Episódios

  • A clear-eyed look at modern India's role in Asia and the broader world. One of India's most distinguished foreign policy thinkers addresses the many questions facing India as it seeks to find its way in the increasingly complex world of Asian geopolitics. A former Indian foreign secretary and national security adviser, Shivshankar Menon traces India's approach to the shifting regional landscape since its independence in 1947. From its leading role in the "nonaligned" movement during the cold war to its current status as a perceived counterweight to China, India often has been an after-thought for global leaders--until they realize how much they needed it. 
    In India and Asian Geopolitics (Brookings, 2021), Menon focuses in particular on India's responses to the rise of China, as well as other regional powers. Menon also looks to the future and analyzes how India's policies are likely to evolve in response to current and new challenges. As India grows economically and gains new stature across the globe, both its domestic preoccupations and international choices become more significant. India itself will become more affected by what happens in the world around it. Menon makes a powerful geopolitical case for an India increasingly and positively engaged in Asia and the broader world in pursuit of a pluralistic, open, and inclusive world order.
    Medha Prasanna is an MA candidate at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. Her current research focuses on International Organizations and Human Rights Law. You can learn more about her here or email her medp16@gwu.edu
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  • Dr. Kristen Looney’s Mobilizing for Development: The Modernization of Rural East Asia published by Cornell University in 2020 interrogates how countries achieve rural development and offers a new way of thinking about East Asia's political economy that challenges the developmental state paradigm. Based on archival research and fieldwork in Asia, the book provides a comparative historical analysis by comparing China's development experience (1980s–2000s) with Taiwan (1950s–1970s) and South Korea (1950s–1970s). The book highlights the role of the state in rural development and sensitize readers to the variation in the region. While the focus is often on institutions, Dr. Looney pushes us to see the dynamic impact of state campaigns on infrastructure, sanitation, and housing in rural areas. The analysis departs from common portrayals of the developmental state as wholly technocratic and demonstrates that rural development was not just a byproduct of industrialization. Rural Modernization campaigns, defined as policies demanding high level of mobilization to affect dramatic change, played a central role in the region and that divergent development outcomes can be attributed to the interplay between campaigns and institutions. As Dr. Looney expands and challenges the developmental state literature, Looney advances a new way of thinking about the political economy of East Asian and encourages political scientists to study rural development.  
    Dr. Kristen Looney is an Assistant Professor of Asian Studies and Government at Georgetown University. Her areas of specialization include comparative politics and the political economy of China and East Asia.
    Daniella Campos assisted with this podcast.
    Susan Liebell is an associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Why Diehard Originalists Aren’t Really Originalists recently appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage and “Retreat from the Rule of Law:Locke and the Perils of Stand Your Ground” was published in the Journal of Politics (July 2020). Email her comments at sliebell@sju.edu or tweet to @SusanLiebell.
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  • The cultural landscape plays a momentous role in the transmission of Christianity. Consequently, the global expansion of the church has led to the increasing diversification of world Christianity. As a result, scholars are turning more and more to native cultures as the point of focus. Understanding Korean Christianity: Grassroot Perspectives on Causes, Culture, and Responses (Pickwick, 2019) examines how this new discourse evolved as well as presenting a missional methodology based on the study of the native landscapes of Korea. Kale Yu argues that the process of formulating and communicating Christianity was less consistent than is usually supposed. By immersing the reader in the thought and lived experience of various Korean contexts, Professor Yu recreates the diversity of cultural landscapes experienced by Korean Christians of different periods in history. The result is a new interpretation of cross-cultural missional interactions.
    Byung Ho Choi is a Ph.D. Student from South Korea in the Department of History & Ecumenics, concentrating in World Christianity and history of religions at Princeton Theological Seminary.
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  • Mary Brazelton’s new book, Mass Vaccination: Citizens’ Bodies and State Power in Modern China (Cornell UP, 2019) could hardly be more timely. During the Covid-19 pandemic, China was in the headlines of Euro-American media as the site of the first cases of the disease. China is also centerstage in Brazelton’s insightful, antiracist book—not as a source of disease but as the source of an effective and pervasive global public health strategy that other nations during the Covid-19 pandemic have strained to implement: mass vaccination.As a historian of modern China and a historian of medicine, Brazelton offers a trustworthy and well-documented account of the National Epidemic Prevention Board and its successor agencies during the republic’s war-torn twentieth century. The location—and relocation—of the Board and its refugee scientists was decisive, Brazelton argues. During World War II and Japanese occupation (1937-45), the Board’s labs and scientists decamped from China’s coastal cities to the mountainous southwest borderland of Yunnan—exactly because the area was rugged, sparsely populated, and far from China’s urban hubs. In Yunnan, scientists were not isolated, but rather set within an idiosyncratic health infrastructure and network of longstanding political rivals vying for sway in the region—including France to the south, UK to the east, the League of Nations in the capital, and everywhere indigenous rulers, who retained local authority as the Nationalist Party struggled to consolidate power in the early years of the republic. The distinctive geography, epidemiology, and communities of health knowledge in Yunnan channeled the Board’s research and strategies. This regional system, developed under the banner of the national Board, became the blueprint for public health interventions for the People’s Republic of China after the Communist Revolution (1949). In the 1970s because of its repressive practices, China was officially excluded from the global health community, which was dominated by Europe and the US under the World Health Organization. Yet, China’s program of mass vaccination and strategy of universal primary care directly informed practices of new and nonaligned countries.Brazelton’s important new book addresses a classic puzzle of biopolitics in the history of science and medicine: when and why did governing regimes build public health programs that prioritized changing people’s behaviors and values (sanitation, hygiene; mask wearing, social distancing) rather than changing people’s health with quick technical fixes—such as vaccination.The interview refers to the image on the book’s cover (also p130) and to the important, related work of Alicia Altorfer-Ong, Ruth Rogawski, and the Connecting Three Worlds project. The conversation was a collective interview by Vanderbilt students in Laura Stark’s course, American Medicine & the World.Laura Stark is Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University’s Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, and Associate Editor of the journal History & Theory.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/east-asian-studies

  • Known for a tradition of Confucian filial piety, East Asian societies have some of the oldest and most rapidly aging populations on earth. Today these societies are experiencing unprecedented social challenges to the filial tradition of adult children caring for aging parents at home. Marshalling mixed methods data, Beyond Filial Piety: Rethinking Aging and Caregiving in Contemporary East Asian Societies (Berghahn, 2020) explores the complexities of aging and caregiving in contemporary East Asia. Questioning romantic visions of a senior’s paradise, chapters examine emerging cultural meanings of and social responses to population aging, including caregiving both for and by the elderly. Themes include traditional ideals versus contemporary realities, the role of the state, patterns of familial and non-familial care, social stratification, and intersections of caregiving and death. Drawing on ethnographic, demographic, policy, archival, and media data, the authors trace both common patterns and diverging trends across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and Korea.
    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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  • Andrea Castiglioni, Fabio Rambelli, and Carina Roth's edited volume Defining Shugendo: Critical Studies on Japanese Mountain Religion (Bloomsbury, 2020) presents the newest studies on Shugendō-related practices and traditions from both Japanese and non-Japanese scholars. Contributors in their chapters explore how Shugendō constructed topologies and invented chronologies, how their practitioners were imagined and fictionalized, as well as how the tradition was reflected through materiality and visual cultures. The book also delves into the intellectual history of Shungendō studies in Japan, at the same time reflecting on how mountain beliefs in Japan have been studied in the West. 
    Part One of the book features a chapter by Suzuki Masataka on the formative processes of Shugendō as an institutionalized religious tradition from a historiographical perspective. Suzuki traces how different generations of scholars have presented Shugendō, taking into account the influence of concepts such as "ethnic religion" and "ethnic culture" in the Meiji period and the subsequent reinterpretations of Shugendō with nationalistic overtones in the first half of the Shōwa period. 
    Part Two looks into premodern regional variations of Shugendō institutions and religious practices as four different cultic sites: the Kumano Sanzan area in the Kii Peninsula, Mount Togakushi in Nagano prefecture, Mount Haguro in Yamagata prefecture, and Daigoji in Kyoto. The chapters of this section show how Shugendō centers regulated complex networks based on symbiotic interactions between Shugendō professionals, Buddhist monks, lay members of religious confraternities, and lay devotees. 
    Part Three investigates how narrative strategies were set up to support Shugendō groups and identities in the premodern period. This section examines the foundational narratives of temples and shrines (jisha engi) of the medieval period, as well as how Shugendō practitioners were depicted in Edo period literary sources such as vernacular fictions and dramas. 
    Part Four highlights the role of material and visual culture related to Shugendō, such as copper statues, devotional paintings, stelae, mounds, and paper talisman. The chapters of this section demonstrate that Shugendō materiality allowed for a network of religious interactions between humans (Shugendō practitioners, lay devotees, artisans) and nonhuman agencies (sacred objects) for the formation and diffusion of shared Shugendō discourses in society. 
    Daigengna Duoer is a Ph.D. student at the Religious Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara.
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  • How, and why did a ger (yurt) develop into the largest and most important monastery in Mongolia, and how did it support the authority of its main resident, the Jebtsundampa Khutugtu? These are the questions that Uranchimeg Tsultemin answers about the mobile encampment of Ikh Khüree and the Jebtsundampa reincarnation lineage in A Monastery on the Move: Art and Politics in Later Buddhist Mongolia (University of Hawaii Press, 2020).
    This monastery on the move is referred to as Ikh Khüree in textual sources, meaning "great encampment." It is also commonly known as Urga and Bogdiin Khüree (Bogd's Khüree). Initially built in 1639 by Khalkha Mongolian nobles for the First Jebtsundampa reincarnate ruler, Zanabazar (1635-1723), Ikh Khüree was first the ger-residence of the lama, but it gradually became Mongolia's political, social, and cultural center. Between 1639 and 1855, it migrated across Inner Asia while expanding in its size, functions, architecture, arts, and population before settling permanently. In 1924, Ikh Khüree was transformed into a Soviet-style city and renamed Ulaanbaatar ("Red Hero").
    Although Ikh Khüree is central to the history of Buddhism in Mongolia and is an incredibly unique case for being an entire Buddhist monastery on the move, it has only recently begun attracting scholarly interest. In this book, Uranchimeg Tsultemin consults visual, architectural, and oral traditions in addition to texts to reveal that Ikh Khüree was indeed created as the political center in northern Mongolia, and Zanabazar as the new Buddhist ruler of the Khalkha Mongols.
    Tracing surviving art and architecture of Ikh Khüree, the oeuvre of Zanabazar, the portraits of Jebtsunadampa reincarnations, and the double cityscapes of the mobile monastery, Uranchimeg discovers that Zanabazar's own architectural and artistic endeavors were based on traditional Mongol perceptions of political authority derived from understandings of Chinggisid lineages. She points out that the architectural spaces of Ikh Khüree and the widely proliferated portraits of the Jebtsundampa lamas show that the Khalkha Mongols envisioned Zanabazar as a theocrat comparable and equal to the contemporaneous Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) of Tibet. Uranchimeg argues that this Khalkha vision of the "Buddhist government" as its own theocracy did not conform with the Qing narrative, but was eventually realized with the Eighth Jebtsundampa (1869-1924) in 1911 when he became Bogd Khan.
    Daigengna Duoer is a Ph.D. student at the Religious Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara.
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  • Ken Ruoff’s Japan’s Imperial House in the Postwar Era, 1945-2019 (Harvard UP, 2020), is a revised and expanded version of the author’s The People’s Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy, 1945-1995 (2003). The book is an extensive and detailed treatment of the Japanese imperial institution as it enters a new era, Reiwa, with the abdication of the Heisei emperor (Akihito) in 2019. In addition to The People’s Emperor’s discussions of the creation of the postwar imperial institution as a “constitutional symbolic monarchy,” the continued (clandestine) role of Hirohito in politics, the postwar emperors’ approach to Japan’s war responsibility, the “massification” of the imperial family as a kind of model “middle-class” household for the postwar, and various forms of resistance from conservatives, Japan’s Imperial House adds two new chapters and an extensive and important addendum to one other. The two new chapters, respectively, provide a retrospective on the Heisei era (1989-2019) and an overview of the challenges facing the imperial line with Akihito’s son, Naruhito, now on the Chrysanthemum Throne as the Reiwa emperor. The addendum is to chapter 5, which discusses the ways in which anti-democratic and otherwise revanchist forces in postwar Japan coopted the playbook of democratic organizing to achieve (largely symbolic) victories. As we discuss in the interview, Ruoff returns to this topic because his analysis turned out to presage the tactics and successes of Nippon Kaigi, Japan’s most influential nongovernmental ultra-conservative lobbying group, during the Abe Shinzō regime.
    Terms and names perhaps unfamiliar to some listeners that get bandied about in our discussion include tennō (sovereign, emperor), Yoshida Shigeru (influential early postwar prime minister), Kobayashi Yoshinori (an often-controversial manga artist), and Yasukuni Shrine (which has enshrined prominent Class-A war criminals in addition to the general war dead since March 1978).
    Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese and East Asian history in the Graduate School of Humanities, Nagoya University.
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  • Tropics of Savagery: The Culture of Japanese Empire in Comparative Frame (U California Press, 2010) is an incisive and provocative study of the figures and tropes of “savagery” in Japanese colonial culture. Through a rigorous analysis of literary works, ethnographic studies, and a variety of other discourses, Robert Thomas Tierney demonstrates how imperial Japan constructed its own identity in relation both to the West and to the people it colonized. By examining the representations of Taiwanese aborigines and indigenous Micronesians in the works of prominent writers, he shows that the trope of the savage underwent several metamorphoses over the course of Japan's colonial period--violent headhunter to be subjugated, ethnographic other to be studied, happy primitive to be exoticized, and hybrid colonial subject to be assimilated.
    Dr. Robert Tierney is professor of Japanese literature in the Departments of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Comparative and World Literatures in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    Samee Siddiqui is a former journalist who is currently a PhD Candidate at the Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His dissertation explores discussions relating to religion, race, and empire between South Asian and Japanese figures in Tokyo from 1905 until 1945. You can find him on twitter @ssiddiqui83
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  • How did Geluk Buddhism become the most widespread school of Tibetan Buddhism in Inner Asia and beyond? In Building a Religious Empire: Tibetan Buddhism, Bureaucracy, and the Rise of the Gelukpa (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020), Brenton Sullivan reveals the compulsive efforts by Geluk lamas and "Buddhist bureaucrats" (bla dpon) in the early modern period to prescribe and control a proper way of living the life of a Buddhist monk and to define a proper way of administering the monastery. 
    Using monastic constitutions (bca' yig) and rare manuscripts dating primarily to the eighteenth century collected from research trips to Tibet and Mongolia, Sullivan shows that Geluk monasteries regulated scholastic curricula, liturgical sequences, financial protocols, and so on. These documents also appeal to notions of "impartiality" and "the common good," revealing a kind of preoccupation with rationalization and bureaucratic techniques normally associated with state-making.
    Sullivan points out that unlike with leaders of other schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Geluk lamas devoted an extraordinary amount of time to the institutional framework within which aspects of monastic life would take place. He argues in Building a Religious Empire that "this privileging of the monastic institution fostered a common religious identity that insulated it from nationalism along the lines of any specific religious leader, practice, or doctrine."
    Sullivan also reminds us that the remarkable success of Geluk Buddhism's spread to various places in Inner Asia can also be attributed to the mobility of monks and lamas, which "both ensured a degree of uniformity among Geluk monasteries and was facilitated by that uniformity." This mobility facilitated the creation of a system of overlapping networks and loyalties that collectively made up the Geluk school across Tibet and Mongolia. Mobility was also an important part of the Geluk lamas' administrative duties. Sullivan identifies that the Geluk school was "polycephalous," or "multi-headed," and "hydra-headed" at the same time, for it did not rely on a single lama or monastic seat for promoting and maintaining its teachings and organization but on a proliferation of such lamas in various monastic centers that are also regenerative. 
    Daigengna Duoer is a Ph.D. student at the Religious Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara.
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  • How did Japanese academics study their "fields" in places like Manchuria and Inner Mongolia in the transwar decades? How did they transform in the postwar, under the US Occupation, and after? Into the Field: Human Scientists of Transwar Japan (Stanford UP, 2019) is the first monograph on the collective biography of this cohort of professional Japanese intellectuals, or in Miriam L. Kingsberg Kadia's words, "the men of one age."
    Kadia observes that during the transwar decades (1930s-1060s), these "men of one age" jointly embraced a set of unchanging assumptions regarding epistemology that was anchored in the ideal of "objectivity." The scholarship, or gakujutsu, that they aimed to produce were concerned with the quest of universal laws governing human society and the natural world, the use of a comprehensively delineated method to assure rigor in pursuit of "truth," and impartiality. Those who studied the human sciences applied the ideal of "objectivity" to the study of Self and Others in Japanese colonized and occupied lands.
    Following the lives of these transwar human scientists into the fields, Kadia reveals that these "men of one age," such as Izumi Seiichi, were both creators and creations of imperial epistemology. Kadia points out that although the duration of Japanese imperial control was too short to apply their academic findings to policy in much of the empire, Izumi and his colleagues "enjoyed outsized influence in justifying the empire as a hierarchy of confraternal races ruled for their own benefit by the putatively superior Japanese."
    The US Occupation in the postwar allowed the continuation of the pursuit of "objective" knowledge for the Japanese human scientists, as well as opening new avenues for them. Kadia argues that "what changed after 1945 were the values understood to constitute objectivity," namely ideals vaunted as characteristically American: democracy, capitalism, and peace. 
    During the Cold War, Kadia reminds us, the US saw strategic potential in Japan's studies of East Asia and Oceania, and the Japanese academics largely "upheld the convenient fiction of their reluctant cooperation with and quiet opposition to the former government." To rehabilitate Japan's scholarly reputation, the Japanese academics were integrated into a new transnational intellectual community that both reflected and supported US hegemony, although some Japanese academics resisted the subordination of domestic progress to grand strategy. 
    Daigengna Duoer is a Ph.D. student at the Religious Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara.
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  • Y. Yvon Wang draws on previously untapped archives--ranging from police archives and surveys to ephemeral texts and pictures--to argue that pornography in China represents a unique configuration of power and desire that both reflects and shapes historical processes. On the one hand, since the late imperial period, pornography has democratized pleasure in China and opened up new possibilities of imagining desire. On the other, ongoing controversies over its definition and control show how the regulatory ideas of premodern cultural politics and the popular products of early modern cultural markets have contoured the globalized world.
    Reinventing Licentiousness: Pornography and Modern China (Cornell University Press, 2021) emphasizes the material factors, particularly at the grassroots level of consumption and trade, that governed proper sexual desire and led to ideological shifts around the definition of pornography. By linking the past to the present and beyond, Wang's social and intellectual history showcases circulated pornographic material as a motor for cultural change. The result is an astonishing foray into what historicizing pornography can mean for our understandings of desire, legitimacy, capitalism, and culture.
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  • Jürgen Melzer’s Wings for the Rising Sun: A Transnational History of Japanese Aviation (Harvard UP, 2020) traces the history of Japanese aviation from its origins with hot-air balloons in the 1870s until the end of the Pacific War in 1945. Melzer’s narrative centers around three themes: transnational technology transfer and Japan’s efforts to attain technological independence, domestic efforts to mobilize public enthusiasm for aviation development (what Melzer calls “air-mindedness”), and the complicated interplay of aviation with military and diplomatic history. 
    The first chapters take us to the end of World War I, which was a turning point for Japanese aviation. Until that time, Japan had been most interested in French technologies, but the settlement of the Great War at Versailles provided an opportunity to take advantage of German aviation advancements. Parts 2 and 3 contrast the development of aviation in the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, exposing crucial differences not only between the two services but within each one. Part 4 begins with Japan’s turn to American civil aviation technologies in the wake of the 1931 Manchurian Incident, and the subsequent impact of Japanese aggression and US retaliatory sanctions leading up to Pearl Harbor. The final chapter covers the fevered development of rocket- and jet-propelled aircraft during the war, and therefore in the context of resource shortages and a fast-ticking clock. Melzer, a former Lufthansa pilot, has written a book that will appeal to readers interested in STS, military history, international relations, and Western history, in addition to Japanese history aficionados.
    Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese and East Asian history in the Graduate School of Humanities, Nagoya University.
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  • Changan Jie, or Long Peace Street, stretches across central Beijing. Along it are several critical historical sites, including Zhongnanhai, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City: all important to Beijing’s history as the center of Imperial, Republican and then Communist China.
    Jonathan Chatwin, in his book Long Peace Street: A Walk in Modern China (Manchester University Press, 2019), recently published in paperback, uses the road as a way to present the modern history of Beijing and China. Starting at the street’s beginning at the former Capital Iron and Steel works, Chatwin takes the reader on a journey along Long Peace Street and through China’s political history, as it changes from a declining empire to a fast-growing and increasingly confident Communist state. The centerpiece of the book is the Forbidden City, which Jonathan recently wrote about for CNN: “Forbidden City at 600: How China's imperial palace survived against the odds”.
    In this interview, I ask Jonathan to chart this journey along Long Peace Street for us, talking about both the major sites we may have seen on our own journeys to Beijing, and some of the less well-known yet equally interesting points along this road. We talk about some of his own personal experiences writing the book, and Beijing’s relationship to its past.
    Jonathan Chatwin is a travel writer and journalist. His essays and articles have been published by the South China Morning Post, the British Film Institute, The Los Angeles Review of Books amongst other publications. He is also the author of Anywhere Out of the World: The Work of Bruce Chatwin (Manchester University Press: 2017), as well as the host of The Southern Tour Podcast‬, which examines China's reform and opening, through the prism of Deng Xiaoping's legendary 'Southern Tour' of 1992. He can be followed on Twitter at @jmchatwin.
    You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Long Peace Street. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.
    Nicholas Gordon is 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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  • Telling stories: that sounds innocuous enough. But for the first chronicle in the Japanese vernacular, A Tale of Flowering Fortunes (Eiga monogatari), there was more to worry about than a good yarn. The health of the community was at stake. Flowering Tales: Women Exorcising History in Heian Japan (Harvard University Press, 2020) is the first extensive literary study of this historical tale, which covers about 150 years of births, deaths, and happenings in late Heian society, a golden age of court literature in women’s hands. Takeshi Watanabe contends that the blossoming of tales, marked by The Tale of Genji, inspired Eiga’s new affective history: an exorcism of embittered spirits whose stories needed to be retold to ensure peace.
    Tracing the narrative arcs of politically marginalized figures, Watanabe shows how Eiga’s female authors adapted the discourse and strategies of The Tale of Genji to rechannel wayward ghosts into the community through genealogies that relied not on blood but on literary resonances. These reverberations, highlighted through comparisons to contemporaneous accounts in courtiers’ journals, echo through shared details of funerary practices, political life, and characterization. Flowering Tales reanimates these eleventh-century voices to trouble conceptions of history: how it ought to be recounted, who got to record it, and why remembering mattered.
    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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  • Transpacific Correspondences: Dispatches from Japan’s Black Studies, an essay collection edited by Dr. Yuichiro Onishi and Dr Fumiko Sakashita, introduces a little-known, but critical history of Black Studies in Japan. Taking the Black Studies Association (Kokujin Kenkyu no Kai) as its focus, the collection charts the history of members of the Black Studies Association, and the ways in which Japanese scholars and writers studied, translated and disseminated the works of black radical thinkers, and were politically transformed by their engagement with this work. The collection is interdisciplinary in nature, covering important topics that would be of great interest to political theorists, black feminist theorists, historians, and scholars of music and literature. Transpacific Correspondence is an important contribution to the history of Afro-Asian encounters and the globalized field of Black Studies.
    Felicity Stone-Richards is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a comparative political theorist of Afro-diasporic and Japanese theory, and scholar of contemporary transnational political activism.
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  • In 1800, the Shogun’s chief minister wrote the following about the city of Edo:
    "Someone said that if Edo did not have frequent fires, then people would be more showy and flash. In the capital or in Osaka they do everything with lavish elegance: people hang up paintings in their homes or put out arrangements of flowers. But in Edo, even in the affluent areas, everything is restrained. People only display a single flower [in a bamboo tube or a simple pot]. The wealthy have fine chess sets, but the box will have paper fixed under the lid to double up as the board. Edo’s sense of conciseness comes from continual fires."
    According to Professor Timon Screech, author of Tokyo Before Tokyo: Power and Magic in the Shogun’s City of Edo (Reaktion Books, 2020), the city is the source of much of what we consider to be Japanese culture: sushi, Mt Fuji, cherry blossoms. Tokyo Before Tokyo is a rich illustrated volume that presents the vibrant visual history of Edo. The book is presented as a series of vignettes, dealing with key landmarks and districts from the old city, from the Shogun’s castle to the famous red-light Yoshiwara district.
    In this interview, Professor Screech and I talk about the different vignettes that make up Tokyo Before Tokyo, and the role that Edo played in old Japan. We also investigate his decision to focus on landmarks and districts, and whether any of old Edo can be seen in today’s Tokyo.
    Professor Timon Screech is Professor of the History of Art at SOAS University of London. He is the author of at least a dozen books on the visual culture of the Edo period, including perhaps his best-known work Sex and the Floating World: Erotic Images in Japan, 1700-1820 (University of Hawaii Press, 1999). In addition to Tokyo Before Tokyo, his other most recent book is The Shogun's Silver Telescope: God, Art, and Money in the English Quest for Japan, 1600-1625 (Oxford University Press, 2020). In 2019, Professor Screech was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy.
    You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Tokyo Before Tokyo. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.
    Nicholas Gordon is 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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  • This episode features three interviews with organizers and scholars concerned with Asian migrant sex work: SWAN Vancouver (Alison Clancey and Kelly Go), Dr. Lily Wong, and Dr. Yuri Doolan.
    On March 16, 2021, Robert Aaron Long targeted three Atlanta-area spas and massage parlors and killed eight people: Delania Ashley Yuan González, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue. Six of these victims were Asian women. Within the days following the shooting, many groups representing women, Asian Americans, sex workers, and migrants, have collectively mourned and sent strength and solidarity to the eight victims and their families.
    This podcast episode seeks to express solidarity with these groups by highlighting the work of scholars and organizers who have been studying the racially encoded figures and the broader histories of Asian migrant sex work. We hope to give space here to understand how the violence that occurred on March 16 was imbricated within a racial capitalist structure that views Asian and Asian American women as disposable objects, a view that has been historically continuous with the histories of Chinese exclusion (initiated by fears of Chinese sex workers and yellow peril), and with over one hundred and fifty years of US imperialism in Asia, from the colonial theft of Hawai’i and the Philippine-American War to Japanese Incarceration, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, and the growth of over eight-hundred military bases across the world.
    As the organizers and scholars interviewed here stress, it is crucial now to join groups local and international that stand for the decriminalization of migration and sex work, and to reject calls for hate-crime laws or anti-sex trafficking laws, or any legislation that would bring more policing, all of which would only make migrants and sex workers more vulnerable and stigmatized.
    Christopher B. Patterson is an Assistant Professor in the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia.
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  • Anecdote, Network, Gossip, Performance: Essays on the Shishuo xinyu (Harvard UP, 2021) is a study of the Shishuo xinyu, the most important anecdotal collection of medieval China—and arguably of the entire traditional era. In a set of interconnected essays, Jack W. Chen offers new readings of the Shishuo xinyu that draw upon social network analysis, performance studies, theories of ritual and mourning, and concepts of gossip and reputation to illuminate how the anecdotes of the collection imagine and represent a political and cultural elite. Whereas most accounts of the Shishuo have taken a historical approach, Chen argues that the work should be understood in literary terms.
    At its center, Anecdote, Network, Gossip, Performance is an extended meditation on the very nature of the anecdote form, both what the anecdote affords in terms of representing a social community and how it provides a space for the rehearsal of certain longstanding philosophical and cultural arguments. Although each of the chapters may be read separately as an essay in its own right, when taken together, they present a comprehensive account of the Shishuo in all of its literary complexity.
    Victoria Oana Lupașcu is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies at University of Montréal. Her areas of interest include medical humanities, visual art, 20th and 21st Chinese, Brazilian and Romanian literature and Global South studies.
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  • The Art of Political Control in China (Cambridge University Press, 2019) shows how China's authoritarian state ensures political control by non-violent mechanisms. Daniel C. Mattingly demonstrates how coercive control is achieved through informal means to achieve goals such as land redistribution, the enforcement of family planning policies, and the suppression of protest. He draws on a broad combination of empirical evidence - from qualitative case studies, experiments and national surveys, to challenge conventional understandings of political control. Surprisingly, Mattingly shows that it is strong civil societies which strengthens the state's coercive capacities, while those that lack strong civil societies have the greatest potential to act collectively and spontaneously to resist the state. 
    The Art of Political Control in China was named one of Foreign Affairs Magazine as one of the best books in 2020. It is important reading for our times to understand how governments - and especially authoritarian governments - foster political compliance through coercive mechanisms.  
    Daniel Mattingly is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University. His work focuses on the political economy of development and authoritarian politics with a focus on China. Some of his current research focuses on the military, revolutions, elite politics, and technological innovation in China, both in the present in past.
    Jane Richards is a doctoral student at the University of Hong Kong. You can find her on twitter where she follows all things related to human rights and Hong Kong politics @JaneRichardsHK
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