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: The Chinese Prose Poem

Congratulations to to Dr. Nicholas A. Kaldis, Associate Professor of Asian and Asian American Studies at SUNY Binghamton, on another excellent review of his book, The Chinese Prose Poem: A Study of Lu Xun’s Wild Grass (Yecao), in the journal Frontiers of Literary Studies in China.


The book review notes that “The Chinese Prose Poem is a well-crafted, critical, and interpretive analysis of Lu Xun’s Wild Grass (Yecao ). In addition to standing as its own critical interpretation, The Chinese Prose Poem is also a well annotated bibliographical reference for interpretations of Lu Xun’s prose poem collection. Nicholas A. Kaldis draws convincingly on the literary interpretive strategy of Walter A. Davis and is informed by Freudian psychology and Nietzschean symbolism (an interest of Lu Xun’s), which the author weaves into his close readings of Lu Xun’s prose poems themselves.”

The review further praises the book because “Kaldis’ close readings of Yecao works use ample quotations with accompanying Chinese characters (which will be appreciated by Chinese-literate readers), discussions of Lu Xun’s linguistic expressions, and his psychological and emotional states. The readings are well considered and complex, and Kaldis’ analyses and interpretive perspectives are clear and solid, engaging productively with Lu Xun’s intentionally difficult embrace of a language of paradox in Yecao.”

Read more outstanding reviews for The Chinese Prose Poem.

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

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Forthcoming: Buddhist Transformations and Interactions

The following is an announcement from Dr. Victor H. Mair, Professor of  Chinese Language and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania and general editor of the Cambria Sinophone World Series.

Buddhist Studies

“It is with great pleasure that I announce the forthcoming publication of Buddhist Transformations and Interactions: Essays in Honor of Antonino Forte (Cambria Press, 2017).  We have chosen today to make this announcement because it is the tenth anniversary of Nino’s passing on July 22, 2016.

This tome is unusual in the way that it assembles the research of distinguished scholars from various fields and regions. All these scholars knew Professor Forte personally and were influenced by his scholarship. Seldom does one find the combination of spatial breadth, temporal depth, and conceptual rigor that is found in Buddhist Transformations and Interactions.  The twelve chapters in this book exemplify the method and principles of Antonino Forte’s own work and will provide readers with a much better appreciation and understanding of East Asian Buddhism.

The individual chapters and their authors are listed in the table of contents and the aims of the work as a whole are presented in the book description.

It is our intention to hold a roundtable focused on Buddhist Transformations and Interactions at the next Association for Asian Studies meeting, which will be held in Toronto from March 16-19, 2017.  The book will be launched at the AAS conference.”

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China’s Response to Territorial Disputes

The Economist recently reported that “the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an international tribunal in The Hague, has declared China’s “historic claims” in the South China Sea invalid. It was an unexpectedly wide-ranging and clear-cut ruling, and it has enraged China.” As the region and the United States anxiously await China’s response, Colonel Thomas Drohan’s new book, A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia, provides useful insights in gauging China’s possible reactions.

East Asia Warfare Strategy

The book’s concept of combined effects warfare shows how Chinese strategy in East Asia is so effective against the combined arms-heavy approach of the US such as in recent “rebalancing,” relative weaknesses in the key US-Japan alliance and mounting Chinese capabilities account for the timing of Chinese actions; and Chinese security culture explains why China pursues a strategy of blending confrontation with cooperation. It explains contemporary China’s combined-effects approach to complex warfare, specifically which includes the kind of persistent reexpansion we are seeing in the South China Sea:

“Current operations seek to fragment rivals on China’s borders and occupy China-claimed territories with complex invasions…Party operations play an existential role in constructing and justifying both an intuitive moral order and a central authority. Major combined-effects offensives include:

  1. a) Military, economic, and political operations to reorient Taiwan toward the mainland
  2. b) Diplomatic partnering with the Soviet Union, then conducting ideological warfare against it
  3. c) Support of Vietnam, and then warfare against it to ensure cliental loyalty to China
  4. d) Seizure of disputed Southeast Asian territory while expanding ties with claimants
  5. e) Incursions in Japan-claimed territory while increasing ties with Japan and the U.S.
  6. f) Maritime reclamation (dredging) operations create, occupy, and militarize new territory.

China’s leaders value holistic, sustainable operations, consistent with the assumption that threats are permanent and any elimination of them are temporary…”

The book also explains how how the limitations of of the US-Japan alliance empower China’s combined-effect strategy in the South China Sea.

“However, the limits of the US-Japan alliance–such as restricting Japanese defense to its own territory– facilitate China’s desired combined effect. Thus, China does not have to integrate its problematic effects of masking its predatory intent while increasing its military-economic strength, stirring anti-Japanese nationalism that does not empower Chinese democracy, and isolating Japan from US intervention, as long as Japan and the United States are complying with these effects anyway.”

In addition, the book helpfully explains why China’s strategy emphasizes military and economic confrontation (in the South China Sea)– while at the same time claiming to be all about harmony and peace as China follows up the UN Tribunals ruling again them with threats to establish an ADIZ and use all of that to “negotiate” its expanding new normal.

“Chinese security culture can help us understand continuity in Chinese strategies and why elites cannot afford to fold in the face of foreign pressure if they are to retain domestic influence. Confrontational sovereignty claims trump tangible benefits of cooperative interdependence. Moral order, central authority, and territorial integrity persist as highly valued interests, particularly among China’s single-Party leadership. So while modernization has strengthened national capabilities, it has also increased national willpower. When China has had the capability to engage other powers as an equal or more, it has done so. We can infer that military equality is the PLA’s precondition for expanding military-to-military relations with the U.S. The loss of ideological sovereignty in the past has become the consensus threat to national security. Ideological sovereignty is closely connected to economic nationalism.”

A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia is part of the  Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security (RCCS) Series, headed by Dr. Geoffrey R. H. Burn.

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Cosmopolitanism in China, 1600–1950

Cambria Press is pleased to announce a new publication Cosmopolitanism in China, 1600–1950 by Professors Minghui Hu (University of California Santa Cruz) and Johan Elverskog (Southern Methodist University) . This book is in the Cambria Sinophone World Series headed by Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania).

This book will be launched at the upcoming 2016 Association of Asian Studies (AAS) conference in Seattle.

Cosmopolitanism China

The following are excerpts from the book.

Chapter 1: Introduction


“When Confucianism was vital, it was cosmopolitan…. But when China ceased to be the world and became a nation, or struggled to become one, Confucianism was provincial in that larger world that contained the Chinese nation.” – Joseph R. Levenson

“Levenson was clearly on to something important—this volume explores the implications and possibilities of his potent observation regarding China in relation to the growing scholarship on cosmopolitanism around the world.” – Minghu Ju and Johan Elverskog, pp. 1–2

Chapter 2: Making Manchus and Muslims7c055f6c314a75a379d4188997b0cbe4
“The vicissitudes of the Qing political climate intermittently permitted and forced Chinese Muslims to express their beliefs and collective identity as being not only unthreatening to Chinese culture and society, but, moreover, completely consonant with mainstream Confucian values. The resulting hybrid cultural, religious, and intellectual identity cultivated by the Han Kitab scholars parallels in many ways the multivalent imperial identity promoted by the Qing imperium. In the communal histories of the Manchus and Chinese Muslims, one can observe patterns of development that mirror those of other ethnoreligious communities throughout Chinese history.” —James Frankel, pp. 24–25

Chapter 3: Quotidian Cosmopolitanism in Qing Provincial GovernmentPortrait_of_the_Yongzheng_Emperor_in_Court_Dress
“The imperial responses to the 1723 floods revealed much about the assumptions and traditions of the court and province in river management. The Yongzheng emperor responded to the situation in Henan with a series of new appointments, bringing individuals of different backgrounds and expertise on board —a strategy that captured well the quotidian cosmopolitanism of  Qing rule in that it threw into relief the competing claims of universalism within a local context.” — R. Kent Guy, p. 58

Chapter 4: From Specialized Methodologies to Cosmopolitan Vision450px-Lunyu
“All the basic labels used in the Sinophone world [to denote Qianjia scholarship] are actually misnomers […] Eighteenth-century High Qing scholarship must therefore not simply be characterized as kaojuxue 考據學 (textual methodologies) but rather as the rise of various specialized methodologies encompassed by a coherent cosmopolitan vision.” — Chang So-An and Minghui Hu, pp. 90, 110


Chapter 5: Toward a Buddhist Cosmopolitanism Gong Zizhen Memorial

“Gong Zizhen—famous for his New Text classical scholarship, his poetic oeuvre, and his advocacy for the establishment of the province of Xinjiang —was also a devout and erudite Buddhist. […] Given his ardent faith, paying tribute to Sakyamuni in extravagant terms such as [in Ti Fance] hardly sounds exceptional. Nonetheless, it was bold, even a bit cheeky, for a member of the highest stratum of literati society to so explicitly and categorically denigrate native sages in favor of foreigners. […] Gong displays a remarkably even-handed, largely neutral appraisal of China’s place among its neighbors, and an enthusiasm toward the cultivation of what could be loosely called a cosmopolitan sensibility. Key to the emergence of this approach was Gong’s eclectic tendency to cross various cultural and intellectual boundaries, as well as his oft-expressed disdain for ethnic or cultural provincialism.” — Stephen Roddy, pp. 121–123

Chapter 6: A Late Chosŏn Korean Polymath in the Cosmopolitan World of Qing ChinaKim_Jeong-hui
“The story of Kim Chŏng-hŭi provides a view into what can be understood as the East Asian Confucian cosmopolis. Korean translators, as well as their overseas Hokkien, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Siamese counterparts, played an essential role as go-betweens between China and the broader East Asian Confucian world.  [… These interactions] suggest that a loosely interconnected but very cosmopolitan East Asian sociocultural world of classical learning, literary writings, and political statecraft existed and was powered by the early modern East Asian commercial world during the ‘silver age.’”— Benjamin Elman, pp. 160, 180

Chapter 7: Cultural Solidarity in Troubled TimesN09124_featured_fig28
“Yu Yue used the word ‘people from faraway places’ (yuanren 遠人) to refer only to Europeans and their colonial (or in this case quite possibly enslaved) subjects. […] He often complained that the inventions brought to China by these distasteful, unsightly foreigners were either superfluous or unsettling, and often both. 187-188 [… However, later in life] While falling into a deep gloom over the violence that raged both within and outside of China (Yu Yue expressed a wish to end his life in several poems of 1900–1906), Yu also began in this period to speak of a shared humanity with those people of more distant lands, the so-called ‘yuanren’ that he had dismissed so disparagingly earlier in life.” — Stephen Roddy, pp. 189, 187-188, 201

Chapter 8: Did the Yellow Emperor Come from Babylonia?

“According to Albert Étienne Jean Baptiste Terrien de Lacouperie, Nakhunte (also romanized as Nai Hwangti) was the legendary Yellow Emperor in Chinese history, and the Bak tribes were derived from the first phonetic unit of Baixing 百姓 meaning the “peasants” or general population. Therefore, the Yellow Emperor—who was widely considered the symbolic beginning of Chinese civilization and the starting point of the Chinese imperial genealogy—actually came from Babylonia. The ancient Chinese were in fact Babylonians. Lacouperie’s argument later became known as Sino-Babylonianism (Xilaishuo). […] In 1903, when Sino-Babylonianism was first introduced to the Sinophone world, the anti-Manchu revolutionary elites in Shanghai and Tokyo took strong political positions in reaction to it. Although some initially supported the theory, when they realized that Sino-Babylonianism implied the foreign origins of Chinese civilization and thereby contradicted their political purpose in mobilizing an anti-Manchu revolution, they quickly shifted positions to oppose it.— Sun Jiang and Minghui Hu, pp. 221–222

Chapter 9: Why Culture? The Great War and Du Yaquan’s Civilizational DiscourseUnknown
“The prominent intellectuals of China’s new Republic identified culture as the primary cause of political change. This remarkable belief in how culture (wenhua) could alter the course of history resurfaced again in the 1960s; however, in the 1910s there were two distinct discourses on the issue. On the more politically moderate side of these debates was Du Yaquan (1873–1933), the editor of the flagship journal Eastern Miscellany (Dongfang zazhi) […] Du Yaquan strove to provide a cosmopolitan perspective in observing and conceiving the political and social problems of China.” — Wang Hui and Minghui Hu, pp. 265, 285

Learn more about the book and recommend it.

Cosmopolitanism in China

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AAS 2016 Seattle: Cambria Sinophone World Series Event

Cambria Press will be holding its annual Cambria Sinophone World Series event at the AAS conference on Satuday (April 2, 2016) at 7:30 p.m. in the Jefferson Room (4th floor in the Union Street Tower) at the Sheraton Seattle. All are welcome to this event.

AAS 2016 Asian Studies

Dr. Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania) will be discussing the series and introducing the new books.


Dr. Mair will speak on behalf of Dr. Wilt Idema (Harvard University) and Dr. Chia-rong Wu (Rhodes College) about their books, The Immortal Maiden Equal to Heaven and Other Precious Scrolls from Western Gansu and Supernatural Sinophone and Beyond respectively.

Wilt Idema author Cambria Press book publication baojuan precious scrolls China SinologistSupernatural Sinophone Taiwan

Dr. Christopher Lupke (Washington State University) will be present to discuss his book, The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien, which will make its highly anticipated debut at the conference.

Hou Hsiao-hsien

Another long-awaited book that will be released at the conference is Cosmopolitanism in China, 1600-1950 by Minghui Hu and Johan Elverskog. Both will be present to talk about their book.

Cosmopolitanism China

In addition, Dr. Karil Kucera (St. Olaf College) will be there to speak about her book (also being released at the AAS), Ritual and Representation in Chinese Buddhism: Visualizing Enlightenment at Baodingshan from the 12th to 21st Centuries. Her book features 159 color images as well as an innovative online component that takes readers through Baodingshan.


Finally, it is a great honor to have Colonel Thomas Drohan who will discuss his book, A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia.

East Asia Warfare Strategy

This is the first book in the new series, Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security (RCCS), headed by general editor Dr. Geoffrey R. H. Burn.

Conflict and Security

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