Culture and Customs of Laos

Culture and Customs of Laos

Culture and Customs of Laos

Culture and Customs of Laos

Synopsis

This all-encompassing volume offers a comprehensive look at the contemporary culture that defines this Southeast Asian country of Laos, examining everything from Buddhist traditions to Laotian cuisine. Coverage includes a brief history of the nation followed by in-depth narrative chapters on religion, literature, visual and performing arts, fashion, gender roles, everyday social customs, and more. Through illustrative descriptions of daily life, students will learn how traditional customs have shaped contemporary life in Laos today. Few other resources provide the same extensive coverage on current culture in Laos. Ideal for high school students as well as general readers, Culture and Customs of Laos is a must-have for all library shelves.

Excerpt

Geographically, Asia encompasses the vast area from Suez, the Bosporus, and the Ural Mountains eastward to the Bering Sea and from this line southward to the Indonesian archipelago, an expanse that covers about 30 percent of our earth. Conventionally, and especially insofar as culture and customs are concerned, Asia refers primarily to the region east of Iran and south of Russia. This area can be divided in turn into subregions, commonly known as South, Southeast, and East Asia, which are the main focus of this series.

The United States has vast interests in this region. in the twentieth century, the United States fought three major wars in Asia (namely the Pacific War of 1941–1945, the Korean War of 1950–1953, and the Vietnam War of 1965– 1975), and each had a profound impact on life and politics in America. Today, America’s major trading partners are in Asia, and in the foreseeable future the weight of Asia in American life will inevitably increase, for in Asia lie our great allies as well as our toughest competitors in virtually all arenas of global interest. Domestically, the role of Asian immigrants is more visible than at any other time in our history. in spite of these connections with Asia, however, our knowledge about this crucial region is far from adequate. For various reasons, Asia remains for most of us a relatively unfamiliar, if not stereotypical or even mysterious, “Oriental” land.

There are compelling reasons for Americans to obtain some level of concrete knowledge about Asia. It is one of the world’s richest reservoirs of culture and an ever-evolving museum of human heritage. Rhoads Murphy, a prominent Asianist, once pointed out that in the part of Asia east of Afghanistan and . . .

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