Reading Food in Asian American Literature

The French epicure and gastronome Brillat-Savarin declared, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.” Wenying Xu infuses this notion with cultural-political energy by extending it to an ethnic group known for its cuisines: Asian Americans. Eating Identities: Reading Food in Asian American Literature begins with the general argument that eating is a means of becoming—not simply in the sense of nourishment but more importantly of what we choose to eat, what we can afford to eat, what we secretly crave but are ashamed to eat in front of others, and how we eat. Food, as the most significant medium of traffic between the inside and outside of our bodies, organizes, signifies, and legitimates our sense of self and distinguishes us from others, who practice different foodways.

November 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3195-0 / $29.00 (PAPER)

Choice Magazine’s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2007 Announced

Each year Choice Magazine, the official publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries, compiles a distinguished list of Outstanding Academic Titles. The following five UH Press books were recognized for 2007. A complete list of titles will be available in the January 2008 issue.

The Flaming Womb: Repositioning Women in Early Modern Southeast Asia by Barbara Watson Andaya

“Andaya has penned the definitive volume on women in early modern Southeast Asia. Graduates and undergraduates will find Andaya’s work approachable and foundational to their understanding of Southeast Asian history, society, politics, and religion. . . . Andaya’s tightly argued book is masterfully organized and is the most comprehensive book to date on women in Southeast Asia. A must read for Southeast Asianists and historians of gender and women.” —Choice, February 2007

Displacing Desire: Travel and Popular Culture in China by Beth E. Notar

“In a half-dozen penetrating chapters, anthropologist Notar examines the relationship between cultural representations and physical transformation in this superb ethnography of place. . . . Besides the valuable contribution that this book makes to the literature on representation, popular culture, and tourism, it offers fascinating insights on a growing Chinese consumer society. Highly recommended.” —Choice, October 2007

Himiko and Japan’s Elusive Chiefdom of Yamatai: Archaeology, History, and Mythology by J. Edward Kidder, Jr.

“The most comprehensive and persuasive treatment in English to date of the great ancient Japanese mystery that has captured the imagination of the Japanese: the location of Yamatai and the identity of its female shaman leader, Himiko. . . . In what must be the magnum opus and capstone of his illustrious career, Kidder meticulously and thoroughly examines all historical, archaeological, and mythological materials, creating a grand synthesis. . . . Highly recommended.” —Choice, October 2007

Korea’s Twentieth-Century Odyssey: A Short History
by Michael E. Robinson

“The wait for a succinct yet comprehensive history of modern Korea is over. This volume, deftly written by Michael E. Robinson, comes as a welcome alternative to histories of Korea too long or too complex for typical undergraduates. . . . Striking photographs throughout confirm this impressive volume’s status as the new standard in the field. . . . Essential.” —Choice, November 2007

The Growth and Collapse of Pacific Island Societies: Archaeological and Demographic Perspectives
edited by Patrick V. Kirch and Jean-Louis Rallu

“This collection is a seminal contribution to the longstanding concern with demographic levels and change before and following European contacts with Pacific Island societies. . . . The essays represent exemplary interdisciplinary meshings and, in developing a new level of technique for this research, remind readers of the excellence of the earlier work as well. . . . Undoubtably, this will be a basic reference in Pacific Islands scholarship. Highly recommended.” —Choice, October 2007

Reflections on Asian Bodies in Diaspora

Approximately twelve hours’ difference lies between New York and Beijing: The West and the East are, literally, night and day apart. Yet East-West Montage: Reflections on Asian Bodies in Diaspora, by Sheng-Mei Ma, crosscuts the two in the manner of adjacent filmic shots to accentuate their montage-like complementarity. It examines the intersection between East and West—the Asian diaspora (or more specifically Asian bodies in diaspora) and the cultural expressions by and about people of Asian descent on both sides of the Pacific.

November 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3181-3 / $27.00 (PAPER)

East-West Montage possesses a unique vision that promises to push discussions of globalization, cultural production, ethnic identity, and bodily metaphors in powerful new directions. Ma is to be praised for his sound scholarship and innovative interpretations. Indeed where others specialize in either the collection of details or the unpacking of text, Ma weaves a strong analytic exegesis rooted in thorough research.” —Richard King, Washington State University

Deguchi Onisaburo, Oomoto, and the Rise of New Religions

From the 1910s to the mid-1930s, the flamboyant and gifted spiritualist Deguchi Onisaburô (1871–1948) transformed his mother-in-law’s small, rural religious following into a massive movement, eclectic in content and international in scope. Through a potent blend of traditional folk beliefs and practices like divination, exorcism, and millenarianism, an ambitious political agenda, and skillful use of new forms of visual and mass media, he attracted millions to Oomoto, his Shintoist new religion. Prophet Motive: Deguchi Onisaburô, Oomoto, and the Rise of New Religions in Imperial Japan, by Nancy K. Stalker, not only gives us the first full account in English of the rise of a heterodox movement in imperial Japan, but also provides new perspectives on the importance of “charismatic entrepreneurship” in the success of new religions around the world.

November 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3172-1 / $49.00 (CLOTH)

“A tour de force of scholarship, this compelling work raises the bar for works on religion, history and modernity and should be standard reading for years to come.”—James Ketelaar, University of Chicago

Buddhist Cults and the Hwaom Synthesis in Silla Korea

Western scholarship has hitherto described the assimilation of Buddhism in Korea in terms of the importation of Sino-Indian and Chinese intellectual schools. This has led to an overemphasis on the scholastic understanding of Buddhism and overlooked evidence of the way Buddhism was practiced “on the ground.” Domesticating the Dharma: Buddhist Cults and the Hwaom Synthesis in Silla Korea, by Richard D. McBride, II, provides a much-needed corrective to this view by presenting for the first time a descriptive analysis of the cultic practices that defined and shaped the way Buddhists in Silla Korea understood their religion from the sixth to tenth centuries. Critiquing the conventional two-tiered model of “elite” versus “popular” religion, Richard McBride demonstrates how the eminent monks, royalty, and hereditary aristocrats of Silla were the primary proponents of Buddhist cults and that rich and diverse practices spread to the common people because of their influence.

November 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3087-8 / $52.00 (CLOTH)

Micronesians in the Pacific War

Micronesians often liken the Pacific War to a typhoon, one that swept away their former lives and brought dramatic changes to their understandings of the world and their places in it. Those who survived the war years know that their peoples passed through a major historical transformation. Yet Pacific War histories scarcely mention the Islanders across whose lands and seas the fighting waged. Memories of War: Micronesians in the Pacific War, by Suzanne Falgout, Lin Poyer, and Laurence M. Carucci, sets out the fill that historical gap by presenting the missing voices of Micronesians and by viewing those years from their perspectives.

November 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3130-1 / $25.00 (PAPER)