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November 2017 AAS Member News & Notes

Congratulations to the AAS Members whose books have been awarded prizes by other organizations: Sheena Chestnut Greitens (University of Missouri), co-winner of the 2017 Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association Section on Comparative Democratization and co-winner of the 2017 Best Book Award from the International Studies Association for Dictators and Their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence (Cambridge University Press) Christopher Goscha (Univ. du Québec à Montréal), awarded the John K. Fairbank Prize from the American Historical Association for Vietnam: A New History (Basic Books, 2016) Audrey Truschke (Rutgers University), awarded the John F. Richards Prize from the American Historical Association for Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court (Columbia University Press, 2016) *** The Board of Directors of the Association for Asian Studies welcomes this opportunity to recognize KENNETH C. FROEWISS following his recent retirement a ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with John Stratton Hawley

John Stratton Hawley (a.k.a., Jack) is Claire Tow Professor of Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University and author of A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement, published by Harvard University Press and winner of the 2017 AAS Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. India celebrates itself as a nation of unity in diversity, but where does that sense of unity come from? One important source is a widely accepted narrative called the “bhakti movement.” Bhakti is the religion of the heart, of song, of common participation, of inner peace, of anguished protest. The idea known as the bhakti movement asserts that between 600 and 1600 CE, poet-saints sang bhakti from India’s southernmost tip to its northern Himalayan heights, laying the religious bedrock upon which the modern state of India would be built. In A Storm of Songs, I clarify the historical and political contingencies that gave birth to the concept of the b ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Noriko Manabe

Noriko Manabe is associate professor at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music & Dance and author of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music After Fukushima, published by Oxford University Press and winner of the 2017 AAS John Whitney Hall Book Prize. What inspired you to research this topic? In 2011, I returned to Japan to finish my book on Japanese club musics (i.e., hip-hop, reggae, EDM), and I found that many of my contacts, like Rankin Taxi and ECD, had become involved in the post-3.11 antinuclear movement. (Both had recorded antinuclear songs previous to 3.11). I sensed their alarm, not only about the fallout from the nuclear accident itself, but from its implications for media coverage, collusion, freedom of information, and the future of Japanese democracy. Living in Japan on sabbatical in 2012, the urgency of this topic became evident to me. Therefore, I decided to complete a book on this topic first. What obstacles did you face in this project? What turned out better/eas ...

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Figuring Korean Futures: Children’s Literature in Modern Korea

By Dafna Zur Dafna Zur is Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages & Cultures at Stanford University and author of Figuring Korean Futures: Children’s Literature in Modern Korea, just published by Stanford University Press. In the fall of 2011 I was a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia and had taken a position at Keimyung University in the Department of Korean Literature. Besides my teaching job, which gave me an opportunity to experience life in Korean academia, I found myself in the rather unenviable position of hakpumo, the parent of a school-age child. My older son was then seven and enrolled in the second semester of first grade. He was thrown into the proverbial “deep end” of elementary school, in which no accommodations were made for speakers of Korean as a second language. I watched him struggle to keep up with sentence dictations and word problems in math, when one of his homework materials caught my eye. It consisted of a short poem, followed by multiple ...

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The Politics of Compassion: An Interview with Bin Xu

After a devastating earthquake hit China’s southwestern Sichuan Province on May 12, 2008, thousands of volunteers left their homes in other parts of the country and traveled to Sichuan to help victims of the quake. This outpouring of assistance surprised many Chinese, who for years had lamented about a perceived moral vacuum and lack of compassion in their society. As Emory University sociologist Bin Xu explains in his new book, The Politics of Compassion: The Sichuan Earthquake and Civic Engagement in China (Stanford University Press), the 2008 earthquake threw a spotlight on civic engagement in the country, bringing non-governmental organizations and social networks that had previously been little-known onto the national stage. Xu has spent years investigating the dimensions of this civic engagement, first joining the volunteers as a participant-observer and subsequently conducting interviews with those who stepped forward to assist in Sichuan’s recovery from the earthquake. In The Politi ...

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