History, Memory, and Territorial Cults in the Highlands of Laos: The Past Inside the Present, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

History, Memory, and Territorial Cults in the Highlands of Laos

The Past Inside the Present, 1st Edition

By Pierre Petit


288 pages | 79 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367211257
pub: 2019-10-21
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This book captures the dynamics of history, memory, and territorial cults in Houay Yong, a Tai Vat village situated in the multiethnic highland frontier between Laos and Vietnam. Taking seriously the experiences of the villagers, it partakes in a broader movement to reintegrate highlanders and their agency into history at large.

Based on comprehensive fieldwork research and the examination of colonial archives, this book makes accessible for an English-speaking audience untapped French archives on Laos and early publications on territorial cults written by French ethnologists. In so doing, it provides a balanced perspective, drawing from the fields of memory studies and classical historical research. Following a chronological approach stretching from the 19th century to the present, it extends narrative analysis through a comparative ethnography of territorial cults, a key component of the performative and material presentification of the past.

Highly interdisciplinary in nature, History, Memory and Territorial Cults in the Highlands of Laos will be useful to students and scholars of anthropology, history and religious studies, as well as Asian culture and society.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The setting

3. Traditions on origins

4. From the French colony to the present

5. The ethnography of territorial cults

6. Territorial cults in a regional perspective

7. Conclusion

About the Author

Pierre Petit is Senior Research Fellow at the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research and Professor at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. His research interests include mobility, ethnicity, and interactions with the State among the Tai Vat of Houaphan.

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary Asian Societies

Routledge Contemporary Asian Societies provides an original and distinctive contribution to current debates on evolutions shaping societies, cultures, politics and media across North and South East Asia. It is interdisciplinary in its approach and the editors welcome proposals across the social sciences and humanities; from political, social, cultural and economic studies to gender, media, literature, anthropology, philosophy and religion.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / Southeast Asia
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies