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Category: Southeast Asia

From The Library of Suzanne Karpel├Ęs: Jewels of Early Cambodian Buddhist Printing and Modernist Khmer and Pali Manuscripts

Posted by: Ryan Wolfson-Ford

Suzanne Karpel├Ęs lived a fascinating life of a scholar of Pali, Khmer, Thai, Tibetan, and Sanskrit, at a time when being an Indologist was a male dominated field, making a major impact on academic knowledge of Cambodian Buddhism, among other subjects. Her personal library is full of wonderful treasures from the early days of Western printing of Cambodian Buddhist works and rare Khmer manuscripts like the Reamker, the Cambodian version of the epic Hindu tale, the Ramayana. One can still access her unique library at the Library of Congress where it has found a home with the Southeast Asian Rare Book Collection in the Asian Reading Room.

Screenshot of Library of Congress webpage with recording of a virtual panel event.

US and Philippine Panelists Discuss Mangyan Scripts, Literary Heritage, and Collections: a Recording and Resources

Posted by: Joshua Kueh

This blog post highlights a video recording and resources related to a virtual panel event hosted by the Library of Congress Asian Division entitled "Mangyan Scripts, Literary Heritage, and Collections," which took place on September 20, 2023. The event featured presentations on Mangyan writing and literary culture, as well as Mangyan collections at the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.), the Mangyan Heritage Center (Mindoro, Philippines), Newberry Library (Chicago), and Yale Peabody Museum (New Haven). Audience members interacted with speakers in a Question and Answer session following the presentations.

The Intersection between Texts and Textiles across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia: a Display and Talk at the Library of Congress

Posted by: Ryan Wolfson-Ford

On Friday September 29, the Asian Division of the Library of Congress will be hosting a partial day display and talk in the Thomas Jefferson Building (rooms LJ110/119) celebrating the diversity of the Library’s collections through textiles, in collaboration with the African and Middle Eastern, Prints & Photographs, Geography & Maps, and Rare Books and Special Collections Reading Rooms.

Bamboo tubes inscribed with Mangyan text in Hanunuo Mangyan and Romanized characters

Mangyan Scripts, Literary Heritage, and Collections: a Virtual Panel Discussion on September 20th

Posted by: Joshua Kueh

This blog post announces a panel discussion on Mangyan writing from the Philippines, scheduled to take place via Zoom on September 20, 2023. Presenters will speak about Mangyan scripts and holdings at the Mangyan Heritage Center, Newberry Library, Yale Peabody Museum, and the Library of Congress. The post also highlights some Mangyan-related resources at the Library of Congress.

“Communism or freedom?”: Thai Anti-Communist Posters at the Library of Congress

Posted by: Ryan Wolfson-Ford

The Southeast Asian Rare Book Collection, accessible at the Asian Reading Room, contains some unique items from the Cold War era; specifically, documents produced by the United States Information Agency (USIA) and disseminated in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar. This blog features the USIA Cold War-era Thai collection and a series of posters, “Communism or freedom?”

Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Lao Literature in Diaspora at 50

Posted by: Ryan Wolfson-Ford

Lao poetry in America has gone in diverse directions since the end of the Southeast Asian conflicts in the 1970s. It has served a variety of social and cultural purposes for many of the communities who were rebuilding their lives and considering their next directions. Over the last five decades, poetry has been one of the leading forms of literary expression among those with roots in Laos, including ethnic Lao, Khmu, Tai Dam, Lue, Iu Mien, and Hmong, with works composed primarily in American English but often introducing new words from their heritage, in addition to sharing their perspectives on history and traditional beliefs, myths, and their personal and collective dreams as they engaged with an America on the verge of significant cultural shifts thanks to computers and the internet. This post takes a look at some of the opportunities and challenges readers and writers alike have faced to collect and share these works.

Large metal hollow globe on a metal frame with metal orbit trails surrounding it

An Evening with Nobel Peace Prize Winner Maria Ressa

Posted by: Joshua Kueh

(The following is a cross-post by Joshua Kueh, Southeast Asian Reference Librarian, Asian Division. It originally appeared in the blog, From the Catbird Seat.) On Saturday, December 3, 2022, the Library of Congress will host an evening with 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Maria Ressa. A journalist with extensive experience in Asia, Maria Ressa is …

Thirty years of cataloging the South Asia collection: an interview with Shantha Murthy

Posted by: Ryan Wolfson-Ford

While staff work is what allows researchers to conduct research, their presence in the Library is foundational to the creation of the culture at the Library. This blog is an abbreviated version of a longer virtual interview with Shantha Murthy, a librarian and cataloger working in the Middle East and South Asia Section (MESA) of the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access (ABA) Unit, with a particular focus on serials (magazines, newspapers, etc.) from South and Southeast Asia.