Women in Japanese Studies: Memoirs from a Trailblazing Generation (Alisa Freedman, Editor)

Women in Japanese Studies: Memoirs from a Trailblazing Generation brings together trailblazing women scholars from diverse disciplines in Japanese Studies to reflect on their careers and offer advice to colleagues.

Most books present research and pedagogies. We do something different: We share lives—personal stories of how women scholars earned graduate degrees and began careers bridging Japan and North America between the 1950s and 1980 and balanced professional and personal responsibilities. We challenge the common narrative that Japanese Studies was established by men who worked for the US military after World War II or were from missionary families in Japan. This is only part of the story—the field was also created by women who took advantage of postwar opportunities for studying Japan. Women of this generation were among the first scholars to use Japanese source materials in research published in English and the first foreigners to study at Japanese universities. Their careers benefited from fellowships, educational developments, activist movements to include the study of women and Asia in university curricula, and measures to prevent gender discrimination. Yet there were instances when, due to their gender, women received smaller salaries, faced hurdles to tenure, and were excluded from, or ignored, at conferences.

Our book pioneers a genre of academic memoirs, capturing emotional and intellectual experiences omitted from institutional histories. We offer lively, engaging, thoughtful, brave, empowering stories that start larger conversations about gender and inclusion in the academy and in Japan-American educational exchange.

Modern Indian History (Emily Rook-Koepsel)

AVAILABLE TO PREORDER  via the Columbia University Press website.

ISBN 9781952636332. 132 pages.

India, as a nation-state, is a relatively new concept. Modern Indian History is a chronological historical narrative starting in the 16th century and ending in the present, that considers political, economic, and social developments on the Indian subcontinent. The narrative challenges commonly-held stereotypes about India’s cultural, religious, geographic economic, and political identities. Accessible enough to be used in honors high school, and introductory college and university survey courses in world history, international studies, Asian studies, and global studies, this volume is also an excellent resource for middle and high school teacher participants in Asia-related professional development programs.

Emily Rook-Koepsel is a historian of modern India and Assistant Director of Academic Affairs at the Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

Japanese Government and Politics (Lauren McKee)

ISBN 9781952636356. 132 pages.

Japanese Government and Politics takes a comparative approach to Japanese politics, covering topics such as political parties and elections, civil society, bureaucracy, and foreign relations. Grounded in a discussion of democracy’s historical development since the Meiji period, each chapter encourages readers to think critically and comparatively about political processes and their outcomes, situating Japan regionally and as a wealthy, democratic nation. The goal is to offer students of government insight into how democracy works—and doesn’t, for that matter—and can illustrate the fact that strengthening democratic institutions is an ongoing struggle throughout much of the world, including Japan.

“Written in a style that is readily accessible to non-specialists, Japanese Government and Politics is a wonderful resource for secondary teachers who want a basic, broad overview for use in social studies classes. Chapters can easily be incorporated into and enhance lessons ranging from medieval Japan to WWII to current global events. Material on the role of the emperor throughout history, the court system, elections, political parties, ministries which oversee international matters, civic participation and more make this a must-have volume on your bookshelf.” — Anne Prescott, Director, Five College Center for East Asian Studies

“McKee’s fascinating book provides a comprehensive and detailed, yet eminently readable, account of Japanese democracy. Placing Japan in comparative context, it will be an invaluable resource for students and teachers.” — Charles T. McClean, Council on East Asian Studies, Yale University

Lauren McKee is associate professor of political science and Asian Studies at Berea College. She first joined the faculty of Berea College in 2014 as an ASIANetwork-Luce Foundation postdoctoral teaching fellow after receiving a PhD in international studies from Old Dominion University. Dr. McKee regularly works with the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) and has published in the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) teaching journal, Education about Asia. She enjoys teaching classes on comparative and East Asian politics and has taken students on study trips to Japan and China. Dr. McKee recently joined the US-Japan Network for the Future, an initiative dedicated to promoting bilateral policymaking and US-Japan understanding, which is sponsored by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and the Japan Center for Global Partnerships.

Confucius in East Asia: Confucianism’s History in China, Korea, Japan, and Viet Nam (Jeffrey L. Richey)


ISBN 978-1-952636-37-0. 130 pages.

Jeffrey Richey has written an engaging and well-crafted book that clearly delineates the oftentimes fitful development of Confucianism in China, Japan, Korea, and Viet Nam. At the same time, he masterfully demonstrates how Confucianism slowly came to dominate politics, thought, and society in each of these places and still continues to inform their assumptions, values, and institutions. Richey also expertly underscores the outsized role that government has played in promoting and sustaining this tradition’s formidable influence. This second, revised and expanded edition incorporates analysis of Confucianism’s impact on how East Asian societies have responded to recent events such as the global coronavirus epidemic, the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and recent legal developments and social media trends.

JEFFREY L. RICHEY is Professor of Asian Studies at Berea College. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, he completed graduate studies in East Asian religious history at Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley before earning his Ph.D. in Cultural and Historical Studies of Religions with a concentration in East Asian religions at the Graduate Theological Union. He has edited and contributed to several books on Confucian and other East Asian traditions, including Teaching Confucianism (New York: Oxford University Press), The Sage Returns: Confucian Revival in Contemporary China (Albany: SUNY Press), and Daoism in Japan: Chinese Traditions and Their Influence on Japanese Religious Culture (London: Routledge).

New Threats to Academic Freedom in Asia (Dimitar D. Gueorguiev, Editor)

9781952636318. 202 pages

Please support the work of AAS by ordering print or ebook copies from our distributor, Columbia University Press.


New Threats to Academic Freedom in Asia examines the increasingly dire state of academic freedom in Asia. Using cross-national data and in-depth case studies, the authors shed light on the multifaceted nature of academic censorship and provide reference points to those working in restrictive academic environments.


PrefaceKamran Asdar Ali

Introduction: Progress Under Threat: Academic Freedom in AsiaDimitar D. Gueorguiev

Academic Freedom in Asia from 1900 to 2021: A Quantitative OverviewKatrin Kinzelbach

Contesting Academic Freedom in Japan Jeff Kingston

The State of Academic Freedom in Singapore’s World-Beating UniversitiesCherian George, Chong Ja Ian, and Shannon Ang

Academic Freedom in China: An Empirical Inquiry through the Lens of the System of Student Informants (xuesheng xinxiyuan)Jue Jiang

In the Name of the Nation: Restrictions on Academic Freedom in Contemporary Indonesian Higher EducationStefani Nugroho

Afterword: Canary in a Coal MinePatricia M. Thornton

“This short book by an international and interdisciplinary set of scholars covers a lot of ground in illuminating ways. Through a combination of tightly focused case studies and sections that place threats to academic freedom in different parts of Asia into comparative and global perspective, it offers a valuable window onto a multifaceted issue of pressing concern.”
Jeffrey Wasserstrom, author of Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink and former editor of The Journal of Asian Studies

“Where freedom of inquiry stops, other fundamental rights also suffer. Academic freedom, in that sense, is a fortress for free societies that value the pursuit of truth and unbiased knowledge. This book is a collection of excellent research that gives an alarming call to all scholars, researchers, and concerned individuals. It tells us that academic freedom is being increasingly threatened in many Asian societies, even in places where it has been taken for granted.”
Ji Yeon Hong, Associate Professor of Political Science and Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies, University of Michigan

“I have long been searching for an answer to the conundrum of how authoritarian regimes aim to combine high global rankings with diminished academic freedoms. This insightful volume focused on Asia as a region of great ambition and increasing restrictions, provides the answer to this question and many others. A very valuable contribution to the literature on academic freedom globally.”
Nandini Sundar, Professor of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics

“Nuanced and thoroughly researched, this volume offers new data to shed light on the state of academic freedom in Asia. An important and timely contribution.”
Risa J. Toha, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Wake Forest University

“The case studies in this volume illuminate how tensions among traditional “strong states” in Asia, facing growing civil society, intellectual space, and geopolitical competition, resort to interference in academic institutions. It is an insightful comparative study that speaks beyond the Asian particulars, casting light on the vulnerability of the intellectual endeavor elsewhere as well.”
Haruko Satoh, Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University

DIMITAR D. GUEORGUIEV is Associate Professor of Political Science in the Maxwell School of Citizenship Public Affairs and Chinese Studies Director at Syracuse University. Gueorguiev specializes in Chinese politics. Gueorguiev’s newest book, Retrofitting Leninism (Oxford, 2021), explores the limits and opportunities of non-democratic participation and digital control in China. Gueorguiev is also co-author of China’s Governance Puzzle (Cambridge, 2017).

Who Is the Asianist? The Politics of Representation in Asian Studies (Will Bridges, Nitasha Tamar Sharma, and Marvin D. Sterling, Editors)


Please support the work of AAS by ordering print or ebook copies copies from our distributor, Columbia University Press.


9781952636295. 220 pages.

Who Is the Asianist? reconsiders the past, present, and future of Asian Studies through the lens of positionality, questions of authority, and an analysis of race with an emphasis on Blackness in Asia. From self-reflective essays on being a Black Asianist to the Black Lives Matter movement in West Papua, Japan, and Viet Nam, scholars grapple with the global significance of race and local articulations of difference. Other contributors call for a racial analysis of the figure of the Muslim as well as a greater transregional comparison of slavery and intra-Asian dynamics that can be better understood, for instance, from a Black feminist perspective or through the work of James Baldwin. As a whole, this diversified set of essays insists that the possibilities of change within Asian Studies occurs when, and only when, it reckons with the entirety of the scholars, geographies, and histories that it comprises.


Introduction: Do Black Lives Matter for Asian Studies? by Will Bridges, Nitasha Tamar Sharma, and Marvin D. Sterling

Who Is a South Asianist? A Conversation on Positionality by Hoda Bandeh-Ahmadi and Isabel Huacuja Alonso

A Different Way of Seeing: Reflections of a Black Asianist by Carolyn T. Brown

From Bhagdād to Baghpūr: Sailors and Slaves in Global Asia by Guangtian Ha

The Asianist is Muslim: Thinking through Anti-Muslim Racism with the Muslim Left by Soham Patel and M. Bilal Nasir

Racial Capitalism and the National Question in the Early People’s Republic of China by Jeremy Tai

Science without Borders? The Contested Science of “Race Mixing” circa World War II in Japan, East Asia, and the West by Kristin Roebuck

Toward an Afro-Japanese and Afro-Ainu Feminist Practice: Reading Fujimoto Kazuko and Chikappu Mieko by Felicity Stone-Richards

Black Japanese Storytelling as Praxis: Anti-Racist Digital Activism and Black Lives Matter in Japan by Kimberly Hassel

From Black Brother to Black Lives Matter: Perception of Blackness in Viet Nam by Phuong H. Nguyen and Trang Q. Nguyen

“We Have a Lot of Names Like George Floyd”: Papuan Lives Matter in Comparative Perspective by Chris Lundry

“In this uniquely conceived volume, editors Will Bridges, Nitasha Tamar Sharma, and Marvin D. Sterling have assembled a cast of progressive-minded contributors whose collective aim is to decenter Asian Studies from its customary self-absorption and circumscription and propel the discipline into a broadened engagement with and advocacy for Black Studies. Through its eclectic and insightful scholarship contending that such intersectionality can only benefit the interests of all parties, no work currently matches Who Is the Asianist? as an indicator and expression of the emerging imperatives within Asian Studies for racial equity and justice. More so than any other now available, this book fully represents and reflects the expanding vision and transformed agenda of the future that Asian Studies is destined to embrace.

DON J. WYATT, McCardell Distinguished Professor, Middlebury College and Chair, Diversity and Equity Committee, Association for Asian Studies

“These outstanding essays compel us to reflect on the ways in which the pernicious ‘color line’ belts the world (Du Bois), including Asia, but in ways that must be attentive to both the singularities of locality and the entanglements of our worlded conditions. This means that we must also interrogate the past and present of Asian Studies as a radicalized formation. A courageous, timely, and important intervention that should be read in and far beyond Asian Studies.

TAKASHI FUJITANI, Dr. David Chu Professor and Director in Asia Pacific studies, University of Toronto and author, Race for for Empire: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans During WWII

“This extremely timely and crucial book helps Asian Studies to finally reckon with its racial unconscious in epistemological, pedagogical, and institutional terms. It examines the racial logic in various Asian countries in relation to the global racial formation, and shows how such studies are critical for Asian Studies. A must read for all Asianists.

SHU-MEI SHIH, Irving and Jean Stone Chair in the Humanities, and Professor of Comparative Literature, Asian Languages and Cultures & Asian American Studies, UCLA

Will Bridges is Associate Professor of Japanese at the University of Rochester. His first monograph, Playing in the Shadows: Fictions of Race and Blackness in Postwar Japanese Literature was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2020.

Nitasha Tamar Sharma is Professor of African American Studies and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University. She is author of Hawai’i is my Haven: Race and Indigeneity in the Black Pacific and Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness, both published by Duke University Press, and coeditor of Beyond Ethnicity: New Politics of Race in Hawai’i, published by the University of Hawai’i Press.

Marvin D. Sterling is Associate Professor, Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington. His research centers on the popularity of a range of Jamaican cultural forms in Japan, mainly roots reggae, dancehall reggae, and Rastafari. In a more recent line of research, he has shifted geographical perspectives from Japan to explore the Japanese community in Jamaica, one primarily centered on an interest in learning Jamaican culture at its source.

Beyond the Book: Unique and Rare Primary Sources for East Asian Studies Collected in North America (Jidong Yang, Editor)

Read an excerpt on the AAS #AsiaNow blog: https://www.asianstudies.org/excerpt-beyond-the-book

9780924304989. 368 pages, full color.

BEYOND THE BOOK is the first ever volume dedicated to the studies of rare East Asian materials collected by individuals and institutions in North America, including those currently held at the University of California, Berkeley; Columbia University; Duke University; Harvard University; Hoover Institution; Library of Congress; University of Michigan; University of Pittsburgh; Rutgers University; Stanford University; University of Toronto; University of Washington; and Yale University.

Most of the materials discussed are in a non-book format, such as archives, maps, prints, photographs, motion pictures, sound recordings, diaries, correspondence, posters, and unofficial publications.

Beyond the Book not only reveals many interesting and forgotten stories in the two centuries of cultural exchanges between East Asia and North America, it also provides fresh clues for East Asian studies scholars in their search for important research materials.

Animal Care in Japanese Tradition: A Short History (W. Puck Brecher)

9781952636271. 138 pages.

Listen to an interview with Prof. Brecher on the New Books Network: https://newbooksnetwork.com/animal-care-in-japanese-tradition

This volume provides an historical overview of Japan’s relationship with animals from ancient times to the 1950s. Its analysis serves as a lens through which to scrutinize Japanese tradition and interrogate ahistorical claims about Japan’s culturally endemic empathy for the natural world. Departing from existing scholarship on the subject, the book also connects Japan’s much-maligned record of animal exploitation with its strong adherence to contextual, needs-based moral memory.

“Richly detailed yet accessible and concise, this compelling overview of animal care in Japan covers a surprising amount of historical ground while offering fresh and nuanced insights on this fraught topic. Brecher dispels persistent idealistic misconceptions about historical human-animal relationships in Japan as he traces how wildlife and domestic animals were treated and cared for in the early modern through modern periods. This readable and engaging study is a must-read for scholars and students of Japanese history and animal studies.” — BARBARA R. AMBROS, Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of Bones of Contention: Animals and Religion in Contemporary Japan

“Well over a decade and a half after the publication of the landmark Japanimals volume, Brecher’s stimulating book shows that we still have much to learn about the long history of animal-human relations in the Japanese archipelago. Engagingly written, this book covers the full sweep of Japanese history and lays out a bold argument about the enduring significance of attitudes and practices with deep roots in the past.” — DANIEL V. BOTSMAN, Professor of History, Yale University and author of Punishment and Power in the Making of Modern Japan

“A finely wrought, carefully researched volume. An excellent introduction to the history of Japanese engagements with other animals.” — IAN JARED MILLER, Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of History, Harvard University and author of The Nature of the Beasts: Empire and Exhibition at the Tokyo Imperial Zoo

W. PUCK BRECHER is Professor of History at Washington State University where he teaches courses on East Asia and specializes in early modern and modern Japanese social and cultural history. His past research projects have focused on Japanese thought, aesthetics, urban history, race, private spheres, autonomy, as well as contemporary environmental issues.

Burmese Haze: US Policy and Myanmar’s Opening—and Closing (Erin Murphy)

9781952636257. 244 pages.

A play on George Orwell’s famous novel, Burmese Days, Burmese Haze provides a unique—and personal—perspective on the historical events and foreign ties that shaped Myanmar and its relationship with the United States. Former intelligence analyst Erin Murphy tells the story of a remarkable political transition and subsequent collapse, taking the story beyond the headlines to explain why Myanmar and US policy toward it is where it is today. The book weaves in historical details, analysis, and memories drawn from interviews with senior US officials and tycoons, monks, activists, and antagonists.

“Murphy provides a unique insider’s look at US engagement with Myanmar, detailing the successes, pitfalls, and humorous moments in a fleeting moment of optimism between the two countries.” — Timothy McLaughlin, Contributing Writer at The Atlantic

“A thoughtful, well-paced, and incredibly timely account of the complex diplomatic efforts that led to Burma’s rapprochement with the West and the challenges that have faced Washington’s Burma policy ever since.” —  Thant Myint-U, author of The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century

“An essential and riveting account of the recent, painful history of Burma. Erin Murphy brings an insider’s knowledge, a scholar’s rigor, and an eye for colorful details that bring this complex story to life for the general reader. Burmese Haze offers a front-row seat on US policymaking and a pragmatic and balanced take on the effectiveness of sanctions. It’s also a reminder that America is still – for the moment – a model for the world, and if democracy’s light is extinguished here, it will be hard to reignite it elsewhere.” — Ambassador (ret.) Ted Osius, author of Nothing is Impossible: America’s Reconciliation with Vietnam and President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council

ERIN MURPHY has worked on Asia issues since 2001. She has spent her career in several public and private sector roles, including as an analyst on Asian political, foreign policy, and leadership issues at the Central Intelligence Agency, a director for Indo-Pacific with a development finance agency, leading her boutique advisory firm focused on Myanmar, and as an English teacher with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in Saga ken, Japan. Erin received her master’s degree in Japan Studies and International Economics from Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies, and her bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Spanish from Tufts University. She was also a 2017–2018 Hitachi International Affairs Fellow-Japan with the Council on Foreign Relations.

Japan on American TV: Screaming Samurai Join Anime Clubs in the Land of the Lost (Alisa Freedman)

View the AAS Digital Dialogue book launch webinar for Japan on American TV featuring Alisa Freedman, Anne Allison, Jan Bardsley, and Bill Tsutsui with moderator, Maura Cunningham.

Listen to the podcast from New Books Network.

9781952636219. 202 pages.

Japan on American TV explores political, economic, and cultural issues underlying depictions of Japan on US television comedies and the programs they inspired. Since the 1950s, US television programs have taken the role of “curators” of Japan, displaying and explaining selected aspects for viewers. Beliefs in US hegemony over Japan underpin this curation process. Japan on American TV takes a historical perspective to understand the diversity of Japan parodies. These programs show changing patterns of cultural globalization and perpetuate national stereotypes while verifying Japan’s international influence. Television presents an alternative history of American fascinations with and fears of Japan.

Written in an accessible style that will appeal to scholars, teachers, students, and anyone with an interest in Japan and popular culture, as well as an ideal text for classroom use, Japan on American TV offers a gentle means to approach racism, cultural essentialism, cultural appropriation, and issues otherwise difficult to discuss and models new ways to apply knowledge of Asian Studies.

“Whether in Sesame Street or Gilligan’s Island, The Simpsons or Tidying up with Marie Kondo, Japan has powerfully figured in the post-postwar US imaginary through ‘cutification.’ Freedman traces this lineage with an astuteness that is both sharp-edged and arousing, considering how these parodies and stereotypes of ‘cute Japan’ work as affectively as politically. This is a wonderful book to think with, teach with, or just enjoy.” — ANNE ALLISON, author, Millennial Monsters, Precarious Japan, and Nightwork

“This smart and revealing study of the stereotypes of Japan created, circulated, and perpetuated on American television is fun and funny, eminently readable, and occasionally unsettling. Freedman’s insightful analysis will ensure you never look at John Belushi or Marie Kondo, The Flintstones or The Simpsons, Sesame Street or Portlandia, in quite the same way ever again.” — WILLIAM M. TSUTSUI, author, Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization

“Exploring old favorites and new hits alike, Japan on American TV takes on Sesame Street, South Park, SNL samurai, Marie Kondo, and much more. Freedman has us chuckling, cringing, and most importantly, thinking critically. Original, fun to read, and superbly researched, this timely book leaves no doubt about the cultural power of TV.” — JAN BARDSLEY, author, Maiko Masquerade: Crafting Geisha Girlhood in Japan

Tribe and State in Asia through Twenty-Five Centuries (Sumit Guha)

9780924304958. 142 Pages.

Every literate person today will encounter the word “tribe” in many settings. What does this word mean? When and how did its use begin? Is it a good label for any contemporary social organization? Is it relevant for policymakers to think with? Academics have often critiqued its use, but that has not suppressed its ubiquity. Why?

This book offers answers to all the above. In order to keep it manageable, these questions are investigated only for the span of Asia that runs from Siberia to Sri Lanka and Suez to the Sea of Japan, and over the past 2,500 years. It thus starts at the beginning of the Iron Age and looks at both unwritten cultures dominant in the past and the hypertextual world of today. Its four chapters successively analyze the Asian uses of tribe-like categories, European deployment of the term in the age of imperialism, the environments where it flourishes and those it makes and the diversity of tribes across Asia today. The book will be of great interest to historians, journalists, policymakers, and to anyone studying the history of Asia.

“As we write our difficult post-mortems on Afghanistan, this is the kind of book foreign-policy specialists really need to read.”JEREMI SURI, Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, excerpted from:

“Why Afghanistan’s Tribes Beat the United States” (review from Foreign Policy, August 2021)

“Tribe” and “state” have long been contested, frequently politically loaded terms in historical, social science and popular literature. Sumit Guha in this thoughtful, meticulously researched book has provided a succinct, lively, and highly accessible analysis of these often multipurposed terms in Asia and in the study of Asia over two and a half millennia. The novice and the specialist will benefit from Guha’s superb study.  — PETER B. GOLDEN, Professor Emeritus of History, Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers University

An outstanding, accessible, survey of a vast subject. Tribe and State in Asia through Twenty-Five Centuries not only illuminates the wide range of peoples who have been labelled “tribes” and the varied conditions of their emergence, persistence, and disappearances, down to today; it is also an excellent guide to the shifting intellectual and political currents governing the use of that category, and its consequences. — KENNETH POMERANZ, University of Chicago

Found in Translation: “New People” in Twentieth-Century Chinese Science Fiction (Jing Jiang)

9780924304941. 144 Pages.

What will the world look like in the future? How do people think and act in that future world? What constitutes the allures or hidden dangers of being modern? These are questions science fiction is uniquely equipped to entertain as a genre, a genre that took on a seriousness and significance in twentieth-century China rarely seen in other parts of the world. While marginalized in standard literary history, science fiction was the privileged literary form originally, and repeatedly, entrusted with the modernization of the Chinese mind for the sake of nation-building. Since its introduction into China via translation at the beginning of the twentieth century as a type of new fiction bearing the badge of universal modernity, science fiction in China had always been associated with aspirations for membership in the modern world first and foremost, and in world literature secondarily. Found in Translation investigates Chinese science fiction as a phenomenon of world literature or a product of transculturation. Through exploring the multiple “textual pathways” as well as “conceptual and thematic networks” that exist between translations and creations during the two boom periods and beyond, the book highlights the ways in which science fiction intervened in critical debates on nationalism, realism, humanism, and environmentalism in twentieth-century China.

Found in Translation locates Chinese science fiction on the map of world literature. A brilliant combination of theoretical inquiries and cultural analysis, it traces the genre’s origin and development throughout the twentieth century, offering definitive interpretations of its key motifs and movements, and bringing together well-informed discussions on translation and nation, science and literature, humanism and realism.”  — Mingwei Song, Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at Wellesley College, author of Young China: National Rejuvenation and the Bildungsroman, 1900-1959 and co-editor of The Reincarnated Giant: An Anthology of Twenty-First-Century Chinese Science Fiction

“Jing Jiang’s Found in Translation is a welcome contribution to the fields of modern Chinese literature, translation, and science fiction studies, refuting popular assumptions of the genre’s cultural marginality. With science fiction—and its engagement with the discourse of science—situated at the nexus of popular culture, hard science, and high art, Jiang elucidates how SF writers, translators and critics engaged as active agents in the global circulation of scientific discourse. SF served as an intellectual map conceptualizing and helping plot the course for Chinese modernity, and intervening in the debate regarding the role of science and technology in the fate of humankind.” — Nathaniel Isaacson, Associate Professor, North Carolina State University, author of Celestial Empire: the Emergence of Chinese Science Fiction

The Fifty Years That Changed Chinese Religion 1898–1948 (Paul R. Katz and Vincent Goossaert)

ISBN: 9780924304965. 248 pages. Paperback.

In recent years, both scholars and the general public have become increasingly fascinated by the role of religion in modern Chinese life. However, the bulk of attention has been devoted to changes caused by the repression of the Maoist era and subsequent religious revival. The Fifty Years That Changed Chinese Religion breaks new ground by systematically demonstrating that equally important transformative processes occurred during the period covering the last decade of the Qing dynasty and the entire Republican period. Focusing on Shanghai and Zhejiang, this book delves in depth into the real-life workings of social structures, religious practices and personal commitments as they evolved during this period of wrenching changes. At the same time, it goes further than the existing literature in terms of theoretical models and comparative perspectives, notably with other Asian countries such as Korea and Japan.

This is by far the most original, innovative, and definitive study of the religious transformation in the context of China’s modernization from the late Qing to early Republican period. Drawing on new and underexplored primary sources such as religious journals, séance writings, morality books, and liturgical texts, the authors show convincingly how active production of religious knowledge, new and creative forms of religiosity, structural and institutional innovation of religion were taking place alongside the processes of modernization in the Jiangnan region from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. As such, this book has greatly advanced our understanding of trajectories of religious transformation and modes of religious modernity in China.” — XUN LIU, Department of History, Rutgers University

Goossaert and Katz have crafted a unique and innovative research strategy, applying a macro approach—looking at a broad range of data relating to a large number of religious phenomena—to a specific micro-region—Jiangnan. The results are insightful and valuable on many levels.” — DAVID OWNBY, Professor of History, University of Montreal

PAUL R. KATZ is Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, and Program Director of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. He is the author of Religion in China and its Modern Fate (Brandeis University Press, 2014) and Religion, Ethnicity, and Gender in Western Hunan during the Modern Era: The Dao among the Miao? (Routledge, forthcoming).

VINCENT GOOSSAERT is professor of Daoist history at EPHE, PSL (Paris) and coeditor of T’oung Pao. He is the author of Heavenly Masters: Two Thousand Years of the Daoist State (University of Hawai’i Press, November 2021) and Making Gods Speak: The Ritual Production of Revelation in Chinese Religious History (Harvard University Asia Center, forthcoming).

Teaching About Asia in a Time of Pandemic (Edited by David Kenley)

Teaching About Asia in a Time of Pandemic, edited by David Kenley, is a collaborative work between Asia Shorts and the AAS pedagogical journal Education about Asia.

9781952636196. 234 pages. Paperback. Also available in e-book and open access formats.

Please support the work of AAS by ordering print or ebook copies from our distributor, Columbia University Press.

In the spring of 2020, educators suddenly found themselves teaching remotely as they and their students began a multiweek period of pandemic-induced isolation. As weeks turned to months, administrators announced that students would not return to campus until the following school year and perhaps even longer. Teachers quickly scrambled to design new pedagogical approaches suitable to a socially-distanced education.

Teaching About Asia in a Time of Pandemic presents many lessons learned by educators during the COVID-19 outbreak. The volume consists of two sections. Section one includes chapters discussing how to teach Asian history, politics, culture, and society using examples and case studies emerging from the pandemic. Section two focuses on the pedagogical tools and methods that teachers can employ to teach Asian topics beyond the traditional face-to-face classroom. Both sections are designed for undergraduate instructors as well as high school teachers using prose that is easily accessible for non-specialists. The volume is a collaborative work between the AAS Asia Shorts series and the AAS pedagogical journal Education about Asia, exemplifying the high standards of both publishing ventures.

“Teaching about as huge and diverse a region as Asia is hard in ‘ordinary’ times. In the midst of a global health crisis, it may seem an even more daunting challenge. Fortunately, this timely collection offers teachers knowledge, wisdom, and advice from a community of colleagues who have thought deeply about how to help students enrich their lives through study of Asia. The many short and stimulating essays not only contextualize the pandemic in Asian history and contemporary Asia, but also provide practical suggestions for teaching about Asia in these challenging times.”
Kristin Stapleton, University at Buffalo, SUNY

“This collection of twenty-one concise and well-written essays offers much needed intellectual and pedagogical sustenance for our COVID-19 times. Authored by academics at K–16 institutions in the U.S. and Australia, they offer timely and helpful guidance for understanding the responses of different Asian states and societies to the pandemic and appraising the tools and platforms available to enhance online teaching and learning about Asia. Whether you are a beginning or highly experienced instructor, you will find yourself wishing you had utilized some of the delivery strategies and technologies our enterprising colleagues have successfully utilized in classes ranging from language instruction to humanities and social science offerings to experiential classes. This is definitely a volume well worth bunkering down with along with our computers and loved ones!”
Anand Yang, University of Washington

ABOUT THE EDITOR: David Kenley is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Dakota State University. Formerly Professor of Chinese History at Elizabethtown College, he is committed to the concept of the scholar-teacher. His publications include Modern Chinese History (published in the AAS Key Issues in Asian Studies series), New Culture in a New World: The May Fourth Movement and the Chinese Diaspora, 1919–1932, and Contested Community: Identities, Spaces, and Hierarchies of the Chinese in the Cuban Republic (with Miriam Herrera Jerez and Mario Castillo Santana).

The Pandemic: Perspectives on Asia (Edited by Vinayak Chaturvedi)

The Pandemic: Perspectives on Asia, edited by Vinayak Chaturvedi, is a collaborative work between Asia Shorts and the Journal of Asian Studies.

9781952636172. 198 pages. Paperback. Also available in e-book and open access formats.

Please support the work of AAS by ordering print or ebook copies from our distributor, Columbia University Press.

The Pandemic: Perspectives on Asia provides analyses of the COVID-19 pandemic in Asia. It covers the first phase of the pandemic that will help future scholars to contextualize the history of the present. It includes interpretations by leading scholars in anthropology, food studies, history, media studies, political science, and visual studies, who examine the political, social, economic, and cultural impact of COVID-19 in China, India, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and beyond. Contributors are David Arnold, Manan Ahmed Asif, Mary Augusta Brazelton, Clare Gordon Bettencourt, Yong Chen, Alexis Dudden, John Harriss, Jaeho Kang, Ravinder Kaur, Catherine Liu, Kate McDonald, Sumathi Ramaswamy, and Christine Yano. The volume is introduced by Vinayak Chaturvedi and concludes with an afterword by Kenneth Pomeranz. The timely and provocative essays in the volume will be of interest to scholars, teachers, students, and general readers.

“Why have Asian societies, despite different political systems, been so successful in fighting the pandemic, while the United States and the UK have lost control with catastrophic consequences? The essays in this indispensable volume use history to illuminate the reasons for this ‘great divergence.’”
Mike Davis, Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing, University of California, Riverside and author of The Monster Enters: COVID-19, Avian Flu and the Plagues of Capitalism (2020)

“This is a rare book of essays that achieves what it sets out to do: generate new insights on the pandemic in and across Asian societies and histories. Technology, state making, ecology, and ideology are among the themes explored in brief but telling cameos. Not to be missed in learning and thinking about pandemics and society in a time of change in Asia and the world at large.”
Mahesh Rangarajan, Professor of History and Environmental Studies, Ashoka University

“The topics in this collection are as varied as the course of the disease and its effects across Asia. Its value derives from the vivid portrayls of the relationships of the epidemic to histories, popular arts, public health, data regimes and surveillance, and not least, the use and abuse of political power. It captures the pandemic in medias res much as Boccaccio did for the Black Death.”
Prasenjit Duara, AAS President 2019–2020, Oscar Tang Professor of East Asian Studies, and Director, Global Asia Initiative, Duke University

ABOUT THE EDITOR: Vinayak Chaturvedi is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. He is the former editor of the Journal of Asian Studies.

Waiting Town: Life in Transit and Mumbai’s Other World-Class Histories (Lisa Björkman)

ISBN: 9780924304934. 176 Pages.

Drawing on a decade of ethnographic research in the Indian city of Mumbai, Waiting Town is an unconventional little book—experimental in form—about how we come to know the worlds about which we write. The narrative follows the author’s fieldnotes diaries as they wend their way through a series of ethnographic puzzles that emerge in the wake of a high-profile mega-infrastructure project that became an internationally celebrated prototype and model. Waiting Town complicates this celebratory narrative by revealing the conflicting temporalities and procedural pretentions of “world class” developmentalism. On one level, Waiting Town is a book about Mumbai—about housing schemes and scams, about “duplicate” documents (and “duplicate duplicates”), and about the material wreckage wrought by the city’s “world-class” ambitions. And at the same time, it has a larger story to tell about truth and falsehood, time and memory—and about the promises and pitfalls of knowledge production, interpretation and representation more generally.

“Reading like a mystery tale, this engagingly written book explains why, in a poor part of Mumbai, there are many people without houses alongside apartments without occupants. Lisa Björkman’s story exposes the machinations of city planning in a field of contention that includes powerful NGOs, a range of informal associations, activists, so-called social workers and politicians, and it illuminates the chaotic and complicated ways in which people negotiate the city. It shows, too, the cruel absurdity of ideas about the possibilities of ‘community’ action that are so entrenched in the development discourse, and it touchingly describes the daily struggles of the urban poor. In the way it is written, the book is also an ambitious and original experiment, encouraging reflection on ethnography and on the practices of interpretation and meaning-making that animate the craft of research. It is a pithy and powerful little book.” — JOHN HARRISS, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver

Waiting Town presents a powerful punch against simplistic narratives of eviction and resettlement. It is written with attention to the power and agency of people confronting eviction: people who are witnessing a project set up for this purpose just besides where they squat. As Björkman shows, it is their world of pipes and water puddles that holds a mirror to Bombay, and to the necessarily ‘messy’ politics that define urban contestations today. Reminiscent of Lisa Peattie’s 1968 path-breaking View from the Barrio, Waiting Town serves as a model of writing, framing, and representation—an entry into questions of what Abdoumaliq Simone calls “majority life.” Björkman suggests to us how those urgent questions might be posed in ways that matter.” — SOLOMON J. BENJAMIN, Associate Professor, Humanities and Social Science Department, Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Lisa Björkman is Assistant Professor of Urban Affairs at University of Louisville and Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany.

Shinto in the History and Culture of Japan (Ronald S. Green)

ISBN: 9780924304910. 108 Pages.

After Japanese emperor Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum throne in 2019, he performed a secretive ritual funded by the state by offering newly harvested rice to the Shintō sun goddess Amaterasu, mythological progenitor of the imperial family, raising controversy and puzzlement both inside Japan and out. This book is a concise overview of Shintō through a survey of its key concepts, related archeological finds, central mythology, significant cultural sites, political dimensions, and historical developments. Its goal is to promote an understanding of Shintō as an enduring cultural phenomenon central to Japan past and present. Readers discover how Shintō honors nature, reveres mountains and rivers as living entities, why it famously asserts that eight million nature spirits, known as kami, surround the Japanese people in their homeland, and how politics have always been central to these positions.

“Ron Green begins his volume with: ‘What is Shintō?’ A simple question with many possible answers. It’s nature worship, a tool of the military, the catalyst for modest and magnificent shrines. It’s a religion; it’s not a religion. It’s Japanese; it’s universal. In seven succinct chapters, Professor Green answers his question, leaving the reader nodding with understanding and yearning to learn more.” — Gary DeCoker, Executive Director, ASIANetwork

“An excellent introduction for laypersons and an extraordinarily comprehensive discussion of all aspects of Shintō, couched in language that makes it readily accessible to all readers.” — Stephen Kohl, Associate Professor Emeritus, University of Oregon

Ronald S. Green is Associate Professor of Asian Religions at Coastal Carolina University.

Making Hong Kong China: The Rollback of Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Michael C. Davis)

ISBN: 9781952636134 (print, paperback). 166 Pages.

How can one of the world’s most free-wheeling cities transition from a vibrant global center of culture and finance into a subject of authoritarian control? As Beijing’s anxious interference has grown, the “one country, two systems” model China promised Hong Kong has slowly drained away in the years since the 1997 handover. As “one country” seemed set to gobble up “two systems,” the people of Hong Kong riveted the world’s attention in 2019 by defiantly demanding the autonomy, rule of law and basic freedoms they were promised. In 2020, the new National Security Law imposed by Beijing aimed to snuff out such resistance. Will the Hong Kong so deeply held in the people’s identity and the world’s imagination be lost? Professor Michael Davis, who has taught human rights and constitutional law in this city for over three decades, and has been one of its closest observers, takes us on this constitutional journey.

The tragic loss of Hong Kong’s freedom in 2020 was not a sudden coup, but the latest stage in a gradual extension of Chinese power through both legal and informal means. As a longtime Hong Kong resident, legal expert, and democracy activist, Davis expertly shows how it was done—and why it matters. — Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University, coauthor of China’s Search for Security

Anyone who wants to know how Britain’s 1997 Hong Kong ‘handover’ under the innovative ‘One Country, Two Systems’ model became China’s ‘takeover’ of a vibrant city’s freedoms and rule of law must read this invaluable book. Davis, a dynamic scholar, Hong Kong law professor and public intellectual who has spent over three decades not only analyzing but also participating in this struggle between dictatorship and democracy, offers insights and perspectives that illuminate a major challenge to Beijing’s relations with the world. — Jerome A. Cohen, Faculty Director Emeritus, US-Asia Law Institute, New York University; Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Professor Davis revisits how Hong Kong’s liberal constitutional order mutated into a national security one in the twenty-plus years under Chinese sovereignty. It is a passionate narration of a tragic tale, a cool-headed analysis of the larger forces at play, and a hopeful glimpse of the plausible pathway toward the restoration of the liberal order that Hong Kong deserves. — Ho-Fung Hung, Johns Hopkins University, author of The China Boom: Why China Will Not Rule the World

About the Author

Professor Michael C. Davis is in the Fall of 2020 a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong where he teaches core courses on international human rights. He is also currently a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC, a Senior Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asia Institute at Columbia University and a Professor of Law and International Affairs at O.P. Jindal Global University in India (where he is in residence each spring). A professor in the Law Faculty at the University of Hong Kong until late 2016, he has held a number of distinguished visiting professorships, including the J. Landis Martin Visiting Professor of Human Rights Law at Northwestern University (2005-6), the Robert and Marion Short Visiting Professor of Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame (2004-5) and the Frederick K. Cox Visiting Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University (2000).

His scholarship engages a range of issues relating to human rights, the rule of law and constitutionalism in emerging states, with frequent publication in such widely read public affairs journals as Foreign Affairs and the Journal of Democracy, as well more mainstream academic journals. He has contributed commentary and analysis to such popular media as the Washington Post, the New York Times, Nikkei, Apple Daily and South China Morning Post, the latter for which Amnesty International, the Hong Kong Journalists Association and the Hong Kong FCC awarded him a 2014 Human Rights Press Award for commentary.

The Great Smog of China: A Short Event History of Air Pollution (Anna L. Ahlers, Mette Halskov Hansen, and Rune Svarverud)

ISBN: 9780924304927. 148 pages. Paperback.

The Great Smog of China traces Chinese air pollution events dating back to more than 2,000 years ago. Based on the authors’ fieldwork, interviews and text studies, the book offers a short and concise history of selected air pollution incidents that for varying reasons prompted different kinds of responses and forms of engagement in Chinese society. The three authors, from the disciplines of anthropology, China studies and political science, identify traceable incidents of smog and air pollution that have been communicated in different media and came to impact society in various ways. This also informs a discussion of what it takes to transform people’s experiences of health and environmentally related risks of pollution into broader forms of socio-political agency.

“In this little gem of a book, Ahlers, Hansen, and Svarverud combine little-known material about air pollution across the broad sweep of Chinese history with incisive and original analysis of how leaders, bureaucrats, scientists, and urban and rural publics have come to view air pollution as an issue of health, science, and governance. They do all this in the short span of 130 pages, providing China specialists with new insights into environmental history and governance, and providing environmental history and politics specialists with new perspectives on where China fits into the world air pollution picture.” — STEVAN HARRELL, Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, co-editor of Greening East Asia: Rise of the Eco-Developmental State

The Great Smog of China is an enchanting little book with a big ambition. With topics ranging from the porcelain furnaces of Jingdezhen to the noxious fumes of night soil, from Mao’s infatuation with smoke stacks to the present-era’s “blue sky” political events, from the depredations of sandstorms to the battle against PM2.5, the book draws on a creative range of sources to explicate the environmental history of Chinese air pollution from ancient times to the present.” — JUDITH SHAPIRO, Director of the Masters in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development, School of International Service, American University, co-author with Yifei Li of China Goes Green: Coercive Environmentalism for a Troubled Planet and author of Mao’s War against Nature: Politics and the Environment in Revolutionary China

“In this accessible and engaging book, three scholars guide us through one of the most significant environmental challenges in modern times: China’s air pollution crisis. They show us, concisely and clearly, how air pollution fits into the long arc of Chinese history and culture, and why it matters for contemporary issues such as human health, politics and policy, and global climate change. Ahlers, Halskov Hansen, and Svarverud have brought their subject matter to life in a way that readers will find compelling, thought-provoking, and enjoyable.” — BRYAN TILT, Professor of Anthropology, Oregon State University and author of The Struggle for Sustainability in Rural China: Environmental Values and Civil Society and Dams and Development in China: The Moral Economy of Water and Power

About the Authors

Anna Lisa Ahlers leads the Lise Meitner Research Group “China in the Global System of Science” at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. Previously, she was associate professor in China studies at the University of Oslo. In recent years, she has worked on rural governance reforms and the urban “war against smog” in China, as well as the bipolarity of authoritarianism and democracy in the 21st century. Main publications include: Rural Policy Implementation in Contemporary China: New Socialist Countryside (2014), Democratic and Authoritarian Political Systems in 21st Century World Society (2020, with D. Krichewsky, E. Moser and R. Stichweh).

Mette Halskov Hansen is professor in China studies, University of Oslo. She has done research on minority education, ethnic identities, internal colonization, individualization and, most recently, (air) pollution and human agency in China. She is currently PI for a new collaborative project that explores spiritually inspired environmental movements in China, Taiwan and India, and their potential for generating local and global change. Main publications include: Lessons in Being Chinese (1999), Frontier People: Han Settlers in Ethnic Minority Areas of China (2005), iChina: The Rise of the Individual in Modern China (2010 with Svarverud), and Educating the Chinese Individual (2015).

Rune Svarverud is professor of China studies at the University of Oslo. Initially, Svarverud engaged with ancient Chinese philosophy and philological studies. Later, he shifted attentions towards the cultural, scientific, and intellectual transfer of ideas between China and the West. In recent years he has engaged with the history of environmental degradation and air pollution in China. Main publications include: Methods of the Way: Early Chinese Ethical Thought (1998), International Law as World Order in Late Imperial China: Translation, Reception and Discourse, 1847-1911 (2007), iChina: The Rise of the Individual in Modern China (2010 with Hansen).

A Friend in Deed: Lu Xun, Uchiyama Kanzo, and the Intellectual World of Shanghai on the Eve of War (Joshua A. Fogel)

ISBN: 978-0-924-304-88-0. 122 pages. Paperback.

Lu Xun spent the last decade of his life in the turbulent world of Shanghai. Soon after arriving in 1927, he befriended Uchiyama Kanzō, owner of a bookstore specializing in Japanese writings. Their friendship and the mutual kindnesses (occasionally involving near-death experiences) form the core of this short volume. In part a meditation of what two people with such different backgrounds—one the most famous intellectual of his time, the other a merchant with a sixth-grade education from a country on the verge of launching total war against China—may speak to our own fractious times.

“Joshua Fogel’s superb command of Japanese has allowed him to access sources untapped by Chinese and Western scholars to compile this tour-de-force treatment of a cross-cultural, cross-political, cross-religious, and cross-linguistic friendship between Lu Xun (1881-1936), China’s intellectual leader of the 20th century, and Uchiyama Kanzō (1885-1959), a Japanese businessman who ran a bookstore that became an office (at times a hiding place) for Lu Xun and a literary salon for other Chinese writers. What Uchiyama operated was at times tantamount to a ‘safe house’ in the complex, often dangerous, political milieu of Shanghai in the 1930s, from which Uchiyama, a Christian convert and a China enthusiast, could offer a degree of protection and ‘head space’ to embattled Chinese intellectuals of his era. He also fulfilled an important role as an importer of foreign books for the Chinese readership (and for Lu Xun in particular). But the friendship between the two seems to have had an element of chemistry above and beyond these affinities. Fogel does a masterful job in assembling the pieces of a puzzle, tracing the rumors that Uchiyama was a spy back to their source, and examining the role that Japanese Doctor Sudō Iozō (1876-1959), Lu Xun’s personal physician, played in the days leading up to his death.”

— Jon Eugene von Kowallis, Professor of Chinese Studies, UNSW Sydney, author, The Lyrical Lu Xun, The Subtle Revolution and Warriors of the Spirit

“Drawing on his extensive knowledge of Sino-Japanese exchange, Joshua Fogel paints a captivating portrait of Lu Xun and Uchiyama Kanzō, two men of very different temperament, background, and political outlook. We see their friendship in ordinary moments over a cup of Karigane tea, a specially-reserved rattan chair, and the efforts at mounting exhibits of woodblock prints but also in extraordinary moments when Uchiyama protected Lu Xun from GMD spies and Japanese military police in the tumultuous years before total war. Theirs was a remarkable friendship indeed.”

— Hu Ying, Professor, East Asian Studies, University of California, Irvine, author, Burying Autumn: Poetry, Friendship, and Loss