Cambria Press Author Carolyn T. Brown Speaks at the Library of Congress

Lu Xun

Dr. Carolyn T. Brown, former director of the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, recently gave a talk about her latest book Reading Lu Xun Through Carl Jung (Cambria Press, 2018) at the Library of Congress. Below are excerpts of her speech and here is the link to the video of the entire speech.

*This book is part of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, headed by Professor Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania).

How the book started

“This study began when I was a college sophomore in a course in modern Chinese literature in translation. I think we probably read his most iconic stories, certainly true story of Ah Q. Undoubtedly “Regret for the Past,” I don’t remember. But I do know that when I read one of his stories, “The New Year Sacrifice,” it was as if someone had like hit me in the stomach and I thought, “What has happened here?” I had never been to China and I don’t think I really knew anyone who was Chinese or certainly not well. But I do answer that question, but I’m not going to answer it here today. I do answer it in the book. But the question, my own reaction asked me to think both about my reaction and in a psychological sense and then to begin to wonder about what might be the psychological dimensions within the stories. Thus I was moved to ask about the psychological model by personal experience and I admit, as a former director of the Kluge Center, it wasn’t driven by intellectual curiosity, essentially, but by my experience.”

How this book is different

“unlike most studies, it’s not primarily about the man himself, it’s a study of text. Of course we know the man wrote the text, so they obviously trace back to the author himself, but that’s not the central concern. Similarly the work decent is the content and focuses on the structures. That is, I look at the patterns that repeat in foremost of the stories. … I’m using Jung’s concepts of the psyche as a model to explain what I was finding in the text.”

On Scapegoating

“The dog, who cannot defend himself becomes the scapegoat for the fact that the child was negligent and failed to do the assignment. More seriously this image can be projected onto entire groups. Where the community contributes some evil that has befallen it, to a group usually with insufficient power to fight back and tries to contain it. The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is one very clear example of political scapegoating of an entire group. And I’m sure it doesn’t take much imagination for you to look around our current world and see it still happening. But although a part of the self can be forgotten and rendered unconscious, it cannot be destroyed, because it is part of the self.”

On the spiritual or psychological illness that Lu Xun defined as undermining China

“My book argues that one way of viewing the spiritual or psychological illness that Lu Xun defined as undermining China, is to view his analysis as the split of the shadow from the ego within the whole self. And healing as the reintegration of these two parts. He investigates this, this idea in multiple domains, that of the nation, the community, the family and the individual self and imagines different outcomes in each domain. So one way to understand the psycho dynamics in the true story of Ah Q, is to view the story as an investigation into what happens when the ego splits off and expels the unwanted, unacknowledged, despised shadow side of the self and then tries to destroy it?”

On union concepts and national character in “The True Story of Ah Q”

“Analyzing ‘The True Story of Ah Q’ as a meditation on scapegoating, defined in terms of these union concepts, reveals dimensions of the stories, the story not previously noted. … I want to provide a few examples that reveal how viewing the true story of Ah Q as a meditation on scapegoating furthers our understanding of the story. … Ah Q’s signature feature, the one he’s know for as a character, is his stunning capacity to turn physical defeat into spiritual victory. That is, when he’s defeated in some kind of brawl he redefines the experience, such that he perceives himself as having achieved the upper hand morally and psychologically. At the time of its composition Ah Q’s capacity to turn defeat into victory was read allegorically.  It was read as a representation of China’s failures to respond to the challenges brought by the west. The notion that a nation had a particular character, a national character was very current at the time, and there was considerable discussion about China’s national character, what made it unique. And then given the problems, what deficiencies were in its — in this character. Because if it was getting beaten up by the West, at least in its perception, it must have been deficient in some way. Lu Xun, viewing himself as a doctor rendering a diagnosis, looked at what was wrong with the patient, china, in order to move the body politic towards health and a better future. He himself declared a few years later that in creating the stories he had attempted to — he had attempted to describe the souls of the Chinese people. So, from the beginning Ah Q was viewed as typical, not just a literary character, but typical of the Chinese national character. And what was considered his essential feature, was this capacity to turn defeat into victory. So, we should take a look at what that actually means.”

On sexual desire and power in “Soap”

“Lu Xun made the same argument in another story, which is much overlooked, “Soap.” That is he also showed there that society has encouraged men to disown their sexuality, project their desires onto women and then accuse women of having incited it. Certainly he viewed this as an issue of power as well, but also in psychological terms.”

On Lu Xun’s implicit model

“In the book I show that interpreting this structure through Jung’s conceptual framework shows that indeed Lu Xun had an implicit model of psychological illnesses and its causes. … the union approach, combined with a focus on the structure, gives new meaning to Lu Xun’s decision to take up the profession of literature in his hope of healing the spirits of the Chinese people.”

Reading Lu Xun Through Carl Jung is available directly from Cambria Press, on Amazon,
and Barnes and Noble.

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Cambria Press Publication Review: Majimbo in Kenya’s Past

Majimbo

Congratulations to Professor Robert Maxon (West Virginia University) on the outstanding review of his book, Majimbo in Kenya’s Past: Federalism in the 1940s and 1950s, in International Journal of African Historical Studies (IJAHS), which states that:

In Robert Maxon’s welcome book, Majimbo in Kenya’s Past: Federalism in the 1940s and 1950s, losers come front and center. The author does not focus on the leading lights of the settler community, also part of the losing side in the narrative of Kenya’s decolonization. This is not a book about Lord Delamere, Michael Blundell, Wilfred Havelock, Ferdinand Cavendish-Bentinck, and Humphrey Slade, powerful, wealthy, and influential members of Kenya white settler community, though they appear from time to time. Center stage belongs to individuals who have scarcely made their appearance in the story of Britain’s departure from Kenya in 1963. Here, the leading lights are A.T. Culwick, B.F. Roberts, and L.E. Vigar, racists, profoundly against Africans and Asians alike, and robust federalists in defense of European privilege right up to the bitter end. … After discussing the Dawe’s plan, presented to the Colonial Office in 1942 and calling for a grant of self-government to Kenya’s settlers in the White Highlands, Maxon discusses the majimbo plans put forward in the 1950s. … This is a work of impressive and careful scholarship. One looks forward to Professor Maxon’s further volumes on Kenya’s constitutional history.

This book is available in print and digital versions from Cambria Press.

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Jin Yong (1924–2018): Legend in Chinese Martial Arts Fiction and Modern Chinese Literary History

Today we mourn the passing of Jin Yong (Louis Cha) who was well loved for his wuxia novels, among his many other accomplishments.

Jin Yong

What made Jin Yong such a legend? As Ann Huss and Jianmei noted in The Jin Yong Phenomenon, “Jin Yong writes in what has been referred to by readers and critics as ‘the common language of Chinese around the world.’ [… and his]  writing has emerged as an interrogation of Chinese intellectuals’ project of modernity.”

In their seminal book, Huss and Liu argued that:

Most scholars of modern Chinese literature have studied Jin Yong’s novels within the boundaries of “martial art novels,” an approach which to a large degree has not only ignored the position of Jin Yong’s writing in the modern Chinese literary tradition, but also disregarded the impact of specific historical circumstances on the production of literary works. To remedy this weakness, our selection considers Jin Yong’s anti-Europeanized Chinese writings as works which efficiently rejuvenate long-neglected elements of the native literary tradition: huaben xiaoshuo, classical essay language, and the style of the Mandarin Duck and Butterfly School (Yuanyang hudie pai), all suppressed long ago by the New Literary Tradition. In addition to reclaiming the importance of Jin Yong’s language, our collection also engages Hong Kong, and the cultural and geopolitical space within which Jin Yong’s writings were produced from the 1950s through the 1970s. In this way, we go beyond the limits of literature, ushering the research of Jin Yong’s novels into the interdisciplinary world of political, social, cultural, and film studies.

They also add that:

the popularity of Jin Yong’s works offers us an opportunity to reconceptualize the relationship between high and popular culture, the canon and the uncanon, the modern and the traditional, the East and the West. A closer look at the wuxia project of this seasoned politician, businessman, and master of the literary jianghu will lead us toward a greater understanding of the complexity of the concepts of nation, globalization, and diaspora.

We are indebted to Jin Yong for what he has done for the Chinese literary world; his works will continue to, as Huss and Liu have noted, “lead us toward a greater understanding of the complexity of the concepts of nation, globalization, and diaspora.”

Jin Yong

The Jin Yong Phenomenon: Chinese Martial Arts Fiction and Modern Chinese Literary History, edited by Ann Huss and Jianmei Liu (Cambria Press, 2009)

This book is available in print and e-book editions.

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Cambria Press Publication Review: Contents Tourism in Japan

Congratulations to Philip Seaton (Tokyo University), Takayoshi Yamamura (Hokkaido University), Akiko Sugawa-Shimada (Yokohama National University), and Kyungjae Jang (Hokkaido University) on the outstanding review of their book, Contents Tourism in Japan: Pilgrimages to “Sacred Sites” of Popular Culture, in the journal Tourist Studies.

9781604979732front

The review praises the book, which includes 100 color images, noting that:

This is rich analysis. It not only proposes an approach for analysing how people and places benefit from content tourism, it convincingly applies its framework to provide valuable insights for those interested in Japanese history and culture, and for modern and international media and tourism scholars. The authors draw on an extremely wide range of sources to develop their method, and to illustrate content tourism in Japan using their own research, including many illustrative photographs of people, derivative content and places. In all, Contents Tourism in Japan provides a new understanding of how people in Japan have used the popular culture of their day as inspiration to travel, enhancing their enjoyment of their favourite content and transferring economic benefits upon the producers of the content and the places associated with it.”

This book is a must-read for those in Japan studies, media studies, popular culture, and tourism studies.

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Celebrating Taiwan, home to some of the richest Sinophone literature in the world

Today on Taiwan’s National Day, we celebrate this important, vibrant island, which has given us—as Jonathan Stalling aptly puts it in Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers—”some of the richest Sinophone literature in the world.” Stalling elaborates that “unfixed, vibrant, and deeply engaged with a sense of place, Taiwanese writers—from the experimental poetry pioneer Hsia Yu to younger multimedia poets like Ye Mimi to powerhouse authors like Li Ang and Chu T’ien-wen—are continually pushing the boundaries of the possible and unlocking new directions for Sinophone literature in the twenty-first century.”

Stalling

Taiwan’s literary history is just as unique, as seen in Chia-rong Wu’s fascinating study, Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond, which explores “the discourse of the supernatural and beyond in response to the historical overview of Sinophone Taiwan.” Wu explores the zhiguai 志怪 genre and shows us how “ghost haunting may be allegorically associated with the historical, political, cultural, and even sexual dimensions of the world of the living.”

Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan

In showcasing the world of the living in Taiwan, Hou Hsiao-hsien is “considered by many cinema aficionados to be one of the most innovative, provocative, and enthralling directors,” as Christopher Lupke notes in The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien and further remarks that “linguistically and culturally speaking Hou Hsiao-hsien necessarily dwells in contested terrain, in the political penumbra between state and region, between national culture and transnational identity.”

Hou Hsiao-hsien

Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond and The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien are part of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, headed by Professor Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania).

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Asian Security – 3 Essential Books

Asian Security

The Gathering Pacific Storm

Emerging US-China Strategic Competition in Defense Technological and Industrial Development

Tai Ming Cheung and Thomas G. Mahnken

The U.S. has enjoyed overwhelming military technological superiority in the post-Cold War era, but China has begun to chip away at this dominance. As distrust and strategic rivalry becomes more prominent in US-China relations, this is helping to turn what had previously been parallel but separate military research and development efforts by both countries into a directly connected competition. This contest for leadership in defense technology and innovation promises to be a long-term and highly expensive endeavor for the United States and China.

Examining the nature of the US-China defense technological competition requires a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the complex military, economic, innovation, and other drivers at play. Moreover, this technological race is still in the early stages of development and can be expected to grow larger, more complex, and more intense, so The Gathering Pacific Storm: Emerging US-China Strategic Competition in Defense Technological and Industrial Development, edited by by Tai Ming Cheung and Thomas G. Mahnken, provides an invaluable resource for understanding the origins and patterns of competition in different domains.

Cheung-Mahnken Front Cover

“This is a timely, thought provoking book on the state of the increasingly heated military-technological competition between the United States and its great power rivals, China and Russia. Coming on the heels of new National Security and Defense strategies that emphasize the return of great power competition, it is essential reading for those concerned about the erosion of U.S. military-technical advantage. Dr. Cheung and Dr. Mahnken’s book is sure to provide an important intellectual foundation for debate over this important issue. Highly recommended!” –Robert Work, 32nd Deputy Secretary of Defense and CEO of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS)

Trust and Distrust in Sino-American Relations

Challenge and Opportunity

Steve Chan

Trust is a concept that ought to be at the front and center of international relations research. It is pivotal to how states interpret the actions of others and decide their own policies. Mutual distrust can set off a spiral of competitive dynamics as a consequence of reciprocal misinterpretation of each other’s intentions. At the same time, misplacing one’s confidence in a state that is actually untrustworthy can seriously jeopardize a country’s security. Yet despite its analytic and policy importance, only a few books have given systematic attention to this pivotal concept.

Trust and Distrust in Sino-American Relations: Challenge and Opportunity by Steve Chan fills that gap by addressing the question of how states acquire a reputation for trustworthiness—or untrustworthiness—in the eyes of others. It focuses especially on the relationship between China and the U.S., the two most consequential countries in today’s world, offering a systematic framework for analyzing their level of trust, and examining how ongoing trends and prospective developments may foster or undermine this relationship. In this, it provides a new approach to the subject by applying theoretical insights and empirical generalizations from the international relations literature to the case of Sino-American relations.

Chan Front Cover

“Steve Chan, a leading scholar of Chinese foreign policy, has once again come up with an excellent book, this time on the topic of ‘trust.’ In this succinctly written book, he provides a very rich theoretical and empirical discussion of trust and mistrust in international relations with the use of Sino-US relations as empirical case study. A valuable addition to both IR theory and the study of China’s foreign relations.” —T.V. Paul, James McGill Professor of International Relations, McGill University

A New Strategy for Complex Warfare

Combined Effects in East Asia

Thomas A. Drohan

A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia by Thomas A. Drohan develops new theory for superior strategy in complex warfare. The approach is comprehensive and practical, and it is applied to three contemporary security crises involving the United States, China, the Koreas, and Japan. Beginning with existing theories on strategy and culture, a new interpretation of “combined effects strategy” is introduced based on research and years of experience.

Unlike previous works, this study considers security culture as a way to understand warfare conceived and waged broadly: patterns of confrontation and cooperation, threat perception and assessment, and strategic effectiveness. In addition, for the first time, contemporary crises detail the interaction of strategies operating as lines of effect which when combined, create powerful synergies. A summary analysis of each case develops implications for future strategy. The concluding chapter is unique in its discussion of the influence of security culture on operational concepts, when lines of effect combine, and how security culture informs combined effects strategy, particularly for the United States.

Drohan Front Cover

“Few works have succeeded as much as this one at succinctly explaining centuries of Asian cultural history and contextualizing that history to current security issues in the region. Members of the security community will greatly benefit from this unique perspective. … Drohan excels in explaining the implications cultural histories have for US security strategy and prescribes both philosophical and pragmatic changes practitioners should make. ” —Parameters

These books are in the Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security (RCCS) Series (General Editor: Geoffrey R.H. Burn).

RCCS Series Last Page

Watch the short video by Cambria Press for books and authors in this series.

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