Engaging Asia: Essays on Laos and Beyond in Honour of Martin Stuart-Fox

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edited by Desley Goldston

Long regarded as a peripheral state in mainland Southeast Asia, Laos has attracted far less scholarly attention than wealthier and more powerful neighbours like Thailand and Vietnam. This has meant, however, that there is a greater potential for individual scholars of Lao studies to make significant contributions to their field. One such scholar is Australia’s Martin Stuart-Fox, in honour of whom this festschrift has been produced with contributions from colleagues, former doctoral students and friends.

The volume is more than a hagiography, however. Its chapters on Laos all make significant contributions to Lao studies. These range from the writing of Lao prehistory in Laos, to early Lao– Thai relations, from French colonial archaeology to medical practices and gun-boat diplomacy, from the 'invention’ of Laos as a modern state to its revolutionary transformation and present politics. Though the main focus is on the history, politics and national identity of Laos, essays also point 'beyond’ Laos, both geographically and metaphorically. Engaging Asia is thus a volume that will stimulate and satisfy, while at the same time honouring a scholar whose unusual career took him from marine biologist to war correspondent to respected scholar of Southeast Asian politics and history.

"The book has an easy reading style, making it accessible to anyone, though it is likely most practical for historians of Laos. As a contemporary compendium of 18 excellent papers celebrating the work of a leading Lao historian, [the book] is outstanding." - Paul Chambers, Asian Affairs, 2019

Desley Goldston is an independent scholar and educator who has travelled widely and lived many years in Asia, including a decade in Laos.

Publication year: 2018
492 pp / 229mm x 152mm
31 (10 in colour) figures, 7 tables
ISBN: 978-87-7694-254-0, Paperback
ISBN: 978-87-7694-253-3, Hardback

NIAS Press