Author/Editor: Amitav Acharya
New Hb 88 pp.
Subject: South Asia,Social Studies,Religion,History & Biography,Southeast Asia
Civilizations in Embrace
The Spread of Ideas and the Transformation of Power
India and Southeast Asia in the Classical Age
Nalanda-Sriwijaya Research Series
Series Editor: Tansen Sen
This study revisits one of the most extensive examples of the spread of ideas in the history of civilization: the diffusion of Indian religious and political ideas to Southeast Asia before the advent of Islam and European colonialism.
Hindu and Buddhist concepts and symbols of kingship and statecraft helped to legitimize Southeast Asian rulers, and transform the political institutions and authority of Southeast Asia. But the process of this diffusion was not accompanied by imperialism, political hegemony, or colonization as conventionally understood.
This book investigates different explanations of the spread of Indian ideas offered by scholars, including why and how it occurred and what were its key political and institutional outcomes. It challenges the view that strategic competition is a recurring phenomenon when civilizations encounter each other.
“This little gem of a book trains its sights on a big target. Relying on the historiography of Southeast Asia it analyzes Inianization as the outcome of strategic localization practices of indigenous actors who selectively borrow, rather than of external cultural entrepreneurs who impose.
This heuristic case study points to the central importance of civilizational encounters rather than clashes.In his tight and beautifully understated argument Archarya raises an important challenge to our diffuse and typically overblown conventional wisdom.”
PETER J. KATZENSTEIN
Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies Cornell University
“The fusion of elements from East, Southeast, and South Asia has produced one of the most vibrant and complex examples of cultural hybridity in world history. The various geographical threads and chronological phases of this convergence are still undergoing intellectual evaluation, but this book performs an important service in limning the outlines of this unique evolution.”
JOHN N. MIKSIC
Associate Professor, Department of Southeast Asian Studies National University of Singapore
Head, Archeology Unit
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
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