Cambria Press Author Jonathan Stalling – Speech at AAS 2018 Reception

Cambria Press author Professor Jonathan Stalling, Professor of English and Curator of the Chinese Literature Translation Archive at the University of Oklahoma, gave a speech about his book, Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers: An Anthology, coedited with Lin Tai-man and Yanwing Leung, at the Cambria Press reception at the AAS 2018 conference in Washington, DC.

Watch Professor Jonathan Stalling’s speech and/or read the transcript below.

Cambria Press Publication Author Jonathan Stalling

 

“I’m going to jump right in about the two questions that are asked about the book. The first is how did this volume of short fiction by contemporary Taiwanese women come about? The longer version of the answer is that it starts about twelve years ago, in Arkansas. We’ll fast forward to a couple of decades. The next relevant bit would be working in Chinese Literature Today.  Over the process of six or seven years, I became more and more familiar, although I didn’t start out as a Taiwan scholar or editor. Gradually, I became more and more connected to the Taiwanese literary scene, with people like Li Yang, Zhu Tianwen, Yang Mu, and others. That eventually brought me to Taiwan for the first time to meet with the poet Ye Weilian and during that time, I toured a part of Taipei with him, and met some of the older generations of poets and the newer generations of poets as well. Second time I came around, I met with fiction writers, architects, and dancers, as well as entrepreneurs, archivists, scholars, critics, poets, and so on, and got a deeper and more textured sense of what was happening on the Taiwan scene. It was that time that I met Jack Kuei [the Director of Taiwan Academy at the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. (TECRO)] and we started thinking about what was in fact greatly missing and it was over two decades that there was an anthology of Taiwanese women writers in English. And that is really the point of genesis. And I did write this down as well, and that this volume would not be possible if the Taiwanese literary scene were not so vibrant and diverse and if this robust productivity were not curated by TaiPen over many decades starting in  1972. That repository of rich translated literary material by some of the very best translators in the Sinosphere and Englishspheres was really what made this volume possible.

Furthermore it would not be possible if it were not for the support of Jack Kuei, who has been a driving force behind this work and others. It would also not have been possible without my Co-editors Lin Tai-man, and Yanwing Leung, and finally Toni Tan, and her amazing editorial and marketing team at Cambria. Speaking here right now with all of you is simply another extension of the care and energy that goes into the Sinophone World Series.

The second question is what is your favorite story in the anthology? Each story is so different from the next as each takes the reader from the first page and pulls them through such fascinating narratives that we have little choice but to with the authors adolescence, marriage, motherhood, sex, politics and economics on so many different scales. —We are there in the snapshots of lives in transition, we are there as whole lives appear and disappear in time-lapse images across decades, and we are there while a few implode into the stillness of a single bottomless moment. That is all to say, I cannot answer this question with a single story when the entire, pointedly gendered exploration of modern Taiwan is such a compelling and timely collection.”

* * * * *

About the book

A Pacific island of roughly 14,400 square miles, Taiwan lies just over a hundred miles off the China’s southeast shoreline and seven hundred miles south of Japan. It has been a contested cultural space between its original aboriginal inhabitants (Taiyals and Vonums) and many generations of Chinese immigrants as well as waves of Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese colonial inhabitants. All of this provides the backdrop for some of the richest Sinophone literature in the world. Unfixed, vibrant, and deeply engaged with a sense of place, Taiwanese women 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.

With this first English-language anthology of contemporary Taiwanese women writers in decades, readers are finally provided with a window to the widest possible range of voices, styles, and textures of contemporary Taiwanese women writers. Each story unfolds and takes readers through fascinating narratives spanning adolescence, marriage, and motherhood as well as sex, politics and economics on many different scales—some appear as snapshots of lives in transition, others reveal whole lives as time-lapse images across decades, while a few implode into the stillness of a single bottomless moment. Individually each story expresses its own varied, expansively heterogeneous narrative; when read as a whole collection, readers will discover a pointedly gendered exploration of modern Taiwan.

Title: Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers: An Anthology
Editors:  Jonathan Stalling, Lin Tai-man, and Yanwing Leung
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979558
226 pp.  |   2018   |   Paperback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979558.cfm

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#MLA18 Book Launch: The Monster as War Machine

Meet Dr. Mabel Moraña, William H. Gass Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and winner of the 2013 MLA Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize, on Saturday (January 6) at 11:30 a.m. at the Cambria Press booth (101) for a book signing for her latest book, The Monster as War Machine.

This book is in the Cambria Latin American Literatures and Cultures Series headed by Dr. Román de la Campa, the Edwin B. and Lenore R. Williams Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr.  de la Campa will also be at the booth to celebrate the publication of this new book.

Read excerpts of The Monster as War Machine.

#MLA18

Professor Moraña will be a speaker at the session “Theoretical Approaches to Colonial Latin American Studies” on Thursday (Jan 4) at 5:15 p.m. in the Lincoln Suite at the Hilton hotel.

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The Monster as War Machine – Book Excerpts

Cambria Press is proud to announce the publication of the new book, The Monster as War Machine, by by Mabel Moraña, William H. Gass Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and winner of the 2013 MLA Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize. See below for excerpts from this book, which has been hailed as “a tour de force” and praised for being “audacious, erudite, and exquisitely written.”

Monster as War Machine

From the preface

An apparatus of social immunization, a simulacrum that spectacularizes its artificiality, a shifter that activates social dynamics, an assemblage that threatens the machinery of power, the monster symbolizes the heroic resistance of the slave and the sinister excesses of the master. Thus, it is essential to contextualize, even though it may seem fallacious, even the universality that the monster evokes in every one of its apparitions and attributes. In spite of its extreme empiria, and although it frequently lacks rationality and language, the monster is in its own way always philosophical. This book proceeds as a critical exercise that follows the meanderings of the monster’s “negative aesthetics.”

On Epistemophilia and the Performance of Difference

The nineteenth century was inhabited by ghosts and monsters that expressed dystopian fantasies about the possibility of unrestrained combinations of nature and technology. The anxiety that accompanied the ideology of progress, the turbulent culmination of the colonialist enterprise in the Americas, and the massive expansion of capitalism came to be sublimated through the monstrous. In this context, monstrosity constituted a discourse that directly addressed the tensions and exclusions of the social “order” of modernity in which forms of domination and social exclusion that began with colonialism were perpetuated and made into law. Processes like the scientific “rationalization” of the body were based on the demonization of otherness. These practices took the form of taxonomies of races and individuals that became part of the hierarchical and discriminatory imaginaries of infinite “progress” in modern capitalism. Monstrosity provided a visual and conceptual support for currents of thought that promoted privilege and exclusion based on naturalist criteria and supposedly demonstrable and unimpeachable truths. “Scientific racism” asserted the superiority of the Caucasian race within a highly influential technological structure that legitimated the political, economic, and cultural domination of societies thought to be savage, primitive, or barbarous. Forms of hybridity like mestizaje were interpreted as monstrous processes that promoted impurity and the degeneration of “pure” races.

On the Ubiquitous Quality of Monsters

For the monster, neither progress nor utopia nor purity of class, race, or gender exists, because its being consists of a contaminated material in which human qualities have been definitively or partially displaced, erased, or substituted by spurious, out-of-place characteristics. This ubiquitous quality constitutes the essence of the monster. The remains of its soul reside precisely in this ambiguous, fragile, and unstable condition. Zombies, vampires, pishtacos, chupacabras, demons, phantasms, and other representatives of the broad family tree that shares the characteristics of the monstrous or the supernatural are all beings that benefit from solitude and isolation. However, they also share, within their domains, family resemblances. The monster generates itself—regenerates, degenerates—mechanically, in order to survive as a distinct concentration of irrationality in a world ruled by monstrous but legitimated principles of exclusion and reification.

On the Age of Futilitarianism

Certain social, economic, and political conditions nonetheless seem to be a breeding ground for the proliferation of monstrosity, which is expressed both in concrete fears such as the desperation of being trapped, or the disconcerting awareness of horizons that open up a landscape of disorienting freedom that manifests as a foreign, ghostly place. According to the Comaroffs, we are now in “the Age of Futilitarianism”—that is, an era in which all hope is thought to be vain and all effort is considered futile …

The Monster as War Machine is in the Cambria Latin American Literatures and Cultures Series headed by Román de la Campa, the Edwin B. and Lenore R. Williams Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Cambria Press Forthcoming Publication on David Malouf

A new book on the celebrated Australian writer David Malouf will be out soon. Winner of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the inaugural Australia-Asia Literary Award, and the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature, Malouf’s works include novels, poetry, nonfiction, plays, and libretti.

His earlier works provide much insight into Malouf’s development as a writer, and the forthcoming book David Malouf and the Poetic: His Earlier Writings Yvonne Smith uncovers what the terms “poetic”, “poetic imagination” and “inner and outer ways” imply for his development as a writer. Making use of some of his correspondence, diaries, and drafts of work-in-progress, Yvonne Smith takes into fuller account the way his works relate to each other and to the circumstances in which they were written.

Cambria Press Publication David Malouf

Title: David Malouf and the Poetic: His Earlier Writings
Author: Yvonne Smith
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979367
304 pp. | 2017 | Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979367.cfm

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Cambria Press Publication Review: The Rimbaud of Leeds

Congratulations to Dr Christine Regan on the outstanding review of her book The Rimbaud of Leeds: The Political Character of Tony Harrison’s Poetry by the journal English – Journal of the English Association. The journal review commends the book for being:

Meticulously researched … an unusually astute and impressively well informed guide to the poetry. Even those well versed in Harrison’s work will, I suspect, depart this volume with new insights and new knowledge in hand … In the age of Trump and Brexit, there is a certain pathos to seeing this one time member of the ‘white working class’ prove so inclined to side with postcolonial peoples in their struggles with the architects of the post-war order. … Regan’s work offers many new and valuable insights.

Cambria Press publication review

Title: The Rimbaud of Leeds: The Political Character of Tony Harrison’s Poetry
Author: Christine Regan
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979275
290 pp.  |   2016   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979275.cfm

Cambria Press author Mark Bender (AAS 2017 speech)

Cambria Press author Professor Mark Bender (The Ohio State University) spoke about his new book The Borderlands of Asia: Culture, Place, Poetry at the Cambria Press reception. This book is in the Cambria Press Sinophone World Series headed by Professor Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania).

Watch Professor Mark Bender’s speech
at the Cambria Press reception

Cambria Press author Mark Bender publication Borderlands of Asia

Below is a transcript of Professor Mark Bender’s speech:

“Firstly, I’d like to say a big thank-you to Toni Tan, Michelle Wright—and, of course, Victor Mair—of Cambria Press for helping me with this project.  I am endlessly grateful for their vision and hard work.

This project began as a side interest to my study of oral traditions in China.  It has grown organically from the translation of a few poems concerning cultural and environmental change written in Nuosu language by Yi poet and academic Aku Wuwu of Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu. The  present volume includes the works of 48 poets from Northeast India, Myanmar, Southwest China, Inner Mongolia, and Mongolia.

It has been my great pleasure to work with a number of onsite collaborators who helped in many ways to put me in touch with local poets.  These include Desmond Kharmawthlang from the Northeast Hill University in Shillong, Meghalaya in Northeast India; the poet ko ko thett, a former Burmese ex-pat, now living in Mandalay, Myanmar; poets Aku Wuwu and Burao Yilu, of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, China; Prof. Chen Ganglong of Peking University who connected me to poets of Inner Mongolia; and the inimitable Delgermaa Ganbat of the Union of Mongolian Writers in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The theme of the volume is the experiences of cultural and environmental change as channeled through the voices of poets from among the many ethnic groups within and without of the border areas of China and India. As I note in the Preface the array of poets included in this volume would have been different if I had met different people and if my travels had taken me to other places.  That said I feel strongly that the themes of cultural and environmental change treated in the volume have a sharp relevancy in many areas Asia and elsewhere on the planet.  One theme that I raise in the Introduction is that of “place-competency” – the deep familiarity with local environments and how to live in a place – knowledge threatened by new styles of living that require new competencies for survival.  Many of the poets in this volume have written poems that reflect their own adjustments to changing circumstances, and often speak for their local communities. To quote from page 15:

“Many of the poets in this volume reflect perceptual and experiential attitudes towards the lands and waters of specific places that belie deep place-competency—whether the environment they evoke is a humid jhum field in Northeast India, the sublime spaces of the northern steppes, the disorienting streets of an urban megalopolis in Southwest China, or a somehow familiar myth-world inhabited by speaking animals. Some of the poets stress the de-linkage from these familiar relationships with the environment, exhibiting nostalgia for an imagined world of harmony in contrast to the traumatic changes of the present. From another angle, poems such as Desmond Kharmawphlang’s “Thaiang Buried Roots,” reflect an attitude adopted by poets who seek to renew aspects of tradition amidst the chaos of cultural upheaval and environmental destruction and heal intimate ties between community and place (Syiem 2011, 129–130).”

Other themes, such as the imagery of ritual and material culture in relation to imagery are prominent in the poems, but as my three minutes are rapidly coming to a close, I will end here with an entreaty that we pay take advantage of the opportunity to listen to these voices from the borderlands of Asia and see what they have to teach us.”

* * * * *

The Borderlands of Asia is a rare collection that brings together the works of poets of diverse cultural backgrounds located in places that are only beginning to be recognized globally as sites of intense poetic work. This book contributes to raising global awareness of this poetry of land, waters, and cultures in less-highlighted parts of Asia. The subjects of environmental and cultural change are inescapable in the poetry represented in this volume, and many ethnic communities are on the front lines of development, affected in various ways by resource extraction (especially mining and logging), damming of rivers (a severe international issue), loss of wildlife and habitat, population displacement, and the effects of climate change. Likewise, the local cultures have variously experienced the effects of invasion, colonization, revolution, social engineering, insurgency, multi-spectrum development, and globalization contributing to often challenging (or worse) cultural changes. The intense contemporary poetry being produced is an index of the magnitude of these changes. An important book for Asian studies, Indigenous literature studies, and literature of the environment studies, this volume offers a substantial glimpse into contemporary poetry from exciting but under-represented poetic voices speaking out in the border areas of eastern Asia.

Title: The Borderlands of Asia: Culture, Place, Poetry
Author: Mark Bender
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979763
396 pp.  |   2017   |   Hardback & E-book

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Cambria Press author & series editor Victor Mair (AAS 2017 speech)

Cambria Press author & series editor Professor Victor Mair spoke at the 2017 AAS (Association of Asian Studies) Cambria Press reception about how he first learned about Cambria Press at the 2008 conference and eventually came to head the Cambria Sinophone World Series, which he is pleased to note has “exploded” in such a short time. Thanks to Professor Mair’s leadership, the Cambria Sinophone World Series has grown with outstanding works from established, renowned scholars and rising academic stars.

Watch Professor Victor Mair’s speech
at the Cambria Press reception.

Victor Mair

Professor Mair also spoke about his new book Buddhist Transformations and Interactions: Essays in Honor of Antonino Forte, which was released at the AAS conference. The book is testimony to Forte’s reputation as an important scholar for his contributions, including the publication of his research and his generous assistance to many scholars. The authors in the volume are some of these scholars, and they include Tansen Sen (Baruch College), Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania), Antonino Forte, Timothy Barrett (SOAS, University of London), Jinhua Chen (University of British Columbia), Hubert Durt (International College for Advanced Buddhist Studies Tokyo), Phyllis Granoff (Yale University), Paul Groner (University of Virginia), John R. McRae (Indiana and Cornell Universities), Michael Radich (Victoria University of Wellington), James Robson (Harvard University), Koichi Shinohara (Yale University), Albert Welter (University of Arizona), and Mimi Yiengpruksawan (Yale University). This is an important book for scholars in the fields of Buddhist studies and Sinology.

Title: Buddhist Transformations and Interactions: Essays in Honor of Antonino Forte
Editor: Victor H. Mair
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979718
598 pp.  |   2017   |   Paperback & E-book

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