Forthcoming Book Reviews

The following book reviews have been received at Pacific Affairs and will be published in the print edition within the next 12-18 months. Please note that minor textual changes may occur before final publication in our print and official online edition (hosted at IngentaConnect and here).
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Asia General


ARCHITECTURALIZED ASIA: Mapping a Continent through History. Spatial Habitus. Edited by Vimalin Rujivacharakul, H. Hazel Hahn, Ken Tadashi Oshima, Peter Christensen. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press; Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2014, c2013. xv, 301 pp., [24 pp.] col. plates (Figures.) US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3952-9.

Architecturalized Asia is an ambitious volume of visionary scholarship that both demonstrates architectural history’s important place in the study of Asia and makes it accessible as a method of analysis to those of us outside the discipline. “Architecturalized,” which Yuming He handily describes as to be “designed, codified, and structured” (67), is a productive motif that underscores the making of “Asia” through thought and practice, and that seeks to interrogate that process of construction. It also refers to the object of study: “Asia” is to be examined through its “architecture”—here writ large to encompass not only individual buildings, but also the built environment and its representations in cartography. Underscoring the particular power that physical structures and their representations possess, the essays in this volume use them as lenses to investigate how Asia has taken shape over time.

This collection is motivated by a desire to emancipate the study of architecture in Asia from its domination by “a dialectical relationship between Europe and Asia” (8). While each of the essays gives due credit to the important role that Europe and European regimes of knowledge have played in the emergence and study of Asian architecture, they also identify a need to give an account of Asian architecture that neither reduces it to that relationship, nor always returns to it in the final analytical instance. The essays successfully offer different ways out of this bind, whether by demonstrating how, as Caroline Herbelin does, architects both local and foreign actively broke away from Orientalist conceptualizations of Asia to pursue architectural styles more appropriate to local conditions, or when Ken Tadashi Oshima shows that imaginations of Asia outside of Asia offered refreshing new ways to think about the region that departed from Orientalism’s desire to exoticize and subjugate. The emancipatory impulse is also at work in more elemental ways, as in David Efurd’s contribution, which offers a correction to misunderstandings that have resulted from reading South Asian Buddhist architecture through the lens of European religious architecture.

The attempt to interrogate the dominance of the nation state and national styles as frames for examining Asian architecture is another theme that runs through the volume, and is especially marked in its first section on the medieval and early modern period. Vimalin Rujivacharakul’s examination of how architecture became linked to geographical and geopolitical space within the field of world architecture (Rujivacharakul identifies the emergence of “architectural narration” as a key moment in this process) sets the tone for the volume as a whole. By emphasizing a dynamic exchange of ideas, influences and practices that transcended national borders, many of the essays not only illustrate the limitations of national frames for understanding the emergence of “Asian architecture” historically, they also—as in Imran bin Tajudeen’s essay on the inability of extant categories of Asian architecture to adequately account for Javanese architectural forms—highlight how national frames are in some cases unable even to produce accurate knowledge. At the same time, these interrogations of national frameworks stands in interesting tension with essays in the last section of the volume that examine architecture’s contribution to regional identity formation, which suggests that despite their limits as ways of ordering knowledge, architectural styles as representations of group identity are still politically powerful and useful.

The volume’s emphasis on the dynamic transmission of ideas across cultural, geographical and temporal (as Seng Kuan demonstrates in his essay on the continuities between Japanese plans for their prewar colony in Manchuria and postwar Tokyo Bay) space prompts rethinking about the relationship between knowledge regimes, especially if the transmission takes places within asymmetrical power relations. Many of the essays illustrate the permeability between dualities like colonizer/colonized, West/non-West, or Asia/non-Asia and ask us to consider the multiple directionalities through which power and knowledge flowed. In so doing, an important question emerges: what happens to the political valences that accompanied these ideas in their “original” form—the Orientalist dimensions of imaginations of Asia formed during the age of high imperialism; the centralized power of the Soviet state implicit in Soviet-style functionalism; the colonial dimensions of Japan’s urban planning in Manchuria—when they are transmitted across space and time? Do these political significances, so crucial to their emergence, continue to inhere in the ideas or are they neutralized or transformed in some way through their transmission?

Among this volume’s successes is its offer of a refreshingly inclusive idea of “Asia” in time (from the medieval period to the present) and space (encompassing East, Southeast and South Asia, but also the Pacific Rim, Central Asia and Iran). This not only decentres the region away from its conventional geographical centres and raises the question of where Asia “is,” it also opens up the possibility of imagining other configurations of and within Asia itself. Peter Christensen’s tracing of Eurasia’s short-lived career as a “hitherto unimagined cultural contiguity” (105) illustrates this expansive geographical imagination especially powerfully. The fact that a region was—even if only for a moment—conceptualized in such a way that transcended national boundaries and national agendas is an intriguing prospect for our own, highly fragmented present in which political issues between individual countries threaten to exacerbate the fragmentation of Asia even further.

Tze M. Loo, University of Richmond, Richmond, USA                  

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BRIDGING TROUBLED WATERS: China, Japan, and Maritime Order in the East China Sea. By James Manicom. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014. xii, 266 pp. (Figures, tables, maps.) US$54.95, cloth, 978-1-62616-102-3; US$32.95, paper, 978-1-62616-035-4; US$32.95, ebook, 978-1-62616-036-1.

The Sino-Japanese relationship has become increasingly tense in recent years, and some even worry that war is looming. Disputes over historical memory, disputed territory and maritime space are sometimes interpreted as mere flashpoints in an ongoing power shift, but they are also crucial in their own right. Bridging Troubled Waters by James Manicom contributes a fresh perspective on the latter two bones of contention. In a nutshell, the book establishes its raison d´être by asking why and how Sino-Japanese cooperation has been achieved, and how can it be achieved in the future, despite lingering tensions. Manicom rightly argues that the East China Sea dispute should be considered a “least likely” case study in bilateral cooperation, and that it might “shed light on similar disputes” (5).

To address his research problem, Manicom stipulates that the value of disputed space has an impact on cooperative efforts between rival states. He constructs a 2X2 “Maritime Value Matrix” (MVM), where one axis represents the alleged dichotomy between “tangible” and “intangible” values, whereas the other one embodies a distinction between mutually salient issues and those that are salient only to one actor. Manicom hypothesizes that cooperation will be most reciprocal, enforceable and lasting over tangible issues that concern both parties, while cooperation over issues that are important to just one party—tangible and intangible—will be weaker and more short-lived. However, he hypothesizes that intangible issues will be pursued reciprocally and tangible ones coercively.

These hypotheses are then confirmed in four cases: the islands conflict per se (since the 1970s), fishery cooperation (1997–2000), marine research activities (2000–2001), and resource development (2005–2008). Manicom finds that cooperation is easier and more durable over tangible matters that both parties have an interest in—fisheries is the case in point. In contrast, as soon as tangible issues are more important to just one party—for example maritime research—cooperation becomes more coercive, informal and short-lived. And when issues are intangible but concerns are shared, as with the territorial dispute, cooperation is reciprocal and informal, but also fragile. Resource development, finally, is a mixed case. Since only China would be able to use the resources effectively the issue has been more crucial to China in material terms. For Japan, in contrast, the issue becomes enmeshed in the allegedly more symbolic islands dispute.

The book not only contributes by demonstrating that Japan and China have been able to cooperate regarding the disputed islands and adjacent maritime space. Based on this understanding it also presents a roadmap for how to break up vicious circles and how to forge more virtuous ones. Manicom asserts that “cooperation will endure” (5), at least “[a]s long as states continue to reciprocate” (26). More concretely, he suggests that Japan could agree to abrogate the consensus on resource exploration from June 2008 “in exchange for an agreement on sharing jurisdiction in the contested area of the East China Sea” (188).

While this book makes significant theoretical, empirical and even policy contributions, I think some matters might be further discussed. First, the MVM distinguishes between tangible and intangible issues, but Manicom later concludes that the two are “nearly impossible to separate, in a political sense” (185). I agree with the afterthought, because even seemingly pure material matters acquire their meaning through symbols, ideas and discourses. Fisheries and fish, for instance, surely mean different things to a country where fish is an important part of the food culture, such as Japan, and a country where meat or vegetables are more prevalent. Likewise, the territorial dispute is classified here as an intangible issue, although, ironically, territory is often treated as the single-most material aspect of nation-states. Manicom argues that the conflation between symbolic and material aspects of contested space “militates against cooperation” in these particular cases (167), but such conflation is arguably inevitable.

Second, symbolic matters recur as a separate variable in the notion that leaders can reason and operate outside of the nationalist discourses and practices, which repeatedly aggravate the Sino-Japanese relationship over contested maritime space. Indeed, although Manicom provides a largely constructivist understanding of identity and refers to the “‘social construction’ of the world oceans” (7), his analysis is framed in the language of rational choice theory, where only costs and benefits seem to motivate the important actors: the strategizing leaders. This is not only inconsistent with social construction, but also quite unrealistic.

Third, Manicom’s belief in the possibility of Sino-Japanese cooperation is firm, but the picture that emerges from his own analysis is actually quite contradictory. He writes both that “the recent phase of tensions in the East China Sea seems to belie the cooperative track record presented in this book” (185), and that “[t]he cooperative track record between China and Japan in the East China Sea belies the expectation that the two countries are teetering on the brink of war over their disputed maritime space” (200). Yet one cannot have it both ways. Although the book demonstrates that cooperation is possible, it also shows that it is often fragile and short-lived. Indeed, this seems to be the gist of two of the hypotheses. Moreover, with the alleged importance of “coercive cooperation,” one needs to consider that coercion for the sake of cooperation is just as likely to have pacific outcomes as war for the sake of peace. Hence, with increasing confrontations at sea, and with mutually more exclusionary and antagonistic identity discourses in both countries, the prospects for cooperation actually seem quite dim.

These small objections notwithstanding, Manicom’s timely book contributes greatly to the understanding of one of the most pressing issues in Sino-Japanese relations, and is a must-read for serious students of East Asian international politics and maritime security alike.

Linus Hagström, Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm, Sweden            

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COPRODUCING ASIA: Locating Japanese-Chinese Regional Film and Media. By Stephanie DeBoer. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. 244 pp. (Illus.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN: 978-0-8166-8949-1; US$25.00, paper, ISBN: 978-0-8166-8950-7.

Transnational and transregional film coproduction has been a remarkable trend in postwar world cinema, and has become increasingly phenomenal since the 1990s with booming cultural industries in Asia, and in China in particular. Coproducing Asia is a welcome endeavour that explores film collaborations between the two largest Asian powers, Japan and China.

Echoing the opinion that pan-Asian regional film and media coproductions are central to the possibilities of a rising “new Asia”, the book argues for the importance of understanding coproduction as a production technology that could better address the regional cultural geography that is in the making. The book views coproduction more as a site of negotiation than a site of transformation, and interrogates the ways in which regional coproductions become arenas of negotiated meaning and uneven assemblages among a competing range of media geographies, production practices, imaginaries, and technologies. The author claims that Coproducing Asia is not a history and contemporary account of all coproductions among the media capitals of Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong and mainland China up to the current moments. Rather, the book aims to “provide a set of contexts and framings that enable us to interrogate the Asian coproduction and its locations, both material and imaginary, as a simultaneously critical and particular dynamic of transnational film and media” (15). To achieve this end, the author employs a genealogical method to highlight particular moments in which Asian coproductions are engaged in regional media projects.

Addressing three postwar moments of Asia, the book is divided into five chapters. The first two chapters examine regional film and media relationships during the late 1950s and 1970s when Japanese colonial and imperialist legacy was juxtaposed with Eastern Asia’s regional desire for technomodernity. The first chapter addresses the specters of Japan’s imperial occupation of the region and its postwar media development linked to romance coproductions ranging from Night in Hong Kong to Night in Bangkok. The second chapter discusses Hong Kong-Japan coproductions made from the 1950s to the 1970s, and interrogates Hong Kong’s “copying” of new film technologies, rationalized production methods, genres and styles linked to Japan. Chapter 3 analyzes Sino-Japanese friendship coproductions following Japan’s reengagement with the PRC in the early 1970s, by focusing on the NHK-CCTV television documentary series The Silk Road and TV series A Son of the Good Earth. Chapter 4 explores the context and practices of Japanese cultural industry projects by placing Tokyo as the central media capital of Asia from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Chapter 5 investigates the importance of emerging mainland China’s media market and rich resources by examining coproductions like Battle of Wits, Tea Fight and The Longest Night in Shanghai, in order to facilitate an understanding of mainland China as a geography through which the possibilities of new Asian cultural production are imagined and practiced.

The book’s strength is its effort to theorize the phenomenon of coproduction by placing coproduction in historical contexts and viewing it from a cultural specific perspective. In the author’s view, coproduction is a technology and a mode of production that potentiates new forms of encounter and cultural expression. Coproduction is also a site for the negotiation of meaning and identity. Moreover, coproduction is a battling ground on which Cold War structures have been repeatedly reconfigured and a progress-driven capitalist modernity is articulated. The second strength of the book is its engagement with current literature in the field of Asian cinema and Asian cultural studies. The author does a good job of integrating the main arguments of Asian cultural studies literature into her analysis of coproductions. Specifically, the author employs Michael Curtin’s well-known thesis of “media capital,” and attempts to use the coproduction locales of Tokyo, Hong Kong and mainland China to display the development and current formations of Asian media capital.

While Coproducing Asia is a welcome exploration of transnational cinema, the book would have benefited from the following: First, while the author tends to view Japan as a central place of Asian media capital, it may have been better if the author had devoted more space to examining other major media coproduction centres, especially Hong Kong, to expand the width and depth of the analysis of Asian coproductions. Similarly, coproductions between Japan and Taiwan are almost missing from the discussion. Considering Taiwan’s half-century of colonial experience under Japanese imperial rule, Japanese-Taiwanese coproduction should have been a major focus and could have provided more valuable examples for considering coproduction as a site for the negotiation of meaning and identity.

Second, as the author states, coproduction technologies are entwined with discourses, ideologies and practices. When discussing the “copying” practices of Hong Kong’s film industry and martial arts cinema in particular, the book could have engaged in a more thorough discussion of the genre, style and “oriental” flavour of Hong Kong-based coproductions. This thorough discussion can facilitate the audience’s understanding of Hong Kong’s crucial appreciation of Japanese technology and the integration with Chinese cultural elements, so that the audience can get a better idea of the changing dynamics of transnational media and the shifting power of Asian media capital.

Third, it remains unclear what might constitute a “Japanese-Chinese coproduction” in terms of co-investing, co-directing, co-screenplay-writing, or co-starring. Also, the book needs a rationale for the range of movies that the author selects as main objects of analysis. For example, for the coproductions of the 1950s and 1960s, why is Night in Hong Kong selected for analysis but not many other Hong Kong movies in which Japanese actors and actresses starred. For the coproductions of the 1970s and the 1980s, why are The Silk Road and A Son of the Good Earth selected, but not the very influential movie The Go Masters? For recent movies after 2000, why aren’t those popular coproductions selected for analysis, such as Last Love First Love, Shanghai, East Wind Rain, About Love and Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles? The book would have benefited from a clear explanation of selection, as well as more primary or secondary sources and interviews.

Wendy Su, University of California, Riverside, USA

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RETURN: Nationalizing Transnational Mobility in Asia. Xiang Biao, Brenda S.A. Yeoh, and Mika Toyota, eds. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. vii, 208 pp. (Figures.) US$23.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5531-1.

Often when considering migration, we focus on the outward journey, or the landed experience: getting there, or being there. Seldom do we focus on the return. Yet return is an important feature of migration in the transnational world, and especially in Asia, which, as D.H. Seol and J. Skrentny (International Labor Migration Review, vol. 43 (3):578-620, Fall 2009) have argued, is much more likely to host temporary migration flows than Europe. As Xiang Biao himself notes, “transnational circulation in Asia serves as a (national) method of migration regulation” (3). He and his co-editors, Brenda S.A. Yeoh and Mika Toyota, have put together a collection of exceptionally well-written essays on return migration in Asia, examining it as a goal of the state, as well as part of the imaginary of migrants themselves. Forced returns after financial crises, compulsory returns of labour migrants, returns of refugees or trafficked people, reverse flows of professionals are all considered. These chapters illustrate how the notion of return changes over history, in the minds of the migrants as well as in the projects of the state.

The first three chapters take up historical migrations. Koji Sasaki writes on the question of return since 1990 for Japanese who had migrated to Brazil from 1908, Mariko Tamanoi discusses the staggered and delayed return of Japanese soldiers and POWs after World War II, and Wang Cangbai relates the differential receptions in the People’s Republic of China of overseas-born Chinese (“Guiquiao”) from the 1950s to the late 1970s. We can feel the reverberations of Asian nations’ entwined histories throughout these accounts. For the Japanese Brazilians, emigration that began in the early 1900s as Japan pushed out excess population, ended up in reverse temporary migration of over 300,000 in the 1990s as Nikkei-Brazilians were beckoned back as labour migrants. This scheme then soured with the 2008 financial crisis. Sasaki’s finely detailed chapter, based on archival accounts, reminds us of changing meanings of mobility for Nikkei Brazilians while underlining the role of the nation in facilitating and regulating this mobility over history. In Wang’s fascinating account, we can sympathize with the guiqiao as they return to mainland China full of the anticipation of nation-building, but become increasingly disillusioned through government campaigns that render them as class enemies. Wang reports that in the decade after China re-opened its borders, some 250,000 returnees migrated to Macao and Hong Kong, partly so that their descendents would not suffer from class discrimination.

The remaining five chapters focus on return migration in current globalization. In chapter 4, Xiang Biao examines compulsory return as evidenced in migrant labour schemes of Singapore, Korea and Japan. Recruitment agents, employers and states create systems of temporary labour through bilateral agreements. The return of the workers is enforced legally through visa regulations but also illegally by the policing actions of informal employer networks. Ultimately, even if the state does not institutionalize draconian measures of surveillance, the system is set up such that employers and agents impose constraints on workers to assure that they will return at contract’s end. Hence, systems of temporary labour facilitate human rights violations. Interestingly Xiang points out that the fear of overstayers has meant that a primary goal of the whole system of temporary migration has become one of co-opting that possibility. Xiang does not suggest a way out of this mess.

In chapter 5, Sylvia Cowan tells the story of Cambodian refugees who left for the US from the 1970s. Some of the younger generation committed crimes and were deported “back” to a Cambodia of which they remembered next to nothing. Initially displaced because of US military actions in Indochina, and again displaced by the US justice system, she notes, they are expelled as aliens essentially for circumstances that were the result of US government policy that relocated them in marginal urban neighbourhoods. Cowen points out that the Iraq war has spawned a new group of poor and displaced refugees. Her query of whether these people’s children will be the next cohort to suffer expulsion rings in our ears.

Johan Lindquist analyzes Indonesians and return in chapter 6 through the lens of three projects: a deportee program, a documentary film on trafficking, and a counter-trafficking program. We can easily see how governments and NGOs alike focus on organized deportation or rescue and return, but as long as the underlying conditions that propel people to migrate are not ameliorated, return is hardly a solution. Lindquist clearly points out the absurdity of these processes. The author’s last comment in the chapter demands our attention as he points to the necessity of looking beyond the “trafficked victim” to ask ultimately about freedom of mobility and labour rights.

The return from the West of Bangalore’s hi-tech migrants is the topic of Carol Upahdya’s chapter. Facilitated by strong state policy that beckons these professionals back, as well as by the desire on the part of the migrants to contribute to India’s further development, it is a highly orchestrated sort of return, with the migrants expecting to make their contributions to the homeland while enjoying the lifestyle of affluent global cosmopolitans. Upahdya discusses some of the attempts of returnees to bring social remittances such as “modes of respectable living and civil life” from the West. Whether India will become the nation of their imaginations—that hybrid of global comforts with an Indian flare—remains a question.

In the final chapter, M.C. Lu and Shin HJ discuss the case of ethnic Korean return to South Korea, arguing that there was a divide in state policy between ethnic Koreans in developing countries and developed countries, a kind of “Hierarchical Nationhood”(170). In the post-1997 financial crisis, many Chinese of Korean ethnicity were deported to China and repatriated, but eventually, through protest movements, their return was ensured. They note, “The notion of return has to remain ambiguous in order to accommodate the contradictions between ethno-nationalism, civic nationalism, and economic rationality”(175).

In sum, this volume offers highly readable, provocative critical analyses of return migration that force us to consider how it is regulated, and at what costs. It will be valuable for anyone interested in the complexities of return migration in Asia.

Glenda S. Roberts, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan      

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CONFRONTING MEMORIES OF WORLD WAR II: European and Asian Legacies. Jackson School Publications in International Studies. Edited by Daniel Chirot, Gi-Wook Shin and Daniel Sneider. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014. ix, 330 pp. (Tables.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-295-99346-1.  

In this volume, ten experts of Europe and East Asia discuss how countries in both regions have dealt with the legacies of their problematic pasts. Half of the essays are dedicated exclusively to European experiences. But the essays’ focus on the process and not just the result of national memory making generates insights that are directly relevant to Asia as well. In this way the book manages to link the two regions without falling into the common trap of obsessively comparing the current situation in both areas, which only results in superficial moralizing of the history issue. Secondly, the contributions in this volume are refreshingly evenhanded. Even the possibly provocative thesis by Gilbert Rozman that not Japanese but Chinese historical revisionism has been driving the history gap in the past decade is very well argued.

There are several themes in this book. The main one in my view is succinctly summarized by Gi-Wook Shin when he writes: “No nation is immune from the charge that it has formed a less than complete view of the past” (158). Indeed, reading the ten essays will inevitably lead to the realization that every country—European or Asian, victim or perpetrator—has engaged in national myth-making and the reinterpretation of its past history. The authors discuss the various factors that account for this in each state. But the volume also succeeds in calling attention to the greater link that exists between memory politics, national identity and nation-state building. Julian Jackson makes this connection explicit when he quotes “forgetting, even historical error, are a necessary factor in the creation of a nation” and argues that “finding a balance between history and myth, denigration and celebration, is very difficult” (151). This has been indeed the case for Japan, China and South Korea as Sneider and Rozman demonstrate in their essays. But we find similar problems in Europe. For decades many European nations harped on their legacies of resistance and victimhood while ignoring the often more salient histories of collaboration and cooperation in the murder of European Jewry (see the chapters by Julian Jackson, Thomas Berger, Frances Gouda, Roger Peterson and Daniel Chirot). Some of this was probably necessary. As Fania Oz-Salzberger’s essay suggests, raw facts of history have the capacity to tear apart the fabric of its societies, especially after an intense period of conflict. The argument implied in Oz-Salzberger’s essay, however, also puts the Korean and Chinese unwillingness to investigate their history of collaboration into a more sympathetic light. After all, their communities were as damaged by the past as those of postwar Europe. That being said, one also needs to distinguish between the necessity to boost one’s national identity after an intense collective trauma and an outright nationalist revisionism that prevents reconciliation 70 years later. Rozman argues that the current history politics of China errs on the side of the latter.

Another major theme of this book is Japan. Specifically, several authors set out to provide a more proper contextualization of the country’s role in East Asia’s memory politics. Chirot makes the compelling case that Japan’s less than sanguine approach to its past legacies is common amongst nation-states. Germany is the real exception. Yet Berger speculates that even the Federal Republic might have taken a similar path had it not been subject to a much larger pressure from the international community. Berger also informs us that on the level of collective memory, the Japanese were more pertinent than Germans in early postwar decades. This finding falls in line with Sneider’s article, which disavows the myth of Japanese memory having been monolithic and dominated by right-wing conservatism. The larger point of these essays is a simple one. Vilifying Japan and subjecting it to over-simplistic comparisons with Germany will not provide any solutions for the history problem in East Asia.

The authors, however, do recognize Japan’s central role in this issue and the shortcomings of its politics. Rozman rightly points out that Japan’s own haughtiness caused it to miss the opportunity to seek deeper reconciliation when it could have in the 1980s. He is also correct in asserting that Japan’s obsession with its neighbours’ use of the “history card” has prevented it from recognizing its own offensive historical revisionism. And one cannot find much fault with Gi-Wook Shin’s argument that Japan has apologized plenty, but that these apologies have sounded hollow to Asians because of its domestic political conduct. In short, the message of these authors is that there is nothing wrong with pushing Japan to assume greater responsibilities for its past transgressions and contrasting it to Germany for that reason. But one needs to do so sensibly and in a historically defensible manner. Naturally, this conclusion is commonsensical. Except that in this work we find plenty of examples of how to do so properly.

Last but not least, the book offers an interesting proposition on how to move forward in East Asia. Gi-Wook Shin argues that this can be done only with the more active involvement of the United States—a country that has apparently been co-responsible for the creation of Asia’s history problem from the start. Shin suggests that were the United States to fully acknowledge and apologize for the atrocities committed on Japan during World War Two, Japan might do the same in regards to its neighbours. This is certainly an idea worth pondering. But one should also add that China and Korea will have to be ready to compromise themselves—something Shin seems to take for granted.

There are many other interesting arguments as well as criticisms that deserve mention but cannot be treated here. In closing it suffices to say that despite any quibbles one might have with one or another essay, the overall quality of the contributions is very high. Reading them will make one rethink what we know about memory politics in East Asia, Europe and the comparison thereof. Even those who have studied these issues extensively will find new ideas in this publication.

Ivo Plsek, University of California, Berkeley, USA

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HOW FINANCE IS SHAPING THE ECONOMIES OF CHINA, JAPAN, AND KOREA. Edited by Yung Chul Park and Hugh Patrick with Larry Meissner. New York: Columbia Business School Publishing (an imprint of Columbia University Press), 2013. xii, 364 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16526-6.

This book consists of 4 chapters written by scholars from China, South Korea (Korea hereafter) and the US on the recent developments of financial and other institutional changes and implications in China, Japan and Korea. The book also contains an editors’ introduction. The three contributing chapters each discuss the economies of China, Japan and Korea and the last chapter discusses the role of banks in these countries. The five chapters of the book are as follows: chapter 1, “An introductory overview,” by Hugh Patrick”; chapter 2, “Financial reform in China: progress and challenges,” by Yiping Huang, Xun Wang, Bijun Wang and Nian Lin; chapter 3, “Ongoing financial deregulation, structural change, and performance, 1990-2010,” by Edward J. Lincoln; chapter 4, “Financial development and liberalization in Korea: 1980-2011,” by Yung Chul Park; and chapter 5, “Banking, capital flows, and financial cycles: Common threads in the 2007-2009 crisis,” by Young-Hwa Scok and Hyun Song Shin.

While China, Japan and Korea are all part of Asia, their economies are at different stages of development. Furthermore, these countries have distinct histories, institutions, political systems and societal characteristics. This gives an interesting setting in which to study how differently these countries have reacted to international economic shocks of a financial nature, such as the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998, and the United States-generated global financial crisis of 2007-2009, called the “Lehman shock of September 2008.” Another financial shock that only Japan experienced is its financial bubble of the late 1980s which burst in December 1990. The Asian financial crisis prompted serious financial reforms in Korea, while Japan’s financial bubble burst forced Japan to introduce many reform measures in its financial and corporate governance systems. The Lehman shock adversely affected the economies of these three countries as well as many others in the world.

Specific country chapters discuss how each of the three countries responded to these and other economic shocks using their financial policies. In chapter 2, Yiping Huang et al. emphasize the Chinese government’s insistence on retaining substantial financial repression instead of implementing full liberalization in dealing with the shocks during China’s reform period. In particular, low (depressed) interests and exchange rates are used by the Chinese government, essentially, as subsidies to investors and exporters. These repressive policies have also allowed the government to use the financial sector as a means for supporting economic policy (120). The authors show that the impact of such financial repression policies on economic growth was positive until the 1990s but became negative in the 2000s. The authors suggest the government undertake some level of liberalization in their financial policies to mitigate the negative effects of the current repressive policies.

Chapter 3 by Lincoln discusses Japan’s financial deregulation activities during the 1990-2010 period. Given Japan’s significant financial reforms (called the Big Bang reform) and their stated objectives in the 1990s after the bubble burst, expectations then were that the Japanese economy moved away from their bank-centred system to adopt a more market-oriented financial system and that Tokyo would become an active international financial centre. Neither has happened fully. While financially strong firms are able to issue bonds and other market-oriented debt instruments, weak firms continue to depend on bank finance. Japanese banks, many of which were nationalized in the 1990s, went through many mergers and acquisitions. Large banks were consolidated into three bank-holding companies, with significantly more monopoly power than before.

At the same time return on assets and return on equity remain considerably lower than in the United States. Corporate governance practices in Japan are not necessarily set up to facilitate corporations to maximize their profit either. For these and other reasons international firms may gradually shift activities away from Tokyo (Japan). Lincoln explains Japan’s somewhat inward-looking financial sector using Japanese financial firms’ poor English-language ability, high expat living costs in Tokyo, risk aversion, and group decision-making dynamics. This chapter also discusses the comparative advantages of a bank-centred system versus a market-based system which relies, for example, more on bonds and equity. It concludes that Japan will continue relying on the current bank-centred system for the near future.

Chapter 4, by Park, provides details of the four waves of financial reforms, 1980-2007, and their implications in Korea. Termed as one of the most repressive financial systems, many aspects of Korea’s financial system were strictly controlled by the government (e.g., regulations on banks, non-bank financial institutions, interest rates, foreign exchange rates). The most serious external shock was the 1997 Asian crisis, which in the end forced Korea with no foreign reserve left to accept the liberalization measures required by the International Monetary Fund in return for their rescue funding.

The IMF-originated liberalization measures, combined with further liberalization measures introduced by the Korean government in 2007 as well as the 2009 Capital Market Consolidation Act, prompted Korea’s financial system to become one of the more liberalized, open regimes in the emerging world (231). Korea’s experiences of these financial-system reform measures are summarized in chapter 4 as follows: benefits including economic efficiency gains arising from the financial liberalization are hard to find, so far. Park attributes this to the fact that there is a limit to which a small emerging economy could open its financial sector. Once opened, the financial market can become a playground for international investors, international banks and non-banks. One possible reason for this might be that Korea was not properly equipped to accept foreign investors at the time of financial liberalization periods. But now Korea cannot go back to the pre-liberalization model.

The main theme of chapter 5 by Seok and Shin is the role of financial intermediaries (particularly banks) in the 2007 Lehman crisis in China, Japan, Korea, the EU, and also the US. They conclude that, during the 2007 Lehman crisis, the mechanics of the boom-bust cycle played out even more potently in the capital markets of the advanced countries than in the emerging countries. How about the benefits of financial globalization and the belief that capital inflows from overseas supplement domestic savings in financing investment, lowering the cost of capital, and boosting growth? The evidence seems mixed at best. Capital inflows may fuel permissive domestic liquidity conditions that fuel housing booms and consumption. Asset bubbles may be attributed to the excessive growth of assets funded with short-term debt, with substantial part being denominated in a foreign currency.

The editors’ preface states that the purpose of this book is to make definitive contributions to the financial histories of China, Japan and Korea available to a wide audience. The editors have succeeded in their task.

Masao Nakamura, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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ARCHITECTS OF GROWTH?: Sub-national Governments and Industrialization in Asia. Edited by Francis E. Hutchinson. Singapore: ISEAS, 2014. xxv, 399 pp. (Tables, figures, maps.) US$49.90, paper. ISBN 978-9-814414-53-1.

Architects of Growth is essentially a collection of ten case studies on the nature and role of provincial or state governments in growing and nurturing electronics hardware manufacturing across a range of countries in Southeast Asia. The region is well known as a hub for high technology manufacturing and within it the electronics industry.

In fact the sector has been very important for the catch-up of these industrializing countries. Three of these countries—namely China, Korea and Taiwan—have indeed become world leaders in the design, manufacture and sale of various electronics products such as telecommunications equipment, semiconductors and notebook and tablet computers. It is also well documented that the governments of these countries did play an important part in shaping the trajectory of this technology-intensive industry, which is prone to various sorts of market failures. In fact even in advanced countries such as in the United States and Japan, the state had an important role in promoting the growth of the electronics industry. However in the literature the role of the state is very often equated with the central or national government. But in more ways than one the sub-national governments, especially at the level of states or provinces, also do have a strong and important role to play. The role manifests itself in two broad ways. First the state itself directly embarks on the manufacture of these products by setting up state-owned undertakings and second, the state providing the necessary incentives, usually fiscal, for the product to be manufactured by the private sector. It is this multifaceted role of the state that is sought to be analyzed by the collection of case studies in the book and given the fact that the role of sub-national entities is very rarely discussed or understood, the book under review is a welcome addition to the literature on decentralization, which so far has been preoccupied mainly with governance issues and not commodity producing ones.

The book is structured into 13 chapters of which ten are case studies that constitute the core of the book. The case studies are grouped into three categories, namely: on the basis of geographical location of the countries, size of the economies and according to the degree of industrialization in a mutually exclusive fashion. In fact the use of multiple criteria to situate the cases limits to some extent the comparative picture that the cases are supposed to throw light on. The first set of cases is four Southeast Asian countries: the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, all in different stages of development as far as electronics manufacturing is concerned. The second set focuses on two large countries: China and India, and the third set consists of four cases of industrialized countries: Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and the Netherlands. Here the inclusion of both Singapore and the Netherlands is likely to raise some eyebrows. The concept of sub-nationalism may not at all apply to Singapore and the Netherlands is not an Asian country and hence one does not find sufficient justification for its inclusion especially given the fact that the book focuses on the role of sub-national governments in promoting industrialization through the diffusion of the electronics industry in Asia. Although the case that the author discusses, North Brabant province, is important for high technology development within the Netherlands, the role of the national government too was equally relevant. As important is the location of a leading electronics MNC in that region which would have spawned in any case a cluster of electronic component suppliers. The cases do not adopt a common theoretical framework and hence the results of the individual cases are not easily comparable despite the heroic attempt made in the concluding chapter to draw out lessons from their role in promoting industrialization. This is because the chapters are edited versions of a conference organized in 2011. The absence of a common framework does indeed limit the usefulness of this otherwise laudable project on an underexplored but important theme. However without any doubt the book places on the table the growing importance of sub-national entities at a time when all economies are globalizing and even the importance of national-level policies for industrialization has come under some strain.

The most refreshing aspect of the book is the central question that the editor raises, namely the extent to which sub-national governments design and implement policies to address needs regarding their industrial sectors. The ten case studies do provide enough evidence to the effect that they do and in that process earn the title of being architects of growth. This central question is then followed by three sub-questions: (1) when do sub-national governments take on the role of architects?; (2) to what extent they can become the prime drivers of industrialization; and (3) which of the strategies and policy measures that are available to them are productive and under what conditions? These are then answered through the case studies although there is considerable variation in the clarity with which these are dealt with in the successive case studies.

An important but interesting issue that is under-explored in the case studies is the extent to which the sub-national entities across the range of country cases have actually used fiscal incentives of various sorts (notably tax concessions) to attract FDI and through that process industrialization. In fact this incentive-induced industrialization has led to a competition of sorts between the sub-national entities to attract large FDI projects. The belief was that this would accentuate the creation of additional employment in the local economy. The fact that almost all these countries have experienced “jobless growth” (defined as rate of growth of industrial employment being at a much slower rate than the rate of growth of GDP) has diminished one’s faith in this type of industrialization. There are, of course, well-known exceptions to this where provincial governments have successfully used policies to raise both employment growth in tandem with overall rate of growth of GDP.It is in this context that one can appreciate the North Brabant case, although commentators familiar with the Netherlands may consider the province of Limburg to be a better case of transformation. Although there are discussions of linkages (horizontal and vertical), the discussion of it is rather skimpy across the cases.

That said the book is stimulating and readable and a systematic appreciation of it can lead to the emergence of research on the welfare implications of incentive-induced industrialization at the sub-national level.

Sunil Mani, Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum, India                                                          

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BROTHERS IN ARMS: Chinese Aid to the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979. By Andrew Mertha. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014. xv, 175 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5265-9.

This well-organized book assesses China’s military, infrastructure and commercial assistance to its ally, Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime of Democratic Kampuchea (DK). Chapter 1 offers a succinct overview of China’s relations with DK. Chapter 2 describes in detail the Khmer Rouge bureaucracy, informing the reader that authority relations in DK were constantly in flux and that specific responsibilities of an individual or office were based on the trust of the system’s top members: Pol Pot or his chief lieutenants. We also learn that, while commercial functions were controlled from top-down, the Kampong Som petroleum refinery project was a decentralized policy area which came under the purview of the local zone commander. Chapter 3 explains the bureaucratic structure and process of Chinese assistance to DK, giving the Kampong Som case as illustration.

The book’s central argument, that China’s aid provision bought it little influence in DK due to bureaucratic fragmentation in China combined with an institutional matrix in Cambodia either strong enough or too weak to resist Chinese demands, are expanded upon in chapters 4, 5 and 6. Chapter 4 deals with Chinese military assistance to DK, the argument here being Chinese influence was curtailed due to the strength of the DK military. Chapter 5 addresses the Kampong Som project, in which it is maintained that Chinese investments brought even smaller returns because of the fragmentation of Chinese bureaucracies. Chapter 6 takes up the issue of Chinese assistance to DK’s international trade and commerce. The seventh and last chapter attempts to extend the study to present-day policy making by Chinese bureaucracies.

The author refers to the military airfield complex of Krang Leav as an unqualified success of Chinese infrastructure aid to DK. As such, it is all the more curious for Mertha to assert that, “even if China wanted to, it was unable to influence DK in implementation of policy” (97). More likely, by not insisting that radar stations or the military airfield be sited near the coast or the Thai border, China had given way to DK’s military concerns and priorities, particularly in helping to construct Krang Leav near the border with Vietnam, although the Chinese had initial qualms about appearing provocative to the Vietnamese (84-85). Of the three cases, only Kampong Som could really be considered a failure. Although Mertha argued that a major problem was that the Chinese institutions involved were fragmented into overlapping jurisdictions and organizational mandates, and incapable of effective planning and coordination with numerous contracting and subcontracting parties and agencies, he stressed no less that the mass killing of Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge authorities and its fratricidal purges largely deprived the country of skilled personnel to handle the tasks assigned to them by the Chinese. In the case of trade, while the Chinese bureaucracies were said to have clear functional delineations of responsibility without the need to rely on “a constellation of subordinate units” (125), the DK Ministry of Commerce was described as “institutionally complex and fragmented” (120), yet had enough influence with the top leadership to function as a trading unit.

The central question of the book is: “Why was a powerful state like China unable to influence its far weaker and ostensibly dependent client state” (3)? Mertha refers to Sophie Richardson’s China, Cambodia and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009) in which she argued that Beijing subordinated its own interests to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states and their domestic priorities, but then brushed her argument aside. Perhaps Mertha could have entertained the notion that China was not so much unable but rather unwilling to assert influence over Cambodia, particularly on issues that were not the priorities of the leadership of either China or Cambodia. While defense and trade were vital to the survival of DK as China’s client state, “the Chinese-retrofitted Kampong Som oil refinery would have made DK reliant on crude oil from China” (99), and the Pol Pot leadership was obsessed with achieving self-sufficiency.

The period that the Khmer Rouge was in power, from April 1975 to the end of 1978, witnessed tumultuous changes in Chinese politics, with the purge of Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping, death of Premier Zhou Enlai and Chairman Mao Zedong, arrest of the leftist “Gang of Four” faction, succession by Hua Guofeng to Mao’s position, and the return to power of Deng and his setting aside of Mao’s autarkic economic policy in favour of reform and opening. As such, the analysis should have been extended from the bureaucratic fragmentation hypothesis to investigate whether changes or instabilities in the leaderships of the various ministries, bureaus, institutes or agencies on the Chinese side might have affected their relationships with the DK authorities or their operations in Cambodia.

The author’s use of bureaucratic fragmentation in a previous work to shed light on the politics and policy making of hydroelectric dam constructions in China—where energy bureaucracies are jealous guardians of their own turfs—may be more straightforward than its application for this study, which deals with more than just one country or one issue. Furthermore, the bureaucratic fragmentation argument was never explicitly made for the Cambodian side regarding the failure of Chinese aid projects, although patron-client networks of zone commanders in DK were cited as central to cadres’ decision making (12). Elsewhere, Mertha mentioned the youth of (often teenage) project managers and the political purges in Cambodia (69), and the technical and administrative shortcomings of Cambodian personnel and institutions (57). These were certainly hindrances to the projects, but hardly attributable to institutional failures of fragmented bureaucracies.

The author’s thesis thus leaves much room for debate, particularly since it relies on three case findings that only partially confirm it. Nonetheless, the study is a product of painstaking field work, thorough research and plausible theoretical inference. This reviewer recommends the book to both experts and laymen alike for its insights on Sino-Cambodian relations and China’s aid to developing countries.

Chien-peng Chung, Lingnan University, Hong Kong SAR, China                                                             

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RED STAMPS AND GOLD STARS: Fieldwork Dilemmas in Upland Socialist Asia. Edited by Sarah Turner. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013. x, 295 pp. (Figures.) US$37.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7748-2494-1.

 Until recently, very few foreign researchers had succeeded in getting long-term access to the field in China, Vietnam and Laos. The situation began to improve after the three socialist countries started to open up to foreign investors, tourists and, to a lesser extent, NGOs, in the wake of “economic liberalization” (first in China in the early 1980s, followed by Vietnam and Laos in the late 1980s). Nevertheless, bureaucratic obstacles and political surveillance are still very much prevalent in these centralized authoritarian regimes. Access to the field is furthermore complicated by the fact that all the contributors in this volume have conducted research with ethnic minority groups inhabiting the upland areas of China, Vietnam and Laos, where government concerns for “national security” and suspicion towards foreign researchers are especially heightened. This rich collection of essays offers insightful and candid accounts of these anthropologists’ and geographers’ fieldwork challenges and dilemmas, as experienced to varying degrees and in various ways prior to their access to, and during their sojourns in, “the field” in upland socialist Asia.

Sarah Turner articulates in her introduction the core themes that traverse the analyses of each contribution, reflecting on the researcher’s positionality and reflexivity, and gatekeepers that provide (or hinder) access to key resources, as well as on ethical dilemmas that unavoidably arise in such controlled, yet shifting, environments. In chapter 2, Jean Michaud provides a useful timeline and background to the communist ideology and national priorities (i.e., integration in the mainstream/majority culture and society) that have driven state policy regarding ethnic minorities in the three socialist countries.

The twelve subsequent chapters engage with a wide array of experiences relating to long-term and repeated fieldwork. An experience commonly shared by several authors was their convoluted path to getting fieldwork research permits (i.e., “red stamps”) and their tangled interactions with state bureaucracy and Party officials (chapters 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13). Their pre-field preparations were at times remarkably informal in such a top-down and seemingly rigid system: they might involve a good measure of (mandatory) sociability (e.g., dinner parties and drinking sessions), unplanned expenses (small “gifts” and other “fees”), and compromises (through self-censorship and “revised” research proposals). Jennifer Sowerwine and Pierre Petit, in their essays (chapters 6 and 8), offer a frank description of these awkward situations. Petit saw in these multi-tier dealings and multiple interactions with officials in Laos an opportunity to study the state in “its daily practices” (162). This allowed him to demystify the image of the state as a separate entity shadowing the society and to establish relationships based on trust with state and Party officials embedded in the “real life” of the state beyond ideology.

It is trust that convinces some gatekeepers (at every administrative level) to facilitate the researcher’s access to, and prolonged visits to, his/her field site. For a few authors, equally crucial to the issuance of “red stamps” was the support of a powerful patron (Petit, chapter 8; Sturgeon, chapter 10; Henrion-Dourcy, chapter 11). Social skills and networks, cultural sensitivity and patience may not be sufficient, though; some amount of luck as well can be a determining factor in improving one’s fieldwork research prospects (McAllister, chapter 9; Salemink, chapter 13). Strategies to gain access to the field were therefore diverse and often had to contend with a fair amount of unpredictability that the researchers tried to mitigate with their own aptitude for flexibility and resilience.

Several contributors in the volume also reflect on their positionality in the field (though male contributors seem relatively less reflective about their gender). Candice Cornet, who carries out her PhD field research in a village in southwest China, first as a pregnant woman, then as a mother, is refreshingly open about her anxieties, doubts and shortcomings, but also the unforeseen possibilities (chapter 5). Jennifer Sowerwine was deeply conscious of her identity as an American citizen, which influenced her conduct in her field site in Vietnam. Magnus Fiskejö with humour and insight recounts his endeavours to lessen the Wa villagers’ perception of himself as a Grax,or “the Other” (chapter 4). This was achieved through humility, respect, improved language skills and participant observation (including “participant intoxication”). Cultural immersion creates complicity and a sense of shared solidarity with the local people towards external actors (especially the state and the Party), as finely analyzed by Stéphane Gros in his interactions with the Drung people in the Drung valley in Yunnan province (chapter 3) and experienced by Christine Bonnin with Hmong women in Sa Pa in Northern Vietnam (chapter 7). Bonnin in her contribution raises the important issues of emotions (i.e., anger in her case) and engagement in the field.

Oscar Salemink, Steven Harrell and Li Xingxing tackle head-on these issues in the third and final section of the book; having carried out their research fieldwork many years ago, they willingly share their experiences of engaged anthropology (Salemink) and emotional attachment (Harrell and Li). Their remembrances in a way work in counterpoint to the reflections of their younger colleagues. Will the latter be as intimate and bracingly honest (as Harrell’s confessional narrative) in remembering their fieldwork in a few decades’ time with the benefit of hindsight? In spite of (or because of) the manifold obstacles, their narratives are all success stories; they have overcome adversity. Yet, there is room for reflection on unsuccessful, or less rewarding, fieldwork experiences that could shed a more intense light on a even messier reality. The interviews of Vic and Chloe, two research assistants (to Christine Bonnin and Candice Cornet, respectively), by Sarah Turner in chapter 12 provide glimpses of this. Nevertheless, Red Stamps and Gold Stars should be read by students in anthropology and of socialism in Southeast Asia, as well as anyone who is planning to embark on challenging research fieldwork. This volume will help guide their conduct in “the field” and inspire them to persevere.

Vatthana Pholsena, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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ENCOUNTERING MODERNITY: Christianity in East Asia and Asian America. Edited by Albert L. Park and David K. Yoo. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. viii, 342 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$42.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3947-5.

If there were a law against misleading advertising in book titles, Albert L. Park and David K. Yoo would be in serious trouble. The collection of eleven interesting and enlightening articles they brought together under the title “Encountering Modernity: Christianity in East Asia and Asian America” should have been sub-titled “Protestant Christianity in East Asia and Asian America.” You would not know from the authors in this volume that there are approximately as many Catholics in Japan as there are Protestants, or that the fastest growing religious community in Korea is the Roman Catholic community. And the existence of over 20 million Catholics in China is hardly mentioned at all. This is a book about Protestant Christianity in China, Korea and Japan, as well as among Koreans and Taiwanese in North America, and should have described itself as such.

Moreover, even though there is much a reader can learn about Protestant Christianity in modern East Asian history from the chapters collected here, this volume suffers from a fault shared by many such collections of chapters by different scholars: the authors do not appear to be talking to each other or even to be addressing the same issues.

For example, there is only one article about Taiwan. In Carolyn Chen’s discussion of Taiwanese who have become Protestant Christians after they immigrated to the United States in the second half of the twentieth century, we learn that they became Christians because churches replace the extended families they left behind in Taiwan. However, neither in this or the other ten chapters is there any discussion of Christianity in Taiwan itself.

The only other chapter on Asian Americans is David Yoo’s account of Koreans in the US in the first half of the twentieth century, when Korea was under Japanese rule. He persuasively argues for a close connection between Protestant Christianity and nationalism for that small group of overseas Koreans. However, not only do Chen and Yoo deal with totally different time periods, no other chapters provide any help for readers who would like to place pre-World War II Koreans and post-World War II Taiwanese into the broader context of religion among Asian immigrant groups in North America in the twentieth century. No attention is paid to Japanese-American Christians, for example, or to Christianity among Chinese-Americans who are not from Taiwan (except for a brief discussion by David Ownby of Chinese Christians in the US trying to promote Christianity back in China).

Of the remaining nine chapters, four focus on Korea, three on Japan, and two on China. Three of the Korea chapters deal with Korea just before and during Japanese colonial rule, though none of those chapters specifically address the relationship between Korean Christians in Korea and Korean Christians in the US at that time. All three of those chapters specifically deal with the relationship between Protestant Christianity and the modernization of Korea. Yunjae Park relates the early history of Severance Hospital, the first major institution of Western medicine in Korea. In her chapter, Koreans are mostly absent since she focuses on the contributions of Western missionaries to Korea’s transformation. Albert Park and Kyusik Chang, on the other hand, focus on Korean Christians and their attempts to create a modern Korean economy and society via Christian institutions. Park shows how Western missionaries worked with their Korean counterparts to train young Koreans in the technical skills needed for a modern industrial economy. Chang explains how Cho Man-sik used the YMCA in P’yŏngyang as well as the Korean Production Movement to carve out space for Korean autonomy under Japanese colonial rule.

The fourth chapter on Korea has an entirely different subject. Eun Young Lee Easly jumps into a Korea free from Japanese rule with an analysis of two generations of Korean mega-churches, arguing that they both promise to show believers how to become prosperous, but the older emphasize prayer as the way to do so while the newer mega-churches recommend hard work.

The chapters on Japan are quite different from the chapters on Korea. Two of the three chapters on Japan share the common theme of Japanese trying to remain both fully Japanese and fully Christian at the same time. Gregory Vanderbilt tells us about Japanese Christian nationalists in the 1930s who supported Japan’s imperial expansion. Garrett L. Washington focuses on three Japanese pastors in the first decades of the twentieth century who could also be called Christian nationalists, since they argued that Christianity makes Japanese believers more loyal Japanese. The other chapter, by Mark R. Mullins, takes another tack. He introduces us to Kagawa Toyohiko, a practitioner of the social gospel who, according to Mullims, was more concerned about serving the poor and needy of Japan than with dealing with questions of Japanese Christian identity.

The two chapters on China have little in common with the other chapters. Joseph Tse-Hei Lee traces how Christianity has grown in southern China through personal connections and family ties. David Ownby is more interested in the relationship between churches and the state, particularly the relationship between the state-regulated church and the much larger underground church, and how that underground church has nonetheless tried to make Christianity look authentically Chinese.

With such a diverse range of subjects selected from the history of Christianity in modern East Asia, this is a book few scholars will sit down and read from cover to cover. It provides enough new information that it belongs in the library of every scholarly institution with an interest in global Christianity or modern East Asian history. However, I recommend that it be made available as an e-book for libraries so that researchers could easily access individual chapters they find useful or instructors could ask their students to read individual chapters in it, since it is unlikely the entire book would be relevant to any one research or class project.

Don Baker, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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TRANSITIONS AND NON-TRANSITIONS FROM COMMUNISM: Regime Survival in China, Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam. By Steven Saxonberg. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xi, 350 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$100.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-02388-8.

WHY COMMUNISM DID NOT COLLAPSE: Understanding Authoritarian Regime Resilience in Asia and Europe. Edited by Martin K. Dimitrov. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xiv, 375 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$34.99, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-65113-5.

The fragments that seemingly confirm the decline of communism are visible everywhere in the twenty-first century: the Wall reduced to a memorial in the centre of Berlin in Germany; a Lenin statue decapitated in the southern district of Orenburg, Russia; empty spots in Albania where Enver Hoxa’s statues used to stand over the hills of his hometown of Gjirokastër and Skanderbeg Square in the capital Tirana; and the sense of anachronistic quaintness draping the street signs in central Maputo, Mozambique adorned with familiar names from the pantheon of socialist state leaders in the 1970s such as Kim Il-Sung. These, however, deflect attention from a rather obvious fact: there remain communist or socialist states in the post-Cold War age, even if in different forms than Marx or Lenin might have envisaged.

The two books reviewed here, as indicated by their titles, ask a common and cogent question: what explains the collapse or transition from communism in some nation-states, while others retained communism in some form? Steven Saxonberg’s single-authored book focuses on, as the subtitle indicates, “regime survival” in China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam, while Martin Dimitrov’s edited volume deals with “regime resilience” in Asia and Europe via comparative analyses of several collapsed Eastern European communist states and the extant communist states of China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam. Both start with the position that cases of survival and collapse can be fruitfully compared to provide more robust insights into the reasons behind these divergent outcomes, and both argue persuasively that additional variables to just the use of systematic repression must be taken into account when analyzing the causes of these divergent outcomes.

The books are structured along thematic lines rather than by country cases. Saxonberg’s nine chapters include an introduction followed by a chapter that outlines regime typology based on hegemony and ideological legitimacy, then a chapter that analyzes the role of nationalism in fuelling personalistic regimes in China, Vietnam and North Korea, among others. Chapter 4 examines how opposition within states is affected by changes in the type of regime, while the following chapter, focusing on East European cases, outlines the notion of “revolutionary potential”: the extent of frustrated rising expectations and the ease with which oppositional groups can disseminate their messages to the larger society. Chapter 6 overviews negotiated transitions from authoritarianism that were not racked by violence, and chapter 7 explains two cases of communist, one-party rule survival—China and Vietnam—via a focus on their respective variations on state capitalism and ends with a prediction of negotiated transition for these countries in the future. The following chapter explores non-transitions in maturing and patrimonial communisms through a comparative analysis of North Korea and Cuba. The ninth and final chapter is a conclusion that sums up the findings and takes a brief tour of future prospects for the remaining communist states (other than Laos).

Dimitrov’s volume has eleven chapters—an introduction and nine body chapters—organized around four types of adaptation: economic; ideological; those caused from international sources; and institutional adaptations that increase inclusivity or accountability. A conclusion sums up the findings and looks ahead. Most of the chapters are explicitly comparative, while some focus on one case with some added comparative references. Thomas Bernstein compares resilience and collapse in China and the Soviet Union in the first body chapter by looking at liberalization, scale of reform, sequencing and leadership. After comparing China, North Korea and the Soviet Union in his chapter, Vladimir Tismaneanu argues that some “communist regimes disappeared because they lost their hierocratic credentials (98).” In chapter 4, Charles Armstrong explains the importance of ideology in North Korea’s regime survival, while in the next, Valerie Bunce and Charon Wolchik outline three diffusion models for transition—demonstration effects, similar conditions and spread of transnational networks. Mark Kramer then examines the dynamics of diffusion of transitions and the impact on regime survival in the Soviet Bloc in chapter 6, while in chapter 7 Mary Gallagher and Jonathan Hanson apply selectorate theory to authoritarian survival and resilience to conclude that the composition of the winning coalition matters as much as its size. Incremental reforms as significant contributors to regime durability in China are the focus of Kellee Tsai’s analysis in the next chapter. Chapter 9 is a comparison of the substantive differences between vertical and horizontal institutions of accountability in China and Vietnam by Regina Abrami, Edmund Malesky and Yu Zheng. The final body chapter, “Vertical Accountability in Communist Regimes” by Dimitrov, draws on an impressive range of Bulgarian and Chinese sources to compare the role of citizen complaints in eroding vertical accountability in the two countries up to 1989, and why one regime collapsed while the other survived.

A closer look at case selection criteria and geographic coverage reveals a few differences. Both start with the position that despite the unity within diversity or diversity within the unity that the assemblage of communist states present, it is emphatically useful to compare countries that transitioned (whether through peaceful or violent processes) away from communism with those that did not. But Saxonberg aspires to cover a sampling of communist countries from around the world, while the Dimitrov volume limits itself to Asia and Europe.

Saxonberg explains the logic for including only Ethiopia from African states, why Grenada was included along with Nicaragua from Latin America, and why Laos, Cambodia, Bulgaria and Albania were excluded. According to the author’s assertion, he claims the four countries excluded were not “key” cases, but does not clarify by what criteria this conclusion was reached. If one were to select the diffusion of personalist dictatorship (“patrimonial communism” in his terminology) as a potential indicator for transition or non-transition, surely Albania could have been an important case. If genocide or systematic use of violence were isolated as key variables affecting regime resilience or likelihood for transitions, presumably Cambodia would have been a key example. Aside from relative importance, Saxonberg states that there are not many secondary sources on these specific countries. This is perhaps correct in relative terms. However, there are several major books and notable articles published in English on Cambodia, Laos, Bulgaria and Albania that could have been used. Saxonberg also notes that he does not have the language capacities to access the “original sources” in these cases (11), indirectly suggesting that he used primary source materials for the cases he did include. However, there is zero indication that he used materials in the original languages for his empirical information on countries such as China and North Korea. His final reason for excluding some cases, the lack of time, is the most persuasive: after all, he has covered a laudable number of countries by himself, especially when the original plan was for the book to be jointly authored with two others.

Dimitrov and company mark their catchment area more succinctly, ostensibly focusing on the 15 “core” communist states that were recognized by the Soviet Union, all of which had considerable communist party size and reach, economic nationalization and agricultural collectivization, and used communist ideology as a tool for indoctrination and mobilization. In contrast to Saxonberg’s grouping, the core 15 includes Laos, Bulgaria and Albania, but not Cambodia. Cambodia, instead, is categorized as part of a set of 11 countries placed under the rubric of “Communist penumbra” states that are excluded from the comparison set due to insufficient scale and scope in the analytical areas outlined above (17-19). The case for comparability of communist states pre-1989, the five surviving states, and of these five with those that collapsed 1989-1991, is also explicitly explained; but the countries that are actually analyzed do not map perfectly to the boundaries drawn in the introduction. For example, Laos makes several appearances in Dimitrov’s introduction but returns in only the most cursory of fashions in a handful of spots in the rest of the chapters. Mongolia, one of the core 15, is a central part of Mark Kramer’s chapter, but merits no significant mentions in the others. Two former Soviet republics in Central Asia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, are not flagged at all in the introduction, but are briefly analyzed in chapter 5 by Bunce and Wolchik.

In terms of the analysis, both list similar factors in explaining regime survival. In addition to violent repression, institutional reforms in political and economic fields, the adjustment of ideologies to maintain legitimacy, and reactions to social unrest via changes in accountability and inclusivity are raised in both texts. There are some differences in the list of variables: Saxonberg distinguishes more clearly between stages or types of socialist states (i.e., maturing – reforming, or freezing) and places more emphasis on the issue of timing of reforms (333). Dimitrov and company, on the other hand, note the role of spatial contiguity in explaining diffusion of revolts and transitions, and assert that continuous adaptive change has resulted in a higher likelihood of regime resilience (8).

Both works draw from existing analyses of authoritarian or autocratic regimes, but the distinctions between authoritarian regimes of the socialist ilk and those that might be categorized as non-socialist and personalist, single-party or bureaucratic authoritarian seem to move in and out of focus. There is the slippage in terms: the Dimitrov volume title explicitly refers to “communism” but several of the chapters continuously refer to “authoritarianism” and make comparisons to non-socialist or communist governments in Tunisia and Syria (211) or Africa and the Middle East (148). But more importantly, the question of whether or not the explanations for regime stability or collapse applies to all types of authoritarian states or not, or if in limited forms, based on what factors, is not examined at much depth. Dimitrov acknowledges the potential problems of generalizability (4-5, 19), but differences in types of political rule and natural resource endowments are treated briefly and in a rather cursory manner (311-312), while Saxonberg, discussing other socialist-personalist cases in his explanation of case selection criteria, does not appear to address the issue of generalizability across different sub-types. For specialists of Asian politics, for example, the potential utility, or lack thereof, of looking at single-party (or single-party dominated) governments of Singapore and Malaysia, or an absolute monarchy such as Brunei, with those of Vietnam and Laos might have been an interesting avenue of exploration, especially if the role of contiguity and demonstration effects are significant factors in generating visions of alternative forms of governance.

Even as things stand, some of the comparative insights appear to generate observations that seem to teeter close to being too general to be useful. Even if external threats have helped fuel the use of nationalism in conjunction with communist ideology in China, Vietnam, Cuba and North Korea (Dimitrov, 26), most specialists of these countries would point to differences in ethnic and language diversity, scale of territory, natural resource endowments, efficiency of the propaganda apparatus, and a range of other factors that would create significant differences in the relative weight that perceived external threats would have in fuelling the production of nationalist ideologies in each.

But these issues ultimately do not alter the fact that these books are paragons for the case that socialist or communist states can and should be productively analyzed as a group, regardless of regime collapse or resilience. Studies of socialist states have often been based on captivating yet isolated case studies that have created portraits without a canvas of systematic comparisons and precise causal explanations, making these two titles particularly welcome and timely. Specialists of individual socialist countries in Asia and other regions, and comparativists who focus on socialism, authoritarianism and political transitions, will all be certain to find these two formulations very useful, in fact necessary, to engage with in the future.

Hyung-Gu Lynn, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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INFRASTRUCTURE FOR ASIAN CONNECTIVITY. Edited by Biswa Nath Bhattacharyay, Masahiro Kawai, Rajat M. Nag. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar in association with the Asian Development Bank Institute and Asian Development Bank, 2012. xviii, 498 pp. (Figures, tables.) £120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-78100-312-1.

The need to boost regional trade to integrate communities, provide employment and lessen poverty is paramount and well recognized. Also acknowledged is that greater regional trade is a function of quality infrastructure. But the state of infrastructure in Asia is still below par, and so is the ensuing degree of economic integration. It is in this context that this well-researched book must be read, as it provides meticulously collected data that will help economists and policy makers interested in Asia and regional infrastructure.

The first part of the book takes up the commendable task of quantifying the infrastructural demands of the region from 2010 to 2020 and the likely benefits of having the desired infrastructure. This also includes sub-regional findings (impact on the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and South Asia in chapters 3 and 4) and country-specific estimates within chapters. The demand for infrastructure in Asia is calculated in the first chapter using an econometric model (termed as the “top-down” approach) as well as by actually assessing the 1202 infrastructural projects that are underway (“bottom-up” estimation) by way of calculating the cumulative cost of implementing these projects. The top-down approach led to an estimated demand of Rs 2.17 trillion for India in 10 years. This chapter also breaks down infrastructural needs (ICT, water, electricity, transport, etc.) by sector and raises the question of financing, which is addressed in chapter 10.

Updated, modified versions of the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) model were used to measure the impact of improvements in transport infrastructure on trade in the Asian sub-regions.The results firmly indicate that trade facilitation, helped by improved physical connectivity between countries, will have positive impacts on poverty alleviation and income in GMS. While the positive welfare impacts of a reduction in regional transportation costs in South Asia are identified in the following chapter—and more recent studies seem to confirm these impacts (Tsunehiro Otsuki, Keiichiro Honda, John S. Wilson, “Trade facilitation in South Asia,” South Asian Journal of Global Business Research 2 no. 2 (2013): 172-190)—the centrality of political logjams in issues surrounding trade facilitation in the sub-continent cannot be understated.

The second part of the book will particularly interest policy formulators and implementers, as it highlights the policy imperatives of evaluating infrastructural projects. It offers a qualitative exercise that brings to the fore the do’s and don’ts of project implementation, which might, for one, help avoid cost and time overruns. Chapter 7, which deals with inter-country infrastructure in Asia, speaks of a need to address issues of governance, as local capital is not too scarce to fund infrastructure. Governance and the institutional aspects of infrastructure building are an important thrust area of the book. Chapter 8 deals with the environmental impacts of the energy sector. Chapter 9 has lessons for the Asia-Pacific region from the EU, whose cross-border institutions (regulatory, legal, etc.) and infrastructure are of high quality—as a result of which 71 percent of its total exports are intra-regional. The EU, however, doesn’t come across as a perfectly politically integrated region, and there is not much that Asia can learn from the EU in that respect.

The last part of the book contends with addressing infrastructure financing needs—a difficult and relatively less traveled terrain in the literature. The first chapter in this section suggests financing tools for infrastructure building in Asia, including a common central bank for Asia, regional infrastructure companies, and other already-in-use tools like PPP and MDBs. Importantly, it talks about how Asian savings and surpluses are tucked away in US bond markets or used up in non-productive activities like stock market speculation and real estate investments. An important policy implication of this narrative, one that the author draws, is that Asian economies should develop deeper financial markets back home. But their attractiveness as an investment choice needs to be looked into.

Chapter 11 deals with the role of FDI in regional infrastructure, a crucial area of study in the given area, but stops short of either analyzing the determinants of FDI or mapping the FDI trends in the region per se. Instead, the chapter comprehensively looks at the FDI-financed regional infrastructural projects across the world as a possible blueprint for Asia. Chapter 12 demonstrates how the PPP model was used to fund EU regional infrastructure and accommodates a project-wise tabulation of PPP projects in all individual EU countries, which is commendable. The challenges of the PPP model, including risk allocation, in very large and long-gestation projects are pointed out. While India has warmed up to the PPP model in the past few years, these chapters will have an important bearing on India’s infrastructure policy making.

This book raises a question future research might address through the lens of public policy: why do some regions not manage to integrate well despite the known benefits to regional trade? One hopes this book will prompt policy makers to give Asian integration serious thought. This prescriptive, highly fact-intensive, forward-looking and econometrically strong yet policy-oriented book is an important addition to the literature on trade infrastructure, economic integration and trade policy in Asia. Thus, it will benefit a wide range of specialist audiences, including economists and policy makers.

Pravakar Sahoo, University of Delhi, Delhi, India

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THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF THE ECONOMICS OF THE PACIFIC RIM. Edited by Inderjit Kaur and Nirvikar Singh. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. xiii, 738 pp. (Figures, tables, graphs.) US$150.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-975199-0.

This book consists of 26 chapters written by scholars specializing in the economics of countries on the Pacific Rim. The book also includes an introduction by the editors. The 26 contributing chapters are divided into six parts corresponding to broadly defined substantive areas: part 1: the natural world: history, climate, and risks, consisting of chapter 1 (E. Jones), chapter 2 (D. Roland-Holst) and chapter 3 (I. Noy); part 2: people: migration, demographics and human capital, consisting of chapter 4 (P. Martin), chapter 5 (N. Ogawa) and chapter 6 (A. Goujon); part 3: perspectives on economic growth and development, consisting of chapter 7 (B. Bosworth and S.M. Collins), chapter 8 (H.T. Dinh and J.F. Lin) and chapter 9 (M.S. Kumar, N. Singh and J. Woo); part 4: regional governance and trade linkages, consisting of chapter 10 (W. Dobson and P.A. Petri), chapter 11 (D. Kaour and M. Suri), chapter 12 (J. Ravenhill), chapter 13 (P-C Athukorala) and chapter 14 (K-Y Wong); part 5: industry, policy and innovation, consisting of chapter 15 (I. Kaur), chapter 16 (T-H Yang and D-S Huang), chapter 17 (H. Pack), chapter 18 (F.T. Tschang) and chapter 19 (S. Yusuf); and part 6: macroeconomics and finance, consisting of chapter 20 (A.O. Krueger), chapter 21 (J. Aizenman and H. Ito), chapter 22 (M.S. Gochoco-Bautista and N.R. Sotocinal), chapter 23 (E. Ogawa and C. Nakamura), chapter 24 (M.D. Chinn and H. Ito), chapter 25 (R. Glick and M. Hutchison) and chapter 26 (Y-W Cheung and H. Miao).

This book addresses the economic issues that are relevant for more than four dozen Pacific Rim countries. Many of these issues are also important for the world’s other regions (e.g., implications of intra-regional differences in: political systems, the endowment of natural resources, and the levels of economic development). The editors also single out as important for the region many dimensions of interactions between the United States and China. Specifically, various attempts in the past at regional cooperation or coordination in trade, finance, regulatory standards and macroeconomic policies are all influenced to some extent by the regional presence of China and the United States. Many of the chapters as well pay attention to the implications of China for the regional (as well as global) economies.

Papers in part 1 discuss topics including the exploitation of the region’s natural resources by Western and other countries, climate change and natural disasters. Papers in part 2 discuss, for example, demographic changes and migration, and their impacts on intergenerational transfers (chapter 5). These are problems in Japan now but some other countries will also face them soon. Human capital accumulation continues to be important for economic development of this region, but considerable differences exist in the effectiveness of upgrading workers’ human capital (chapter 6). Papers in part 3 focus on economic growth and development. Many studies on Japan on this topic exist in the literature, and we see much research on this topic being conducted on China. Comparing Pacific Rim countries in Asia and Latin America, Bosworth and Collins (chapter 2) show that: Latin American countries lag their Asian counterparts in growth; Asia’s developing nations tend to rely on capital accumulation for growth; and they still lag high-income countries significantly in terms of per-capita income. Lin and Hinh (chapter 8) make a unique contribution to the study of the economic development of the fourteen island nations of the Pacific. Chapter 9 concludes that improved efficiency and effectiveness of government spending will be required for the region’s further effective development.

Papers in part 4 discuss the role of regional institutions (e.g., the Asian Development Bank, regional free trade agreements), multinational firms and international trade. Multinational firms play significant roles in the regional economy, for example, in developing their global production supply chains (chapter 13). China, however, exercises its strong bargaining position vis-à-vis large Western multinationals, thus causing a divergence between the Western geopolitical objective to contain China and the geoeconomic realities with a strengthened China’s position (chapter 11). Intra-regional as well as global trade issues are also discussed (chapter 14). Papers in part 5 discuss industrial policies, innovation and their implications. Kaur (chapter 15) discusses the traditional flying geese theory of development, foreign direct investment (FDI) and related concepts such as catch-up industrialization. The role of multinational firms in trade, particularly their inter-firm and inter-country trade patterns are examined (chapter 16). Industrial policy is a primary policy tool for some Asian governments for promoting economic growth. Pack (chapter 17), applying his own methodology to Taiwan, estimates that while industrial policy did have some positive impacts on Taiwan’s growth, most of the growth is attributable to physical and human capital accumulation, good macroeconomic policies, and overall innovation. Topics on culture and creative industries in some of the Asian countries are also discussed (chapters 18, 19). Papers in part 5 discuss macroeconomic issues with a focus on China and its currency, RMB, in the global market. The role of flexible exchange rates in the post-Asia currency crisis and the Mundell-Fleming trilemma are discussed (chapters 21, 22). Current account imbalances and related global finance issues are discussed in chapters 23, 24 and 25. Ogawa and Nakamura (chapter 23) recommend against the possibility of implementing some form of Asian currency unit, given the recent experience of the euro zone. Chinn and Ito (chapter 24) argue that remedying the current account imbalances might require China’s undertaking significant changes in the way its financial markets and institutions are organized. In fact China’s domestic financial development (as of early 2012) has been modest, while internationalization of its currency and liberalization of capital controls has been limited (chapter 25). Also political factors must be considered for explaining the evolving role of the RMB in international markets (chapter 26).

These 26 chapters cover many topics well. One topic of interest that is not covered fully is the role business groups play in economic development. Business groups are prevalent in India, Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand and other countries. Japan’s prewar zaibatsu groups’ role in economic development is documented by Morck and Nakamura (“Business Groups and the Big Push: Meiji Japan’s Mass Privatization and Subsequent Growth,” Enterprise and Society 8, 2007: 543-601). South Korea’s chaebols are thought to have played a similar role. Business groups also play major roles in organizing supply chains and production networks.

The introduction states that papers in this handbook collectively provide useful insights about the economics of the Pacific Rim region. The editors have succeeded in their task.

Masao Nakamura, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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REGIONAL INTEGRATION IN EAST ASIA: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives. Edited by Satoshi Amako, Shunji Matsuoka and Kenji Horiuchi. Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2013. xxx, 356 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$40.00, paper. ISBN 978-92-808-1222-0.

East Asian integration has progressed steadily during the last decades, largely driven by the region’s economic success. A rapid intensification of trade and investment flows between East Asian countries related to the establishment of regional production networks has promoted real sector integration. The trend of closer economic interdependence was initially set by market forces and later supported by intergovernmental policy initiatives through the signing of various regional free trade agreements (FTAs) and broader economic partnership agreements. Today, 50 to 55 percent of East Asia’s total trade occurs at the intraregional level—a clear indicator of the region’s high degree of interdependence in the real sector.

Progress has also occurred in the area of money and finance, albeit with lower intensity, as East Asian financial markets remain somewhat underdeveloped. Besides, regional financial integration has followed a reverse pattern from that of the real sector: it was prompted by initiatives for intergovernmental cooperation introduced in response to the Asian financial crisis of 1997/98, more than by market forces. Typically, such initiatives were adopted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea—ASEAN+3.

East Asian regionalism is also showing continuous progress in a multiplicity of other areas from people-to-people exchanges, security, infrastructure development, environment, energy, health, sport, education, and the provision of other regional public goods through the shared management of common resources. Although in recent years political problems have been troubling the horizon for international relations among key East Asian countries (mainly due to disputes over a few islands in the Japan Sea and South-China Sea) all in all the last few decades have been marked by a rapid intensification of East Asian regionalization, at a time when East Asian countries have also been undertaking an unprecedented move towards globalization: economically, socially and culturally.

The book Regional Integration in East Asia: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives, edited by three well-known scholars from Waseda University (Satoshi Amako, Shunji Matsuoka and Kenji Horiuchi) provides an excellent analysis of how East Asian countries are following at the same time both processes of regionalization and globalization, with few contradictions but large synergies and complementarities. The study provides an insightful review of the theoretical approaches that contribute to the understanding of East Asian integration logic and trends, including long-term historical perspectives of key countries such as China, Japan and the ASEAN member states.

The book is structured in three parts. The first part covers a detailed discussion of theoretical contributions on East Asian integration, including issues related to mandates, norms and governance of regional institutions, social aspects concerning the creation of a region-wide community in comparison with the European experience, and the influence of domestic politics on the pace of regionalization through FTAs. The second part analyzes specific issues, from economic integration, to cooperation in areas such as energy, the environment, education and regional security. Finally, the third part provides an interesting historical perspective to Asian integration, covering the views of several key thinkers who promoted the idea of regionalism and pan-Asian approaches. It also includes a review of key historical events which contributed to the formation of today’s East Asian regionalization.

In addition to the need for promoting regionalism in parallel and in a complementary fashion with globalism, a major finding of the study is that China’s emergence as a key player in the process of East Asian integration creates both centripetal and centrifugal forces that operate at the same time. While China is helping in many ways to make East Asia a more cohesive region, it also pushes for a reconsolidation of old alliances between East Asian countries (for example Japan, Korea and the Philippines) with the United States, and non-regional powers as well. In turn, this contributes to making the current status of East Asian integration particularly complex and defined by a multiplicity of layers and non-univocal perspectives. The ability to treat such complexity in a rigorous analytical framework, such as the one adopted by Waseda’s Global Institute for Asia’s Regional Integration (GIARI), is a major contribution of the study.

The focus on international relations is, however, one of the book’s intrinsic limitations. The chapter by Shujiro Urata is the only one in the whole book that focuses on economic issues. And while this chapter provides an excellent analysis of integration and cooperation in the real sector, it is also important to discuss the financial and monetary pillar of East Asian integration, as well as other key components of regional economic interdependence such as infrastructure and connectivity.

Many important institutions and initiatives for East Asian integration were created in response to the 1997/98 financial crisis, and given the need to further develop Asian financial sectors, and increase their efficiency, money and finance will likely play a major role as drivers of regional integration in the future. At the same time, the development of regional infrastructure has greatly facilitated the creation of economic corridors linking subregions, such as the one involving Mekong River countries, and deserve a detailed analysis in order to provide a complete snapshot of today’s East Asia.

Other important aspects of integration which are missing in the study relate to the various dimensions of people-to-people exchanges, including tourism flows, cultural activities, sports, and community-building initiatives organized through the civil society. These exchanges are fundamental contributions to the formation of regional identity and, as explained in the GIARI model, to create a new culture emerging from the civil society that appreciates the benefits of social, political, and economic integration with regional neighbors.

The GIARI model could also be strengthened by a wider and deeper analysis of the issues of leadership and legitimacy. Now that economic development is providing the internal financial resources needed to build an East Asian community, legitimacy remains a crucial factor for aspiring regional leaders. The mechanisms to ensure the region’s equitable and sustainable development deserve more space too, as they are of utmost importance to guarantee regional harmony—a key feature stressed in the East Asian model compared with that of Europe and other regional groupings.

Despite these shortcomings the study remains a major contribution and a key reference for future works.

Giovanni Capannelli, Asian Development Bank Institute, Tokyo, Japan

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CLEAVAGE, CONNECTION AND CONFLICT IN RURAL, URBAN AND CONTEMPORARY ASIA. ARI – Springer Asia Series, v. 3. Tim Bunnell, D. Parthasarthy, Eric C. Thompson, editors. Dordrecht: Springer, 2013. viii, 247 pp. (Tables, figures, maps, plates.) US$99.00, cloth. ISBN 978-94-007-5481-2.

This is a welcome addition to the literature on rural-urban relations in contemporary Asia. The edited volume brings together 13 chapters written by 16 authors dealing with four countries. In the introduction, the editors contend that most social research is conceived either from an urban or agrarian perspective. To address this issue, the book shows a great deal of coherence in the objective of transcending the analytical limitations that arise from conceptions of urban and rural as “spatially distinct and discrete domains” (5). The originality of this work as a whole certainly lies in its broadly defined aims surrounding the articulation of social, cultural and political relations across the urban and the rural, which reflects how these geographical units are increasingly blurred in a time of heightened mobility.

The book is organized in four parts, one for each country—India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand—and the chapters address case studies in many sub-national regions. In this regard, the book appears as an overview of issues relevant to the fields of urban planning, cultural geography, sociology, political science and social anthropology, in Southeast and South Asia. However, as a result of this breadth, it lacks the depth of a more circumscribed account.

The first part addresses how urbanization has provided new opportunities and constraints for both dominant and subaltern groups in India. Chapter 2 explores how rural elites in states such as Maharashtra seek to secure access to capital cities where they can wield power over financial flows. State capitals such as Hyderabad are coveted by dominant castes to gain privileged access to state agencies “with the power to make decisions on contracts, permits, and licenses” (27). Chapter 3 considers the political and institutional situation in India which has led to erratic governance of land. In this context, actors with in-depth local knowledge of land histories and ground-level experience at dealing with complex land governance systems play a central role in land transactions. Chapter 4 addresses the pressure exerted by the expansion of the city of Mumbai on resources in the hinterland, which historically formed the livelihood of forest dwellers. The authors sketch out the impact of successive legislations, both for extraction and conservation purposes, on resource access for indigenous tribes.

Part 2 focuses mainly on new legal frameworks affecting urban-rural interactions in Indonesia. Chapter 5 provides an account on the challenges of urban planning in Greater Yogyakarta, which stretches over three administrative units, two of which are predominantly rural. Although decentralization legislation has fragmented regional governance, a joint secretariat has provided an effective horizontal structure to coordinate infrastructure services at the regional scale. In chapter 6, the authors argue that the war which unfolded in the countryside of Aceh in the postcolonial era exacerbated imbalances between urban and rural areas. However, the post-New Order legislation on regional autonomy and the 2005 Helsinki peace agreement have opened up more possibilities for political and economic cooperation across urban and rural spaces. Chapter 7 addresses the issue of economic development in the medium-sized cities of Java and questions the association of urbanization and improvement of economic welfare. The author highlights that Cirebon is a case of urbanization without development as the city is especially affected by economic reconversion and the end of redistribution mechanisms linked to fiscal decentralization.

Part 3 deals with representations of rural Malaysia, a country which is predominantly urban, with institutionalized ethnic categories. Chapter 8 analyzes the perceptions of Malay inhabitants of a village which has been integrated into a suburban area of Penang Island. Some villagers perceive themselves as “insiders” with a privileged relation to place, while people can be identified as “outsiders” when they are perceived to threaten the cohesion of the imagined village society. In chapter 9, the author explores the gendered dimension of modernization in a village of Negeri Sembilan and warns against essentialist visions of Malay rural societies. Increased mobility linked to work in the service and industrial economy has individualized socioeconomic relations. The agricultural sector, long a sphere dominated by women, is increasingly neglected, although women remain important landowners. And chapter 10 presents an argument about how chauvinistic discourses are mobilized by urban political elites to delegitimize the choice of rural voters in Malaysia as elsewhere. The chapter historicizes this question in regards with class relations within the Malay population and contrasts it with America, China and Thailand, where the same trend is observed.

Part 4 explores meanings taken on by the rural and the urban in Thailand according to different socio-political stances. Chapter 11 explores the perceptions in Thai society on the phua farang phenomenon: intermarriage between Western men and Isan women. In a moralistic fashion, phua farang is condemned by the urban elite, which denies agency to rural women and seeks to ascribe to rural women the role of safeguarding national tradition. Chapter 12 revisits the history of the formation of the Red Shirt movement to highlight the emergence of a distinct political subjectivity emerging from rural areas, but with a broader subaltern base. The Red Shirt movement would have been a response of disadvantaged urban and rural populations to elitist aristocratic urban-based chauvinism and their attempt to take over the state in a coup d’état in 2006. Chapter 13 provides an ethnographic narrative about the city of Chiang Mai envisioned by rural migrants as a place of encounter, of possibilities and danger. The account shows lives unfolding in anxious times of political and economic crisis, times particularly unsettling for newcomers.

The book is an original contribution which succeeds in showing the problematic aspects of rural and urban categories for governance and political imagination. However, the broad disciplinary, geographical and methodological scope undermines the sense of cohesion that derives from the common epistemological aim. Moreover, it seems that organizing the chapters according to dominant themes would have rendered more obvious the convergence of processes and meaning formation across nations. Nevertheless, these flaws do not undermine the overall quality of this contribution, which furthers our understanding of social transformations in Asia.

Jean-François Bissonnette, Université Laval, Québec, Canada

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THE EAST ASIAN PEACE: Conflict Prevention and Informal Peacebuilding. Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific Series. By Mikael Weissmann. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. xiv, 219 pp. (Tables, figures.), US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-230-31396-5.

Given that the East Asian headlines most prominent in the global press recently focus on maritime military tensions and dark warnings about the conflicts these could spark, many will be surprised to pick up a book entitled The East Asian Peace and discover that this region has been uniquely peaceful. Quantitative research confirms that East Asia has been relatively more peaceful than other regions. As author Mikael Weissmann observes, the “last major armed interstate conflict” in East Asia was the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war (7-8).

Lest one is tempted to conclude that harmony is breaking out in East Asia, alas the recent headlines are not entirely wrong. Weissmann finds many potential conflicts, not only in Northeast Asia, but also in Southeast Asia, where numerous unresolved territorial disputes remain, some of which became militarized. Nonetheless, this militarization failed to lead to armed conflict, a fact reflecting the East Asian peace (8). His explanation for this is “an underlying peace-building process has concurrently transformed interstate relations” (10). Weissmann goes beyond identifying a “no-war peace” and asserts “East Asia indeed enjoys a ‘relative peace’ both in terms of quality and stability”(10). Supporting this, he notes that “all of China’s land border disputes with its Southeast Asian neighbors have been resolved”(10). One might add that the same is true for China’s land border disputes with Russia and the Central Asian Republics.

Weissmann makes an even more distinctive claim when he challenges the dominant Western view that East Asian multilateralism has been ineffective. Unlike this view, he takes informal processes seriously, and finds that East Asia has developed significant preventive diplomacy and conflict management mechanisms. I have heard Japanese diplomats make a similar claim, namely that Western accounts overlook the ASEAN Way of conflict management. This consists of several processes in Weissmann’s view: elite interactions, back-channel negotiations, economic interdependence and integration, functional integration, multilateralism, and institutionalization of peaceful relations (149). East Asians thereby develop “positive relations despite the existence of conflicting issues,” and this “has been institutionalized in the ASEAN Way, with its sensitivity for avoiding confrontation, focusing on conflict avoidance, and saving face while building consensus”(164). Western approaches to conflict resolution emerge from this book as intellectually well developed, but benighted in terms of emotional intelligence. By contrast, the ASEAN Way emerges as less intellectually developed, but as more emotionally intelligent, and thereby ultimately as more successful.

For a Scandinavia-based observer, Weissmann expresses surprising belief in the efficacy of personal networks. Rather than seeing these as synonymous with corruption, he argues that “personal networks facilitate the optimal selection of participants for track-two diplomacy” (163).

Weissmann suggests that these regional processes are leading to the Asianization or “ASEANization” of China: “the ASEAN Way has been important for the Chinese learning and self-redefinition process” (160). He claims that ASEAN has “entangled the dragon”: “China has become locked into a web of institutionalized multilateral practices, agreements and norm systems”(159). Nevertheless, it remains unclear to what extent China has become “locked in,” and how much mutual interdependence there is versus one-sided dependence by China’s neighbours? China has rather appeared to socialize to the US practice of using economic sanctions as a weapon in political disputes.

This book reflects the peak of East Asia’s security multilateralism that was reached in 2003-2004, and largely overlooks more recent troubles. Yet, one can use this book’s framework to understand some of the recent tensions. For example, the DPJ emphasized transparency, official diplomatic channels, and rule of law in its dealings with China, especially regarding the Senkaku/Diaoyu island dispute, which contrasts strongly with the non-confrontational, back-channel approach favoured by the LDP (and which avoided applying Japanese law to these islands). In light of Weissmann’s analysis we can identify the DPJ’s transparent and formal approach as a major reason for the aggravation of this bilateral dispute from 2010.

Weissmann appears over-optimistic in light of recent events when claiming “key maritime flashpoints in the South China Sea have been mitigated and a consensus has been reached among the parties to resolve the dispute peacefully” (10). In contrast to Weissmann’s constructivist approach, which sees these informal peace-building processes socializing states and leading to a redefinition of national interests and identities, realists would view the progress this book identifies as an artifact of a transient distribution of power, with a rising China interested in closer economic integration and a peaceful environment, and not yet strong enough to unilaterally have its way. One problem with such a critique, however, is that it is not clear ten years later that the distribution of capabilities has moved enough to explain China’s shift in behaviour, assuming there has been a shift.

Weissmann identifies the US military presence in the region as one important cause for the East Asian peace. As a non-US-based observer, he can arguably look at this more dispassionately than many US-based observers who dominate the discourse on East Asian security, and who can have institutional and even identity and emotional investments in the US military presence. Although Weissmann identifies the US role as positive for regional peace (with the partial exception of the Korean Peninsula), he nonetheless argues that the US role has been modest, as it has not contributed much to improving the quality of the East Asian peace, and only contributes to the no-war peace. A realist might argue that it was precisely in 2003-2004, when the US was distracted from the region, that regional processes reached their height and that it was when the US reengaged and attempted to contain China that regional tensions rose. Recent tensions notwithstanding, the East Asian peace, at least as a minimal no-war peace, remains largely intact. No armed conflicts have erupted. The regional preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution mechanisms that Weissmann identified persist and are at work attempting to resolve current tensions.

In sum, this book is a must-read for anyone focusing on East Asian regional security. It presents the most comprehensive argument to date about how and why East Asia’s informal conflict prevention and peacebuilding mechanisms are more effective than Western observers realize.

Paul Midford, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

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THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD TRADING SYSTEM: Asian Perspectives. A Book. Edited by Richard E. Baldwin, Masahiro Kawa, and Ganeshan Wignaraja. Tokyo: Asian Development Bank Institute; London: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 2013. viii, 169 leaves. (Figures, tables.) eBbook:

This book brings together abridged versions of papers presented at a conference held at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Geneva in March 2013. Following the editorial introduction and opening remarks by the then director-general of the WTO, Pascal Lamy, the book is thematically organized into four sections: supply chains and production networks, commercial and industrial policies, regional trade governance, and global trade governance.

The first section begins with a chapter by Baldwin (chapter 3) which argues for reforming world trade governance to accommodate the expansion of global production networks (GPNs). The case made here for a new “WTO 2.0” has, however, completely overlooked the pivotal role played by unilateral trade and investment liberalization and other supply-side reforms in East Asia’s success in reaping gains from joining GPNs. The proposed global initiatives could perhaps play a facilitating role at the margin, but solid unilateral action by individual countries is the key to achieving the expected outcome. Inomoto (chapter 4) illustrates how, in a context where trade within GPNs is expanding rapidly, the use of official (gross) trade statistics leads to inaccurate measurement of bilateral trade imbalances and presents alternative “value-added” estimates derived by combining official trade statistics and input-output (I-O) tables. These estimates need to be treated with caution because of the well-known limitations of the available I-O data and the underlying restrictive assumptions of the estimation method (Robert E. Yuskavage, “Perspectives from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis,” in Trade in Value Added: Developing New Measures of Cross-Border Trade, eds. Adithya Mattoo et al., Washington DC: World Bank, 2013, 331-335). The methodological issues aside, it is important to emphasize that the measurement of bilateral trade imbalances is rather inconsequential for assessing the developmental implications of GPNs. Trade theory postulates, and the East Asian experience vividly illustrates, that a single-minded focus on domestic value addition can hamper, rather than help, employment expansion (and hence poverty alleviation) through global economic integration. Based on resource allocation considerations derived from the principle of comparative advantage, one can make a strong case for the expansion of low-value-added export industries in a labour abundant economy. When a country imports capital-intensive inputs such as machinery, synthetic fibre and industrial chemicals with foreign exchange earned by exporting labour-intensive products such as garments, footwear and toys, it is implicitly substituting labour for capital in the production process. Xing (chapter 5) discusses challenge posed by the expansion of GPNs for delineating the impact of exchange rate changes on trade flows and proposes using value-added trade weights (rather than the conventional gross trade weight) for estimating the real exchange rate index. His prognosis is very clear, but the proposed remedy seems to have ignored the well-known empirical regularity that, for a given country, source country composition of parts and components imports differ considerably from the destination-country composition of its final (assembled) goods export. Wignaraja (chapter 6) examines the role of SME in GPNs based on a firm-level survey of selected East Asian countries. The chapter is informative, but unfortunately it has completely overlooked the role of multinational enterprises (MNEs), the key players of GPNs, in fostering the participation of SMEs. There is ample evidence that SMEs emerge de novo benefiting from the vendor development (sub-contracting) strategies of MNEs. The real policy challenge is not simply to design policies to promote SMEs, but to explore alternative pathways to facilitate forging links between MNEs and potential local entrepreneurs.

In section 2, Low and Tijala (chapter 7) provides a synthesis of trade and industry policy choices, with a clear warning of the risk of possible government failure. Evenett (chapter 8) provides a fascinating analysis of the proliferation of non-traditional (non-tariff) forms of trade protection in clear violation of WTO obligations during the years following the onset of the global financial crisis. The chapter makes a strong case for revising WTO rules with a view to averting “murky” protectionism. Pomfret and Pontines (chapter 9) find that countries have begun to rely increasingly on exchange rate policy as a trade policy instrument because of their trade liberalization commitments under free-trade agreements (FTAs). This finding points to the need for an exchange-rates coordination mechanism within FTA blocks.

Section 3 is by far the best part of the book. Kawai and Wignaraja (chapter 10 ) provide a stage-setting overview of the untoward consequences of the proliferation of overlapping FTAs and the related reform proposals. Chia (chapter 11) provides an interesting analytical narrative of the progress made, and challenges faced by, the Association of the South East Asian nations (ASEAN) in its move towards an economic community. Urata (chapter 12) critically examines the proposal for consolidating ASEAN’s FTAs with Australia, China, India Japan and South Korea to form a mega FTA, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Dupont (chapter 13) provides a penetrating analysis of the viability of both RCEP and the proposed Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP) in light of the European experience. The evidence harnessed in these two chapters casts serious doubts on the viability of the proposed mega FTAs.

Among the contributions in the final section, Uyama (chapter 15) argues for placing emphasis on negotiating pluralistic agreements that specifically focus on a single trade issue (following the example of the Information Technology Agreement) as a solution to the present stalemate of the Doha Round trade negotiations. The remaining chapters break no new grounds and read like straight transcripts of impromptu conference presentations.

Notwithstanding the limitations noted, overall this is an important book that helps fertilization of new ideas on a subject of contemporary policy relevance. The book is compact and generally well edited and organized, but its reader-friendliness could have been further improved by adding a list of abbreviations and acronyms, and a subject index.

Prema-chandra Athukorala, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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China and Inner Asia


FOLLOWING THE LEADER: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping. A Philip E. Lilienthal Book in Asian Studies. By David M. Lampton. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014. xiii, 293 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$31.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-520-28121-9.

Following the Leader probes the dreams and nightmares of the PRC’s leadership after Mao, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping. Lampton, who appreciates the fragility of the PRC’s success and the enormous challenges lying ahead, attempts to “humanize” China’s extraordinary course of development since Deng Xiaoping’s return to power in 1977. His selective history of PRC challenges reveals the frustrations China’s leaders feel, the sheer scale of the challenges they face and, most illuminatingly, “the nightmares disturbing their sleep.” Lampton’s book emerges at a pivotal point in China’s modern history—we still do not know if China’s rapid-paced development is the basis for a more stable and responsive PRC government or if it signals the appearance of a more unmanageable, pluralized polity and society.

Lampton’s book is based on 558 interviews and group meetings with Chinese leaders between 1971-2013, on “innumerable” documents, and is illustrated with case studies. His inside-out or inductive approach helps us understand and anticipate the behaviour of the PRC. The book moves from macro to micro, first narrating the evolution of the Chinese communist revolution, proceeding to a “wide-angle” view, then to an analysis of leaders’ nightmares from an up-close perspective, and finally to forecasting the implications of China’s supersonic development.

Following the Leaderis beautifully written and dotted with poetic passages unexpected in a book of political analysis. Describing the dilemma hyper growth has brought to the PRC since Deng Xiaoping’s rise, Lampton illuminates the following nightmare:

Like an automobile driving at high speed on a moonless night in the desert, China is undergoing a rate of domestic change so rapid that the country’s forward momentum cannot be stopped or the direction adequately adjusted in the existing zone of illumination—the PRC is driving too fast for the headlights to reveal what dangers lurk ahead . . . and at any moment China might hit a stationary object that was diffuse and unrecognized in the obscurity of the night. (222)

There are many more PRC nightmares for us to contemplate. In fact, China’s nightmares are so numerous Lampton finds the most appropriate simile for PRC governance to be the “whack a mole” arcade game in which one uses a mallet to try to bash multiple pop-up moles back into their holes. China’s nightmare is that one mallet is not and never will be enough to protect its people from harmful consequences such as severe environmental pollution or water problems that could explode into significant instability. It is clear that China’s economic power is key to China’s future and to its national power. Such economic power, however, can also lead to the greatest nightmare of all: that a government unable to protect its people from such deleterious conditions will soon need protection itself.

Unlike American leaders whose nightmares mainly focus on individuals or small groups, the nightmares of Chinese leaders concern huge social groups, some numbering over 800 million people. Lampton reminds us that at the end of 2011, for the first time in China’s history the rural population fell below half of the total population. China is now an urban nation. A PRC official states the nightmare this situation has produced by asking American officials how they would like to have 800 million farmers when the country only needs 200 million? China also needs upwards of 300 million jobs, equal to the entire population of the United States, to solve its periodically erupting unemployment problem. Worker discontent as a result of terrible factory working and pay conditions is frequently expressed in “mass incidents” as well as worker suicides and other violence.

Lampton considers PRC alternative futures that inspire some of the most traumatic nightmares for Chinese leaders. Perhaps the most frightening involves the fate of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). For several years now there has been a “simmering” argument in the Communist Party about whether the PLA should become a “national army” or remain an instrument of a single political party. Some party thinkers have proposed dividing the Communist Party in two by forming one conservative Communist party and one more liberal Communist party. China would thus become a “democratic” multi-party state with the PLA beholden to the PRC government but not to either party. Such a move would avert a 1989 Tiananmen situation in which a domestic conflict or succession struggle leading to a split within the party could result in a PLA alignment with one side or, even worse, both. Some ask the haunting question: might a PLA beholden to the government and not to one particular party choose to take the government into its own hands?

What is in store for China’s long-range international future seems to be much more the stuff of nightmares for United States’ leaders than for China’s. China’s future destiny has never been more closely connected with that of the international community. Unfortunately for Washington, Lampton stresses, China perceives the United States to be the greatest threat to its security future. The United States struggles to develop a shared vision of international security with the PRC and others. Beijing is clearly uncomfortable with a US-led security order founded on bilateral and multilateral alliances that do not include China. This has led to a struggle for the soul of Chinese foreign policy, between the realities of interdependence and impulses of assertive nationalism. China’s still powerful fear of being bullied, its victim mentality, continues to foster its aversion to being drawn into international obligations. While China’s leaders and people feel empowered to be full and equal participants in regional and world affairs, China still, as a rule, strives for balance while maintaining few or no permanent enemies or friends. What is ominous for those who have spent most their lives engaged with the PRC is not a nightmare but a stark, present reality: for several years now, every time China gets into trouble with its neighbours, the United States is always on the other side.

Justin Jon (Ben-Adam) Rudelson, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, USA

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SPYING FOR THE PEOPLE: Mao’s Secret Agents, 1949-1967. By Michael Schoenhals. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. ix, 266 pp. (Figures.) US$29.99, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-60344-8.

Michael Schoenhals’ newest work offers a rich and elegant examination of the surveillance and control apparatus of the People’s Republic of China in the two decades after revolution. Through the compilation of operational training manuals, archival accounts and never-before-seen “garbage materials”—grassroots, gray-market archival materials bought and sold by private peddlers—Schoenhals reconstructs the quotidian texture and day-to-day realities of China’s early surveillance operations. As the functional equivalent of the Soviet KGB, the Central Ministry of Public Security (CMPS) of the Central People’s Government was formally ratified on October 19, 1949, vested with exclusive authority to recruit and deploy agents for domestic operational purposes. How were they identified, trained, deployed and dismissed? How did the scope and influence of this organization change over time? What was the extent of its power and influence in the mid-1950s, at a time when China’s national railroad network alone saw more than ten thousand public security agents serving in a variety of capacities? What ensued in the wake of the Sino-Soviet split, when CCP authorities established their own surveillance textbooks and operational protocols based upon “Chinese characteristics?” What was the system’s fate at the outset of the Cultural Revolution, when Mao Zedong emphasized what Schoenhals somewhat euphemistically describes as the “widespread outsourcing of investigation, interrogation, and similar tasks to organizations of the revolutionary masses” (71-2). Schoenhals addresses these and many other questions, helping his readers gain a much fuller account of Chinese politics and society in the critical first two decades of the People’s Republic.

Schoenhals’ account is peppered throughout with concise, evocative case studies—too abundant to synthesize here—that humanize and enrich the story. One exemplary line of inquiry in the study pertains to the selection and recruitment of operatives at a time of great sociopolitical flux in the immediate post-revolutionary period. The CMPS was committed from its inception to developing what Schoenhals describes as “specialized and entirely covert operational resources” (52), with recruitment of operatives divided between three pools of candidates: the bad guys, the good guys, and those whose political and socioeconomic statuses were still very much in question at the time. The first group, also referred to as the “black masses,” encompassed those socioeconomic classes deemed hostile to the cause of socialism, and in particular, former Guomindang enemy combatants and surveillance operatives. Like many state-builders before and after it, the CCP was determined to leverage rather than eliminate those enemies who could render intelligence services deemed essential for the state’s protection. One prime recruitment area was within the country’s prison system, wherein detained individuals might be offered probationary status provided they were willing to collaborate. Mass mobilization campaigns constituted another prime recruiting ground, as in the October 1950 Suppression of Counterrevolutionaries campaign wherein service to the new regime was sometimes provided as an “exit strategy” to those who had been corralled. Former enemy combatants with known ties to enemy intelligence services were so valuable to the Communist regime, indeed, that they were at times specifically identified as “off limits” during political mass movements, and “de facto enjoyed protection in the course of every political campaign since 1949” (91).

The second group, or the red masses, encompassed members of the Party itself, as well as the Communist Youth League. Ideologically versed and politically committed to the cause, these individuals were in many ways the ideal candidates. In practical ways, however, they often proved less useful than their “black element” counterparts, standing out conspicuously within precisely those questionable contexts and communities they were charged with infiltrating.

The third group, or “gray masses,” was one of the most promising recruitment grounds for the state. Protestant “elements,” for example, could be utilized to infiltrate the Christian communities, themselves already under suspicion and close watch by the nascent regime. Similarly, those with longstanding connections to China’s foreign and embassy communities could be drawn upon to keep close watch on expatriates and foreign diplomats. There was an acute concern with finding operatives from non-Han Chinese backgrounds, as well, particularly in the southwest where Guomindang cells continued to operate between and along the Sino-Burmese border.

The development of surveillance operations involved not only organizational and logistical challenges, but also political and ideological debates. Was the employment of a covert force compatible with the Party’s self-fashioned identity as a revolutionary force of the people—particularly the use of the “black classes” and questionable elements? Was there a place for this form of covert organization within New China? The answer was a resounding yes, and what is more, the CCP proved unwilling to entrust its security solely with this formal surveillance infrastructure. By as early as 1953, the Party had developed its own parallel operation: the “specialized ideological policing unit,” or the Political Department of the CMPS. Among the most surveilled were CMPS agents themselves.

Spying for the People builds upon, and will undoubtedly contribute greatly to, Schoenhals’ deservedly towering reputation as a penetrating and precise analyst of the People’s Republic.

Thomas S. Mullaney, Stanford University, Stanford, USA

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THE MAKING OF MODERN CHINESE MEDICINE, 1850-1960. Contemporary Chinese Studies. By Bridie Andrews. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014. xvi, 294 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$35.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7748-2433-0.

Chinese medicine may not be what you think it is. Americans may be forgiven for thinking acupuncture the most important part of China’s medical culture, yet in 1820 a popular slogan in China stated that acupuncture was “absolutely inappropriate to all gentlemen.” How then did needling become the representative practice for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? What happened, Bridie Andrews reveals, is that Chinese medicine became modern even as the conspicuous word “traditional” was added to its name.

In this long-awaited synthetic study examining the transformation of Chinese medical culture from a pluralistic and private affair in the mid-nineteenth century to a standardized and state-sponsored dual system by the mid-twentieth, Andrews offers the best account to date of how “Western” medicine (xiyi) and “Chinese” medicine (zhongyi)encountered each other and both became modern. The genius of this study is that it keeps its eye fully on both forms of medicine, rather than one or the other. In nine lean chapters, Andrews examines the transformation of the medical field in China that ranged from herbalists, shamans, bone-setters, midwives, priests and a few medical missionaries, to one in which two forms of medicine competed. There was an increasingly power-hungry xiyi that sought to dominate the medical field, and an increasingly rationalized Chinese medicine that (re-)incorporated acupuncture from Japan. Like other recent works on Chinese medicine, Andrews skewers the nationalist narrative of a TCM that was always, already complete. Likewise, xiyi was also in constant transformation. But this is no Whig history—neither form of medicine progressed according to an inevitable logic of progress—and so the end result is messy: a Chinese health-care field that promoted one form of medicine over another because it was sometimes popular, sometimes effective, and always subject to the politics of nationalism.

Following the introduction, Andrews establishes a baseline for a conversation about medicine and modernity in China. So we discover the complex field of health care in nineteenth-century China when on the street a foreign observer might witness Daoist medical peddlers, exorcists and kung-fu masters, but an astute Chinese writer would observe that many health issues were handled within the household through religious practices and herbal medical prescriptions, but may also consult itinerant “river-and-lake” doctors, street healers, tiger-skin merchants or various female practitioners. There were also official and semi-official physicians, a category that might include military doctors, opium office doctors, and school and Red Cross doctors. But all of the above, for Qiu Jisheng in 1915 Shaoxing, were a separate category from Chinese-style doctors (zhongyi). The knowledge and practice of these specialists in wound treatment, eye and throat diseases, smallpox variolation, childbirth and pediatrics, internal and external medicine was in a discrete class. For the poor, home and religious remedies were usually the only forms of medicine that were affordable, while the wealthy might get second and third opinions from established specialists.

We also see the birth of missionary medicine in China as hundreds of British and Americans physicians attempted to practice medicine as an aid to conversion. But rather than emphasize how different their medicine was, Andrews demonstrates how missionaries tried to reduce the “perception of alterity” by using Chinese drugs, making their clinics and hospitals accommodating to Chinese sensibilities, and taking the pulse at both wrists, as was common practice (55-61). In a fourth chapter, Japan becomes the focus as we see this nation as key to transforming both major forms of medicine. Japan had absorbed anatomically-based Western medicine along with other reforms well before China, and became a model for many modernizers from China due to its geographical and cultural proximity. In Japan, kanpō (Andrews calls this “Sino-Japanese medicine”) was regulated and starved while the government encouraged a vigorously expanding system of domestic medical education promoting anatomically-based medicine. A Chinese physician named Yu Yan, trained in the Japanese system, returned to China and tried to demolish Chinese medical theory through public debate, and then abolish its practice through legislation. But both kanpō in Japan and its counterpart in China survived and experienced resurgence in the 1930s.

Subsequent chapters focus on public health as a key component of state building, examples of medical lives in the unofficial hybrid field of medicine that emerged in the twentieth century, new medical institutions that changed both forms of medicine, and the development of new theories and new practices even as nationalism emphasized the “traditional” aspect of medicine. To illustrate these themes, I focus on acupuncture.

Andrews reveals how acupuncture was transformed into the marquee practice of modern Chinese medicine from its degraded position in the late Qing. The key was the Japanese grafting of acupuncture onto a Western view of the anatomical body. Modern filiform needles replaced previously much larger acupuncture tools. Acupuncture points were reduced and relocated by subsequent Chinese scholars like Cheng Dan’an, who studied both forms of medicine, and argued, “[e]ach acupoint must be elucidated anatomically,” to avoid blood vessels and arteries. And so it is ironic, the author argues, that Westerners now see this Japanese-influenced, anatomically reformed acupuncture as the symbol of a more holistic and ancient form of health now called Traditional Chinese Medicine (197-205).

The author ends her roughly chronological narrative of a long century of modern medicine in China with the official establishment of TCM in the 1950s. Although the analysis is often at its best in the final chapter of conclusions, the narrative becomes thin during the crucial war and early PRC years (1937-1960) as Andrews relies on recent secondary literature. Other readers may find the episodic nature of the chapter on three medical lives to be instructing, if not completely satisfying as the best examples of the trends she describes elsewhere. Yet these can hardly be major critiques of what was designed to be a century-long narrative history arguing that, against received understandings, modern Chinese medicine includes both xiyi practiced in China, and standardized and anatomized Traditional Chinese Medicine.

David Luesink, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA

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ENGAGING CHINA: Myth, Aspiration, and Strategy in Canadian Policy from Trudeau to Harper. UTP Insights. By Paul M. Evans. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. xix, 122 pp. US$19.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-4426-1448-2.

Paul Evans has long been a distinguished student of the Canada-China relationship, and his new Engaging China is probably the most important book published about it since Reluctant Adversaries: Canada and the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1970 (University of Toronto Press, 1991), a conference volume he and B. Michael Frolic edited. This brief book is based entirely on English-language materials, but in relating the Canadian side of the relationship Evans makes fairly extensive use of original archival sources.

Most historians will probably come away from this book somewhat disappointed that Evans does not cover in any detail Trudeau’s trip to China in the late 1940s, his subsequent second trip to China in 1960 along with Jacques Hébert during the height of the Great Leap Forward famine (he would later visit China once again in 1973, this time as PM), Trudeau’s lifelong fixation on China, Diefenbaker’s decision to sell wheat to China, and especially Canada’s innovative and influential “takes note” formula regarding the territorial disposition of Taiwan in establishing diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1970.

“Aspirations and tactics from the past offer lessons and cautionary tales,” he writes on page 84, but he does not really elaborate on these lessons and tales very much other than to make the sound observation that “the Canadian approach historically has been the idea that China is not a long-term threat.” This is somewhat disappointing, especially since Evans clearly believes that knowing the past in order to understand the present better is a sound reason for studying history. But Evans is primarily a political scientist, and it would be unfair to criticize his book for being something it is not and does not pretend to be: a full-orbed monograph on the history of Canada-China relations, one drawn from both Canadian and Chinese sources. Indeed, according to Evans, “What we still need are a full-gauged history of Canadian policy making and a systematic account of the Chinese side of the equation” (xix). He draws attention to the ongoing preparation of the long-awaited full treatment of Canada-China relations by B. Michael Frolic (Bernie Frolic).

Engaging China is a brief survey of Canadian China policy since 1970 and, more importantly, a broad policy recommendation or prescription for the terms of the future relationship. The meat of the book is chapter 5, “Engagement Recalibrated,” in which Evans argues that correcting Canada’s somewhat deficient and evolving China policies can be achieved through understanding and acting on four main points: 1) since 1978 and Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, China has changed immensely and continues to do so, and that this is good news for “engagers,” or people who believe that long-term engagement of the West with China will lead to positive change there; 2) the current dispensation of a multicentric world order has changed China’s international behaviour and will continue to do so, and fears of competing visions of world order (Westphalian vs. Sinocentric) are overstated; 3) while Australia, South Korea and the United States have formulated long-term strategic visions for their overall engagement with China, Canada has so far largely failed to think in long-term geopolitical and strategic terms and needs to transcend narrowly “transactional and mercantilist” concerns; and 4) national leaders should take the lead in formulating a coherent long-term vision for China policy.

Evans argues that Canadian trade and investment with China can, if “carefully implemented” (87), eventually improve China’s human rights, social and economic rights, although possibly in ways not readily foreseen today. He suggests that Canadian leaders can gently prod China to abide by the provisions of its own constitution, which explicitly guarantees freedoms of press, speech and assembly, among other things. He has faith in the long-term transformative power of “the traditional Canadian formula of direct criticism and expressions of concern at the highest political level, quiet diplomacy in cases involving individuals, and an incessant effort at two-way dialogue, academic exchange, and capacity building” (88), and he wants as many levels and varieties of exchange and contact with China as possible.

He clearly admires Australia’s comprehensive geostrategic blueprint for future engagement with China and observes that “Australia, Canada’s most natural Asia Pacific comparator, is wrestling with the dilemma of having China as its largest trading partner and the United States as its principal security partner” (96). Although Canada’s largest trading and security partners are one and the same country, his argument that Canada ought to have some sort of coherent vision of China policy is sound, as is his contention that Canada should not focus on trade while largely leaving defence matters to the US and its Pacific allies.

Evans is not content to see Canada-China relations develop on an ad hoc basis, as if Canada were travelling through thick fog and could see what lies ahead only as it is closely approached. Evans insists that the fog can and should be penetrated and a way through it found. This important book, which no student of Canada-China relations should neglect and which belongs in all serious academic libraries, ultimately highlights the inadequacy of the ossified Laurentian and Continentalist duality in Canada’s foreign relations. While Canada’s major foreign relationship will very likely always be with the United States, Canada is now more of a Pacific state than an Atlantic one, even though much of Canada has yet to awaken fully to this adamantine fact. Evans’ book is a clarion call for the awakening, one that will hopefully help make unnecessary a future firebell in the night.

David Curtis Wright, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada                                                   

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LIVING DEAD IN THE PACIFIC: Contested Sovereignty and Racism in Genetic Research on Taiwan Aborigines. By Mark Munsterhjelm. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014. 292 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7748-2659-4.  

This book fills an important gap in the literature on international indigenous studies. With a population of more than 550,000, the indigenous peoples of Taiwan are more numerous than the Aborigines of Australia or the San of Southern Africa, yet far less is known about them outside of their own country. A solid addition to Latourian Science and Technology Studies (STS), this book examines how genetics research contributes to the biocolonialism of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples, as well as how indigenous peoples resist the use of their genetic material by outsiders without free, prior, informed consent. This issue is especially important in light of Article 31 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which states that indigenous peoples have the right to control and protect their human and genetic resources.

The first chapter provides a history of the political economy of Taiwan. From an indigenous perspective, the most important fact is that Taiwan’s indigenous peoples were incorporated into states and capitalist forms of accumulation—some as late as 1914—as Chinese, British and ultimately Japanese colonial forces sought to extract camphor from the central mountain regions. For readers interested in contemporary geopolitics, this chapter even explores PRC (Peoples Republic of China) claims to Taiwan and their discourse on the island’s “minorities.” By denying them status as indigenous peoples, who have certain rights in international law, the Chinese (especially in the UN) attempt to exclude any recognition of them as peoples with their own sovereignty (15). The same is true of Taiwan’s status. Only if Taiwan maintains its sovereignty vis-à-vis China and its democratic system can indigenous peoples there enjoy what Munsterhjelm calls “graduated sovereignty” (44). This book demonstrates clearly that Taiwan is a settler state like Canada or New Zealand, marked by differential political and economic power between settler and indigenous populations.

In the absence of anthropological field research, Munsterhjelm bases his book on Latourian Actor Network Theory (ANT) and rhetorical analysis of genetics research as narratively organized networks and resistance. He goes beyond Foucauldian discourse analysis by showing how discourses are both constructed and resisted. Chapter 3 examines scientific articles and their media coverage, showing how research on alcoholic “genes” constructs Taiwan’s indigenous people as genetically deficient. Chapter 4 shows how advocates of Taiwanese independence used genetic research to assert that Taiwan is the origin of the Austronesian diaspora and that 85 percent of Taiwanese have indigenous genes. This positions the indigenous peoples as the ancestors of the settlers, making genes “weapons of ontological violence” (120), but indigenous groups (in this case the Kavalan) were able to disrupt the narrative by asserting their own sovereignty (124).

The following two chapters move beyond Taiwan. Chapter 5 examines documentaries about genetic linkages between indigenous peoples of Taiwan and the Maori of New Zealand. This chapter is useful for contrast, as Munsterhjelm reveals how the Maori have successfully contested a discourse of “warrior genes” that can supposedly explain domestic violence in their communities. He concludes that the Maori have a stronger position relative to settlers in New Zealand than Taiwanese indigenous people relative to Taiwanese settlers. The Maori are better organized, even with the Maori Party in politics, and the media are more supportive. New Zealand researchers are more willing to criticize colleagues for violations of indigenous rights, whereas Taiwanese scientists have a “culture of impunity” and are even permitted to publicly criticize indigenous rights (161). Chapter 6 is about attempts to patent indigenous genetic material in Taiwan and the United States, indigenous resistance to the commercialization of their genes, and the ultimate failure of the patent applications. In this chapter, the author reveals his own participation as an advocate for the rights of Taiwanese indigenous peoples in genetics research (192).

STS tends to have a strong moralistic tone, as it portrays “Western” science as a form of Western intellectual hegemony over the rest of the world. This book is no exception, concluding that genetics research constitutes indigenous peoples as belonging to a “state of nature,” while giving researchers exceptional power (210). Taiwan is described as a “semi-sovereign American protectorate” (19), and many of the issues are complicated due to neoliberal assemblages involving American institutions such as Stanford University, Coriell Cell Repositories, and the US Patent and Trademark Office. Munsterhjelm gives the impression that this effect is intentional, as “scientists seek to cancel out or naturalize” (210) the colonial history and continuing hierarchies between settlers and indigenous peoples. In Taiwan, the crux of the issue is that, although Article 21 of the 2005 Indigenous Peoples Basic Law stipulates that academic researchers must gain consent of the peoples involved, there are still no indigenous autonomous governments or band councils who can give such collective consent. By drawing attention to this issue, Munsterhjelm helps promote indigenous rights in Taiwan.

As with any publication with such ambitious goals, there are occasional factual errors and omissions, but these are likely to be noticed only by Taiwan specialists and do not detract from the general argument. The concept of graduated sovereignty allows him to optimistically conclude that indigenous people in democratic states can assert themselves as “self-representing peoples who must be treated with dignity and respect” (223). Due to difficult and often obscure vocabulary, this book will not be useful as an undergraduate textbook. It is, however, an erudite work, making good use of both English- and Chinese-language source materials. It shows the utility of Latourian STS and ANT theories to social scientific analysis. Although not an ethnography, it provides indispensable information for anthropologists working with Taiwan’s indigenous peoples; as well as comparative data for researchers elsewhere. The focus on indigenous rights and on Taiwan as a settler state challenges many state-centric notions in Asian Studies, especially those that see Taiwan as intrinsically related to China. It is thus an important contribution to international indigenous studies and Taiwan studies, as serious reflection on sovereignty is crucial to both areas.

Scott Simon, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

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PARTNERS AND RIVALS: The Uneasy Future of China’s Relationship with the United States. By Wendy Dobson. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013. vii, 198 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$32.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4426-4752-7.

Wendy Dobson’s book purports to tackle the multi-faceted subject of US-China relations. She identifies as the book’s thesis the unambitious argument that this key relationship “can avoid traditional Great Power competition” (5). She fails to make that case, however, because she largely avoids addressing that competition.

Dobson is an economist, and this shows in her analysis. This book is really an expert explanation of China’s economic situation, followed by a workmanlike introduction to the US-China relationship, and finishing with an amateurish set of policy recommendations that demonstrate under-appreciation of the political and strategic issues that divide Beijing and Washington.

Dobson’s appraisal of China’s economy highlights the incomplete transition from traditional and communist-era practices to the efficiencies demanded by a globalized twenty-first century. She demonstrates that China has left communism far behind. The Chinese economy is now one of the world’s most open, she says, and suffers higher income inequality than the United States or India.

Dobson echoes the argument of many other economists that China is reaching a crossroads: the factors that powered rapid economic growth beginning in the 1980s are reaching a point of diminishing returns. While Beijing has presided over immense reductions in poverty and the long period of rapid economic growth that is the basis of China’s “rise,” the flaws hidden by these successes are becoming more prominent. To maintain a high growth rate, China must re-balance toward less reliance on exports and more on domestic consumption. China’s relatively low rate of domestic consumption is “a consequence of policy choices that favour producers over consumers” (24). Government policies also “penalize the non-state sector, which tends to be more efficient and productive” (25).

The book provides (on 109) a good summary of China’s attitude toward the World Trade Organization, of which China is a somewhat grudging member, and a helpful explanation (138-141) of the overlap and distinctions between the Trans- Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Dobson gives ample advice to the PRC leadership on how to make China’s economy more efficient. Her recommendations, however, are apolitical. Dobson herself recognizes “the Communist Party’s need to legitimize its autocratic rule” (4). No doubt the leaders in Zhongnanhai have heard such recommendations before; the question is why they have not implemented them. An explanation of why the political milieu of the Party makes it difficult for the leaders to carry out particular reforms would be welcome, but Dobson does little of this beyond noting that powerful industries and influential individuals will resist economic restructuring.

Having an economist tell this story becomes increasingly problematic as the subject matter expands from China’s economy to the US-China relationship. In a section titled “The Dangers of Mutual Ignorance and Miscalculation” (97-99), while there is much she might cover, Dobson focuses mostly on the issue of currency manipulation. A major giveaway comes on page 99, when Dobson states her view that in a “`normal’ major power relationship . . . economics trumps military thinking.”

Dobson understates the problem of strategic rivalry between the old great power and the rising challenger. She argues, for example, that “there is little evidence of China’s repudiating or replacing the existing global system” (101). Such a conclusion might be warranted if one focuses solely on international economic issues, but it overlooks China’s alternate-universe claim to ownership over most of the South China Sea, the Chinese government’s massive international cyber theft campaign, Chinese support for pariah states, and Chinese disrespect for a variety of international norms.

In the final three chapters Dobson offers policy recommendations for Washington and Beijing to keep their relationship constructive rather than conflictual. Disappointingly, she invokes the usual shallow platitudes of “transparency, trust, and cooperation” (126). She calls for more meetings and more dialogue. China and the United States, she writes, “both should move to build confidence through deeper understanding of the other’s core interests and accommodating the other’s deepest fears” (100). It is an assumption, and probably an erroneous one, that “deeper understanding” of each other’s objectives would “build confidence.” Would Americans feel more “confident” to more deeply understand that the Chinese want American alliances and military bases to leave the western Pacific? Would frank American talk about antipathy toward the Communist Party increase Chinese confidence in the bilateral relationship?

Dobson asserts that “each government needs to effect change at home to earn and maintain the other’s respect” (131). So China needs to start respecting its citizens’ civil and political rights, end official corruption, and improve its international image to gain America’s respect, while the Americans must solidify their financial situation, control inflation, and end the paralysis in Washington politics. Calling for the solution of massive and deeply rooted domestic problems as a policy recommendation for improving US-China relations is bizarre, even silly.

Dobson’s idea that the two countries should “work out mutually acceptable approaches to fraught issues—such as the futures of the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan” (146) seems a throw-away line. “Mutually acceptable approaches” on these and several other important strategic issues do not exist. Up to now Washington supports the Taiwan people’s desire not to be ruled by the CCP, while China insists it has sovereignty over Taiwan, whether or not the Taiwanese agree. With regard to North Korea, China’s view is that regime collapse must be avoided even at the cost of tolerating a DPRK nuclear weapons program, while the US view is that the DPRK must be pressured to de-nuclearize even at the risk of regime collapse.

Dobson implores the rivals to “cooperate on new areas of common interest, such as a global cyber security regime” (146). Again, there is no “common interest.” As the catch-up player, China’s interest is to steal from the developed countries. But Dobson’s recommendation plays into the hands of the Chinese, whose idea of “cooperation” is for the United States and other victims of the PRC government’s massive cyber theft program to stop “groundless accusations” against Beijing.

The first half of the book would be useful for readers with a background in economics who want to learn about China’s economy or for readers interested in the question of China’s current and future place in the global economic system. However, readers interested in the overall US-China relationship, and particularly the bilateral strategic competition, should look elsewhere.

Denny Roy, East-West Center, Honolulu, USA

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CLEARER SKIES OVER CHINA: Reconciling Air Quality, Climate, and Economic Goals. Edited by Chris P. Nielsen and Mun S. Ho. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2013. ix, 433 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-262-01988-0.

With China’s air pollution in the global spotlight, Clear Skies Over China: Reconciling Air Quality, Climate, and Economic Goals, edited by Chris P. Nielsen and Mun S. Ho, is an informative and timely volume. This book is a follow-up to the similarly structured edited volume Clearing the Air: The Health and Economic Damages of Air Pollution in China, published by the same editors in 2007 (Mun S. Ho and Chris P. Nielsen, Clearing the Air: The Health and Economic Damages of Air Pollution in China, MIT Press, 2007). The new book benefits from the linking of more advanced atmospheric research methods with economic and policy framing, facilitated by higher resolution emissions inventories, as well as a broader policy assessment. It also includes an expanded assessment of benefits to pollution mitigation beyond health to include agricultural productivity.

Part 1 begins with an overview of the atmospheric environment in China, including a review of the existing research, and a discussion of the methods used and the results from the models used to assess the costs and benefits of various emissions control policy options. In this section, the authors review two “past” scenarios, and two “future” scenarios. The “past” scenarios examine the impact of the actual technology mandates for sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions control that were part of the 11th Five-Year Plan, as well as a hypothetical economy-wide carbon tax again for the 2006-2010 timeframe. The “future” scenarios run from 2013-2020, spanning the 12th and 13th five-year plan periods, and include an assessment of 4 different future visions of carbon tax implementation.

Part 2 contains 6 different studies that lay out the underlying research that helped to inform the integrated modeling work reviewed in the earlier chapters. These chapters examine topics such as emissions from coal-fired power plants and cement production, emissions inventories and pollution concentrations, and the benefits of pollution reductions for human health and agriculture. Chapter 9, the final chapter of this section, provides a concluding, integrated approach to estimating the costs and benefits of air pollution control policies in order to assess how such policies would affect the broader economy.

Part 3 contains three appendices that provide a more technical overview of the assumptions on which the analysis in the earlier chapters is based. Appendix A details the economic-environmental model of China used to produce the results detailed in the book, including its structure, key variables and parameters, and the data sources used. Appendix B contains the methodology and reasoning behind the valuation of health damages as used in this book, including the mortality and morbidity valuation methodologies. Appendix C reviews the methodology used for emissions estimates for the 2007 model base year in the 2013-2020 policy cases, including a discussion of how some new assumptions were made that differ from the 2005 base year used in the 2006-2010 model.

There are several key contributions of this book that will be of particular interest to students and scholars of energy and environment in China. The book is very data rich, and the authors are careful to provide clear documentation of their varied data sources. The authors provide a nice overview of the limitations of official estimates of emissions in China, and piece together alternative studies to provide more comprehensive inventories than the national statistics provide. The clearly articulated discussion of how emissions estimates from independent researchers differ from those of official sources is very useful.

In addition, the modeling work on which most of the analysis in this volume is based is both intricate and innovative. As the authors discuss, the resolution of emissions inventories “had to advance significantly in both sector and spatial dimensions to link a multisector economic model with a spatial atmospheric one” (23). In addition, the authors explain the basic but often neglected distinction between how scientists measure pollution and how governments measure pollution. While scientists have to characterize sources of pollution more comprehensively in order to assess the effects of changes in emissions on actual atmospheric concentrations, policies tend to be pollutant specific. Since most pollutant species react chemically in the atmosphere, evaluating pollutant quantities in isolation may miss key interactions that affect concentrations.

A key conclusion of the book that will be of particular interest to scholars of environmental policy in China and perhaps surprising to many is that the pollution control policies implemented as part of China’s 11th Five-Year Plan, including the SO2 control policy and the small plant shut down policy, resulted in “a substantial improvement in air quality achieved at modest cost to GDP” (367). As a result, the authors note that while they may not have been the most efficient policies possible, they did provide a substantial net benefit. The authors note that this experience may be useful in the design of policies to control other types of pollutants including NOx and CO2, and suggest that China implement a carbon tax that would start low and gradually increase over time. Finally, the authors note that while reduced carbon dioxide emissions would result in global benefits, their results suggest that it is in China’s own national self-interest to price carbon to encourage energy transitions.

The main limitation of the book is that it is not written to be widely accessible to non-specialist readers. While the first three chapters do a much better job of speaking to a broader audience, chapters 4 through 9, as the editors note, are written primarily for other researchers with significant background in economic modeling, air pollution and China’s energy sector.

Nielsen and Ho’s edited volume is a significant contribution to the literature on air pollution control in China. It will be most useful for specialized scholars and students of atmospheric science, economic valuation, and environmental policy in China.

Joanna Lewis, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA

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THE CHINA PATH TO ECONOMIC TRANSITION AND DEVELOPMENT. By Hong Yinxing; translated by Xiao-huang Yin. Beijing: Higher Education Press, 2014. 520 pp. RMB ¥89.00, paper. ISBN 978-7-04-039235-7.

The take-off of the Chinese economy beginning at the end of the twentieth century surprised many experts within China and without. It also represents the most serious challenge to the geo-economic order in the Pacific region and beyond since the mid-nineteenth century. Unprecedented in world history in terms of scope and speed, China’s economic transformation from an impoverished country to the world’s second largest economy in a short period of time also challenges the existing theoretical paradigms. As Hong Yinxing points out in the introduction to his The China Path to Economic Transition and Development, old theories about economic development and transition can no longer sufficiently explain the recent changes in China’s economy. Nor could these theories provide guidance for its future growth.

Hong divides his book into two parts. In part 1 (the first six chapters) of the book, he provides the theoretical basis for understanding the “China model” of economic reform and opening. In chapter 1, he notes that China’s pattern of economic development is different from the models prescribed by Western theories of economic transition. In other words, what characterizes China’s transition is its focus on marketization, rather than privatization. He also notes that in conducting its market reform, China sets itself apart from countries like the former Soviet Union, whose goal was to transform itself into a capitalist economy. By comparison, China’s goal is more gradual and more focused on social stability. In chapter 2, he points out that this pattern of development remains socialist in essence and is uniquely Chinese. Hong argues that China’s economic success in the past three decades convincingly shows that the “China model” is a successful one. In chapter 3, he analyzes the deliberate efforts that China made to revamp its economy gradually. Those efforts include non-state elements in the economy and reforming the ownership structure of state-owned enterprises. In the next chapter, Hong discusses the steps that China took in establishing a new market-economy order. He demonstrates the complexities of the creation of this new order by noting that it cannot take place simultaneously with the destruction of the old planned economy system. In chapter 5 he looks into non-economic sectors such as public transportation, education and public health, confronting issues like social security, unemployment and social justice that became more prominent as the economy grew. In the last chapter of the first part of the book, the author reminds us that the two driving forces of the Chinese economy, namely FDI (foreign direct investment) and labour, can no longer give China the competitive advantage that it needs to sustain and continue its economic growth.

In the second part (the last 8 chapters) of the book, Hong explores the “China path” to economic development. China’s rapid economic growth, he notes in chapter 7, is seldom seen in the world. It became the second-largest economy in the world in 2010, the largest country in terms of foreign currency reserves, and the second-largest import country. Now China needs to find a “new driving force” and reorient its economic development. This is because old factors that supported China’s economic take-off are losing steam. For instance, labour is becoming increasingly expensive and scarce. China can no longer rely on investments and exports to sustain its economic development; rather, it must expand domestic consumption and technological and scientific innovation. In other words, China must shift from extensive economic growth to intensive growth, which is the subject of chapter 8. The latter, as Hong notes in chapter 9, will lead to a “new economy,” which is based on knowledge, information, the Internet and digitization. In chapter 10, he explores how China can develop innovation as a way to sustain its economic development. Chapter 11 examines another challenge that the Chinese economy faces: how to obliterate the urban-rural divide, which has become worse in recent decades. The solution, he argues in chapter 12, is the modernization of agriculture, which requires, among other things, the introduction of science and technology to agricultural production. Chapter 13 explores how to use expanded consumption to stimulate economic growth. The last chapter of the book returns to a topic he touched upon earlier: why China’s economic pattern is uniquely Chinese. To answer this question, the author looks at the economic ideas and policies of the Chinese Communist Party.

This is an extremely thoughtful and well-researched book, which demonstrates the author’s profound familiarity not only with the modern theories of economic development and transition but also with China’s recent economic growth. The book is coherently organized around two fundamental and inter-related questions: whether China’s rapid economic take-off in recent decades represents a pattern that is uniquely Chinese and whether China could sustain its growth in the future. He tackles these questions by looking at different aspects of the rapidly expanding Chinese economy and the subsequent socioeconomic issues that accompany China’s economic expansion. His convincing argument that China’s development challenges existing theories of economic development and transition embodies a theoretical innovation. Through his extensive data and nuanced analysis, Hong provides valuable insights into the past, present and future of the Chinese economy, which will benefit economists, policy makers and researchers and students of the Chinese economy. These insights are now made accessible to English readers as well thanks to the faithful and effective translation by Professor Xiao-huang Yin.

Yong Chen, University of California, Irvine, USA

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NEGOTIATING AUTONOMY IN GREATER CHINA: Hong Kong and its Sovereign Before and After 1997. Governance in Asia Series, no. 2. Edited by Ray Yep. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2013. xi, 324 pp. (Tables, figures.) £19.99, paper. ISBN 978-87-7694-120-8.

Negotiating Autonomy in Greater China explores what autonomy means in the context of Hong Kong-China relations before and after the 1997 handover. It examines this question through a very broad lens, considering Hong Kong’s colonial experience and China’s governance beyond Hong Kong, as well as Hong Kong’s own recent struggles and negotiations vis-à-vis China, its sovereign.

The book’s initial chapter, by Ray Yep, provides a broad overview, discussing how autonomy in the Hong Kong-China relationship should not be considered formalistically, but rather as a matter of ongoing negotiation, particularly considering the unprecedented nature of “one country, two systems,” and the fact that Hong Kong and China are distinctly different in culture and in institutions. The book’s following four chapters discuss Hong Kong under British colonial rule. Robert Bickers, in chapter 2, discusses the nature of colonial authority in Hong Kong, which was characterized largely by a lack of detailed supervision, with colonial administrators sent from post to post across the globe, and with Hong Kong, over a century and a half of colonial rule, largely left on its own without much interference or guidance from the colonizer. Gavin Ure, in chapter 3, considers Hong Kong’s autonomy in the context of public housing, particularly how the colonial authorities created public housing because of the massive influx of squatters in the late 1940s and early 1950s, again without guidance from Great Britain. Leo F. Goodstadt, in chapter 4, discusses the making of Hong Kong’s capitalist society. “Laissez faire and fiscal conservatism were not the typical legacy of British [colonial] rule” (83), but this was definitely the case in Hong Kong, where a lack of oversight by London enabled the local Hong Kong business elite’s interests to take priority over all else. Ray Yep and Tai-lok Lui, in chapter 5, discuss the MacLehose era (1971-1982) in Hong Kong. It was MacLehose, in particular, who worked to build up a sense of local pride and identity in Hong Kong, as well as leaving a legacy of social reform that was more partial and piecemeal than his British colleagues back in London sought for the territory.

The book’s subsequent chapters turn to an examination of communist rule. Chapter 6, by Lam Tao-chiu, looks at relations between Beijing and China’s provincial governments, concluding that these relations are markedly different from those between Beijing and Hong Kong. Ho-fung Hung and Huei-ying Kuo, in chapter 7, consider “one country, two systems” in Tibet and Taiwan. They show how the formulation “one country, two systems” was earlier framed in terms of Beijing-Tibet relations in the 1950s, as Deng Xiaoping later stated (179). “One country, two systems” failed as an experiment in Tibet and a proposal in Taiwan, Hung and Kuo show in their chapter; they ask in their conclusion as to whether its failure can be avoided in Hong Kong. Eilo Yu Wing-yat discusses “one country, two systems” in Macao, analyzing why this arrangement works more or less harmoniously in Macao as it does not in Hong Kong.

The book’s final two chapters turn, at long last, to contemporary Hong Kong as their object of inquiry. Ma Ngok analyzes in chapter 9 the 2010 political reform in Hong Kong, discussing how after the mass protests of 2003, Beijing tightened its control, reinterpreting the Basic Law to ensure that all electoral reform could only take place with Beijing’s approval. “The 2010 negotiations over political reform marked the first time that Beijing officials negotiated face-to-face with the Hong Kong democrats over the constitutional reform of Hong Kong” (262), with pragmatism prevailing—a pragmatism that in ensuing years has come to seem in increasingly short supply. In chapter 10, Benny Tai examines judicial autonomy in Hong Kong. The legal systems of China and of Hong Kong are markedly different, with the former taking precedence over the latter in Hong Kong of late. Because Beijing’s Standing Committee has the right to overrule Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, the latter proceeds very gingerly in order to preserve its autonomy to the extent that it can, Tai shows.

This book is quite interesting as a whole, but also imbalanced in my reading. I had hoped to discover much about Hong Kong’s complex relations with China since the 1997 handover, but only three of the book’s ten chapters—its initial chapter and two concluding chapters—directly address this topic. I found the book’s final four chapters to be its most interesting, first in their discussions of Tibet, Taiwan and Macao and their different renditions of “one country two systems,” and then in the final two chapters’ meticulous analyses of Hong Kong’s attempts to preserve and create political and judicial autonomy under Beijing’s massive shadow. There is great need for a full and comprehensive scholarly volume explaining in an institutional, political, economic and sociological sense what has happened to Hong Kong over the past twenty years. This is not that volume. Nonetheless, this book is well worth reading for the insights it provides as to what autonomy means in the context of “one country, two systems.” As its editor and chapter writers well realize, Hong Kong-China relations at present represent an extraordinary political experiment, an experiment whose broad historical and comparative context this book ably documents and analyzes.

Gordon Mathews, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

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CHINA CONSTRUCTING CAPITALISM: Economic Life and Urban Change. International Library of Sociology. By Michael Keith, Scott Lash, Jakob Arnoldi, and Tyler Rooker. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xiv, 330 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$50.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-415-49706-0.

China Constructing Capitalism argues that the relationship between the market and the state in China is not so much one of competition or corruption, but a generative relationship that produces a new, “Chinese model” of capitalism, which the authors call “the system of local state capitalism.” This Chinese model, however, didn’t simply emerge anew during the reform period, but is founded upon Daoist and Confucian thought and culture. While “rational action” is the “basis of Western capitalism” (44), Daoist wu wei (non-action) and Confucian rites are the basis of the Chinese “mode of capitalism.” Putting aside this orientalist argument, many of the chapters, especially the empirical ones on urban land markets and developments, migration and financial markets, contain a wealth of ethnographic detail showing how “the hybridisation of state and market emerges to structure risk and uncertainty” (85). Nonetheless, it is hard to escape the orientalist framing, a symptom of contemporary desires to find a different capitalism in a booming China.

Methodologically, the book compares an ideal image of one society (Western neoliberalism) with an ethnographic study of economic life in another (China). Thus neoliberalism, an economic ideology that affects the economic regulation of capitalism in much of the world, is seen as abstract, rationalist, disembedded and individualistic compared to how markets work in China. After making this comparison in the introduction—where it is posited as central to the main argument of the book—chapter 2 confusingly suddenly exposes the methodological problem this entails, stating that actual markets in the West do not operate the way neoliberalism says they should either. The focus shifts from whether the economy is embedded or not to how it is embedded. The big splash of the introduction suddenly disappears, the sharp civilizational dichotomies rapidly dissolve—this is probably a good thing, and chapters generally improve from number two on.

Chapter 1, mostly summarizing the arguments of Durkheim-student Marcel Granet and French sinologist Francois Jullien, draws a strict distinction between Chinese and Western thought and culture, arguing that the West is rationalist and individualist and China immanentist and relational. This sharp East-West divide, founded in the Axial Age, largely determines the difference between Chinese and Western capitalism. Sounding more like a series of notes than a finished draft, the chapter is vague and repetitive. Chapter 2 jumps (over 2000 years!) to the contemporary period to describe the institutions of “Chinese capitalism.” It argues for a socio-economic approach to understanding China, with particular attention to formal and informal institutions. While the book intends to make a big argument about the uniqueness of Chinese capitalism, the authors are unable to sustain the argument in the empirical chapters.

Chapter 3 focuses on the importance of urban land markets and property relations to China’s recent economic development, arguing that the particular forms of governance in urban China are necessary to mediate between “incommensurable forms of expertise” and value (75). An interesting historical argument about the importance of British systems of property in Hong Kong to Chinese property reforms over the last 30 years seems to contradict the earlier culturalist approach detailed in the introduction and chapter 1. Chapter 4, which discusses regional economic models, the scale of governance, and the shift from danwei to xiaoqu, argues that the “relationality” central to markets in “Chinese local state capitalism” makes for a longer-term focus and a broader sharing of high-degree risk. Chapter 5 entails a quantitative analysis of the efficacy of guanxi within Chinese firms.

Chapters 6 and 7 are fashioned out of long-term ethnographic research by one of the authors (Rooker). Together with chapter 8 on the financial sector, they are the most negative about “local state capitalism,” showing both the corrupt and the productive sides of state-market hybridization. The “risk biographies” in chapter 9 contain interesting material, but, unfortunately, much of the orientalist language of East versus West returns, especially in the chapter’s conclusion. Chapter 10, constructed out of extensive interviews with migrants, focuses on the chengzhongcun (urban village), migration and new urbanism and points to the “flexibility of the urban form” (250). The conclusion unhelpfully returns to a comparison between China and neoliberal and neoclassical ideology.

For a book on Chinese capitalism, the discussion of debt seems like a side note when in fact it should be central to its theorization. Likewise, the marginalization of a discussion on corruption and illegal land grabs, too, allows the authors to be far more positive about its sustainability than might otherwise be warranted. Perhaps most startling is the assertion of the “non-subsumption” of labour by capital in China (12)—unexplained and, unsurprisingly, missing from the empirical chapters.

The authors go so far as to argue that Weber was right about the cultural differences between China and the West, only that for China what “did not work at the turn of the nineteenth century seems to be eminently successful at the start of the twenty-first century” (3). One must ask, hasn’t anything changed in China over those 200 years? Here the book’s orientalism is on full display. This reversal of fortunes is not a new argument: while during the Cold War Confucianism was blamed for holding China back, since the 1980s some in the West began to argue the opposite, that Confucianism was actually a boon to capitalism. The authors of this book do not attempt to explain why what didn’t work 200 years ago suddenly is so effective today.

The book perhaps should have been published as discrete articles, for they do not come together in a coherent fashion. Just as the theoretical perspective of the book is a hodge-podge construction (a bit of Weberian orientalism, some misreadings of Marx, snippets from Wang Hui, Cui Zhiyuan, and Giovanni Arrighi, all tossed together with a big helping of Daoism and Confucianism as understood by Francois Jullien), the chapters do not seem to produce a coherent theoretical argument about the contemporary Chinese economy or society. This incoherence saves some of the chapters from the orientalist theoretical edifice of the book.

Alexander F. Day, Occidental College, Los Angeles, USA                                                              

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THE CHINA MODEL AND GLOBAL POLITICAL ECONOMY: Comparison, Impact, and Interaction. Routledge Contemporary China Series, v. 111. By Ming Wan. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xix, 194 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-71796-0.

China’s remarkable three decades of economic growth have spawned an academic industry investigating how this been achieved. Is there a “China model”? If so, what are its central workings and is it replicable? These have become well-researched questions. Early examinations stressed the difference between China’s gradualism and pragmatism with the “shock therapy” route to a market economy chosen by (or for) the states of the former Soviet Union. Others stressed the parallels between China’s developmental state (or, more accurately, states, if local governments are included in the analysis) and those found elsewhere in East Asia. More recently, China has entered the “varieties of capitalism” literature, with scholars seeking to compare Chinese capitalism with other forms found around the world.

Ming Wan has taken many of these questions and literatures, added hegemonic transition questions, and brought them together in this book. However, it does not result in a smooth, integrated analysis but a rather lumpy, loosely held-together text. Many questions are raised and addressed, sometimes in detail, sometimes in a more perfunctory way. The tone varies from academic to more casual; the content from detailed synthesis to superficial coverage. It’s all a bit indigestible.

The book has nine chapters. The first, titled “China’s rise, the China model, and global governance,” covers a wide panorama in which we learn that the focus of the book is on a “dynamic feedback loop between two processes, namely the evolving China model and an evolving global governance structure” (2). This loop is summarized as “world capitalism saved the CCP, and the CCP came to save world capitalism in the later years” (3). As a thesis this is both interesting and important. However, like many other statements in the book, they are not really developed and the author moves on to other topics too quickly.

Chapter 2 outlines the “China model,” a topic also of much intellectual and policy interest and central to the book’s focus. The model, we are told, is “a hybrid system of partial market economy and authoritarianism under Chinese Communist Party leadership. It is complex, multi-layered, multi-dimensional, and still evolving” (16). It is so complex, in fact, that later on we learn that “even the Chinese government has trouble understanding it” (123). In fact, the features of the model identified by the author are well known and include incentives for elites to support reform, globally embedded mercantilism, pragmatism, high savings and investment rates, government bias in the media, and a foreign-aid program based on non-interference and infrastructure building. In short, a longish descriptive list of well-known features of China’s political economy. The causal relationships between these features which might move us beyond description to the delineation and theoretical understanding of a “model” are, alas, largely absent. The following three chapters compare the features of the China model with those present in the “Washington Consensus,” the “Japan model,” and those “Beyond America and Japan,” including the East Asian, Soviet, European social democratic and BRIC models.

Having presented and compared the China model, Ming Wan’s next three chapters shift to the global level and analyze the “global impact of China’s rise,” “the China model from a global perspective” and “the China model, the Great Recession, and the rise and fall of the great powers.” The chapter titles suggest a greater coherence than their content provides. There is a smorgasbord of topics including: renminbi internationalization; the China price; the limited appeal of the China model in the developing world (and virtually none in the developed world); the limited efforts to export the China model by the Chinese leadership, compared to its support for the “China dream” and other aspects of Chinese “soft power” (the latter concepts being different from the China model per se); China’s global financial power; global and regional security issues; Sino-US relations; great power transitions and their relationship to financial crises; and the prospects for a transition to democracy in China. On the latter, the author argues that China’s successful integration into global capitalism has produced the economic results which have enabled the regime to resist great democratization.

The book provides a good overview of many current issues for a reader unfamiliar with the basics of China’s political economy (although whether they would be prepared to pay $145 for the privilege is doubtful). It provides many details but lacks a theoretical framework capable of bringing them all together and adding to the “China model” debate which has occupied scholars. The part of the book I found most interesting was the section in chapter 2 which analyzed the debate about the “China model” in China itself. The six schools of thought outlined there are instructive (even if a “disadvantaged” school is not persuasive). The implication of the different interpretations outlined is that we should use the term “the China model” with caution, an implication which rather calls into question the premise of much of the rest of the book.

Paul Bowles, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, Canada

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CHINA’S REGIONAL RELATIONS: Evolving Foreign Policy Dynamics. By Mark Beeson, Fujian Li. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2014. ix, 254 pp. (Tables, maps.) US$59.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-62637-040-1.

“Good neighbor diplomacy” (mulin waijiao) has been a key component of Chinese foreign policy, especially after the late 1980s. Improved relations with Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea helped China break out of the diplomatic and political isolation imposed by Western powers following the tragic 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident. Singapore established diplomatic relations with China in 1990, becoming the last Southeast Asian country to officially recognize the People’s Republic. In October 1992 Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai. This first visit to China by a Japanese emperor raised the China-Japan relations to a new level of closeness. In the same year, the Republic of Korea and China formalized diplomatic ties. A peaceful and friendly neighbourhood was extremely helpful as China strove to step out of Tiananmen’s shadow and deepen economic reforms and opening up in the 1990s. Beeson and Li’s new book highlights the importance of China’s relations with major countries on its periphery. This is a particularly valuable study at a time when China is experiencing deteriorating relations with several neighbours. Beeson and Li remind us that if China cannot handle its regional relations well, its foreign policy will not be considered successful.

Beeson and Li discuss China’s relations with its key neighbours in the context of China’s rapid rise to the global power status. Indeed, China’s reemergence has fundamentally changed the political and economic landscape of Asia. The authors’ overall argument is that at this stage, China’s rise and growing importance are manifesting themselves primarily in China’s relationships with its closest neighbours. These regional relations offer an important and revealing window into not just China’s evolving foreign policy, but also the way its elite policy makers think about the world and China’s place in it (2). To elaborate on this thesis, the authors analyze China’s relations with Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia as well as India, Russia, Australia and Central Asia after briefly discussing how China has fundamentally been transformed into a global economy and how theoretical frameworks such as regional integration and institutional development can help understand the regional relations.

China is expected to play a role in the world commensurate with its growing economic clout. Yet its more assertive foreign policy since 2010 may have undone much of the positive image it created through its earlier diplomatic efforts. If China cannot manage its bilateral relations in Asia, what kind of global power will it become? Close neighbours are dearer than distant relatives. As the authors remind us, improving soft power in its immediate neighbourhood should become a priority of China’s foreign policy.

China has repeatedly assured its neighbours and the international community that it will be a peaceful and benign power. As the authors suggest, China’s regional role is still very much a work in progress. To a large extent China is uncertain about how to use its newfound power. The learning curve has been steep and the record is mixed (197). Though China’s relations with several neighbours—particularly Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines—remain volatile, the authors are cautiously optimistic about China’s foreign policy based on its successful resolution of border disputes with Central Asia and its effective management of relations with other countries in the region such as Australia and Russia.

The authors briefly mention that Chinese policy makers have to reconcile competing domestic interests in making foreign policy. This is an important point that should have been emphasized. Indeed, China is not a monolithic society anymore and it often sends out mixed messages. Domestic debates are inconclusive, with some suggesting that China should depart from Deng Xiaoping’s admonition that China must keep a low profile and focus on economic development. Hawkish generals and nationalistic scholars argue that it is time for China to flex its muscles now as the US power weakens. Many in China, just like elsewhere in Asia, are skeptical about America’s commitment to Asian security. Chinese government agencies such as the Foreign Ministry and the Department of Defense may not speak with one voice. An increasingly diverse and vibrant Chinese society will inevitably make foreign policy making more complicated.

Another variable that warrants more discussion is the reaction of China’s neighbours, including the United States across the Pacific, to China’s rise and how it affects China’s foreign policy. The action-reaction model in international relations is very useful in studying the dynamics of China’s regional relations. For example, China-Japan relations continue to be haunted by historical memory. Yet Japan seems careless or perhaps intentional in provoking China on sensitive historical issues. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recalcitrant visit to the Yasukuni Shrine and the Japanese government’s categorical denial of the existence of the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute destroyed the bilateral trust and shook the foundation of the relationship. With growing nationalism on both sides, neither can step back. This action-reaction pattern may spin out of control if the two nations do not have the wisdom, courage and a sense of urgency to halt the further deterioration of bilateral relations.

Cooperation, not confrontation, is what China and its neighbours need to move beyond the classic security dilemma they are trapped in now. In Northeast Asia alone, for example, China and Japan can work together to help form a multilateral security mechanism to deal with common challenges from North Korea. Meanwhile, the United States and China have mirror images of each other as a security threat. Building mutual trust will not only help dispel misperceptions of each other but also promote cooperation on a wide range of issues between the two sides.

Overall, the book is a welcome addition to the growing literature on China’s foreign relations in the twenty-first century. Its focus on China’s regional relations offers a useful vantage point to observing and analyzing China’s role in global politics and economics.

Zhiqun Zhu, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, USA           

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DIASPORIC CHINESENESS AFTER THE RISE OF CHINA: Communities and Cultural Production. Contemporary Chinese Studies. By Julia Kuekn, Kam Louie, and David M. Pomfret. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013. vi, 237 pp. (Figures, B&W photos.) C$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7748-2592-4.

In the past few decades, studies on the Chinese overseas and the Chinese diaspora have been a burgeoning field covering themes and topics ranging from identity and subject formation to migration, media and technology, the global economy, politics and art. The field has also been covered regionally, with particular focus in and around Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific. This book is a collection of essays centred around the production of culture within the specific context of China’s growing presence in the global economy. The unifying theme of the book is not simply in the contributors’ discussion of the production and reproduction of “Chinese culture” by the Chinese diaspora, but more fundamentally, in their discussion of what kinds of Chinese cultures and identities are presented and represented in the production of art as a cultural and political vehicle. The essays in the book draw from art in a variety of textual forms (poetry, plays and prose), film and performances (dance and theatre) to explore meanings of Chineseness within and without China.

Kuehn et al. introduce the text with an overview of “the rise of China” and link it to the kinds of cultural productions that have emerged as a result of this shift in political and economic power. The editors go on to review the changing relationship that the Chinese diaspora maintains with the state, recognizing that such an association is fraught with complexities wrought by the ill-defined identities of the diaspora itself. They question what this “rise of China” means for the Chinese diaspora, and set out to explore how “definitions of nation, identity, community, and culture” (6) are being represented in the wake of such a change in their “homeland.”

In chapter 2, Ien Ang rounds out the introductory chapter by grappling with the inevitably problematic identity of the overseas Chinese, and addresses the question, when does one stop being Chinese? She recognizes that as long as the diaspora identifies as a diaspora it necessarily refers to itself in terms of the nation of origin, and that the rise of China allows for the possibility of China being the definitive source of Chineseness (29).

Ouyang Yu in chapter 3 reflects on his experiences as a writer having migrated to Australia from China, and dealing with the theme of return (to China). The difficulties Chinese artists face in Australia relate to the way they continue to be identified as ethnic and migrant, and are sentenced to producing ethnic and/or migrant work that is continually judged from within the structure of “Western” art. Kam Louie follows along a similar theme in chapter 4, analyzing fictional prose within the context of the returning migrant. Louie unpacks the complex identity of the returnee, and what it means to be a successful Chinese, by bearing the trappings of foreign wealth: in essence, Chinese, and yet not Chinese. Louie additionally brings a gendered perspective into this analysis, studying the particularly masculine perspective of the successful returnee.

In chapter 5, Shirley Geok-lin Lim examines the contradictions inherent in the concept of peace in Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Fifth Book of Peace, and the possibility of the Chinese diaspora as a purveyor of such a peace. Her essay deals with the oxymoron of the “Chinese American” figure that, like war and peace, can most meaningfully be defined in relation to each other.

Chapter 6 turns to New Zealand, where Hilary Chung studies how two playwrights, as ethnic subjects, “write back,” grappling with their minority status and their hybrid and ethnic identities. Chung, like Louie, focuses on the gendered perspective of these plays. She notes the feminine perspectives of the stories and the way relationships and identities are negotiated “through the intergenerational relationalities of mothers, daughters, and granddaughters” (98).

Chapters 7 and 8 deal with film. Rey Chow examines the changing imagination of China in the minds of a global (“Western”) audience through the presentation of the film itself, as well as the very particular family culture that the film makes visible to its audience, and the way that the past gives way to the present. Cristina Demaria also explores the way the past is represented in the context of the present, focusing on the cosmopolitan production and consumption of the film and the diasporic nature of this cultural production.

In chapter 9, Sau-ling C. Wong examines “cultural long-distance nationalism” through the study of a Chinese grassroots organization, a dance association, in San Francisco. Wong analyzes the changes in the role the dance association plays as a purveyor of Chinese culture as relations between China and the US morph over the past half-century, critically problematizing the kind of Chineseness that the association presents to the US.

Yiyan Wang in chapter 10 studies the complex landscape that diasporic Chinese artists navigate, particularly in Australia. Like Yu in chapter 3, Wang notes that diasporic Chinese art is judged according to “Western” standards, and that what is deemed acceptable in the global and “Western” market tends to remain what is expected of “ethnic” culture, that is, a stereotypical imagination of Chinese culture as constructed from the “West.”

In the final essay, chapter 11, Kwai-Cheung Lo takes China and, by default, the diaspora, to task in the examination of the Han-centrism of the diaspora, and the nation’s treatment of ethnic minorities, particularly the Tibetan and the Uighur communities. Lo critiques the way China absorbs these communities as part of its multicultural nationalism despite their desire for an autonomous homeland.

This book of collected essays is an excellent starting point from which to explore the growing literature that examines the cultural production of the Chinese diaspora in a contemporary era that acknowledges China’s changing political and economic landscape. The diverse range of cultural production that the authors collectively study presents an effective means of exploring such a landscape. At times the link to “the rise of China” is not explicitly clear in some of the essays; however, this is generally mitigated by contextualizing the analyses within China’s contemporary global and cultural politics.

Serene K. Tan, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

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VOICES FROM TIBET: Selected Essays and Reportage. By Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong; edited and translated by Violet S. Law. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press; Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2014. xxxviii, 81 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$20.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3951-2.

Voices from Tibet is a collection of translations of blogposts and radio broadcasts on Radio Free Asia by husband and wife, Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong.  Tsering Woeser is a well-known Tibetan blogger and an adept user of social media to disseminate her commentaries on the current situation in Tibet. She has received international recognition in the form of numerous rewards, notably, in 2013 the US State Department’s Woman of Courage Award. Wang Lixiong came to prominence in China with the publication of his novel Huanghuo, (Yellow Peril) in 1991, an apocalyptic novel about the collapse of China. He is also one of the few Chinese intellectuals to tackle the issues of minorities, notably in his two books on Tibet and Xinjiang, which offered a personal perspective on the current situation in these conflict-ridden regions, and that are critical of the Chinese government’s policies in dealing with Tibetans and Uyghurs. Woeser’s blog is banned in China and she posts on her blog using a proxy server.

Robbie Barnett of Columbia University provides an informative and excellent introduction, which makes up nearly half of the book. Barnett contextualizes Wang and Woeser’s writings in the context of the larger issue of Chinese intellectuals’ engagement with the general issue of “nationalities,” and particularly with Tibet. Barnett points out in his introduction that Woeser’s writing focuses on “the everyday pressures faced by Tibetans” in Tibet, whilst Wang’s writings deal with “strategy and policy” issues.

Woeser was the editor of Tibetan Literature, a Chinese-language literary journal of the Tibetan branch of the Chinese Writers’ Association, but she fell foul of Chinese censors and was dismissed from her post as the editor. She was forced to move to Beijing. Wang is not regarded as an outright dissident in China. He carefully crafts his writings not to cross the censor’s line.  Because of the current wave of violent attacks by Uyghur nationalists and self-immolations in Tibet, Wang’s work has gained renewed interest amongst Chinese readers. Woeser has gained enormous popularity amongst the Tibetans in China and she is a conduit for news of protests and arrest, which she feeds through her over fifty thousand followers on Twitter.

Chinese readers will be familiar with their writings and their blogs attract a huge readership amongst the Chinese. Although Wang and Woeser have a high profile in the media, their works are rarely translated into English. Many of Woeser’s posts on her blog “Invisible Tibet” have been translated into English by Dechen Pemba and reposted on the blog “High Peaks Pure Earth.”

Violet S. Law, a journalist and translator, has done a great service by bringing English translations of selected posts from Wang and Woeser’s blog. The book consists of 41 short essays that are either posted on their blogs or broadcast on Radio Free Asia.  The essays are organized into five broad themes; the first chapter consists of nine short vignettes on the current situation in Tibet’s capital Lhasa (1-18), other chapters deal with the economic marginalization of Tibetans (19-32), religion (33-48), the devastating effects of developments projects in Tibet (49-60), and contemporary cultural politics (61-74). These essays demonstrate what Woeser refers to in the epilogue, “to write is to bear witness.” Woeser sees herself speaking of and for the plight of Tibetans.

The essays in the book are attributed to Wang and Woeser but the essays have no named author, just a list of sources for the essays at the back of the book. The majority of the translated essays have been published in Taipei under the title Tingshuo Xizang, the same title as the book under review. The collections show Woeser and Wang as keen and insightful observers of the everyday lives of Tibetans. One constant theme emerges in their writings, that is the question of why the Chinese government have failed to win over the hearts and minds of the Tibetans.  Woeser and Wang see the reasons in the gulf in everyday interactions between state officials, majority Han and the Tibetan people governed by mistrust and mutual incomprehension.

Woeser is a writer and poet whose works cannot be published in China but this has not silenced her or prevented her from taking to the Internet to circumvent the censor. This collection of essays attests to the opportunity and power of the Internet for a writer under an authoritarian regime.

Tsering Shakya, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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HONG KONG’S COURT OF FINAL APPEAL: The Development of the Law in China’s Hong Kong. Edited by Simon N.M. Young and Yash Ghai. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. lv, 681 pp. (Figures, tables, B&W photos.) US$120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-01121-2.

In the People’s Republic of China, the intermingling of law and politics has long been a central feature of Communist Party policy on judicial institutions. In many ways, the story of legal reform over the past several decades in China has involved a tension between ideals of the rule of law and the practical imperatives of Party leadership. This tension has come into particularly sharp focus with the re-assertion of PRC sovereignty over Hong Kong, where common-law traditions of the Hong Kong courts have come into conflict with the “political-legal” policies of the Communist Party of China. The magisterial treatise under review reflects the complexity of this interaction, as played out at the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (”HKCFA”).

Commemorating the retirement of Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok Nang, Professors Yash Ghai and Simon Young have compiled a wide-ranging and analytically rich compendium of essays examining the background, context and practice of the HKCFA. In keeping with much socio-legal scholarship on courts, questions of institutional history and context are presented at the beginning of this treatise. Yash Ghai’s masterful treatment of the autonomy of courts and law in comparative perspective offers a useful opening. The PRC has made no secret of its intent to ensure that Party policies and PRC sovereignty will take precedence over judicial and legal autonomy, and as Professor Ghai points out this has affected the practice of the HKCFA. In many ways the HKCFA is caught between two worlds, that informed by the political imperatives of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (“NPCSC”) and the world of the common law. The NPCSC perspective, grounded in provisions in the PRC Constitution that vest the NPCSC with exclusive jurisdiction to interpret the meaning of legislation, is presented by Dalian Maritime University Professor Nancy Xiaonan Yang, who explains the formal jurisdictional limits on the authority of the HKCFA. The perspective of the common law is addressed by Sydney barrister Oliver Jones, who examines the legacy of the Privy Council, the final appeals court for Hong Kong prior to the 1997 handover. These introductory chapters about autonomy, the power of the NPCSC and the continuing legacy of the Privy Council provide an essential context for understanding the current role and future potential of the HKCFA.

Subsequent essays on the practice of the HKCFA examine institutional questions of establishment, appeals practice, jurisdiction and procedure, and the views of conventional and human rights practitioners. These particular chapters, authored by eminent scholars and experienced practitioners, provide a comprehensive overview of the operational conditions of the HKCFA. Through each of these discussions runs a theme distinguishing between private and public law, and related questions about access to justice and judicial independence. The observers of the HKCFA’s institutional record tend to suggest that it accords with widely accepted standards for handling appeals on conventional private and commercial law matters, but that the bulk of the HKCFA’s work has been on public law and human rights questions where political interference from China or the desire to avoid such interference has affected judicial outcomes. These distinctions are also evident in the subsequent section on judges and judging. While noting the distinguished background and eminent integrity of the retiring Chief Justice Andrew Li, analyses of HKCFA judges (including foreign judges appointed to the HKCFA under Hong Kong’s Basic Law) are particularly attuned to the dilemmas of rendering appeals judgments on political questions that might draw the attention and resistance of Beijing.

The distinction between public and private law and questions about China’s political imperatives are also evident in the chapters included in an expansive section on jurisprudence. In many areas, such as administrative law, criminal law, commercial and land law, torts and civil procedure, the jurisprudence of the HKCFA appears to operate relatively smoothly. Different issues arise however in areas such as interpretation of law and human rights where the authority of the HKCFA tends to be clouded by the overarching authority of the NPCSC. Noting the importance of the Ng Ka Ling case on the right of abode, which resulted in a declaration by the NPCSC in 1999 sharply curtailing the jurisdiction of the HKCFA over matters of concern to China, analysts of the HKCFA’s Basic Law jurisprudence and human rights appellate practice express concern over the HKCFA’s long-term autonomy. The book closes with three important but somewhat incongruous chapters examining perspectives from beyond Hong Kong, notably the impact of HKCFA jurisprudence elsewhere (growing but limited), the example of Macau (much more diminished in Hong Kong due to little public or governmental resistance to PRC authority) and the role of the foreign judges appointed to the HKCFA under the Hong Kong Basic Law (limited capacity to steer decisions toward international rule of law standards).

This compendium provides an invaluable overview of the performance and prospects of the HKCFA. Established in the context of a handover of colonial territory, HKCFA operates between the two worlds of China’s “political-legal” principles and the common law tradition. Relying on principles and traditions of the common law, the HKCFA has attempted to build an autonomous jurisprudence of its own. But the Hong Kong’s top court still remains embedded in an institutional arrangement over which the political authority of the PRC reigns supreme. This returns us to the fundamental questions raised at the beginning of the volume as to what might be the conditions and limits on autonomy of judicial decision-making in Hong Kong after the handover to the PRC. To the extent that the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal represents the “best case” for judicial independence under PRC leadership, the prospects seem dim indeed. This masterful volume is an essential read for all who are interested in the development of law in Hong Kong and the PRC and questions about judicial economy generally.

Pitman B. Potter, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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SECURITY AND PROFIT IN CHINA’S ENERGY POLICY: Hedging Against Risk. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Øystein Tunsjø. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. xvi, 316 pp. (Maps.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16508-2.

China’s quest for secure energy supplies has been a topic of great interest in policy, academic, journalistic and popular circles for some time. The country’s transition to net oil importer in 1993 raised the specter of an increasingly petroleum-thirsty China competing against the United States and other major oil importers for world oil supplies. Now, with the US Energy Information Administration reporting that China’s monthly petroleum and other liquid fuel imports have surpassed those of the US, policy makers in Beijing, Washington and elsewhere are keen to understand the economic and geopolitical implications of this new reality. Based on extensive interviews with energy experts and decision makers in China, Europe, Japan and the United States, Øystein Tunsjø argues that China’s economic and strategic considerations to securing petroleum supplies are self-reinforcing hedging mechanisms—complete with “short” and “long” bets—that seek to balance the needs for profitability and security.

Tunsjø distinguishes strategic approaches and market approaches to understanding China’s energy security (or, rather, China’s behaviours intended to reduce energy insecurity) and argues that scholarly analyses focusing on one or the other fail to fully explain how China actually behaves. He also regularly underscores the difference between managing risks and reducing threats and, relatedly, between wartime threats and peacetime risks. He argues that scholars writing on China’s energy security have thus far neglected these distinctions. Throughout the book Tunsjø writes of “Chinese decision makers,” including bureaucrats in party and government offices as well as leaders of major (state-owned) energy companies, as acting more or less in a coherent fashion throughout the book, while at the same time arguing that sometimes the pursuit of company profits conflicts with strategic interests of the state and vice versa.

Tunsjø’s key theoretical objective is to “explore how hedging and risk management can explain some of the complexity that is lost in the gap between the strategic and market approaches and thereby provide a more complete understanding of China’s energy security policy” (21). He offers several dichotomies as examples of hedging: “strategic partnerships but not alliances, military buildups but not arms races, and cooperation as well as assertive policies but not armed conflict” (22). Though the study’s primary focus is on petroleum, Tunsjø spends a good portion of chapter 2 detailing China’s overall energy mix, explaining how roughly 90 percent of the country’s energy needs are met with domestic production. At the time of writing, a Sino-Russian gas deal had been under discussion for roughly a decade; now, at the time of review (summer 2014), that deal has been struck, an economic and geopolitical boost for Russia given Western sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in February 2014.

Overall, the book is well written and carefully edited, barring occasional distractions such as non-standard usage (e.g., Export and Import Bank of China, or EIBC, instead of the more common China Exim Bank) and a tendency for passive constructions to appear en masse (“it is believed,” “it is expected,” it is acknowledged,” and “it is noted” all in the space of a few paragraphs (87-88). A missing “not” momentarily confounds: “The advocates of expanded Chinese naval power do show (sic) how expanded naval power will neutralize the US threat” (124, italics added).

Chapter 3 surveys China’s petroleum investments overseas, with special attention to Iran and Sudan, where the author finds an important distinction in countries where China’s national oil companies (NOCs) hold equity production rights (Sudan) or lack them (Iran). Tunsjø’s expertise in international security shines through in chapter 5, where he argues that China’s grand strategy has for decades been centred not on energy, but instead on Taiwan. He does allow that China’s pursuit of blue-water naval capabilities is at least partly motivated by the so-called Malacca Dilemma, though questions whether such pursuits may lead to a net reduction in China’s overall national security.

Tunsjø briefly examines government policies promoting energy efficiency, and curbing demand in the vehicle fuel sector, either through promotion of increased fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles or through promotion of alternative vehicles such as hybrid-electrics, is a vital piece of the China petroleum puzzle. As Tunsjø notes, although consumer-led petroleum demand represents a small fraction of China’s total energy mix, with the vast majority of primary energy and electricity consumed by heavy industry, the consumer fraction is projected to grow fastest in the future, barring a major shift in the dependence of mobility on petroleum. He reminds readers that in the event of a wartime event threatening seaborne transport of oil to China, the government would take immediate steps to curtail all non-strategic uses of petroleum and continue to meet a large fraction of remaining consumption using its own domestic sources or, when necessary, conscripting state-owned NOC tankers to do the dangerous work of repatriating overseas equity oil production or shipping oil through war zones.

Tunsjø draws heavily on the work of a few well-known experts in the global and China and energy literatures such as Kenneth Lieberthal, Daniel Yergin and Erica Downs, while admitting to consulting no Chinese-language sources (though he conducted numerous interviews with Chinese informants). In the end, his argument that “when China’s leaders sense uncertainty about whether a market or strategic approach—or what kind of mix of these two approaches—best enhances China’s interests, they will hedge their bets rather than choose one strategy at the obvious expense of another” seems fairly obvious. That “Chinese decision makers draw on both security and profit considerations to develop energy strategies” (89) acknowledges the pragmatism that Deng Xiaoping called “crossing the river by feeling for stones” and which shapes the approach China, a rising power with clear economic and political clout but limited power projection capability, must take to reduce energy insecurity. To this reviewer at least, the greater contribution of this study lies in Tunsjø’s clear and methodical account of “China’s” (including NOCs’) overseas petro-energy production behaviours and their drivers, rather than the hedging framework into which he seeks to fit those behaviours.

Darrin Magee, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, USA

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CAPITALISM FROM BELOW: Markets and Institutional Change in China. By Victor Nee, Sonja Opper. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012. xv, 431 pp. (Maps, graphs, tables, illus.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-05020-4.

In the book Capitalism from Below, Victor Nee and Sonja Opper ask what drove China’s post-Maoist economic transformation from a command economy to an emerging capitalist society. This ambitious study questions how the private sector was able to flourish throughout the transformative years when the government failed to provide entrepreneurs with economic resources or protection of property rights.

Nee and Opper’s impressive study offers a compelling account of how China’s emerging entrepreneurial class were able to decouple from the state-centric business model by developing a competitive market economy based on informal networks, social learning and the innovation of production models. Capitalism from Below takes the reader through the vast and complex world of informal networks and succeeds in showing the connection between the socio-economic importance of guanxi (relationships) and China’s modern economy.

The study begins by acknowledging the importance of China’s early economic reforms, which allowed for shifts in market allocation. Yet they suggest that a bottoms-up entrepreneurial spirit enabled the development of capitalist economic institutions. They focus on informal networks that self-organized and created clusters of producers, suppliers and distributors. For Nee and Opper, these networks are the origin of China’s competitive market economy as they developed information flows and cooperation between independent economic actors.

To show this the authors offer a useful Schelling diagram that outlines their theory of a multi-level causal model of institutional change. This is developed through a mixed-method research design that involved interviews, surveys and extensive fieldwork. The study’s findings are partially derived from a remarkable 711 interviews held in seven municipalities throughout the Yangzi Delta region. The authors worked with the Shanghai-based Market Survey Research Institute to identify interviewees in the manufacturing technology sector who were then selected using a stratified simple random sample.

Nee and Opper then build upon new institutionalism theory to explain China’s economic transformation. The authors draw on the work of Josef Schumpeter and Max Weber to highlight the social construction of bottoms-up capitalism. To survive China’s dysfunctional market economy, they argue that the private sector needed to “decouple” from state policy while maintaining legitimacy in the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party. They pay close attention to relationship-based lending that involved small loans between family and friends that allowed them to operate outside the state’s purview.

The sociological concept of isomorphism is then introduced as a pragmatic tool for explaining how entrepreneurs were able to adapt to China’s hostile economic environment. They write, “‘The dominant strategy throughout the reform period was to mimic already existing organizational forms generally perceived as legitimate, in order to limit the social and economic costs associated with decoupling from the established social and legal structure” (131). By mimicking the structure of established state-approved firms, private entrepreneurs became indistinguishable from public companies. This allowed the private sector to rapidly expand with tacit approval from the state.

The book then offers a perceptive account of the rise of industrial clusters that brought trust and cooperation between diverse entrepreneurs that enabled them to refine the region’s comparative advantage. Networks of trust along with an endless supply of migrant labour to the Yangzi delta region developed into a core economic institution that strengthened private enterprise. Pressures to innovate and stay competitive also encouraged private enterprise to develop human resource policies and an opportunity to break away from the traditional household business model. For Nee and Opper, China’s expansive labour market has thus emerged as a mainstay economic institution developed exclusively by the entrepreneurial class.

The final few chapters of the book are devoted to reinforcing the authors’ hypothesis. They write, “In sum, our evidence strongly supports our hypothesis that the effectiveness of social norms, beyond the shadow of the law … can provide robust mechanisms explaining cooperation within large social groups, thereby enabling dynamic economic development” (225). China’s entrepreneurial class has thus developed an endogenous competitive market built around a self-enforcing social structure that promotes economic innovation.

While the authors implicitly suggest that modern capitalism was an “unintended” outcome of the economic reforms instituted by the Party, they argue the government had no option but to later pursue wide economic accommodation and policy to accommodate private entrepreneurs. The government dependency on the private sector to provide economic growth has thus spurred deep relationships between officials and entrepreneurs. However, Nee and Opper are quick to clarify that while rent-seeking does occur on some level, the majority of private-sector actors do not receive long-term financial benefits from having relationships with the Party officials.

Although Nee and Opper provide an exceptional account on the role of entrepreneurism in post-Maoist China, the book is not without shortcomings. First and most strikingly, they glance over the role of the state and Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms that set the economic conditions for entrepreneurs. Without the top-down motivation for decentralization and Beijing’s directive to empower local authorities, China’s entrepreneurial class may not have been able to develop competitive markets.

Second, the overtly positive image of China’s entrepreneurs detracts from many of the controversies associated with economies in transition. There is a substantial body of literature suggesting that China’s private sector is endemically corrupt while guanxi networks have become outlets of patronage. The reader is left wondering if such networks can also damage the entrepreneurial spirit.

Finally, the reader may ask what social and environmental impact entrepreneurs have when operating outside any regulatory framework. Interestingly, the study does suggest that entrepreneurs often do not follow state regulations such as the Labour Law. Of course, the long-term social costs are beyond the scope of this study yet acknowledging the controversy may have balanced the seemingly favourable opinions the authors hold towards the entrepreneurial class.

Capitalism from Below should be considered mandatory reading not only for China specialists but also those looking to understand how the private sector complements innovation in transition economies. Nee and Opper convincingly show how personal networks and a critical mass of resilient entrepreneurs can bring about policy shifts in emerging markets. This book is not to be missed.

Robert J. Hanlon, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, Canada

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RISING INEQUALITY IN CHINA: Challenges to a Harmonious Society. Edited by Shi Li, Hiroshi Sato, Terry Sicular. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xxix, 499 pp. (Tables, B&W photos.) C$120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-00291-3.

This book provides a timely and thorough account of inequality in the world’s second-largest economy. As the title suggests, inequality in China is rising, a trend which China specialists and comparative political economists interpret as alarming and potentially destabilizing. A book on so significant a topic could easily have gotten itself entangled in predicting China’s own future. Instead, the authors offer a transparent survey of rising inequality during the first half of the Hu-Wen administration (2002-2007), a period during which inequality, at least according to China’s leaders, was supposed to decline. The book’s conclusions are conservative; for example, inequality is likely to keep increasing, despite efforts to restrain it. At the same time, the survey methods and model descriptions demonstrate precision and instill confidence in a concept that has, until now, been poorly and inconsistently measured. For those interested in a reliable source on inequality in and across China, this book aims to please.

The book starts off with an illuminating overview of recent trends in inequality and poverty in China. The book relies on two sources. The first comes from the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The second is an independent survey: the Chinese Household Income Project (CHIP), designed and coordinated by a number of the contributing authors. A casual reader, myself included, may have expected that, in comparison, the official NBS numbers would come out “sugarcoated.” On the contrary, it is striking how closely the official NBS numbers track the authors’ CHIP estimates. On some dimensions (such as urban income inequality, see chapter 7) the official numbers portray an even bleaker story (see chapter 2). This is because the CHIP survey measures something obvious—income from rental property and housing subsidies—that previous studies, including the NBS, leave out. This inclusion, one of many refreshing innovations strewn throughout the book, adds a new angle to China’s inequality challenge, an angle future research ought to pursue.

The book continues by detailing the emergent role of homeownership and property leasing in urban and rural China, both as a budding economic sector and as a factor contributing to China’s rising inequality. Subsequent chapters deal with inequality in education and migrant communities, across age cohorts and ethnic groups, and even between public- and private-sector labour markets. Chapter 11 on gender inequality, a personal favourite, proposes a novel hypothesis: that women, because they tend to work in low-skilled jobs, face disproportionate competition from migrant labourers, which contributes to non-migrant male workers earning higher wages. The findings strongly support the hypothesis, warranting further exploration in China and in other countries where migrants constitute a large share of the workforce.

In each chapter, the authors make it a point to reference existing policies and institutions that contribute to inequality as well as reforms taken by the state to alleviate it, namely, the Hu-Wen administration’s effort to engender harmonious (read: more equal) growth. How have these reforms fared? A consistent, but equivocal, conclusion throughout the chapters is that reforms have helped, but not enough, and not always without unintended consequences. For example, while abolishing agricultural taxes in 2006 significantly reduced burdens on the poor (see chapter 5), the state has been much less successful in taxing the rich (see chapter 10). Similarly, central initiatives aimed at reforming household registration rules (hukou) have been stymied by local governments unwilling to expand urban benefits, resulting in sustained income inequalities among homeowners (see chapter 3) and migrant workers (see chapter 6). Less explored are a number of equally important institutional adjustments, such as the central government’s move to empower counties by freeing them of prefectural oversight and fiscal control (16).

While discussing the state helps string the volume’s chapters together, it is too thin and fragile a fabric to bind them into a cohesive book. Conspicuously missing is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which features only fleetingly (mainly in references and footnotes). This omission is unfortunate, not only because the Party is the single most important institutional actor in China, but also because the Party has presided over, and in many respects orchestrated, China’s move from socialist egalitarianism to today’s extreme inequality. After all, it was Deng Xiaoping who famously said, “let some people get rich first.” While many assume that inequality is dangerous for the Party, Teresa Wright’s book Accepting Authoritarianism (Stanford University Press, 2010) provides a compelling counter-argument: inequality prevents China’s citizens from acting collectively against the Party. Also missing is the role of the public, for whom inequality must matter the most. Take, for example, Martin White’s Myth of the Social Volcano (Stanford University Press, 2010), which challenges the link between rising inequality with instability by highlighting the paradoxical acceptance of inequality among even China’s poorest as being “fair.” In contrast, the Chinese citizen in this book comes off more as a data point than an integral part of the narrative. While it is in some ways inappropriate to compare this edited volume with single-authored books, the weak integration of politics and society into the economic trends suggests a missed opportunity.

Despite these drawbacks, the book does exactly what it sets out to do: that is, to thoroughly assess inequality in China across a wide range of dimensions. To this end, the book is crammed with insights that, if emphasized and pursued further, offer potential starting points for exciting new research. Among these many insights is the proportion of urban households where the members own their own home, 89 percent in 2007, up from only 14 percent in 1988 (90-92)! Less surprising and perhaps more distressing is the apparent lack of return on education for rural students (see chapter 4), which explains why so many young migrants have flocked, unprepared and ill-equipped, to the cities. To get at these meaty empirical morsels, however, the reader must know what to look for. Indeed, reading from cover to cover may prove overwhelming, but for those with a specific research question in mind, this book is great starting point.

Dimitar D. Gueorguiev, University of California, San Diego, USA

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WANG RENMEI: The Wildcat of Shanghai. By Richard J. Meyer. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press; New York: Cornell University Press [distributor], 2013. xxv, 157 pp., [20 pp. of plates] (Illus.) + 1 DVD (Wild Rose) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-988-8139-96-5.

WILD ROSE [YE MEIGUI] 1932. Producer, Luo Ming You; director, Sun Yu; cinematography, Yu Sheng San; music, Donald Sosin; DVD producer and writer, Richard J. Meyer; translation, Mahlon D. Meyer. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2013, 1932. 1 DVD (ca. 84 mins.) Silent film with musical accompaniment; intertitles in Chinese and English.

It gives me great pleasure to commend the latest in Richard J. Meyer’s book-and-dvd sets on Chinese film stars from the 1930s. After his biographies of Ruan Lingyu and Jin Yan (also from Hong Kong University Press), we now have Wang Renmei: The Wildcat of Shanghai. It comes with the DVD of the film that made her famous and gave her the “wild cat” nickname, Wild Rose. The Shanghai cinema of the 1920s and 1930s is probably the most aesthetically and politically significant and also plain enjoyable cinema that you have never heard of and never seen. Getting to know Shanghai cinema challenges the old idea of modernity as a Western cultural formation that slowly spread across the world. Instead, it suggests that by the early twentieth century multiple incarnations of modernity were already developing simultaneously in metropolises across the world. With his careful research, accessible writing and the provision of a quality DVD with English subtitles—courtesy of his Mandarin-speaking son, Mahlon—Richard J. Meyer is helping the world to get to know the cinema of old Shanghai. His latest book will be of interest not only to film scholars and China scholars, but also to anyone who enjoys movies.

There is an implicit logic to the choice of Wang Renmei for the third of Meyer’s biographies. If Ruan Lingyu is the best-remembered of Shanghai’s female stars and Jin Yan the best-known male star of the 1930s, then Wang was also a major female star and JinYan’s wife. The biography maps out her life in a straightforward chronological order. Wang’s life was both exciting and tragic. Initial great success was interrupted by World War II, after which her career never really recovered. She entered a decline marked by episodes of mental illness after the 1949 Revolution, and died in 1987. In an era when film scholarship overlaps with research on the creative industries and people are interested not only in film texts but also the circumstances of their production, Wang Renmei: The Wildcat of Shanghai provides much important information and insight for future scholars as well as the general reader.

Wang Renmei’s sad fate could have been worse. As Meyer notes, her life was intertwined with that of Mao Zedong himself, who taught at a school run by her father in Hunan when she was a child. Later on, he shielded her from the political movements that destroyed the lives of so many other artists and intellectuals. Using regular Chinese published sources supplemented by interviews with her friends and colleagues, Meyer traces her road to stardom via membership of the Bright Moon song and dance troupe. Luo Mingyou, boss of Shanghai’s famous Lianhua Studios, used the Bright Moon Troupe in a couple of his movies. Wang was spotted on the set by leading director Sun Yu, and also her future leading man and husband, Jin Yan.

Sun Yu cast Wang Renmei as a country girl opposite Jin Yan as the artist scion of a rich Shanghai family in Wild Cat. Her vivacious energy, his dashing charisma, and the chemistry between them are all evident when watching the DVD that comes with the book. Unsurprisingly, the film shot her to overnight stardom. The country girl and the artist fall in love when Jin drives his convertible out into the countryside to paint a bucolic scene. But his father will not accept the relationship. After numerous trials and tribulations, the film ends with a Sun Yu signature shot of the pair joining a march of patriotic volunteers. Although it could not be specified because of the Chiang Kai-shek Nationalist government’s policy of appeasement, the march is implied to be against the Japanese invasion of Northeast China.

What remains disputed is whether Wild Cat and other patriotic and class-conscious films of the era should be understood as a leftist cinema and part of the heritage of the People’s Republic, or whether they were in fact equally in tune with the ideology of the Nationalists. Perhaps wisely, Meyer does not get involved in this debate! Wang starred in other important films of the period, including Cai Chusheng’s Song of the Fishermen (Yu Guang Qu, 1934). This film won Chinese cinema’s first major international award at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1935. When the Japanese invaded the rest of China in 1937, Wang and Jin fled south. However, they did not join Mao and the Communists in Yan’an, which meant they were not part of a trusted inner circle of cinema artists after the 1949 Revolution. A declining career of occasional minor roles was accompanied by divorce, bad remarriages, and poor mental health until her death in 1987.

As well as giving her biography, Wang Renmei: The Wildcat of Shanghai includes synopses of every film, transcripts of the interviews that Meyer conducted with her friends and colleagues, and credits for all of her films, as well as some details on their availability. This meticulous scholarship makes the volume both an enjoyable introduction to the star for the general reader and an important scholarly resource. My only quibble is that this excellent work could be further improved by the inclusion of Chinese characters, at least for the names of all people mentioned in the text and the titles of the films. That’s something to hope for perhaps in the next book in this valuable series.

Chris Berry, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom

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THE SPECTER OF “THE PEOPLE”: Urban Poverty in Northeast China. By Mun Young Cho. Itacha, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013. xxi, 207 pp. (Figures, table.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8014-7864-2.

New forms of urban poverty in China have received much research attention in recent years. This is not surprising because Chinese cities, after three decades of market reform, have become key sites to observe extreme forms of socio-spatial inequality. Most of the scholarship, however, invokes the generic vocabulary, such as “urban poverty” or “the poor,” to capture rising inequalities. The existing literature, mostly based on surveys of the “poor population,” has produced a particular kind of knowledge that portrays the poor in China as victims of neoliberal reforms, just like their counterparts in other countries. Relying on quantitative surveys, sociologists examine patterns of social stratification, while geographers map patterns of spatial segregation. Two groups of people and the space they inhabit loom large in the social science scholarship on poverty in China: laid-off workers living in decaying danwei housing compounds and migrant workers settling in urban villages (chengzhongcun). We learn from the literature quite a bit about social stratification and spatial segregation, but somehow, the narrative is often flat and what we do not learn is the specificity of the Chinese urban poor.

The Spector of the People is a critical intervention in the literature on urban poverty in China. Based on more than two years of extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Harbin, one of the major cities in the rustbelt of northeastern China, this book offers a much richer account of the historically specific conditions that have produced the category of the new urban poor, such as laid-off workers and migrants. The author deliberately avoided using generic vocabulary such as “the poor” or the “poor population.”

Instead, the author chose to use “the people” (renmin). This shift from “the poor” to “the people” opens up a whole array of analytical possibilities for investigating the complexity of urban poverty in China today.

The main question of the book is deceptively simple, that is, who are “the people” (renmin) in today’s China? As the chapters demonstrate, “the people” is a contested category and it has always been exclusive, along gender, urban vs. rural, and state vs. non-state divides. The “people,” since the beginning years of socialism, have included mostly full-time male workers employed in state-owned enterprises. Women, part-time, contract-based workers, and workers employed in collectively owned enterprises have been often excluded. Moreover, the entire rural population is excluded from the category of “the people.” While many of “the people” today are laid off, they can still make powerful claims to the state demanding various social security programs to improve their condition. Other poor groups cannot make the same claim as former industrial workers. In other words, not all poverty has the same urgency for the state.

Many former workers have become destitute in China’s thriving market economy, but because of their past—as “masters” of the country, the laid-off urban workers do not easily accept their position at the bottom of the new socio-economic hierarchy. The book describes, in vivid details, how laid-off urban workers believe that they just had “bad luck” and their colleagues who got rich simply had “better luck.” They do not see themselves as a separate class from the new rich. Moreover, the laid-off workers and their families are eager to “participate” in the new market economy, by investing their meager savings in the stock market and in properties. Although most of them cannot afford a new home, residents in the poor neighbourhood of Hadong, the primary fieldwork site of the book, talk all the time about moving to a better apartment. A few of them succeeded, and most have failed. Thus, as the book reveals, this poverty group of urban laid-off workers is full of contradictions, as they are caught between hope and despair, ambitions and structural disadvantages.

Most works on urban poverty in China have adopted the theoretical framework of neoliberalism and the language of policy intervention. In many of the accounts, China’s new urban poor live in shantytowns, and they are just like residents in the ghettos in the US, favelas in Brazil, and slums in India. The Spector of the People stands out in the literature, because it argues, clearly and powerfully, that China’s urban poor are different because of their past as “the people” and “masters” of a socialist country. This book theorizes these historical and context-specific conditions of the poor, and by doing so, it goes beyond the standard narrative of neoliberalism and dispossession.

Xuefei Ren, Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA

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CHINA’S ROAD TO GREATER FINANCIAL STABILITY: Some Policy Perspectives. Editors, Udaibir S. Das, Jonathan Fiechter and Tao Sun. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2013. xiii, 229 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$38.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-61635-406-0.

China’s Road to Greater Financial Stability examines China’s financial institutions and policies in order to establish what risks or returns they present to financial stability. The book is well organized, addressing the different facets of China’s financial system in depth and without much overlap, and easy to read, written in clear language with a strong structure. The content is drawn out expertly, but there are two aspects missing that limit the usefulness of this manuscript. First, there is very little written about shadow banking, which is mentioned, but dismissed as a small component of the financial system. In fact, shadow banking, or non-bank loan finance, is equivalent to 30 percent of China’s bank assets (and over 50 percent of GDP) and has posed increasing risks to financial stability. Second, there is no economic or financial theory used in the text. In particular, there is no discussion of theories of financial stability and development, which vary in their assumptions and conclusions about what comprises a stable, deepening financial system.

Shadow banking has posed a large threat to China’s financial stability in recent years and therefore is one of the most relevant topics to the subject of this book. The excessive risks taken in the trust sector have been carried through to banks’ wealth management products. Risks taken by credit guarantee companies and Internet lending companies have resulted in the failure of these companies. Regulatory responses to problems in the shadow banking sector have been multiple.

Financial stability and financial development theory have changed dramatically over the past several decades. They have moved away from assumptions that financial liberalization is always beneficial for an economy and toward assumptions that countries should take a cautious approach to liberalization. Current theoretical assumptions are embodied in the policy advice presented in the volume but an explicit statement of those assumptions is omitted, which may lead to confusion. For example, various chapters in the volume state that a) finance can destabilize growth; b) that finance can become predatory in open economies; or c) that financial liberalization, including exchange rate and interest rate liberalization, is necessary to enhance growth in China. These assumptions are seemingly contradictory, but can be resolved by drawing out the theoretical underpinnings associated with them. It is probable that financial stability and financial development theory will once again change, and the assumptions implied in this volume will no longer be so evident.

Despite these gaps, the volume provides a great deal of valuable information on China’s financial system and can be used as a reference on the most relevant financial institutions and policies present in the country today. Some highlights of the book include chapter 4 by Yang Li and Xiaojing Zhang, on China’s sovereign balance sheet risks, which provides an interesting analysis of sovereign assets and liabilities and the potential financial risks associated with these; chapter 5 by Nuno Cassola and Nathan Porter, on systemic liquidity and monetary policy, which analyzes how the policies of the People’s Bank of China impact liquidity and financial prices; chapter 7 by Silvia Iorgova and Yinqiu Lu, on the structure of the banking system, which besides examining the banking system, contains a brief discussion of the relationship between banks and local governments; and chapter 11 by Shuqing Guo, on China’s capital markets, which describes China’s stock and bond markets and discusses the reform measures that have been implemented. Li and Zhang’s look at the sovereign balance sheet is an important and often overlooked component of assessing financial stability. The authors find that the possibility of a sovereign debt crisis is low, since the state has built up sufficient equity. Cassola and Porter incorporate useful figures on interest rates, bond spreads and measures of structural liquidity to discuss potential liquidity shocks due to uneven distribution of liquidity, even when overall liquidity in the system is sufficient. Iorgova and Lu deconstruct the components of the banking sector and include a brief section on the shadow banking system as well as a look at the debt burden that local government financial platforms have placed on banks. Guo’s chapter on capital markets contains useful figures on capital market structures and financial assets, and a helpful table that lists a number of reforms that are implemented or being considered and how they are being put into practice.

The book is written in a clear style by reputable contributors, and is accessible to scholars, policy makers and financial analysts who seek a clear snapshot of China’s financial system. The book is also well priced: at USD $38.00, the book can provide a useful resource for any library. The work is timely, as financial stability in China is a topic that has grown increasingly complex and of concern. An updated version of this volume that takes into account the shadow banking sector, financial stability and deepening theory, and the new financial reforms due to be implemented this year would be most welcome. As it stands, we recommend this book to those interested in China’s financial system.

Sara Hsu, State University of New York at New Paltz, New Paltz, USA

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MAO: The Real Story. By Alexander V. Pantsov with Steven I. Levine. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2013, c2012. xix, 755 pp., [16] pp. of plates. (Maps, illus.) US$20.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-4516-5448-6.

Mao: The Real Story is a well-written comprehensive history of the life and times of Mao Zedong. The book presents an alternative to the one-sided polemic of Mao: The Unknown Story by JungZhang and Jan Halliday.

The authors claim a new thesis, namely that “Mao was a faithful follower of Stalin who took pains to reassure the Boss of his loyalty and who dared to deviate from the Soviet model only after Stalin’s death”(4). In fact, a number of scholars have discussed the influence of Stalin on Mao. That having been said, Pantsov and Levine’s exhaustive study of Russian archives fleshes out details of the Mao saga not reported in earlier English-language biographies. The authors present everything from new information about the future Chairman’s father to observations of Mao made by various Soviet officials in the 1930s, 1940s and beyond. They also show how little Mao relied on the actual peasantry, recruiting an army mostly from Hakka fringe elements and what Marx would have called a rural lumpenproletariat.

Stalin had no problem with this and “[s]tarting in the late 1920s, Stalin’s Comintern began to support Mao and even periodically to rise to his defense when other CCP leaders criticized the obstinate Hunanese”(236-237). By 1930, Soviet publications were writing up Mao and Zhu De as important international revolutionary figures “well-known outside of China” (255). Stalin even made it clear that Mao was under his protection and should not be touched. By 1934, the Soviets were publishing Russian editions of Mao’s works and short biographies of him.

As a result of his close connection to Stalin, it was only after the Soviet leader died in 1953 that Mao felt free to become a Maoist. Or, as Mao himself put it, an “adventurist” who would no longer play second fiddle to Soviet leaders. According to the authors’ speculations, Mao’s critical and sometimes rude behaviour towards Khrushchev was a result of Mao’s attempts to show his own greatness and take revenge for what he had endured under Stalin (445-446).

Whether this conjecture about Mao’s inner psyche is true or not, the authors make it clear that when Mao began to abandon Soviet policies and take China further to the left in the late 1950s, he was not the only one pulling China in this direction. In January 1958, Liu Shaoqi and Zhou Enlai, supposedly at least in part to please the boss, came up with the word commune and got the development of the ultimately disastrous giant co-ops of the Great Leap Forward going.

But the authors explain that the problems of the Great Leap were not simply a result of the government’s actions. The disastrous consequences of the Leap were also brought on by one of the worst droughts ever to sweep China. This needs elaboration. In recent years, a number of scholars have questioned the severity of this drought and laid more of the blame for the Great Leap at Mao’s feet, a point the authors don’t mention.

The book also contains interesting new information garnered from Russian sources on the Cultural Revolution. It is, however, a shame the authors didn’t take more of an opportunity to look at how the Cultural Revolution broke up the Stalinist system in China and freed the country for the economic reforms that followed Mao’s death.

The book concludes that although “Mao’s crimes against humanity are no less terrible than the evil deeds of other twentieth century dictators … he did not have plans to exterminate millions of people on purpose.” Moreover, “he followed the principle of ‘cure the illness to save the patient … He neither killed Bo Gu, nor Zhou Enlai, nor Ren Bishi, nor Zhang Guotao, nor even Wang Ming …[H]e forced them to ‘lose face’ but kept them in power” (575).

The authors argue that Mao kept many officials with whom he disagreed in a position where they were able enact the reforms made after Mao died. Pantsov and Levine show that for all his “adventurist” proclivities, Mao was generally careful to balance radicals in his government with reformers.

The authors seem to have taken a similarly balanced approach in regard to the sources they used. People as diverse as Mao’s grandson and Li Lisan’s daughter were among the many they interviewed. The contributions of this wide-ranging group help make the book a valuable resource.

Lee Feigon, Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow

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THE LOST GENERATION: The Rustication of China’s Educated Youth (1968-1980). By Michel Bonnin; translated by Krystyna Horko. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2013. xxxix, 515 pp. (Photos., figures.) US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-962-996-481-8.

Between 1968 and 1980 one of the largest-scale, government-sponsored and short-term population transfers in history occurred in China. Seventeen million young people were sent from their urban homes to the countryside. This English translation from the French brings to a wide readership the most comprehensive Western study of this xiaxiang (down to the villages) movement during the Cultural Revolution era and after. Michel Bonnin has worked on sent-down youth since the mid-1970s. The 2004 original of this book, drawn from a 1988 doctoral dissertation, is based to a large degree on countless interviews with former sent-down youth in Hong Kong and, since the late 1970s, on the mainland. Bonnin supplements these personal stories with official documents, and reference to fictional accounts of the sent-down youth experience. The author readily acknowledges his distinguished predecessors in this field, notably Liu Xiaomeng of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Thomas P. Bernstein, whose Up to the Mountains and Down to the Villages: The Transfer of Urban Youth from Urban to Rural China (Yale UP, 1977) appeared while the movement was still in full swing and became an instant classic. Bonnin takes this story further with the benefit of perspective and a great deal more access to informants and records. His book should be in the library of every student of contemporary China, as this is now the standard reference work on the xiaxiang movement.

Bonnin offers insight into the motivations for the launch of the movement, noting that the thousands sent from the cities in 1968 had predecessors earlier in that decade and before. He suggests that worries over urban youth unemployment as much as Maoist revolutionary idealism about learning from the peasants were reasons for the effort. Returning to the question of motives in his concluding chapter, the author notes how the waves of youth heading for the hills were matched by floods of peasants moving in the opposite direction to jobs in the cities. In covering the movement into 1980, Bonnin dispels any assumptions about it coming to an end with the death of Mao. Young people were still being sent down in 1978, as Deng Xiaoping prepared to repudiate some of Mao’s legacy.

The book extensively sets out the sent-down experience and various large and small-scale efforts to refine, adjust or demolish the movement from almost immediately after it got underway in 1968. Bonnin illustrates well the tensions between educated youth and the cadres designated to look after them and between the city youth and local populations. Interviewees are particularly informative on these aspects of the movement and on the yearnings and plotting of just about every sent-down youth to return home. His sources combine interview material, statistics from labour gazetteers from across China, and fictional examples of suffering, abuse and rebellion.

Although he acknowledges the difference between short stories and actual events, and has interviewed several noted authors of educated-youth literature, Bonnin is perhaps too eager to cite fictional episodes as illustration of many of his points. The use of fictional material is fraught with problems. A writer’s license to embellish and heighten episodes based on real events should engender more caution in using fictional accounts of suffering and abuse from these years. A second flaw in the book may be a reflection of its relatively long gestation. Inconsistencies appear in these pages, when, for example, the suggestion is made about the near absolute level of control over sent-down youth only to be followed by pages of accounts of youth resistance and initiatives in finding space for their own activities. On one page we are told that zhiqing had no time for anything but work, but a few pages on, “frequent” visits from village to village are cited, without any reference to a specific location, as contributing to zhiqing solidarity (303). Culture and leisure were “virtually non-existent” (262-263), but then much is made of the youth’s own efforts to create their own entertainment. Bonnin seems to both underrate the appeal and overstate the influence of the Cultural Revolution yangbanxi (model performances). Only one half of the generation that might have been subject to rustication actually participated (xvii), raising the question of what happened to the other half, which is touched on but not developed. Sometimes major points seem to appear only in passing: only 8 percent of sent-down youth were sent outside their home province or municipality, for example (178). In summing up the movement, Bonnin concludes that it failed in its aims to transform a generation (453). I would argue that the sent-down youth experience did indeed transform the zhiqing, but in ways not intended by the movement. The flourishing and inventiveness of Chinese youth culture after 1978 owed much to the preceding decade, as Bonnin himself argues earlier in the book. As new sources have appeared in China, the author seems to have inserted further examples or discussion a little haphazardly in the text. The number of footnotes referring to preceding pages is striking. But the xiaxiang movement continues to resonate in China and is constantly throwing up new knowledge. We should applaud Bonnin’s mastery of his subject and dedication to continuing his fine work on the topic.

Also admirable is the Chinese University Press’s decision to place notes at the bottom of pages and to provide an extensive glossary. Why traditional characters are used instead of simplified for a book on this topic is a mystery. The same press published a Chinese translation of this work in 2009. The English translator is to be congratulated, with only a few places where the best expression escapes her. To bring this important study to the widest community of English-speaking students of contemporary China, a paperback edition must surely appear soon.

Paul Clark, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

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CHINESE MONEY IN GLOBAL CONTEXT: Historic Junctures Between 600 BCE and 2012. By Niv Horesh. Stanford: Stanford Economics and Finance (an imprint of Stanford University Press), 2013, c2014. xii, 364 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$65.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8719-2.

In this wide-ranging study, Niv Horesh seeks to identify the lines of convergence and divergence between Chinese and Western monetary systems from antiquity to the twenty-first century. This is not a history of Chinese money, but rather an examination of certain episodes or “historic junctures” that illuminate both “surprising commonalities” as well as the “Great Divergence” (13) between these distinctive monetary systems. On balance, though, it is the divergences rather than the convergences that stand out. Horesh rightly emphasizes the often-neglected place of copper currencies in the West from Roman to early modern times, but the basic distinction between gold/silver coinage in Europe and the Islamic world on one hand and bronze coins in East Asia on the other persisted down to modern times. More central to Horesh’s argument, the technological divide in mining and minting, the contrast between the Chinese state’s monopoly on coining and printing money versus the more entrepreneurial world of the West, and the financial revolution in early modern Europe that created joint-stock companies, central banks and national debt financing explain why the monetary institutions of the West rather than in China nurtured modern economic development.

The book has an inauspicious beginning. The first chapter proposes the novel argument that the invention of round (bronze) coins in China derived from the influence of Hellenic currencies mediated by the round coins the Maurya Empire in South Asia introduced sometime after 304 BCE. Horesh makes the fundamental error of attributing the first issue of round coins in China to the First Emperor of Qin (r. 249-10 BCE). In fact, archaeological finds have confirmed that the Qin state issued its round Banliang coins beginning in 336 BCE, antedating the appearance of the Mauryan circular coins. Most of the chapter is devoted to much later (and hence irrelevant to the issue at hand) examples of coins reflecting cross-cultural influences, such as the bilingual Sino-Kharosthi coins of Khotan from the first-second centuries CE. Horesh deems the “circumstantial and archaeological evidence” for his thesis “quite compelling” (38). However, his argument proceeds from the absence rather than the presence of either archaeological or documentary evidence.

In any event, the rest of the book focuses not on mutual influences but rather the separate and what Horesh describes as the “path-dependent” trajectories of Chinese and Western monetary practices, with particular attention to the evolution of paper money and banking. Horesh recognizes conceptual differences in thinking about money, but he devotes little space to monetary theories. Instead, he attributes what he calls the “Great Monetary Divergence” primarily to differences in technology in a broad sense, encompassing minting technology, state support or lack thereof for mining, and concepts such as hard currency reserves for paper money issues. In Horesh’s view, this Great Monetary Divergence can be traced back at least to the sixteenth century: in contrast to the Ming Empire’s disastrous experiment with fiat paper money, which bequeathed a lasting aversion to fiduciary currencies, Tudor England’s equally misguided Great Debasement of 1542-51 led to a series of crucial breakthroughs in the conceptualization of money—the inviolability of currency reserves, national legal tender currencies, and the creation of national debt through banknote issuance—that propelled the rise of England as a fiscal-military nation-state as well as the creation of modern monetary and banking institutions. Horesh contends that this Great Money Divergence and related developments such as Europeans’ global pursuit of trade and mining resources figured centrally in the Great Divergence in economic development that resulted in the Industrial Revolution happening in England rather than elsewhere.

Part 2 examines fiduciary currencies and banking in nineteenth- and twentieth-century China, the main focus of Horesh’s previously published research. Horesh observes that to the very end of the imperial era, the first decade of the twentieth century, the Chinese economy relied almost entirely on hard currency; private banknotes, whether issued by domestic or foreign banks, occupied only a marginal place in the money supply. He undoubtedly is correct in arguing that the absence of sound paper instruments was a key factor in China’s high interest rates, which certainly discouraged capital investment. In a chapter devoted to Japan’s colonial banks in China, Korea and Taiwan—one of the novel contributions of the book—Horesh shows that the Japanese flexibly applied different banking policies depending on varying political and economic circumstances. In his view, the Japanese colonial banks cannot be seen simply as appendages of the Japanese state; instead, they acted as semi-official commercial banks, not unlike the British banks in Hong Kong. However, Horesh downplays the ways in which these banking institutions, both British and Japanese, served colonial agendas.

In his final chapter Horesh takes up the current debate on the prospect that the People’s Republic of China’s renminbi currency will supplant the US dollar as the global reserve currency within the forseeable future. He points out that there is a historical precedent for the PRC’s accumulation of enormous foreign currency reserves in the massive inflow of silver to China during the period from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century to offset the European states’ negative trade balances with China. (Earlier in the book [14, 116-17], however, he regards this influx of bullion as a sign of China’s weakness, not strength.) Horesh explores the pros and cons for China that loosening controls over the renminbi and capital flows in order to internationalize its currency would entail, underscoring the strong reservations harboured by Chinese economists and policy makers. Still, the renminbi’s role as an international currency surely will expand in the coming decades. Thus it is only in the future that we can expect that the separate trajectories of Chinese and Western monetary histories will at long last converge.

Richard von Glahn, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

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1956: Mao’s China and the Hungarian Crisis. Cornell East Asia Series, 170. By Zhu Dandan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University East Asia Program, 2013. vi, 310 pp. US$39.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-933947-70-9.

The Hungarian uprising of 1956 and its bloody suppression by the Soviet Red Army was a key event in the history of the Cold War. Less well known are the Chinese contributions to the debates in Moscow in response to the crisis, and the repercussions of the events in Eastern Europe in the young People’s Republic of China (PRC). Yet, as this new, meticulously researched study shows, the dual crises in Poland and Hungary had direct bearing on the tumultuous events sweeping China in 1956 and 1957, and beyond.

Zhu’s study builds on an impressive body of recent research, mostly by Chinese scholars, on the PRC’s interactions with its partners in the socialist world, and on substantial archival research in the Chinese Foreign Ministry archives and Hungarian archives. Soviet archival sources are quoted in Chinese and English translations, illustrating how much source material has become accessible to researchers over the past two decades.

The introduction and the first two chapters provide the setting for the events of October 1956. Zhu traces the dynamics of East bloc politics in the early and mid-1950s, when, after Stalin’s death in 1953 and the successful completion of the early stages of China’s socialist transformation, Mao saw an opportunity for a more proactive Chinese participation in intra-bloc diplomacy. Khrushchev’s denouncement of Stalin at XXth CPSU congress in February 1956 put Mao in a quandary; while it freed the PRC to pursue a more active policy in Eastern Europe, the Chinese political and economic systems were essentially Stalinist, and thus vulnerable to criticism. The socialist regimes in Eastern Europe faced the same dilemma; more fragile than the PRC, Poland and Hungary were the first to buckle under stress. With Poland, under the new, nationalistic leadership of Gomulka, near collapse, Khrushchev ordered the Red Army to intervene. Last-ditch diplomacy helped to avert a military confrontation, but Khrushchev’s intervention presented Mao with an opportunity to denounce what he called Soviet “great-power chauvinism” and offer to mediate.

Chinese diplomats were soon enough called on to show their skills. Just after the arrival of a high-level delegation led by Liu Shaoqi, called to Moscow for an emergency meeting over Poland, the situation in Hungary suddenly exploded. As Zhu shows in great detail in chapter 3, the Chinese delegation unexpectedly found itself at the frontlines of diplomatic containment efforts. Struggling to formulate a position, the Chinese side conferred with Mao and initially decided to stick to the “anti-chauvinist” line—or, as Zhu proposes, to use the Polish and Hungarian crises as bargaining chips, “a rare good chance to manipulate the weakening Soviets to abdicate the leading position [in the socialist world] and give room to what he saw as better men,” that is, the Chinese (164). However, Chinese efforts to keep abreast of the rapidly evolving situation in Budapest were hampered by poor communication and coordination—delayed telegrams and a virtual shutdown of the Chinese embassy there—that eventually necessitated an embarrassing about-face in early November. The Chinese side had initially called for a withdrawal of Soviet troops and counseled Khrushchev to seek a compromise with Imre Nagy, the new Hungarian leader. When Nagy announced the restoration of a multi-party system on October 31, and, a day later, Hungary’s withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, however, the Chinese had to put aside their reservations and back the full-scale military suppression of the Hungarian revolution that began on November 4. In summing up her findings, Zhu dismisses the suggestion, put forward by scholars such as Shen Zhihua, that the PRC had decisive influence on Soviet policy making at this critical juncture. Rather, she shows that Mao had to abandon his effort to promote more equal relations among the nations of the socialist bloc in order to preserve bloc unity, a goal that was clearly more important, even if that meant a perpetuation of the hierarchical structure of the East bloc.

Zhu’s detailed account and her nuanced assessment of the events of October and early November 1956 shed crucial new light on the international relations of the early PRC. Yet the author does not end her account here; fortunately, she dives deeply into the field of domestic Chinese politics to probe the impact of the Hungarian crisis and its fallout for China’s own tumultuous 1957. In chapter 4, Zhu reassesses the Hundred Flowers campaign and the CCP’s subsequent sharp reversal in early June. How did the CCP evaluate the crisis in Eastern Europe, and what lessons were to be learned? Zhu convincingly demonstrates that Mao, on the one hand, and Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai and Chen Yun, on the other, drew sharply different conclusions from the events in Eastern Europe. While the latter pointed to the socio-economic problems caused by the Stalinist economic approach, Mao interpreted the crises primarily in political and ideological terms, finding no fault with the Stalinist system per se, which he had introduced in the PRC. Rather than adjustments in the economic realm, the chairman advocated political liberalization and a determined fight against bureaucratism as the means to prevent a similar crisis in China. Zhu debunks the discredited “luring the snakes from their hole” theory that presents Mao as a cynic. Instead, she shows how Mao tried to apply the lessons from Eastern Europe; yet as a seasoned leader, he was conscious of the risks he took when allowing criticism of the Party. Once this criticism got out of hand in mid-May, Mao was quick to reverse course and launch the anti-Rightist campaign. As this summary makes clear, the events of 1956 and 1957, both international and domestic, are highly complex, but their understanding is crucial for the long-term historical trajectory of the PRC. Zhu’s meticulous study sheds light on one of the crucial junctures in modern Chinese history and world history.

1956: Mao’s China and the Hungarian Crisis will be essential reading for a specialist audience and graduate students in Chinese history, Cold War studies and international relations. It is unfortunate, though, that the books suffers from a lack of proper editing. Convoluted passages abound; the Hungarian party is variously referred to as HWP, HWUP, HCP and MSP—the acronym-rich book has no list of abbreviations. The Soviet ambassador to China appears as (Pavel) Iudin and Yudin within the same footnote. Such carelessness on behalf of the publisher distracts attention from an excellent study.

Nicolai Volland, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA

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TAMING TIBET: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University. By Emily T. Yeh. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013. xvi, 324 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$26.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8014-7832-1.

During the early 1980s, when I first traveled in the Tibetan regions of China, I would often ask the Han Chinese drivers in whose vehicles I journeyed the names of the landmarks and sites that we passed. The reply was almost inevitably the same: zheige difang mei you mingzi, “this place has no name.” Tibetans, of course, did have names for these places, but as they were largely unknown to the small numbers of Han then in Tibet, who viewed their residence there as tantamount to exile, those names, the Tibetan names, were as good as nonexistent. Between Tibet as a meaningful landscape for its indigenous population, and as a nameless, senseless wasteland for the Han who had the misfortune to be there, there was apparently no meeting point whatsoever. One of the challenges for China during the past decades, therefore, has been to generate a new world of meaning on Tibetan soil, one which, if all goes as planned, Tibetans and Han will one day share.

This dilemma is at the core of geographer Emily Yeh’s perceptive and well-researched study, Taming Tibet, which documents successive waves of change in the Chinese state’s development of the Tibetan environment, focusing on the Tibetan Autonomous Region’s capital, Lhasa, and its immediate surroundings. The process described by Yeh, which she terms “territorialization,” is materially manifest in the political, economic and technological innovations and policies broadly serving to integrate the land into the frameworks embraced by the Chinese nation-state, but her argument centrally concerns the subjectivities thereby engendered, for which landscape is inevitably a field for the production of value and meaning.

Yeh identifies three main phases in China’s territorialization of Tibet: the first, beginning during the 1950s and continuing down to the period of post-Cultural Revolution Dengist reform, centred on communalization and the creation of state farms, and sought to redefine the relations between labour and land along socialist lines. The next phase, spanning the 1980s and 1990s, emphasized economic development and the shift to a market economy. Large numbers of Han migrants were, for the first time, permitted to enter Tibet to contribute to the development process, which involved considerable investment from eastern China. Tibetans were frequently marginalized by the new economy that evolved, with which they were sometimes related as renters. Finally, after 2000, new attention was devoted to urbanization, and the transformation of Lhasa and other Tibetan cities and towns into modern Chinese urban centres.

These three phases of development are emphasized respectively in the three major sections into which Taming Tibet is organized, tellingly entitled “Soil,” “Plastic” and “Concrete.” An important leitmotif throughout Yeh’s work is the sharp tension between Chinese expectations—more often in fact a demand—for “gratitude” on the part of Tibetans for the benefits of socialization, economic growth and urban development, and the resentment, recalcitrance or reaction with which Tibetans have sometimes responded. The massive Lhasa riot of March 2008, in which many Han shops and businesses were torched, is among the key points in Yeh’s narration of the mutual incomprehension that festers around the trope of gratitude.

Like many American scholars of the humanities and social sciences in recent decades, Yeh peppers her work with references to the perspectives of (mostly continental) literary and social theorists, including Agamben, Benjamin, Debord and de Certeau. She is restrained, critical and judicious in this, however, and her gestures to these and other theoreticians do serve to clarify her arguments. Particularly strong in this respect is chapter 7, “Engineering Indebtedness and Image,” which makes good use of the category of the “gift” as elaborated in the writings of Mauss, Douglas, Sahlins and others. A welcome, though perhaps not quite intended, implication of Yeh’s effort to reach beyond contemporary China-Tibet scholarship is that Chinese development in Tibet is seen to be not so much a sui generis case as it is a further iteration (albeit a particularly poignant one) of widespread paradoxes and contradictions in the structures of contemporary developing states.

In a concluding “Afterword,” Yeh turns her attention to the wave of self-immolations that has occurred over the past several years, above all in the eastern Tibetan regions of Sichuan and Qinghai. To do this was not without considerable risk, for the causes of and reasons for this most tragic manifestation of Tibetan discontent are much debated, as is the authoritarian Chinese reaction to it. It is to Yeh’s credit that, though devoting only three pages to this difficult issue, she trivializes it not at all. Indeed, her analytic of territorialization proves to be unusually illuminating in this context.

Taming Tibet is notably well written, its accessibility enhanced by the narration of revealing episodes and anecdotes from Yeh’s fieldwork experiences or earlier history. It should certainly be read by all who wish to understand current circumstances in Tibet, as well as Chinese development at large.

Matthew T. Kapstein, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, France
The University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

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CHINESE INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE: Technology Acquisition and Military Modernization. Asian Security Studies. By William C. Hannas, James Mulvenon and Anna B. Puglisi. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xvi, 296 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$39.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-415-82142-1.

During the Cold War a debate developed within the Allied counter-intelligence community which could be summarized by “ten-foot-tall Russians” and “the monster plot.” Briefly, there was a view taken by some professionals that interpreted Soviet operations directed against NATO in Machiavellian terms, and saw the Kremlin’s strategy as akin to a diabolical game of chess in which an adversary had adopted every kind of devious scheme to mislead its opponent about its true intentions. This was the era of Jim Angleton’s “wilderness of mirrors,” when the defection of the KGB officer Yuri Nosenko fueled divisive arguments over his authenticity, and led to a kind of doctrinal schism within the Western security and intelligence apparatus that remains relevant today, even in a Chinese context.

The new variant of the old arguments centres on the nature of the PRC’s espionage methodology. Just as there was general agreement at the height of superpower confrontation, when all agreed broadly on the inherently malevolent nature of the regime, the issue was the extent to which a rather dysfunctional and artificial society could pose a serious threat to its perceived enemies. Today, few would dispute the scale of Chinese ambitions, nor the factual evidence of escalating statistics relating to stolen technology, copyright infringements and wholesale theft of proprietary intellectual property. Put simply, there is a major espionage offensive underway, and the crux of the matter is not so much the need to recognize it for what it really is, as few attempt to conceal the obvious, but rather to define the precise methodology that has been adopted by Beijing to achieve the government’s goals.

On one side you have the perspective taken by the former FBI analyst Dr. Paul Moore, who identified several distinctive characteristics of the Chinese cases he studied, which sees a threat encapsulated by the “thousand grains of sand” theory: that the Ministry of State Security (MSS) conducts its overseas operations in a very different way to its foreign counterparts, and therefore enjoys a considerable advantage. It takes a wide “blunderbuss” approach, in preference to the narrow sniper’s rifle, and makes a pitch to thousands of potential sources, instead of focusing on just a few targets. The MSS is fragmented, without conventional rezidenturas or stations operating under diplomatic cover, so it is harder to monitor by routine physical or technical surveillance. The MSS prefers to exploit “clean skins,” not flawed personalities, and rarely pays its agents, but allows them to enrich themselves by acting as intermediaries for highly profitable but illegal business transactions, often dealing with embargoed material. The MSS opts for ethnic Chinese, invariably resorts to supposed latent patriotism for the “middle kingdom” and relies on the cultural appeal of guanxi, or family obligation, to leverage cooperation.

The authors call such views “Old School” but even when attempting to demolish some alleged “urban legends,” such as the Cox Report’s oft-quoted 3,000 front companies established in North America by the PRC and the various component parts of an illicit procurement program, conveys the impression that previous surveys have generally under-estimated the scale of the espionage tsunami. They also rehearse the arguments deployed in the charges of racism directed at the FBI, which has often faced allegations of racial profiling when in pursuit of ethnic Chinese. In the most notorious example, that of Wen Ho Lee, the authors tend to muddy the already murky waters by referring to his “actual innocence or guilt” as though the issue is in some doubt, when the record clearly shows that the physicist pleaded guilty to a felony and was sentenced to time already served in prison, having spent 227 days in solitary confinement.

The historical record also shows that in the case of Qian Xuesen, there was no “genuine injustice” and that far from being a victim of “McCarthyist excesses,” the missile scientist lost his security clearance at the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, when he had attempted to return to China, and then in 1955 was deported in return for 11 American airmen captured in Korea. McCarthy, whatever his faults, played no part in Qian’s lengthy house arrest in California.

The alternative view to Moore’s is that the tradecraft employed by the Chinese is a distraction from the problem of nearly 200,000 Chinese students at liberty in the United States, subsidized by Uncle Sam, who are, or have the potential, to loot the country’s industrial secrets. This is not a series of case histories, as exemplified by the Chi Mak exposure or the Katrina Leung scandal, but rather a thoughtful analysis of a veritable haemorrhage of sensitive, commercially valuable information, ranging from atomic weapon blueprints, systems algorithms, and even entire jet engines. This short-circuit of international trade restrictions and tariff barriers has, so we are told, kick-started an economy that Mao all but razed to the ground. Worse, American politicians have failed to grasp either the hideous reality, or what is required to restore that much-contested arena, the level playing-field.

However, the authors conclude that the comparatively chaotic, uncoordinated Chinese intelligence and scientific monolith makes it impossible to reassemble the myriad pieces of information “for maximum exploitation and gain” (192). In other words, the Chinese are stealing secrets, so they assert, but do not benefit from them because of an intrinsic failure to prevent them from being “likely stove-piped and fragmented” (192). Thus we are now in the realm of speculation, rather than analysis of verifiable facts.

The authors have sidestepped a potential minefield by paying lip-service to the prevailing views on profiling by asking the rhetorical question: “How does the strategy explain Chinese recruitment of non-ethnics?,” of which there are certainly a few (198). The obvious response is that the MSS, like anyone else in the intelligence collection business, will be opportunistic when gift-horses materialize. It seems unlikely that the MSS invokes a house rule not to recruit Indians, Malays or Caucasians, and the statistical evidence supports this, but this does not obscure the common denominator in the overwhelming majority of espionage cases.

Nigel West, Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, Washington, DC

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BEYOND TERRITORIAL DISPUTES IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA: Legal Frameworks for the Joint Development of Hydrocarbon Resources. NUS Centre for International Law Series. Edited by Robert Beckman, Ian Townsend-Gault, Clive Schofield, Tara Davenport, Leonardo Bernard. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar; Singapore: NUS Centre for International Law, 2013. xx, 351 pp. (Figures.) US$105.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-78195-593-2.

The book, Beyond Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea: Legal Frameworks for the Joint Development of Hydrocarbon Resources (hereinafter “the book”), is an excellent work of collective wisdom on solving the disputes in the South China Sea region. Fourteen scholars contributed their intellectual analysis on the possible flashpoints in the East Asian region, and more importantly, they offered an extensive study on joint development, which is a feasible resolution to the disputes. The book mainly covers two aspects of joint development, i.e., a discussion of the legal contents of joint development and an introduction to certain precedents of joint development implemented in Northeast and Southeast Asia, basically around co-operation regarding hydrocarbon resources.

Furthermore, in the book’s final chapter, the editors establish a formula or procedure for constructing a joint development mechanism and for offering a flow of thinking in case the relevant agreement is concluded. These include: 1. Clarifying claims in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (this is necessary if the claimants want to understand what the legal basis is for each other’s claim); 2. Identifying areas for joint development; 3. Increasing knowledge of features in the Spratly Islands, especially the interpretation of an “island” under Article 121(3); 4. Increasing knowledge of nature and of the location of hydrocarbon resources; and 5. Starting such development in small areas with limited parties that would be easier and less complicated to reach an agreement on the development.

In a nutshell, just like the book notes, “One of the benefits of joint development arrangements is that the claimants concerned can agree on joint co-operation arrangements in a specific defined area without any of them having to give up or clarify their claims to geographic features or maritime space” (327). This is the spirit behind the process of joint development.

Having said that, a couple of supplements could be made to replenish the aforementioned formula/procedure:

  1. Emphasizing co-operation among Parties concerned is an obligation. One of the issues to be considered is that of the duty of states to co-operate whether they be friends or foes. This concept can be traced back to certain documents made more than four decades ago. For example, a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1970 states, “States have the duty to co-operate with one another, irrespective of the differences in their political, economic and social systems, in the various spheres of international relations…” Furthermore, this duty could be characterized into two aspects: a duty to enter into negotiations or a duty to negotiate and to reach an agreement. Obviously both duties of co-operation will require negotiations entered into in good faith (or bona fide). Moreover, the Parties concerned should be obliged to work together in good faith to attempt to reach an agreement. This is also provided in Article 74(3) and Article 83(3) of the UNCLOS. The wording, “in a spirit of understanding and co-operation,” indicates that the Parties concerned should negotiate in a spirit of good faith. The obligation to seek agreement in good faith is also well-defined in some international juridical cases. In the 1969 North Sea Continental Shelf Cases, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stated, “[T]he parties are under an obligation to enter into negotiations with a view to arriving at an agreement and not merely to go through a formal process of negotiation as a sort of prior condition for the automatic application of a certain method of delimitation in the absence of agreement; they are under an obligation so to conduct themselves that the negotiations are meaningful” (101). Also, in its 1984 report on the Gulf of Maine Case, the ICJ stated that the Parties were under duty to negotiate in good faith and with genuine intentions of achieving positive results.
  2. Joint co-operation mechanism in the utilizing fishery resources could be regarded as another feasible and practical alternative for starting a regional co-operation regime and could be used as a feasible measure to solve the South China Sea disputes, apart from the joint development on hydrocarbon resources mentioned in the book. It sidesteps the issue of sovereignty and focuses upon a common interest co-operatively, namely the utilization of living resources. This is encouraged under Article 123(a) of the UNCLOS. It also defers long-term negotiations with respect to delimitation of the continental shelf relating to the hydrocarbon resource issue. Thus, as co-operative relationships are forged with regard to fishery resources, mutual confidence might be promoted among the Parties concerned that may eventually contribute to successful co-operation with respect to hydrocarbon resources. Under the pressure of heavy demands on food security in the region, fishery resources management is crucial in preventing over-exploitation or overfishing and may become a touchstone of the Parties’ sincerity. Without affecting jurisdictional boundaries as laid down in the UNCLOS, it is certainly possible to have joint co-operation on fishery resources management in the South China Sea as the starting point for further co-operation. If all Parties concerned treat co-operation as a key step toward achieving mutual benefit, then the future for such a regional joint development or joint co-operation mechanism could be assured.

To conclude, this book is informative and pragmatic in its academic nature. In addition, it is also important for providing a great amount of legal discussion on solving the South China Sea disputes through the construction of joint development mechanisms, while also presenting successful past experiences in such matters.

Kuan-Hsiung Wang, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan

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CHINA’S GROWTH: The Making of an Economic Superpower. By Linda Yueh. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. xviii, 349 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-920578-3.

March 2014. World stock exchanges from New York to London to Tokyo are sent into tailspins with major declines in equities and in futures prices for key commodities such as oil, metals, and food stocks. The reason? Fears that economic growth in the People’s Republic of China is fading to just over 7 percent from its previous annual highs at 10 percent or more.

Thirty-five years ago in 1978, when the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, led by Deng Xiaoping, announced dramatic economic reforms, including plans to open the previously insulated and autarkic Chinese economy to the outside world, no one could have foreseen such a turn of events. Yet with plans to maintain 30 to 50 international conglomerates with many listed in the Fortune 500 and a growing middle class in what is now the second-largest economy in the world, China is by all accounts a major player in the international economy, a situation that will only expand. The reason for this growing economic prowess is, of course, the dramatic annual growth rates that the Chinese economy has sustained for the last thirty years or so between 9 and 10 percent. It is to this basic question that the author, a prominent economist in Europe and China, has turned her accomplished analytical skills and data collection abilities in what is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive, if sometimes a bit overloaded, books on this crucial question on the origins of China’s rapid and sustained economic growth.

Utilizing standard models of economic growth and relying on the extensive research of existing prominent research on China’s roaring economy, the author emphasizes that she sees “specific aspects” of Chinese economic growth that go beyond the standard theories. Like most works on this heavily studied topic, the exhaustive sources and research employed in the book, which the author stresses draws on more reliable micro-level over macro-level data, demonstrates that fully one-half of this growth stems from the continuing and substantial capital accumulation in China, financed primarily by a very high savings rate among the general population, corporations, and even the government. Also contributing to this rapid growth have been labour accumulation and development of human capital (10-20 percent), transfer of knowledge and technology that have accompanied joint ventures with more technologically advanced foreign corporations, and increasing investment in research and development by domestic corporations aimed at engendering “indigenous innovation.”

For this reader, one of the most interesting aspects of the book is its focus on institutional developments, especially the slow but evident creation of legal protection of property rights (2007 Property Rights Law), patent law and courts, and adherence to standards mandated by the World Trade Organization, to which China ascended in 2001. “Improved protection of property rights,” the author argues, “appears to have contributed to the strong industrial output that boosted the GDP growth of the 2000s” (315). To the extent that an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime is strengthened, especially protection of patents that are increasingly applied for by Chinese firms for protection from other Chinese firms, benefits will continue to accrue to the macro economy and hopefully the Chinese consumer.

Despite these evident gains over more than three decades, China’s economy is not without major structural and institutional problems which could affect its future prospects for continued economic growth. The most serious is the “financial repression” that rewards persistently inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) with cheap and almost unlimited credit at the expense of the more efficient private-sector corporations that too often are starved of domestic capital. And while the role of the state has retreated considerably from the pre-1978 era to the point that government spending at 19 percent of GDP is among the lowest in the developing world, the author calls for recasting the Chinese state’s role from economic management through the ubiquitous Party cadres in SOEs and a government-owned and run banking system to a more conventional role of protecting property rights, especially land, and ensuring social protection for its population through comprehensive social insurance. Whether and how the Chinese state, which for more than six decades has directed China’s economy, can make this transition is left unanswered.

Even more important is a significant growth in consumption that since the 1990s has fallen dramatically largely because of stagnant wages, along with an expansion of the service sector that remains at a rather paltry 40 percent of GDP. The 12th Five-Year Economic Plan (2011-2015) calls for a rebalancing of the Chinese economy with increased domestic demand and less reliance on exports, but until capital markets, specifically interest rates, are reformed and labour mobility is less restricted, Chinese workers will continue to see their dramatic improvements in productivity go elsewhere.

A prodigious work with reams of data, numerous charts, and mathematical models and equations, this is without question an enormously well-researched book. Yet, for a non-technical economist such as this reviewer, the narrative at times gets a bit overwhelming and even leaden, with excessive references and asides in the text that should have been relegated to endnotes. Still, this is an invaluable book for anyone interested in understanding the various factors—economic, political and technological—behind China’s experience at promoting economic growth for over three decades and the necessary measures for increasing privatization, marketization and rule of law that will ensure its continuing economic prowess.

Lawrence R. Sullivan, Adelphi University, Garden City, USA

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CONTESTATION AND ADAPTATION: The Politics of National Identity in China. By Enze Han. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Xiii, 207 pp. (Maps.) US$74.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-993629-8.

The Uyghur and Tibetan people have had a notoriously difficult relationship with the state. Even today, most of them continue to reject, sometimes violently, the form of national identity it proposes. By comparison, most of China’s other 53 ethnic minority groups have been much more accommodating. Why? This is a complicated question which Professor Enze Han, a lecturer on the international security of East Asia at SOAS in London, is attempting to answer. By and large, his explanations are convincing.

The essence of his argument is that focusing on domestic factors, e.g., a lack of economic opportunity or limited religious and cultural freedoms, is, of course, crucial to determine whether a group will contest the legitimacy of the state. But this approach only yields an incomplete picture. External factors are equally important, particularly for groups that entertain close links with an organized diaspora. For instance, most Uyghurs will naturally find that the lives of their ethnic kin in Central Asia have much greater meaning than those of any “domestic other.” As Han rightfully points out, “the dynamic of ethnic political mobilization is different for ethnic groups that have extensive external kin relations” (11).

This is a highly sensible premise. But how does it measure up to reality? After briefly describing the historical context in which China’s recent nation-building policies have developed, Han explores this question in five short chapters, each one focussing on a different ethnic group: the Uyghur, Joseonjok—or Chinese Korean—Mongol, Dai and Tibetan. Using data he gathered through his own fieldwork between 2006 and 2008, Han shows how domestic and international factors have modulated in different ways the response of each of these groups to state policies.

Han begins with the Uyghurs. For years, this Turkic minority has been living under well-documented cultural, religious and economic restrictions. This largely explains its tense relationship with the state. But that is not all. As Han points out, when the Uyghurs turn their gaze to the near abroad, they see various examples of prosperous Turkic peoples. For example, Han uses the most recent statistics available to show how GDP per head has consistently been lower in Xinjiang than in Kazakhstan, where the largest population of Uyghur expatriates live, or Turkey, which still exerts a significant cultural influence. In recent years, this contrast has been further accentuated by the fact that Xinjiang’s robust economic growth has brought few tangible benefits to the Uyghurs.

By comparison, being part of China has brought much clearer economic gains to the Mongol community: two decades of rapid growth ensured that by 2007, GDP per head in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), where most ethnic Mongols live, was twice as high as in Mongolia. But not all is rosy in the IMAR and Han’s surveys show that many Mongols believe their struggling culture is actually much better protected across the border. They also recognize that Mongolia is a democracy, albeit an imperfect one, and that it offers greater political freedoms than China. In theory, such sentiments could be exploited to foster a more acute sense of identity within the Mongol populations of China, but there is no widely recognized international organization or charismatic leader in a position to do so. This is in marked contrast with the Uyghurs and Tibetans, both of whom benefit from the support of outside advocates, the World Uyghur Congress and the Dalai Lama, respectively. This lack of outside assistance and encouragement partly explains why the Mongols have not articulated grand strategies of self-determination.

What of the Dai? This minority group, which is found mostly in southern Yunnan and numbers just over a million people, maintains close kinship relations with communities in Burma, Thailand and Laos, none of which have been bastions of political or economic stability in recent years. This has made the Dai realize the relative prosperity they have enjoyed in China and so their gripes have largely focused on local concerns.

The Joseonjok, a population of approximately two million people from China’s northeast, constitute a somewhat special case: a large segment of their external kin, i.e., those how live in South Korea, are vastly more prosperous and enjoy incomparable political freedoms. So why have the Joseonjok not mobilized to contest the state’s legitimacy, like the Uyghurs or the Tibetans? Han points to several factors, most significantly that neither of the two Koreas, nor any outside organization for that matter, has shown interest “in supporting the Joseonjok politically on issues related to group autonomy within the Chinese state” (66). Equally important, the Chinese Korean minority has had a relatively stable relationship with the state: it was an early supporter of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and its members still occupy a disproportionately high number of positions in the Party’s structure. Thus, for those dissatisfied with the status quo, the dominant strategy has been to immigrate en masse to South Korea; according to some estimates 10 percent of all Joseonjok may now be living south of the 38th parallel.

Han ends his study with a chapter on Tibet. Since he was unable to conduct fieldwork in the Tibetan Autonomous Region or in neighbouring provinces with large Tibetan communities, his narrative is largely based on secondary sources. Here, Han has chosen to give less importance to economic factors due to his assumption that “the omnipresent status of Buddhism in Tibetan society also means that “earthly” obsessions with material wealth and comforts are perhaps not as important as in the other societies discussed in the book.” This feels a little bit gratuitous and somewhat self-serving, but Han nonetheless convincingly shows how the ebb and flow of external support has closely conditioned the relationship of the Tibetan community with the Chinese state.

If one must point to a weakness in Han’s study, it is probably that his samples are often small. His work on the Dai, for example, focused on a single community, that of Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan, while his surveys in the IMAR and the Joseonjok areas targeted relatively small numbers of individuals whose opinions may not be representative of the communities as a whole. To be fair, conducting fieldwork in China, particularly on a highly sensitive issue such as the contentious relationship between ethnic minorities and the state, is often challenging. Despite this shortcoming, this book constitutes a useful addition to our understanding of the relationship between the Chinese state and its ethnic minorities.

Embassy of Canada, Beijing, China                                                                  Martin Laflamme
(Views presented are solely those of the reviewer)

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RETURN OF THE DRAGON: Rising China and Regional Security. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Denny Roy. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. vi, 279 pp. US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-15900-5.

Few topics in today’s increasingly interconnected world are as pertinent as “the rise” of China. China’s ascent has both an economic dimension as the country expands its global commercial footprint, and a security dimension resulting from its ability to project power to safeguard self-interest. While the economic aspect of China’s rise—and the resulting trade imbalances—are widely acknowledged, Denny Roy (East-West Centre, Honolulu) contends that “identifying and specifying the security consequences of a stronger China is relatively challenging” (1). In Return of the Dragon: Rising China and Regional Security, Roy provides an ambitious sweep of China’s regional engagement from northeast Asia to Iran. Roy sees China’s ascent as disruptive to the status quo, arguing that “ultimately China’s expectation of a sphere of influence will create or worsen dangers for China’s neighbors” and that an “extraordinarily strong China will decrease security for the region” (2). One reason, in the author’s opinion, lies in the rising state’s aspirations to make itself stronger relative to others, resulting in new tensions with neighbours. This may lead to a “security dilemma” whereby the true intentions of a state are opaque to others, and appear as hostile, generate mistrust and are locked in a “spiral of rising tension” (3). Another reason is that China is a “returning” power that has a strong historical sense about its proper place in the world (4-5).

Although Roy’s framing of China’s rise is decidedly cautious—the conclusion is a zero-sum view that China’s gain shall be someone else’s loss—the eleven chapters that make up Return of the Dragon provide a comparatively more balanced assessment of the variables that shape China’s regional engagement. Addressing China’s relations with its neighbours (Japan, North Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam as well as South and West Asia) alongside broader foreign policy variables (military modernization, maritime border disputes, the US strategic role in Asia), Return of the Dragon presents a broad and up-to-date overview of China’s regional foreign policy and how it shapes regional security. The book is well written, carefully structured and shall be particularly welcomed amongst policy makers and a non-academic readership looking for a survey of contemporary China’s extensive regional impact.

In recent years, China has adopted an assertive posture in its maritime disputes: Roy’s overview of the dispute with Japan over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands, as well as its maritime claims in the South China Seas presents these complex historical issues in a comprehensible manner and reaffirms his argument that an ascendant China shall be more assertive regionally. These tensions notwithstanding—much of which are framed by modern history as is the case with Chinese relations with Japan—Return of the Dragon approaches Chinese foreign policy considerations as deliberated and measured. Referring to Deng Xiaoping’s “twenty-four character strategy,” that had cautioned China to bide its time, Roy notes that this policy of “remaining calm, cooperative, conciliatory … has served China well” (31). He astutely notes that the domestic agenda, which includes addressing corruption, income inequality and uneven development looms large in China’s list of priorities and acts as a break for a more assertive foreign policy (30, 144-145). Roy also correctly highlights variables that mitigate an overly assertive foreign policy on China’s part: a lack of consensus in Beijing that China ought to replace the United States (or even form a so-called “G-2” with the United States), as well as increasing economic interdependence on the United States and an acknowledgement that a conflict with Washington would be extremely costly for Beijing.

While Return of the Dragon shall be well received as a useful overview of China’s multifaceted engagement with its neighbours, critical academic readership may take issue with some aspects of the book. First, the book does not directly engage with the vast amounts of material on foreign and security policy from China (communiqués, policy statements, white papers), which alongside Chinese are increasingly available in the English language on the Internet. The reader also does not get a sense of the individuals and institutions making Chinese foreign and security policy, or of the role played by specific members from within China’s elite. Engagement with non-Chinese scholarship is likewise minimal; while Roy refers to about half-a-dozen recent English-language volumes on Chinese foreign policy (8-10), his engagement with this scholarship is largely limited to the introduction. The book has a total of thirteen pages of notes (263-276), which includes bibliographical references. The two-and-a-half-page index is not adequate, lacking entries for Central Asia (125), “G-2”/G-7/G-8/G-20 (145) (the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is not indexed and is instead listed under Russia-Chinese relations). Maps would also have been illustrative, especially in the discussions on border disputes.

Roy also frequently finds himself making claims on behalf of others, such as “most Chinese think,” (39), “Many Chinese elites believe” (40), “Many observers believe”(89), “analysts of contemporary China argue” (162, 164), “some Chinese statements … suggest” (255) whilst neither identifying the alleged claimants nor his sources. References to the possible relevance of historical periods and structures—the Warring States period (475-221 BCE) or the tribute trade system, for example—are cursory and do not reference the extensive scholarship on these topics. Instead, the author alludes to their continued relevance based on the views of (unidentified) “analysts of contemporary China” (for the Warring States) and an unspecified “theory” (for the relevance of the tribute trade system) (162).

These criticisms notwithstanding, Roy has made a useful contribution through arguing that an ascendant China shall be a more assertive regional power. Return of the Dragon is an ambitious book in its attempt to tackle China’s recent engagement in a diverse and complex region, and it is successful in illustrating the different ways in which an increasingly powerful China could affect the Asia Pacific. Given Beijing’s economic and strategic engagement with a growing number of states and non-state actors today, Return of the Dragon shall be welcomed by readers looking for an accessible survey of Chinese foreign policy and its regional security implications.

Hasan H. Karrar, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan

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LOST IN TRANSITION: Hong Kong Culture in the Age of China. SUNY Series in Global Modernity. By Yiu-Wai Chu. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2013. viii, 219 pp. (Tables.) US$80.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-4645-5.

A content analysis of world press coverage of Hong Kong in recent years would certainly show the predominant themes to have been business and politics. Both are fast-moving topics that are in many respects quantifiable. But of equal interest to these two spheres is the less tangible one of cultural change. This is not of course a separate sphere since it relates closely to both politics and economics. Culture requires some form of economic base to exist and, in a society where democratic activity is as narrowly circumscribed as it is in Hong Kong, it becomes a proxy arena for political conflict.

Interest in Hong Kong is rising again. This partly reflects the installation of a new chief executive in Hong Kong completely different in character to the first two, and this has been accompanied by the rise to power of a new regime in Beijing: a regime, it seems, with a new and distinctive ideological mission. Added to these political shifts are current predictions that in the business field the “One Country Two Systems” framework will be dead by about the year 2020.

In these circumstances a serious study of the cultural dimensions of contemporary Hong Kong is much needed, and this is what Yiu-Wai Chu provides in his new book. Much of this work has appeared in other formats as events unfolded, but here he sums up and extends his research in an impressive way.

The basic thesis of the book is that in the process of transition from colony to SAR the vitality that local culture exhibited so vigorously in the 1970s and 1980s has been lost. The paradox implicitly addressed here is that this decline in grassroots local culture has taken place at a time when Hong Kong has, increasingly, been attempting to assert an identity in the face of potentially crushing commercial, political and cultural pressures from the mainland.

In the 1960s and 1970s most Hong Kongers were too pre-occupied with everyday life and careers to be introspective. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government reinforced the contemporary tendency to ignore the realities of the mainland until, finally, the shock waves of the Cultural Revolution irrupted onto the political scene in 1967. Reflections on Hong Kong’s special characteristics were thus largely left to Western journalists such as Richard Hughes (Hong Kong: Borrowed Place-Borrowed Time, 1968) while the images known best to the outside world were provided by films such as Love is a Many Splendoured Thing (1955) and The Countess from Hong Kong (1967).

The situation changed radically in the 1980s and 1990s. The economy was strong at the time and this supported a surge of film making and musical activity. At the same time local academics and others began to reflect much more seriously on what aspects of Hong Kong might be sustainable under the One Country Two Systems regime.

The core of the author’s book is the story of how the Hong Kong government (and in particular former chief executive Donald Tsang) has attempted to foster a “top-down” culture of values, images and activities that differentiates Hong Kong, while combining these policies with a strong, pro-mainland Chinese nationalism.

In its early stages this cultural “branding” policy was more or less independent of other policies, but after the world financial crash of 2008 cultural policy suddenly assumed much more importance as the basis for potential new pillars of the economy. New pillars were needed because the old four pillars had not delivered the high growth of the colonial period, and financial services in particular were seen as being unlikely to increase their share of local GDP for the foreseeable future.

The book includes detailed case studies of both the film and music sectors to illustrate the author’s argument that truly local cultural initiatives have been weakened rather than strengthened by the top-down government activities.

Yiu Wai Chu is particularly critical of the “neo-con” Central District values which he sees as underlying recent cultural policies. There are, however, other obstacle to cultural policy success not really explored here. Leadership is one problem. It is always relatively easy to fill high profile, highly paid, top jobs in Hong Kong. What is missing is the next level down, where what is needed is well trained and experienced staff who know the Hong Kong situation and can implement plans effectively. Linked to this is the problem of higher education and its contribution. To respond to government initiatives requires a rapid and serious re-orientation of the HE sector, but inertia and vested interests at every level of the system seem likely to ensure that this will not happen in the near future.

Finally, there is the wider issue of the state of freedom of culture and expression. Googling Hong Kong/academic freedom produces some depressing reading these days. Holding, let alone attracting, cultural talent and activity will be hard if current trends persist. Ironically, pressures on Hong Kong may well encourage migration northward, since in the large, more localized world of the mainland, there may in practice be more degrees of freedom than can be found in the city state model of Hong Kong.

Christopher Howe, University of London, London, United Kingdom

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COMMUNICATION, PUBLIC OPINION, AND GLOBALIZATION IN URBAN CHINA. Routledge Studies in Rhetoric and Communication, 18. By Francis L.F. Lee, Chin-Chuan Lee, Mike Z. Yao, Tsan-Kuo Chang, Fen Jennifer Lin, and Chris Fei Shen. New York; London: Routledge, 2014. xvi, 199 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$125.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-71320-7.

Since the Mao era drew to a close, scholars have been interested in how Chinese citizens perceive the world around them. Despite gradual openings in the 1970s and 1980s, the average Chinese saw the world in a decidedly narrow way. In the last two decades, economic development and technological innovations have given more Chinese the opportunity to experience the world more broadly. Amidst globalization, how do urban Chinese perceive the world? Francis L.F. Lee and his coauthors tackle this very question. Well written, full of pithy and purposeful prose, their book provides a systematic analysis of urban Chinese views of globalization and the role of media in shaping them. They seek to fill a gap between the concept of “cosmopolitan communications” and its measure by disaggregating media into local, national and transnational parts. The authors argue that while all forms of media are important in understanding Chinese attitudes on globalization, domestic media has the strongest effect on citizens’ views, whereas foreign media reinforces preexisting worldviews.

In reaching these conclusions, the authors draw heavily upon a groundbreaking large-scale, comprehensive study of urban Chinese media consumers. Their survey instrument was distributed to four cities—Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Xi’an—using a multistage probability sample, analyzed through multivariate regressions and descriptive statistics. The authors offer a well-reasoned case selection rationale and detailed explanation of survey distribution methods. This careful attention extends to their use of key concepts throughout the book; they define and operationalize “globalization,” a term often used but rarely defined in academia and popular media.

Before addressing Chinese views of globalization, the authors wisely establish the context within which Chinese experience the world. In chapter 2, survey data shows that most urban Chinese have limited personal interaction with the world around them (i.e., a small percentage traveled abroad, few reported having friends or relatives living abroad, most expressed little interest in the world), thus setting the stage for media to have a particularly strong effect on perceptions. Mindful that globalization can impact China through both structural and individual-level effects, the authors examine foreign media consumption in chapter 3. Their survey, conducted in 2006 and 2007, showed that Chinese people consume media primarily through television. Like many other behavioural patterns in China, foreign media consumption varied across regions: in political centres with tighter political control, like Beijing, foreign media exposure was low; in economically strong cosmopolitan centres that can support local media, like Shanghai, foreign media consumption was also quite low.

The following chapters focus on the effect of this exposure. Chapter 4 explores the general relationship between media and nationalist sentiment, concluding that foreign media does not make people more nationalistic, but it shapes the kind of nationalism they display. Chapter 5 more narrowly focuses on Chinese attitudes towards the United States, which is often seen to best represent contemporary globalization. The authors point to a general ambivalence toward America: respondents viewed US political institutions positively, but its leaders more negatively. This ambivalence might be differently characterized as nuanced, one further revealed in chapters 6 and 7, in analyses of Chinese awareness and attitudes towards globalization. Survey respondents conceived of globalization more abstractly (which might not make them unique in the world); they thought of it as a very “global” phenomenon, but one that affected individuals differently based upon where they lived. The authors wisely differentiated respondents’ attitudes toward globalization’s effects on the country and the individual: the survey revealed the Chinese were less likely to see it as having a positive effect on them as individuals, rather than on the country as a whole. Analysis by age cohort, perhaps not surprisingly, revealed interesting variations: younger urban Chinese saw the positive effects more than older individuals, in large part because they were more likely to encounter outsiders through media or personal relations.

A major challenge inherent in media studies is how fast-changing technology can make findings seem quickly out of date, a problem compounded by the slow-moving book publishing process. The survey that forms the empirical core of this book was conducted before Chinese use of the Internet and microblogging tools like weibo exploded. While technological innovations may not fundamentally challenge the authors’ findings, the way in which these platforms increase accessibility to foreign media speaks to the need for follow-up studies. This is not to suggest that their analytical framework cannot withstand inquiry into new media. In fact, such study would be in line with the authors’ interest in the individual-level effects of globalization; there is nothing more individually experienced, it would seem, than microblogging.

Changes in technology aside, Lee and the other authors paint a finely detailed portrait of urban Chinese consumers of media. But while the book is quite consciously a study limited to consumption of media, readers might be left wanting to learn more about the production side, as well. Especially in recent years, with the growth of Internet use and China’s soft power push (a point the authors only allude to, 70), the country is as much a producer of media as a consumer of it. This book will whet the appetite of those searching for a better understanding of China as an active, rather than passive, participant in this process of globalization. Attention to the microblogging phenomenon, too, would go far in understanding the production of media.

To their credit, the authors are well aware of the changes in the media landscape since the survey was conducted. As they suggest, this book—and the impressive survey upon which it is based—provides a baseline stay from which future studies might build upon. Scholars interested in how Chinese views of the world are changing, particularly amidst rapid shifts in technology and communication, will find this book of real benefit as they move forward in their research. This solid foundation of understanding might also allow others to place China into a more comparative context and generalize the findings beyond a single case study.

Timothy Hildebrandt, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK

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CHINESE COMFORT WOMEN: Testimonies from Imperial Japan’s Sex Slaves. Contemporary Chinese Studies. By Peipei Qiu, with Su Zhiliang and Chen Lifei. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013. xx, 254 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$32.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7748-2545-0.

This is an important book that signals fundamental shifts in understandings of the Japan military’s use of “comfort women” in Asia during the Second World War. To date, most discussion of “comfort women,” the English translation of the Japanese euphemism ianfu, has focused on roughly 200,000 Korean and Japanese nationals. This volume sheds light on the suffering of an approximately equal number of Chinese women who were forcibly drafted by the Japanese military and whose experiences were silenced for decades. It is the first English-language monograph to record the memories of Chinese women at the “comfort stations” and it does a fine job of introducing these important findings to international audiences. The volume centres on oral interviews with twelve survivors conducted by Su Zhiliang and Chen Lifei from 1998-2008, more than five decades after the “comfort women” system was dismantled and the women were “liberated.” One of the great strengths of this work is the demonstration that these women’s suffering continued long after the Japanese military was defeated and the war ended.

The volume consists of three sections. The first recounts the establishment of the “comfort women” stations, stressing the deliberate and calculated mass abduction of local women. Many of the women’s families struggled to raise the ransoms that the military demanded to free them, challenging often repeated assertions that Chinese do not value daughters. The middle section is a harrowing recounting of the experiences of the twelve women, who came from regions as diverse as the north of China and the southern island of Hainan. Their personal narratives are, as to be expected, moving and reflective of an enormous level of unjust suffering. The final section recounts the women’s postwar lives and the grassroots movement that has arisen to seek redress for the injustices that they endured. It clearly spells out the long-term costs that these women paid for the Japanese military’s violation of the most basic human rights and dignity.

The authors make clear that the purpose of this monograph is to facilitate understanding between Japanese people and their neighbours and not to encourage antagonistic, nationalistic stances. They argue that it is necessary to transcend the posturing of nation-states and recognize that the suffering caused by war is a violation of individual human lives. Whether this goal can be achieved may be debateable but the Japanese government’s ongoing failure to fully acknowledge the nature and extent of these war crimes is not. At the heart of this book lies the ruthless, militaristic nature of the “comfort women” system and the Japanese Imperial Army’s direct involvement in an unimaginable level of violence towards Chinese people that the Japanese government still refuses to be held morally, legally or otherwise responsible for. Chinese Comfort Women makes a very strong and compelling case that the Japanese military was systematically and deliberately involved in the kidnapping, sexual exploitation and enslavement of enormous numbers of Chinese women. While the purpose of the “comfort stations” was, according to Japanese military leaders, to ostensibly prevent mass rape and the spread of venereal diseases, the effect was to shatter and shame Chinese—and ultimately discredit the much-vaunted propaganda of Imperial Japan liberating China from Caucasian imperialism.

A chief contribution of this volume is the demonstration that massive numbers of Chinese “comfort women” were obtained locally and viewed as no more than military supplies, treated as “public latrines.” The scale of this inhumane treatment was enormous, with Su Zhiliang estimating that around 200,000 Chinese women were forced into sexual slavery by and for the Japanese military. The political symbolism of the system, with the raping and killing of Chinese women symbolic of China’s subjugation to Imperial Japan, compounded the women’s suffering by fuelling prejudices toward them and their suffering. Some of the women whose lives fill these pages were welcomed back into their families while others survived to find their families utterly decimated; to add further insult to injury, they were denounced as collaborators in the subsequent Maoist era. These women’s fates appear to have differed little from those of the countless thousands of other, mainly Korean, “comfort women” who also suffered enormously at the hands of the Japanese military—and patriarchy—and have been the major focus of “comfort women” research to date. While the authors do point out varied significances of the patriarchal norms within which the Japanese military operated, perhaps an even deeper, more prolonged analysis of patriarchy would strengthen further the authors’ stated ambition to move beyond nation-state renderings of the topic.

“Comfort women” have attracted increasing attention in recent years but this is the first English-language monograph to focus on the suffering of those Chinese women whose lives were forever altered by the abhorrent behaviour of the Japanese military. The twelve women whose experiences are recounted here deserve a great deal of credit for having survived the wartime crimes committed against them, subsequent persecution in the Maoist era, the refusal of the Japanese government to take full responsibility for the actions of its military, and the interviewing process, all of which must have been traumatizing. Chinese Comfort Women does an excellent job of linking these women’s lives to forces that darkened much of China’s tortuous twentieth century yet remain far too little understood.

Norman Smith, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada

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DEFENDING RIGHTS IN CONTEMPORARY CHINA. Routledge/Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) East Asian Series, 12. By Jonathan Benney. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xi, 197 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-69430-8.

Jonathan Benney has written an important book that shows how talk about weiquan, rights defense, became embedded in official discourse and policies, and then was taken up, challenged and modified by different groups in society, such as ordinary citizens, consumer activists, lawyers and dissidents. The book adds to our understanding of how norms and terms develop and travel both among different groups within a given society as well as across national borders. Within the field of human rights studies, several scholars have drawn attention to processes of vernacularization of ideas, and this book, albeit not drawing on this strand of literature, nevertheless can be seen as contributing to the debate. Benney should also be commended for going beyond earlier more static cultural/intellectual studies of rights and human rights towards a more ethnographic-based study that shows how rights are understood, debated and embedded among different stakeholders and in diverse struggles in a rapidly changing Chinese society. The book builds on earlier works on the fragmented nature of the Chinese state, addressing how state-society relations have changed during the reform period, and how new stakeholders such as NGOs, social campaigners and lawyers have emerged and use new strategies and methods such as information and communication technologies (ICTs) to identify and defend their rights. Whereas many earlier works have addressed the history and debates on human rights in China, legal developments, rights struggles as part of protests and social movements, and the views and struggles of special groups of individuals, such as lawyers and dissidents, Benney’s book shows how these debates and struggles are connected. The author accomplishes this by taking an interdisciplinary approach that draws on insights from sociology, media studies and legal studies.

Benney’s book thus aims to provide an overview of the complex development of both the notion and practice of weiquan. The book consists of an introductory chapter addressing the development of the term, and subsequent chapters discuss how the major actors, identified as the government, ordinary citizens and lawyers, separately and in negotiation with each other have understood, used and shaped weiquan. Weiquan, thus, is not a static or uncontested notion, but ambiguous and evolving, and it is used strategically by different actors in specific and ever new contexts. The emphasis on different stakeholders’ “strategic” use turns our attention to the practice rather than the theory behind the notion. By focusing on rights defense as a strategy and framing device, the author avoids getting too bogged down in more abstract discussions on the sources of rights and whether or in what way Chinese citizens’ understanding of rights differ from citizens in the so-called West—a debate that has been raging for some time.

Benney provides a convincing argument for how the government’s own initial use and advocacy of weiquan opened up a Pandora’s box that encouraged Chinese citizens to use and couch their own activities and demands in those terms. Given the prominence and widespread use of the term today, and bearing in mind that according to Benney it was not used at all before 1992, it is interesting how little we actually know about its origin and early developments and the rapid dissemination and appropriation by different groups in society. Despite Benney’s own discussion of the rise and use of the term in the Chinese media and in different policy statements, there is still much left to explore about how and why different official institutions and individuals pushed the notion of weiquan, and how their understanding and use of the term has developed with time. It seems that weiquan developed more as a domestic discourse initiated and pushed by the Ministry of Justice, and thus in some isolation from the official Chinese human rights discourse where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs played a more prominent role. Be that as it may, certain groups such as dissidents and lawyers soon came to relate weiquan to the international human rights discourse, showing how a certain term can get new connotations and be adopted for other uses than originally intended.

The rapid diffusion and adoption of weiquan is in no small part due to the diffusion and growth of the Internet in China. The Internet has, despite tight control and censorship, opened up a space for Chinese citizens to conceptualize, demand and fight for rights, as well as get support from others, thus challenging the official discourse. The diversification and commercialization of the Chinese media has also meant that journalists in the more critical media outlets today are able to report and spread the language of weiquan by publishing successful cases of rights defenders such as the consumer activist Wang Hai, discussed by Benney.

The book’s empirical part draws on a selection of case studies that show how different individuals have appropriated the state-sanctioned notion of rights defense and then used it to legitimize their own struggles, although very often in the process challenging the state. One could argue that Benney’s selection of cases focuses too much on well-placed and informed middle-class citizens whose struggles have been given good coverage in the media, and that their topics, consumer issues and property rights, thus reflect this group’s particular concerns. Although Benney briefly discusses areas such as labour rights and women’s rights, more studies of how other groups of citizens with grievances use weiquan, or if they prefer other concepts, and how successful such appropriation really is, and in what circumstances, are much needed. Benney’s also address the special role of lawyers in rights defense and their more vocal role in society today. The book’s conclusion and recent developments in China reveal an official retreat and backlash for weiquan both as notion and practice, which serves to further alert us to its ambiguous status and the precarious situation for those who try to practice it.

Marina Svensson, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

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Northeast Asia


THE TWO KOREAS AND THE POLITICS OF GLOBAL SPORT. By Brian Bridges. Leiden; Boston: Global Oriental/Brill, 2012. x, 188 pp. US$120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-23339-3.

Most research on sport politics either focuses on state government of sport and the implementation of public policy or on the way in which sport organizations wield their power for their own sectional interests, usually at the expense of other interest groups. Brian Bridges, the recently retired head of the Department of Political Science and director of the Centre for Asian Pacific Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, takes a distinctively different approach by placing the state into the centre of analysis and introducing a functionalist dimension to the political scientist’s understanding of sport in international relations. His double history of Korean sport looks at the simultaneous development of sport politics in two states and their interactions in national and global sporting arenas over the past sixty-something years. The result is a valuable, though way too pricy contribution to the still sparse literature on sport in non-Western nations. It is unique in the sense that it attempts to compare the development of national sport systems in both Korean modern states.

Bridges has been known as an avid writer on sport in East Asia among the few political scientists who acknowledge the political nature of sport. Bridges is particularly interested in the dimensions that make sport politically useful in international relations in East Asia, e.g., for the projection of national images, the conveying of messages of dissent or consent, or the mitigation of rivalry and conflict. Some of his earlier journal articles, in which he discussed the aforementioned aspects, provide the core chapters of this book: the troublesome relations of the International Olympic Committee, with two states claiming to represent one nation (chapter 4); the politics behind the Seoul Olympics (chapter 5); and the exaggerated expectations towards the Beijing Summer Olympics as facilitator of inter-Korean encounters (chapter 7). Previously unpublished work fills the gaps within the historical account of sport politics in Korea. Since chronology dictates the sequential arrangement of chapters, the 23 pages (chapter 3) between the theory chapter and the ICO chapter must tackle the ambitious goal of summarizing the trajectory of sport in Korea from premodern times through centuries of feudalism, exposure to the Chinese cultural sphere of influence until the colonial period and the early years of postcolonial state formation. Similar gap fillers—all of them descriptive rather than analytic—are chapter 6 on sport relations in the 1990s and chapter 8 comparing the two Korean national sporting systems in contemporary times. All chapters also contain a useful overview of the two Koreas’ domestic policies and the changing international environment, which are crucial impact factors.

The book sets out with a short overview of its content and a more detailed introduction to the linkages between sport, nationalism and international relations. Political scientists argue that because of its socio-cultural functions and its strong association with ideas of the national, sport can play an important role in the domestic politics and social order of modern nation-states. Bridges differentiates state nationalism from popular nationalism, which is a useful distinction, particularly in the realms of sport, where state-run actions as well as popular images and media productions contribute to the construction of national ideas and the perpetuation of nationalist sentiments. But Bridges is more concerned with the top-down approach of state actors who are getting engaged with the world of sport for the purpose of outlining the contours of the national. He grasps sport as a selected functional field in which states can cooperate, thereby building up ties that compel them to cooperate in other areas as well. Because spill-over effects can be achieved (and indeed are desirable), sport becomes a powerful factor in foreign diplomacy and the management of international relations.

Well, in theory. Most of the chapters following the introduction look into the ways in which the two Koreas have tried to utilize their entanglement with supranational sport organizations and high-profile sport events to gain clout in the global arena or to emphasize their claim for national representation. North Korea’s spectacular advance into the quarterfinals of the 1966 FIFA Football World Cup in England or South Korea’s successful hosting of the Seoul Olympics in 1988 provides some evidence of the weight of sport for nation branding. However, in the end (chapter 10) Bridges concedes that sporting contacts did not help to improve relations between the Korean states, because sport in general is held hostage to the political relations, or sport is not such a heavyweight in international relations as theory wants us to believe. Just the contrary seems to be the case, judging from the sketchy survey of sport in other divided nations (chapter 9). Evidence from the case studies of Germany, Vietnam, Yemen and China (Ireland is conspicuously absent in the review) unanimously confirms the negligible leverage or even total irrelevance of sport in the promotion of reconciliation.

Placing Korea into the context of competing representation or divided nationhood would have been a great jumping-off point. Such a study would generate more analytical depth and theoretical insight than a primarily descriptive and ultimately hermeneutical approach ever could produce. The methodological weakness is particularly profound when considering the kind of sources Bridges is relying on. Most of his account is based on academic literature and other secondary sources in English, including media clippings and government reports. Archival material is hardly used, government officials are hardly questioned, and other agents are not surveyed. The quantitative data is not explored to a degree that would allow the reader a more clear picture of any of the Korean sport systems, while many of the qualitative accounts are drastically devalued by the selection bias and the question of provenience and partisan interests behind them. The gap between social reality and scholarly account is uncomfortably large in the case of North Korea, for which no reliable material is available, which is a shortcoming acknowledged by the author himself. For the time being, therefore, in the end we still do not know that much more about the contours and content of Korea’s sport systems. At least the context has become a bit clearer.

Wolfram Manzenreiter, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

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TREACHEROUS TRANSLATION: Culture, Nationalism, and Colonialism in Korea and Japan from the 1910s to the 1960s. Seoul-California Series in Korean Studies, 6. By Serk-Bae Suh. Berkeley: Global, Area and International Archive, University of California Press, 2013. xxx, 222 pp. US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-938169-06-9.

Scholars of literature who are conducting research in a transnational context often find themselves working with a vocabulary that declines toward essentialism. It is difficult to discuss a text without situating it within a (putatively self-evident) national literature, itself founded upon a circular logic in which the nation, often an imagined ethno-nation of implied common biological descent, both explains and is explained by the text. This is not surprising; during the modern period many of the authors and readers in question would have embraced such a paradigm. Similarly, many scholars who have taken on the interplay of texts that traverse these categories have merely reproduced them with little concern for their historicity or instability. By contrast, Serk-Bae Suh’s study on the role of translation in the colonial context avoids the reification of national categories without losing sight of the tremendous influence those categories exerted and continue to exert, as he examines asymmetrical power relations involved in specific instances of translation.

The first of these is the work of Hosoi Hajime (細井肇, 1886-1934), a writer, editor and translator who considered it his life’s mission to “bring Japan and Korea together into genuine unity” (18) under Japanese imperial rule. Suh argues that Hosoi’s project, which advocated the unification of knowledge and empathy (in Hosoi’s terminology, “love” [愛]) was doomed from the beginning, as it never confronted the political conflict (stemming from the violence of colonization) which necessitated that unification (44-45).

Next is the 1938 Japanese translation (by Chang Hyŏkchu장혁주 [張赫宙], 1905-97) of a traditional opera Ch’unghyangjŏn (춘향전 [春香傳], The Tale of Spring Fragrance), staged in both Japan and Korea. The translation met with resistance by intellectuals, such as Yi T’aejun (이태준[李泰俊], 1904-70?), who were concerned with both “misrepresentation of Korean culture and customs” and ultimately “the total assimilation of Korean culture into Japanese” (59). Suh, however, points out that rather than a form of resistance against Japanese imperialism, the cultural nationalist response of these critics, premised as it was on a symmetrical relationship between two putatively autonomous cultures, only “served to compensate for the political asymmetry between the colonized and the colonizer” (66).

In chapter 3, Suh takes up the career of Ch’oe Chaesŏ (최재서 [崔載瑞], 1908-64), a scholar turned journalist who became an editor of the Japanese-language journal Kokumin bungaku (『国民文学』, 1941-45), published in Korea. According to Suh, Ch’oe represented a different approach to culture in the colonial context: he wished to position “Korean literature and culture within the literature and culture of Japan” (84). As Suh describes, this schema was Ch’oe’s attempt to preserve the autonomy of culture without resisting the politics of his day; as a result his attempts were anything but autonomous, and in fact “colluded with the politics of colonial domination” (103).

Moving into the period following liberation, Suh discusses the historian Tōma Seita (藤間生大, 1913- ) and the poet/translator Kim Soun (김소운 [金素雲], 1907-81). In 1956, two years after a series of his translations of literary works into Japanese had been republished with commentary by Tōma, Kim published an article that attacked the historian’s “ostensibly sympathetic” (104) readings. Kim attacked Tōma for readings that he thought were plagued by “wild speculation and dogma” made worse by being “shrouded in good will” (104). Kim’s criticism focused on questioning why “colonial experience should be the ultimate hermeneutical horizon” (126); for Suh, however, the greater problem lay in equating Japanese under the U.S. Occupation with past forms of imperialism, which allowed them to “escape accountability for Japan’s own colonial expansion” (113).

Finally, Suh discusses the poet Kim Suyŏng (김수영[金洙暎], 1921-68) as a representative of a generation of bilingual intellectuals in postcolonial Korea who were forced to negotiate the politics and pragmatics of their differential language abilities amid a “nationalist imperative […] to favor Korean as the sole national language” (145). As Suh points out, however, such a project “indicated aspirations to a unified Korea that was not only absent in the present but had also never existed in the past” (148). As such, these intellectuals posed a challenge to an ideology that “erases the alterity of language and reinforces monolingualism as the normative linguistic situation” (157).

Suh’s study is a concrete example of the difficulty in historicizing essentialized peoplehood constructs while preserving collective accountability in the face of a history of colonial violence. In focusing on “translation in the colonial context” (xiii), he scrupulously maintains the contingency and complexity of the subject positions of the individuals involved. The result, to this reader, was a historically specific critical theorization that could nonetheless contribute to understanding translation outside of this colonial context, where other forms of alterity and asymmetry would inevitably be operative. The only moment of hesitation I felt was near the end of the book, in his reflections on representation, when he concedes the existence of communities formed upon “epistemological substrata” comprised of shared conventions and norms (130). It soon becomes clear that Suh has conceded this only to then undermine it, first noting that no such community will lack its own internal alterity or be entirely homogeneous (131), and then clarifying that colonial alterity “need not involve any essentialist identification” (134). My fear, though, is that the initial concession implies the existence of a privileged form of alterity between ahistorical “peoples,” qualitatively different from that between other collectivities or between individuals, which could be read to justify a belief in essentialist notions of ethno-nations by a reader inclined to do so. Suh cannot, of course, be held accountable for all possible (mis-)interpretations of his text; I raise this point only to say that addressing this issue more directly would have made a strong study even stronger.

Edward Mack, University of Washington, Seattle, USA         

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SPLIT SCREEN KOREA: Shin Sang-ok and Postwar Cinema. By Steven Chung. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. 262 pp. (Figures.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN: 978-0-8166-9133-3; US$25.00, paper, ISBN: 978-0-8166-9134-0.

Shin Sang-ok’s (1926-2006) incredible career might have been rejected as “too improbable” by the executive types had someone pitched a screenplay detailing the events of his life. As one of the most commercially successful Golden Age producer-directors, Shin was responsible for such landmark films as Hellflower (1958), Romance Papa (1960), Sŏng Ch’unhyang (1960) and Red Muffler (1964). In 1978, Shin was allegedly kidnapped by the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, just as his glory days as the head of Shin Films were winding down in South Korea. After making a series of high-profile films such as the musical Oh My Love (1984) and the monster film Pulgasari (1985) in the North, Shin “defected back” to the South, wherein he struggled but largely failed to re-establish himself as a relevant film artist.

I am going to “cut to the chase” and state that Steven Chung’s monograph on the entire career span of Shin Sang-ok, the businessman-auteur par excellence, is one of the best English-language books on Korean cinema I have read: it is also one of the most ambitious, perhaps deceptively so. Shin’s oeuvre, in Chung’s view, can neither be reduced to products of the “culture industry,” the contents and forms of which are over-determined by the structure and dynamics of global capitalism, nor to simplistic representations of the hegemonic ideologies, be they North Korea’s particular brand of communism or the Park Chung-hee regime’s aggressive developmentalism.

Chung’s innovative interpretive stance is anchored on the primacy he gives to the “enlightenment” (kyemong) mode of cultural expression, as opposed to the conventional narratives of Korean cultural history centred on the rise and fall of (nationalist and/or socialist) realism. Despite the persistently derogatory and dismissive treatment doled out to the works in enlightenment mode by Korean (in particular left-wing) critics, the author proceeds to characterize the enlightenment cinema as the “basic vernacular” of postwar Korean cinema, conveying
“the predicament of a cinema caught between an intensely politicized cultural field and the need to remain publicly visible through commercial success or state sponsorship” (27). Realigning cultural expressions of colonial modernity, North Korean (nationalist) socialism and South Korean capitalist developmentalism into a single continuum, Chung shows how Shin Sang-ok masterfully practiced filmmaking in this mode. He was able to create the works of massive and enduring popularity, that also articulated social responsibility and political meaning through the heightened legibility of its “themes,” embodied in the melodramatically suffering figures of women.

Interspersed with the analysis of the modalities and mechanics of Shin’s work are provocative yet nuanced dissections of the select motion pictures. Chung, for instance, discusses Shin’s paradoxical yet brilliant manipulation of the realist style and form to foreground the fantasy of “refined” femininity and sexuality in the star personality of Ch’oe Ŭn-hŭi, in Hellflower (73-81): He also shows what appears to be explicitly pro-Park Chung-hee-regime didacticism found in the exemplary “enlightenment” film Rice is complicated by Shin’s own orchestration of “melodrama of development” that partakes of the visual imagery even redolent of socialist realism, as seen in the movie’s mass pan shots and labour montage (141-157). More intriguingly, Chung analyzes how Shin expanded upon Kim Jong-il’s mandate for “nonmimetic measurement of affective timing” in the dictator’s Juche film theory—“[the] strength of the emotions must be built up and there has to be a motive for their coming to a head,” as Kim memorably puts it (171-172)—yet managed to subvert the ideological imperatives of socialist realism, the results of which were welcomed by the Northern movie-goers as “movies that were really like movies”(185-203). By no means resistant to or critical of the dominant ideologies, Shin’s most notable works nonetheless manage to exceed the bounds of the ideological and create moments of “excess,” “surplus” or even “superfluousness,” that nonetheless endowed them with vitality, beauty and an affective power of their own: therein lies, Chung argues, their most significant cinematic raison d’être as well as their enduring appeal.

The “cultural history” component of Chung’s research is so well done that it actually raises many interesting new questions that we might not have come up with, had it not been for his suggestions. For instance, what about the question of plagiarism of the Japanese cinema? Shin was no exception among the early postwar Korean cultural producers in terms of the close attention he paid to the works of his Japanese contemporaries: couldn’t Cruel Stories of Yi Dynasty Woman, to name just one example, be explicitly modelled after a similarly themed Japanese work, for instance, Imai Tadashi’s Bushido: The Cruel Code of the Samurai (Bushidō zangoku monogatari, 1963)? He does not really advance a convincing explanation about why Shin was unable to make meaningful films after 1986 either. This is a pertinent question in that the director-producer was alive and well throughout South Korea’s transition into the so-called New Korean Cinema: what structural and historical factors (aside from personal reasons) prevented Shin from producing a “Hollywood-style blockbuster” like the comedian-auteur-con artist Shim Hyung-rae’s D-War (2007)?

Finally, while I find Chung’s juggling of various theoretical and social-scientific concepts and heuristic terms very impressive, there are a few questionable usages, such as his choice to translate the terms kŏgukjŏk (“nationwide,” with a strong connotation of state-directed mobilization) and kojŭng (an act of making sure historical details are “authentic” or “accurate”) as “national-political” and “historical materiality,” respectively. I would hesitate to take the author to task for these rather minor questions and problems, as Chung’s effort to bring together rich textual analyses of individual cinematic works and the detail-attentive cultural history of postwar Korea into a coherent project is more Herculean than it might appear to a casual reader.

Written in clear, jargon-free prose and gently persuasive and accommodating in its engagement with the existing scholarship, Steven Chung’s Split Screen mounts a compelling case for re-examination and re-evaluation of the commercial Korean films produced between 1953 and 1979, which he aptly calls “a rich, irreducibly cinematic testament to the complexities of Korean modernity” (212). Chung throws a gauntlet of challenge to any ambitious scholar of the Golden Age Korean cinema to outdo his impressive research, with the likes of Yu Hyŏn-mok, Yi Man-hŭi [Lee Man-hee] [The same director better known for the name inside parenthesis], Kim Ki-yŏng and other contemporaries of Shin Sang-ok. The book is a must-read for any serious student of Korean cinema and strongly recommended to any general reader interested in the modern history of Korea as expressed through its mass media.

Kyu Hyun Kim, University of California, Davis, USA

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LIVING ON YOUR OWN: Single Women, Rental Housing, and Post-Revolutionary Affect in Contemporary South Korea. By Jesook Song. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2014. xi, 152 pp. (B&W photo.) US$70.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-5013-1.

When I read Jesook Song’s acknowledgement of the 16 women whose experiences form the core of her study I knew that this would not be a happy story. Song describes the women as “so strong, genuine, and grounded, despite the ruptures they have experienced between their social consciousness and their individual happiness, between their ideal of autonomy and the realities of financial and moral pressures, and between their loss of social networks and their hope to create new kinds of social support” (ix). She presents the life circumstances of 35 South Korean women, all in their late twenties to late thirties at the time of her study, all living on their own, and all of whom describe themselves as “pihon yŏsŏng,” “unassociated with marriage,” in effect single by choice. Most had been student activists in their college days and carried a sense of social commitment into subsequent involvement with the women’s movement or poorly remunerated work for NGOs. They also experienced, with a great deal of ambivalence, a liberal market ideology of consumerism and self-improvement. Although all of the women were college educated, their own earned income relegates them to the category of “new poor.” With limited personal resources, they precariously inhabit a self-defining “room of one’s own” in a real estate market that is skewed against single women. Many are haunted by the prospect of an impoverished and lonely old age.

Well-educated and precariously employed young South Koreans are part of a national and global trend where neoliberal economics favour flexible irregular or part-time employment with only a minimum of social support. In South Korea women are more likely to fall into this pattern than men. Song attributes her subjects’ thirst for independent living to the popularization of liberal ideas, desires and practices, including feminist consciousness-raising and expanded exposure to Western media in the 1990s. Many women describe solitary living as an escape from family pressure, in particular pressure to marry, and yet, Song notes, most of the women in her study could not sustain an independent lifestyle without the help of their families. Parents, some women claim, are actually relieved to have a fractious or embarrassingly unwed daughter leave home.

South Korean real estate arrangements, combined with irregular or poorly remunerated employment, are at the crux of the problem. Most rental space in South Korea requires an up- front lump sum cash payment, unmarried people under the age of 35 cannot apply for bank loans, and even when they reach the requisite age, single women are required to provide guarantors where unmarried men might not be so asked. Many single women are further hampered by their inability to show a consistent employment record, a consequence of gendered employment patterns in South Korea where women are more likely than men to be partially employed. Song sees the lump-sum deposit system as discriminatory against women and the poor but she recognizes that it is so engrained in South Korean practice that most of her interviewees attribute their own difficulties to personal or generational failure rather than systemic constraints.

Reading of their struggles, I found myself wondering what had attracted these women to their singular lives in the first instance and caused them to persist. Song sees her subjects as caught in a paradox. They have been influenced by a liberal ethos that encourages them to seek happiness in the pursuit of individual freedom, including social experimentation, salsa dancing, aerobics and foreign travel. At the same time, they are limited by the economic constraints of flexible employment that works in tandem with their idealized flexible lifestyles. In brief, the women seem far from happy. Song describes them as caught between the weighty sense of duty that they carried in the 1980s and the new imperative to enjoy life that they embraced in the 1990s, initially as an escape from doctrinaire and ultimately patriarchal anti-state activism. Politically left and socially liberal, these women are anxious for a new politics which they can engage as individuals, the sort of mellow political expression found in the candlelight vigils and in the public mourning for former president No Mu-hyeon. But the women find little traction in the contemporary moment; even those who work for NGOs devoted to women’s issues are not able to articulate their own needs as single women, possibly because the dominant South Korean social ethos views them as selfish. Song leaves her subjects in a “place of suspicion and suspension” (95).

This is an account of some members of a pivotal generation of South Korean women and it gains poignancy from the author’s own deep identification with her subjects. Song has a clear sense of her terrain and tells her story concisely and effectively. She offers a reasoned argument about life under neoliberalism in South Korea, a project Song initiated with her first book, South Korea in the Debt Crisis: The Creation of a Neoliberal Welfare Society (Duke University Press, 2009). She also contributes a fresh chapterto the unfolding story of South Korean women and begs reflection on the global phenomenon of under-employed educated young adults. What I missed was ethnography. The women’s voices were present but I never felt that I had a clear picture of any one of them, how they lived day-to-day, or why, apart from the few admitted lesbians in the sample, they had so adamantly rejected marriage. Some had recoiled from the “patriarchal” ethos of anti-state activism and from the familial pressures to embark upon a season of arranged meetings leading to possible matrimony, but a more sustained discussion would have been appreciated. Even so, Song made me care—even worry—about her subjects and this is a measure of the ultimate success of her project, requisite reading for anyone interested in the current state of South Korean society and the place of women within it.

American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA                                      Laurel Kendall

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THE MAKING OF THE FIRST KOREAN PRESIDENT: Syngman Rhee’s Quest for Independence 1875–1948. By Young Ick Lew. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. xxv, 444 pp. (Figures.) US$68.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3168-4.

When South Korean President Syngman Rhee left office to begin a life of exile in 1960, it brought an abrupt close to his storied career as a political and public figure in modern Korea, one spanning the late Chosŏn, the colonial period, and the formation of an independent nation-state, albeit one marked by contestation and division. Little did he suspect, however, that his legacy would continue to be debated by historians and scholars well into the early twenty-first century, with a recent historiography just now beginning to explore the complex economic and social circumstances dating to his period of rule (1948–1960), especially given sufficient time to reflect and re-evaluate. Park Tae-gyun of Seoul National University, for example, has sought to outline the careful economic planning and bureaucratic work done by a small group of Korean social scientists and intellectuals from the late 1950s, and into the early 1960s. If Park’s intent is clearly not to exonerate Rhee, the effect of such a gesture suggests at least a more nuanced reading, especially in contrast to an earlier caricature in which the president simply waited on stage for Park Chung Hee to emerge with his ambitious visions for the future.

In keeping with this theme, Young Ick Lew’s timely study, The Making of the First Korean President (2014), offers a rich biographical portrait of the first ROK president in his multiple guises, beginning as a “Christian reformer,” and spanning the last quarter of the nineteenth century until the beginning of his presidency (1876–1948). Well-known as a senior figure and in particular, as a scholar of the Korean independence movement at the end of the nineteenth century, Lew offers here a deeply researched vision of Rhee as a flawed, complex individual capable of great achievement and ambition, as well as someone equally skilled at becoming mired in controversy, engaging with factions and intrigue. Drawing on a wide range of sources across several different languages, and holding access to Rhee’s personal documents, Lew presents his newest and perhaps most vital insights when he covers the period between Rhee’s departure from Korea in the early twentieth century and his re-emergence nearly four decades later, following liberation in 1945. While the broad contours of this career may be familiar to some readers—the time he spent in Hawaii, and his engagement with the Shanghai provisional government—the details provided here offer a potentially greater depth, and an argument actively promoting Rhee’s long-term motivation as a major figure behind the ideals of Korean independence, even characterizing him as a “freedom fighter” (281).

With his chosen periodization, Lew offers numerous links between the late Chosŏn and the early Republic of Korea, a choice that might remind some of the Cold War narrative conflict between the two Koreas, with both nations struggling to achieve legitimacy in the eyes of the external world. Still, Lew’s version of events takes place less at the scale of the nation-state than via an individual, and he seeks to explain that individual over the long-term, countering the facile dismissal typical of some of the previous English-language scholarship. Equally interesting, Lew acknowledges his engagement with Robert Oliver’s famous (and deeply problematic) biography, a hagiographic account composed with access only to the English-language portion of Rhee’s personal papers. In this sense, the task that Lew sets for himself is extremely difficult from the outset, calling for an account drawing upon Rhee’s composition abilities in several languages; and moreover, one that must be far more critical than its predecessors. To a great extent, Lew succeeds in his chosen task of defamiliarizing this prominent figure, and equally, seeks to engage Rhee’s personal conflicts and failed efforts at diplomacy, actions earning him criticism from any number of quarters.

If in the end Lew’s major task is to convince the reader of the value of re-engaging with Rhee as a serious figure worthy of attention, he succeeds, providing shades of gray sufficient to complicate the existing picture. His careful documentation of Rhee’s travels and diplomatic work in a variety of contexts adds to his own previous work on the president, and makes extensive use of the papers obtained in the late 1990s, and now housed at Yonsei Unversity. In brief, the book works well as a vehicle designed to showcase a specific set of emerging sources, and in this respect, meets the terms it has set for itself. At the same time, his contention that Rhee was the individual best suited for the presidency as of the mid-1940s is bound to cause some controversy (281–293), particularly among those sympathetic to exploring alternative or counterfactual possibilities. Still, much like the major biography of Kim Il-Sung offered by Dae Sook Suh in the mid-1990s, the present work takes up a deeply familiar subject, or at least apparently so, before presenting it in revised form, asking new questions of a contentious, complicated figure.

John P. DiMoia, National University of Singapore, Singapore                                      

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THE “GREATEST PROBLEM”: Religion and State Formation in Meiji Japan. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 365. By Trent E. Maxey. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2014. xiii, 330 pp. (Figures.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-49199-1.

Maxey’s book is a well-presented investigation into the “problem” of religion during the Meiji period. Following a number of other studies that examine the uncertainties surrounding the early Meiji state, Maxey’s research contributes to this theme by examining how religion was not simply a given category to be easily manipulated, even by the imperial institution. Rather it was shaped by a number of actors, both domestic and international, who sought to transform the definition and contents of the term religion largely to further the project of nation-building. Thus the main focus of the book is to trace the shifting boundaries between the state and religion. To assist in this quest Maxey introduces his term “grammar of religion” in order to describe how the state carefully crafted policies regarding religion so as to not undermine its own position.

The first half of the book provides a history of state policies towards Christianity from the Edo period into Meiji and in some ways is what forms the original problem regarding religion in Japan. Balancing the potential for Christianity to produce local agitation and the imposition of Christianity by Western nations and their unequal treaties throughout the nineteenth century, the Japanese state had to quickly formulate a response to the question of religion despite it not being high on the agenda for many Restoration bureaucrats. The Iwakura Mission helped shape the state’s response to Christianity but, as Maxey argues, it also opened up the question of religion in regards to domestic practices. The second half of the book deals with the state’s response to religion as something that needs to be managed domestically. Treating religion “as an object of policy” (180) the Meiji state sought to neutralize the debate through secularizing public institutions and even cutting off their support of Shinto. Nonetheless, the problem of religion continued to haunt both the secular authorities as well as the project of modernity, as scholars like Gerald Figal and Marilyn Ivy have already observed.

Perhaps Maxey’s greatest contribution to the study of religion in the Meiji period is to show how the restoration of the imperial institution “produced as many problems as solutions” (243) regarding the question of political power in Japan. The discussion on how to differentiate between what was private or public religious belief is a good example of how the state produced a problem by not wanting to unravel the contradiction that constituted its own authority. The solution was found in Article 28 of the Imperial Constitution, which enshrined the ideals of freedom of religion but situated that freedom within the boundaries of upholding the imperial authority. The “grammar of religion” was thus simply a means to navigate the politics of building a nation-state without having to confront the material problems that modernization presented to the everyday life of the masses.

It was this materiality of ritual and everyday life and its connection to the overall nation-building project of the Meiji state that was lacking from Maxey’s analysis of the state and religion in Meiji Japan. While this might fall outside of the author’s intended project, at times the focus on policy and the rhetoric of national integration limits religion to belief (as public/private or its absence) without understanding the place of ritual in grounding religion within the everyday. For example, Yasukuni Shrine through the majority of the Meiji period would best be understood not through the lens of religion and state power but rather through ritual. The majority of people who visited the shrine grounds knew very little if anything regarding the state ideology of enshrining the war dead and yet their participation in festivals and the consumption of entertainment on the shrine grounds tied them to the modernizing aims of the state which, in many ways, Yasukuni symbolized. Without understanding the place of ritual (and its many manifestations) within the bounds of the secular state, religion will always be a category that produces problems and anxieties similar to that experienced by the political leaders of Meiji Japan.

Nonetheless, Maxey’s book offers the reader a wealth of primary sources, from state documents and journals to newspapers, which are carefully organized so as to produce a dialogue with each other. In particular the focus on state policy and debates on the issue of religion will be of use to students of the Meiji period.

Joshua Baxter, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

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IMAGINING JAPAN IN POST-WAR EAST ASIA: Identity Politics, Schooling and Popular Culture. Routledge Studies in Education and Society in Asia. Edited by Paul Morris, Naoko Shimazu and Edward Vickers. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xv, 264 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$155.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-71399-3.

East Asia has enjoyed a long period of relative peace since the end of the Vietnam War some four decades ago, a peace undergirded by the remarkable economic growth of the region. While the unresolved problems of the Cold War, most notably the divided Korean peninsula, remain a source of tension, the postwar structure of order in East Asia has been unusually stable. A principal source of that stability and order has been the role of Japan, resurgent from the destruction of World War Two as an engine of economic growth and the pillar of the American-led system of alliances in the region.

The East Asian order is increasingly under stress, however. Globalization produces stresses on social and political systems, as well as inter-state relations. New powers such as South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia seek a greater role in the region. And most powerfully, China claims its place as the new regional hegemon, an aspiring equal to the United States as a great power, at least in East Asia. These forces combine to create political and cultural changes within East Asian societies, manifest in the search for forms of national identity that can serve the needs of the state and society.

Japan occupies an important role in the construction of national identity across East Asia. As the first Asian nation to achieve the status of a modern nation state, one capable of challenging the Western powers, it was a role model for many in Asia. But there is another Japan, the “dominant Other,” which embarked on a path of imperial aggression, colonial occupation and invasion earlier in this century, leaving a legacy of mistrust that remains stubbornly intact.

Images of Japan continue to play a critical role today in the formation of national identity in East Asia, most obviously in the nationalist ideologies of China and Korea but even elsewhere in the region. But those images can vary widely, not only over time within each society but also between nations, some of whom embrace the image of Japan as a model of modernization much more than as a perpetrator of aggression.

What is most disturbing to observers of contemporary events is the degree to which anti-Japanese sentiments, driven by historical memories of the wartime period that are encouraged and sharpened by governments, are now dominating relations in Northeast Asia. The Sino-Japanese rivalry is most worrisome, raising the specter even of armed conflict, but the tensions now prevailing between Japan and South Korea are equally entrenched.

This volume offers a valuable contribution to the literature on the formation of national identity in East Asia through its focus on how the images of Japan shape that process of identity construction. The volume looks at the images of Japan through two comparative lenses. At the broadest level, the volume is broken down into two sections: one examines the images of Japan in popular culture and public propaganda and the second looks at the portrayal of Japan in school textbooks, which is a form of official discourse in most Asian countries due to the role of the state in the content and publication of school textbooks. The second comparative dimension is between nations: the volume provides varied studies of the images of Japan in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines in Southeast Asia, and of Japan in China, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong in Northeast Asia. The volume is also comparative in a disciplinary sense in that the contributors work in a variety of academic fields from education, culture and history, to the social sciences.

In the comparison between Southeast and Northeast Asia, across both popular culture and textbooks, the volume offers evidence that in Southeast Asia the images of Japan tend to emphasize its use as a normative model, rather than dwelling on its wartime past. The “learn from Japan” campaign in Singapore, for example, was a valuable tool for the regime’s own developmental model. The view of Japan in South Korea and China is quite different, though not necessarily uniformly negative. In an interesting contribution on the depiction of Japanese in Chinese war films, Kinnia Yau Shuk-tin points to the emergence of “good Japanese” characters who offer a more subtle portrait of Japanese than the previously Manichean portrayals found in Communist Chinese propaganda movies about the war.

The discussion of popular culture is necessarily somewhat anecdotal in nature, given the scope of the subject. The most cogent and useful section of this book deals with textbooks. In particular there is an excellent contribution from Caroline Rose on changing views of the Sino-Japanese war in Chinese high-school history textbooks, which have been revised to reflect a more “patriotic” and anti-Japan narrative, downplaying the previous emphasis on the civil war struggle against the Nationalists. Other chapters, such as Alisa Jones’ detailed examination of Taiwanese textbooks and Paul Morris and Edward Vickers’ chapter on Hong Kong textbooks provide useful contrasts with the Chinese textbooks. And finally there are very fresh additions to the literature in chapters on the images of Japan in the textbooks of Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

As the editors of this volume stress in their introduction, this is a study of how images of Japan are constructed and the plasticity of their use in neighbouring Asian societies. It is not a study of how Japanese themselves have acted to construct a self-image, or to portray themselves to others, and most importantly, not a study of how closely those images actually track reality. And equally important, this does not look at how other foreign nations, such as the United States, might also impact the formation of national identity in East Asia. But it does assert, and quite correctly, that: “Understanding how and why portrayals of Japan have become so intertwined with the construction of identity in many societies across the region is an essential precondition for steps—that must follow—to untangle image from reality, and prevent the war of minds from becoming a war of men” (23).

Daniel Sneider, Stanford University, Stanford, USA                                                                       

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CONTENTIOUS ACTIVISM & INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Danielle L. Chubb. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. xvi, 272 pp. US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16136-7.

This book discusses how sets of beliefs, which the author specifies as “arguments” or ‘‘discourses” (19) around the political priority of “unification, human rights, and democracy” have, according to the author, provided a focus for three “distinct activist movements” in South Korea. These distinct sets of beliefs, the author argues, “continue to influence debate around inter-Korean relations” (19) as the political activists of yesterday have become the politicians, diplomats and officials of today. The aim of the book is to understand better inter-Korean relations through “examining the nature of South Korean domestic political debate” (5).

Chapter 1 reviews various theoretical perspectives to conclude that “an agency-driven conceptualization of discursive power” provides a helpful explanatory device that is best employed via “a wider, historical view of politics” (30). To this end, chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5, provide a historical summary of the relations between South Korean governments and political activists from the years of the Park Chung Hee military dictatorship (1961 to 1979) through to and including the period of democratization from the late 1980s, and the “decade of progressive rule” (195) of the late 1990s and early 2000s that concluded with the election in 2007 of the conservative president, Lee Myung Bak. The fairly short concluding chapter summarizes the contribution of the book as demonstrating that political activism is not spontaneous but has ‘deep-seated social, cultural, and political roots’ and that “the relationship between dominant (state) and dissident (political activist) discourses is multifaceted” (98).

Critical analysis, in the scholarly sense, of human rights movements is very sparse, given the fear of analysts of being portrayed as sympathetic to human rights abuses and the understandable reluctance of scholars to have their work misinterpreted by one side or another in politically charged debates. In South Korea, those fears are compounded by the continued existence of the National Security Law that is used to penalize those judged to be sympathetic to North Korea with sanctions that include imprisonment. This book, therefore, addresses a number of potentially productive debates. Chapter 5 provides interesting new empirical material in the short section on the “new right” and the “new left” of the human rights movement in South Korea, in terms of the division between them as to how much to involve United States regime change advocates in domestic human rights campaigns (168-195). The author also touches on the story of how some South Korean activists saw North Korea as a society to be emulated, how most were disillusioned but some remained faithful to what for most observers is at best an outdated society ruled over by a repressive government and at worst a vision of hell in which crimes of humanity are committed against the entire population on an everyday basis; this is another untold story that would bear further investigation.

Overall, however, the book is handicapped by insufficient specification of the research question such that the narrative is forced into an over-high level of generality. The consequent lack of a defined central thesis results in the absence of cohesive analytical structure that makes it hard to identify the key points that the author wants to make. In the absence of a clear analytical framework, the historical chapters end up with a lot of descriptive material that the book struggles to integrate into narrative cohesion. That is not to say that the book does not abound with ideas and possibilities but the trick here would have been to develop these ideas so as to provide the foundations for a disciplined framing of the historical material.

The book clearly started as a doctoral thesis and there is nothing intrinsically wrong in that. It does, however, suffer from the absence of a really good editing job that could have eradicated what read as quite descriptive summaries between chapters, repetition, odd locutions, and references to theoretical work that are not integrated or developed as part of the analytical frame for the book. More substantively, there is a “levels-of-analysis” issue that need to be resolved. The author is centrally concerned with the issue of “norm negotiation” and this is a potentially important way of thinking about who or what achieves hegemonic dominance in any society; the issue in this book is that there is an elision between the level of individual, non-state actor, society, government and state. In the context of a book that is intending to explain inter-Korean (state and society?) relations by evaluating the activities of individuals and non-state actors, we need, at minimum, to have these different levels analytically specified so that the questions of who is negotiating, how, why and what are the outcomes, in terms of the relationships between these different analytical levels, can be asked in the first place.

Nevertheless, at the heart of this book is a commendable approach to scholarship. It is committed to the idea of explaining important things—in this case what political activists do and how we understand what they do—and it also tries hard to avoid naïve empirical exposition as a substitute for careful analytical investigation.

Hazel Smith, University of Central Lancashire, Lancashire, United Kingdom

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WORLD WAR I AND THE TRIUMPH OF A NEW JAPAN, 1919-1930. Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare. By Frederick R. Dickinson. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xii, 221 pp. (B&W illus.) C$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-03770-0.

Japan is far from the first country that comes to mind in connection with the First World War. Although it entered the global conflict on the side of the Allies, with most of the war taking place on the other side of the globe, Japan’s role was limited to the swift occupation of German territories in China and the Pacific, limited naval operations in Europe, and participation as one of the powers at the Versailles Peace Conference. In this book, Frederick Dickinson sets out to reveal how important that war and the new world order it brought about were for the development of modern Japan. At the same time, he also seeks to challenge the all-too-common view, among postwar Japanese and Japan-specialists alike, that there was something fundamentally flawed in Japan’s interwar “Taishō democracy” that led inexorably to the militarism and authoritarianism of the 1930s and early 1940s. Dickinson claims that by interpreting the 1920s in light of the 1930s, previous scholars of modern Japan have overemphasized the crises and reactionary tendencies of interwar diplomacy, politics and culture, thus overlooking or devaluing the degree with which the Japanese understood the post-Versailles world order as an opportunity to advance Japan’s international stature, while also using the internationalist tide of the postwar years to advance progressive changes at home.

Dickinson urges us to consider the Japanese reaction to the First World War in a light similar to that of the Meiji Restoration. Just as scholars have moved away from an interpretation of the early Meiji years that emphasizes Japanese fears of the threats posed by Western imperialism toward one that focuses on the active pursuit of modernity, wealth and power in the state-building process, he contends that we could more accurately view developments of the interwar years not as a series of compromises forced upon Japan (or, domestically, upon a reactionary government by its citizenry), but rather as the active embrace of opportunities to assume a role in global politics more commensurate with its arduously acquired power. There is one important difference between the Meiji years and the 1920s, however: whereas the Meiji state-builders’ quest for modernity was in many ways a game of “catch-up ball” with the Western powers, by 1918 Japan’s leaders and people understood that Japan had achieved great power status. Japan’s willingness—indeed eagerness, according to Dickinson—to embrace the kind of multilateralism embodied in the League of Nations, the Washington Naval Conference, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact (to name just a few examples that Dickinson explores), far from being little more than humiliating compromises or superficial gestures doomed to failure, revealed an understanding of the new order that Versailles had brought about and the belief that Japan could play a major, even a leading role, in sustaining it. Dickinson also views the effort made across the 1920s by successive party cabinets to downsize the military as part of an international trend in reaction to the carnage of the war. Here too, Dickinson demonstrates that Japan’s leaders recognized that to lead meant to lead by example; the militarism exemplified by Germany had failed, and the leading states in a new, civilized world order needed to chart out a better course.

On the domestic scene as well, Dickinson notes the positive political and cultural developments that came about in response to the First World War and the failure of the German-style authoritarianism that was, he claims, one of the greatest lessons that Japanese observers took away from the Allied victory. Dickinson downplays the importance of some of the benchmarks of interwar history familiar to students of the period, such as the post-1918 economic downturn as European goods returned to the international market, the Rice Riots, the Great Kantō Earthquake, and the Peace Preservation Law and the subsequent roundups of communists and socialists. While these were far from unimportant, he cites the writings of prominent intellectuals and political leaders of the time to show that they saw these as much less dire for Japan than historians have since 1945. Instead, Dickinson urges us to look at the trends of the period: the democratization that began with Hara Takashi’s expansion of the electorate and took off with the achievement of universal male suffrage under the progressive policies of Katō Takaaki’s Minseitō; the downsizing of the military, also carried out by the Minseitō; a reevaluation of Japan’s imperialist program and approach to ruling its colonies; and the rise of a “culture of peace” in Japan that reigned until the travails of the early 1930s.

Throughout his analysis, Dickinson offers revealing evidence of how the leaders and knowledgeable observers of this “New Japan” understood their nation’s role in the new world order and the opportunities it promised to enhance Japan’s international influence. I was somewhat less convinced in regard to his claims about domestic developments, particularly in regard to disarmament and the culture of peace. The fact that the electorate seemed to support the downsizing of the military, after all, does not necessarily indicate a broad sentiment of anti-militarism or pacifism, as Dickinson suggests; people can accept the benefits of military power while at the same time being unwilling to pay higher taxes for them, after all. Readers may also come away wondering how the commitments to internationalism and peace that Dickinson claims were so deeply held in interwar Japan collapsed so rapidly after 1931. Dickinson promises to answer that question in a forthcoming study, but given the challenge he mounts to the standard historiography of the interwar period, a few hints in that direction would have given this book a better sense of conclusion.

Be that as it may, Dickinson provides us with a thought-provoking reminder not to read the past in light of what we know came next. This book, in combination with his next, will become important texts for students and specialists of interwar diplomacy, politics and culture in Japan.

Jeffrey P. Bayliss, Trinity College, Hartford, USA

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THE KOREAN POPULAR CULTURE READER. Kyung Hyun Kim and Youngmin Choe, editors. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. xi, 450 pp., [8] pp. of plates (Tables, figures.) US$28.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5501-4.

Korean popular culture has become a global sensation in the early twenty-first century. Starting with television dramas in the late 1990s, Korean popular cultural forms, such as film, music (K-pop) and online games have rapidly penetrated the global cultural markets and created global fandom. Previously, the Korean Wave (Hallyu), known as the rapid growth of Korean cultural industries and popular culture, was based on the export of television dramas and film within Asia; however, the Hallyu phenomenon has experienced a dramatic change because of its interplay with social media. The Korean Popular Culture Reader,edited by Kyung Hyun Kim and Youngmin Choe, is a timely and valuable contribution to the expanding collected works on the Korean Wave tradition, mainly because it relates “the contemporary cultural landscape to its historical roots.” It aptly traces and documents the historical evolution of Korean popular culture, focusing on transnationalism and cultural politics.

As the result of a workshop held at the University of California, Irvine in June 2010, two editors recruited both local-based and Western-based scholars to extend their focus, from traditional media areas, such as film and music, to non-traditional media areas, encompassing literature and sports. In order to systematically combine relevant chapters, the editors compartmentalized the sections alongside field demarcations rather than along with the lines of historical chronology.

The book is divided into five sections. Part 1, Click and Scroll, includes four chapters, such as The World in a Love Letter and The Role of PC Bangs in South Korea’s Cybercultures. These chapters explore the ways in which the landscape of modern-day consumers is shaped by a quick fix with celebrity gossip, serialized comics and blog culture. Part 2, Lights, Camera, Action, contains four chapters on Korean cinema, including Film and Fashion Cultures in the Korean 1950s and The Star as Genre in Bong Joon-ho’s Mother. The chapters raise several ideological matters surrounding cultures of celebrity and fan consumption practices built around them from questions about how images signify within cultural economy. Part 3, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, contains chapters titled Sports Nationalism and Colonial Modernity of 1936 and Female Athletes and (Trans)national Desires. The two chapters focus on sports, which are capable of creating overnight sensations, compared to movies and music. Part 4, Strut, Move and Shake, comprises chapters that focus on ethnomusicology. They include The Seo Taiji Phenomenon in the 1990s and Girls’ Generation: Gender, (Dis)Empowerment, and K-pop. In theorizing hybridization strategies, partially, if not entirely, these chapters analyze the evolution of contemporary Korean popular music, from the 1930s to the early twenty-first century. The final part, Food and Travel, encompasses three chapters, including The Commodification of Korean Cuisine and Touristic Fantasy, Photographic Desire, and Catastrophic North Korea. By employing the notion of spectacle, these chapters focus exclusively on the contemporary period and attempt to conceptualize approaches to state-sanctioned art.

While there are several significant strengths of this book, it especially develops three major theoretical practices: the historicization of cultural forms, the diversification of Hallyu discourse, and the appropriation of the notion of cultural politics. To begin with, the obvious asset of this volume is its consistent analysis on the historical background in each cultural form. The chapters show the intimate connection of Korean popular culture to Korea’s historical roots starting in colonial histories. The chapters develop a historical discussion of local popular culture because “contemporary popular culture is linked to related historical precedents” so that the readers can fully understand the roots of the contemporary stardom of local culture in the global market.

Secondly, the diversification of the Korean popular culture discourse is another strength of this volume. The book is successful in its goal to “depart from the intra-Asian cultural flow model that had been proposed by media studies scholars who tended to rely on primarily data-driven, audience-oriented research.” The editors consciously select several key topics, both in media-driven and non-media-driven fields, including literature, film and music, sports and food studies. Combining translations of a few essays written in Korean by local scholars with new works by Western scholars, the chapters expertly map out cultural uniqueness embedded in Korea’s socio-political context that has contoured the growth of local popular culture. Through the process, they achieve their aim in advancing “the comprehensive interpretations of values set by the most obvious ideologies that determine image creation.”

Thirdly, the book thematizes cultural politics as the most significant component running through the volume. It identifies cultural policies as a form of social and political dynamic, including the movement for social democracy, that have shaped Korean popular culture in given periods, from the colonial period to the contemporary neoliberal regime. As the landscape of Korean popular culture has changed and continued within the period’s political agendas, the majority of chapters carefully engage with socio-political situations, from censorship to the resistance to colonial and/or neoliberal oppression; therefore they prove the significance of the active roles of cultural creators in reflecting the ordinary people’s mentalities.

The book is not without areas of concern. Although I understand the limitation of the space, there are no serious discussions on a few eminent areas, such as social media and cultural policy issues. The book sparsely touches on these areas; however, it is unfortunate that it does not more deeply analyze these matters. Secondly, it lacks an investigation on contemporary popular culture. Regardless of a few chapters emphasizing the Korean Wave phenomenon, it does not include analyses on the influence of the historical evolution of Korean popular culture on contemporary practices. Lastly, it could have detailed the role of globalization. Since globalization started several decades ago, the clear appropriation of globalization alongside transnationalism would have enhanced the value of the book.

Overall, this volume nurtures the readers with a generous abundance of information on Korean popular culture. It is well designed and thoughtfully presented and makes a convincing contribution to a growing body of literature on Korean studies, media studies, and anthropology. It is a must-read book for those who desire a common introduction to the diverse local cultural landscape and those interested in popular culture in tandem with Korean society and culture.

Dal Yong Jin, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada                                                            

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DILEMMAS OF ADULTHOOD: Japanese Women and the Nuances of Long-Term Resistance. By Nancy Rosenberger. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2013. xv, 209 pp. US$24.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3887-4.

Based on her rich longitudinal study of Japanese women, Rosenberger demonstrates the ways that Japanese women resist the status quo in their daily lives through the 1990s and 2000s. Originally interested in these women because they were “delaying marriage” by remaining single beyond their mid-20s, she conducted the first interviews in 1993 with sixty Japanese, never-married women between the ages of 25 and 35; 58 of the participants were interviewed a second time in 1998; a third interview with 54 women was conducted in 2004. In 2004, about one-third of the women had remained single, two-thirds were married, and half of the women had children. Throughout the book, she utilizes four core concepts—ambiguity, tension, ambivalence and contradiction—to describe women’s long-term resistance that is often performed in a subtle manner such as remaining single or continuing their career after marriage.

The book is organized in a straightforward manner. Chapter 1 provides the background and theoretical framework of the study. Chapter 2 illustrates the ways Japanese women experience tension and ambivalence by living in a transitional era that contains two sets of contradictory values: traditional cultural values and newer global values. Chapters 3 through 6 introduce subgroups of these women based on their marital, maternal and work statuses as of 2004. Chapter 7 summarizes her findings, while the epilogue introduces snippets of her fourth interview in 2012, which touches on the women’s experiences of the deadly earthquake in northeast Japan in 2011.

Single women in her study all wrestle with their sense of self as their single status runs counter to the traditional cultural code. Single women in the study are assigned to one of three subgroups: successful singles, struggling singles and struggling-and-crashing singles. Successful singles, who are financially and emotionally stable, tend to have higher education, live in the city, and have healthy parents. Struggling singles experience noticeably high tension and ambivalence, while struggling-and-crashing singles have collapsed over the year both physically and psychologically.

For married women without children, childlessness is more acceptable in Japanese society than previously. Some women in this group enjoy “the two of us” while others have problems with immature husbands. Married, stay-at-home moms can be planners, cocooners or caretakers. While both planners and cocooners place their focus on mothering for the moment, planners are more aware of their multiple identities. On the other hand, caretakers are tired with caring for two sets of loved ones (parents and children). The experiences of married working mothers vary, yet they all try to accommodate their roles in marriage to maintain their career. For full-time mothers, their parents’ help is a key for them to continue working. Part-time mothers in her study were either independent or family workers, and affected by economy and relationships with husbands. The author features a married organic farmer as she represents this generation’s ideal of self-actualization.

With careful examination of Japanese women in the subgroups, and by drawing on postmodern, feminist and Japanese studies scholars such as Comaroff, Melucci, Butler, Doi and Ueno, Rosenberger claims that Japanese women in her study engage in ambiguous, long-term resistance to the status quo with ambivalence and tensions. Such resistance is enacted through the use of vague movements (i.e., tacit refusal) in the contexts of contradiction. She also notes that women’s aging and Japan’s economic downturn over the years (time), urban-rural differences (space), and level of education (class) indicates complex effects on women of different subgroups. In addition, historically salient concepts such as dependence (amae) and endurance (gaman) are highlighted to illustrate the ways these psychological traits emerge in the process of resistance.

The women’s resistance produced negative tension and uncertainty as well as reflective awareness and increased tolerance and a continuing search for life that allows them reasonable satisfaction. In the end, Rosenberger attests that while these women created changes in the world around them, a new kind of social movement, the direction of this movement is still uncertain. As a result, these Japanese women feel that “they have choices, and yet simultaneously they have no choice but to negotiate their way with practiced ambivalence through the dilemmas of their adulthood” (175).

The strength of the book is in her detailed descriptions of the women’s voices from her longitudinal in-depth interviews of women with whom she formed relationships over the years; moreover, her ethnographic observations—from their dresses to their interactions with husbands and children during the interviews—are outstanding. She featured at least 37 women’s personal stories throughout the book, which indicates her thorough examination of the data. Yet, as each of these women’s lives is full of stories, it was at times confusing to keep track of the stories threading through so many voices. Although she attests her struggle of analyzing the data using the Western feminist framework in the beginning, with her careful narrative of the women’s stories and thorough literature review, she demonstrates that the behaviours and attitudes of these women, often interpreted as submissive, passive or parasitic by some scholars, are indeed, resistance that is changing Japan’s landscape.

While we await her forthcoming analysis of the fourth interview, additional work is necessary to further our understanding of the social dynamics involved in the women’s resistance. In particular, it would be interesting to hear the voices of these women’s counterparts, single and married men of their generation, as well as the generation of their parents, who were most likely affected by the social upheaval of World War II in their youth. With these individuals voices added, we can develop a more complete understanding of the ways postwar cultural codes and newer global values influence individuals of different status, and hopefully, find a direction that allows both women and men to make life choices without fear, but rather, with care and love.

Eriko Maeda, Independent Scholar, Himeji, Japan

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MIGRANT WORKERS IN CONTEMPORARY JAPAN: An Institutional Perspective on Transnational Employment. Japanese Society Series. By Kiyoto Tanno; Translated by Teresa Castelvetere. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press; Portland, OR: International Specialized Book Services (exclusive distributor), 2013. xxxii, 376 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$89.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-92090-160-8.

Migrant Workers in Contemporary Japan is primarily concerned with changes in social institutions within the context of globalization and the implications of these changes for the lifestyles of people living and working in Japanese society. Kiyoto Tanno regards the essence of globalization as “the reintroduction of disparities” (xvi) to relationships in the most fundamental social institution, i.e.,the division of labour. Globalization in this sense has not only dismantled Japan’s mythical tradition that made the lifetime employment and seniority-based wages of regular workers the ideological norms, but has also promoted the rapid growth of irregular workers. Within this restructuring of the Japanese labour market, Tanno draws special attention to the formation of the “transnational employment system” (xiv) that brings in labour from beyond its national borders to meet its needs. He also emphasizes that it is crucial to carefully investigate the long-unexplored “fiction (lie) surrounding workers who cross national borders” (xxx). This refers to the Japanese state’s official stance that does not recognize the existence of trans-border migrant workers engaged in so-called “unskilled” jobs because of its principal ban on the entry of these workers to Japan. With these frameworks coherently underpinning the arguments in the book, Tanno aims to disclose the economic and political logics driving the incorporation of transnational migrant workers—in particular, the Nikkeijin (Japanese descendants) mainly from Brazil who are able to work legally in Japan—into Japan’s reorganized division of labour in an era of globalization.

The book is divided into three parts.Part 1 explores the ways in which the transnational employment system has been created.With a focus on peripheral, irregular work under short-term contracts, chapter 1 shows how Japan’s labour market reform, ushered by calls for deregulation, has shifted the role of migrant workers from simply alleviating the shortages of low-skilled and low-wage labour to constituting part of the expanding insecure contract labour force.Chapter 2 describes the function of the brokers who recruit Nikkei migrant workers in Latin America and deploy them to Japan’s local labour markets, while chapter 3 demonstrates how the lifestyles of these migrant workers have been influenced by the increasing prevalence of service contracting companies that assemble flexible workforces as needed.In chapters 4 and 5, Tanno further unpacks the dynamics of the transnational employment system, highlighting the spread of stratification and diversification among migrant workers, mainly due to their ethnicity and legal status.

Part 2 of the book brings together a range of quantitative and qualitative data from primary research conducted by the author in order to empirically illustrate the development of the transnational employment system. For example, chapter 6 traces the historical inflows of the Nikkeijin as migrant workers to Japan and elucidates the ways in which the increasing demand for these workers hasbeen derived from profound changes in the Japanese management of employment contracts. Chapter 7 offers a summary of the findings from a survey of manufacturing factories in Toyota City—most of which are related to the automobile industry—and following interviews with those who identified their experience of hiring migrant workers. It illuminates emerging differences among these firms in terms of their reliance on migrant workers according to their position within the hierarchically organized subcontracting structure (known as keiretsu, which is one of the key elements that characterize Japan’s industrial relations).Based on an ethnographic study of a service contracting company in Toyota City that distributes Nikkei migrant workers to the factories, chapter 9 reveals specific labouring and living conditions imposed on these workers in Japanese society.

Finally, part 3 attempts to explore “the social foundation of [migrant] workers who straddle national borders” (xxxi), though it is not entirely clear how, exactly, the three chapters in this section are connected. Chapter 10 extends the analysis put forward in chapter 2 of the broker structure that sends the Nikkeijin from Brazil to Japan, delineating its linkage with the Japanese service-contracting companies and its transformation over time.Chapter 11 dwells on one particular court case concerning the system that grants special permission for unauthorized migrant workers to stay in Japan.Although the chapter sheds some light on the minimum requirements set by the state for unauthorized migrant workers to make their residence in Japanese society legitimate on a permanent basis, itcreates a sudden disruption from the previous discussion of the transnational employment system with a central focus on the Nikkeijin.Chapter 12 examines genealogically the definition of Japanese nationality.It should be noted that this last chapter is not in the original Japanese version of the book, and the reason for its inclusion is not clarified anywhere in this English translation.

Migrant Workers in Contemporary Japan has much to contribute to the study of transnational labour migration to Japan. Of particular importance are Tanno’s efforts to combine various original sources in order to generate a more comprehensive and empirically grounded analysis for understanding the transnational employment system under conditions of globalization. However, while carefully disclosing the complexity of the transnational employment system, this book does not precisely explore the fiction surrounding cross-border migrant workers, which, in Tanno’s view, is another key framework that endorses its arguments. The link between a transnational employment system and the fictitious perception of migrant workers should have been more clearly articulated, possibly in part 3. Indeed, another salient question left unaddressed is: How far and in what ways does the specific study of Japan contribute to a growing body of literature regarding international labour migration and globalization? Despite these shortcomings, this book must be welcomed as an important resource for researchers, activists and policy makers who are interested in global labour migration and the politics of contemporary Japan.

Hironori Onuki, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia                                         

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MORAL NATION: Modern Japan and Narcotics in Global History. Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes, 29. By Miriam Kingsberg. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014. xvii, 304 pp. (Figures, maps, tables, illus.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-520-27673-4.

As a late-coming Asian nation in the West-dominant world order, Japan’s modernity consisted of constant struggles to establish itself as an equal to European and American counterparts. After Japan fully entered the global community by signing unequal treaties with Western powers in the 1850s, the country underwent a turbulent century. Japan’s assertion of autonomy soon turned into a claim to regional domination, and the country’s defeat in World War II left the nation in a state of devastation, exhaustion and despair. In her recent book Moral Nation: Modern Japan and Narcotics in Global History, Miriam Kingsberg tells a tale of Japan’s repeated self-reinventions as a modern nation by tracing its narcotic policies during this period.

Moral Nation chronicles three episodes of legitimacy crises and subsequent anti-narcotic moral crusades during Japan’s first century in the Westphalian system. Each episode occurred in a different geopolitical context, prompting distinctive narratives of drug use. The first episode took place in the early period of Japan’s imperialism, following their surprise victory in the Sino-Japanese War and the cession of Taiwan. Kingsberg argues that, in this early period of the Japanese Empire, narcotics policies were a key ingredient of Japan’s justification of imperialism. Opium smoking, which was prevalent in China and Taiwan but not among Japanese, became a politically useful marker for Japan to distinguish the civilized self from the uncivilized Other, for it placed non-opium-smoking Japan among Western powers and apart from their defeated and drugged Asian neighbour. In Taiwan, Japan regulated the opium trade through a government monopoly, claiming its commitment to eventual extinction of this barbaric habit of natives. This approach allowed Japan to generate a substantial profit and the approval of Western colonizers, who were also enjoying profitable opium monopolies in their own colony.

The author placed the greatest emphasis on the second episode: Japan’s increasing political isolation in a global community during the interwar era and the anti-opium crusade in the Kwantung Leased Territory (KLT). After the failure in gaining international approval for Manchukuo, Japan shifted the basis of its legitimacy claim from the Western standard to traditional Confucian values. Under the Japanese rule, the KLT’s port city of Dairen witnessed unprecedented levels of narcotic trafficking. Antidrug initiatives in the KLT employed the language of a benevolent government (jinsei) and framed drug control as a benevolent act of liberating smokers from their enslavement to opium. While the drug use in the KLT, in reality, was diverse in the choice of substance as well as the nationality of users, anti-drug discourses exclusively targeted opium addicts, who were predominantly Chinese. The narrow focus of the moral crusade on opium resonated with a larger political narrative of the salvation of colonial subjects by civilized Japan; however, it did not help eradicate the actual problem of wide-spread narcotic addiction in the region.

The third episode in the book is a methamphetamine epidemic called the “hiropon age” and anti-meth crusade during the 1950s in Japan. Methamphetamine, which was legal in Japan until 1950 and was marketed as a safe and inexpensive stimulant by major pharmaceutical companies, rapidly gained popularity in postwar Japan. The fact that meth users were neither other nationals nor colonial subjects, but the Japanese themselves, led to different narratives of drug addiction and a distinct orchestration of anti-drug initiatives. In the moral crusade against meth, Japanese addicts were seen as an embodiment of the bruised and humiliated nation; conquering the meth problem became a symbolic act of re-establishing Japan as a modern nation with its former strength, confidence and high moral ground.

Moral Nation, meticulously researched and sensibly written, is a welcome addition to the library of Japanese studies. By examining Japan’s symbolic boundary-making and identity assertion through the lens of narcotic policies, Kingsberg makes a fresh contribution to a growing body of research of modern Japanese national identity. Critical criminologists have repeatedly reported the political use of anti-narcotics policies as means to stigmatize particular groups and legitimize their subordination. The book contributes to broader historical studies of social problems through its careful examination of the cultural production of drug problems.

The book also comes with some weaknesses. Kingsberg uses moral entrepreneurship as the book’s core theoretical framework. While the author astutely acknowledges the substantial diversity in narcotic discourses and roles of different actors such as merchants, law enforcement, scientists and medical doctors, the book frequently refers to unidentified ‘moral entrepreneurs’ as if they had been a unified entity. Such generic use of the label blurs the multiplicity of voices in moral crusades. Compared to rich discussions on narcotic policies in the interwar period, the book’s coverage of the hiropon age, contained in the last chapter, is limited both in the breadth of data and the depth of analysis. Furthermore, the lack of a clear conclusion may leave a reader with a sense of incompleteness. A concluding chapter that examines the lasting consequences of these narcotic moral crusades might provide a better ending to the book.

While Moral Nation exclusively focuses on a period between the 1850s and 1950s, the value of this volume goes beyond historical specificities. The political dynamics articulated in the book offer a useful perspective for sociologists, criminologists, political scientists and social historians who are eager to learn the use of deviance in the construction of self, other and nationhood.

Ryoko Yamamoto, State University of New York
College at Old Westbury, Old Westbury, USA                                               

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REGIONALIZING CULTURE: The Political Economy of Japanese Popular Culture in Asia. By Nissim Kadosh Otmazgin. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xxv, 230 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$42.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3694-8.

In an information age, our globalized world is increasingly impacted not only by the intraregional and interregional flows of financial capital but also by the movements of cultural commodities. While the cultural industry worldwide continues to boom, it is now one of the hottest business trends in Asia. Particularly in East Asia, the sector of popular culture products has experienced rapid growth in recent years, fuelled by a large number of emerging middle-class consumers with higher disposable income. From such a viewpoint, this book gains importance and assumes a responsibility for timeliness.

Structured in six chapters excluding a general introduction, the single-authored volume has become a reality with funding, logistic and advisory supports received from a number of related sources, institutions and people. It endeavours to explore a regionalized system of Japan’s popular culture proliferation in urban East Asia, and to examine the illustrative effect of its cultural industries on the dynamics of East Asian regional formation. As its findings reveal, the country’s popular culture products have been widely disseminated and consumed in many East Asian cities over the last three decades. The researcher’s core argument is that cultural industries underpin regionalization in East Asia by creating regional markets and propagating a regionwide transformation of the structural framework for commodifying and appropriating culture. I would however like to present my following straightforward feedback about this publication.

First, it is clear that the research has been conducted on East and Southeast Asia. But as the author clarifies, “In this study, East Asia refers to both Northeast and Southeast Asia” (185), the term “Asia” used in the book’s subtitle is misleading. While “Asia” and “East Asia” have been interchangeably used throughout the volume, other subregions of the greater Asian continent (South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and North Asia), where the rate of Japanese pop-culture diffusion is relatively low, are clearly left out.

Second, with a concise conceptual analysis about “popular culture” and “high culture,” the researcher has used the term “popular culture” to refer to commercial cultural commodities mainly including music, animation and television dramas. It is also good that an integrated “political economy” approach has been utilized in the study. When a link between political economy and popular culture has been made, a difference between regionalization and regionalism has essentially been shown as well. Nonetheless, this transregional research project should have been realized by an international political economy approach. In this connection, it seems excessive that the book covers almost a chapter-long description on the production mechanisms, local markets and organizational concerns of the Japanese image factories.

Third, to be more skeptical, this volume begins with some inconsistent statements recognizing the potential of soft power for the East Asian governments and publics while at the same time viewing Japan’s ever-expanding cultural export industry as a multibillion-dollar business. Since the author himself has rightly asked “If we can think of economy and security as factors that define a region, why shouldn’t we be able to think of popular culture in the same way?” (184), it is seriously questioning the relevance of the entire book. Actually, he has paid more attention to the “economic aspects” and placed less emphasis on the “political affairs.” In other words, this study basically deals with the mass-commercialization of Japanese cultural exports for money making, and it does not investigate how the politics of Japanese popular culture as ideological values can help shape the contemporary East Asian international relations order.

Fourth, the researcher has of course better justified the rationale for selecting Japan as a useful case study. Besides, the research is basically based on fieldworks at several hybrid cultural cities in the region comprising Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Bangkok and Seoul. Moreover, this practically grounded project includes in-depth interviews with 68 cultural industry insiders in addition to a survey of primary sources in Japanese, English and other languages. But I am not so convinced by the research results. More concretely, when the author has disclosed “The research focuses on East Asia’s nine biggest markets for Japanese cultural exports” (xxiv), a full-fledged chapter on any above-mentioned city (except Tokyo) might have made genuine sense. In fact, he regards Japan’s pop-culture industries as a forerunner “regional model” of production and circulation, and tells us numerous success stories of its highly profitable manufacturing enterprises. Frankly speaking, he has taken neither a logical approach to fault-finding nor a bold stance throughout the volume. It is a major problem.

Fifth, when the concluding chapter summarizes the book’s main findings and it ends with some questions, it would have been valuable for the well-informed readers if this section had sharply answered the following pressing and stimulating questions: (1) Why is Japan despite its status as a pop-culture powerhouse failing to mobilize the nation’s available soft power resources so that it can exercise more cultural influence globally? (2) How can the country project its goodwill of “Cool Japan” around the whole geography of Asia given that Japan still has image problems in East and Southeast Asia for its imperialist past? (3) How does Tokyo’s public diplomacy relate to the strategic interests of Japan as a leader in East Asia and more specifically as a counterweight to Beijing as China’s thriving economy makes it more powerful and attractive?

Finally, when it comes to my overall assessment, regardless of a few weak points and some gaps in coverage, the principal purpose of this book has been realized in a rewarding manner. In the publishing world, there are already many books (written mainly by sociologists) on East Asian popular culture in general. But I have not found any piece that specifically analyzes the regionalization of Japanese cultural industries within a political-economic context. By doing so, it fills an academic gap in globalization studies literature on cross-cultural relations. I understand that this young scholar has shown passion, patience and true commitment to his field of specialization to produce this volume, for which Nissim Otmazgin is congratulated. Because of its distinctiveness, the volume can be suggested for everyone involved and interested in the subject-matter.

Monir Hossain Moni, Asia Pacific Institute for Global Studies, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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GENDER AND LAW IN THE JAPANESE IMPERIUM. Edited by Susan L. Burns and Barbara J. Brooks. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2014. ix, 301 pp. (Table, graph.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3715-0.

Susan Burns and Barbara Brooks have put together a markedly revisionist anthology, with nine case studies analyzing legal reforms concerning prostitution, reproduction, sexuality, female criminality and family, while paying attention to relationships between Japan and the West, Japan and its colonies, and state and society.

Following Burns’ introduction, chapters are organized thematically in three parts. In part 1, Douglas Howland and Sally Hastings discuss the origin and abolishment of legalized prostitution in modern Japan. Howland examines the 1872 Maria Luz Incident, which juxtaposed the similarly inhumane indentured labour practices of Chinese coolies and prostitutes. Kanagawa assistant governor Ōe Taku, in charge of this case, established a legal context in improving conditions for prostitutes, propelled by Japan’s desire to present itself as a civilized and humanitarian, and thereby modern nation, in the international labour migration debate. Hastings investigates another action to liberate prostitutes from mistreatment in the 1950s. Newly enfranchised and elected female Diet representatives, in favour of eradicating prostitution, regarded prostitutes as victims of human rights violations. Not everyone, however, shared this view, as brothel owners and unionized prostitutes advocated for their right to work. For bipartisan female Diet members, the passage of the 1956 Prostitution Prevention Law was bitter-sweet because, while selling daughters was made illegal, prostitution itself was not.

Part 2 investigates criminal and penal law with an emphasis on applications beyond definitions. Using actual court cases involving abortion and infanticide in the early Meiji period, Susan Burns challenges Fujime Yuki’s influential theory of the prewar judicial system as gendered and oppressive, designed to limit women’s reproductive and sexual choices. Rulings demonstrate that gender biases against female reproducers were remarkably limited, as their male sexual partners as well as parents and in-laws were routinely punished for reproductive crimes. Similarly, in his examination of the legal double standard of adultery, Herald Fuess presents court decisions which were more sympathetic toward wives than adulterous husbands by granting the former divorce through some liberal interpretation of laws. Daniel Botsman’s chapter illuminates that men and women in premodern Japan committed different types of crimes. The gendered pattern of crimes and punishment did not change following the post-1868 “modernization” of Japan’s penal system. His study tentatively links an intriguing decline of female prisoners during interwar years to the medicalization of female criminality and calls for further investigations. Darryl Flaherty’s richly contextual study of female criminality focuses on a very specific event, the 1928 Tokyo Court’s first jury trial of alleged arsonist-for-insurance Yamafuji Kanko. The all-male jury trial upheld Yamafuji’s acquittal precisely because she was a woman in need of paternalistic sympathy. This portrayal of women reinforced the prevailing gender stereotypes, which ironically coincided with such democratizing and hierarchy-fighting experiments as the jury system, “new women” and “modern girls.”

Part 3 highlights legal decentralization and centralizing efforts in the Japanese empire. Diverse legal definitions of family existed because Japan allowed customary laws in Taiwan and Korea. Chen Chao-ju offers a new theoretical reading of a customary law governing the Taiwanese tradition of sim-pua, an adoption of a young girl who was often expected to marry her adoptive brother, which invited later interventions by Japanese authorities. Legal handbooks informed the late Barbara Brooks of how the boundary that divided colonizer and colonized through separate household registration systems was “porous” (219), as Japanese women married colonial men and they had “hybrid” offspring. Matsutani Motokazu’s study of the bitterly detested sōshi kaimei (often translated as name-changing) policy rejects the commonly held view that the policy, issued in 1939, reflected Japan’s intent to promote assimilation by means of the forced adoption of Japanese names at the expense of Korean identity. Matsutani’s provocative essay concludes that the central tenet of the policy was to “reform” the traditional Korean family system so that it could align with the Japanese family system. Incidentally, women, who had been used to retaining their natal family’s clan name (sei) after their marriage, came to share the same newly created family name (shi) with their husbands.

From these summaries, one may sense new sources, approaches, perspectives and interpretations in the volume. Additional examples sustain the important claim that this volume is indeed revisionist (7). A comparative approach is particularly productive. According to Fuess, “[a]s adultery laws evolved, change did not proceed exclusively in a linear fashion as a story of women’s liberation, nor did all the Western models that were evoked support notions of gender equality” (110). His discussion reveals that the adultery law of supposedly progressive and egalitarian France and that of supposedly conservative and male-chauvinistic Japan were strikingly similar. Likewise, Chen notes that Taiwan’s customary succession system had exhibited greater “equality” than that of Japan, typically deemed more “modern” than its “backward” colony (204). Botsman also challenges “any simplistic equation of mass incarceration with modernity” since “imprisonment was already a relatively important form of punishment for women” in late Tokugawa Japan (137). Matsutani’s discussion on whether a woman would take the family name of her husband upon marriage could have been used to question the linearity of feminist master narrative as well. As Burns mentions, in contemporary Japan and the world, feminists argue requiring the one (often husband’s) surname for a married couple is discriminatory (14), and a wife’s retention of her maiden name can be seen as progressive and liberating. However, as Matsutani illuminates, Japan’s “modernizing reform” regarding Korea’s family system moved in an opposite direction by promoting one last name within a family, though not only female identity, but also choice was at stake. Taken together, all this evidence pushes us to reevaluate the oversimplified notion that the modern West was a source of inspiration and model for progress elsewhere, as well as the question of what is “liberation” for women.

If they are looking for thought-provoking ideas in discourse analyses rather than recovery of women’s voice, scholars and students in Japanese and comparative gender history will benefit from this finely edited volume with coherent and mutually cross-referenced chapters.

Sumiko Otsubo, Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, USA

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RACE FOR EMPIRE: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War II. Asia Pacific Modern, 7. By T. Fujitani. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013, c2011. xxi, 488 pp. (Figures, tables, maps.) US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28021-2.

T. Fujitani’s Race for Empire is a very insightful book that examines how the authorities in both the United States and Japan actively sought to integrate a key ethnic minority—Japanese Americans in the US and Koreans in the Japanese Empire—within the nation and have them actively participate in their respective war efforts. This required the creation and dissemination of a new discourse that reinvented the traditional relationship between nation, race and soldiering, a discourse which denied the existence of racial discrimination within their borders. Fujitani’s objective is not to describe in detail the soldiers’ experiences during the war, but rather to “utilize the two sites of soldiering as optics through which to examine the larger operations and structures of the two changing empires … as they struggled to manage racialized populations within the larger demands of conducting total war” (6). Another recurrent theme is how both empires used these soldiers as part of their wartime propaganda offensive to, as Edwin Reischauer stated in a 1942 memorandum, “[win] the peace” (102).

Part 1 of the book exposes the theoretical framework which sustains—and, in a real sense, drives—the analysis. Drawing on Foucauldian concepts of governmentality and bio-politics, Fujitani argues that, faced with the irrevocable exigencies implied by the logic of total war, both governments were progressively driven to enfold the heretofore unwanted populations and to tap them for soldiers and workers for their wartime industries. Officials deployed modern technologies of bio-power and governmentality to nurture and control these individuals, effectively turning them into free-thinking citizens and giving them the right to die for their nation. As Fujitani indicates, however, the discursive shift which allowed the minorities’ passage from the periphery to within the nation did not completely erase all forms of discrimination against them: while the more blatant, “vulgar” expressions of racism were officially denounced and repudiated, other forms of racism (which Fujitani refers to as “polite”) persisted. The first chapter of part 2 thus examines the American authorities’ efforts to discursively integrate the Japanese-American population within the nation and to collect its energies for their war effort. The second chapter offers samples of the reactions of the targeted individuals to this new discourse and their various attempts to negotiate their place within the nation, while the third chapter is dedicated to the analysis of Robert Pirosh’s movie Go for Broke (MGM, 1951), presented as representative of the new, “politely racist” discourse. In part 3, Fujitani follows a similar approach as he shifts the focus to the Koreans in the Japanese empire.

Missing from Race for Empire is any formal attempt to systematically compare the experiences of both ethnic minorities as they navigated their way into their respective nation. The author does, however, expertly bring into conversation a number of elements which, taken together, challenge our understanding of loyalty and patriotism, and subvert received narratives sustaining national identities. For example, upon describing how many Koreans reacted positively to volunteer recruitment drives for the Japanese imperial army, Fujitani writes that “[t]he idea that they might respond with patriotism to a regime that continued to discriminate against them despite official disavowals of racism is only as absurd or reasonable as the notion that patriotic Japanese Americans volunteered out of internment camps to defend the freedom they did not have” (251). More broadly, Fujitani does not shy away from showcasing Japanese Americans and Koreans as seeking to improve their own socio-economic situation, sometimes at the expense of other political and ethical considerations: that is why, for example, many Japanese Americans asked for guarantees in exchange for their unconditional loyalty (176). When we consider the fact that the total number of Japanese-American volunteers was well below the government’s targets, this undermines the “model minority” discourse which lauded the Japanese Americans’ participation in the war, and thus confronts the postwar myth of America as a multiracial and multiethnic democracy with its own contradictions. Conversely, Fujitani warns against the uncritical acceptance of the narrative according to which all militarized Koreans were unwilling victims of the colonial power, as a large proportion of volunteers were economically well off. He writes: “those who benefited materially from colonialism and the possibility of incorporation into the expanded concept of ‘Japan’ had the most to gain from acting as if they were loyal to the Japanese nation” (251). The overall result is a delicately nuanced, decidedly fair, study of the processes through which the two warring empires redefined their “problematic” ethnic minorities into idealized ones, and how these populations responded to their new circumstances as free, calculating agents.

Race for Empire is an outstanding contribution to a growing number of studies focusing on racial politics in Japan and the United States, which began in earnest with John Dower’s War Without Mercy (Pantheon Books, 1986). Canadian scholars will undoubtedly draw useful comparisons with Mutual Hostages (University of Toronto Press, 1990), by Patricia Roy et al., and especially Stephanie Bangarth’s Voices Raised in Protest (UBC Press, 2008) and Greg Robinson’s A Tragedy of Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2009), books which engage, at least partly, with the question of race and the wartime treatment of Japanese Canadians in a transnational setting. Meticulously researched and brilliantly written, Race for Empire nevertheless feels like it should have brought the concept of “race” under more critical scrutiny, especially as it evolved from what is, apparently, a strictly biological phenomenon to one with more cultural undertones. For example, Fujitani notes how Japanese American volunteers who practiced “quintessentially Japanese and nationalistic sports” such as kendo and judo were rejected as a result of the authorities’ cultural racism (154). In fact, however, many martial arts dojo on the American West Coast were in a trans-Pacific relationship with such nationalist organizations as the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, which included individuals with proven, strong links with the Japanese military. That members of these dojo would appear suspicious to the American military during times of war is not racist in itself. This should not, however, detract from what is otherwise an excellent book.

Daniel Lachapelle Lemire, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

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OPENING A WINDOW TO THE WEST: The Foreign Concession at Kōbe, Japan, 1868-1899. By Peter Ennals. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. xxiii, 237 pp. (Maps, illus.) US$29.48, paper. ISBN 978-1442614161.

Japanese treaty ports have been neglected as a subject of study by foreign historians so it now almost appears as if nineteenth-century globalization bypassed Japan’s harbours. In Japan, treaty ports now symbolize a time when Japanese sovereignty was impaired by the “unequal treaties,” which is a period the public would rather forget. From a comparative perspective, Japanese treaty ports also seem less interesting to global historians, as this era was rather short in Japan (1859-1899) and limited to a few places. By Chinese standards the foreign community in Japan remained small while the Japanese government also took meticulous care in ensuring that foreigners did not transgress treaty boundaries so these ports did not become stepping stones for further imperialistic encroachment. As a result, Japanese treaty ports, which used to be the main places of cultural and economic interaction between Japan and the outside world, are marginalized in Japanese and international history. Peter Ennals, a Canadian professor emeritus of geography, has now published a very readable, well-informed concise history of the Foreign Concession in Kobe, which together with Yokohama, was Japan’s main international port in the late nineteenth century.

In the first three chapters of his book Ennals places Kobe geopolitically in the broader region and leads us through the establishment of the physical and political infrastructure of the foreign concession in relation to the native town of Hyōgo. When Kobe opened in 1869, ten years after Yokohama, its foreign planners wanted it to become a better location to work and live for middle-class Western merchants than other East Asian treaty ports. Just like other planned international settlements of the time, it included a grid-pattern for housing lots with streets and canalization, and a waterfront imitating the famous Bund at Shanghai, with the prominent building of a Japanese customs house for clearance of all international transactions. Unlike more nationally fragmented treaty ports, Kobe’s Foreign Settlement was united administratively and thus able to conduct its municipal development more effectively. This common core, designed to enable Western merchants in their business and maintain facilities for residents, manifested itself in a large brick municipal building for council meetings, which also housed a fire brigade, rooms for consular courts, and even a jail. The transient Western population of sailors, however, was provided for through inns and grogshops in the native town and high property prices in the settlement induced a stronger social segregation than for example in Yokohama.

The next two chapters explain Kobe’s economic basis. Silk and cotton textiles formed the backbone of Japan’s international trade and industry in the nineteenth century. Ennals shows how merchants at Kobe went through a period of trial and error, hoping to match Yokohama’s strength in silk exports, but failing due to market inexperience. The 1870s for them turned out to be rather disappointing. Eventually Kobe settled on its competitive economic advantage: assembling, processing and selling Japanese green tea to the American West and to Canada. The green tea export market thus came to influence the urban landscape in the Kobe settlement. Godown storage spaces with tea firing facilities and Japanese day labourers to handle tea leaves turned into a common sight. The seasonality of the tea trade meant very busy and intensive seasons followed by a stretch of time with much lower commercial activity. While North America became the prime destination of Kobe tea, the trade was mostly organized by British merchants with a surprisingly weak American presence, which was more prominent in the Yokohama silk trade. The economic chapters pay more attention to the initial years than Kobe’s burgeoning import trade, even though Kobe’s key economic success was its emergence as Japan’s leading import harbour, surpassing Yokohama by 1893. The reason Kobe’s second-largest group of foreign merchants was from Germany, which remained an insignificant destination for Japanese exports, may also have been related to the fact that German imports and shipping to Japan was on the rise. Foreign entrepreneurs later engaged in industrial activities such as the repair and building of ships as well as paper production but the most promising ventures were eventually bought by Japanese investors.

The last three chapters explore the social dimensions of the Foreign Settlement, which was separated by “Division Street” from the older Japanese town. Just like other treaty ports with an expatriate community where men outnumbered women, selective clubs and physical recreations provided an important venue of male sociability. The Kobe Club became the premier gentlemen’s club with a strict dress code and a bar. The Kobe Regatta and Athletic Club, with the support of the municipal council, turned a former river valley adjacent to the concession into sports grounds for horse racing, cricket, soccer and a gymnasium that could also be used for theater performances. Protestant missionaries established schools teaching English and the Bible.

Peter Ennals’ excellent and pioneering study relies exclusively on English-language material. British and American perspectives are thus well documented through diplomatic reports, corporate archives and the English-language local press, which also catered to other Western nationalities. To what extent Kobe, as the book title suggests, “Opened a Window to the West” or remained an extraterritorial enclave with limited local impact is more difficult to assess. As a showcase model of overseas life, Kobe’s role in introducing the Japanese people to Western culture and politics can be deduced in the partial spread of Western-style architecture in the Japanese part of town but we also know that despite all earnest missionary efforts in Kobe and elsewhere, the spread of Christianity often disappointed the proselytizers. Kobe in the nineteenth century appeared to be a port for processing and moving goods more than people, with Japanese overseas passenger traffic not yet playing a major role. One wonders how the overall narrative would need to be amended when continental European, Japanese or Chinese sources and voices were integrated more fully into the picture. This caveat does not detract from the fact that Peter Ennals has written a wonderful history of the Foreign Settlement at Kobe, which appears especially strong in its analysis of spatial developments and patterns of architecture.

Harald Fuess, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany                                                               

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EXPERIMENTAL BUDDHISM: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan. Topics in Contemporary Buddhism. By John K. Nelson. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xxiv, 292 pp. (B&W photos, figure, table.) US$32.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3898-0.

Modern pressures of rapid global development are being keenly felt by religious institutions around the world. Their future will depend to a great extent on how readily religious leaders can adjust to these changes while still maintaining relevance for their members. John K. Nelson’s Experimental Buddhism, anew study of this phenomenon in contemporary Japan, is a welcome addition to Asian cultural studies, providing an intimate and well-researched examination of a wide range of efforts currently being made by major Buddhist denominations to survive the current competition for hearts and minds in the new globalized Japan.

A cultural anthropologist from the University of San Francisco, Nelson has produced important written works and documentaries surveying the current Japanese landscape of religious meaning and practice. In the present work, through a series of interviews with priests and administrators from 40 different Buddhist temples, the author attempts to uncover the kinds of changes being tested to slow the recent dramatic decrease in parishioners, and to offer new entryways to Buddhism that would attract greater levels of interest among various demographics. Nelson states in his introduction that the book provides a broad survey of these experiments across a number of denominations, without focusing extensively on any one institution. In order to maintain flexibility, he also recognizes that he could not rely on a single methodology, but rather needed to employ several approaches across disciplines in order to respond effectively to the unique challenges of the study.

Beginning his first chapter with a striking example of the kinds of experimentation occurring among long-established temples in Japan, Nelson relates the story of a 400-year-old Pure Land temple in Kyoto that burned to the ground, killing the head priest. The priest’s eldest son left Kyoto for another location, and what was left had to be run by a board of advisors. Faced with little political or economic support, they rented out parking spaces on the temple grounds for a period of time, and eventually designed a seven-story tenant building with shopping, restaurants and bars on the first six floors, and a temple on the seventh. Because the temple lost most of its parishioners after the fire, its uncertain future will depend almost completely on the ability of the tenants to continue making a profit.

In chapter 2, Nelson provides a brief, yet informative history of Japanese Buddhism, and then focuses on three denominational headquarters (Tendai, Sōtō and Pure Land), to provide greater detail about approaches taken by administrative officials to improve public interest. The next chapter of the text, “Social Welfare and Buddhist-Inspired Activism,” responds to the common question, “Does Buddhism really have anything to offer the social world given the practices of renunciation and the primary concern for personal liberation?” Nelson answers the question in the affirmative, finding evidence throughout Buddhist history of monks providing for the social good. In contemporary Japan temples are attempting to become more relevant to the citizens they serve by responding to concrete problems of human suffering. Two prominent examples provided by the author are suicide prevention programs, and aid for victims of the March 11, 2011 “triple disaster” earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Fukushima.

In chapters 4 and 5 Nelson surveys a range of temple experiments, first detailing the approaches of four prototypes, and in chapter 5, examining some of the more ground-breaking, even risky, attempts at innovation. The chosen temple prototypes in chapter 4 tend to have common narratives involving a disillusioned or jaded young priest who, after experiencing a life-altering moment, chooses to return to temple life with a new vision. There is a Pure Land priest who only sees possibilities for his vocation after witnessing the devastating effects of the Kobe earthquake and Aum Shinrikyō attacks in 1995. Creating a new temple, not in the funerary business, but rather one offering a calendar of lectures, concerts and performances, his mission is to become a credible source of “learning, healing and enjoyment” (117). There is also a Rinzai priest who finds his calling in caring for child victims of the Chernobyl incident who are suffering from thyroid cancer; a priest of a prominent temple in Nara establishes “Everyone’s Temple” in the shopping district of the city, available to anyone who wants to walk in and receive counseling; a Pure Land priest opens a drinking establishment in Ōsaka, an astute means of conversing with customers in a relaxed environment. Other temple innovations surveyed in chapter 5 include temple web sites, pet memorials, organizations for temple wives, chanting concerts, musical performances in rock, jazz and rap, and fashion shows of priestly robes. In the final chapter of the text Nelson concludes that the future of Buddhism in Japan remains uncertain, and there is no telling whether or not the experiments currently being tried by temple priests will prove to be successful in achieving a sustained relevance for the general public.

Because Nelson limits his interviews to priests belonging to prominent denominations, there are certainly some gaps in his study. More interviews with parishioners would have provided greater understanding of the actual effectiveness of temple experiments. Investigating New Religions would have clarified how these rival institutions may be influencing the changes being made in the more traditional sects. But Experimental Buddhism fills an important need in the study of contemporary Japanese Buddhism, illustrating the kinds of challenges facing the clergy, and the necessities of making meaningful changes in everyday temple life in order to respond to the needs of persons living in the twenty-first century. The text would make a fine addition to both undergraduate and graduate courses in contemporary Asian studies or cultural Buddhism. Nelson writes in an engaging and accessible manner, and students will find great pleasure in reading the pages of his book.

Victor Forte, Albright College, Reading, USA         

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JAPANESE PERCEPTIONS OF FOREIGNERS. Japanese Society Series. Edited by Shunsuke Tanabe. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press; Portland, OR: International Specialized Book Services [exclusive distributor], 2013. xviii, 182 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$79.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-920901-54-7.

This book is an English translation of a work published in 2011 in Japanese that deals with Japanese perceptions of issues related to migration and their interrelation with political views. The analysis is based on results from a nationwide survey held in 2009 that focused on eight themes: nationalism, immigration, coexistence society (or tabunka kyōsei), citizenship, neoliberalism, support for political parties, swing voters and populism. Subjects were Japanese nationals aged 20 to 79 years and the authors collected 3610 samples, with a 43.4 percent return rate. The themes covered by the survey correspond with the topics of the eight chapters, which are organized into two groups: the first deals mainly with issues related to perceptions of migrants and the second focuses more on political views and their interrelation with immigration-related issues. Overall, this book presents a significant contribution to the still infrequent quantitative studies of Japanese perceptions of the growing foreign population in general and to relating these to political orientations and social characteristics of populations in particular. As the editor himself emphasizes, issues of nationalism, anti-foreign sentiments and political attitudes have tended to be considered separately in Japan and the integrative approach presented here underlines the significance of this work.

In the introduction, Shunsuke Tanabe outlines the background to this study: the changing face of nationalism in the age of globalization, a growing foreign population in what was once believed to be a single-ethnic Japan, and the relationship between an increasingly fluid political situation and (the new) nationalism in Japan. One of the characteristics of this survey is that it was conducted after the general elections in 2009 that meant a change of ruling parties in Japan after more than five decades. This is mainly related to the second part of the book, yet issues concerning foreign residents, such as suffrage, have been on the political agenda of the new ruling party as well. In the first chapter, Tanabe challenges the simplistic views of a relationship between political stances and nationalism and elaborates on the factors contained in the term nationalism in present-day Japan. In particular, he focuses on the views of ordinary people and outlines three dimensions of nationalism in Japan: patriotism, exclusivism and purism. These three dimensions, which he explains and describes both theoretically and empirically, represent core concepts that connect the remaining chapters of the book. The second chapter deals with differences in opinions on foreign residents in Japan by respondent’s occupation, education or region. Unsurprisingly, those with managerial jobs, a higher level of education and more contact with foreigners view the contribution of foreigners to the economy in more positive terms. On the other hand, blue-collar workers tend to see foreigners’ role more negatively and these views are associated with purism and patriotism. The third chapter focuses on support for multicultural coexistence in Japan. The author identifies four major types of perceptions of multicultural coexistence based on the degree of acceptance of equal rights and willingness for communication. The ideal type of autonomous coexistence, when both equal rights and mutual communication are promoted, has been found only among around 30 percent of respondents whereas the majority have more exclusionary ideas of coexistence. The fourth chapter aims to uncover the determinants of support for the political rights of foreign nationals in Japan. Indeed, the results confirmed the hypothesized relationship between purism and patriotism on the one hand and the support for suffrage on the other. Interestingly, however, the author found no correlation between support for suffrage and the socio-economic situation of an individual. This uncovers an intriguing point: the relatively tolerant views of socio-economically well-situated individuals towards migrants do not necessarily translate into support for migrants’ political rights.

Chapters in the second part of the book focus more on the contemporary trends among voters in Japan. Due to the brevity of the review, I focus here only on results related to views on migrants. The fifth chapter focuses on aspects of neo-liberalism and discusses their correlation with nationalism. Patriotism in particular was found to be strongly related to all aspects of neo-liberalism. The sixth chapter analyzes the shift in voter support after the general elections in 2009. In regard to migrants, the analysis uncovers a link between LDP support and low support for extending rights to foreigners. The seventh chapter scrutinizes the voting preferences and socio-economic characteristics of swing voters and shows that those swinging to DPJ were more tolerant toward migrants. The eighth chapter analyzes the characteristics of supporters of populist politicians. Similar to LDP voters, populist supporters are also inclined to be more patriotic and less tolerant towards an extension of foreigners’ rights. The book concludes with Tanabe’s chapter summarizing the main findings and discussing the new nationalism in Japan in light of these findings.

Whereas the findings of this survey suggest some important and interesting points about views concerning foreign nationals in Japan, the analysis and discussion of the results tend to be limited in some places. For example, the discussion of support for the rights of foreigners is largely limited to that of suffrage, although the data provide views concerning other social or civic rights as well and the author undertook a considerably more elaborate analysis and discussion of a similar topic elsewhere (Kikuko Nagayoshi, “Support of Multiculturalism, But For Whom? Effects of Ethno-National Identity on the Endorsement of Multiculturalism in Japan,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37, no. 4: 561-78). Furthermore, whereas the particulars of the sample of this survey are sometimes discussed (e.g., 18), a more comprehensive discussion is lacking elsewhere. For instance, the authors do not discuss some major differences (21) in their results with other similar surveys such as ISSP’s module National Identities. Nonetheless, the book represents a valuable contribution to studies on migrants and their acceptance in Japanese society and it unveils, through empirical methods, links between various aspects of nationalism, political orientation and socio-economic characteristics.

Miloš Debnár, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan

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THE NATURE OF THE BEASTS: Empire and Exhibition at the Tokyo Imperial Zoo. Asia: Local Studies/Global Themes, 27. By Ian Jared Miller; foreword by Harriet Ritvo. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. xxvii, 322 pp. (Figures.) US$65.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-520-271869.

“The zoological garden thrives in a culture of alienation that it helps to produce,” writes Ian Jared Miller in his impressive The Nature of Beasts (20). Miller deconstructs the history of Tokyo’s Ueno Park Imperial Zoological Garden—once the exhibitionary crown jewel of Japan’s Empire—in order to reveal the distinct human structures, institutions and values that have shaped Japan’s visions of the natural world from the 1880s through the post-World War II period. As Miller demonstrates, the Ueno Zoo and its exhibitions were an attempt by zoo administrators, scientists, colonial authorities, nationalist bureaucrats and Japanese patrons to seek “the wellspring of humanity” (20) in a modern world that was increasingly industrial, urban and disorienting. The zoo itself served as an institutional metaphor for a people and an empire seeking to achieve revitalization, but ultimately struggling to negotiate fantasies of nature with the complex realities of war, colonialism, national sacrifice and potential extinction.

In its struggle to make sense of the natural world as most zoos do, the Ueno Zoo was a product and producer of what Miller calls “ecological modernity”(2)—human beings’ attempts to situate themselves and non-human nature in the modern world. The first two chapters consider the establishment of the Ueno Zoo as a mechanism of evolutionary theory, modernization and imperialism that was designed to separate human beings from the rest of nature. In doing so, zoo administrators and scientists envisioned a broader mission of instructing the Japanese people of their own separateness and special mission in the world. By the early twentieth century, Japanese imperialism across East and Southeast Asia broadened the zoological horizons of the Japanese people by offering new exotic wildlife trophies for display. The Ueno Zoo did the important ideological work of empire by providing a colonial outlet for Japanese immersion in the natural and seemingly authentic. These distinct representations concealed the brutal realities of colonial war and reminded patrons of where Japan was gloriously headed, as was powerfully reflected in the name of a female giraffe born at the zoo in 1942: “South” (85).

The third and fourth chapters deal entirely with the zoo in wartime. In further blurring boundaries, the Ueno Zoo mobilized its animals for the purposes of total war as dogs, pigeons, elephants, camels, yaks and especially war horses were celebrated and memorialized. Animal displays projected patriotic messages of civilian production and soldierly duty. By far, the most powerful episode comes in chapter 4, when the Tokyo municipal government and zoo officials organized the 1943 massacre of dozens of zoo animals (a process occurring across Japan’s dwindling empire). Faced with increasing food shortages and security concerns over escaped animals during impending air raids, Tokyo and Ueno Zoo administrators utilized the excruciating killing of its popular animal residents as a potent ideological demonstration of national martyrdom in the face of imminent destruction. Through the killing and subsequent pageantry memorializing the animals, “the Great Zoo Massacre” offered a coded language to discuss the unthinkable issue of defeat. This traumatic event proved to be a moment of rupture in the zoo’s history as the full excesses of the war’s sacrifices sparked a move away from civilizational collapse and towards the gradual embrace of human redemption in the face of extinction. The final two chapters examine this transition in the context of the postwar zoo and how it became an institutional incarnation of postwar Japan itself. In a rejection of the nation’s recent past, Ueno embraced a children’s zoo to teach Japan’s postwar children lessons in productivity, social order, innocence and human compassion for animals. The Children’s Zoo embodied the broader pains of postwar trauma, normalizing relations with the United States, demilitarizing both humans and animals, and concealing Japan’s colonial past. Miller finishes by examining the more recent history of Ueno’s attempts to breed pandas. This process entailed the “panda diplomacy” of rebuilding ties with China, but it also revealed Japan’s latest phase of ecological modernity: enclosing the natural world for its own protection from human exploitation. As Miller demonstrates, ecological modernity has reached perhaps its most problematic stage. Ueno Zoo’s attempts to artificially reproduce threatened species as a cure for mass extinction have only highlighted the paradoxes of the very same modernity that originally fueled such a crisis.

In exploring the Ueno Zoo and broader Japanese imperial cultural attitudes towards the natural world, Miller offers a necessary non-Western history of such exhibitions alongside the other great histories of zoos, including Harriet Ritvo’s The Animal Estate (Harvard University Press, 1987) and Nigel Rothfels’s Savages and Beasts (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002). Miller’s contribution, however, offers a fundamentally different framework for understanding zoos during the height of global imperialism. Prevailing narratives in recent Japanese environmental histories, as well as zoo histories more generally, emphasize decline: either the decline of humanity’s intimacy with the natural world or the decline of nature itself. As Miller argues, the Ueno Zoo, through its contributions to ecological modernity, offers a story neither of environmental decline, nor institutional progress, but rather a narrative of negotiations and contradictions through humans’ attempts to situate themselves in nature. In doing so, Miller presents one of the first major histories of zoos to be situated explicitly within the Anthropocene, a geological epoch typified by humanity’s impact on most aspects of life on Earth. By historicizing the Anthropocene through the story of Japan’s empire over nature, Miller successfully deploys cultural history as a mechanism for understanding the complex human behaviours and structures that have produced and impeded our full understanding of humanity’s place in nature, climate change and ongoing mass extinctions. The Nature of Beasts is a critical intervention in global zoo, environmental and Japanese histories. It stands on its own as a fascinating and thoughtful history, but also provides opportunities for future scholarly exploration into patterns of human dominion over nature across the East Asian world.

Noah Cincinnati, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, USA                                     

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PRECARIOUS JAPAN. By Anne Allison. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2013. x, 246 pp. US$23.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5562-5.

The cover of Anne Allison’s new publication sets the tone for the whole book. It is a photograph by Dominic Nahr of two elderly Japanese women who have taken refuge in a school after the triple disaster of 3.11. The two women are looking anxiously into a dark forest beyond a parking lot, under a gloomy sky. They seem shaken by what has happened to them, but the photographs also convey the impression that they are even more worried about future events; it is as if a dark force may be lurking out in the wilderness, ready to engulf them. Whilst this is unquestionably a high-quality picture, one also feels somehow reminded of a horror movie poster. The same can be said about the content of the book. It is not an easy read; rather, it is a highly emotional account that takes us into the murky underside of Japan. It is an impressive ethnographic study of exclusion, precariousness and struggle that will leave no reader untouched; nevertheless careful reflection suggests that as a scholarly analysis it is not fully satisfying and at times its argument risks drifting into sensationalism.

Allison’s study starts with the story of a middle-aged man whose corpse was found one month after he had starved to death alone in his apartment. Surrounded by wealthy Japan, in his last diary entry the man expresses the simple, yet unfulfilled, wish to eat a rice ball (onigiri). Rice balls are a staple food that can be bought at any hour of any day throughout Japan for little more than one US dollar and rice is also a core symbol of Japanese culture. The anecdote shows us a man who has not only been abandoned by society; even his socio-cultural existence has been annihilated. In the first chapter Allison puts this and other stories into the broader context of precariousness, the new social risks and insecurities which have become an issue in Japan and in many Western industrialized societies. The second chapter illustrates Japan’s transformation from a society of stable institutions and predictable life-courses into a fluid society, in which the unstable margins are creeping towards the core. Allison identifies changes in human resource management, neoliberal reforms and demographic aging as the main factors in this transformation. In the next two chapters Allison discusses examples which illustrate how this new instability leads to the dissolution of “home” as a secure place in society and the emergence of new forms of homelessness, the breakdown of the family as a unit and withdrawals from society. Chapters 5 and 6 are centred on aging, death and hopelessness. In these chapters examples are used to show the effects of Japan’s liquidization. The loss of social stability leaves those excluded alone, outside in the social cold, struggling with circumstances for which they have not been prepared. The final chapter embeds examples of the triple disaster of 3.11 into this narrative of precarious Japan. Three eleven and its impact are not discussed as a singular event, but as an example of Japan’s new fragility.

The book is part of a recent wave of studies on social inequality in Japan. For many decades, Japan was not only lauded for its outstanding economic growth, but was also identified as a prime example of social equality and fairness. The existence of harshly discriminated-against minorities and other marginal groups was often overlooked and absent from public discourse. However, from the late 1990s onwards, Japan’s self-view started to shift fundamentally. A new model of Japan as a “gap society” (kakusa shakai) became dominant and issues like atypical employment and poverty started to fill newspapers and television programs and prompted new research. Allison has made a valuable contribution to this field. Most studies involve quantitative analysis of structural changes, but she has focused on daily life. For readers not aware of the dark side of contemporary Japan, the book will be an eye-opener. The examples are powerful and some feel like punches to the stomach. However, readers already familiar with the debate about Japan as a “gap society” may not be fully satisfied by this book. Its structure and theoretical foundation are a kind of potpourri. The argument is not introduced at the beginning, nor does the book end with an overall conclusion. It is also hard to find a clear thread running between the strings of examples discussed in the chapters. Although in the second chapter Allison develops a concise model of former Japan as general middle-class society, in the chapters which follow she too rarely makes use of this model as a comparative tool to contemporary Japan. Instead, she introduces new theoretical concepts based on studies of Western societies throughout the book. Because similarities and differences between precariousness in Japan and Western societies are not fully discussed, these concepts add another layer of theoretical complexity, but rarely a new dimension to the analysis. It would be beside the point to reproach a qualitative study for being unrepresentative, but some of the examples here seem somewhat exploitative in character. For example, Allison discusses what she acknowledges may be a fictitious story of a homeless boy who becomes a famous comedian (108-112). It is a breath-taking story, but why include it in an empirical study if it might be manufactured? Although it is not openly stated in the book, Allison seems to position herself both as a researcher, and as an activist for Japan’s underprivileged classes. Her political commitment notwithstanding, choosing less stark examples would have made possible a more subtle analysis; after all, the existence of poverty and marginal groups in Japan is not a completely new phenomenon. I would argue that the paradigmatic change of recent years has been the return of such groups into the limelight, indicating a new fear of social downward mobility among the middle classes. Despite these caveats, and although the analysis may not be wholly convincing, Allison’s new book will surely be highly impressive for many readers and a good resource for discussions in courses on contemporary Japan.

David Chiavacci, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

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WAR, GUILT, AND WORLD POLITICS AFTER WORLD WAR II. By Thomas U. Berger. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. vii, 259 pp. (Tables.) US$30.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-67495-0.

This book is an exceptionally timely investigation into the role of history as a determinant of foreign relations in “an age of apology and recrimination” (8). This applies particularly in the case of Japan, but a recent television drama Unsere Muetter, Unsere Vaeter (“Generation War”) in Germany also reignited historical debates in that country and sparked renewed acrimony with its Polish neighbour. In this volume Berger seeks to deconstruct the way that three states—Germany, Austria and Japan—have formed their official historical narratives and trace the domestic and international consequences that resulted. To achieve this he employs a concept he dubs “Historical Realism,” (2) which exhibits a dual nature. In the first sense it identifies the power of the state to shape official narratives, often for practical political purposes. Second, he adds that there are caveats and limits to the ability of the state to exercise complete control of historical discourse, due, for example, to “insurgent narratives” from other (unrepresented) quarters of society (3).

In the first chapter Berger provides an analytical framework to superintend the discussion of the three cases studies. The framework, guided by the principle of historical realism, outlines three core approaches to conceptualizing historical memory. These are, respectively, “historical determinism,” “instrumentalism” and “cultural explanations.” Briefly stated, these are distinguished in the following ways: historical determinism is the basic, supposedly “objective” account of “what actually happened,” the neutral recording of the “facts” (14-19). Instrumentalism considers what happens to collective memory when political actors (inevitably) manipulate it for their own national or sectarian purposes; in this approach “history has become the extension of politics by other means” (22). The third approach of culturalism looks at how historical memory becomes embedded in certain ideas, beliefs, values and social practices, and is thus shaped by, or subordinated to them (23). The analytical spectrum thus ranges from the deterministic claim to positivistic objectivity, through a cyphering of the facts due to instrumental political processes, to a strongly constructivist or sociological perspective, in the last of the three. Berger rightly sees these three approaches as complementary “ideal-types,” but also as synergistic, explanatory tools.

Thus equipped with this analytical framework he then proceeds to examine Germany as the “model penitent,” arguing that although it took longer than is usually imagined, Germany, partly as a result of the enormity of its crimes, serves as the standard for national repentance and redemption. He then introduces the less well-known case of Austria, “the prodigal impenitent,” and shows how the country only belatedly faced up to its complicity in Nazi crimes after decades of denial. Lastly, he turns to Japan, “the model impenitent,” that has yet to face squarely the crimes it committed in the name of its empire in Asia. In the process he explains how an official narrative stressing the victimization of Japan itself,through the fire bombings and atomic bombings, and the callous rapacity of their own militarist system, prevented the nation from internalizing the suffering that Japan had caused as an aggressor in Asia.

Before concluding, the last chapter is dedicated to a more detailed account of “The geopolitics of remembering and forgetting 1991-2010.” It tracks the revival of history issues as an impediment to Japan’s contemporary relations with Korea and China, looking again at how external pressures (gaiatsu) created difficulties for Japanese foreign policy, in particular a slew of popular support for restitution for Japan’s wartime victims, such as the “comfort women,” a collective fury at nationalist textbooks, and the prime minister’s visit to the Yasukuni shrine (which also houses war criminals). The instrumental and cultural explanations are in evidence here as national governments sought to coopt the anti-Japanese zeitgeist; one fuelled by relentless media portrayals of the devastating greater East Asia war, caricaturing Japanese barbarities.

One important point to register here is that, despite widespread misperceptions to the contrary, Japan has made substantial and repeated efforts to apologize for its wartime conduct to its aggrieved neighbours. But, as Berger points out, “Japan’s apologies have been limited in scope, challenged domestically, and singularly unsuccessful in improving Japan’s relations with its foreign neighbours” (124). The continued historical spats between Tokyo and Seoul/Beijing are testament to this sad predicament. In addition, the author indicates how contested historical understandings have become fused with contemporary territorial disputes between Japan on the one hand, and Korea (Dok-do/Takeshima) and China (Senkaku/Diaoyu) on the other, leading to potential physical as well as political conflict. In the conclusion the author reviews the efficacy of the analytical framework in teasing out such questions, as well as looking at policy implications.

In sum, this an incredibly important book dealing with a fascinating and pertinent topic, and one which provides a great deal of thought-provoking and introspection on the part of the reader. Comparisons will inevitably be made to Ian Buruma’s landmark volume The Wages of Guilt, yet Berger’s is the more analytical work, and scarcely less readable for it. It is an indispensable guide for those seeking to gain greater insights and understanding of the thorny historical issues that continue to plague relations between Japan and its Asian neighbours, and the comparisons to be drawn with that country’s former German/Austrian allies.

Thomas Wilkins, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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MONEY, TRAINS, AND GUILLOTINES: Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan. Asia-Pacific. By William Marotti. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2013. xxi, 417 pp., [16] pp. of plates. (Illus.) US$25.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-4980-8.

Postwar Japanese art has recently attracted much attention amongst academics and curators in North America and Japan. An anthology of critical essays, manifestos and other writings in this field was published by the Museum of Modern Art in 2012, while prominent artists’ groups like the Gutai Art Association (1954-72) and Mono-ha (active in the late 1960s and the early 1970s) had retrospectives at major American museums and galleries, accompanied by scholarly monographs. William A. Marotti’s Money, Trains, and Guillotines is a long-awaited book that deals with artist Akasegawa Genpei and the group Hi-Red Center in the social and political context of 1960s Japan, providing for the first time to an English-language audience access to one of the most important figures in postwar Japanese art.

Marotti’s book is divided into three parts. Part 1 discusses the historical background of the “Model 1,000 Yen Note Trial.” In 1965, Akasegawa was prosecuted for the crime of “currency imitation” after making partial prints of the 1,000-yen banknote as an art project. Marotti argues that the freedom of speech, guaranteed by the postwar Constitution, is limited under the idea of public welfare, arguing how paternalistic state authority, enshrined under the Meiji Constitution of 1889, is retained in the revised postwar Constitution. The author also makes a careful reading of “Spy Rules” (later renamed “The Ambiguous Ocean”), a short story that Akasegawa likely wrote during the preparation of his banknote prints. Marotti argues that the story reflects Akasegawa’s views on contemporary politics, especially the demonstrations against Anpo (the Security Treaty with the US), and the hopes he held for a revolutionary transformation of everyday life and society, as articulated in his subsequent artworks.

The subject of part 2 is the Yomiuri Indépendant, the yearly non-jury, non-prize exhibition sponsored by the newspaper company Yomiuri Shimbun between 1949 and 1963. Marotti shows how the company’s sponsorship and support of a range of exhibitions including the Yomiuri Indépendant led to erase memories of its wartime propaganda activities and postwar labour conflicts and replace them with positive images of high culture and a democratized system of participation and viewing. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the annual exhibition became a major venue for young avant-garde artists, engendering playful competition in a variety of media, including objets, installation and performance. The author discusses how, through their diverse artworks, these young artists focused on the everyday world and developed critical philosophies of political action through art.

“How do you restart political activism in a time of apparent uneventfulness?” Starting with this question, part 3 discusses how young artists reorganized their artistic practices during the temporary abeyance of mass activism in the early 1960s. The author first details a 1962 event in Tokyo in which young artists, two of whom would later form Hi-Red Center with Akasegawa, resorted to “direct action” with their performances on Tokyo’s trains after a friend, Imaizumi Yoshihiko, failed in realizing his plan for erecting a giant guillotine in the Imperial Plaza. “Theses on ‘Capitalist Realism,’” an article written by Akasegawa after his first police interrogations, is analyzed to show how the artist articulated a critique of the pseudo-reality of money, identifying it as “an agent of hidden forms of domination” (206) supported by state authority. The author also studies another essay by Akasegawa, “The Intent of the Act Based on the Intent of the Act—Before Passing through the Courtroom,” reading it as a response to his indictment, to discuss how it critically anticipates the trial’s reduction of his work to either conventional art or crime, affirming the potential of a radical artistic practice to generate moments that allow “glimpses of emancipatory possibilities in everyday life” (206).

Within Japanese scholarship, the art activism of Akasegawa and his colleagues has been largely discussed in relationship to the anti-art movement. Money, Trains, and Guillotines, the product of many years of painstaking research, successfully locates Akasegawa’s practices in a broader historical (not only art-historical), political, and social context by explicating his art in relation to key historical moments such as the making of the new Constitution (especially in relation to the emperor), the formation of the Yomiuri Shimbun, the transformation of mass protests and demonstrations. The author’s use of Jacques Rancière’s term “police,” the distribution of the perceptible, functions effectively in the discussion of the political dimensions of Akasegawa’s art, making an important contribution to the theorization of the 1960s art in Japan and elsewhere.

This book’s other major contribution is Marotti’s detailed analyses of the enigmatic essays and stories Akasegawa wrote in his early period. These writings contrast sharply with the straightforward prose of his later writings, known for their light and witty style. The author read these writings as direct responses to specific events in the artist’s career: “Spy Rules” (June 1963) to his printing of the banknotes in January 1963 and its use as an invitation to his one-man exhibition in February;Theses on ‘Capitalist Realism’” (February 1964) to the police interrogation and the newspaper article in January; and “The Intent of the Act Based on the Intent of the Act” (January 1966) to his indictment in November 1965. Some might question how far one can appraise Akasegawa’s texts, given their ambiguous and allegorical quality, as effective responses to contemporary urgencies. But Marotti’s subtle readings of these texts, underappreciated in Japanese scholarship, make a strong case for their importance within art history. Money, Trains, and Guillotines not only fills in a major gap within English-language understanding of postwar Japanese art. Once translated into Japanese—which it should be, promptly—it should sharpen the discourse within Akasegawa’s home country.

Kenji Kajiya, Kyoto City University of Arts, Kyoto, Japan

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PINK GLOBALIZATION: Hello Kitty’s Trek across the Pacific. By Christine R. Yano. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. xiv, 322 pp. (B&W photos.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5363-8.

What do you think of when you hear the word pink? A satirical pop star? Barbie? Breast cancer? Gays? When I saw the title of this book, I thought it referred to the last, as in the “Pink Dollar,” having something to do with tourism.

I was wrong: the subtitle gives the subject clearly.

The book is a series of essays, I suspect, topics compiled over a decade or more by a cultural studies-leaning anthropologist, but rounded into a coherent text about what the author calls “Japanese cute-cool,” with the linking theoretical theme of Joseph Nye’s (1990/2004) concept of “Soft Power” that bookends the volume. “Soft Power” may be a relatively new concept in the social sciences, but it has been a feature of international relations for some decades, whereby a country seeks to enhance its power position in the world through promoting elements of its culture. Typically, this is done through councils (i.e., the British), institutes (i.e., the Confucius) and a variety of other means such as sponsoring particular events.

“Hello Kitty” is a different matter as it began as a commercial challenge (by to Disney’s mouse by a Japanese cat-like creature with a blank expression and, sometimes, a waving arm/paw. The core of the book’s argument is on page 32:

No longer only a part of children’s consumer culture, Hello Kitty serves less as a generational divide than as a shared bridge. How it manages to do so—that is, convincing consumers within a broad span of ages of the desirability of the global icon, of the irresistibility of Japanese Cute-Cool—is in large part the subject of this book.

Perhaps I am just unobservant in my travels, but I always associate Hello Kitty with Asia, Asian shops in Sydney where I live and Asian countries where I travel from time to time. When I think of Japan modern, I don’t think of it as being cute. I think of consumer brands like Sony, Toyota and Nikon: technically advanced and well-manufactured products, even if many of them are made far from archipelagic Japan. But Yano sees more than that through her over 300 (sometimes B&W illustrated) pages of text divided into 7 chapters, plus an introduction and two appendices.

Chapter 1, “Kitty at home,” uses “cute” (kawaii) and kyarakutā (character) to analyze Kitty in Japan, noting at the beginning that Kitty is the “perfectly affordable souvenir” (45), termed a “trinket seduction” (72) later in the same pages. “Marketing Kitty” (chapter 2) features insightful interviews with Sanrio employees and others from a few years ago, recording their thoughts on the development of the product, while chapter 3 (“Global Kitty Nearly Everywhere”) explores interviews with Kitty consumers and why some people like to have “the cat” around as a “best friend.” The emphasis shifts in chapter 4, “Kitty Backlash,” looking at those who repudiate Kitty’s “core message … [of] … friendship, happiness and intimacy” (163). Views about Kitty, expressed in more interviews, are perhaps not unlike, and for similar reasons, emotions encompassing other consumer cute kitsch, such as Barbie. Chapter 5, “Kitty Subversions,” has two long interviews and several quotations from informants to show how Kitty may be used to critique consumerism and branding. Chapter 6, “Playing with Kitty,” “mixing Hello Kitty into edgy art worlds” (231) continues the topic, though in contrast to chapter 4, the artists involved are often commissioned by Sanrio, with the intention of furthering their brand. The concluding chapter seeks to contextualize “Japan’s cute-cool as global wink.” Kitty launched in the 1970s according to the Sanrio narrative and Yano began her fascination in 1998, so the printed sources and interviews flow over those decades.

Yano minimizes the Gift element of Kitty, quoting “happiness tinged with pink” (118) and “small gift, big smile” (70, the Sanrio Company’s slogan). Marcel Mauss is in the bibliography, but little used when discussing the extensive Japanese gift culture: the index shows one citation on page 68, but no discussion. “Cool Japan” and “soft power” reappear, as you would expect, in the summary that mentions tourism’s “nation branding” (259). I think, like many international symbols and brands, Kitty is multivalent, negative and positive depending on context, Coca-Cola and McDonalds being other such examples. Even simpler in design is the dollar sign ($) that may be used to show success and desirability or greed and rapacity. The book finishes with a short postscript about the March 2011 tsunami, the effects of which continue to play out. In a cute kitsch and tacky kitsch combo, Sanrio joined with the crystal brand Swarovski to produce Kitty crystal figures, to be auctioned in support of the Japanese Red Cross. Appendix 1 is a Kitty timeline, with appendix 2 listing artists who participated in Sanrio’s Thirtieth Anniversary [of Kitty] Exhibit and Catalogue (2004), and 22 pages of notes, 14 pages of bibliography and a 10-page index complete the volume.

The core audience for Pink is that group interested in the culture of postwar Japan, with the larger constituency being those ruminating on prominent cultural symbols, the long-time terrain of us anthropologists and the core of more recent “cultural studies” writers. In spite of the documented arguments, I cannot see Kitty as “global.” I accept the argument of Kitty’s ubiquity in Japan, where the character originated. Hello Kitty can be found in North America, hardly South, rarely in Europe, and not at all in Africa; Kitty predominately is a pan-Pacific kyarakutā (character), but without much impact beyond. Of course, often for people in the US, if something is in their part of the world it is unquestionably “global.”

Grant McCall, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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TOKYO VERNACULAR: Common Spaces, Local Histories, Found Objects. A Philip E. Lilienthal Book in Asian Studies. By Jordan Sand. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. xiii, 208 pp. (Figures.) US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28037-3.

This book explores how since the 1950s Japanese citizens have actively drawn on traces from the vernacular past to express local identities, while rejecting grand-scale, state-led expressions of nationhood and the commodification of urban experiences linked with capitalist agendas. It thereby fills an important gap in the English-language literature about Japanese heritage and preservation. Based on a detailed examination of an impressive range of Japanese-language materials, Sand produces an original and insightful account of the historical emergence of four distinct groups of engaged inhabitants of postwar Tokyo. The capital city forms the spatial frame for an ambitious analysis (in four chapters) of ideals of urban belonging as expressed by protesters in public spaces during the 1960s, amateur preservation activists producing a local magazine as well as professionals engaging in street observation studies during the 1980s, and those involved in the creation of museums of everyday life during the 1990s.

In chapter 1 Sand argues that during the 1960s a shift occurred from mass protests held in sanctioned urban spaces such as the “citizen’s plaza,” created to express a unified national voice, to a political activism that championed vernacular urbanism and favoured a more spontaneous, organic use of public space. He gives a fascinating account of how in 1969 the Shinjuku West Exist Plaza, in front of one of Tokyo’s busiest underground stations, envisioned as a capitalist space of transit and flow, was transformed on Saturday evenings into an urban commons where spontaneous civic actions ranging from playful demonstrations to sing-alongs took place amongst citizens who did not know each other. Although these gatherings were forcefully brought to an end, they resulted in theoretical discussions about and practical demands for urban democratic spaces where people could debate freely. Still, as Sand rightly demonstrates throughout his book, civic activities based on worthy ideals can always be appropriated by groups driven by other agendas, and the consumption-orientated leisure zones created during the 1970s and 1980s negate the anti-capitalist stance at the base of the protests. Moreover, the spread of television produced a new kind of democratic public space that could be enjoyed by everyone, albeit passively, from the comfort of the home.

In chapter 2 Sand narrates the motivations of three housewives who in 1984 started editing the Yanesen magazine, employing oral histories and everyday local news to foster a sense of community in their neighbourhood. He rightly contextualizes this initiative within the larger machizukuri (town-making) movement, that emphasized the preservation of the “traditional” urban streetscape, and that swept Japan during the 1980s as a reaction against the alienation associated with living in large urban housing estates (danchi). However, unlike most town-building projects strongly associated with local government, Yanesen “asserted a collective claim that the district belonged to its residents” (84). Paradoxically, the magazine’s popularity also caused an influx of tourists and the “boutiquification” of the area during the 1990s.

Chapter 3, also set in the 1980s, follows an eclectic group of professionals (architectural historians, cultural critics and artists) who questioned established theories about urban generation and preservation by documenting and categorizing idiosyncratic, incidentally found objects such as manhole covers, building ornaments or street gardens. By calling these purposeless objects, primarily valued for their material presence, “deviant property,” (92) the group made a political statement against the state-endorsed speculation of urban property by developers. Importantly, this movement rejected any kind of abstract theorization or authorship, focusing instead on offering ordinary citizens new tools to reclaim their city. Sand argues that ultimately this movement, like the activists he previously discussed, failed to achieve its goals because, as it gained in popularity and became the focus of media attention, the trivial objects at its centre were transformed into useful commodities. Moreover, critical observational activities were turned into a fun pastime of nostalgic discovery, and the government saw it as a useful device for redesigning the city.

Finally, in the fourth chapter Sand turns his attention to historical museums that aimed to produce a more inclusive notion of heritage by concentrating on everyday life exhibits. In his view, the Edo-Tokyo museum, built in 1993, exemplified a shift in focus in Japanese heritage thinking from production and timeless peasant life to consumption and domesticity, epitomized by the reconstruction of ordinary 1950s home interiors centred around the low dining table (chabudai) embodying family togetherness. Although the focus on everydayness was thought to encourage visitors to question official historical narratives, in practice the widespread use of similar nostalgic domestic displays resulted in the creation of a national, homogenous everyday life. In this chapter Sand also praises the Showa Everyday Museum in Nagoya for breaking with museum conventions, abandoning authorized public history in favour of visitors’ personal memory. It is an inspiring example that indicates how, by broadening the scope of his research to include engaged communities outside the capital, Sand could have added another level of complexity to his argument, while also transcending the usual Tokyo-focused, English-language scholarship about Japan. Nagoya is particularly interesting in this respect because the city also has a long tradition of amateur street observation groups and could therefore offer an insightful comparison in chapter 3.

The book concludes with situating these Japanese case studies within global trends towards preserving the past. For me, this section is less successful because Sand is rather quick to dismiss cultural specific understandings of authenticity, thereby disregarding the growing body of literature about this topic. Moreover, the book would also have benefitted from a more in-depth discussion of new forms of civic actions emerging after the 2011 earthquake, especially considering the important role of the Internet. None of this, however, detracts from the fact that this is a rich and ambitious work that achieves what it set out to do in showing that authenticity is an ongoing process produced by the State and the Market, but also by various mobilized communities who imagine the past in different ways, but who are never fully detached from the abstracting forces they are contesting.

Inge Daniels, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

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IN DEFENSE OF JUSTICE: Joseph Kurihara and the Japanese American Struggle for Equality. The Asian American Experience. By Eileen H. Tamura. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013. xv, 228 pp., [8]pp. of plates. US$40.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-252-03778-8.This book provides a notable addition to the revisionist literature on the wartime removal and confinement of West Coast Japanese Americans (often, if imprecisely, called the Japanese American internment). In contrast to popular accounts that underline the patriotism of the American citizens of Japanese ancestry herded into government camps, revisionist accounts have emphasized the active role of the inmates in resisting their condition and protesting racist treatment. Among the best-known (or most notorious) dissidents was Joseph Yoshisuke Kurihara, a World War I veteran embittered by mass removal. His actions in camp, especially his role in the chain of events leading to the so-called Manzanar Riot, have attracted significant attention since the war years. Yet the man himself has remained rather in the shadows. Eileen Tamura, a professor in the College of Education at University of Hawai’i Manoa, has produced a first biography of Kurihara.

Tamura’s early chapters deal with Kurihara’s boyhood in turn-of-the-century Hawaii. In Tamura’s portrait, Kurihara emerges as an idealistic and ambitious youth. Alone among his siblings, he decided to attend Catholic school in place of the Territory’s free public schools, and ultimately converted to Catholicism. In 1915, he moved to the mainland in hopes of attending medical school. However, after the US entered World War I, Kurihara enlisted in the US Army, though he served in combat duty for just two weeks before the Armistice. After 1919, he settled in California, despite the racial prejudice there, working as an accountant and on fishing boats.

The bulk of Tamura’s work covers Kurihara’s wartime confinement experience. Kurihara believed that the unconstitutional actions of the government in confining him on racial grounds without due process (the more insulting given his record as a veteran) voided his allegiance. At public meetings at Manzanar he proclaimed his attachment to Japan and denounced pro-American Nisei, notably members of the Japanese American Citizens League, as traitors. Because of his advanced age and experience, and because he was willing to speak out openly, he became an influential advocate for anti-administration forces. In December 1942, after JACL leader Fred Tayama was beaten by dissident inmates, the kitchen workers’ leader Harry Ueno was arrested for the crime. Outraged, a mob of inmates formed. Kurihara addressed the mob in English mixed with Japanese, calling for Ueno’s liberation and for the “exterminationˮ of a list of accused informers, whom he named. In the ensuing revolt, gangs invaded the suspected informers’ barracks, while protesters marched on the police station where Ueno was held. Military guards sent to restore order opened fire on the crowd, killing two inmates and wounding others.

In the wake of the incidents, Kurihara, Ueno and other “troublemakersˮ were arrested. Over the following months, they were held at a pair of isolation camps, Moab in Utah and then Leupp in Arizona, before being sent to the Tule Lake segregation camp. As Tamura recounts, Kurihara acted as a model inmate in these facilities. Chastened by his Manzanar experience, he refrained from political activism and was even threatened with violence at Moab for cooperating with administrators. Nevertheless, Kurihara determined to renounce the United States. Stripped of his citizenship, he accepted deportation to Japan, where he had never visited. Despite the hardships of life in postwar Japan, he remained there (working initially for US Occupation authorities, ironically enough) for the remaining twenty years of his life.

Tamura’s study is the last of a line of works in the University of Illinois Press’s Asian American Experience series supervised by the renowned historian Roger Daniels, who added a foreword (full disclosure: I edited a volume in this same series). Her work is noteworthy in that, while it underlines Kurihara’s exceptional activism, it uses his biography as a lever for examining larger questions about Japanese American wartime experience, notably the meaning of citizenship and the fluid nature of loyalty and resistance: for all of Kurihara’s asserted Japanese identity, his activism revealed his essentially American character. To her credit, while Tamura admires Kurihara’s principled stand—such can certainly be inferred from her book’s subtitle —she does not shy away from considering its paradoxes, and devotes an extended section to exploring whether he should be considered a hero or villain. The book is also a product of impressively thorough research, incuding Kurihara’s unpublished autobiography, while the author displays a mastery of the main secondary literature.

There are a few substantive matters the reader wishes Tamura had further addressed. First, while she explores Kurihara’s early embrace of Catholicism as an idiosyncratic and assimilationist move, she fails to note its connections to education, especially given Kurihara’s dream of attending medical school. Mainland Catholic colleges such as Loyola University in New Orleans admitted various Nisei, including some from Hawaii. Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska distinguished itself by graduating over a dozen Japanese-American medical students from Hawaii in the prewar decades. Another element deserving further study is the ambivalent connection between Kurihara and Togo Tanaka, the onetime Rafu Shimpo editor whose death Kurihara called for at Manzanar. Tamura notes their durable mutual esteem despite their disagreements, and cites Tanaka’s postwar articles praising Kurihara, but does not explain the context of their appearance. Worse, the author seems unaware of an important moment of missed collaboration between the two men. In February 1942 Tanaka and Larry Tajiri (the future editor of the JACL newspaper Pacific Citizen) proposed creating a United Citizens Federation in hopes of averting mass removal, and held a public meeting to organize it. Kurihara, unable to be present, wrote Tanaka to offer support and propose himself as leader of the fledgling organization, stating “I will gladly sacrifice my personal liberty, and resources for the sake of the the niseis,ˮ While Tanaka reprinted the letter text in his diary, he apparently never acted on Kurihara’s offer. It is tantalizing to consider whether Kurihara’s wartime stance might have been altered had he undertaken partnership with his future adversaries following Executive Order 9066.

Greg Robinson, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada

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CINEMA OF ACTUALITY: Japanese Avant-Garde Filmmaking in the Season of Image Politics. Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society. By Yuriko Furuhata. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013. Ix, 266 pp. (Illus.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5504-6

Yuriko Furuhata’s new book on political filmmaking in 1960s Japan adds significant depth, nuance and context to a topic that has, for good reason, long captivated an audience of cinephiles, activists and researchers. She describes this project as a media history of cinema’s response to journalism’s shift to television, one that draws on film studies, media studies, cultural studies and art history to craft an understanding of the discourses on “actuality” (akuchuaritii) and the “image” (eizō). I would argue it to be more as well—this book is ultimately a genealogy of the cultural politics of radical Japanese filmmaking historicized within the global, mediatized “Long Sixties.”

Cinema of Actuality is organized into five provocative chapters on the following issues: intermedia experimentation, the event-nature of cinema, remediation of journalism, the “landscape” discourse (fūkeiron), and militant cinema against television. The filmmakers who figure prominently here include Ōshima Nagisa, Matsumoto Toshio, Adachi Masao and Wakamatsu Kōji, but equal treatment is given to major players in the creation of a rigorous and politicalized film discourse at the time—Matsuda Masao, Nakahira Takuma and Hariu Ichirō—as well as to an earlier generation of intellectuals with whom these figures engaged, such as art critic Hanada Kiyoteru or the materialist philosopher Tosaka Jun. These foundational thinkers were actively responding to international discourses on “actuality” (Aktualität, actualité) and positioning themselves against idealist tendencies in phenomenology, so the narrative’s movement to Adorno and Heidegger feels grounded here, not forced. Furuhata further enlivens her analysis through useful engagement withRancière (on spectacle and policing), Derrida (on “artifactuality,” the construction of an actuality-effect), and Foucault (on governmentality and discipline).

The combined effect of Furuhata’s careful balance of close analysis of films, rich archival work, and theoretical framing is a series of bold insights into the political tactics at work in both filmmaking and art discourse. One example is in demonstrating Matsumoto’s praxis of Hanada’s theory of a strategic merger between documentary and the surreal in order to use “actuality” to shatter the illusions of socialist realism (replacing them with a more radical revelation of actuality-as-contingency). Another is a corrective to our understanding of Ōshima’s Death By Hanging from a reflexive restaging of a historical event (the 1958 Komatsugawa incident) to Furuhata’s reading of the film as a conspicuously artificial documentary of a historical event itself already deeply theatrical from its inception (since Ri reported his own murder, mediatizing it as it emerged into public consciousness). What is at stake in this shift is recognition of the complicity between the criminal and the journalist, the way they collaboratively generate the media spectacle.

By placing the so-called “landscape films” in the context of politicized directors’ turn away from media spectacle toward the everyday, Furuhata makes sense of work by Adachi and Ōshima that has often vexed analysis. The idea that a shift away from the thrill of conflict to contemplate the politicization of the most mundane of spaces is compelling and necessary to shift the consciousness of activists from myopic tactical blows to the riot police, say, toward a broader, strategic transformation of society. That said, Matsuda Masao’s close reading here of a portrait of a city street devoid of both police and protester as more political than a direct image of conflict still strikes me as odd. Had he left it alone, this argument might have some traction in its suggestion that the images of conflict between student and cop had already been coopted by the media machine. But by drawing our attention to the words on the manhole cover—“Imperial University Sewer”—the suggestion becomes one in which Japan’s imperialist legacy still pervades the very streets on which everyday citizens go about their day. The risk here, in overstating the pervasiveness of centralized government power, is that Matsuda himself becomes complicit with the hegemonic logic of the regime, which will always exaggerate its capacity to police. What gets downplayed is the extraordinary amount of underregulated social space available to citizens, space in which to begin the transformation immediately. It is this side of landscape cinema—the tension between these seemingly passive images of networks and the ready availability of them—that makes these films so disconcerting, and indeed (still) vexing.

Furuhata’s analysis of Adachi and Wakamatsu’s The Red Army / PFLP was carefully handled and sharp. The logic of the project was to juxtapose the violent spectacular imagery of the Palestine conflict captured from television sources together with footage of everyday life from militant refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria. Most remarkable here was the pushback Adachi received even from guerillas when he articulated his interest in documenting this radically different form of everyday life (in which one cooks meals with an AK-47 leaning against the kitchen counter). It is the everydayness of war in these camps, the way armed conflict and the threat of violent attack is woven into the fabric and necessarily desensationalized that Adachi seems to have identified as the important note on actuality that needed to be conveyed to activists back in Japan. While I understand the rationale for staying focused on the film, I did find myself curious to know how Furuhata would analyze the way the Japanese (and international) media has handled the Lod Airport massacre by the Japanese Red Army in relation to this film and these filmmakers. It seems that recent coverage has recast Okamoto Kōzō and Wakamatsu Kōji as a nostalgic human-interest story, almost spectacularizing the everydayness of their reunions.

Furuhata’s Cinema of Actuality is an important book that makes a strong contribution to research on Japanese cinema, 1960s political culture, and theoretical work on image politics. I expect that it will, as intended, provoke response and debate.

Steven Ridgely, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

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SUPERHUMAN JAPAN: Knowledge, Nation, and Culture in US-Japan Relations. Routledge Contemporary Japan Series, 40. By Marie Thorsten. London; New York: Routledge, 2012. x, 172 pp. (Figures.) US$150.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-41426-5.

This is a new book that covers old ground for the Routledge Contemporary Japan Series, albeit with a slightly different focus. The “superhuman” reference in this case derives from John Dower’s description of Western imagery from the World War II era as presenting the Japanese as both superhuman and subhuman (John W. Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, Pantheon Books, 1986). Thorsten revisits the 1980s and early 1990s when Japan was at the height of its postwar economic power and, as a consequence, had become the subject of much torrid debate about the alleged threat that Japan posed to the United States. While the perceived continuity of the “threat” of Japan to the earlier “threat” of the Soviet Union (or to the present “threat” of China) is well known in this field, Thorsten’s focus on the unexpected Soviet launching of the Sputnik satellite in 1957, and how its technological achievement on the one hand and threat on the other were presented as a catalyst for an educational renaissance in the United States, is unusual. Thorsten argues that in the 1980s and 1990s, many American policy makers, commentators, scholars and authors of cultural works tried to put forward Japan’s apparent economic superiority as another “Sputnik”-like moment in American history in order to similarly motivate change and development, particularly in the fields of education, science and technology, so as to solve the equally apparent problem of American decline. For example, author Michael Crichton, in his 1992 novel Rising Sun, offered, in Thorsten’s view, an “unambiguous polemic on why Americans need to ‘wake up’ to the reality of Japan,” with the solution to Japan’s economic threat being to “to learn about, then kick ‘em [the Japanese] out” (30-31). As Thorsten concludes, much American discourse on Japan in this period “called attention to Americans’ need to study and work harder by comparing their inferior performance with the benchmark of Superhuman Japan” (35). She is careful to acknowledge, however, that, at the same time Japan was being presented as “superhuman,” many others in the United States were perceiving and engaging positively with Japan, including those who flocked to learn Japanese, ate sushi, read manga, watched anime and those who drove Toyotas instead of “bashed” them. Thorsten is a strong critic of the myriad presentations of Japan as “superhuman” in the period in question, as she submits that such “reductive pedagogies of fear … constrict imagination and limit our understanding of the world we share” (20). While they also, at least in the Japanese case for the United States, generally failed to produce the outcomes sought, they also allowed “almost dormant obsessions about ‘superior’ others” to be “reincarnated into today’s insecurities,” (2) of which we are all too familiar. In what must have been delightful timing as she undertook the research for this book, she draws attention in the introduction to President Barack Obama’s description of “our generation’s Sputnik moment” in his State of the Union address in January 2011, his connection of “educational performance with international power and prestige” and his comparison of the United States against other, especially Asian, nations (1-2).

The book contains five chapters entitled “America’s Superhuman Japan: from Rising Sun to globalization rising”; “You are Number Two: the awe doctrine from Sputnik to the Japanese economic miracle”; “Supermoms: Kyōiku Mamas’; ‘Super-inhuman: youth and international relations in Battle Royale”; and “Super cool from Sputnik to Japan.” While the chapters on kyōiku mamas [education mothers] and Battle Royale (the 1999 novel by Takami Koushun and two films by Fukasaku Kinji and Fukasaku Kenta in 2000 and 2003) work as separate thematic studies (the first of which arises out of her MA thesis), the other three chapters are, more or less, parts of the same ongoing narrative and argument, so it is unclear why Thorsten has chosen to structure the book and title the chapters as she has. The subtitles, which are not listed in the contents page, are sometimes just as unclear; for instance, there is both a “Superhumanizing” and a “Superhuman” in the introduction, which offer little enlightenment as to their contents.

Perhaps the only failing of the book, however, is that it lacks a conclusion that brings together the strands of argument that permeate a very dense, strongly researched work that, notwithstanding its overt focus on the 1980s and early 1990s, ranges back in time to World War II and well past September 11, 2001 and also deals with similar Japanese discourse about superior “others,” which could have merited more analysis. Instead, one must revert to the introduction, which is admittedly comprehensive. While there is only a selected bibliography, the reference notes, too, are comprehensive. This is a book which offers a good overview of the period in question, without devolving into the nitty gritty of the trade disputes between the United States and Japan, and one that will interest a wide array of readers.

Narrelle Morris, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

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INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY IN JAPAN IN AN AGE OF GLOBALISATION AND RISK. By Robert W. Aspinall. Leiden: Global Oriental (imprint of Brill) 2012. xiv, 207 pp. (Tables.) US$120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-23528-1.This book has come out of Robert Aspinall’s long-standing research on policy for, and the practices of, English-language education in Japan. His critical views on this theme remain in this book: Japan’s dealing with language education as part of its educational internationalization project is a failure. As stated in the foreword by Roger Goodman, the book tries to offer a “full examination” of the mysteries of Japan, i.e., “how, in a country which is so embedded in the global economy and networks of communication, the level of spoken English is so low” (ix-x). By exploring the theme of education in Japan from a variety of perspectives, Aspinall maintains that “Japan’s international education policy at all levels has failed” (5).

Empirical examination starts with Japan’s coping with foreigners and their languages from the middle of the nineteenth century until the 1960s. In chapter 2, the author suggests that the origin of the malfunction of English education in Japan is traceable in, along with its cultural isolationism, old-fashioned educational methodologies, which he indicates as one of the core problems of English education in Japan in the latter chapters as well. Chapter 3 analyzes internationalization policy at the national level—including English teaching methodology, textbooks, the entrance examination systems, school curricular and the day-to-day use of foreigners in the classroom—as a basis of the failure. Although chapter 4 focuses on problems in the teaching side, many of those problems stem from the Japanese education system as such, which is, as Aspinall rightly argues, a reflection of the national policy. The point of his analysis moves on to classroom behaviour and attitudes towards foreign culture and languages shown by the Japanese youth. Their lack of enthusiasm and motivation for learning English is, as argued in the previous chapter, related to the internationalization policy pursued by the state. The focal point of the book shifts to the private sector in chapter 6, while chapter 7 goes back to criticisms about national policy regarding study abroad programs. Those analyses shown in above-mentioned narrative chapters go along with the notions of “risk,” drawn from the ones of Ulrich Beck, which are explored in the theoretical part, chapter 1. Indeed, this book explains many questions about the failure in English education and, to some extent, internationalization policy in Japan. As shown in his previous writings, Aspinall’s analysis of national policy for English education in Japan is very insightful and justifies his severe criticisms about the policy. His investigation on it is also precise. For instance, questions about English pronunciation asked in the Centre Exam are not only meaningless for actual conversation, but crucially hinder the development of communication skills of young Japanese students, as he argues (79). In addition to analytical parts, the author refers to a number of interviews he conducted with those who have been involved in language teaching in Japan. His arguments are also supported by his own experience as an English teacher in various schools and universities. In fact, examples brought up by Aspinall are convincing evidence of the formidable difficulties for most Japanese in their English communication.One must note, however, that the scope of this book, the whole-scale examination of why Japan has long kept failing in its policy for international and English education, is a challenging one. This question deserves a number of complex explanations. Aspinall provides analysis not just of ministerial policy, but also history, culture, social structure, and sometimes people’s behaviour or attitudes. To make those analyses sustainable, a wide range of academic disciplines and perspectives must be adopted. It is, at the same time, a huge undertaking to complete a thesis out of multi-disciplinary investigations. For a more comprehensive analysis, each of the cases brought up in the book requires investigation at full length. If the author looks at a slow genesis of failure in foreign-language education, for example, the past experience of oppression on a native (national) language, which Japan has had little of, unlike its neighbouring countries, should not be underplayed. Moreover, readers can occasionally find a heavy reliance on a limited sample of literature on topics addressing a broad range of Japanese education and society. Most analysis about the JET program comes from David McConnell’s book. Critical views about Japanese higher education are often cited from the work of Brian McVeigh and Gregory Poole. Issues about Japanese returnees from abroad (kikokushijo) are based on Roger Goodman’s work. In addition, the issues described by Aspinall are largely, though not completely, outdated as Goodman and Aspinall himself admit.

In sum, nonetheless, the book is a product of extensive research and the author’s professional experiences in Japan and the UK. English has now undeniably become the world’s language, including in education by displacing German from science (The Economist, May 29, 2010, 87). In this age of English as “Globish,” this book is not merely an entertaining read for those who are puzzled by Japanese troubles with English proficiency, but a gift of a set of useful reform proposals for English education in Japan which should be taken seriously by policy makers in the country.

Masako Shibata, The University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan

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THE GREAT ENTERPRISE: Sovereignty and Historiography in Modern Korea. Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics and Society. By Henry H. Em. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2013. xi, 265 pp. US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5372-0.

A quest for sovereignty, or Korea’s validity and equal standing among the nations of the world, is an important feature of modern Korean history, and many political movements unfolded in the process. The “Great Enterprise” that Henry H. Em discusses in his book, however, is not about politics; it is about the writings of modern Korean historians who imagined Korea as a historically valid sovereign nation.

In part 1, Em discusses how Korean elites’ quest for national sovereignty began in tandem with Western and Japanese imperialism in the late nineteenth century. For example, Em analyzes the influence of Western ideas, language and perspectives casting a shadow on Yun Ch’i-ho’s diary entries in English during his years of education in the United States. Likewise, Em finds links between Western Christian missionaries’ search for Korean national language and the Korean vernacular script han’gŭl’s ultimate promotion as a national icon, beginning with its use in the first modern Korean newspaper published by Sŏ Chae-p’il. Japanese influence was evident in the political arena. King Kojong’s acts of declaration of independence and oath before his ancestors were in fact prompted by the Japanese statesman Inoue Kaoru, who sought to ensure Korea’s departure from its historical ties with China and entrance into the global nation-state system. Em emphasizes that Japan served not only as a conduit for modern Western civilization but as a translator of international law and the meaning of sovereignty to Korea.

Em further demonstrates how profoundly Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945) contributed to the formation of Korea’s sovereignty. The colonial authorities not only supplied infrastructure and education to Korea but fused the entire Korean population into homogenized subjects beyond the barriers of class, education, gender and geography. Interested in Korea’s past, the Japanese even presented the Sŏkkuram Grotto in the ancient city of Kyŏngju in full restoration, an example of Korea’s achievement in Buddhist art, long forgotten by Koreans. Japanese colonial historians, inspired in part by Western academia, advanced their theories concerning Korea’s alleged dependency on the Asian continent, economic stagnation, factional divisions, and common ancestry with the Japanese. These studies, in retrospect, laid the ground work for Korean studies and provided emerging Korean scholars with opportunities to articulate their antitheses.

In part 2, in his reference to many colonial and postcolonial Korean historians, Em pays special attention to Sin Ch’ae-ho and Paek Nam-un, who advanced revolutionary historical views. Sin’s groundbreaking historical work, published in 1909, argued that the Korean nation began as an ethnic entity minjok from the time of the legendary progenitor Tan’gun and continued to develop in perpetual fight against the forces of the surrounding peoples, such as the Chinese, the Japanese and the Mongols. Sin’s placing the Korean minjok at the centre of Korean history left a lasting impact, particularly on Korean nationalist historiography. Em sheds light on the less known details of Sin’s later shift to minjung, the opposed and exploited majority of the Korean people, and his work as an anarchist in the 1930s. Em then moves on to Paek Nam-un, a Marxist socioeconomic historian who considered class struggle a key to understanding Korean history. Paek was the first scholar to apply historical materialism and its stages of development to Korea’s past, identifying primitive communal society in the early tribes of the peninsula, slave society in the Three Kingdoms, feudal society in Koryŏ and early Chosŏn, and emerging capitalism in the late Chosŏn period. Paek thus rejected the particularism in both Korean nationalist and Japanese historians and instead depicted Korea as a nation in the path of universal historical development and part of the mainstream of the world.

What is the reason behind Em’s focus on Sin and Paek out of many Korean historians who challenged Japanese views and fostered national identity? One may find an answer in his last chapter on “Divided Sovereignty” discussing Korean history writing following the liberation of 1945. He sees two important groups of historians in postcolonial South Korea: Paek’s Marxist group that soon chose to move to North Korea and the group led by Yi Pyŏng-do who had inherited the Japanese methodology of textual criticism. While Yi’s tradition was passed on to Yi Ki-baek, who became linked to US academia through his incorporation of modernization theory, Paek’s scholarship was passed on to Kang Man-gil and Kim Yong-sŏp, the progressive historians who maintained a strong sense of class, anti-colonialism, anti-collaborationism and anti-dictatorship. Their theme of minjung as the primary subject of Korean history dominated South Korean scholarship, especially after the Kwangju uprising of 1980. According to Em, however, the predominance of minjung-centred historical writing is now giving way to the rise of the New Right historians, defensive of South Korea’s political past and critical of the biases of the progressives.

The readers should note that the book does not offer a comprehensive survey of historical writings related to Korean sovereignty. Em’s primary focus, particularly in part 2, is on the genealogy of class-conscious historians from Sin to Paek to Kang and Kim, who imagined Korea’s past centred on the oppressed and underprivileged minjung. Although the book begins with those who sought Korea’s sovereignty in the world, it ends with those interested in popular sovereignty within Korea. Em’s account of Paek’s scholarship and impact on South Korea makes one wonder what contributions he made in North Korea, the home of historical materialism and Marxism. Em is silent on history writing at the other side of the “Divided Sovereignty.”

The book is studded with references to studies by Western scholars, including Bruce Cumings, John Duncan, Andre Schmid, Stefan Tanaka and many more, showing Em’s mastery of the subject. His detailed analysis of the interaction between Korean sovereignty and imperialism/colonialism is convincing, and his overall genealogy of modern Korean historians is plausible. In sum, Em’s book is an important addition to the study of modern Korea and Korean historiography.

Chizuko T. Allen, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Honolulu, USA

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South Asia


CROSSING THE BAY OF BENGAL: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants. By Sunil S. Amrith. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. 353 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-72483-9.

The name, the Bay of Bengal, referring to the eastern wing of the Indian Ocean, is not one that resonates very strongly these days. But as Sunil Amrith explains in this beautifully written, elegiac book, the idea of “the Bay” was once a meaningful one amongst colonial administrators, mariners and the many common people who moved across it as coolies and traders, soldiers and slaves. Over more than a millennium the territories of the littoral of the Bay were bound together by culture, holy relics and movements of people and goods. It was “once a region at the heart of global history” (1), the maritime highway between India and China, where, in the European Middle Ages, great regional states of Asia encountered one another, and where later, from the end of the fifteenth century, the expansive European powers fought each other for supremacy. Then, over the century from about 1840 to 1940, when connectedness across the Bay of Bengal changed quite dramatically in scale with the arrival of steamships and railways, it was the site of one of the greatest movements of people of modern history. Amrith calculates that about 28 million crossed the Bay, in both directions, in this period, a figure that compares closely with the numbers of migrants (26 million) who arrived in the United States between 1870 and 1930, and which exceeds the numbers (19 million) of Chinese who moved into Southeast Asia over the same period. Very many of those, especially from south India, who moved into Ceylon, Malaya and Burma at this time, cleared forests in their sparsely settled frontiers for the benefit of capital, and so brought about both great wealth for the British empire (in which Malaya became the most valuable tropical colony), and enormous environmental change. Yet then, rather suddenly, from the 1930s, and especially with the Second World War and with the decolonization that followed it, this distinct world, with its own social imaginary involving expectations of mobility, broke apart. The Bay of Bengal was forgotten in the later twentieth century, carved up as it was by the boundaries of nation states, within which the citizenship of many of those who had moved across the sea—now treated as minorities—was contested. First in military strategy during the War, and then in academic area studies, it was split apart by the definitions of South Asia on the one hand, and of Southeast Asia on the other. Only in the present, when the Bay has become once again an arena of competition between rising powers—this time the Asian powers, China and India—has it come to be seen again as having some sort of an integrity as a region. Environmentally, too, the pollution of the sea and the over-exploitation of the resources of the Bay that has followed from its “enclosure” by being treated as “an extension of national territory” (260), is bringing about some awareness that it must be seen as a region.

This, in outline, is the story that Amrith tells: that of “The sea’s role in human history—and the consequences of that history for the sea” (31). Though he ranges widely his focus is on the history of movements of labour, of their cultural and political implications, and of their consequences for the environment (though, if I have a criticism of the book it is that its environmental history sometimes seems a little bit of an add-on, nowhere near as well developed as the history of labour). Of course the book treats of trade, and of the commodities that have so much shaped the history of the Bay: spices and rice, Indian textiles, American silver and more recently coffee, tea, sugar, tobacco and especially rubber (of which Malaya produced 70-80 per cent of global supply early in the twentieth century). But this is not primarily an economic history. Relatively little is said, as well, about the role of Chettiar capital—perhaps because this is a subject that has been well documented by other scholars.

The book starts with a short account of the monsoons and of their implications for navigation. It then touches briefly on ancient and medieval history—though those who might look to the book for an account of how Hinduism reached Southeast Asia will be disappointed—and proceeds fairly briskly to the role of the Tamil Muslim merchants in binding the Coromandel coast of south India with Southeast Asia, and then to that of the Portuguese and of the Dutch in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. But the focus is really on the rise of English power in the Bay, and on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These take up almost two-thirds of the text, and for many readers of this journal, the book will probably be important mainly for its accounts of labour migration and of its implications, including especially in struggles over citizenship. Scholars interested in the idea of Asia, too, will appreciate what it says about the division between South and Southeast Asia, and Amrith’s reminder of the brief moment towards the end of the colonial period when some nationalist leaders—Subhas Chandra Bose, Nehru and Aung San—had ideas about the possibilities of Asian federalism, smothered though they were by the tide of nationalism.

The book draws on impressive scholarship, combining archival research in the different nation states of the region, oral history and the author’s own observations and experience. His photographs of buildings in different port cities around the Bay help to document his own vision of “what the region does possess, richly, [which] is a practical ethic of coexistence” (284). His wider purpose is to show how the history of the Bay of Bengal constitutes “an archive of cultural resources that might help us to reimagine solidarity across distance” (5). Amen to that, in this age of continuing national and ethnic conflict. Altogether, this is a very fine contribution to the great corpus of “ocean studies,” inspired initially by Braudel’s Mediterranean.

John Harriss, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

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COMMUNICATING INDIA’S SOFT POWER: Buddha to Bollywood. Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy. By Daya Kishan Thussu. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. xi, 227 pp. (Figures, table.) US$100.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-02788-7.

Communicating soft power through cultural engagement has gained enormous prominence in contemporary academic discourse, underpinning the “constructivist” shift in the theoretical discussion of international relations that was long dominated by positivism. Rooted in neoliberal and constructivist visions of power, soft power, comprising “ideas” and culture, aims for “harmonizing international relations.”

Anglo-Saxon powers like the US and Europe, with large reservoirs of cultural capital, have traditionally employed “softer” resources for carving benign images. However, there have been disappointments in the scope and strategy of the exercises with desired strategic outcomes often remaining suboptimal. The West, and the US in particular, has been revisiting its soft power strategy post-9/11. In the meantime, major Asian powers like China have also been picking up the narrative on soft power. India, too, is becoming increasingly noticeable in this regard.

China has been pragmatic in honing its soft power wherewithal as a major tool of statecraft for opening new channels of communication and external engagement. Beijing’s economic and military rise has been complemented by commensurate increase in soft power efforts. India is yet to demonstrate a similar correlation. The backdrop urges wider scholarly discussions on India’s soft power. Daya K. Thussu’s Communicating India’s Soft Power: Buddha to Bollywood is a timely effort to portray and critically examine India’s communication with the world through its soft power.

The book provides an exhaustive and interesting catalogue of India’s cultural outreach, both ancient and contemporary. It traces the historical roots of India’s soft power and how such history can be harnessed in building and strengthening international relations in the contemporary world. The author cautions that possession of soft power is not a sufficient condition for securing a benign national image and making a country attractive on the world stage. He rightly emphasizes effective utilization of national soft power capital. The criticality of the imperative is highlighted in the discussion (chapter 4) on the role of India’s IT, deregulation, liberalization and privatization policies in shaping India’s “software for soft power.”

The book carefully examines India’s cultural engagement in the context of its strategic “rise.” Right at the beginning, while alluding to India’s “rise” both economically and militarily, the author contextualizes India’s soft power as “increasingly becoming an element in its diplomacy.” The organic link between hard and soft power—“smart power”—is a recurrent theme in the book. Thussu’s repeated emphasis on the need for India to combine its hard and soft power for effective communication with the rest of the world on various issues of strategic importance can hardly be overstated.

An engaging read, the book offers an alternative, largely Asian perspective to the academic discussion on soft power, and marks a valuable contribution in this respect. Thussu “de-Americanizes” the discourse on soft power (chapter 2) by emphasizing a clear “element of localization” which is at play. He discusses soft power practiced by European and other non-Western countries moving beyond the “American” examination of culture and soft power. The key point to note in this regard are the media initiatives, enabling countries to expand the national brand-building exercise and obtaining strategic benefits while charting a different course from the predominant “American” communication by offering alternative perspectives, such as the Xinhua, China’s state press agency.

The book is also a harsh reminder about how individual accomplishments have repeatedly dwarfed India’s success as a country in influencing international perception. Chapters 3 and 6 reflect on these aspects of India’s soft power which contribute to the “not-so-positive” international perception of India. Chapter 3 studies the role of the diaspora and distinguished individuals in determining India’s global perception. While prominent economists like Jagdish Bhagwati and Amartya Sen contribute to India’s robust global intellectual presence, outstanding business leaders like Indra Nooyi and Ashok Pandit ensure a presence in the global corporate domain. Moving on from individuals, chapter 6 focuses on the Indian state, particularly its limited success in enhancing India’s reputation as a democracy that delivers for its people. Notwithstanding India’s vibrant democracy and successful organization of elections on a gigantic scale, the Indian state is hardly identified with virtuous notions and is saddled with negative perceptions of corruption, social and economic chaos and instability.

An interesting aspect analyzed by the author is the unpremeditated efforts by India’s non-state actors to shape global perception of India. While recognizing that India’s official public diplomacy infrastructure is still at an early stage, Thussu discusses the country’s non-state actors, which are distinctly Indian in character. Chapter 5 examines Bollywood and its cultural heritage in defining India’s attractiveness to foreign audiences. The Indian government probably prefers the “unofficial diplomacy” spearheaded by Bollywood and other non-state actors given its less propagandist character. Readers would have benefited from deeper insights on non-state actor initiatives beyond Bollywood, particularly efforts by industry chambers and business groups.

The book concludes with the author reflecting on India’s potential and its failure to achieve an “ascribed status” consistent with its ambition. The author bemoans that though India has much to offer to the world by encouraging intercultural communication given its wonderfully rich history and heritage, its messages of multiculturalism, secularism and pluralism are not adequately projected. Thussu rightly argues that the best way to communicate Indianness is not just through Bollywood and Indian cuisine but by empowering its citizens and addressing the inequalities that exist within society. It is only by achieving equality that India’s international image will improve and its soft power look attractive and its story be heard worldwide, facilitating its “rise.”

Parama Sinha Palit, Singapore-based Independent Scholar
China in Comparative Perspective Network (CCPN) Global                     

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THE GOLDEN WAVE: Culture and Politics after Sri Lanka’s Tsunami Disaster. By Michele Ruth Gamburd. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014. xii, 216 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$28.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-253-01139-8.

The author of the book, Michele Ruth Gamburd, ploughs through a deep, rich and thick ethnographic study to highlight important aspects of Sri Lankan post-tsunami relief and rehabilitation such as the ambivalent impact of competitive humanitarianism, its limited outreach, the multiple dilemmas and ambiguities embedded in the recovery process, as well as the frustration of aid beneficiaries regarding paternalistic aid practices and the politics of housing, as well as new challenges for rehabilitation. The work thereby highlights that it is impossible to understand post-tsunami reconstruction without recognizing the wider political, cultural, social and cultural terrain of war, ethno-nationalism and uneven development in Sri Lanka.

The book is organized in three main parts focusing on different stages of the disaster relief efforts. First the book focuses in three chapters on the immediate aftermath of the disaster, illustrating how the natural event created a local solidarity overlooking class, politics and ethnic conflict issues. The ethnographic material also describes very vividly how people tried to make sense and give meaning to the outreach and magnitude of the devastation. Here it becomes evident that class, religion, belief, and local politics related to gender and socio-political status started to regain momentum while power, personal politics, patronage and clientelism prevailed within the society. The second part of the book moves on to bring in the international dimension of post-tsunami aid, elaborating on the political economy of aid within the post-disaster housing sector and business recovery, especially looking into the tourist sector. The last part, again organized into three chapters, illustrates how people constructed their identity and that of others within the immediate and longer-term post-tsunami rehabilitation process. Here the stories the author has chosen clearly show that most of the people see themselves as ethical and generous while others tried to profit and gain personal advantages out of the post-tsunami aid situation. It further underlines that socio-economic and socio-political hierarchies as well as ethnic and class structures only disappeared for a short term in the immediate aftermath of the disaster as all Sri Lankans were under shock as well as due to the fact that nature did not distinguish between ethnicity, economic status, class or gender.

The strength of the book is definitely its rich and thick ethnographic description. The many stories presented make the various post-tsunami phenomena available and visible in a personalized manner. However in this strength I also see the weakness of the book. At one point reading the book and the many stories that are told, the personalized information that is provided confused and distracted my attention. I gained the feeling that many of these stories are not new to what is known of post-tsunami Sri Lanka or what has been written on post-disaster situations in general. What I miss in Michele Ruth Gamburds’ ethnographic achievements is the placement of these stories in a solid theoretical framing and interpretation. Furthermore, it misses an overview of the way in which these stories help to enlighten “how” tsunami aid and relief works and “how” aid affects the everyday life and social community of a Sri Lankan tsunami-affected village. The analysis that is provided at various places in the book, again not in a holistic and detailed manner, does not ground itself using a broad and in-depth understanding and discussion of the concepts referred to, such as Foucault’s concept of governmentality, Marcel Mauss’ theory of the gift or literature on post-disaster housing and brokerage. Similarly, there is no mention of relevant literature, also based on the ethnographic material Michele Ruth Gamburd refers to but that carries more theoretical depth and arguments, particularly those of Barenstein/Leemann (eds), Post-Disaster Reconstruction and Change: Communities Perspectives, Taylor and Francis CRS Press, 2012; Korf/Klem/Hasbullah/Hollenbach, “The gift of disaster: the commodification of good intentions in post-tsunami Sri Lanka,” Disasters, 2010; Hollenbach/Ruwanpura, “Symbolic Gestures: The Development Terrain of Post- Tsunami Villages in (Southern) Sri Lanka,” Journal of Development Studies, 2011; Mosse/Lewis, Development Brokers and Translators: The Ethnography of Aid and Agencies, Kumarian Press, 2006.

Overall the book provides a rich ethnographic insight into how the tsunami changed socio-political structures, identities and how national/international aid relates to and influences to these formations. These ethnographic insights definitely add value to already existing literature. However theoretically and analytically the book does not provide any further enhancement or innovation and fails to provide recommendations on how a future disaster should be managed or governed differently in order to avoid the repetition of existing inequalities, disaster and personal politics.

Pia Hollenbach, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland                                                               

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THE WARRIOR STATE: Pakistan in the Contemporary World. By T.V. Paul. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. xii, 253 pp. (Tables, maps.) US$27.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-932223-7.

Several books have recently tried to shed light on the role of the Pakistan army in Pakistani politics. Paul’s contribution receives strong endorsement from the Washington-based think-tank gatekeepers on Pakistan: Stephen Cohen, Hussain Haqqani, Bruce Riedel, Shuja Nawaz and Teresita Schaffer. The point the author wants to make is that historically war preparation and war in Europe proved to be an engine of economic development, but in Pakistan it has not. So, “the puzzle is why not” (2), he remarks.

However, when he reviews the literature from European contexts the evidence is mixed. Successful were those countries which while facing external threats engaged in economic, technological and political modernization and as a result became centralized, bureaucratized entities extracting taxes and other services from their populations and in return providing not only security but gradually also welfare. Expansion through conquest during the colonial period additionally provided material for economic development. The two examples of war preparation, war and development he gives are Germany and Italy. This is quite peculiar, because the reason they survived as developed states even after being defeated in World War II was that they were helped through the Marshall Plan to remain and grow as industrial powers. He admits that the war preparation, war and economic development thesis does not hold in all cases. Besides mentioning minor European states as failures he refers to Austria-Hungary and the Soviet Union as failed warrior states. What is perhaps most crucial is that in case of defeat the prevailing powers do not let such states fail.

With regard to the developing world, the war preparation, war and development hypothesis becomes even more problematic. The author says that in the developing world “war and war preparation have not produced similar instances of positive results” (8). The reason should not be difficult to guess: no African or Asian state was industrialized when it became an independent state. They were mainly agrarian societies dominated by small urban elites. Moreover, any scope for economic development through conquest and expansion did not exist. So, the relevance of the war preparation, war and development thesis is rather weak when it comes to the developing world.

Paul does not mention the only really successful example in the developing world where not just war preparation but actual war-making, conquest, annexation and occupation have fuelled dramatic development: Israel. The United States and other Western powers’ help and patronage have been crucial for Israel to be a successful developmental warrior state. It has attained a highly sophisticated level of technological competence and has become one of the leading arms exporters of the world. The author prefers to refer to Israel in another context—as a “democracy”—in contrast to authoritarian states such as South Korea and Taiwan, which have, through war preparation, successfully pursued economic development with great determination.

The most interesting part of the book is the comparison between Pakistan and Muslim states such as Turkey, Egypt and Indonesia. Pakistan’s obsessive concern for security deriving mainly from the perceived threat posed by the bigger and industrially more advanced India generated a garrison mentality. Additionally Islamism, with its extremist and expansionist jargon, became part of the national project and identity. Lacking indigenous resources Pakistan exploited its geostrategic location to solicit economic and military aid from foreign powers. Such aid strengthened the military vis-à-vis the civilian branches of the state. It corrupted the military establishment; consequently economic and human development was neglected. Therefore the geostrategic location became a geostrategic curse.

Such a curse, Paul asserts, also afflicts Egypt though the nationalist army under Nasser did not cultivate Islamism. After the defeat in 1967 and particularly 1973, Egypt abandoned its ambition to defeat Israel and be the leader of the Arab world. It established peace with Israel which brought in huge amounts of US military and economic aid, yet the geostrategic location of Egypt proved to be a curse because economic development was not pursued with determination and commitment.

With regard to Turkey, he mentions that the strong nationalist, modernistic roots and traditions of its army and the exclusion of backward-looking Islamism from ideology provided the balance between war preparation and economic development. As far as Indonesia is concerned, the army too has its roots in the national liberation movement. It became the core player acting as the guardian of the country’s security but without hobnobbing ideologically with political Islam. Instead it made economic development a major concern of state policy.

I have shown in my book, Pakistan: The Garrison State—Origins, Evolution, Consequences (1947-2011) (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2013), that the British military backed Pakistan’s creation (as a dependent state) to act as a buffer against Soviet communism in south Asia. The United States co-opted Pakistan in that role through military pacts with the latter (1954; 1959), but quickly realized that the reason Pakistan wanted to acquire American arms was to assert itself against India and not to help contain the Soviet Union in South Asia. This incongruence of interests had a decisive bearing on Pakistan’s prospects as a warrior state. Thus when Pakistan waged wars against India the United States did not extend it any help because in US calculations India was the paramount power in South Asia and not Pakistan. Therefore India could not be alienated; rather it had to be supported as a counterweight, for the containment of Chinese Communism in South Asia. Pakistan reacted by moving closer to China. As a result US-Pakistan relations remained strained during the 1960s but after the Soviet Union’s intervention in Afghanistan their military alliance of the 1950s came back to life and Pakistan was armed and abetted to the hilt: Pakistan could even pursue its clandestine nuclear programme notwithstanding concerns of some members of the US Congress. Some of the Washington-based experts played no small role in extenuating the Islamist character of the Pakistani warrior state. Therefore, the war preparation, war and development thesis needs to be qualified by another pre-condition: does a warrior state in the developing world enjoy the trust and support of powerful external patrons and donors or not? Israel has enjoyed such patronage but not Pakistan. I sent my book to some of the gatekeepers in Washington mentioned above but never heard a word from them. I am not surprised.

My book figures in Paul’s work but only as an obscure reference to the failure of existing literature on Pakistan to take notice of the war and development literature. As I have shown, it is not very helpful to understand Pakistan’s predicaments as a postcolonial garrison state. One chapter in his book is entitled, “The Garrison State.” My work is not reviewed or commented upon, which is a disappointment. On the whole, the book is interesting and instructive. Pakistan’s obsessive focus on security and military preparation has meant a flagrant disregard of economic development. Such remiss should be blamed essentially on the Pakistani power elite’s flawed priorities and ambitions.

Ishtiaq Ahmed, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan
Stockholm University, Stockholm Sweden 

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AN INDIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY: Integrating Markets, Democracy and Social Jutice. Editors: Sunil Khilnani, Manmohan Malhoutra. Box edition. New Delhi: Academic Foundation, 2013. 2 vols. (Figures, tables, B&W photos.) Rs.1995, cloth. ISBN 978-81-7188-994-5.

These two volumes are the outcomes of the tenth conference organized by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, held in Delhi in November 2010. The conference brought together an extraordinary group of intellectuals, policy makers, activists, and business people—a real galaxy of serious thinkers, rather than of stars—from within India, and from overseas, presided over by Mrs Sonia Gandhi, to discuss the challenges and the prospects of an Indian social democracy. As the principal architect of the conference, Sunil Khilnani, puts it in his short introduction, the realization of sustainable growth in India, and in such a way as to ensure that the majority of the people can benefit from it, requires “the renewal of our social contract … (one) … that integrates and renovates India’s foundational commitments to democracy and social justice with recognition of the necessity of open markets for economic growth.” As he goes on to say, “Such a social contract is best described in social democratic terms …” (quotes [I] 15). He, and others, are to be congratulated for their courage in using this language, for the idea of “social democracy” has often been regarded negatively in India, even though it seems to many of us that it is what the Nehruvian state aimed at achieving.

The volumes include 16 substantial papers, of which nine are by major Indian scholars: Sunil Khilnani, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Vijay Kelkar, Kaushik Basu, Nitin Desai, Pranab Bardhan, Niraja Gopal Jayal, Sudipta Kaviraj and Yogendra Yadav. Two are by outside scholars, Michael Walton and Steven Wilkinson, who have written important work on India. Four other papers bring in comparative experience from Europe, China and the United States, and a global perspective (this from Pascal Lamy, then director-general of the WTO); while Pierre Rosanvallon of the College de France contributes an historical perspective on democratic society which makes the useful distinction between “relational” and “arithmetic” understandings of equality and presents a strong case for striving to establish a society of equality rather than only seeking to reduce economic inequalities. These papers, supplemented by the text of a memorial lecture given on the occasion by Joseph Stiglitz, on “A Social Democratic Agenda for a More Dynamic Indian Economy,” constitute the core of the two volumes. They also include transcripts of the presentations made by the paper writers and of the discussions that took place and which involved a wider group of comparably distinguished individuals.

As might be expected, the books are a bit of a curate’s egg, though for this reader at least, there is more good than bad in the various parts. The transcripts do include valuable points in addition to the arguments of the papers, though they take some digging out. Khilnani sums up broad conclusions as being, first, that “a sustainable social democracy for India must be based less on directly redistributive policies” than on building people’s capacities for participating in economic growth. As others have pointed out, too, for all the remarkable achievements of the Congress-led UPA governments between 2004 and 2014, in establishing a new rights-based welfare architecture for India, there was an awful failure to improve public education and health services. The second broad conclusion was that India must aim to replace the current
cats-cradle of anti-poverty schemes,” most of them supposedly aimed at particular groups, with “a more simplified set of universal schemes, delivered by more efficient and trustworthy mechanisms” (so easy to say, so hard to achieve). And third, “the state must be wary of assuming large-scale fiscal responsibilities, which in future it may be unable to fulfill.” More generally, what is envisaged is not the kind of welfare state established in the West in the postwar period, but rather a polity based on principles of mutuality “between state, citizen and enterprise” (quotes [I] 17).

It is impossible in a short review to do justice to the richness of the core papers. For me the outstanding ones are those by Pratap Mehta, Pranab Bardhan and (especially) Michael Walton, though I also believe that the paper by Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah on finance and economic policy, is particularly worthy of attention, while Sudipta Kaviraj’s on “Indian Social Democracy and Questions of Culture” brings together ideas of his from writings over many years in an illuminating way. The core of the argument is summed up in his words: “Deep inequalities of culture, rooted in different levels of education, differential access on the basis of language, prevent our democracy from developing a real deliberative culture” ([II] 245).

Mehta’s paper is especially significant, I think, for its discussion of how and why social justice has come to be seen in India so much in terms of caste, and of what the implications of this are. He elaborates upon arguments that both he and Niraja Gopal Jayal have developed elsewhere about how the pursuit of affirmative action for particular social groups has led to a situation in which there is competition for power in order to secure benefits from the state for a particular set of people rather than in order to bring about transformations in society as a whole. Bardhan supplies a trenchant critique of social protection programs in India and advocates—in the spirit of encouraging serious rethinking—the possibilities of the payment by the state of a Universal Basic Income (in place of the “cats-cradle” of programs referred to above).

Walton offers, in short compass, a comprehensive review of arguments about why it does make sense to consider a social democratic resolution for India, what this might require, and its feasibility. The argument is conducted through comparisons with experiences elsewhere, both in Latin America and in Sweden, in particular, and the paper includes some detailed discussion of policy design for equity and growth. Walton’s conclusions about the feasibility of social democracy in India are not very optimistic. In the light of the victory of Narendra Modi in the Indian general elections that were completed shortly before I began this review, Modi’s evident commitment to big corporate capital (in spite of his tearful statements in parliament about serving the poor), and the evidence marshalled by Walton amongst others, of the extent of crony capitalism in India, one wonders whether there is much prospect, for now and the middle term at least, that Indian capital can possibly be part of a social democratic settlement. Walton concludes: “Sound social democratic designs are almost certainly in Indian capitalism’s long-term interest but this would involve a form of long-sightedness and collective action that is not apparent now” ([II] 68).

These books deserve close attention, offering as they do an alternative vision for India than the one that I suspect will be pursued by the new government.

John Harriss, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

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COMMERCE WITH THE UNIVERSE: Africa, India, and the Afrasian Imagination. By Gaurav Desai. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. xiv, 291 pp. US$50.00, cloth . ISBN 978-0-231-16454-2.

For centuries, the Indian Ocean has been ferrying people, goods, beliefs, ideas and thoughts across Africa and India. Maritime movements propelled by commercial instincts of traders on either side have not only transported ivory, silk, fruits and other cargo, but have shipped numerous vignettes of trans-continental cultures as well. The African continent is replete with examples of such cultural transplants. Mainstream historical narration of the continent, however, tends to explain its contemporary social and institutional structures largely as outcomes of its interactions with the West. Desai attempts an alternative understanding of the history of the continent by widening the context to include Africa’s sustained unbroken exchanges with the East, particularly the Indian subcontinent.

The radical re-interpretation of the mainstream historical narration and understanding of Africa in Commerce with the Universe proceeds through critical examination of a body of diverse literary work spanning the Indian Ocean trade and experiences of Asians in Africa. The author reviews well-known novels like Amitav Ghosh’s In an Antique Land and M.G. Vasanji’s The Gunny Sack along with a series of other literary works, including several travel accounts, biographies and memoirs. The research covers meticulous inspection of a remarkably diverse range of documents and ideas for gathering inputs in penning a sincere alternative account.

Constructing a convincing alternative is not easy when a powerful mainstream explanation exists. Desai’s painstaking research for discovering new insights from works that are already much-discussed and debated, yields results due to his willingness to view through multi-disciplinary prisms. By giving equal importance to historical narration, sociological and ethnographic approaches, and also occasionally and contextually to political and economic analysis, Desai succeeds in identifying the understanding of Africa as far more complex than what many scholars of the continent and the Indian Ocean have gauged it to be.

A typical example of the complexity is the new insight gathered on outcomes of colonization. The usual explanation of colonization in Africa (and elsewhere) is to interpret it as a binary process in terms of the structural duality between the “settler” and the “native.” Desai challenges the loose application of the construct in the African context. He argues that the presence of Asians in East Africa from well before the beginning of the formal European colonization of the continent makes it difficult to characterize the process in such a typical fashion. Indeed, the history of colonization and its outcomes in Africa become a far more complex process given the involvement of several more actors. The finding corroborates Desai’s hypothesis of the significance of viewing Africa’s history through not only its interaction with the West, but also the intense and varied interactions it had with the East and India.

An alternative account cannot help but grow out of a critique of the mainstream. One of the interesting critiques that Desai successfully builds is in underpinning the salience of cosmopolitanism in the Indian Ocean trade that unmistakably resonates in In an Antique Land, and the possibility of the narrative marginalizing of other significant simultaneous historical processes such as the sub-Saharan exchanges. Desai does not appear to be too comfortable with the passionate interpretation of several historical narratives of the Indian Ocean in identifying its commerce as a key contributor of the cosmopolitanism and religious and ethnic tolerance manifesting on the shores it touched. He is acutely conscious of the caveats that his research throws up in vindicating such passionate endorsement.

Notwithstanding the arduous effort and bold approach, the book falls short of connecting to its contemporary context through its conclusions as effectively as one would have expected. The introduction underscores the historical significance to the backdrop of the book: the struggle for survival between capitalism and socialism as ideologies influencing national development strategies given the cyclical reverses both have suffered in the last couple of decades. The initial context also points to the renewed engagement of Africa by China and India and the revival of the Indian Ocean as a key maritime route in global strategic geography. It is not completely clear how the various findings of the book contribute to a more objective understanding of Africa in these contexts. While the importance of looking closely at Asia and India in understanding both historical and contemporary Africa is well understood—and can be flagged as a success of the alternative discourse that Desai aimed to build—greater connectivity between the discourse and the context is missing. That said, the book deserves careful study by scholars of various disciplines for its commendable effort in throwing new light on important, but largely neglected, aspects of the interactions between Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

Amitendu Palit, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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THE DARJEELING DISTINCTION: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India. California Studies in Food and Culture, no. 47. By Sarah Besky. Berkeley: University of California Press, c2014. xx, 233 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-27739-7.

This is an anthropological study of tea plantations in Darjeeling. This region is famous for its special variety of tea that is known for its specific flavour. The history of tea plantations that are over 150 years old is important for this region. The tea industry is closely linked to the growth of this district as it is its main economic activity. The industry gives the district and its people a unique characteristic that sets the latter apart from the state of West Bengal in which the area officially lies. The book covers different aspects of the district that are vital for its economy and identity.

The author has done considerable archival work that is evident from her second chapter. She gives a new understanding of the district as an entity. She shows how Darjeeling was originally a part of Nepal and was later given to the kingdom of Sikkim. Later, the East India Company took Darjeeling from Sikkim in order to establish a sanatorium for British soldiers because of its pleasantly cold climate. This part of Darjeeling’s history is important because both Nepal and Sikkim have laid claims to Darjeeling after India was free of British rule in 1947. The author’s study provides a clear picture.

The author’s writings on fair trade are important. The author has studied plantations that are endorsed by the fair trade label and finds that they are as exploitative of their labour as the other plantations. Moreover the benefits of fair trade are taken by the planters whereas the conditions of their workers remain unchanged. She also critiques the concept of fair trade because it gives so much emphasis to individual entrepreneurs’ individual entrepreneurs and not on collectives She argues that fair trade operates in the neo-liberal environment and can function best under free trade (chapter 4).

Unfortunately, when it comes to contemporary history she falters because she leans too heavily on what her informants told her. She should have double-checked these views. For example, she is very critical of the role the communists played in the Gorkhaland movement because because this was the view of her informants. As a researcher she should have verified these facts because the communists were the first to recognize that the Nepalese in Darjeeling constituted a distinct identity. She keeps referring to the communists as Communist Party of India Marxist and she describes how the party entered the district in 1943 (77-78). She should know that CPI(M) did not exist at that time, as it was formed only in 1964 after a section split from the Communist Party of India (CPI). The CPI(M) distanced itself from this resolution and strongly opposed any form of autonomy for Darjeeling. The CPI still holds on to its original resolution of autonomy. The author should have tried to understand such differences.

The author’s explanation of the decline of Darjeeling’s tea industry in the post-colonial period is controversial. She states that the workers suffered a setback during these dark days because they were unionized and the planters started rolling back the facilities they had earlier given to them. The author notes that the deprived workers had to resort to violence against the managers and they also burnt down tea factories (79). In other words it was the communist unions that provoked the planters to deprive the workers who in turn retaliated by burning down factories.

The author also hints that the Plantation Labour Act (the only law granting protection to plantation labour) was one of the reasons why British planters left as it increased costs of production and the communist unions pressured the employers to implement the provisions of the Act (78). The Act was passed in 1951, a few years after India was independent of British rule, and its main provisions relate to facilities for plantation workers such as permanent quarters, sanitary and bathing facilities in the labour lines, provision of clean water, hospitals and primary schools for the children. Most of these facilities (except for medical facilities) did not exist in plantations. The Indian Tea Association (an association of mainly British planters) readily agreed to implement the Act. Yet the author feels that it has ruined the industry.

In most cases the author has put together voices of workers, managers, intellectuals, etc. without verifying their authenticity or analyzing their views. As a result we get a compilation of contradictory and opposing views. The views she puts forth on the decline of the tea industry are based on the statements of the managers (157). She has not looked at the living and working conditions of the workers. Though she is sympathetic to the women workers she does not look at their problems of defecating in the open because there are no toilets even though the PLA makes this mandatory.

The author believes the managers when they say that labour unrest is a result of the male population: “Some suggested that ‘too many males’ on the garden created unrest, both in the plantation and in regional politics” (157). She has not verified if this is true. The fact is that a large section of the unemployed males in plantations have been recruited in the military and paramilitary forces.

Despite the contradictory views presented in the book, the author is clear about one view that she keeps reiterating, namely, the decline in tea production started after the British left and the natives took over the plantations. She has admitted that the British “ran their gardens like fiefdoms, but they kept the men under control” (195). Could such a system continue in a democracy? Her concluding sentence—“But workers are keenly aware that in a market for justice, the plantation is not going anywhere” (220)—contradicts what she has put forth in the earlier sections.

Sharit K. Bhowmik, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India

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BOLLYWOOD: Gods, Glamour, and Gossip. Short Cuts, 52. By Kush Varia. London; New York: Wallflower Press, 2012. 126 pp. (Illus.) US$20.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-906660-15-4.

The Hindi-language cinema based in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) has acquired global recognition in the last two decades under the label “Bollywood,” and the same period has seen the welcome publication of numerous scholarly works devoted to it, as well as the proliferation of college courses surveying its history, conventions and transnational impact—finally acknowledging that this “other” of Euro-American filmic conventions has been one of the world’s most avidly consumed and influential entertainment forms for well over half a century. Recent entrants in the category of introductory overviews include Tejaswini Ganti’s Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema (2nd ed., Routledge, 2013), and Kush Varia’s book, reviewed here, written for the “Short Cuts” series that is meant especially for film studies courses.

Despite some commendable features, Varia’s book is regrettably uneven. Much well-written and insightful analysis—sometimes addressing interesting topics (such as diasporic fandom and gay readings of films) not treated in other introductory works—alternates with awkwardly written and even ungrammatical passages, and the plot summaries of important films, presented as sets of “case studies” to illustrate each thematic section of the book, are at times confusing and inadequately contextualized. In addition, unexamined and misleading clichés (such as that which forms the book’s alliterative subtitle) occur periodically, despite the author’s stated aim to go beyond such journalistic formulas and to address, within a brief compass, the historical breadth and thematic depth of this prolific cinema.

After a brief introduction that outlines the book’s aims, the first chapter, “History and Industry,” traces the development of cinema on the subcontinent, noting precursor art forms and performance genres, early feature films and studios, the impact of sound (which ended the dominance of imported films and established both the convention of operatic melodrama and of Hindi-Urdu as a cinematic lingua franca for much of the region), and the evolution, through several thematic periods, of cinema after Indian independence. Much of this is factually sound, clearly presented and accompanied by citation of relevant scholarship, although the author’s periodization of post-1947 cinema appears to owe more than a little to the 2004 first edition of Ganti’s book, which is not cited. Films selected as case studies here are both apt and initially well-analyzed (e.g., Pyaasa, 18-19, Mr. India, 23-25), though the two most recent choices (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Lagaan, 27-30) receive more cursory treatment; curiously, the seminal Amitabh Bachchan films of the 1970s, though mentioned, appear as case studies only in later, topical chapters.

Chapter 2, “Narrative and Genres,” is less well organized. An illuminating discussion of, for example, the persistence of religion in Hindi cinema’s brand of “melodrama,” and of its linguistic registers, is followed, unaccountably, by sloppy analyses of two of the most celebrated films of the 1970s (in reverse-chronological order: Amar Akbar Anthony and Sholay, 34-36). A decent treatment of the vital role of music and song culminates in clumsy and inadequate plot summaries of Baiju Bawra and Dil Se (42-44). The general discussion of “Genres” that follows is notably weak, introducing only “the Social” and “Romance” (categories so broad and vaguely defined that they may be applied to most Hindi films); later sections address, with somewhat greater clarity, “The Historical and the Islamicate Film,” and “Supernatural Genres”; a final section on “Other Genres” briefly alludes to war and gangster films.

The third chapter, “Characters and Morality,” is similarly uneven. Insightful discussion of the persistence of classical and familial role models is followed by cursory and confusing analysis of three films (Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…!, Mother India, and the 1955 Devdas), again in unexplained reverse-chronological order. A following section on “Villains and Vamps” is again well written, and the chapter concludes with a welcome discussion of “Gay, Lesbian and Transgender characters.”

Chapter 4, “Settings and Style,” is a disjointed collage, ranging from thoughtful discussion of stock film sets (mansions, huts, cabarets, hospitals) to less cogent treatments of animals, rainstorms, religious festivals and costuming. To illustrate the latter topic, two important films, Shree 420 and Khalnayak, are discussed—the former, decently (though the author cites the “colour” of a character’s dress in this 1955 b/w film); the latter, less so. The next chapter deals with “Stars and Audiences” in similarly erratic fashion. Bachchan is treated at last, but is over-emphasized and a-historically identified as “Bollywood’s biggest star” (98); the immense popularity of other male and female actors, through more than six decades, goes unmentioned, apart from the (interesting and notable) identification of gay male fans, especially in the diaspora, with tragic heroines like Meena Kumari. A brief conclusion (“Bye-Bye Bollywood?”) muses appropriately on some of the changes occurring in the industry today.

It is fairly common these days to find academic books that appear to have escaped the diligence of a copy editor or proofreader, and Varia’s Bollywood offers a particularly egregious example of this trend. To the instances of poor writing already mentioned must be added frequent typographical errors, some of which appear to be relics of an auto-correct function allowed to go unchecked (e.g., “transgression,” apparently for “transition,” on page 63, and the nonsensical “which has spurned some of the greatest successes,” on page 70, where the author doubtless meant “spawned”). In addition, a number of words or phrases are accidentally repeated, and an entire sentence beginning “But the main reason for the failure of A Throw of Dice to connect to domestic audiences” occurs twice in the same paragraph on page 13. A few jarring factual errors mar discussions of important films—thus, star Shashi Kapoor is misidentified as his brother Shammi in the synopsis of the seminal Deewaar on page 97. It is disappointing to see such sloppy non-editing in a prestigious film studies series, and it unfortunately compromises the suitability of this often-interesting book for use by today’s undergraduates—who sorely need examples of lucid prose.

Philip Lutgendorf, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA

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DALIT ASSERTION. Oxford India Short Introductions. By Sudha Pai. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013. xli, 201 pp. (Tables.) US$17.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-809593-4.
During the 2009 national elections, with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP–Majority People’s Party) riding high on the back of its electoral success in the 2007 State Elections in Uttar Pradesh, the party leader Mayawati was openly touted as a potential prime minister and was regarded as a key player in national politics. Fast forward to the recently concluded 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the BSP hardly merits a mention. A low-key campaign culminated in a wipe-out in which the party failed to secure a single victory. Other Dalit parties, such as the Tamil Viduthalai Ciruthaigal Katchi (Liberation Panther Party) whose leader Thirumavalavan came to prominence as an MP during protests over the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka in 2009, and his interventions on the Ambedkar Cartoon controversy in 2012, also drew a blank. Some of this is due to the “Modi wave” which dominated media coverage long before it became a reality, but it also reflects uncertainties, questions and critiques surrounding Dalit politics. Professor Sudha Pai’s introduction to Dalit Assertion, thus, is both timely and welcome and helps to contextualize and explain some of the central processes and debates around Dalit mobilization in India.

After an introduction to the emergence of Dalit politics—both institutional and extra-institutional—the book comprises five key chapters that deal with the ideological underpinnings of Dalit assertion, mobilization at the grass-roots level, the performance of Dalit political parties, the rise of Middle Class activism and a consideration of possible future directions. The introduction sets the scene well; it is neither too detailed and dense for the non-specialist nor so simplistic as to put off more expert readers. Pai highlights the rise of Dalit assertion in multiple forms but also outlines the fissures within the Dalit category and analyzes what is described as an “impasse” in Dalit politics. We then receive an overview of the ideological strands of the Dalit struggle. Here the book focuses on three prominent ideological currents: the Dravidian, Gandhian and Ambedkarite (including Kanshi Ram’s adaptation of Ambedkar) approaches. The reflection on non-Brahminism in South and West India is heartening given the frequent neglect of Southern experiences in such accounts. The key positions of each strand are outlined and Pai reflects on how popular and durable each approach has been, before concluding that Ambedkarite ideology is on the rise and best captures the intent of younger Dalits. Some reflection on why Communist parties failed to address Dalit issues and retain the Dalits who were initially mobilized in class struggles would have been welcome here, though I would not quarrel with the main focus of the chapter.

The rationale for the three substantive chapters is persuasive, since there is clearly no one form or mode of assertion. The tripartite division into grassroots, political party and middle-class activism allows Pai to capture important currents of Dalit mobilization and assertion. The book draws on examples and research from across India in these three chapters, which demonstrate the author’s familiarity with key developments and trends in Dalit struggles. The first chapter documents the localized challenges to caste discrimination that have tackled forms of untouchability head on, but also reflects on the impact these contests have had. Pai notes how challenges from below are often met by violent responses, not from those at the apex of the caste hierarchy but from Backward Caste groups seeking to defend their power and prestige. The book also charts the rise of intra-Dalit conflicts as different castes compete for scarce resources and rally behind different leaders or strategies. One reason why Dalit assertion has slightly stalled of late, it is suggested, arises from these internal divisions. Nor are these divisions confined to caste, as we see in the chapter on parties: the move to political institutionalization has entailed a split between the radical Dalits, who wish to break with the system and annihilate caste, and more pragmatic activist,s who seek a share of power within the existing system of political relationships. The compromises and debates entailed in this process are captured here and offer one reason for the decline in Dalit political fortunes, as does the discussion of how Dalits at the grassroots level are increasingly frustrated by identity politics and desire economic and social development. Nevertheless, as Pai notes, Dalit parties have “introduced greater social inclusiveness into the political system” (107).

The final substantive chapter addresses the debate about an impasse from a different angle. What Pai shows here is that newly educated and affluent Dalits who benefitted from early assertion and reservation but are now disillusioned by Dalit parties are not necessarily insulating themselves from less fortunate Dalits, but are engaged in a range of interventions that seek to rethink Dalit involvement in society. This chapter focuses on the Bhopal document, the debates around reservation in the private sector, and calls for supplier diversity. These campaigns mark a recognition that the significance of the state as an employer is declining and demonstrate a shift in Dalit aspirations. The call for supplier diversity shows an understanding of innovative policies that might undermine the networks of caste that inform decisions about who to employ or trade with and serve to perpetuate forms of exclusion. The conclusion then thinks through key issues with each of these main strands of Dalit struggle and reflects on how a more meaningful and socially equitable democracy might be attained. At a time when Dalit voices in Europe and the US are increasingly prominent, some reflection on global links and struggles would have been welcome, as would some consideration of the increasing use of social media by Dalit activists, but these are minor quibbles. Overall this is an excellent and highly recommended introduction to the diversity and impact of Dalit assertion which helps us think through the current state of Dalit politics.

Hugo Gorringe, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom                                  

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THE PROMISE OF POWER: The Origins of Democracy in India and Autocracy in Pakistan. By Maya Tudor. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xiii, 240 pp. (Table, figures, maps.) C$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-03296-5.

In the author’s own words, “the central puzzle motivating this study has been why, despite broadly similar institutional inheritances and colonial legacies, did India’s and Pakistan’s democratic trajectories quickly diverge upon independence?” (205). Why and how was democracy institutionalized in India and authoritarianism entrenched in Pakistan so soon after both emerged from a common colonial experience is not a new question, but Maya Tudor’s Promise of Power offers probably the most comprehensive and thorough answer to date. Going beyond the traditional notion that the prospects of democratization in a post-colonial developing country are invariably linked to its level of economic development, social make-up and emerging institutional stability, Tudor builds a solid historical-political case to explain how the post-colonial states of India and Pakistan developed such divergent political trajectories after 1947. The answer, she explains, does not lie merely with the politics, parties, personalities and institutions that emerged after independence; the phenomenon of political divergence has deeper roots in developments that long preceded the transfer of power in 1947.

Following a useful introductory chapter, in which the central argument of the book, its intended theoretical and substantive contributions to the subject matter are clearly explained, the following four content chapters offer detailed and comprehensive analysis of the evolution of the class composition and consequent political programs of the Indian nationalist movement and the Pakistan campaign. In these carefully crafted chapters that are well supported by sound empirical evidence, Tudor clearly elucidates the differences between Indian National Congress organization and the nationalist movement that it led on the one hand, and the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan, and the Muslim and provincial politics that it engendered, on the other. Here, the key thrust of the book emerges: class differences and their historically conditioned interests fundamentally affected the shape, content and political agenda of the parties that eventually dominated the politics of the late colonial state and the subsequent successor states of India and Pakistan.

The composition of the dominant classes, and the alliances that they formed to protect or further their material interests, not only determined the strength, reach and durability of the political parties that emerged to contest political power in the 1930s and 1940s, but also compelled their political trajectories, leading to particular outcomes. The Indian National Congress, which essentially represented the urban and rural middle class, was able to develop consensus and unity through alliances of various social interests, complex leadership structures that linked high command to grassroots, as well as salient and inclusive programmatic reforms, thereby laying strong foundations for a stable and durable democratic system after independence. The Pakistan movement, on the other hand, depended on the “coalition of convenience” built by the landed aristocracy in the Muslim majority provinces in northern India to secure political power in order to protect their vested interests. There was less desire on the part of the political elites to effect democratic and distributive reforms to groups that did not share class interests, but were only tenuously linked to the party on the basis of shared religious identity. The Pakistan movement was also defined “negatively” as a response to the threat of Hindu majority domination and therefore lacked strong grassroots party infrastructure and programs for mobilization. This resulted in the absence of institutionalized power-sharing structures during the transition to independence. The outcome was regime instability leading to autocratic regimes and subsequent periods of bureaucratic-military rule in Pakistan.

In both countries, post-colonial developments followed the trajectory already set in the preceding decades. At this “critical window of transition” (217), the relative strengths and weaknesses of the respective political parties in India and Pakistan thus determined if they were able and willing to forge compromises, institutionalize power sharing through effective constitution making, and maintain organizational integrity as they assumed political power at independence. The outcome of all that, Tudor argues, was to result in the consequent long-term democratic stability in India and the constant regime instability in Pakistan.

This is a carefully researched and clearly written study that not only makes a compelling argument but also offers perceptive insights into the history of the Indian and Pakistani political movements. While the broader political and social contexts that accompany the narratives in the chapters are not necessarily new to readers familiar with the political history of India and Pakistan, the author must be commended for the convincing manner in which the historical conditions and circumstances in the lead-up to 1947 and beyond are marshaled to support her overarching argument. Overall, this illuminating book is an enjoyable read. The Promise of Power is a valuable study that has much to offer to those wishing to comprehend the political dynamics of India and Pakistan. It is, at the same time, an important contribution to the literature on the challenges of democratization in post-colonial developing countries.

Tan Tai Yong, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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CITIZENSHIP AND ITS DISCONTENTS: An Indian History. By Niraja Gopal Jayal. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. viii, 366 pp. US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-06684-7.

This is a rare superbly written magisterial book on the idea and practice of citizenship in India. It is a political and ideational constitutional history of citizenship that takes a clear intellectual position on citizenship and development. Three significant themes are dealt with. First, is India moving from a liberal conception of citizenship by birth and naturalization (jus soli) towards the more conservative jus sanguinis principle of citizenship by descent? Second, the book elaborates the tension between group differentiated rights and the creation of a civic community. Finally, debates over the question of social and economic rights, and civil and political equality are detailed in an exhaustive and nuanced manner.

The first chapter is a graphic account of the dilemmas of “imperial citizenship” and “colonial citizenship.” Imperial citizenship refers to the treatment of transnational Indians who were discriminated in relation to British-born, Dominion-born and European-born people in colonial India. Colonial citizenship refers to the rights of Indians in India. Indian laws generally empowered the rich, the landed and the educated, while paying some regard to minority communities and the disadvantaged. The Indian quest for equality at the time of independence therefore arose from its absence during colonial rule.

Legal Citizenship and the Shadow of the Partition tells a nuanced story about the Indian commitment to jus soli and clear deviations from it. The deviations, for example, pertain to Muslims wishing to return to India from Pakistan after partition and their claims to property, and the treatment of Bangladeshi migrants in Assam in the 1980s. In both cases, being Muslim was a disadvantage. Liberal voices nevertheless prevailed when the Supreme Court upheld the rights of Muslims who were inadvertently trapped in Pakistan at partition and returned back with Pakistani passports. The narrative reveals not only the Hindu-Muslim problem but a more complex problem of the Assamese not accepting Bengalis and other such inter-ethnic issues.

The next chapter details how migrant dalits and adivasis from Pakistan have had to struggle to obtain citizenship, and even more its benefits, while the rich and powerful Indian diaspora has been wooed by the government.

The book moves from a fascinating section on legal status to a section on citizenship and rights. The chapter “Pedagogies of Duty” presents a fascinating history of how the British first deployed the idea of citizenship and rights to legitimize rule over a divided society. It was this agenda of citizenship and arguments for obedience to which there arose a nationalist response: arguing why these rights lacked substance and morality. It provided an opportunity for the educated elite to rise above social and cultural differences to make political arguments about political and social equality. The next chapter details debates in the Constituent Assembly that led to a privileging of civil and political rights over social and economic rights. The historical detail and interpretation of various views on why Ambedkar changed his mind about the primacy of economic and social rights is just one example of the attention to historical detail.

The final chapter on rights describes how civil and political rights were highlighted in the constitution but not social and economic rights. The chapter remains skeptical about the new rights-based approach to development initiated after 2005, where citizens have been granted the right to food, work and education, among others. The chapter argues against the selective approach to targeting the poor and certain depressed social categories. And, it opposes cash transfers in lieu of public services. It concedes that the period of corporate-sector-driven growth in India, is one where these rights have been provided, even though the book is skeptical about the benefits of industrial deregulation and globalization.

The next section of the book is devoted to citizenship. Chapter 7 describes how the dominant view within the Congress Party was largely opposed to group-differentiated citizenship for a variety of different reasons. It was the Muslim League and Ambedkar who sought representation of special interests. Women received some special rights. Hindu nationalists favoured a Hindu India with no special rights for other communities. The chapter details these ideational and political struggles in colonial India. Chapter 8 tells the story for scheduled tribes, who received special rights and reservations but whose human condition has only exacerbated internal violence, and the rise of the idea of backwardness and reservations for backward caste groups.

The book bemoans challenges to civic citizenship in the form of group differentiated rights. While these arguments are powerfully articulated, reservations have played a role in the creation of a scheduled caste party—the Bahujan Samaj Party and numerous backward caste parties in states like Tamil Nadu—where development has taken hold and gotten entrenched. One would have liked to learn more about the Indian citizen’s newfound civic rights to education, work, food and privileged government information. Where the book succeeds most brilliantly is in charting the historical roots of India’s developmental predicament through the conceptual lens of citizenship and rights.

 Rahul Mukherji, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN INDIA:Sovereigntyand (Anti)Conversion. Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series, 60. By Goldie Osuri. New York; London: Routledge, 2012. xii, 204 pp. (Figures.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-66557-5.

The front page identifies Goldie Osuri as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media, Music, Communications and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, Australia. In the epilogue,subtitled “Conversion as profanation,” she describes her personal background and the reasons for writing the book. Born into a fourth-generation Christian family in Narasapur, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, she grew up in a multi-religious environment, where Hindus, Muslims and Christians of various denominations apparently lived peacefully side by side. However: “In 2010 the state of Andhra Pradesh experienced the second-highest number of attacks against Christians in India” (159). Osuri comments: “Conversion now is a charged issue in the state and the violence encouraged by Hindutva groups is on the increase. I offer this ethnography of lived conversions to Christianity in Andhra Pradesh as a way of engaging in a counter affective biopolitics, a counter to Hindutva incitement of hatred” (159).

The chapter titles reveal the book’s theoretical orientation: 1. (Anti) conversion as exception: genealogies; 2. (Anti) conversion: transnational bio/necropolitical engagements; 3. Sovereignty and the Indian secular; 4. What’s love got to do with it? Sovereignty and conversion; and 5. Profaning religious freedom.

Much space is taken up by discussions on political philosophy and legal theory, quoting Aristotle, Kant, Spinoza, Carl Schmitt, G. Agamben, J. Derrida, M. Foucault and A.S. Mandair. The relevance of these writings to (anti)conversion in India is not always very clear. The bibliography contains some 400 titles: the only comprehensive work on Hinduism listed is Wendy Doniger’s controversial Hindus, An Alternative History (by now banned for distribution in India). P.V. Kane’s monumental History of Dharmasastra is not mentioned, though it is certainly of greater relevance to India than the writings of the extensively quoted Carl Schmitt (a prominent law professor in Hitler’s Germany). Nor are there any references to classical Indian writings on political theory or to the sources of traditional Indian/Hindu law.

Osuri challenges the claim of Hindutva organizations to represent the original and essential India. She is unqualifiedly hostile towards the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Rashtriya Svayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She repudiates Vir Savarkar, the “conceptual founder of Hindutva,” who held that “Indian national identity, must, at its foundation, be based within the political philosophy of Hindutva” and approvingly quotes Chaturvedi: “Hinduism is only a fraction, a part of Hindutva, whereas Hindutva is not a word, but a history” (2).

Osuri is aware that “(anti)conversion” during the British Raj, especially in Adivasi areas, had much to do with economics and local politics. While the British colonial government supported Christian missions in India, some native rulers passed anti-conversion laws, especially in tribal areas. Discussing the background to the 2010 disturbances in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, involving around 50,000 (mainly Christian) Adivasis and Dalits, Osuri acknowledges the complexity of the issues, but puts the blame for the violence squarely on Hindutva activists. She also hints at pro-Hindutva bias in the commuting of the death sentence for the murderers of Australian medical missionary Dr. Graham Staines and his two young sons, burned to death in 1999 in their camper by members of the Bajrang Dal.

Chapter 4, different in style and content from the rest of the book, discusses two popular Bollywood productions: Jhodaa Akbar is a historical film about the love-marriage between the Muslim Emperor Akbar and the Hindu Rajput princess Jhoda, who continued worshipping Krishna at the court of Agra. Saat Khhoon Maf tells the story of a Goanese Catholic woman, who killed her seven husbands—Hindu, Muslim and Christian—and died a Catholic nun.

Chapter 5 takes aim at the influential Hindu American Foundation, which she dubs Yankee Hindutva, commenting: “Ironically, in the 21st century, transnational Hindutva attempts to align itself with US Imperial sovereignty in a post 9/11 context” (133).

I agree with Osuri’s condemnation of the attempted violent and/or deceitful Hinduization of Adivasis, of the jarring totalitarian language of some proponents of Hindutva, and of the politicizing of religion. However, I am missing an equally critical stance towards Christian missions, which came to India with the totalitarian claim of possessing the only true religion and being the only way to salvation. While Christian missions in British India were more humane than the Spanish-Portuguese conquista in the Americas, and while some Christian missionaries effectively protected Adivasis against exploitation and abuse by outsiders, the Portuguese in Goa, Diu and Daman placed before the Hindus the alternative of either being baptized or leaving their homeland. They introduced the Holy Inquisition, which from 1560 to 1812 tortured and killed thousands.

Religious conflicts are not amenable to rational solutions: the “sovereign” majority—right or wrong—will always prevail and minorities must accommodate themselves. “Tolerance” is a modern secular concept and neither universally practiced nor enforceable. The 1950 Constitution of India, shaped by modern Western models, is very liberal. It guarantees the free exercise of (all) religions, including their propagation. But it also allows an interpretation like that of the Niyogi Commission in 1957. The commission (which also included an Indian Christian), ruled that “conversion” (to Christianity) can be legally prohibited for reasons of public peace and national security.

Osuri’s work is a major contribution to the debate on religious freedom in general and in India in particular. Since she is an Indian Christian, one can understand her bias against militant Hindu organizations and Hindu political parties. However, an unbiased outside observer would agree with the moderate proponents of Hindutva that Bharat is the cradle and the home of Hinduism (however vaguely defined) and that Hindus in India have the right and the duty to protect their own traditions from undue and unfair outside interference. Traditional Hinduism has been largely tolerant and Hindus have lived for centuries in peace side by side with other faith communities—as Goldie Osuri’s own hometown Narasapur has shown.

Klaus K. Klostermaier, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

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ECOLOGY IS PERMANENT ECONOMY: The Activism and Environmental Philosophy of Sunderlal Bahuguna. By George Alfred James. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2013. xii, 266 pp. (Illus., maps.) US$85.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-4673-8.

In this book, George Alfred James explores the life, ideas and activism of the Gandhian environmentalist and social worker, Sunderlal Bahuguna. The book provides insights into the intellectual influences on Bahuguna and how his experiences as an activist shaped his ideas over time. One of James’ major aims with this book is to explore the intellectual roots of Indian environmentalism, focusing particularly on the environmental ideas inherent in India’s spiritual traditions and Gandhian philosophy. James illustrates the practical values of these ideas, by showing how they have been embodied in Bahuguna’s work.

It should be acknowledged that this book does not claim to be aimed at an academic audience. Rather, James’ intended audience is “people of all ages, but especially young people who will be inspired and motivated to further study the environment and to be involved in the struggle for the future of the planet” (3). Perhaps for this reason, the book is written in a simple and accessible style and does not assume too much background knowledge from the reader.

The book’s central chapters are arranged around major events in Bahuguna’s life, presented chronologically. Chapters 2 to 6 describe Bahuguna’s formative years, examining his major intellectual influences and his early experiences with activism and development work. These chapters provide an informative and accessible introduction to Gandhian philosophy and its evolution and application in the Garhwal hills. We are introduced to the work of Sri Dev Suman, Mirabehn, Saralabehn and Vinoba Bhave, all of whom had a profound influence on Bahuguna and his wife, Vimla Nautiyal. There are also detailed accounts of the role of Bahuguna and Vimla in the development of Sarvodaya collectives in Tehri-Garhwal in the 1950s, which aimed to promote Gandhian-inspired development in the region.

Chapters 7 to 10 deal with different aspects of the Chipko movement: the mobilization for forest protection and local employment with which Bahuguna’s name is most associated. In these chapters, James gives an overview of the events of the movement, considers different “modes of resistance” employed (placing special emphasis on the role of religion) and examines different perspectives on the Chipko message. The final chapters deal with Bahuguna’s later activism. Chapter 11 describes the foot march (padyatra) that Bahuguna undertook between 1981 and 1983, in which he walked the breadth of the Himalaya to promote environmental awareness and develop a broad perspective on the condition of the Himalayan ecosystem. Chapters 12 and 13 explore Bahuguna’s involvement in the movement against the Tehri Dam. James considers some of the controversies surrounding the role of Hindu nationalists in this movement and the question of whether the movement was a “failure.” Finally, chapter 14 presents a summary of Bahuguna’s philosophy, which brings together Gandhian ideas, ecological science and spirituality. James’ account of the role of religion in Bahuguna’s thought is particularly elegant, highlighting the value of a perspective that sees the divinity in nature and opposes the illusion (maya) of the capitalist economy.

The book is highly effective as a work of biography. It provides a very clear sense of Bahuguna’s motivations, intellectual influences and changes in his viewpoint over time. The book falls short, however, in its aim of providing insight into Indian environmentalism. This is chiefly because its primary empirical content is a series of interviews with Bahuguna and secondary materials written about him. James rarely takes a critical perspective on this material. When he does engage with critiques of Bahuguna, the aim seems to be to defend Bahuguna, rather than to carefully evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of his position. We receive very little insight into the perspectives of rank-and-file members of the movements that Bahuguna came to represent. Such perspectives are surely important to develop any comprehensive view of “Indian environmentalism.” This is particularly evident in James’ representations of Chipko. For example, in chapter 8 he argues that religion was a major force for mobilization in the movement, citing the use of padyatras (foot marches, or “pilgrimages”), fasts and prayer recitals. However, since James’ claims regarding the significance of these mobilizational techniques is based almost exclusively on Bahuguna’s accounts, the reader is left uncertain as to how significant they really were for Chipko’s rank-and-file supporters.

In chapter 10, James does make some attempt to engage with criticisms of Bahuguna. He considers some of the claims that Bahuguna was at the centre of a division within Chipko between those who favoured development and those who favoured forest conservation. James makes an important contribution by countering some of the simplistic representations of Bahuguna as being anti-modern and anti-development. He demonstrates that Bahuguna’s philosophy was always informed by the economic needs of Uttarakhand’s villages, though his understanding of “needs” and “development” were informed by an ecological and Gandhian perspective. He goes on to argue that the supposed divisions within the Chipko movement were exaggerated by academics and journalists. In saying this, James appears to gloss over claims that Bahuguna’s ecological narrative was at odds with the perspectives of local participants in Chipko, who were more in favour of local-led development than environmental conservation per se. On these issues, James simply reproduces Bahuguna’s perspective: that local people’s claims were always for forest protection, while the claims for the development of small-scale forestry were made by local industries. This overlooks that local industries are led and potentially supported by local people. In the absence of any empirical data on local perspectives (besides Bahuguna’s), the debate that James presents is simply one of competing assertions from activists, journalists and some academics.

Even if this book is aimed more at young activists than scholars, these lapses are not helpful. The quest for sustainability requires honest appraisals of points of tension between environmental conservation and local development aspirations—not just celebrations of prominent and articulate activists.

Trent Brown, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia

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Southeast Asia


THE GOVERNMENT OF MISTRUST: Illegibility and Bureaucratic Power in Socialist Vietnam. New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies. By Ken MacLean. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013. xx, 278 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$39.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-299-29594-3.

Ken MacLean is interested in the mistrust that has pervaded relations between decision makers in Hanoi and lower-level cadres and peasants since the 1920s. In The Government of Mistrust he interweaves archival material, secondary sources, his own ethnographic research and his experiences working for an international NGO to describe the accretion of bureaucratic processes of documentation and control over time. With a focus on the Red River Delta, he traces the unsuccessful efforts of the architects of Socialist Vietnam to achieve reliable insight into the political, economic and social practices of villages, agricultural collectives and communes. This is a balanced study that is attentive to national and provincial actors that occupy the upper reaches of the party hierarchy, as well as lower-level cadres and rural rice farmers.

The book’s central argument is that bureaucratic processes that were intended to dispel mistrust and facilitate central state authorities’ insight into local political and economic practices, actually produced an opposite effect. They created more mistrust and made local practices less legible for leaders of the Vietnamese Communist Party. These enduring and layered illegibilities buffered interactions between national leaders and local actors. While the socialist state was able to extract resources from the countryside and thereby guarantee its own durability over time and space, its partial blindness impeded it from exercising the power that would be necessary to fundamentally reform local political and economic practices. One result is an unintended (at least from Hanoi’s perspective) flexibility in centre-periphery relations that has persisted through independence and until the present. In this context, key national economic policies (including decollectivization and Đổi mớireforms) are shown to be the outcomes of the protracted and complex interplay of the actions and interests of Party leaders, local-level cadres and peasants. Here, change neither arises suddenly in response to crisis, nor as the result of a single group’s agency.

The Government of Mistrust is organized as six chapters grouped into three historical periods (pre-collectivization, collectivization, post-decollectivization). Each chapter offers a genealogy of a particular bureaucratic process, or legibility device, and analyzes its role in the exercise of power and the obscuring of reality from the view of Party leaders. Chapter 1 examines call and response dialogues as they were deployed from the late 1920s through the 1950s. Vietnamese Communist Party members used these techniques to engage with peasants, identify potential local leaders and (unsuccessfully) nurture new class-based subjectivities. Chapter 2 describes the use of field reports during the 1950s to convey information about the commune upwards in the Party hierarchy and to define exemplary and deviant practices. The next three chapters follow the bureaucratic processes that accompanied the establishment, consolidation and scaling-up of agricultural collectives. During early phases of collectivization the Vietnamese government sought to increase legibility by standardizing the format of field reports using administrative templates (chapter 3). The 1960s brought the consolidation of village collectives into larger-scale collectives with the assistance of labour contracts (chapter 4) that organized and rewarded individuals for specific contributions of labour and material. Chapter 5 follows the implementation of the performance audits that sought to track inputs to and outputs from the Soviet-style collectives of the late 1970s. Chapter 6 addresses the revival of village conventions, a legibility device with pre-colonial origins, to cultivate socialist morality and ideology in decollectivized post-Đổi mớivillages. Throughout the chapters, MacLean offers rich historical and contemporary illustrations of how the state’s accumulation of legibility devices has resulted in “a disorganized assemblage of conflicting policies, plans, and projects” (207).

The main arguments of The Government of Mistrust appear credible. Nevertheless, the details supporting them could be more precisely organized and explained. An example of this is the treatment of facts about collectivization. In some instances MacLean deconstructs the facts produced by Vietnamese legibility devices in order to reveal them as official fictions/paperealities. In other instances, facts that were presumably produced by the same kinds of legibility devices are used to arrive at objective descriptions of the historical performance of agricultural collectives. Missing here is a discussion of how the author is able to discern objective facts from official fictions. For instance, when sources indicate that Vũ Thắng Commune made investments and production changes resulting in 10 tons of paddy per hectare per season in the late 1970s (143), how is MacLean able to determine that this is an accurate and objective fact, and not just another papereality? Taken alone the uncertainty about the status of this fact is a minor detail. But as similar instances accumulate in the text, they call for a more fundamental discussion of the author’s own theoretical and methodological basis for conceptualizing fact, fiction and papereality in his empirical material. The reader is left to wonder whether MacLean is influenced by science and technology studies (STS) approaches to understanding the social/natural construction of facts (as the use of John Law’s work in the introduction seems to suggest), or if he is more committed to a theoretical position where facts and truths exist independently of their social and political contexts (as a brief discussion of the work of Michel-Rolph Trouillot in the conclusion seems to suggest)? One would like to see more clarity about MacLean’s own theoretical standpoint, and how he in turn operationalizes that position in his analysis of his empirical material.

The Government of Mistrust is an ambitious text, both for its creative use of mixed methodologies and its temporal thematic and range. Despite its occasional ambiguities, the richly descriptive text will be of value for graduate students and other scholars who are interested in the dynamic power relations that infuse the innovation and accumulation of state bureaucratic processes, as well as for Vietnam specialists interested in the history of Vietnamese governance, agricultural collectivization and economic policy since independence.

Eren Zink, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden          

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HANOI’S WAR: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam. By Lien-Hang T. Nguyen. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012. xiv, 444 pp. (Illus.) US$34.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8078-3551-7.

Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, an associate professor of history at the University of Kentucky, has distilled a decade of research into a tightly constructed work that adds significantly to the political and diplomatic history of the Vietnam War, especially the critical period between the major US intervention of 1965 and the conclusion of the Paris “peace process” in 1973. Nguyen has had unprecedented access to archival material in Hanoi, although Vietnam Workers’ Party (VWP) files remain closed. She has trolled the archives of the former South Vietnam (RVN) government as well as declassified US documents and a wealth of secondary sources. She has also interviewed Vietnamese players, including Northerners who faced purges during the VWP intra-party disputes of the 1960s.

Le Duan, first secretary (later general secretary) of the Party from 1960, is at the centre of this narrative, along with his loyal deputy, Le Duc Tho. Duan progressed from the anti-French insurgency in the Mekong Delta in the 1930s and 40s to pre-eminence in the North Vietnamese (DRV) leadership, sidelining the revered early leaders of the revolution, the ailing Chairman Ho Chi Minh, and, somewhat less successfully, Defence Minister Vo Nguyen Giap. An important factor in Duan’s rise may have been his absence in the South during the draconian collectivization process of the late 1950s, under the direction of Truong Chinh. A rift had opened in the party between “North-firsters,” who advocated building socialism in the North while waging a mainly political struggle in the South, and those who favoured reunification by force. Following the US buildup, Le Duan pursued the overthrow of the Saigon government by means of a strategy of “general offensive and general uprising (GO/GU).” He seems to have been convinced that this would succeed if large unit forces were employed against urban centres. Several senior North-firsters were marginalized, even imprisoned, during this period, many with real or suspected ties to Moscow; some were subordinates of Ho or Giap. Other “right deviationists” and “capitalist roaders” suffered as well, including Catholics. To a degree, Le Duan needed to continue the armed struggle in the South to deflect from domestic dissent in the DRV.

The Sino-Soviet dispute, and the differing counsel China and the USSR offered, along with military equipment and logistical support, was a major source of concern for Hanoi. China in the early 1960s advocated People’s War, with a concentration on guerrilla activity, while the Soviets urged enhanced political struggle, but remained the more important provider of heavy artillery and armour. The situation became complicated by the fact that both Moscow and Beijing were intent on improving relations with the United States. The year 1972 witnessed détente with the USSR and, most important, Nixon’s dramatic visit to China, all of which posed a quandary for Hanoi. By the end of that year, both were advising Hanoi to accept a political settlement and await the withdrawal of US support before actively pursuing unification efforts.

The ultimate test of the GO/GU strategy was the Lunar New Year (Tet) Offensive of February 1968, which was a military disaster for the communists and ended any illusion that the indigenous movement in the South, embodied in the “Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG),” could operate independently of Hanoi. The most important outcome of Tet, however, was the impact it had on public opinion in the West, where media portrayed it as a defeat for the US and the RVN. This perception forced Lyndon Johnson from power, and persuaded him before the 1968 elections to call a halt to bombing north of the 19th parallel and to seek a political settlement of the war through the Paris peace talks.

The election of Richard Nixon changed the picture: he had run on the promise that he would bring “peace with honour” to Vietnam. He was determined to maintain Nguyen Van Thieu in power in Saigon, and this became the major sticking point in the on-and-off negotiations in Paris for the ensuing three years. At his side was Henry Kissinger, and Nguyen draws a parallel between the Nixon/Kissinger team, which made the White House the centre of decision making for Vietnam, and the Le Duan/Le Duc Tho partnership, which was predominant within the VWP.

Far from being dissuaded by Tet, Le Duan ordered a further offensive in May 1968, and several “mini-Tets” throughout 1969 and 1970. With the death in 1969 of Ho Chi Minh, his hand was strengthened further. As the war ground on, Nixon sought to elicit DRV concessions in Paris by the interdiction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and Cambodia and intensified bombing in the North. Thus, 1972 marked a change of strategy on the part of Duan. The intense Easter Offensive, which just happened to take place between Nixon’s dramatic visits to Beijing and Moscow, was thwarted, largely by RVN forces. Nguyen devotes the bulk of her book to a meticulous account of the Paris talks, listing the various proposals put forward by both sides with an eye to mutual troop withdrawals, the release of US prisoners of war and, most important, the fate of RVN President Thieu. Thieu was never fully consulted, and RVN suspicions of a US sellout grew apace.

Although four parties—the RVN, the DRV, the PRG and the US—constituted the official participants to the talks, the real business was conducted in secret exchanges between Kissinger and Le Duc Tho. In spite of the ceasefire agreement of January 1973, Nguyen concludes that “peace never had a chance.” The People’s Army (PAVN) remained in the south, and the ARVN fought on with little or no US support. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, prompting the satirist Tom Lehrer to comment that “Satire is Dead.” To his credit, Tho declined the honour. General Dung’s victorious army entered Saigon just over two years later to end the conflict. Vietnam was, finally, reunited.

Nguyen’s book is not a “primer”: working one’s way through arcane acronyms and unfamiliar Vietnamese names requires at least a cursory knowledge of the history of the war and its origins. It is a commendably dispassionate account, and is recommended reading for any serious study of the Cold War and the interactions among the United States, the USSR and China in the 1960s and 1970s.

D. Gordon Longmuir, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada      

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MOBILIZING PIETY: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia. By Rachel Rinaldo. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. ix, 254 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$27.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-994812-3.

In a moment of both increased global anxiety about Islam and arguably decreased awareness of misogyny and violence against women generally, scholarship on the intersection of feminist activism and Islamic piety is welcome. Rachel Rinaldo’s book Mobilizing Piety: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia analyzes this intersection through sociological fieldwork with four feminist organizations in Jakarta, Indonesia, each of which position themselves vis-à-vis Islam in arguing for women’s rights in the public and private spheres. While these activists do not argue for the same rights that Western feminist activists might, and even reject activism that “smells of America” (77), Rinaldo shows they maintain their own visions of feminism and the future. In the process, Rinaldo depicts activists who are creative, courageous and determined. Rinaldo suggests that feminist activists around the world could do worse than take inspiration from Muslim Indonesian feminists. Rinaldo’s book will be of highest value for scholars and teachers of women’s studies and feminist sociology.

As is often stated yet nearly as often forgotten, Indonesia is the world’s largest majority Muslim country. Because of its geographic and ethnic position outside of the Arab world, non-Indonesian Muslims and non-Muslims alike often perceive Indonesian Muslims as inauthentic examples of piety. Yet since the 1980s, Islamic practices and identity have become important sites of Indonesian political and public culture. Rinaldo builds on this history to suggest that the turn to Islamic piety has had an unlikely outcome: it inspired and mediated gendered activism in the face of the Suharto New Order regime’s authoritarian celebration of housewifery for female citizens (1965-98).

Rinaldo’s research is based on fieldwork in Jakarta in 2005 and 2008 with four women’s organizations, and is in closest theoretical conversation with the sociological literature on agency and Islamic gender politics. She proposes three types of agentive action that the four organizations articulate: pious critical agency, pious activating agency and feminist agency.

Rinaldo’s concepts most closely engage intellectual debates of the past decade about pious agency, particularly in the work of anthropologist Saba Mahmood (Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject, Princeton University Press, 2004). Mahmood argues that liberal feminist conceptions of agency foreclose alternative visions of agency that may look docile or repressive, yet are nonetheless choices for pious Muslim women in the mosque movement in Cairo. Rinaldo argues that this is a useful insight, but worries that defining pious agency as docility and submission (to Allah and/or to men), may reflect a narrowly Cairene context, and may over-represent other modes of pious agency that are less docile and more collective. For example, she describes how Indonesian Islamic activists used Islamic law and theology to lobby with the Indonesian Ministry of Religion and Ministry of Manpower over issues they framed as moral justice, not just secular human rights, such as managing polygamy, outlawing pornography or identifying the extraction of usurious fees for transnational female migrants. This strategy involves selective, but not necessarily strategic, embodiment of pious comportment, appearance and language, even as it has concrete policy goals for groups of citizens in the public sphere. As a result, religious morals are not simply a matter of individual self-fashioning but are linked to national progress or regress.

Rinaldo identifies three types of agency with the four organizations she studied. First, she describes two organizations that practice what she calls pious critical agency, Fatayat NU and Rahima. Pious critical agency focuses on religious textual interpretation (itjihad) and women’s religious authority. Fatayat is the women’s branch of the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, Nahdalatul Ulama, while Rahima describes itself as a Muslim women’s rights NGO. Starting from textually religious foundations, activists in both organizations then borrow from global gender rights language to articulate an explicitly pious language of gender equality, including, perhaps surprisingly, sexual education and the right for wives to expect sexual satisfaction in a marriage.

A second type of agency is what Rinaldo calls pious activating agency, which she describes as dominant in the offices of the women’s branch of the Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS) or Prosperous Justice Party. PKS is a relatively new but influential political party born of the post-Suharto era. As a political party competing for elected office, its official aims are to bring Islamic theology into the political sphere as the ideal solution for corruption and social decay. Its members consider the disconnection in secular societies between public politics and private faith destructive. Women activists within PKS have become publicly active in lobbying for national policies that protect women, but which focus on domesticity and morality campaigns (such as protecting women within polygamous marriages, rather than outlawing polygamy, and outlawing pornography). Rinaldo shows that, ironically, the women who worked to achieve these goals themselves enjoy active, public, professional careers with PKS even as they wish to introduce Islamic ideas of domesticity into national law.

Finally, Rinaldo studied an NGO that might feel most familiar to Western feminists, Solidaritas Perempuan. SP makes no formal religious claims, instead focusing on women’s rights as human rights. The activists focus on protecting transnational migrants who are often vulnerable to agency fees, corrupt Indonesian officials as well as harsh working conditions abroad. These activists directly engage feminist terms, and consider themselves critics of neoliberal political and economic conditions in ways very different from the activists of the other three organizations. In this sense, they may seem secular, in that they appear to treat religion as a matter of personal choice. Yet in practice, Rinaldo offers detailed descriptions of how SP activists carefully and intentionally use Islamic history, Islamic terminology and especially Islamic comportment in their official meetings with government officials and in their training sessions with regional activists. Their blended use of Islamic style and content relays to potentially skeptical Indonesians that feminism and Islam are compatible.

Carla Jones, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

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SQUATTERS INTO CITIZENS: The 1961 Bukit Ho Swee Fire and the Making of Modern Singapore. Southeast Asia Publications Series. By Loh Kah Seng. Honolulu: Asian Studies Association of Australia in association with University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xxvii, 315 pp. (Maps, illus.) US$32.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3946-8.

In May 1961 a huge fire ripped through the wooden houses in the urban kampong of Bukit Ho Swee, leaving 16,000 people homeless. Singapore, still a British colony, had two years earlier negotiated a form of self-government that brought the People’s Action Party (PAP) into power, led by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Lee promised that all victims would be rehoused within nine months by the newly formed Housing Development Board (HDB). The story of how that was achieved has become part of the state-sanctioned historical narrative of Singapore and its extraordinary transformation into the ultramodern global city-state of today, and is the focus of Loh Kah Seng’s engaging book.

Loh, who grew up in the 1970s in the one-room flats built to house fire victims, has written an absorbing and detailed social history of the fire, based on oral histories, official records, photographs and media reports. The book is structured chronologically, moving through the complex neighbourhoods of the kampongs, the fire and the immediate response, to the subsequent rehousing of victims. In so doing, he presents a complex and nuanced analysis of the fire, its consequences and its place in the narration of the nation.

Wooden kampong settlements were common in Singapore at the time, as in many other parts of Southeast Asia, with over a quarter of the population living in what the authorities regarded as slums where disease and the potential for disorder were ever present. Loh turns the stereotype of the residents as backward “squatters” on its head, arguing instead that they usually paid rent, worked in formal and informal employment, were optimistic about the future, and increasingly engaged with politics. He argues that they constituted “an alternative modernity on the margin” (10).

The unplanned nature of the settlements meant that they were regarded by the authorities as an “ambivalent zone, where the state felt its control to be tenuous” (11). Here Loh argues that the government, like the British before them, sought to regularize the settlements and move to a planned, well-ordered urban society. The scale of the fire in Bukit Ho Swee gave the new government the opportunity to demonstrate that it could rehouse families quickly and efficiently. This was the beginning of Singapore’s massive public housing program.Today over 80 percent of Singaporeans live in HDB flats, and of these, over 90 percent own their flat. The housing program is hailed as an early success of the fledgling government and an ongoing and crucial part of nation-building after independence in 1965. In this scenario, the Bukit Ho Swee fire has been described as a “blessing in disguise,” since it cleared the slum and kickstarted the public housing program.

The continued hegemony of the People’s Action Party, which has held government since 1959, has been of ongoing interest to scholars of Singapore. Loh continues this in arguing that the fire enabled the government to remodel the kampong dwellers into disciplined citizens, in planned housing, with regular rental payments and as workers in the new industrial economy. In other words, it tamed the ambivalent zones of the kampongs and wedded the residents to the new Singapore, and in the process, to the government. The transformation effectively became a metaphor for the progress of Singapore under the PAP.

What adds particular interest to Loh’s analysis are his interviews with survivors of the disaster who describe their lives before and after the fire. They express a mixture of views, with some regretting the loss of their former lifestyle, and others grateful for the new housing provided. Perspectives have mellowed too over the years, with many residents now reconciled to the advantages of high-rise living. Their candour is engaging: one informant who prefers life in public housing to the hardship of the kampong, demonstrated an understanding of how the fire had helped the political legitimacy of the PAP, saying, with a laugh, “Now we Singaporeans are obedient like a dog to the government” (251).

Loh argues that the fire and the response have generated three myths that have come to define beliefs about modernity in Singapore. The first is the official celebratory depiction of the public housing miracle of modern Singapore rising out of the ashes of the Bukit Ho Swee fire, replacing the unsanitary and unregulated squatter settlement with a planned modernity. He criticizes this as a selective account which places culpability for the fire with the residents and which ignores the dissatisfaction of many fire victims with the emergency flats. Loh identifies the second myth, which coexists with the first, as the romance of the harmonious kampong. He asserts that the term “kampong spirit” has been used by the government to establish the success of public housing and to rally support for the HBD’s upgrading and en bloc development of older estates. In this way, it is used to showcase the resilience of the fire victims who overcame hardship through the kampong values of neighbourliness, thrift and hard work, values which the government seeks to encourage in young people.

Most interesting, though, is the third myth, or rather the “countermyth,” as he terms it. This is the unwritten and persistent rumour that the fire was an intentional act of arson by the government to clear the kampong and enable redevelopment of the site to occur. The rumour has persisted despite the reluctance of Singaporeans to discuss the possibility openly. Loh argues that its longevity “indicates the deep-seated tension between self and nation” (260), an example of the pragmatic and ambivalent relationship between the PAP and the people, where restrictions on freedoms are tolerated in exchange for continued economic progress.

Loh uses the story of the fire and its ensuing myths to tell a bigger story: one of housing the nation and of the contested nature of modernity. In shining a light on a historical moment at the intersection of the colonial and postcolonial, Loh reveals an important national story, and also one that speaks to the history of Southeast Asian urban redevelopment more broadly.

Sandra Hudd, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia                                                             

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RECOLLECTING RESONANCES: Indonesian-Dutch Musical Encounters. Southeast Asia Mediated, v.4. Edited by Bart Barendregt and Els Bogaerts. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2014. xi, 353 pp. (Illus.) US$162.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-25609-5.

Recollecting Resonances: Indonesian-Dutch Musical Encounters (2014) combines musicological, historical and anthropological approaches to productively explore an array of musical interactions between Indonesians and Dutch, tackling a legacy of Dutch colonialism by taking the reader, through its 14 chapters, to different parts of what is now Indonesia, the Netherlands and Suriname; examining an impressive variety of musical genres and other forms of performance; and exploring musical encounters that have spanned centuries. As the editors Bart Barendregt and Els Bogaerts write in the first chapter, “Recollecting Resonances: Listening to an Indonesian-Dutch Musical Heritage,” their aims include “broadening discussions on colonial and postcolonial migration and its legacies and the role culture, more specifically musical encounters have played in all of this” (26). They highlight the importance of studying music in this endeavour, and emphasize that in understanding colonial life “[m]usical practices cast a light on the customs of both colonizer and the colonized, and the very fabric of everyday life in those days; matters that otherwise might be difficult to untie” (1). They also recognize the unequal power relations that characterize many of the musical encounters explored in the volume (5).

Indeed, unequal power relations between Dutch and Indonesians underpin many of the issues addressed in the volume. In chapter 2, “Photographic Representations of the Performing Indonesian,” Liesbeth Ouwehand analyzes photographs of Indonesian musicians, instruments, and dancers “taken between 1870 and 1910” primarily by Europeans for scholarly or commercial purposes (31-32, 57), taking on issues of race, representation and authenticity. The next three chapters explore processes of localization and hybridization by examining the impact of Dutch music on Indonesian music as well as how and why Indonesians have made sense of Dutch music in their own ways, effectively both reinforcing and resisting Dutch power. Gerard A. Persoon considers the history of the Dutch national anthem in Indonesia in chapter 3, “‘Queen Wilhelmina, Mother of the Mentawaians’: The Dutch National Anthem in Indonesia and as Part of the Music Culture of Siberut” (an island off the coast of West Sumatra).In the fourth chapter, “Past and Present Issues of Javanese-European Musical Hybridity: Gendhing Mares and Other Hybrid Genres,” Sumarsam examines “‘marching’ gamelan pieces” (gendhing mares) in central Java, a genrethat incorporates European drums and brass instruments, and relates this type of music to other hybrid genres such as tanjidor and campursari (87). Miriam L. Brenner examines the impact of Dutch music on the island of Buton (off the coast of Southeast Sulawesi) in chapter 5, “Drummers of the Sultan of Buton: The Lasting Influence of the Dutch East India Company on Local Music Traditions,” starting in the 1600s with the arrival of the Dutch East India Company and the military music they brought (111-112).

Chapters 6 and 7 investigate hybridity in the realms of twentieth-century art music, discussing some of the ways Indonesian and Dutch composers synthesized elements of Western art and Indonesian musics. R. Franki S. Notosudirdjo analyzes the contributions of Indonesian composers—as well as their nationalist ambitions—and Dutch composers living in the Indies in the creation and development of Indonesian art music (musik seni) in chapter 6, “Musical Modernism in the Twentieth Century.” In chapter 7, “Constant van de Wall, a European-Javanese Composer,” Henk Mak van Dijk (translated by Wim Tigges) considers Indisch classical music, a type of music composed by Dutch composers who had lived in the Indies, focusing on the work of Constant van de Wall (1871-1945) (151, 153).

The next two chapters probe encounters between the Dutch ethnomusicologist Jaap Kunst (1891-1960) and Indonesian individuals. Chapter 8, “A Musical Friendship: The Correspondence between Mangkunegoro VII and the Ethnomusicologist Jaap Kunst, 1919 to 1940” by Madelon Djajadiningrat and Clara Brinkgreve (translated by Aletta Stevens-Djajadiningrat), centres on Kunst’s relationship with the Javanese prince Mangkunegoro VII through their letters to each other. Chapter 9, “Encounters in the Context of Inspiring Sundanese Music and Problematic Theories” by Wim van Zanten, explores Kunst’s relationship with “the Sundanese music teacher and scholar Machjar Kusumadinata (1902-1979)” (203). Together, these chapters demonstrate the different but intersecting social worlds that Kunst and his consultants inhabited, their shared concerns with musical preservation, and the impact that their work together has had upon subsequent specialists of Indonesian music.

The remaining chapters investigate a further assortment of artistic encounters, and continue to explore the cultural results of movement and migration related to a history of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia.In chapter 10, “Indonesian Performing Arts in the Netherlands, 1913-1944,” Matthew Isaac Cohen “surveys the Indonesian performing arts ‘scene’ in the Netherlands” and its social, cultural and political implications, examining a variety of activity and forms of performance, including “Javanese dance and music associations, Indies drama, kroncong [a form of Indonesian popular music] clubs, touring professionals and pan-Indonesian student groups” (232). Lutgard Mutsaers examines Dutch contributions to the development of kroncong in the next chapter, “‘Barat Ketemu Timur’: Cross-Cultural Encounters and the Making of Early Kroncong History.” Chapter 12, “Tradition and Creative Inspiration: Musical Encounters of the Moluccan Communities in the Netherlands,” by Rein Spoorman and chapter 14, “Kollektief Muziek Theater’s Repositioning of Moluccan Issues” by Fridus Steijlen, discuss the arts of Moluccan communities in the Netherlands. Annika Ockhorst analyzes theatre in Suriname in chapter 13, “Multicultural Encounters on Stage: The Use of Javanese Cultural Elements by the Surinamese Doe-Theatre Company.”

Recollecting Resonances is a worthy contribution to a number of fields, including Southeast Asian studies and ethnomusicology, for its subject matter, scope and interdisciplinarity. While it is likely to be of particular interest to specialists of Indonesian culture, it has much to offer others with interests in the affects of colonialism on expressive culture and how people use expressive culture in colonial and postcolonial contexts. The essays are clearly written and the photographs and other illustrations bring the material to life. I very much look forward to using this book in future research, in teaching, and in thinking more about the important issues and histories that the authors of the volume bring to the fore.

Christina Sunardi, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

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PRODUCING INDONESIA: The State of the Field of Indonesian Studies. Cornell Modern Indonesia Project, no. 76. Editor, Eric Tagliacozzo. Ithaca, NY: Southeast Asia Program Publications, Cornell University, 2014. vi, 370 pp. (Figures.) US$31.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-87727-302-8.

The 25 essays in this volume reflect upon some of the most recent scholarly work in Indonesian studies throughout the globe, but particularly in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The book is organized by six general fields: anthropology, art history, history, language and literature, government and political science and ethnomusicology. All its articles were originally presented at an April 2011 conference organized by the Kahin Center for Advanced Research on Southeast Asia at Cornell University and hosted by Cornell’s Modern Indonesia Project faculty. Besides Eric Tagliacozzo, the leading figure behind the conference and the book’s publication, as well as the book’s editor, 25 other well-known scholars have contributed to this collection.

Essays by Marina Welker, Danilyn Rutherford, Kenneth M. George and Patricia Spyer approach Indonesian studies from an athropological perspective, with Welker, Rutherford and George focusing on more general discussions while Spyer focuses specifically on violence. Kaja M. McGowan, Natasha Reichle, E. Edward McKinnon and Astri Wright assess the importance of contributions in art history and heritage studies to the study of Indonesia. In the field of history, three contributors (Rudolf Mrazek, Laurie J. Sears and Jean Gelman Taylor) investigate various issues surrounding Indonesian historiography, with Taylor focusing more on the Indonesian stream in the study of Indonesian history, while Sears gives much attention to the historical interpretations of two Indonesian novelists, Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Ayu Utami. Eric Tagliacozzo is to be thanked for bringing together all aspects of these three essays in his introduction at the beginning of this section.

Turning to language and literature, five writers—including one Indonesian academician—present to those of us who work mainly in linguistics. Here Abigail C. Cohn, together with Jolanda Pandin, Joseph Errington and Bambang Kaswanti Purwo, provide much information on the study of Bahasa Indonesia. Tinneke Hellwig’s essay is the only one in this section that focuses on the issues surrounding the study of Indonesian literature and literary criticism, both in Indonesia and abroad, although some of her points are also discussed by Sears.

In the section on government and politics, the three essays written by very senior scholars in the field in Indonesia politics focus generally on the state of the field in political studies of Indonesia. Following the introduction by Thomas B. Pepinsky, other essays include that of the guru of most Indonesian political scientists, R. William Liddle, as well as that of senior Indonesianist Donald K. Emmerson, who focuses on political science scholarship in Indonesian politics. Liddle correctly points out how only a “few Indonesians are publishing at an international-quality level” and “well below the needs of Indonesian society” (259), although the numbers are growing. But above all, Edward Aspinall’s essay seems to summarize all the issues of this section into “three generations, three approaches and three contexts” of doing research on Indonesian politics.

The book’s five final essays—on ethnomusicology—add an important social and cultural dimension to this book. Christopher J. Miller, Martin Hatch, Marc Perlman, Andrew N. Weintraub, and last but not least the most senior Indonesian scholar working on Javanese music, Sumarsam, together explore the different issues of how music is becoming an important means for producing Indonesian realities and images.

Obviously, some important topics are not included in this book, but in his introduction the editor points out that “the essays in this volume catalogue, critique, and play with much of the humanities and social sciences disciplines that have been important in deconstructing Indonesian society over a long period, for at least the last 150 years” (15). Therefore, most essays are valuable in explaining “Indonesia as an entity across a large number of fields” (1). This volume is about the birth and development of Indonesian studies from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, a process in which Cornell University—the inspiration for this publication—was a pioneer, and at one time also the most prominant centre for Indonesian studies abroad, other than those in the colonial mother country of the Netherlands. Indonesian studies at Cornell has as a legacy a large number of trained scholars from around the world. Those scholars have gone on to create their own legacies in “producing Indonesia” in different parts of the globe, with or without copying the Cornell tradition. But now, in the second decade of twenty-first century, Indonesian studies is a declining field. Today there is hardly any first-rate centre dedicated to Indonesian studies, notwithstanding those at Cornell and in the Netherlands, where Indonesian studies began during the period of Indologie in order to prepare those for service in the colony. At this point, it is the editor’s expectation that this book might answer, “who are we, where do we come from and where are we going?” within the context of knowledge production. People might benefit from the book to revive Indonesian studies since Indonesia is “clearly moving up in the world” (2), although those studies might not attain the same scale as they had in the past.

Taken together, all the essays raise fascinating notions as Indonesian studies is trying to move away from official accounts of the Indonesian state to the daily life of the common people, and from an orientalist nature to a more critical, autonomous and scientific one by seeking to represent the perspective from within. Some sections of the book even deal with much neglected segments of Indonesian studies. Jean Gelman Taylor’s article is one to be mentioned here. It argues how future Indonesian studies, in producing Indonesia abroad, should also take into account “different perspectives” within Indonesian scholarship about their own images and realities. This can prevent the orientalistic approach from striking back.

The book’s only weakness lies in its structure and reminds us of the fact that most essays fail to produce Indonesia as part of its most proximate environment: Southeast Asia. Like most edited collections, Producing Indonesia varies in quality and significance according to the particular essay; some are too short while others are too long. Although most essays present Indonesia and its civilization as part of world society, they fall short when it comes to Southeast Asia. Producing Indonesia without Southeast Asia is surprising since most centres for Indonesian studies abroad, including that at Cornell, in fact developed hand-in-hand with Southeast Asian studies. In terms of perspective, the book excludes the story of Indonesia studies in what was once known as the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War, when centres on Indonesian studies were developed in places such as the USSR and China. The absence of any contribution by a Japanese scholar also illustrates the limitations of most essays regarding the uniqueness of the Asian perspective on Indonesian studies. These limitations notwithstanding, this book is an impressive piece of scholarship that addresses the state of the field of Indonesian studies. The book should be of interest to scholars and students of Indonesia and Southeast Asia both in Indonesia and abroad, particularly those in the fields of humanities and social sciences.

Bambang Purwanto, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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CAMBODIA: Entering a New Phase of Growth. Editor, Olaf Unteroberdoerster. Washington: International Monetary Fund, 2014. v, 154 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-47556-078-7.

This slim volume is a concise and quite accessible public document, produced by a team of IMF researchers led by Unteroberdoerster, deputy director for Asia Pacific at the IMF in Washington, who has specialized in linkages between financial systems and overall macroeconomic performance in developing economies. He was IMF Mission Chief for Cambodia during the preparation of the paper. Several analysts, most of them from South and Southeast Asia, have set out to justify the optimistic title. Given the fractious history of relations between Cambodia and the IMF through the early 2000s, that is a positive development.

The paper follows a standard format: it is divided into two sections, the first largely descriptive, the second offering prescriptive models, synthesized over several years based on IMF experience in a number of developing countries. The objective is to promote continuing and effective fiscal and monetary policies and practices. While correctly noting that Cambodia has enjoyed a decade of extraordinary economic growth—averaging close to nine percent a year—the study still raises a number of questions with regard to weak infrastructure and poor fiscal management, e.g., a failure to establish an adequate taxation system, and overdependence on a dollarized economy. As befits an official document produced by an intergovernmental body, it stops short of the kind of objective in-depth criticism that academic researchers have levelled at the country, e.g., Sophal Ear’s excellent Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy.

The prescriptive formulae suggested in order for Cambodia to pursue growth in a more stable and systematic way seem, therefore, to be somewhat theoretical. The 21 years since the new constitution was proclaimed in 1993 have assuredly seen positive growth in indigenous capacity, especially in business and financial services. The public service, however, still lacks professional skills and is seriously undercompensated. Education and health services are scarce in the countryside, where some 70 percent of Cambodians still work.

In order to deal with shortcomings in Cambodia’s economic governance, the authors suggest a number of measures for “creating and safeguarding fiscal space.” These include managing public debt more effectively and strengthening financial management, with the objective of “anchoring” macroeconomic stability. Near- and medium-term fiscal challenges are identified, crucially highlighting Cambodia’s failure to improve the collection of direct tax revenues and perhaps overly generous tax incentives to investors. De-dollarization is considered a priority for the medium term to shield Cambodia during periods of international economic instability. Specific recommendations to the Royal Government are prioritized into “achievable and well-sequenced measures.”

As unexceptionable as they are, the recommendations of the study underline just how far Cambodia still has to go to join the “tigers” of Southeast Asia. The most important are summarized in the opening chapter, and include (1) creating and safeguarding fiscal space, including letting the Cambodian riel play a greater part in the economy; (2) addressing financial stability challenges; and (3) modernizing the role of government by, inter alia, strengthening coordination among ministries and agencies. One might also add getting a stronger grip on anti-corruption measures countrywide, e.g., putting an end to massive deforestation. The question one must ask is just how capable is the Royal Government to implement any of the IMF’s proposals, even if it should accept them in their entirety.

And there remain other nagging issues: to begin with, in keeping with the requirement for international organizations to maintain a dispassionate face, the contributors have been reluctant to comment at any length on Cambodia’s political and social governance. Since the paper was prepared prior to the controversial National Assembly elections of 2013, it could obviously not take into account that, for the first time in 20 years, there is emerging, perhaps faster than one might have guessed, a genuine popular appetite for political change. In a country with Cambodia’s tragic history, in which the ruling party has been entrenched for 30 years, this has the potential to be extremely destabilizing, both in political and economic terms. After a full year of bitter confrontations, punctuated by an estimated 500 demonstrations, occasional violence and a half-dozen deaths, the recent agreement by the opposition party finally to take their seats in parliament is welcome, but is by no means the end of the story. The National Assembly has never been a major player in setting economic or social policy in Cambodia, but a large and feisty opposition may try to change that in due course, especially if Hun Sen should keep his promise to make policy making more “transparent.” No IMF paper is likely to affect the political process to any discernable degree; we can only wait and see how this quite practical, but, again, theoretical set of recommendations will play over time in the formation of policy by the current Royal Cambodian Government.

D. Gordon Longmuir, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                 

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AFTER THE NEW ORDER: Space, Politics and Jakarta. Writing Past Colonialism Series. By Abidin Kusno. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2013. xxxii, 268 pp. (Figures, Illustrations, maps.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3745-7.

Abidin Kusno’s third book on the history of architectural forms and spatial practices in Indonesia, After the New Order, establishes him as the foremost architectural historian of Indonesia. In this volume, Kusno continues with the trajectory established in his prior books, identifying the connections between a politics of collective memory, ideological presences and influences embedded within the architectural, and the actual lived outcomes of such temporal-spatial collisions. After the New Order’s erudition and comparative potential is evident not only in the literatures cited (e.g., political philosophy, literature, anthropology and history), but also in providing readers access to a variety of urban practitioners, Indonesian thinkers, Asian thinkers, as well as Dutch, North American and Australian scholarship. The periodization of the book as “after” the New Order situates Kusno’s effort to prove, through careful historical research, the evidence for how present-day conditions of floods, traffic and displacement are legacies—the combined result of the Indonesian state’s negligence and governance. Thus, Jakarta is not, as many of its critics and inhabitants argue, a city “without a plan.” Rather, Jakarta is a place of uneven development, where the discourse of urbanization has until recently been regarded as an elite and statist domain.

Kusno’s longue durée approach is applied throughout the 7-chapter, tripartite book, yet the material feels resolutely contemporary as it deals with Jakarta’s ongoing urban ecological problems of scarce affordable housing, limited access to public services, floods and traffic, even providing us with glimpses into the last two impactful gubernatorial reigns of Sutiyoso and Fauzi Bowo. Thus, it is a forward-looking book, particularly concerned with the fate of the rakyat (the People, but more aptly the poor and dispossessed) under state and private schemes to regulate, formalize and ultimately displace them. Jakarta’s growth upward (chapter 7: Housing the Margin) and outward (chapter 5: The Coast and the Last Frontier) show spatial politics to be urban realizations of applied state power, and even, as was true during the New Order, the result of presidential fiat. Against this backdrop of state-led modernization, the informal arrangements of vernacular and grassroots adaptations appear as unplanned aberrations and disturbances. As Kusno argues, state initiatives targeting social mobility and affordable, “modern” vertical housing for the poor are often selectively successful in their stated aims but remain effective machines for transforming large areas of urban space, reclaiming and “upgrading” coastlines, and presenting “greenwashing” campaigns. After the New Order offers the sobering thought that the social project of housing the poor is too often dominated by a logic of making the poor invisible to the rest of the population. In doing so, he shows the intertwined histories of massive state projects used to imagine a different urban modernity and the population flows and displacements that precipitated and resulted from such policies. The book brings to mind Mike Davis’s haunting thought in Planet of Slums (2006), that the urban poor are celebrated for all the wrong reasons (as capable of self-governance) and passed over because of their fragmented capacity for self-representation.

The first section of the book, titled “Longue Durée,” contains two chapters: chapter 1 on the history of City Hall, and chapter 2 on the ruko, or shophouse. These chapters showcase Kusno’s skill in combining a historical approach with a more ethnographic one. Similar to his analysis of the posko (command post) (Abidin Kusno, The Appearances of Memory: the Mnemonic Practices of Architecture and Urban Form in Indonesia,Durham: Duke University Press, 2010), chapter 2 uses the ruko architectural form as a historicizing device to analyze Chinese identity and national belonging through the colonial and postcolonial eras. Here, he situates the conventional, resolutely utilitarian and now repellently splendid structures of (Chinese) commerce that are identified with Chineseness in the national imaginary, and shows how the ruko’s desirability eventually transcends its ethnic roots, leading to even more lifestyle exclusive structures such as Islamic ruko. Yet as a reader I found the “identity and morality” (xviii) aspects of the book’s argument to be its weakest, since ethnic and “moral,” (i.e., religious) claims have had the least impact on the kinds of class-based displacement that Kusno is concerned with. The book returns to safer ground in the remaining two sections, “Time Remembered/Time Forgotten” and “Spatial Conjunctures.” There, Kusno has relaxed his stance toward his patented concept of “nationalist urbanism” to allow for more complex formations of middle-class participation, private capital and international factors in Jakarta’s development. Even as he focuses on elite instruments of urban development, including the zoning of globalized, capitalist spaces (EPZs in the Jabotabek area) and exclusive superblocks and malls, the book offers glimpses of hope, from the NGOs who agitate against city officials and private developers, to the growing capacity of the rakyat to seek housing rights in the democratic era. Two significant contributions to our understanding of Indonesian urbanism appear here. The first is Kusno’s chapter theorizing the “periurban fringe” (chapter 3). As other authors have argued, the peri-urban is a hybrid zone characterized by the appearance of “desa-kota” (village-town) and the aspirations of permanently transitional subjects (Erik Harms, Saigon’s Edge: On the Margins of Ho Chi Minh City,Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010). Kusno analyzes the peri-urban as a “space of exception” that has become a buffer zone of negligent governance, a form of indirect rule in which the poor and the working classes subsist without right to citizenship claims, but remain with the prospect of the city dangled before them. The second significant and new argument that Kusno presents is his ecological framing of urban issues (chapter 6: Green Governmentality), a frame that has become more popular in planning discourse in Indonesia, albeit without the critical lens with which Kusno views “Go Green” campaigns.

The interview that appears as an epilogue is as informative and rich in data as the chapters themselves. The banter between Etienne Turpin, an urbanist studying Jakarta, and Kusno draws together the major themes animating the book, including urban informality, the agency of the urban poor, lingering modernism, and climate change. Here, Kusno eloquently explains why the rakyat’s urban struggles must be seen in broader political frames of social justice and climate change. The book is as appropriate for an undergraduate readership as it is for experts, in large part due to the author’s clarity of thought and writing. I would recommend that especial attention be paid to the epilogue, where the author’s lively voice demonstrates the extent of his intellectual engagement with urban Indonesia.

Doreen Lee, Northeastern University, Boston, USA                                              

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SOUNDING OUT HERITAGE: Cultural Politics and the Social Practice of Quan Họ Folk Song in Northern Vietnam. Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory. By Lauren Meeker. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2013. viii, 192 pp. (Figures.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3568-2.

Village quan họ singers in Vietnam’s Bắc Ninh province say that their songs “rise up and out of the belly” (64). The singers, who sing in pairs (hát đôi), appear to be whispering to each other, and their performances involve minimal movement. But their voices loudly resonate as they “play an instrument in the throat” (57). Their bodies become infused with stoic energy, fueled by sentiment, and the singers would say that they “did not know how to get tired” (63).

As Lauren Meeker shows in this compelling ethnography, the songs performed in the villages of Bắc Ninh, where quan họ is said to have originated, are not something one simply goes to “watch.” Building from fieldwork in Diềm village, the book details the fascinating social dynamics of quan họ in the village setting, showing how singers, gathered in partner groups called bọn, would engage in ritualized exchanges of song with groups from other villages with which they had established friendship relations. In this way, the book not only provides a clear and detailed analysis of one of Vietnam’s most important styles of folk song, but it also depicts the larger “soundscape” of quan họ, in which cultural performances express, produce and reproduce social relations at both the village and inter-village levels (18-20).

But these soundscapes are not confined to Bắc Ninh. The book documents how this musical style has been an object of national attention by Vietnamese folklorists, ethnologists, intellectuals and culture workers ever since Ho Chi Minh declared independence from France in 1945. In 2009, furthermore, UNESCO registered quan họ as an element of “intangible cultural heritage.” Thus, in addition to offering a detailed study of Bắc Ninh, the book also shows how quan họ is appropriated and heralded as a part of Vietnamese national heritage and national character. Quan họ has been updated, revised and “corrected” by experts or culture workers from Hanoi (only 30 kilometres away) who transformed the music to make it harmonize with various historically situated agendas, ranging from socialist projects of egalitarianism in the 1950s, to the exaltation of heroic struggle and unity of the war years, to more recent efforts to capitalize on the potential “value” of cultural heritage and branding in the post-reform era.

For the purposes of nationalism, part of the allure of quan họ stems from the very fact that it is deeply local. While this might seem like a contradiction, Meeker develops compelling arguments about the way heritage in twentieth-century Vietnam speaks in the universalizing idioms of the state, all while national rhetoric claims to build on diverse local practices as sources of authenticity. Both local singers and national folklore experts alike will commonly assert that people from Bắc Ninh have a special capacity to embody the music, and Meeker’s evocative ethnographic discussion of “the way of practicing” (lối chơi) quan họ in Diềm village help explain some of the logic behind such assertions. The book’s clear explanations of quan họ performances, coupled with carefully chosen and precise ethnographic details, shows how the situated, embodied and relational practices of village-based performance tightly integrate this style of folk song into a complex set of social relations. As such, it is hard to imagine how quan họ could be performed outside of this web of social relations. But this is the magic of nationalist heritage, as it transforms diversity into a source of unity. As Meeker shows, the emergence of a professional, staged, style of “new quan họ” after 1969 encouraged professional singers to transcend the local context and present quan họ as part of a national repertoire. In the process, they simultaneously elevated and transformed many of the attributes of village quan họ. What emerges is a distinct set of differences between new and old-style quan họ. Where old-style quan họ is rooted in the village, new-style quan họ is performed on a stage and can be broadcast anywhere. The old style is meant to be listened to, and is performed by sentimental, slow moving, often elderly, coy and drably dressed members of a parochial but sentimental rural society symbolically associated with the premodern past. The new style, by contrast, is meant to be watched, and the performers are theatrical, full of stylized movements, often young, flirtatious, colourfully dressed citizens of a gregarious national society made modern by a commitment to preserving their national heritage for the future.

It would appear from these strings of difference that the new and the old styles of quan họ are irreconcilable opposites. But Meeker shows how these binary oppositions are in fact mutually entangled with each other in a series of productive tensions that are not so much contradictory as generative. A local, “authentic” old-style quan họ rooted in Bắc Ninh is not undermined by the development of a national “new-style” quan họ. Instead, Bắc Ninh’s authenticity as the centre of quan họ is reinforced by the nationalist impulse to find local cultural essences, even as those imperatives themselves transform the conditions within which that authenticity is produced. In developing this argument, Meeker goes a long way in showing how the sounds of quan họ do different things for villagers, young and old, yesterday and today, than they do or did for revolutionary cadres and ideologues of the past, or for modern-day government officials, scholars, media companies, culture departments and international agencies. To see this required going, as Meeker’s informants always insisted, to Bắc Ninh. But in going there, she also shows what happens when the sounds of quan họ rise up and out of the belly of Bắc Ninh to be broadcast across the nation, and inscribed in the records of UNESCO.

Yale University, New Haven, USA                                                                 Erik Harms

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INTERACTIONS WITH A VIOLENT PAST: Reading Post-Conflict Landscapes in Cambodia, Lao, and Vietnam. IRASEC-NUS Press Publications on Contemporary Southeast Asia. Edited by Vatthana Pholsena and Oliver Tappe. Singapore: NUS Press in association with IRASEC, Bangkok, 2014. xi, 300 pp. (Maps, plates, tables.) US$32.00, paper. ISBN 978-9971-69-701-3.

Over the last decade, an exciting body of scholarship has emerged on the socio-cultural consequences of some thirty years of extreme warfare over the former states of French Indochina: Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. This renewal is part of a wider intellectual shift in scholarship focused largely on the world wars of the twentieth century. Scholars of World War I led the way, as George Mosse’s classic study, Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars (1990) and Paul Fussel’s landmark The Great War and Modern Memory (1975) attest. The emphasis on historical memory was itself connected to innovative and theoretical attempts to understand what this might mean. Pierre Nora’s magisterial Les lieux de mémoire (1997) comes to mind as does Paul Ricoeur’s work.

With the publication of their edited volume, Interactions with a Violent Past, Vatthana Pholsena and Oliver Tappe make a major contribution to our understanding of the socio-cultural impact of the wars for Indochina on Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and how a wide range of peoples living in these countries have remembered, forgotten, retailored and continuously lived with these wars and their memories to this very day. In their introductory chapter, the editors focus the book thematically on the notions of “post-conflict landscapes” and “violent memories.” In different ways, all of the contributors to this book (initially a conference) show how the war has deeply affected “these countries’ human and physical landscapes.” “From battlefields and massive bombing,” the editors write, “to reeducation camps and resettled village, the past lingers on in the physical, often ruined, environment, but also in precarious objects such as unexploded ordnances that are shallowly buried in large areas of contaminated land” (6).

All of the authors effectively demonstrate the different ways war transformed physical reality; but they also show that the postconflict landscape is not some sort of an objective reality existing “out there” (6). The unexploded ordnance and the Agent Orange continue to transform that landscape quite literally, while people for all sorts of different and ever-changing reasons continue to remember the landscape—now and then—in a myriad of ways. And in so doing, they constantly change the contours of the landscape.

Consider the following. Elaine Russel and Susan Hammond take up the question of the still very real dangers of “Living with Unexploded Ordnance” and “Redefining Agent Orange, Mitigating its Impacts” (chapters 4,7). But both go beyond mere description of the consequences to take up questions of how people live with this passé qui ne passe pas. Oliver Tappe, Marksus Schlecker and Ian Baird show us in different and quite original ways how local peoples in Vietnam and Laos today have carefully contested and reshaped official sites and narratives of memory. Vatthana Pholsena zooms in on Route 9 in southern Laos to serve as her postconflict “landscape.” She teases out nicely how people in Sepon see this road as being more than just a source of development and modernity, but also as “a source of healing, with travel and trade resumed, craters filled in, and lingering memories of violence slowly dwindling” (182). Christina Schwenkel tapped into recent scholarship on “the productive life of risk” to provide a highly original and insightful study on the question on how landscapes “heal” and get wounded again. Yes, she concludes, the rapid economic development—new roads, homes, forests, buildings and markets suggest that regeneration and renewal are well under way in Quang Tri—but the global demands for war debris, for example, have led people, including children, to take extraordinary risks to unearth relics of the war. In so doing, they leave holes in the ground and they often leave their lives behind, as the war and its hidden landscape continue to maim and kill.

Each contributor has conducted very impressive fieldwork and advances solid arguments. They also provide us with a vast array of new information and insights. While my eyes sometimes glazed over when certain authors bogged us down with unnecessarily academic jargon, it’s worth carrying on. For, together, they have succeeded in providing us with new insights into the socio-cultural consequences of war in this part of the world and how the peoples who suffered through it still cope with this violent past in a variety of different and ever-changing ways.

Christopher Goscha, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada

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SURABAYA, 1945-2010: Neighbourhood, State and Economy in Indonesia’s City of Struggle. Souteast Asia Publications Series. By Robbie Peters. Honolulu: Asian Studies Association of Australia in association with the University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xvii, 254 pp. (Illus.) US$27.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3864-5.

The city of Surabaya has gone through several ups and downs in the past seventy years. Its history reflects, of course, in many ways the changes that have taken place in Indonesia as a whole, but Surabaya also has idiosyncratic characteristics. One trait that distinguishes Surabaya from its biggest rival, the capital city of Jakarta, is the policy to allow most kampongs to stay in the city centre and not to demolish them to make room for office towers, hotels, shopping malls, and elite housing. Robbie Peters has written a fascinating account of the city, from Independence (1945) till 2010. The focus is on the way state interventions and the economic ebb and flow have impinged on the lives of kampong residents and how these residents have struggled to carve out a pleasant living for themselves.

The work is based on an extensive study of local newspapers and other literature, and intermittent ethnographic fieldwork conducted from 1997 to 2010. Peters stayed in the kampong Dinoyo during the whole of 1998, a momentous year during which the Asian crisis hit Indonesia hard, long-reigning President Suharto stepped down, and so-called ninja killings peaked. He returned regularly to Dinoyo after 1998. The focus of the book rests on this kampong, but Peters often widens the angle, making the connection with developments in Surabaya or Indonesia as a whole. For each period, a few themes take central stage, which are analyzed with a range of theoretical concepts.

Two-thirds of the people fled the city during the fierce Battle of Surabaya of 1945, but a reversed flow of migration already started during the Indonesian Revolution. After the transfer of sovereignty (1949) many people moved from the hinterland into town; old and new residents of Dinoyo often found work in the adjacent industrial estate, Ngagel. In 1957 the workers’ movement seized Dutch-controlled factories in Ngagel, but within a fortnight the army took over the seized factories and brought them under army control. Henceforth, labour unrest inevitably developed into a conflict between unions backed by the Indonesian Communist Party and the army (as selfish managers of the companies), culminating in the dramatic prosecution of Indonesian communists in 1965 and 1966. Peters sheds new light on these events by his economic approach to the conflict, with the army targeting the communists not so much for political as economic reasons. The stories of two labourers, Eko and Rukun, show how people tried to survive the purges.

In the next decades, the municipality embarked on a path of kampong improvement and new investments in the urban infrastructure. Data collection as a prerequisite for urban planning reminded the kampong residents of the searches for evidence of communist involvement in the mid-1960s. In the 1980s industries were moved from the inner city to the outskirts and Ngagel was developed into malls and hotels. This created new jobs for young, pretty girls from Dinoyo, like a certain Ria, because the consumer society required beauty as a precondition “to ‘promote’ the sale of commodities” (105).

The Asian crisis of 1998 brought new hardship and drove dismissed workers to the street to engage in informal economic activities. Kampong residents thus ventured outside of their secure environment into the streets associated with danger. Some years later, the War on Terror gave the state an excuse to step up scrutiny of the kampong residents, in order to distinguish between locals and outsiders (allegedly potential terrorists). The state definitions and boundary making, however, do not match the local definitions of belonging, which are based on the participation in ritual meals (slametans), death rituals and activities like pigeon racing. The residents of Dinoyo have until today successfully resisted state intrusions into their community.

It happened that I read Surabaya, 1945-2010 while staying in a Surabaya kampong myself and I found the book very inspiring for my fieldwork. The book is an excellent companion to Howard Dick’s Surabaya, city of work: A socio-economic history, 1900-2000 (NUS Press, 2003), which gives the general history of Surabaya with more “hard facts,” but lacks the experiences of ordinary people, and Lea Jellinek’s The wheel of fortune: The history of a poor community in Jakarta (Allen & Unwin, 1991), which must have been a model for Robbie Peters, but which hardly or not at all covers the disconcerting events of 1965 and 1998. The fact that the illustrations of the book are of an incomprehensibly poor quality is of no import, because of the very vivid descriptions in words that make illustrations superfluous. The book is a real page-turner, because of the lucid argument and colourful scenes, especially where Peters develops his case with the help of short vignettes about kampong residents.

From what I know of other Indonesian kampongs, my biggest concern is that the book might give an overly romantic view of a harmonious community of like people. The preface leaves no doubt that Peters’ sympathies lie with the kampong residents (and shows his excellent rapport with the residents). How about gender differences? We learn more about the men than the women and may wonder whether they liked the pigeon races as much as the men. When young girls go to work as sales girls, are they still controlled by male relatives? And how about class differences? In colonial times the composition of kampongs was determined by low incomes, but nowadays it is not uncommon to see houses with three storeys and a car port in the midst of basic dwellings in a kampong. Monthly expenditure figures of eleven residents (124) testify to enormous income differences, but go unanalyzed. Do the rich and poor get along well with each other or is there a lot of hidden strife? These queries should not distract from the fact that Surabaya, 1945-2010 is an excellent, admirable book.

Freek Colombijn, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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CULTURE, POWER, AND AUTHORITARIANISM IN THE INDONESIAN STATE: Cultural Policy across the Twentieth-Century to the Reform Era. Southeast Asia Mediated, v.3. By Tod Jones. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2013. xviii, 312 pp. (Tables.) US$116.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-25509-8.

This book is a major study of cultural policy (seen as a state apparatus for social control) as it develops over time in the course of twentieth-century Indonesia. It comprehensively documents key debates, institutional formations and regulations around the production, circulation and reception of cultural policy in Indonesia across different political regimes (though a large part is devoted to the New Order under Suharto, 1965-1998). “Culture” here is understood as an institutionally mediated practice which involves the interplay between structure and agency. This is a definition drawn from Michel Foucault and developed by Tony Bennett with a particular focus on the themes of accommodation, contradiction, misrecognition and, should we say, resistance. The author, Tod Jones (in a theoretically well-informed introductory chapter) offers the notion of “culturality” as a concept to help illustrate the working of those themes in order to show how cultures, while constituted by formal (state) institutions, were shaped by a constellation of other unofficial practices. The book thus can be seen as having a theoretical agenda to show how culture is formed through different forces, even as the formal state discourses remain the most dominant.

To write a book about the complexity, or better, the difficulty of producing and regulating culture is indeed a difficult task. One could go into the messiness of dealing with the irreducibility of cultural practices. Jones however manages to “escape” from the messiness of cultural production by sticking with his main target: cultural policy, a domain that represents the cultural strategy of government. The key actors of the study thus are those associated with the different layers of government structures, and in a way we could say that the study is moving within and around these layers, but never quite beyond them. Playing with these layers, Jones shows the tension and negotiation between the regional and the Pan-Indonesian in asserting cultural strategies. The central theoretical struggle in Jones’ book thus is the question of whether cultural policy is best understood as a formulation from above but one that is deeply shaped by “culturalities,” the discursive cultural practices, from below. Such struggle could be seen in his different twists in the study, for instance he relies on governmental discourses and acknowledges the state’s power, but he aims at showing the different implications of the policy. In the end, we see cultural policy as a set of incomplete attempts and unclear desires of the state to control “culturalities.”. The point Jones wants to make however is that while the government cannot control culture, it can keep producing it through policy.

Central to the study thus are the continuous attempts by the government through its network to issue cultural policy and its institutions. While the efforts are not always working, cultural policy is considered important to maintain order and stability in a socio-political domain filled with often uncontrollable culturalities. This imperative applies to all political regimes. Jones’ theoretical formulation allows “old” modes of governance to keep returning to “new” regimes. This has made the study non-linear even as the book is organized chronologically following the rise and fall of each political regime: Dutch colonialism, Japanese occupation, the Constitutional Democracy and Guided Democracy of Sukarno era, the Suharto’s New Order and the Reform era. The main empirical finding is the influence of colonial cultural policy in the postcolonial era and how the supposedly democratic Reform era is never quite able to leave behind the cultural policy shadow of Suharto’s New Order.

The New Order of Suharto is understandably central to the book, as it provides a bridge between the colonial and postcolonial mode of governing cultures, and it continues to shape the contemporary reform era. The book argues that the New Order replayed the cultural policy of the colonial era which sought to both preserve and develop Indonesian culture according to the state’s aesthetic and moral norm, and in ways that supported development goals. The discourse of preservation was constructed through the idea that there is a realm of unchanging spiritual qualities in Indonesian cultures. Cultural policy is supposed to protect the spiritual domain by isolating it from politics. After the collapse of the Suharto regime, the preservation of the spiritual domain has been relegated to the regional governments.

The strength of Jones’ study however is also its weakness. With a focus on governmental discourses and their definition of cultures, the study follows logically the purview of the state, thus leaving out cultural forms that did not receive attention from cultural policy makers. What has also been left out in the study is the cultural policy on ethnic Chinese which Jones mentions only in two footnotes. Jones is aware of this limit as acknowledged in various instances. Culture, Power, and Authoritariansm in the Indonesian State is a major contribution to the study of cultural policy in a postcolonial country.

Abidin Kusno, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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BUDDHISM IN A DARK AGE: Cambodian Monks under Pol Pot. By Ian Harris. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xi, 242 pp. (Tables, illus, B&W photos.) US$22.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3561.

Most scholars of Southeast Asia are well aware that an individual’s relationship with the Buddhist community, or Sangha,is central to Khmer religious practice, and that Buddhist monks occupy essential sociocultural roles as educators and spiritual guides in Cambodian society. But despite the importance of Buddhist monks to most Cambodians, the Communist Party of Kampuchea’s (CPK) violent persecution of the country’s ethnic minorities tends to take the spotlight in the existing scholarship on the Cambodian genocide. It is for such a reason that Ian Harris’ Buddhism in a Dark Age: Cambodian Monks under Pol Pot is such a welcome addition. An Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Cumbria, Harris combines archival materials with dozens of interviews with genocide survivors to argue that successive Cambodian regimes “have sought to disengage Cambodian Buddhism from its traditional roots through the introduction of a modernist emphasis on the value of the monk’s engagement in socially progressive activity” (170). Rather than something disembodied, passive, or “devoid of purchase on historical and political reality,” Harris asserts that Buddhism remained influential even in lieu of the Sangha’smarginalization and the defrocking of monks, serving as an extant source for CPK thought and policies (3).

Buddhism in a Dark Age consists of seven engaging chapters that cover the period from the rise of Prince Sihanouk’s Buddhist socialist SangkumParty in the opening chapterto the rise and fall of Democratic Kampuchea (DK) and the emergence of the Vietnamese-backed People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK). The second and third chapters—the latter is arguably Harris’ most interesting—traces “filial links between the ideology of Angkar [the CPK] and the more traditional Buddhist categories and attitudes that are well established in Cambodian history and culture” (44). Subsequent chapters discuss the ways in which the CPK treated Buddhist monks during its reign, the Party’s destruction of wats and removal of monks from their traditional roles as educators, and the topic of monk mortality during the DK years. The final chapter explores the attempts to rebuild, unify and “(re)-politicize” the Sanghaunder Vietnamese rule (163).

As a whole, the book introduces the erosion of the Buddhist state in Cambodia, the CPK’s persecution of monks, and the long and trying process of rebuilding the Sanghain the post-DK years. Harris’ discussion of the ways in which the CPK pushed monks away from their usual study of classical scriptures and practices of meditation and towards “productive” labour shows the reader one of the many Party practices that brought the Sanghato its near total destruction. The two chapters that attempt to link Theravada Buddhism to Cambodian/Khmer communism present intriguing pathways into understanding the extant ideas that possibly influenced CPK thought. Yet such efforts also raise questions on the role Buddhism played in the development and promulgation of CPK thought, among others.

Indeed, Harris argues that many of the CPK’s policies are identical to and possibly informed by Buddhist practices (43-44). Such efforts bear resemblance to Frederic Wakeman’s History and Will, in which Wakeman argues that earlier Western philosophical tracts informed Mao Zedong’s later ideology and practices. But such connections do not necessarily “fit,” thus giving the impression that Wakeman—like Harris—is exploring backward and finding continuities in disparate sources that may very well have figured less prominently in the subject’s thought as ideology matured. How do we know, for instance, that Buddhist modes influenced many CPK leaders’ ideologies to the degree Harris suggests, especially after their conversion to communism in Paris during the 1950s? Or that Cambodians endorsed the CPK because of the Party’s allusions to Buddhism, and not, say, references to Cambodia’s oral history and tales of past greatness (Angkor)? While an understanding of the confluence of extant, pre-revolutionary political thought with alternative ideas from outside sources is necessary to explain CPK thought, the primacy Harris places on Buddhism as the possible driving force behind the nature and form of the CPK’s political thought ultimately raises more questions than it answers.

Harris also argues that in some areas Buddhist influence was “explicit” while in others “it led to the inversion of customary Buddhist modes of praxis” (63). One wonders if a link exists between the CPK’s inversion of Buddhist modes and the inversion of Maoist precepts in the doctoral dissertations by the CPK’s intellectual thrust (Khieu Samphan and Hou Yuon). Despite the author’s partial siding with Karl Jackson—who argued that Khieu’s doctoral dissertation was a blueprint for DK (51-52)—there is almost no discussion of it or its impact on the nature of Democratic Kampuchea.

The author also relegates the importance of the Cultural Revolution as an influence on CPK practice. Harris interestingly makes no connection between the CPK’s “Year Zero” and Mao’s campaign to destroy the “Four Olds,” both of which broke with orthodox Marxist analysis, nor does he link Mao’s Great Leap Forward to the “Super” variant the CPK initiated. The absence of engaging the topic of nationalism is also a disappointing omission. It would have been interesting for Harris to situate his assertions on Buddhism in contrast to Penny Edwards’ “temple complex” argument—that the symbol of Angkor Wat came to signify Cambodian sovereignty and faith in Cambodia’s past glory and fears of impending annihilation. Indeed, the French construct of the glorious Khmer past, which contrasted with Cambodia’s present state of weakness, is necessary in explicating the CPK’s weltanschauung.

These questions and criticisms notwithstanding, Buddhism in a Dark Age is a well-researched and thorough analysis of the struggle of Buddhist monks over the past century. Harris’ book is both a long overdue contribution to the literature on the Cambodian genocide and an ambitious study that reminds us of the resilience of Buddhism in Cambodia—even to those who sought so fervently to eradicate it.

Matt Galway, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                             

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RESISTING GENDERED NORMS: Civil Society, the Juridical and Political Space in Cambodia. Gender in a Global/Local World. By Mona Lilja. Farnham, Eng.; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2013. xii, 150 pp. £60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4094-3431-3.

This book is part of a series that explores global forces and local gender identities. It contains 11 chapters divided into two main parts. The first three chapters are devoted to adapting James Scott’s theory of resistance to notions of “disciplinary power” and “biopower” and exploring these within the context of postwar gender norms in Cambodia. The author presents arguments that globalization is making space for Cambodian women to forge new political identities through access to technology, discourses on democratic practices that are inclusive, and through material culture shaping new images identifying women as politicians.

The first main section of the book is entitled “Gender, Resistance and Gender Based Violence.” This section focuses on non-governmental organizations’ approaches and understandings of this subject. It contains slim chapters (co-authored with Mikael Baaz) on the handling of GBV issues within the Extraordinary Court of the Chambers of Cambodia (ECCC) and “biopower and resistance” in the ECCC.

Case studies based on interviews with women in politics and NGOs from the 1990s form the basis of the rest of the book. Cambodian perspectives on gendered identities and new roles for women and men were gathered through the author’s interviews with 41 women and men from a variety of political parties between 1997 and 2007. It is not stated how many of each were interviewed. In addition, 11 NGO workers were interviewed from four NGOs. All but two of the interviewees were based in Phnom Penh. For the chapter on how the ECCC dealt with gender-based violence, the author and Mikael Baaz conducted 33 interviews in 2010 of investigating judges, lawyers, prosecutors, witnesses, victims and civil parties. English was the language of most interviews with interpreters used for some. The length and details of the interviews were not reported.

In the chapter reviewing women politicians and their resistance to gendered norms of male power, the author posits that Western models of the state are referred to in order to justify their ambitions. The irony that women in Western states are also politically marginalized is not discussed. The author concludes: “globalization provides subaltern groups with discourses from abroad that they can employ to renegotiate power sites, in this case the gender equalities within the public administration” (99).

The following chapter examines the strategies and approaches of four local non-governmental organizations in combating gender-based violence. Here it is argued that because the NGOs are largely financed by Western organizations, the values of gender they espouse have an influence over the approach of the work. This is not argued so persuasively by the evidence presented, however, especially as the chapter focuses more on techniques of male trainers with men in local communities and less on value systems and gendered identities.

From initially focusing on women, the NGOs moved to include men in their training and awareness-raising campaigns. Concepts of universalism (in so far as hegemonic masculinity is at play) and particularism are used to examine men’s roles as family members (fathers, sons, husbands) and as those who hold most power in society. The subject position of women in Cambodian society as marginalized and passive is discussed as a hurdle that both men and women have to overcome in order for gender-based violence to be reduced. It would have been interesting for the author to include the approaches to combat GBV by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs since it was the key institution in crafting the law against domestic violence and also works with NGOs to spread key messages and help change attitudes of men and women.

One of the more interesting chapters of the book is an examination of the struggles to get the issue of gender-based violence to be part of the ECCC agenda.. These focused foremost on the phenomenon of “forced marriages” of which up to 500,000 took place during the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979. These marriages were often conducted en masse, among couples that did not have a say in their union.

In light of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 that recognizes the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace negotiations, various international and local human rights organizations began to advance the issue of “forced marriage” as a legitimate civil party complaint. However, some court staff, including those who themselves remained in forced marriages, objected to these cases. The author writes: “Male Cambodian court staff, some of whom still live in ‘forced marriages’, seemingly obstruct or refuse to admit the existence of trauma, thereby undermining the survivors’ credibility… . In all, the resistance from the men in power was often substantial against the new victims’ stories of ‘forced marriages’ (65)” and this had the result of undermining the confidence of some witnesses in the efficacy of the ECCC to deliberate their cases with impartiality.

This book will be of interest to Southeast Asianists who teach or study global/local gender relations. So, too, it will be of interest to scholars and students of Cambodia generally, and especially to those interested in post-1975 social developments.

Kate Grace Frieson, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                             

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ENTERING UNCHARTED WATERS?: ASEAN and the South China Sea. Edited by Pavin Chachavalpongpun. Singapore: ISEAS, 2014. xi, 288 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$32.90, paper . ISBN 978-981-4380-26-3.

Robert Kaplan, writing in the 28 October 2011 issue of Foreign Policy, called the South China Sea the “future of conflict.” Yet on 22 May 2014, after over 20 years of negotiations, Indonesia and the Philippines signed a maritime border agreement delineating the boundaries of their overlapping exclusive economic zones. However laboriously achieved, the spirit of compromise and cooperation in this agreement is very much needed to try to settle the plethora of conflicting territorial claims involving what the NY Times editorial board on 29 May 2014 characterized as a seemingly endless list of Asian nations, including Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, China and Taiwan. There is also a consensus among strategic thinkers of varying schools of thought that the United States has played, and continues to play, a key role in the South China Sea, although they differ in their interpretation of the American influence. The concept of the United States as a safeguard against a rising China having a stabilizing effect by creating a feeling of security within ASEAN is one perception.

At issue in the South China Sea is which nation state controls the large reserves of oil and gas that are thought to be available.. Living marine resources are also important. According to the NY Times editorial board, the territorial disputes in the South China Sea have strong economic motives but they also reflect a deep-seated nationalism and as the Chinese vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin put it, the South China Sea is central to China’s very existence as a global economic power.

The Philippines recently filed a legal case against Beijing with an international arbitration panel in the Hague, seemingly undaunted by China’s sometimes aggressive rhetoric and expansionist claims to nearly all of the South China Sea. The strategy of the Philippines clearly has implications for others in the region with similar claims against China, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. Meanwhile, Vietnam and China have been sending warships into the South China Sea to confront one another.

This volume, entitled Entering Uncharted Waters?: ASEAN and the South China Sea is in this context an exceedingly important and timely piece of scholarship based on a workshop organized by the ASEAN Studies Centre, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) at the initiative of Ambassador K. Kesavapany, who asked the question: “What does ASEAN have to do with the South China Sea?”

The answer is that all ASEAN nations, both individually and as a whole, have a deep and abiding interest in peace and stability in the South China Sea. All ASEAN nations, both individually and as a whole, also have a deep and abiding interest in the freedom of navigation and over flight above the South China Sea. Simply put, much of ASEAN members’ commerce, including traded food and energy resources, passes through or over the South China Sea.

ISEAS was very fortunate to have so many leading scholars participating in this workshop who are acknowledged experts in South China Sea issues. The list of contributors to Entering Uncharted Waters constitutes a veritable “who’s who” in South China Sea law and policy and includes Robert Beckman, director of the Centre of International Law at the National University of Singapore and head of the Programme on Ocean Law and Policy, and Ambassador Hasjim Djalal, former vice chairman of the Delegation of Indonesia to the Third United Nations Law of the Sea Conference. Even if all of these experts did not necessarily speak for their respective governments they at least well understood the positions and interests of those governments. Importantly they also offer genuine hope that increased knowledge might lead all claimants to bring their claims within the framework of the 1982 Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, to which all of the nation states of the South China Sea are party. They also point out that what continues to be regrettably conspicuous by its absence in the South China Sea is an understanding that compromise and cooperation need not threaten national sovereignty and that the quarreling nation states need to return to the spirit and intent of the 2002 ASEAN Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea. The NY Times characterized the 2002 ASEAN Declaration as a lofty but non-binding agreement. However, the 2002 ASEAN Declaration included commitments to international law, a pledge to resolve disputes peacefully and a promise not to occupy uninhabited islands.

Regrettably, as noted by the NY Times editorial board on 29 May 2014, as long as the nation states in the South China Sea continue to make maximalist sovereignty claims, there will be no agreed-upon maritime borders and only missed opportunities to manage the resources of the sea and the seabed of the South China Sea for the benefit of present and future generations.

Richard Kyle Paisley, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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TRAILS OF BRONZE DRUMS ACROSS EARLY SOUTHEAST ASIA: Exchange Routes and Connected Cultural Spheres. Nalanda-Sriwijaya Series. By Ambra Calo. Rev. new ed. Singapore: ISEAS, 2014. xxx, 228 pp., [76] pp. of plates (Charts, maps, figures.) US$69.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4517-86-7.

Ambra Calo makes a significant contribution to the extensive literature on the bronze drums of the Dongson type by choosing to consider these ritual metallaphones in their entire geographical range. In doing this she avoids nationalistic debates and at the same time provides rich insights into the extensive trading networks and pathways along which Dongson drums moved during the late metal age (300 BCE–500 CE). Calo makes use of a select set of “regional clusters” of bronze drums that she then uses to study the routes and timing of transmission of drums produced in workshops like those of the Red River Valley of northern Vietnam, her first regional cluster. Calo uses her impressive mastery of archaeological detail to trace a series of “distribution domains” that include the Dongson and Dian cultures of northern Vietnam and southern China, the cross-regional routes of mainland Southeast Asia and the islands of western

Indonesia. By meticulously examining the archaeological record for regional clusters found in these distribution domains she is able to build an accurate picture both of centres of production and important nodal points in the trading pathways by which bronze drums spread throughout mainland and insular Southeast Asia.

Calo first focuses on her first and third regional clusters, the bronze drums and situlas produced in the Dongson culture of the Red River Valley in northern Vietnam and southern Yunnan, and the closely related artifacts of the Dian culture of Yunnan. In the process she provides convincing solutions to earlier debates on the relationship between these two separate, but closely related, traditions of bronze casting. In her second chapter Calo provides a detailed overview of the larger domain of Dongson-style drums on the Southeast Asian mainland and western Indonesia that brings into clear focus the routes of transmission along exchange networks connecting much of Southeast Asia c. 300 BCE–100 CE.

In other chapters Calo examines the later movement of drums of Dongson provenance into eastern Indonesia (200–600 CE) that her model “envisions […] entering a series of inter-island trade networks controlled by local seafaring traders” (113). She then gives a detailed description of the similarities and differences between Dongson-type drums of mainland origin and the bronze drums cast in the workshops of Bali, demonstrating that the method of using a separate tympanum attached to the hourglass-shaped base of the drum with a flange represents a bronze-casting method of local origin. She goes on to show that important find sites of these drums in Bali are at critical junctures in the riverine system of south-central Bali, which was harnessed by the early dynasties of Bali in the service of the irrigation networks that supported their domains.

There is a great deal of solid scholarship and scientific detail in Calo’s work that will ensure its usefulness for many years to come, and her contribution to our understanding of the timing and routes of transmission of Dongson-type drums is enriched through her methodological choices, which introduce the very useful concepts of regional clusters and distribution domains to a wider readership. In addition, in the final chapter of her book, Calo puts forward a challenging thesis, proposing that motifs that figure strongly in the decoration of Dongson drums have their origin in western Borneo, where they are reflected today among the Dayak peoples of western Borneo. Combining ethnographic and ethno-musicological evidence Calo traces lines of connection between the motifs, myths, ritual implements and musical instruments of Dayak society with those of the Dongson culture. Taking a cue from the linguistic evidence, which suggests a large-scale movement of Austronesian speakers from western Borneo to coastal and central Vietnam sometime in the mid-first millennium BCE, Calo proposes cultural links that were strengthened by the movement of speakers of Malayic languages from Borneo to Vietnam, where they developed as the Cham languages of the Austronesian (AN) family. Calo’s evidence suggests that a long history of contact and exchange between speakers of Cham and their close neighbours from the Austroasiatic populations of the mainland led to the sharing of cultural traits that cross ethno-linguistic boundaries.

While Calo’s final chapter promises much with its assertion of an “island to mainland” pathway for much of the ritual and mythological imagery that is featured prominently in Dongson and Dian drums, the author ends her otherwise impressive volume by introducing a brief discussion of a “Neolithic exchange network involving Taiwanese nephrite” with a brief but inconclusive discussion. One might rather hope for a summation of her views on the “island to mainland” pathway that she introduces so convincingly in the concluding chapter of the work.

The photographs, maps and figures in this volume constitute a very important contribution to the field in and of themselves. The resolution might be improved on some of the photographs, but that is a minor point in comparison with the value of having at our disposal a well-organized and strongly representative record of the production and spread of bronze drums in Southeast Asia. The volume suffers from relatively frequent misspellings or typos that we can hope will be corrected in subsequent printings of this valuable resource.

Thomas Hunter, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                              

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HOT SCIENCE, HIGH WATER: Assembling Nature, Society and Environmental Policy in Contemporary Vietnam. Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Monograph Series, no. 124. By Eren Zink. Copenhagen: Nias Press, 2013. xx, 270 pp. (Figures, tables.) £18.99, paper. ISBN 978-87-7694-128-4.

Hot Science, High Water is a rare and much needed contribution to the study of how decisions are made and policies formed on environmental issues in intricate relations to the reproduction of culture, politics and society. It shows how scientists are not only experts in their fields but also members of a particular social and cultural order. Behind this insight is not merely the merit of ethnographic work, but also productive engagement with actor-network theory to cast light on activities that have given shape to policy, scientists and ultimately society. Using Latour’s framework, the book productively counters foundational approaches to environmental crisis, such as that of political ecology which seeks to contextualize the crisis within a narrative of capitalism. It also problematizes most effectively the institution of policy making, which often assumes the power of “best practices” in influencing varieties of environmental ideals, norms and ethics.

The author Eren Zink, who teaches anthropology of science at Uppsala University, did an excellent job in assembling accounts that feature the intricate social production of scientific discourse in Vietnam in the context of unequal exchange of knowledge between the Global North and the Global South. Instead of looking at the power of international norms and scientific discourses, such as that of Climate Change, in influencing Vietnamese environmental policy, Zink shows how Vietnamese scientists reworked and appropriated those norms to produce policies that work for their own material and moral ambitions. He tells a story about the production of difference, not so much by way of exposing competing accounts about the environment and Climate Change, but by way of harnessing the knowledge to serve other purposes, an act that dislodged the authority of the international agencies who seek to control the practices of knowledge in Vietnam.

Zink follows the Vietnamese scientists and the mechanism by which they remade matters concerning environmental crises into something that could address other issues. The whole processes of remaking brought in social practices that are far from scientific (such as micro-politics and cultural economies) but are equally important in understanding the Vietnamese way of producing nature and environmental policy. There is no doubt a strong component of constructedness of nature and crises but Zink makes clear that the book is in no way denying the crises. The concern is about how the global environmental crises are made relevant to the local situation and how much such efforts rely on the practices of cultural economy.

The book’s strongest theoretical contribution is situated in Zink’s use of “slippery space,” defined as a space produced (by Vietnamese scientists) for misunderstanding and misrecognition of power and knowledge, which ironically served as a basis for collaboration with international development agencies. He applies this concept (and the more familiar idea of habitus from Bourdieu) rather loosely (or better productively) to capture a variety of instances of exchange between different habitus, between the local and foreign actors and between natural and human actors.

As theory occupies a central component in the framing of the ethnographic finding, Zink opens his narrative appropriately with a useful exploration of the concepts and theoretical tools that have made the actor-network theory an accessible and productive method, if only one is willing to follow the scientists at work. Chapter 2 provides another important angle to understanding the making of nature and society in Vietnam. It demonstrates the power or the agency of history and the culture of scientific training in Vietnam and how the power of Confucian learning continues to shape the contemporary habits of scientists in their production of scientific knowledge. The “Science Histories” chapter is a pleasure to read, as it contextualizes the manner of working of Vietnamese scientists in their habits (chapter 3) and in their negotiation with nature (chapter 4) and international development and scientific agencies (chapters five and six). One of the best parts of the story is how the scientific fact of climate change is made to work for seemingly unrelated things, such as kinship relations, political patron-client, and career advancement, without jeopardizing relations with frustrated international agencies. Another great story concerns the formation of national Climate Change policy, which is based on an acceptance of the scientific facts of Climate Change, but it sides with other developing countries in their refusal to accept the mitigation projects proposed by industrialized countries. The last chapter is most interesting as it tells the story of young scientists who have returned home with new scientific knowledge and their own professional ideals but encountered the habitus that demanded adaptation of their manner of working which would in turn shape their scientific knowledge itself. Young scientists who are moving in and out western institutions have also learned to constitute their own slippery space to deal with older scientific establishments in Vietnam.

We thus return to the central theme of the book – how scientists made a space for themselves in the social space of Vietnam by way harnessing global interests, concerns and ideals about nature and crises. In Taking local culture and politics seriously, Eren Zink presents novel insights into the history and ethnography of science and policy-making while simultaneously contributes greatly towards advancing our knowledge about Vietnamese society.

Abidin Kusno, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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THE UNIVERSITY SOCIALIST CLUB AND THE CONTEST FOR MALAYA: Tangled Strands of Modernity. By Loh Kah Seng et al. Singapore: NUS Press, 2013. 347 pp. (B&W photos.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-9971-69-692-4.

The history of decolonization and the making of independent nation states continues to interest scholars across various disciplines. Competing accounts of the tumultuous fifties and sixties, formative years for the forging of a national identity in Malaya and Singapore, have emerged to enrich our understanding of the past. The monumental memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew can be read against The Fajar Generation: The University Socialist Club and the Politics of Postwar Malaya and Singapore (Poh Soo Kai et al. , Strategic Information and Research Centre, 2010). The University Socialist Club and the Contest for Malaysia: Tangled Strands of Modernity adds a scholarly, well-researched dimension to this list. Focusing on an important student organization, the University Socialist Club, the authors embark on a riveting account of the Left in Singapore. The Left, whose role is often elided or consigned to footnotes, emerges as a key player in the exciting years of nation formation. The careful control of tonal objectivity in the authors’ skillfully chosen language makes this an admirably balanced account in which no individual or group is privileged.

Solidly grounded in traditional historical sources such as colonial office records and other written documents like student writings, the authors also use oral histories and interviews. As they see it, “our book is one instance of how oral histories can contribute to the imperial archives and student writings to enrich academic scholarship” (11). Organized chronologically, the history of the Socialist Club is explored within the larger context of major political events of the fifties and sixties. Thus the role of the club acquires wider resonances in the context of the Fajar Trial, the resistance to Malaysia and Operation Coldstore, to name a few. The thematic concerns which undergird this study of a formidable student club shares with other postcolonial writings themes such as identity (both individual and societal), the envisioning of a nation, and the surveillance mechanism of managed decolonization. The book is enriched by the authors’ familiarity with subaltern and postcolonial theories on decolonization and nation formation. Referring to Partha Chatterjee’s “derivative nationalism” they see the paradoxical position of the Socialist Club members whose anti-colonial stand did not prevent the adoption of a Western model of modernity. More significantly, the authors are fully cognizant of the power of the discursive dimension in the Cold War order of information gathering. Words were not only referential but “patently accusatory and transformative” (257). Thus terms like “socialist,” “communist,” “left-wing,” and “right-wing” acquired loaded meanings.

Beginning with the Socialist Club’s formation in 1953 and its early activities, the authors then trace the club’s continued role in speaking up for “stifled Malayans” after the Fajar Trial. They question the binary Manichean thinking of official accounts which see a simple divide between apathetic English-educated students and chauvinistic, Communist-influenced Chinese-medium students. Far from being apathetic, club members organized talks to educate students on socialism, helped to “invigorate left-wing trade unions” (86) and, together with other students groups, attempted to form the Pan Malayan Students’ Federation. The club’s promotion of Malay as the national language showed a non-communal approach, privileging class over ethnic-cultural ties. Divergences did occur because conflicting opinions operated both within the club and between the club and its critics. The term “socialist” engendered various shades of meaning as Fabian socialists, liberal socialists and democratic socialists lay claim to “socialism.” In spite of sharing socialist ideals, club members’ overlapping roles reveal that the identity of left-leaning student activists was not homogeneous, but fluid.

A note-worthy contribution is the authors’ recognition that even after Operation Coldstore, club members continued to use their publication to educate and inform. One detail which draws our attention is the club’s refusal to accept Lee Kuan Yew’s offer to grant a new permit for the publication of Fajar if the publication’s name was changed. Such a change of name would alter the historical legacy of the club by dissociating it from “its anti-establishment credentials and history” (200). The range of its critiques on many important issues such as the merger debate would be further neglected.

The theme of curtailment adds to our understanding of the surveillance which the postwar world order mandated. Besides more overt forms, surveillance consisted of the “systematic collection and use of specific forms of information” (155). The authors note the state’s use of paternalistic imagery in representing the student activists as naïve youths easily susceptible to leftist propaganda and thus in need of paternal guidance and chastisement. Arrests, incarceration and the toll on individuals are poignantly portrayed via the use of interviews which makes history come alive, complementing the documented evidence in a mutually enriching manner. Oral history as a reflection on identity is rightly seen as a continuing dialogue between past and present since “even the silences of memory are socially significant” (235).

Careful selection of materials offers us a balanced picture of the achievements and shortcomings of the University Socialist Club. Some members were silent about violations of civil liberties by communist states. The club’s vision of a non-communal Malaya where multi-racial workers unite across racial lines to forge a modernist Malaya underestimated the divisive power of ethnic ties. A socialist nation could not square with that of a fledgling Singapore where, after 1965, rapid industrialization required a vastly different concept of capital acquisition and social engineering.

The University Socialist Club and the Contest for Malaya: Tangled Strands of Modernity will appeal to scholars across many disciplines and the general public. Careful not to dismiss the official state narrative of nation formation as mere propaganda or promote the memories of the Left as gospel truth, the authors succeed admirably in adding a nuanced perspective to the history of Malaya and Singapore. Informative biographical sketches of the club’s members will educate future generations about a group of important individuals in our past. For some, the club’s members were too idealistic, fuelled by “moral authority, derived from their nascent roles as intellectuals and change makers” (134). Yet many of them paid a heavy price for their beliefs. They deserve a place in our reflection on the legacies of the past as these impinge on the present.

Wong Soak Koon, Independent Researcher
Universiti Sains Malaysia (retired)

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FAITH AND THE STATE: A History of Islamic Philanthropy in Indonesia. Brill’s Southeast Asian Library, v. 1. By Amelia Fauzia. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2013. xxx, 346 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$156.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-23397-3.

For the past few decades, an enthusiasm to revitalize philanthropic practices has had far-reaching consequences to the increasing visibility of Islam in the Indonesian public space. Questions about how and why the culture of giving is being rejuvenated within the religious communities are always interesting to pose, partly because the practice of giving, or philanthropy so to speak, is not only about altruistic behaviour. In a nation-state era, philanthropic practices are also constructed by different social, cultural, economic and political factors. This book concerns the historical development and institutional transformation of charitable activities in Indonesian Islam, and examines the political dynamism behind a rapid development of Islamic philanthropic organizations.

The author, Amelia Fauzia, focuses on the state’s role in providing welfare schemes for communities and its consequences to the institutional transformation of philanthropic organizations. According to Fauzia, philanthropy is primarily embedded in civil society, and philanthropic activism is heavily dependent on the state’s welfare policies. She argues that the major factor energizing philanthropic activism among civil society is the state’s weakness in providing an adequate welfare plan. The author also comes to the conclusion that a “weak state” will lead to “strong philanthropy” and a strong state will be characterized by weak philanthropy.

The book consists of four sections divided into seven chapters. In the first section, “From Early Islamization to Islamic Kingdom,” Fauzia provides an overview of the historical development of the religiously motivated giving in Muslim societies. The author highlights the views of ulama (Islamic scholars) and the Muslim interpretation of the normative concept of Islamic philanthropy, such as zakat (almsgiving) and waqf (pious endowment). It is mentioned that, in the past, Muslims in the Indonesian archipelago channeled their zakat to local religious leaders or directly to the poor. Zakat, therefore, functioned as a community-based social security system, as it was fully managed in the hands of society. The absence of any record pointing to the direct engagement of kings or sultans in mobilizing the religiously inspired philanthropic in Indonesian kingdoms indicates that zakat was considered a private matter, instead of a public affair. Nevertheless, she notes that the rise of the nation state has influenced the pattern of the relationship between religion and the state and has changed Muslim views about Islamic philanthropy. Consequently, there are at least two competing streams of opinion among Muslims about how zakat (almsgiving) should be practiced and organized. The first stream is concerned with the revitalization of zakat as a part of the state’s fiscal system; the second stream puts emphasis on the function of zakat as a grassroots social security system.

The second part, “Islamic Philanthropy under Non-Muslim Rule,” discusses the development of Islamic philanthropy from the Dutch colonial period until after Indonesian independence. The author’s detailed exposition of Dutch colonial policies on Muslim philanthropy suggests that zakat was perceived by the Dutch government as a Muslim private matter, and the Dutch colonial government clearly distingushed between the public and private spheres. This type of Dutch policy provided an opportunity for Islamic associations founded in the early twentieth century, such as Muhammadiyah (the modernist Muslim organization) and the Nahdlatul Ulama (the traditionalist Islam), to govern philanthropic funds independently. Active participation of Islamic organizations in philanthropic practices before the Indonesian independence can be seen in the role of Muhammadiyah and the Nahdlatul Ulama in financing a wide array of social enterprises, including the operation of schools, orphanages, clinics, disaster relief agencies and other welfare-oriented social activities. Before the independence era, Muslim concern about zakat was still restricted to Islamic jurisprudential issues.

The next part, “Islamic Philanthropy in the Independent Indonesian State,” examines the process of the bureaucratization of Islamic philanthropy in post-Independence Indonesia, marked by the modernization of waqf during the Old Order era, and the increase of the state interest in zakat organizing in the New Order era. The author critically examines the New Order’s ambiguous policy on Islam. According to the author, on the one hand, the New Order regime firmly asserted Pancasila as the state ideology in order to celebrate the religious and cultural diversity among Indonesian citizens. On the other hand, the New Order also intensified its Islamic policy to accommodate Muslim interest, such as the issuance of regulation on waqf and zakat, as well as the state involvement in sponsoring state-sponsored Islamic philanthropic agencies.This part also presents a contemporary development of Islamic philanthropy. The author draws particular attention to the formation of Indonesian zakat regulation such as the issuance of zakat law and debates on zakat organizing between the supporters of government-sponsored zakat agencies and the advocates of civil-society-based zakat organizations in post-New Order era.

The last section is the conclusion, in which the author discusses two main issues. The author suggests that there have been two competing trends among Indonesian Muslims on how to manage Islamic philanthropy: 1) a strong inclination to privatize Islamic philanthropy; and 2) the state’s enthusiasm to institutionalize (or bureaucratize) Islamic philanthropy. Secondly, the author is concerned with the notions of voluntarism within the communities which have strengthened philanthropic activism in Indonesian Islam. In her reflection, she underlines the necessity to reinforce the institutional capacity of Islamic philanthropic organizations among civil society in order to promote social justice effectively.

This book is a valuable contribution to the literature on Islamic social-political history and should become an important part of studies of Indonesian Islam. It has presented very rich information about the dynamics of encounters between the state and civil society in Indonesian Islam. While the book is, no doubt, very worthwhile for observers in Islamic studies, political Islam and the history of Islam in the Southeast, it has not sufficiently included ethnographic findings of grassroots practices of philanthropy in contemporary Indonesian Islam.

Hilman Latief, Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, Bantul, Indonesia

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CAULDRON OF RESISTANCE: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam. The United States in the World. By Jessica M. Chapman. Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press, 2013. xi, 276 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5061-7.

Recent years have yielded a rich harvest of book-length studies on the period from the end of the First Indochina War (1946-1954) and the Geneva Accords to US imperial intervention, the establishment of the Republic of Viet Nam (RVN, 1955-1975), and the Ngo Dinh Diem regime (1954-1963) in the country’s southern half. Authors like James Carter, Philip Catton, Seth Jacobs, Mark Lawrence, Fredrik Logevall and Edward Miller have expanded our knowledge of, in particular, the politics and diplomacy of the era. Much of that recent work provides a more complex portrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem and the US-supported state he established in the crucial months and years after the Geneva Conference. While the contours of a nuanced treatment of the RVN and the Diem government had already appeared in Viet Nam Studies, such a detailed analysis of Ngo Dinh Diem had been lacking in Viet Nam War Studies, still dominated by US-centrism and largely un-emancipated from Cold War prerogatives. Neither “US puppet” nor “Churchill of the East,” Ngo Dinh Diem emerges in this new literature as a nationalist in his own right, masterful in manipulating political forces around him, and, while beholden to the US, ruthlessly pursuing his own agenda.

Jessica Chapman adds to this œuvre with her important, immensely insightful and readable Cauldron of Resistance. Like many of her recent peers, she focuses particularly on the years 1953-1956: the end of the French war, the Geneva Conference, and political events and diplomatic moves in Viet Nam’s south surrounding the dual replacement of the Associated State of Viet Nam (ASVN, 1949-1955) under Bao Dai with the RVN under Diem and of the French presence with US overlordship. In her treatment of the symbiotic, yet contentious Diem-US relationship itself, Chapman largely focuses on the familiar cast of characters and political and diplomatic archives like other recent publications. She similarly notes the irony of the Ngo Dinh Diem regime: Diem’s personal traits and uncompromising, violent strategies that soon assured the RVN’s stabilization in the country’s southern half also led to his downfall in 1963; his singular feat of imposing central state power over the southern regions came at the heavy price of simultaneously sowing the seeds of the eventual destruction both of his regime and the US neo-colonial project south of the DMZ.

The core contributions of Cauldron of Resistance, however, lie in the twist that Chapman adds to our knowledge of the ASVN and the early RVN. She provides the first sustained study of the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, and Binh Xuyen as influential political actors since the 1940s and argues convincingly that these “politico-religious organizations” be considered centrally in any serious analysis of the period. Here Chapman positions herself against prevailing notions in the literature that too quickly dismiss these “sects” and “crime cartel” as regional power brokers without national ambitions and as “warlords” defending their fiefs, whose bloody destruction in 1954/55 only serves to highlight Diem’s success at “nation-building” and as a mere way-station towards the RVN’s ultimate confrontation with communism.

Rather, Chapman argues, these three politico-religious organizations were deeply embedded in the multi-ethnic, multi-religious environment of Viet Nam’s deep south and arose in a milieu of millenarian movements, secret societies, syncretic religious and cultural associations, and multipolar power under a repressive, unsettling colonial regime. They defended their autonomy and pursued their anti-colonial, yet anti-communist national ambitions in uneasy alliances with, variously, the French, Trotskyites, the Japanese, the Viet Minh, and Bao Dai loyalists, or in violent conflict against some of these forces at other times. (Chapman’s chapter 1 provides a superb overview of this multifaceted history from the 1840s to the 1940s.) By the early 1950s, the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao and Binh Xuyen enjoyed formidable political and military power in the south and prominence in the vigorous public debates and behind-the-scenes maneuvers surrounding the Geneva Accords. In the complex contexts of their times, they were rational political actors.

Cauldron argues that US officials, however, were deaf to the appeals of these politico-religious groups as they misread them—encouraged by Ngo Dinh Diem—as exotic, irrational, anti-modern, “feudal” warlords, bandits and sects. Chapman’s point here wonderfully complements Seth Jacobs’ argument that the US threw their support behind Diem in part because his Catholicism, conservatism, and anti-communism resonated deeply with, and hence was legible to, 1950s US political culture.

Chapman’s second major argument is that it was Diem’s intolerance of the challenge to his power posed by the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao and Binh Xuyen, more so than any communist threat, that motivated the rapid construction of the RVN’s repressive state apparatus in 1954-1956, when there was no active revolutionary resistance south of the DMZ. Even after destroying the three organizations’ militias by 1955, Diem continued to employ, with active US support, his police state’s “terroristic” campaigns against all opposition, even if outwardly anti-communist, mainly out of concern over lingering politico-religious networks and influences. This is a novel argument challenging conventional Cold War interpretations, but Chapman’s diligent documentation is indeed persuasive.

The book’s important third insight arises from its preceding argument: Diem’s state terror campaigns were so uncompromising, indiscriminate and violent that they eventually drove politico-religious partisans into an alliance of necessity with southern communists and created the late 1950s revolutionary conditions leading to the founding of the National Liberation Front (NLF). Misread by US officials, excluded from power and hunted by Diem, Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, and Binh Xuyen leaders and followers became constitutive members of the southern revolutionary resistance that ultimately helped defeat the RVN and the US. Here Chapman gives us an indication that a thorough re-evaluation of the NLF outside of Cold War clichés is an urgent task awaiting the field.

I have a few quibbles with Cauldron of Resistance. With its emphasis on the three politico-religious groups, the book’s title hardly reflects its actual focus and genuine contribution. Given that the power bases of the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, and Binh Xuyen were in former Cochinchina, Chapman should have given the reader a better understanding of their political activities and ambitions in other regions, particularly the centre. I also find the author’s use of the term “communist” sweeping, even as she forcefully argues, in the case of “sects,” for a more nuanced terminology. The book’s glossary of Vietnamese diacritics contains quite a few errors. Finally, Chapman’s conclusion with its US foreign policy recommendations and linkage to the so-called “war on terror” seems contrived and naïve; some of its language (e.g., “In Vietnam, the battle between the forces of communism and those in support of American-style liberal democratic capitalism…”) stands in contradiction to the book’s very points.

Nevertheless, Jessica Chapman’s Cauldron of Resistance is a fine achievement and a welcome addition to the study of 1950s Viet Nam and US interventionism, contains a number of important arguments that demand reconsideration of our assumptions, and therefore is highly recommended.

Christoph Giebel, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

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ISLAM AND THE MAKING OF THE NATION: Kartosuwiryo and Political Islam in 20th Century Indonesia. Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 282. By Chiara Formichi. Leiden: KITLV Press, 2012. xvii, 244 pp. (Map.) US$49.00, paper. ISBN 978-90-6718-386-4.

If there is one particular form of political Islam in Indonesia that continues to be a security issue today, it is the Negara Islam Indonesia, abbreviated NII (Indonesian Islamic State), that is invariably called the Darul Islam, abbreviated DI, the “abode of Islam” or the ideal Islamic state. The NII was proclaimed by Sekarmaji Marjan Kartosuwiryo (1905-1962) on August 7, 1949 in Cimambang, West Java.

Even though the NII and the DI had been crushed by the Indonesian military more than a half century ago in the aftermath of the capture and execution of Kartosuwiryo in 1962, some splinter groups and cells of the NII continue to remain active underground. It is supposed by many circles of the Indonesian public that a certain splinter group of former NII members remains active, in order to recruit Muslim youth to fight for the cause of the Islamic state of Indonesia. This same splinter group of the NII is also allegedly very close to Indonesian military figures or groups.

The fact that the ideal of, and efforts to create. an Indonesian Islamic State (NII) continue to grip the imagination of a few Indonesian Muslims is briefly outlined by Formichi in this book (185-200). This short discussion deals with the current discourse on Kartosuwiryo’s NII. In the post-Soeharto Indonesia, there is a growing tendency among Islamic-state-oriented Indonesian Muslims to glorify Kartosuwiryo and NII. Despite its brevity, Formichi’s account is one of the most significant strengths of his work compared to other studies on the NII and Kartosuwiryo.

In addition to that, there are some other basic differences to Formichi’s book compared to other earlier works on the NII/DI, particularly the monumental study of Cornelis van Dijk, Rebellion under the Banner of Islam: The Darul Islam in Indonesia (1981). Van Dijk views the Kartosuwiryo’s rebellion mostly as a social movement that used Islam only as a rethoric and rallying cry.

In contrast, Formichi considers Kartosuwiryo’s NII/DI as a genuine expression of political Islam aiming at the creation of an Islamic federation in the archipelago. He argues that roots of the Kartosuwiryo can be traced back to his writings and political activism in the Sarekat Islam (SI, Islamic Association), the earliest Islamic nationalist movement that was founded in 1911 and changed its name to Partai Sarekat Islam Indonesia (PSII, Party of Islamic Association of Indonesia) in 1929.

Very active in the SI since his earliest twenties, Kartosuwiryo’s political career seems to skyrocket when, according to Dutch sources, he was promoted to the position of SI secretary general after the congress of the organization in October 1927. According to SI documents, however, he became very active as a regular writer in the SI newspaper FadjarAsia.

According to Formichi, in his articles, Kartosuwiryo showed his commitment to Islamic ideology. In his articles he criticized colonial policies, socio-economic injustices, abuse of power by police, and Dutch religious and political “neutrality.” In addition, he also addressed the international dimension of the nationalist struggle for merdeka (independence). Reading his articles, it is no surprise that he was regarded by the Dutch authorities as a “religious fanatic” who was more than ready to use (and abuse) Islam for his political cause.

Formichi criticizes the failure of other scholars to take a serious consideration of the role of Islam in the NII/DI movement. In his observation, most works produced between 1949 and the 1980s downplayed the role of Islam in NII/DI’s motives for action, highlighting instead its violent turn in later years and its opposition to the established political authority of the Republic of Indonesia. Formichi argues that the failure to take seriously the importance of Islam in the NII/DI movement has gone hand-in-hand, until recently, with a more general marginalization of Indonesia in discussions of political Islam.

Based on this framework, in Formichi’s view, scholars like van Dijk, mostly viewed the origins of the Kartosuwiryo’s rebellion in the frustration of regional military commanders who were sidelined in the formation of a national army and popular discontent towards agrarian reforms and political centralization in Jakarta. Furthermore, Kartosuwiro was considered as lacking Islamic credentials that would give him credibility to lead the efforts to establish an Indonesian Islamic state.

On the other hand, Formichi argues that the NII/DI movement, which he calls “Indonesian Islamism,” cannot be separated from the rise of political Islam in other parts of the Muslim world. This has actually been also suggested by C.A.O. van Nieuwenhujze in his book Aspects of Islam in Post-Colonial Indonesia (1958) that the DI movement was influenced by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood ideas. On the the other hand, B.J. Boland, in his The Struggle of Islam in Modern Indonesia (1982), speculated that Kartosuwiryo got some influence for the Pakistani Abu A’la al-Mawdudi.

While there is no evidence of Mawdudi’s influence on the NII/DI movement, Formichi suggested that there was some contact among Indonesian Muslims in Cairo with leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, supposedly included Hassan al-Banna, its supreme leader. These Indonesians in turn transmitted the pan-Islamic ideas that would get a warm reception in those Indonesian Muslims who aspired to create an Indonesian Islamic state.

In conclusion, through this “revisit” study of NII/DI, Formichi is able to show convincingly the Islamic political roots of Kartosuwiryo. With the same token, he shows factors that make this kind of expression of political Islam a failure, not only in the past and the present time, but also beyond.

Azyumardi Azra, State Islamic University, Jakarta, Indonesia

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CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE AND DEMOCRACY IN INDONESIA. Problems of International Politics. By Donald L. Horowitz. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xviii, 326 pp. (Tables, map.) US$29.99, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-64115-0.Indonesia is a far-flung archipelago of more than 250 million citizens, whose highly variegated society, while 90 percent Muslim, speaks some 700 languages. Its economy, meanwhile, is geared simply to commodities and services, trapping it at a modest level of development. How is it, then, that such uncongenial soil supports the only polity among ASEAN countries today regarded by Freedom House as “politically free”? In this remarkable book, Donald Horowitz finds the answer to Indonesia’s democratic resilience in a medley of factors: starting conditions, fortuitous timing, consensual elites and viscous but free-moving social forces, producing a benign kinetic that he labels “multipolar fluidity.” But most signally, within this constellation, institutions have emerged which, by feeding back to perpetuate the alignments in which they originate, have kept democracy on beam.

In focusing on Indonesia, Horowitz begins by recounting that its society involves a vast patchwork of micro-identities. But at “rare and dangerous moments” (38), affiliations can gather in sharp confrontation along main axes of secular-nationalism and modernist and traditional Islam, locally demarcated as aliran (cultural streams). His task, then, is to show how institutions have been created in ways that deter political elites from so mobilizing voters along these lines that sentiments are brought to the boil, breaking democracy down. It is worth rehearsing his surprising findings as they disturb some cherished understandings in political science.

First, in terms of sequencing, it was fortuitous in Indonesia that electoral contestation preceded institutional change. Elections held shortly after Suharto’s demise brought legislators to power who, better than any constituent assembly or commission that outside experts might counsel, designed institutions that they could live with, increasing prospects for their eschewing the social mobilizing by which democracy would be threatened.

Second, in afterward revamping the constitution, legislators adopted a form of list proportional representation (PR), ensuring that more than one party represented each aliran. In this way, they encouraged movement by voters within streams. In addition, as the many parties that appeared contested elections avidly, they sought to extend their reach by forging “odd-couple coalitions,” whether Muslim-Christian, santri-abangan, or indigene-immigrant in scope. This prompted movement by voters across streams as well. What is more, the multipolar fluidity that set in was reinforced by a president who, after 2004, was contrarily elected on a plurality or, even better, a majority basis. Specifically, with citizens finding their aliran only indistinctly reflected in presidential slates that were few in number and broad in appeal, they were driven again to wade across streams, or lose sight of them altogether, their gaze averted to the personal appeal of lead candidates. Horowitz proposes a wise dictum for democratic stability in Indonesia: “foster intra-group competition, encourage intergroup alliances” (275).

But this too challenges a longstanding adage in political science, specifically, that presidential systems and legislatures elected on the basis of list PR, by pitting a majoritarian executive against a fissiparous cabinet, necessarily make for grievous tensions and deadlock. Horowitz argues, however, that in Indonesia a directly elected president and list PR have been optimal, sustaining multipolar fluidity by deterring candidates from recklessly activating aliran.

Third, rather than any “one shot’” package of constitutional reform, Indonesia’s institutional change was incremental and protracted. But if this precluded the early codification of electoral rules that experts might prescribe, it has enabled legislators to pursue ongoing institutional adjustment, thereby ensuring their continuing loyalties. Of course, this narrow pursuit of rewards does not always cumulate in collective long-term benefits. Horowitz shows that many legislators, while citing parliamentary stalemate and Outer Island rebellions during the 1950s, but more gravely concerned that their own large parties should prevail, have tried repeatedly to banish the smaller parties upon which much multipolar fluidity depends.

Hence, in seeking to dampen PR’s proliferative effects, legislators have imposed ever more stringent requirements on parties that seek to contest elections. But while avoiding fragmentation among micro-identities, Horowitz contends that this risks bifurcation between secularists and Islamists, “splitting the country down the middle.” Sundry anomalies have also set in. For example, despite extensive decentralization, parties hoping to contest at the local level must still meet a perverse requirement that they operate a country-wide branch structure. Further, while parties compete vigorously in elections, they afterward collude in legislative arenas. And the oversize cabinets in which they meet, while evoking inclusion and consensus, are mainly held together by a “conspiracy of silence,” with members tolerating each other’s looting of state assets in order to finance their party activities. Presidents also prefer oversize cabinets to minimum winning coalitions, helping them face down the parties that would blackmail them with threats of defection.

Fourth, in the ensuing absence of serious opposition and accountability, Horowitz turns to questions about democratic stability and quality, challenging the old saw that all good things go together. By posing counterfactuals, Horowitz demonstrates that in Indonesia, democracy’s stability and quality vary inversely. In particular, if corruption were better controlled, narrowing the conduits to patronage that parties require to survive, habituated collusion might give way to sharp confrontation. Further, if religious minorities were better protected, encouraging them to practice their beliefs more openly, they would draw the ire of the Muslim majority and rambunctious vigilantes. And finally, if these axes were to intertwine, with vigorously competing parties now hardening along the secular-Islamist divide, multipolar fluidity might congeal in a deadly bipolar faceoff.

In sum, Horowitz offers a sumptuous and thoughtful account. His book will hold obvious appeal for the legions of dedicated Indonesianists. But it might profit the generalists even more, confronting at many turns their long-held tenets about democratic stability. Even so, a few queries might be raised. At what point is democracy’s quality so compromised, with the freeness and fairness of elections disfigured by corrupt financing, for example, that democracy slips into some authoritarian category? On this score, we might ask how analytically separable and sequential democracy’s stability and quality really are.

Further, Horowitz places great store on originating conditions, prodding legislators down a pathway on which they are partly predestined. But this is to muddle legacy and agency, making it difficult to disentangle their respective contributions to institutional change in even the single case of Indonesia, much more in any theoretical way across other divided societies. The direction of causality between institutions and legislators is also unclear, with rules changed regularly by legislators who are then bound by them, but only until they are changed again. As Horowitz observes, electoral laws have been altered in Indonesia prior to every election.

Finally, however institutions took shape in Indonesia, if just a couple of presidential slates, by issuing overarching appeals, help to promote multipolar fluidity, why couldn’t a limited number of big parties, in establishing themselves as catch-all vehicles, do the same? Would the shared preeminence of, say, Golkar and PDI-P, necessarily do more to polarize aliran than to dilute them? The two-party system that preceded Marcos in the Philippines indicates that they might not, intimating that Indonesia’s (re)framers, in their wariness over small parties, may have a point.

William Case, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

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Australasia and the Pacific Islands


PACIFIC IDENTITIES AND WELL-BEING: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Routledge Monographs in Mental Health. Edited by Margaret Nelson Agee, Tracey McIntosh, Philip Culbertson and Cabrini ‘Ofa Makasiale. New York; London: Routledge, 2013. xxiv, 290 pp. (Tables, illus., B&W photos.) US$140.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-53428-4.

This book is a rich resource of cultural insights, attitudes and strategies for addressing mental health problems in communities of Polynesians (Pasifika) and Maori in the South Pacific, especially in New Zealand. Over the last 25 years, large migration streams have contributed to a significant ethnic diversification of the New Zealand population. At present, Pasifika constitute 7 percent of the population, while the indigenous Māori people form around 15 percent. It is important to add that both Māori and Pasifika sections of the New Zealand population are rather young, so many children and adolescents are growing up in a multicultural environment with ethnic and cultural aspects of their identity being salient in everyday activities. In this context, it is important that they develop a strong and positive cultural identity, which provides them with an extensive repertoire to negotiate difficult situations in which they are faced with socio-cultural diversity, unfair treatment or even negative stereotypes. After all, a positive cultural identity and high levels of self-esteem can help adolescents to buffer the effects of cultural differences, discrimination or racism on their psychological well-being.

For a variety of reasons, however, many Pasifika and Maori are not successful in negotiating and shifting their identities between ethnic and mainstream circumstances. Their socio-cultural and psychological development is not infrequently hampered by the discrepancy between cultural contexts that are crucial in their lives, which often entails school problems, anxiety, loneliness, anger, depression and violence. As a corollary, a disproportionate number of Pasifika and Maori are diagnosed with mental health problems. Until recently they were routinely treated with Western therapeutic strategies, but the results of this therapy were generally below par because of the cultural differences that are at stake. Over the past 30 years, integrative and holistic approaches may have been developed, but these, too, are chiefly framed within a cultural perspective that does not match with the socio-cultural background of Pasifika and Maori. If the members of South Pacific communities are to be engaged effectively, they need to be approached and appreciated through a cultural lens that acknowledges their different cultural background, which in turn facilitates intercultural communication in counseling. This book aims at providing the necessary resources for intercultural counseling and to expand the growing corpus of literature that specifically covers mental health issues among populations that are indigenous to the South Pacific region.

The book is divided into four parts. The first part focuses on identity issues and provides a discussion of the cultural contexts in which mental health problems of Pasifika and Maori are to be situated. It opens with a chapter by Melinda Webber on behaviours, perceptions and challenges of adolescents in a multi-ethnic urban context, which offers some pertinent insights into the cultural encounters and self-perceptions of young people who face complicated choices that affect their socio-cultural and psychological development in an ethnically diverse society. Her examination of adolescent understandings of cultural and ethnic aspects of their identity provides a wonderful introduction to the issues addressed in subsequent chapters, such as, for example, the contribution of parents and grandparents as facilitators of cultural knowledge who may help to clarify transgenerational changes and conflicts. Teena Brown Pulu, herself of mixed New Zealand and Tongan descent, presents some marvellous autoethnography to explore how identity is shaped by location, nationality and family migration patterns.

The second part focuses on therapeutic practices and includes a range of case studies presenting innovative strategies for dealing with mental health problems. Some practitioners describe their creation of visibly striking resources that resonate directly with the cultural background of their clients, while others compare culturally sanctioned ways of connecting counselors with clients holistically, including their family, their village and country or land. Furthermore, differences between Pacific Islanders born and raised on the islands and those born and raised in New Zealand are discussed in relation to different values of respect, solidarity and resilience, while the ambiguity of family relations are also explored in relation to sexual violence. Pleas are made for counselor education, in which greater emphasis is placed on cultural imagery and meanings, one of which concerns the different meaning of death in Pacific worldviews.

The third part is specifically concerned with a large-scale research program on the social meaning of death and dying, associated customary practices, bereavement and healing in the Maori world in New Zealand. It includes a case study of the public performance of grief following the passing of the Maori Queen in 2006, and the national significance of this event. An autoethnographic reflection on the ethical dilemmas of doing research on Maori who are dying or others who are mourning the loss of family or friends is also provided.

The final part offers various reflections on therapeutic practices. Several traditional stories, myths and poems are reinterpreted in order to identify timeless truths about cultural well-being, intercultural programs are demonstrated to be required at multicultural high schools, the unadulterated voice of the mentally ill is advocated to be taken seriously, while, finally, a Pacific psychotherapist and counselor cogently argues that spirituality is an important source of inspiration in all aspects of life for all Pacific peoples.

Each part begins with a selection of powerful poems by Serie Barford, Tracey Tawhiao and especially Selina Tusitala Marsh, a well-known literary critic and poet, who herself is of mixed Samoan, Tuvaluan and English descent. These poems express unequivocally that mental health problems of Pasifika and Maori cannot be considered independently of the cultural diversity and associated ambiguity that characterizes their lives in contemporary New Zealand and elsewhere in the South Pacific.

Toon van Meijl, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

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THE ECHO OF THINGS: The Lives of Photographs in the Solomon Islands. Objects/Histories. By Christopher Wright. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2013. xv, 221 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$27.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5510-6.

Christopher Wright’s perceptive contribution to the Objects/Histories Series argues for an ethnographic approach to understanding photography. He looks at the uses of photographs in Roviana Lagoon in the Solomon Islands and examines the ways in which the people of Roviana are entangled with photography: as once colonial subjects, as producers and consumers of photography, and also Roviana perceptions of the past, present, memory and history.

Wright questions the normative value of Euro-American photography and seeks to provincialize those dominant models through an ethnography of Roviana photographic practices. Underpinning Wright’s approach is a perception of photography as socially activated which draws not only on Bourdieu’s notion of the “sociogram” but also Elizabeth Edwards’ concept of the photograph as an oral history. Wright does a thorough synthesis of many contemporary and historical commentators on photography, from John Tagg and Victor Burgin to Allan Sekula, Peter Galassi, Christopher Pinney, Barthe and Batchen, among others, drawing on a wide terrain of photographic interests. In doing so Wright has brought together an interesting field of analysis for future scholars of photography in the Pacific. He reflects on the way photography shares a parallel history with anthropology and argues for a wider focus that is inclusive of other photographic traditions alongside an understanding of photography as a medium. Photography, he believes, is not a neutral tool but is productive of many kinds of selves, imaginaries and networks and he traces the history of white colonial engagement in Roviana as well as that of the Methodist Church with the use of archival images. By focusing on what the early photographic encounters reveal about both the colonialists and the Roviana people, Wright here and elsewhere in the book gives equal value to the similarities and differences in their experiences. This supports his broader argument for an expanded understanding of plural photographies and the cultural and historical situatedness of those photographies. Ultimately however Wright looks at what photography is for those from Roviana and he explores this through the words of local people.

Faletau Leve is one of the many locals Wright spent time with during his years in Roviana, between 1998 and 2001. It is a quote from Faletau that provides the title of the book and his portrait by Wright is on the front cover. Narratives concerning Faletau form the basis of the prologue, chapter 4 and epilogue of the book and these stories and their particularities are central to the way Wright organizes his insights to Roviana lives in photography. Faletau’s worn, photocopied image of the raid on Roviana by the HMS Royalist in 1891 provides Wright with an event and its photographic trace with which to demonstrate his point about the contingency of history. Wright examines modes of photographic expression, often through connection with an individual and unfolds historical and social narratives from these encounters; the studio stael (studio style) imagery generated at An Tuk’s Honiara store, the advent of “love photos,” photographs as memory-objects, a precious photo taken in 1953 that expands into a narrative of American involvement in the Solomon Islands during World War II.

Wright is sensitive to the visual dynamics of a photograph but also clearly communicates the tenderness and loss a mother, Voli Gasimata, feels when she looks at the photographs of and by her absent daughter Clarinda. The differences and similarities in Donald Maepio’s and Josephine Wheatley’s family photograph albums each map the ownership and history of such collections in Roviana but are also revealing about reciprocity, kinship and changing value systems. Wright’s introduction to so many local voices personalizes and particularizes the content of the images and creates continuities across social and historical fields. Multiple voices are heard which underscore Wright’s subscription to the plurality and mobility of Pacific histories. Wright’s note that Faletau’s construction of Roviana events from his own perspective is an act of visual decolonization is a convincing closing argument.

This is a careful, sensitive ethnography that contains compelling portraits of people of Roviana for whom I hope the book is an important contribution. Oddly for a book about photography the quality of the images is not the focus and with over 80 images some unevenness is to be expected given the diversity of sources, but it is Wright’s field photographs that are among the weakest. This is a small quibble however in the context of a book that very successfully argues for photographs as a means of allowing for and understanding that a single uncontested history is impossible and, like Faletau’s battered briefcase, can contain the possibility of multiple histories.

Andrea Low, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

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DRINKING SMOKE: The Tobacco Syndemic in Oceania. By Mac Marshall. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xix, 292pp. (Figures, maps, table.) US$54.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3685-6.

“Tobacco is the drug about which Islanders should really be concerned—not marijuana, alcohol or methamphetamines, that is the legacy of Drinking Smoke” (222). With this statement, renowned medical anthropologist Mac Marshall concludes his magnificent new book Drinking Smoke: The Tobacco Syndemic in Oceania. As with Marshall’s other books on alcohol and drug studies, this volume is an impressive contribution to a topic not yet extensively explored by anthropologists.

Marshall’s solemn and powerful warning is a fitting place with which to begin, as it speaks to the aims of the book: not only to demonstrate the enormous impact tobacco has on Pacific Islanders’ social and economic worlds and health, but to also argue for an approach to tobacco that views tobacco as the connector between all the major causes of mortality in the region. Marshall writes that tobacco lies at the core of a complex set of disorders and diseases, not just cancer, but tuberculosis, obesity, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease as well. He employs the term the “tobacco syndemic” to explain that these “smoking diseases” are interrelated. It is a term conceptualized by medical anthropologist Merill Singer to account for the way in which diseases cluster as they are exacerbated by social context. Drinking Smoke recounts, in fascinating detail, how this has come to be.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part, comprised of five chapters, draws on historical research and ethnography to document the spread of tobacco throughout Oceania by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century colonial explorers and traders. A self-proclaimed amateur historian, Marshall shows how this exotic (not to mention addictive) new substance became a much sought-after object in the region. One of the reasons tobacco was quickly incorporated into Pacific culture was because people classified it as a comestible, as something to be eaten or drunk. Marshall explains that before tobacco became part of mainstream culture in Europe no word existed to describe its consumption. It was compared with drinking and so people spoke of “drinking smoke.” As food gifts are seen as a token of sociality used to create and sustain relationships, giving and receiving gifts of tobacco fit into already established cultural norms in Oceania. Marshall notes a mother who gave her baby a puff of tobacco whilst breastfeeding. Until recently children in Oceania consumed tobacco as it was given to them in the same manner as other food items.

As tobacco became incorporated into Oceanic societies it developed as an important exchange commodity between islanders and foreigners. Marshall shows how prices became standardized (one chicken could be traded for one stick of tobacco) and tobacco became the first globally traded luxury item. Interestingly, Marshall notes how anthropologists have also used tobacco in exchange. Malinowski spent 20 percent of his fieldwork budget on tobacco for trading purposes, and a poll of anthropologists shows that many have given, traded or shared tobacco with the people with whom they work.

Marshall also surveys transformations in the ways Pacific Islanders consumed tobacco. Tobacco was first smoked in its loose-leaf form in clay, coral and stone pipes, or in loosely wrapped little cigars (sometimes wrapped in banana leaf or in pages of the Sydney Morning Herald). He notes how when ear ornaments went out of style, some Islanders carried their tobacco and pipes in their stretched perforated ear lobes. Pacific Islanders began replacing their loose tobacco for industrially manufactured cigarettes in the early twentieth century; an act that Marshall writes changed tobacco consumption forever as the nicotine content in industrially manufactured cigarettes is stronger and more dangerous. Both World Wars were instrumental in the spread of cigarettes as soldiers were given cigarettes in their rations and shared them freely. Marshall shows how this uptake of cigarette smoking has resulted in enormous health and economic costs, and notes the efforts by national governments, NGOs and churches to control it. Success has been moderate, but a “non-smoking” Fijian village stands out as an effective example of public health intervention at the community level.

Part 2 examines the impact of tobacco on people’s health. It draws on a vast amount of health-related sources from medicine, environmental health, public health, maternal and child health, medical anthropology and regional health statistics. Most of the material in part 2 is presented in three case studies: Maori and Pacific Islanders in New Zealand, US associated Micronesians and native Hawaiians in Hawaii. Marshall shows how the relative mortality risk for each of these groups is much higher than that of other ethnic groups in these countries. He argues that the high prevalence of tobacco-related diseases among these populations is not because of any ethnic or genetic reason, but rather because of the impact on peoples’ health of imperialism, intrusion, loss, dispossession, colonization, trauma, chronic stress, racism, poverty and unequal access to medical care. Marshall writes that such histories have created a climate of poverty, and statistics reveal that lower-income populations have higher rates of smoking and other diseases. Marshall uses these case studies to demonstrate how human social environment influences tobacco-caused diseases. The tobacco syndemic is one of the legacies of invasion, colonization and globalization. Marshall writes that to combat this legacy, Pacific Islanders must stop viewing tobacco in a positive light. Instead, Pacific Islanders must “de-normalize” tobacco and start thinking about tobacco as an addictive poison.

That tobacco smoke is the single greatest cause of preventable death worldwide makes anthropological lack of attention to it astounding. With Drinking Smoke, Mac Marshall fills this gap in our knowledge. It is a meticulously supported and well-argued text that is an important contribution not only to academia focused on Oceania but to a broader readership interested in the effects of tobacco on global health and the rise of the dominant tobacco industry as well. Full of anecdotes, historical episodes, statistics and medical claims that demonstrate the power of this significant commodity, Drinking Smoke makes for compelling and informative reading and I highly recommend it.

 Daniela Kraemer, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

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RITUAL TEXTUALITY: Pattern and Motion in Performance. Oxford Ritual Studies. By Matt Tomlinson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. xii, 169 pp. (Figures.) US$35.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-934114-6.

In Ritual Textuality, Matt Tomlinson presents a provocative study of varieties of ritual performance in contemporary Fiji, one that resonates with seminal anthropological works that have explored how ritual patterns establish and reproduce religious authority. In terms of analysis, he draws on semiotic and linguistic theory in an approach that is text-based and focuses on entextualization—a process whereby discourse is made into signs and texts that are arranged in patterns that can be separated and then replicated through performance. His goal in studying rituals as texts is to understand their efficacy; not merely in terms of how they affect participants, but also their contribution to the formation of language ideologies. In this he addresses what can be termed the cultural work that ritual communication does at a meta-level; the “micro-macro problem” that explores the use of language in relation to “larger social structures, particularly the structures of power and value that constitute the political economy of a society” (Richard Bauman and Charles Briggs, “Poetics and Performance as Critical Perspectives on Language and Social Life,” Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 1990, 19: 79).

Ethnographic research for this work was carried out over nearly two decades in several settings in Fiji, and analyses of four ritual performances are presented: a Pentecostal sermon; a Methodist sermon and ceremonial speeches delivered during Fijian kava ceremonies; testimonies of the Methodist belief in the “happy deaths” of religious converts; and recent post-coup political discourse circulated by Fijian government and military spokespersons.

Tomlinson grounds his analysis of ritual textuality in a review of literature relating to religion and communication which includes an ambitious summary of the complex lexis developed for linguistic and semiotic approaches to religious performance. From this theory he delineates four communicative patterns of entextualization: sequence, conjunction, contrast, and substitution, which are then analyzed in relation to ritual efficacy. One pattern is explored in each of the chapters that follows as each is constitutive to the efficacy of one of these performances.

The first type of entextualization, sequencing, Tomlinson identifies in the American preacher’s sermon delivered at an outdoor Pentecostal rally in Suva where ecstatic participants wait to receive the Holy Ghost. Sequence is evidenced by the numerous examples of a linked looping pattern involving repetition and parallelism. Continually repeating the sequence of declaration-promise-action establishes this text’s ritual efficacy, as repetition confirms the missionary’s performative authority.

In the following two chapters, entextualization in this preacher’s speech is compared to a Fijian Methodist minister’s sermon and an excerpt from traditional Fijian oratory. Significant amongst their differences is the Methodist sermon’s almost exclusive use of declaratives, while in Fijian speeches delivered during kava rituals the performative sequence declarative-promise-action is prevalent. This difference can be accounted for, Tomlinson argues, because the Methodist sermon follows a communicative path that unifies, and repeated declarative statements reaffirm the unity of the congregation that prays, sings and makes offerings in unison.

Tomlinson then considers the Christian communion ritual and focuses on conjunction as a form of entextualization which is evident in patterns of chiasmus, a verbal or literacy device that sees an inverted order reflected in text. Here he presents a detailed comparison of Christian rituals of communion, which use wine and bread to represent the blood and body of Christ, with Fijian kava rituals, both of which demonstrate a chiasmic X-shaped pattern reflected in a ritual crossing over of substances. For Christians, consuming consecrated bread and wine incorporates Christ’s body and blood into one’s being, which simultaneously incorporates oneself into the wider church of Christ, a chiasmic process; while in Fijian ceremonies, kava or the “water of the land or vanua” is presented to the chief so that he can symbolically appropriate it. Yet in taking control, it will turn and destroy him. An interesting aspect of Tomlinson’s discussion is whether kava might replace wine in the communion ritual. Though conceivable for Tomlinson since from a Western perspective kava and consecrated wine are both seen as sacred, transformative substances, it can be argued that as “blood and water” in Fijian culture, these markedly different ritual substances are symbolically too deeply opposed to allow substitution.

Nineteenth-century Methodist reports record the “happy deaths” of converts who joyously await the opening of the gates of heaven, in contrast to Fijian beliefs in a bleak afterlife that offered a series of struggles with other-worldly creatures. Tomlinson argues that the emerging contrast between life and death in these texts established a fractally recursive pattern of entextualization that reinforced a public-private distinction over time, continually pushing Fijian beliefs aside towards a less public space. Incidents he recounts reveal Fijians’ anxiety and negative attitudes towards death and the demonic, which furthered the consolidation of Christian belief. While it cannot be disputed that missionaries encouraged conversion or that Fijians express fear towards their afterlife, it can be argued that this public/private distinction represents a Western ontology, whereas in Fijian culture the significant distinction is between what is hidden versus open or clearly visible. On Viti Levu, villagers are extremely wary of secrets, particularly when anyone closes their doors or goes to a remote location to hide their activities. Secrecy arouses the suspicion that in this hidden space a person may be performing sorcery aimed at harming others.

Tomlinson’s final analysis examines linguistic coercion used by the Fijian state as it attempts to limit criticism and legitimize their seizure of government through force. The monologic discourse it generates explains away violence, claims to speak in a single ethno-nationalist voice shared by all Fijians, and deploys intimidation, imprisonment, expulsion and censorship as tactics of linguistic repression. Substitution as a textual strategy does not only replace public discourse, however; circulation of a People’s Charter for Change that maps out a “shared utopian vision” for the future also erases it.

In his analysis, Matt Tomlinson provides an ethnographically detailed, well-argued account of entextualization and ritual efficacy in Fiji. His insightful analysis reveals a method of locating language ideology in several contexts, and demonstrates for the Fijian case how ritual performance articulates with structures of power.

Pauline McKenzie Aucoin, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

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COLONIALISM, MAASINA RULE, AND THE ORIGINS OF MALAITAN KASTOM. Pacific Islands Monograph Series, 26. By David W. Akin. Honolulu: Center for Pacific Islands Studies, School of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Hawai‘i, Manoa; University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xx, 527 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$59.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3814-0.

Since 1979, David Akin has spent about five years working and researching in the Solomon Islands, at first as a Peace Corps volunteer, when he and Kate Gillogly, then his wife, helped Kwaio set up the Kwaio Cultural Centre, in central Malaita. His work for the Centre is highlighted in Roger Keesing’s 1992 Custom and Confrontation. The Kwaio Struggle for Cultural Autonomy. Akin’s unpublished PhD thesis (1998) is entitled Negotiating Culture in East Kwaio, Malaita. But it remains unclear to what extent his graduate research was geared towards the analysis that he presents in the book under review. Quite appositely, the anthropologist Akin describes his book as a “political history of the island of Malaita” (1). True to the book’s title, the focus is on the Maasina Rule, the revitalization movement earlier discussed in books by Peter Worsley, Roger Keesing, Hugh Laracy and others. In a book in the making he discusses kastom, particularly with regard to Kwaio women.

As regards the book under review, Akin documents the historical background of Maasina Rule in its first four chapters. The British Solomon Islands Protectorate appears here as a model backwater: under-administered, under-staffed and economically under-developed. Malaita became the provider of labour, often indentured, first to plantations in Queensland, later elsewhere in the Solomon Islands. Akin agrees with (100) Caroline Mytinger’s 1942 observation: “Malaitans were scattered all through the islands; the houseboys were Malaitans, the boat boys were Malaitans and [also] the labour lines on the plantations … .” World War II provided a sharp contrast. In the war effort Malaitans were again employed as labour, but this time in a quite different regime: better funded and less repressive. Out of those regimes Maasina Rule emerged, from late 1943.

Akin details that emergence in chapter 5 and continues in chapters 6, 7 and 8 with the responses of the colonial administration. Although he writes (2) that his discussion is influenced by Gramsci, Foucault, Said and Bernard Cohn, their influence remains largely implicit. With a few exceptions, the flow of events is the main organizational device of his account. The exceptions are sections in which he presents, for instance, vignettes of Maasina Rule leaders (173-80), and an analysis of what Malaitans mean by, in Solomon Pijin, kastom, in contrast to custom (209-13). For a proper analysis of what Malaitans attempted to achieve by Maasina Rule, Akin quite fittingly considers it necessaryto grasp what they meant by kastom. He discusses the topic repeatedly; I cite two examples. The first is: “Kastom ideology encompassed twin goals: the expansive transformation and advance of Malaitan society and a reassertion of valued indigenous ways, many relatively new and many Christian” (241). And the second: “Kastom is … a modern and evolving political philosophy born from colonial and postcolonial experience” (342).

Notwithstanding their ethnic diversity, with Maasina Rule Malaitans started carrying out a common program. Most moved to the coast where they built large settlements, “towns.” They appointed their own chiefs and refused to pay tax. Together these joint actions were an extraordinary achievement. They were possible, in part because they were fuelled by the kastom philosophy, as characterized above, and in part because, in Akin’s words, “the real power of Maasina Rule flowed upwards from ‘the rank and file’” (172).

After an accommodating start in 1946, by August 1947 the government’s reaction to Marching Rule became hostile and repressive. The measures taken were harsh, in hindsight astonishingly so. They included mass arrests, followed by criminal charges, court proceedings and jail sentences. But they did not succeed in breaking the movement. Malaitans answered by well-ordered civil disobedience , thus continuing their common stand. A stalemate ensued, broken in 1952 by a new High Commissioner for the Western Pacific who conceded many Maasina Rule demands, notably in administration and local jurisdiction. At this point Akin ends his account. In chapter 9, the final one, he appraises Maasina Rule. He views it a success, in many respects. Notably, it “transformed government-Malaitan relations in enduring ways” (329).

To write his book, Akin has assembled an extremely impressive range of data, in part the result of what must have been painstaking archival investigations. And in part he makes use of oral communications by, especially, Kwaio, collected during his field research. He acknowledges support from Ben Burt, who worked among the neighbouring Kwara’ae, also from the 1980s. Nevertheless, he assesses that the data are incomplete and he expresses the hope that future research by Malaitans themselves will “fill the many gaps” (188). It strikes the reader that Akin does not mention, in addition, the likelihood that the historical record will remain contested. In any case, Akin has managed, quite admirably, to fashion the multitude of data into a very readable account that is likely to remain authoritative for a long time.

The book’s bibliography comes to 67 pages. While the main text counts 345 pages, it is followed by 97 pages of endnotes, in the main collective ones combining references for and additions to entire paragraphs. There is a profusion of names, as regards the Europeans, due to the rapid turnover of government officials. Fortunately, when names are listed in the bibliography—and many are—Akin has added their function, or functions, in the administrative and missionary organizations.

In comments in chapter 9, Akin makes it clear that the 1952 conciliation contained seeds of dissension, given that Maasina Rule adherents, and also the followers of kastom movements elsewhere in the Solomon Islands, regarded their organizations as means to interact with the government “from a position of autonomy and equality” (341). How did that work out? Given the time and the length of his fieldwork, Akin seems well placed to discuss the topic in a sequel to this highly commendable book.

Anton Ploeg, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands

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THE KANAK AWAKENING: The Rise of Nationalism in New Caledonia. Pacific Islands Monograph Series, 27. By David A. Chappell. Honolulu: Center for Pacific Islands Studies, School of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa; University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xxii, 289 pp. (Map, figures, tables.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3818-8.

In-depth studies of New Caledonian politics have been rare in the English language over the past 15 years. Anglophones have been typically confined to the snapshots of Melbourne journalist Nic Maclellan in Islands Business monthly, as well as cogent updates by him and Frédéric Angleviel issued by the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at Australian National University. Less accessible, but useful as well, has been an anthology edited in Tahiti by Regnault and Fayaud (New Caledonia: Twenty Years On, 1988-2008, Jean-Marc Regnault and Viviane Fayaud, eds., Paris: Société Française d’Histoire d’Outre-mer, 2010).

In Kanak Awakening, David Chappell, an historian at the University of Hawai’i, competently chronicles the Melanesian insurgency in Caledonia over the past four decades. Yet inasmuch as his study displays political acumen, one further pines for a comprehensive exploration of the issue of the day – e.g., a broad supplement assessing whether the not-quite-a-majority Kanaks will prevail politically over the next four years. Granted, KA styles itself a political history; but with so few sources available, Anglophone students currently have nowhere else to turn for a detailed forecast.

But first to the book’s forte – its account of Kanak political development.

From the perspective of progressive Pacific Islanders, colonialism in the region has long become obsolete. In Caledonia, its continuation is attributed to France’s greed for the control and profits of the territory’s nickel reserves, as well as Paris’ desire to retain a military presence in the Pacific.

Yet dislodging the French is challenging. It’s typically assumed that those who identify indigenously remain nearly 45 percent of the population, while Europeans compose some 34 percent, Polynesian immigrants (largely from Wallis, Futuna and Tahiti) some 12 percent, and Asians (largely from Indonesia and Vietnam) some 4 percent. Building a consensus for independence, then, not only requires Kanak unity, but deft alliance with a progressive slice of Europeans and Polynesian and Asian immigrants.

Chappell’s study expertly recounts the development of Kanak organization. As an astute analyst, he understands that successful movements are typically launched by privileged elites. More objectively than previous studies, he documents the early agitation of Caledonian students in Paris in the late 1960s (organized as the Foulards Rouges [Red Scarves]), and their ensuing alliance back home with the Union des Jeunesses Calédoniennes [Union of Caledonian Youth] in 1973 and Groupe 1878 in 1974. (The three groups join the Parti de Libération Kanak in 1976, which itself becomes a component of the ongoing Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste in 1984.)

The author poignantly reports a conversation in 2009 with the former leader of the Foulards, Kanak chief Nidoish Naisseline. The chief recounts that although the French insurrection in May 1968 catalyzed the founding of the Foulards, his comrades disparaged its ideology:

The Paris students only thought of throwing the culture and values of their parents in the gutter. We, in contrast, dreamed of rehabilitating that of our ancestors, which had been crushed underfoot by the colons. (248)

The quote is revealing, as it exposes a Kanak dilemma: is it possible to effectively federate with other ethnicities while prioritizing one’s traditional culture?

Granting Chappell’s premise that the political development of the Kanaks has been inspiring, the question remains how well the movement relates to its sina qua non – potential allies. Due to intermarriage and official denial of ethnic division, ethnic voting data is difficult to obtain in Caledonia. To measure the size of the European left in Caledonia, one would need to interview progressive figures in the media, universities, trade unions, environmental movement, and sectarian parties. This must be followed by interviews with ethnic leaders in the Polynesian and Asian communities. The subjective data might then inform an analysis of voting behaviour.

In the election to the territory’s Congress this past May, loyalists captured 29 seats while indépendantistes garnered 25. Some observers are skeptical the Kanak-led coalition can top this showing. A riposte would need to weigh Kanak turnout as well as the vote and turnout of potential allies.

It may very well be that Chappell is contemplating an extensive article or book that will address the prospects of independence. Or perhaps he knows of a political scientist who is about to publish such a study. But if neither article nor book appears in English, KA may retrospectively be regarded as a study of Caledonia politics that, true to its mission, ably reviewed the past … but left Anglophone students unguided about the future.

Michael Horowitz, Vava’u Academy, Nuku’alofa, Kingdom of Tonga 

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THE DEATH OF THE BIG MEN AND THE RISE OF THE BIG SHOTS: Custom and Conflict in East New Britain. ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology, v. 3. By Keir Martin. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2013. xv, 256 pp. (Illus.) US$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-85745-872-8.

In 1995, several months after the volcanic eruption that covered Rabaul in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea, I drove from the airport to the only remaining hotel, stunned at the desolate, monochrome landscape. The road had been cut through metres of ash and the once beautiful tropical township was deserted. The village of Matupit, located on a small island, was covered in ash. Several Tolai people I met assured me that it had gone forever. Keir Martin began his research there in 2002, by which time it had risen from the ashes, was again densely populated and the Matupi were once more demonstrating their legendary adaptability. This superb ethnography documents and analyzes the processes of change and people’s complex responses to them up to the mid-2000s.

Matupit and its inhabitants’ capacity for transformation have been the subjects of numerous anthropological studies since the 1960s, notably by A.L. and T.S. Epstein, who described the various ways that changes introduced by colonial administrations (particularly plantation agriculture and the cash economy) had resulted in dramatic shifts in social relations, land tenure and patterns of settlement. Martin’s research follows many of the same themes, but in a very different historical context. The eruption destroyed the village of Matupit, but almost all Matupi survived to participate in those activities associated with reconstruction, including relocation to the land set aside for them at Sikut, an area many kilometres from their village, inland from the new provincial capital, Kokopo. The land at Sikut, allotted to specific people by the provincial government to enable them to establish cash crops, is legally distinct from that held according to customary tenure. This difference, and the ways that people respond to and interpret their ownership, provides Martin with a central theme of the book, the relationships of land and people in a modern state system that retains customary land rights.

Martin engages with many of the classic topics of Melanesian anthropology: the relationship of people to land; reciprocity and the tensions inherent in exchange relationships; the ways that ritual exchanges are affected by the use of money; inter-generational conflicts; the contested definitions of custom or tradition and the means whereby men gain power and authority. His study locates contemporary Tolai in the global political economy, where the forces of neo-liberalism draw new lines between government and citizens and where new forms of sociality emerge. Martin’s examination of the ways that people have, in some instances, embraced government changes relating to land tenure provides an excellent example of the need for caution in the ways that anthropologists have characterized the Melanesian state as an alien, post-colonial enterprise that routinely ignores the interests of villagers. He shows how the transfer of customary land, when “strengthened through statutory declaration,” actually suits the desires of Tolai. It effectively strengthens the status of that land as “customary,” thus enabling matrilineal descendents to claim it in future generations.

Inter-generational tensions, conflicts and changing outlooks loom large in this ethnography. The Tolai, like many people in Papua New Guinea, often remark and reflect on the changes that they have observed in their lifetime. Elders usually insist (like elders elsewhere in the world) that the younger generations have lost respect for them, have no knowledge of the ways that traditions should be maintained and have become individualistic and selfish. Martin explores these generational differences in ways that acknowledge the mixed emotional responses: regrets and censure, impatience and dismissal, sorrow and anger. But the strength of his discussion of generational tensions lies—particularly in his chapter on the decline of fish trap technology—in the ways he interweaves personal reactions to specific transformations with a broad analysis of the effects of commodification on social transactions and the obligation to reciprocate.

Martin takes on the difficult task of negotiating the divisions in current anthropological interpretations of the nature of socio-economic change in Melanesia. He points out that those who stress “cultural continuity that underlies surface changes” are left in a bind—they effectively return their subjects to “the savage slot” of radical alterity. The emphasis on continuity effectively restores Melanesia to the status of “a discrete, separate and essentially ahistorical culture that is either destroyed by or survives the threat of Westernisation” (177). In his scrutiny of the range of reactions to changes, Martin offers a third way, which stresses not only the differences between people, but also the material grounds for variation. Here, as elsewhere in the book, he presents the ways that moral positions, especially those relating to ideals of mutuality, reciprocity and obligation to kin, derive from the fact that “traditional” and “modern” are coeval and in flux.

The title of this book encapsulates its major themes: the changing forms of leadership, male power and the moral responses they provoke. This provides the context for the author’s critique of the debate about possessive individualism and relational personhood. Once again he moves away from the antinomies of current anthropological debate and exposes the subtleties, contestations and circumstances that make notions of the Melanesian self, moral behaviour and adherence to “kastom” shift and combine. This is a groundbreaking ethnography: brilliantly conceived, clearly written and utterly convincing.

Martha Macintyre, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

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MAKING SENSE OF MICRONESIA: The Logic of Pacific Island Culture. By Francis X. Hezel. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xii, 182 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$27.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3661-0.

Fran Hezel is a Jesuit priest who has worked in Micronesia for 45 years. He’s seen colleagues, Peace Corps volunteers, researchers, contract workers in education, healthcare and development, and a dozen other types of international visitors struggle to understand Island society. This short, readable and informative book distills his substantial scholarship and extensive personal experience of Micronesian life into a form that offers frank and useful advice to the next generations of foreigners lucky enough to spend time in the region.

Like Raymonde Carroll’s Cultural Misunderstandings (1990, U. Chicago Press), Hezel uses the idea of cultural logic to uncover the principles of human relationship that underlie behaviour. His anthropological analysis, though, is soft-focused through straightforward prose and the use of anecdotes and personal experiences to show the principles in action.

The book consists of 12 brief chapters, each dealing with a sphere of life in which Micronesian and American (or “western”) cultural expectations fail to find common ground. Each begins with a personal story, then briefly explains the cultural principle that underlies the behaviour (often puzzling to outsiders), and discusses how changing conditions over the past half-century have created strains in Micronesian life. For example, the chapter on “forging an identity” discusses how matrilineages and extended families governed life, and how recent changes have increased individualism and altered the family’s role, creating problems such as youth suicide. The chapter on “the uses of information” describes how Micronesians—though generous in sharing wealth—tend to hold information close, seeing knowledge as a protected personal resource. Thus, “public information” is hard to come by, and even administrators who have had specialized training at the government’s expense tend to hoard their expertise.

Topics covered are the emphasis on personal qualities, the role of the family, ideas of privacy, the obligation for individuals to respond to family needs, “rights” discourse, sharing and generosity as marks of wealth, secrecy, social signals such as silence and withdrawal, respect, gender relations, sex, expressions of love and caring, and dealing with conflict, loss and grief. While Hezel’s affection for Micronesians and respect for their society is evident, he does not avoid discussion of land disputes, family conflict, incest, alcohol abuse and political challenges. The final section, “In Summary,” argues that this very wide range of behaviours can be understood–by the patient and observant cross-cultural visitor—as the reflection of several underlying cultural principles: personalization, the “primacy of group identity,” and patterns of cooperation.

While anthropologists might disdain quick-read “cross-cultural manuals,” it cannot be denied that they offer a valuable opportunity to inform international workers about a host culture. The worst of these offer brief “how-tos” or lists of “customs” and “taboos.” Hezel’s book takes a much more rewarding approach, inviting the newcomer to think about the cultural principles that underlie unfamiliar behaviour, and to develop the capacity to patiently explore cultural differences.

Those who know Micronesia well will find little that is new here, and they might even disagree with some of Hezel’s evaluations (for example, his assumption that “modernization” is inevitably changing Micronesian society in the direction of Western individualism, or his necessarily brief analysis of gender roles as balanced and complementary). But, even these readers will enjoy the author’s insights and obvious appreciation of island cultures.

The brevity and clear writing in this book make it a great deal more accessible to the non-specialist than nearly all ethnography or anthropological analysis. Yet it should not be thought that this clarity reflects any superficial understanding of Micronesian cultures. Fran Hezel knows the islands and its people intimately, and his goodness in sharing his knowledge so lucidly emphasizes how important he thinks it is that foreigners who go to Micronesia to “help” take the time to learn about the people they hope to serve. “There is no shortcut for understanding a culture,” he writes (164), but this book will surely make the trip easier for those spending time in Micronesia. It might also give Islanders themselves some new ways to think about their culture’s past, present and future.

Lin Poyer, University of Wyoming, Laramie, USA

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TREASURED POSSESSIONS: Indigenous Interventions into Cultural and Intellectual Property. Objects/Histories: Critical Perspectives on Art, Material Culture and Representation. By Haidy Geismar. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. xvi, 297 pp., 8 pp. of plates (Maps, figures.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5427-7.

The global struggle over ownership seems to have increased markedly in scope and complexity. Also in the Pacific, debates about cultural and intellectual property rights are frequent and contested, with for example Fijians furious over the appropriation of masi (barkcloth or tapa) designs by their national airline as well as by a New York fashion designer who used these designs on an “Aztec” dress. In her article “The Expanding Purview of Cultural Properties and their Politics” (in The Annual Review of Law and Social Science 5, 2009: 393-412), legal scholar Rosemary Coombe notes that especially for marginalized and or indigenous people, cultural claims are central to their engagement with international or nongovernmental institutions in order to assert their identity, obtain greater inclusion in political life, defend local autonomy, and engage with or resist global markets (394-5). However, she also critiques the lack of interdisciplinary scholarship in this area and the need to explore “a new and vital field of cultural rights norms and practices emerging in the shadows of cultural properties yet to be validated by formal systems of Western Law” (394, cf 407). In Treasured Possessions Haidy Geismar has conducted such a detailed, interdisciplinary study of how global forms of cultural and intellectual property are being redefined by everyday people and policy makers in two Pacific nations: Vanuatu and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Geismar successfully links perspectives from anthropology, legal anthropology, museum studies and material culture studies to explore the fascinating nexus of culture, property and indigeneity. Treasured Possessions shows how in Vanuatu and New Zealand, alternative notions of property, resources and heritage are emerging. While claims by local communities in these countries are advanced in national and international settings, they are at the same time very cultural and community specific. Throughout the book, Geismar highlights that “we need to understand the intersections of indigeneity and intellectual and cultural property as a provincializing move that destabilizes our certainty about what is local and what is global” (207-8). She highlights this perspective through literature reviews and theoretical arguments in combination with well-presented case studies from Vanuatu and New Zealand, where she has worked for more than ten years.

The fist chapter introduces the analytical framework, key concepts and questions that reappear throughout the book. Geismar’s framework takes both legal codifications and popular understandings of law into account, as well as the particular social and political histories and contexts that inform the production of intellectual and cultural property rights (3).

Chapters 2 and 3 introduce the historical and political contexts of Vanuatu and New Zealand and set out in more detail the frames of indigeneity and law in both places. This regional comparison continues throughout the book, revealing the different frames of indigenous identity, legal practice, museum culture and discourses of ownership and property (26). Chapters 4 and 5 follow the history and contemporary progress of Intellectual Property (IP) rights in Vanuatu and New Zealand, respectively. The Vanuatu cases discuss carvings, carvers, commodities and copyright issues in the context of Vanuatu’s graded (ranked) society. The case of carvers making carvings they had no entitlement to for a hotel via a non-Vanuatu female art dealer, reveals the complex mediations between kastom, traditional copyright “laws,” law and grassroots agency, exposing the limitations of generic legislation as well as the possibilities for the recognition of a new kind of “legal” regime (88). Likewise, the New Zealand cases described in chapter 5 reveal the ways in which IP has been absorbed and subverted, creating new indigenous forms of national property and entitlement. The case of the toi iho trademark and the branding of Mãori cultural production in New Zealand elucidate the clashes between cultural artists’ concerns of indigineity and marketing versus the government emphasis on national identity and financial accountability. It also reveals the nature of the provincializing process, which “may always be read in two ways: as a promotion of the subaltern and as a conduit by which the mainstream (or colonial) is relentlessly perpetuated” (118).

The next three chapters focus on questions of cultural and intellectual property in the context of museums, which have become intriguing sites for exploring alternative models of ownership. Chapter 6 discusses museums in Vanuatu and New Zealand and how they have emerged at the forefront of indigenous rethinking of cultural and intellectual property rights, as well as the tensions, politics and paradoxes that this process entails (122). Chapters 7 and 8 explore the role of museums in the aestheticization of cultural property forms, with a discussion of the market for Mãori treasures (Taonga) and its auctions in New Zealand, and pig banks as cultural heritage in Vanuatu, respectively. Both chapters reveal the processes of how intellectual and cultural (heritage) property are negotiated and how these are linked with processes of indigenization, or provincialization, as Geismar argues. As she concludes: “treasured possessions come to mediate between sovereignty and the state, between market and culture, and themselves instantiate a space in between. It is in this space that we can still think about the possibilities of alternatives, what they might be, and how they might work” (215).

In conclusion, this impressive, but at times densely written study, is not only a must-read for those working on indigenous intellectual and cultural property rights. Treasured Possessions is a valuable contribution to Pacific Anthropology and its interdisciplinary perspective enables a wide readership, ranging from scholars and students in (legal) anthropology, to those interested in material culture and museum studies.

Anna-Karina Hermkens, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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POLYNESIANS IN AMERICA: Pre-Columbian Contacts with the New World. Edited by Terry L. Jones et al. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2011. xix, 359 pp. (tables, figures.) US$85.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-759-12004-4.This volume marks the latest revival of a 150-year-old debate on the timing, nature and scope of trans-Pacific contacts prior to the European expansion. Early nineteenth-century speculation on the possibility of connections between the Americas and the Pacific Islands was given more substance from the 1860s, when the apparent similarity between the Quechua term for sweet potato, cumar, and the Polynesian kumara, was first noted and attributed to human transfer. Despite the longevity of the debate, there are still precious few unequivocal proofs of trans-Pacific contact, and most of these remain ambivalent in terms of the light they shed on questions of agency or the direction of movement; of these proofs perhaps the most significant has been the discovery of charred sweet potato in Mangaia in the Cook Islands dated long before European contact with the Americas. Generally, transfers of people, ideas or materials in either direction do not appear to have been substantial, and were almost certainly out-weighed by their impacts. Yet significant questions hang on the resolution of these issues, ranging from the specifics of cultural-historical reconstruction in the Pacific and the Americas through to more general understandings of the processes of inter-cultural contact and exchange, and the pace of adoption of novel crops and artefacts. Was sweet potato, which entirely transformed the New Guinea Highlands, available for adoption a thousand years ago, through Polynesian transfers, or seven hundred years later through European transport to island Southeast Asia? How might we re-evaluate the sailing capacities of South Americans and Polynesians were we able to demonstrate that either one or the other was responsible for trans-Pacific voyaging?Their choice of title alone indicates that the editors of Polynesians in America have nailed their colours firmly to the mast, focusing on Polynesians (and not Americans or Asians) as the agents of contact and transfer, and this immediately introduces some unevenness to the collection and its conclusions. Most of the chapters are revisions of papers presented at a 2010 conference session, to which the first two editors, Terry Jones and Alice Storey, have added a set of four introductory chapters, framing the debate (as they see it). While the later chapters are collectively compelling, the introductory chapters are less convincing: reintroducing the case for Polynesian contact (chapter 1); a review of the history of diffusion theory (chapter 2); a very light skim through possible evidence from oral traditions (chapter 3); and a more thorough overview of the trans-Pacific debate (chapter 4). The perspective adopted throughout is from debates conducted largely within American archaeology, where a strongly conservative and processual attitude to the question of trans-Pacific contacts has insisted on better evidence than has been tendered in the past. However, the absence from the volume of any of the authors of these contending views, such as Atholl Anderson or J.E. Arnold, robs the collection of any sense of a robust discussion, leaving readers to challenge the more tendentious claims, and inviting further scepticism about the broader enterprise.

Nine more substantial chapters address particular lines of argument or bodies of material, including: the artefact record from North America of possible Polynesian influences (chapter 5); the specific case of Polynesian contact with ancestors of the Mapuche people of central-south Chile (chapter 6); a review of the proxy evidence for human movement derived from the distribution of commensal plant and animal species (chapter 7); a reappraisal of recent evidence for the pre-Columbian introduction of Polynesian chickens to the Americas (chapter 8); another case study, this time of evidence for Polynesian contact with the Gulf of Guayaquil in Ecuador, as a possible source of the Quechua term for sweet potato (chapter 9); a summary of possible cognate terms in Polynesian and American vocabularies (chapter 10); an inspection of three possibly Polynesian crania from Mocha Island off the coast of Chile, also a find spot for what may be pre-Columbian chicken bones (chapter 11); an argument for a faster and more efficient settlement of eastern Polynesia, as the likely point of departure for voyagers to the Americas (chapter 12); and a review of Polynesian voyaging capabilities (chapter 13). Though most of these chapters summarize or lightly extend arguments and material previously presented, the cumulative weight of their evidence begins to amount to a serious case for Polynesian contact with the Americas, or Ecuador and Chile more specifically.

The volume leaves me with two reservations: the first is the adequacy of a hard copy-only book in a field as dynamic as this. The broader debate addressed here has been contested in on-line journals over the past decade, and a static and largely one-sided contribution in book form cannot hope to capture the complexity of different positions, or offer evidence in entirely convincing detail; and by the time most readers have digested the contents of this volume, it will have been superseded by articles announcing new materials and new developments in the debate. What the book might have offered instead was genuine reflection on, and advances in, the ways we approach debates around diffusion, particularly where the contacts are likely to have been fleeting, partial and restricted. How do we generate really demanding questions for further research, rather than simply seek further evidence to support existing positions; how might debate proceed more productively than it has thus far? What are the conditions for selection and adoption of novel materials and ideas in cross-cultural encounters? And what might the trans-Pacific debate contribute to theories of contact and diffusion elsewhere? On these matters, the present book is largely silent.

Chris Ballard, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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CHRISTIAN POLITICS IN OCEANIA. ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology, v. 2. Edited by Matt Tomlinson and Debra McDougall. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2012. ix, 235 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-85745-746-2.

In this volume a group of anthropologists of Oceania address the interaction of Christianity and politics in the region, from the most local interpersonal relationships to national and (to a much lesser extent) international identities and movements, with case studies from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji. While an assertion in the Introduction that the authors “make the case that politics in Oceania can only be understood by taking account of Christianity, and vice versa” is a bit grand, as much Oceanic politics takes place without reference to Christian faith, the volume certainly does show that the assertion is at least very often the case; and that Western academic attempts to study the politics of Oceania without reference to Christianity and the churches are likely to be inadequate.

Moving from the local to the national, the various contributors discuss conflicting church views of the much-storied “underground army” of Makira, the “tripod” relationship of church, provincial government and chiefs in Isabel, and the political culture of new Evangelicals and Muslims (Solomon Islands); the apparent (but only apparent) lack of interest of the Urapmin Pentecostals in politics and the heated political land disputes of three churches of the Waria Valley (Papua New Guinea); the tendency of churches to take on state functions in the context of a weak state (Vanuatu); the culture-Christianity of the New Methodist Church in its relationship with the Bainimarama military dictatorship (Fiji); and an overall national view of the relation of churches and politics (Papua New Guinea). The volume also contains a helpful afterword. Overall, the volume is refreshingly open and non-ideological and the authors make some effort to be in dialogue with one another.

All the essays are detailed, thoughtful and considerably nuanced in their analyses. As such, the volume is a fine example of the emerging discipline of the anthropology of Christianity, finally not afraid to move into theology, history, psychology and sociology for a more complete analysis. Because of their common multi-disciplinary approach, the essays complement each other well. The volume avoids earlier anthropological approaches that see Christianity (especially Christian theology) as a pariah to be avoided, if not actively opposed. Likewise, helpfully, new Christian churches or perspectives (where appropriate) are discussed here in relationship with the mainline churches from which they emerged. The chapters by Handman (PNG), Scott (Solomon Islands) and Tomlinson (Fiji) are particularly good on this point, as much recent Oceanic anthropology of Christianity has tended to focus on new Pentecostal and Evangelical groups as though they had no relationship with the older churches, with the latter often regarded as no longer of interest.

The strength of the volume (its contributors’ specialized knowledge of their particular areas) is also its weakness as these well-established specialties shape the priorities of the volume rather than more historically significant interactions of Christianity and politics. For example, for Vanuatu, the exceptional role of the churches in the Vanuatu independence movement remains substantially unaddressed; for Solomon Islands, the role of the churches (including denominational identities) in the implementation and solution of the “ethnic tension” crisis of 1999-2003 is hardly addressed; few of the chapters address the paradox that all the countries discussed have very high percentages of Christians yet are deeply rooted in corruption, from the local to the national level. The exceptions are the Fiji chapter, where the analysis is clearly rooted in discussion of the country’s extraordinarily significant coups, and the national survey of the relationship of the churches and politics in PNG.

Because Pacific Christians are generally hospitable and trusting, even to anthropologists, and sometimes the resulting relationships may be very short or continue over years (or are interrupted by long absences), the data for this volume is not always consistent and this inconsistency can affect interpretation; a very negative interpretation might even end the relationship. One senses this issue in the chapter on the Isabel “tripod,” where there was much more conflict than expressed here over the 2010 selection of an Isabel bishop living overseas to be paramount chief and (even more strongly) the selection of his local deputy; debate over the latter continued all night before the inauguration, which almost did not happen. One senses a reluctance to be too critical, lest it damage relationships. Conversely, the chapter on Pentecostal groups in Honiara and the Western Solomons and Islam in Malaita seems to be based on somewhat fleeting relationships and not so squarely fixed on politics, though that is perhaps inevitable, considering the transient character of some of the groups and persons discussed.

Despite these minor criticisms, this is a fine volume, perhaps even a landmark, in the anthropology of Christianity in Oceania and all the chapters are of a high quality. Some will become standard points of reference. But one is still left with the problem of many anthropologies, many Christianities, many contexts, many histories, many personalities and many exceptions, some discussed, some not; trying to get any analytical consistency across such diversity remains a major challenge. Insofar as the authors begin from local contexts and root their analyses there, and are in dialogue with one another, this volume is a major contribution and one begins to see some common themes emerging. I doubt that Christianity will again be marginalized in the ethnographical study of Oceania.

Terry M. Brown, University of Trinity College, Toronto, Canada

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THE NON-INDEPENDENT TERRITORIES OF THE CARIBBEAN AND PACIFIC: Continuity or Change? Edited by Peter Clegg and David Killingray. London: Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 2012. xix, 206 pp. (Maps, tables.) £25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-9569546-0-2.

The volume The Non-Independent Territories of the Caribbean and Pacific: Continuity and Change? edited by Peter Clegg and David Killingray is a collection of articles whose focus is the governmental, administrative and policy changes that have occurred recently with regard to what might generally be called non-self-governing or non-independent territories in mainly the Caribbean and occasionally the Pacific. Written by economists, political scientists, government administrators, historians and lawyers, the articles delve into some of the complex governmental, policy and constitutional alterations that impact the administration of the “imperial fragments” (1). Fragments being an apt metaphor to describe how the authors allude to how the administrative powers sometimes understand these territories: bits of unfinished business, stale crumbs from the imperial “cookie,” so to speak.

The first four articles (written by David Killingray, Peter Clegg and Peter Gold, Ian Bailey, and Ian Hendry) deal specifically with the United Kingdom’s “remnants… of empire”(xvii), now officially called the “Overseas Territories.” One chapter exclusively explores the Netherlands and its Caribbean territories; and in my opinion, it is the best chapter (by Lammert de Jong and Ron ver der Veer). Another focuses on France’s Overseas Territories (by Nathalie Mrgudovic). Yet another concentrates on the role the European Union has in their member states’ non-independent territories (by Paul Sutton). Two more delve into the many concerns, and some notable benefits, for the administrative powers related to the Caribbean economies supported by international banking, offshore finance and the business of tax havens (by Mark P. Hampton and John Christensen, and William Vleck). Finally, Carlyle Corbin provides an overview of how self-governance has been framed internationally in relation to these non-independent territories that remain around the world.

The space in this review prevents a detailed summary of each article; all of which vary from one another. However, general themes emerged within most. Clegg and Killingray assert in the introduction: “Non-independent territories adhere to the metropoles for a variety of reasons, most importantly economic advantage, although security and sentiment also play a part” (xix). The striking word in that sentence is “adhere”—the image being of those crumbs that simply cannot be brushed away. Having gobbled up these territories in the years of intact imperial desserts, since World War II the imperial game of “keep them or set them free” has been in play; decisions partially motivated by imperialistic desires and partially those wishes of the people within these territories. As is appropriately noted throughout many of the chapters, what often remained of empire after the years of reshuffling was, as deJong and van der Veer euphemistically call it, “Kingdom-lite”: meaning, from the metropole’s position, less on guilt and responsibility, and more on a sense of “moral” relief at technically being a “colonizer” no longer (65). The administrative powers allowed these territories a semblance of self-governance at varying levels in various territories. Another euphemism expressed by de Jong and van der Veer suitably encapsulated this relationship: “LAT, or Living Apart Together” (64). But eventually for these administrative powers, Kingdom-lite was viewed as not as lite as once believed because in these non-independent territories the weaknesses of no independence with some local autonomy “simply [was] seen as a failure: huge budget deficits, poor education, social degradation and flawed law enforcement” (66).

In present-day colonial “modernity,” administrative powers no longer see independence as an option for most of these remaining territories, but rather an abiding state of in-between-ness, and the reality of enduring responsibility—and a “moral” responsibility at that. As is often stressed by some in this volume (as summarized in the afterword): “Despite the continued enthusiasm of some of their politicians and oft-repeated criticisms of the ‘colonial’ powers and their level of influence, the people have shown little appetite for re-visiting the issue” of independence (195). Especially given the international economic instability of recent years, these administrative responsibilities are believed to continue to weigh heavily on national budgets. As a result, some within the metropole question a continuation of any relationship with non-independent territories. For example, de Jong and van der Veer state: “Dutch political parties on the far right express loudly and clearly: ‘Sell them on eBay, hand them over to Venezuela’” (80). This is an extreme sentiment, but I think one that summarizes, at least in part, the essence of what the administrations see as their colonial plight. Because despite the responsibilities formulated in colonial yesteryears, the eternal question remains on the tip of the administrative powers’ tongues: Who benefits?” (152), which in all reality should be framed as “Do we benefit?”

Nonetheless, administrative powers, as it was noted throughout this volume, have in recent years attempted to reconceptualize a more “hands-on” relationship with their territorial possessions (81). The chapters on Britain stressed that they want to promote “good governance, democracy and the rule of law” in response to the not-so-benign neglect allowed to fester in some of the non-independent territories (22). However, the ways in which the various powers have been going about changing these relationships are in flux—in seeming fits and starts, legalistic and incomplete—heavy on bureaucratic intent and low on actual practice.

As might be indicated above, the somewhat detached and top-down perspective of these articles may not resonate with some readers. Also, this is not a volume to understand the indigenous or islander perspectives, although flashes occasionally peek through. Indeed, these chapters tend to minimize and gloss over the complex ambivalence that many of these territories and their peoples may have in relation to their administrative powers. Also, the prose can be imposing, made that much more challenging because of the liberally sprinkled acronyms for non-independent territories and governmental organizations (FCO, TCI, OECD, OT, to list but a few). Yet I found this collection to be thought-provoking. It lays out some of the administrative truths, complexities and puzzles related to non-independent territories as political entities. Indeed, the overload of acronyms is rather symbolic and indicative of colonialism today—in a way abbreviated but yet mysterious, if not harshly opaque.

Laurel A. Monnig, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, USA

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