British writer EH Carr in his classic text on international relations, The Twenty Years’ Crisis: 1919 to 1939, argues that ideas of peace and cooperation between nations cannot stand up to the realities of international instability and competition. In Carr’s time the League of Nations was ineffectual in preventing a return to war in Europe. In Southeast Asia After the Cold War, Ang Cheng Guan using Carr as inspiration looks at ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), an intergovernmental organization caught between China and the old, creaking superpower, the USA. Can ASEAN with the help of diplomacy and trade deals strike a balance between the two powers in the region or is military action inevitable?

Hearing Southeast Asia: Sounds of Hierarchy and Power in Context, Nathan Porath (ed) (NIAS Press, July 2019)
Hearing Southeast Asia: Sounds of Hierarchy and Power in Context, Nathan Porath (ed) (NIAS Press, July 2019)

Drawing on examples from Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, the authors discuss some aspects of sound in relation to their ethnographic context.

Southeast Asia's Modern Architecture: Questions of Translation, Epistemology and Power, Jiat-Hwee Chang (ed), Imran bin Tajudeen (ed) (NUS Press, January 2019)
Southeast Asia’s Modern Architecture: Questions of Translation, Epistemology and Power, Jiat-Hwee Chang (ed), Imran bin Tajudeen (ed) (NUS Press, January 2019)

What is the modern in Southeast Asia’s architecture and how do we approach its study critically? This pathbreaking multidisciplinary volume is the first critical survey of Southeast Asia’s modern architecture. It looks at the challenges of studying this complex history through the conceptual frameworks of translation, epistemology, and power.

The concept of “soft power”, popularized by Harvard’s Joseph Nye, has always seemed artificial. Power as wielded by nations is not neatly divisible into “hard” and “soft” categories. The great realist philosopher of power Hans Morgenthau identified the elements of national power as geography, natural resources, industrial capacity, population, military preparedness, national morale, the quality of government, and the quality of diplomacy.