Adivasi Art And Activism: Curation in a Nationalist Age, Alice Tilche (Permanent Black, April 2024)
Adivasi Art And Activism: Curation in a Nationalist Age,
Alice Tilche (Permanent Black, April 2024)

As India consolidates an aggressive model of economic development, indigenous tribal people—the Adivasis—continue to be overrepresented among the country’s poor. Adivasis make up more than eight hundred communities in India, with a total population of more than a hundred million people speaking more than three hundred different languages. Although their historical presence is acknowledged by the state and they are lauded as part of India’s ethnic identity, their poverty has been compounded by the suppression of their cultural heritage and lifestyle.

Gandhi’s Australia, Australia’s Gandhi, Thomas Weber (Orient BlackSwan, March 2024)
Gandhi’s Australia, Australia’s Gandhi, Thomas Weber (Orient BlackSwan, March 2024)

Gandhi’s importance in the Western world, and his interaction with foreign visitors, have been well-documented. However, most of these accounts have focused on Britain and the United States. Today, as India’s diaspora grows in numbers and influence, the inspiration of Gandhi in other parts of the world needs to be understood. This is particularly true of Australia.

Just a decade ago, before COVID upended everything, tens of thousands of migrants from African countries traveled to China in search of economic opportunity. One 2012 estimate put the African population in Guangzhou alone at 100,000. When the British-Nigerian travel writer Noo Saro-Wiwa heard about this community, she decided to travel to Guangzhou and China to learn more. She met traders, drug dealers, surgeons, visa over-stayers, former professional athletes, and many more trying to live, work and stay in China.

Impossible Speech: The Politics of Representation in Contemporary Korean Literature and Film, Christopher P Hanscom (Columbia University Press, March 2024)
Impossible Speech: The Politics of Representation in Contemporary Korean Literature and Film, Christopher P Hanscom (Columbia University Press, March 2024)

In what ways can or should art engage with its social context? Authors, readers, and critics have been preoccupied with this question since the dawn of modern literature in Korea. Advocates of social engagement have typically focused on realist texts, seeing such works as best suited to represent injustices and inequalities by describing them as if they were before our very eyes.

Blurred Boundaries: A Martial Arts Legacy and the Shaping of Taiwan, Hong Ze-Han, Christoper Bates (trans) (YMAA, December 2023)
Blurred Boundaries: A Martial Arts Legacy and the Shaping of Taiwan, Hong Ze-Han, Christoper Bates (trans) (YMAA, December 2023)

The civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists drove the largest refugee exodus in the modern history of China, across the sea to the southern island of Taiwan. Martial artists of many styles were among this diaspora. In the 1940’s areas of Taipei, Taiwan were terrorized by local gangsters. Supported by desperate martial artists who had to flee mainland China with no other resources but their martial skills, they robbed and extorted the population. The locals trying to rebuild a new life after the Japanese occupation, often hired their own cadre of martial artists. The Hong family was one of these merchant families.

Teaching the Young: The Early Childhood Development Profession in India, Kinnari Pandya, Jigisha Shastri, Vrinda Datta (eds) (Orient BlackSwan, February 2024)
Teaching the Young: The Early Childhood Development Profession in India, Kinnari Pandya, Jigisha Shastri, Vrinda Datta (eds) (Orient BlackSwan, February 2024)

Care and education of young children is crucial for a nation’s development and the early years teacher is the most important person in a child’s life after her parents. While early education has been in the hands of informally qualified educators in India for the past several decades, the National Education Policy 2020 has emphasized the need for qualified and skilled teachers to transact a quality early childhood programme.

Singaporean Creatures: Histories of Humans and Other Animals in the Garden City, Timothy P Barnard (ed) (NUS Press, January 2024)
Singaporean Creatures: Histories of Humans and Other Animals in the Garden City, Timothy P Barnard (ed) (NUS Press, January 2024)

Modern Singapore is the city in a garden, a biophilic and highly managed urban space that is home to a variety of animals, from mosquitoes to humans to polar bears. How has this coexistence worked as we enter the Anthropocene? How have human-animal relationships shaped Singapore society—socially, economically, politically and environmentally—over the last half century?