Cross-Cultural Exchange and the Colonial Imaginary: Global Encounters via Southeast Asia
By: Hazel Hahn
For years, the study of how culture operates in colonial contexts was dominated by the ideas of transmission and influence. Yet the more we learn, the less useful those concepts seem to be. This collection deliberately complicates the binary of colonizer and colonized in order to establish a more effective framework for understanding. The contributors address a wide range of questions, rooted in specific colonial experiences: How can a controversy about forms of deference in Java reveal tensions around colonial policies and the rise of nationalism? What was Vietnamese about the French colonial governor’s palace in Hanoi? What can the circulation of jazz in Asia tell us about its evolution, circuits of exchange, colonial culture, and its appropriation? Through such inquiries, the volume traces the multilinear trajectories of the flow of decorative objects, architectural styles, photographs, sartorial practices, music, deference rituals, and ethnographic knowledge, in a transimperial framework within and beyond Southeast Asia and Europe. Highlighting a wide range of actors along with their motivations and interactions, this volume treats cultural heritage as dynamic processes.