Laos Why We Cannot Forget: Memoirs of Shared Histories, Jose V Fuentecilla (July 2024)
Laos: Why We Cannot Forget; Memoirs of Shared Histories, Jose V Fuentecilla (July 2024)

In the 1960s, bands of adventurous Filipinos found themselves spending years in communal, austere lifestyles while doing foreign aid work. They were healthcare workers, engineers, teachers, agriculturists, nutritionists. The existing model for international assistance during that period was Northern white rich to Southern black or brown. The Filipinos were going to do something else not tried before in Laos. It was an Asian-to-Asian effort that exemplified an interesting example of development aid unique in Lao history and perhaps in Philippine history.

Magdaragat is Filipino for “seafarer” or “mariner.” Its dictionary meaning is straightforward enough, and even those with only cursory knowledge of the lands colonially known as “the Philippines” will understand why one would choose that word as the title for an anthology of Filipino diasporic writing. After all, the Philippines is an archipelago of approximately 7,000 islands in the South Pacific; the sea, as both literal and metaphorical entity, has dominated Filipino life—economically, politically, and culturally—since time immemorial.

Romantic Nationalism in India: Cultivation of Culture and the Global Circulation of Ideas, Bob van der Linden (Brill, May 2024)
Romantic Nationalism in India: Cultivation of Culture and the Global Circulation of Ideas, Bob van der Linden (Brill, May 2024)

Through the concept of “Romantic nationalism”, this interdisciplinary global historical study investigates cultural initiatives in (British) India that aimed at establishing the nation as a moral community and which preceded or accompanied state-oriented political nationalism. Drawing on a vast array of sources, it discusses important Romantic nationalist traits, such as the relationship between language and identity, historicism, artistic revivalism and hero worship.

Lost Letters and Feminist History: The Political Friendship of Mohandas K Gandhi and Sarala Devi Chaudhurani, Geraldine Forbes (Orient BlackSwan, June 2024)
Lost Letters and Feminist History: The Political Friendship of Mohandas K Gandhi and Sarala Devi Chaudhurani, Geraldine Forbes (Orient BlackSwan, June 2024)

In the 1920s, amidst the upheaval of the Indian national movement, Mohandas K. Gandhi and the prominent Indian nationalist and feminist, Sarala Devi Chaudhurani, communicated with each other for over a year via letters that were both politically charged and personally insightful.

Le toréador (1849) is a opéra-comique by Adolphe Adam, a French composer best known for the ballet Giselle. The story is of a ménage–a–trois between an erstwhile soprano, her oft–absent and unfaithful husband, and a previous lover. The work features famous variations on the folk–song Ah! vous dirai–je, maman (better known as Twinkle, twinkle, little star in the English–speaking world).

Forsaken Causes: Liberal Democracy and Anticommunism in Cold War Laos, Ryan Wolfson-Ford (University of Wisconsin Press, July 2024)
Forsaken Causes: Liberal Democracy and Anticommunism in Cold War Laos, Ryan Wolfson-Ford (University of Wisconsin Press, July 2024)

In the wake of anticolonial struggles and amid the two world wars, twentieth-century Southeast Asia churned with new political, cultural, and intellectual realities. Liberal democracies flourished briefly, only to be discarded for dictatorships and other authoritarian regimes as the disorder and inefficiencies inherent to democracy appeared unequal to postcolonial and Cold War challenges. Uniquely within the region, Laos maintained a stable democracy until 1975, surviving wars, coups, and revolutions. But Lao history during this period has often been flattened, subsumed within the tug-of-war between the global superpowers and their puppets.