Faculty Publications

Erik Braun


Meditation, Buddhism, and Science. Co-edited with David McMahan. Oxford University Press​, 2017.

The scientific study of Buddhist forms of meditation has surged in recent years, capturing the popular imagination and reshaping conceptions of what meditation is and what it can do. For perhaps the first time in history, meditation has shifted from Buddhist monasteries and practice centers to some of the most prominent and powerful modern institutions in the world, as well as non-institutional settings. As their contexts change, so do the practices-sometimes drastically. New ways of thinking about meditation are emerging as it moves toward more secular settings, ways that profoundly affect millions of lives all over the world. To understand these changes and their effects, the essays in this volume explore the unaddressed complexities in the interrelations between Buddhist history and thought and the scientific study of meditation. The contributors bring philosophical, cultural, historical, and ethnographic perspectives to bear, considering such issues as the philosophical presuppositions behind practice, the secularization of meditation, and the sorts of subjects that take shape under the influence of transformative practices.

The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw. University of Chicago Press, 2013. 

Insight meditation, which claims to offer practitioners a chance to escape all suffering by perceiving the true nature of reality, is one of the most popular forms of meditation today. The Theravada Buddhist cultures of South and Southeast Asia often see it as the Buddha’s most important gift to humanity. In the first book to examine how this practice came to play such a dominant—and relatively recent—role in Buddhism, Erik Braun takes readers to Burma, revealing that Burmese Buddhists in the colonial period were pioneers in making insight meditation indispensable to modern Buddhism.




Jack Chen


Anecdote, Network, Gossip, Performance: Essays on the Shishuo xinyu. Harvard University Asia Center, 2021.

Anecdote, Network, Gossip, Performance 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.

Literary Information in China: A History. Co-edited with Anatoly Detwyler, Xiao Liu, Christopher M. B. Nugent, and Bruce Rusk. Columbia University Press, 2021.

“Information” has become a core concept across the disciplines, yet it is still often seen as a unique feature of the Western world that became central only in the digital age. In this book, leading experts turn to China’s textual tradition to show the significance of information for reconceptualizing the work of literary history, from its beginnings to the present moment. Contributors trace the organization of literary information across China’s three millennia of history, examining the forms and practices of information management that have evolved alongside the increasing scale and complexity of textual production. They reimagine literary history as information processing, detailing the many kinds of storage, encoding, sorting, and transmission that constitute and feed back into China’s long and ever-growing cultural tradition. Literary Information in China is a groundbreaking work that provides a systematic and innovative reassessment of literary history with implications that extend beyond the particular Chinese context, revealing how informatic practices shape literary tradition.

Idle Talk: Gossip and Anecdote in Traditional China. Co-edited with David Schaberg. University of California Press, 2013. 

Gossip and anecdote may be “idle talk,” but they also serve to knit together individuals in society and to provide the materials through which literary culture and historical memory are constructed. This groundbreaking book provides a cultural history of gossip and anecdote in traditional China, beginning with the Han dynasty and ending with the Qing. The ten essays, along with the introduction and postface, address the verification, transmission, and interpretation of gossip and anecdote across literary and historical genres.





The Poetics of Sovereignty: On Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty. Harvard University Asia Center, 2010.

Emperor Taizong (r. 626–49) of the Tang is remembered as an exemplary ruler. This study addresses that aura of virtuous sovereignty and Taizong’s construction of a reputation for moral rulership through his own literary writings—with particular attention to his poetry. The author highlights the relationship between historiography and the literary and rhetorical strategies of sovereignty, contending that, for Taizong, and for the concept of sovereignty in general, politics is inextricable from cultural production.




Sylvia Chong 


(Re)Collecting the Vietnam War.  Co-edited with Cathy J. Schlund-Vials. Special issue of Asian American Literary Review 6.2 (Fall/Winter 2015).







The Oriental Obscene: Violence and Racial Fantasies in the Vietnam Era. Duke University Press, 2012.

The Oriental Obscene is a sophisticated analysis of Americans’ reactions to visual representations of the Vietnam War, such as the photograph of the “napalm girl,” news footage of the Tet Offensive, and feature films from The Deer Hunter to Rambo: First Blood Part II. Sylvia Shin Huey Chong combines psychoanalytic and film theories with U.S. cultural history to explain what she terms the oriental obscene: racialized fantasies that Americans derived largely from images of Asians as the perpetrators or victims of extreme violence. Chong contends that these fantasies helped Americans to process the trauma of the Vietnam War, as well as the growth of the Asian American population after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and the postwar immigration of Southeast Asian refugees. The oriental obscene animated a wide range of political narratives, not only the movements for and against the war, but causes as diverse as the Black Power movement, law-and-order conservatism, second-wave feminism, and the nascent Asian American movement. During the Vietnam era, pictures of Asian bodies were used to make sense of race, violence, and America’s identity at home and abroad.


Robert Conroy


Portfolio Management: An Overview.  With Alistair Byrne. CFA Institute, 2011.


Dale Copeland


Economic Interdependence and War. Princeton University Press, 2014.

Does growing economic interdependence among great powers increase or decrease the chance of conflict and war? Liberals argue that the benefits of trade give states an incentive to stay peaceful. Realists contend that trade compels states to struggle for vital raw materials and markets. Moving beyond the stale liberal-realist debate, Economic Interdependence and War lays out a dynamic theory of expectations that shows under what specific conditions interstate commerce will reduce or heighten the risk of conflict between nations.




The Origins of Major War. Cornell University Press, 2001.

One of the most important questions of human existence is what drives nations to war―especially massive, system-threatening war. Much military history focuses on the who, when, and where of war; in this riveting book, Dale C. Copeland brings attention to bear on why governments make decisions that lead to, sustain, and intensify conflicts. Copeland presents detailed historical narratives of several twentieth-century cases, including World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. He highlights instigating factors that transcend individual personalities, styles of government, geography, and historical context to reveal remarkable consistency across several major wars usually considered dissimilar. The result is a series of challenges to established interpretive positions and provocative new readings of the causes of conflict.


Fred Damon


Trees, Knots, and Outriggers: Environmental Knowledge in the Northeast Kula Ring (Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology). Berghahn Books, 2016.

Trees, Knots and Outriggers (Kaynen Muyuw) is the culmination of twenty-five years of work by Frederick H. Damon and his attention to cultural adaptations to the environment in Melanesia. Damon details the intricacies of indigenous knowledge and practice in his sweeping synthesis of symbolic and structuralist anthropology with recent developments in historical ecology. This book is a long conversation between the author's many Papua New Guinea informants, teachers and friends, and scientists in Australia, Europe and the United States, in which a spirit of adventure and discovery is palpable.



From Muyuw to the Trobriands: Transformations Along the Northern Side of the Kula Ring. University of Arizona Press, 1990.

The Kula Ring is the name given to a regional exchange system among islands off Papua New Guinea. Bronislaw Malinowski's classic research in the Trobriand Islands has described a representative culture of that region; now Frederick Damon examines relationships within and between cultural forms found on Muyuw (Woodlark) Island and the Trobriands to propose that the several societies on the northern arc of the Kula Ring can be viewed as variants or "transformations" of one underlying structure.




Death Rituals and Life in the Societies of the Kula Ring. Northern Illinois University Press, 1989.  








Chad Diehl


Resurrecting Nagasaki: Reconstruction and the Formation of Atomic Narratives. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018.

In Resurrecting Nagasaki, Chad R. Diehl examines the reconstruction of Nagasaki City after the atomic bombing of August 9, 1945. Diehl illuminates the genesis of narratives surrounding the bombing by following the people and groups who contributed to the city's rise from the ashes and shaped its postwar image in Japan and the world. Municipal officials, survivor-activist groups, the Catholic community, and American occupation officials interpreted the destruction and envisioned the reconstruction of the city from different and sometimes disparate perspectives. Each group's narrative situated the significance of the bombing within the city's postwar urban identity in unique ways, informing the discourse of reconstruction as well as its physical manifestations in the city's revival. Diehl's analysis reveals how these atomic narratives shaped both the way Nagasaki rebuilt and the ways in which popular discourse on the atomic bombings framed the city's experience for decades.


And the River Flowed as a Raft of Corpses: The Poetry of Yamaguchi Tsutomu, Survivor of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Editor and translator. Foreword by Donald Keene. New York: Excogitating Over Coffee Publishing, 2010.

The first official translation of the tanka poetry of Yamaguchi Tsutomu (1916-2010), a survivor of both atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The author lived with Yamaguchi in Nagasaki during the summer of 2009 to gain insight and instruction in order to create the most accurate translations possible. The book includes a lengthy introductory essay about Yamaguchi's experience to provide essential context for the poems, and he has also written a preface in Japanese for Japanese readers. Yamaguchi’s testimony of those days and subsequent years living with the physical and psychological trauma characterize the theme of his poems translated in Raft of Corpses. The paradox of surviving two atomic bombs to live on for six decades stirs in the readers of Yamaguchi's tanka poems simultaneous feelings of awe, disbelief, horror, sympathy, and hope. 


 Caren Freeman 


Making and Faking Kinship: Marriage and Labor Migration between China and South Korea. Cornell University Press, 2011.

In the years leading up to and directly following rapprochement with China in 1992, the South Korean government looked to ethnic Korean (Chosǒnjok) brides and laborers from northeastern China to restore productivity to its industries and countryside. South Korean officials and the media celebrated these overtures not only as a pragmatic solution to population problems but also as a patriotic project of reuniting ethnic Koreans after nearly fifty years of Cold War separation.  




David Germano 


Embodying the Dharma: Buddhist Relic Veneration in Asia. Co-edited with Kevin Trainor. SUNY, 2004. 

Embodying the Dharma explores the centrality of relic veneration in Asian Buddhist cultures. Long disregarded by Western scholars as a superstitious practice reflecting the popularization of "original" Buddhism, relic veneration has emerged as a topic of vital interest in the last two decades with the increased attention to Buddhist ritual practice and material culture. This volume includes studies of relic traditions in India, Japan, Tibet, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, as well as broader comparative analyses, including comparisons of Buddhist and Christian relic veneration. 




The Many Canons of Tibetan Buddhism: Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000. Co-edited with Helmut Eimer. 10 vols. Vol. 2, Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies. Leiden: Brill, 2002.

Read more: http://www.thlib.org/encyclopedias/literary/canons/index.php#!essay=/stanley/tibcanons/s/b2#ixzz6KRdwX5U5


Digital Initiative:

The Tibetan and Himalayan Library






Harry Harding


Prof. Harding is presently writing a sequel to A Fragile Relationship, under the working title A Fraught Relationship: The United States and China from Partners to Competitors. 

A Fragile Relationship: The United States and China since 1972. Brookings Institution, 1992.

President Nixon's historic trip to China in February 1972 marked the beginning of a new era in Sino-American relations. For the first time since 1949, the two countries established high-level official contacts and transformed their relationship from confrontation to collaboration. Over the subsequent twenty years, however, U.S.-China relations have experienced repeated cycles of progress, stalemate, and crisis, with the events in Tiananmen Square in June 1989 the most recent and disruptive example. Paradoxically, although relations between the two countries are vastly more extensive today than they were twenty years ago, they remain highly fragile. This work offers the first comprehensive look at Sino-American relations from 1972 to the 1992. Dr. Harding traces the evolution of U.S.-China relations, and assesses American policy toward Peking in the post-Tiananmen era.


China’s Second Revolution: Reforming Mao. Brookings Institution, 1987.

China has, since 1976, been enmeshed in an extraordinary program of renewal and reform. The obvious changes—the T-shirts, blue jeans, makeup and jewelry worn by Chinese youth; the disco music blaring from radios and loudspeakers on Chinese streets; the television antennas mushrooming from both urban apartment complexes and suburban peasant housing; the bustling free markets selling meat, vegetables and clothing in China’s major cities—reflect a fundamental shift in the government’s policy toward the economy and political life. Although doubts about the long-term commitment to reform arose after the student protests in December 1986 and the dismissal of Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang in January 1987, the scope of reform has been so broad and the pace of change so rapid, that the post-Mao era fully warrants Den Xiaoping’s description of it as the “second revolution” undertaken by the Chinese Communist Party.


Organizing China: The Problem of Bureaucracy, 1949-1966. Stanford University Press, 1981.

Since the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949, Chinese Communist leaders have constructed an administrative apparatus that has exercised broader and tighter control over Chinese society than any previous government in the country's history. This is a history of the development of Chinese organizational policy - a topic of constant concern and often strident debate - from 1949 to the death of Mao Tse-tung in 1976. The author argues that Chinese organizational policy has been controversial because of the complexity of administrative problems, the effects of policy changes on the distribution of power and status, and the philosophical dilemma of whether the efficiency of modern bureaucracy outweighs its social and political costs. He also shows how extreme approaches, such as demands during the Cultural Revolution that bureaucracy be destroyed altogether or proposals during the 1950s that the bureaucracy be rationalized, have been repeatedly rejected in favor of a policy more in keeping with much of Chinese tradition: to recruit officials on the basis of their political views, subject them to ideological indoctrination, and rely on mass campaigns to implement Party policy.


Gustav Heldt


The Kojiki An Account of Ancient Matters. Trans. Columbia University Press, August, 2014.

Japan's oldest surviving narrative, the eighth-century Kojiki, chronicles the mythical origins of its islands and their ruling dynasty through a diverse array of genealogies, tales, and songs that have helped to shape the modern nation's views of its ancient past. Gustav Heldt's engaging new translation of this revered classic aims to make the Kojiki accessible to contemporary readers while staying true to the distinctively dramatic and evocative appeal of the original's language. It conveys the rhythms that structure the Kojiki's animated style of storytelling and translates the names of its many people and places to clarify their significance within the narrative. An introduction, glossaries, maps, and bibliographies offer a wealth of additional information about Japan's earliest extant record of its history, literature, and religion.


China and Beyond in the Mediaeval Period: Cultural Crossings and Inter-regional Connections. Co-edited with Dorothy C. Wong. Cambria Press, 2014. 

This volume examines China’s contacts with neighboring cultures in Central, South, Southeast, and Northeast Asia, as well as contacts among those cultures from the beginning of the Common Era to the tenth century and beyond. During this period, transregional and crosscultural exchanges were fostered by both peaceful and aggressive activities and movements of peoples across Eurasia along land and maritime routes. Such movements played an important role in world history in the medieval period, and yet many aspects of cultural exchanges across Eurasia remain understudied. The lack of knowledge is particularly evident in treatments of Chinese history between the Han and Tang empires. Examining relations with neighboring cultures during this period calls into question notions of China as a monolithic cultural entity.


The Pursuit of Harmony Poetry and Power in Early Heian Japan. Cornell East Asia Series, 2009.

The Heian court of the ninth and tenth centuries was characterized by pronounced political fragmentation and unprecedented poetic fertility. Gustav Heldt argues that the two were often linked by the act of "harmonizing in verse," a public mode of composition in which the words of a superior were cited in order to establish social hierarchies, affirm communal identities, and accommodate conflicting visions of political authority. Focusing on the period's new forms of poetry--the Kokinshu anthology, poetry matches, and screen poetry--as well as the practices surrounding their production, The Pursuit of Harmony marshals a wide range of historical sources to explore such topics as the interplay between the palace calendar and seasonal cycles, representations of social difference, ritual performances of royal virtue at banquets, and later scholastic interpretations of the Heian poetic legacy. In the process, this book provides new insights into a pivotal era in Japanese literature and culture.


Natasha Heller 


Illusory Abiding: The Cultural Construction of the Chan Monk Zhongfeng Mingben. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 2014.

A groundbreaking monograph on Yuan dynasty Buddhism, Illusory Abiding offers a cultural history of Buddhism through a case study of the eminent Chan master Zhongfeng Mingben. Natasha Heller demonstrates that Mingben, and other monks of his stature, developed a range of cultural competencies through which they navigated social and intellectual relationships. They mastered repertoires internal to their tradition―for example, guidelines for monastic life―as well as those that allowed them to interact with broader elite audiences, such as the ability to compose verses on plum blossoms. These cultural exchanges took place within local, religious, and social networks―and at the same time, they comprised some of the very forces that formed these networks in the first place. This monograph contributes to a more robust account of Chinese Buddhism in late imperial China, and demonstrates the importance of situating monks as actors within broader sociocultural fields of practice and exchange.  


Diane Hoffman


Quiet Riot: The Culture of Teaching and Learning in Schools. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015.

Quiet Riot offers an anthropological critique of teaching and learning in two U.S. high schools over a twenty-seven year period. Based on the author's experiences shadowing two average students in 1983 and 2009, it presents detailed observations that powerfully capture the reality of student experiences in school. Despite many changes in schools over this near thirty year period, observations show a remarkable continuity in what goes on in classrooms. This is because the culture of teaching and learning in classrooms has remained relatively unchanged. While teachers are sincere, they also undermine their own efforts in a variety of ways. Students are disengaged not because they do not care, but because the instruction they receive systematically prevents them from engaging at a deep intellectual level with subject matter. Observations in high schools are supplemented with elementary school observations that demonstrate the early trajectories of disengagement that capture many students. The book illustrates the powerful patterning of the culture of teaching and learning in schooling that undermines the true goals of an authentic education.


Andrew Johnston


Mercury and the Making of California: Mining, Landscape, and Race, 1840-1890. University Press of Colorado, 2013.

Mercury and the Making of California, Andrew Johnston’s multidisciplinary examination of the history and cultural landscapes of California’s mercury-mining industry, raises mercury to its rightful place alongside gold and silver in the development of the American West. Gold and silver could not be refined without mercury; therefore, its production and use were vital to securing power and wealth in the West. The first industrialized mining in California, mercury mining had its own particular organization, structure, and built environments. These were formed within the Spanish Empire, subsequently transformed by British imperial ambitions, and eventually manipulated by American bankers and investors. In California mercury mining also depended on a workforce differentiated by race and ethnicity. The landscapes of work and camp and the relations among the many groups involved in the industry—Mexicans, Chileans, Spanish, English, Irish, Cornish, American, and Chinese—form a crucial chapter in the complex history of race and ethnicity in the American West. 


Anne Kinney


Exemplary Women of Early China: The Lienü zhuan of Liu Xiang (Translations from the Asian Classics). Columbia University Press, 2014.

In early China, was it correct for a woman to disobey her father, contradict her husband, or shape the public policy of a son who ruled over a dynasty or state? According to the Lienü zhuan, it was not only appropriate but necessary for women to step in with wise counsel when fathers, husbands, or rulers strayed from the path of virtue. Compiled toward the end of the Former Han dynasty (202 BCE-9 CE) by Liu Xiang (79-8 BCE), the Lienü zhuan is the earliest extant book in the Chinese tradition solely devoted to the education of women. Far from providing a unified vision of women's roles, the text promotes a diverse and sometimes contradictory range of practices. At one extreme are exemplars resorting to suicide and self-mutilation as a means to preserve chastity and ritual orthodoxy. At the other are bold and outspoken women whose rhetorical mastery helps correct erring rulers, sons, and husbands. The text provides a fascinating overview of the representation of women's roles in early legends, formal speeches on statecraft, and highly fictionalized historical accounts during this foundational period of Chinese history.


The Establishment Of The Han Empire And Imperial China. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005.

The Han Dynasty created an enduring Chinese empire comparable to the Roman Empire. In this book, narrative chapters, biographical sketches, and translated primary documents give readers a unique overview of this important founding dynasty. The Han Dynasty (206 B.C.E. to C.E. 221) ruled a large prosperous Chinese empire that was roughly contemporary with the Roman Empire and comparable in size. The Han was founded by Liu Bang who ruled as Emperor Gaozu. The Han emperors turned away from the harsh rule of their Qin predecessors and promoted Confucianism and other schools of thought while retaining some of the useful autocratic features of Legalism. Under Wudi (140-87 B.C.E.) the empire expanded to include parts of Central Asia, Korea and Vietnam. Under the Han dynasty the Chinese developed steel, the water mill, high quality stoneware (china), and paper. Designed as an introduction to the founding and consolidation of the Han Empire, this work offers information on the founding of the Han Empire; conflict between town and countryside and the empire and barbarians; technological innovations like steel and papermaking; social changes and the lives of women and children; and a comparative look at Imperial China in world history.


Representations of Childhood and Youth in Early China. Stanford University Press, 2003.

This is the first book in any language to explore the cultural connotations of childhood in the early phases of Chinese history. Drawing upon both traditional and archeological materials, this study encompasses the stages of human development that begin with the embryo and extend to late adolescence. While texts from China’s most ancient period scarcely mention children, rather suddenly, in Han times (206 BC-AD 220), the written record begins to feature fairly detailed references to children and the childhoods of famous figures. The aim of this book is to identify the cultural conditions that place children and childhood near the center of intellectual debate during this period. These conditions are related to the establishment of a centralized empire and are expressed in the discourse surrounding cosmology, medicine, law, statecraft, and―most important―dynastic history. The book describes the dangers that haunted children of high status, with the rules of succession, shifting power structures at court, and traditional views on patriarchy and parental authority (including the right of life and death over children) contributing to their vulnerability.


Chinese Views of Childhood. University of Hawaii Press, 1995.

Chinese in the twentieth century, intent on modernizing their country, condemned their inherited culture in part on the grounds that it was oppressive to the young. The authors of this pioneering volume provide us with the evidence to re-examine those charges. Drawing on sources ranging from art to medical treatises, fiction, and funerary writings, they separate out the many complexities in the Chinese cultural construction of childhood and the ways it has changed over time. listening to how Chinese talked about children - whether their own child, the abstract child in need of education or medical care, the ideal precocious child, or the fictional child - lets us assess in concrete terms the structures and values that underlay Chinese life.



Digital initiative:

Traditions of Exemplary Women: Liu Xiang's Lienü Zhuan






Aynne Kokas


Hollywood Made in China. University of California Press, 2017.

China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 ignited a race to capture new global media audiences. Hollywood moguls began courting Chinese investors to create entertainment on an international scale—from behemoth theme parks to blockbuster films. Hollywood Made in China examines these new collaborations, where the distinctions between Hollywood’s “dream factory” and Xi Jinping's "Chinese Dream" of global influence become increasingly blurred. With insightful policy analysis, ethnographic research, and interviews with CEOs, directors, and film workers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Los Angeles, Aynne Kokas offers an unflinching look at China’s new role in the global media industries. A window into the partnerships with Chinese corporations that now shape Hollywood, this book will captivate anyone who consumes commercial media in the twenty-first century.  



Krishan Kumar 


Empires: A Historical and Political Sociology. Polity, 2021. 

Empires have been the commonest form of political organization for most of recorded history. How should we best understand them? What are their principles and how do they differ from other political forms, such as the nation-state? What sort of relations between rulers and ruled do they express? Do they, as many have held, follow a particular course of “rise, decline, and fall”? How and why do empires end, and with what consequences? Is the era of empire over? This book explores these questions through a fascinating analysis of the major empires of world history and the present. It pays attention not just to the modern overseas empires of the Europeans, but also to the ancient empires of the Middle East and Mediterranean, the Islamic empires of the Arabs, Mughals, and Ottomans, and the two-thousand-year Chinese Empire. As Kumar shows, understanding empires helps us understand better the politics of our own times.


Visions of Empire: How Five Imperial Regimes Shaped the World. Princeton University Press, 2018.

The empires of the past were far-flung experiments in multinationalism and multiculturalism, and have much to teach us about navigating our own increasingly globalized and interconnected world. Until now, most recent scholarship on empires has focused on their subject peoples. Visions of Empire looks at their rulers, shedding critical new light on who they were, how they justified their empires, how they viewed themselves, and the styles of rule they adopted toward their subjects. Krishan Kumar provides panoramic and multifaceted portraits of five major European empires—Ottoman, Habsburg, Russian/Soviet, British, and French—showing how each, like ancient Rome, saw itself as the carrier of universal civilization to the rest of the world. Sometimes these aims were couched in religious terms, as with Islam for the Ottomans or Catholicism for the Habsburgs. Later, the imperial missions took more secular forms, as with British political traditions or the world communism of the Soviets. Visions of Empire offers new insights into the interactions between rulers and ruled, revealing how empire was as much a shared enterprise as a clash of oppositional interests. It demonstrates how the rulers of empire, in their quest for a universal world order, left behind a legacy of multiculturalism and diversity that is relevant for us today.

 From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society. Wiley-Blackwell, 2004.

In the second edition of this classic study, Krishan Kumar introduces and assesses the rival claims of three theories crucial to an understanding of contemporary social theory: the information society; post-Fordism; and post-modernism. Explaining how these theories developed and why they have held such an appeal, the author provides the most readable and evenly balanced account of three very different, but overlapping paradigms. In a new and substantial introduction, Kumar places the three key approaches within the context of contemporary discourse on globalization. From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand contemporary theories of social, cultural, and economic change.



The Making of English National Identity. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Why is English national identity so enigmatic and so elusive? Why, unlike the Scots, Welsh, Irish and most of continental Europe, do the English find it so difficult to say who they are? The Making of English National Identity is a fascinating exploration of Englishness and what it means to be English. Drawing on historical, sociological and literary theory, Krishan Kumar examines the rise of English nationalism and issues of race and ethnicity from earliest times to the present day. He argues that the long history of the English as an imperial people has, as with other imperial people like the Russians and the Austrians, developed a sense of missionary nationalism which in the interests of unity and empire has necessitated the repression of ordinary expressions of nationalism. Professor Kumar's lively and provocative approach challenges readers to reconsider their pre-conceptions about national identity and who the English really are.



1989: Revolutionary Ideas and Ideals. University of Minnesota Press, 2001.

In 1989, from East Berlin to Budapest and Bucharest to Moscow, communism was falling. The walls were coming down and the world was being changed in ways that seemed entirely new. The conflict of ideas and ideals that began with the French Revolution of 1789 culminated in these revolutions, which raised the prospect of the "return of Europe" of East and Central European nations, the "restarting of their history," even, for some, the "end of history." What such assertions and aspirations meant, and what the larger events that inspired them mean-not just for the world-are the questions Krishan Kumar explores in 1989.




Public and Private in Thought and Practice. Co-edited with Jeff Weintraub. University of Chicago Press, 1997. 

This book brings together a set of original essays, both theoretical and empirical, that focus on the public/private distinction in social life and social thought, exploring different dimensions of, and approaches to, this grand dichotomy. The aim of the collection is to bring out the significance of this overarching theme for a wide range of issues and debates and, at the same time, to confront directly the complexity and ambiguity of the public/private distinction itself, both theoretically and sociohistorically. We encounter this distinction in contexts that run from the most abstract theorizing to the most practical and immediate arenas of everyday life. In recent decades, different versions of the public/private distinction have become even more salient in a striking range of disciplines and areas of inquiry, from "public choice" economics to social history and feminist scholarship. While some wonder whether the social impact of new communications technologies is shifting (and perhaps eroding) the boundaries between "publicity" and "privacy" in fundamental ways, "privacy " has become a central concept in the controversy over abortion rights. In these and many other areas, the public/private distinction is more than ever a lively, even a burning, subject.


Utopias and the Millennium. Co-Edited with Stephen Bann. Reaktion Books, 1993. 

Utopia has always had a close, though ambivalent, relationship with religious millennialism. This relationship was probably at its most intense in the seventeenth century, the time of the English Civil War; in subsequent centuries the two concepts often pulled against each other without, however, ever fully breaking the tie. Even when utopia aspired to secularism - as at the time of the French Revolution, or in nineteenth-century socialism - it continued to turn to millennial forms to recharge its energies. The essays in this book explore aspects of this relationship. Some investigate the role of utopianism and millennialism in the debates of the early modern period concerning human perfectibility. Others consider the efforts of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution to free utopia from its religious entanglement. A number of contributors reflect upon the apparent failure of the modern Communist utopia, or note the reappearance of apocalyptic themes in recent fiction and social theory, while others draw on the contributions of feminism and ecology. As the twentieth century draws to an end, it seems that utopia and the millennium are once more locked in an uneasy embrace.


Utopianism. Open University Press, 1991.

Utopia has become a vague term, synonymous almost with the Good Society or the Good Time. It is applied to the dreams and visions of all peoples and all times: from backward-looking myths of the Golden Age to the future prospect of a glorious Millenium, from Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained. But - so this book argues - utopia should be seen as a much more specific tradition of social and political thought. It has cultural and historical boundaries. It is a Western concept; and it arose in the West as a specific and highly original way of dealing with the novel problems of modern western society. Its themes are the characteristic ones of modern western society. Its themes are the characteristic ones of modern western social thought: power, inequality, democracy, science. But, as a form of imaginative fiction, its treatment of these themes is distinctive and compelling. Far from being merely fantasyt or wish fulfillment, utopiea is a critical rehearsal of the delemmas of modern society and, at the same time, a prescriptive account of the best way of resolving them.


The Rise of Modern Society. Blackwell Publishers, 1988.

What is the sociological theory of industrialism, and how far do the actual histories and practices of industrial societies match up to this theory? The studies in this volume examine many of the economic, social, political and cultural changes which the industrialization of society has caused, looking at continuities and discontinuities through pre-industrial, industrial and post-industrial societies before considering particular aspects, for example, the shortcomings of the Marxest theory of class are shown up by application to nineteenth-century English society; the theory of revolution is examined for its relevance to the conditions of advanced industrial societies; the changing meanings and changing practices of work and employment are traced; and the current problems of Britain are used to point the way to the future of other societies. These incisive essays by one of Britain's most admired social theorists will be of lasting value for all concerned with the history and future of modern society.


Utopia and Anti-Utopia in Modern Times. Blackwell Publishers, 1987.

The dream of a good or perfect society is as old as mankind. But 'utopia', the specifically literary expression of this dream, was invented only in 1516, by Sir Thomas More. From that time onwards, utopia has been a compelling form for the expression of the hopes and fears of western society. This book is mainly concerned with the latest phase of utopia's history: the period since the 1880's. It considers the utopias and anti-utopias of edward Bellamy, H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell and B.F. Skinner. Science and socialism, their promise and their dangers, are the central themes of these works. The final part of the book considers that fate of utopia in the second half of the twentieth century.



Dilemmas of Liberal Democracies: Studies in Fred Hirsch's Social Limits to Growth. Co-edited with Adrian Ellis. Tavistock Publications, 1983. 

When the late Fred Hirsch's Social Limits to Growth appeared in 1977, it was immediately hailed for raising in a compelling form some of the most important and urgent questions facing present-day Western societies. The ten essays in this book are a response to Hirsch's provocative and stimulating analysis of these questions. Hirsch himself was no opponent of economic growth, but in his brilliant and wide-ranging discussion he tried to show why growth had persistently turned out to be frustrating for the populations of industrial societies, and the source of many of our social discontents. The authors in this book use Hirsch's themes as the point of departure for a series of reflections on the political and economic crisis of contemporary Western democracies.



Prophecy and Progress: The Sociology of Industrial and Post-Industrial Society. Viking Press, 1978.

Prophecy and Progress is an attempt to come to terms with the present position and the future prospects of Western industrial society. In particular it investigates the widely held and influential view that industrial societies are moving into a new stage in their evolution: a 'post-industrial' stage. Dr. Kumar examines the evidence that sustains this thesis and arrives at the conclusion that much of it is plausible only because of a widespread misconception of what 'classic' industiral society was all about. He deals first with the making of industrial society, moves onto the 'post-industrial' idea and concludes with a discussion on the prospects of a society that genuinely goes 'beyond industrialism'. Throughout he traces the varying fortunes of the belief in progress, the balance of the feelings of confidence and despair about the future development of society.



Revolution: The Theory and Practice of a European Idea. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971.

Since the end of the eighteenth century, revolution has been a central phenomenon of modern history, a formative experience of almost every modern nation. Krishan Kumar provides an original and provocative introduction to the study of this experience, including writings by revolutionary actors and theorists and his own essay on the nature of revolution. Borrowing a concept from art history, Mr. Kumar argues in his essay for an interpretation of revolution as a change of political 'style', and attempts to substantiate this by studying the theory and practice of European revolutions. This involves a discussion of the general causes and processes of revolution, with particular reference to those of France and Russia, and an examination of the unexpected fate of revolutions in Europe and in the Third World.



Charles Laughlin


By the River: Seven Contemporary Chinese Novellas. Co-edited with Liu Hongtao and Jonathan Stalling, also translator, with a critical introduction. Norman: Oklahoma University Press, 2016.

The novella, as the editors of this volume explain, is in many ways the “native habitat” of modern Chinese literary production—the ideal fictional form for revealing the various facets of contemporary Chinese culture. The seven novellas collected here resoundingly support their claim. Featuring works by award winners and rising stars, women and men, By the River presents a confluence of some of the most compelling voices in China today. Together, their narratives reflect the rich diversity of Chinese experience in the modern era.




The Literature of Leisure and Chinese Modernity. University of Hawai'i Press, 2008.

The Chinese essay is arguably China’s most distinctive contribution to modern world literature, and the period of its greatest influence and popularity―the mid-1930s―is the central concern of this book. What Charles Laughlin terms "the literature of leisure" is a modern literary response to the cultural past that manifests itself most conspicuously in the form of short, informal essay writing (xiaopin wen). Laughlin examines the essay both as a widely practiced and influential genre of literary expression and as an important counter-discourse to the revolutionary tradition of New Literature (especially realistic fiction), often viewed as the dominant mode of literature at the time. The Literature of Leisure and Chinese Modernity dramatizes the vast importance and unique nature of creative nonfiction prose writing in modern China. It will be eagerly read by those with an interest in twentieth-century Chinese literature, modern China, and East Asian or world literatures.


Contested Modernities in Chinese Literature. Editor. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

This book is a significant gathering of ideas on the subject of modern Chinese literature and culture of the past several years. The essays represent a wide spectrum of new approaches and new areas of subject matter that are changing the landscape of knowledge of modern and contemporary Chinese culture: women's literature, theatre (performance), film, graphic arts, popular literature, as well as literature of the Chinese diaspora. These phenomena and the approaches to them manifest interconnected trajectories for new scholarship in the field: the rewriting of literary history, the emergence of visual culture, and the quotidian apocalypse - the displacement of revolutionary romanticism and realism as central paradigms for cultural expression by the perspective of private, everyday experience.




Chinese Reportage: The Aesthetics of Historical Experience. Duke University Press Books, 2002.

Chinese Reportage details for the first time in English the creation and evolution of a distinctive literary genre in twentieth-century China. In identifying the literary merit of the reportage literature genre and establishing its significance in China’s leftist cultural legacy, Charles A. Laughlin reveals important biases that impede Western understanding of China and, at the same time, supplies an essential chapter in Chinese cultural history. Laughlin traces the roots of reportage (or baogao wenxue) to the travel literature of the Qing Dynasty but shows that its flourishing was part of the growth of Chinese communism in the twentieth century. In a modern Asian context critical of capitalism and imperialism, reportage offered the promise of radicalizing writers through a new method of literary practice and the hope that this kind of writing could in turn contribute to social revolution and China’s national self-realization. Laughlin’s close readings emphasize the literary construction of social space over that of character and narrative structure, a method that brings out the critique of individualism and humanism underlying the genre’s aesthetics.


Shiqiao Li


Typological Drift: Emerging Cities in China. Co-authored with Esther Lorenz. Applied Research & Design, 2021.

This book documents the impact of the Chinese culture on the development of city types in China in the past four decades, leading to surprising urban realities that often escape normative urban theories. The book uses the concept of drift, which, together with mutation, adaptation, and migration, contributes to the rudimentary patterns of biological change; drift of phenotypes takes place when chance events randomly terminate some features and allow other features to flourish in ways that are unrelated to other patterns. The Chinese culture has exerted a set of forces that may be seen to have functioned as "unexpected events" in the normative processes of urban change. Through thirteen case studies, more than 60 original maps and drawings, and extensive photographic documentation, the book reveals how three “drift triggers”―ten thousand things, figuration, and group action―have altered typological development in Chinese cities in the past four decades.


Understanding the Chinese City. Sage, 2014.

Understanding the Chinese City is one of the most useful reference books of its kind in that it elaborates upon historical, cultural and traditional philosophical rationales underlying the development discourse associated with Chinese cities. The author has collected abundant amount of evidence from various sources and has expertly interrelated cultural traditions and philosophies with specific examples from ancient times to the present, from individual literati to state development strategy, from individual identity preferences to urban renewal, and from the Chinese writing system to bureaucratic state functional categories. The author has clearly distinguished the unique and powerful Chinese traditional dynamics from the development discourse associated with Western cities. Understanding the Chinese City elegantly traces a thread between ancient Chinese city formations and current urban organizations, revealing hidden continuities that show how instrumental the past has been in forming the present. It contextualizes Chinese urban experiences in relation to familiar intellectual landmarks. Rather than becoming obstacles to change, ancient practices have become effective strategies of adaptation under radically new terms.


Kowloon Cultural District, an Investigation into the Spacial Capabilities in Hong Kong. Co-edited with Esther Lorenz. MCCM Creations, 2014.

This book declares the existing Kowloon as a "cultural district" already in formation, constituting a parallel proposal to Hong Kong's West Kowloon Cultural District project. In a three-fold approach comprised of the Cabinet of Curiosities, Archives, and Retrievals, it documents indigenous practices and spaces, reformulates them through architectural proposals, and links them to a broader context through reflection in essays.




Architecture and Modernization (Xiandai sixiang zhong de jianzhu). China WaterPower Press, 2009.


Power and Virtue: Architecture and Intellectual Change in England 1660-1730. Routledge, 2007.

This is the first full-length study on the connections between English architecture and intellectual change between 1660 and 1730. As new ideas developed in post-Restoration England across the realms of politics, culture, academia and morality, so too did architectural expression of these ideas. Power and Virtue articulately engages English architecture with notions of power and virtue in terms of empirical knowledge on the one hand and humanism and virtuosi on the other. Aimed at an academic readership in history and theory of architecture and the history of English architecture, this unique study will also interest those studying the ideas of material culture.




Hsin-Hsin Liang


The Routledge Advanced Chinese Multimedia Course: Crossing Cultural Boundaries (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition). Routledge, 2014.

The Routledge Advanced Chinese Multimedia Course: Crossing Cultural Boundaries is an innovative multimedia course for advanced students of Chinese. Written by a team of highly experienced teachers, the book offers advanced learners of Chinese a chance to consolidate their foundation in the language through a variety of activities, which are designed to develop both language skills and cultural literacy. Divided into four thematic units covering popular culture, social change, cultural traditions and politics and history, each unit contains three lessons providing the student with a structured course which supports the transition from an intermediate to advanced level. The 12 lessons are comprised of texts which present interesting and accurate information about contemporary China, introducing the student to useful vocabulary, speech patterns, and idiosyncratic language usage.


Syaru Shirley Lin


Taiwan’s China Dilemma: Contested Identities and Multiple Interests in Taiwan’s Cross-Strait Economic Policy. Stanford University Press, 2016.

China and Taiwan share one of the world's most complex international relationships. Although similar cultures and economic interests promoted an explosion of economic ties between them since the late 1980s, these ties have not led to an improved political relationship, let alone progress toward the unification that both governments once claimed to seek. In addition, Taiwan's recent Sunflower Movement succeeded in obstructing deeper economic ties with China. Why has Taiwan's policy toward China been so inconsistent? Taiwan's China Dilemma explains the divergence between the development of economic and political relations across the Taiwan Strait through the interplay of national identity and economic interests. Using primary sources, opinion surveys, and interviews with Taiwanese opinion leaders, Syaru Shirley Lin paints a vivid picture of one of the most unsettled and dangerous relationships in the contemporary world, and illustrates the growing backlash against economic liberalization and regional economic integration around the world.


Xiaoyuan Liu


To the End of Revolution: The Chinese Communist Party and Tibet, 1949–1959. Columbia University Press, 2020.

The status of Tibet is one of the most controversial and complex issues in the history of modern China. In To the End of Revolution, Xiaoyuan Liu draws on unprecedented access to the archives of the Chinese Communist Party to offer a groundbreaking account of Beijing’s evolving Tibet policy during the critical first decade of the People’s Republic. Liu details Beijing’s overarching strategy toward Tibet, the last frontier for the Communist revolution to reach. He analyzes how China’s new leaders drew on Qing and Nationalist legacies as they attempted to resolve a problem inherited from their predecessors. Despite acknowledging that religion, ethnicity, and geography made Tibet distinct, Beijing nevertheless forged ahead, zealously implementing socialist revolution while vigilantly guarding against real and perceived enemies. Seeking to wait out local opposition before choosing to ruthlessly crush Tibetan resistance in the late 1950s, Beijing eventually incorporated Tibet into its sociopolitical system. The international and domestic ramifications, however, are felt to this day.


《边缘地带的革命:中共民族政策的源起(1921-1945)》Bianyuan Didai de Geming: Zhonggong Minzu Zhengce de Yuanqi, 1921-1945 (Revolution at the peripheries: the genesis of the Chinese Communist Party’s policies toward ethnic minorities, 1921-1945).  The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 2018.

This is the Chinese edition of Frontier Passages published in 2004. 





《边疆中国——二十世纪周边暨民族关系史述》 Frontier China: 20th-century peripheral and interethnic relations.  The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 2016.







Recast All Under Heaven: Revolution, War, Diplomacy and Frontier China in the 20th Century. Continuum, 2010.

This unique work studies the 20th-century continuation of a historical process that began in the mid-19th century, the modern transformation of Chinese territoriality.






Reins of Liberation: An Entangled History of Mongolian Independence, Chinese Territoriality, and Great Power Hegemony, 1911–1950.  Stanford University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2006.

The author's purpose in writing this book is to use the Mongolian question to illuminate much larger issues of twentieth-century Asian history: how war, revolution, and great-power rivalries induced or restrained the formation of nationhood and territoriality. He thus continues the argument he made in Frontier Passages that on its way to building a communist state, the CCP was confronted by a series of fundamental issues pertinent to China's transition to nation-statehood. The book's focus is on the Mongolian question, which ran through Chinese politics in the first half of the twentieth century. Between the Revolution of 1911 and the Communists' triumph in 1949, the course of the Mongolian question best illustrates the genesis, clashes, and convergence of Chinese and Mongolian national identities and geopolitical visions.


Frontier Passages: Ethnopolitics and the Rise of Chinese Communism, 1921–1945.  Stanford University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2004.  

In this pathbreaking book, Xiaoyuan Liu establishes the ways in which the history of the Chinese Communist Party was, from the Yan’an period onward, intertwined with the ethnopolitics of the Chinese “periphery.” As a Han-dominated party, the CCP had to adapt to an inhospitable political environment, particularly among the Hui (Muslims) of northwest China and the Mongols of Inner Mongolia. Based on a careful examination of CCP and Soviet Comintern documents only recently available, Liu’s study shows why the CCP found itself unable to follow the Russian Bolshevik precedent by inciting separatism among the non-Han peoples as a stratagem for gaining national power. Rather than swallowing Marxist-Leninist dogma on “the nationalities question,” the CCP took a position closer to that of the Kuomintang, stressing the inclusiveness of the Han-dominated Chinese nation, “Zhongua Minzu.”


China and Eastern Europe, 1960–1980s: Proceedings of the International Symposium: Reviewing the Chinese–East European Relations from the 1960s to the 1980s, Beijing, March 24–26, 2004. Co-edited with Vojtech Mastny. Forschungsstelle für Scherheitspolitik der ETH Zürich, 2004.






Exploring Nationalisms of China: Themes and Conflicts. Co-edited with George Wei. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002.

China is a site for the evolution, not only of Chinese nationalism, but the nationalism of various non-Han ethnic groups. During the 20th century, these ethnic groups constructed and expressed their own identities and nationalism through interaction with one another and with outside influences. This interdisciplinary anthology contains nine original works that pluralize our understanding of nationalism in China by illustrating the various intellectual strains of China's nationalist discourse, the dichotomy between the political authorities' and grass roots' experiences, and the nationalizing efforts by various ethnic and political groups along China's inland and maritime frontiers. First, contributors explore the controversy surrounding the contested issue of China's national and international identity from pre-modern times to the present. Next, the authors examine China's nationalist encounters with foreign influences such as U.S. Marines in Shandong, Soviet experts in Manchuria, and recent friction between the United States and the PRC. Finally, essays expand beyond the ethnographic regions of the Han-Chinese and the political domain of the PRC to discuss the odyssey of Taiwan's nationalism in both a political and a cultural sense. Many selections are based on newly declassified archival materials.

 Chinese Nationalism in Perspective: Historical and Recent Cases. Co-edited with George Wei. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001.

Wei and Liu argue that Chinese nationalism is a multifaceted concept. At different historical moments and under certain circumstances, it had different meanings and interacted with other competing motives and interests. The authors of this timely volume, all of whom are of Chinese origin and bi-national education, have produced a balanced and non-culture-bound work of scholarship. It contains diverse, provocative, and in-depth analysis of both historical and recent case studies that can shed light on the contemporary incarnation of Chinese nationalism. This interdisciplinary anthology looks at variants of Chinese nationalism upheld and contended by social groups, classes, and power-holders from the past to the present. The authors argue that nationalism can be supported by both patriotic and group- or party-oriented interest calculations. Forms of Chinese nationalism can result from situational as well as ideological conditions.


A Partnership for Disorder: China, the United States, and Their Policies for the Postwar Disposition of the Japanese Empire, 1941–1945.  Cambridge University Press, 1996.

A Partnership of Disorder examines the American-Chinese foreign policy planning in World War II for decolonizing the Japanese Empire and controlling Japan after the war. The study reveals how their disagreements on many concrete issues prevented the two governments from forging an effective partnership. Among these issues were the role of the Soviet Union and the meaning of Asian nationalism. At the war's end, the victorious Allies were neither in cooperation among themselves nor in a position to cope with the upheavals in Asia.




Esther Lorenz


Typological Drift: Emerging Cities in China. Co-authored with Shiqiao Li. Applied Research & Design, 2021.

This book documents the impact of the Chinese culture on the development of city types in China in the past four decades, leading to surprising urban realities that often escape normative urban theories. The book uses the concept of drift, which, together with mutation, adaptation, and migration, contributes to the rudimentary patterns of biological change; drift of phenotypes takes place when chance events randomly terminate some features and allow other features to flourish in ways that are unrelated to other patterns. The Chinese culture has exerted a set of forces that may be seen to have functioned as "unexpected events" in the normative processes of urban change. Through thirteen case studies, more than 60 original maps and drawings, and extensive photographic documentation, the book reveals how three “drift triggers”―ten thousand things, figuration, and group action―have altered typological development in Chinese cities in the past four decades.


Kowloon Cultural District. An Investigation into Spatial Capabilities in Hong Kong. Co-edited with Shiqiao Li. MCCM Creations, 2014.

This book declares the existing Kowloon as a "cultural district" already in formation, constituting a parallel proposal to Hong Kong's West Kowloon Cultural District project. In a three-fold approach comprised of the Cabinet of Curiosities, Archives, and Retrievals, it documents indigenous practices and spaces, reformulates them through architectural proposals, and links them to a broader context through reflection in essays.




Links and Hubs. Editor. The Chinese University of Hong Kong School of Architecture, 2012. 

Links and Hubs is based on the outcome of the Advanced Architectural Masterstudio of the same title taught by Esther Lorenz at the School of Architecture, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Term 2 of 2010-11. The first part of the book displays the students’ research conducted on a territorial scale along the "Sha Tin to Central Link," an actual railway extension project in Hong Kong, which is now shortly before its realization. The second part presents the architectural proposals by the eight students for the different stations on the link. Interspersed are depictions of events which accompanied these investigations.




Ariana Maki


Festivals of Bumthang District. National Library and Archives of Bhutan, 2018.

This volume presents research undertaken by the National Library and Archives of Bhutan. Over the course of three years, staff documented a range of community and national level festivals, including their associated oral histories.






Seeds of Faith: A Comprehensive Guide to the Sacred Places of Bhutan, Volume 3, Bumthang. KMT Press, 2018.

The volume documents pilgrimage sites of Bumthang district, an area that has long been closely affiliated with the Nyingma, or Ancient, tradition of Himalayan Buddhism. Arranged by subdistrict (gewog), the book provides details of hundreds of temples, retreat sites, and features in the natural environment (springs, caves, etc.) considered significant by the local populations.





Between Us: Identity and Relationship in Tibetan Contemporary Art. Co-authored with Janice Glowski. Otterbein University, 2017.

A catalog of an exhibition of the works of Ang Tsherin Sherpa (b. 1968) and Tulku Jamyang (b. 1977), two contemporary artists based in Kathmandu, Nepal. As brothers, as Tibetans, and as artists, Sherpa and Jamyang share bonds of family, culture and creativity; relationship ties that define and construct identities. The exhibition brought together two dozen works by the artists and was part of the NEH-funded Otterbein and the Arts: Opening Doors to the World initiative. 




Artful Contemplation: Collections from the National Museum of Bhutan. National Museum of Bhutan, 2014.

Founded in 1968, the National Museum of Bhutan houses an encyclopedic collection of material culture, arms and armor, and natural history. This, the museum's first catalog, highlights nearly sixty objects of note. Ariana authored the entires on traditional paintings (thangka) and sculptures and was based at the museum 2009-2011.





Allan Megill


《 历史知识、历史谬误:当代史学 实践导论》 trans. Hongxia Huang and Han Zhao (no. 23 in the series Ideas of History, edited by Xin Chen and Jörn Rüsen). Peking University Press, 2019.

This is the Chinese translation of Historical Knowledge, Historical Error.






Historical Knowledge, Historical Error: A Contemporary Guide to Practice. University of Chicago Press, 2007.

In the past thirty years, historians have broadened the scope of their discipline to include many previously neglected topics and perspectives. They have chronicled language, madness, gender, and sexuality and have experimented with new forms of presentation. They have turned to the histories of non-Western peoples and to the troubled relations between “the West” and the rest. Allan Megill welcomes these developments, but he also suggests that there is now confusion among historians about what counts as a justified account of the past. In Historical Knowledge, Historical Error, Megill dispels some of the confusion. Here, he discusses issues of narrative, objectivity, and memory. He attacks what he sees as irresponsible uses of evidence while accepting the art of speculation, which incomplete evidence forces upon historians. Along the way, he offers succinct accounts of the epistemological road historians have traveled from Herodotus and Thucydides through Leopold von Ranke and Alexis de Tocqueville, and on to Hayden White, Natalie Zemon Davis, and Lynn Hunt.


Karl Marx: The Burden of Reason (Why Marx Rejected Politics and the Market). Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.

Why did Karl Marx want to exclude politics and the market from his vision of a future socialism? In Karl Marx: The Burden of Reason, Allan Megill begins with this question. Megill's examination of Marx's formative writings casts new light on Marx's relation to philosophy and reveals a hitherto largely unknown 'rationalist' Marx. In demonstrating how Marx's rationalism permeated his attempts to understand politics, economics, and history generally, Megill forces the reader to rethink Marx's entire intellectual project. While Megill writes as an intellectual historian and historian of philosophy, his highly original redescription of the Marxian enterprise has important implications for how we think about the usability of Marx's work today. Karl Marx: The Burden of Reason will be of interest to those who wish to reflect on the fate of Marxism during the era of Soviet Communism. It will also be of interest to those who wish to discern what is living and what is dead, what is adequate and what requires replacement or supplementation, in the work of a figure who, in spite of everything, remains one of the greatest philosophers and social scientists of the modern world.


Rethinking Objectivity. Editor. Duke University Press, 1994.

Although "objectivity" is a term used widely in many areas of public discourse, from discussions concerning the media and politics to debates over political correctness and cultural literacy, the question "What is objectivity?" is often ignored, as if the answer were obvious. In this volume, Allan Megill has gathered essays from fourteen leading scholars in a variety of fields--history, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, history of science, sociology of science, feminist studies, literary studies, and accounting--to gain critical understanding of the idea of objectivity as it functions in today's world. In diverse essays the authors provide fascinating studies of objectivity in such areas as anthropological research, corporate and governmental bureaucracies, legal discourse, photography, and the study and practice of the natural sciences. Taken together, Megill argues, this volume calls for developing a notion of "objectivities." The absolute sense of objectivity--that is, objectivity as a "God's eye view"--must be supplemented, and in part supplanted, by disciplinary, procedural, and dialectical senses of objectivity. This book will be of great interest to a broad range of scholars as it presents current thinking on a topic of fundamental concern across the disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.


The Rhetoric of the Human Sciences: Language and Argument in Scholarship and Public Affairs. Co-edited with John S. Nelson and Donald N. McCloskey. University of Wisconsin Press, 1987.

Opening with an overview of the renewal of interest in rhetoric for inquiries of all kinds, this volume addresses rhetoric in individual disciplines - mathematics, anthropology, psychology, economics, sociology, political science and history. Drawing from recent literary theory, it suggests the contribution of the humanities to the rhetoric of inquiry and explores communications beyond the academy, particulary in women's issues, religion and law. The final essays speak from the field of communication studies, where the study of rhetoric usually makes its home.



Prophets of Extremity: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida. University of California Press, 1985.

In this book, the author presents an interpretation of four thinkers, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida, in an attempt to place these thinkers within the wider context of the crisis-oriented modernism and postmodernism that have been the source of much of what is most original and creative in twentieth-century art and thought.





Allison Pugh


The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Age of Insecurity. Oxford University Press, 2018.

In The Tumbleweed Society, Allison Pugh offers a moving exploration of sacrifice, betrayal, defiance, and resignation, as people cope in a society where relationships and jobs seem to change constantly. Based on eighty in-depth interviews with parents who have varied experiences of job insecurity and socio-economic status, Pugh finds most seem to accept job insecurity as inevitable but still try to bar that insecurity from infiltrating their home lives. Rigid expectations for enduring connections and uncompromising loyalty in their intimate relationships, however, can put intolerable strain on them, often sparking instability in the very social ties they yearn to protect. By shining a light on how we prepare ourselves and our children for an uncertain environment, Pugh gives us a detailed portrait of how we compel ourselves to adapt emotionally to a churning economy, and what commitment and obligation mean in an insecure age.



Beyond the Cubicle: Job Insecurity, Intimacy, and the Flexible Self. Oxford University Press, 2016.

How does the insecurity of work affect us? We know what job insecurity does to workers at work, the depressive effect it has on morale, productivity, and pay. We know less about the impact of job insecurity beyond the workplace, upon people's intimate relationships, their community life, their vision of the good self and a good life. This volume of essays explores the broader impacts of job precariousness on different groups in different contexts. From unemployed tech workers in Texas to single mothers in Russia, Japanese heirs to the iconic salaryman to relocating couples in the U.S. Midwest, these richly textured accounts depict the pain, defiance, and joy of charting a new, unscripted life when the scripts have been shredded. Across varied backgrounds and experiences, the new organization of work has its largest impact in three areas: in our emotional cultures, in the interplay of social inequalities like race, class and gender, and in the ascendance of a contemporary radical individualism. In Beyond the Cubicle, job insecurity matters, and it matters for more than how much work can be squeezed out of workers: it shapes their intimate lives, their relationships with others, and their shifting sense of self.


Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture. University of California Press, 2009.

Even as they see their wages go down and their buying power decrease, many parents are still putting their kids' material desires first. These parents struggle with how to handle children's consumer wants, which continue unabated despite the economic downturn. And, indeed, parents and other adults continue to spend billions of dollars on children every year. Why do children seem to desire so much, so often, so soon, and why do parents capitulate so readily? To determine what forces lie behind the onslaught of Nintendo Wiis and Bratz dolls, Allison J. Pugh spent three years observing and interviewing children and their families. In Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture, Pugh teases out the complex factors that contribute to how we buy, from lunchroom conversations about Game Boys to the stark inequalities facing American children. Pugh finds that children's desires stem less from striving for status or falling victim to advertising than from their yearning to join the conversation at school or in the neighborhood. Pugh masterfully illuminates the surprising similarities in the fears and hopes of parents and children from vastly different social contexts, showing that while corporate marketing and materialism play a part in the commodification of childhood, at the heart of the matter is the desire to belong.


Bradly Reed


Talons and Teeth, County Clerks and Runners in the Qing Dynasty. Stanford University Press, 2000.

For commoners in the Qing dynasty, the most salient agents of the imperial state were not the emperor's appointed officials but rather the clerks and runners of the county yamen, the lowest level of functionaries in the Qing state's administrative hierarchy. Yet until now we have known very little about these critically important persons beyond the caricatured portrayals of corruption and venality left by Qing high officials and elites. Drawing from the rich archival records of Ba county, Sichuan, the author challenges the simplicity of these portrayals by taking us inside the county yamen to provide the first detailed look at local administrative practice from the perspective of those who actually carried it out. Who were the county clerks and runners? How were they recruited, organized, disciplined, and rewarded? What was the economic basis for a career in the yamen? How did clerks and runners view themselves as well as legitimize their role in Qing government? And what impact did their interests and practices have on symbolically laden elements of imperial government such as the magistrate's court? In addressing these questions, the author traverses the disjuncture between statutory regulations and the realities of daily administrative practice, uncovering a realm of informal, semiautonomous, yet highly structured and even rationalized procedures.


 Kurtis Schaeffer


The Life of the Buddha by Tenzin Chögyel. Translator, with an introduction and notes. Penguin Classics, 2015.

The story of Shakyamuni Buddha’s epic journey to enlightenment is perhaps the most important narrative in the Buddhist tradition. Tenzin Chögyel’s The Life of the Buddha, composed in the mid–eighteenth century and now in a vivid new translation, is a masterly storyteller’s rendition of the twelve acts of the Buddha. Chögyel’s classical tale seamlessly weaves together the vast and the minute, the earthly and the celestial, reflecting the near-omnipresent aid of the gods alongside the Buddha’s moving final reunion with his devoted son, Rahula. The Life of the Buddha has the power to engage people through a deeply human story with cosmic implications. 




Sources of Tibetan Tradition (In the Introduction to Asian Civilizations series). Co-edited with Gray Tuttle and Matthew T. Kapstein. Columbia University Press, 2013. 

The most comprehensive collection of Tibetan works in a Western language, this volume illuminates the complex historical, intellectual, and social development of Tibetan civilization from its earliest beginnings to the modern period. Including more than 180 representative writings, Sources of Tibetan Tradition spans Tibet's vast geography and long history, presenting for the first time a diversity of works by religious and political leaders; scholastic philosophers and contemplative hermits; monks and nuns; poets and artists; and aristocrats and commoners. The selected readings reflect the profound role of Buddhist sources in shaping Tibetan culture while illustrating other major areas of knowledge. Thematically varied, they address history and historiography; political and social theory; law; medicine; divination; rhetoric; aesthetic theory; narrative; travel and geography; folksong; and philosophical and religious learning, all in relation to the unique trajectories of Tibetan civil and scholarly discourse. The editors begin each chapter with a survey of broader social and cultural contexts and introduce each translated text with a concise explanation.


The Tibetan History Reader. Co-edited with Gray Tuttle. Columbia University Press, 2013.

Covering the social, cultural, and political development of Tibet from the seventh century to the modern period, this resource reproduces essential, hard-to-find essays from the past fifty years of Tibetan studies, along with several new contributions. Beginning with Tibet's emergence as a regional power and concluding with its profound contemporary transformations, the collection is both a general and specific history, connecting the actions of individuals, communities, and institutions to broader historical trends shaping Asia and the world. With contributions from American, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and Tibetan scholars, the anthology reflects the international character of Tibetan studies and its multiple, interdisciplinary perspectives. By far the most concise scholarly anthology on Tibetan civilization in any Western language, this reader draws a clear portrait of Tibet's history, its relation to its neighbors, and its role in world affairs.



The Culture of the Book in Tibet. Columbia University Press, 2009.

The history of the book in Tibet involves more than literary trends and trade routes. Functioning as material, intellectual, and symbolic object, the book has been an instrumental tool in the construction of Tibetan power and authority, and its history opens a crucial window onto the cultural, intellectual, and economic life of an immensely influential Buddhist society. Spanning the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries, Kurtis R. Schaeffer envisions the scholars and hermits, madmen and ministers, kings and queens who produced Tibet's massive canons. He describes how Tibetan scholars edited and printed works of religion, literature, art, and science and what this indicates about the interrelation of material and cultural practices. The Tibetan book is at once the embodiment of the Buddha's voice, a principal means of education, a source of tradition and authority, an economic product, a finely crafted aesthetic object, a medium of Buddhist written culture, and a symbol of the religion itself. Books stood at the center of debates on the role of libraries in religious institutions, the relative merits of oral and written teachings, and the economy of religion in Tibet. A meticulous study that draws on more than 150 understudied Tibetan sources, The Culture of the Book in Tibet is the first volume to trace this singular history. 


An Early Tibetan Survey of Buddhist Literature: The Bstan pa rgyas pa nyi ma’i ‘od zer of Bcom ldan ral gri. Kurtis R. Schaeffer and Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Oriental Series, 2009. HOS64.

This volume is a study and edition of Bcom Idan ral gri's (1227-1305) Bstan pa rgyas pa rgyan gyi nyi 'od. Likely composed in the last decades of the thirteenth century, this systematic list of Buddhist Sutras, Tantras, Shastras, and related genres translated primarily from Sanskrit and other Indic languages holds an important place in the history of Buddhist literature in Tibet. It affords a glimpse of one Tibetan scholar's efforts to classify more than two thousand titles of Buddhist literature in the decades before the canonical collections known as the Bka' 'gyurand the Bstan 'gyur achieved a relatively stable form. Tibetan historiography traces the origin of the Bka' 'gyurand Bstan 'gyur to Bcom ldan ral gri's efforts, though the unique structure of the Bstan pa rgyas pa rgyan gyi nyi 'od, which differs greatly from available Bka' 'gyur and Bstan 'gyur catalogs, shows that the situation is more complex. The present work contains a detailed historical introduction, an annotated edition of the two manuscripts, as well as concordances and appendices intended to aid the comparative study of early Tibetan collections of Indic Buddhist literature.


Power, Politics and the Reinvention of Tradition in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Tibet: Proceedings of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Co-edited with Bryan J. Cuevas. Xth Seminar, Oxford University, 2003. Brill, 2006.

This volume focuses upon the relationships between the past and the present evoked in Tibetan historiography, ritual literature, and Buddhist esoteric writings. It offers diverse perspectives on a critical period in Tibet's history when Tibetans found themselves caught up in the tides of political turmoil and forced into the center of a much larger Central Eurasian struggle for power and territorial control between the Manchu rulers of the Qing empire and the Mongols of the north. The volume highlights the various ways Tibetan historians, biographers, and Buddhist scholars during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries succeeded in the task of reinventing and reinforcing their respective traditions.



Dreaming the Great Brahmin: Tibetan Traditions of a Buddhist Poet Saint. Oxford University Press, 2005.

Dreaming the Great Brahmin explores the creation and recreation of Buddhist saints through narratives, poetry, art, ritual, and even dream visions. The first comprehensive cultural and literary history of the well-known Indian Buddhist poet saint Saraha, known as the Great Brahmin, this book argues that we should view Saraha not as the founder of a tradition, but rather as its product. Kurtis Schaeffer shows how images, tales, and teachings of Saraha were transmitted, transformed, and created by members of diverse Buddhist traditions in Tibet, India, Nepal, and Mongolia. The result is that there is not one Great Brahmin, but many. More broadly, Schaeffer argues that the immense importance of saints for Buddhism is best understood by looking at the creative adaptations of such figures that perpetuated their fame, for it is there that these saints come to life.



Himalayan Hermitess: The Life of a Tibetan Buddhist Nun. Oxford University Press, 2004.

Himalayan Hermitess is a vivid account of the life and times of a Buddhist nun living on the borderlands of Tibetan culture. Orgyan Chokyi (1675-1729) spent her life in Dolpo, the highest inhabited region of the Nepal Himalayas. Illiterate and expressly forbidden by her master to write her own life story, Orgyan Chokyi received divine inspiration, defied tradition, and composed one of the most engaging autobiographies of the Tibetan literary tradition. The Life of Orgyan Chokyi is the oldest known autobiography authored by a Tibetan woman, and thus holds a critical place in both Tibetan and Buddhist literature. In it she tells of the sufferings of her youth, the struggle to escape menial labor and become a hermitess, her dreams and visionary experiences, her relationships with other nuns, the painstaking work of contemplative practice, and her hard-won social autonomy and high-mountain solitude. In process it develops a compelling vision of the relation between gender, the body, and suffering from a female Buddhist practitioner's perspective. Based almost entirely upon Tibetan documents never before translated, Himalayan Hermitess is an accessible introduction to Buddhism in the premodern Himalayas.


Among Tibetan Texts: Essays on Tibetan Religion, Literature, and History by E. Gene Smith. Editor, with an introdution. Wisdom Publications, 2001. 

For three decades, E. Gene Smith ran the Library of Congress's Tibetan Text Publication Project of the United States Public Law 480 (PL480) - an effort to salvage and reprint the Tibetan literature that had been collected by the exile community or by members of the Bhotia communities of Sikkim, Bhutan, India, and Nepal. Smith wrote prefaces to these reprinted books to help clarify and contextualize the particular Tibetan texts: the prefaces served as rough orientations to a poorly understood body of foreign literature. Originally produced in print quantities of twenty, these prefaces quickly became legendary, and soon photocopied collections were handed from scholar to scholar, achieving an almost cult status. These essays are collected here for the first time. The impact of Smith's research on the academic study of Tibetan literature has been tremendous, both for his remarkable ability to synthesize diverse materials into coherent accounts of Tibetan literature, history, and religious thought, and for the exemplary critical scholarship he brought to this field.


Leonard Schoppa


Race for the Exits: The Unraveling of Japan’s System of Social Protection. Cornell University Press, 2006.

Contrary to all expectations, Japan's long-term recession has provoked no sustained political movement to replace the nation's malfunctioning economic structure. The country's basic social contract has so far proved resistant to reform, even in the face of persistently adverse conditions. In Race for the Exits, Leonard J. Schoppa explains why it has endured and how long it can last. The postwar Japanese system of "convoy capitalism" traded lifetime employment for male workers against government support for industry and the private (female) provision of care for children and the elderly. Two social groups bore a particularly heavy burden in providing for the social protection of the weak and dependent: large firms, which committed to keeping their core workforce on the payroll even in slow times, and women, who stayed home to care for their homes and families. Using Albert Hirschman's exit-voice framework, Schoppa argues that both groups have chosen "exit" rather than "voice," depriving the political process of the energy needed to propel necessary reforms in the system. Instead of fighting for reform, firms slowly shift jobs overseas, and many women abandon hopes of accommodating both family and career, suggesting that a radical break with the Japanese social contract of the past is becoming inevitable as the system quietly unravels.


Bargaining With Japan: What American Pressure Can and Cannot Do. Columbia, 1997.

Schoppa offers a detailed critical examination of the outcome of recent U.S.-Japan trade talks, focusing on the Bush administration's Structural Impediments Initiative and the more recent Clinton Framework talks. He provides a comprehensive account of the political climate on both sides of the Pacific, drawing lessons about which tactics are most likely to work best for the U.S. Before new policies are established, we must understand why neither administration was able to compel Japan to end anti-competitive practices that inhibit the access of U.S. firms to Japanese consumers.





Education Reform in Japan: A Case of Immobilist Politics. Routledge, 1991.

The Japanese education system, while widely praised in western countries, is subject to heavy criticism within Japan. Education Reform in Japan analyses this criticism, and explains why proposed reforms have failed. The author shows how the Japanese policy-making process can become paralysed when there is disagreement, and argues that this `immobilism' can affect other areas of Japanese policy-making.




Robert Stolz


Tosaka Jun: A Critical Reader. Co-edited with Ken C. Kawashima and Fabian Scahfer. Cornell University, East Asia Series, 2014.

Tosaka Jun (1900–1945) was one of modern Japan’s most unique and important critics of capitalism, the emperor system, imperialism, and everyday life in wartime Japan. This collection of translations contains some of Tosaka’s most important essays and original articles on Tosaka.





Bad Water: Nature, Pollution, and Politics in Japan, 1870–1950 (Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society). Duke University Press Books, 2014.

Bad Water is a sophisticated theoretical analysis of Japanese thinkers' efforts to reintegrate the natural environment into Japan's social and political thought in the late 19th and early 20th century. The need to incorporate nature into politics was revealed by a series of large-scale industrial disasters in the 1890s. The Ashio Copper Mine unleashed massive amounts of copper, arsenic, mercury, and other pollutants into surrounding watersheds. Robert Stolz argues that by demonstrating the mutual penetration of humans and nature, industrial pollution biologically and politically compromised the autonomous liberal subject underlying the political philosophy of the modernizing Meiji state. In the following decades, socialism, anarchism, fascism, and Confucian benevolence and moral economy were marshaled in the search for new theories of a modern political subject and a social organization adequate to the environmental crisis. With detailed considerations of several key thinkers, such as Tanaka Shōzō, Bad Water is a nuanced account of Japan's environmental turn, where Japanese thinkers and activists experienced nature as alienated from themselves and were forced to build new connections.

 Miao-fen Tseng


Teach Chinese Online: An Essential Guide. Co-authored with Yan Gao. Pheonix Tree Publishing, 2021.

This book is a product of the COVID-19 global crisis, which has brought awareness and urgency to the pressing need for teacher development of effective principles and strategies for online language teaching. Fortified by and grounded in solid research-informed practice and empirical data, it features a coherent and seamless sequence of eight chapters in light of research findings and pedagogical reflections.




A Handbook of Tasks and Rubrics for Teaching Mandaring Chinese (Volume 3). Pheonix Tree Publishing, 2020.

The third volume of the Handbook of Tasks and Rubrics for Teaching Mandarin Chinese further extends the handbook's scope and depth. Building on the structure established in volume two, this volume includes three more themes in the AP curriculum. This volume enables teachers to empower intermediate and advanced-low learners by immersing them in active, task-based learning and interactive communication. It includes a wide array of authentic materials and a series of pedagogical and authentic tasks featuring different degrees of authenticity, as well as task-specific rubrics and clear implementation procedures and guidelines.




A Handbook of Tasks and Rubrics for Teaching Mandaring Chinese (Volume 2). Pheonix Tree Publishing, 2020.

The second volume of the Handbook of Tasks and Rubrics for Teaching Mandarin Chinese extends the handbook's scope and depth beyond novice learners and individual tasks. This volume enables teachers to empower intermediate and advanced-low learners by immersing them in active, task-based learning and interactive communication. It includes a wide array of authentic materials and a series of pedagogical and authentic tasks featuring different degrees of authenticity, as well as task-specific rubrics and clear implementation procedures and guidelines.




A Handbook of Tasks and Rubrics for Teaching Mandaring Chinese (Volume 1). Pheonix Tree Publishing, 2014.

Taking a task-based approach and combining theory and practice, this book discusses the principles of the design and implementation of classroom activities for task-based teaching and explores feasible assessment items, criteria and assessment scale, providing Chinese language teachers with a successful model and platform for professional task-based classroom teaching. With plenty of lively cases of teaching activities and examples of assessment of CFL (Chinese as a foreign language) learning, the book is of great guiding and demonstrating value for the application of pedagogical theories. It is a good reference for CFL teachers.



Brantly Womack


《非对称与国际关系/东方编译所译丛》 上海人民出版社, 2020.

The Chinese translation of Asymmetry and International Relationships.







Borderlands in East and Southeast Asia: Emergent Conditions, Relations and Prototypes. Co-edited with Yuk Wah Chan. Routledge, 2017.

This book provides a glimpse into the different emergent borderland prototypes in East and Southeast Asia, with illustrative cases and discussions. Asia has contained a number of reactivated border zones since the end of the Cold War, borders which have witnessed ever greater human activity, concerning trade, commerce, tourism, and other forms of money-related activities such as shopping, gambling and job-seeking. Through seven borderland cases, the contributors to this volume analyse how the changing political economy and the regional and international politics of Asia have shaped and reshaped borderland relations and produced a few essential prototypes of borderland in Asia, such as reopened borders and re-activated economic zones; reintegrated but "separated" border cities; porous borderlands; and abstruse borderlands. This book aims to bring about further discussions of borderland development and governance, and how these actually inform and shape state-state and state-city relations across borders and regional politics. 


Asymmetry and International Relationships. Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Power is real, but it does not always prevail. This book explores how disparity structures international relationships. Beginning at the bilateral level, the relationship between the smaller side and the larger side can be normal as long as the smaller does not feel threatened and the larger can assume that its capabilities are respected. However, the smaller can be tempted to brinksmanship, while the larger can be tempted to bully. Asymmetric conflicts are often stalemated because the limited commitment of the larger side is met by the smaller's mortal resistance. In multilateral situations, asymmetry shapes patterns of uncertainty and attention. In global systems, how hegemons treat their subjects is the unobserved sand shifting beneath their feet as they look toward their challenger. Since 2008, the US has retained primacy but not dominance. The management of asymmetric relationships in a multinodal world will determine how power matters in the current era.


Rethinking the Triangle: Washington, Beijing, Taipei. World Scientific Publishing Co, 2016.

Rethinking the Triangle: Washington-Beijing-Taipei is a book on foreign policy with a difference. Under the premise that the Cold War mentality is outdated, the book explores a new paradigm for the three parties' interrelationships based on inclusiveness and opportunity rather than each hedging against increasingly unlikely crises. It states that instead of seeing Taiwan as a security liability, the US should use it as a compatible point of contact to East Asia, and China should view the US–Taiwan relationship as an opportunity rather than as an intervention. Rather than focusing only on American policy options, the book treats the most important triangular interaction in Asia from the standpoint of each of its participants, by an expert from each country. The book also includes brief discussions by experts from Japan and Macau considering the general salience of the new paradigm for Asia. For readers' easy reference, it also includes a triangular chronology as well as a selection of major documents relating to the triangle.


The Foundations of Mao Zedong’s Political Thought, 1917-1935. (Chinese Edition) China Renmin University Press, 2013.







China Among Unequals: Asymmetric Foreign Relationships in Asia. World Scientific Publishing Company, 2010.

China Among Unequals presents asymmetry theory, a new paradigm for the study of international relations, derived from China's relationships with its neighbors and the world. The first collection of its kind, it brings together key writings on the theory and its applications to China's basic foreign policy, particularly towards the United States and the rest of Asia. Starting with an exploration of the general theory of asymmetry, with particular attention given to such topics as human rights, soft power, regionalism, and asymmetric wars, the book then moves on to the fundamentals of China's external relations, looking at the complexities created by its scale and broad range of neighbors. Traditional imperial relationships are analyzed, as well as China's more recent emphasis on multipolarity. The third section deals with Us-China ties, China's most important relationship, and the only one in which it is in the more vulnerable position. The final section treats in detail the relationships between China and its Asian neighbors, including Southeast Asia and the complicated multilateral situations of Korea and Taiwan.


China and Vietnam: The Politics of Asymmetry. Cambridge University Press, 2006.

In their three thousand years of interaction, China and Vietnam have been through a full range of relationships. Twenty-five years ago they were one another's worst enemies; fifty years ago they were the closest of comrades. Five hundred years ago they each saw themselves as Confucian empires; fifteen hundred years ago Vietnam was a part of China. Throughout all these fluctuations the one constant has been that China is always the larger power, and Vietnam the smaller. China has rarely been able to dominate Vietnam, and yet the relationship is shaped by its asymmetry. The Sino-Vietnamese relationship provides the perfect ground for developing and exploring the effects of asymmetry on international relations. Womack develops his theory in conjunction with an original analysis of the interaction between China and Vietnam from the Bronze Age to the present.



《中国政治》 Zhongguo Zhengzhi (Chinese politics). Translated by Gu Su 顾肃, Dong Fang董方. Jiangsu Renmin Chubanshe, 1994.

The Chinese translation of Politics in China (Little, Brown series in comparative politics: A country study).

Contemporary Chinese Politics in Historical Perspective. Editor. Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Few countries have had more turbulent politics in the twentieth century than China. Although China's unprecedented stability and prosperity in the 1980s gave hope that such turbulence was at an end, the crises of Tiananmen, culminating in the massacre of June 4, 1989, proved that the turbulence continues. Here, eight distinguished China specialists provide broad-gauged, original essays that attempt to explain the dynamics of contemporary Chinese politics by analyzing the preceding patterns of development. Some of the essays focus on the most basic issues of the historical development of Chinese politics while other essays focus on developments in important policy areas since 1949. The book concludes with a penetrating analysis of the Tiananmen events by Tang Tsou, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Together, the essays detail the weight of the past on Chinese politics, but also the long-term developments that prevent the simple recurrence of previous patterns.


Media and the Chinese Public: A Survey of the Beijing Media Audience. Editor, and translated with Li Shu. Routledge, 1987.

The primary purpose of this issue of Chinese Sociology and Anthropology is to make available an extensive survey of the Beijing media audience carried out in 1982 by the Beijing Journalism Association. This poll is the first large-scale media survey in China based on scientific sampling. Indeed, it is the most comprehensive survey research project in China on any subject. There is simply no other resource currently available that provides information remotely comparable in breadth and detail concerning the habits, preferences, and opinions of the Chinese media audience.

Politics in China (Little, Brown series in comparative politics: A country study). Co-authored with James Townsend. Little, Brown​, 1986.

 The Foundations of Mao Zedong’s Political Thought, 1917-1935. University of Hawai'i Press, 1982.

Chapters include: Introduction; Chapter 1: Mao before Marxism; Chapter 2: Mao, the Party, and the national revolution, 1923-1927; Chapter 3: Rural revolution, 1927-1931; Chapter 4: Governing the Chinese Soviet Republic, 1931-1934; Chapter 5: The foundations of Mao Zedong's political thought; Notes and index.





Dorothy Wong


Miraculous Images in Asian Traditions. Editor and contributing author. Vol. 50 of Ars Orientalis, 2020.

In celebration of Ars Orientalis’ fiftieth volume, Miraculous Images in Asian Traditions considers miraculous images across Asia, with seven articles revealing the variety of sacred icons and their active and diverse roles in mediating spiritual relationships. Drawn from two workshops held in 2018, selected papers are joined by additional contributions to cover a broader geographical and cultural spectrum, from India to East Asia and Mongolia. The topics addressed include nature and manifestations of the numinous, the relationship between worshipper and the worshipped, the agency of visuality, the power of place, pilgrimage, authority and textual sources, copies, and materiality.



Buddhist Pilgrim-Monks as Agents of Cultural and Artistic Transmission: The International Buddhist Art Style in East Asia, ca. 645 – 770. National University Press of Singapore Press, 2018.

A common style in East Asian Buddhist art emerged in China, Japan and Korea in the middle of the seventh century and prevailed for about a hundred years. What took shape from the exchange of ideas, practices, and art forms between China and the surrounding regions was a synthetic art style uniform in iconography and formal characteristics. In this richly illustrated study, Dorothy C. Wong argues that notions of Buddhist kingship and a theory of the Buddhist state were in the ascendant across East Asia during this period, and that these religio-political ideals found visual expression in the new art style. Wong asserts that Buddhist pilgrim-monks (traveling between the courts and religious centers) were among the key agents in the transmission of these ideals, and her work assesses their role in the spread, circulation, adoption and transformation of the visual language of state Buddhism, and of the attendant rituals and practices. Transcending cultural and geographical boundaries, this cosmopolitan visual style of Buddhism helped shape the cultural landscape of Northeast Asia.


China and Beyond in the Mediaeval Period: Cultural Crossings and Inter-regional Connections. Co-edited with Gustav Heldt. Cambria Press, 2014. 

This volume examines China’s contacts with neighboring cultures in Central, South, Southeast, and Northeast Asia, as well as contacts among those cultures from the beginning of the Common Era to the tenth century and beyond. During this period, transregional and crosscultural exchanges were fostered by both peaceful and aggressive activities and movements of peoples across Eurasia along land and maritime routes. Such movements played an important role in world history in the medieval period, and yet many aspects of cultural exchanges across Eurasia remain understudied. The lack of knowledge is particularly evident in treatments of Chinese history between the Han and Tang empires. Examining relations with neighboring cultures during this period calls into question notions of China as a monolithic cultural entity.



中國石碑:一種象徵形式在佛教傳入之前與之後的運用 (Chinese Steles: Pre-Buddhist and Buddhist Use of a Symbolic Form, Chinese edition). Trans. Mao Qiujin. Shangwu Press, 2011. 







Hōryūji Reconsidered. Co-edited with Eric M. Field (design). Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993, the Hōryūji temple complex includes some of the oldest and largest surviving wooden buildings in the world. The original Hōryūji temple was built between 601 and 607 by Prince Regent Shōtoku (573?-622), one of Japan's best-known cultural heroes. The construction of the temple marked the introduction of Buddhism and Buddhist art and architecture to Japan from China, by way of the Korean peninsula, as promoted by Prince Shōtoku. After a fire in 670 that destroyed the site, the temple was rebuilt and enlarged. Hōryūji became one of Japan's leading centers of Buddhist scholarship as well as a focus for the cult of its founder, Prince Shōtoku. This volume of essays originate from the "The Dawn of East Asian International Buddhist Art and Architecture: Hōryūji (Temple of the Exalted Law) in Its Contexts" symposium held at the University of Virginia in October 2005. Covering the disciplines of archaeology, architecture, architectural history, art history, and religion, these essays aim to shed new light on the Hōryūji complex by (1) examining new archaeological materials, (2) incorporating computer analysis of the structural system of the pagoda, and (3) including cross-cultural, interdisciplinary perspectives that reflect current research in various ways.


Chinese Steles: Pre-Buddhist and Buddhist Use of a Symbolic Form. University of Hawai’i Press, 2004.

Buddhist steles represent an important subset of early Chinese Buddhist art that flourished during the Northern and Southern Dynasties period (386-581). Adapted from the traditional Chinese stone tablet (bei) used for carving Buddhist images, symbols, and allegorical stories, this hybrid form epitomizes the close interactions and synthesis of indigenous Chinese and Indian Buddhist traditions on many levels: religious, social, cultural, and artistic. The phenomenon of Buddhist steles lasted only about a century (from the late fifth through the sixth century), yet this brief period yielded many works of superb artistic quality. These steles also offer important insights into the role Buddhism played in the history and culture of early medieval China and the process of adaptation and transformation by which the foreign religion was assimilated into Chinese society and became part of its civilization. More than two hundred Chinese Buddhist steles are known to have survived. Their brilliant imagery has long captivated scholars, yet until now the Buddhist stele as a unique art form has received little scholarly attention. Dorothy Wong rectifies that insufficiency by providing the first comprehensive investigation of this group of Buddhist monuments. 


Dennis T. Yang 


China’s Economic Development. Co-edited with Josef C. Brada and Paul Wachtel. Palgrave Macmillan Publisher, 2014. 

This essential reader brings together a collection of influential contributions on China's economic development, which first appeared in the Palgrave journal Comparative Economic Studies. Each chapter has been carefully selected for the contribution it has made to furthering the understanding of China's unique path to development. Topics covered include: public infrastructure, urbanisation policy, industrial policy, monetary policy, agricultural crisis and land reform. 





Has China Passed the Lewisian Turning Point? (in Chinese). Co-edited with Cai Fang and Huang Yiping. China: Social Sciences Academic Press, 2012. 

Using provincial data for the period 1998–2007, this paper estimates the supply and demand functions of migrant workers in each year for a typical Chinese province in a structural framework that explicitly takes into account the Lewis turning point (LTP) in the supply function. The results are extrapolated to the national level and the turning point and the equilibrium level of migrant employment are both estimated for each year. The comparison of those two estimates shows that China has not passed the Lewis turning point.




Policy Reform and Chinese Markets: Progress and Challenges. Co-edited with Belton Fleisher, Nick Hope and Anita Pena. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2008. 

The evolution of China's market economy is one of the most important developments in the world economy in the twenty-first century. The diverse contributors to this book provide a unique set of essays that evaluate legal, regulatory, and economic aspects of China's transition from planned to market economy. While market-oriented policy reform in China has led to substantial growth and progress since the onset of the reform period in 1979, many challenges remain. This study begins with a general survey of China's transition to a market economy and is followed by more elaborate analyses of specific sectors. The authors consider China's changing regulatory structure and the relationships of this structure to Chinese markets, developments in markets for goods, services, and production factors, changing trade patterns, and the determinants of foreign direct investment and its role in overall capital formation. They provide a comprehensive assessment of market reforms in China. In-depth yet accessible, the book will be of great value to policy makers, business planners, students and researchers concerned with China, as well as those interested in the world economy at large.


How Far Across the River? Chinese Policy Reform at the Millennium. Co-edited with Nick Hope and Mu Y. Li. Stanford University Press, 2003. 

Gradual change has been a hallmark of the Chinese reform experience, and China's success in its sequential approach makes it unique among the former command economies. Since 1979, with the inception of the continuing era of reform, the Chinese economy has flourished. Growth has averaged nine percent a year, and China is now a trillion dollar economy. China has become a major trading power and the predominant target among developing countries for foreign direct investment. Despite all this, China remains poor and the reform process unfinished. This book takes its defining theme from Deng Xiaopeng's famous metaphor for gradual reform: “feeling the stones to cross the river.” How far has China progressed in fording the river? The experts who contributed to this volume tackle many aspects of that question, assessing Chinese progress in policy reform, priorities for further reform, and the research still needed to inform policymakers’ decisions.


Cong Ellen Zhang


Performing Filial Piety in Northern Song China: Family, State, and Native Place (University of Hawaii Press, September 2020).

In this deeply grounded work, Ellen Zhang locates the tension between worldly ambition and family duty at the heart of elite social and cultural life. Drawing on more than 2,000 funerary biographies and other official and private writing, Zhang argues that the predicament in which Song literati found themselves diminished neither the importance of filial piety nor the appeal of participating in examinations and government service. On the contrary, the Northern Song witnessed unprecedented literati activity and state involvement in the bolstering of ancient forms of filial performances and the promotion of new ones. The result was the triumph of a new filial ideal: luyang.




Chinese Funerary Biographies: An Anthology of Remembered Lives. Co-edited with Patricia Ebrey and Ping Yao. University of Washington Press, 2019.

Tens of thousands of epitaphs, or funerary biographies, survive from imperial China. Engraved on stone and placed in a grave, they typically focus on the deceased’s biography and exemplary words and deeds, expressing the survivors’ longing for the dead. These epitaphs provide glimpses of the lives of women, men who did not leave a mark politically, and children—people who are not well documented in more conventional sources such as dynastic histories and local gazetteers. This anthology of translations makes available funerary biographies covering nearly two thousand years, from the Han dynasty through the nineteenth century, selected for their value as teaching material for courses in Chinese history, literature, and women’s studies as well as world history. Because they include revealing details about personal conduct, families, local conditions, and social, cultural, and religious practices, these epitaphs illustrate ways of thinking and the realities of daily life.

Record of the Listener: Selected Stories from Hong Mai’s Yijian zhi. Translator. Hackett Publishing, 2018. 

Scholars who know classical Chinese have been reading and citing Hon Mai's wonderful collection for many years. Now students can access these informative materials through Zhang's lively English translations. They are both fun to read and deeply informative about daily life, religion, markets, and multiple social groups in the twelfth century. The comprehensive thematic guide allows readers to locate tales by subject matter, making this collection of 100 narratives ideal for classroom use.





行万里路:宋代旅行与文化 (Chinese translation of Transformative Journeys: Travel and Culture in Song China). Trans. Li Wenfeng 李文锋. Zhejiang University Press, 2016.







 当代西方汉学研究集萃 Dangdai xifang Hanxue yanjiu jicui, sixiang wenhua shi juan (Contemporary Western Sinological Works, Cultural and Intellectual History). Co-edited with Ping Yao. Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2012, 2016.







Transformative Journeys: Travel and Culture in Song China. University of Hawai'i Press, 2011.

During the Song (960-1279), all educated Chinese men traveled frequently, journeying long distances to attend school and take civil service examinations. They crisscrossed the country to assume government posts, report back to the capital, and return home between assignments and to attend to family matters. Based on a wide array of texts, Transformative Journeys analyzes the impact of travel on this group of elite men and the places they visited. In the first part of the book, Cong Ellen Zhang considers the practical aspects of travel during the Song in the context of state mobilization of and assistance to government travelers, including the infrastructure of waterways and highways, the bureaucratic procedures entailed in official travel, and the means of transport and types of lodging. The second part of the book focuses on elite activities on the road, especially the elaborate farewell banquets, welcoming ceremonies, and visits to famous places. Zhang argues convincingly that abundant travel experience became integral to Song elite identity and status, greatly strengthening the social and cultural coherence of the practitioners. In promoting their experience of traveling across a large empire, Song elite men firmly established their position as the country’s political, social, and cultural leaders.


Emeritus Faculty:


Gary Allinson


Japan's Postwar History. Cornell University Press, 2004.

Japan's Postwar History is the only book that provides an integrated analysis of Japan's social, political, and economic history from 1932 until the present day. Gary D. Allinson has substantially updated his work for a second edition that takes Japan from the bursting of the economic bubble through the long recession of the 1990s and up to 2003.





The Columbia Guide to Modern Japanese History. Columbia University Press, 1999.

Japan's transformation from an isolated society to a military empire and, after a crushing defeat in World War II, into one of the world's foremost economic powers is one of the most fascinating stories of modern history. Although much has been written about modern Japan, no reference book has analyzed its political, economic, social, and cultural history to render a holistic account of the sweeping changes Japan has undergone since 1850. Now, with The Columbia Guide to Modern Japanese History, Gary D. Allinson presents this much-needed learning resource for students of Japanese society and for lay readers seeking to better understand the economic powerhouse of East Asia during the 150 years that have catapulted it to international preeminence.



Political Dynamics in Contemporary Japan. Cornell University Press, 1993.







Suburban Tokyo: A Comparative Study in Politics and Social Change. University of California Press, 1979.







Japanese Urbanism. Industry and Politics in Kariya, 1872 - 1972. University of California Press, 1975.







Ronald Dimberg


The Sage and Society: The Life and Thought of Ho Hsin-Yin (Monograph of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy ; no. 1). University of Hawaii Press, 1974.







明代研究名錄​. A Ming Directory. Cheng Wen Publishing, 1968.







Paul Groner


Saicho: The Establishment of the Japanese Tendai School. University of Hawaii Press, 2000.

Saicho (767-822), the founder of the Tendai School, is one of the great masters of Japanese Buddhism. This edition, which includes a new preface by the author, makes available again a classic work on this important figure’s life and accomplishments. Groner’s study focuses on Saicho’s founding of the great monastic center on Mount Hiei, the leading religious institution of medieval Japan, and his radical move to adopt for purposes of ordination the Mahayana bodhisattva precepts--a decision that had far-reaching consequences for the future of Japanese Buddhist ethical thought, monastic training and organization, lay-clerical relations, philosophical developments, and Buddhism-state relations.



History of Indian Buddhism: From Sakyamuni to Early Mahayana (Buddhist Tradition). Translator. Montilal Banarsidass, 2007.

The book, the summation of a lifetime of research on Indian Buddhism, is an exceptionally comprehensive discussion of Indian Buddhism. The text presents the debates of Indian Buddhism that have occurred in the Japanese academic community and emphasizes issues that have often been treated only in passing in India and the West. Finally, the book includes a bibliography which provides a broad look of the study.




Ryogen and Mount Hiei: Japanese Tendai in the Tenth Century (Studies in East Asian Buddhism). University of Hawaii Press, 2002.







Yunsheng Huang


《总统建筑师:托马斯·杰斐逊(美国建筑启蒙者,一位被总统生涯耽误的建筑大咖)》(The Presidential  Architect:  Thomas Jefferson and his Architectural Life). Nanjing: Phoenix Science Press, 2019.

Co-authored by Yunsheng Huang (Architectural History), Zhe Dong (Ph.D. candidate, UVA School of Architecture), and Xiangnan Xiang (Ph.D. from University of Texas, Austin). The volume introduces to the Chinese reader Thomas Jefferson's accomplishments as an architect, including his designs of the Academical Village of UVA and Monticello; the two sites together were named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.



John Israel


Lianda: A Chinese University in War and Revolution. Stanford University Press, 1999.

In the summer of 1937, Japanese troops occupied the campuses of Beijing’s two leading universities, Beida and Qinghua, and reduced Nankai, in Tianjin, to rubble. These were China's leading institutions of higher learning, run by men educated in the West and committed to modern liberal education. The three universities first moved to Changsha, 900 miles southwest of Beijing, where they joined forces. But with the fall of Nanjing in mid-December, many students left to fight the Japanese, who soon began bombing Changsha. In February 1938, the 800 remaining students and faculty made the thousand-mile trek to Kunming, in China’s remote, mountainous southwest, where they formed the National Southwest Associated University (Lianda). In makeshift quarters, subject to sporadic bombing by the Japanese and shortages of food, books, and clothing, students and professors did their best to conduct a modern university. In the next eight years, many of China’s most prominent intellectuals taught or studied at Lianda. This book is the story of their lives and work under extraordinary conditions.


Rebels and Bureaucrats: China's December 9ers. University of California Press, 1976.







John Shepherd


Footbinding as Fashion: Ethnicity, Labor and Status in Traditional China. University of Washington Press, 2018.

Previous studies of footbinding in imperial China have theorized that it expressed ethnic identity or served an economic function. By analyzing the popularity of footbinding in different places and times, Footbinding as Fashion challenges these claims and makes the case for the hegemonic power of the footbinding fashion in places where high status groups adopted the practice. The book scrutinizes the historical record to refute the claim that early Qing (1644-1911) attempts by Manchu rulers to ban footbinding made it a symbol of anti-Manchu sentiment and Han identity and led to the spread of the practice. Through detailed case studies of Taiwan, Hebei, and Liaoning provinces, Shepherd exploits previously neglected ethnographic reports, economic surveys, and rare censusesof footbinding to challenge the significance of sedentary female labor and ethnic rivalries as factors leading to the dominance of the footbinding fashion. The author concludes that variations in local hierarchies and elite culture, coupled with status competition and fear of ridicule for not binding girls’ feet, best explain how a culturally arbitrary fashion such as footbinding came to attain hegemonic status.

 <台灣邊疆的治理與政治經濟> Taiwan bianjiang de zhili yuzhengzhi jingji 1600-1800  (Chinese translation of Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier, Stanford, 1993). 2 vols., 676 pages. Introductions by Paul Katz and Zhang Longzhi. Transl. Lin Weisheng, Zhang Longzhi, Lin Wenkai, and Cai Yaowei. Taibei: National Taiwan University Press, 2016.






Death at the Opposite Ends of the Eurasian Continent: Mortality Trends in Taiwan and the Netherlands 1850-1945. Co-edited with Theo Engelen and Yang Wen-shan. Amsterdam University Press, 2012.

This volume examines contrasting historical demographics in Western Europe and Asia, taking the Netherlands and Taiwan as representative populations. Both countries have witnessed steady, continuous improvements in public health, disease prevention, and medical care. The contributors compare the impact of disease and mortality on the lives of individuals and families under very different cultural and social conditions. Death at the Opposite Ends of the Eurasian Continent analyzes a variety of factors, including maternal and infant mortality, as well as the accuracy of Taiwan’s censuses and death reporting.



Marriage and Mandatory Abortion Among the 17th-Century Siraya. American Anthropological Association​, 1995.

When the Dutch missionary Candidius began work among the indigenous Siraya people of southwestern Taiwan in 1627, he discovered that young married women were required to abort all pregnancies until they reached their thirties. When his 1628 “Account” of Sirayan abortion reached Europe, it shocked and perplexed all readers. Widely circulated in the travel literature of the seventeenth century, the Account came to the attention of Montesquieu and Malthus. Despite the absence of any evidence of food insecurity among the Siraya, they interpreted the custom as an adaptation to overpopulation. Later interpretations have ranged from the Freudian to the economic. In this volume Shepherd demonstrates the inadequacy of these earlier attempts to explain the custom. Based on historical accounts and ethnographies of closely related Austronesian groups in Taiwan, Shepherd argues the Siraya understood mandatory abortion as necessary to avoid the supernatural danger to headhunters caused by the pregnancy of headhunters’ wives. Only when husbands were released from age grade service as warriors were their wives allowed to carry pregnancies to term.

Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier, 1600-1800. Stanford University Press, 1993.

This important work argues two central theses which are, if not startlingly revisionist, at least open to controversy: first, that the indigenous population of Taiwan was not simply "pushed up" the hills by the advance of Han settlement, and, secondly, that Qing policy along its fronteirs was determined by a rational cost-benefit calculus which, under certain circumstances, made defense of non-Chinese lifestyles appear preferable to displacement or enforced assimilation.




Michiko Wilson


Modern Japanese Women Writers as Artists as Cultural Critics.  Merwinasia, 2013.

The notion of women as “cultural critics” stretches back to the Heian era (797–1190 ce), and is notably exemplified by Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book (992 ce), a work which, with its wit, barbed references, and no-nonsense comments on life around her, has become part of the Japanese literary canon. Her legacy after a centuries long hiatus resurfaced in the generation of women writers under the “Taisho Democracy,” and now has been revived in provocative essays by three of the most innovative and outspoken women writers in recent Japanese literary history: Yuriko Miyamoto (1899–1951), Saegusa Kazuko (1929– ), and Minako Oba (1930–2007). Translated for the first time and discussed with an extensive Introduction, the book reveals a Japan that thrives in and on a multiplicity of voices on a wide range of socio-political-cultural topics, filling the critical need for English translations of primary sources aimed at non-Japan specialists. 



Of Birds Crying, a novel by Ôba Minako. Translated with Michael K. Wilson. Cornell University - Cornell East Asia Series, 2011. 

This deeply psychological novel that revolves around a well-established novelist and her husband weaves a tapestry of extraordinary memories through earthy dialogues and interior monologues, combining the humorous and farcical with the somber and meditative.  






Gender Is Fair Game: (Re)Thinking the (Fe)Male in the Works of Ôba Minako. M. E. Sharpe, 1999.

This first book-length study on Ôba Minako, a major Japanese feminist writer, shows how she turns upside down the role of “gender.” The boundary that distinguishes sexual possession from erotic power in a traditional male gaze is erased, and her playfulness takes over. Postmodernist in her subversive stance, which keeps paradoxes unresolved; feminist in her penetrating “gaze” at gender relations; and individualist in her desire to see men and women freed from sociocultural inhibitions, Ôba has opened new doors not only for other Japanese readers and writers, but for all those in search of an alternative vision.




The Pinch Runner Memorandum, a novel by Kenzaburo Ôe. Translated with Michael K. Wilson. M. E. Sharpe, 1994.

An outrageous yet stirring adventure of a father-son duo in a switched-over role, with the “idiot son” Mori guiding the father to stop nuclear terrorism. 






The Marginal World of Ôe Kenzaburo:  A Study in Themes and Techniques.  M. E. Sharpe, 1986.

This is the first full-length book devoted to Japan's 1994 Nobel Laureate, introducing Ôe's literary universe bursting with the exuberant symbolism and the explosive energies of Bakhtinian grotesque realism. In its center stands the "idiot son," a trickster and soulful healer, unknowingly thrown into the world of myth-making and history. The diverse voices of characters resonate with one another within and between reinvented texts as the book's structuralist and semiotic analyses flow into the very pores and veins of Ôe's masterful narratives.