Since gaining independence in 1965, Singapore has become the most trade-intensive economy in the world and the richest country in Southeast Asia. This transformation has been accompanied by the emergence of a deep generational divide. More complex than simple disparities of education or changes in income and consumption patterns, this growing gulf encompasses language, religion, and social memory. The Binding Tie: Chinese Intergenerational Relations in Modern Singapore, by Kristina Göransson, explores how expectations and obligations between generations are being challenged, reworked, and reaffirmed in the face of far-reaching societal change.
Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory
January 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3352-7 / $26.00 (PAPER)
First published in 1898 and long out of print, A Japanese Robinson Crusoe, by Jenichiro Oyabe, (1867–1941) is a pioneering work of Asian American literature. It recounts Oyabe’s early life in Japan, his journey west, and his education at two historically Black colleges, detailing in the process his gradual transformation from Meiji gentleman to self-proclaimed “Japanese Yankee.” Like a Victorian novelist, Oyabe spins a tale that mixes faith and exoticism, social analysis and humor. His story fuses classic American narratives of self-creation and the self-made man (and, in some cases, the tall tale) with themes of immigrant belonging and “whiteness.” Although he compares himself with the castaway Robinson Crusoe, Oyabe might best be described as a combination of Crusoe and his faithful servant Friday, the Christianized man of color who hungers to be enlightened by Western ways.
“This is a fascinating memoir by a young Japanese who spent thirteen years (1885–1898) traveling to all parts of the world: the Kurile islands, China, Okinawa, Hawaii, the United States, Britain, Portugal, etc., before returning to his native country as a teacher and a Christian minister. Few in the world, least of all Japanese, would have seen so much of the world on their own. What he saw—and, even more revealing, how he described what he saw—adds to our understanding not only of late nineteenth-century Japan’s encounter with distant lands, in particular the United States, but also of the history of international travels, a history that constitutes an essential part of the phenomenon of globalization.” —Akira Iriye, Harvard University
Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Transcultural Studies
January 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3247-6 / $28.00 (PAPER)
The idea of eliminating undesirable traits from human temperament to create a “new man” has been part of moral and political thinking worldwide for millennia. During the Enlightenment, European philosophers sought to construct an ideological framework for reshaping human nature. But it was only among the communist regimes of the twentieth century that such ideas were actually put into practice on a nationwide scale. In Creating the “New Man”: From Enlightenment Ideals to Socialist Realities, Yinghong Cheng examines three culturally diverse sociopolitical experiments—the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin, China under Mao, and Cuba under Castro—in an attempt to better understand the origins and development of the “new man.”
“There is no comparative study of the critically important and remarkably similar ‘new man’ creation programs of China and Cuba that is comparable in insights to this one. But this book speaks to still wider audiences, from students of the Marxist and other dogmatic, utopian ideologies that have so often consumed the resources and lives of people worldwide throughout the history of mankind, to analysts of development and anti-development experiences in general.” —William Ratliff, Stanford University
Perspectives on the Global Past
January 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3074-8 / $60.00 (CLOTH)
Envisioning Eternal Empire: Chinese Political Thought of the Warring States Era, by Yuri Pines, is an ambitious work that looks into the reasons for the exceptional durability of the Chinese empire, which lasted for more than two millennia (221 BCE–1911 CE). Pines identifies the roots of the empire’s longevity in the activities of thinkers of the Warring States period (453–221 BCE), who, in their search for solutions to an ongoing political crisis, developed ideals, values, and perceptions that would become essential for the future imperial polity. In marked distinction to similar empires worldwide, the Chinese empire was envisioned and to a certain extent “preplanned” long before it came into being. As a result, it was not only a military and administrative construct, but also an intellectual one. Pines makes the argument that it was precisely its ideological appeal that allowed the survival and regeneration of the empire after repeated periods of turmoil.
December 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3275-9 / $55.00 (CLOTH)
Ethnoburb: The New Ethnic Community in Urban America, by Wei Li, is an innovative work that provides a new model for the analysis of ethnic and racial settlement patterns in the United States and Canada. Ethnoburbs—suburban ethnic clusters of residential areas and business districts in large metropolitan areas—are multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual, and often multinational communities in which one ethnic minority group has a significant concentration but does not necessarily constitute a majority. Wei Li documents the processes that have evolved with the spatial transformation of the Chinese American community of Los Angeles and that have converted the San Gabriel Valley into ethnoburbs in the latter half of the twentieth century, and she examines the opportunities and challenges that occurred as a result of these changes.
December 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3065-6 / $56.00 (CLOTH)
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 three UH Press books were recognized for 2008. A complete list of titles will be available in Choice’s January 2009 issue.
Herself an Author: Gender, Agency, and Writing in Late Imperial China
by Grace S. Fong
“Takes the discussion in an exciting new direction. . . . The greatest contributions of this book . . . are the introductions of various women writers and the translations into English of their compositions, many discovered by the author and not heretofore translated into English. . . . Essential.” —Choice (November 2008)
Nippon Modern: Japanese Cinema of the 1920s and 1930s by Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano
“Since English-language scholars have rarely dealt with Japanese film of the 1920s and 1930s, outside the work of canonical directiors like Kenji Mizoguchi, this study is welcome. . . . Wada-Marciano offers groundbreaking analyses of such genres as the ‘middle-class’ film and the woman’s film. A final chapter provides a rich study of the links between national identity, modernity, and the signature style of Shochiku film studio. The end result is sure to stand as a definitive work for years to come. Essential.” —Choice (October 2008)
The Sociology of Southeast Asia: Transformations in a Developing Region by Victor T. King
“Victor King has produced a lucid, comprehensive, and challenging analysis of the state-of-the-art of Southeast Asian sociology. The book is not only an excellent textbook for courses on Southeast Asia or development sociology, but also ‘required reading’ for all social scientists embarking on research on the area. I am certain that it will become a long-lasting addition to the standard literature on Asia.” —Hans-Dieter Evers, University of Bonn