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Frequently Asked Questions about the Journal of Asian Studies and Censorship in China

In a statement released at #AsiaNow on Monday, August 21, the officers of the Association for Asian Studies wrote that Cambridge University Press (CUP) had received a request from the Chinese government that CUP censor approximately 100 Journal of Asian Studies (JAS) articles from the Chinese version of its website. As the statement has circulated, the AAS has received inquiries from both the media and association members asking for additional details about the situation. A few of the most frequently asked questions and responses from the AAS officers appear below. When did AAS receive the censorship request via CUP? Friday, August 18. Do you have any details about what consequences would ensue if CUP doesn’t comply? We are pleased that CUP reversed its decision and are continuing to monitor the situation. How is AAS following up with CUP? We are in contact with the individual in charge of the publication of journals at CUP. She has informed us of CUP’s reversal. She has also promised ...

AAS Statement on Cambridge University Press Censorship in China

On Friday, August 18, Quartz, the New York Times, and other media outlets reported that Cambridge University Press (CUP) had complied with a demand from the Chinese government that approximately 300 China Quarterly articles concerning sensitive topics (Tibet, Taiwan, Tiananmen Square, and others) be omitted from search results on CUP’s website when accessed in China. CUP also blocked more than 1,000 e-books on similar topics from the Chinese version of its website. Scholars from around the world protested this action, and earlier today the editor of China Quarterly announced that CUP would restore its full archive to users in China, a decision we fully support. The Association for Asian Studies has received notice from CUP that a similar request has been made by China’s General Administration of Press and Publications concerning approximately 100 articles from the Journal of Asian Studies, an AAS publication. The officers of the association are extremely concerned about this violation of academi ...

AAS Member Spotlight: Wen-hsin Yeh

Wen-hsin Yeh is Richard H. & Laurie C. Morrison Chair Professor in History at the University of California at Berkeley. She will deliver the keynote speech at this year’s AAS-in-ASIA conference at Korea University on Saturday, June 24. Your discipline and country (or countries) of interest: Modern Chinese History How long have you been a member of AAS? Possibly since 1983—I can’t recall! Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues? I joined when I was a graduate student. AAS provided great opportunities to learn about the state of the field. How did you first become involved in the field of Asian Studies? I can’t say for sure. I have always been interested in history and I love reading books. One book leads to another. And I also enjoy working with documents—about recovering the circumstances of their creation. What do you enjoy most or what were your most rewarding experiences involving your work in Asian Studies? I enjoy ...

Excerpt: Opening to China, by Charlotte Furth

Charlotte Furth is Professor Emerita of History at the University of Southern California and previously taught at California State University, Long Beach. She is author of numerous academic articles and books, including A Flourishing Yin: Gender in China’s Medical History, 960-1665 (University of California Press, 1999), for which she received the “Women in Science” award from the History of Science Society. In 2012, the AAS honored Furth with its “Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies” award in recognition of her decades of service to the field. Furth earned her Ph.D. in Chinese history at Stanford University in 1965—an era when it was virtually impossible for Americans to travel to the People’s Republic. With the establishment of relations between the United States and PRC over the course of the 1970s, Furth and other scholars finally had the opportunity to spend time in the country they studied. She visited the PRC for the first time in 1976 on a two-week d ...

#AsiaNow Speaks with Christopher Rea

Christopher Rea is Associate Professor of Modern Chinese Literature at the University of British Columbia and author of The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China, published by University of California Press and winner of the 2017 AAS Joseph Levenson Book Prize (Post-1900 China). To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. The book’s about how Chinese humor changed (and how it didn’t) in the modern age. It reconstructs the emergence of several comic cultures over about forty years, from the 1890s to 1933, the “Year of Humor.” Part of the story is about language, about how people started talking about what’s funny in new ways. It tries to convey how you can be funny in Chinese—and how people were, using modern technologies like cinema. Another part of the story is about cultural values, about how people in a tumultuous age used laughter as a barometer for what matters to the individual, to the group, and to humanity at large. I argue that irrev ...

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