Afleveringen

  • European Decadence, a controversial artistic movement that flourished mainly in late-nineteenth-century France and Britain, has inspired several generations of Chinese writers and literary scholars since it was introduced to China in the early 1920s. Translated into Chinese as tuifei, which has strong hedonistic and pessimistic connotations, the concept of Decadence has proven instrumental in multiple waves of cultural rebellion, but has also become susceptible to moralistic criticism. Many contemporary scholars have sought to rehabilitate Chinese Decadence but have found it difficult to dissociate it from the negative connotations of tuifei. More importantly, few have reconnected Decadence with its steadfast pursuit of intellectual pleasure and unique paradoxes or explored the specific socio-historical conditions and cultural dynamics that gave rise to Decadence.
    Decadence in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture: A Comparative and Literary-Historical Reevaluation (Cambria Press, 2020) is the first comprehensive study of Decadence in Chinese literature since the early twentieth century. Standing at the intersection of comparative literature and cultural history, it transcends the framework of tuifei by locating European Decadence in its sociocultural context and uses it as a critical lens to examine Chinese Decadent literature and Chinese society. Its in-depth analysis reveals that some Chinese writers and literary scholars creatively appropriated the concept of Decadence for enlightenment purposes or to bid farewell to revolution. Meanwhile, the socialist system, by first fostering strong senses of elitism among certain privileged groups and then rescinding its ideological endorsement and material support, played a crucial role in the emergence of Chinese Decadent literature in the European sense.
    Decadence in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture is an important book for scholars and students interested in Decadence, modern Chinese literature and cultural history, Asian studies, and comparative literature.
    This book is in the Cambria Sinophone World Series headed by Victor H. Mair (University of Pennsylvania).
    Victoria Oana Lupașcu is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies at University of Montréal. Her areas of interest include medical humanities, visual art, 20th and 21st Chinese, Brazilian and Romanian literature and Global South studies.
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  • Alluring, nurturing, dangerous, and vulnerable, the yamamba, or Japanese mountain witch, has intrigued audiences for centuries. What is it about the fusion of mountains with the solitary old woman that produces such an enigmatic figure? And why does she still call to us in this modern, scientific era?
    Co-editors Rebecca Copeland and Linda C. Ehrlich first met the yamamba in the powerful short story “The Smile of the Mountain Witch” by acclaimed woman writer Ōba Minako. The story revealed the compelling way creative women can take charge of misogynistic tropes, invert them, and use them to tell new stories of female empowerment. 
    Yamamba: In Search of the Japanese Mountain Witch (Stone Bridge Press, 2021) represents the creative and surprising ways artists and scholars from North America and Japan have encountered the yamamba.
    Matthew Hayes is the Japanese Studies and Asian American Studies Librarian at Duke University and a researcher in the area of early modern Japanese Buddhism. You can find him on Twitter at @_matthewhayes_.
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  • In An Urban History of China (Cambridge UP, 2021), Toby Lincoln offers the first history of Chinese cities from their origins to the present. Despite being an agricultural society for thousands of years, China had an imperial urban civilization. Over the last century, this urban civilization has been transformed into the world's largest modern urban society. Throughout their long history, Chinese cities have been shaped by interactions with those around the world, and the story of urban China is a crucial part of the history of how the world has become an urban society. Exploring the global connections of Chinese cities, the urban system, urban governance, and daily life alongside introductions to major historical debates and extracts from primary sources, this is essential reading for all those interested in China and in urban history.
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  • The widely acclaimed films of Wong Kar-wai are characterized by their sumptuous yet complex visual and sonic style. This study of Wong’s filmmaking techniques uses a poetics approach to examine how form, music, narration, characterization, genre, and other artistic elements work together to produce certain effects on audiences. Bettinson argues that Wong’s films are permeated by an aesthetic of sensuousness and “disturbance” achieved through techniques such as narrative interruptions, facial masking, opaque cuts, and other complex strategies. The effect is to jolt the viewer out of complete aesthetic absorption. Each of the chapters focuses on a single aspect of Wong’s filmmaking. The book also discusses Wong’s influence on other filmmakers in Hong Kong and around the world.
    The Sensuous Cinema of Wong Kar-wai: Film Poetics and the Aesthetic of Disturbance (Hong Kong University Press, 2014) will appeal to all who are interested in authorship and aesthetics in film studies, to scholars in Asian studies, media and cultural studies, and to anyone with an interest in Hong Kong cinema in general, and Wong’s films in particular.
    Gary Bettinson is a senior lecturer in film studies at Lancaster University, UK. He is editor of Asian Cinema, Directory of World Cinema: China and author (with Richard Rushton) of What is Film Theory? An Introduction to Contemporary Debates.
    Gustavo E. Gutiérrez Suárez is MA in Anthropology, and BA in Social Communication. His areas of interest include Andean and Amazonian Anthropology, Film theory and aesthetics. You can follow him on Twitter vía @GustavoEGSuarez.
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  • Today I spoke to Nick R. Smith to talk about how China's expansive new era of urbanization threatens to undermine the foundations of rural life, which he writes about in his recently published book The End of the Village: Planning the Urbanization of Rural China (U Minnesota Press, 2021). Centered on the mountainous region of Chongqing, which serves as an experimental site for the country's new urban development policies, The End of the Village analyzes the radical expansion of urbanization and its consequences for China's villagers. It reveals a fundamental rewriting of the nation's social contract, as villages that once organized rural life and guaranteed rural livelihoods are replaced by an increasingly urbanized landscape dominated by state institutions. 
    Throughout this comprehensive study of China's "urban-rural coordination" policy, Nick R. Smith traces the diminishing autonomy of the country's rural populations and their subordination to larger urban networks and shared administrative structures. Outside Chongqing's urban centers, competing forces are at work in reshaping the social, political, and spatial organization of its villages. While municipal planners and policy makers seek to extend state power structures beyond the boundaries of the city, village leaders and inhabitants try to maintain control over their communities' uncertain futures through strategies such as collectivization, shareholding, real estate development, and migration. As China seeks to rectify the development crises of previous decades through rapid urban growth, such drastic transformations threaten to displace existing ways of life for more than 600 million residents. Offering an unprecedented look at the country's contentious shift in urban planning and policy, The End of the Village exposes the precarious future of rural life in China and suggests a critical reappraisal of how we think about urbanization.
    Dr. Suvi Rautio is an anthropologist of China.
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  • In the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), China experienced far greater access to political information than suggested by the blunt measures of control and censorship employed by modern Chinese regimes. A tenuous partnership between the court and the dynamic commercial publishing enterprises of late imperial China enabled the publication of gazettes in a wide range of print and manuscript formats. For both domestic and foreign readers these official gazettes offered vital information about the Qing state and its activities, transmitting state news across a vast empire and beyond. And the most essential window onto Qing politics was the Peking Gazette, a genre that circulated globally over the course of the dynasty.
    The Peking Gazette in Late Imperial China: State News and Political Authority (U Washington Press, 2021) presents a comprehensive history of the Peking Gazette and frames it as the cornerstone of a Qing information policy that, paradoxically, prized both transparency and secrecy. Gazettes gave readers a glimpse into the state's inner workings but also served as a carefully curated form of public relations. Historian Emily Mokros draws from international archives to reconstruct who read the gazette and how they used it to guide their interactions with the Chinese state. Her research into the Peking Gazette's evolution over more than two centuries is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the relationship between media, information, and state power.
    Sarah Bramao-Ramos is a PhD candidate in History and East Asian Languages at Harvard. She works on Manchu language books and is interested in anything with a kesike. She can be reached at sbramaoramos@g.harvard.edu.
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  • Laurence Coderre’s Newborn Socialist Things: Materiality in Maoist China (Duke UP, 2021) is an exciting book that considers Chinese socialist culture seriously in terms of materiality and theory by tracing the contours of Maoist China through the heretofore unexpected lens of the commodity and consumerism. In Coderre’s book, the “newborn socialist thing,” a critical concept developed by theorists working to give shape to the coming utopia, is both a historical object and a model that provides the conceptual mapping for her project. Across six chapters that handle terrain as diverse as sounding practices, political theory textbooks, porcelainware, and mirrors, Coderre shows that the newborn socialist thing is much more than a discrete object but rather an “un-thing-like” constellation of objects and bodies that function in relation to each other. In her own words: “instead of distinguishing an object from its production, usage, and discursive apparatus, an old or newborn thing brought all these together into a single conceptual entity, comprising both human and nonhuman actors” (6). In attending to the expansiveness and ambiguity of the newborn socialist thing, the book innovatively explores the media environment of revolution as it negotiates the troubling, enduring fact of commodity culture. 
    The project, of great worth in its own terms, is underscored by the author’s desire to understand Chinese contemporary consumer culture. Indeed, the book’s short conclusion is pregnant with suggestion, asking readers to consider postsocialism not merely in terms of rupture with a failed socialist project, but as an inheritor of the relationalities developed in the era of the newborn socialist thing.
    Interview conducted by Julia Keblinska, Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Center for Historical Research at the Ohio State University specializing in Chinese media history and comparative socialisms.
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  • Mozina’s Knotting the Banner: Ritual and Relationship in Daoist Practice (U Hawaii Press, 2021) weaves together ethnography, textual analysis, photography, and film, inviting readers into the religious world of Daoist practice in today’s south China by exploring one particular ritual called the Banner Rite to Summon Sire Yin, as practiced in central Hunan province.
    Performed as the first public ritual by a Daoist apprentice at his own ordination, the Banner Rite seeks to summon Celestial Lord Yin Jiao, the ferocious martial deity who supplies the exorcistic power to protect and heal bodies and spaces from illness and misfortune. A lot is at stake. If the apprentice cannot successfully summon the deity in front of his village community and the pantheon of gods in attendance, he would not be able to be ordained that day and would risk losing the confidence of villagers who might hire him in the future.
    Through a close reading of the ritual in its social and historical contexts, Mozina shows that the efficacy of rituals like the Banner Rite is driven by the ability of a master to form an intimate relationship with exorcistic deities like Yin Jiao, which is far from guaranteed. Mozina reveals the ways in which such ritual claims are rooted in the great liturgical movements of the Song and Yuan dynasties (960–1368) and how they are performed these days amid the social and economic pressures of rural life in the post-Mao era.
    Knotting the Banner will be of interest to students and scholars of Daoism and Chinese religion and will also appeal to historians of religion and anthropologists, especially those working on ritual.
    Noelle Giuffrida is a professor and curator of Asian art at the School of Art and the David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State University. Her research focuses on Chinese art, particularly the history of collecting and exhibiting premodern works in American museums after World War II and the visual culture of Daoism in late imperial China. Her teaching and curatorial experience extend broadly both temporally—from Neolithic to contemporary—and cross-culturally to China, Korea, and Japan, as well as to South and Southeast Asia. Her book Separating Sheep from Goats: Sherman E. Lee’s Collecting of Chinese Art in Postwar America (University of California Press, 2018) uses American curator and museum director Sherman E. Lee (1918–2008) as a lens through which to investigate the history of collecting and exhibiting Chinese art. Email her at ngiuffrida@bsu.edu.
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  • Robert Hellyer’s Green with Milk and Sugar: When Japan Filled America's Tea Cups (Columbia UP, 2021) is a tale of American and Japanese teaways, skillfully weaving together stories of Midwesterners drinking green tea (with milk and sugar, to be sure), the recent and complex origins of Japan's love of now-ubiquitous sencha, Ceylon tea merchants exploiting American racism, Chinese tea production expertise, and the author’s own family history in the Japan-America tea trade going back to the nineteenth century. Transnational histories and commodities histories are notoriously delicate dances, but Hellyer has produced a very readable and eye-opening look at the modern history and culture of tea. Green with Milk and Sugar will be of interest to a diverse group of historians—scholars of North America, East Asia, commerce and trade, food, etc.—but also to a general audience who will be pulled in by the author’s personal connections as well as the delightfully jargon-free narrative.
    Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese language and history in the University of Bergen's Department of Foreign Languages.
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  • To call the hundred years that straddle the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries as a radical period of change for China is an understatement, moving from the Imperial period, through the Republican era, and ending in the rise of the PRC.
    Dr. Elizabeth LaCouture’s Dwelling in the World: Family, House, and Home in Tianjin, China, 1860–1960, published by Columbia University Pres explores this history by looking at Tianjin: a city divided into nine foreign concessions, and perhaps, at the time, the world’s most cosmopolitan—and colonized—cities. With a focus on family and the home, Dr. Lacouture explores the interplay between these massive political changes and the lives of ordinary people.
    In this interview, Dr LaCouture.and I talk about Tianjin, changing Chinese politics, and how that affected views of gender, the family, and the home. We also investigate the thorny distinction between modernization and Westernization.
    Dr. Elizabeth LaCouture is the founding director of the Gender Studies Program at the University of Hong Kong, where she is an assistant professor of gender studies and history.
    You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Dwelling in the World. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.
    Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.
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  • An English mission to Japan arrives in 1613 with all the standard English commodities, including wool and cloth: which the English hope to trade for Japanese silver. But there’s a gift for the Shogun among them: a silver telescope.
    As Timon Screech explains in his latest book, The Shogun’s Silver Telescope: God, Art, and Money in the English Quest for Japan, 1600-1625 (Oxford University Press, 2020), there was a lot of meaning behind that telescope. It represented an English state trying to chart its own part as a Protestant country, denoting their support for science and a more open culture in the face of a more backward Catholic Europe. Screech’s book charts the background behind this simple gift and what it meant for both Japan and England.
    In this interview, Timon and I follow the English journeys to Japan, the reasons for these trips, and what the English encountered when they got there. And we’ll think about what we learn from this—ultimately failed—effort to start a trading relationship between these two islands.
    Professor Timon Screech is Professor at Nichibunken or the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, after thirty years at SOAS. He is the author of at least a dozen books on the visual culture of the Edo period, including perhaps his best-known work Sex and the Floating World: Erotic Images in Japan, 1700-1820 (University of Hawaii Press, 1999). His other most recent book (and previous interview subject) is Tokyo Before Tokyo: Power and Magic in the Shogun’s City of Edo (Reaktion Books: 2020). In 2019, he was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy.
    You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of The Shogun’s Silver Telescope. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.
    Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.
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  • Susanne Klien's book Urban Migrants in Rural Japan: Between Agency and Anomie in a Post-growth Society (SUNY Press, 2020) provides a fresh perspective on theoretical notions of rurality and emerging modes of working and living in post-growth Japan. By exploring narratives and trajectories of individuals who relocate from urban to rural areas and seek new modes of working and living, this multi-sited ethnography reveals the changing role of rurality, from postwar notions of a stagnant backwater to contemporary sites of experimentation. The individual cases presented in the book vividly illustrate changing lifestyles and perceptions of work. What emerges from Urban Migrants in Rural Japan is the emotionally fraught quest of many individuals for a personally fulfilling lifestyle and the conflicting neoliberal constraints many settlers face. In fact, flexibility often coincides with precarity and self-exploitation. Klien shows how mobility serves as a strategic mechanism for neophytes in rural Japan who hedge their bets; gain time; and seek assurance, inspiration, and courage to do (or further postpone doing) what they ultimately feel makes sense to them. 
    John W. Traphagan, Ph.D. is Professor and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Fellow in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also a professor in the Program in Human Dimensions of Organizations.
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  • Buddhism and Modernity: Sources from Nineteenth-Century Japan (University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2021) is a welcome new collection of twenty sources on modern Japanese Buddhism, translated and with introductions. The editors (Hans Martin Krämer and Orion Klautau) and translators have curated a diverse array of materials focusing on the struggles of Japanese Buddhism to come to terms with, accommodate to, and find its way in modernity from the mid-nineteenth century into the early decades of the twentieth. The book is helpfully divided into five thematic sections: Sectarian Reform, the Nation, Science and Philosophy, Social Reform, and Japan and Asia. Each contains works by important and influential Buddhist thinkers, such as Inoue Enryō, Shimaji Mokurai, and Shaku Sōen. 
    Overall, Buddhism and Modernity sketches out a picture of Japanese Buddhism negotiating a new sense of nation, “religion,” empire, Asia, and the “proper” shape of society in a period in which Japan’s Buddhist traditions were facing novel and complex internal and external challenges. This book will be of interest to scholars of religion and Japan, of course, but the translators’ introductions to each selection and the length of those selections make it suitable for classroom use as well. The selections we will be discussing today were (in order) translated by Hoshino Seiji, Kaneyama Mitsuhiro and Nathaniel Gallant, Ryan Ward, Iwata Mami and Stephan Kigensan Licha, and Michael Mohr.
    Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese and East Asian history in the Graduate School of Humanities, Nagoya University.
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  • From Country to Nation: Ethnographic Studies, Kokugaku, and Spirits in Nineteenth-Century Japan (Cornell UP, 2021) tracks the emergence of the modern Japanese nation in the nineteenth century through the history of some of its local aspirants. It explores how kokugaku (Japan studies) scholars envisioned their place within Japan and the globe, while living in a castle town and domain far north of the political capital.
    Gideon Fujiwara follows the story of Hirao Rosen and fellow scholars in the northeastern domain of Tsugaru. On discovering a newly "opened" Japan facing the dominant Western powers and a defeated Qing China, Rosen and other Tsugaru intellectuals embraced kokugaku to secure a place for their local "country" within the broader nation and to reorient their native Tsugaru within the spiritual landscape of an Imperial Japan protected by the gods.
    Although Rosen and his fellows celebrated the rise of Imperial Japan, their resistance to the Western influence and modernity embraced by the Meiji state ultimately resulted in their own disorientation and estrangement. By analyzing their writings—treatises, travelogues, letters, poetry, liturgies, and diaries—alongside their artwork, Fujiwara reveals how this socially diverse group of scholars experienced the Meiji Restoration from the peripheries.
    Using compelling firsthand accounts, Fujiwara tells the story of the rise of modern Japan, from the perspective of local intellectuals who envisioned their local "country" within a nation that emerged as an empire of the modern world.
    Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.
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  • What is the impact of Internet technology communication in China? How do Chinese people view "privacy" differently from the western perspective? How is the newly passed China's Personal Information Protection Law going to impact people's lives? In a conversation with Joanne Kuai, a visiting PhD Candidate at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Elaine Yuan, an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois, Chicago, talks about her recent book, The Web of Meaning: the Internet in a Changing Chinese Society (University of Toronto Press, 2021).
    Elaine Yuan's research focuses on how new and emerging forms of communication mediate various social institutions and relations. She has extensively researched the subjects of network and mobile communication, social media, digital infrastructure, and cultural change processes. Her latest book examines the role of the Internet as symbolic fields for reproducing the cultural practices of privacy, nationalism, and the network market in China.
    Through three empirical cases – online privacy, cyber-nationalism, and the network market – the book traces how different social actors negotiate the practices, social relations, and power structures that define these evolving institutions in Chinese society. Examining rich user-generated social media data with innovative methods such as semantic network analysis and topic modelling, The Web of Meaning provides a solid empirical base to critique for critiquing the power relationships embedded in Chinese society's very fibre.
    The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University. We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.
    About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk
    Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast
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  • In Recharging China in War and Revolution, 1882–1955 (Cornell University Press, 2021), Ying Jia Tan explores the fascinating politics of Chinese power consumption as electrical industries developed during seven decades of revolution and warfare.
    Tan traces this history from the textile-factory power shortages of the late Qing, through the struggle over China's electrical industries during its civil war, to the 1937 Japanese invasion that robbed China of 97 percent of its generative capacity. Along the way, he demonstrates that power industries became an integral part of the nation's military-industrial complex, showing how competing regimes asserted economic sovereignty through the nationalization of electricity.
    Based on a wide range of published records, engineering reports, and archival collections in China, Taiwan, Japan, and the United States, Recharging China in War and Revolution, 1882–1955 argues that, even in times of peace, the Chinese economy operated as though still at war, constructing power systems that met immediate demands but sacrificed efficiency and longevity.
    Thanks to generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through The Sustainable History Monograph Pilot, the ebook editions of this book are available as Open Access volumes from Cornell Open (cornellopen.org), archive.org and other repositories.

    Ying Jia Tan is Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University and works on the history of energy in modern China He is currently working on a second book project on the plastic industry in Chinese East Asia in the twentieth century. 
    Ghassan Moazzin is an Assistant Professor at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of History at the University of Hong Kong. He works on the economic and business history of 19th and 20th century China, with a particular focus on the history of foreign banking, international finance and electricity in modern China. His first book, Foreign Banks and Global Finance in Modern China: Banking on the Chinese Frontier, 1870–1919, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.
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  • At first glance, medicine and poison might seem to be opposites. But in China’s formative era of pharmacy (200–800 CE), poisons were strategically deployed as healing agents to cure everything from chills to pains to epidemics. Healing with Poisons: Potent Medicines in Medieval China (U Washington Press, 2021) explores the ways physicians, religious devotees, court officials, and laypeople used powerful substances to both treat intractable illnesses and enhance life. It illustrates how the Chinese concept of du—a word carrying a core meaning of “potency”—led practitioners to devise a variety of techniques to transform dangerous poisons into efficacious medicines.
    Recounting scandals and controversies involving poisons from the Era of Division to the early Tang period, Yan Liu considers how the concept of du was central to the ways people of medieval China perceived both their bodies and the body politic. Liu also examines a wide range of du-possessing minerals, plants, and animal products in classical Chinese pharmacy, including the highly poisonous herb aconite and the popular arsenic drug Five-Stone Powder. By recovering alternative modes of understanding wellness and the body’s interaction with potent medicines, this study cautions against arbitrary classifications and exemplifies the importance of paying attention to the technical, political, and cultural conditions in which substances become truly meaningful.
    Healing with Poisons is freely available in an open access edition thanks to TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem) and the generous support of the University at Buffalo Libraries. Open access edition: DOI 10.6069/9780295749013.
    Yan Liu is assistant professor of history at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
    Victoria Oana Lupașcu is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies at University of Montréal. Her areas of interest include medical humanities, visual art, 20th and 21st Chinese, Brazilian and Romanian literature and Global South studies.
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  • Everyone looks to Singapore as a role model for what they want their country to be. Several countries from China to Rwanda hope to emulate its high administrative competence, standard of living, and “social harmony.” Post-Brexit Britain wants to copy the city-state’s assertive and independent position in the world economy and its aggressive support for international business. Housing policy advocates look to Singapore and its 90% home ownership rate.
    But these are all simplistic views of the city-state, that miss its history, its opportunities, and its challenges. Jeevan Vasagar’s Lion City: Singapore and the Invention of Modern Asia (Pegasus Books: 2022), delves into those more complicated details, giving a better portrayal of the city and the choices it’s made as it tries to navigate a more complicated global environment.
    In this interview, Jeevan and I talk about, well, Singapore: its history, its leadership, and its policies. We’ll talk about how its administration is trying to chart a future for the country—and whether that might be successful.
    Jeevan Vasagar is the Environment Editor for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and was formerly the Financial Times Correspondent for Singapore and Malaysia. He can be followed on Twitter at @jeevanvasagar.
    You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Lion City. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.
    Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.
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  • Kimiko Tanaka and Nan E. Johnson's Successful Aging in a Rural Community in Japan (Carolina Academic Press, 2021) discusses population aging in rural Japan and shows how rural communities have changed socially and demographically in recent years. The authors explain how rural depopulation has led to political consolidation and how the welfare system in Japan is placing more responsibility and autonomy on municipalities. Some rural towns in Japan, such as the study community of Kawanehonchō, are actively responding to the demographic challenges through programs initiated by municipal governments that reflect the interests and voices of local residents. The authors review theoretical frameworks (collective efficacy theory and social capital) to understand the inseparability of successful aging from the social and political environments of neighborhoods and communities and discuss the ongoing challenges people living in rural Japan face as populations continue to shrink. This is an interesting and important book of interest to scholars and others concerned with issues in gerontology and rural health.  
    John W. Traphagan, Ph.D. is Professor and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Fellow in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also a professor in the Program in Human Dimensions of Organizations.
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  • On the podcast today, I am joined by Minhua Ling, Assistant Professor in the Centre for China Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to talk about her book, The Inconvenient Generation: Migrant youth coming of age on Shanghai’s edge, which was published in 2019 by Stanford University Press.
    After three decades of massive rural-to-urban migration in China, a burgeoning population of over 35 million second-generation migrants living in its cities poses a challenge to Chinese socialist modes of population management and urban governance. In The Inconvenient Generation: Migrant Youth Coming of Age on Shanghai's Edge (Stanford UP, 2019), Minhua Ling offers the first longitudinal study of these migrant youth as they come of age at a time of competing economic and social imperatives. Through richly textured ethnography probing into the policy-making behind urban governance and its segmented inclusion, Minhua Ling offers an earnest voice to the aspirations and experiences of second-generation young men and women migrants against the backdrop of a re-emergent global Shanghai.
    Minhua Ling’s book is an excellent companion for anyone interested in the politics of citizenship in late socialist China, and an ideal text for more general courses in the anthropology of China and urban studies. Beyond China, The Inconvenient Generation will interest anyone concerned about the inequalities of segmented inclusion that migrants face around the world.
    Dr. Suvi Rautio is an anthropologist of China.
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