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Engineers of Happy Land: Technology and Nationalism in a Colony (Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Based on close reading of historical documents--poetry as much as statistics--and focused on the conceptualization of technology, this book is an unconventional evocation of late colonial Netherlands East Indies (today Indonesia). In considering technology and the ways that people use and think about things, Rudolf Mrázek invents an original way to talk about freedom, colonialism, nationalism, literature, revolution, and human nature.

The central chapters comprise vignettes and take up, in turn, transportation (from shoes to road-building to motorcycle clubs), architecture (from prison construction to home air-conditioning), optical technologies (from photography to fingerprinting), clothing and fashion, and the introduction of radio and radio stations. The text clusters around a group of fascinating recurring characters representing colonialism, nationalism, and the awkward, inevitable presence of the European cultural, intellectual, and political avant-garde: Tillema, the pharmacist-author of Kromoblanda; the explorer/engineer IJzerman; the "Javanese princess" Kartina; the Indonesia nationalist journalist Mas Marco; the Dutch novelist Couperus; the Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer; and Dutch left-wing liberal Wim Wertheim and his wife.

In colonial Indies, as elsewhere, people employed what Proust called "remembering" and what Heidegger called "thinging" to sense and make sense of the world. In using this observation to approach Indonesian society, Mrázek captures that society off balance, allowing us to see it in unfamiliar positions. The result is a singular work with surprises for readers throughout the social sciences, not least those interested in Southeast Asia or colonialism more broadly.

Synopsis:

"This book is both analytically daring and historically informative. I know of no work of colonial history, for Southeast Asia or elsewhere, that is comparable in its scope or power to illuminate--not to mention the zest and wit it brings to a potentially dry topic. There a many intriguing insights, startling images, and profound interpretations."--Mary Margaret Steedly, Harvard University

Synopsis:

Based on close reading of historical documents--poetry as much as statistics--and focused on the conceptualization of technology, this book is an unconventional evocation of late colonial Netherlands East Indies (today Indonesia). In considering technology and the ways that people use and think about things, Rudolf Mrázek invents an original way to talk about freedom, colonialism, nationalism, literature, revolution, and human nature.

The central chapters comprise vignettes and take up, in turn, transportation (from shoes to road-building to motorcycle clubs), architecture (from prison construction to home air-conditioning), optical technologies (from photography to fingerprinting), clothing and fashion, and the introduction of radio and radio stations. The text clusters around a group of fascinating recurring characters representing colonialism, nationalism, and the awkward, inevitable presence of the European cultural, intellectual, and political avant-garde: Tillema, the pharmacist-author of Kromoblanda; the explorer/engineer IJzerman; the "Javanese princess" Kartina; the Indonesia nationalist journalist Mas Marco; the Dutch novelist Couperus; the Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer; and Dutch left-wing liberal Wim Wertheim and his wife.

In colonial Indies, as elsewhere, people employed what Proust called "remembering" and what Heidegger called "thinging" to sense and make sense of the world. In using this observation to approach Indonesian society, Mrázek captures that society off balance, allowing us to see it in unfamiliar positions. The result is a singular work with surprises for readers throughout the social sciences, not least those interested in Southeast Asia or colonialism more broadly.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Preface xv

ONE: Language as Asphalt 1

Bare Feet 1

Hard and Clean Roads 4

Struggle for the Roads 8

Language-game 18

Bahasa Indonesia, "Indonesian Language" 31

TWO: Towers 43

Homes on Wheels and Floating Homes 43

The Cities 52

The Camps 60

The Towers 73

THREE: From Darkness to Light 85

The City of Light 85

Dactyloscopy 97

The Floodlight 103

The Sublime 112

The Mirror 120

FOUR: Indonesian Dandy 129

The Dolls 129

The Modern Times 130

Nationalism and the Birth of the Dandy 143

The Death of the Dandy 147

The Parade 154

FIVE: Let Us Become Radio Mechanics 161

The Metaphor 161

The Thing 166

The Voice 174

The Closed Circuits 182

The Mechanics 189

EPILOGUE: Only the Deaf Can Hear Well 193

Sjahrir Recalled 193

Memories of Holland 197

Time in Three Dimensions 202

Bacteria 204

The Splendid Radio 207

The Mouth of Karundeng 210

Sportsmen-Dandies-Jokers-Engineers 215

Ear Culture 220

The Happy End 222

Notes 235

Sources 285

Index 303

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691091624
Author:
Mrazek, Rudolf
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
Mrzek, Rudolf
Location:
Princeton, N.J.
Subject:
History
Subject:
Technology
Subject:
Southeast Asia
Subject:
Nationalism
Subject:
Indonesia
Subject:
Nationalism and technology
Subject:
Asia - Southeast Asia
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
Anthropology
Subject:
Postcolonial Studies
Subject:
Indonesia - Civilization - 20th century
Subject:
Technology -- Social aspects -- Indonesia.
Subject:
World History-Southeast Asia
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History (Paperback)
Series Volume:
84-351
Publication Date:
March 2002
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
31 halftones
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 17 oz

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Related Subjects

Engineering » Engineering » General Engineering
Engineering » Engineering » History
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Asia » Southeast Asia
History and Social Science » World History » Southeast Asia
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Algebra » General

Engineers of Happy Land: Technology and Nationalism in a Colony (Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History) New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$53.50 Backorder
Product details 336 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691091624 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "This book is both analytically daring and historically informative. I know of no work of colonial history, for Southeast Asia or elsewhere, that is comparable in its scope or power to illuminate--not to mention the zest and wit it brings to a potentially dry topic. There a many intriguing insights, startling images, and profound interpretations."--Mary Margaret Steedly, Harvard University
"Synopsis" by , Based on close reading of historical documents--poetry as much as statistics--and focused on the conceptualization of technology, this book is an unconventional evocation of late colonial Netherlands East Indies (today Indonesia). In considering technology and the ways that people use and think about things, Rudolf Mrázek invents an original way to talk about freedom, colonialism, nationalism, literature, revolution, and human nature.

The central chapters comprise vignettes and take up, in turn, transportation (from shoes to road-building to motorcycle clubs), architecture (from prison construction to home air-conditioning), optical technologies (from photography to fingerprinting), clothing and fashion, and the introduction of radio and radio stations. The text clusters around a group of fascinating recurring characters representing colonialism, nationalism, and the awkward, inevitable presence of the European cultural, intellectual, and political avant-garde: Tillema, the pharmacist-author of Kromoblanda; the explorer/engineer IJzerman; the "Javanese princess" Kartina; the Indonesia nationalist journalist Mas Marco; the Dutch novelist Couperus; the Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer; and Dutch left-wing liberal Wim Wertheim and his wife.

In colonial Indies, as elsewhere, people employed what Proust called "remembering" and what Heidegger called "thinging" to sense and make sense of the world. In using this observation to approach Indonesian society, Mrázek captures that society off balance, allowing us to see it in unfamiliar positions. The result is a singular work with surprises for readers throughout the social sciences, not least those interested in Southeast Asia or colonialism more broadly.

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