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.”

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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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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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Taika square dessert

Sheraton Toronto Churchill Room

Asian-Pacific Heritage Month Highlight – Alienglish: Eastern Diasporas in Anglo-American Tongues

Cambria Press academic publisher

Alienglish: Eastern Diasporas in Anglo-American Tongues by Sheng-mei Ma is the perfect book for the celebration of Asian-Pacific Heritage Month.

Published this year, Alienglish: Eastern Diasporas in Anglo-American Tongues by Sheng-mei Ma is the perfect book for the celebration of Asian-Pacific Heritage Month.

From the book’s introduction: 
“Haltingly, aliens come to speak in the Anglo-American tongue that you and I (me and you?) would understand, but what emerges is somehow skewed by accents, syntax, body language, and nonstandard contextual references—an uncanny, off-kilter language that I call Alienglish. Either an alien’s English that estranges or an alienating English because it sounds so natural, it issues forth from an involuntarily forked tongue and split psyche, operating on two registers, one clear and comprehensible, the other occluded and unfamiliar. The neologism Alienglish threatens to mongrelize the very name of native speakers’ mother tongue, which has, ironically, twisted and scorched millions of nonnative mouths.”

Available now.

Browse this book with the Free Preview Tool.

If you like this book, please recommend it to your library and colleagues.

Check out our e-book rentals too: Cambria monographs have excellent chapter readings for undergraduate and graduate classes–
Avoid the hassle of textbook orders and simply assign a book chapter (or more) to students for the week’s reading for only $8.99!

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