Cambria Press Publication Review: State Terrorism and the Politics of Memory in Latin America

Congratulations to Professor Gabriela Fried Amilivia on the outstanding review of her book, State Terrorism and the Politics of Memory in Latin America: Transmissions Across The Generations of Post-Dictatorship Uruguay, 1984–2004, in the Journal of Latin American Studies, which praises the book for being “an invaluable contribution.”

#LASA2018

The review notes that:

Gabriela Fried Amilivia’s accomplished work is an invaluable contribution to the modest, yet growing, body of literature to focus exclusively on the evolution of memory in post-dictatorship Uruguay, which has tended to occupy a secondary role in both theoretical and critical debates to its larger neighbour across the Río de la Plata. This study therefore gives the flurry of activity and interest in commemoration since the mid-1990s in Uruguay the nuanced attention it duly deserves, taking its place alongside Eugenia Allier Montaño’s work on sites and practices of memory, Francesca Lessa’s seminal study of transitional memory and justice and Mariana Achugar’s coverage of memory and subjectivity beyond ‘the usual suspects’ to incorporate the Uruguayan military. … Fried’s work differs in a number of ways … What emerges is an intensely rich and moving study of memory, arguably a reflection of the blending of Fried’s personal and professional positions as a member of the latter generation and a scholar and active contributor to academic debates.

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Cambria Press Author Albert Welter – Speech at AAS 2018 Reception

Cambria Press author Professor Albert Welter, Head of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona, gave a speech about his book, The Administration of Buddhism in China: A Study and Translation of Zanning and the Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy (Da Song Seng shilue), at the Cambria Press reception at the AAS 2018 conference in Washington, DC.

Watch Professor Albert Welter’s speech and/or read the transcript below.

Cambria Press Publication Author Albert Welter

Below is a transcript of Professor Albert Welter’s speech:

“I know there are some of you who have worked on projects longer than I have on this one, but I doubt there are many. I started working on the early Song dynasty literati Buddhist Zanning as a post-doctoral project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, back in the late 1980’s, and have continued to work on this project intermittently in the intervening years. Here we are, 30 years on, and finally, thanks to Cambria Press, and aided by another Canada Council grant along the way, my study of Zanning and translation of his Da Song Seng Shilüe (Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy) is finally seeing the light of day.

I tend to get asked two different kinds of questions regarding my work: Americans ask me how I got interested in China, Chinese ask how I got interested in Buddhism. As we all know, religion can be a touchy subject in China, less so these days than before, but still needing some delicacy at times. I recall my first time to China in the early to mid-1980’s being encircled on the Bund in Shanghai by a crowd of a hundred or more curious Chinese, wondering who the laowai was in their recently opened but still mostly forbidden land. When they learned that I had come to study Buddhism, a nervous hush fell over the crowd. My Chinese interlocutor for the group, an “elderly” gentleman (“elderly” being a relative term, as I have come to find 30 years later) quickly asked me a few clarifying questions about the nature of my study and was able to announce to the palpable relief of the crowd that I was “biàn zhèng wéi wù zhǔ yì zhě” (a dialectical materialist). The day was saved.

Sinologists, on the other hand, tend to ask me how I got interested in Zanning. Perhaps they are just as relieved to find that Zanning was not my primary interest but was an outcome of a larger fascination with the origins of Song dynasty Buddhism, the role of Buddhism in the transition from Tang to Song, and how such a thing as a Buddhist literatus, or Buddhist ru or ruseng, came to play such a prominent role. My interest in Zanning generated a number of contradictions that have continued to percolate. For example, on a panel a few years ago tasked with the question, “when did ru become Confucian?” it fell upon me to suggest, thanks to Zanning, that ru did not always become Confucian. On the topic of the association of daoxue with the rise of Song Dynasty Neo-Confucianism, I, thanks to Zanning, get to remind the audience that daoxue was but one part of a larger Songxue movement, and that Songxue included, quite prominently, the study of Buddhism, an interest that prevailed among literati throughout the Song. Buddhists like Zanning were also knowledgeable advocates of Confucian teaching to an extent that Confucians looked to him for advice on their own teachings and practices. Zanning forces us to ask fundamental questions about the nature of Chinese Buddhism, not as a haven for monastic recluses, but as an avenue for engaged scholars to participate in the highest level of debates over pressing matters of cultural significance. Zanning reminds us that Song Dynasty Buddhists were not pushed to the margins of society, even if dynastic historians did a masterful job of erasing their presence. To those of you who find the grammar and vocabulary of Buddhist texts “messy” to the point of incomprehension, Zanning’s Topical Compendium may offer some relief, just as it did when Emperor Taizong commissioned it as a primer on Buddhist history, institutions, and practices, for the newly formed bureaucracy of the Song Dynasty.

Finally, I want to say that I am especially pleased to be able to publish with Cambria. I’m not sure any other press would have taken on a 700-page publication project, roughly half of which is devoted to notes and appendices. And they have done a masterful job with great support and enthusiasm. I want to thank Toni Tan, David Armstrong, and Victor Mair and everyone else who has worked on this. I’m very impressed with the quality of the work, and the speed with which you executed all the minute tasks that go along with publishing. And I’m really happy to have published with a press devoted to the finest works on Sinology. Zanning would be pleased. Thank you.

* * * * *

About the book

The early Song dynasty (960–1278) was a time of immense intellectual fervor, as China rulers, after over a century of internecine warfare, embarked on a new course that promoted wen (literary or cultural arts) over wu (martial prowess). With the new literary based agenda came a discussion of how to constitute Song’s wen agenda, how to define wen values, what kinds of literature should be included and what excluded, and so on. Zanning (919–1001) was the leading Buddhist literatus at the Song court and his Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy represents a major contribution to this debate, the understanding of which would be deficient without it.

The relationship between religion and the state is a topic of major concern in the history of religions. While books, articles, and essays on this topic are common for other regions of the world, especially the West and increasingly for Islamic regions, there are few works discussing the dynamics of religion/state relations in China. Studies are beginning to appear that discuss the dynamics of religion/state relations in modern China, and while many studies of pre-modern Chinese religion touch on this topic, there is no study in English that addresses this topic head on. The relationship between religion and the state in China is a perennial problem that shows no sign of losing its significance in contemporary international affairs, and studies of the history of this relationship with a focus on Buddhism, the most articulate religious force in China during the past couple of millennia, cannot but have a real value to scholars and students.

Zanning’s Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy engages the issue of the Buddhist presence in China directly, arguing for the clear and consistent contributions of Buddhism to Chinese culture and society in an unambiguous way. While ceding claims to independence, Zanning offers that Buddhism is an integral component of China’s culture, not an alien tradition anathema to Chinese values, but an important contributing factor to them. While other works argue in favor of Buddhism in the Chinese context in doctrinal and intellectual terms, only the Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy asserts the necessity of Buddhist institutions and customs as assets in administrative affairs.

The Administration of Buddhism in China: A Study and Translation of Zanning and the Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy is thus a very important book for Asian studies, Buddhist studies, and history collections.

Title: The Administration of Buddhism in China: A Study and Translation of Zanning and the Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy (Da Song Seng shilue)
Author: Albert Welter
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979428
722 pp.  |   2018   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979428.cfm

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Cambria Press Publication Review: Opening to China

Congratulations to Professor Charlotte Furth on the outstanding review of her book, Opening to China: A Memoir of Normalization, 1981–1982, by China Review International.

Modern Chinese History

The review notes that

For those who saw China at this time, this book is a touching reminder of the tentativeness of the whole affair – how Americans and Chinese alike were desperate to meet and get to know each other – and how difficult that was in reality – as cultural gaps and political realities loomed in the background of every encounter.

It further adds that:

Opening to China tells us also about the life of one of our most important China scholars, and through that life we see the growth and maturation of the field of modern Chinese history in the twentieth century. … this book about her time there informs us about the fraught nature of public diplomacy. …those interested in this key period of relations between the United States and China will find in this book a detailed and evocative picture of the personal side of public diplomacy. At the same time, it is a jolly good read.

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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 Review: African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World

Congratulations to Professor Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University) on the outstanding review of her book African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World by H-Net Reviews. The book review states:

Cambria Press publication review

Examining systems of oppression, representation, and acculturation, this book offers alternative ways of understanding and privileging African legacies in Brazil. Essentially, this interdisciplinary text challenges systems of racism and calls for the preservation,
presentation, and proliferation of African legacies in Brazil. … this book examines the systematic suppression of black and African-centered arts, bodies, religious practices, cultural norms, and sociopolitical traditions in Brazil. Chartering new perspectives, scholars uncover archival mysteries, museum practices, hidden histories, and places of historic trauma. This collection also reveals communal legacies of resistance and empowerment in the lives and practices of all Brazilian people. Read the rest of the review.

Title: African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World
Authors: Ana Lucia Araujo
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604978926
428 pp.  |   2015   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604978926.cfm

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Cambria Press author Charlotte Furth (AAS 2017 speech)

Cambria Press author Charlotte Furth (University of Southern California) spoke about her new book Opening to China: A Memoir of Normalization, 1981–1982 at the Cambria Press  reception.

Watch Professor Charlotte Furth’s speech
at the Cambria Press reception

Cambria Press author Charlotte Furth publication Opening to China

Below is a transcript of Professor Charlotte Furth’s speech:

“Many of you here may not even remember what it was like to study China during the Cold War, when we could not go there.  But I began my teaching career in the mid-1960s, at its height.  PRC was hidden behind the Bamboo Curtain.  Taiwan and Hong Kong didn’t really count… You then can imagine  how we responded to Nixon’s visit to China in 1972.  Thrilled!  The decade that followed was one of  very tentative rapprochement and  limited travel, via delegations approved by PRC authorities.  Think  “socialist tourism”  two week guided tours, itineraries chosen by our hosts. .   Nonetheless, we all schemed to get a place on a delegation—and then we wondered what on earth we had seen (1970s were  the height of the cultural revolution as it turned out).

Then in 1979  President Carter negotiated full diplomatic relations.  Among the changes: a full  American diplomatic mission in Beijing, some Western journalists could be posted there, a few big banks set up shop, and the Fulbright program  of  international exchange of scholars and  teachers, suspended since 1950, was resumed.

And I wangled a year in Beijing as a Fulbright teacher.  Why and how the Chinese authorities choose a historian of China to teach young Chinese scholars about America is a curious story. The details are in the memoir, but it is one of many that show how uncertain PCR leaders were  about the new relationship between  us Americans and the Chinese—and also about the future direction of their own country.  My students weren’t ordinary university students: they were mostly young and a few middle-aged scholars— products of education in Mao’s China.  All one way or another had assignments to teach college-level English.  They came to Beijing from all over the nation.  Of course they were woefully unprepared: torn between curiosity about the outside world and anxiety about their own futures.  But their lives were an amazing window into the revolutions history.

So the memoir is the story of our mutual encounter.  I’d left my husband and daughter to embark on this adventure alone—and I wrote in detail about daily life in letters home—so  much detail that my husband complained that I didn’t seem to miss him. It was true…I knew the letters would be a record of an unusual experience..and I also knew when I came home in 1982 that I wasn’t ready to write about it all.  Thirty five years later, you have it. I am glad I  lived long enough to do this!”

* * * * *

Based on Professor Furth’s detailed notes and letters home at the time, this book evokes the unique atmosphere of expectation and frustration that characterized the first years of normalization. This book is a valuable account for specialists on Sino-American relations and on the formative years of the generation of Chinese who lead the People’s Republic of China today. It is also a fascinating read for anyone who wants to explore the pleasures and perils of Chinese and American struggles to understand one another.

Title: Opening to China: A Memoir of Normalization, 1981–1982
Author: Charlotte Furth
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979848
158 pp.  |   2017   |   Paper & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979848.cfm

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Cambria Press Publication Review: African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World

cambria-press

Congratulations to Professor Ana Lucia Araujo on yet another outstanding review of her book African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World!

The Journal of Lusophone Studies praised the book for being “a much needed transatlantic study on Africa and Brazil has finally come alive… in this formidable volume … the ten chapters offer a compendium of well researched work” and recommends it as a “welcome addition to the bibliography on Afro-Brazilian and South Atlantic studies. It will surely provoke further studies.”

This book is part of the Cambria Studies in Slavery: Past and Present series, headed by Dr. Ana Lucia Araujo.

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