Cambria Press Publication Review: Cosmopolitanism in China, 1600–1950

Congratulations to Professors Minghui Hu and Johan Elverskog on the journal review of their book Cosmopolitanism in China, 1600–1950. The review, published by Comparative Literature and World Literature, commends the book for being a “handsome volume … organized chronologically and by topics, accompanied by a short introduction by the editors plus a useful index.”

The review also states that “taken together or read one by one, the eight chapters collected in this volume illustrate what Elverskog rightly concluded, that ‘there did exist a tradition of Qing cosmopolitanism, and that the Chinese tradition has the cultural, intellectual and religious resources needed to foster cosmopolitanism.’”

Cosmopolitanism in China

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Book Highlight: North Korea Demystified

If the world is to effectively deal with the reality of North Korea, reliable information is critical. This book seeks to demystify the “intelligence black hole” that is North Korea. In so doing, it supplies the reader with much needed factual information garnered through firsthand experience by those who have actually visited and done research in North Korea. Each chapter consists of original research by prominent experts in the field.This is a timely read, given the current escalation of political tensions between North Korea and the United States. Whereas other studies of North Korea most often rely merely on available secondary resources (e.g., texts, films etc.) rather than firsthand experience or interviews in supporting central claims, this edited volume, led by foremost North Korean expert Dr. Han S. Park, has the unprecedented advantage of all its contributors having actually spent a considerable amount of time “on the ground” in North Korea gathering information for their research. North Korea Demystified is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

North Korea Demystified

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Cambria Press Publication Excerpt by the Association of Asian Studies (AAS)

Read the #AsiaNow piece from the Association for Asian Studies, Inc. (AAS) about Professor Charlotte Furth’s new book Opening to China, which Ian Johnson, Beijing correspondent for The New York Times, and author of “The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao,” praises because

“Charlotte Furth’s memoir provides a window into a China that few of us can remember or even believe possible: a country that was not the economic and political powerhouse of today, but a hesitant, slightly paranoid society emerging from decades of being closed-off to the outside world. As one of the rare witnesses to this crucial transition, Professor Furth takes us into the life of China’s most important university, showing the struggle to accept her group of visiting scholars–a microcosm for the debate in China at the time over whether the country really should open up. Written honestly and candidly, this memoir will be of interest to scholars of US-China engagement but also to general readers eager to see how much China has changed over the past decades.”

Cambria Press author Charlotte Furth publication Opening to China

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Cambria Press Publication Highlight for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

As we close out Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we highlight a noteworthy title, Be(com)ing Korean in the United States: Exploring Ethnic Identity Formation Through Cultural Practices by S. Sonya Gwak.

Cambria Press publication

The following is a quote from the book:

The very act of exploring ethnic identity foregrounds the significance of articulating an aspect of our selves that links us to our families, peers, traditions, transnational histories, and diasporic communities and distinguishes us from the flattening effects of racial categorization. Therefore, producing ethnicity in the United States is in constant flux, negotiating between how we are identified as ethnic and racial subjects and how we identify ourselves as Korean.

Displacement from our ancestral home increases the salience of ethnic identity as something that must be produced and cultivated. In other words, being Korean cannot be predicated solely on originating from the nationstate, Korea, but necessitates further elaborations based on proof of ancestry, family history, and notions of primordial ties. The process of becoming Korean cannot rely merely on quotidian experiences but fosters the teaching and learning of cultural practices that are constructed as Korean in a variety of ways.

Preview this book here and buy the book on Amazon.

Title: Be(com)ing Korean in the United States: Exploring Ethnic Identity Formation Through Cultural Practices
Authors: S. Sonya Gwak
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604975840
372 pp.  |   2008   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604975840.cfm

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Interview with Cambria Press author Professor Mark Bender

An interview with Professor Mark Bender (The Ohio State University) about his new book was posted on the MCLC. Professor Bender’s book The Borderlands of Asia: Culture, Place, Poetry was released last month at the 2017 AAS conference in Toronto.

Cambria Press author Mark Bender publication Borderlands of Asia

See also Professor Bender’s speech at the
AAS 2017 Cambria Press reception.

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Cambria Press Publication Excerpt from “North Korea Demystified”

Cambria Press publication

Given the recent events, it would be timely to revisit North Korea Demystified. The book was published in at the end of 2012, but the advice of expert Professor Bruce Cumings in his chapter “North Korea––Dealing with Irrationality” still resonates with most, especially given the precarious state of world politics and the reputation of the leaders in place. Professor Cumings urges that we “finally to shed the anachronistic polarized positions and mindset of the Cold War and to move in the direction of a calm, steady, nuanced, and persistent process of rapprochement with Pyongyang.” He explains why in the publication excerpt below:

How do psychiatrists deal with an angry, violent, insulting, aggravating, recalcitrant, prideful, self-defeating patient? With concern, empathy, understanding, deflection, subtle advice (usually suggesting alternative behavior), the setting of limits on the one hand and the opening of avenues toward change on the other. Think of Tony Soprano and Jennifer Melfi: did she call him a fat, slovenly, self-indulgent, and self-regarding Mafia thug? No, she treated him like a human being in pain who needed help. China has long used a concept, zixiao, which is usually translated “cherishing friends from afar” (or “cherishing the lesser”), but it really means not sweating the small stuff when it comes to relations with allied or tributary states, or enemies who are not really threatening. It is a classic hegemonic device to show that the power that everyone recognizes as superior nonetheless shows concern and regard for the smaller or lesser party. English does not have a good equivalent to this (although magnanimity comes close), so its speakers use foreign phrases, like noblesse oblige.

North Korea

North Korea Demystified (Cambria Press, 2012)

Buy this book from Cambria Press today and use coupon code AAS2017 to save 30% on the hardcover version.

See also A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia by Thomas A. Drohan

Asia Warfare

Cambria Press author Wendy Larson (AAS 2017 speech)

Cambria Press author Wendy Larson (University of Oregon) spoke about her new book Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture at the Cambria Press reception. This book is in the Cambria Press Sinophone World Series headed by Professor Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania) and the Cambria Press Contemporary Global Performing Arts Series headed by Professor John Clum (Duke University).

Watch Professor Wendy Larson’s speech
at the Cambria Press reception

Cambria Press author Wendy Larson publication Zhang Yimou

Below is a transcript of Professor Wendy Larson’s speech:

“I have been working on this book for ten years. When I first thinking about writing on Zhang Yimou, it was because of the film Hero. As you probably know, the film was extremely controversial. It came out and was widely criticized as being an apology for an authoritarian government as well as many other bad things. As I watched the film, I felt that it was more complicated than that, and I thought that wasn’t quite fair. So that got me into thinking about Zhang Yimou. I had done a little writing on him in the past. So I wrote an article about Hero with a different kind of argument and got a bit of a reaction–Nick Kaldis wrote a response–and I wrote a counter-response. But my idea at the time was to look at the way in which literature and film theorized the position of culture in China–not Chinese culture; that is not to say Chinese culture versus Western culture, or something like that, but rather how culture is structurally working at a time of transformation and crisis in China when there is a lot of pressures from globalization, from consumerism and capitalism, and there’s just rapid change in the information society going on. So, originally, at first I thought I would put Zhang Yimou in there as one person that I will look at. And then I thought I was so tired from doing the book before that, where I looked at so many filmmakers and authors. So I thought maybe I’ll just focus on one, and that will make it easier. [Hahaha] So I did focus on one, but it didn’t make it easier. The choice wasn’t that easy, but I looked at Zhang Yimou’s films and I felt that about half of them, maybe three-quarters of them, could work within my argument. So what I did really is not an auteur-type of study; it is not a study of Zhang Yimou that is going to give you his whole history, his biographical information, his every single film–it is not a survey. It’s really an argument about the way that the films are in themselves a kind of investigation into the way culture is working in China.

There are two questions I often get, so I’ll answer them now. Number 1: Have you met Zhang Yimou? The answer is no. I have not met Zhang Yimou, and that’s on purpose because I feel compromised when I personally know the subjects of my study and I think it is an unconscious thing that I slightly back away from perhaps some of the things I want to say. And that may just be me; it’s not every single person that falls into that kind of trap.

And the second question is: Do you like all of Zhang Yimou’s films? The answer is no. But I like enough of his films, which I think are interesting and I think sometimes they have gotten a bad rap. I’ve had many arguments about this, and that has of course brought out the contrarian in me, and I’m happy to argue about what the films are doing.

So, finally, I just want to say that I am really to be pleased to be able to publish with an independent academic press, and I want to thank Toni Tan and Victor Mair and everyone else who has worked who has worked on this. A lot of people worked very hard on this. I’m very impressed with the speed and quality of the work, and I’m really happy to have published with Cambria Press. Thank you.”

* * * * *

Zhang Yimou has the reputation for being one of the most famous filmmakers of China, as well as one of the most controversial. Despite his stature among Chinese film directors, Zhang Yimou has not yet been the subject of a book-length treatment in English. Film professors who teach his films only have access to a relatively small corpus of articles and book chapters published over some twenty-five years. This book is the first attempt to remedy that situation by laying out not simply a biographical or empirical study, but a polemical argument that counters some of the critical trends in the interpretation of Zhang’s films. In this first critical study of films by Zhang Yimou in English, Wendy Larson plumbs the larger field of debate to suggest thought-provoking ways of thinking about the films and their relationship to Chinese culture. This is an important book for film scholars and for scholars of Chinese culture and history.

Title: Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture
Author: Wendy Larson
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979756
440 pp.  |   2017   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979756.cfm

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