Posted by UH Press Marketing on 15 October 2013
Using a synthetic narrative approach, this ambitious work uses the lens of multipolarity to analyze Tang China’s (618–907) relations with Turkestan; the Korean states of Koguryŏ, Silla, and Paekche; the state of Parhae in Manchuria; and the Nanzhao and Tibetan kingdoms. Without any one entity able to dominate Asia’s geopolitical landscape, the author argues that relations among these countries were quite fluid and dynamic—an interpretation that departs markedly from the prevalent view of China fixed at the center of a widespread “tribute system.”
To cope with external affairs in a tumultuous world, Tang China employed a dual management system that allowed both central and local officials to conduct foreign affairs. The court authorized Tang local administrators to receive foreign visitors, forward their diplomatic letters to the capital, and manage contact with outsiders whose territories bordered on China. Not limited to handling routine matters, local officials used their knowledge of border situations to influence the court’s foreign policy. Some even took the liberty of acting without the court’s authorization when an emergency occurred, thus adding another layer to multipolarity in the region’s geopolitics.
The book also sheds new light on the ideological foundation of Tang China’s foreign policy. Appropriateness, efficacy, expedience, and mutual self-interest guided the court’s actions abroad. Although officials often used “virtue” and “righteousness” in policy discussions and announcements, these terms were not abstract universal principles but justifications for the pursuit of self-interest by those involved. Detailed philological studies reveal that in the realm of international politics, “virtue” and “righteousness” were in fact viewed as pragmatic and utilitarian in nature. Comprehensive and authoritative, Tang China in Multi-Polar Asia is a major work on Tang foreign relations that will reconceptualize our understanding of the complexities of diplomacy and war in imperial China.
2013, 480 pages, 7 illustrations
$65.00 ISBN: 978-0-8248-3644-3, Cloth
The World of East Asia
Posted in China, general interest, history | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 19 August 2013
UH Press author, Victor Mair, Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania has been featured in SAS Frontiers. Read the full interview https://www.sas.upenn.edu/series/frontiers/even-pace here.
Posted in Asia, China | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 12 August 2013
Eccentric artists are “the vagaries of humanity” that inhabit the deviant underside of Japanese society: This was the conclusion drawn by pre–World War II commentators on most early modern Japanese artists. Postwar scholarship, as it searched for evidence of Japan’s modern roots, concluded the opposite: The eccentric, mad, and strange are moral exemplars, paragons of virtue, and shining hallmarks of modern consciousness. In recent years, the pendulum has swung again, this time in favor of viewing these oddballs as failures and dropouts without lasting cultural significance.
This work corrects the disciplinary (and exclusionary) nature of such interpretations by reconsidering the sudden and dramatic emergence of aesthetic eccentricity during the Edo period (1600–1868). A study of impressive historical and disciplinary breadth, The Aesthetics of Strangeness also makes extensive use of primary sources, many previously overlooked in existing English scholarship. Its coverage of the entire Edo period and engagement with both Chinese and native Japanese traditions reinterprets Edo-period tastes and perceptions of normalcy. By wedding art history to intellectual history, literature, aesthetics, and cultural practice, W. Puck Brecher strives for a broadly interdisciplinary perspective on this topic. The Aesthetics of Strangeness demystifies this emergent paradigm by illuminating the conditions and tensions under which certain rubrics of strangeness— ki and kyō particularly—were appointed as aesthetic criteria. Its revision of early modern Japanese culture constitutes an important contribution to the field.
2013, 272 pages, 26 illustrations; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3666-5, Cloth $42.00
Posted in China, history, Japan, sociology | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 25 July 2013
Although modernization in Korea started more than a century later than in the West, it has worked as a prominent ideology throughout the past century—in particular it has brought radical changes in Korean architecture and cities. Traditional structures and ways of life have been thoroughly uprooted in modernity’s continuous negation of the past. Architecture and Urbanism in Modern Korea, by Inha Jung, presents a comprehensive overview of architectural development and urbanization in Korea within the broad framework of modernization.
“Inha Jung has written a fine volume, full of very well informed accounts of events, insightful analyses of projects, and nuanced ideas about the unique flow of architectural and urban modernization in Korea. Jung is a mature scholar who delivers a well-balanced and original account that is both ambitious in scope and delivered in unencumbered and economical prose, with lavish documentation should one want to go further into particular aspects. It is a book that can easily be read and appreciated by people outside the field, in, say, cultural or Korean studies, as well as by those without disciplinary affiliation who are simply interested in Korea.” —Peter G. Rowe, Raymond Garbe Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, Harvard University
ISBN 978-0-8248-3585-9 / $42.00 (CLOTH)
When the Chinese Nationalist Party nominally reunified the country in 1928, Chiang Kai-shek and other party leaders insisted that Nanjing was better suited than Beijing to serve as its capital. For the next decade, until the Japanese invasion in 1937, Nanjing was the “model capital” of Nationalist China, the center of not just a new regime, but also a new modern outlook in a China destined to reclaim its place at the forefront of nations. Interesting parallels between China’s recent rise under the Post-Mao Chinese Communist Party and the Nationalist era have brought increasing scholarly attention to the Nanjing Decade (1927–1937); however, study of Nanjing itself has been neglected. In China’s Contested Capital: Architecture, Ritual, and Response in Nanjing, Charles Musgrove brings the city back into the discussion of China’s modern development, focusing on how it was transformed from a factional capital with only regional influence into a symbol of nationhood—a city where newly forming ideals of citizenship were celebrated and contested on its streets and at its monuments.
“China’s Contested Capital provides a nuanced, holistic view of the political, spatial, and social dimensions of Nanjing as the Guomindang capital. The grandiose plans for the governmental complex and the strikingly novel architecture of individual buildings aimed to promote Nanjing, Sun Yat-sen’s ‘Three Principles of the People,’ and the ROC’s governmental structure as modernist templates to the rest of the world. Musgrove’s chronicle of the optimism that propelled the city’s transformation and its eventual disappointment allows us to apprehend as never before the lively drama of Nanjing urban space.” —Peter J. Carroll, Wayne V. Jones Research Professor in History, Northwestern University
ISBN 978-0-8248-3628-3 / $49.00 (CLOTH)
Spatial Habitus: Making and Meaning in Asia’s Architecture
Published in association with Hong Kong University Press
Posted in architecture, art & visual culture, Asia, China, history, Korea | Tagged: Spatial Habitus | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 14 June 2013
Two UH Press titles have been short listed for the 2013 ICAS (International Convention of Asia Scholars) Book Prize in the humanities and the social sciences. Winners will be announced during the ICAS Book Prize Awards Ceremony on June 25, 2013, in Macao. Press director Michael Duckworth, marketing manager Colins Kawai, and acquisitions editor Pamela Kelley will be attending this year’s meeting.
Chinese Architecture and the Beaux-Arts, edited by Jeffrey W. Cody, Nancy S. Steinhardt, and Tony Akin
“[The] fascinating and under-appreciated cross-pollination of Eastern and Western architecture is thoroughly examined in [this] absorbing new book. . . . Although filled with handsome photos contemporary and historic, Chinese Architecture and the Beaux-Arts is no coffee-table book — this volume is a thoughtful and far-ranging account of international trends in architecture, which have been too little known in the U.S. It fills an important need and is certain to find its place in every serious library of architectural history.” —Traditional Building (2011)
Burning Money: The Material Spirit of the Chinese Lifeworld, by C. Fred Blake
“Blake fully illustrates the common practice of burning paper money in the daily lives of many people throughout China, exploring the forces that have continued and transformed this old tradition from old times up to the present. His book is innovative and comprehensive in its interpretation of this common custom in China and will be welcomed by anyone interested in the living traditions and cultures of China.” —Asian Ethnology (71:2, 2012)
Posted in anthropology, architecture, art & visual culture, Asia, awards, China | Tagged: ICAS Book Prize | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 13 June 2013
What drives China’s obsession with foreign styles? In a New York Review of Books blog post, “Faking It in China,” Ian Johnson provides some answers in his discussion of Bianca Bosker’s Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China:
“In her fascinating new book . . . Bosker focuses on the suburbs for the upper class that began to be built in the late 1990s, following the privatization of real estate. These are not just individual buildings but entire streetscapes, with cobblestone alleys, faux churches (often used as concert halls), towers, and landscaping designed to reproduce the feel of European and North American cities. . . . Original Copies is filled with analysis about why these developments flourish.”
Original Copies is part of the Spatial Habitus: Making and Meaning in Asia’s Architecture series and is
published in association with Hong Kong University Press.
For more on China’s architectural mimicry:
Copycat Architects in China Take Aim at the Stars: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/pirated-copy-of-design-by-star-architect-hadid-being-built-in-china-a-874390.html
China’s Copycat Cities: http://uhpress.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/foreign-policy-article-on-chinas-copycat-cities/
Posted in architecture, art & visual culture, Asia, China, reviews | Tagged: Spatial Habitus; architectural mimicry | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 2 May 2013
Numerous reports of “cancer villages” have appeared in the past decade in both Chinese and Western media, highlighting the downside of China’s economic development. Less generally known is how people experience and understand cancer in areas where there is no agreement on its cause. Who or what do they blame? How do they cope with its onset? Fighting for Breath: Living Morally and Dying of Cancer in a Chinese Village, by Anna Lora-Wainwright, is the first ethnography to offer a bottom-up account of how rural families strive to make sense of cancer and care for sufferers. It addresses crucial areas of concern such as health, development, morality, and social change in an effort to understand what is at stake in the contemporary Chinese countryside.
“Fighting for Breath is a well-written, ethnographically grounded, and anthropologically compelling book. It is theoretically sophisticated and clearly the work of a serious China scholar and first-rate medical anthropologist. Cancer has received much less attention in these fields than it deserves, so this volume fills an important niche.” —Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University
May 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3682-5 / $52.00 (CLOTH)
Posted in anthropology, Asia, China | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 2 May 2013
The term “revival” has been used to describe the resurgent vitality of Buddhism in Taiwan. Particularly impressive is the quality and size of the nun’s order: Taiwanese nuns today are highly educated and greatly outnumber monks. Both characteristics are unprecedented in the history of Chinese Buddhism and are evident in the Incense Light community (Xiangguang). Passing the Light: The Incense Light Community and Buddhist Nuns in Contemporary Taiwan, by Chün-Fang Yü, is the first in-depth case study of the community, which was founded in 1974 and remains a small but influential order of highly educated nuns who dedicate themselves to teaching Buddhism to lay adults.
Topics in Contemporary Buddhism
May 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3812-6 / $29.00 (PAPER)
Posted in Asia, Buddhism, China, religion, women's studies | Tagged: Topics in Contemporary Buddhism | Leave a Comment »