Cambria Press Publication Review: Zhang Yimou

Congratulations to Professor Wendy Larson (University of Oregon) on yet another glowing review of her book Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture. The China Journal commends her book for being “a sophisticated, nuanced assessment of the ways in which Zhang Yimou displays and performs culture and the unexpected ways in which he deliberately undermines expectations.”

Larson

The book review further notes that:

“Larson does this through careful analysis of eight of Zhang’s first nine films as a director, from 1987’s stunning Red Sorghum to 2005’s cross-cultural elegy Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles…. Larson opens with a masterful discussion of the question of culture in relation to the study of China, Eurocentrism, postcolonial assessments, and the nation. This sets the scene for a discussion of the arc of the treatment of culture in Zhang’s socalled Red Trilogy: Red SorghumJudou, and Raise the Red Lantern. This provides Larson with an opportunity to investigate Chinese critics’ debates about authenticity and performance of the nation. She also deftly addresses other issues in these three films, such as women’s agency. … The movies she discusses include Hero, which many critics and scholars at home and abroad have labeled as fascist in its presentation of culture against a background of the formation of the Chinese state. Contrary to this critique, Larson presents a persuasive argument that Hero fits neatly into the development of Zhang’s directing career. Larson’s analysis of Hero illustrates the subtlety of her argument on culture. Arguing persuasively against the notion of it being a fascist work, she emphasizes the contest in the film between two kinds of power: that of the emperor (associated by critics with fascism) and that of the xia (usually translated as knight-errant, though not in these pages) culture of the would-be assassins of the emperor. … Less well-known films equally get impressive treatment in these pages. … English-speaking fans and critics of Zhang’s films have much to contemplate in this richly argued and original book.”

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

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

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AAS 2019: Meet Professor George Keyworth – Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies

hualin_calligraphy_ji_xianlin

Meet Professor George Keyworth (University of Saskatchewan) at the Cambria Press booth (403) to learn more about the new Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies.

Professor Keyworth will be at the Cambria Press booth on:

  • Friday (March 22): 1:00pm – 1:30pm
  • Saturday (March 23): 1:00pm – 1:30pm

The Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies is hosted ​by the Research Center for Buddhist Texts and Arts at Peking University [北京大學藝術與典籍研究中心, funded by The Glorisun Charitable Foundation, and facilitated by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) project on Buddhism and East Asian Religions (http://www.frogbear.org) at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

The editor is Professor Ru Zhan (Peking University), and the associate editor is Professor Jinhua Chen (University of British Columbia).

This peer-reviewed journal will highlight interdisciplinary, multisourced, multimedia, and crosscultural academic research about Buddhism, and welcomes submissions in the areas of the history of religions; literary studies; Chinese, Japanese, Korean, South and Southeast Asian, Tibetan, and Tangut manuscript studies; Dunhuang studies; sociopolitical studies; comparative philosophical studies; and doctrinal studies using rare sources, art historical perspectives, institutional history, and anthropological research.

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China’s Response to the Sino–U.S. Trade War→The Gathering Pacific Storm

Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) has reported that Rear Admiral Lou Yuan, deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, declared during a Dec. 20 speech delivered in Shenzhen, China, that the ongoing disputes over the ownership of the East and South China Seas could be resolved by sinking two US super carriers. This statement appears to run counter to China’s long-term goals.

In The Gathering Pacific Storm: Emerging US-China Strategic Competition in Defense Technological and Industrial Development, Tai Ming Cheung and Thomas G. Mahnken note in their concluding chapter “The Long-Term Implications of Future US Strategy for China and Chinese Strategy for the United States,” that

China’s efforts to develop core defense competencies in advanced areas could be undermined by being goaded into an arms race with the United States, forcing China to invest in research and development that it can ill afford and in technologies in which it is ill equipped to compete over the long term. […]

Xi Jinping appears to share this view, as he has emphasized the importance of China pursuing its own development of asymmetric technological capabilities and not simply following others. At a meeting of the Central Finance and Economics Leading Small Group in August 2014, Xi said that China should “develop its own asymmetric shashoujian capabilities and not just do exactly the same as developed countries are doing.”

Consequently, the defense technological race between the United States and China can be expected to continue for the foreseeable future, especially during Xi’s tenure to at least the early 2020s, and could even intensify depending on the overall  direction in US-China relations. While China will watch closely how the United States proceeds with its Third Offset Strategy or whatever other technology development initiatives that emerge in the coming year, Beijing will likely continue to focus on
its own priorities and not be drawn too closely into an action-reaction dynamic with a far more able innovation competitor.

Released just a few months ago, The Gathering Pacific Storm is considered by leading  experts such as Robert Work, 32nd Deputy Secretary of Defense and CEO of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), to be “a timely, thought provoking book” and “essential reading for those concerned about the erosion of U.S. military-technical advantage.”

Cheung-Mahnken Front Cover

Order this book today from Cambria Press, Amazon,
or Barnes and Noble.

*This book is in the Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security (RCCS) Series (General Editor: Geoffrey R.H. Burn).

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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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