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December 2017 AAS Member News & Notes

Congratulations to former AAS President Theodore Bestor, Reischauer Institute Professor of Social Anthropology and Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University, who was recently awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, by the Japanese government. Bestor received the commendation for his “extensive contributions to the study of Japan and to the promotion of scholarly and educational exchange between Japan and the United States of America throughout his career.” In a note of thanks to his colleagues, Bestor writes: I have to remind friends (and myself) that whatever I have done—researched, taught, written about Japan as an anthropologist—has only been possible because of the kindness and patience of countless Japanese who have been willing to talk with an inquisitive stranger and to allow me to learn about their lives and communities (not to mention their food)!  I am grateful to the Japanese government for thi ...

Excerpt: The Book of Swindles

The roads and rivers of China saw a steady stream of travelers during the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), as merchants moved from place to place, creating a vibrant commercial network that bound together the country’s flourishing southern cities. On the road, however, people were vulnerable: cut off from familiar places and faces, it was easy to fall prey to the roving con men who had devised a plethora of get-rich-quick schemes that would relieve their victims of money and goods. English-language readers can now learn about a wide range of the frauds perpetrated in 17th-century China by picking up The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection (Columbia University Press, 2017), written by Zhang Yingyu (fl. 1612-17) and recently translated by AAS Members Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk, both professors in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. Zhang’s work, Rea and Rusk write in the book’s introduction, “presents a panoramic survey of dec ...

AAS Co-Signs Statement Opposing U.S. Proposal to Tax Tuition Waivers

The Association for Asian Studies has joined 33 other scholarly organizations within the American Council for Learned Societies in co-signing a statement drafted by the American Philosophical Association opposing a proposal to treat graduate student tuition waivers as taxable income. This proposal was included in the tax reform bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on November 16, 2017 but does not appear in the version of the bill currently under consideration by the U.S. Senate. We encourage all AAS members to contact their Senators and Representatives and express to them that maintaining tax-free tuition waivers is a necessity for ensuring that American universities remain among the world’s leaders in graduate education. The statement reads as follows: We, the undersigned organizations, stand together in opposition to the proposal to tax graduate school tuition waivers as income, a provision included in the tax reform bill recently passed by the US House of Representatives. As reporte ...

Best of the EAA Archives: November 28, 2017 Edition

The “Best of EAA Articles” are a series of posts that include outstanding articles, essays, interviews, and reviews that are among the over 1,500 archived open access materials available on the Education About Asia website. Titles, short annotations, and links are below. • “Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada: Digital Teaching Resources”(fall 2017) High school and undergraduate survey-level instructors who access the fall 2017 EAA online supplements will find two excellent educational modules (China’s One-Child Policy, The Rise and Fall of the Khmer Rouge Regime) and learn about a prominent not-for-profit organization that focuses upon Canada’s relations with Asia. • “More Than a Meal: School Lunch in Japan” (spring 2017) Alexis Sanborn in this engaging article lucidly depicts how Japanese schools use school lunches as highly effective pedagogical tools. • “Who Did What in a Chinese Lady’s Autobiography? A Text and Lesson Plan on ...

#AsiaNow Speaks with Foong Ping

FOONG Ping is Foster Foundation Curator of Chinese Art at Seattle Art Museum and author of The Efficacious Landscape: On the Authorities of Painting at the Northern Song Court, published by Harvard University Asia Center and winner of the 2017 AAS Joseph Levenson Book Prize, Pre-1900 Category. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. The book is about ink landscape painting, one of the most distinctive features of Northern Song dynasty culture. It addresses how these works fulfilled diverse functions at court during the late 11th century—as forms of decoration, as a medium of social exchange, and even as an integral element of this pivotal period’s political history. Through landscape’s unique ability to communicate through embodiment, they became potent symbols of imperial authority, and later became objects through which exiled scholars expressed disaffection and dissent. The first part of my study focuses attention on how and why the Song imperial establishment—emper ...

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