Stories from an Ancient Land: Perspectives on Wa History and Culture | BERGHAHN BOOKS
Join our Email List Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
Stories from an Ancient Land: Perspectives on Wa History and Culture

View Table of Contents

Volume 12

Asian Anthropologies

See Related
Anthropology Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Stories from an Ancient Land

Perspectives on Wa History and Culture

Magnus Fiskesjö

414 pages, 25 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-887-0 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (August 2021)

ISBN  978-1-80539-737-3 $39.95/£31.95 / Pb / Not Yet Published (December 2024)

eISBN 978-1-78920-888-7 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“In conclusion, ‘Stories from an Ancient Land’ is a commendable achievement that brings a wealth of empirical detail and conceptual sophistication to bear on the larger anthropological question concerning the nature of fate and human agency… This book makes a significant original contribution to the growing field of Wa studies. It should be welcomed by anyone interested in general anthropological theory and the cultures, peoples, and history of China and Southeast Asia.” • Anthropos

“[This is a] groundbreaking study. Read it—it is well worth it.” • The

Stories from an Ancient Land creatively weaves together ethnohistory, fieldwork, archival research, and social theory. Through his research on and with the Wa in southwest China and in the Myanmar borderlands, Fiskesjö has crafted a thorough and insightful examination of Wa society and cultural dynamics. This excellent ethnography is in equal measure bold and nuanced. It offers compelling angles on peripheral situations, complex histories, violence, grotesque imagery, appropriation, and cultural resilience.” • Hjorleifur Jonsson, Arizona State University


The Wa people have a rich civilization of their own, and a deep history in the mountains of Southeast Asia. Their mythology suggests their land is the first place inhabited by humans, which they care for on behalf of the world. This book introduces aspects of Wa culture, including their approach to the world’s troubles and the lessons others might learn from it. It also presents a new interpretation of Wa headhunting, questioning explanations that see it as a primitive custom, and instead placing it within the fraught history of the last few centuries.

Magnus Fiskesjö is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies at Cornell University. He has published widely on topics such as ethnic relations, slavery and inequality, as well as heritage and museum issues, mainly in East and Southeast Asia.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Cultural Studies (General)
Area: Asia-Pacific


Download ToC (PDF)

Back to Top

Library Recommendation Form

Dear Librarian,

I would like to recommend Stories from an Ancient Land Perspectives on Wa History and Culture for the library. Please include it in your next purchasing review with my strong recommendation. The RRP is: $145.00

I recommend this title for the following reasons:

BENEFIT FOR THE LIBRARY: This book will be a valuable addition to the library's collection.

REFERENCE: I will refer to this book for my research/teaching work.

STUDENT REFERRAL: I will regularly refer my students to the book to assist their studies.

OWN AFFILIATION: I am an editor/contributor to this book or another book in the Series (where applicable) and/or on the Editorial Board of the Series, of which this volume is part.