“This massive tome will stand for the forseeable future as the gold standard for comprehensive treatment of all matters of Japanese philosophy. The three editors, all significant names within this small but growing subfield, have assembled an impressive group of established and up-and-coming scholars to translate and provide introductions to each entry, resulting in a readable sourcebook remarkable in both scope and acuity of analysis. . . . Essential.”
Rewriting Medieval Japanese Women: Politics, Personality, and Literary Production in the Life of Nun Abutsu, by Christina Laffin, explores the world of thirteenth-century Japan through the life of a prolific noblewoman known as Nun Abutsu (1225–1283). Abutsu crossed gender and genre barriers by writing the first career guide for Japanese noblewomen, the first female-authored poetry treatise, and the first poetic travelogue by a woman—all despite the increasingly limited social mobility for women during the Kamakura era (1185–1336). Capitalizing on her literary talent and political prowess, Abutsu rose from middling origins and single-motherhood to a prestigious marriage and membership in an esteemed literary lineage.
“Laffin draws on an impressive array of primary and secondary sources in Japanese and English to create the most comprehensive picture we have to date of a remarkable woman who has been written out of the standard narratives of Japanese social, political, and literary history. This book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the role of women in the complex interplay of power, poetry, and politics in medieval Japan.” —Rajyashree Pandey, Goldsmiths, University of London
January 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3565-1 / $49.00 (CLOTH)
The Language of Secular Islam: Urdu Nationalism and Colonial India, by Kavita Datla, pursues an alternative account of the political disagreements between Hindus and Muslims in South Asia, conflicts too often described as the product of primordial and unchanging attachments to religion. The author suggests that the political struggles of India in the 1930s, the very decade in which the demand for Pakistan began to be articulated, should not be understood as the product of an inadequate or incomplete secularism, but as the clashing of competing secular agendas. Her work explores negotiations over language, education, and religion at Osmania University, the first university in India to use a modern Indian language (Urdu) as its medium of instruction, and sheds light on questions of colonial displacement and national belonging.
“This is a brilliantly innovative book that offers provocative insights into South Asian history, the workings of colonialism, and the interface of linguistic and religious identities in India’s premier princely state of Hyderabad. The author marshals an impressive range of sources to make a significant intervention in the field of Islamicate learning, moving beyond the much-discussed madrasa mode of education to document the birth and growth of India’s first vernacular public university.” —Syed Akbar Hyder, University of Texas at Austin
January 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3609-2 / $49.00 (CLOTH)
Diversity in Diaspora: Hmong Americans in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Mark Edward Pfeifer, Monica Chiu, and Kou Yang, wrestles with Hmong Americans’ inclusion into and contributions to Asian American studies, as well as to American history and culture and refugee, immigrant, and diasporic trajectories. It negotiates both Hmong American political and cultural citizenship, meticulously rewriting the established view of the Hmong as “new” Asian neighbors—an approach articulated, Hollywood style, in Clint Eastwood’s film Gran Torino. The collection boldly moves Hmong American studies away from its usual groove of refugee recapitulation that entrenches Hmong Americans points-of-origin and acculturation studies rather than propelling the field into other exciting academic avenues.
Following a summary of more than three decades’ of Hmong American experience and a demographic overview, chapters investigate the causes of and solutions to socioeconomic immobility in the Hmong American community and political and civic activism, including Hmong American electoral participation and its affects on policymaking. The influence of Hmong culture on young men is examined, followed by profiles of female Hmong leaders who discuss the challenges they face and interviews with aging Hmong Americans. A section on arts and literature looks at the continuing relevance of oral tradition to Hmong Americans’ successful navigation in the diaspora, similarities between rap and kwv txhiaj (unrehearsed, sung poetry), and Kao Kalia Yang’s memoir, The Latehomecomer. The final chapter addresses the lay of the land in Hmong American studies, constituting a comprehensive literature review.
January 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3597-2 / $60.00 (CLOTH)
A popular teaching that combined elements of Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, folk beliefs, and Catholicism, Tonghak (Eastern Learning) is best known for its involvement in a rebellion that touched off the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and accelerated Japanese involvement in Korea. Through a careful reading of sources—including religious works and biographies many of which are translated and annotated here into English for the first time—Salvation through Dissent: Tonghak Heterodoxy and Early Modern Korea, by George L. Kallander, traces Tonghak’s rise amidst the debates over orthodoxy and heterodoxy in Choson Korea (1392–1910) and its impact on religious and political identity from 1860 to 1906. It argues that the teachings of founder Ch’oe Cheu (1824–1864) attracted a large following among rural Koreans by offering them spiritual and material promises to relieve conditions such as poverty and disease and provided consolation in a tense geo-political climate.
“In this refreshingly original study of Tonghak, Kallander dismantles some of the myths that have sprung up about Korea’s first indigenous organized religion. He situates Tonghak in its historical context, reading the earliest Tonghak texts the way they were meant to be read when they were first composed, rather than the way they have been interpreted by latter generations. Moreover, in a departure from much previous scholarship on Tonghak, he accurately analyzes Tonghak as more religious than political in origin. This work is a significant contribution to our understanding of both Korean religion and Korean history in the nineteenth century.” —Don Baker, University of British Columbia
Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity, edited by Joshua Baker, Erik Harms, and Johan Lindquist, brings together the fieldwork of over eighty scholars and covers the nine major countries of the region: Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. An introduction outlines important social transformations in Southeast Asia and key theoretical and methodological innovations that result from ethnographic attention to the study of key figures. Each section begins with an introduction by a country editor followed by short essays offering vivid and intimate portraits set against the background of contemporary Southeast Asia. The result is a volume that combines scholarly rigor with a meaningful, up-to-date portrayal of a region of the world undergoing rapid change. A reference bibliography offers suggestions for further reading.
“The idea of capturing recent transformations of Southeast Asia through vignettes about familiar yet idiosyncratic individuals is brilliant. The everyday experiences and aspirations of people trying to make sense of their lives and dreams convey a complex and often surprising view of contemporary cross-currents, upheavals, anxieties, and struggles in a volatile region. This volume offers a great way for students to understand and empathize with ordinary people and nations in rapid motion.” —Aihwa Ong, co-editor of Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments in the Art of Being Global
January 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3741-9 / $25.00 (PAPER)
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