UH Press Seeks Production Manager

The UH Press will accept applications until March 5th to fill its full-time, permanent position as head of Design and Production, which became vacant upon the retirement of JoAnn Tenorio in December 2008.

More information about the position’s duties and responsibilities, minimum qualifications, desirable qualifications, and application procedures can be found at the Work at UH website.

The State in Myanmar

The State in Myanmar, by Robert H. Taylor, attempts to draw the complex history of state-making and state perpetuation in Myanmar in one volume. The social and economic forces, as well as international and domestic issues, which have made Myanmar one of the poorest and least understood Asian countries, are discussed. The efforts of Myanmar’s kings, British colonial officials, nationalist politicians, socialist ideologues, and army generals to preserve the state in Myanmar is a history worth attempting to understand on its own terms.

“A substantive addition to [Taylor’s] 1987 version of The State of Burma, [this work] continues the story of the evolution and development of the modern Burmese state to 2008. It is clearly one of the best books (if not the best) published in the English language on the modern state in Myanmar, particularly in terms of evidence, conceptualization, methodology, analysis, and perspective. As such, it has few, if any, equals. In large part, it is because the author is an unassuming and sensitive scholar of the country’s modern institutions for nearly half a century, grounded by frequent and long-term stays in the country that have provided first-hand and unique access to data, individuals, and events. In the latter sense too, the author has few equals. Thus, both his professional and personal experiences have given him the special wherewithal for producing such a work. For scholars and other educated readers genuinely interested in, and concerned about, the affairs and people of Myanmar, this book is required reading.” —Michael Aung-Thwin, University of Hawai‘i

February 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3362-6 / $28.00 (PAPER)

Ascetics and Social Memory in Early Medieval China

By the middle of the third century B.C.E. in China there were individuals who sought to become transcendents (xian)—deathless, godlike beings endowed with supernormal powers. This quest for transcendence became a major form of religious expression and helped lay the foundation on which the first Daoist religion was built. Both xian and those who aspired to this exalted status in the centuries leading up to 350 C.E. have traditionally been portrayed as secretive and hermit-like figures. Making Transcendents: Ascetics and Social Memory in Early Medieval China, by Robert Ford Campany, offers a very different view of xian-seekers in late classical and early medieval China. It suggests that transcendence did not involve a withdrawal from society but rather should be seen as a religious role situated among other social roles and conceived in contrast to them. Robert Campany argues that the much-discussed secrecy surrounding ascetic disciplines was actually one important way in which practitioners presented themselves to others. He contends, moreover, that many adepts were not socially isolated at all but were much sought after for their power to heal the sick, divine the future, and narrate their exotic experiences.

“This pioneering study overturns conventional wisdom about ancient Chinese religious traditions by vividly portraying the social processes by which adepts could achieve recognition and legitimacy as transcendents (immortals). Campany convincingly demonstrates that some forms of self-cultivation and asceticism were culturally scripted performances that could have a profound impact on the audiences who observed or read about them, and that both adepts and the individuals they encountered were involved in constructing narratives about transcendence. Making Transcendents succeeds in bringing these seemingly ephemeral beings down from the summits and the clouds by locating them where they have always belonged: in the hearts of their worshippers and acquaintances. This eloquently written book should prove an invaluable resource for both teaching and research.” —Paul R. Katz, Academia Sinica

February 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3333-6 / $48.00 (CLOTH)

Tonga: A New Bibliography

Tonga is a fascinating and subtle combination of a traditional Polynesian kingdom—the only one to survive the impact of colonization in the nineteenth century and remain independent—and a thoroughly Christian country. This comprehensive bibliography is a selective guide to the most significant and accessible English-language books, papers, and articles on every aspect of the kingdom’s history, culture, arts, politics, environment, and economy. It is a much updated and expanded edition of the original version that was published in 1999 as part of the World Bibliographical Series, with the addition of more than 200 new entries. Each of the approximately 600 described and annotated items is organized under broad subject headings, and indexed by author, title, and subject. In addition—and new to this edition—all known Ph.D. theses, although not annotated, are shown within their appropriate subject categories and indexed. Also new is a section on the most important Tonga-related websites. A general introduction describes the Tongan kingdom, its history and society, and its current situation.

“Tonga is unique among bibliographies in its perception and understanding, and in its affection for Tonga and its people. . . . Daly’s work stands on exceptionally sound foundations. . . . His summaries are excellent, indeed, but Daly writes always with the authority of first-hand knowledge, with a keen eye for the essential, and the ability to interpret and clarify obscurities. . . . A trustworthy introduction to Tonga in all its diversity, a splendid point de départ for all, layman or scholar, needing a reliable guide to the essential literature about this remarkable Polynesian kingdom.” —Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

February 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3196-7 / $65.00 (CLOTH)

Socially Engaged Buddhism

Socially Engaged Buddhism, is an introduction to the contemporary movement of Buddhists, East and West, who actively engage with the problems of the world—social, political, economic, and environmental—on the basis of Buddhist ideas, values, and spirituality. Sallie B. King, one of North America’s foremost experts on the subject, identifies in accessible language the philosophical and ethical thinking behind the movement and examines how key principles such as karma, the Four Noble Truths, interdependence, nonharmfulness, and nonjudgmentalism relate to social engagement.

Dimensions of Asian Spirituality
February 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3351-0 / $16.00 (PAPER)

Roth Receives National Award for Social Justice Work

UH law professor and UH Press author Randall Roth was awarded the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award from Morehouse College for his pursuit of social justice though nonviolent means. Roth received the award last month on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day at the tenth anniversary of “Victory Over Violence,” an activity of the International Committee of Artists for Peace.

The GKI Award was created by Morehouse College to celebrate the lives and work of three individuals from different cultures and countries whose common path of profound dedication to peace is recognized internationally. The award presentation emphasized Roth’s writings that call for transparency and accountability in government and charities.