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 author I-Hsien Wu (AAS 2017 speech)

Cambria Press author I-Hsien Wu (City University of New York) spoke about her new book Eroticism and Other Literary Conventions in Chinese Literature: Intertextuality in The Story of the Stone 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 I-Hsien Wu’s speech
at the Cambria Press reception

Cambria Press author I-Hsien Wu publication Story of the Stone

Below is a transcript of Professor I-Hsien Wu’s speech:

“Let me begin with a heartfelt thank you to Toni Tan and David Armstrong, and the whole production team at Cambria. Thank you for helping me transform my project into a book. And thank you, Professor Mair. It is my great honor to have my book included in the series. I feel extremely honored and grateful.

And I am so thrilled to be here today, because The Story of the Stone is not only the most celebrated prose fiction in Chinese literature but also my favorite book. I vividly remember reading an abridged version of the novel for young readers when I was in elementary school. And I remember reading the original for the first time when I was eleven — it was such a struggle! I was completely confused by Chapter 1 and gave up!

But now that’s history. Chapter 1 has since become where I turn to all the time, especially the metafictional framework. I am intrigued by the idea that a stone can be a character, a narrator, a jade pendant, and the book itself all at the same time. And I am fascinated by the stone’s famous criticism of historical romance, erotic fiction, and scholar-and-beauty novels. Although it looks like he is drawing a line between his story and these previous works, in fact he only reveals that The Story of the Stone is deeply rooted in these genres and conventions.

This is where the novel openly shows the author’s anxiety of influence and alludes to the nature of intertextuality, and this is also where my book comes in. To me, the novel’s construction of lust is a dialogue with erotic literature; its making of romance is about the use of drama; in the last forty chapters, the novel wrestles with the scholar-and-beauty ideals; and finally, the mythic stone is created to question the convention of storytelling, not only in pre-existing fiction but also in the novel’s many previous lives in manuscript versions and printed editions.

It has been a long journey for me reading and writing about The Story of the Stone. I hope you will all join me by reading my book. Thank you.”

* * * * *

How does The Story of the Stone utilize language and text to make meanings of the human lives it creates? How does The Story of the Stone exist through its relation to previous fiction? To answer these questions, this book argues that the mythic stone’s harsh critiques of historical romance (yeshi), erotic fiction (fengyue bimo), and scholar-and-beauty fiction (caizi jiaren) cannot be taken at face value. Instead, they signify The Stone’s anxiety of influence and allude to the nature of intertextuality. Professor Wu’s book, Eroticism and Other Literary Conventions in Chinese Literature, is thus a must-read for anyone interested in The Story of the Stone, and for readers interested in novel, fiction, drama, and other literary genres and subgenres in Chinese literature.

Title: Eroticism and Other Literary Conventions in Chinese Literature: Intertextuality in The Story of the Stone
Author: I-Hsien Wu
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979770
240 pp.  |   2017   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979770.cfm

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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

Order this book on Amazon now!

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Cambria Press Publication Excerpt from “Buddhist Transformations and Interactions”

The following is an excerpt from Buddhist Transformations and Interactions edited by Professor Victor Mair. This new book was released by Cambria Press at the 2017 AAS conference a week ago. According to Tansen Sen (professor at Baruch College), Antonino Forte had the well-earned reputation of being “a valued mentor, a comforting friend, and a great host.” In the book, Sen notes:

“Nino, as we called him, was always ready to share his insights into the cosmopolitan world of the Tang dynasty; he eagerly imparted his knowledge about the Buddhist connections between Tang China and other parts of Asia; and he graciously offered to us his publications, including those that were forthcoming or still at the formative stage. His advice and suggestions invariably improved our research skills and knowledge of Chinese history. His kindness and generosity also helped us better navigate the world of scholarship as well as daily life in Kyoto. Nino Forte was one of the leading global scholars of Tang China.”

We will be posting more chapter excerpts soon. This new book from Cambria Press is also available on Amazon.

Cambria Press publisher reputation Forte

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Cambria Press Publication Review – A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia

Cambria Press publication review.jpg
Cambria Press Publication Review for A New Strategy for Complex Warfare

Congratulations to Colonel Thomas Drohan (PhD, Princeton University), Head of the Department of Military & Strategic Studies at the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy, on the outstanding review by the journal Parameters of his book, A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia.

This book, which is part of the new Cambria Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security Studies (RCSS) Series (general editor: Dr. Geoffrey R. H. Burn), was published by Cambria Press in 2016 and launched at the ISA and AAS conferences.

The review notes that “in placing weapons-centric strategic changes front and center, policymakers are putting the cart before the horse. Thankfully Drohan, a scholar with a doctorate from Princeton who now heads the Department of Military and Strategic Studies at the US Air Force Academy after years of his own military service, is in a unique position to bridge this gap between academic theorists and policy practitioners, a task he successfully accomplishes.”

It commends the book because it “does much of the heavy lifting required for acquiring a proper understanding of Asian security cultures. 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.”

The review also emphasizes how “Drohan does not simply provide policymakers with pages of historical detail and no guidelines for determining its relevance. He excels in explaining the implications cultural histories have for US security strategy and prescribes both philosophical and pragmatic changes practitioners should make.”

Buy A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia for only $29.95 today on Amazon.

AAS 2017 Toronto: Books and Scholars in Asian Studies to Watch

AAS 2017 Cambria Press Authors

Check out the new books by these Asianists at the Cambria Press booth 109 at the Association for Asian Studies, Inc. (AAS) #AAS2017 conference in Toronto.

Top (left to right): Wilt Idema (Harvard University), Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania), Wendy Larson (University of Oregon), Mark Bender (The Ohio State University), and Charlotte Furth (University of Southern California).

Bottom (left to right): Zhansui Yu (Nazareth College), Christopher Lupke (University of Alberta), Takayoshi Yamamura (Hokkaido University), I-Hsien Wu (City College of New York), and Philip Seaton (Hokkaido University).

Professor Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania) will make a special appearance at the Cambria Press booth (109) on Friday (March 17) at 11 a.m. to discuss the Cambria Sinophone World Series and his latest book Buddhist Transformations and Interactions. In addition, six other new books are being launched just in time for the AAS conference. These are:

  • Zhang Yimou by Wendy Larson (University of Oregon)

    “Larson’s book is important for any reader interested in how the political sphere and visual culture redefine each other.” —Yomi Braester, University of Washington; and Coeditor, Journal of Chinese Cinemas

  • The Borderlands of Asia by Mark Bender (The Ohio State University) 

    “When it comes to other books on the market, there is nothing close to this book in terms of quality or range of material. This is a unique and valuable addition to the field of literature and Asian studies.”—Jonathan Stalling, University of Oklahoma; and Editor, Chinese Literature Today

  • Eroticism and Other Literary Conventions in Chinese Literature by I-Hsien Wu (CUNY) 

    “I-Hsien Wu has done brilliant work in teasing out the intertextual threads of The Story of the Stone. In a very astute manner, she examines sources drawn from performing arts and erotic fiction, identifies ideological and affective contestations, and ponders the consequences of the novel as a text in flux.” —David Der-wei Wang, Harvard University

  • Chinese Avant-garde Fiction by Zhansui Yu (Nazareth College) 

    “This thoughtful book offers fresh insights into avant-garde fiction in the early decades of China’s reform. Engaging Chinese and Western traditions, Yu Zhansui argues forcefully that the Chinese avant-garde carries on the probe into the darkness of history in a quest for transcendent truths about human conditions.” —Ban Wang, Stanford University

  • Opening to China by Charlotte Furth (Univerity of Southern California) 

    “Few Americans today have any sense of how far China has come since its opening in the early 1980s. Charlotte Furth was there to see the start of the defrost with the country’s opening and her lively account of her experiences in China then provides a unique and invaluable record. It is useful in these days of rising tensions between China and the U.S. to be reminded of China’s social reality not very long ago.” —Gordon H. Chang, Stanford University

  • Contents Tourism in Japan by Philip Seaton, Takayoshi Yamamura, Akiko Sugawa-Shimada, and Kyungjae Jang

    “This may be the best book ever written on tourism in Japan! This work is on one of the most important subjects in contemporary tourism studies and Japan studies, perhaps a forerunner of things that are also happening in the Korean and Chinese worlds and elsewhere, which makes it doubly important.” —Nelson Graburn, UC Berkeley

Taika square sneak peek
Take a sneak peek at the Cambria Press Asian studies catalog
Taika square book sales
Use coupon code AAS2017 at http://www.cambriapress.com to save 30% on all hardcover titles. Offer ends May 15, 2017.
Taika square book
Forthcoming book in the Cambria Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security Studies (RCCS) Series headed by Dr. Geoffrey R. H. Burn
Taika square BAG
Come to booth 109 to get a complimentary Cambria Sinophone World Series tote bag

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Sheraton Toronto Churchill Room