Episodes

  • If China’s Mao era is seen by many as a time of great upheaval and chaos, there are also people and places for whom things appear quite different. Writing from one such place in A Time of Lost Gods: Mediumship, Madness, and the Ghost after Mao (U California Press, 2020), Emily Ng foregrounds the perspective of a rural population in Henan province whose cosmological visions frame the Mao period as a time of relative calm, when a powerful sovereign brought order to both human and sprit realms.
    Throughout this book, cosmological disturbance, ghosts and psychiatric disorder become lenses through which to understand the upheaval of capital flows, cross-country migrations and intergenerational strife which have coloured social, economic and political relationships in China since Mao. Ng’s extensive fieldwork with spirit mediums themselves, ordinary villagers who consult them and patients in a local hospital is complemented by cosmically ambitious insights into society and history which make this beautifully written book an invaluable resource for understanding China’s past and present, and eras of historical disturbance more generally, through a highly compelling new lens.
    Ed Pulford is a Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on friendships and histories between the Chinese, Korean and Russian worlds, and northeast Asian indigenous groups.
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  • Does Southeast Asia face a stark choice between aligning with China or the United States? Can we understand domestic developments in the region as driven by wider geopolitics? Can the lacklustre regional organization ASEAN play a central role in mediating these dynamics, or are individual Southeast Asian countries locked into deeply unequal bilateral linkages? Is China a largely benevolent force in the region, or an untrustworthy would-be hegemon?
    In this session, we meet the authors of two recent books on interactions between China and Southeast Asia: Sebastian Strangio and Murray Hiebert. Both authors are veteran foreign correspondents who lived in Southeast Asia for many years.
    Sebastian Strangio’s book In the Dragon’s Shadow (Yale 2020) and Murray Hiebert’s Under Beijing’s Shadow (Rowman and Littlefield 2020) address closely related topics: how does Southeast Asia navigate relations with a much larger neighbour that has become increasingly powerful in recent decades, economically, politically and indeed militarily? Both books discuss regional relationships as well as bilateral ties between China and individual Southeast Asian nations.
    Wasana Wongsuwarat (Associate Professor of History, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand) and Petra Desatova (NIAS postdoctoral researcher) discuss the two books with their respective authors, in a conversation moderated by Duncan McCargo, Director of NIAS.
    This podcast is taken from a session at the Fourteen Annual Nordic NIAS Council Conference ‘China’s Rise/Asia’s Responses’ (https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/conferences/chinas-riseasias-responses) held on 10-11 June 2021 in collaboration with the Nordic Association for China Studies and the University of Helsinki.
    The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University.
    We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.
    Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast
    About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk
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  • How seriously should take the Chinese government’s discourse about ‘ecological civilization’? Mette Hansen argues that whatever the shortcomings of this rather grandiose notion, it offers an invaluable means of engaging China in important global debates about the future of the planet – and should not simply be glibly dismissed as an exercise in green-washing. She finds particular hope in pop-up local environmental initiatives that deploy the official discourse creatively to advance a green agenda.
    Mette Halskov Hansen is professor of China studies at the University of Oslo
    Her latest book is the The Great Smog of China (Association for Asian Studies, 2020, co-authored with Anna L. Ahlers and Rune Svarverud).
    This podcast is one of a series recorded with the keynote speakers from the Fourteenth Annual Nordic NIAS Council Conference ‘China’s Rise/Asia’s Responses’ held on 10–11 June 2021, in collaboration with the Nordic Association for China Studies and the University of Helsinki.
    The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University.
    We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.
    Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast
    About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk
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  • Dancing the Dharma: Religious and Political Allegory in Japanese Noh Theater (Harvard UP, 2020) examines the theory and practice of allegory by exploring a select group of medieval Japanese noh plays and treatises. Susan Blakeley Klein demonstrates how medieval esoteric commentaries on the tenth-century poem-tale Ise monogatari (Tales of Ise) and the first imperial waka poetry anthology Kokin wakashū influenced the plots, characters, imagery, and rhetorical structure of seven plays (Maiguruma, Kuzu no hakama, Unrin’in, Oshio, Kakitsubata, Ominameshi, and Haku Rakuten) and two treatises (Zeami’s Rikugi and Zenchiku’s Meishukushū). In so doing, she shows that it was precisely the allegorical mode—vital to medieval Japanese culture as a whole—that enabled the complex layering of character and poetic landscape we typically associate with noh. Klein argues that understanding noh’s allegorical structure and paying attention to the localized historical context for individual plays are key to recovering their original function as political and religious allegories. Now viewed in the context of contemporaneous beliefs and practices of the medieval period, noh plays take on a greater range and depth of meaning and offer new insights to readers today into medieval Japan.
    Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.
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  • Post-socialist China has seen extensive labor unrest in the form of strikes, protests, and riots. The party-state has responded, sometimes with greater repression, sometimes with institutional changes to better channel and represent worker interests, and sometimes with both. Manfred Elfstrom’s Workers and Change in China: Resistance, Repression, Responsiveness (Cambridge UP, 2021) explores the feedback loop between citizen unrest and state response, using both extensive fieldwork and statistical analysis of strike locations.
    Manfred Elfstrom is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, Philosophy, and Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. Previously, he served as a Postdoctoral Scholar and Teaching Fellow at the University of Southern California’s School of International Relations and a China Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. He received his PhD from Cornell University’s Department of Government. Before entering academia, he worked in the non-profit world, supporting workers’ rights and improved grassroots governance in China.
    Recommendations from Professor Elfstrom, reflecting his current interests in learning more about workers and labor activism beyond China: Stoll, Steven. 2017. Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia, explores the economic and political forces that over centuries turned Appalachia from Daniel Boone’s pioneer paradise to one of America’s most deeply impoverished regions. The Labor Action Tracker is a new initiative at Cornell University to collect comprehensive national data on strikes and labor protests in the US.
    Host Peter Lorentzen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of San Francisco, where he leads a new digital economy-focused Master's program in Applied Economics. His research examines the political economy of governance and development in China.
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  • How can we theorize international relations by looking at how nose sizes are depicted in Asian art and literature? Why are Vietnamese immigration officials furious about the maps that appear in Chinese passports? What do Japanese gardens tell us about how nation-states are constructed and defined? And how we could re-imagine border walls as sites of creative destruction, illuminating the sublime?
    Anyone who knows the work of William Callahan professor of international relations at the London School of Economics), will be familiar with his playful juxtapositions and his relentless determination to break down simplistic categories. In this animated conversation with NIAS Director Duncan McCargo, Bill explains how his latest book Sensible Politics expands the idea of visual politics to embrace a wider range of artifacts, while also challenging what he views as the Eurocentrism of the larger “visual turn” in IR.
    Bill also discusses the making of his own films including the recent Great Walls (2020) and the extremely popular Mearsheimer vs. Nye on the Rise of China (2015)
    This podcast is one of a series recorded with the keynote speakers from the Fourteen Annual Nordic NIAS Council Conference ‘China’s Rise/Asia’s Responses’ (https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/conferences/chinas-riseasias-responses) held on 10-11 June 2021 in collaboration with the Nordic Association for China Studies and the University of Helsinki.
    The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University.
    We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.
    Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast
    About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk
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  • In an “other world” composed of language—it could be a fathomless Martian well, a labyrinthine hotel, or forest—a narrative unfolds, and with it the experiences, memories, and dreams that constitute reality for Haruki Murakami’s characters and readers. Memories and dreams in turn conjure their magical counterparts—people without names or pasts, fantastic animals, half-animals, and talking machines that traverse the dark psychic underworld of this writer’s extraordinary fiction.
    Fervently acclaimed worldwide, Haruki Murakami’s wildly imaginative work in many ways remains a mystery, its worlds within worlds uncharted territory. Finally in The Forbidden Worlds of Haruki Murakami (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), Matthew Carl Strecher provides readers with a map to the strange realm that grounds virtually every aspect of Murakami’s writing. A journey through the enigmatic and baffling innermost mind, a metaphysical dimension where Murakami’s most bizarre scenes and characters lurk, The Forbidden Worlds of Haruki Murakami exposes the psychological and mythological underpinnings of this other world. The author shows how these considerations color Murakami’s depictions of the individual and collective soul, which constantly shift between the tangible and intangible but in this literary landscape are undeniably real.
    Through these otherworldly depths The Forbidden Worlds of Haruki Murakami also charts the writer’s vivid “inner world,” whether unconscious or underworld (what some Japanese critics call achiragawa あちら側, or “over there”), and its connectivity to language. Strecher covers all of Murakami’s work—including his efforts as a literary journalist—and concludes with the first full-length close reading of the writer’s recent novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.
    Takeshi Morisato is philosopher and sometimes academic. He is the editor of the European Journal of Japanese Philosophy. He specializes in comparative and Japanese philosophy but he is also interested in making Japan and philosophy accessible to a wider audience.
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  • In the developing world, political turmoil often brings an end to promising economic growth stories. During its period of rapid economic growth in the 1990s and 2000s, China experienced a remarkable surge in the number of public protests. Yet these protests did not destabilize the regime. Yao Li’s book, Playing by the Informal Rules: Why the Chinese Regime Remains Stable despite Rising Protests (Cambridge UP, 2018), combines quantitative research on a nationwide dataset of protests with in-depth qualitative fieldwork to investigate why. Li argues that a clear set of informal rules, followed by both protesters and government agencies, helped keep protests within bounds. If protesters engaged the regime rather than challenging it, limiting their demands and their protest strategies, they could expect a moderate response and some redress for their grievances. This helped stabilize rather than undermine China’s political system.
    Author Yao Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law at the University of Florida. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University. Before coming to the University of Florida, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and was a lecturer at the University of Kansas. Her research combines quantitative and qualitative methods to address debates in the fields of social movements, environmental studies, political sociology, and development.
    Recommendations from Professor Li: Plastic China, a 2016 documentary about the business of sorting and recycling imported plastic waste and the life of a young girl growing up in a small-scale household-recycling workshop. Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment, a 2019 book arguing that a centuries-old alliance between religious officials and military authorities caused and perpetuates the economic and political stagnation of the Muslim world.
    Host Peter Lorentzen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of San Francisco, where he leads a new digital economy-focused Master's program in Applied Economics. His research examines the political economy of governance and development in China.
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  • In his pioneering study, Men in Metal: A Topography of Public Bronze Statuary in Modern Japan (Brill, 2020), Sven Saaler examines Japanese public statuary as a central site of historical memory from its beginnings in the Meiji period through the twenty-first century. 
    Saaler shows how the elites of the modern Japanese nation-state went about constructing an iconography of national heroes to serve their agenda of instilling national (and nationalist) thinking into the masses. Based on a wide range of hitherto untapped primary sources, Saaler combines data-driven quantitative analysis and in-depth case studies to identify the categories and historical figures that dominated public space. 
    Men in Metal also explores the agents behind this visualized form of the politics of memory and introduces historiographical controversies surrounding statue-building in modern Japan.
    Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.
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  • Feeling betrayed by liberal ideals in the US and UK, how are Chinese international students dealing with rising racism during the pandemic? Bingchun Meng from LSE talks to Joanne Kuai, a visiting PhD student at NIAS, about her latest research project, “Mediated Experience of Covid-19”, based on her students' real stories and their sophisticated reflections.
    The author of the book The Politics of Chinese Media: Consensus and Contestation (Palgrave, 2018) shares her views on the commonalities and differences between Chinese and western media against the backdrop of a rising Chinese threat narrative. She also comments on how Chinese tech giants, such as Huawei or ByteDance’s journey expanding their businesses overseas have implicated in global geopolitics.
    Dr Bingchun Meng is an Associate Professor in the Department for Media and Communications at LSE, where she also directs the LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Research Center. Her research interests include gender and the media, political economy of media industries, communication governance, and comparative media studies. She has published widely on these topic areas in leading international journals. She is currently working on a book project about technology industries in China.
    Joanne Kuai is a PhD candidate at the Department of Geography, Media and Communication at Karlstad University, Sweden. She is a media scholar with a research focus on data and AI for media, computational journalism, and social implications of automation and algorithms.
    The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University.
    We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.
    About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk
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  • Pirates and Publishers: A Social History of Copyright in Modern China (Princeton University Press, 2019) is a detailed historical look at how copyright was negotiated and protected by authors, publishers, and the state in late imperial and modern China. In Pirates and Publishers, Fei-Hsien Wang reveals the unknown social and cultural history of copyright in China from the 1890s through the 1950s, a time of profound sociopolitical changes. Wang draws on a vast range of previously underutilized archival sources to show how copyright was received, appropriated, and practiced in China, within and beyond the legal institutions of the state. Contrary to common belief, copyright was not a problematic doctrine simply imposed on China by foreign powers with little regard for Chinese cultural and social traditions. Shifting the focus from the state legislation of copyright to the daily, on-the-ground negotiations among Chinese authors, publishers, and state agents, Wang presents a more dynamic, nuanced picture of the encounter between Chinese and foreign ideas and customs. Developing multiple ways for articulating their understanding of copyright, Chinese authors, booksellers, and publishers played a crucial role in its growth and eventual institutionalization in China. These individuals enforced what they viewed as copyright to justify their profit, protect their books, and crack down on piracy in a changing knowledge economy. As China transitioned from a late imperial system to a modern state, booksellers and publishers created and maintained their own economic rules and regulations when faced with the absence of an effective legal framework. Exploring how copyright was transplanted, adopted, and practiced, Pirates and Publishers demonstrates the pivotal roles of those who produce and circulate knowledge.
    Fei-Hsien Wang is associate professor at the Department of History, Indiana University Bloomington. She is a historian of modern China, with a particular interest in how information, ideas, and practices were produced, transmitted, and consumed across different societies in East Asia. Her research has revolved around the relations between knowledge, commerce, and political authority after 1800. She is Associate Editor of the American Historical Review.
    Ghassan Moazzin is an Assistant Professor at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of History at the University of Hong Kong. He works on the economic and business history of 19th and 20th century China, with a particular focus on the history of foreign banking, international finance and electricity in modern China. His first book, tentatively titled Banking on the Chinese Frontier: Foreign Banks, Global Finance and the Making of Modern China, 1870–1919, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.
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  • Eric Schluessel’s Land of Strangers: The Civilizing Project in Qing Central Asia (Columbia UP, 2020) looks at what happened when, at the end of the Qing, Chinese Confucian revivalists gained control of the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang and sought to transform it. Yet this is not a book about high politics or discourse — far from it. This is a book about what this civilizing project looked like on the ground, how it played out in “everyday politics,” and how Turkic-speaking Muslims felt about and responded to attempts to transform them into Chinese-speaking Confucians. Centering on the voices and experiences of ordinary people in the oasis of Turpan, Land of Strangers is filled with stories of prostitution, human trafficking, venereal disease, families divided by war, and so much more. Reading across the Turpan archive this book combines records in both Chinese and Chaghatay, laying bare the difficulties revivalists encountered in educating children and showing how interpreters went about 'translating' oral Chaghatay, and throughout it emphasizes how the negotiation of place, difference, and identity was continual and fraught.
    This beautifully written and meticulously researched book is a must read for anyone interested in Chinese history, the history of Central Asia, colonialism, and empire, as well as any historians who might get a particular thrill in seeing the “ragged” sources Eric is dealing with so expertly pieced together.
    Sarah Bramao-Ramos is a PhD candidate in History and East Asian Languages at Harvard. She works on Manchu language books and is interested in anything with a kesike. She can be reached at sbramaoramos@g.harvard.edu
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  • Lasse Lehtonen speaks to Satoko Naito about his research on Japanese women singer-songwriters of the 1970s and 1980s. Focusing on popular pioneers like Yumi Matsutoya (Yūmin), Miyuki Nakajima, and Takako Okamura, Dr. Lehtonen discusses how the artists assert their agency and artistry, not necessarily through their lyrics but via what Matsutoya once identified as "backstage feminism." He also shares his ideas on the important potential of incorporating music history and musicology in the study of social and cultural histories. Dr. Lehtonen is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Tokyo.
    The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University.
    We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.
    About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk
    Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast
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  • Japan's Private Spheres: Autonomy in Japanese History, 1600-1930 (Brill, 2021) traces the shifting nature of autonomy in early modern and modern Japan. In this far-reaching, interdisciplinary study, W. Puck Brecher explores the historical development of the private and its evolving relationship with public authority, a dynamic that evokes stereotypes about an alleged dearth of individual agency in Japanese society. It does so through a montage of case studies. For the early modern era, case studies examine peripheral living spaces, boyhood, and self-interrogation in the arts. For the modern period, they explore strategic deviance, individuality in Meiji education, modern leisure, and body-maintenance. Analysis of these disparate private realms illuminates evolving conceptualizations of the private and its reciprocal yet often-contested relationship to the state.
    Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.
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  • In Divine, Demonic, and Disordered: Women Without Men in Song Dynasty China (University of Washington Press, 2021), Cheng Hsiao-wen’s monograph looks at the women who are not married or otherwise in relationships with men. Through a wide range of sources, including medical treatises, texts about religious cultivation, hagiographies, tales, and anecdotes, Cheng explores how “manless women” were understood in the Song dynasty. The book’s three sections—focusing on medicals texts, stories of enchantment, and celibate religious women, respectively—consider the meaning of womanhood and the treatment of female bodies when they were not figured as “wives” or “mothers.” But Cheng’s work goes further, using women on the margins to challenge us to think about what we know and how we know it.
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  • During the Cultural Revolution, many young Chinese in the cities were encouraged — if not ordered — to move to the countryside. Millions of young Chinese in high school and university moved to rural China ostensibly to “receive re-education from the poorest lower and middle peasants to understand what China really is” (to quote Mao Zedong, at the time). Many students remained in the countryside until the end of the Cultural Revolution almost a decade later.
    One of these young Chinese people was the mother of Emei Burell, who turned these stories into a graphic novel: We Served the People: My Mother's Storie (Archaia, 2020). The book is roughly split into two halves: her mother’s hard work on a rubber plantation in Yunnan, and her struggles a decade later to restart her education upon her return home.
    In this interview, Emei talks about her mother’s story, both during her time in the countryside and when she returned home. We talk about what it was like for her to turn these tales into a graphic novel, and what may have been gained from expressing them in a visual format.
    Emei Burell is a cartoonist and illustrator from Sweden. Her work has also appeared in Adventure Time Comics, Hip Hop Family Tree, Studygroupcomics, and a number of publications in Sweden, Denmark, the UK and Chile.
    You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of We Served the People. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.
    Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He is also a print and broadcast commentator on local and regional politics. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.
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  • Yinghong Cheng's book Discourses of Race and Rising China (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) is a critical study of the development of a racialised nationalism in China, exploring its unique characteristics and internal tensions, and connecting it to other forms of global racism. The growth of this discourse is contextualised within the party-state’s political agenda to seek legitimacy, in various groups’ efforts to carve their demands in a divided national community, and has directly affected identity politics across the global diasporic Chinese community. While there remains considerable debate in both academic literature and popular discussion about how the concept of ‘race’ is relevant to Chinese expressions of identity, Cheng makes a forceful case for the appropriateness of biological and familial narratives of descent for understanding Chinese nationalism today.
    Grounded in a strong conceptual framework and substantiated with rich materials, Discourses of Race and Rising China will be an important contribution to international studies of racism, and will appeal to academics and students of contemporary China, historians of modern China, and those who work in the fields of critical race, ethnicity, and cultural studies.
    Dr. Suvi Rautio is an anthropologist specializing in Chinese society and history.
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  • John Person’s Arbiters of Patriotism: Right-Wing Scholars in Imperial Japan (University of Hawaii Press, 2020) narrates the struggle for ownership of the moral high ground of “patriotism” in the Japanese empire through a political biography of Mitsui Kōshi and Minoda Muneki, two of the most important Japanists of the empire, and the nationalist Genri Nippon Society to which they belonged. Though Person admits that “Mitsui’s reputation as a dangerous thinker is well warranted,” and that of all the nationalist polemicists of the early twentieth century “there is perhaps no single person with as sordid a reputation as Minoda,” he urges us to reconsider facile dismissal of either man not just as “irrational fanatics” or even as “rightists.” Instead, Arbiters shows that while the Genri Nippon Society thinkers advocated an antisocialist, anti-Marxist, fascist-adjacent political program, both men were well-educated, eclectic, often cosmopolitan thinkers. Moreover, Genri Nippon wielded real power―Minoda in particular was behind the infamous academic repression of Minobe Tatsukichi for his “imperial organ theory,” for example―and for that reason must be taken seriously. At the same time, Person demonstrates the exquisite irony that with socialism outlawed in 1925, the state began to see the raucous hardline nationalists as the next potential threat. Who, in the end, would define genuine patriotism? And who would be surveilled as a threat rather than hailed as a hero? Arbiters of Patriotism is centered around intellectual history, but it is very much engaged with the realpolitik of the tensions between states and radical nationalists, which, as we discuss, is painfully relevant today.
    Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese and East Asian history in the Graduate School of Humanities, Nagoya University.
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  • Western media accounts often suggest that China is rising inexorably as a global economic and political powerhouse. A new book by Luke Patey offers a more nuanced picture, focusing on the growing backlash against Chinese aspirations. Author Luke Patey, a senior researcher from the Danish Institute for International Studies, discusses his new book How China Loses: The Pushback against Chinese Global Ambitions (Oxford University Press, 2021) with Andreas Bøje Forsby from NIAS. Their conversation covers a wide range of topical issues in the current debate about the rise of China, including China’s economic coercion, the dependency myth and specific manifestations of pushback against China.
    How China Loses is a critical look at how the world is responding to China's rise, and what this means for America and the world. China is advancing its own interests with increasing aggression. From its Belt and Road Initiative linking Asia and Europe, to its "Made in China 2025" strategy to dominate high-tech industries, to its significant economic reach into Africa and Latin America, the regime is rapidly expanding its influence around the globe. Many fear that China's economic clout, tech innovations, and military power will allow it to remake the world in its own authoritarian image. But despite all these strengths, a future with China in charge is far from certain. Rich and poor, big and small, countries around the world are recognizing that engaging China produces new strategic vulnerabilities to their independence and competitiveness.
    How China Loses tells the story of China's struggles to overcome new risks and endure the global backlash against its assertive reach. Combining on-the-ground reportage with incisive analysis, Luke Patey argues that China's predatory economic agenda, headstrong diplomacy, and military expansion undermine its global ambitions to dominate the global economy and world affairs. In travels to Africa, Latin America, East Asia and Europe, his encounters with activists, business managers, diplomats, and thinkers reveal the challenges threatening to ground China's rising power.
    At a time when views are fixated on the strategic competition between China and the United States, Patey's work shows how the rest of the world will shape the twenty-first century in pushing back against China's overreach and domineering behavior. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries began to confront their political differences and economic and security challenges with China and realize the diversity and possibility for cooperation in the world today.
    The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University.
    We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.
    About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk
    Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast
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  • In Global Trade in the Nineteenth Century: The House of Houqua and the Canton System (Cambridge University Press, 2016), John D. Wong examines the Canton trade networks that helped to shape the modern world through the lens of the prominent Chinese merchant Houqua, whose trading network and financial connections stretched from China to India, America and Britain. In contrast to interpretations that see Chinese merchants in this era as victims of rising Western mercantilism and oppressive Chinese traditions, Houqua maintained a complex balance between his commercial interests and those of his Western counterparts, all in an era of transnationalism before the imposition of the Western world order. The success of Houqua and Co. in configuring its networks in the fluid context of the early nineteenth century remains instructive today, as the contemporary balance of political power renders the imposition of a West-centric world system increasingly problematic, and requires international traders to adapt to a new world order in which China, once again, occupies center stage.
    John D. Wong is associate professor at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures and the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. His research focuses on the flow of people, goods, capital and ideas. With a particular interest in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta area, he explores how such flow connected the region to the Chinese political center in the north as well as their maritime partners in the South China Sea and beyond. He is the co-convenor of a new collaborative research project titled "Delta on the Move: The Becoming of the Greater Bay Region, 1700 – 2000."
    Ghassan Moazzin is an Assistant Professor at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of History at the University of Hong Kong. He works on the economic and business history of 19th and 20th century China, with a particular focus on the history of foreign banking, international finance and electricity in modern China. His first book, tentatively titled Banking on the Chinese Frontier: Foreign Banks, Global Finance and the Making of Modern China, 1870–1919, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.
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