Posted on 5/12/2017 10:00 AM By Maura Elizabeth Cunningham
In the early afternoon of May 12, 2008, a devastating 7.9-magnitude earthquake ruptured the countryside of China’s southwestern Sichuan Province. More than 85,000 people died, including at least 5,000 children killed when their schools collapsed—victims of corruption on the part of local officials and building contractors, who had skimmed from the top of building funds and erected shoddy “tofu-dregs schoolhouses” that stood no chance against the earthquake’s might. In the first weeks following the quake, parents staged protests and called on the government to punish those deemed responsible for their children’s deaths.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) quickly moved to silence the outcries and control the narrative about the earthquake. Government propaganda and news stories steered attention away from the manmade disaster (renhuo) caused by corruption and focused instead on the natural disaster (tianzai) of the earthquake and the CCP’s leadership in rescue and recon ...
Posted on 3/29/2017 2:13 PM By Maura Elizabeth Cunningham
Anna M. Shields is Professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton University and the author of One Who Knows Me: Friendship and Literary Culture in Mid-Tang China, published by Harvard Asia Center (2015) and winner of the 2017 AAS Honorable Mention for the Levenson Book Prize (pre-1900).
To begin with, please tell us what your book is about.
My book explores mid-Tang [Dynasty] literature in order to understand the complex value mid-Tang writers discovered in friendship―as a rewarding social practice, a rich literary topic, a way to negotiate literati identity, and a path toward self-understanding. I look at the evolution of the performance of friendship in a wide range of genres, including letters, prefaces, exchange poetry, and funerary texts, and I translate and explicate dozens of texts. The book follows the life-course of mid-Tang literati men, from youthful competition in the exams through career vicissitudes to death and commemoration.
What inspired you to research this topic?
I was ...
Posted on 3/9/2017 5:00 PM By Maura Elizabeth Cunningham
The following is a revised and expanded version of an article that first appeared in the December 2016 E-Newsletter.
This is my first year working for the AAS rather than being an attendee at the annual conference. Although there are plenty of good things about my job, the one downside is that I most likely won’t have time to catch many panels. Still, old habits die hard, and as soon as the conference program arrived in my office I sat down and read through it—impressed, as usual, by the breadth and depth of the Asian Studies field.
Panel topics at AAS always cover an enormous range of time periods, geographic places, and academic fields of study. Some topics are perennial ones, discussed anew each decade in light of the latest archival discoveries or turn in scholarly perspective. Others, however, are less common, representing entire new sub-specialties or a periodic focus on events that otherwise do not receive a great deal of attention.
In looking over the panel sessi ...
Posted on 3/1/2017 2:50 PM By Maura Elizabeth Cunningham
On behalf of the Association for Asian Studies, I’d like to welcome you to #AsiaNow, our first-ever born-digital publication.
We’ve created this space to provide Asianists a venue in which to analyze current affairs, share notes from the field, and keep up with the latest news from the AAS. #AsiaNow won’t replace the Journal of Asian Studies, Education About Asia, or our various monograph series. Instead, #AsiaNow is a new type of venture for the AAS—one that will encourage scholars of Asia to bring their expert knowledge to non-academic audiences and provide informed analysis of events and trends in Asia. It will also facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas across the Asian Studies field in an effort to fight the tendency for scholars to fragment into clusters of sub-specialists. We want #AsiaNow to be a place for broader conversations.
#AsiaNow also enables us to provide timely association updates to AAS members. At the blog, you’ll see information about the ...