Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader (Columbia University Press, 2013)
This definitive anthology, edited by Tsai, casts Sinophone studies as the study of Sinitic-language cultures born of colonial and postcolonial influences. Essays by such authors as Rey Chow, Ha Jin, Leo Ou-fan Lee, Ien Ang, Wei-ming Tu, and David Wang address debates concerning the nature of Chineseness while introducing readers to essential readings in Tibetan, Malaysian, Taiwanese, French, Caribbean, and American Sinophone literatures. By placing Sinophone cultures at the crossroads of multiple empires, this anthology richly demonstrates the transformative power of multiculturalism and multilingualism, and by examining the place-based cultural and social practices of Sinitic-language communities in their historical contexts beyond "China proper," it effectively refutes the diasporic framework.
Literary Culture in Taiwan: Martial Law to Market Law (Columbia University Press, 2004).
With monumental changes in the last two decades, Taiwan is making itself anew. The process requires remapping not only the country's recent political past, but also its literary past. Taiwanese literature is now compelled to negotiate a path between residual high culture aspirations and the emergent reality of market demands in a relatively autonomous, increasingly professionalized field. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu's sociology of culture, Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang argues that the concept of a field of cultural production is essential in accounting for the ways writers and editors respond to political and economic forces. The book traces the formation of dominant concepts of literature, competing literary trends, and how these ideas have met political and market challenges.
Changes in Literary Field: Contemporary Taiwanese Fiction (Unitas Publishing Company, 2001).
This collection of Chang's critical essays that appeared in Chinese publications between 1987 and 2000 explores key issues of literary history in contemporary Taiwan: drastic shifts in the dominant institutions of literary production; profound influences of (and resistance to) an imported aesthetic modernism; the prominent presence of a "lyrical-sentimental" style as a by-product of the post-1949 ruling regime's sinocentric cultural narrative, etc. It also offers critical appraisals of Taiwan's representative fiction writers of the late twentieth century.
Inside the Everyday Lives of Development Workers: the Challenges and Futures of Aidland (Kumarian Press, 2011)
Much and warranted attention is paid to the lives of aid recipients – their household lives, saving habits, gender relations, etc. It’s held that a key to measuring the effectiveness of aid is contained in such details. Rarely, however, is the lens turned on the lives of aid workers themselves. Yet the seemingly impersonal network of agencies and donors that formulate and implement policy are composed of real people with complex motivations and experiences that might also provide important lessons about development’s failures and successes.
Hindman and co-Editor Anne-Meike Fechter illuminate the social and cultural world of the aid agency, a world that is neglected in most discussions of aid policy. They examine how aid workers’ moral beliefs interlink and conflict with their initial motivations, how they relate to aid beneficiaries, their local NGO counterparts, and other aid workers, their views on race and sexuality, the effect of transient lifestyles and insider language, and the security and family issues that come with choosing such a career. Ultimately, they arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of development processes that acknowledges a rich web of relationships at all levels of the system.
Chinese American Transnational Politics (University of Illinois Press, 2010) Born and raised in San Francisco, Him Mark Lai was trained as an engineer but blazed a trail in the field of Asian American studies. Long before the field had any academic standing, he amassed an unparalleled body of source material on Chinese America and drew on his own transnational heritage and Chinese patriotism to explore the global Chinese experience.
In Chinese American Transnational Politics, Lai traces the shadowy history of Chinese leftism and the role of the Kuomintang of China in influencing affairs in America. With precision and insight, Lai penetrates the overly politicized portrayals of a history shaped by global alliances and enmities and the hard intolerance of the Cold War era. The result is a nuanced and singular account of how Chinese politics, migration to the United States, and Sino-U.S. relations were shaped by Chinese and Chinese American groups and organizations.
Lai revised and expanded his writings over more than thirty years as changing political climates allowed for greater acceptance of leftist activities and access to previously confidential documents.
Village China under Socialism and Reform: A Micro History, 1948-2008 (Stanford University Press, 2009). Based on the original documents from local agricultural collectives, newly accessible government archives, and the author's fieldwork in Qin village of Jiangsu Province, this book examines the experiences of Chinese villagers during the collective and reform periods. It offers a comprehensive account of rural life after the communist revolution, covering the villagers' involvement in the recurrent political campaigns since the 1950s, agricultural production under the collective system, family farming and non-agricultural economy in the reform era, and their everyday life in the family and the community. Using a micro-historical approach, this work investigates the behavior of the villagers as individuals and as a group in a discursive context in which their self interest and community norms interacted dynamically with the imposed systems and ideologies to motivate as well as constrain themselves. By scrutinizing the villagers' various patterns of participation in local politics and diverse strategies in both team farming and the household economy, this study highlights the continuities in rural transformation between the Mao and post-Mao eras. It perceives the recent developments in the village community as an outcome of the ecological, social, and institutional changes that have persisted from the collective era rather than a radical break with the pre-reform patterns of production and sociopolitical practices.
Village Governance in North China, 1875-1936 (Stanford University Press, 2005).
Drawing on government archives from Huailu County, Hebei province, this book examines local practices and official systems of social control, land taxation, and "self government" in North China villages during the late Qing and Republican periods. It addresses several fundamental issues about imperial and modern China, such as the nature of the traditional Chinese state, the patterns of peasant behavior, and state-village relations in the twentieth century. In addition to a thorough investigation of the day-to-day operation of village institutions, including both the endogenous "village regulations" and the newly imposed administrative systems, this book further explores the linguistic and symbolic dimensions of village governance. Its analysis of peasant behavior in community service activities sheds light on a village discourse that constrained as well as empowered ordinary villagers as well as the privileged elites. Its examination of the impact of "state-making" on rural society in the early twentieth century shows how the Republican state's nationalist discourse penetrated the village community to coexist or supersede the villagers' traditional values in reshaping their perceptions of local leadership and the legitimacy of power.
Nhi T. Lieu
The American Dream in Vietnamese (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). This book examines how live music variety shows and videos, beauty pageants, and Web sites created by and for Vietnamese Americans contributed to the shaping of their cultural identity. Lieu shows how popular culture forms repositories for conflicting expectations of assimilation, cultural preservation, and invention, alongside gendered and classed dimensions of ethnic and diasporic identity.
The Ambivalent Consumer: Questioning Consumption in East Asia and the West (Cornell University Press, 2006).
Co-Edited with Sheldon Garon. In The Ambivalent Consumer, Abe Fellows Sheldon Garon and Patricia L. Maclachlan of the University of Texas, Austin bring together an array of scholars who explore the ambivalence provoked by the global spread of "American" consumer culture. The first comparative volume to examine global phenomena of consumer culture from the perspective of East Asia, this book analyzes not only the attractions of mass consumption but also the many discontents and dilemmas that arise from consumerism. The Ambivalent Consumer offers a useful perspective on the political economies of consumption to address such pressing topics as movements against genetically modified foods; shifting relations among consumers, producers, and states; the differential influence of gender on consumption; and conflicting consumer attitudes toward globalization. The volume is the result of a seminar series organized by the Abe Fellowship Program of the SSRC with funding provided by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.
Consumer Politics in Postwar Japan: The Institutional Boundaries of Citizen Activism (NY: Columbia University Press, 2002).
Providing comparisons to the United States and Britain, this book examines Japan´s postwar consumer protection movement. Organized largely by and for housewives and spurred by major cases of price gouging and product contamination, the movement led to the passage of basic consumer protection legislation in 1968. Although much of the story concerns the famous "iron triangle" of big business, national bureaucrats, and conservative party politics, Maclachlan takes a broader perspective. She points to the importance of activity at the local level, the role of minority parties, the limited utility of the courts, and the place of lawyers and academics in providing access to power. These mild social strategies have resulted in a significant amount of consumer protection.
Lever of Empire: The International gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan (University of California Press, 2006).
Mark Metzler was one of four runners-up for the Hamilton Book Award for Lever of Empire. The Robert W. Hamilton Awards for Academic Excellence presented by the University Co-op recognize leading University of Texas authors. The Hamilton Award is one of the highest honors of literary achievement given to published authors at the University of Texas at Austin.
This book, the first full account of Japan's financial history and the Japanese gold standard in the pivotal years before World War II, provides a new perspective on the global political dynamics of the era by placing Japan, rather than Europe, at the center of the story. Focusing on the fall of liberalism in Japan in late 1931 and the global politics of money that were at the center of the crisis, Mark Metzler asks why successive Japanese governments from 1920 to 1931 carried out policies that deliberately induced deflation and depression. His search for answers stretches from Edo to London to the ragged borderlands of the Japanese empire and from the eighteenth century to the 1950s, integrating political and monetary analysis to shed light on the complex dynamics of money, empire, and global hegemony. His detailed and broad ranging account illuminates a range of issues including Japan's involvement in the economic dynamics that shook interwar Europe, the character of U.S. isolationism, and the rise of fascism as an international phenomenon.
Kyongju Things: Assembling Place (University of Michigan Press, 2008). Kyongju is South Korea's preeminent "culture city," an urban site rich with archaeological wonders that residents compare to those of Nara, Xian, and Rome. By examining these ancient objects in relation to the controversies that engulfed South Korea's high-speed railway line when it was first proposed in the 1990s, Kyongju Things offers a grounded and theoretically sophisticated account of South Korean development and citizenship in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Its sensitivity to issues of place, knowledge, and cultural heritage and its innovative use of network theory will be of interest to a wide range of scholars in anthropology, Asian studies, the history of science and technology, cultural geography, urban planning, and political science.
"Kyongju Things is lively, providing an engaging account of Kyongju things that draws the reader into a variety of conversations, complications, and conundra. We are a party to arguments about urban planning, conversations about authentic versus merely political rituals, discussions of itineraries and sights, and suspicions about self-interest and motives. A fascinating and thought-provoking read." --DJ Hatfield, Associate in Research, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University
Gendered Citizenships: Transnational Perspectives on Knowledge Production, Political Activism, and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) Drawing on ethnographic research with underrepresented communities in the Caribbean, Europe, South America, and the United States, this anthology examines the gendered dimensions of citizenship experiences and uses them as a point of departure for rethinking contemporary practices of social inclusion and national belonging.
Prophet Motive: Deguchi Onisaburo, Oomoto, and the Rise of New Religions in Imperial Japan (University of Hawaii Press, 2007).
From the 1910s to the mid-1930s, the flamboyant and gifted spiritualist Deguchi Onisaburo (1871-1948) transformed his mother-in-law's small, rural religious following into a massive movement, eclectic in content and international in scope. Through a potent blend of traditional folk beliefs and practices like divination, exorcism, and millenarianism, an ambitious political agenda, and skillful use of new forms of visual and mass media, he attracted millions to Oomoto, his Shintoist new religion. Despite its condemnation as a heterodox sect by state authorities and the mainstream media, Oomoto quickly became the fastest-growing religion in Japan of the time.
In telling the story of Onisaburo and Oomoto, Nancy Stalker not only gives us the first full account in English of the rise of a heterodox movement in imperial Japan, but also provides new perspectives on the importance of "charismatic entrepreneurship" in the success of new religions around the world. She makes the case that these religions often respond to global developments and tensions (imperialism, urbanization, consumerism, the diffusion of mass media) in similar ways. They require entrepreneurial marketing and management skills alongside their spiritual authority if their groups are to survive encroachments by the state and achieve national/international stature. Their drive to realize and extend their religious view of the world ideally stems from a "prophet" rather than "profit" motive, but their activity nevertheless relies on success in the modern capitalist, commercial world.
Unlike many studies of Japanese religion during this period, Prophet Motive works to dispel the notion that prewar Shinto was monolithically supportive of state initiatives and ideology.
This book explains the major topics of Mandarin grammar in clear and concise language, packed with real language examples and varied and imaginative exercises that show students how grammar works in practice. Wen-Hua Teng, a teacher of Mandarin at the university level, breaks the book into three highly effective sections, examining the core structures of Chinese grammar, describing the use of the language in context, and highlighting useful expressions and patterns. She introduces each grammatical topic clearly and simply, offers sample sentences in Chinese characters and Pinyin (followed by English translations), discusses existing exceptions to a particular rule, and provides exercises that students can use to reinforce the lesson. As a further aid, the guide includes extensive cross referencing, a glossary that lucidly explains the relevant grammatical terms, and a free interactive website that provides a number of complementary exercises for further study.
Imagined Families, Lived Families: Culture and Kinship in Contemporary Japan (SUNY Press, 2009) The Japanese family is at a crossroads of demographic change and altered cultural values. While the population of children has been shrinking and that of elders rising, attitudes about rights and responsibilities within the family have changed significantly. The realities of life in postmodern society have shaped both the imagined family of popular culture and the lived experience of Japanese family members. Imagined Families, Lived Families takes an interdisciplinary approach toward these dramatic changes by looking at the Japanese family from a variety of perspectives, including media studies, anthropology, sociology, literature, and popular culture. The contributors look at representations of family in manga and anime, outsider families and families that must contend with state prosecution of political activists, the stereotype of the absolute Japanese father, and old age and end-of-life decisions in a rapidly aging society with changing family configurations.
Gendered Trajectories: Women, Work, and Social Change in Japan and Taiwan (Stanford University Press, 2009)
Gendered Trajectories explores why industrial societies vary in the pace at which they reduce gender inequality and compares changes in women's employment opportunities in Japan and Taiwan over the last half-century. Japan has undergone much less improvement in women's economic status than Taiwan, despite its more advanced economy and greater welfare provisions. The difference is particularly puzzling because the two countries share many institutional practices and values.
Drawing on historical trends, survey statistics, and personal interviews with people in both countries, Yu shows how country-specific organizational arrangements and industrial policies affect women's employment. In particular, the conditions faced by Japanese and Taiwanese women in the workplace have a profound effect on their labor force participation at critical points in their lives. Women's lifetime employment decisions in turn shape the divergent trajectories in gender equality.
Few studies documenting the development of women's economic lives are based on non-Western societies and even fewer adopt a comparative perspective. This perceptive work demonstrates and underscores the importance of understanding gender inequality as a long-term, dynamic social process.