ISBN 978-3-406-60129-3

New publication by DORISEA researcher Andrea Lauser

DORISEA researcher Andrea Lauser and Kirsten Endres have edited a book on the entanglements of modernity and spirit beliefs and practies in contemporary Southeast Asia. The book has just been published by Berghahn Books.
Find more information here.

Popular Beliefs and Practices in Modern Southeast Asia
Edited by Kirsten W. Endres and Andrea Lauser
(268 pages, 19 ills, bibliog., index; February 2012)

Stefan Canham/Nguyen Phuong-Dan – “Die Deutschen Vietnamesen”

The topic of ‚German Vietnamese‘ is hot, as another publication, this time by Peperoni Books, proves. The book is a combination of photos and interviews with Vietnamese men and women who once migrated to Germany and then back to Vietnam again. In their heterogeneity, the biographies reveal how global political and social transformations become relevant in the minutiae of individual lives.

Stefan Canham/Nguyen Phuong-Dan

Die Deutschen Vietnamesen

With an essay by Kirsten Mundt
204 pages
120 color illustrations
19,5 x 24 cm
ISBN 978-3-941825-23-9
EUR 34