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The Indian Ocean was global long before the Atlantic, and today the countries bordering the Bay of Bengal--India, Bangladesh, Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Malaysia--are home to one in four people on Earth. Crossing the Bay of Bengal places this region at the heart of world history for the first time. Integrating human and environmental history, and mining a wealth of sources, Sunil Amrith gives a revelatory and stirring new account of the Bay and those who have inhabited it. For centuries the Bay of Bengal served as a maritime highway between India and China, and then as a battleground for European empires, all while being shaped by the monsoons and by human migration. Imperial powers in the nineteenth century, abetted by the force of capital and the power of steam, reconfigured the Bay in their quest for coffee, rice, and rubber. Millions of Indian migrants crossed the sea, bound by debt or spurred by drought, and filled with ambition. Booming port cities like Singapore and Penang became the most culturally diverse societies of their time. By the 1930s, however, economic, political, and environmental pressures began to erode the Bay's centuries-old patterns of interconnection. Today, rising waters leave the Bay of Bengal's shores especially vulnerable to climate change, at the same time that its location makes it central to struggles over Asia's future. Amrith's evocative and compelling narrative of the region's pasts offers insights critical to understanding and confronting the many challenges facing Asia in the decades ahead.
Health patterns in Southeast Asia have changed profoundly over the past century. In that period, epidemic and chronic diseases, environmental transformations, and international health institutions have created new connections within the region and the increased interdependence of Southeast Asia with China and India. In this volume leading scholars provide a new approach to the history of health in Southeast Asia. Framed by a series of synoptic pieces on the "Landscapes of Health" in Southeast Asia in 1914, 1950, and 2014 the essays interweave local, national, and regional perspectives. They range from studies of long-term processes such as changing epidemics, mortality and aging, and environmental history to detailed accounts of particular episodes: the global cholera epidemic and the hajj, the influenza epidemic of 1918, WWII, and natural disasters. The writers also examine state policy on healthcare and the influence of organizations, from NGOs such as the China Medical Board and the Rockefeller Foundation to grassroots organizations in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Migration is at the heart of Asian history. For centuries migrants have tracked the routes and seas of their ancestors - merchants, pilgrims, soldiers and sailors - along the Silk Road and across the Indian Ocean and the China Sea. Over the last 150 years, however, migration within Asia and beyond has been greater than at any other time in history. Sunil S. Amrith's engaging and deeply informative book crosses a vast terrain, from the Middle East to India and China, tracing the history of modern migration. Animated by the voices of Asian migrants, it tells the stories of those forced to flee from war and revolution, and those who left their homes and their families in search of a better life. These stories of Asian diasporas can be joyful or poignant, but they all speak of an engagement with new landscapes and new peoples.
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