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Reviewed by: Christine Oka, Library Instruction Specialist, Northeastern University Libraries
TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia offers a new view of the traditional national or regional limits of area studies which extends beyond borders and covers disciplines across the social sciences: political science, anthropology, sociology, history, geography, and economics. The thematic inaugural issue, “Movement, Motion, and the (Im-)Permeability of Boundaries” begins by “questioning the relevance of the nation state as the central unit of historical analysis.”
Migration across borders, movement of capital, globalization of trends and product consumption, as well as the influence of international organizations, such as the World Bank, are discussed in substantial articles such as “From Urban to Rural: A Geography of Boundary Crossing in Southeast Asia,” “Defending Borders: States and Nation-States in the ASEAN 5,” and “Borneo in Fragments: Geology, Biota, and Contraband in Trans-national Circuits.” Interdisciplinary topics are further explored in another issue: “Islamic Politics in Southeast Asia: A Critical Reassessment,” which suggests research on Islamic politics in Southeast Asia may benefit from borrowing insights from the same type of literature covering North Africa and the Middle East.
With its distinguished editors and editorial board, along with a roster of international scholarly authors, TRaNS convincingly challenges established approaches to Southeast Asian studies. A title recommended for academic libraries serving researchers in Southeast Asian studies.