Thomas Patton, “The Buddha’s Wizards: Magic, Protection, and Healing in Burmese Buddhism” (Columbia UP, 2018)
In his recent monograph, The Buddha’s Wizards: Magic, Protection, and Healing in Burmese Buddhism (Columbia University Press, 2018), Thomas Patton examines the weizzā, a figure in Burmese Buddhism who is possessed with extraordinary supernatural powers, usually gained through some sort of esoteric practice. Like the tantric adept in certain other Buddhist... Read More
Andray Abrahamian, “North Korea and Myanmar: Divergent Paths” (McFarland, 2018)
At an often-stressful time in global affairs, and with the very idea of the ‘international community’ seemingly under threat, it can be beneficial to look at the ‘global order’ from its disorderly fringes. Andray Abrahamian’s North Korea and Myanmar: Divergent Paths (McFarland, 2018) does precisely this, comparing and contrasting North... Read More
Daromir Rudnyckyj, “Beyond Debt: Islamic Experiments in Global Finance” (U Chicago Press, 2018)
Recent economic crises have made the centrality of debt, and the instability it creates, increasingly apparent. In Beyond Debt: Islamic Experiments in Global Finance (University of Chicago Press, 2019), anthropologist Daromir Rudnyckyj illustrates how the Malaysian state, led by the central bank, is seeking to make the country’s capital Kuala... Read More
Arnika Fuhrmann, “Ghostly Desires: Queer Sexuality and Vernacular Buddhism in Contemporary Thai Cinema” (Duke UP, 2016)
Since the late 1990s Thai cinema has come to global attention with movies like the famous ghost film, Nang Nak, and more recently the evocative films of director Aphichatpong Weerasethakul, who won a Palme D’Or award at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. A perennially popular theme in Thai cinema is... Read More
Tania Li, “Land’s End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier” (Duke UP, 2014)
If you want to read just one book to properly understand capitalism, let it be Tania Li’s award-winning 2014 book Land’s End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier (Duke University Press, 2014). This might seem like a strange choice: how can a study of a faraway and possibly exotic indigenous place... Read More
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