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Photo: Robert J. Shallenberger (from Hawaiian Birds of the Sea: Na Manu Kai, available November 2009)
The Arts of Kingship: Hawaiian Art and National Culture of the Kalakaua Era, by Stacy L. Kamehiro, offers a sustained and detailed account of Hawaiian public art and architecture during the reign of David Kalakaua, the nativist and cosmopolitan ruler of the Hawaiian Kingdom from 1874 to 1891. Kamehiro provides visual and historical analysis of Kalakaua’s coronation and regalia, the King Kamehameha Statue, ‘Iolani Palace, and the Hawaiian National Museum, drawing them together in a common historical, political, and cultural frame. Each articulated Hawaiian national identities and navigated the turbulence of colonialism in distinctive ways and has endured as a key cultural symbol.
August 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3358-9 / $24.00 (PAPER)
The Material Culture of Death in Medieval Japan, by Karen M. Gerhart, is the first in the English language to explore the ways medieval Japanese sought to overcome their sense of powerlessness over death. By attending to both religious practice and ritual objects used in funerals in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, it seeks to provide a new understanding of the relationship between the two. Gerhart looks at how these special objects and rituals functioned by analyzing case studies culled from written records, diaries, and illustrated handscrolls, and by examining surviving funerary structures and painted and sculpted images.
August 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3261-2 / $39.00 (CLOTH)
Spirits of the Place: Buddhism and Lao Religious Culture, by John Clifford Holt, is a rare and timely contribution to our understanding of religious culture in Laos and Southeast Asia. Most often studied as a part of Thai, Vietnamese, or Khmer history, Laos remains a terra incognita to most Westerners—and to many of the people living throughout Asia as well. Holt’s new book brings this fascinating nation into focus. With its overview of Lao Buddhism and analysis of how shifting political power—from royalty to democracy to communism—has impacted Lao religious culture, the book offers an integrated account of the entwined political and religious history of Laos from the fourteenth century to the contemporary era.
“John Holt’s study of Lao Buddhism makes a unique contribution to our understanding of the understudied religious culture of Laos. Of special value are the comparisons Holt draws between Lao and Sinhala religious culture, and the insight achieved when Buddhist conceptuality, symbol, and ritual are seen through the lens of the indigenous Lao religious substratum rather than vice versa.” —Donald K. Swearer, Director, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School
August 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3327-5 / $58.00 (CLOTH)
China’s century of revolutionary change has been heard as much as seen, and nowhere is this more evident than in an auditory history of the modern Chinese poem. From Lu Xun’s seminal writings on literature to a recitation renaissance in urban centers today, poetics meets politics in the sounding voice of poetry. Supported throughout by vivid narration and accessible analysis, Voices in Revolution: Poetry and the Auditory Imagination in Modern China, by John A. Crespi, offers a literary history of modern China that makes the case for the importance of the auditory dimension of poetry in national, revolutionary, and postsocialist culture.
“This is an important and exciting monograph for the field of modern Chinese literature. It sheds unprecedented light on poetic composition and does much more than previous studies to flesh out the living practice of poetry circulation and reception in modern China.” —Charles Laughlin, Tsinghua University, Beijing
August 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3365-7 / $47.00 (CLOTH)