east asian center wordmark


Li Yang

Li Yang

The Formation of Chinese Art Cinema: 1990–2003 (Palgrave Macmillan; 2018) 

The Formation of Chinese Art Cinema: 1990–2003 examines the development of Chinese art film in the People’s Republic of China from 1990, when the first Sixth Generation film Mama was released, to 2003, when authorities acknowledged the legitimacy of underground filmmakers. Through an exploration of the production and consecration mechanisms of the new art wave and its representative styles, this book argues that the art wave of the 1990s fundamentally defined Chinese art cinema. In particular, this vital art wave was not enabled by democratic liberalism, but by the specific industrial development, in which the film system transitioned from Socialist propaganda into a commercialized entity. Allowing Chinese art film to grow but at the same time denying its legitimacy, this paradoxical transition process shaped Chinese art film’s institutional and aesthetical alternative positioning, which eventually helped consolidate the art wave into art cinema. Ultimately, this book is a history of the Chinese portion of global art cinema, which also reveals the complex Chinese cultural experiences during the Reform Era.


Pop Culture

Youjeong Oh

Pop City:  Korean Popular Culture and the Selling of a Place (Cornell University Press, 2018)

Pop City examines the use of Korean television dramas and K-pop music to promote urban and rural places in South Korea. Building on the phenomenon of Korean pop culture, Youjeong Oh argues that pop culture-featured place selling mediates two separate domains: political decentralization and the globalization of Korean popular culture. The local election system introduced in the mid 90s has stimulated strong desires among city mayors and county and district governors to develop and promote their areas. Riding on the Korean Wave—the overseas popularity of Korean entertainment, also called Hallyu—Korean cities have actively used K-dramas and K-pop idols in advertisements designed to attract foreign tourists to their regions. Hallyu, meanwhile, has turned the Korean entertainment industry into a speculative field into which numerous players venture by attracting cities as sponsors.

By analyzing the process of culture-featured place marketing, Pop City shows that urban spaces are produced and sold just like TV dramas and pop idols by promoting spectacular images rather than substantial physical and cultural qualities. Popular culture-associated urban promotion also uses the emotional engagement of its users in advertising urban space, just as pop culture draws on fans’ and audiences’ affective commitments to sell its products. Oh demonstrates how the speculative, image-based, and consumer-exploitive nature of popular culture shapes the commodification of urban space and ultimately argues that pop culture–mediated place promotion entails the domination of urban space by capital in more sophisticated and fetishized ways.


A Passage to ChinaChien-hsin Tsai

A Passage to China:  Literature, Loyalism, and Colonial Taiwan (Harvard East Asian Monographs, 2017)

This book, the first of its kind in English, examines the reinvention of loyalism in colonial Taiwan through the lens of literature. It analyzes the ways in which writers from colonial Taiwan―including Qiu Fengjia, Lian Heng, Wu Zhuoliu, and others―creatively and selectively employed loyalist ideals to cope with Japanese colonialism and its many institutional changes. In the process, these writers redefined their relationship with China and Chinese culture.

Drawing attention to select authors’ lesser-known works, author Chien-hsin Tsai provides a new assessment of well-studied historical and literary materials and a nuanced overview of literary and cultural productions in colonial Taiwan. During and after Japanese colonialism, the islanders’ perception of loyalism, sense of belonging, and self-identity dramatically changed. Tsai argues that the changing tradition of loyalism unexpectedly complicates Taiwan’s tie to China, rather than unquestionably reinforces it, and presents a new line of inquiry for future studies of modern Chinese and Sinophone literature.

Networked China Global DynamicsWenhong Chen

Networked China:  Global Dynamics of Digital Media and Civic Engagement (Routledge, 2015)

The Internet and digital media have become conduits and locales where millions of Chinese share information and engage in creative expression and social participation.  This book takes a cutting-edge look at the impacts and implications of an increasingly networked China.  Eleven chapters cover the terrain of a complex social and political environment, revealing how modern China deals with digital media and issues of censorship, online activism, civic life, and global networks.  The authors in this collection come from diverse geographical backgrounds and employ methods including ethnography, interview, survey, and digital trace data to reveal the networks that provide the critical components for civic engagement in Chinese society.

 The Chinese state is a changing, multifaceted entity, as is the Chinese public that interacts with the new landscape of digital media in adaptive and novel ways.  Networked China:  Global Dynamics of Digital Media and Civic Engagement situates the Chinese Internet in its complex, generational context to provide a full and dynamic understanding of contemporary digital media use in China.  This volume gives readers new agendas for this study and creates vital new signposts on the way for future research.


Wen-Hua Teng

Yufa!:  A Practical Guide to Mandarin Chinese (Routledge Concise Grammars, 2016)

Yufa! A Practical Guide to Mandarin Chinese Grammar takes a unique approach to explaining the major topics of Mandarin Chinese grammar. The book is presented in two sections: the core structures of Chinese grammar, and the practical use of the Chinese language. Key features include:

  • Chinese characters, pinyin and English translation

Into the Field CoverTracy Dahlby

Into the Field:  A Foreign Correspondent’s Notebook (University of Texas Press, 2014)

Tracy Dahlby is an award-winning journalist who has reported internationally as a contributor to National Geographic magazine and served as a staff correspondent for Newsweek and the Washington Post. In this memoir of covering a far-flung swath of Asia, he takes readers behind the scenes to reveal "the stories behind the stories"—the legwork and (mis)adventures of a foreign correspondent on a mission to be the eyes and ears of people back home, helping them understand the forces and events that shape our world.

Into the Field centers on the travel and reporting Dahlby did for a half-dozen pieces that ran in National Geographic. The book tours the South China Sea during China's rise as a global power, visits Japan in a time of national midlife crisis, and explores Southeast Asia during periods of political transition and tumult. Dahlby's vivid anecdotes of jousting with hardboiled sea captains, communing with rebellious tribal chieftains, enduring a spectacular shipboard insect attack, and talking his way into a far place or out of a tight spot offer aspiring foreign correspondents a realistic introduction to the challenges of the profession. Along the way, he provides practical advice about everything from successful travel planning to managing headstrong local fixers and dealing with circumstances that can range from friendly to formidable. A knowledgeable, entertaining how-to book for observing the world and making sense of events, Into the Field is a must-read for student journalists and armchair travelers alike.

Chien-Hsin Tsai


Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader (Columbia University Press, 2013) 

This definitive anthology, edited by Tsai, casts Sinophone studies as the study of Sinitic-language cultures born of colonial and postcolonial influences. Essays by such authors as Rey Chow, Ha Jin, Leo Ou-fan Lee, Ien Ang, Wei-ming Tu, and David Wang address debates concerning the nature of Chineseness while introducing readers to essential readings in Tibetan, Malaysian, Taiwanese, French, Caribbean, and American Sinophone literatures. By placing Sinophone cultures at the crossroads of multiple empires, this anthology richly demonstrates the transformative power of multiculturalism and multilingualism, and by examining the place-based cultural and social practices of Sinitic-language communities in their historical contexts beyond "China proper," it effectively refutes the diasporic framework.

Sung-Sheng Chang

Book title:   Literary Field in Contemporary Taiwan  当代台湾文学场域  

Publication information:  Jiangsu University Press, Zhenjiang, China

Publication date: April, 2015 

The Columbia Sourcebook of Literary Taiwan

Edited by Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, Michelle Yeh, and Ming-ju Fan 

This sourcebook contains more than 160 documents and writings that reflect the development of Taiwanese literature from the early modern period to the twenty-first century. Selections include seminal essays in literary debates, polemics, and other landmark events; interviews, diaries, and letters by major authors; critical and retrospective essays by influential writers, editors, and scholars; transcripts of historical speeches and conferences; literary-society manifestos and inaugural journal prefaces; and governmental policy pronouncements that have significantly influenced Taiwanese literature.

These texts illuminate Asia's experience with modernization, colonialism, and postcolonialism; the character of Taiwan's Cold War and post–Cold War cultural production; gender and environmental issues; indigenous movements; and the changes and challenges of the digital revolution. Taiwan's complex history with Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese colonization; strategic geopolitical position vis-à-vis China, Japan, and the United States; and status as a hub for the East-bound circulation of technological and popular-culture trends make the nation an excellent case study for a richer understanding of East Asian and modern global relations.

Modernism in Contemporary Taiwan: Trajectories of a Literary Paradigm

Publication information: Taipei: Lianjing Publishing Co. 聯經出版公司

Publication date: April, 2015 


Cover: Literary Culture in Taiwan

Literary Culture in Taiwan: Martial Law to Market Law (Columbia University Press, 2004)

With monumental changes in the last two decades, Taiwan is making itself anew. The process requires remapping not only the country's recent political past, but also its literary past. Taiwanese literature is now compelled to negotiate a path between residual high culture aspirations and the emergent reality of market demands in a relatively autonomous, increasingly professionalized field. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu's sociology of culture, Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang argues that the concept of a field of cultural production is essential in accounting for the ways writers and editors respond to political and economic forces. The book traces the formation of dominant concepts of literature, competing literary trends, and how these ideas have met political and market challenges.

Cover image: Contemporary Taiwan Fiction

Changes in Literary Field: Contemporary Taiwanese Fiction (Unitas Publishing Company, 2001)

This collection of Chang's critical essays that appeared in Chinese publications between 1987 and 2000 explores key issues of literary history in contemporary Taiwan: drastic shifts in the dominant institutions of literary production; profound influences of (and resistance to) an imported aesthetic modernism; the prominent presence of a "lyrical-sentimental" style as a by-product of the post-1949 ruling regime's sinocentric cultural narrative, etc. It also offers critical appraisals of Taiwan's representative fiction writers of the late twentieth century.

Heather Hindman

Mediating the Global: Expatria's Forms and Consequences in Kathmandu (Stanford University Press, 2014)

Transnational business people, international aid workers, and diplomats are all actors on the international stage working for organizations and groups often scrutinized by the public eye. But the very lives of these global middlemen and women are relatively unstudied. Mediating the Global takes up the challenge, uncovering the day-to-day experiences of elite foreign workers and their families living in Nepal, and the policies and practices that determine their daily lives. In this book, Heather Hindman calls for a consideration of the complex role that global middlemen and women play, not merely in implementing policies, but as objects of policy.

Examining the lives of expatriate professionals working in Kathmandu, Nepal and the families that accompany them, Hindman unveils intimate stories of the everyday life of global mediators. Mediating the Global focuses on expatriate employees and families who are affiliated with international development bodies, multinational corporations, and the foreign service of various countries. The author investigates the life of expatriates while they visit recreational clubs and international schools and also examines how the practices of international human resources management, cross-cultural communication, and promotion of flexible careers are transforming the world of elite overseas workers.


Inside the Everyday Lives of Development Workers: the Challenges and Futures of Aidland (Kumarian Press, 2011)

Much and warranted attention is paid to the lives of aid recipients – their household lives, saving habits, gender relations, etc. It’s held that a key to measuring the effectiveness of aid is contained in such details. Rarely, however, is the lens turned on the lives of aid workers themselves. Yet the seemingly impersonal network of agencies and donors that formulate and implement policy are composed of real people with complex motivations and experiences that might also provide important lessons about development’s failures and successes.

Hindman and co-Editor Anne-Meike Fechter illuminate the social and cultural world of the aid agency, a world that is neglected in most discussions of aid policy. They examine how aid workers’ moral beliefs interlink and conflict with their initial motivations, how they relate to aid beneficiaries, their local NGO counterparts, and other aid workers, their views on race and sexuality, the effect of transient lifestyles and insider language, and the security and family issues that come with choosing such a career. Ultimately, they arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of development processes that acknowledges a rich web of relationships at all levels of the system.

Madeline Hsu


Chinese American Transnational Politics (University of Illinois Press, 2010)

Born and raised in San Francisco, Him Mark Lai was trained as an engineer but blazed a trail in the field of Asian American studies. Long before the field had any academic standing, he amassed an unparalleled body of source material on Chinese America and drew on his own transnational heritage and Chinese patriotism to explore the global Chinese experience.

In Chinese American Transnational Politics, Lai traces the shadowy history of Chinese leftism and the role of the Kuomintang of China in influencing affairs in America. With precision and insight, Lai penetrates the overly politicized portrayals of a history shaped by global alliances and enmities and the hard intolerance of the Cold War era. The result is a nuanced and singular account of how Chinese politics, migration to the United States, and Sino-U.S. relations were shaped by Chinese and Chinese American groups and organizations.

Lai revised and expanded his writings over more than thirty years as changing political climates allowed for greater acceptance of leftist activities and access to previously confidential documents.

Huaiyin Li

village china

Village China under Socialism and Reform: A Micro History, 1948-2008 (Stanford University Press, 2009)

Based on the original documents from local agricultural collectives, newly accessible government archives, and the author's fieldwork in Qin village of Jiangsu Province, this book examines the experiences of Chinese villagers during the collective and reform periods. It offers a comprehensive account of rural life after the communist revolution, covering the villagers' involvement in the recurrent political campaigns since the 1950s, agricultural production under the collective system, family farming and non-agricultural economy in the reform era, and their everyday life in the family and the community. Using a micro-historical approach, this work investigates the behavior of the villagers as individuals and as a group in a discursive context in which their self interest and community norms interacted dynamically with the imposed systems and ideologies to motivate as well as constrain themselves. By scrutinizing the villagers' various patterns of participation in local politics and diverse strategies in both team farming and the household economy, this study highlights the continuities in rural transformation between the Mao and post-Mao eras. It perceives the recent developments in the village community as an outcome of the ecological, social, and institutional changes that have persisted from the collective era rather than a radical break with the pre-reform patterns of production and sociopolitical practices.

Village cover

Village Governance in North China, 1875-1936 (Stanford University Press, 2005)

Drawing on government archives from Huailu County, Hebei province, this book examines local practices and official systems of social control, land taxation, and "self government" in North China villages during the late Qing and Republican periods. It addresses several fundamental issues about imperial and modern China, such as the nature of the traditional Chinese state, the patterns of peasant behavior, and state-village relations in the twentieth century. In addition to a thorough investigation of the day-to-day operation of village institutions, including both the endogenous "village regulations" and the newly imposed administrative systems, this book further explores the linguistic and symbolic dimensions of village governance. Its analysis of peasant behavior in community service activities sheds light on a village discourse that constrained as well as empowered ordinary villagers as well as the privileged elites. Its examination of the impact of "state-making" on rural society in the early twentieth century shows how the Republican state's nationalist discourse penetrated the village community to coexist or supersede the villagers' traditional values in reshaping their perceptions of local leadership and the legitimacy of power.

Nhi T. Lieu


The American Dream in Vietnamese (University of Minnesota Press, 2011)

This book examines how live music variety shows and videos, beauty pageants, and Web sites created by and for Vietnamese Americans contributed to the shaping of their cultural identity. Lieu shows how popular culture forms repositories for conflicting expectations of assimilation, cultural preservation, and invention, alongside gendered and classed dimensions of ethnic and diasporic identity.

Patricia Maclachlan

Consumer cover

The Ambivalent Consumer: Questioning Consumption in East Asia and the West (Cornell University Press, 2006)

Co-Edited with Sheldon Garon. In The Ambivalent Consumer, Abe Fellows Sheldon Garon and Patricia L. Maclachlan of the University of Texas, Austin bring together an array of scholars who explore the ambivalence provoked by the global spread of "American" consumer culture. The first comparative volume to examine global phenomena of consumer culture from the perspective of East Asia, this book analyzes not only the attractions of mass consumption but also the many discontents and dilemmas that arise from consumerism. The Ambivalent Consumer offers a useful perspective on the political economies of consumption to address such pressing topics as movements against genetically modified foods; shifting relations among consumers, producers, and states; the differential influence of gender on consumption; and conflicting consumer attitudes toward globalization. The volume is the result of a seminar series organized by the Abe Fellowship Program of the SSRC with funding provided by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

Cover image: Consumer Politics in Japan

Consumer Politics in Postwar Japan: The Institutional Boundaries of Citizen Activism (NY: Columbia University Press, 2002)

Providing comparisons to the United States and Britain, this book examines Japan´s postwar consumer protection movement. Organized largely by and for housewives and spurred by major cases of price gouging and product contamination, the movement led to the passage of basic consumer protection legislation in 1968. Although much of the story concerns the famous "iron triangle" of big business, national bureaucrats, and conservative party politics, Maclachlan takes a broader perspective. She points to the importance of activity at the local level, the role of minority parties, the limited utility of the courts, and the place of lawyers and academics in providing access to power. These mild social strategies have resulted in a significant amount of consumer protection.

Mark Metzler

Capital as Will and Imagination: Schumpeter's Guide to the Postwar Japanese Miracle. Cornell University Press, 2013.

What is capital? Japanese experience offers some unique insights. Asian-style high-speed growth, as pioneered in Japan in the 1950s, represents capitalist industrial development in its most intensified form. Its funding elucidates the nature of financial capital with special clarity. The main focus of the book is on the fifteen years from Japan’s destruction in World War II to the greatest industrial boom yet seen in world history, circa 1960. To interpret this “miracle,” it turns to a neglected and misunderstood side of Joseph Schumpeter's theory of economic development: the nexus between money creation by banks, investment, and inflation. This is the world of privately imposed “inflation taxes” and monetary means of surplus appropriation—a side of capitalist economic functioning that most “mainstream” accounts choose not to address. It turns out that Japanese economists and planners also studied these ideas, and put them to work in a way Schumpeter would not have imagined. In the end, this is also the story of Japan’s great bubble and post-bubble deflation. The shadow side of credit is debt, and the worldwide debt bubbles of recent times reveal the limits of the twentieth-century capitalist growth model. This too is a global story rather than one specific to Japan.

Lever cover

Lever of Empire: The International gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan (University of California Press, 2006)

This book approaches Japan from the standpoint of global history, while taking Japan as a standpoint for grasping larger histories of finance, empire, and the Great Depression. Its central goal is to understand the self-destruction of Japanese liberalism in the early 1930s. This is ultimately the question of the rise of fascism and the sources of the Second World War.

Part One of the book, Global Money and Empire, examines the financial side of Japanese imperialism in the early twentieth century. How did Japanese state elites leverage a debt imposed upon China in order to adopt Britain’s monetary standard? How did they leverage British capital to build an overseas empire? How did Japan, like Britain and the United States, use monetary means to make occupied countries finance their own subjugation? How did these choices ultimately lead to austerity and chronic recession in Japan itself?

Part Two, Global Money and the Doctrine of Induced Depression, focuses on the deliberate inducing of a series of economic depressions in the name of monetary stabilization. These “stabilization crises” began with the crash of 1920 and culminated in the depression of 1929–1931. Policies pioneered then, in Japan and around the world, are still with us today under the names of “structural adjustment” and austerity.

Part Three, The Crisis of Liberalism, examines the unfolding of the Great Depression. For Japan, the crisis was in many ways self induced. The fascist reactions that followed it destroyed the prewar liberal system. Japan was also the first country to recover from the Great Depression, under the influence of the “Keynesianism before Keynes” practiced by Takahashi Korekiyo. The book ends with Japan’s rejoining the international financial order after World War II. Politically, Japan had been subordinated to the United States, but monetarily it remained independent.

Robert Oppenheim

Kyongju cover

Kyongju Things: Assembling Place (University of Michigan Press, 2008)

Kyongju is South Korea's preeminent "culture city," an urban site rich with archaeological wonders that residents compare to those of Nara, Xian, and Rome. By examining these ancient objects in relation to the controversies that engulfed South Korea's high-speed railway line when it was first proposed in the 1990s, Kyongju Things offers a grounded and theoretically sophisticated account of South Korean development and citizenship in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Its sensitivity to issues of place, knowledge, and cultural heritage and its innovative use of network theory will be of interest to a wide range of scholars in anthropology, Asian studies, the history of science and technology, cultural geography, urban planning, and political science.

"Kyongju Things is lively, providing an engaging account of Kyongju things that draws the reader into a variety of conversations, complications, and conundra. We are a party to arguments about urban planning, conversations about authentic versus merely political rituals, discussions of itineraries and sights, and suspicions about self-interest and motives. A fascinating and thought-provoking read." --DJ Hatfield, Associate in Research, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University

Lok Siu


Gendered Citizenships: Transnational Perspectives on Knowledge Production, Political Activism, and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

Drawing on ethnographic research with underrepresented communities in the Caribbean, Europe, South America, and the United States, this anthology examines the gendered dimensions of citizenship experiences and uses them as a point of departure for rethinking contemporary practices of social inclusion and national belonging.

Contributors argue for the importance of understanding how notions of belonging and entitlement are locally experienced and subjectively defined by members of marginalized communities. Through analysis of intersectional racial/ethnic, gender, class, and national/tribal identities, the essays place the experiences and analyses of women of color and Third World women at the very center of our understanding of citizenship.
Asian Diasporas: New Formations, New Conceptions (Stanford University Press, 2007)
Asian migrants are inextricably linked to contemporary debates concerning the nation-state, neoliberalism, globalization, and transnationalism. This volume brings together these streams of inquiry and proposes a synthetic approach to examine various processes of migration and community formation on a global scale. The essays included in "Asian Diasporas" look at the worldwide dispersal of Asian populations through the lens of diaspora. They illustrate the underlying structures of inequality that create diasporic communities - the cultural barriers that impede belonging to the place they inhabit and the place they call "homeland," the unequal processes that embody globalization, and the social inequalities in host and origin country alike. Five major themes connect and cut across the collection: the recognition of inter-Asian strife; the persistence of the nation state; the salience of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality; the forces of labor, colonialism, and globalization; and the centrality of culture.
Memories of a Future Home: Diasporic Citizenship of Chinese in Panama (Stanford University Press, 2005)
While the history of Asian migration to Latin America is well documented, we know little about the contemporary experience of diasporic Asians in this part of the world. Memories of a Future Home offers an intimate look at how diasporic Chinese in Panama construct a home and create a sense of belonging as they inhabit the interstices of several cultural-national formations—Panama, their nation of residence; China/Taiwan, their ethnic homeland; and the United States, the colonial force.
Juxtaposing the concepts of diaspora and citizenship, this book offers an innovative framework to help us understand how diasporic subjects engage the politics of cultural and political belonging in a transnational context. It does so by examining the interaction between continually shifting geopolitical dynamics, as well as the maneuvers undertaken by diasporic people to negotiate and transform those conditions. In essence, this book explores the contingent citizenship experienced by diasporic Chinese and their efforts to imagine and construct “home” in diaspora.

Nancy Stalker

Prophet cover

Prophet Motive: Deguchi Onisaburo, Oomoto, and the Rise of New Religions in Imperial Japan (University of Hawaii Press, 2007)

From the 1910s to the mid-1930s, the flamboyant and gifted spiritualist Deguchi Onisaburo (1871-1948) transformed his mother-in-law's small, rural religious following into a massive movement, eclectic in content and international in scope. Through a potent blend of traditional folk beliefs and practices like divination, exorcism, and millenarianism, an ambitious political agenda, and skillful use of new forms of visual and mass media, he attracted millions to Oomoto, his Shintoist new religion. Despite its condemnation as a heterodox sect by state authorities and the mainstream media, Oomoto quickly became the fastest-growing religion in Japan of the time.

In telling the story of Onisaburo and Oomoto, Nancy Stalker not only gives us the first full account in English of the rise of a heterodox movement in imperial Japan, but also provides new perspectives on the importance of "charismatic entrepreneurship" in the success of new religions around the world. She makes the case that these religions often respond to global developments and tensions (imperialism, urbanization, consumerism, the diffusion of mass media) in similar ways. They require entrepreneurial marketing and management skills alongside their spiritual authority if their groups are to survive encroachments by the state and achieve national/international stature. Their drive to realize and extend their religious view of the world ideally stems from a "prophet" rather than "profit" motive, but their activity nevertheless relies on success in the modern capitalist, commercial world.

Unlike many studies of Japanese religion during this period, Prophet Motive works to dispel the notion that prewar Shinto was monolithically supportive of state initiatives and ideology.

Wen-Hua Teng


Essential Chinese Vocabulary:  Rules and Scenarios  (Routledge, 2016)

Essential Chinese Vocabulary: Rules and Scenarios is an indispensable guide for beginner to intermediate students of Chinese who wish to use essential Chinese words and phrases accurately.

The book provides the crucial context and explanations of grammar structures and language rules related to important Chinese words and phrases, too often glossed over in primary textbooks. Students are given the tools necessary to refine their use of these words and phrases in order to communicate effectively in Chinese.


Yufa! A Practical Guide to Mandarin Chinese Grammar Routledge (2011)

This book explains the major topics of Mandarin grammar in clear and concise language, packed with real language examples and varied and imaginative exercises that show students how grammar works in practice. Wen-Hua Teng, a teacher of Mandarin at the university level, breaks the book into three highly effective sections, examining the core structures of Chinese grammar, describing the use of the language in context, and highlighting useful expressions and patterns. She introduces each grammatical topic clearly and simply, offers sample sentences in Chinese characters and Pinyin (followed by English translations), discusses existing exceptions to a particular rule, and provides exercises that students can use to reinforce the lesson. As a further aid, the guide includes extensive cross referencing, a glossary that lucidly explains the relevant grammatical terms, and a free interactive website that provides a number of complementary exercises for further study.

John Traphagan


Imagined Families, Lived Families: Culture and Kinship in Contemporary Japan (SUNY Press, 2009)

The Japanese family is at a crossroads of demographic change and altered cultural values. While the population of children has been shrinking and that of elders rising, attitudes about rights and responsibilities within the family have changed significantly. The realities of life in postmodern society have shaped both the imagined family of popular culture and the lived experience of Japanese family members. Imagined Families, Lived Families takes an interdisciplinary approach toward these dramatic changes by looking at the Japanese family from a variety of perspectives, including media studies, anthropology, sociology, literature, and popular culture. The contributors look at representations of family in manga and anime, outsider families and families that must contend with state prosecution of political activists, the stereotype of the absolute Japanese father, and old age and end-of-life decisions in a rapidly aging society with changing family configurations.

Wei-hsin Yu

Cover: Gender Trajectories

Gendered Trajectories: Women, Work, and Social Change in Japan and Taiwan (Stanford University Press, 2009)

Gendered Trajectories explores why industrial societies vary in the pace at which they reduce gender inequality and compares changes in women's employment opportunities in Japan and Taiwan over the last half-century. Japan has undergone much less improvement in women's economic status than Taiwan, despite its more advanced economy and greater welfare provisions. The difference is particularly puzzling because the two countries share many institutional practices and values.

Drawing on historical trends, survey statistics, and personal interviews with people in both countries, Yu shows how country-specific organizational arrangements and industrial policies affect women's employment. In particular, the conditions faced by Japanese and Taiwanese women in the workplace have a profound effect on their labor force participation at critical points in their lives. Women's lifetime employment decisions in turn shape the divergent trajectories in gender equality.

Few studies documenting the development of women's economic lives are based on non-Western societies and even fewer adopt a comparative perspective. This perceptive work demonstrates and underscores the importance of understanding gender inequality as a long-term, dynamic social process.