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Q&A with Denise Y. Ho, Author of Curating Revolution: Politics on Display in Mao’s China

Denise Y. Ho is assistant professor of history at Yale University and a specialist in modern China. She recently published her first book, Curating Revolution: Politics on Display in Mao’s China (Cambridge University Press, 2018), an examination of the exhibitionary culture of the People’s Republic between 1949 and 1976. In Curating Revolution, Ho explores different ways that exhibitions brought revolution to the masses and taught Chinese Communist Party (CCP) narratives about the past, present, and future to them. The six case studies of Curating Revolution are all located in Shanghai—itself a living exhibition, a former treaty port undergoing a socialist transformation under CCP oversight, and thus the embodiment of the contrast between the pre-1949 Old Society and Mao’s New China. Visitors to Zhabei District’s Fangua Lane, for example, toured both thatch huts that had provided shelter to the area’s dwellers in the late 1940s and modern five-story apartment buildings c ...

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After 50 Years, “Marketing and Social Structure in Rural China” Remains a China Studies Classic

By Daniel Knorr G. William Skinner (1925-2008) was an anthropologist of China who taught at Cornell, Columbia, Stanford, and the University of California, Davis during his long and impressive career. President of the AAS in 1983, among Skinner’s many contributions to the field is a trio of articles that appeared in the Journal of Asian Studies in 1964-65, in which he set out his analysis of the social and economic networks connecting marketing towns in rural China. Skinner’s insights attracted such attention among China specialists that in 1974 the AAS published his JAS articles in a single volume, Marketing and Social Structure in Rural China. The book proved so popular that the association reprinted it five times over the next three decades. As Daniel Knorr explains in the short essay below, Skinner’s work remains one of the foundational texts for China studies and should be read (and re-read) by all scholars in the field. We are currently offering copies of the sixth reprint of Mark ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with the Translators of Zuo Tradition/Zuozhuan

Stephen Durrant, Wai-yee Li, and David Schaberg are translators of Zuo Tradition/Zuozhuan: Commentary on the “Spring and Autumn Annals,” published by the University of Washington Press and winner of the 2018 AAS Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize for Translation. Stephen Durrant is Professor of Chinese and Vice Provost for International Affairs at the University of Oregon; Wai-yee Li is Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University; and David Schaberg is Dean of Humanities and Professor of Asian Languages & Cultures at UCLA. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. This is an annotated translation of Zuozhuan (ca. 4th century BCE), a chronologically arranged text that tells of events spanning 255 years (722-468 BCE). Zuozhuan, the largest text to come to us from pre-imperial China, is a foundational text in the Chinese historical and literary tradition. Our translation includes a long introduction, extensive notes, and exegetical comments that explain how each passage s ...

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Excerpt: The Philippines — From Earliest Times to the Present

Key Issues in Asian Studies (KIAS) is an AAS book series of short, classroom-ready texts intended for high-school and undergraduate readers. Today, we are pleased to bring you an excerpt from the latest KIAS title, The Philippines: From Earliest Times to the Present, written by historian Damon L. Woods. In this brief volume, Woods provides readers with an overview of Philippine history, culture, and politics. Starting in the year 900CE, Woods traces the archipelago’s past, exploring the regional ties that connected its inhabitants with others in the Pacific Ocean long before the arrival of European ships in the 16th century. Woods then devotes chapters to the years of Spanish, American, and Japanese rule, followed by an in-depth discussion of political and social developments in the decades following Philippine independence in 1946. As Woods notes in the excerpt below, “This book is a story of the Philippines that depicts Filipinos as active participants in their own history rather than passive ac ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Yoshikuni Igarashi

Yoshikuni Igarashi is Professor of History at Vanderbilt University and author of Homecomings: The Belated Return of Japan’s Lost Soldiers, published by Columbia University Press and winner of the honorable mention for the 2018 AAS John Whitney Hall Book Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. Homecomings focuses on the former soldiers who belatedly returned to postwar Japan after the end of the Asia Pacific War. It pays particular attention to Japanese POWs detained in Siberian labor camps and soldiers who survived in the jungles of the South Pacific for more than a quarter century. Their returns at various points in postwar history, beginning in the late 1940s and continuing into the 1970s, caused tension between the returnees, who brought home memories of traumatic loss, and Japanese society, which had been separated from the war for a number of years. The book examines the returnees’ struggle to articulate their experiences as well as the ways in which their voices thr ...

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