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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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Last updated 10 May 2016

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Asia General

TRANSNATIONAL MIGRATION AND ASIA: The Question of Return. Global Asia, 4. Edited by Michiel Baas. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, in close collaboration with the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS); Chicago: University of Chicago Press [distributor], 2015. 201 pp. US$99.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-8964-658-3.

Putting together an edited volume has many challenges, the biggest of which is the issue of thematic and substantive coherence. This edited volume by Baas meets this challenge very effectively as all the chapters are well crafted essays that provide a rich body of ethnographic and historical data to show the diversity and dynamics of the “irrational, illogical, or even bipolar” meanings (19) attributed to the decisions, intentions, and actions of “returning home.” It is particularly exciting and refreshing to see several authors address the issue of non-return or resistance to return—the Japanese-Americans in the early twentieth century (Kaibara), the overseas Vietnamese students in France during the Franco-colonial period (Nguyen), and the Filipina dependent students in Ireland (Nititham). The decision to move is no less important than the decisions to stay, but policy emphasis has disproportionately focused on people on the move, thus creating, in my opinion, a biased academic focus on mobility and an unspoken dismissal or neglect of immobility. In a similar vein but for different reasons, studies of entrepreneurship and business focus almost singularly on success rather than failure, yet there is much to learn from business failure.

Using a “migrant-centred approach,” this volume addresses the question of “what does ‘return’ mean to migrants?” (9). While the notion of “home” is not problematized explicitly as an objective of this project, the data contained in this volume speak loudly of the migrants’ expressed contested understanding of what constitutes “home” and the rejection of the idea that home always refers to a primordial cultural and territorial destination. The younger Nikkei-Brazilian’s idea of “onward migration” mentioned by von Baeyer (37) is a prime example of this discourse and understanding. In all, this edited volume is built on the social analysis of transmigration practices and/or discourses in eight studies involving anthropologists (Baas, Koh, von Baeyer), sociologists/urban studies/feminist studies (Anwar, Bhatt, Nititham), and historians (Kaibara, Nguyen). The disciplinary diversity nicely complements the regional diversity covered by these studies: Japanese-Brazilians in Japan and Brazil (von Baeyer), Indian students in Australia (Baas), Indian IT returnees and their family from Seattle (Bhatt), Filipina dependent students in Ireland (Nititham), Japanese-Americans in the U.S. in early twentieth century (Kaibara), second generation overseas Vietnamese returnees in Ho Chi Minh city (Koh), Vietnamese students in France in the early twentieth century (Nguyen), and Burmese-Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi illegal migrants in Pakistan (Anwar). With the exception of the three historical chapters by Kaibara, Koh and Nguyen, all the other chapters deal with contemporary situations and conditions.

A strength of this volume is the uniformly excellent job by each author in providing a full context of the many structural/historical legacies and conditions, social-cultural specificities, and other legacies that affect and are affected by the meanings and imaginings about mobility that is the subject focus. This holistic approach is indeed an important contribution of this book, because as Baas rightly points out, the notion of “return is imbued with meaning that goes well beyond what statistical models, structural approaches, or even a focus on the complexity of network can lay bare” (18). Human actions are always rooted in meanings and logics embedded in social and cultural contexts; our behaviour is an outcome of social construction that cannot be fully understood outside the personal and subjective. Yet it is imperative to avoid reducing our research focus and observation down to a single individual or a few individuals, thus removing our capability to answer broader questions about the human experience and the conditions of our existence. It is thus with a great deal of discomfort to note that several authors in this edited book referred to an extremely small sample of case studies for the evidence in their analysis: one Indian student out of a total of 120,490 in Australia (Baas, 42, 54), two young Filipina dependent students out of 20,000 in Ireland (Nitiham, 76), and four Indian female returnees from the United States in Bangalore among the many thousands of returnees in the IT sector in India (Bhatt, 60–61). While Bhatt and Nitiham mention that they spoke with many more people than the few case studies they included in their chapter, and I assume that Baas also had a larger number of case studies to draw from, it is still a concern that they chose to include only a very small number of case studies in their contribution to this volume. I thus recommend this book to any reader interested in the broader issue of transmigration with an emphasis on Asians and Asia, but readers are cautioned that some of the analyses presented in this volume should be considered exploratory in nature due to their limited body of evidence, and thus any conclusive statements or observations made in these chapters should best be viewed as tentative and preliminary.

Josephine Smart, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada                                                    

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PACIFIC STRIFE: The Great Powers and their Political and Economic Rivalries in Asia and the Western Pacific 1870-1914. Global Asia, 5; IIAS Publications Series. By Kees van Dijk. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press; Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press [distributor], 2015. 523 pp. (Illustrations.) US$149.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-8964-420-6.

This book by the Dutch historian Kees van Dijk is an historical review of global power struggles and negotiations in the Asia-Pacific region, boiling from the latter half of the nineteenth century until the onset of WWI. The global powers analyzed in this volume are Great Britain, France, Russia, as well as relatively recent ones such as the United States, Germany, and Japan. The Dutch mercantile empire, while also having a strong presence in Southeast Asia at this time, is only sporadically referenced (it was, however, the main subject of van Dijk’s earlier work The Netherlands Indies and the Great War 1914–1918 [KITLV Press, 2007]). In fact, as he states in the foreword, writing on the Netherlands Indies made him “realize how much international developments in the Pacific in the previous decades had shaped Dutch anxieties about the Netherlands being able to hold on to its colonies in the East” (9) and the data collected to sketch these anxieties forms the basis of this present work.

While the main title suggests that the primary focus is on the Pacific, including its islands (e.g., Fiji, Samoa, New Guinea, and Hawaii) and the Pacific Rim region (e.g., Taiwan, China, Indochina, and Thailand), the geographical areas examined in the book also involve Central Asia, Burma, and Tibet. The main point of van Dijk is that starting from the early 1870s, the Pacific Ocean gradually surpassed the Atlantic as the new traffic centre of world commerce. This was enabled by the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, which drastically shortened the journey from Europe to India, the Far East, and the Pacific. Ports on the Persian Gulf, in India, China, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand began to serve as important commercial entry points, relay stations, or naval bases, which further affected the politics of these regions and adjacent territories. When one adds to this the advancement of various technologies at the time such as the replacement of sail with steam, construction of transcontinental railroads (e.g., the completion of America’s transcontinental railroad in 1869), and installations of submarine telegraph cables, the strategic position of the Pacific Islands became extremely important. For one thing, steamships needed coaling stations in the middle of their long ocean voyages (17). Cash cropping opportunities such as cotton and copra (54), as well as abundant land and sources of labour (52) to develop plantations, also attracted numerous settlers whose products could now be efficiently moved by these newly developed means of transportation. These settlers and their organizations had long been mingling in indigenous politics and swaying homeland colonial policies in favour of military backing or even total annexation (25). There were even cases where overseas colonies took the initiative to annex territories (e.g., Australia and British New Guinea, 132), or discussed the possibilities of forming an island federation themselves (New Zealand and Fiji, 412). Missionaries from different denominations also played influential roles in intervening in indigenous politics and extending the struggle of the global powers (49). As van Dijk concludes, “The South Pacific, which in the past had not attracted much attention, suddenly became a region of great expectations and dreams of unlimited economic prospects” (47).

While most of the historical events mentioned in this book have already been treated in various scholarly studies, this work’s greatest contribution is to put these events in the context of “rivalry” and to bring out the complex interactions involved. For example, in chapter 4, van Dijk analyzes the Anglo-German rivalry behind the annexation of Fiji. This is an interesting angle because previous studies have focused on either the Anglo-French rivalry reflected in the competition between the Roman Catholic Church and London Missionary Society (see Neil Gunson’s “Missionary Interest in British Expansion in the South Pacific in the Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Religious History 3, no. 4 [Dec. 1965]), or the Anglo-American rivalry in the Pacific (see William David McIntyre’s “Anglo-American Rivalry in the Pacific: The British Annexation of the Fiji Islands in 1874,” Pacific Historical Review 29, no. 4 [1960]). As van Dijk demonstrates, after the British annexation of Fiji in 1874 and the deployment of its subsequent land and labour policies, the interests of German settlers in Fiji were greatly affected, a situation he terms the “Fiji Crisis.” This made Germany aware that its settlers needed greater protection, which deeply influenced the development of future power struggles in the Pacific (74). In chapters 18 and 19, when discussing the involvement of the United States in the Pacific in the late nineteenth century, particularly the annexation of Hawaii, the author also brings in the ambitions of Japan (383) and that country’s early fears for its forces and emigrants in the face of American moves (471), issues that are generally neglected by studies of American activities in the Pacific in this period.

Given the grand scheme of van Dijk’s approach in this book, there are a few minor aspects regarding which I feel more details could have been provided. For example, on page 97 he mentions that in the late nineteenth century Germany would have acquired Taiwan (Formosa) from China. I find this very interesting, which is a lesser known fact in the history of Taiwan. I am nevertheless disappointed to find no reference attached to this statement, which could actually be found in Otto Pflanze’s work Bismarck and the Development of Germany, Volume III: The Period of Fortification, 1880–1898 (Princeton University Press 2014, 115). I also think that the British Admiral Lord George Paulet’s brief occupation of Hawaii in 1843 should have been mentioned in the chapter on the annexation of Hawaii, for it had great significance for Hawaiian sovereignty and Anglo-American rivalry in the Pacific. These points, however, do not diminish the value of this volume as an excellent historical review of the diplomatic, military, and economic activities in the pre-WWI Asia-Pacific region.

Hao-Li Lin, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA                                                                       

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THE GLOBAL COAL MARKET: Supplying the Major Fuel for Emerging Economies. Edited by Mark C. Thurber and Richard K. Morse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. xx, 702 pp. (Boxes, figures, tables.) US$155.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-09242-6.

This book assembles a dozen authors from around the globe, under the editorial hands of Richard Morse and Mark Thurber from Stanford University’s Program on Energy and Sustainable Development. It largely succeeds in its ambitious goal of providing a comprehensive overview of the evolution of the global coal industry and global coal trade, summarising the evolution of coal demand and supply in recent decades. It also highlights the essential contradiction inherent in coal use: coal will continue to be needed to meet the energy needs of rapidly expanding developing economies, chiefly in Asia. But such use seems incompatible with achieving climate goals, at least in the absence of large-scale deployment of mitigation technologies, whose prospects for commercialisation continue to recede.

The book focusses on steam or thermal coal, and unlike many previous publications on coal markets, has a very strong Asian focus, as the clear centre of emerging demand, given OECD coal demand is only just over one quarter of global coal use and declining. The two editors provide a concise overview of the recent evolution of coal markets, the rapid rise in Asian coal use, notably in China but also India, and the sharp increase in global coal trade. Informative and readable chapters chronicle the rise of coal production, export and use in China, India, South Africa, Australia, and Indonesia, now the world’s largest thermal coal exporter by a very large margin. These chapters highlight the challenges that each country has faced in expanding coal output, with emphasis on policy issues and how different countries have dealt with them (in some cases, work still in progress). The chapter on India, analysing the causes and implications of the (until recently) sharply slowing growth in coal production, provides a strong contrast with the chapters on China, which demonstrate how that country has successfully expanded output over the last three decades. The factors underpinning the acceleration of Indonesian exports are succinctly explained, with clear pointers to future production and export profiles, as Indonesia’s economy expands, and its own energy needs inevitably rise.

These country chapters set the scene for an informed discussion of key factors in world coal trade, with the dramatic and apparently paradoxical rise of China’s coal imports placed in a clear perspective, and the difficulties of expanding American coal exports neatly explained. This section concludes with an impressive effort to model world coal trade, with a strong summary of key results that, despite the turmoil in energy markets in 2014 and 2015, highlights important future directions. Further efforts in this area will need to be informed by updated data on capital and operating costs.

The final section overviews new coal technologies, including the fast emerging Australian LNG expansions based on coal bed methane, the much less mature and more complex underground coal gasification technologies, and the group of mitigation technologies, collectively known as carbon capture and storage (CCS). The latter discussion does not shy away from the problems of high cost, efficiency penalties, and generally slow progress, contrasting hope with reality. The potential role of China in CCS deployment is discussed separately, with key issues, such as additional strains on the coal supply chain and the difficulties of obtaining finance, either domestic or international, treated realistically.

A fine, succinct concluding chapter by the editors highlights the central dilemma of coal: the need for expanded coal use in some major developing countries because of its availability and price, but the obvious point that unmitigated coal use is incompatible with climate change goals, as reiterated and intensified at COP 21 in Paris at the end of 2015.

Any book on coal markets, written as this one was largely by the start of 2015, is likely to suffer from the changes wrought by dynamic energy markets, from which coal has not been immune. The slowdown and structural changes in the Chinese economy seen from mid-2014 have sharply changed coal use and trade patterns globally, and rapid diversification of that country’s power sector will further impact coal demand. As of the end of 2015, it appears that India has rapidly emerged as the largest thermal coal importer, but its efforts to boost its own coal production and diversify its power sources make it the wild card in global coal trade, as the authors clearly point out. Environmental policies, including those promised at COP 21, will inevitably slow coal use from the rapid growth rates seen since 2000. But given the recent and ongoing investments in coal-fired power plants, coal seems likely to remain the backbone of power production in those countries and others in Asia for some time.

The Global Coal Market offers a comprehensive, balanced and accessible treatment of these important developments, of use to anyone interested in the economic and environmental issues around coal.

Ian Cronshaw, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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PROTESTS AGAINST US MILITARY BASE POLICY IN ASIA: Persuasion and Its Limits. Studies in Asian Security. By Yuko Kawato. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2015. xvi, 224 pp. US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-9416-9.

This book is a welcome and praiseworthy addition to the base politics literature. This is not just because the monograph aims to illustrate base politics through the constructivist lenses of process-tracing, argumentation, and norm diffusion, but also because the author aims to craft a new variable in determining basing policy, an issue that has received an extensive amount of attention by both seasoned and emerging specialists. Before analyzing base politics at three key allies of the US in East Asia, the author initially reviews the constructivist approaches on norms and processes and formulates her own analytical framework in the introduction. Those interested in the confrontations and struggles surrounding base relocation or polluting and criminal acts on and in the vicinity of US military bases may skip the introductory chapter and go directly to the case studies, featuring twelve protests: four in Okinawa between 1945 and 2010, and five in South Korea between 2000 and 2007, and three in the Philippines between 1964 and 1991.

Given her extensive field research, as well as her expertise in base politics in Japan, especially Okinawa, this book is a must-read for anyone concerned with base politics in this period of global power shift, generated by the rise of China and the US pivot to Asia. In particular, the author offers a penetrating peek into the black box of domestic decision-making processes, such as who is going to persuade whom and with what kind of rationale.

Basing policy could take many different forms, but contemporary basing policy is mostly the product of negotiations and compromises between those upholding national security and those calling for the enhancement of all kinds of human and environmental security. Rather than giving proportionate attention to the discourses of both national security and human security, the author devotes the lion’s share of her discussion to whether the protests against US military base policy produce the intended results. This asymmetry might cause frustration to some readers because the fundamental reasons for basing troops overseas are, without doubt, the existence of external threats and the possibilities for the enhancement of national security. Nevertheless, it is understandable why the author attempts to explore a new avenue of research from the perspectives of what is described as the “normative arguments,” defined as “norm-based policy proposals” (13), and how policy makers respond to different normative arguments with significant consequences for policy outcomes.

As the trigger factors leading to base closure or other major decisions, the extant literature has been focused on regime shift (Kent Calder, Embattled Garrisons: Comparative Base Politics and American Globalism, Princeton University Press, 2007), regime type and the regime’s level of political dependence on the United States (Alexander Cooley, Base Politics: Democratic Change and the U.S. Military Overseas, Cornell University Press, 2008), and the security consensus among policy makers of a host state (Andrew Yeo, Activists, Alliances, and Anti-U.S. Base Protests, Cambridge University Press, 2011). If Calder’s Embattled Garrisons offers a bird’s eye view on base politics, including policy recommendations for the US government, Kawato’s contribution lies in offering a bug’s eye view by featuring how normative arguments, created and delivered in a bottom-up manner, could lead to a shift in base-related decisions by the policy makers. If both Calder and Cooley have taken systematic approaches to explain what drives base-related decisions, the author’s approach is much more nuanced, given that many decisions do not take the form of an all-or-nothing game. For instance, Cooley’s arguments support the possibility that the basing contracts sealed before the democratization of a host country will be the target of contestation after democratization and the United States will find it hard to maintain bases there. This did not happen in a democratized South Korea. What happened there was the revision of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) on criminal jurisdiction and an increase in the legal and social pressures on the US bases for the observance of environmental guidelines, illustrated in detail by Kawato. Meanwhile, Yeo analyzes a shift in power balances between political elites and anti-base activists, leading to his argument that the weakening security consensus amongst the elites opens the window of opportunities for anti-base activists in changing basing policy. Nevertheless, the emerging consensus might be fleeting when faced with strong opposition from the United States and powerful bureaucracy, just like Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio had to give up his promise to relocate the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma out of Okinawa.

From the outset, Kawato understands that her main thesis, “normative arguments,” has only a limited impact on the policy makers, which could be regarded as the weakest point of her book, but still argues that large-scale protests are effective for, at least, extracting a symbolic concession from the policy makers susceptible to the mobilized power of citizens, sometimes aligned with governors and mayors. Compared with the previous research, this book illustrates better the process of how normative arguments are crafted, diffused, and finally accepted, rejected, or compromised by the policy makers. The strength of this book lies in the fact that normative arguments could be more effectively used in persuading the policy makers to take action in the direction of strengthening environmental guidelines at US bases or revising criminal custody rather than preventing the construction or relocation of bases. Of course, the normative arguments could generate base closure, like the pullout of US troops from the Philippines in 1991 by ending the leases at Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base, or delays in base construction, such as the proposed relocation of Futenma to Henoko, northern Okinawa.

Key-Young Son, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea

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MEN TO DEVILS, DEVILS TO MEN: Japanese War Crimes and Chinese Justice. By Barak Kushner. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015. 403 pp. (Illustrations.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0674-72891-2.

After a recent conference at Leiden, Ethan Mark (a comparative historian of Japan and Indonesia) showed me a remarkable film from the Philippines entitled Three Godless Years (1976), which confronted the experience of Japanese war atrocities with surprising complexity. I thought, if Mario O’Hara can direct such a film under Marcos and with little funding, why is nuance so difficult to find in Chinese cinematic treatments? Some of the answers are in Barak Kushner’s new book, Men to Devils. At 321 pages, plus voluminous notes, this important work on Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) war crimes is not lite fare; nevertheless, it succeeds in being a readable and wide-ranging examination of the intersection of the legal history of B and C class war criminals’ trials, on the one hand, and the contentious memory of these events, on the other.

Kushner asserts that the legal history of adjudicating war crimes should be considered an independent “terrain” of memory (21). Although Kushner is careful to aver that the legal process here did not reveal hidden “truths,” at the level of basic self-expression (for example, in memoirs) the influence of trial language as a recognized method of discussing “what really happened” is palpable. Although space limitations do not permit me to describe them in depth, chapters 6 and 7 feature a useful critical examination of later memories of the trials, and their (ab)uses during the Cold War. “Given the show trial nature of many of the proceedings, the attempt to resolve disputes without further bloodshed was a noble one,” Kushner writes, “but the politicization of the trials quickly rendered them more as fodder in Cold War battlefields of propaganda” (247).

Consequently, Kushner begins his book by “triangulating” the Chinese (or, CCP), Taiwanese (or, KMT), and Japanese historical standpoints regarding war crimes (27). Right out of the gate in chapter 1, however, we see how the story of Japan’s surrender and war crimes trials are even more complex, involving European, Commonwealth, Southeast Asian, and American actors. Kushner shows how “Japanese at the edge of empire could not fathom that they had actually lost” (36); his account echoes Lori Watt’s When Empire Comes Home, as well as new comparative work by multilingual scholars like Konrad Lawson and Adam Cathcart. Then, Kushner confronts the debate about the legality of the trials, engaging with Yuma Totani’s The Tokyo War Crimes Trial and Richard Minear’s Victor’s Justice, siding with Totani against Minear in that the discussion of local perpetrators, including rapists and the infamous “Comfort Women” system, was advocated by Filipino (Pedro Lopez) and French (Roger Depo) prosecutors (46).

Chapter 2 explains how the KMT failed to eke out a place for Chinese jurisprudence in the international war crimes trials while simultaneously dealing with the rise of the CCP and the necessity of the Japanese Empire’s diaspora. In an interesting diversion, Kushner summarizes how Shanxi Province under Yan Xishan challenges Manichean views of treason and justice: during his fight with the CCP, Yan promoted remaining Japanese infantrymen to the officer class and encouraged them to take Chinese wives (106). As Kushner puts it, “there was no one path toward a war crimes trial,” and the process was hopelessly determined by forces that had little or nothing to do with any notion of “justice” (107). Chapter 4 returns to this theme in its discussion of KMT trials on the mainland, which drew on a tradition of revolutionary courts and never managed to make Chinese law accepted internationally. Kushner delves into scattered reports of early instances of torture, squalid prisons, and kangaroo courts set up to satisfy local Chinese populations’ “lust for revenge” (145). This was followed by the 30 May 1946 Nanjing Military Tribunal for War Crimes, which did not resolve conflicting Chinese domestic demands and international legal standards. The KMT eventually shipped Japanese POWs en masse back to Japan simply to deny the CCP the privilege of using the courts for political legitimization (182).

Chapter 3 looks closely at the confusing racial, ethnic, and national politics that spewed forth in the wake of empire, and the “legal snafu” behind determining who was Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, and Korean (128). The brutal and tragic “Sinification” of the Taiwanese people followed closely the various “Japanification” campaigns. Kushner also describes the violent encounters between Taiwanese residents of Japan, whose legal status was now “reduced to that of aliens,” and Japanese gangs who were often backed by the police (132). Chapter 5 returns to Taiwan, with a special focus on the White Group (baituan) that formed to facilitate postwar KMT and Japanese military cooperation—a relationship that Kushner views to be “eminently consistent in the continuation of their mutual stance against Communism” (191). Here Kushner issues an important challenge to his colleagues: the network of alliances in Japan, Taiwan, and mainland China show how “discussions of Japanese behavior after the war cannot be examined within the national framework of Japanese history” (208).

The only problem I have with this otherwise excellent volume is its focus on the China theatre, which may be unfair as the book sets out to examine the Sino-Japanese relationship. As Kushner shows, however, understanding China is necessary for making sense of trans-war Japan, and I reckon Southeast Asia is also important. For example, echoing Joshua Fogel, another Sino-Japanese expert, Kushner mentions that Nanjing was “not a Holocaust” (23), which is fair enough, but should we see such incidents simply as “mass murder run viciously amok”? If so, what do we make of the IJA’s orders to systematically exterminate populations in the Philippines at the end of the war? Research on genocide has come a long way from using Nazi Germany as a standard, and I think the experience in Southeast Asia must now illuminate what we think we know about the war and its aftermath in China.

Aaron William Moore, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom                          

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CONSTRUCTING MODERN ASIAN CITIZENSHIP. Routledge Studies in Education and Society in Asia. Edited by Edward Vickers and Krishna Kumar. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xiii, 365 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$165.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-85578-5.

In Constructing Modern Asian Citizenship, Krishna Kumar and Edward Vickers begin their introduction with two questions: “How has citizenship been constructed in Asian societies negotiating transitions to modern statehood?” “To what extent have such transitions, and associated citizenship discourses, been shaped by any distinctively ‘Asian’ ideas or conditions?” (1).

The first question is addressed convincingly. First, this volume covers India, China, Japan, the Philippines, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Mongolia, giving a broad view of citizenship in Asia. Second, the sketch of the reality of citizenship is multi-dimensional. Each chapter begins with theories of citizenship and modernity, then progresses to more and more concrete matters: the history of state formation, educational policies, textbooks, the actual images and narratives used to convey citizenship, and the reaction of students to them. Additionally, five chapters go beyond the school system, delving into other sites of education like museums, youth groups, and the internet. The end result is an understanding of modern Asian citizenship that is dense, vivid, and dynamic, not merely showing how citizenship evolves in various histories, but providing a glimpse of how students are shaped in various processes of education.

To what extent have these processes been affected by Asian conditions? Here, most chapters paint a dark picture of education as hegemonic (although multi-directional), a power play between key tensions of modernity: majority vs. minority, Asia vs. the West, the nation vs. the others. I will use these to summarize some key arguments in the book.

In the first tension, we see that modern education tends to create centralized unity and identity at the expense of minorities and those at the fringes. This is clearest in Kumar’s chapter on rural India and Vickers’ chapter on China. Be it the domination of urban India over rural areas, or majority culture in China being imposed on minorities, education functions as a method of enculturation, draining rural areas of young, talented people and centralizing power around the cities. Of course, this tension is quite complex, and nuance is added by chapters like Jiang Lei and Vickers’ on Shanghai’s museums, where Shanghai is shown as negotiating its own identity within that of China as a whole.

Amidst this erasure of the margins, both Vickers and Kumar call for a need to rebalance our understanding of society and history by allowing all children in school, including the marginalized, to discuss and critique this ethos. A concrete suggestion can be found in Latika Gupta’s study of India’s textbooks for Social and Political Life. Here, we see what a more genuinely democratic education might be like: foregrounding conflict and issues, and actively involving students in social change.

The second tension of modernity is between Asia and the West. As Kumar and Vickers repeatedly point out, Asian modernization has always been complexly related to Westernization. This tension shows in every chapter, but is particularly clear in Caroline Rose’s comparison of China and Japan, Filiz Keser Aschenberger’s discussion of Turkey, and Myagmarsuren Damdin and Vickers’ analysis of Mongolia. In all of these countries, modernization mixes learning from the West with attempts to resist the West with a strong national identity. However, Mark Maca and Paul Morris point out that the Philippines is an exception: for various historical and political reasons, it seems to have simply failed to create a strong national identity or citizenship, resulting in a widespread embracing of values of globality and easy assimilation into foreign cultures. In a country economically buoyed by overseas workers, this ethos is useful but perhaps unsustainable.

The third tension is the nation vs. the others, where Asian modernization seems to very often couple national unity with national chauvinism. Aschenberger’s chapter on Turkey, Rubina Saigol’s chapter on Pakistan, Rose’s chapter on Japan and China, and Rowena Xiaoqing He’s article on overseas Chinese student nationalism take this up directly. They depict the concrete processes by which individuals learn to love their own countries by hating others: reiterating instances of national victimhood, creating a sense of suspicion that others (or the West) are trying to destroy one’s country, depicting the state as a family that ought not to be betrayed, strongly depicting a binary between martyrs and traitors, etc. The dangers these pose for regional and global stability is clear.

With these tensions shown in their various forms, in a wide range of countries and levels, this volume provides an excellent entry point not only for those in Comparative Education but for anyone engaged with a study of modernization as a whole.

However, there is room for further argument. In this volume, we see that in the process of Asian modernization, Asian teachings (philosophies and religions)—“Asian values,” Confucianism, Islam, State Shinto, and the cult of Chinggis Khan—have been complicit in supporting anti-Western, chauvinistic, authoritarian regimes. The solution offered by Kumar, Vickers, Gupta, and others seems to be “discourse, discussion, and critique.” While these are important, perhaps it is still prudent to consider Asian teachings in the search for solutions.

First, alongside Helen Ting Mu Hung’s discussion of Islamizing Malaysia, I think there needs to be a more thorough engagement with post-secularism. Is secularist “neutrality” the only solution to a multi-religious state? Is secularism not a religion onto itself, with its own implications for private life and the existential needs of man, and thus in competition with other religions? (See Talal Asad, On Suicide Bombing, Columbia University Press, 2007.) Perhaps we, especially in education, need to take more seriously this “moral, spiritual void” secular modernity seems to create, especially in a region where the very idea of “religion” (in relation to the public and private spheres) formed in a distinctive way.

Second, might Asian teachings not provide alternate, profitable visions of participatory democracy that enable rather than merely presuppose discourse? One common idea in contemporary Confucianism and Japanese Philosophy (particularly Watsuji Tetsurô) is that perhaps, prior to reason, communication needs trust. In cases of an “allergy to critique” in countries like China, perhaps the ethics and psychology of critique and discourse need to be reconsidered.

Anton Luis Sevilla, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan 

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THE DYNAMICS OF HIGHER EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT IN EAST ASIA: Asian Cultural Heritage, Western Dominance, Economic Development, and Globalization. International and Development Education. Edited by Deane E. Neubauer, Jung Cheol Shin, and John N. Hawkins. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. xiv, 219 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$100.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-35826-4.

This volume contributes significantly to ongoing debates on the influence of East Asian values and traditions, neo-liberalism, globalization, and the internationalization of higher education in the development of East Asian higher education and the dynamics involved in such developments. The chapters in this volume not only present cases and arguments on the diversity and localization of globalization and the internationalization of higher education, but also support a multiple perspective and strategically posed argument for the existence of a hybrid university.

Framed within four hypotheses, advanced by Hawkins, Neubauer, and Shin in the introductory chapter, the discussions and case studies provide multiple perspectives and empirical data to support or argue against the Western dominance hypothesis; the Asian values hypothesis; the economic determinism hypothesis; and the globalist inclusion hypothesis. This volume is presented in three major sections on cultural tradition, economic development, and globalization, respectively, as they relate to the development of higher education in East Asia.

In section 1, which focuses on the cultural tradition perspective, Shin (chapter 2) explains East Asian higher education development from a cultural-economic context and proposes a typology based on education development strategy (incremental vs. simultaneous), public recourse inputs (maximum or minimum), and planning approach (social demand vs. human resource demand). Looking into the trend towards the internationalization of higher education, Chan (chapter 3) discusses the challenges of balancing Eastern and Western values in East Asian higher education institutions, especially with the pursuit of an international reputation and world-class university status, the greater use of English in teaching and research, the proliferation of Western practices in transnational higher education, and the harmonizing effect of internationalization.

Tracing China’s traditional context and intellectual traditions, Hawkins (chapter 4) observes that China’s modern higher education system contains indigenous Chinese elements in its structure, curriculum, roles of and relationships between teachers and students, and learning and assessment, and argues for the existence of a hybrid higher education in Asia. Taking a cultural-historical perspective, Xun (chapter 5) explores how the modernization paradigm changed the views of and relationship between traditional and modern Chinese education, their forms and practices.

In section 2, which takes the economic perspective, the authors review the impact of economic development on higher education in the East Asian region. Reviewing major innovation policies across selected East Asian countries (Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore), Mok (chapter 6) finds East Asian states to be more proactive in innovation, research, and development; the author theorizes that they tend to promote closer links between higher education institutions and industry to enhance global competitiveness. On the other hand, Bhumiratana (chapter 7) presents the case of Thailand, where the development of higher education tended to be driven more by economic determinism than globalist inclusion. This case study also looks at the challenges of balancing the adoption of Western higher education best practices in an environment where cultural and spiritual development is considered equally important to academic achievement.

Focused on the globalization perspective, the last section presents diverse views on globalization’s effect on East Asian higher education, its structural transformation and practices. Taking into consideration the various forces of global change, Neubauer (chapter 8) explores the implications of the globalization of higher education in terms of its conduct, structural changes, and the emergence of the globalized university, further posing three propositions as to the nature of the globalized university. Identifying Asia Pacific universities’ globalizing practices, Lee (chapter 9) notes two concurrent but opposing streams, namely homogenization and particularization, which reflect the importance of the sociopolitical and economic context of each country and the emergence of hybrid variations of education policy ideas in spite of its origination from multiple metropolitan centers.

Presenting the Japanese higher education case, Yamada (chapter 10) maps that country’s higher education policies over the past decades (e.g., the Global 30 program, Re-inventing Japan Project and its new policy for globalized talent) and shows that the structural transformation of Japanese higher education brought about by the challenges of globalization and the market economy. This structural change is seen in the increased stratification and diversification as well as the emergence of elitism in Japanese higher education. Furthermore, the chapter shows that Japanese elite universities tend to choose global approaches and best practices, while some universities, such as Doshisha University, built on its mission statement and tradition as a liberal arts university that was significantly enhanced by Japan’s higher education policies. Posing the question “Is there an Asian hybrid university?” Hawkins, Neubauer, and Shin, in the concluding chapter, discuss the notion of a hybrid university, presenting their arguments in terms of six key elements: Cartesian framing versus Yin and Yang; Western “muddling through” versus Asian pragmatic approach to modernity; Western hierarchy versus relational structures; freedom of expression versus politically and culturally constrained expression; and the notion of democracy as global currency versus university as a set of linkages of restraints.

Overall, this volume on the dynamics of higher education development in East Asia should be considered required reading for those dealing in higher education policy and those in international higher education. Its multiple perspective approach, the four hypotheses posed to frame the volume, and the wealth of historical and cultural insights into East Asian higher education development should inform higher education researchers and policy makers in the East Asian region and beyond. Lastly, it has set the tone for further intellectual inquiry of the Asian values discourse in higher education, posed new dimensions in terms of globalization’s impact and dynamics in higher education development, and facilitated significantly informed dialogue about the notion of a hybrid Asian university.

Roger Y. Chao Jr., Independent Education Development Consultant      

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PUBLIC HEALTH AND NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION IN POST-WAR ASIA: International Influences, Local Transformations. Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia, 100. Edited by Liping Bu and Ka-che Yip. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xiii, 204 pp. US$155.00, cloth . ISBN 978-0-415-71905-6.

The 1957 poster “Methods of Prevention” on this book’s cover page presents three distinct scenes: left of the open door a male doctor takes notes as he talks with a patient; to the right a female nurse gives a bottle of medicine to an elderly woman sitting in a row with others; in the forefront, a young woman looks through a microscope at a desk where three slides lay ready for her to examine. As part of the Science and Technology Popularization Association of Zhejiang Province, the Shanghai Health Press published this poster five years into the Patriotic Health Movement that began in response to allegations of US germ warfare during the Korean War (1950–1953). It visually captures the two core themes that course through this edited volume: 1) how public health was a central aspect of national reconstruction in postwar Asia (i.e., the rural clinic was a central part of Chinese nation building); and 2) how international influences were locally transformed (i.e., the microscope and smear slides, both part of disease eradication programs, represent modern Western science).

The co-editors Ka-che Yip and Liping Bu’s earlier collaboration (with Darwin H. Stapleton) on the history of public health in pre-1950 Asia, Science, Public Health and the State in Modern Asia (2010), inspired this collection’s focus on postwar Asia. One of the authors in this volume, Akihito Suzuki, co-authored Reforming Public Health in Occupied Japan, 1945–52: Alien Prescriptions (2012). All three books were published within five years of each other in the same Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia series (#71, #73, #100). This indicates that since the series started in 1997 the history of public health has finally become one of the central themes of the “Modern History of Asia.”

The opening chapter “National Health, International Interests” serves as an entry point into the co-editors’ main argument that one of the most important developments in postwar Asian nations was the reconstruction, or rebuilding, of public health systems within the framework of new international public health institutions and Cold War politics. They also show how the political changes in the postwar period (decolonization, revolution, and national reconstruction) connected with these public health projects, effectively setting the stage for integrating Asian public health history into modern world history.

The introduction ends with a summary of each of the nine case studies, showing how the goals of national public health and nation building locally transformed those of international institutions in distinctly different ways. The coeditors did not write a separate conclusion. Nor did the separate contributors cross-reference their articles well. One is thus left with a sense that this book is not yet greater than the sum of its chapters. Nonetheless, the separate contributions remain well worth reading for the illuminating public health case studies as well as informative 30- to 60-year public health histories that they offer of a range of East Asian (mainland China, South and North Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong), Southeast Asian (Indonesia and Thailand), and South Asian (India) countries.

The two co-editors contributed several-decade-long surveys of a particular public health topic. Ka-che Yip traced a change toward more proactive interventionist British public health policy in Hong Kong from 1945 to 1985 in response to lowered British prestige, discontent among the Chinese subjects, and the rise in Chinese communism in a new postwar political context. Liping Bu examined how from 1950 to 1980 the Patriotic Health Movement developed in response to the US involvement in the Korean War, relied on Soviet models, and contributed to China’s Socialist reconstruction. Xiaoping Fang’s “Diseases, Peasants, and Nation-Building in Rural China” moves from national-level health policies to the many roles beyond patient health care that mass-line disease eradication and prevention programs played in integrating rural China into the Chinese nation-state. Gao Xi’s case study on the “Pavlovian Influence on Chinese Medicine, 1950s” returns to the Soviet influence on Chinese public health theme introduced in Bu’s chapter.

The second half of the book moves to other countries in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and India. Shin Dong-won’s “Public Health and People’s Health” compares the different public health histories of South and North Korea in the immediate postwar period from 1945 to 1960 in which Cold War politics played out in contrasting socialist (N. Korea) and capitalist (S. Korea) approaches to public health. Kazumi Noguchi then examines the “Impact of Government-Foundation Cooperation” on the development of the postwar Japanese health-care system. Shirish R. Kavadi’s essay moves the reader’s gaze over to India by studying different visions of the relationship between “Medicine, Philanthropy, and Nationhood.” Vivek Neelakantan’s study of public health in Indonesia focuses on the WHO’s “Campaign Against the Big Four Endemic Diseases” during the 1950s. Finally, Davisakd Puaksom concludes the volume with a chapter “On the Politics of Health Care an Moral Discourse in Thailand, 1950-2010.” Together these final three chapters offer insights into little-known areas of public health history in South and Southeast Asia.

Because this edited volume’s intention was to provide a range of new public health history scholarship on postwar Asia, this is not yet the “history of public health in East Asia” book that I still seek to assign in my undergraduate course of the same title. Nevertheless I will draw on the rich material in chapters 2 through 7 for my lectures as well as assign some of the chapters. I thus recommend historians of modern world history, public health history, and, especially, the modern history of Asia, to do the same in their own courses. Historians of public health in the post-World War II period, anywhere in the world, would also find much to think about in this volume’s interesting range of contributions on modern Asian public health history.

Marta E. Hanson, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

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HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE ARTS: Perspectives on Global Asia. Global Encounters: Studies in Comparative Political Theory. Edited by Susan J. Henders and Lily Cho. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. xi, 262 pp. (Figures.) US$90.78, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7391-8473-8.

Human Rights and the Arts is a valuable and welcome contribution to the growing scholarship on human rights issues and debates in Asia. Its major contributions are threefold. First, it enables us to understand how culture and local context play a role in understandings and struggles for human rights in different Asian societies while avoiding the often static discussions on culture found in many works on Asian values. Second, it draws our attention to the central place of art (poetry, literature, visual art, film, performances, etc.) in human rights struggles, and how such works, more easily than legal and political texts, can sensitize and engage people on human rights issues. And third, it alerts us to the fluid nature of geographic boundaries and cultures as it discusses Asia as a global site where local and global values merge and where people elsewhere (including the Asian diaspora) engage with human rights issues in Asia.

The volume consists of an introductory chapter that outlines the book’s aim and approach, and a range of chapters dealing with specific artists/authors and countries grouped under different headings such as freedoms and democracies; war and atrocity; livelihoods, place and ecologies; minorities, nations, states, and empires; and migrations, transnationalisms, universalisms. In the introduction the editors situate the book in relation to other academic discussions on how local contexts and culture shape human rights debates and practices. The editors draw our attention to earlier, often essentialized and static descriptions of culture, and alert us to the fact that such descriptions hide power hierarchies, contestations, and changes within societies and over time, as well as ignore how contacts with other cultures and the emergence of new values shape local societies. Their conceptualization of context, which includes aspects such as embodied and everyday experiences, spiritual and religious dimensions, ecologies and places, cultures and nations, provides a basis for a deeper understanding of how different individuals and communities discuss and speak out against human rights violations of different kinds. The editors argue well for why art is a powerful tool to discuss and engage with human rights in Asia, although many of the works discussed don’t explicitly talk about human rights and the artists in question wouldn’t conceive of themselves as human rights activists. Art elicits emotional responses and feelings of empathy and solidarity that enable people to engage with human rights in a more personal, immediate, and bottom-up way. To express oneself through art can furthermore often be the only way to make trauma and human rights violations visible in contexts and societies where it is too painful or too dangerous to speak openly.

The artists and authors discussed in the volume come from many different Asian countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India, and they depict and deal with different types of injustices and atrocities in works that range from poetry, fiction, visual art, and film, to drama and performances. We are introduced to both internationally well-known arists and writers such as Ai Weiwei and Michael Ondaatje and less well-known artists from the region. Among the artists discussed in the volume, Ai Weiwei is probably the most well-known and outspoken on human rights issues. Alice Ming Wai Jim discusses the cultural and political context that has triggered Ai Weiwei’s activism and why art can be such a powerful tool in a repressive society like China. She also draws attention to Ai Weiwei’s skilful use of different digital technologies such as social media and film, which opens up new possibilities for both art and human rights activism in Asia today. Alicia Turner’s chapter on the Burmese artist U Htein Lin and his work shows how religious beliefs imbue human rights struggles in the country and alerts us to the danger of a narrow universalist human rights interpretation. The different and complex ways depictions of war and civil war find their way into literature are dealt with in the chapters by Van Nguyen-Marshall (Vietnam) and Arun Nedra Rodrigo (Sri Lanka). The latter also addresses the impact of ethnic and diaspora identities in writings about the civil war, and the complex and contested international circulation of both rights discourses and literary works. One of the more original sections in the book addresses literary works that deal with ecology and place, people’s relations to nature, and traditional ways of living under threat. The three chapters on works from Tibet (Françoise Robin), Indonesia (Mary M. Young), and Bangladesh (Afsan Chowdhury) show how local views on nature imbue people’s identities and struggle for livelihood and rights, that these understandings may challenge both local states’ development agendas and global human rights discourses, as well as pave the way for new understandings of environmental rights and global responsibilities. Four chapters in the book deal with literature and film that address discrimination based on ethnicity in different Asian counties (Jooyeon Rhee, Arun P. Mukherjee, Susan J. Henders) and of citizens of Asian origin in North America (Theodore W Goossen). The final section deals with issues of migration, transnationalism, and universalism, addressing the intersection of diasporic experiences and human rights struggles in a chapter on South Asian diasporic poets (Sailaja Krishnamurti) and the impact of global power and universal human rights on workers, women, and other citizens in Indonesia (Michael Bodden). The latter chapter raises many important and difficult issues such as whether global human rights discourses can challenge unequal power relations in a world dominated by global capital, and whether art really can provide an avenue to challenge inequalities and create real solidarity both nationally and globally.

This volume shows not only that art can be a powerful tool for artists and activists to depict human rights violations and call for justice and recognition, especially important in non-democratic countries, but that art can be an excellent window for students and scholars who want to understand how human rights norms, contestations, and problems are experienced by individual citizens in Asia. One would hope that this volume would inspire further studies that probe deeper into different forms of art, the relationship between art and activism in different Asian countries, and the reception of these art works in Asia.

Marina Svensson, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

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GREAT GAME EAST: India, China, and the Struggle for Asia’s Most Volatile Frontier. By Bertil Lintner. New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2015. vi, 343 pp. (Illustrations.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-300-19567-5.

In early June of 2015, Indian special forces carried out an attack across the Indo-Burmese border against an insurgent group that had previously attacked an Indian Army unit in the border state of Manipur. India’s willingness to use force beyond its borders in the northeast marked a new assertiveness on the part of the Narendra Modi regime. It also highlighted the fact that despite years of attempts to both repress and conciliate a host of insurgent movements in the region, the country was far from out of the woods.

The obvious strategic significance of this region to New Delhi cannot be overstated. It abuts India’s principal antagonist, the People Republic of China (PRC), Bangladesh, a country with which India has had a complex and occasionally troubled relationship, and Burma (Myanmar), a state where India is now involved in a competition for influence with the PRC. Yet substantial scholarship or even informed commentary on India’s northeastern states and their ties, both formal and informal, with China, Bangladesh, and Burma (Myanmar), is scanty. Quite apart from the geopolitical importance of this region, this lacuna is perplexing at various other levels. The region has long been politically volatile, laden with a host of movements ranging from autonomy to secession. It is the site of much regional migration across porous borders, with all its concomitant tensions, and it shares borders with the PRC, which has substantial territorial claims in the area. To complicate matters further it is also a part of the world with substantial biodiversity. The fragile ecosystems that permeate it are now under threat owing to extensive dam building projects both in the PRC and in India.

Given the paucity of reliable and insightful work on the contemporary politics of the region, Bertil Linter’s Great Game East: India, China and the Struggle for Asia’s Most Volatile Frontier, is a most welcome contribution. Linter, a journalist of considerable repute, writes with authority, clarity, and verve about the tangled skein of ethnic tensions, state responses, and political chicanery that have long characterized this region.

The central argument of the book is that there is a long-term competition between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and India in India’s northeast and its adjoining regions. Lintner argues that this contestation has intensified in recent years. Both states have expended considerable resources to garner influence, with varying results. The PRC, Lintner demonstrates, had long sought to exploit existing grievances in India’s northeast. To that end it had supported a range of ethnic secessionist movements, supplying them with weaponry, training, and organization, and even sanctuaries.

He also shows that Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate (ISI-D) has been active in Bangladesh in efforts to undermine India’s influence in the country. Specifically, like the PRC, it has sought to establish links with Indian secessionist organizations and has attempted to boost their activities. Furthermore, it has fostered anti-Indian sentiment in Bangladesh and provided assistance to radical Islamist organizations in the country.

Of course, it is hardly surprising that India’s two principal adversaries, Pakistan and the PRC, would seek to sow discord and exploit existing grievances in a volatile region. It is to Lintner’s credit, however, that he is entirely unsparing in his description and analysis of the shortcomings of India’s policies that contributed to the emergence of various movements for autonomy and secession in the region. In his examination of the political movements in the northeast, he demonstrates a fine-grained knowledge of both their historical backgrounds as well as contemporary realities. His understanding of the role of key individuals, critical turning points, and flawed policy choices, all of which converged to create a combustible mix, is indeed exemplary.

Lintner’s discussion is not confined to the seven states in India’s northeast and Bangladesh but also extends to Burma (Myanmar). Once again, he brings to bear a keen understanding of recent Burmese history, its fraught domestic politics and its deeply blemished policies toward its ethnic minorities. He also shows that the PRC, in its attempts to penetrate the country, may have now overplayed its hand. As a consequence a backlash of sorts, especially within the Burmese military, is now emerging against its overbearing presence. To that end, Burma’s rulers have sought to court the United States to balance the PRC. Yet he contends that the PRC will not easily cede ground given its own strategic concerns in the region. The physical proximity that the PRC enjoys, its early involvement in the country and its determination to try and limit Indian influence will all conspire to render American efforts to establish a more robust presence within Burma difficult.

The considerable historical background, the careful description of contemporary developments, and the deft analysis of both the roles of domestic and external players in the region makes this book a most useful contribution to a very small body of existing work. Scholars, diplomats, and students interested in the complex politics of the region will all stand to benefit from Lintner’s discussion.

Sumit Ganguly, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

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CULTURAL POLICIES IN EAST ASIA: Dynamics between the State, Arts and Creative Industries. Edited by Hye-Kyung Lee and Lorraine Lim. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. xi, 229 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-32776-5.

This collection of essays makes a strong case for the need to explicitly incorporate insights from the fast-growing, fast-changing nations of East Asia, and to extend conceptual understanding about cultural policy and the creative industries beyond the dominant Anglophone and European contexts. Drawing upon case studies from China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, the thirteen essays in this collection aim to provide interdisciplinary insights into cultural policy formation in this region. The essays work around three core themes and relate these to national cases: (1) cultural identity formation and nation building; (2) negotiations between culture and the state; and (3) the rise of creative industries policies. A feature of all essays is that they frame these debates around the implications of economic growth and modernization, and the greater role being played by markets in the allocation and distribution of cultural resources.

Considering the national framing of cultural policies, Terence Chong discusses how the “bureaucratic imagination” in Singapore has been forced to adapt from its historical suspicion of art as vaguely subversive of national culture towards a more active embrace of the arts and culture in the “Renaissance City” strategies of the 2000s. Li-Jung Wang observes that the strong Chinese nationalism of early Taiwanese cultural policies has given way to a more fluid understanding of multicultural Taiwan that recognizes indigenous cultures and cultural diversity within the nation. Anthony Fung locates strategies for games industry development in China in the context of the “big question” of how much control over culture the Chinese party-state is prepared to cede to the market and the private sector. In contrast to the Singaporean and Taiwanese cases, Fung concludes that a more market-oriented approach to culture has been linked to a relaxing of discourses of strong nationalism, the Chinese case is one where national discourses of Chinese identity and state hegemony remain paramount, and that exposure to the wider forces of globalization has had only a limited impact on the shape of China’s games industry.

Addressing the case of the “Korean Wave,” Ki-won Hong proposes that nation branding has been central to Korean cultural policy, with the cultural products of the “Korean Wave” being central to a reinvigorated Korean cultural diplomacy in the 2000s. The focus on the changing relationship between culture and the state is also central to Hye-Kyung Lee’s discussion of Korean cultural policy, although it focuses more particularly upon the arts, and the often-troubled relationship between Korean artists and the government.

A critical question in the collection is the degree to which state agencies are prepared to fund the arts and culture, and at the same time cede governance over cultural forms and products to civil society. Lorraine Lim discusses this in the context of Singaporean live theatre, which has become more popular as the nation has become more prosperous. The popularity of live performance opens up questions about its capacity to challenge governmental norms in culture and society, such as the question of equality for gays and lesbians in Singapore. Jerry Liu attempts an ambitious—and perhaps too ambitious—theorization of changing structures and discourses of cultural governance in Taiwan and China, arguing that “governance by culture” remains the norm in China, whereas Taiwan has been marked by a growing turn towards self-governing citizens working with and through culture. Mari Kobiyashi argues that Japan has been marked by a turn towards greater local autonomy in cultural policy and a partial democratization of culture as a result.

The essays by Keane and Zhou and Xin Gu address, in different ways, the impact of marketization on cultural policy in contemporary China. For Keane and Zhou, the new directions in Chinese cultural policy point towards a greater application of “soft power” concepts in relation to cultural exports, and a growing embrace of innovation and entrepreneurship in the arts, media, and cultural sectors. They express the cautious hope that the turn towards “creativity” in Chinese policy discourses (which extends well beyond the cultural sphere) opens up spaces for more bottom-up, participatory cultural forms. Xin Gu draws upon the Shanghai case study to argue that the promotion of creative clusters that occurred in the 2000s has exhausted itself, falling prey to rampant real estate speculation and the difficulties in reconciling artistic production with the demand for “urban spectacle” in China’s showcase global city.

Hsiao-Ling Chung refers more specifically to the creative industries, and to cultural and creative industries (CCI) policies in Taiwan in the 2000s. Drawing upon five urban case studies (Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and New Taipei City), Chung considers the tensions between industry development and cultural development strategies, and the ways in which local authorities seek to broker the relationship between global aspirations to develop “creative cities” and the need to engage local artists, entrepreneurs, and the wider community in urban cultural development. Nobuko Kawashima takes the specific case of the Japanese film industry, arguing that its creative and economic resurgence in the 2000s was linked to a more explicit articulation to creative industries strategies and the branding of genres such as anime as central to “Cool Japan.” Given the heavy reliance upon the domestic market, however, Kawashima questions the sustainability of such strategies, particularly as China, Korea, and Taiwan turn more towards branding the creative industries as being central to their “soft power” projections and cultural diplomacy.

This collection points to the vibrancy of debates in East Asia around cultural policy and creative industries, and the wider futures for cultural policy in a global knowledge economy. At the same time, all authors are cautious to not simply attribute cultural shifts to generic forces such as globalization or neoliberal ideologies, but rather to situate them in particular national policy settings, institutional contexts, and discursive formations.

Terry Flew, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

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THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF AFFECT AND EMOTION IN EAST ASIA. Asia’s Transformations, 42. Edited by Jie Yang. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xxiii, 247 pp. (Figures.) US$140.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-70970-5.

The book sets out to use affect (or emotion) as a fresh analytical tool for exploring the ways in which it can be used for achieving political and economic objectives, and for understanding dynamics of contemporary governance which are specific to East Asia. While these specific questions are well posited in the introduction, not all chapters in the book are in fact exploring them. However, as is well put by Ahmed in the foreword, the book successfully delivers a sense of how affect studies pulls from different directions and how scholars engage it differently in an effort to theorize an emerging field. Put differently, this book is an engaging collective contribution to the exploration of the potential of affect as a social or socio-political practice.

In the introduction, Yang outlines the goal of this book as stated above and offers an overview of relevant (mostly Western) literature. She emphasizes that the study of affect in East Asian cultures and societies may require adjustments of this literature because social relations in East Asia are more rooted and articulated in terms of affect than in the West—a point that some would find contestable. Yang organizes her introduction according to themes that aim to contextualize the chapters in the book but the result is not entirely convincing. Yang also uses terms that the reader may expect to find again in the book, such as Soft Power, that never reappear.

The book picks up momentum in the following chapters. In chapter 1, Zhang offers an ethnographic investigation of Yu Dan, a media studies professor who became the state’s star with her series of lectures on Confucian Analects from the Heart. Zhang interprets these lectures as effeminate, affective practices that are a response to the needs of the state, the market, and the consumer subjects. They are ideological but also emotive, giving instructions on how to feel and live as a modern neo-liberal individual in contemporary China.

In chapter 2, Yang presents an ethnographic study on Chinese state-led re-employment counselling programs for those who have been laid off from state-owned enterprises. Happiness, positive psychology, and self-reflection are used as therapeutic strategies for adapting to the economic transformations, in line with the state’s project of constructing a people-centred, socially and economically sustainable “harmonious society.” Yang shows that these measures also attract contestation.

Chapter 3 by Kuan discusses an ethnographic case on quality education reform in China. The author focuses on Zhou Ting, an education expert, who promotes the concept of affect education—i.e., creating opportunities for emotional-sensory experiences to an overly grade- and information-oriented education system. Kuan argues that while this project goes hand-in-hand with a neo-liberal market system which is best advanced by encouraging individual responsibility, there are in fact benefits to affective economy to the individuals as well.

The next chapter by Satsuka examines affective labour in the tourism industry. In this ethnography, the author describes how Japanese guides in the Rocky Mountains are trained to produce emotional attachment in their Japanese customers. For the tourists the guides become an embodiment of liberated cosmopolitanism. The author explores the limits and dialectics between the conflicting economies of gift and commodity in a competitive market.

Chapter 5 by White uses an ethnographic perspective on the relations between emotions (as they are embodied in tears) and the public sphere in Japanese media. Using two examples, White shows how media producers aim to secure a relationship between affect, emotions, and narration through reflexive practices, to ensure rating and capital. The author argues that contrary to the accepted theorization of the public sphere as thriving on rationality, affective intensity triggers moral reflection and therefore functions as integral rather than injurious to a flourishing public sphere.

Kong, in chapter 6, offers a textual analysis of Chinese television dramas that deal with retrenchment and socio-economic transformations. Kong argues that these television dramas offer on the one hand a neoliberal message of inspiration and upward mobility in a new market economy, and on the other hand affective contentious voices from the point of view of the reform victims (who are mostly female in the case of television dramas), thereby complicating the resulting image, and providing the viewers with catharsis.

Next Yoshimizu analyzes the media coverage of a Japanese government trial in importing care labourers for the elderly from Indonesia. The author argues that this deployment of labourers is an example of biopolitical economy: individuals and collectives are scrutinized and controlled by state apparatuses. Yoshimizu demonstrates how the female and male workers are effeminized, socially marginalized, and portrayed as inherently fit to perform affective labour because of specific racial and cultural attributes. She suggests that these images may be connected to colonial images and neo-colonial images of Southeast Asian women in Japan.

In the following chapter, Tsujimoto offers an ethnography of migrant Filipino domestic workers in South Korea. Using emotional labour as their tactic, these workers manage to juggle the roles of worker, mother, breadwinner, and community volunteer. Tsujimoto concludes that the delimitation of emotional labour to the discourses of femininity and gendered subjugation may result in neglecting its dynamic functions and potential to promote socio-economic status and fulfill personal goals.

Chapter 9 by Nakamura investigates the contemporary emotional attachment of Japanese people to women’s language in the context of its dwindling caused by socio-linguistic transformations. Through an informed reconstruction of the dynamically changing attitudes towards women’s language in Japan since the late nineteenth century, Nakamura shows that this emotional attachment is not natural but historically situated. Women’s language is today a felt space for recovering and ascertaining Japanese social order and identity.

Next Min explores Haan—a key word in Korean culture that refers to accumulated personal or collective feelings of frustrations and anger after experiencing a trauma, usually an injustice caused by human agency. The author argues that throughout Korean history collective feelings of haan have been mobilized by leaders for various objectives, including rapid economic growth and rehabilitation from colonialism and war. The result was haan-puri (the resolution of haan) that stimulated cultures of creativity and determination.

Lastly, Mackie argues a comparative study of North Korean and American children’s cartoons representing the army. The author demonstrates how affective pedagogy is used to create a specific relationship between the North Korean national community as an extended family, the private family, and the role of the soldier as protector from within the national territory. The author wishes to point out that emotions can be wielded as a political technology to mobilize action and unify groups.

Michal Daliot-Bul, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel

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ASIAN-PACIFIC RIM LOGISTICS: Global Context and Local Policies. By Peter J. Rimmer. Northampton, MA; Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2014. xxiv, 522 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$180.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-84720-628-2.

While there have been many books written about the rise of the Asian economy, none before this one have focused on the key transportation and logistics challenges facing the Asian-Pacific Rim in the twenty-first century. Transportation geographer Peter Rimmer provides a grand synthesis of the region’s supply chain needs and discusses how national transport policies are responding to the growth of a region that stretches from eastern Russia in the north to the Indonesian archipelago in the south and which encompasses China, Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia. What is at stake is that due to the elongated geography of the Asian-Pacific region, together with its decentralized production and service hubs and the difficulties of shipping, air transport, and so on, the costs of logistics are inherently more expensive here than in Europe and North America. “A seamless Asian-Pacific Rim is still a long way from reality” (15). This of course impacts on the region’s overall competitiveness.

By way of a long introduction, in part 1 the author discusses the growth of supply chain management for manufacturing and retail companies together with recent trends in container shipping, cargo airlines, and telecommunications in terms of hub-and-spoke spatial arrangements on a global region level. He uses spatial concepts such as gateways and transport corridors as a way of linking international flows of goods and information with national-level logistics policies and plans, which are then explored in detail for selected countries of the Asian-Pacific Rim in the second part of the book. This examination is also extended in part 3 to Australia and India, just around the corner from the Rim. One can only marvel at Rimmer’s in-depth knowledge of individual Asian manufacturing, transportation, and distribution companies and the very interesting case studies of the supply chain requirements of Toyota, Sony, Samsung, and Lenovo, as well as the up-to-date marketing strategies of Qantas and Singapore Airlines.

In a chapter examining the paucity of any joint logistics policy between China, Japan, and South Korea, he comments favourably on Canada’s national approach to supporting integrated trade corridors in British Columbia, which is a long-term project aimed at capturing the growth of Asian exports sent by container ships into North America involving multi-level governance, public infrastructure, and the input of the private sector. He shows that similar plans exist for Northeast Asia on paper but very little implementation has occurred, especially in the absence of an effective region-wide institution.

Rimmer argues that another missing link in Asian-Pacific Rim logistics is a “land bridge” that could span the industrial and consumption hubs of China with those of India and further into Europe. He points out that a Eurasian land bridge would disrupt the current “hub-and-spoke” system of global transportation links, which gives more or less equal weight to North America, Europe, and Asia (and hence helps set the status quo geopolitics and geo-economics) by integrating Europe-Eurasia-Asia as the core global region, leaving North America as a relative outlier. This of course is exactly why Chinese President Xi Jinping has proposed the land-based “New Silk Road,” which will begin in Xi’an in central China before stretching west through Lanzhou (Gansu Province), Urumqi (Xinjiang), and Khorgas (Xinjiang), which is near the border with Kazakhstan. The New Silk Road then runs southwest from Central Asia to northern Iran before swinging west through Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. From Istanbul, the New Silk Road crosses the Bosporus Strait and heads northwest through Europe, including Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Reaching Duisburg in Germany, it travels north to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. From Rotterdam, the path runs south to Venice, Italy, where it meets up with the equally ambitious Maritime Silk Road. Although not mentioned in this study, such an enormous project conveys economic and political ambitions far beyond reducing the costs of logistics: it is designed to reclaim China’s place as the “Middle Kingdom,” linked to the world by trade, currency and cultural exchanges through an “economic cooperation area” that stretches from the Western Pacific to the Baltic Sea.

This book’s strengths lie in its comprehensive grasp and synthetic approach of the material, together with the many maps and diagrams explaining the conceptual ideas and spatial patterns of the region’s transportation networks between countries, as well as national development corridors, either actual or proposed. It will be very valuable for not only business studies scholars but also for geographers and spatial planners interested in the Asian-Pacific region.

David W. Edgington, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF EAST ASIAN CAPITALISM. Research Papers and Policy Studies, 46. Edited by Hong Yung Lee. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2014. vii, 291 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-55729-108-0.

A Comparative Study of East Asian Capitalism provides excellently written case studies detailing important economic aspects of East Asia (defined as Japan, China, and South Korea). It asserts that as the memory of each country’s different historical, economic, and political paths to the present has gradually begun to fade, so the mutual benefits of cooperation and the convergence of strategies for economic development have come to the fore. Therefore, according to the editor of the volume it is necessary to recognize a distinct form of capitalism in this part of the world, whilst acknowledging the differences at the national level.

The book is divided into four parts: the introduction offers an overview of the economic development of Japan, China, and South Korea; part 2 focuses on financial and labour reforms in all three countries; part 3 examines corporate governance (again covering all three countries); and part 4 looks at networks (strangely, only in South Korea and Japan). The level of detail displayed and thorough coverage of the historic subtleties of economic development in each country must be applauded. The book provides an extremely useful insight and factual repository into the micro-mechanisms of many aspects of capitalism across East Asia. This would prove indispensible to any scholar looking at specific changes or attempting to build a theoretical framework based on this book in conjunction with other sources. With its key strength being micro-analysis, it is parts 2 and 3 that are most useful. Part 4 lacks an analysis of networks in China and offers a useful factual, but less culturally analytical view of networks. This is especially pertinent as networks are highlighted as one of the features uniting East Asian capitalism, despite the useful recognition that they operate differently in each of the three countries examined. Certain chapters may be useful for advanced undergraduates, but the specialist nature of this book makes it more applicable to postgraduates and scholars of China.

At the beginning of this book the need for a new conceptual framework of East Asia, fully applicable to China, Japan, and South Korea, is asserted. The common characteristics of these countries’ economies are identified as a combination of conscious decision-making processes on the part of the state, spontaneous decision-making processes on the part of the market, and the highly influential function of networks. However, the majority of the book is then (rightly) dedicated to illuminating the differences between these countries, especially when it comes to the functional and operational differences of economic institutions, which rather causes one to question whether any framework could be fully applicable to all three. The extent to which Western thinkers (classically Weber of course) have (erroneously) tended to define East Asian economies as “stagnant” due to cultural features such as Confucianism is usefully touched upon, and the potential for Confucianism to have aided the East Asian style of capitalism (via discipline, paternalism, and the acceptance of state intervention, for example) is hinted at. A slightly fuller explanation of the re-appropriation of Confucianism to market agendas may help further this argument and provide more basis for the new conceptual framework the book hopes to inspire. However, the succinct critique of neoclassical economics very much helps outline the issues at stake. Three “fallacies” are outlined: 1) a single-cause theory of underdevelopment, 2) a single figure of merit criterion for development, and 3) the portrayal of development as a log-linear process. The insistence of neoclassical economics on the necessity of state non-intervention is also usefully ridiculed. Perhaps what may also be useful is to question the assumed clear line between state and market and market and community that neoclassical economics asserts, especially in light of the emphasis on networks that transgress established boundaries of “business” and “family.”

There is certainly a need for some kind of alternative theory that speaks more to East Asia, but building it will require more consideration of common features than occurs here—a feat that is difficult and requires careful consideration if it is not to fall into normative assumptions about the nature of socio-economic development in East Asia. However, in that it more than satisfies its stated aim of alerting scholars to the urgent need for a comprehensive theory that can cover the remarkable economic performances of China, Japan, and South Korea, this book is a resounding success. One is left keen to consider what this theory might look like and how it would manage to break out of neoclassical economic paradigms without essentializing and homogenizing the experience of what it fully acknowledges to be three very different nations and cultures.

Alison Hulme, Royal Holloway, University of London, London, United Kingdom

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FOREIGN POLICIES AND DIPLOMACIES IN ASIA: Changes in Practice, Concepts, and Thinking in a Rising Region. Global Asia, 1. Edited by Matthias Maass. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press in close collaboration with the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS); Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press [distributor], 2014. 207 pp. US$99.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-8964-540-1.

The “Rise of Asia,” in contemporary terms, is already a multi-decade story, one which began with the postwar recovery of Japan, building in less than two generations the second-highest GDP of the planet, and followed by a succession of “economic miracles,” the most recent, and also the most dramatic, that of China.

This story has moved well beyond being an economic one. Among the innumerable ramifications of this transformative era, geopolitics and its hand-maiden, diplomacy in all of its forms today receives the most deserved attention, not least among scholars, even the best of whom are hard-pressed to keep up with developments in Asia, let alone explain their import.

Still, a great deal of excellent analysis is available to those, in academia and out, who seek to understand at least the direction of international relations, if not their ultimate destination. It’s easy to list the ongoing geopolitical, economic, security, even cultural developments, another matter to assert their outcomes.

A recent addition to the outpouring of informed reflection on geopolitics and diplomacy is Foreign Policies and Diplomacies in Asia, edited by Matthias Maass, currently at Yonsei University, only the most recent stop for this peripatetic academic. Along with eight other distinguished academics, he seeks to “probe and explore how the changing regional dynamics are reshaping the political landscape in a rising Asia,” (13) and on this point, the volume enjoys a measure of success. Thematically, Maass’ book covers much that is relevant to an understanding of the region’s dynamics, with many of the views of contributors expressing refreshingly unconventional views. And interestingly, while this 2014 volume contains primarily chapters that date back to 2010, the issues it raises remain highly relevant in 2015. Even in dynamic Asia, where change is the norm, so is continuity.

Two contributors (Chong and Howe) outline the constraints on the development of a regional security consensus, explaining the limitations arising from a dearth of shared political and social values: what is shared is a “sovereignty-centered, non-interventionist paradigm” that sets its own limits on a predisposition in favour of cooperation.

The dynamics promoting both stability and instability in Northeast Asia are outlined by Lukin. He posits a set of structural breaks against armed conflict, arising from demographics and aging populations: less war-like; regional economic integration with high mutual dependency rations; and a regional nuclear balance of terror.

Southeast Asia and its dominant institution, ASEAN, once Asia’s convener-in-chief, has seen its influence wane, for reasons internal (limits on its economic and political integration) and external (Chinese economic and political clout). The two contributors (Noortmann and Tang) focus on internal ASEAN dynamics to explain its loss of momentum, accelerating the speed and impact on the region of China’s rise.

An interesting chapter (by Ming Hwa Ting) on the distinctive and competitive relations which China and India maintain with Myanmar throws an informed light on how these emerging superpowers insert strategic considerations in their relations with this important neighbour state—all neighbours by definition being of strategic import. China’s ability to throw money and infrastructure at Myanmar contrasts with India’s focus on managing bilateral political relations—one is tempted to add faute de mieux. These distinctive approaches say a great deal about the priorities and capacities of the two large players in the conduct of their foreign relations.

Wilkins’ “Reinventing Japan in the Asian Century” fits the argument in the title: the sum of all of Japan’s current challenges is less than the extent of its resources and its capabilities. Japan’s economy (third in the world) and military capacity (sixth) offer the potential for international power projection. True as far as it goes. But unfortunately for Wilkins, his 2010 sources lead him to conclude that Japan’s erstwhile, if misleadingly named, “omni-directional foreign policy” will be sufficient to manage its relations with the US and the rise of China at the same time, a misreading of the depth of the China challenge and ever-evolving US expectations of its allies.

The strategic reach of Chinese diplomacy is best captured in Saffiulin’s chapter on China, Central Asia, and the uses and impacts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The focus is not on China’s economic diplomacy—important in Central Asia as it is elsewhere—but on its conduct of the security dialogues with the “Stans” on its Western border, emphasizing common threats, cooperation, and identity over the establishment of a common security regime. Saffiulin emphasizes the importance of promoting ideas of a “common security space” in China’s regional diplomacy, an example of the breadth of tools Chinese policy makers have in their kit to defend and promote their national interests.

A few minor caveats: Maass does not provide thumbnail bios of his writers, so non-academics will be googling and guessing who is who. And inescapably, there are errors of fact: the Asian Tigers were not the precedent for China’s economic rise: that was Japan; Japan was not the only country that escaped Western colonialism: so did Thailand; and so forth. Many of the writers also bow, at the outset, to the spirits of political and diplomatic theories (constructivism, neorealism, even Kahneman’s prospect theory, etc.) before moving on to the more interesting task of calling regional developments as they see them.

These are quibbles for what is an informed and insightful reflection on some of the key dynamics shaping Asia and its place in the world.

Joseph Caron, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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China and Inner Asia


MAOISM AT THE GRASSROOTS: Everyday Life in China’s Era of High Socialism. Edited by Jeremy Brown and Matthew D. Johnson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015. vi, 468 pp. (Illustrations.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-28720-4.

This humane book exposes “undercurrents” in China. The editors’ introduction identifies three main themes (2). First, it asserts a need for more “grassroots” and “subaltern” studies about everyday life among diverse populations within Chinese society, including youths, peasants, woman workers, gays, religious believers, ethnic minorities, and others. Second, it shows that “routine violence” affected many but not all Chinese people during “high socialism” “from the mid-1950s until 1980” (6). A third finding is that most social scientists’ emphasis on “campaign time” oversimplifies the varied experiences of the Chinese people. These authors are historians, interested in contingencies and complexities, not grand causations.

But not all the chapters confirm these three ideas monotonically. Campaigns were times for “making” “bad elements” (Yang Kuisong, 19), “creating rightists” (Cao Shuji, 77), and “revising political verdicts” (Daniel Leese, 102). Jeremy Brown writes about label revisions in rural Hebei, offering evidence that national movements were occasions for reinterpreting local “distant history and recent misdeeds” (57). Yet as Vivienne Shue suggests in her interpretive “epilogue” chapter, Maoist campaigns did not affect all urbanites, even in hyperpolitical Beijing (366-369).

Many chapters compile anecdotes of particular people and contexts. These complex stories are often based on interviewees who were wronged and want to be heard, or on archival documents whose writers judged cases of goodness or badness, bravery or timidity, luck or misfortune. Cao’s chapter about the “overt conspiracy” of the Hundred Flowers clarifies the mixed intentions among local cadres and critics in 1957 rural Henan. Many were determined to “keep their mouths shut,” even as officials urged them to express loyalty by finding faults in socialist consolidation. “Most people chose silence or evasion,” but “China … did indeed have ‘rightists’ who opposed the Party.” For most “who were labeled ‘rightists,’ speaking out against injustice and unfairness was second nature” (100-101). They knew they would be punished, but they were honest.

The Great Leap Forward exploited labour. It substituted women for men in arduous outdoor work growing cotton, as Jacob Eyferth shows in a chapter called “Liberation from the Loom?” Production rose, as did the independence of wives, but this liberation involved heavy costs (143). Work was more important to labourers than politics. For rural women in Shaanxi, “1966 was not a date of great significance.” None of Eyferth’s interviewees “mentioned the Cultural Revolution.” When asked, one woman said, “we simply did not take part” (151). Maoists exploited hopes that sent-down youths could use science to modernize agronomy (Sigrid Schmalzer, 152-178). Chaos and struggle meetings decimated offices that had earlier monitored rural leaders, who could then choose to ignore central orders in favour of their own local policies.

“What happened after the Leap is not simply that the state retreated … but also that state institutions followed a path of involution and corruption” (Matthew Johnson, 201). Even in Xinjiang, the Leap “had been a disaster politically as well as economically” (Wang Haiguang, 337). The Cultural Revolution then “crippled” police who had tried to monitor apocalyptic Buddhist societies (S.A. Smith, 348). Later campaigns failed to reverse Party decline. The historians in this book nowhere refer explicitly to dynastic cycles, but their findings are consistent with that Chinese trope.

Many chapters underline the importance of “class” labels in the lives of politically active Chinese. Some victims were driven insane when assigned bad labels. Depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts are quoted by Sha Qingqing and Jeremy Brown from a youth’s personal diary (190). Mental illness, fistfights, hunger, rock throwing, struggle meetings, bossy cadres, and anger at unfair labelling were frequent. This context of chaos was arguably intensified because of socialist consolidation policies in the 1950s and 1960s, but coercion was not all coordinated by the state.

One of the best-known chapter writers, Michael Schoenhals, boldly asserts that writers who “focus on violence and chaos” pay excessive attention to Mao, although “the Chairman himself is not the least to blame” (230). This proposition is in tension with Roderick MacFarquhar and Schoenhals’ Mao’s Last Revolution (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2006). Mao could not monitor everything, but to reduce his role to zero is as misleading as to ignore his love of fighting and controlling and labelling people, all evident throughout his six-decade political career. His methods legitimated millions of others to use the same methods in their own interests.

Power was usually local. Cadres’ political difficulties with Guizhou and Xinjiang minorities are chronicled respectively by Wang Haiguang and Zhe Wu, who present newly detailed political histories of these provinces. Steve A. Smith writes similarly about redemptive sects such as the Yiguandao. The Party must admit that cultists, like ethnic minorities in their areas, have “mass” characteristics (343). Coercion alone is ineffective for monitoring them. Xiaoxuan Wang finds that ambiguous Party policy “lacks the support of local cadres” who are mandated to control religion near Wenzhou (261).

The main arguments of the book are not entirely new. It is refreshing for this reviewer to read a book that finds truth in detailed historical narratives (not just statistical regressions). China is so complex that many findings here are in tension with the book’s main themes. That is a virtue, not a fault. Other English-language authors have, in diverse ways, shown that everyday normal chaos, grassroots political economies, and personal attempts to avoid campaigns are long-term facts of life in China. This reviewer easily compiled a list of twenty prominent political and social scientists to whom none of these historians refer, but who have made such points in major publications. History is a social science. Social scientists neglect their topic when they are not humanists. Writers of either sort who ignore these links should reconsider. These chapters provide fine-grained evidence and reinvigorate scholarship on China in the first quarter-century of the People’s Republic. Everyone who is interested in socialist China must read this book.

Lynn T. White III, Princeton University, New Jersey, USA                                                                  

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SOUNDING THE MODERN WOMAN: The Songstress in Chinese Cinema. By Jean Ma. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2015. ix, 282 pp. (Figures.) US$$25.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5876-3.

Relatively few works in film studies devote attention to sound and music because a huge part of the movie-watching experience is about visual pleasure. Most viewers do not realize the emotional effects of sound and music, which play important roles in creating atmosphere and tension in the cinematic space. Film songs—especially the pop songs we have grown up with—whether they are adopted by films or popularized as original scores written for films, often dominate visuals by their strong emotional impact. They function differently since they also exist outside the cinema and are aired repeatedly in public and private spaces, thereby establishing a direct association with viewers apart from the discourse of a film. In her book, Jean Ma gives the example of Wong Kar-wai’s short music film The Blooming Years (2000), which is edited to Zhou Xuan’s song of the same title with clips from old films (3). This song is played on the soundtrack of Wong’s feature film In the Mood of Love (2000), which bears the same Chinese title as the song. Jean Ma’s book is more than a scholarly exploration of sound and music in Chinese cinema. Referring to existing studies on sound, music, and voice in cinematic traditions, while paying special attention to the configuration of the role of the songstress in Chinese cinema, her analysis also relates to theories in feminist film studies, effects of sound technology in filmmaking, complexity in the visual and/or vocal performance, and actual practices in Shanghai cinema before 1949 and Hong Kong’s Mandarin cinema after 1949.

Reading Ma’s book Sounding the Modern Woman, I found fascinating insights on films featuring Grace Chang: Mambo Girls (1957) and The Wild, Wild Rose (1960) in particular. Jean Ma states that she began research “with a vague notion of starting a book project about the films and songs of the postwar star Grace Chang” (3), and Grace Chang remains the most interesting subject of the book and occupies nearly two chapters of her discussions. Although at more than one point, Ma groups Zhou Xuan, Grace Chang, Chung Ching, Yao Lee, Linda Lin Dai, and Julie Yeh Feng as the major postwar singing actresses, her book does not include any case studies for Linda Lin Dai and Julie Yeh Feng. I can clearly see why Grace Chang’s The Wild, Wild Rose, which incorporates plots from both Bizet’s Carmen and Dumas filsCamellia in constructing a femme fatale figure and was written with the consideration of Grace Chang’s ability to sing with different voices corresponding to her multicultural personae, generates a very vigorous reading. Ma successfully makes a case that Grace Chang, who possessed an amazing star power yet was not studied more seriously as the cinema she belonged to—the Mandarin cinema of postwar Hong Kong—“has been largely sidelined by Chinese film historiography” (26).

Jean Ma sets off by taking “the songstress as a starting point for a remapping of Chinese film history against an international horizon” (23), which I do consider a very bold and creative attempt that, if fulfilled, may lead to a very interesting historiography. The book continues to highlight a number of films that are not often studied in detail in other works on Chinese cinema, including Songstress Red Peony (1931), Two Stars in the Milky Way (1931), An All-consuming Love (1947), Song of a Songstress (1948), Songs of the Peach Blossom River (1956), Mambo Girls, and The Wild, Wild Rose, which form a genealogy in their own right. Since, as Ma rightly points out, the image of the “singing women” was wiped out by the “fighting men” after 1970, when kungfu films were on the rise and wenyi (art and literature) films were in decline, the book needs to call on the songstress’s image and voice now only lingering in more recent films like The Rouge (1988), The Hole (1998), In the Mood for Love (2000), Lust, Caution (2007), and, not mentioned by Ma, Shanghai Triad (1999). After a wide survey, Ma decides to focus “on song performance in Mandarin films from the early sound era to postwar Hong Kong and on the performers who worked exclusively in this linguistic realm” (25); this choice marks a significant contribution to the study of Chinese cinema, but also needs further justification. Her chosen repertoire excludes songstresses in Cantonese language films paralleling Shanghai films from 1931 to 1948 and postwar Mandarin films from the 1950s to the 1960s made in Hong Kong, as well as all films adapting the forms of regional operas (including the most well-known Peking Opera, Cantonese Opera, and Huangmei Opera) and chanted storytelling forms (including Tianjin Drum Song and Suzhou Pingtan). Cantonese singer-actress Siu Yin Fei, for instance, plays songstress roles in films like The Blood-Soaked Tomb (血染斷腸碑, 1949), South Sea Songstress (天涯歌女, 1950), Songstress Red Rose (歌女紅玫瑰, 1952) and A Melancholy Melody (歌聲淚影, 1952), which all refer back or are in line with Shanghai musical films of the 1930s and 1940s. On the one hand, such exclusions keep Ma from remapping Chinese film history. On the other hand, the narrow focus results in a paradox in her study: as Andrew Stuckey summarizes in his review of this book, even though she does stress the differences between Chinese singing (and not always dancing) pictures and Hollywood musicals, her own “historical research consistently points to the ways the Shanghai or Hong Kong industries are responding to, adapting from, and negotiating between Hollywood films (including American music and dance styles) and local cultural and social concerns.” The representation of modernity in Chinese films has always involved the appropriation of Western enlightenment and traditional Chinese values and narratives; and these two traditions do share a conspiracy against women, as is evident in Ma’s analyses.

A major strength of this book is Jean Ma’s attempt to bridge the gap between the songstress persona and the urge to be a modern woman—free, independent, with her own agency and talent revealed. Throughout the book, I found several new contributions to feminist film studies. First, the roles of songstresses are not paralleled by male singer actors in postwar Mandarin films made in Hong Kong, which means that women’s film was not only just one of many genres but the dominant genre at the time. Second, in opera films (like Huangmei, Shaoxing Yue Opera, and Cantonese Opera), as noted by Ma and others, the omniscient narrator is often voiced by a female chorus and both male and female protagonists are played by actresses, and this form of feminine voices is unique in Chinese cinema. Third, with attention to the timbre, expression, and on-and-off screen collaboration of female voices, this book breaks through the practice of textual analysis and spectatorship studies. In this respect, I regard Ma’s book as a significant feminist historical intervention.

S. Louisa Wei, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

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URBANIZING CHINA IN WAR AND PEACE: The Case of Wuxi County. By Toby Lincoln. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. ix, 268 pp. (Illustrations.) US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-4100-3.

Jiangsu Province’s Wuxi County is about eighty miles northwest of Shanghai in the Lower Yangzi Delta, a region that since late imperial times has been among China’s most advanced in terms of commercial and urban development. This monograph details the even more remarkable urbanization witnessed in Wuxi during the first half of the twentieth century, when it became thoroughly integrated into networks of international trade. By the early 1930s, the city of Wuxi lagged behind only Shanghai and Guangzhou in industrial output, and the size of its industrial labour force ranked second to Shanghai’s, making Wuxi China’s largest manufacturing centre outside the treaty ports. Industrial development, agricultural commercialization, and urban expansion did as much to transform Wuxi county as any other part of China, leading to what Lincoln calls an “urbanization of the countryside” that made it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the urban and the rural.

This book makes a major contribution by taking modern Chinese urban history beyond the city limits, exploring how the same historical processes affected urban as well as rural spaces. Eschewing the “urban-rural gap thesis” that has informed much of the existing historiography, Lincoln argues that a decisive shift in the “urban-rural continuum” took place in Wuxi county throughout the Republican period, reorienting society as a whole towards the city. By employing this framework, Lincoln avoids the analytical pitfalls that come with a simplistic binary opposition between the “modern” city and the “traditional” countryside. Instead, his history draws attention to the far-reaching economic, physical, political, and administrative changes that occurred as urbanization reshaped cities, towns, and villages, as well as the new relationships that it forged among them.

In the early twentieth century, Wuxi’s commercial and industrial elites took the lead in establishing factories and investing in infrastructure that remade the city and the countryside. Wuxi grew in population and size as increasing numbers of people migrated to the city to find employment in silk mills and other industrial enterprises, giving rise to tighter connections between the urban core and its rural hinterland. Communities of Wuxi sojourners in Shanghai, Nanjing, and other cities linked their native place to the Lower Yangzi’s increasingly interconnected urban system, helping it weather crises caused by warfare and natural disasters. Lincoln maintains that Wuxi elites, in tandem with local officials, secured a degree of “municipal autonomy” in the 1920s that gave them greater leeway in shaping urban expansion, but acknowledges that this urban autonomy proved fleeting. Under the Guomindang’s Nanjing government in the early 1930s, the state’s bureaucratic and regulatory apparatus assumed a greater role in guiding and managing the process of urbanization to reflect its developmental priorities.

In addition to assessing the role of the state and local elites, fully comprehending urbanization and its effects requires examining “how the rapidly changing physical landscape formed the spaces that constituted the horizons of daily lived experience for farmers and workers” (3). Lincoln presents rich information on the experiences of the women and men who worked in Wuxi’s factories (32-34), the character of urban street life (34-37), and the transformation of daily life in rural villages (50-54). Inclusion of additional material on these topics throughout the book might have further enlivened its presentation. The multifaceted impact of urbanization on the natural environment, touched upon in a section on the emergence of Lake Tai as a tourist destination (44-45), also merits more comprehensive investigation.

In the book’s most fascinating chapters, Lincoln demonstrates that even during the Sino-Japanese War of 1937 to 1945, industrial development continued to drive the process of urbanization that he sees as an “unstoppable force” (145), albeit within the context of Japanese occupation. The initial trauma of Japanese invasion tore the “threads of silk that for decades had connected farming households to the international economy,” but “they were rapidly woven anew in the first few months of 1938 and once more linked Wuxi to Shanghai” (128) In the first few years under Japanese occupation, the revival of Wuxi’s silk industry enabled it to regain its status as one of China’s most important economic centres.

Lincoln’s nuanced account of Wuxi’s wartime travails clearly demonstrates the brutality of the Japanese presence as well as its limits. It was Chinese authorities who took responsibility for reviving silk production, thwarting Japanese efforts to establish a complete monopoly over the industry. Chinese officials oversaw wartime reconstruction, development, and management of urban and rural infrastructure, which gave them opportunities to implement prewar plans for expansion with little impediment from the Japanese. Lincoln asserts that “the speed with which the city recovered supports the argument that the Chinese collaborationist state was effective and legitimate” (148). Yet the assassination of Wuxi’s collaborationist county magistrate in 1940—and Japanese “village-clearance” campaigns that followed—underline the tenuousness of this wartime accommodation.

Lincoln has grounded his analysis firmly in exhaustive research conducted in the Wuxi Municipal Archives, the Shanghai Municipal Archives, the Jiangsu Provincial Archives, and at Academia Sinica in Taiwan, along with a wide array of local newspapers, guidebooks, official publications, and Japanese survey reports. His mastery of these sources establishes his credentials as a top-notch historian of modern China. Future research should reveal the extent to which shifts in the urban-rural continuum that occurred in other regions of China during the early twentieth century resembled the history urbanization in Wuxi, and Lincoln has provided a model for that line of inquiry.

This pioneering study is an absolute must-read for students of Chinese urban history, and will appeal to anyone interested in the historical roots of the massive urbanization that has taken place in tandem with contemporary China’s rapid economic development. The book would make a useful addition to reading lists for graduate seminars and advanced undergraduate courses on modern Chinese social and economic history, as well as classes on the history of World War II in East Asia.

Micah Muscolino, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

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THE SAGE AND THE PEOPLE: The Confucian Revival in China. By Sébastien Billioud and Joël Thoraval. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. viii, 332 pp. (Figures.) US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-025814-6.

Originally published in French in 2014 and based on eight years of fieldwork, this impressive book analyzes a variety of Confucianism-inspired rituals, practices, and activities that emerged during the 2000s in the People’s Republic of China. Focusing particularly on the upsurge of interest in Confucius and his teachings among non-elite ordinary people (minjian rujia), it joins a growing body of recent Western scholarship on mainland post-Mao Confucianism. Billioud and Thoraval consistently situate individual cases within larger social contexts and longer historical perspectives, as well as making comparisons with religious movements in Taiwan. Their multi-pronged approach offers the reader a nuanced and comprehensive understanding of rituals and other practices that otherwise have mainly drawn journalistic attention or narrower scholarly treatment.

The introduction stresses the novelty of contemporary popular Confucianism, which the authors distinguish from recent academic revivals or official reappropriations of Confucius for philosophical or ideological purposes. Moreover, unlike traditional institutions and practices revived or reconstructed after Maoist suppression, such as lineage organizations and ancestor worship, grassroots Confucian initiatives are new forms of association meant to engage ordinary people with the ancient sages and foster communitarian values, as an antidote to the post-Deng Xiaoping era’s amoral individualism. Operating outside the party-state apparatus, popular activists must maintain the acquiescence (or at least indifference) of local authorities, some of whom may privately become supporters. The government’s promotion of its own form of Confucian values has also created a space for popular initiatives perceived as compatible.

Billioud and Thoraval divide their main text into three sections organized around and titled by what they identify as three major “orientations” of popular Confucianism: its educative mission (jiaohua), religious functions (anshen liming), and ritual dimension (lijiao). Each section begins with a chapter that reviews relevant developments in the Republican period (1912-1949), which sometimes offers direct precedents for contemporary manifestations. Specific Confucian-related enterprises are examined in subsequent chapters, portions of which previously appeared in journal articles by one or both authors. The discussions draw upon recent scholarship in Chinese, English, and French to supplement field observations and interviews. More detailed background information about individual activists, groups, and schools sometimes appears in a sidebar, enabling the main text to focus on major themes. Methodological issues typically are treated in footnotes.

Part 1 surveys various forms of Confucian revival in education, ranging from state-run schools incorporating the study of classic texts to independent private academies, study halls, and extracurricular groups emphasizing Song-Ming Neo-Confucian modes of self-cultivation and master-disciple relationships. Within these otherwise diverse settings, the authors discern a common concern with promoting the attainment of wisdom (zhihui) and improving social morality, to counter standard education’s over-emphasis on mere accumulation of knowledge (zhishi) and exam preparation. In emphasizing “moral and behavioral rectitude” (93), contemporary Confucian education is paradoxically anti-intellectual, favouring embodied practices and eschewing scholarly theorizing. Elite academics accordingly have criticized the “vulgarization” of Confucianism, famously attacking Yu Dan’s popular 2006 lectures and subsequent book applying teachings from the Analects (Lunyu) to everyday life.

In part 2, the authors discuss religious elements within the popular Confucian revival, emphasizing that Western conceptions of “religion” (zongjiao) have created much confusion but also unique possibilities in the Chinese context. With considerable sophistication, they analyze attempts from the early 1900s onward to gain official institutional status for Confucianism, whether as the state religion, as an addition to the five recognized religions, as a kind of civil religion; or alternatively, to incorporate it within other syncretistic traditions. Reconstructing “the different phases of the confrontation between Confucian heritage and the new category of ‘religion'” (126), they trace the evolution of Confucian jiao (teaching) from an all-inclusive ritual, moral, and politico-cosmic system into a tradition of Chinese values, then its bifurcation into a “religion” imitating Protestantism and a “philosophy” of abstract ideas “disconnected from practices” (132). Observing that these attempts to modernize Confucianism were forgotten after 1949, the authors suggest that some of the same formulations and debates have reappeared in recent years. The socialist equation of “religion” with “superstition” leads some grassroots Confucian activists to deny that their rituals and practices are “religious.” Others support openly religious efforts, such as the Hong Kong Confucian Academy’s promotion of the Kongshengtang in Shenzhen as a Confucian “church.” Syncretic redemptive movements such as the (still underground) Way of Pervading Unity (Yiguan dao) blend Confucian self-cultivation with millennarian eschatology. A recurrent theme in the case studies is that Confucianism shares spiritual roots with Buddhism but differs in emphasizing the social here-and-now, rather than an individual’s future liberation.

Part 3 examines ritual, considering the political implications of the revived ceremonies and newly invented Confucian-inflected rites. Focusing on Qufu, the sage’s hometown, the authors review the evolution of his cult, traditionally the “theologico-political foundation of state power” (173). Originally a ceremony performed by officials, celebrating both “a vision of the universe permeating imperial ideology” and Confucius himself as representing “the mediating role of jiaohua” in its implementation, the ritual changed in the twentieth century into a school-based communal observance expressing “the cultural unity of the nation” (178). Variously called “sacrifice” (si) or “commemoration” (jinian), the ritual bolstered political authority but also stoked debates over religion. Abandoned under Mao, rites revived in the 2000s celebrate the state, but also the ancestral land (zuguo) and sacred realm (shenzhou), the latter to attract Taiwanese and overseas Chinese. The authors contrast official ceremonies “devoid of ritual spirit” (223) with rites that originate from ordinary peoples’ desires to experience Confucianism as a “living reality” (225). However, relations between party/state and unofficial groups can also be mutually supportive, given the shared cosmology of Confucianism. A chapter on state cults in Taiwan identifies alternative ways of connecting the religious and the political that are impossible in mainland China.

In view of ongoing developments and rapid changes, the authors end with an epilogue rather than a conclusion, reflecting on trends they observed over a decade and comparing conditions in the mainland and Taiwan. Their insightful book is an important contribution.

Julia K. Murray, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA                                                                  

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UNKNOTTING THE HEART: Unemployment and Therapeutic Governance in China. By Jie Yang. Ithaca: ILR Press [an imprint of Cornell University Press], 2015. xxv, 255 pp. (Illustrations.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8014-5660-2.

Jie Yang’s first book explores the long-term consequences of the massive layoffs in the late 1990s and early 2000s that affected tens of millions of workers in Chinese state-owned enterprises. The book is based on a decade-long ethnographic research in a community in Changping, a suburb of Beijing. Many of its residents are former employees of the now-privatized watch factory Beibiao. Through this case study, Yang reveals the suffering that laid-off workers and the unemployed experience today and examines the solutions that the state has employed to alleviate it.

Yang’s ethnography focuses on state interventions that are intended to tackle the “heart” through Western-style psychotherapy. In both the introduction and the conclusion, Yang presents an overarching argument that places these developments in the broader trend of “psychologization”—the rendering of socio-economic problems into psychological ones. Unemployment thus becomes part of the mental health crisis that is plaguing the rapidly developing society. Yang contends that the state’s promotion of psychotherapy signals a shift from coercive control to a more benevolent mode of governing. To characterize this shift, Yang coins the terms of “therapeutic governance” and “kindly power.” Yang further argues that, in doing this, the state aims to harness the positive potential (qianli) of the targeted populations and to contain the hidden threats or “negative potential” (yinhuan) they entail.

This ambitious thesis is supported by six ethnographic chapters. The first two bring readers to the centre of the said interventions: the residents’ committee that embodies the state/party’s presence at the grassroots level. Reemployment training, which frequently involves counselling, is offered by its staff who have recently received some training in psychotherapy. In chapter 1 Yang describes how these psychosocial workers endorse “self-reflexivity,” or more precisely reconsidering one’s situations and coming up with a positive mindset, as a crucial means to achieve “happiness.” This has become an index of “economic growth and governing efficiency” (36) in the official discourse. Chapter 2 turns to more closely examine the practitioners who, defining their mission as helping others to help themselves, must prompt their clients to relinquish their dependency on the state. Here Yang compares the Maoist ideology of self-reliance, which stresses the independence of the country, and the new emphasis on the individual self. In the end Yang also shows that the counselling is poorly received; local people often perceive it as “hoodwinking” (huyou).

Chapter 3 looks into the poverty-relief program known as “sending warmth” (song wennuan). At first glance this might seem like a digression as the program primarily involves giving material support to the poor and the unemployed. However, Yang discovers that local party staff who carry out these operations see the expression of compassion or “shared human feelings” (renqing) as an essential element. A broadly conceived notion of therapy, therefore, underpins these relief efforts. In chapter 4 Yang discusses the hybrid condition of the psychotherapeutic practices in the local community. The practitioners borrow bits and pieces from various schools or traditions, including rational emotive therapy, Carl Rogers’s client-centred approach, and narrative therapy. Since most of them are former or current party staff, they also tend to draw on thought work, the method of ideological education that was widely used during the socialist period.

In the second part of the book, chapters 5 and 6 investigate the role of gender in the experiences of the laid-off workers. While previous chapters discuss psychotherapy as a remedy, here psychotherapy training would become a strategy of reemployment. Chapter 5 introduces the new occupation of “housemaid counselors” (peiliao) —domestic workers who are equipped with basic counselling skills and could serve as companions to chat with. These jobs are mostly taken by women because of the link between the female gender and caregiving. Chapter 6 turns to taxi drivers, the most popular job for unemployed men. In a similar vein, it is not uncommon that taxi drivers receive basic psychotherapy training so that they become “counselors on wheels” (181). They counsel their customers during the trips and are capable of identifying those with suicidal intentions. Yang further describes the emotional distress prevalent among taxi drivers and attributes it to suppressed anger toward the state, whose abandoning of workers results in their current plight.

Despite the richness and depth of this study, a few questions remain. To begin with, what is the position of these psychotherapeutic interventions in the overall policy regarding the unemployed? Yang seems to ascribe a rather central role to them, but little is said about other social services and the relationships between them. Moreover, Yang repeatedly suggests that the training these local party staff receive is very limited, and that their counselling rarely achieves satisfactory outcomes: the attempt to instill a positive outlook in the unemployed is not only futile but often suspected of being a trick by recipients. These facts seem to undermine the claim that the state is taking a therapeutic shift; if that were true, why wouldn’t it invest more resources into training counsellors and monitoring the efficacy of these programs more cautiously? In fact, Changping should be an ideal place for such an experiment given its proximity to central Beijing, which is home to numerous leading psychology institutions and a flourishing “psycho-boom” among the middle class.

Unknotting the Heart offers invaluable information and insights into the lived experiences of laid-off workers and the state’s responses in China. Being the first book-length ethnography on the recent rise of Western psychotherapy in China, it will be of great interest to scholars in China studies, medical anthropology, and psychology.

Hsuan-Ying Huang, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China                                      

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THE RISE OF CANTONESE OPERA. By Wing Chung Ng. Urbana; Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2015. xv, 266 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-252-03911-9.

This social history of Cantonese opera in late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century China, Southeast Asia, and North America presents a wealth of data culled from archived documents that have recently become available for scholarly examination. Many details presented in the volume, such as the strategically delayed opening of the legendary Lee Theater in Hong Kong in early 1927 (59), are historical gems that Cantonese opera connoisseurs will savor. Academic readers will identify many suggestions for further studies, which range from technical analyses of Cantonese opera as artistic-commercial enterprises in the urbanized cities of Guangzhou and Hong Kong to specialized examinations of uniquely meaningful events, such as a disastrous engagement in Honolulu in 1923 (165 to 168), or the impact Ouyang Yuqian (1889­–1862), a noted performer of Peking opera and kunqu, asserted through his directing of the Guangdong Theater Research Institute (96–99) from 1929 through 1931.

Flanked by an introduction and a conclusion, the eight chapters of the volume are divided into three parts: chapters 1–3; chapters 4–5; and chapters 6–8. Chapter 1 tells not only the genre’s humble beginning as local and marginalized theatre, which had to compete with Peking opera and other “nationalized” genres from the north, but also its distinctive institution of itinerant actors, who performed on rural stages, but lived in, and travelled with, “red boats” floating along South China waterways. The chapter tells many fascinating details, such as living quarter arrangements and social hierarchy on the vessels (29). Chapter 2 traces the rise of commercialized Cantonese opera in the cities of Guangzhou and Hong Kong, showcasing the ways urbanization shaped the development of the genre’s theater houses and artistic-financial operations. This chapter features some insightful but not fully explained observations: the ways indoor and commercialized shows stimulated more singing with natural voices (36); the need to draw a fee-paying audience generated demands for performance novelties (37); contracts (shiyue) between mentors and disciples and “acceptance of engagement” (banling) reflected business attempts to secure “cheap” and “stable” labor (40­–41); that rural and regional disorder in early twentieth-century China prompted professional troupes to settle in Guangzhou and Hong Kong (43­–48), where stars and dramatists, such as Bai Jurong (1892–1974), Ma Shizeng (1900­1964), Xue Juexian (1904­–1956), and Mai Xiaoxia (1904–1941) (48–55), rose to fame. Chapter 3 constitutes a detailed account of the rise and decline of Cantonese opera as a form of public entertainment in the decades of the 1920s and 1930s. Convincingly, this chapter tells how “brotherhood troupes” (xiongdi ban) emerged as a way for owners to control expenses and insure against losses (63), underscoring their efforts to creatively deal with the vicissitudes of their operations.

Part 2 begins with chapter 4, which provides a revealing account of the ways political plays and women performers challenged early Cantonese opera dominated by male and professional performers, demonstrating how the genre interacted with external forces. Chapter 5 nuances conventional Cantonese opera history with sociological perspectives: urban theater as a site of chaos, lawlessness, and violence (109–113); struggles between antagonistic and hierarchical groups of participants, ranging from owners, managing elders, senior performers to struggling instrumentalists (113–118); and state control through taxation and censorship (121–127).

Part 3, comprising chapters 6 through 8, examines early Cantonese opera in transnational contexts. Chapter 6 contrasts the successes of energetic and known entrepreneurs, such as E Tong Sen (1877–1941) (142–145) of colonial Singapore, with the failures of nameless and struggling producer-performers in North American Chinatowns (145–151). Chapter 7 documents Cantonese opera development as a transnational phenomenon based in Vancouver, Canada. Chapter 8 describes Cantonese opera communities of patrons, entrepreneurs, performers, and audiences who artistically and socially interacted as immigrants in racialized North America. To conclude, the volume briefly reiterates major arguments made in the chapters, and analytically reports on Gui Mingyang’s (1909–1958) career as a case study of Cantonese opera developments in early twentieth-century China and North America.

The report makes a fitting ending to a scholarly volume that provides a wealth of data but also raises many unanswered questions. Like a prism, it reflects what the author has admirably achieved and what he has to do to produce a more comprehensive history of Cantonese opera in the future. The author is to be commended for having patiently combed through many archived documents to strategically identify a diversity of detailed facts, and for having weaved them into a broad narrative about early Cantonese opera, which transformed from a regional opera to a transnational performance of Chinese identities and urban realities in the early decades of the twentieth century. The author is to be thanked for raising many fundamental but unanswered questions on the ways acting, dancing, singing, speaking and other creative and performance practices of the multi-media genre might have transformed. A full discussion of the issues clearly demands not only a more lengthy volume but also a more interdisciplinary approach to the available data, which might not tell much about the genre’s early performance practices and/or expressive features.

As the author noted, much of early Cantonese opera was performed with merely synoptic scripts (tigang; 136–137), kind of short-hand notes for the performers, which hardly describe what was actually performed and which are quite opaque to non-performers. Whether and what the scripts and other related resources tell, however, cannot be ascertained until they are meticulously catalogued and thoroughly studied. Hopefully, the author would produce, in the near future, an annotated catalogue of the documents he has examined or has yet to examine. Such a catalogue would not only complement this substantive volume, but also prompt the writing, by the author or his associates, of a comprehensive history of Cantonese opera as a multi-media theatre of expressive bodily movements, colorful costumes and face-make-up, operatic sounds, and dramatic words. Only such a history would answer the fundamental questions raised but not answered in this substantive but still exploratory history on early Cantonese opera.

Joseph S.C. Lam, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA                                                    

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CHINA’S LITERARY COSMOPOLITANS: Qian Zhongshu, Yang Jiang, and the World of Letters. Sinica Leidensia, v.125. Edited by Christopher Rea. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2015. x, 263 pp. US$142.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-29996-2.

Qian Zhongshu, fiction writer, literary critic, and antiquarian, and his wife Yang Jiang, playwright, translator, memoirist and fiction writer, were the power couple of late republican Chinese intelligentsia. Both were born in the last months of empire; they married in their early twenties after meeting as students at Qinghua University in Beijing. They were grounded in Chinese scholarly traditions before leaving for Europe, studying in Oxford and Paris, and they became literary celebrities after their return to China in 1938, Yang first as a dramatist writing comedies in wartime Shanghai, and Qian with the success of his novel Weicheng (Fortress Besieged) in 1947. Declining opportunities to teach overseas, they remained in China following communist victory in 1949, suffering the strictures common to the established intellectuals in the Mao era, working in relative obscurity as translators, while Qian conducted his research on Chinese literature and philosophy. They returned to something like their former prominence after the Cultural Revolution, with Yang publishing a celebrated memoir of their “cadre school” incarceration in 1981 and her only novel, Xizao (Taking a Bath), in 1988. Following Qian Zhongshu’s death in 1998, Yang Jiang wrote extensively about their lives together and with their daughter, continuing her creative work well into her eleventh decade.

This collection of essays by a distinguished group of scholars has its origins in a 2010 symposium hosted by Christopher Rea to celebrate the lives of Qian Zhongshu and Yang Jiang. The book presents Qin and Yang as Chinese cosmopolitans, who wrote in China on Chinese subjects with a perspective informed by their sensitivity to the culture of Western Europe, particularly, as Judith Amory observes, that of the eighteenth-century novel. They were, like all intellectuals in the Mao-era People’s Republic, employed by the state, Qian working on the English version of Mao’s Selected Works and Yang translating European picaresque novels from English, French, and Spanish, but they managed to keep their distance from the turmoil of their times. Wendy Larson suggests that Yang Jiang’s later writings “present the ideal of a detached, cosmopolitan, and universal creative intellectual who imagines himself or herself not so much part of political society as floating in … the ‘autonomy of the aesthetic sphere.’” (135) References to the moment in their Mao-era works are private and oblique: Yugen Wang, in his chapter on Qian Zhongshu’s poetry, written in classical Chinese, quotes a poem written in 1957, on the eve of the Anti-rightist campaign and the Great Leap, which ends with elegantly haunting lines anticipating the trouble to come: “From distant skies comes the muffled roll of thunder./ Falling leaves tumble about in the air; the winds gusting every which way;/ Cooing mountain doves suddenly fall silent; the storm approaches” (47). Through much of the Cultural Revolution, Qian was as aloof as could be managed from the upheaval around him, writing critical essays on premodern Chinese literature and philosophy, the Guanshi bian (literally “Tube and Awl Collection,” also translated as “Limited Views”), analyzed here by Ronald Egan.

Their determined detachment from politics, even while they were undergoing (entirely unsuccessful) socialist re-education in their cadre-school, is recorded by Yang Jiang in her celebrated 1981 work Six Chapters of Life in a Cadre School (Ganxiao liu ji), The memoir is modelled on the Qing dynasty memoir Six Chapters of a Floating Life, whose author Shen Fu recorded his love for his wife in vignettes of their time together. Like Shen Fu’s, Yang’s memoir takes delight in small things—clandestine meetings with her husband, a relationship with a dog—and its restraint is remarkable, given that it was written at a time when other memoirists from the intellectual class, also returning from a decade and more of ostracism, were bitterly cataloguing the abuses they had suffered at the hands of red guards and opportunistic colleagues.

For all the variety of their literary output, Qian Zhongshu and Yang Jiang will likely be remembered most fondly for their single novels, Qian’s Fortress Besieged and Yang’s Taking a Bath, written forty years apart. Qian’s novel is set in the chaos of late republican China and Yang’s in the decade that followed it, the early years of the People’s Republic. Both concern the misadventures of intellectual classes in their natural habitats, the college and the research institute. In Qian’s novel, a returned student with a fraudulent degree finds a position in a dubious college in the interior, and in Yang’s, colleagues at a research institute connive and betray to maintain their status and employment. The influence of the European novel of manners is noted here, though surprisingly not that of the eighteenth-century Chinese comic masterwork Rulin waishsi (Unofficial history of the scholars), which covers much of the same terrain for the late imperial period. In his chapter on Qian Zhongshu, T.D. Huters finds possible inspiration for Fortress Besieged closer to hand, for its author at least, in the satirical novels of Evelyn Waugh, popular while Qian and Yang were at Oxford; Huters further notes a similarity to Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim, written a decade after Fortress Besieged, and similarly set amongst the lecturing fraternity. Qian and Yang’s novels share the territory of the contemporary Anglo-American university novel, of which Lucky Jim is an early example and the novels of David Lodge the best-known from the late twentieth century: Chinese and Western authors alike offer tales of inadequacy and pretention, shabby romance and petty jealousy, in a genre that veers from farce to black humour and always has time to expose the vaingloriousness of scholars.

Fortress Besieged and Taking a Bath are available in English; those wishing to read more of Yang Jiang in translation can refer to a special edition of Renditions (no. 76, 2011) released to coincide with the author’s hundredth birthday.

There is more to appreciate in this collection, including chapters on Yang Jiang’s plays and translations, and another on her family memoir We Three (Women sa). China’s Literary Cosmopolitans offers both a valuable introduction to two outstanding cultural figures, and innovative scholarship on aspects of their work which have previously received less scholarly attention.

Richard King, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada

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FROM COMRADES TO BODHISATTVAS: Moral Dimensions of Lay Buddhist Practice in Contemporary China. Topics in Contemporary Buddhism. By Gareth Fisher. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. x, 263 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3966-6.

From Comrades to Bodhisattvas, by Gareth Fisher, is a comprehensive and highly readable ethnographic study of lay Han Buddhists in post-Mao China in Beijing. Fisher magnificently gives the lay Buddhists, who were severely socially and economically marginalized during the grand social transition after the Mao administration, distinct faces and compelling voices as they apply “temple courtyard” Buddhist moral teachings to address what he calls the “moral breakdown” and imbalances of their daily lives. In the six chapters of this monograph, Fisher seeks to describe the social, as well as moral, transformations that lead these lay people from “chaos” to “balance” and the establishment of “Buddhic bonds.”

Borrowing the analytical framework of Jarrett Zigon and Foucault, Fisher defines moral breakdown “as an unsettled psychological state that occurs when changing circumstances challenge the cultural norms within which one exists as a social person, forcing one to engage ‘ethical demands’ to work out the contradictions that these changing circumstances provoke” (3). Fisher attempts to advance Zigon’s concept by suggesting that “the solution of moral breakdown can occur only through the wholesale rejection of social persons and institutions that brought about the breakdown in the first place” (4). After the establishment of new Buddhist personhood, the sustainability of identity depends on practitioners’ relationships with her/his fellow Buddhists and “minimizing interactions outside of the temple.” Taking the emic approach, Fisher analyzes the notion of foyuan (chapter 3 and 4), a concept lay people use to “ethically remake themselves from marginalized persons in an illegible world into chosen participants in a vanguard to morally reform that world” (87). He looks at how practitioners utilize this term as a rationale for their own conversion and the establishment of a bond with the Buddha’s teachings. His study also shows how this concept was further employed to convert and socialize new practitioners. A Buddhist identity could be temporary and might shift, as Fisher describes in the conclusion when he witnesses a young practitioner effectively rejoining the secular world and changing the outlook of her Buddhist stance (202–203).

In chapter 4, Fisher investigates the guanxi-based morality under the Buddhist viewpoint of ethics and discovers that yinguo (cause and consequence) is treated as an alternative morality by his informants. The foyuan is evidence that practitioners have an important status in the cosmic universe that cannot be understood through the narrower perspective of other mainstream social relationships used by guanxixue. Fisher suggests that this practice is empowering to the practitioners because it leads them to believe that they are special. It is interesting to learn how the definitive idea of foyuan differentiates those who are converts, those who have prior connections with Buddhist teachings but without much memory or knowledge of them, and those who are non-believers. In the second part of the chapter, Fisher turns to the interpretation of the morality of exchange among his informants. In this yinguo-based system of morality, for Buddhists the exchange of literature and media takes place under the framework of jieyuan, often occurring anonymously, a pattern also found by research on a Protestant group. Fisher proposes that Buddhist and Protestant Christian communities in contemporary urban China share similar moralities of exchange for two reasons. First, both religions are dominated by adult converts. Secondly, both religions offer universalistic systems of morality that posit that all beings share an equal status. This is an appealing moral vision for those who have been marginalized by the moral discrimination of social persons in the ego-centered morality of guanxi (130–133). In chapter 5, Fisher argues that the spread of print matter and multimedia materials plays a similar role in the creation of an imagined community of lay Buddhists in contemporary mainland China. The discursive networks, formed under the impression that many others share in their practice, contributes to their belief that moral reform is attainable and can be created by Buddhists’ circulation of media through the moral framework of jieyuan.

Another contribution of Fisher’s book is that it cleverly designates those individuals who practice within isolated social spaces as encompassing the conceptual space of “islands of religiosity.” This concept signifies that most urban religious phenomena function as “religious islands in a larger sea of secularism” (204) due to the state’s control of space. Along with his sympathetic understanding of these socially demoted practitioners, the author also defends how they assert their own agency, such as when they distribute printing and multimedia materials. By doing so, they are creating a national imagined community that empowers them to make extensive Buddhist bonds and break away from their confined social space (89, 137, 168).

Weishan Huang, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China                                         

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BEYOND BORDERS: Stories of Yunnanese Chinese Migrants of Burma. By Wen-Chin Chang. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014. xv, 278 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$26.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8014-7967-0.

At a time in which there is a flurry of interest in studies of Burma/Myanmar there is a surprising dearth of engaging, readable, and contemporary ethnography from the country. Beyond Borders is a tremendous work which details—with considerable intimacy and reflection—the lives of both Yunnanese Chinese in Burma, as well as those who later migrated from Burma to Thailand, Taiwan, and Mainland China. The multi-sited nature of the ethnography is a fantastic boon to the work, as it reflects the trans-national character of the ethnographic subjects themselves. What is particularly moving about the book is its connection and engagement with the people, from the details of their economic activities, to their relationships not only with the Chinese communities in Burma and beyond, but also their connections with friends, neighbours, and colleagues across ethnic and religious boundaries.

The book itself consists of two major parts: 1) Migration history, and 2) (Transnational) trade. Each part consists of a handful of chapters, within which are the profiles and life stories of an individual and or a pair of individuals within a family unit. In her presentation of the ethnographic interviews, Chang is often reflexive, mentioning misunderstandings that took place during some of the field research, and suggesting some of the political implications for her subjects in their interaction with a research. These help to illuminate for readers some of the complexities of doing field research in a country like Burma. But I will add, most admirably, the author does not dwell on this, rather, her goal is to present the experiences and lives of her subjects as they see them themselves.

The first part presents four chapters: 1) the story of Zhang Dage, one of the author’s principal informants who moved many times between the Shan State of Burma, Yunnan province in China, and Northern Thailand; 2) “Entangled Love”: a chapter about Ae Maew, a woman who has lived, worked, and studied in both the Shan State and Taiwan; 3) account of Mr. Li and the travails of his son working in a Bangkok factory; and 4) the experiences of Yunnanese Muslims in Burma. These chapters offer both overviews of life stories and experiences as well as ethnographic events involving the author herself. The authors’ objective is to communicate life experiences, and thus only goes into theoretical discussion briefly, and so these references often serve as footnotes or points of departure rather than the frame or the substance of the chapters.

The next part of Beyond Borders, entitled “(Transnational) Trade,” consists of three chapters: 1) the experiences of Yunnanese caravan traders; 2) an account of women traders; and finally, 3) an examination of the jade trade, as experienced by the Duan and Peng families. Like the previous part, these topics are illustrated by the subjective experiences of Chang’s interlocutors, but these chapters focus more on the economic aspects of transnationalism, a topic with which the author has had extensive engagement, particularly in regards to the jade trade. This latter nuanced knowledge comes through in the descriptions of mobility, and transport of the valuables. Through the ethnographic accounts readers learn of the ways in which goods are assessed, transported, and taxed, but often through personal connections of trust and expediency. From an overview of the situation, there might seem to be a great deal of business cunning and acumen, but the nuance of the ethnography shows that this skill came often at risk of failure and through the uncertain challenges of finding one’s way through dubious regulations and enforcements. The ethnographic lens on the economic transactions is incredibly useful, too, as we see how traders managed to do business and get loans at vastly varying rates, especially when banks opened and shut during the early 2000s. In a country with such a vast black market, these levels of ethnographic detail are, quite literally, gold.

Beyond Borders is a must-read for any scholar of the history, geography, economy, or ethnography of the so-called Golden Triangle region of upland Southeast Asia. Its nuanced attention to the historical relationship between the Kuomintang, civilian traders, the Shan insurgencies, and the Burmese government is compelling, especially since the information deals with firsthand accounts. The accessibility of the book would make it a good companion to undergraduate courses about Southeast Asian and/or transnational approaches to history and ethnography. Although the author could very easily bog the reader down with acronyms, dates, and events in military or political history, the priority placed on the subjects’ lives allows the reader to assimilate the context inductively, rather than with a preemptive roadmap of sorts. In this way, it would also be instructive for students new to the region, or in thinking about doing multi-sited ethnography. Overall, the book is quite an accomplishment, and an engaging read.

Jane M. Ferguson, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia                                  

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DV-MADE CHINA: Digital Subjects and Social Transformations after Independent Film. Critical Interventions. Edited by Zhang Zhen and Angela Zito. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. ix, 397 pp. (Figures.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-4682-4.

Independent cinema in China constitutes one of the most exciting cultural scenes in the world today; the diversity of aesthetics and critical voices has generated immense social energy and attracted increasing attention at film festivals and in film scholarship. DV-Made China provides a rigorous and up-to-date treatment of the subject, making a unique contribution by its parallel inquiry of technological change and social transformation.

DV-Made China’s transnational and comparative perspective gives the book a unique edge: highly conversant with methodological innovations in film studies and new media studies, the book draws its attention more specifically to the implications of digital technology on film production and exhibition as well as on articulations of plural subjectivities and modes of social interaction, thus linking alternative film practice afforded by digital technology with social change. This sensitive reading of technological change, aesthetic experimentation, and social transformation is carried out by an interdisciplinary field of innovative and rigorous scholars from film studies, anthropology, comparative literature, and cultural studies, engaging their own experiences in filmmaking, curating, and exhibiting.

The book is divided into two main parts, each constituted by six essays. The first part, focusing on ethical and political stakes, sets the stage with a penetrating analysis by Abé Mark Nornes, who critiques the dominance of observational cinema in China as suppressing concerns of ethical responsibilities for filmmaking. The “visible hidden camera,” for Markus, registers the tension between the filmmaker’s claimed objectivity and the lack of contractual consent between the documentary filmmaker and the filmed subject. This lack of reflection and consent, Nornes argues, perpetuates the exploitation of film subjects’ marginality. Filmmaker and anthropologist J. P. Sniadecki, however, offers an opposite view. Zeroing in on Chinese filmmakers’ aesthetic commitment to xianchang, or “on the scene” realism, Sniadecki takes a phenomenological approach by highlighting the embodied nature of the documentary camera. The corporality of the camera and the rich heterogeneity of the profilmic scene, Sniadecki argues, register an intersubjective and interobjective encounter, enabling a reflexive dimension of observational cinema by its openness to contingency. Li Jie joins this debate by introducing the politics of seeing. Using Zhao Liang’s film Petition as a case study, she draws attention to a wide range of gazes involved in documentary filmmaking and viewing with different ethical implications. The film, in effect, provides “seeing lessons” for the audience to recognize the marginalized subject, to see through the official media’s deception, and to experience and reflect on the triangulated power dynamic between the filmmaker, the state, and the film’s spectators.

Other essays in this section address a variety of ethical and political concerns. Shen Shuang situates her inquiry in the history of “crowd” studies in the West in conversation with the configuration of the crowd in modern Chinese political and visual history. She asks how independent DV generates and empowers the crowd, thus giving her readers glimpses of emergent mass publics and imagined social action. In a richly nuanced study, Robert Barnett provides a rare look at the emergence of a regional cinema in Tibet through five different types of digital cinema and broaches the problem of representation and self-representation. The first part concludes with Gao Dan’s sensitive treatment of the ethics of DV distribution and exhibition, ranging from domestic online consumption to international film festivals and distribution. Gao considers these venues not as neutral sites but as regulating and delimiting, raising much needed attention to different agents involved in exhibition and distribution.

The second part of the book approaches aesthetic experimentation and activism from a variety of angles. Bérénice Reynaud draws on her extensive curatorial and exhibition experience to consider how DV in China has replaced celluloid in registering the tension between the documentary and the artistic impulse of cinema as manifested in a range of hybrid film aesthetics. Wang Qi draws insight from performance studies to provide a fascinating analysis of the tension between performance and documentary, as demonstrated differently in Li Ning’s highly avant-garde and self-reflexive documentary Tape in contrast to Jia Zhangke’s celebrated 24 Cities. Whereas Jia tries to smooth out the difference between nonfiction and fiction, Li’s varied aesthetic strategies open up the performance space for reality with all its contingency and in effect disrupts the power hierarchy between the filmmaker and the film subject by allowing the latter’s performance to range from collaboration to violent address.

Other essays in the section, including those by Luke Robinson and Angela Zito, examine alternative media and aesthetics in relation to the building of alternative communities. Robinson highlights the challenge and promise of “small media” in a new generation of queer cinema that mobilizes networking and incorporation beyond the performative paradigm in building LGBT communities. Zito turns to filmmaker Gan Xiao’er’s negotiation with a local Christian community between representation and self-representation. Whereas Gan prefers modernist aesthetics in creating an artistic object for global circulation, the Christian community pushes towards narrative affect, treating film as a community-building process rather than an object, ironically driving at a more avant-garde conception of film than Gao’s by integrating art in everyday praxis.

Paola Voci introduces an unusual subject in alternative cinema, “animateur” films—amateur animation shorts distributed online or through mobile media. Voci extends her discussion of “light” media from her own fascinating book on independent cinema and considers how the amateur mode of animation production and distribution embraces a liminal space of playfulness and participatory spectatorship. Voci connects animateur films to the exhibitionist film tradition in early cinema and invites a broader dialogue with film and digital media studies. The section culminates with Zhang Zhen’s powerful analysis of aesthetic affect in political activist DV. Zhang canvases a broad range of politically engaging documentary to consider the critical purchase of what she calls the “digital political mimesis,” which fashions the indexical possibility of digital media with melodrama, thus creating an updated “pathos of fact” in postsocialist media. Zhang concludes by noting the shift in documentary activism from pathos to everyday playfulness, leaving open creative possibilities for aesthetic and social engagement with independent digital video.

Rich, sober, innovative, and provocative, DV-Made China is a highly desirable addition to the literature of contemporary Chinese society, culture, and media.

Weihong Bao, University of California, Berkeley, USA                                                         

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CHINA AND CYBERSECURITY: ESPIONAGE, STRATEGY, AND POLITICS IN THE DIGITAL DOMAIN. Edited by Jon R. Lindsay, Tai Ming Cheung, and Derek S. Reveron. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. xvii, 375 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-020127-2.

China and cybersecurity are hot buzzwords in current global affairs, especially in Asia Pacific affairs. From the onslaught of sensational American news headlines about Chinese cyber espionage on the US to National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s bombshell revelations about US cyber espionage just three days before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s US visit in June 2013 to the September 2015 historical US-China agreement concerning economic espionage, no topic seems to be more complex, convoluted, and controversial than China and cybersecurity. At the same time, few topics are as at once elusive and emotive as China and cybersecurity. It not only concerns grand topics such as war and peace, and global power shifts, but also concerns everybody’s daily activities from web surfing to credit card purchasing.

It is thus to the credit of the editors and authors of this book that they have put together such a comprehensive, informative, and timely study on this topic. Originating in a pair of 2012 conferences, this volume offers a very ambitious and far-ranging overview of the multifaceted dimensions of China and cybersecurity. This is no easy task, not only because of the opaque nature of the subject, but also because of its paradoxical high visibility, not to mention its fluidity. As the book appropriately acknowledges at the onset: “[T]he relentless pace of current events have both challenged our contributors through the course of many revisions and strengthened our belief in the need for an objective analysis of the political and institutional foundations of cybersecurity in China” (vii).

The book is indeed rather resourceful in analyzing the political and institutional dimensions of cybersecurity in China. However, whether it is possible to achieve any degree of “objectivity” on a topic as highly charged as this is perhaps beyond the point. In fact, given the prominent role of the US-China cybersecurity relationship in the volume—it appears not only as the proverbial big elephant in the volume, but also as its indisputable overriding policy focal point—one wonders whether even the book’s very title “objectively” captures its main thrust, and how the omission of this dimension in the title is itself an indication of a tension in the book’s underpinning empirical anchoring and analytical framing. That cyber espionage on the US constitutes “the greatest transfer of wealth in history”—a claim made by US General Keith Alexander, former command of US Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency—was reiterated three times in the first three chapters in a row and only to be reaffirmed again in the conclusion is certainly not an indication of sloppiness in copy-editing for an Oxford University Press volume. Rather, it is probably more illustrative of the challenges of pursuing any “objective” scholarship on a topic that has been so powerfully framed by high-flying political accusations and alarmist media headlines. Given that the book’s extraordinary ensemble of contributors includes not only civilian scholars from the American, Chinese, and Canadian academy, but also those who have past or current positions in such state and private institutions as US and Chinese military academies, the British Secret Intelligence Service, the Project 2049 Institute, and the Defense Group Inc., “objective analysis” is perhaps better understood and appreciated in terms of the broad range of topics, the diversity of perspectives, as well as the multiplicity of research methodologies on the offer.

And this is indeed one of the book’s merits. Its thirteen chapters, including an introductory chapter by Jon R. Lindsay and a concluding chapter by Jon R. Lindsay and Derek S. Reveron, are organized into four parts. Part 1, “Espionage and Cybercrime,” provides overviews of Chinese state intelligence gathering, economic espionage, internal political control, and the scale and scope of China’s online underground economy. Part 2, “Military Strategy and Institutions,” zooms in on the Chinese military, the PLA, with chapters exploring its strategy and doctrine, its intelligence gathering networks and units, as well as the PLA’s understandings of cyber warfare and its potential mobilization of information warfare militias. Part 3, “National Cybersecurity Policy,” moves to the policy plane to explore Chinese and American perspectives on cyber policy making and governance. Part 4, “Practical and Theoretical Implications,” concludes with one chapter offering policy suggestions for the US, and another offering theoretical reflections on international relations, the study of technology, as well as area studies.

A number of chapters are highly descriptive, predictable, and even a bit stretched in the analysis. Others are quite insightful and constructive in terms of their strategic and policy implications. Chapter 4, “Investigating the Chinese online Underground Economy,” meticulously researched and rigorously written by Zhuge Jianwei, Gu Lion, Duan Xaixin, and Taylor Roberts, stands out for providing a fascinating and well-structured reading into the wild world of underground online crime in China, with illustrative mapping of four distinctive value chains, and vivid capturing of the jargon of the cyber-crime world. This chapter, which focuses on the civilian and Chinese domestic dimension of cybersecurity, contributes significantly to the book living up to its title. Meanwhile, chapter 5, “From Cyberwarfare to Cybersecurity in the Asia Pacific and Beyond,” by PLA Senior Colonel Ye Zheng, not only productively engages with and in some cases even offers a counterbalance to the chapters written by outsiders on the PLA, but it also spells out a set of “principles of cybersecurity” so as to avoid cyber conflicts and a “virtual arms” race.

Given the high stakes and enormous gaps between Chinese and American understandings and agendas on cybersecurity, and with the above two chapters as examples, Lindsay and Reveron are certainly justified in concluding that the book “exemplifies” cooperation to improve understanding. It will be worthwhile reading not only for China scholars and cyber-security experts, but also for international relations and communications scholars.

Yuezhi Zhao, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada                                                            

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CHANGING CHINESE CITIES: The Potentials of Field Urbanism. By Renee Y. Chow. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xv, 185 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-5383-9.

Anyone spending any time in China these days cannot help but be overwhelmed by the disorienting scale of urban transformation going on there. To say that the traditional urban fabric of most cities is being ripped to shreds would be an understatement. The built environments of imperial, Republican, and socialist urbanism—cityscapes of different eras that have until recently mingled together as part of a coherent whole—have all been rendered obsolete by an incessant quest for the new, the global, the ultra-modern. China is increasingly committed to an ex nihilo form of “green-field” urbanism, in which whole new cities are being planned, designed, and built from scratch. In Changing Chinese Cities, Renee Chow argues that what is being lost in this transformation is not simply an urban heritage of buildings, designs, and spatial arrangements, but an entire urban fabric that made cities legible and useful to their inhabitants. Instead of the continuities across neighbourhoods that gave Chinese cities their distinct identities, Chinese cities have joined “the globally familiar cacophony of discrete interventions” (1). By this, she means an urbanism dominated by “figures” rather than “fields.” The former refers to the object-qualities of buildings, their stand-alone character, their ability to draw attention to themselves. Beijing has become a city full of figures, from Rem Koolhaas’ CCTV Tower, to the “Bird’s Nest” Olympic Stadium, and Paul Andreu’s National Center for the Performing Arts. Figural urbanism, Chow argues, has “lobotomized” China’s cities, turning formerly “horizontal cities” like Beijing into collections of objects separated by voids of green space, their architectural coherence destroyed and replaced with singularity and verticality. In such cities, she argues, everyday life is splintered and disorienting, the urban fabric rendered illegible, uniform, monotonous, and homogenous.

The word Changing in her title should be read in two ways, as both a transitive and an intransitive verb. Chinese cities have clearly been changing at a pace perhaps never seen before on earth. But Chow’s book is also a manifesto for changing Chinese cities in a way that recovers the legibility, identity, and continuity of the urban fabric. “Field urbanism” is her proposed solution to the lobotomization of China’s cities. A field is “a mesh that invites appropriation of uses rather than being assigned functions, and supports spatial connections rather than isolation or separation” (8). As a subset of the urban fabric, a built field is “characterized by a relation of elements and spaces in which continuities bring coherence to diverse elements while maintaining the identity of each” (99). If that sounds like a tall design order, Chow demonstrates convincingly that it’s actually quite simple. The basic urban grid of Manhattan, some have pointed out, is a field in the way it maintains continuity throughout the urban fabric—linking blocks and neighbourhoods together—while being flexible enough to accommodate distinct features throughout. Traditional Beijing’s basic courtyard structure, separated (but also linked!) by garden walls and alleyways, is perhaps China’s quintessential urban field.

Chow argues that even though professional competence in designing fields lags behind the development of signature projects, China’s current mega-block urban development structure actually offers a good opportunity for designing progressive fields. After part 1’s initial exploration of “traditional” built fields in China (i.e., Beijing’s siheyuan courtyard structure, the linked canal structure of water towns such as Zhujiajiao, and Shanghai’s lilong alleyway and shikumen housing pattern), Chow explores in part 2 the key elements that are currently splintering and fragmenting these older built fields, such as the supersizing tendency in current urban development projects, the alienating nature of “public space,” and the “sunlight regulations” that govern the presence of empty outdoor space between buildings (such spaces become larger—and more empty—as residential blocks grow taller, in order to meet the sunlight requirement for each apartment). These are, of course, in addition to the more obvious infrastructural elements like vehicular transportation.

Part 3 of the book then explores the possibilities for field urbanism to challenge these fragmenting elements. Chow is careful to insist that this does not necessarily mean preservation of the older built fields, but it does mean drawing on what made those earlier built fields legible, that is, useful for residents. The essays in this part offer reflections on what makes fields work, what gives them their continuity, and how they create a sense of “being inside” a nesting of spatial patterns that allows one to always know where they are within the broad horizontality of the city. Each essay in part 3 also features a sample design project through which we can explore the possibilities of field urbanism. These include a project to enhance the legibility of neighbourhoods along the Huangpu River in Shanghai, a revitalization of Tianjin’s Wudadao neighbourhood, and an upgrading of Zhujiajiao that eschews frozen preservation but maintains the basic historic field through which the town’s layout relates to the water and canals.

Changing Chinese Cities is richly illustrated with diagrams and photos, and is—as one might expect—beautifully designed. It’s the kind of book you feel good about holding in your hands. The essays are short and crisp. Those looking for extended theoretical or historical discussions will not find them in Chow’s narrative, and aficionados of China’s traditional urban cultural landscapes may be disappointed by the book’s brevity in discussing the intricacies of siheyuan or shikumen design. I read the book as more of a guide for on-the-ground urban practice rather than a meditation for contemplation. As such, it is a guidebook for a possible future, more than a lamentation for the lost past. It would be ideal for introducing students to the underlying legibility of China’s cities, the ways that legibility is being destroyed, and what might actually be done to move forward in meaningful ways, rather than succumbing to the temptation, as many of us often do, of consigning China’s traditional built environments to the dustbin of history.

Tim Oakes, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA                                                                 

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CHINA’S EVOLVING INDUSTRIAL POLICIES AND ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING. China Policy Series, 36. Edited by Yongnian Zheng and Sarah Y. Tong. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xviii, 267 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$155.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-65688-7.

This book explores the role of government policies on China’s industrial growth. It discusses how China’s industrial policies and priorities have evolved, and how they are linked to policies in other areas, such as trade, technology, and regional development. The book consists of three parts. Part 1 discusses China’s industrial policies and industrial development in general. Part 2 provides a group of case studies on the development of China’s mainstay industries, including automobile, telecom equipment, electronic information, and ICT as well as shale gas industries. Part 3 examines China’s regional industrial development and includes studies on China’s Yangtze River Delta Region, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, the Western Region, and the Central Region.

In part 1, chapter 1 reviews the structural evolution of China’s industrial economy and examines the problems of China’s current development model, including the economy’s over-reliance on investment, processing trade, and low-value-added segments for growth, and insufficient capabilities in R&D, product design, marketing, and brand and supply chain management. It provides policy suggestions for industrial restructuring during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period. Chapter 2 reviews the policy evolution of China’s regional economic development since 1949. It illustrates how different patterns of regional development emerge as the state’s policy priorities change and how the tensions between central and local government shape regional development policies. Chapter 3 examines the evolving framework and key trends of China’s innovation policies. It identifies several distinct characteristics of China’s innovation policies, including the aim to nurture globally competitive enterprises with strong innovation capacity, the comprehensive resource allocation approach, and the synergetic feature of involving various government agencies. Chapter 4 examines China’s recent R&D intensification and the role of the state. Based on both aggregate and firm-level data, it shows that Chinese state-owned enterprises are responsible for a disproportionate share of industry R&D. Its empirical investigation suggests China’s state-owned enterprises have lower threshold return of R&D and their R&D generates small technology spillover effects. Chapter 5 examines the relations between openness, productivity and economic growth in China. It shows that openness in general has a positive impact on productivity performance in China’s regional economies and there is evidence to show that openness brings about competition and lowers the overall profit margins in China’s manufacturing sector.

Part 2 provides a set of case studies that examines the development of China’s pillar industries and emerging strategic industries. Chapter 6 examines the proliferation of automobile producers in China. It shows that China’s automobile industry has both rampant exits and entries. China’s industrial policy has failed to consolidate the automobile sector, the structure of which is likely to remain dispersed in the near future. Chapter 7 examines the technological capability development in China’s telecom equipment industry. It argues that Chinese telecom equipment firms should focus more on developing strong innovation capabilities and core technologies, in addition to developing strong manufacturing capabilities. It also suggests government support is a precondition for the successful adoption of a locally developed technology standard. Chapter 8 analyzes the current environmental challenges faced by China’s electronic information industry. It proposes the use of green information and communications technology (ICT) products as a possible solution and strategy to handle these challenges. It also points out the problems and difficulties facing the Chinese government in the implementation of green ICT regulations. Chapter 9 examines the general features, trends, and challenges of ICT industries’ catching up in China and how to design policies to solve existing problems. It shows that the catch-up of China’s local ICT companies is relatively accelerated after the global financial crisis. It suggests that policy makers can construct new technology standards, develop the Internet of Things (IOT) and encourage local governments to participate in the commercialization of new technologies. Chapter 10 examines the recent shale gas revolution and the policy implications for China. It shows China’s shale gas industry is still at its early stage of development, and is dominated by state-owned enterprises. It argues that the Chinese government should open the shale gas industry to private companies, encourage innovation and establish a market-oriented price mechanism as well as stronger regulations for environment protection.

Part 3 examines China’s regional industrial development. Chapter 11 examines how the location decisions of transnational corporations and the development of global-local production networks have shaped the industrial development of the Yangtze River Delta region (YRD). It shows that the formation of supply networks and the clustering of ICT firms in YRD have provided opportunities for local sourcing and subcontracting, but the important external inter-firm networks are still limited by foreign invested enterprises themselves. Chapter 12 examines the role of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region (Jing-Jin-Ji) in the transformation of the Chinese economy. It argues that over the recent decades, China’s growth poles have shifted gradually northward and westward, and the Jing-Jin-Ji has great potential to become a growth pole for China’s economy. Chapter 13 examines the achievements and obstacles of China’s western development campaign. It argues that relying solely on transfer payments and the equalization of basic public services is far from enough. The government should combine various fiscal and financial policy tools to promote western development. Chapter 14 analyzes the evolving role of central provinces in China’s overall development and policy consideration. It argues that moving outward-oriented industries from coastal to central regions enhances the central region’s participation in the new global production configuration, which presents both opportunities and challenges to China’s neighbouring economies.

Combining both sectoral and regional perspectives, this book is a well-organized, important contribution to the studies of China’s economic policies. It provides valuable insights for scholars and policy makers to comprehend the evolving nature of China’s industrial policies.

Chen Li, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong                                            

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ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION IN CHINA. By Gerald A. McBeath, Jenifer Huang McBeath; with Tian Qing, Huang Yu. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2014. xi, 244 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-85793-349-2.

This volume is an extremely comprehensive and informative book about environmental education in contemporary China. It would serve as a useful reference book for educators, students, and researchers alike. It is organized into eleven chapters, including an introduction and conclusion. The other nine chapters cover discussions of Confucianism as it relates to environmental ethics; environmental education in primary and secondary schooling (including “green schools”); informal vectors of environmental education (including the media, NGOs, GONGOs, and other non-state actors); variations in environmental education within China, and also between PRC, Taiwan, and Hong Kong; and some assessment of levels of environmental consciousness, knowledge, and behaviour. Each chapter is divided into multiple sections with headings, which makes for a guided and organized read, allowing one to quickly move through sections if so desired. Some of the sections are one or two paragraphs long, however, and one cannot help but feel that this interrupts the flow of the discourse ever so slightly. Chapters range between 16 and 31 pages; none feel too long. Each chapter has extensive endnotes (chapter 7 in fact has 91 notes!), which demonstrate the far-reaching research that the authors have conducted on the subject. Missing is a final list of references, which this reviewer was disappointed with, but an index is provided (and chapter 3 has an appendix with sources).

There is some repetition throughout the volume. This is not a distraction, however, in that the enormous amount of detail provided is somewhat of a challenge to keep track of; a reader can benefit from a bit of repetition. This could also allow one to read chapters as stand-alone works, or in groupings, while still being exposed to the majority of the topics explored. While the authors state that their argument unfolds over the course of nine chapters, a single argument is not clearly stated. If anything the most important point to take away from this book is that there has been some progress in environmental education in China in the past several decades, but there is still more work to be done. The volume reads more as a descriptive account of environmental education in China (with some comparisons to other nations), providing suggestions for possible improvements to this type of education. There is an argument in chapters 2 and 11 that New Confucianism could potentially provide an important moral anchor for environmental education, but this argument is not sustained throughout the volume—as important as it is. In fact, one of the general findings in the volume is that while environmental knowledge or awareness may be high (it is not so everywhere), often behaviours do not match this heightened sensibility; what is missing is motivation, I would argue—and morality gives one exactly that (hence more focus on New Confucianism may have been warranted). This is not to say that there is no analytical rigour here, as there certainly is; chapter 5 in particular (“Environmental education in China’s training of teachers”) has some very insightful critical analysis of training programs. And the authors repeatedly point out that China’s top-down, authoritarian political structure makes grassroots organizations (which have spearheaded much environmental awareness-raising in Western countries) significantly challenged as key actors.

In addition to a comprehensive list of references, I would have appreciated more usage of Chinese (pinyin would have been fine) for key terms, and more information provided about the sample size and other methodological accounting for the surveys discussed in chapter 9. Surprisingly, overall I have become more optimistic about the future of environmental education in China from reading this book, largely because I was not aware of the extent to which various programs have been implemented. I was somewhat surprised to see that in some surveys conducted (not by the authors themselves) one of the indices of having environmental knowledge was knowing environmental laws, regulations, or policies (about sewage treatment, for example); I wondered how Americans would score on the same scale—my guess: quite low. In the very interesting chapter about the media, I of course thought of Chai Jing’s recent film Under the Dome and marvelled at what an excellent case study this would make for the volume in a future edition.

One of the larger epistemological questions that occurred to me throughout the volume, and with which I am left, is what counts as “environmental knowledge.” As an ethnobiologist and an anthropologist (who researches in China), I am used to thinking about the way that human rural communities, in long-term relationships with the flora and fauna around them, develop environmental knowledge. They know which local plants to use for stomach aches, how to process and utilize animal fat on their joints to ease discomfort, which crops grow best next to other crops, etc. But this is not what is meant in the field of environmental education. In this field, it is the urbanized and formally educated who hold the knowledge, about acid rain, smog, water pollution, biodiversity loss, energy-saving devices, “green” technologies, climate change, etc. Thus people in the countryside are in need of being educated about the environment, and in most measures they are lacking in environmental knowledge and awareness, according to this field of research. While I do not deny that most rural residents in China could benefit from learning about air, soil, and water pollution (among other things) from the perspective of Western science, if I were to offer suggestions to the developing field of environmental education in China, I would recommend that localized and rural ways of knowing about the natural world also be considered as important and legitimate forms of environmental knowledge, and be taught to educated urbanites. For one, such systems often have a key moral component—which, as the authors demonstrate, may be sorely needed to change behaviours toward the environment. In this way, environmental education should not be just a one-way dissemination project, but a two-way project of convergence and communication.

Denise M. Glover, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, USA                                                          

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FIERY CINEMA: The Emergence of an Affective Medium in China, 1915–1945. By Weihong Bao. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. 479 pp. (Figures.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8166-8134-1.

Weihong Bao’s Fiery Cinema: The Emergence of an Affective Medium in China, 1915-1945 is a groundbreaking work that sets a new bar for scholarship in the field. Combining bold theoretical arguments, sharp critical observations, and meticulous archival research, this is the single most important book to be published in the field of pre-1949 Chinese film studies since Zhang Zhen’s An Amorous History of the Silver Screen: Shanghai Cinema, 1986-1937, a decade earlier.

Like many great books, it is hard to boil down Fiery Cinema to a single theme or argument as this is a complex, multi-faceted work that simultaneously engages with several important theoretical questions, and does so from a variety of perspectives. At its heart is the concept of “fiery cinema,” which Bao plays with in a variety of ways—from the fire scenes that come at the climax of numerous martial arts films to the fiery emotions that films and stage dramas incite in viewers—as a thematic hub to tie the chapters together. Linked to this notion of “fiery cinema” is the argument that Chinese film of this period is what Bao coins an affective medium, which the author describes as “a distinct conception of medium as a mediating environment, in contrast to the currently dominant understanding of medium as a vehicle of information transmission according to an epistolary communication model—predicated on divisions between the sender, the receiver, and the message. The affective medium connotes a new conception of medium, space, and spectatorial body, as well as the entwinement of media in a dynamic ecology. The affective medium also heightens affect as a shared social space in commercial and political mass publics” (7-8).

In many ways Fiery Cinema is not just about film, instead it is about the intersections between cinema and print culture, stage dramas, photography, radio, architecture, and, most significantly, its affective impact on audiences. By partially detaching Chinese film studies from its traditionally text-based foundations, Bao allows for a more nuanced, layered, and complex understanding for how the entity known as “cinema” was constructed, functioned, and interacted with spectators both onscreen and off. The book excavates seldom-studied filmic texts, going so far as to re-animate several examples of “lost cinema” that are no longer extant. While the challenge of carrying out in-depth research on lost films would turn away many scholars, Bao uses this limitation to her advantage and offers an innovative research approach, rescuing these and other lost pages of Chinese cinema history.

Fiery Cinema is divided into three parts: Resonance, Transparency, and Agitation, each of which features two chapters. Resonance, which Bao describes as “a tangible topos of the 1920s concerning the aesthetic and technological attunement of the spectator’s body in cultivating a sensorial field of social experience as an affective medium” (32), is used as a framework to examine the rise of martial-arts films through new perspectives on physiology and technology. Chapters 1 and 2, “Fiery Action: Toward an Aesthetics of New Heroism” and “A Culture of Resonance: Hypnotism, Wireless Cinema, and the Invention of Intermedial Spectatorship,” explore the interactions and negotiations between early Chinese martial arts films, Western serialized dramas and Chinese stage plays before going on to bring wireless technology and hypnotism into the fold. Part 2, Transparency, explores the seemingly divergent areas of left-wing film, architecture, and sound film, yet manages to bring these themes together in creative and surprising ways. Chapters 3 and 4, “Dances of Fire: Mediating Affective Immediacy” and “Transparent Shanghai: Cinema, Architecture, and a Left-Wing Culture of Glass,” feature readings of dramatist Tian Han’s Dances of Fire (1929) and the rise of wireless technology and architecture under the rubric of a new modernist “culture of glass.” With Agitation, the third and final section, Bao turns to the era of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), exploring the entanglements between cinema and propaganda. Chapters 5 and 6, “A Vibrating Art in the Air”: The Infinite Cinema and the Media Ensemble of Propaganda” and “Baptism by Fire: Atmospheric War, Agitation, and a Tale of Three Cities,” offers some of the most thoughtful scholarship ever published on the Chinese film industry’s war-time relocation to Chongqing and its eventual geographical (and ideological) split between Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Chongqing. With each section spanning roughly a decade of modern Chinese history, Bao also unveils a stirring portrait of how media culture transformed during the tumultuous early Republican years leading up to the war with Japan.

Throughout this study Bao consistently offers deep and challenging engagements with Chinese cultural history and Western theory (coining several useful theoretical concepts of her own along the way), offers penetrating readings of several important films including Orphan of the Storm (1929), New Women (1934), and Scenes of City Life (1935), and, most importantly, reconstructs “cinema” as an affective medium. Weihong Bao’s Fiery Cinema stands as an impressive study that is destined to become required reading for scholars working in the fields of film and media studies and modern Chinese cultural studies. In a sea of formulaic academic monographs this is one of those rare books that changes the formula and breaks the mold.

Michael Berry, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA                                                        

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CHINA AND GLOBAL NUCLEAR ORDER: From Estrangement to Active Engagement. By Nicola Horsburgh. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2015. x, 234 pp. US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-870611-3.

China’s rising nuclear capabilities are attracting worldwide attention. However, existing studies tend to adopt realist approaches and emphasize the evolving capabilities and doctrines of China’s nuclear forces. Balancing and deterrence are the standard angles through which China’s nuclear forces are analyzed and interpreted.

In this context, Nicola Horsburgh’s new book, China & Global Nuclear Order, represents a refreshing effort to cast China’s nuclear politics in a different context. As the author puts it, the aim of the book “is to explore China’s engagement with the process of creating and consolidating nuclear order by assessing the methods it adopts; the motivation behind its policy; and the implications of its actions for nuclear order. Put differently, this book focuses on the extent to which China has shaped global nuclear order, as well as its position in that order since 1949” (1).

Horsburgh’s understanding of global nuclear order is strongly influenced by the English school of international relations, which sees the world order comprised of rules and norms that govern the relations among states. In particular, Horsburgh borrows insights from various studies on nuclear order by William Walker, who emphasizes the importance of international regimes in shaping the nuclear relationship among states. These regimes include the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) as well as norms of eventual global nuclear disarmament. Horsburgh offers an expanded definition of global nuclear order that is based on four core elements: nuclear deterrence, arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament. According to her, these four elements represent “enduring features of nuclear politics and the study of nuclear weapons since 1945” (22).

The book also explains states’ motivations to engage with global nuclear order and their attempts to shape that order. According to Horsburgh, there is a range of interconnected domestic and external variables that can explain why an actor might engage with nuclear order. They range from financial and technical incentives to a state’s quest for global images and prestige as well as international pressures.

In addition to the above conceptual contributions, the main part of the book examines China’s engagement with global nuclear order and its efforts to shape the rules and norms of that order. Several empirical chapters delineate the evolution of China’s position on global nuclear order. This begins with China’s rejection of global nuclear regimes, such as the NPT, during Mao’s era. During that period, China’s main aim was to develop an independent and credible nuclear deterrent. This effort required rejection of global non-proliferation regimes that were proposed by the two superpowers. In the post-Mao era, however, China began to engage with global nuclear order for a combination of domestic and international considerations. As a result, China joined the IAEA in 1984 and reversed its previous positions on arms control and non-proliferation. During the 1990s, through deeper engagement with institutions like the NPT, China reinforced elements of nuclear order related to non-proliferation, at the same time enhancing its global image and legitimacy. Horsburgh’s main conclusion is that China has had a bigger hand than previously thought in the creation, consolidation, and maintenance of global nuclear order.

This book offers a different angle to analyze and interpret China’s nuclear politics. Rather than focusing exclusively on the capabilities and doctrines of China’s nuclear forces, which represents the standard approach, Horsburgh is able to draw our attention to the roles played by China in shaping international regimes and norms for non-proliferation, arms control, and disarmament. As she argues, the English school’s international society approach “offers deep insights into how nuclear arms are governed and how actors behave across the four core elements of nuclear order” (148). As a consequence, this book complements and enhances existing studies which all use realist approaches to interpret China’s nuclear politics. Libraries and researchers on China’s nuclear issues will clearly benefit from this book’s unique insights and contributions.

Baohui Zhang, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China                                                       

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THE GOOD IMMIGRANTS: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority. Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America. By Madeline Y. Hsu. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015. viii, 335 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-691-16402-1.

Asian Americans were portrayed as “bad” immigrants in American society for a long time. Since the mid-1960s, however, the stereotype has been changed from that of “problem minorities” to that of “model minorities.” As a consequence, one of the hottest debates and discussions in Asian American communities has been over the motives and impacts of the model minority characterization. Madeline Hsu’s book, The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority, proposes an historical perspective to understand the invention and its impacts. Hsu argues for two historical influences behind the myth’s construction: US-China educational diplomacy, and Cold War refugee politics. These two historical factors shaped both Americans’ perceptions of Chinese as “good” immigrants and US immigration policies. The creation of “model minorities” were embedded in these contexts.

Hsu details throughout the book how US immigration systems—not only restrictive, but also selective processes—contributed to the invention of this myth. She turns her eyes to the important but insufficiently discussed Asian immigrant subgroup— Chinese students and the institutionalized US-China constituencies that supported student migration— to fill the gap. Unlike its historically tight restrictions on Chinese low-skilled labourers, US immigration controls have been lenient to Chinese students and high-skilled professionals, exempting them from exclusion and treating them as welcome immigrants who can be readily assimilated into American society, even at the height of the Chinese exclusion period. By tracking the trajectory of US-China educational exchange activities, Hsu argues that because of trade and diplomatic relations with China, wartime allies, the need for valuable skilled trainees, and Cold War international competition, the US developed double-track immigration systems. On the one hand, the United States continued to exclude Chinese working-class immigrants from the country; on the other, it allowed economically and strategically useful immigrants to enter the country. The selectivity of US immigration laws, in other words, came to be based on class (individual merits and economic achievement), not race. This neoliberal thinking gradually came to dominate in US immigration law in 1965 and afterward.

Hsu shows unusual ingenuity by addressing another interesting but neglected topic: the Chinese refugee crisis in US global Cold War politics. She sheds light on the intertwined relationship between US foreign outreach and domestic immigration reforms. In chapters 6 and 7, Hsu demonstrates how economic nationalism and the effort to create propaganda showcasing US humanitarianism served as major principles and strategies in the US policy on Chinese refugees during the Cold War. On the one hand, to undercut communist influence on high-skilled Chinese refugees and strengthen America’s economic and technological advancement beginning in the 1950s, the US government prioritized visas for Chinese refugees with educational credentials and valuable job skills. This policy challenged the conventionally race-and-nation-based immigration controls and therefore opened the door to the future immigration reforms of 1965. On the other, to propagandize about the American dream and the vision of the nation as a world leader promoting racial integration and equality, American media in domestic and international spheres emphasized the “good immigrant” images of Chinese refugees and immigrants. Hsu convincingly argues that though the State Department only allocated a few thousand Chinese refugee visas, it greatly maximized the symbolic meaning of US refugee relief programs to cater to anti-communist sentiments.

Together, US-China educational collaboration and Cold War refugee politics paved the way for the immigration reforms of 1965 and repositioned Chinese immigrants as model minorities. As Hsu states in her conclusion, “the encoding of economic priorities and recoding of racial stigmas into immigration laws and employment preferences that began during the Cold War have transformed Chinese and other Asians into model immigrants” (237).

Transnational approaches have been widely used in recent Asian-American historical scholarship. Hsu demonstrated how to do transnational history in her award-winning book Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Homes. Here again, she adeptly analyzes English and Chinese sources and transnational perspectives in the book. Through the medium of Chinese student and refugee migration, Hsu shows how the dynamic and inextricable relationships between different nations shape their histories of each other. She tells the history of US immigration and refugee legislation, but also of the US-China educational and cultural exchanges in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, modern Chinese transpacific migration, the 1950s-1960s Hong Kong refugees, and of socio-political change in post-World War II Taiwan. This multi-centric historical writing complicates the current Asian immigration narratives that focus on domestic motives and impacts. Scholars of US-China foreign relations may be familiar with Hsu’s analysis of the US-China “open door constituency.” But they may be amazed at the imaginative combination of this material with other histories, a blending which produces this groundbreaking story.

An interesting comparative perspective between Asian and Latin American immigrants is briefly discussed. Further comparative analysis may highlight the differentiation and racialization of US immigration policies toward the two minority groups. For example, Hsu mentions in chapter 5 how the State Department had begun facilitating international education programs as an effective form of diplomatic outreach in the mid-1930s, particularly with Latin American neighbours and China (203). What were the similarities and differences in US policies toward the two different groups? If the educational exchange program was implemented in both groups, why did it seem to have more influence on Asian immigrants than on Latin American immigrants? Why did it not turn Latin American immigrants into model minorities?

Considering that the greater percentage of first-generation Asian Americans enter the country through education or employment, Hsu reminds us in her conclusion of the evil legacy left to both US foreign and domestic racial relations by the neoliberal logic of the immigration selection system. The Good Immigrants provides much insight on a variety of topics. Those who want to learn more about US immigration policies, cultural relations between the US and China during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Chinese refugees during the 1940s to 1960s, and Chinese transpacific migration will not want to miss it.

Chi-ting Peng, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA                                                           

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FATEFUL TIES: A History of America’s Preoccupation with China. By Gordon H. Chang. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015. 314 pp. US$32.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-05039-6.

In his most recent book on US-China relations, Gordon H. Chang presents how generations of Americans perceived and interacted with China. Believing that China was a nation with strong implications for the destiny of the United States, these Americans actively engaged in Chinese affairs and by doing so actually made China part of the US national experience.

Chang states in the introduction to his book that Fateful Ties “speaks to those beyond China specialists” (8). He has done well in achieving this goal. Carefully crafted and smoothly written, the book is rich in details, which Chang successfully brought together to create a mosaic that is at once colourful and revealing. Featured in Chang’s tale are Americans of diverse backgrounds, whose lives intersected Chinese history. Some of these Americans are high-profile figures, but their involvements with China are not as well known. Patriarchs bearing names that later became easily recognizable in the US—Astor, Cabot, Lowell, Russell, Peabody, and Forbes—championed the Old China Trade that was as old as the United States itself. George Washington, until a friend corrected him, long assumed that the Chinese were a white people. W.E.B. Du Bois, the eminent African-American scholar, visited China in 1959 when he was ninety-one years old. The guest of Chairman Mao Zedong composed a long poem, “I Sing to China,” to celebrate the liberation of an oppressed people. Carl Crow, journalist and businessman in China, brought with him his best-selling book 400 Million Customers in 1937, which made a notable episode in America’s continuous endeavour to crack that famous but ever elusive market of China.

Chang’s narrative begins with America’s colonial era in the late eighteenth century, when pioneering American merchants started the trans-Pacific trade with China, exchanging furs, ginseng, and the infamous opium for Chinese tea. In the nineteenth century, two conflicting trends dominated US-China relations. On one hand, numerous dedicated missionaries journeyed to China to bring the Chinese into Christendom. On the other hand, Chinese labourers who came to work in America encountered open discrimination, which culminated in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Entering the twentieth century, China and the US developed a greater sense of solidarity, partly because of Japan’s imperialist expansion in East Asia. Many Americans advocated support for China as a way to help America. Philosopher John Dewey, for his part, very much hoped that his pragmatic philosophy would assist the Chinese in their struggle to solve many of their difficult problems. Along with John Dewey, Chang introduces quite a few other Americans who during this period tried to influence the newly created Republic of China with the American Way, and one additional figure that could have been included in the book is Frank J. Goodnow, the renowned legal scholar who for three years served as a constitutional advisor to President Yuan Shikai, and who, in an ironic turn of events, seemed to have endorsed Yuan in his ultimately disastrous scheme for an imperial restoration.

To the bitter disappointment of many Americans, events in China did not turn out as they expected. The Chinese Communists, taking advantage of domestic strife and Japanese invasion, rallied the vast masses of Chinese peasants and fought their way to power in China. Chang depicts how, as all this took place, concerned Americans such as Franklin Roosevelt, Patrick Hurley, General Joseph Stilwell, journalist Edgar Snow, and Times magazine owner Henry Luce argued over the course to follow but in the end were unable to prevent the “loss of China.” Ideological differences and conflicts of national interests would freeze US-China relations for over twenty years. But, as Chang demonstrates, even during this period of virtual separation, interesting undercurrents flowed beneath the surface. Years before he became US president, Richard Nixon confided that one day he would travel to China, and he dismissed Chiang Kaishek, the Chinese Nationalist leader whom he publicly supported, as “a small man” only capable of “running a small island” (222). It is also here that Chang takes care to report on some African-American leaders’ associations with Communist China, a subject often overlooked in the context of US-China relations.

In the chapter that deals with the most recent period of US-China relations, Chang highlights the contradicting views of China held by Americans. For some Americans, China’s recent economic success means that the long-awaited modernization of China is finally materializing, and this offers a great opportunity for the United States to continue its westward movement. For some other Americans, however, China’s rise poses a threat. As Chang points out, such conflicting views have their historical origins, and that’s the way the Americans are currently carrying on their reflection and debate on China and on their own nation.

At one point in his book, Chang acknowledges that Fateful Ties represents views expressed by leading Americans, namely Americans who have left behind written records. Historians work with sources, and the lack of records certainly makes it difficult to reconstruct average men’s opinions, especially in projects that cover periods extending far back and investigate topics that are foreign in nature. Despite this, Fateful Ties makes excellent reading for readers who are generally interested in US-China relations and for specialists who are looking for a well-written text on American views of China from early times to the present era.

Given the intended readership of the book, it may be helpful to mention here the difference between Gordon H. Chang and Gordon G. Chang. The former, author of the book under current review, is a university professor; the latter is a lawyer by training who works as a commentator on US-China relations for various media outlets. In the afterword to Fateful Ties Gordon H. Chang writes about the history of his family and himself in the United States, which in itself is part of the US-China relations that he examines.

Jing Li, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, USA                                                                                   

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LOVE’S UNCERTAINTY: The Politics and Ethics of Child Rearing in Contemporary China. By Teresa Kuan. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2015. xiii, 255 pp. US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28350-3.

This book provides insights into the dilemmas of middle-class parenting in China, in a way that can also be generalized to other countries. It provides a scholarly, yet eminently readable antidote to the thrills that global readers took from the tiger mother popular debates about whether children benefit from ambitious, autocratic parenting. The book unpacks what it means to balance the tensions between nurturing children to follow their own individuality, while preparing them for the competitive social and economic environment they face in China and in other populous countries.

The book builds from thorough ethnographic work in Kunming, the middle-sized capital city of Yunnan in southwest China. The chapters include engaging stories and illustrations from the research. The introduction starts by explaining the biopolitical (agency and governmentality) theoretical framework and anthropological methodology adopted in the research. The remainder of the book is also well referenced across the disciplines, in theories of parenting, childhood, education, identity, and human capital topics relevant to the subject. It concentrates on parents’ choices about education in its widest sense as the focus of parenting and child development.

Chapter 1 introduces the concept of suzhi—improving human quality. It argues that Chinese parents try to balance the scientific engineering of childhood against the agency and subjectivity of the child by engaging in the first in order to maximize opportunities for the second. Yet agency is disrupted or abandoned due to pressure to achieve, and conform by scoring well in examinations to enter good schools and universities.

Chapter 2 analyzes stories of good and bad parenting to illustrate the suzhi tension, noting the subjectivity of both the child and the parent and nurturing the potential of the child. Chapter 3 follows with an examination of the gendered aspects of the emotional work of parenting, including the conflict of different pressures and the irreconcilable contradiction of expectations to manage the internal wellbeing of children with the external competitive context.

Chapter 4 introduces the second Chinese concept explored in the book, tiaojian—the conditions in which children can flourish. Chinese parents’ explain that their focus on tiaojian is because it is the responsibility of parents to maximize tiaojian from which the child can take advantage. Even if parents disagree with the pressure on children, they invest in tiaojian to avoid regret. As well as investing in tiaojian, they also attempt to change tiaojian if it is bad, such as removing bad friends, avoiding child and parent behaviour that will provoke teachers to negatively label or discriminate against their child and avoiding risk by keeping a low profile so the teacher does not notice the child.

Chapter 5 analyzes the popular reaction to a television soap opera about three young women cousins, their mothers, and the godmother-like grandmother. The research is based on Internet discussions and the author’s ethnographic work, about how the young women’s autonomy and self-actualization conflict with the mothers’ efforts to establish tiaojian for “potential born of effort.” Popular sympathy rests with the young women, undermining the mothers’ recognition of how effort is needed to address the competitive world and the importance of status in their children’s lives.

Chapter 6 takes two contrasting examples of understanding child development as human capital. Teacher Wang, a popular parenting commentator, has the notion that a child’s human capital is a resource to build and invest in like material capital. Mr Deng, an engineer and father, views human capital as a limited entity like a natural resource, which needs to be conserved because it can be used up and a child or young person can burn out early if pushed too hard. Yet both Wang and Deng understand that, when competing for limited opportunities, the human capital of children needs investment, which requires parents to make consumption choices in education, to determine how they spend their time and money. Chapter 7 follows a similar theme about “banking in affects” or emotions, which claims that parents must invest in opportunities for children to accumulate and reflect on their emotional experiences. The author participates in an expensive children’s trip to Beijing that goes awry but is aimed at this investment.

The book concludes with a reflection on the contrast between the author’s own Californian childhood and the Cultural Revolution childhoods of today’s Chinese parents. Her sympathetic conclusion is that parents are not following their own ambitions or investing in their own future, but are trying to do their best by preparing their children to be able to make choices in the China of today. The book will appeal to people who are familiar with China as well as those who are not, because it includes sufficient explanation and detail for both, and resonates with parenting choices in any middle- and high-income country. The quirks of today’s China told in the stories add further interest to the analysis of this common dilemma.

Karen R. Fisher, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia                                           

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VISUAL CULTURE IN CONTEMPORARY CHINA: Paradigms and Shifts. By Xiaobing Tang. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. xii, 276 pp. (Illustrations.) US$34.99, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-44637-3.

In this richly illustrated full-colour study, Xiaobing Tang chronicles the development of the visual culture that has been produced from the founding of the People’s Republic of China (1949) to the (almost) present. As the author forcefully explains in the concluding chapter (250-258), devoted to an exhibition of Chinese woodcuts created between 2000 and 2010 that he curated in 2011 at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, USA, his goal is to break through the simplistic way of seeing Chinese visual culture as either mind-numbing government propaganda or barricade-breaching dissident art. His main aims are to make clear that Chinese visual culture in itself is complex and recognizably Chinese (2), a “reflection of the turbulent history of revolution” (65), yet of global and historical importance; that its practitioners are no dupes employed by a non-democratic regime but deeply committed to taking part in and being part of “a ‘cultural reorientation’ in China’s search for modernity” (26); and that Chinese cultural products should be evaluated and merited for their own qualities, in their own right, and not for what non-Chinese spectators might read into them, for whatever (political) reasons.

To accomplish these aims, the author looks at the creation, blossoming, and perseverance of the socialist visual culture that emerged as “a collective and deeply inspiring project in the 1950s, the period of socialist collectivization and construction,” as an expression of the “critical awareness of the relations between the visual and social transformation” (10). The author proves that contemporary Chinese art is the logical outcome of the revolutionary past, not in the sense of “a political mandate or paradigm” but rather as “a source of collective memory and cultural identity” (15). The author provides a comprehensive view of this evolution by analyzing paradigmatic works of different visual genres, such as printmaking; history paintings; rural films; the visuals of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and their influence on contemporary artists; historical cinematographic productions; and the vagaries that prints and their creators face in the present.

In close readings of defining cultural expressions, the author provides valuable insights into the artistic climate and productive processes that inspired and helped create the works he unpacks. The first chapter, devoted to printmaking (18-60), vividly shows how woodcut artists, after joining the revolution while the Party was in hiding in Yan’an, scrambled to respond to the rapidly changing demands and conditions after 1949. Once the People’s Republic was founded, the styles they had worked in and the themes they had addressed proved less popular in the cities than they had been in the countryside. Thus, artists were faced with questions pertaining to their artistic identity, the relevance of their art, and their active participation in the exciting developments around them.

The second chapter (61-101) focuses on The Bloodstained Shirt (Wang Shikuo, 1959), a large-sized pencil drawing that served as a study for an oil painting that was never made (62, 90). The work depicts the public trial of a landlord during the Land Reform Campaign (1950-1951) and is a “successful example of revolutionary realist art” (65). Beyond an analysis of the drawing, one of the finest and most comprehensive I have encountered, the chapter provides an informative discussion of the conditions and demands artists worked under, the considerations they had to deal with while engaged in the creative process, and the ways in which their works were evaluated, appreciated, or criticized.

In the third chapter (102-139), the focus is on movies that were filmed in the countryside or made with a rural audience in mind; in particular, movies dealing with the more active role that women took on in society. The analysis starts with Li Shuangshuang (1962), representing the “new collective life in a people’s commune” (106), and moves to In the Wild Mountains (1985), a film devoted to the early years of the Reform Era, and subsequently to Ermo (1994), when the socialist market economy started to take root. The main aim of the analysis is to show how past visions of a future continue to influence our view of the present.

Cultural Revolution visual culture is discussed in chapter 4 (140-174) in a fruitful juxtaposition with Wang Guangyi’s acclaimed series of Great Criticism paintings. Wang’s works, which combine Red Guard aesthetics with logos representing contemporary global consumer culture, employ the “socialist turn” (144) to revisit the “socialist visual experience” (167), again indicating that what once was cannot be glossed over in the present.

The analysis of the blockbuster movie The Founding of the Republic (chapter 5, 175-209) makes clear that what non-Chinese audiences (or critics) immediately perceive of as irrelevant or boring propaganda actually resonates with the intended Chinese audience. The much more problematized, orientalist art house films are embraced by Western audiences, while the development of the Chinese (entertainment) movie industry is neglected or disparaged.

The final chapter (210-249) deals with the neglect that printmaking faced and still faces after the Reform period started. No longer used to educate the people, nor a medium that attracts critical acclaim or huge interest, printmakers look for relevance while experimenting with techniques, subject matter, and marketing schemes.

In conclusion, in this very readable history of the development of visual culture in contemporary China, Tang has succeeded in bringing together a number of vastly different topics and artistic styles and developments. In a historical overview through the lens of the art world, he singles out specific styles to forcefully illustrate the larger historical picture. In doing so, he approaches his subjects with sympathy and understanding. At the same time, he succeeds in opposing the Western tendency to write off Chinese visual culture and the various media and styles it encompasses as either propagandistic or dissident.

Stefan Landsberger, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

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RED GOD: Wei Baqun and His Peasant Revolution in Southern China, 1894–1932. SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture. By Xiaorong Han. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2014. xii, 346 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-5383-5.

Han Xiaorong’s new book is a rigorously researched biography of Wei Baqun, a rural activist from Dongli village in Guangxi Province’s Donglan County. Before Wei was assassinated by his nephew in 1932, he led a peasant movement that, at its height in 1929, encompassed four counties of the Right River region. After his death, he became embedded in local folklore as a “Red God.” And, since the mid-1950s, the Beijing government has elevated him to the status of a Zhuang hero who united the Zhuang and Han people, who brought the Zhuang into the national revolution, and who helped integrate one of Guangxi’s remote regions into the Chinese nation. In 2009 Wei was elected as one of the “one hundred heroes and models” who had made “outstanding contributions to the founding of the People’s Republic of China” (245).

The deified Wei Baqun, however, is the product of a good deal of airbrushing. For one thing, he came from a landlord family and was a member of the Guomindang for longer than the three years he was a formal member of the Communist Party. Before and after he was admitted to the Party, his superiors complained about his leadership style; he was said “to lead the people like a hero would lead his worshippers” (125). He was also a very violent man who engaged in “excessive killing, looting, burning and kidnapping” (253); he treated defectors from his movement brutally, and murdered two of his four wives. Violence had become intrinsic to the Communist movement in the late 1920s, but Wei’s brutality seems to have been exceptional. Hao Xiaorong notes that it went beyond what was tolerated by the Party centre (207) and “had a destructive effect” on the Right River movement; it derived, he says, from a “small-time bandit pragmatism” that pervaded the local culture and was responsible for Wei’s own death in 1932 (253).

One of Han’s purposes is to explain the significant discrepancies between Party representations of Wei Baqun and the Wei who emerges from the historical records of the Donglan movement. Chapter 8 of Red God provides a clear and convincing explanation for the discrepancies. In the 1950s, the PRC government chose to revive Zhuang identity in Guangxi Province, and the reconstruction of Wei as a model Zhuang Communist was designed to serve that revival. Wei’s flaws as a revolutionary and that he was as much Han as Zhuang were brushed aside; “he was transformed into the most prestigious Communist of the Right River region” who mediated between and united the Zhuang and the Han (236, 247).

The book’s first seven chapters consist of a meticulously documented account of Wei’s progress as a rural radical, first in Donglan county and then the broader Right River base area. The author has used local folklore and the legends woven around Wei’s life to understand his personality and character; it is clear that Donglan villagers regarded Wei as first and foremost a Donglan man with deep roots in his home district and deserving of a proud place among the pantheon of immortalized warrior heroes who had defended the interests of Donglan folk over the centuries. Han Xiaorong also gives careful attention to the important role played by the region’s schools in cultivating the “rural intellectuals” who served as the backbone of Wei’s movement. The most significant factor shaping the history of the Donglan peasant movement, however, is militarism; the movement’s progress was at all times contingent on the alignment at any one time of military factions, local militia, warlord armies and, from the mid-1920s, the Nationalist and Communist armies. It was drawn into broader conflicts when its enemies sought military help from outside the county, forcing Wei also to seek help from friendly militarists both inside and outside Guangxi. The local cultures of violence that for centuries had blossomed in this remote frontier region were cannon fodder for the wider conflicts that, in the end, destroyed the Right River movement.

Han Xiaorong’s Red God must count as one of the best English-language studies we have of an early local peasant movement that became connected to the Chinese Communist movement after 1927. Han is at pains to show that his is not a local study, that Wei’s movement from its beginnings was much bigger than local, and that it serves as a case study of “the complicated relations between the center and the periphery” (11). He gives great importance to Wei’s visits to Shanghai and Canton. They connected him to the centres of “national political ferment,” and he took back to Donglan the new ideas and strategies he learned in the big cities (54). He says that in 1929, when Wei became “an integral part” of the Communists’ Soviet government in western Guangxi, he “upgraded himself from a local leader to a national one” (164). More than that, Wei’s membership of the Communist Party meant that his movement “became part of the global Communist movement directed by the Comintern in Moscow” (252). These and other connections that Han tries to make between national centres and the peripheral Right River region are less than convincing. So is his suggestion that Wei and his comrades “facilitated the partial amalgamation of two distinct cultures: the imported revolutionary culture and the indigenous culture of the rebels and bandits” (202). But we are given no evidence of local cultures being changed by Party policies. The centre-local interaction was really limited to the influence of the centre on the ideas of Wei and the “rural intellectuals” who joined his movement.

Neither the Donglan nor wider Right River peasant movements were ever effectively integrated into the wider Communist movement largely because there was not the time to integrate them. The Red Army had no intention of staying in Guangxi; it pulled out of the Right River Soviet in November 1930, having been there for less than 18 months, and it left Wei and his forces virtually defenceless. Han Xiaorong has very effectively demonstrated the enormous odds against revolutionary success in the wilds of warlord-ridden Guangxi; this is one of the strengths of his study. Yet he insists that Wei’s movement deserves to be remembered as much more than a failure. He concedes that Wei Baqun failed to deliver his promise “to bring happiness to Donglan,” but he says that the promise did not die when Wei died in 1932 (257). Han Xiaorong clearly admires the flawed revolutionary. He sometimes attributes to Wei the godlike qualities bestowed on him by both the Donglan locals and the Party.

Pauline Keating, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

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CHINA UNDER MAO: A Revolution Derailed. By Andrew G. Walder. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015. xiv, 413 pp. (B&W photos., figures, tables.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-05815-6.

Was China’s socialist revolution derivative or distinctive? Was the Mao Zedong-led Chinese Communist Party disciplined or destructive? With China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed, sociologist Andrew G. Walder provides answers to these questions through an in-depth examination of modern Chinese history, starting with the era of military conflict between Mao’s Communist Party and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party in the 1930s and 1940s, and ending with Mao’s death in Beijing on September 9, 1976. The book is one of the first in English to make use of sources drawn from the Chinese Communist Party’s own organizational histories, while at the same time synthesizing nearly seven decades of scholarship on socialism in China, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union. In terms of wider impact, one of the lasting contributions made by China Under Mao is likely to be its portrayal of Mao Zedong as a limited and unoriginal ideologue whose Soviet-derived policies resulted in decades of internal strife and disaster for approximately one-fifth of the world’s population.

Walder’s core premise is that China’s post-1949 state was based on two institutional features to which Communist Party leaders had already committed prior to 1949: the first, a centralized and disciplined party apparatus, and the second, a Soviet Union-derived socialist economy. The context in which this governing style developed was not guerilla war, as has often been assumed, but rather the massive Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949. From this insight he develops three arguments which represent the book’s main themes. The first concerns Mao. According to Walder, Mao’s decision making was primarily influenced by dogmatic adherence to the political and economic tenets of early Stalinism, unswerving faith in the ultimate efficacy of mass mobilization and military power, and impatience with post-1930s models of socialist economic development. The book’s second argument is that the “new civilization” (81) created by Communist Party leaders after 1949 was supported by “two pillars: a bureaucratically administered economy that utterly rejected market mechanisms, and a disciplined and unitary party organization that extended its reach deep into society and economy.” Thus, up until roughly 1956, the PRC was managed almost wholly according to the Soviet model. Finally, Walder argues that the transition from revolutionary (pre-1949) to bureaucratic (post-1949) socialism, while providing some gains in aggregate living standards and GDP, was a demographic and political catastrophe. The PRC’s population soared, and Mao’s frustrations with the downsides of Soviet-style planning—in particular its proneness to economic stagnation and creation of a large class of managerial experts lacking in revolutionary experience and zeal—resulted in the twin tragedies of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution.

China Under Mao is organized as a narrative; however, each chapter also contributes thematically to the larger analytic whole. In the book’s first chapter, “Funeral,” Walder unambiguously places Mao at the centre of the story that unfolds. Like many recent studies of Chinese elite politics, most notably Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals’ monumental study Mao’s Last Revolution (Harvard University Press, 2006), China Under Mao refutes the notion that other leading Communist Party figures such as Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping ever mounted significant challenges to Mao’s policies. “From Movement to Regime” (chapter 2) builds Walder’s case that the context in which Maoism evolved was one of total war involving the massive mobilization of large swaths of China’s populace against the forces of Nationalist Party leader Chiang Kai-shek and his armies. “Rural Revolution” (chapter 3) and “Urban Revolution” (chapter 4) highlight the role of armed force and organizational control as key elements in both pre- and post-1949 Communist Party state making. “The Socialist Economy” (chapter 5) and “The Evolving Party System” (chapter 6) highlight the tremendous presence of Soviet influence in the design and construction of China’s political economy. By the end of the 1950s the “new state” (121) was basically complete; however, largely staffed by bureaucrats and other non-revolutionary experts it proved to be anathema to Mao’s earlier Stalinist vision of revolution as a process of perpetual “class struggle” between forces both internal and external to the party-state (26).

The book’s subsequent chapters thus tell a story more familiar to scholars of the People’s Republic of China: that of how Mao Zedong, disenchanted with what he perceived to be the failings of socialism in its post-revolutionary form, sought to reinvigorate China’s slowing economy and disaffected populace through frequent recourse to social purges, economic mobilization campaigns, and calls for revolution. This story is clearly described in chapters “Thaw and Backlash,” “Great Leap,” “Toward the Cultural Revolution,” and “Fractured Rebellion,” each of which is based on a remarkable summation of previous research—including Walder’s own—on the elite politics and social consequences surrounding Mao’s policies during the 1950s and 1960s, culminating with the spasms of Red Guard and “rebel” violence that followed the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in May 1966 (200). “Collapse and Division” (chapter 11) follows in painstaking detail the organization, campaigns, and factional politics which comprised the Maoist leadership’s response to this initial outpouring of violent insurrection. “Military Rule” (chapter 12) makes the revelatory case that more than half of the deaths caused by the Cultural Revolution occurred amidst military-administered demobilization and campaigns such as the Cleansing of the Class Ranks, which alone killed a staggering 600,000 to 800,000 people in all (277).

The death of Mao’s chosen successor, Lin Biao, in September 1971 following an alleged coup attempt, marked a new period of political division for China, and resulted in a new outpouring of citizen frustration with China’s radical leaders. “Discord and Dissent” (chapter 13) sheds new light on relatively little-known episodes in China’s political history, such as the posthumous campaign against Lin, and quotes at length several scathing denunciations of China’s leadership (291-300) which circulated widely and, as Walder provocatively argues, became the ideological backbone of China’s post-Mao democracy movements in 1978 and 1979 (301). The Cultural Revolution not only created a fractured rebellion but, ultimately, engendered a fractured elite and society as well. China Under Mao’s final chapter, “The Mao Era in Retrospect,” demonstrates that these costs extended well beyond the destructive erosion of relations between citizens, civil elites, and the military; as Walder points out, other fruits of Mao’s Stalinist vision included unstable economic growth, barely manageable demographic expansion, a wasteful and inefficient industrial sector, and stagnation in living standards. To the extent that Maoism represented a coherent political system, this system was characterized by impatience, violence, reliance on bureaucracy, and Mao’s idiosyncratic, if not “extremely odd” 340 readings of the Soviet model and its limitations. Rather than lauding Mao as a creative revolutionary, Walder provides another epitaph: brilliant tactician, narrow thinker, and inhumane dictator.

Matthew D. Johnson, Grinnell College, Grinnell, USA

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CHOPSTICKS: A Cultural and Culinary History. By Q. Edward Wang. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. xix, 190 pp., [22] pp. of plates. (Map, table.) US$29.99, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-02396-3.

In 2005, Foreign Language Press in Beijing published the richly illustrated, charming little book Chinese Chopsticks. It was written by Lan Xiang, a long-time chopsticks collector and the founder of the Chopsticks Museum in Shanghai. The museum’s collection is said to include over a thousand pairs of chopsticks from China, Korea, Japan, and Thailand, with the oldest ones dating back to the Tang period (618-907). While quite informative, Lan’s book is not an academic work on the subject. It took another decade for a long-overdue study of the cultural history of chopsticks to be finally published. Without a doubt, it will be a welcome addition to the pantheon of seminal works on the culinary history of East Asia. The publication does, however, have one important limitation. The book claims to be a “comprehensive and reliable account of how and why chopsticks became adopted by their users and continued, as a dining habit, through the centuries in Asia and beyond” (1). The author adds that the book also aims to discuss the “culinary impact of chopsticks use on Asian cookeries and cuisines and vice versa: how the change of foodways in the region influenced people’s choice of eating tools,” and “to analyze the cultural meanings of chopsticks and chopsticks use in the respective cultures of their users” (1). Judging from the endorsements that appear on the back cover of the volume, these three goals—specified at the beginning of the introduction—have been successfully met, and in many respects this is definitely the case. Yet, it needs to be pointed out that all four endorsements were written by China specialists: Benjamin Elman from Princeton University, On-cho Ng from Penn State University, Di Wang from Texas A&M University, and Ge Zhaoguang from Fudan University, China. It is difficult to assess whether scholars of Vietnam, Korea, and Japan were not involved in the review process of the book, or whether the geographical scope of the original manuscript was less extensive. The fact remains that the treatment of chopsticks culture in Vietnam, Korea, and Japan is noticeably less in-depth than of that relating to China.

The volume consists of seven chapters and a conclusion. Following the introduction, the story begins with the origins of chopsticks and their primary role as a subordinate companion to the main eating implement in China, which was a spoon. Initially chopsticks were merely used for grasping vegetables and other ingredients in a stew or broth. In chapter 2, we learn how agricultural and culinary transformations during the Tang period turned chopsticks and a spoon into a set that functioned as a symbol of the sophistication of the Chinese civilization. It is at this point, as the Tang culture began to spread beyond the Chinese territory, that a “chopsticks cultural sphere” that includes today’s China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan began to take shape (66). This process, completed by the fourteenth century, is described in chapter 4, and customs and etiquette related to the use of chopsticks across East Asia are studied in chapter 5. Unfortunately these two chapters are not comparable in terms of their depth and erudition to chapters 2 and 3, which focus on China. While it is undoubtedly clear that the author possesses an outstanding understanding of Chinese culinary history, making extensive use of archaeological evidence and a wide selection of Chinese classical literature to support his argument, his analysis of the rest of the chopsticks cultural sphere leaves much to be desired. For example, in the discussion of the culinary histories of Japan and Korea, examples of present practices rather than documented historical usage are cited (74, 82, 88), and references to support such statements are very scarce (108-116). For example, “[A] pot to make a stew or a hearty soup (as nabemono) must have had a long history in Japan, as boiling is a common cooking method there and around the world” (108) is not a phrase one expects to find in a solid academic publication.

Chapter 6, which deals with the topic of chopsticks as a gift, metaphor, and symbol—primarily in China—is again quite strong, as is chapter 7, which tells the fascinating story of the spread of chopsticks to North America and Europe, including a discussion on disposable chopsticks, which today are considered a serious environmental problem. In the conclusion, Wang drags Levi-Strauss’s The Raw and the Cooked into the discussion, which, in my view, is not very helpful. Equally irrelevant are the references to Roland Barthes that appear in the introduction and in chapter 4 (10-11, 67). With sociologists and anthropologists clearly in the lead as far as pioneering research on food is concerned, this is an understandable strategy for adding scholarly cachet to the book, but there is no need to do this. Historians can contribute to the definitional efforts of social scientists by examining how cuisines have developed over time and by situating them within particular social and cultural contexts of production, distribution, and consumption. This is precisely what Chopsticks: A Cultural and Culinary History does, and quite successfully so. Without a doubt it is a valuable book, which would be a welcome addition to any library that has an ambition to build a sound collection on the world’s culinary history.

Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

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MAO’S LITTLE RED BOOK: A Global History. Edited by Alexander C. Cook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xvi, 287 pp. (Figures.) US$27.99, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-66564-4.

This thought-provoking global history of Maoism focusses on the circulation and reception of the book of Mao Zedong’s quotations, the Little Red Book, and of the ideas of China’s Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) both in China and elsewhere. Cook concludes that “the Little Red Book is what people made of it” (Cook, xvi). In the first, second, and third worlds—into which the volume, suitably for the time period it covers, categorizes the world—the Little Red Book embodied the rebelliousness that helped people tackle local problems. Mao’s China influenced the world in which we live now, from shaping neo-Marxism in France (Bourg) and contributing to the erosion of universalism, which ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union (Mcguire), to setting the agendas of Ethnic Studies in American academia and African and Asian American activism (Mullen) and spurring a cultural turn in the humanities (Bourg).

This volume is an enjoyable read. It incorporates the wide range of perspectives necessary to understand this complex phenomenon both in China and globally. Rich sources are well fleshed out. Sources include publications by those who responded to the Little Red Book, from embassies to students and intellectuals influenced by Maoism: these include official speeches, pamphlets, Communist Party treatises, oral histories, online publications from state newspapers, dissidents’ blogs, and Mao’s texts. The various theoretical perspectives include those which are inspired by Mao’s critique of the Naxalite and Shining Path movements (Chakrabarti, Palmer); national histories, including China’s (Yang Guobing, Xu Lanjun); and theoretical approaches to pop culture, music, and propaganda (Jones, Ban Wang).

Among these fifteen well-sequenced chapters, China-centred essays highlight those aspects of Maoist cultural production which help the reader understand the appeal of the book beyond its original cultural context. From the historical origins and syncretism of the format of the Little Red Book (Leese); to the translation and technologies of its circulation outside China (Lanjun Xu); the meaning of metaphors (Cook); musical and performative aspects of the pop culture of the Cultural Revolution (Jones); the book as the “sacred script of revolution,” which set in motion its “incantatory power” and the unity of performance and reality in the Cultural Revolution (Guobin Yang, 61, 67); and, last but not least, Ban Wang’s provocative essay on the rituals and religiosity of the Cultural Revolution, which argues for the democratism of the Little Red Book—all these shed light on the rationale and traction points for the responses to the book worldwide, described in other chapters.

This volume will interest a wide audience of specialists in national histories, as well as those interested in global history. A thread running through most essays is well elucidated by Reill, who states that “Cold War explanations do not clarify domestic receptions” (204). Various local circumstances provoked enthusiastic responses in the world outside the Iron Curtain, from the alternative “shared imaginary” of the nation in Tanzania (Priya Lal, 18); to the student activism of the 1960s in Germany; “Orientalist” admiration in West Germany, Italy, and France; the pop-cultural appeal of catchy melodies and chanting to youth and the mundane reason that the book’s small format was fashionable in Europe, as well (Leese, 34).

These findings diversify our understanding of the Cold War. The book’s negative reception behind the Iron Curtain in the context of the Sino-Soviet split is not counterintuitive and the general dread that communist ideology incited by the 1960s among the population of the socialist bloc is not unknown. Yet, when examined within the context of the book’s strategic use as political leverage in Albania (Mёhilli) or of the personal experiences of people from the DDR and the Soviet Union during the Cultural Revolution, the findings advance our understanding of post-socialist spaces. The volume’s global outlook reveals once again the problematic use of such labels as “left” or “dissident” without contextualization. While French communist dissidents were Maoists, for Soviet dissidents, Maoism was the symbol of feared re-Stalinization (154). While Maoism appealed to communist youth because of its pop-cultural circulation and because it resonated with the postwar social experiences in Italy, such as intergenerational conflict (while also echoing the Sino-Soviet split), the Little Red Book was not used by communists only but also by ultra-right wing groups (192). Another takeaway is the importance of laughter, irony, and metaphor in the multilayered Cold War culture both in and outside China. For example, the book “acted as the textual equivalent of a tomato” to be thrown to express protest among belligerent students in West Germany (215).

All in all, this excellent volume demonstrates that Maoism, like Marxism-Leninism, was used by local actors strategically. The reception of the Little Red Book was mostly coded in the cultural codes of receiving cultures (including the social context and the structure of labour and communist movements), something we need to keep in mind in studies of other topics. Last but not least, a work of global history that centres on the circulation of an Asian intellectual product, this volume is a reminder that we need to account for global and non-Western histories to adequately understand familiar national narratives of our own.

Anna Belogurova, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

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AFTER MIGRATION AND RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Religions, Chinese Identities, and Transnational Networks. Edited by Tan Chee-Beng. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Company, 2015. xxxii, 382 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$138.00, cloth. ISBN 978-981-4583-90-9.

As shown by its title, this book aims to explore the religious life of the overseas Chinese community, with a focus on the role of religion in the making of ethnic identities and transnational networks. Religious affiliation can serve as an indicator that shows the level of cultural integration of the migrants into their host society, as well as their ties with their native land. In other words, religious faiths and practices express the way the overseas Chinese identify themselves. Comprising thirteen articles (plus an introduction) written by scholars from different academic backgrounds, this book is strong in its geographical breadth and in the variety of religions it covers. The countries discussed in this book include Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Spain, Canada, America, Cuba, and Peru. Christianity, Islam, Japanese and Theravada Buddhism, and Chinese popular religions are dealt with. Readers can catch a glimpse of the various ways in which the Chinese migrants modify their native religious practices in a new environment and react to the existing religions of the host society.

The book is divided into four parts, namely, “Chinese religious traditions and living in the diaspora,” “localization and Chinese religious traditions,” “Christianity, Islam and the Chinese overseas,” and “religious affiliations and transnational networks.” As many of these themes are interconnected, the current division of the articles into these four categories is understandably arbitrary. The approaches and quality of articles vary widely. Some articles show a higher level of sophistication in terms of research and analysis, and are therefore more successful than others in illustrating the main theme of the book. Here are some of the more outstanding ones. Leo Suryadinata’s study (in part 1) explains how the state religious policy of Indonesia, which required every citizen to have a religious affiliation, affected the religious life of the Chinese people. With particular attention given to Confucianism and Buddhism, Suryadinata argues that “Chinese religions have been highly Indonesianized in order to survive and to be accepted as ‘Indonesian religions’” (22). Aristotle C. Dy and Teresita Ang See’s article (in part 2) on the interaction between Chinese religions and Catholicism in the Philippines gives a detailed analysis of the different levels of syncretism between the two faiths. It concludes that “the Chinese Filipinos’ unique brand of syncretism, one that includes Catholic elements, makes it an important marker of Chinese identity in the Philippines” (141). Chiou Syuan-yuan’s study (in part 3) on Chinese Muslims in Indonesia, which examines the assimilation plan of an ethnic Chinese leader who advocated the conversion of Indonesian Chinese into Islam, shows the importance of political and business factors in affecting one’s religious affiliation. With detailed examples of long-distance divination practices and candles donations, Irene Masdeu Torruella’s article (in part 4) explains the role played by a monastery in Qingtian county, Zhejiang Province in strengthening the transnational links between the Chinese migrants in Spain and their native place.

Some articles do not seem to fit very well into the analytical framework of the book. Myra Sidharta’s article on the Mazu worship on the Island of Java reads more like an anecdote or field notes than an academic work. The article points out that the Mazu temples “have a special relations with each other because they usually celebrate the birthday of the goddess together in Gresik,” and that in 2012, the “celebration shifted to Lasem” (16) without explaining the reasons behind. Some readers may find the map showing the location of the Mazu temples in Java useful, though. Satohiro Serizawa’s article narrates an interesting story of the connection between a Chaozhou’s Buddhist organization in Vietnam and esoteric Buddhism in Japan. He concludes that the Chinese migrants “are adapting to the host society while maintaining traits of local culture in Chaozhou which include the traits of Japanese Buddhism” (326). Unfortunately, the article focuses on individuals’ ties without shedding much light on the religious contents. Readers are left wondering how the Chaozhou people perceived Japanese Buddhism and discerned the differences between Chinese and Japanese Buddhism.

That being said, the book serves as a useful starting point for comparative analysis in the future. By putting all the articles together, the readers can get a basic grasp of the various factors and variables that affect the religious landscape and religious affiliation of the overseas Chinese. These factors include the syncretic nature of Chinese religions, policies of the government and religious organizations of the host society, and the place of origin and business needs of the migrants. However, some possibly significant factors are not touched on in this book. For instance, the migration history and settlement patterns might affect the communal ties and solidarity of the Chinese migrants in the host society, which in turn would shape their attitudes towards the religion of their native place and that of the host society.

Shuk-wah Poon, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China

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THE GLOBALIZATION OF CHINESE BUSINESS: Implications for Multinational Investors. Chandos Asian Studies Series. Edited by Robert Taylor. Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2014. xliv, 323 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$141.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-84334-768-2.

As the second-largest economy in the world, China is playing an increasingly important role in the world economy. China’s latest initiative, namely, the “one belt, one road” (or the Silk Road) initiative points to China’s enhanced economic role and increasing national self-confidence. The editor is right in arguing that “[n]o region of the world is unaffected by the nature and volume of China’s trade and investment” (preface). An understanding of the globalization of Chinese business is thus a must for all who are interested in this rapidly developing and changing country. The editor of this volume made great efforts in bringing together a dozen or so scholars and examining key aspects of globalizing Chinese business.

It is worth noting that the globalization of Chinese business has been an interactive process between Chinese firms and foreign firms. In the early stages of the opening up in the 1980s and 1990s, China opened its market to foreign investors since the country was then suffering from a serious shortage of capital. After more than three decades of opening up, China today has successfully transformed itself into a capital surplus economy. This is the rationale behind the globalization of Chinese business today. Furthermore, foreign investors have been an integral and important part of the globalization of Chinese business. The stage of the interaction between Chinese capital and foreign capital is now expanding to the international front.

How the interaction between the two plays out depends on many factors. Among others, the development of Chinese businesses matters a lot. China’s economic reform is still an ongoing process and there are many serious obstacles to sustaining the high growth rates of the past. After the current leadership of Xi Jinping came to power in 2012-2013, China has initiated a new set of economic policies. As President Xi emphasized, China has entered a stage of “new normal.” This concept refers to a situation where China’s high economic growth is over and the country has come to an age of middle growth. This new set of policies is apparently aimed at responding to the ongoing transformation of the Chinese economy. No doubt, such a transformation has presented both challenges and opportunities for foreign multinational investors.

The book focuses on the operation of multinational investors in their interaction with Chinese firms. It consists of 13 chapters, and is divided into two parts. Part 1 focuses on the internal operations of Chinese firms and examines key aspects of the Chinese firms, including the evolution of Chinese management, China’s R&D and innovation strategy, endogenous and exogenous dynamics in China’s cluster economy, state-owned versus private enterprises, the influence of family control on business performance and financial structure, and internationalization strategies of medium-sized multinational firms. It is clear that Chinese firms have learned and matured from their interactions with foreign firms. The transfer of human resources management practices in French multinational companies experiences in China is a good example.

Part 2 focuses on China’s economic changes by sectors, including the services sector, the financial services sector, the Shanghai stock market, and the health-care system. It also examines changing household saving patterns, the growing consumer culture, country-of-origin effects on Chinese consumption of branded foreign products, advertising in the luxury sector, and competition among Asian growing markets. As in part 1, the authors also explore the evolution of these key industrial sectors and their interaction with foreign firms.

All the authors made a great effort to combine economic and business analyses, and to integrate micro and macro perspectives. They together provide an overall picture of the development of China’s economic reform and opening up in different stages and its impact on Chinese business and interactions with foreign firms. The reader will find the book more interesting and helpful in understanding China than other books which focus either on micro-level factors or macro-level factors.

There are also many detailed case studies. The authors were able to dig up deep-rooted problems when they looked into the operation of Chinese firms. Many of the insights they provide are very useful in guiding foreign investors in different sectors and from different perspectives.

All the chapters were written by scholars from different fields and in a very academic way. Many readers will find the book a bit too academic. The book could have been written using simpler language and would thus have been more accessible. Overall, the book is very helpful in understanding key aspects of the Chinese economy and the operation of its firms, particularly their interaction with foreign firms.

Yongnian Zheng, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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DAMS AND DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA: The Moral Economy of Water and Power. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Bryan Tilt. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. xv, 259 pp., (Figures, tables.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-231-17011-6.

Dams and Development in China is a succinct and very useful introduction to the complex issue of hydroelectric development in China’s strategic southwestern region. Geopolitically, the Nu and Lancang rivers, the focus of the book’s case studies, drain through several southeast Asian countries. Development of the water resources in the upstream of these rivers has potentially critical consequences for downstream riparian communities. Domestically, the hydroelectric potential of these streams holds the promise of augmenting energy resources to the fast developing eastern regions of China, as well as the promise of clean energy in a country where heavy reliance on coal-fired power generation has resulted in extraordinary air pollution in urban areas. Subtitled “The Moral Economy of Water and Power,” the text examines these competing interests by elucidating “the normative choices that must be made when various objectives—economic development, energy production, biodiversity, conservation, and the protection of the rights of vulnerable people, among others—comes into conflict” (xi). Divided into seven chapters, Tilt endeavours to elucidate how different social interest groups devise deliberate strategies that reflect particular moral perspectives on the management of water. The issue of water development in Yunnan Province has been a topic of some scholarly attention over the past decade or so, often facilitated by a robust presence of international NGOs in the region, but the particular value of this text is its success in translating critical fieldwork into an effective text that synthesizes the multiple dimensions of hydro development in China.

In addition to examining the Lancang and Nu river development through the lens of a variety of stakeholders, the remaining chapters examine the interests of a specific set of social groups that impact and/or are impacted by the development of water resources in China’s southwest. First, the author explores scientific and developmental terrain traversed by technical experts in China’s vast water bureaucracy as they engage the “epistemological processes involved in high-level decision making” (108) on water issues. Frameworks of decision making, modelling, modes of environmental assessment, and feedback mechanisms are all components of a bureaucratic process that shape conclusions and decisions. The author reasonably argues, however, that such bureaucratic processes are of little value if they do not “fit into a larger system of equitable, transparent, and accountable decision making” (132). And it is here that the inevitable question of the resettlement of rural communities is broached. The author is well aware of the oft-cited stories of inequities around the globe implicated in large dam construction, but nevertheless argues that the outcomes of resettlement in China require “a close look at the details of policy governing resettlement . . . and at the ways individuals participate in the decision-making process. It also requires an examination of the changing nature of land-use rights in contemporary China” (135). Such a careful examination leads to conclusions that are not always predicable. On the one hand, large institutions in China, including government agencies and quasi-private/public financial institutions, render policy decisions that are clearly distanced from the lived experiences of rural communities. Indeed, the author argues that the hybrid nature of China’s political economy (“market socialism”) results in very little local input into resettlement policies and processes. On the other hand, the author’s fieldwork points to differentiated outcomes of resettlement policies on the denizens of displaced communities. The last constituency that Tilt examines is the role of international conservation organizations in China’s dam-building enterprise. Of particular interest here are the different tactics INGOs have adopted in adapting to the Chinese political landscape. Having to negotiate pragmatism versus ideology, the author argues that organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, which indeed promote the notion of minimizing the negative effects of dam construction (as opposed to outright objections to projects), have maximized the potentialities of INGOs to shape China’s water development policies. Of course, this landscape is shifting literally as we speak. Although the author “highlights the increasingly important role played by international conservation organizations in contemporary China (166),” only in the very recent past couple of years (i.e., since this chapter was written), have we witnessed the playing field for international advocacy and development organizations in China circumscribed in significant ways.

With roughly half of the world’s 50,000 large dams, but with perhaps the greatest potential for further development of surface water resources of any country in the world, China is unlikely to see the end of its dam-building era end any time soon. This is particularly true when a variety of constituencies within China see hydroelectricity as one important option to the burning of fossil fuels for energy production. Given this reality and the further reality that the rivers of China’s southwest region are critically important transnational waterways, an understanding of the complex dimensions of China’s water development landscape are vitally important. Dams and Development in China does a superb job of providing a succinct and even-handed exploration of these dynamics. The author has avoided making certain judgments about the correctness, or otherwise, of particular water development policies, and their implementation in China. Instead, Tilt’s goal is to “elucidate the goals and strategies of key constituent groups as they relate to balancing conservation and development objectives . . . and to show how these strategies are grounded in moral, cultural, and historical precedents” (193). The analysis succeeds in these ambitions and serves as a superb introduction to the complexity of water development politics in contemporary China.

David Pietz, The University of Arizona, Tucson, USA

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HEALTH POLICY REFORM IN CHINA: A Comparative Perspective. Series on Contemporary China, v. 36. By Jiwei Qian, Åke Blomqvist. Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific, 2014. viii, 354 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$125.00, cloth. ISBN 978-981-4425-88-9.

China has undergone significant changes in health-care policy since the beginning of the twentieth century. In the late imperial period, Confucian governments were non-interventionist in people’s health. In the twentieth century, China’s government increasingly saw the management of the health of the population as an important responsibility, even if it was unable to care for the vast majority of the people. Policy changes in the People’s Republic in 1949, 1965, 1979, and 2009 have been dramatic. The first two provided near universal public health, and then basic primary health care, decreasing infant mortality from 200 to 34 per 1000 live births, and raising life expectancy from 35 to 65 years. Market-based reforms after 1979 saw state expenditures drop and health outcomes for the rural majority decline until a new round of reform attempts in the 2000s.

Health Policy Reform in China examines only the very recent round of reforms in China’s health policy from the perspective of comparative health economics. In part 1, Qian and Blomqvist introduce the results of moving away from a centrally planned health system toward a market-based one in the 1980s—central government subsidies for health care were reduced and patients faced higher charges as hospitals marked up drugs and added new fees. Insurance coverage from rural cooperative medical schemes and urban insurance were reduced. The economy of China boomed, but health care became a burden for a growing number of Chinese.

Qian and Blomqvist argue that a mixture of state and market mechanisms are the best model. Throughout the book, the authors offer comparisons to the UK and the Netherlands as positive models. They claim that all health-care economists agree on two basic requirements for health-care reform: equity and efficiency. Each system approaches these differently, with the NHS in Britain covering all residents equally, while adopting supply-side incentives where patients choose providers, while the Dutch system allows citizens to choose one of many competing social or private insurance plans. The US system is rejected for its inequity and inefficiency.

In part 2, Qian and Blomqvist examine the main components of the current health reform, including social insurance systems, primary care, hospital reform, and drug policy. Each component either works toward, or against, the two goals of equity and efficiency. Reformers face the question of whether social insurance should be covered by taxes or by fees, and whether there should be private insurance options. Three systems have developed: the Basic Health Insurance system for urban workers, the new rural Cooperative Medical Scheme, and the Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance. The government chose to take a more active role with the aim of universal coverage by 2012 (the year at which most data in the book ends). A recent report claims that 95 percent of Chinese people are now covered, indicating some measure of success for the new reforms in terms of equity, although it admits that the problem of expense and limited access despite insurance coverage has not yet been solved (Wen Xueguo and Fang Zhiwu, Zhongguo yiyao weisheng tizhi gaige baogao 2014-2015, Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press, 349). Reforms to balance primary and hospital care and improve drug policy aim to address these.

Part 3 examines inequality in healthcare as part of the CCP’s slogan of “harmonious development,” and the authors argue that providing equal care to all Chinese is not currently realistic, and instead suggest that the government should guarantee access to “at least a basic menu of health services and drugs to everyone, including the poor” (239). Part 4 looks to the future of China’s health system and posits that a compromise solution between markets and government purchasing may be reached, as in a number of developed nations such as Canada or Japan. Finally, Qian and Blomqvist see the most likely outcome being that China will follow the Dutch model of a mixed private and public health insurance scheme.

This is a technical book for policy makers and economists and a weakness is the lack of historical perspective. Qian and Blomqvist admit that the Maoist-era government “could point to its health policy as a comparative success,” yet they nonetheless feel that the Reform Era of dismantling central planning has been “a vast improvement in comparison with what had gone before it” (3). Yet only one page later, the authors include UN data that demonstrates the opposite in one simple chart: life expectancy in China shot up dramatically between 1965 and 1975, the period of most intense revolutionary egalitarian health policies, only to return, in the Reform Era, to the standard rate of increase for developed economies.

The authors praise decentralization and privatization against the influence of officials (89-91). This small-government, decentralized approach fails to acknowledge that a private health bureaucracy creates at least as much inefficiency and waste as a centralized one. Ironically, the authors admit that “a large body of skilled managers” will be needed, “if the system is to be managed in a decentralized fashion” (90). The shift to a market-based health-care system “has not led to higher productivity, [but] … only to substantially higher costs and more waste of resources” (12). Thirty years of market reforms have led to more untreated illness today than when the reforms began, as sick people wait to seek treatment until symptoms reach a crisis point, and providers push unnecessary and expensive treatments and medication to raise their income. The authors do not address the widespread phenomenon of desperate patients who physically assault health-care providers, euphemized as “the doctor-patient relationship” (yihuan guanxi). While one may hope that China will achieve greater health equity under the current reforms, one could well wonder if the hybrid market reforms suggested here are merely a case of treating the symptom rather than the disease.

David Luesink, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA

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FORGING CHINA’S MILITARY MIGHT: A New Framework for Assessing Innovation. Edited by Tai Ming Cheung. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. vi, 295 pp. (Figures, tables.) $24.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-4214-1158-3.

As a result of China’s reform movement since the 1980s, the People’s Liberation Army (the PLA, as China’s army, air, naval, and strategic missile forces are collectively known) has experienced a wave of growth and change in the past thirty years. The ongoing changes and the inevitable implications in Asia-Pacific security have attracted great academic attention in the West, especially in the United States. As a leading scholar in the field, Tai Ming Cheung has brought together a group of first-string experts and their students in a new effort to provide a better understanding of the progress and problems of PLA modernization and what it means to the United States. The underlying research in the book reflects more than three years of continuous collaborative efforts under Cheung’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) at the University of California. His collection of nine essays offers a comprehensive and insightful assessment of the Chinese defense science and technology (S&T) in the 2010s. Any China specialist, military analyst, strategist, Chinese historian, teacher, and student of international relations in East Asia will find the volume’s previously unpublished sources of great interest and will value the important, novel questions it raises. This collection deserves close reading, particularly in view of the tension that still goes on in the South China Sea between the PLA and the US armed forces.

The nine essays cover three major issues of Chinese defense science and technology capabilities. Chapters 1, 2, and 6 develop some frameworks of analysis to Chinese defense innovation, including “a rigorous definition” (3) of defense innovation, a “framework for understanding Chinese defense and military innovation” (23), and an approach to Beijing’s “dual-use, defense-oriented innovation ecosystem” (139). Chapters 3, 4, 8, and 9 apply the conception and frameworks to an analysis of the Chinese navy, air force, missile industry, and aerospace programs as case studies. These chapters also examine the defense-innovation-related organizations, administration, operation, and civil-military relations by studying, for example, the PLA’s Science and Technology Committee (STC) and military representative offices (MROs). Chapters 5 and 7 explore the status of the PLA modernization in Chinese politics and international defense industrial relations. The former points out that China “has crafted a strategy that is focused on greatly expanding its utilization of civil-military integration (CMI)” (109) by examining Hu Jintao’s government in the 2000s. The latter places China in the “lower parts of the Tier 2 category” as one of the “adapters and modifiers” in the global defense industry because the Chinese defense industry “demonstrates few capacities for designing and producing relatively advanced conventional weapon systems” (5) and “China appears still to have only limited indigenous technological capabilities, relative to the West” (203). Nevertheless, Cheung concludes that China’s “enormous scale and intensity of this technological and industrial undertaking has not been seen since the Cold War days of intense US-Soviet technological and military rivalry” (273). He warns that it will undermine regional security, since the Asia-Pacific countries, including the United States, “have been taking steps to beef up their regional defense capabilities through weapons acquisitions or adjusting their military strategies and force deployments” (277).

The contributors have done incredible research on such a comprehensive subject in a single volume. Their multi-lingual capabilities and multiple-perspective approach have distinguished this book from most previous works. Therefore, this book makes three significant contributions to the scholarship in the field. First, the book compares the defense industry of China with those of other countries, including the United States, Britain, Russia, Italy, India, and Turkey. Its comparative perspective identifies China’s rapidly increased defense budget (at least fivefold over the past fifteen years) with the world’s second-highest defense R&D budget, and locates its innovation sources both domestically and internationally. Second, its diachronic discussions explore the reasons and factors for the PLA’s changes and constraints on the implementation of reforms, as well as the outcome of those efforts. Through their detailed narrative, the chapters capture the essence of successive generations of the PLA while illuminating the themes and patterns of its modernization. Third, the innovation patterns and models studied in the volume, such as China’s high-cost, high-end “gold-plated” approach, provide some predictive power to see the future of the PLA S&T. The Chinese defense industry will develop sophisticated weapons in some areas “that are able to match those of the United States and other advanced rivals” (277).

However, like most other essay collections, its chapters could have been better connected to each other in terms of narratives and analysis. Its introduction seems more a commentary or a conclusive summation of the essays than an entryway. Also, the book needs to be consistent in format and style. For instance, a few chapters use the Chinese characters and Hanyu Pinyin both in the text and endnotes, some only use the Chinese characters in the endnotes, and others don’t use them at all. The name of a well-known Chinese science and technology university in Beijing has traditional Wade-Giles spelling as “Tsinghua University” (China’s MIT) on pages 13 and 149, but in Hanyu Pinyin as “Qinghua University” on pages 115 and 247. A list of abbreviations and maps of China may be necessary for students and grade-school teachers who are not familiar with the military phrases and Chinese provinces and cities. A glossary and a note on transliteration would also help in navigating Chinese names and places that are largely alien to Western readers.

Xiaobing Li, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, USA

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THE CHANGING POLICY-MAKING PROCESS IN GREATER CHINA: Case Research from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Comparative Development and Policy in Asia, 15. Edited by Bennis Wai Yip So and Yuang-kuang Kao. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xviii, 233 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$160.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-71130-2.

This edited volume, with contributions by scholars from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, presents case study research on public policy making in the three Chinese societies. The book, consisting of twelve chapters, covers four areas regarding the role of civic engagement, legislature, mass media, and bureaucracy in public policy making in the three entities in the Greater China region. The chapters are rich in information. I applaud the contributing authors for following the same structural format, with the description of the case and discussion/analysis of the case. The most obvious commonality among the three entities is that they are all ethnic Chinese societies. Other features shared by the three societies, as pointed out in the preface of the book, are a high level of popular political dissatisfaction and the transitional nature of these societies. Differences among them are also obvious: recent history, political system, civil liberty, and political culture. Mainland China experienced a violent revolution in the late 1940s and went on a socialist experiment for three decades before adopting market-driven reform in the late 1970s. Both Hong Kong and Taiwan had colonial experiences, with the former being a colony of Great Britain for over one hundred years and the latter being colonized by Japan for fifty years. While Mainland China remains an authoritarian state with limited civil liberties, Hong Kong can be classified as a semi-democracy with extensive civil liberties and Taiwan has been a full-fledged Western-style democracy for over two decades.

Despite the differences, one can conclude several similar developments in these three Chinese societies with regard to the public policy-making process. Public participation in public policy making has increased in all three societies, even in authoritarian Mainland China. It should be pointed out that other than legal civic engagement, unconventional political participation acts such as street protests, public petitions, and Internet discussions have become major forms of public participation in public policy making in Mainland China. In fact, street protests have become an extremely effective way for the public to “get things done.” Chinese local government is quite sensitive to public street protests due to its concern with maintaining local political stability. The most cited official figure for street protest occurrrences in China was 87,000 in 2005 (Zhao Peng et al., “The Warning Signal of ‘typical social protests’,” Outlook Weekly, September 8, 2008, 36). According to a Wall Street Journal report, the figure reached 180,000 in 2010 (Tom Orlik, “Unrest Grows as Economy Booms,” Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Perry, an influential scholar on contentious politics in China, even argues that social protests have become a normal form of political participation for ordinary Chinese in Chinese politics and these activities actually contribute to social stability in China because protesters use these occasions to vent their anger and have their demands met (Challenge the mandate of heaven: Social protest and state power in China, Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2002). Another similar development among the three entities is the increasing role played by mass media in governmental decision-making processes. While media behaviour in both Taiwan and Hong Kong is similar to that in any democratic setting, how media functions in Mainland China is somewhat interesting. For example, due to their need to appeal to the market, Chinese central media organs have carved out a critical role for themselves in exposing the wrongdoings of local governments in China. This is fully demonstrated in the case study of the “big-headed babies” incident in the book.

Though informative, this edited volume also suffers from several deficiencies. First of all, the book needs a strong introductory chapter. Currently it only has a weak preface. Ideally in the introductory chapter, the editors would lay out an overarching theoretical framework to connect the case studies together. Second, it is never clearly stated why Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong were chosen for this edited volume, other than the fact that all three are Chinese societies. Were they chosen for comparative purposes? Was “most similar system design” the main consideration for the selection of the three cases? If so, culture should be the common ground for the three societies. Yet, culture is not explicitly used as an explaining variable in the case studies from the three societies. Similarly, political system is an obvious difference between Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Again, it is not treated as a key explaining variable by the contributing authors in their case studies. This brings up my last criticism of the book: the chapters do not “talk” to each other. It seems that specific case studies in the book were chosen randomly, without an attempt to relate them to one another. The three chapters in the bureaucracy section are cases in point. The Mainland China case is about selective policy implementation or policy non-compliance by local Chinese government. The Taiwan case discusses bureaucratic neutrality, while the Hong Kong case talks about the continuity of Hong Kong bureaucracy before and after China’s takeover of Hong Kong in 1997. Readers cannot find much to connect the three cases. These case studies could have been much better connected with each other if political system were used as an explanatory variable.

Yang Zhong, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA

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MY TIBETAN CHILDHOOD: When Ice Shattered Stone. By Naktsang Nulo; translation provided by Angus Cargill and Sonam Lhamo; edited and abridged by Angus Cargill. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. liv, 286 pp. (Illustrations, map.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5726-1.

In a forward to this important volume, the 14th Dalai Lama writes, “My Tibetan Childhood is the autobiography of a young Tibetan that vividly describes the brutal repression of Tibet by Chinese forces in the 1950s” (ix). However, Naktsang Nulo’s memoir is much more than a story of Chinese aggression and Tibetan victimization. While there have been numerous accounts of Tibet under Maoist rule, most have been produced in exile and often in English, deliberate attempts to raise international attention for Tibet’s plight. A few others have been co-written by Western scholars, primarily for an academic readership. By contrast, when in 2007 the original edition appeared on bookshelves as Joys and Sorrows of the Naktsang Boy (Nags tsang zhi lu’i skyid sdug), written in colloquial Amdo Tibetan, it represented the first critical account of the 1950s in Tibet published within the People’s Republic of China. This is therefore an insider account written for insiders, an audience that experienced the events described within living memory, but also one that continues to negotiate the uncomfortable choices demanded of Tibetans living within China today.

Among its many contributions, My Tibetan Childhood contains the first detailed descriptions of 1958’s Amdo Rebellion and the state’s brutal response, as well as horrific accounts of mass starvation during the Great Leap Forward. In his extremely insightful introduction, Robert Barnett remarks, “This may thus be the first known eyewitness account of atrocities carried out by the PLA in Tibet or elsewhere in China to have appeared in print within the PRC” (xxxiv). Significantly, Naktsang narrates his story in the “unvarnished” voice of a child, “what he saw, what he heard, and what he thought” (1). Of course, the author’s claims of historical accuracy should be treated with the same caution as any attempt at historical reconstruction from individual memory. Nonetheless, as Barnett suggests, this literary device allows an otherwise hyper-political story to be told outside the rhetorical frameworks that usually accompany accounts of Tibet’s recent past. He writes, “In the child’s world, political rationalizations for destructive actions do not make sense; only moral values about human relations apply” (xxxviii). So, for example, it is not clear if the author considers “Tibet” to have been a singular, historical ethno-political community. However, his story is rife with references to fierce regionalism and intercommunity violence that might suggest otherwise. Likewise, Naktsang makes no attempt to explain the events that led to the violent confrontation between the Chinese state and Amdo Tibetans. Nor does he offer an opinion as to what caused the great starvation that in less than six months killed 95 percent of the 1600 children and elderly inhabitants of Ratsang School—with tragic irony referred to as “Joyous Home” (262). However, it is not lost upon the reader that Chinese soldiers bivouacked nearby had plenty to eat. And it is with astonishment but little further comment that Naktsang describes a Speaking Bitterness Meeting during which a Tibetan mob savagely murdered two lamas and their attendants.

Furthermore, the “joys” and “sorrows” from Naktsang’s original title do not simply reflect a rupture between “traditional” Tibet and what the author refers to as the “time of revolution,” when “the earth and the sky were turned upside down” (7). In fact, during the first half of the book Naktsang encounters almost no Chinese. Instead, he paints an engrossing and often unflattering portrait of social, political, and economic life on the Amdo grasslands prior to the arrival of the People’s Liberation Army. This includes a fascinating description of the six-month caravan trip to Lhasa, which combined religious pilgrimage with economic adventurism. Yet, as viewed through the child’s eyes, this was a world filled with violence and injustice. Monastic officials were corrupt, capricious and callous. Wealth was fleeting, human existence precarious. Nakstang’s father repeatedly served as victim to this unjust world. However, his father also embodied the positive characteristics of an Amdo Tibetan—loyalty to family and friends, rugged individualism, personal integrity, and the spirit of self-sacrifice—that in Naktsang’s memories bound this society together and allowed it to function according to a set of unwritten rules.

Imperfect though it may have been, for Nakstang Nulo this life came to an end the day his father was killed and he and his band of refugees were captured by the PLA. Although occurring more than halfway through the book, September 9, 1958—“The day of our destruction”—is the first time a specific date appears in the text, as if even the temporal rhythms of his old life had been dislodged (181). Yet, this transformation takes on a new dimension when we recall that the boy who had once vowed revenge against his father’s killers, instead would become a functionary of that state. Thus, the author himself may personify a troubling disconnect, one that is reflected in the book’s provocative final paragraphs. Having survived his harrowing stay at “Joyous Home,” Naktsang suddenly shifts to the voice of his elder self. Obliquely and perhaps ironically referring to the promises of the post-Mao period, he suggests that Amdo Tibetans continue to inhabit a world thrust upon them by outside forces, one in which the massive dislocations of the past have not been remedied. “Now we have grown up and are able to practice our religion and dedicate prayers to [our father],” he states before somberly adding, “We are also certain that we will have a chance to return to our native land, and all our relatives will greet us” (268).

Nakstang Nulo insists that his only purpose in writing of the “inconceivable suffering” experienced during “the times of great change” (4) is to preserve its memory for future Tibetan generations, remarking, “They know nothing of this era in history because no detailed account of it can be found in any history book” (7). With the publication of My Tibetan Childhood, this little-known history is now available to a far wider audience. Anyone interested in modern Tibetan or Chinese history—scholars, students, and the general public alike—should be grateful.

Benno Ryan Weiner, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA

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LOCAL GOVERNANCE INNOVATION IN CHINA: Experimentation, Diffusion, and Defiance. Routledge Contemporary China Series, 122. Edited by Jessica C. Teets and William Hurst. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xvi, 181 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-74785-1.

This edited volume makes a significant contribution to a burgeoning literature on sub-national policy experimentation and diffusion in China. Bringing together nine rich and varied case studies, the volume sets out to more systematically theorize the pathways and processes of local policy innovation and diffusion, important for their potential to effect large-scale change. Four distinct patterns of policy diffusion are identified: top-down, bottom-up, inter-regional and intra-provincial. Each of these is found to have a different relationship to factors that commonly explain policy innovation and diffusion: persistent local governance challenges linked to cadre promotion criteria are found to drive most cases of local innovation, but only cause subnational diffusion. Central support can rapidly spread local initiatives nationally, but absent local need, centrally driven policies can encounter local resistance and innovative reinterpretation, behaviour which can spread regionally. Bureaucratic competition between government branches can also affect the speed of diffusion.

The case studies reveal how widespread local policy innovation and diffusion are across different policy areas. Highlighting the flexibility sub-national authorities can have, Ciqi Mei and Margaret Pearson’s chapter explains a case of defiance of Beijing`s attempts to curb local steel production. The authors show how a dynamic process of action, learning, and reaction shapes local behaviour. Observing how Beijing punished one offending steel producer to deter others, local governments and other producers calculated that the rewards of continued growth outweighed the probability and costs of punishment. Defiance thus spread, and steel production grew. Anna Lora-Wainwright also highlights how iterated, strategic interaction influences innovation and diffusion. As national urbanization policy extended to a Sichuan village, it was met not with resistance but with innovative individual responses to capitalize on the process. In response to a proposed development plan requiring village relocation, many villagers increased their house sizes in hopes of winning additional compensation. This strategy spread to such an extent that it ended up risking implementation of the plan due to higher compensation costs.

Kun-Chin Lin and Shaofeng Chen analyze another instance of strategic central-local interaction, this time in the area of state-owned enterprise (SOE) restructuring. The authors present two cases where centre and locality block each other’s initiatives and try to impose their own. When centrally mandated enterprise restructuring cut local governments off from enterprise-generated revenues, local governments developed countermeasures to preserve access to these revenues. One municipality leveraged its regulatory authority to extract side payments from a restructured firm. Another managed to implant its loyalists into a privatized firm’s new management to protect the locality’s claim on revenues, foiling part—but not all—of the intent of the central policies. William Hurst outlines a similar outcome in his chapter on privatization of a county-level SOE. He describes how local elites, faced with the centrally mandated privatization program, bent the policy to their advantage in order to retain access to the firm’s resources. Through a complex set of political and economic maneuvers, local officials orchestrated what Hurst calls a partial reform equilibrium under which local elites extracted benefits at the expense of both workers’ and central policy makers’ interests. While the objective of privatization was formally achieved, other central objectives of ending local political interference and access to firm resources were not. These cases demonstrate the dynamic, interactive nature of local innovation and policy diffusion, underpinning a key argument of the volume: that policy outcomes are a product of political compromise which may not yield socially optimal policies. Many cases highlight the formal institutions and structures shaping these interactive processes, and how informal institutions are developed to mediate between central dictates and local realities. Meina Cai describes how Zhejiang and Chongqing officials facing conflicting mandates (economic development and centrally imposed land-use restrictions) created land-use quota exchanges. Less developed counties traded their land development quotas for payments and investment from more developed counties, allowing the latter to build on more land than normally permitted. While central land-use quotas were violated at the county level, at the provincial level they balanced out to remain compliant with central rules. Similarly, Marie-Eve Rény outlines how some localities developed a more flexible policy of containment for unregistered Protestant house churches than Beijing’s harder-line policy of cooptation or repression. Containment is an informal agreement where house churches provide information to local police in exchange for a permissive approach to their activities, so long as they don’t threaten social stability. Rény argues the practice makes governance more effective and less costly, although the stricter central policy is an obstacle to wider diffusion.

May Farid’s chapter underlines another key argument of the volume, that the fragmented structure of the political system opens spaces for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to support “system innovation.” Farid argues that NGOs can affect discourse on issues or pursue direct advocacy, but cannot mobilize opposition. An incremental process of micro-influence is described, whereby NGOs support local officials with expertise and capacity, offering advice, feedback, training and service delivery, and even policy solutions and demonstration sites—bearing some of the risks of local experimentation.

Finally, John James Kennedy and Dan Chen’s chapter details how local innovation has become an end in itself for many local cadres, as it may be rewarded—and influenced—by superiors. Looking at electoral process innovations, the authors note that innovations challenging Communist Party authority (such as direct elections for township head) are quickly halted. On the other hand, they observe an explosion of less significant “innovative” adjustments of electoral procedures, particularly those which strengthen grassroots Party control—in line with current central preferences.

This volume firmly establishes the frequency, diversity, and importance of local innovation and diffusion in China’s broader policy process, noting China’s capacity to effectively address its myriad governance challenges is at stake. It begins to lay theoretical groundwork to explain this diversity with its typology of diffusion patterns, and their relationship to several key structural, agent-centred, and contextual variables. Given its specialization, it is most suitable for those with some prior understanding of China’s political system. Having advanced our understanding of the intertwining structures and processes involved in local initiative, the volume rightly calls for more research which emphasizes disaggregating the state, the interaction between its different levels, and the role of non-state actors.

Stephen Trott, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

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A MIDDLE CLASS WITHOUT DEMOCRACY: Economic Growth and the Prospects for Democratization in China. By Jie Chen. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014, c2013. xvi, 210 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$50.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-938561-4.

Jie Chen has written an accessible contribution to the theoretical debates on the relationship between development and democracy, with findings that are relevant to issues of late and late-late developers, post-Communist transition, and authoritarian states in general, as well as to the crucial questions of the role of middle class in democratic transitions and in China in particular. Using excellent probability sample survey data and in-depth qualitative interviews, Chen runs bivariate and multivariate regressions to rigorously test a set of hypotheses common among academics, pundits, and policy makers about the inevitability of democracy in middle-level income countries. His findings should make scholars and politicians alike sit up and take notice.

While not completely comprehensive in its treatment of debates around democracy, leaving out recent discussions of the meaning of the zigzag in democratic development in Latin America and elsewhere and only briefly mentioning the debates about premature or illiberal democracies (overlooking Guillermo O’Donnell’s contributions entirely), the book still provides excellent summaries of debates such as the role of economic development and the middle class in creating democracy (3-10), definitions of “middle class” by subjective or objective criteria, and by quantitative vs. qualitative measures (30-33), and models of China’s new middle-class growth using market-transition vs. state-centric models (43-44). Chen conducted well-designed random surveys and interviews in Beijing, Chengdu, and Xi’an to test a wide range of hypotheses related to Chinese classes’ political views. Chen’s definitions and operationalization of relevant concepts such as “support for democracy” (67-75) and support for the state (both diffuse and specific) (80-86) are comprehensively justified. He breaks with many who identify China’s middle class based on income, and convincingly explains his choice of occupation for identifying the middle class (managerial personnel, professionals, and office workers, 35, 64).

Chen’s excellent bivariate and multivariate analyses result in wonderfully well-supported findings, which this short review cannot fully explore. Most dramatically, the Chinese middle class as a whole is shown to be less supportive of democratic principles and institutions than the lower class (77, 112). Chen’s cross-tabulations between the indices of democratic support and political support show that those within the middle class who both support the current CCP regime and who gave high scores for their policy performance are much less supportive of democracy and democratization (89). This negative view of democracy and political change is even stronger among the middle class who work in the party/state or in state-owned enterprises.

Thus Chen finds that the attitudes of the new middle class toward democracy in China today are “contingent”—dependent on the class members’ moral and material connection with the party/state. Those directly in the state bureaucracy or state-owned enterprises (60 percent of the sample) are even less supportive of democracy than the middle class as a whole, confirming what has been found across the developing world (89 and chapters 4 and 6). Those in the middle class who work within the state sector only have a “high” support for democracy in 11 percent of the sample, while those outside the state sector have a high support for democracy 49 percent of the time (101). Interestingly, the middle class is more inclined to vote in elections the more they dislike democracy (133). Among all respondents, by contrast, supporters of democracy were dramatically less likely to vote than those who supported the current party/state system. Students of democratic developments in China would be well served to keep this in mind when crunching numbers and positing implications of electoral participation in China. Chen also shows that the middle class has much greater support for the political regime and its fundamental values, norms, and institutions (84), making it highly unlikely that this class will be a source of democratic pressure. Chen points out that contrary views of the Chinese middle class have not used probability surveys as he did, thus his findings are more robust (80).

Chen argues that all the so-called democratic institutions of current-day China are not only pseudo-democratic, but have been carefully designed by the CCP to be politically, structurally, and ideologically constrained to serve the ultimate political goal of state legitimacy, not democratization (chapter 5). “Not only has the CCP severely restricted the scope and format of electoral activities and deliberations, but it has also made relentless efforts to control the substance of the activities and deliberations to make sure that no political view contrary to the CCP’s ‘four cardinal principles’ sneaks into the local elections” (126). Unfortunately, the citations Chen’s literature reviews on China are often drawn from the 1990s and do not include recent developments and innovations. Relatedly, the “Chinese party/state” is portrayed quite monolithically, ignoring long-standing debates about the fragmentation of its authoritarianism.
The entirely urban focus of the book should have been repeated in text and in tables to make sure the findings were appropriately qualified. Chen does not cite any current proponents of modernization theory, but still makes shooting down its prediction of development leading to democracy one of his key points, missing an opportunity to engage policy and popular debate, where the theory is alive and well.

In the conclusion, Chen includes a broad pan-Asian comparative analysis of the role of the middle class. It appears clear that so long as the majority of China’s middle class remains tied to the party/state, both institutionally and ideationally (160), formal channels of political participation will continue to be used in ways that support the party/state. Written in a clear, engaging style, with effortlessly readable literature reviews of academic debates, this volume should be considered a must-read for those directly researching issues of development and democracy as well as those teaching in relevant undergraduate or graduate programs. This reviewer has decided to use parts of the book both in a China-specific upper-level undergraduate Chinese politics class and in a development-oriented class this year.

Michelle S. Mood, Kenyon College, Gambier, USA

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DAUGHTER OF GOOD FORTUNE: A Twentieth-Century Chinese Peasant Memoir. By Chen Huiqin with Shehong Chen; introduction by Delia Davin. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015. xii, 348 pp. (B&W photos, map.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-295-99492-5.

Biographies of women of the subaltern classes in China are few and far between. It is seventy years since Ida Pruitt wrote Daughter of Han, her transcription of the life story of a poor woman from the end of empire, through Japanese occupation and Nationalist government, to the eve of Communist victory. Daughter of Good Fortune is, like Pruitt’s book, a detailed memoir dictated by a woman of limited literacy to a sympathetic amanuensis, in this case a daughter. Chen Huiqin’s account begins around the time Daughter of Han left off and runs through to the time of writing.

Chen Huiqin is an archetypal beneficiary of Deng Xiaoping’s policy of reform and opening, the movement started in the early 1980s that disbanded the People’s Communes of the Mao era, permitting farming on an individual or family basis, and encouraging industrial enterprise at the local level. Chen Huiqin, from Jiading County on the outskirts of Shanghai, is a member of the class that was once categorized as peasants, but she, and many of her neighbours, realized their dream to become urbanites, with the security and state support that new status entailed, through hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. She and her husband, a former Communist Party official, endured the turmoil of the 1950s and 1960s, rode the reform wave and the real estate boom of the last two decades of the twentieth century, and now find themselves modestly prosperous, living in an elegant modern townhouse complex, their children educated and successful, and able to enjoy their old age at a level of comfort their forbears could never have imagined.

The book is a memoir of village life seen in microcosm: the momentous historical events intrude and influence, but the focus is on the daily life of Chen Huiqin and her family. In the hard times of the early years of the people’s Republic, it is Chen Huiqin who holds the family together, with help from her parents, while her husband is away on Party business; the story cuts, sometimes abruptly, between details of work and events in the life of family members, as they are important to her. Later in the memoir, as family fortunes improve, profitable business ventures and home improvements are described in considerable detail, along with the increasingly elaborate family occasions of the newly rich. However good things get, however, Chen Huiqin is not one to relax completely: “I tried everything to increase income,” she writes, “it had become a habit for me not to lose an opportunity to make money” (210). And as much as she admires her business-owner son’s generosity towards his employees, she expresses concern that he might be giving away more than he really should.

In Daughter of Good Fortune we see none of the romanticism about the peasantry that characterizes writings dating from the years of Chinese socialism. After describing her eighteen-year-old daughter’s arduous labour on a Mao-era public construction project in winter, something that might previously have been represented as glorious shared endeavour, Chen Huiqin comments: “Peasant life was too harsh” (162). There is also surprisingly little attachment to ancestral dwelling-places: when land is developed for industry or housing and the chance comes to get away, “[m]ost rural people in our area hoped that their village or house would be in the zone of rural expansion so that they would be relocated” (270). What remains constant is a tenacious devotion to the traditional rituals and ceremonies of family life, particularly weddings and funerals, even at times when such observances are frowned upon. In the austere atheism of the Cultural Revolution, when burials and funerals are prohibited, Chen Huiqin and her husband set up an altar at home to mourn her mother with appropriate reverence before heading off to the crematorium; and the perfunctory weddings of those days, with their simple gifts of candy from the bride and groom, are regarded with disdain, and contrast sharply with the narrator’s relish for the elaborate wedding of a granddaughter in the twenty-first century. Though Chen Huiqin’s husband was a Communist official, religion rather than political ideology predominates: she is a devout woman who daily burns incense and chants the name of Amitabha Buddha, and who continues “to hold the traditional rituals to remember our ancestors and pay respects to Heaven, Earth, and bodhisattvas” (281).

Chen Huiqin’s good fortune includes having as a daughter a professor at an American university who embodies the traditional virtue of filial devotion. In this labour of love, Shehong Chen appears to have produced a faithful and meticulous transcription of her mother’s narrative. In doing so, she has done a great service not only to Chen Huiqin, but also to readers who would like to understand the transformation of village life currently underway in China.

Richard King, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada

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FANTASY ISLANDS: Chinese Dreams and Ecological Fears in an Age of Climate Crisis. A Philip E. Lilienthal Book. By Julie Sze. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2015. 235 pp. (Figures, map.) US$26.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28448-7.

The pace and scale of urban development in contemporary China is unmatched in human history. The social and environmental implications of this are hotly debated. Many decry the forced displacement of long-time city residents or periurban farmers to make way for new construction, or the increased resource consumption that now makes China the world’s largest carbon emitter. Others point to the opportunity to build energy-efficient technologies and resource-conserving designs into new buildings and entire city plans. Such plans for an “eco-city” on Chongming Island, outside of Shanghai, inspired Julie Sze to apply a critical view to narratives around “ecological” urban development in China. She consciously draws on her background as both an American Studies scholar and a descendent of emigrants from Chongming to unpack the stories that international developers and the Chinese government tell about cities, technology, and globalization.

Fantasy Islands is organized around three case studies, each a fantasy in some sense: the Dongtan eco-city on Chongming, billed as the world’s largest such project but never built; the “One City, Nine Towns” projects that have incongruously attempted to replicate various European styles in real estate developments around Shanghai; and the 2010 World Expo that, like many prior world’s fairs, presents its host country’s vision of a global future. Sze punctuates her personal observations with details about the development ambitions of each site drawn from a wide range of academic and journalistic sources. The picture that emerges from the three cases is of American and European architects uncritically embracing the Chinese government’s ambitions to promote urbanization, globalization, and technological solutions to social and environmental challenges.

Sze draws on the theoretical framing of James Scott’s influential book Seeing Like a State (1998) and Warren Magnussen’s subsequent article “Seeing Like a City” (in the book Critical Urban Studies, 2010), which call attention to issues of power relations in state-initiated projects. The Chinese government’s development strategy is based in a “top-down and technocratic view of environmental development” (101). While promising to address urgent environmental problems—most notably, global climate change—it also has the potential to make a great deal of money for transnational architectural and engineering firms. These motivations can lead international environmentalists and developers alike “to a willful blindness to the negative consequences of projects that … end up creating or exacerbating other social injustices” (28).

Fantasy Islands offers a much-needed critique of the collusion between the Chinese state and key transnational developers, pointing out the language of “eco-desire” that permeates their public statements and promotional materials. However, while the book comprehensively reviews the secondary literature around the three case studies, we hear relatively few of the voices of the people displaced by these developments. Sze cites one example of a human rights case brought by a family displaced by the World Expo, but that is countered by an official statement that “the relocation has been widely acclaimed by residents” (127-128). The story of a family friend still living in a crowded, outdated apartment suggests “why some Shanghainese are … unsentimental about relocation and change, especially if it means more money, a little more privacy, and cleanliness” (49). No doubt that represents many urbanites’ views, but that perspective is not shared by the displaced farmers and villagers who are responsible for thousands of protests across China each year, some violent. Some have had their relocation stipends skimmed off by corrupt officials, or been displaced multiple times (Chongming itself was a relocation site for farmers displaced by the Three Gorges Dam project).

Even the urbanites’ attitudes about these new developments are shaped by the relentless state rhetoric that maps “urban” and “international” onto “modern” and “desirable.” The target of this rhetoric is primarily domestic, a point readers could miss in Sze’s discussion of the English-language marketing materials for the projects, such as the slogan for the World Expo (“Better City, Better Life”); as she does note, “the official meaning changes based on whether it is aimed at English- or Chinese-speaking audiences” (139) (a better translation of the Chinese slogan might be “Cities Make Life Better”). The domestic propaganda purpose of the fair is clear in the words of a designer of one of the pavilions celebrating urban life: fair visitors from across China “come here to understand the city and to know what the city is. This is the original goal of the expo and also why our country invested so much money in this expo to make Chinese people … realize their world citizenship” (145). Sze dismisses as vague bureaucratic language the official designation of the Chongming project as a “test point” for the construction of “ecological civilization” (38), but that term situates this endeavour in the Chinese Communist Party’s longstanding practice of using test points and model units to popularize various policies, a point that would not be missed by a domestic audience.

Fantasy Islands concludes with a conversation with the reader about the lessons of the book, gained from the author’s “uniquely American vantage point [as a] prototypical immigrant offspring, … an Asian American suspicious of China-bashing as much as a committed environmentalist” (162-163). In addition to meeting Sze’s goal of “interject[ing] some healthy skepticism into the eco-city trend,” the book succeeds in demonstrating how an American Studies scholar can bridge disciplinary and geographical boundaries to contribute to the ever-growing literature on the city in China. Her warning “against any simple design or technological fix” for environmental challenges will resonate as these urban models from Shanghai continue to spread across China and beyond.

Mark Henderson, Mills College, Oakland, USA

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GREEN INNOVATION IN CHINA: China’s Wind Power Industry and the Global Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Joanna I. Lewis. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. xx, 282 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-231-15331-7.

Today it is widely known that China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases by volume, mainly due to the continued dominance of fossil fuels in energy production. In fact, the country’s energy sector is the largest single source of climate-warming emissions globally. In Green Innovation in China, the result of nine years research, Joanna Lewis takes as her focus a low-carbon power source that has seen unprecedented growth in China and is therefore of crucial importance: wind energy. The country now has the biggest wind power market in the world, its installed capacity having increased over a hundredfold from 2000 to 2010 (1).

China now builds almost all of its wind turbines at home. It therefore offers not only an example of a transition from carbon-intensive growth towards low-carbon economic development, underpinned by China’s domestic policies and reflected to varying extents in its changing position in the United Nations climate-change negotiations—an important context that Lewis outlines clearly in the book’s second chapter—but also valuable insights into the process of innovation in energy, particularly for relative latecomers, and the government and business strategies that have underpinned this: from technology transfer and diffusion, to networks of learning, the emergence of Chinese green energy leaders, and, ultimately, to technological leapfrogging.

To better understand China’s place in the wind power innovation system as it has developed around the world, Lewis’s third chapter explores the national and multinational networks of public and private institutions that have funded and supported innovative activity in this sector, with a particular focus on China’s national innovation system and the laws, Five-Year Plans, scientific institutions, and mechanisms for government support that have sustained it through the period of China’s ongoing and evolving market reforms. This includes discussions of China’s absorptive capacity, incentives and decisions around localization of manufacturing and the barriers posed by factors as diverse as tariffs, gaps in indigenous technical capacity, and failings in quality control.

Lewis’s fourth chapter focuses on the role of foreign technology. The author discusses the early decisions taken by international turbine manufacturers in engaging with China, including Denmark’s Vestas, Spain’s Gamesa, Germany’s Nordex and the United States’ GE, by pursuing joint ventures or localizing production to meet local content requirements. These detailed profiles illustrate the changing policy environment for foreign firms in the era of reform and opening up, and the diverse ways in which technology transfer to China was achieved in this context, from mergers and movements of employees, to licensing and collaborations with China’s universities and research institutes. This brings the reader up to the environment of today, in which foreign companies face not only price competition in China, but also a policy environment that assists research, development, and deployment in its domestic wind industry “in a manner not unlike that of Denmark and the United States in the 1980s” (113), at a time when government support in industrialized countries has waned.

This is particularly important, since the successful results of this sustained government support are evident in Lewis’s fifth chapter, which focuses on Goldwind: China’s “first leading wind turbine manufacturer” (121), a partially state-owned company which had designed one-fifth of wind turbines installed in China by the end of 2010. Goldwind also managed to increase its total R&D investments annually—receiving funds not only from the Chinese government but also international investors, such as the World Bank—developing its own, successful turbine designs. Lewis notes here that domestic wind deployment has suffered delays in connecting to the grid and political barriers to wind integration remain. Given its prominence in debates around renewables in China, it is surprising that this problem of so-called “abandoned wind,” the local implementation gap it exposes, and the fragmented, elite politics that it touches on are not given greater attention in the book.

The process of leapfrogging in wind energy, however, is given close and well-deserved attention in the sixth chapter, with China, South Korea, and India—all late entrants to the global wind power industry—seen using different strategies to foster the development of their own domestic manufacturing firms, in terms of technology transfer and acquisition strategies, domestic policy environments and integration with global learning networks. Leading Indian firm Suzlon, for example, is seen to have pursued an internationally based R&D and manufacturing strategy from the outset, while Goldwind kept an exclusive focus on the Chinese market, with little R&D or manufacturing outside.

Lewis’s final chapter, on the prospects and politics of engaging China on clean energy cooperation, makes clear the contrast between China’s role as developing country in multilateral climate change talks and its increasing ambition when acting bilaterally: so far as to be seen to act as a “superpower” (169) in the context of US-China climate cooperation. This observation proved prescient, given the importance of 2014’s joint US-China announcement on emissions reductions (after Lewis’s book went to press). Her concluding recommendations in this chapter—to expand US-China collaboration on clean energy—also resonate with the details of that agreement.

That political dimension, however, suggests how understanding the prospects for wind energy in China should also include the political and social dimensions of innovation, aspects that technology-focused approaches do not emphasize. There is room for greater attention, for example, to the perspectives, priorities, and practices of China’s provincial and county-level governments, individual entrepreneurs, grid operators, or electricity users themselves. Green Innovation in China is important nonetheless: an accurate and invaluable reference for scholars of development and innovation studies, which while commendably empirically focused, should inform theoretical conversations around diverse global approaches to green transformations, seen in Hubert Schmitz’s How does the Global Power Shift Affect the Low Carbon Transformation? (IDS, 2014), and the dynamic role of government in driving innovation, as discussed in Mariana Mazzucato’s The Entrepreneurial State (Anthem, 2013).

Sam Geall, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom

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FROM FU MANCHU TO KUNG FU PANDA: Images of China in American Film. Critical Interventions. By Naomi Greene. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. xii, 264 pp. (Figures.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3836-2.

Naomi Greene has written a thoughtful and accessible study of “representations of China found in American films” over the course of a century, looking specifically at “images and myths regarding China” (1). As a film studies scholar, Greene deftly integrates various elements of visual representation and historical analysis. Her work expands the rapidly growing body of scholarship in American Orientalism and the cultural Cold War in Asia. Greene’s central argument is that myths and images of China swing in pendulum-like fashion between positive and negative extremes. On the positive side, “China is regarded as an ancient and wise civilization,” and portrayals of Chinese people and culture in Hollywood are connected to beautiful landscapes, venerable sages, and noble traditions. But the underside of such nobility is a more troubling world of “Oriental despots, of Genghis Khan and his marauding hordes, of strange practices and barbaric tortures” (3). While times have changed, many of the images have not. Greene sees current anxiety about China’s rise as an economic power as reprising earlier preoccupations articulated by American missionaries, merchants, and politicians.

Despite significant diversity in the type of cinematic stories that are told about China, when the pendulum swings it does so, Greene convincingly argues, in a repeatedly bifurcated style, saying more about constructions of the American self and other, than China or the Chinese. And, while there are historical periods when such divisions seem to fade or disappear, they can, upon closer analysis, be seen in reconstituted albeit more muted forms. The divide between self and other plays out in both macro and micro contexts and, Greene claims, “reflects and fuels, at the individual level, the distinction between two countries, the United States and China” (12). Limiting her study to analysis of films about China rather than Chinese Americans or Chinese immigrants, Greene reminds us that both groups were, nonetheless, affected by stereotypes and representations on screen (14).

The first three chapters offer a nice fleshing out of issues related to early-twentieth-century films. I particularly appreciated Greene’s discussion of The Bitter Tea of General Yen, The Cat’s-Paw, and The Good Earth. Many scholars have written about both Pearl S. Buck’s wildly popular book and film, but Greene managed to provide a fresh perspective through her discussion of the marginalization of ethnically Chinese/Asian actors and the Caucasian performers who played Chinese characters in yellowface.

The second half of the book is particularly engaging. Chapter 4, “The Cold War in Three Acts,” weaves film analysis with a textured discussion of Sino-US relations, broad transpacific historical tensions, and links between cultural production and anti-Communist sentiment. It illustrates how attitudes about Chinese culture have, despite significant change in China, stayed frozen in time on screen. Audiences today have inherited staid stereotypes and do little to resist them. Chapter 5, “The World Splits in Two,” seems to jump rather abruptly to the 1990s but then meanders between late- and mid-twentieth-century films in a way that prepares the reader to see how past and present are always already in conversation with each other in Hollywood. The political landscape in both China and the US are juxtaposed against each other in considering several late-twentieth and early-twenty-first-century films including Kundun and Seven Years in Tibet. However, even as she keeps several plates in the air, Greene never loses sight of the self/other split and the reprising of themes from earlier eras. We are, thus, prepared for a full-on encounter with postmodernity and its trenchant Sinophobia and American neocolonialism as the book winds its way to a conclusion. But for all of its caution about the ways in which Americans continue to see themselves, and a “hollowed-out” China when they go to the movies, Greene teases out differences and divergences from the historical norm by considering a range of films from the “new” families of Ang Lee, to the revisionist westerns Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights and to animated blockbusters such as Mulan and Kung Fu Panda.

While the focus of the book is, of course, Hollywood, because Greene uses the term “American” film in her subtitle, this reviewer wondered how an already strong study might have been improved by introducing films from Canada, or considering how recent co-productions with a PRC, Taiwanese, or Hong Kong connection would have been in conversation with other films in her archive. After all, Ang Lee, like many ethnically Chinese/Sinophone filmmakers, is simultaneously claimed by various nations when he wins awards, and many of the most established Hollywood studios are, actually, transnational in their production, marketing, and distribution efforts. For all of her care with the integration of films and historical context one wishes for a bit more commentary on how national myths are in conversation with postnational/transnational flows in an age of globalization. But perhaps such themes would have watered down the sorts of clear theoretical/conceptual lines Greene chose to draw.

Greene’s book is that rare gem that will be of use in graduate film studies courses as well as in undergraduate teaching in various departments. But it would be equally interesting to a keen general reader with a desire to think beyond the binaries that are all too apparent as one looks at representations of China in the news currently.


Stacilee Ford, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

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THE GOVERNMENT NEXT DOOR: Neighborhood Politics in Urban China. By Luigi Tomba. Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press, 2014. x, 225 pp. (Figures.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN 978-0-8014-5282-6; US$22.95, paper, ISBN 978-0-8014-7935-9.

Any visitor who stays in mainland China for a while might wonder about the country’s seeming stability. Ordinary Chinese rarely conceal their grievances about increasing inequality, corruption, and the near death of society as we imagine it. Media reports about peasants’ struggles against land expropriation as well as workers’ protests against labour exploitation have dramatically increased over recent decades. Nevertheless, these class-specific incidents are isolated while everyday conflicts remain “contained,” relatively peacefully, in local neighbourhoods.

The Government Next Door is a significant contribution to interrogating this puzzle. With a sophisticated eye to neighbourhood politics, the book shows how political legitimacy is cultivated and grounded among local residents with various interests and status. Neighbourhoods, the primary research sites of this book, serve as “a window on the flexibility and variations that characterize governmental practices in present-day China” (5). They are places where social structure, ideology, and policy focus are elaborated and concretized through grassroots governances and everyday interactions.

Luigi Tomba analyzes China’s changing political practices and rationalities by focusing on two types of neighbourhoods. One is a working-class neighbourhood in Shenyang, the one-time cradle of socialist industrialism in northeast China, while the other is a gated community for newly emerging middle classes in Beijing. Despite their disparate condition under the nation’s market-driven reforms, impoverished workers in Shanyang and wealthy homeowners in Beijing share in common the fact that their residential areas are no longer subject to old socialist government of urban space. Urban workers, the one-time representatives of the socialist project, have been plunged into dispossession; their neighbourhoods have been shifted to moribund slums amidst the breakdown of the work-unit system. Middle-class professionals in newly-built gated communities insist on their autonomy from state interference while struggling to maintain their property rights and privatized space. Nevertheless, Luigi Tomba argues that the two parties’ relationships with the state have been not so much weakened as reconfigured. Laid-off workers in Shenyang’s public housing compounds are subject to state intervention and required to raise their “quality” (suzhi) in exchange for access to residual welfare and assistance. Salaried middle-class residents in Beijing’s commercial apartment complexes seek social stability and enhance their entrepreneurial consumer identity, which is beneficial to both the state and the market.

Consensus is a primary concept of this book, which provides a clear-cut analysis of the two classes’ contentious but close relationship with state governance. The concept guides us to “a space where bargaining between state and society and within society is made possible through formalized institutions, routinized practices, and discursive boundaries” (169). Neither indicative of political support nor the outcome of good governance, consensus opens a space for bargaining and contestation, in which social actors (are engineered to) accept certain hegemonic values and practices even though they do not entirely approve of the rule of the party-state. Emphasis on social order, evolutionary ideas of development, and aspirations for “modern” citizens and communities permeate a series of discursive activities such as public media, community activism, marketing strategies, and personal interactions, thus producing legitimacy for daily practices of government. The strength of this concept is that it goes beyond the dichotomy of acceptance and resistance. Luigi Tomba tries to capture the tension of state-society relations by asserting that consensus is not forced by the authoritarian regime but constructed through endless negotiations and contestations.

Chapters of this book introduce governing strategies of neighbourhood politics in Shenyang and Beijing: social clustering, micro-governing, social engineering, containing contention, and exemplarism. Each technique acts upon territory, one’s position, housing policy, activism, and one’s conduct, providing a kaleidoscopic topography of neighbourhood governance. Although the summary of each technique is kindly provided in the conclusion, I suggest that the reader should not miss the vivid ethnographic descriptions and in-depth analyses in each chapter. What I found most illuminating among the various strategies described in the book was the section in chapter 3on social engineering, which explains why the new propertied middle class never separate their love for market interests from their approval of state power. This chapter traces the formation of the “salaried middle class” as one of the foundations of the neighbourhood consensus. It delves into a selective redistribution of public assets (especially of housing) for professionals in public sectors and shows how such coordinated policy making helped to associate their interests with those of the state.

I am certain that this book will be discussed enthusiastically by scholars who engage in urban space, class politics, and governmentality in contemporary China. To stimulate this discussion, I want to conclude my review with a few remarks.

First, the analysis of neighbourhood consensus would face compelling complexity if it also includes urban village enclaves (chengzhongcun) other than working-class public housing compounds and middle-class gated communities. Full of migrants whose ties to the state are fragile and who are mostly excluded from the provision of public services, these peripheral enclaves prompt us to question how “the boundaries of a ‘consensual arena’ of interaction between state and society” (20) are to be set when local state agents struggle with a gap between the will to govern and the inability to govern.

Second, the working-class politics in Shenyang’s neighbourhood might be more dynamic and contentious than the author describes. As I argued in my book The Specter of “The People,”(Cornell University Press, 2013), impoverished workers in northeast China invoke the claim of “the people,” i.e., the very language with which the party-state had once identified. This contingent claim not only legitimizes their “rightful” dependence on state paternalism, which Luigi Tomba particularly focuses on in his book, but also prevents these workers from being reduced to nameless, ahistorical “urban poor.” Neighbourhood politics are often caught in the oscillating tension between “the people” as a class and “the people” as a nation.

Finally, what kind of politics does the analysis of consensus lead us to imagine? The author writes, “What is interesting is not how much impact conflicts in such consensual arenas have on democratization or the substantial reform of China’s political system but rather how they contribute to reconfiguring the practices of power and authority” (171). Although I side with his opposition to evolutionary ideas of democracy, I still wonder if consensus cannot but remain as “policing,” borrowing Jacques Rancière’s terms, as a governing process of creating community consent, or if it has the potential to expand the realm of “the political” by invoking new forms of political imagination.

Mun Young Cho, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

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THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF CHINA’S CONSUMERISM. Chandos Asian Studies Series. Edited by Alison Hulme. Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2014. xxxi, 221 pp. (Figures.) USD $140.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-84334-761-3.

This book is a collection of essays authored by a diverse group of young scholars and artists from such places as the UK, Denmark, Iceland, and the US, with quite rich academic and non-academic backgrounds in literature, philosophy, sociology, and media and cultural studies, and experiences of growing up, living, working, or studying in China. These credentials are important for their subjects of study, the evolving consumerism of today’s China, which requires close and intimate observations and even participation. Since modern consumer society and consumerism as an ideology are now a global phenomenon with historical roots in Western societies, the multiple and comparative perspectives that the authors take in their examination of China’s case are especially valuable.

The book’s editor Alison Hulme argues that as “capitalism becomes an increasingly global phenomenon, consumer society is the mode of organization desired by nation states,” and China now needs to “turn a consuming society into a consumer society (i.e. one in which the buying and selling of goods and services is in reality the most important social and economic activity)” (xxiv; emphasis in original). Hulme then quickly qualifies her argument: “the meeting of capitalism (and therefore consumerism) and communism in China,” and the “constantly re-negotiated conundrum of capitalist-communist consumerism … differs from any yet seen in global development and creates new questions for established theories of consumerism” (xxv). The introduction thus cogently spells out the dichotomy of “capitalism (consumerism) vis-à-vis communism” (or the “conundrum,” as Hulme puts it) as the quintessential problem for the authors to explore, and, meanwhile, a task for theoretical self-reflection on consumerism. Hulme acknowledges that the direction of Chinese consumerism “cannot be fully known,” and thus the issues the authors discuss “are riddled with awkward contradictions and cultural attitudes are in constant flux” (xxv). Such a caveat about the tentativeness of taking China’s pulse becomes a cliché. Yet the sincerity and seriousness of the authors’ efforts can be seen throughout the book.

The chapters are grouped into two parts. The first part has five chapters addressing consumer culture in China today. The first chapter, by Xin Wang, examines the formation of China’s middle class within the context of consumer culture and society, drawing heavily on the theories of French cultural philosopher Pierre Bourdieu. Wang’s essay illustrates the double bind that is both theoretical and methodical. He aptly applies Bourdieu’s ideas about class distinction in contemporary capitalist society to China, observing the interplay of the cultural, symbolic capital, and economic, material status at work in the Chinese middle class. However, Wang recognizes at the same time the difficulties in describing and defining the Chinese middle class in purely Bourdieuan terms. On the one hand, he states that the Chinese middle class distinguishes itself by engaging in the consumption of cultural, educational, and other status-boosting products (or suzhi promotion, a Chinese concept mentioned by many authors in the book, somewhat akin to Bourdieu’s “distinction” and “taste”), with ample case studies. On the other hand, Wang concludes that members of the so-called Chinese middle class find their social distinction or identity primarily through consumption of commodities or ownership of material wealth (20). What Wang does not address, however, is the political culture or the ideology of the Party-state in China that simultaneously encourages the commodity fetish and suppresses any political and social engagement. Bourdieu certainly has no answer to this “Chinese characteristic,” and Wang’s response is regrettably scarce.

The second chapter, by Calvin Hui, takes on the interesting task of examining the legacy of socialism and its linkage to the contemporary fashion industry from the 1970s (the Cultural Revolution) to the present. It’s a Foucauldian genealogical inquiry with a good deal of insight, and its feminist focus on gender and sexuality is interesting in itself. The third chapter, by Gabriel Lafitte, explores the ways the exotic and ethnic Tibet has been consumed by the booming Chinese tourism industry. This chapter confronts the political question of China with/in Tibet. This draws attention directly to the political and ideological battles waged both at the forefront and behind Tibet, either as a site of intense conflict or as a commodity for tourist consumption. The fourth chapter, by Karen Tam, offers a fascinating narrative of the fake art products or shanzhai (counterfeiting) phenomenon in China, and questions the far-reaching implications this pervasive Chinese copy-cat cultural practice has on the meaning of the “original” and the “authentic.” Tam’s question reminds us of Walter Benjamin’s query of when modern technology of mechanic reproduction threatened to deprive customers and society of the aura of the original and authentic art work. The fifth chapter, by Qingyan Ma, is an interesting field-work report on how medicine and health care is being rapidly turned into a commodity in China and the social and economic implications of this.

The second part of the book consists of three chapters, one by Geir Sigurosson on traditional Chinese philosophy’s possible implications for today’s consumerism; a chapter by Andreas Steen on the revolutionary model soldier Lei Feng from the 1960s which shows the sharp ideological contrast with today’s consumerism; and a final chapter by Giovanna Puppin on the ambiguous and awkward relationship between Maoist socialist ideology and the contemporary advertising industry, another illustration of ideological conflicts and contrasts. These chapters nicely contextualize Chinese consumerism in terms of its historical and political conditions, highlighting and reinforcing the “Chinese characteristics” of consumerism, specifically and emphatically, its political and ideological nature. Consumerism, in a nutshell, is better seen as an ideology or a set of values, and we will be better served by viewing Chinese consumerism dissected and diagnosed as such, in an ongoing ideological battleground that involves all members of society across the world. For that, this book is certainly a good starting point.

Liu Kang, Duke University, Durham, USA

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CHINA’S JAPAN POLICY: Adjusting to New Challenges. By Joseph Yu-shek Cheng. Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific Publishing, 2015. xviii, 466 pp. US$138.00, cloth. ISBN 978-981-4596-41-1.

In the past decade, English-language scholarship on Sino-Japanese relations has increased significantly. Scholars are paying more attention not only because of these two countries’ importance but also the escalating tensions between them. Joseph Yu-shek Cheng’s book is a welcome addition to this very important topic.

Cheng’s book examines the diplomatic history between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Japan from 1949 to 2011. It has nine chapters organized largely chronologically. The first four chapters examine pre-normalization relations, covering the Cultural Revolution, the Cold War context, and the Chinese Communist Party’s use of “united front” policy attempting to woo Japan even prior to the founding of the PRC in 1949. Chapters 5 to 7 study the normalization process and its impact on the future of Sino-Japanese relations. Chapters 8 and 9 examine relations during the 1980s, and chapters 10 to 12 cover Sino-Japanese relations since the 1990s.

I see three main values in Cheng’s book. First is its exhaustiveness. The book is long: 431 pages, excluding bibliography and index. Throughout, Cheng convincingly demonstrates his firm grasp of voluminous details regarding Sino-Japanese relations. My applause comes with a disclaimer: honestly, I did not find much new information in the book, materials that I have not encountered in scholarship or media coverage produced in the Chinese, Japanese, or English languages. Where the book lacks fresh empirical materials, it handsomely compensates with its sheer comprehensiveness. The book is certainly not the first to examine the diplomatic history between the PRC and Japan. But it is clearly among the most thorough works on this topic.

Second, the book examines Sino-Japanese relations from a predominantly Chinese official perspective. This focus helps balance out the conventional wisdom on China-Japan relations. Mainstream English scholarship tends to analyze Sino-Japanese relations, especially its recent problems, more by examining what has gone wrong on the Chinese side: for example, how Beijing’s need of promoting nationalism forced its leaders to take a hawkish attitude toward Japan. However, it takes two to tango. Cheng’s work offers a detailed analysis of the mistakes committed by Tokyo, from the point of view of China’s leaders and policy experts. A sense of insecurity is not confined to China. In Japan, this insecurity is fostering an increasingly paranoid government overly sensitive to gains and losses in its interactions with China.

Third, the book offers an insightful summary of the philosophical evolution of China’s diplomatic framework toward Japan: from an orthodox Marxist-Leninist desire to spread revolution to anti-Soviet hegemonism to boosting modernization and to enhancing China’s international status in recent years. This thematic roadmap is helpful as one navigates the long and storied interactions between China and Japan.

I perceive two weaknesses in Cheng’s book. The first one lies in Cheng’s effort to present the Chinese official take on what has gone wrong in Sino-Japanese relations. While I applaud the book’s balancing value, I wonder if Cheng has gone too far in blaming Japan overwhelmingly for the long list of problems between the two countries. Towards the end of the book, as Cheng discusses the latest diplomatic crises, the arrow of complaint is unmistakably pointed at leaders in Japan: how they were held hostage to Japan’s “rightwing” forces (Koizumi Jun’ichiro), how they squandered Chinese good intentions (Kan Naoto), or how unfortunately short their tenures were (Fukuda Yasuo and Hatoyama Yukio). Chinese nationalism is certainly not the only culprit in pushing China-Japan relations to a nadir. But I am surprised at how little systematic attention Cheng gives to this important factor or, for that matter, to China’s domestic politics in general. There has been a lot of insightful knowledge generated on how China’s domestic agenda shapes its foreign policy. Given the comprehensiveness the book boasts, this analytical void is a major disappointment.

Second, as the book progresses, the main target of analysis increasingly shifts from the Chinese government to a particular group: China’s Japan specialists. Indeed, in the last two chapters, references to China’s “Japan experts” appear on almost every page. This is problematic: to begin with, it feels the last third of the book needs a new title: it is no longer China’s Japan policy, but China’s Japan policy in the eyes of China’s Japan specialists. But exactly how have China’s academics shaped Beijing’s policy towards Tokyo? Cheng’s answer is assumed rather than analyzed, as he claims that to study these experts’ words “is probably the only way” to study Chinese leaders’ perception (376). This claim makes the book methodologically one-dimensional and vulnerable to subjectivity.

Also, the community of China’s Japan watchers is pluralistic: one only needs to look at the controversies stirred up by the moderates’ “New Thinking” to get a sense of such lively debates. But Cheng’s analysis of the intra-experts’ differences is cursory. He simply dismisses the New Thinking as “severely criticized”(376). No other information is offered. But what about the rise of such voices in the first place? Did its publication reflect the agenda of the moderates within the leadership? Peter Hays Gries, among others, offered a careful analysis of China’s remarkable public debate on Japan policy. His widely cited piece titled “China’s ‘New Thinking’ on Japan” (The China Quarterly, 2005: 831-850) focused on the “New Thinking”. However, Cheng’s book made no reference to this or similar academic effort This is but one example of an even bigger problem: the book treats China as a unitary actor with a coherent Japan policy and a schism-free leadership. I find such treatment, which glides over China’s domestic complexities, simplistic and inaccurate.

Despite the complaints, I appreciate the importance of Cheng’s book and applaud the contribution it makes. Cheng’s encyclopedic knowledge of the vital relations between China and Japan shines in the work. The book is a helpful reference to anyone who wants to understand China’s diplomatic evolution toward Japan.

Jing Sun, The University of Denver, Denver, USA

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IN THE LAND OF THE EASTERN QUEENDOM: The Politics of Gender and Ethnicity on the Sino-Tibetan Border. Studies on Ethnic Groups in China. By Tenzin Jinba. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014. xvi, 170 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN 978-0-295-99306-5; US$30.00, paper, ISBN 978-0-295-99307-2.

MAPPING SHANGRILA: Contested Landscapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands. Studies on Ethnic Groups in China. Edited by Emily T. Yeh and Chris Coggins. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014. xv, 332 pp. (Figures.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN 978-0-295-99357-7; US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-295-99358-4.

For those not specialized in Tibetan affairs, Tibet is often identified primarily with the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China and perhaps too with the Tibetan exile community in India. It is seldom recognized that more than half of ethnic Tibetans belong to the four provinces to the east of the TAR: Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan. The Tibetans of these regions have their own histories and cultural specificities, as well as peculiar challenges in establishing communal identities and negotiating their station in contemporary China. It is to the credit of the University of Washington Press’s Studies on Ethnic Groups in China series, under the general editorship of Stevan Harrell, that it has encouraged well-informed scholarship on the Sino-Tibetan borderland peoples, first in its publications of Åshild Kolås and Monika P. Thowsen’s On the Margins of Tibet: Cultural Survival on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier (2004) and Koen Wellens’s Religious Revival in the Tibetan Borderlands: The Premi of Southwest China (2010). The two new titles reviewed here continue to advance our knowledge of current developments in communities on the margins of Chinese and Tibetan cultural worlds.

Both Tenzin Jinba’s monograph, In the Land of the Eastern Queendom, and Emily T. Yeh and Chris Coggins’s edited volume, Mapping Shangrila, may be said to concern centrally the phenomenon that Yeh and Coggins term “shangrilazation” (16). This designation was inspired by the 2002 rebranding of Zhongdian County in northern Yunnan as Shangrila, a toponym unknown in Tibetan and derived from James Hilton’s famed novel Lost Horizons, which described a never-never land hidden away somewhere in Tibet (20). Zhongdian’s new identity suggested that current reality might be configured so as to satisfy the yearnings of the imagination, the touristic imagination in particular. The promise of bringing tourist investment—above all from China’s burgeoning domestic tourism market—to the Sino-Tibetan borderlands is one of the leitmotifs in the two books under discussion.

The “eastern queendom” of Tenzin Jinba’s title refers to the fabled “eastern land of women” (Chinese, dongnüguo) mentioned in the annals of the Sui and Tang dynasties. Though legend has magnified this to be a land of amazons, less dramatic institutions privileging women or maternal lineages, as are current in some Tibetan and Himalayan societies, may well be in the background here. Whatever the explanation, a region that is often named as a probable location of the eastern land of women is Gyalmorong (literary Tibetan, rgyal mo rong; Chinese, jiarong), literally the “Valley of the Queens.” Tenzin Jinba is himself a native of Gyalmorong, but from a different community than that which he studies here. He is therefore enough of an insider to have unusual insights into the nuances of his subjects’ relations and affirmations—which, given the several linguistic registers in use (the Gyalmorong language, Amdo and Khampa Tibetan, Sichuan-dialect Chinese), present a considerable challenge to non-natives—and yet far enough removed to develop an etic perspective.

Gyalmorong, a cluster of counties mostly straddling the upper reaches of the Dadu River in northern Sichuan, has been closely associated with Tibet since the eighth century. Its dominant religious system was, and to some extent remains, the autochtonous Tibetan Bon religion, though Tibetan Buddhism is a strong presence as well. The language is peppered with Tibetan expressions, often in archaic forms, and, although current linguistic scholarship considers it to be a Qiangic language, local opinion, strongly supported by local scholars, insists that what is spoken is in fact ancient Tibetan (23). In some parts of Gyalmorong, versions of the Tibetan Amdo dialect are nevertheless also widely in use, and in Danba County, where Tenzin Jinba’s research was conducted, Khampa dialect too. This perhaps explains why Danba, uniquely among the Gyalmorong counties, was incorporated into Sichuan’s Ganzi prefecture, which is Khampa. Although the people of Gyalmorong were given their own ethnic designation immediately after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, in 1954 they were reclassified as zangzu, that is, Tibetan (21). Nevertheless, owing to differences of language and local custom, Tibetans often consider them alien (23). Identity is thus very much an issue in Gyalmorong, and Danba County in particular has responded by asserting itself to be the site of the famous “queendom.”

Tenzin Jinba’s study concerns the dynamics of this claim within Danba, where the identification of the county with the legend has opened up a variety of divisions and unanticipated consequences in the country itself. First, and most generally, was the transformation of the “queendom” into the “Land of Beauties,” which, of course, played very well in the Chinese tourist business. However, the exotic in this case soon morphed into the erotic and Danba found itself beset by numbers of Chinese men looking for sexual adventure. This eventuality had not been foreseen and was a profound affront to the dominant mores of the community (59-64).

Tenzin Jinba sets this episode in relation to pertinent aspects of gender construction in contemporary China, particularly with reference to ethnic minorities like the people of Danba (chapters 2-3). His account explores both the gender-based stereotypes that have emerged and in particular the manner in which these have played out in the discourses of the “queendom” elaborated in and around his main site of fieldwork, the Danba township of Suopo. For here a coterie of the local elite has sought to demonstrate that their township was not just within the queendom, but that it was its royal centre, the site of the ancient queens’ palace. Being of this lineage, they insist, the women of Suopo are particularly capable and wise, and the men particularly inclined to grant the women the honour and respect that they merit. This distinguishes the people of Suopo both from the Han and from other Tibetans, earning them, so it is argued, a unique dignity (67-71).

All of this has a (no doubt unintended) comedic dimension; for, as Tenzin Jinba suggests, there is no empirical basis for believing that gender relations in Suopo differ much from norms in other Danba communities, the local traditions of the queens seem rather tenuous, and the entire queendom issue—including the debates it provokes with Suopo’s neighbours—involves primarily the men, Suopo women being generally indifferent to it (65-67). What emerges is a portrait of a small and vulnerable community strategically maneuvering to win for itself what it hopes will be a profitable position in relation to the larger forces that surround it, while at the same time seeking to enhance its sense of rootedness and self-esteem (chapters 4-5). The ancient queendom figures here as the imaginal vehicle invoked to ensure the order of contemporary reality.

The intersection of imagination and reality informs the first part of Mapping Shangrila, as well. Entitled “Shangrilazation,” it includes three articles probing the constructions of the Sino-Tibetan borderlands in writing and popular culture. “Vital Margins” by Li-hua Ying explores the depiction of Sino-Tibetan frontier societies in contemporary fiction and poetry, both by Chinese and Sinophone Tibetan authors. In “Dreamworld, Shambala, Gannan,” Chris Vasantkumar examines the touristic vision of southwestern Gansu Province (Gannan) as “Little Tibet.” The trope of “miniaturization” (57-70) is of particular interest here, focusing on the representation of Labrang monastery and its culture in contemporary guidebooks produced in China. The final article in this section, Travis Klingberg’s “A Routine Discovery,” looks to the Yading Nature Reserve in western Sichuan and its varied representations beginning with early twentieth-century botanical explorers, for whom it was ungoverned wilderness, through to its current incorporation (and domestication) in the Greater Shangrila Ecotourism Zone.

The second part of the volume, “Constructing the Ecological State,” includes two informative contributions on wilderness conservation—“Making National Parks in Yunnan” by John Aloysius Zinda and “The Nature Conservancy in Shangrila” by Robert K. Mosely and Renée B. Mullen—and two articles on fungus: Michael J. Hathaway’s “Transnational Matsuke Governance” and Michelle Olsgard Stewart’s “Constructing and Deconstructing the Commons: Caterpillar Fungus Governance in Developing Yunnan.” While one might regret that topics such as endangered species preservation are not treated more fully in this section of the work, the one dealing most directly with conservation policy, the swelling importance of the matsuke mushroom and the caterpillar fungus in the rural economies of the regions studied is very adequately demonstrated, as are the distortions emerging from too narrow a focus on these commodities and from their over-exploitation.

Part 3, “Contested Landscapes,” is particularly attractive precisely because contestation, that inevitable marker of value, is at last brought to the fore. In “Animate Landscapes,” Chris Coggins, with Gesang Zeren, discusses the latter’s deployment in recent years of traditional beliefs regarding the spirits occupying the land to support the adoption of ecofriendly practices. Such efforts, however, involve an inevitable tension between traditional reverence to powers that are not beholden to human reason and scientific projects of environmental management that presume no non-rationalized agencies: “[A]nimate landscapes are, in ontological and cosmological terms, radically different from, and not always commensurable with, scientific conservation practices and interests.… Tibetan geopiety is not a panacea for sustainable ecological development” (213). Similar divisions are brought more sharply into focus in Charlene E. Makley’s “The Amoral Other,” which turns to the continuing practice of spirit-mediumship in Qinghai’s Rebkong district and the challenge this has presented to state-governed policies of development. In the final chapter, “The Rise and Fall of the Green Tibetan,” Emily T. Yeh takes up the cases of Tibetan environmentalists who have fallen on the wrong side of Chinese authority—and have been arrested and jailed for this impertinence—precisely while advocating policies and practices that the state seems otherwise to support. An immediate analogy that comes to the fore at the time of this writing (April 7, 2015) is the arrest of five Chinese feminists who appear to be advocating rights for women that China has otherwise broadly endorsed (Andrew Jacobs, “Taking Feminist Battle to China’s Streets, and Landing in Jail,” The New York Times, 5 April 2015.]

I note this parallel because it appears to me to touch on a vital point that has not been, to my mind, quite satisfactorily addressed in either of the books reviewed here. Both appear to speak with cautious optimism of the rise of “civil society” in China. Neither seems quite willing to acknowledge that genuine civil society is not only difficult to achieve, but is an impossibility in today’s China, that its activities are tolerated only so long as they appear not to disrupt the authority of the Party or state. Manifestations that suggest the rise of other sources of authority, even where they broadly accord with current policy, cannot be tolerated at all. Of course, quite a lot may fly under the radar of the dominant powers at any given time, particularly in remote districts. In the end, however, the monopolization of authority in China ensures that civil society will never be allowed to mature. If I am reading her correctly, Yeh indeed suggests that, in the wake of the Tibetan protests of 2008, something like this may now be the case in Tibetan regions. I would hold, however, that even without the events of 2008, this is inevitably the nature of power under China’s system of one-party rule. Something of this sort indeed seems to be entailed in the concluding “afterword” to the volume, contributed by Ralph Litzinger (279-286).

With the publication of these two works, we see that “Sino-Tibetan Borderland Studies” has in a sense come of age as a distinct area of inquiry. For reasons stated by Yeh and Coggins in their introduction (7-8), reasons that include the projection of these regions as an idealized counterpart to contemporary urban China, their central place in the working out of Chinese ethnicity policies, and the concrete role of both development and ecology within them in the formation of contemporary Chinese territorial definition, this is as it should be. The Sino-Tibetan frontiers are thus of considerable interest in their own right, while bringing an important range of broad issues facing China into close focus as well.

Matthew T. Kapstein, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, France

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NEGOTIATING CHINA’S DESTINY IN WORLD WAR II. Edited by Hans van de Ven, Diana Lary, and Stephen R. MacKinnon. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2015. xii, 319 pp. US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8966-0.

This is the fourth of five edited volumes sponsored by Harvard University. Thirteen essays examine Nationalist China’s wartime diplomacy with France, Britain, Tibet, Canada, India, Russia, and the United States, the Communist International (Comintern), the Nationalist declaration of war, the postwar recovery of the Northeast, plus negotiations ending the war with Japan, relations with Vietnam, and the postwar peace treaties. Notably, the Wang Jingwei government’s pro-Japanese diplomacy is excluded.

The introduction and conclusion, written by Diana Lary and Stephen R. MacKinnon respectively, describe how China grew from a minor international player in the early 1930s to one of the “Big Four” by the end of the war. Major themes include: 1) how Japan’s invasion forced the Nationalist regime to open diplomatic relations with the rest of the world; 2) Chiang Kai-shek’s failed attempts to balance relations with various Allies, in particular the USSR and the United States; and 3) China’s relatively lenient postwar attitude toward Japan in return for recognition as one of the victors of World War II. Many wartime problems remain unresolved, including Taiwan’s legal status, Japanese responsibility for beginning the war, plus the sticky issue of war reparations.

In part 1, Marianne Bastid-Bruguiere argues that Japan was determined to halt arms shipments to Chiang Kai-shek, and the Vichy regime was forced to agree after the fall of Paris on June 14, 1940, thus turning Vietnam into a virtual Japanese puppet state. Rana Mitter discusses how London was worried that Moscow might dominate China, but Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin was reassured by T.V. Soong during fall 1945 that China was satisfied with its negotiations with Stalin; meanwhile, the British ambassador to Chongqing, Sir Horace Seymour, presciently warned that while the USSR had “agreed not to provide assistance to any government other than the Nationalists,” Moscow’s desire to expand into Xinjiang and Mongolia “might lead them to an alliance with Yan’an” (50). Chang Jui-te discusses Tibet’s attempts to retain its independence from China, but when Lhasa sent a delegation to the Nationalist Representative Conference during spring 1946, Nanjing refused to recognize Tibetan autonomy. Yang Kuisong shows how Mao Zedong was secretly pleased when the Comintern was dissolved in May 1943, without necessarily realizing that Soviet promises might no longer be honoured; among these was a Comintern promise to turn Outer Mongolia back to a Communist government. Diana Lary summarizes Sino-Canadian relations during World War II, when many Canadians—most important among them Dr. Norman Bethune—were lionized by the Chinese Communists as models of self-sacrifice.

In part 2, Tsuchida Akio explains why the Nationalists did not declare war against Japan until December 8, 1941, fearing US aid would be cut due to the Neutrality Act. Yang Tianshi recounts how Jawaharlal Nehru supported the Nationalists in their fight against Japan, but when Chiang urged India to join the war effort Nehru refused, instead denouncing British imperialism. Li Yuzhen discusses how, after the Second United Front’s formation in 1937, Chiang tried, and failed, on three different occasions to convince Joseph Stalin to declare war on Japan; Stalin was more than happy to let China absorb Japanese troops, even while signing the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact of April 1941, and authorizing Soviet troops to invade Manchuria only in the last days of the war. Xiaoyuan Liu recounts how the US State Department hoped to sponsor postwar international discussions on the autonomy of Inner Mongolia, Outer Mongolia, Tannu Tuva, Tibet, and Xinjiang, but restoring the Chinese empire turned out to be a core interest of both the Nationalists and Communists, and so US efforts were largely ignored. Nishimura Shigeo discusses Chiang’s determination to recover the northeast, and when it was suggested that Manchuria be ceded to the USSR after the war, he protested that recovering Chinese sovereignty in the northeast was a primary war aim.

In part 3, Wu Sufeng details the Nationalist postwar claims to all private and public Japanese lands in China, minus much of the industry in Manchuria that the USSR removed as war reparations. Yang Weizhen shows that Chiang initially supported an independent Vietnam, but fearful of a pro-Communist government under Ho Chi Minh, Chiang allowed France to return to Vietnam in exchange for abolishing French special rights and privileges in China plus territorial concessions along the Sino-Vietnamese border. Hans Van De Ven recounts how Russia refused to attend, and neither the PRC nor the ROC were invited to the signing of the 1951 San Francisco Treaty. American insistence that Japan not pay reparations angered many participants, but John Foster Dulles—who had attended the Versailles peace talks as a young man—refused to back down. This treaty, plus the subsequent 1952 peace treaty between Japan and the ROC, helped guarantee the postwar peace.

While presenting much new information on the Nationalist wartime diplomacy, this book repeats outdated myths. One author argues Roosevelt and Churchill “accepted Stalin’s price tag” at Yalta and “endorsed the geopolitical reality on the Mongolian Plateau” (170). Another blames FDR for signing “secret Yalta agreements,” forcing China to agree to Outer Mongolia’s independence (155). It has long been known that W. Averell Harriman, who was the US ambassador to the USSR, testified in 1951 that once Sino-Soviet negotiations began in July 1945, “Stalin, at the outset, made demands that went substantially beyond the Yalta understanding.” Harriman also said of T.V. Soong: “At no time did Soong give me any indication that he felt the Yalta understanding was a handicap in his negotiations. I repeatedly urged him not to give in to Stalin’s demands” (W. Averell Harriman Papers, Manuscript Division, US Library of Congress, Washington, DC). Recently, S.C.M. Paine has demonstrated that Roosevelt did not betray China, but that “Chiang Kai-shek traded Chinese sovereignty over Outer Mongolia for the return of Manchuria” (The Wars for Asia, 1911-1949, Cambridge University Press, 242).

Bruce A. Elleman, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, USA

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BEIJING’S ECONOMIC STATECRAFT DURING THE COLD WAR, 1949-1991. By Shu Guang Zhang. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Centre Press; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 2014. xiv, 477 pp. US$65.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4214-1583-3.

This is a newly published book which provides the readers with a very detailed description and in-depth analysis of how China’s economic statecraft, or the use of economic weaponry in diplomacy, evolved during the Cold War years (1949-1991). The author elaborates on the economic statecraft of China, both in the role of aid receiver and aid giver. He argues that in order to regain its “rightful” position in the international community, the PRC was not only on the target side (being sanctioned and aided) but also on the sender side (rendering economic aid and imposing economic sanctions). This is the central argument of the book.

As a well-known Cold War historian, Shu Guang Zhang adopts an international history approach to describe and analyze the PRC’s experiences with economic statecraft during the Cold War years by using the recently declassified Chinese and Soviet bloc countries’ archives and records, and each chapter of the book (8 chapters in total) deals with one of those experiences. China’s foreign economic statecraft had its origins in 1949 when the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was proclaimed. Shortly after the PRC came into being, the United States and other Western powers imposed restrictions on trade with China. After 1949, the PRC followed Soviet-style economic policy, including foreign trade policy, at least partly as a response to the trade embargo and other economic sanctions by the US and its allies, especially after the breakout of the Korean War in 1950. The PRC had been a target of economic aid from the Soviet Union and the East European countries from 1949 to the early 1960s. At the same time Beijing also adopted a strategy to break the China embargo by simultaneously promoting trade with some non-Communist countries, including the UK and Japan. The PRC was taking a position in China-Soviet economic relations by seeking Soviet aid while resisting Moscow’s influence. The impact of the political relations and nationalism on the bilateral economic relations was enormous, and as a result, the Soviet Union withdrew all of its advisers sent to China and imposed economic punishment on China in 1963.

Starting in the mid-1950s, shortly after the end of the Korean War, the PRC, a very poor country in the world, devoted much of its still limited resources to aid select Asian and African countries, shifting from the target to the sender position. The aid diplomacy targeted toward the African and Asian states bore fruit in 1971 when the 26th UN Central Assembly passed a resolution which called for the replacement of Taiwan’s seat at the UN with the PRC. China continued to provide aid to the so-called third-world countries in the remaining years of Mao’s rule and in the post-Mao era. In the 1960s and 1970s, North Korea, Mongolia, Albania, and North Vietnam were the four socialist countries which received a large amount of economic aid from China. The PRC aimed to lure those recipients of economic aid away from the USSR or to neutralize them in the Sino-Soviet rivalry, and the four socialist brothers also took great efforts to exploit the difficulty in the Sino-Soviet relations more to their own advantage. In the end, China’s aid to those countries proved counterproductive to its political objectives. As a result, China even sanctioned Albania and Vietnam by terminating aid to them in the second half of the 1970s. Beginning in the late 1970s with the proclamation of the reform and opening policy, China’s economic statecraft entered a new stage. While continuing to stress the utility of economic aid in accomplishing political and strategic goals, the Chinese leadership under Deng Xiaoping assigned China’s economic diplomacy a new mission: to help promote China’s opening up abroad and economic reforms at home, including the economic incentive diplomacy toward Washington, and the expansion of China’s share of the resources and labour markets. At the same time, China also began to collaborate with the United Nations and other international organizations in granting technical assistance.

Although the focus of this book is an account of the more than forty-year evolution of Beijing’s economic diplomacy during the Cold War, the historical interpretation of China’s economic diplomatic behaviour in the past might also provide readers with a better understanding of the current and future economic statecraft of the PRC. As the author points out in the book, Beijing’s past experiences with economic diplomacy might play a role in shaping China’s foreign policy in the coming decades. As China has been rising as a great power, no longer a poor country by any contemporary economic measure, Beijing seems poised to transform its economic might into considerable political influence in world affairs.

Xiaoming Zhang, Peking University, Beijing, China

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CHINESE AND AMERICANS: A Shared History. By Xu Guoqi; foreword by Akira Iriye. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2014. xiii, 332 pp. (Illustrations.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-05253-6.

Untimely deaths punctuate Xu Guoqi’s engagingly written “shared history” of Chinese and American attempts to cooperate toward China’s self-strengthening and modernization. Anson Burlingame succumbed to illness while touring Europe as China’s representative seeking more favourable treaty terms; several students in the Chinese Educational Mission passed away before returning home; Ge Kunhua, the first Chinese native hired to teach the language at Harvard, died from pneumonia only three years into his posting; uremia claimed Yuan Shikai before he could expand presidential powers as advised by the constitutional law advisor Frank Goodnow.

Apart from Yung Wing’s Chinese Educational Mission and John Dewey, the individuals and projects featured in Chinese and Americans have previously received little scholarly attention. Echoing Prasenjit Duara’s interventions in Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China (University of Chicago Press, 1997), they seem not to have contributed to the dominant turns taken in China’s unruly recent history. Xu argues that the many abrupt starts and stops in China’s long quest for self-strengthening via Westernization have obscured but not necessarily rendered inconsequential those efforts that produced few short-term outcomes. He suggests persuasively that the fraught image of Western domination, poor communications, and Chinese corruption and incompetence that has tended to characterize this era should be leavened with consideration of these carefully developed and mutually constituted efforts toward integrating China into the circle of modern nations. A striking example is the scrupulous attention brought by both Ge Kunhua and his advocate Francis Knight to the selection of textbooks and adapting of pedagogical approaches for Ge’s pioneering efforts to teach Chinese to Americans in the United States.

Chinese and Americans is perhaps most expressive in conveying the dedication, talents, and creative adaptability of Qing dynasty and Republican Chinese leaders such as Zeng Guofan, Li Hongzhang, Prince Gong, Sun Jiagu, Wu Tingfang, Tang Shaoyi, Cai Tinggan, and Hu Shi in seeking purchase in a world dominated by militaristic powers who operated by vastly different rules. They proactively sought support and advice from Americans and other foreigners whom they had identified to be well-qualified and sympathetic to China, and hired not a few, including Anson Burlingame, who negotiated on China’s behalf the first equal treaty since the first Opium War. This unprecedented gain in status for China reflected Burlingame’s conviction, unfortunately then shared by too few other Americans, that China must be allowed and encouraged to develop into a sovereign, independent nation. The Qing funded the Chinese Educational Mission, as described most authoritatively by Edward Rhoads in Stepping Forth into the World: The Chinese Educational Mission to the United States, 1872-81 (University of Hong Kong Press, 2011), under the access to public military schools secured in this agreement. Within a scant dozen years, however, the White House and US Congress moved to renegotiate the treaty terms so that the United States could restrict the immigration of Chinese, reflecting a majority view that a strong America should press its advantages over a weak China.

Even the efforts of liberals such as Goodnow and Dewey to facilitate China’s modernization were motivated in part by the goal of spreading American influence. This self-interest and overconfidence has on frequent occasions blinded Americans in their dealings with Chinese by limiting capacities to discern and comprehend how the intense forces of nationalism and self-determination moved China away from US influence and toward communism.

Xu argues that “despite giving a general impression of isolation and stagnation, Chinese civilization was not bankrupt, nor was ‘China’ or ‘Chinese culture’ at a dead end; it only needed to work out a way forward in a very different world system.” As Goodnow concluded, this required a dominant, centralized authority and not necessarily a republican form of government poorly directed by a mass of population as yet unprepared to meaningfully cast votes. China had to wait until “a nationalist revolution . . . concentrated the power by which a Chinese nation could develop internally and protect itself internationally” (260-261). Communist successes justify Xu’s final substantive chapter surveying sports as a site of mutual endeavour and subsumed nationalist competition but also as a vehicle to strengthen international alliances. The “ping pong” diplomacy of 1972 warmed the chill of the Cold War, followed by unified action in Olympic boycotts targeting the Soviet Union during the 1980s which affirmed China’s common cause with America. Forty years of economic integration logically culminated in Beijing’s triumphant hosting of the Games in 2008 with a dazzling display of cutting-edge technology and wealth that emphatically proclaimed China’s return as a major world power.

Although selective in its narration of the past 150 years of entwined history, Chinese and Americans recalls key conjunctures of amity and cooperation during times of even the greatest misunderstanding and conflict, endowing hope in personal friendships when political negotiations fail to find a way to move forward.

Madeline Y. Hsu, The University of Texas, Austin, USA

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CHINA’S CIVIL WAR: A Social History, 1945-1949. New Approaches to Asian History, 13. By Diana Lary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. xii, 283 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$29.99, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-67826-2.

French novelist Victor Hugo once wrote that “foreign war is a scratch on the arm; a civil war is an ulcer which devours the vitals of a nation.” The Chinese Civil War (1927–1949)—technically ongoing since the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan) never signed an official armistice—is no exception to this characterization of civil strife as an instrument of life-shattering trauma. Historians know well that the conflict split China along ideological lines, with millions of Communist and Nationalist soldiers and countless millions of civilians perishing throughout the duration of hostilities, and millions more evacuating the Mainland to Taiwan to escape the victorious Chinese Communists. But lost in the war’s underscoring of the ideological divide between Mainland China and Taiwan and postwar interpretations of the war on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are the people who suffered through war themselves.

Contrary to ideologically tempered interpretations of the 1945–1949 period of the Chinese Civil War, however, China’s Civil War: A Social History, 1945-1949 by Diana Lary (professor emeritus, University of British Columbia) moves beyond existing Marxist and postmodern theoretical approaches to interpret it through the lens of trauma theory. Like her previous Scars of War (ed. with Stephen Mackinnon), The Chinese People at War, and China at War (ed. with Ezra Vogel and Mackinnon), military history interweaves with social history to frame a picture of the lives of people during and after violent conflict. Lary uses biographies, memoirs, illustrations, and oral histories to accomplish this end, thereby highlighting the “painful and divisive social impacts of the war” (12) to give voices to those who either experienced China’s Civil War firsthand or felt its reverberations through familial ties.

The book consists of eight chapters that cover the war in chronological fashion, from its social background in the opening chapter to the immediate and social outcomes in the 1950s. Lary sets the first few chapters against a backdrop of Guomindang (GMD) instability and Chinese Communist regrouping in China’s countryside after 1927. Chapter 1 examines elite upheaval, social polarization, and the psycho-social effects that war with Japan caused, while the second chapter analyzes the transition from the Second Sino-Japanese War into all-out civil strife between Communist and GMD belligerents, during which, as Lary states, the “re-establishment of political order in China was fragile” (38). The author argues in chapter 3 that despite the GMD’s control of China, several turning points account partially for a spike in support for the Communists and shifted momentum into their camp, such as a disunited GMD’s failed efforts to recoup lands that they lost previously, economic turmoil, and its total ignorance of winning hearts and minds. The next few chapters, meanwhile, trace the Communists’ gradual rise from rural nuisance to tactical aggressor. The fourth, fifth, and sixth chapters discuss the escalation of the conflict, leading up to the eleven months of the Communists’ rout of GMD forces as it moved to take Beijing by 1949. Chapters 7 and 8 examine outcomes of the war during the 1950s such as the victorious Communists’ entrenchment of class differences, generational splits as youth took primacy in Communist China over parents and adults, and in contrast to earlier periods, a promise to improve the status of women. The concluding chapter provides an exposé into postwar reverberations, namely isolation, cross-Taiwan Strait interpretations/re-interpretations of the conflict, and memories of the war.

Overall, the book satisfies as a long-overdue investigation of the immediate post-WWII period of the Chinese Civil War without the ideological or nationalist overtones that have characterized previous efforts, yet some issues do detract from an otherwise excellent study. Lary’s inclusion of succinct biographical snapshots—from last Emperor Pu Yi, acclaimed author Jiang Bingzhi (Ding Ling) to best-selling novelist and journalist Louis Cha and famed director Ang Lee—succeeds in connecting peoples’ stories to the larger analysis of the Chinese Civil War. Her decision to incorporate them only in short form instead of granting them chapter-length focus, however, is disappointing, and at times this causes distraction from the larger point that the author endeavours to make. Also offsetting is Lary’s invocation of Chalmers Johnson’s somewhat dated mono-causal explanation for the spread of nationalism in China to rural areas. Lary states that Johnson “argues persuasively that the alliance between Party and peasantry in the resistance to Japan brought nationalism to the villages, taught peasants to understand how oppressed they were under the old order and gave them a sense of belonging to a nation” (8). However, recent scholarship based on Communist Party documents, classified GMD intelligence reportage, and local archives reveals otherwise. Chen Yungfa’s local historical approach, for instance, highlights issues of tax evasion, army desertion, the Party’s countermeasures, corvée service, and soldier enlistment campaigns, to demonstrate that to overcome the peasant tradition of resisting state requirements the Communists’ required more than patriotic appeals to mobilize peasants. Prasenjit Duara, in the same vein, argues that Qing state modernizing initiatives attacked local religion and lineage structures, thereby empowering entrepreneurial brokers, and unseating rural gentry to create a cultural nexus of power vacuum that remained unfilled until the Communists established rural bases. Therefore, the Communists’ exploitation of several cleavages, not merely homages to a detached and ethereal nationalism, explains more fully the phenomenon of peasant mobilization against the Japanese occupiers.

Such issues notwithstanding, China’s Civil War is a thoughtful and well-composed volume that breaks the mould of telling military history by placing valuable insight on the social dimensions of civil strife. Diana Lary’s interweaving of accounts of the war with people’s lives illustrates the conflict’s pervasiveness across several social strata in Chinese society, reminding us that countless numbers of everyday Chinese endured significant hardship at wartime, and even thereafter, in both Chinas, many more still seek to sew the broken pieces of their lives back together.

Matt Galway, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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POWERFUL PATRIOTS: Nationalist Protest in China’s Foreign Relations. By Jessica Chen Weiss. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. x, 341 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$31.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-938755-7.

In this deeply researched volume, author Jessica Chen Weiss examines Beijing’s management of nationalist, anti-foreign protests. If the elite of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are dependent on popular nationalism to back their foreign policy aims, does this inhibit rational diplomacy? Under what circumstances do the authorities allow or even encourage citizens to take to the streets to organize demonstrations? When do they shut down protests and bring activists in to “drink tea,” a thinly veiled warning that failure to improve their behavior will result in more strenuous penalties. Chen Weiss presents seven case studies. Two involve the United States: the apparently accidental bombing of the PRC embassy in Belgrade in 1999 and the collision of an American reconnaissance plane with a Chinese air force fighter plane in 2001. Five concern Japan: the demonstrations of 1985, protests in the 1990s, 2005, 2010, and 2012. She argues convincingly that without visible evidence of popular anger, Chinese leaders, being unelected, have greater difficulty convincing foreign observers that public opinion credibly constrains their diplomatic options. Anti-foreign, nationalist protests enable authoritarian leaders to raise the specter of a popular backlash if they make concessions, while discernible efforts to repress nationalist sentiment allow the authorities to play “good cop” relative to extremist voices from the streets.

Still, any actions to diminish the intensity of the demonstrators have serious disadvantages both internationally and internally. Target countries perceive a weakening of central government resolve on the foreign policy issues that brought the protestors to the streets and may be less inclined to meet Beijing’s demands. Domestically, suppressed activists become disillusioned with their government, accusing it of unpatriotic behaviour and even implying that corrupt high-level officials stand to enhance their incomes by collusion with foreign entities. Party and government leaders are acutely aware that the demonstrations they encourage, either tacitly or actively, may be used to bring down the regime. Hence they are sensitive to indications that activists’ demands are straying off message, seguing into slogans urging an end to such practices as illegal confiscation of land, inflation, corruption, and suppression of freedom of expression.

Chen Weiss presents examples of where the Chinese government has succeeded in extracting concessions on the basis of popular pressure. Premier Zhu Rongji, negotiating the PRC’s accession to the World Trade Organization, was able to extract a reduction of ownership in telecommunications and insurance from 51 to 50 percent, persuading US representative Charlene Barshevsky that he would lose his job otherwise. In 2005, Japanese officials attributed their country’s failure to obtain permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council to popular protests in China.

Though not remarked on by the author, the ability of Chinese officials to convince Western negotiators that their jobs are at stake if they cannot get concessions is ongoing. An example that long predates the founding of the PRC occurred during talks between Qing representative Qiying (Ch’i Ying) and British envoy Sir Henry Pottinger over what eventually become the 1842 Treaty of Nanjing. In addition to Barshevsky’s concern for Zhu, in 1985, Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro, believing that his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine would undermine the position of Chinese leader Hu Yaobang, pledged he would not revisit the shrine, which Chinese activists consider symbolic of Japan’s lack of remorse for the country’s aggression during World War II.

Two years later, paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, pressing Japan for a concession on the ownership of a disputed dormitory as well as additional aid, told Japanese officials “it will be impossible to explain [these actions] to the people. It will be impossible to control them. I want you to understand this position which [party and government] are in” (102). A Japanese analyst commented that whenever political disagreements arose, Tokyo attached the highest priority to avoiding serious confrontation and made the concessions necessary to defuse the crisis.

Despite the author’s efforts, it is difficult to thread a path through the murky waters of less than transparent high-level diplomacy, and some oddities appear. This reviewer was puzzled by the statement that, after the Tiananmen demonstrations of 1989, Japan rewarded China for Chinese restraint. Perhaps it should have been the other way around. The Japanese government, though publicly opposed to sanctions against China, acquiesced to American pressure, and ended them as soon as possible. Japanese business people were the first to return to China after June 4, some even arriving before their government had deemed their presence safe. Tokyo was roundly criticized by democracy activists, some of whom threatened violence against Japanese citizens for supporting the Beijing leadership.

There is an occasional tendency to accept soothing diplomatic rhetoric as reality. The Japanese ambassador’s statement in the mid-1990s that Sino-Japanese relations were the best in the new decade belied serious underlying tensions. While the Japanese government and business community were eager to soothe relations, public opinion was horrified by the murder of unarmed civilians, and views of the PRC took a sharply negative turn. Chen Weiss describes the Japanese government’s reaction to the National People’s Congress passing, in 1992, a law unilaterally declaring sovereignty as mild. Yet it was only publicly so; the declaration threatened to scuttle a long-planned visit by the imperial couple to China, which officials on each side had, for their own reasons, desired. The law also provides needed context to Japan’s efforts to resist China’s efforts to take control of the disputed islands, which Tokyo had incorporated in 1895, and energized nationalist sentiments in Japan. While there is much evidence of Japanese concern for the position of Chinese administrators, there is no indication of Chinese leadership concern for their Japanese counterparts and relatively little examination of the influence of Japanese domestic politics on it government’s decision-making.

Allegations that the Japanese foreign ministry was far too accommodative to China came to a head in 2002, when Chinese police entered the Japanese consulate-general in Shenyang to extricate a North Korean family who had sought refuge there. The incident, unmentioned in this volume, discredited the so-called China School in the Japanese foreign ministry, thereby narrowing the bargaining space for solution of disputes.

Withal, Chen Weiss sustains her argument well. A prudent Chinese leadership should, she counsels, balance the long-term risks of stoking Chinese nationalism against the short-term gains of diplomatic pressure. This is a book well worth reading.

June Teufel Dreyer, University of Miami, Florida, USA

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PATRONAGE AND POWER: Local State Networks and Party-State Resilience in Rural China. By Ben Hillman. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. viii, 208 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8936-3.

A book that contains the following quotes from its rural Chinese interviewees has to be interesting: “If you’re not corrupt, no one will trust you,” (15) and “In Mao’s day we had more fairness, but that’s because we all had an equal share of nothing” (138). And while Ben Hillman’s study of patronage links starts off with a fairly abstract scene-setting chapter about the nature of kinship and the political, moral, and economic values attached to this in contemporary China, the material that follows is richly informed by the decade-long period he spent doing field research in a remote part of the southwest.

His broad subject is the reach of the Chinese Party-state into the most distant places. The picture he draws is of a Communist Party and government often portrayed as hierarchical and rigid in its Beijing manifestation which, in its most local face at least, has created an extraordinary, dynamic accommodation with the highly networked nature of society there. In the author’s description, the Party has, in the ways in which its officials organize relations and dispense resources, made a very broad framework within which people work, leaving plenty of space for variations and adaptations. It is a less fiercely prescriptive entity than the one that is sometimes portrayed, at least outside China. The Party in this account is pragmatic to its fingertips, and, depending on whether you are looking at it from its provincial, prefectural, country, or town levels, shows different faces to the world.

In the village-level entity the author spent most of his time at, there were two issues he picked up on that illustrate this diversity. One was that, purely through bureaucratic accident, a place that anywhere else in China would have ranked as a township was given classification as a rural area. This allowed it to hold multi-candidate elections under the 1998 Village Election Laws, despite the fact that from the early 2000s the brief experiment in townships elections effectively ceased. The second was that on the whole the relationship between kinship links and how these led to the exercise of power was not a straightforward one. People spent time mobilizing areas of support through the different groups ranged around them when elections came up; there were constituencies that were relatively easy to mobilize, and other which were more neutral and had to be appeased by different sorts of incentives, from money to discreet favours and other promises. While not a “democracy” in the formal sense, at the most local level, from the evidence presented here, China is certainly a place where people often negotiate, campaign, and form alliances, support for which has to be won rather than assumed.

This is one of the problems that Hillman’s book very lucidly puts into sharper focus. Everyone knows that China remains a highly networked society, and that human relationships and connections remain a fundamental characteristic of the business, cultural, and political life of the country. But trying to get inside these relationships to give them a stronger sense of definition and content is challenging. The fact that people went to the same schools, worked in the same factories or on the same farms, or are linked by marriage gives at least some clues as to what that content might be. But kinship also means something more than this—a sense of shared interest and values, or clan identity for instance, or shared world views.

This issue of content is highlighted in an informal survey the author undertook, showing that most of the residents of the area he is looking at rank political connectedness and wealth over all other preferred qualities in a village leader—including efficiency and honesty. The most we can conclude from this is that the Chinese people he talked to place a high value on perceptions of being well-connected. But the real value of this connectedness is far harder to quantify. He refers later to other studies that show rank incompetence has not precluded the well-connected from enjoying good careers when they get the right sort of support. But against this, he does also offer signs of supportive relationships that get exhausted and end, or people whose incompetence is finally dealt with by them being sidelined in positions at cultural bureaus or academic entities where they have grand-sounding titles, but zero powers or influence. In these aspects, China is not so different from the outside world. Even when it comes to connections and kinship values, people change their minds and have strategies in place to deal with this.

This links to probably the most contentious issue the book raises: how far can lessons observed in the regions Hillman studied be extrapolated elsewhere in China? This, after all, is the promise implied in the book’s title and subtitle, which seems to promise a description of networks and power in rural China generally, rather than one area of Yunnan. Ethnically, geographically, and even developmentally, Hillman is evidently looking at somewhere which is very specific. Perhaps the only safe conclusion to draw from this book is that, organizationally at least, the Communist Party of China represents different things to different people, and this almost liquid aspect of the way it exercises power is the source of its durability.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Hillman’s study is the lively vignettes that he relays about some of the elections he has witnessed and the way people in the area he researched related to each other, tried to gain influence, and, when things didn’t go well, how they sometimes lost it. For a crisp, accessible description of how towns, counties, and prefectures are meant to operate, this book is invaluable. Whether it tells us much about the real nature of power in China, however, is more debatable.

Kerry Brown, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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CHINESE MODELS OF DEVELOPMENT: Global, Local, and Comparative Perspectives. Challenges Facing Chinese Political Development. Edited by Tse-Kang Leng and Yu-Shan Wu. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. xviii, 301 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$100.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7391-9226-9.

This volume is the product of a collaborative effort between the Institute of Political Science, Academia Sinica, and the Department of Political Science of the University of Virginia in November 2011. The organizing theme of the volume concerns the issue of “models” of Chinese development. The book is divided into four parts, each providing a somewhat different take on understanding Chinese models of development. Part 1 focuses on Chinese models and paradigms of development studies with contributions by Yun-han Chu and Xiaoming Huang. The second part, on Chinese models in comparative perspective, has essays by Yu-Shan Wu, Allen Lynch, and Brantly Womack. Part 3 looks at regional models of development in China, with two essays by Tse-Kang Leng and Szu-chien Hsu and Hans Tung. The final section looks at models of Chinese external relations and global governance. Here, David Kang, Rumi Aoyama, and Herman Schwartz provide the chapters.

As with most edited volumes, the contributions are uneven. I particularly liked Yun-han Chu’s essay on regime legitimacy in China; Yu-Shan Wu’s essay comparing China’s development models with the historical experience of the Republic of China (both on the mainland and on Taiwan) and the thought of Sun Yat-sen; Tse-Kang Leng’s examination of cultural industry development in different areas of Nanjing; Szu-chien Hsu and Hans Tung’s examination of local autonomy under the 2008 Chinese stimulus package; and David Kang’s essay on hegemony, power, and history in international relations.

A number of the essays in this volume are revisions of papers that have been published in English elsewhere (Chu and Womack) and others have been published in other languages or summarize larger works by the authors. In some cases, the papers have been updated to include data from 2013, but in others, there seems to have been little added since the original conference in 2011.

The editors state in the preface that there is “no single ‘Chinese model’ to cover all dimensions of this rising power” (vii). However, while there is no single model, a central problem with this volume is there is no agreement on what exactly a model is, or what makes a model a model. Thus, for many of the essays, one might easily substitute “the Chinese experience” (or experiences), the “Chinese case(s),” or even Chinese history. Is it a distinctly Chinese model or models, or does China fit or not fit some other “type” or category? Some do try to think about the issue of model or models more or less explicitly (Xiaoming Huang in particular), but there is no consistent effort to unify the essays around what exactly a model is or might be. Several of the authors do not seem to pay any attention to the issue of whether (and in what respects) China is a model at all. Without a more explicit consideration of what constitutes a model, there is no standard of comparison and evaluation common to all of these essays, so the essays stand on their own as opposed to being in a more explicit dialogue with each other. The whole is not greater than the sum of its parts.

Several questions might have been used to organize this volume more effectively around the issue of Chinese models. First, can we extrapolate out China’s reform experience core, enduring analytical elements of that experience? How do we know what is the core or enduring? Given that China’s reforms and changes remain dynamic, how is it possible to isolate out the underlying core elements of a model? Second, is the model time-bound or not? Are there a series of “models,” one after another? Allen Lynch compares Deng’s reforms of the 1980s with Gorbachev’s reforms in the Soviet Union (though his title suggests he covers the 1965 to 2010 period). But the Chinese reforms of the 1980s were quite different than the reforms of the 1990s or 2000s. Which set of experiences are truly a model, or put differently, if each set of reform experiences is a model, is there any model at all?

Third, we might ask whether the model is replicable in other countries or localities? Can the model be diffused or transplanted without doing undo damage to the model when there is an attempt to emulate it in other contexts? If it cannot, then in what sense is it a model, as opposed to a unique case? Fourth, in addition to the question of transferability, we might try to probe what political purposes are served by labelling something as a model. Who benefits or is privileged by such a label? What experiences are excluded when a model becomes a particular reification of reality? Several of the authors discuss or mention the “Beijing Consensus” though none seems to see this as a model. Presumably, the Beijing Consensus calls for authoritarian politics and state capitalist approaches, thereby de-emphasizing democracy and more laissez-faire forms of capitalism. Is that enough to qualify for a model? If it is not, why isn’t it?

A number of the essays in this volume provide some fruitful material to contemplate as we think about comparing China to other places or experiences, and what makes China’s experience during the post-Mao period unique. But this book represents perhaps a starting point for those endeavours, and leaves us far from any definitive conclusions.

David Bachman, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

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Northeast Asia


THE JAPAN-SOUTH KOREA IDENTITY CLASH: East Asian Security and the United States. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Brad Glosserman and Scott A. Snyder. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. xi, 218 pp. US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-17170-0.

For the US, the South Korea-Japan relationship is a difficult puzzle since it has been constructed outside the classical framework of international relations. Despite South Korea and Japan’s similar national interests, well-developed trade networks, shared fundamental values, and cultural affinities, their bilateral relations have often degenerated into a downward spiral of uncontrollable conflict. Meanwhile, the US has had to efficiently utilize its alliance structure with South Korea and Japan, which has functioned as a cornerstone of US interests in East Asia, in order to overcome both internal and external threats, posed by its own budgetary crisis and the rise of China, respectively. This volume aims to address these challenges.

The coexistence of conflict and cooperation is one of the most significant and enduring characteristics in the history of South Korea-Japan relations. Thus, their bilateral relationship has often been regarded as an exceptional case, sitting outside of mainstream international relations theories. Notwithstanding the two countries’ common interest in responding to the threats posed by North Korea and an ascendant China, their relationship experienced an unprecedented stalemate in 2015, the year that marked the fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic normalization between the two states. Thus, even the institutionalization of economic networks and the convergence of values and culture between the two countries could not prevent their relationship from deteriorating.

In light of this difficult history, the authors present a novel approach to policy prescription by focusing on the respective national identities of Korea and Japan. This book is their attempt to go beyond the explanations provided by conventional international relations theories, such as realism, liberalism, and constructivism; arguably, they attempt to establish national identity as an international relations theory with a concrete scientific methodology, supported by their abundance of data made possible by improvements in the research environment.

Glosserman and Snyder first investigate the two countries’ national identities and trace observable movements in the process of identity construction through opinion poll data and in-depth interviews with political elites. The authors argue that changes in the two countries’ national identities can be traced to their domestic politics, which have adapted to new realities since the end of the Cold War. The authors point out that such identity reconstruction has become a critical challenge to US efforts at alliance policy coordination. According to the authors, by treating a change to the national identity of each country as an independent variable, the US can choose its policy options from the following six scenarios: regionalization of alliances, de facto trilateral alliance, status quo or “passive delinking,” a focus on one alliance at the expense of the other, alliance commitments without troop presence, and dismantling of the US-led alliance structure. The authors then suggest that the best option for the US is a shift from the third option of “passive delinking”—the status quo—to the second scenario of a de facto trilateral alliance aimed at reinvigoration ROK-Japan-US trilateralism. They conclude that the most important task is to normalize and further develop South Korea-Japan relations, “the weakest link” in the trilateral framework, and thus the US should actively engage in solving the issues related to the identity clash between the two.

The ultimate goal of this volume is to offer a recommendation for US policy towards East Asia. Whereas the early chapters focus on an analysis of South Korea-Japan bilateral ties based on theories of national identity, the later chapters address ways to share and promote the national interests of South Korea, Japan, and the US given the realities influenced by South Korea and Japan’s respective national identities.

On December 28, 2015, in the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the diplomatic normalization between South Korea and Japan, the two countries dramatically settled the “sex slave” issue, which had been the biggest impediment to harmonious bilateral ties. The role of the US in facilitating the settlement process was crucial. It seems like the authors’ academically inspired recommendations had been borne out by US policy. Several days later, on January 6, 2016, North Korea carried out its fourth nuclear test, and then on February 7 that state announced the successful launch of a rocket carrying an “earth observation satellite.” South Korea regarded this action as the launch of a virtual ballistic missile. This behaviour led to enhanced security cooperation between South Korea, Japan, and the US, creating pressure on China to affect a solution to North Korea’s behavior. This cooperation can be considered as the realization of a “minilateral solution,” one of the scenarios suggested by the authors. However, reality suggests a different possibility than the six scenarios offered in this book. It appears that signs of a shift from the initial stage of a South Korea-Japan-US trilateral alliance pressing China to a new “grand bargain” platform between the US and China to control North Korea’s nuclear pursuits has emerged. Hence, the authors’ efforts are only half successful—they unfold a new reality yet leave uncertainty in their predictive ability.

The authors’ personal backgrounds possibly influence their predictive capacity. Their research has focused on current issues in East Asia, with their interests rooted mainly in the real world rather than in the academic sphere. Glosserman and Snyder are well-known specialists of US relations with East Asian countries—concentrating respectively on Japan and Korea—and have published extensive work aimed at advising US policy in East Asia. This book is a condensed version of the work and knowledge that they have accumulated through their careers as analysts in think tanks rather than as theorists in academic circles, providing identifiable empirical data and material to support their arguments. Despite such strength in practicality, readers may feel frustration at the book’s weaker theoretical grounding, as the authors attempt to establish a new theory of international relations rooted in the notion of national identity. Therefore, I think the reader will get more information and insight from this volume by treating it as a policy recommendation regarding US policy toward East Asia rather than as a monograph for theoretical discussions of South Korea-Japan relations. The incorrect romanization of some Korean and Japanese terms, such as kakkashugi (15, kokkashugi), kimeraru seiji (57, kimerareru seiji), and N-sidae (75, N-sedae), is a minor shortcoming in this outstanding work.

Kijeong Nam, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea                                                           

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ANTI-AMERICANISM IN DEMOCRATIZING SOUTH KOREA. By David Straub. Stanford, CA: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University, 2015. xv, 246 pp. US$18.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-931368-38-4.

Many were astonished by the massive anti-American candlelight vigils that occurred in front of Seoul City Hall in the winter of 2002. This phenomenon triggered policy and scholarly research on anti-Americanism in Korea, and predictions of a perpetually strained ROK-US alliance. Although Korea soon returned to being among the world’s most pro-American countries, few researchers examined why their predictions turned out to be inaccurate.

In the midst of the current “better than ever” alliance, David Straub, a career diplomat who spent the tumultuous years of 1999 to 2002 as political section director at the American Embassy in Seoul, has revisited this question after fifteen years. His book offers a rich overview of the historical background of Korea-US relations, followed by vivid, specific, and well-documented narration of several cases, including the Nogun-ri killings; American use of Agent Orange and formaldehyde; Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) revision; policy fissures on North Korea; the Korean short-track speed skater’s disqualification for interfering with his American rival at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City; and the Highway 56 tragedy, where two Korean school girls were accidentally run over and killed by a US military armored vehicle culminating in mass anti-American street protests.

The author expresses his enormous frustration as an American embassy official at seeing little room for his government to ease public unrest at the time. Straub identifies four major sources of this unrest: Korean nationalism coupled with feelings of victimization at the hands of major powers; fierce media competition leading to sensationalist reporting that galvanized such nationalism; criticism of the US by so-called “386 Generation” reporters and editors, due to their conviction of American complicity in the 1980 Gwangju incident; and the empowerment of progressives and the 386 Generation to express anti-American sentiments, something that had been censored during the pre-democratization period in Korea (the term 386 Generation refers to those who were in their 30s at the time the term was coined, were university students in 1980s, and were born in 1960s).

The book concludes with a discussion of three salient policy issues: North Korea’s nuclear program, the Korea-Japan conflict, and the rise of China. The author also suggests that “the risk to the alliance would be greater if progressives were in power in Seoul” (218), while not completely precluding such a risk under a conservative government.

Anyone interested in anti-Americanism in Korea and elsewhere will appreciate Straub’s tremendous efforts to produce a relatively objective documentation of events, worthwhile not only as a record but also as a basis for further research regardless of ideological perspective. Although valuable in itself, subjective narration is much enhanced when communicated alongside other interpretations to ensure inter-subjectivity. This book review grants a privileged opportunity for dialogue between observers using two different lenses.

As a former Blue House staff member under Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, I could not agree more with Straub on two things: the sensational media distortion carried out by both conservative and progressive camps, and the potential for a resurgence of anti-American sentiment under a progressive Korean government—although chances of this are quite limited. However, while our conclusions are similar, Straub and I employ different logic to reach them (Kisuk Cho, “The Rise and Decline of South Korean anti-American Sentiment,” Korea Observer vol. 46, no. 2 [2015]).

I personally believe that the US government could have better mitigated anti-American sentiment had it been aware of the rising public voice and consequent importance of public relations, even in new democracies. Nonetheless, the US government cannot be blamed as it was not ready to conduct successful public diplomacy until after the redirection of foreign policy following the 9-11 attacks.

We are witnessing a paradigm shift from professional to public diplomacy due to the widespread democratization of communications technology. However, the Bush Administration was unpopular around the world during the period covered by this book, when American diplomats and military personnel were unequipped to deal with angry publics, particularly in a low-trust society like Korea. Further, diplomats had never previously needed such skills because Korea had been predominantly pro-American regardless of American policy directions.

It was US Ambassador Christopher Hill who first started using social media to communicate directly with the Korean public, with subsequent ambassadors following suit. After the 2002 protests, Koreans felt heard by Washington even in appointments of American ambassadors to Korea, and polls showed an ever-increasing favourability toward  the US among Koreans.

Straub aptly identifies potential issues in the rise of anti-American sentiment in Korea, but an issue with even more detrimental potential could be THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense), even under the current conservative Korean government and in the context of the North Korean sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan. If a progressive Korean government were to take power, people would likely demand an investigation into the real cause behind the sinking of the Cheonan and the role of the US government, as they do not trust the South Korean government’s claim of North Korean culpability. This does not mean a progressive Korean government would provoke anti-American sentiment among Koreans, as the author implies. Rather, the progressive party would find it difficult to defy its principles of democracy and transparency in dealing with such issues.

It is regrettable that the author views former president Roh through the lens of the partisan Korean media, even after criticizing its vicious sensationalism, and makes two mistaken assertions regarding Roh. First, the claim that “the anti-American mood was a decisive factor in Roh’s narrow victory,” has been refuted by Byong-Kuen Jhee (“Anti-Americanism and Electoral Politics in Korea,” Political Science Quarterly vol. 123, no. 2 [2008]).

Second, his ascription of “the end of the anti-American eruption” to “President Roh’s weaknesses as a leader” (207) ignores the fact that protests abruptly died down after President Bush’s informal apology. He also states that “Roh was a ‘progressive,’ famous for being highly critical of the United States,” who “seemed to consider it a badge of honor that he had never set foot in the country” (4), but the truth is more nuanced. Critics insisted that candidate Roh was unqualified to be president because he was inexperienced in foreign relations as he had never set foot in the US, and thus Roh rebutted: “I will not visit the US to take a picture with high-ranking officials,” a statement meant to ridicule the critics, not the US. He stated that pro-Americanism and anti-Americanism were different sides of the same coin, stemming from a lack of self-confidence and toadyism.

As the author admits, “[i]ronically, however, Korean attitudes began to improve dramatically even as Presidents Bush and Roh were still in office” (5). President Roh always claimed the alliance should be based on mutual interests, in line with Straub’s position. This book triggers genuine dialogue between different viewpoints on the Korea-US alliance, which I am certain it will foster better understanding and mutual cooperation.

Kisuk Cho, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea                                                                           

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CONTEMPORARY KOREAN ART: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method. By Joan Kee. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press, 2013. vii, 347 pp. (Figures.) US$39.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8166-7988-1.

Recently, a certain type of Korean abstract painting has been commanding prices of well over half a million dollars. Called “Tansaekhwa” on the international art market, this art genre’s success has spurred unprecedented attention to its style, both in academic and artistic commercial circles. Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method by Joan Kee provides timely information on this group of painters and their Tansaekhwa works. Kee eloquently historicizes the development and practice of Tansaekhwa, a sub-genre of broader artistic trends in Korea dating to the 1970s. Kee argues that the Tansaekhwa painters’ lack of explicit expression in sociopolitical space under South Korea’s repressive regimes marginalized and ostracized them from the country’s artistic mainstream. She distinguishes Tansaekhwa’s abstract works from both the Western and Japanese Mono-ha abstract paintings, arguing that Tansaekhwa’s “inverted teleology” demonstrates instead strong ties with the historical and cultural particularities of Korea.

The Tansaekhwa paintings’ historical agony and sociopolitical complexes stem from the fact that the genre was born, practiced, and developed predominantly during the 1970s and 1980s, when socially expressive arts, i.e., “participatory arts,” prevailed in South Korea across all genres—visual, performative, and textual. Participatory arts were a reaction against the political repression of South Koreans’ freedom of expression, and Tansaekhwa paintings have often been criticized as being absent and silent during this trend.

The reasons for the Tansaekhwa paintings’ perceived passivity (if not complete silence) is partly attributed to their artists’ early exposure to Western-style abstract paintings while studying in Japan, Europe, or the U.S.—mostly during the period of Japanese colonial rule over Korea. Their pursuit of universalities was another catalyst that might have caused these artists to remain silent on the specific, immediate social agendas of Korea. In the context of the historical imperatives of their society, Tansaekhwa paintings have long been relegated to a peripheral position within Korean artistic circles. Following decades of suspicion and uncertainty regarding Tansaekhwa as a genre, Kee undertakes the challenging task of redeeming the Tansaekhwa paintings and thus restoring their stolen symbolic power.

According to the author, Tansaekhwa was marginalized to an intellectual space that lacked different modes of interpretation. She argues that Tansaekhwa is not limited to a style of resistance. Rather, it requires a particular narrative form that reveals questions of political and social urgency. The author urges readers to leave the “bounds of style, the parameters according to which painting tended to be gauged in Korea and elsewhere” (3) and presses them to look further, to discover the unique arrangement of materials, techniques and process—what she terms “method”—used in the production of Tansaekhwa works. Kee describes “method” as a salient messenger that connects Tansaekhwa paintings to their own historical time and creates/discovers their symbolic relationship and historical space within the Korean society of their period. The author attempts to prove this by highlighting the group’s artistic “actions” of adopting methods, paying special attention to certain forerunners such as Kwon Young-woo, Yun Hyongkeun, Ha Chonghyun, Lee Ufan, and Park Seobo. Kee argues convincingly that their use of materials, colours, and techniques connects them to notions of postwar deprivation, industrialization, social oppression, and the Cold War by means of “methods of spreading,” “methods of bleeding,” “methods of spilling,” and “methods of pushing,” as well as “methods of painting,” as Yi Kyungsung puts it.

The historical particularities for artistic platforms have changed drastically in South Korea since the country’s democratization in 1987, and so have those of international art markets from the 1990s onward. Social demands under the country’s longstanding dictatorship faded away, while the global art markets became much more accessible and receptive to artists of different ethnic and cultural orientations. These historical shifts within and outside of Korea—especially those observed in international art markets—have anointed the Tansaekhwa paintings with the financial and social imprimatur of cultural and ethnic diversity. Thus, the Tansaekhwa painters’ original pursuit of universal, pure, and non-ethnic expressions has (ironically) evolved to meet contemporary demands for historical re-contextualization within its place of origin, while being positioned in the contemporary international art world as authentic and therefore ethnic artwork.

Kee’s attention to forms and method is brilliant, and her theoretical knowledge of contemporary Korean art provides pleasurable reading for even non-art historians like myself. Obviously, the Tansaekhwa is a case of “local meets global,” in which artists capitalize on Korean-ness to separate themselves in a crowded and demanding international market. It should be noted that an effort to redeem “proper” historical representation for Tansaekhwa, however, may overshadow the movement’s other historical context: questions of de-colonialization, which played a substantial role in the trend’s foundation. Addressing this issue will, I believe, broaden the academic effort on Tansaekhwa into the fuller historical redemption Kee seeks, rather than simply the teleological action of apprising readers of Tansaekhwa’s newly obtained iconography outside Korea.

Heejeong Sohn, State University of New York, Stony Brook, USA                                                    

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THE LONG DEFEAT: Cultural Trauma, Memory, and Identity in Japan. By Akiko Hashimoto. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. xii, 192 pp. US$24.50, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-023916-9.

In 2015 the world marked the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II. This timely volume examines the complexity of Japanese war memories being handed down within contemporary Japan. The discussion comes completely up to date, even addressing early stages of the debates regarding collective self-defense that dominated domestic news in the summer of 2015. Japanese war memories are a topic that simply will not go away—academically, politically and personally—and Akiko Hashimoto’s book is an important addition to the burgeoning literature.

Hashimoto’s work is rooted in a sociological approach and revolves around a number of key concepts. The idea of cultural trauma permeates the work. Hashimoto argues (citing Jeffrey Alexander), that for Japanese the war was “a horrendous event that leaves indelible marks upon their group consciousness” (4). Within this context, divided narratives have emerged that focus on fallen national heroes, tragic victims of defeat and perpetrators (8). At the root of the fissures are two key questions: Why did we fight an unwinnable war? Why did they kill and die for a lost cause? (2) Employing a method of shadow comparisons (drawing on literature and concepts from other case studies of cultural trauma; 20), Hashimoto’s analysis works toward a final chapter in which she considers Japan’s three choices: nationalism, pacifism and reconciliationism (124). These are all key themes and concepts, and consciously placing Japan’s war experiences within an international comparative context on theoretical and empirical levels is an important contribution of the book.

These themes are explored in three case study chapters. Chapter 2 discusses personal narratives and family memories. Chapter 3 looks at representations of heroes, victims and perpetrators in the popular media. Chapter 4 considers school education, textbooks and educational manga.

I found the analysis to be quite uneven throughout these central chapters. In general, Hashimoto’s analysis was strongest in her nuanced textual analysis of particular works: the insights into testimonies of war experiences in chapter 2; the critical analysis in chapter 3 of debates among Japanese scholars on issues of war responsibility, particularly over “perpetrator-cum-victim” consciousness (79); and discussion of war education not simply as a matter of history education but within the broader curriculum, including civics education (98). These discussions contained many important insights discussed in the framework of culture trauma and broader international contexts.

The problems of unevenness in these chapters largely stem from methodological issues. The testimonies in chapter 2 were taken from letters to the Asahi newspaper and magazine Bungei Shunju (deemed to represent grassroots testimonies and elite testimonies, respectively; 28). Given the mass of testimony collected by many actors, focusing exclusively on testimonies published by two media sources with clear ideological stances seems limited, even though the individual testimonies, once selected, were sensitively analyzed thereafter. A similar problem exists in chapter 3. Various documentaries and two films (Last Operation Under the Orion and Eternal Zero) were presented, but why these particular works were selected was unclear.

However, my biggest concern relates to the analysis of newspapers. The problem seems to be encapsulated in an error relating to Yasukuni Shrine worship by Prime Minister Koizumi. Hashimoto writes: “On August 15, 2005, at the 60th anniversary of the end of the war when Koizumi visited the Yasukuni Shrine, all national newspaper editorials except the Sankei newspaper focused directly on the question of war responsibility” (63). Koizumi’s war-end anniversary visit to Yasukuni Shrine was in 2006, not 2005. The mistake in the date is not crucial in itself, but it raises questions about the rigor of the analysis of newspaper content. Scrutiny of the endnotes revealed a survey of war reporting that lacked any kind of systematic or comprehensive approach.

If chapter 3 was the weak link, then chapter 4 was the highlight. The survey of textbooks was on much more solid methodological ground. A large sample of textbooks was surveyed and the data was pulled together well. The analysis extended to museums, civics textbooks and educational manga, giving a holistic view of the types of materials Japanese children are exposed to during their education.

In the final chapter, Hashimoto assesses three approaches for “Japan to move forward”—nationalism, pacifism and reconciliationism—and situates them as “direct logical extensions of the three memory narratives” (123–124), namely Japanese as heroes, victims, and perpetrators. Tracing the implications of Japan’s war experiences into its contemporary relations in Asia and beyond is vital for understanding the politics of the region. But, the framing left me asking myself, “So if these are the approaches, which option is ‘Japan’ pursuing now?” The answer seems to be either “none,” or “a little bit of all of them.” Missing, therefore, is a coherent explanation of how the complex interactions between competing individual and collective narratives in society shape the official narrative, which ultimately is the single greatest factor determining how the world views Japan, and thereby the external pressures Japan faces on history issues that in turn contribute to the perpetuation of the cultural trauma.

In sum, this is an uneven book. Its greatest strengths are at the micro level in the sensitive readings of key texts and their situation within international discourses on cultural trauma. Its greatest weaknesses are its media analysis methodology and under-theorization of the big political picture. The result is a text that oscillates between moments of deep insight and vagueness or incompleteness. Part of me, however, felt that on occasions this juxtaposition was highly evocative of the nature of Japanese debates on the war, so that in atmosphere, if not always in argument, this book had captured the essence of its subject.

Philip Seaton, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

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IDENTITY CHANGE AND FOREIGN POLICY: Japan and its ‘others’. Edited by Linus Hagström. London; New York: Routledge, 2016. xi, 166 pp. (Graphs.) US$160.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-138-93160-2.

Since the end of WWII, Japan’s “abnormal” foreign policy has been a matter of continuing academic analysis and debate. Norm constructivists attempt to explain Japan’s international relations by employing the concept of identity. They claim that “pacifist” and “antimilitarist” standards, culture, and traditions have served to construct the country’s identity. However, this seemingly entrenched security policy has begun to evolve since the end of the Cold War despite norm constructivists maintaining that an established national identity is inherently stable. Given this observed policy change, one may begin to question the continuing validity of their claim. Linus Hagström’s edited volume, Identity Change and Foreign Policy: Japan and its ‘Others’, contributes to this debate by re-examining the claims made by norm constructivists. The volume aims to explain Japan’s changing policy in the post-Cold War period by employing an interpretation heavily dependent on a concept of “relational” identity.

As defined by the editor, this analytical framework employs a “process of differentiation vis-à-vis ‘Others’” (1). While norm constructivists perceive the change of Japan’s “pacifist” identity as deriving from an “external shock,” “relational” constructivists argue that the role played by material factors is indeterminate. It is because, they contend, “the meaning ascribed to material conditions does not necessarily follow from the ‘brute facts’” (16). Playing down the role and impact of material factors on policy change, the chapters of the book argue that identity entrepreneurs exploiting emotions such as anger, threat, and insult, create drivers precipitating identity change. This altered identity then produces the ensuing condition that promotes a policy change—in this case, strengthening Japan’s military. Hagström uses the volume’s introductory chapter to lay out a theoretical framework of identity. Ensuing chapters examine Japan’s relations with “other” Asian states to validate the employed theoretical framework by means of detailed case studies.

These empirical chapters explain the process of identity change by describing the distinction between a rational and democratic “self” versus competing emotional and unreasonable ‘others’. For instance, South Korea is conceived as an “other” that is inevitably “inferior” to Japan. However, South Korea’s economic development in the 2000s disturbed the existing balance of bilateral relations between Japan and South Korea. This disruption threatened Japan’s ontological security. China is similarly depicted as a “negative Other” that is persistently “bullying” Japan thus portrayed as a peaceful, innocent victim. This action gives rise to negative emotions such as feelings of shame and insult, which in turn contributes to identity change. North Korea in turn is described as a treacherous “other” that conducted acts of abduction. This betrayal provided the Japanese with the justification for shifting its identity from “aggressor” to “victim.” Forced to face such “difficult neighbors,” Japan’s post-war identity as a peaceful state is “more easily portrayed as mistaken and ‘abnormal’ and it might therefore have to be abandoned or at least altered” to deal with the difficulties (17). The alternation of identity then provided the grounds for a policy modification.

The book partly succeeds in illustrating the process of policy change in a manner that norm constructivists fail to achieve. The contributors accept the claim that Japan was “abnormal” and “pacifist.” They exclude, however, the impact of material factors, instead utilizing the role that emotions play in driving any requisite identity change. In turn, this alternation functions to precipitate Japan’s policy shifts. Based on their analysis, they contend that relational constructivism is “theoretically more sound than the identity concept espoused by the norm constructivists” (16). Ultimately, however, the argument is not fully convincing. The book does succeed in providing a detailed description allowing for an incisive interpretation of “others” in a variety of cases. Unfortunately, the volume fails to take into account any other factors. Therefore, readers may fail to be convinced that identity transformation is a crucial factor driving transformations in policy. An argument claiming that identity tends to be stable seems reasonable. However, in such a case, policy change would not happen frequently. Such an assertion though is contrary to any reliable observations. Japan’s security policy did change considerably in the 1990s.

The volume also fails to detail exactly how identity change yields policy change. For example, chapter 4 claims that abduction issues transformed Japan’s identity from a personal consciousness defined by an “aggressor” to that of a “peaceful victim.” The identity change then made physical “sanctions towards ‘dissenters’ seem both reasonable and justified” (87). However, there is no substantial evidence supplied linking identity change with the transformation in Japan’s policy. Rather, considering North Korea’s policy brinkmanship exemplified by its missile launch and continuing nuclear development program, the Japanese government’s tougher attitude towards North Korea appears to be a rational reaction seeking to bolster its national security. The rise of nationalist journalists and politicians may be merely a response to the changing environment and predicaments rather than a product of identity change. It may facilitate such a shift without being its origin. Likewise, while it is plausible to conclude that China’s “bullying” role was a trigger for Japan’s identity change, which precipitated a subsequent policy alteration, the transformation might be more simply described as a reasonable response to material factors such as China’s economic and military rise and its corresponding aggressiveness. The contributors employed a carefully culled set of statements to describe Japan’s interpretations of “others.” However, they tend to focus on a narrow selection by nationalists or right wing politicians and journalists. By employing what can be characterized as a biased sample, they consequently weaken the persuasiveness of their own argument.

Nevertheless, elucidating the role that charged emotions may play in modifying existing policy is a welcome addition to the literature. Hitherto, existing analysis has largely ignored any emotional factors. This study marks an advance in the ongoing identity debates. It succeeds in giving us a new perspective with which to analyze policy change in terms of identity.

Kyoko Hatakeyama, Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka, Japan                                                        

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THE MASSACRES AT MT. HALLA: Sixty Years of Truth Seeking in South Korea. By Hun Joon Kim. Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press, 2014. viii, 223 pp. (Maps, B&W photos.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5239-0.

The disastrous events of 1947 to 1954 on Jeju Island are still little known to those outside of Korea. The story of the protracted quest for truth and justice that followed them are even less so. Hun Joon Kim recounts the history of this quest in his informative and well-written new book The Massacres at Mt. Halla. It is an important case study for scholars of the transitional justice process to learn from, and is also relevant for our understanding of the contemporary politics of truth commissions in South Korea.

The beginning of Kim’s book consists of a description of the events themselves. In short, a leftist uprising on Jeju Island was brutally suppressed by the authorities (first, the US military government and, after 1948, the Republic of Korea), with thousands of locals brutally abused despite little or no connection to the initial uprising. During these years, an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 civilians were killed or wounded, with state agents responsible for 84.4 percent of the casualties (12).

Kim then proceeds to relate the story of the local activists’ quest for truth and justice. During the period of 1954 to 1987, when Korea was ruled by a succession of authoritarian presidents, remembrance of the Jeju events was effectively suppressed, with an aborted attempt at truth-seeking only occurring during a brief period of liberalization in 1960. With the beginning of Korea’s transition to democracy in 1987, local activists gradually began to find more room for action. While political conditions remained unfavourable at the national level, courageous students and journalists began to investigate the long-ignored memories of abuse, and local civil society groups began to engage in memorialization and press the government for truth-seeking and rehabilitation.

The third section describes the establishment and operation of the Jeju Commission (2000-2003). The commission is, in Kim’s narrative, the truth-finding climax, reached after years of work by local activists. Kim relates the political challenges that the commission faced at all stages from military and police representatives, but argues that these challenges were overcome through the persistence of activists and the power of the truth, as strategically uncovered by local investigators. In Kim’s telling, Kim Dae-jung and the Seoul authorities were indispensable to the commission’s establishment but were not the most important driving forces; rather, local activists were at all times critical in maintaining forward progress. This section culminates with a discussion of the commission’s impact. In brief, Kim sees the commission as a success, at least judging by the implementation of most of its recommendations (158). Kim also argues that the Jeju Commission succeeded where the Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission failed because the Jeju Commission “had a single and historical story to tell” while the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported on individual truth without a strong narrative (161). I found this argument relatively unconvincing, however; there were other political reasons for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s comparative lack of success, mostly due to the simple fact that its final report was issued during the Lee Myung-bak administration, while the Jeju Commission’s report was issued under the far more receptive Roh Moo-hyun administration.

In the concluding chapter, Kim claims that his research “suggest[s] that social movement theory and transnational advocacy networks provide useful conceptual frameworks for capturing the process of delayed truth commission establishment” (163), while rightfully noting that although transnational advocacy networks theory stresses the importance of both international and domestic pressure, in the Jeju case, pressure came mainly from local sources (165). Next, he relates that many of the local activists believe that ghosts helped them successfully press for truth and justice. The discussion of ghosts is interesting but out of place in his conclusion chapter. Finally, Kim comes up with a suggestion and two lessons that can be drawn from his research. His suggestion is that the experience of the Jeju Commission should be internationalized by, for example, translating key documents (170-72). The first lesson Kim draws is that despite its political setbacks, there is still hope for a successful legacy for the Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission because of the continuing advocacy of passionate and devoted activists (172-73). The second lesson is that there are both limitations and advantages to the delayed establishment of a truth commission, and that belated truth commissions can be helped by cultural activism and indisputable evidence (174-75).

Overall, Kim’s book works well as a case study of a little-researched but fascinating quest for justice, and will be of interest to both historians of Korea’s recent past and political scientists studying how truth commissions can successfully be established even decades after the commission of atrocities. Kim’s (convincing) conclusion that local activists played the critical role in establishing the Jeju Commission also represents an important contribution to the ongoing academic debate on the reasons for the spread of truth commissions around the world. The suggestions and implications that Kim draws from his research are largely sensible, and provide the basis for further research. Upon finishing reading Kim’s book, I was left wanting to learn more about this aspect of Korea’s modern history, which is surely one sign of a successful text.

Andrew Wolman, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea                                

CASUALTIES OF HISTORY: Wounded Japanese Servicemen and the Second World War. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University. By Lee K. Pennington. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015. xviii, 282 pp., [8] pp. of colored plates (Figures, tables.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5257-4.

Studies focused on wounded soldiers and physically disabled veterans of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) have been largely absent from both Japanese mainstream narratives and English scholarship. Pennington’s work breaks through this silence. Placing these men in the historical shift of Japanese institutions and welfare services from the 1890s to 1952, the author illustrates how they became casualties of war and later “doubly casualties of history” (16). In particular, this project reveals two distinct dimensions of Japan’s war history: the institutions that existed to treat and rehabilitate these men, and the status of the men themselves, seen by the Japanese state as an integral component of the mobilization effort during the war. This research is a vital addition to studies of war and battlefield experiences from the perspective of the defeated.

The use of a rich set of materials widens the scope of the study, including first-hand accounts, medical-related materials, institutional resources, war memoirs, and popular media. For instance, Pennington integrates IJA Physician-Captain Kawahara Kaiichirō’s memoir The Fighting Artificial Arm (1941), which enables readers to perceive how soldiers came to be wounded, how they were treated on the battlefield and at the home front, and how they interacted on a day-to-day basis with other veterans and people in wider society.

The book is divided into three major periods: prewar (1890s-1937), total war (1937-1945), and the Allied Occupation (1945-1952). Although the main focus of this study is the period of total war, Pennington begins with an exploration of military support in the prewar period, arguing that significant progress was achieved during this time. The Japanese state had previously preferred private assistance, and relied on financial contributions and support from civic associations. Following the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905, military assistance became a state-driven concern, initiating the establishment of military pensions, the Crippled Soldiers Institute, and the Military Assistance Law. These foundations became an important part of the rise in extensive care for veterans during war.

Another vital element in this period is the state’s shifting perception of wounded and disabled veterans. Particularly, soldiers who fought during the Russo-Japanese War were called “crippled soldiers” and were considered passive recipients of welfare services, incapable of acting for the nation. However, the Japanese state officially re-labelled them as “disabled veterans” in the 1930s, thereby removing negative connotations. Such a change was derived from the state’s need to enlarge mobilization for the imminent total war.

The volume’s major contribution is found in the following two chapters: the first is concerned with the sophisticated medical system at overseas battlefronts and the second with the comprehensive care at home between 1937 and 1941. Pennington demonstrates how the military medical system, and its echelon IJA medical care facilities, were well established at the war front in China, enabling the wounded to be evacuated from the battle lines and receive treatment from field surgeons and medics. Integrating logistics and military medicine, his investigation overturns what Ruth Benedict represents in her well-known work, Chrysanthemum and the Sword—that the standard of the IJA’s medical treatment was wretched.

Similarly, Pennington examines the care services administered for amputees at Tokyo Number Three, a provisional army hospital described as similar to a military barrack. The amputees who were sent back from the theatre of war received physical, vocational, and spiritual rehabilitation at the hospital. The disabled men practiced a variety of exercise therapies from daily calisthenics to sports in order to strengthen their bodies. Functional artificial arms were developed and granted to these men, and vocational training using prostheses was also offered. Spiritual training involved creative activities such as ikebana and tanka, and entertainment from external performers. Such programs were intended to reframe these men as imperial subjects rather than relegating them to the periphery of society.

Focusing on the period between 1937 and 1945, the next two chapters elucidate the favourable treatment given to disabled men who sacrificed their limbs for the sake of the nation. Not only were fully fledged welfare services available to the wounded and disabled veterans, they were also presented as physically capable actors and heroic figures. Pennington employs the term “extraordinary treatment” (174) to characterize the response of the state and wider society. Depictions of these men were positive, affirming, and respectful.

The lives of the defeated soldiers after 1945 are the subject of the final chapter. War casualties, which until this point had been particular to military servicemen, became pervasive among Japanese civilians toward the end of the war. Against this backdrop, Pennington describes how the preferential wartime system for the wounded and disabled men was shattered by the Allied occupation’s introduction of equal welfare services for the needy under its demilitarization and democratization efforts. Additionally, the war-bereaved families became major political actors, as they were depicted as “acceptable icons of sacrifice” (198) after the defeat. These circumstances resulted in a decline in the special status granted to disabled veterans during wartime.

Pennington’s achievement fills a lacuna in studies on Japanese wounded soldiers and disabled veterans of World War II by examining the history of soldiers conscripted by the wartime state. With his fascinating insight into war history, he extensively examines the lives, experiences, and representation of these men in mass culture, and their institutional surroundings. His observations on wartime Japan fit within a broad study that illuminates contrasting aspects of the war in the dark valley. Furthermore, this book benefits Japanese scholarship as, to date, attention to this subject has been anything but voluminous and has been inclined to focus on rather short periods and restricted topics. With these reasons, Casualties of History should attract a large audience with an interest in war history and the history of casualties.

Aiko Otsuka, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom                                              

JAPANESE AND RUSSIAN POLITICS: Polar Opposites or Something in Common? Asia Today. Edited by Takashi Inoguchi. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. x, 224 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$100.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-48844-2.

This edited volume seeks to compare the domestic and foreign policies of the two countries. The volume is comprised of ten chapters written by Japanese and Russian scholars and is divided into five sections with two chapters in each.

The section titled Japanese Politics is concerned mostly with the processes that led to the defeat of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 2009, the various domestic and international issues that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) faced during their three years’ rule and the return of the LDP to power in 2012. The section titled Russian Politics is devoted to examining the obstacles to President Medvedev’s project of modernizing Russia and analyzing the nature of Putin and Medvedev’s “tandemocracy” in 2008-2012.

The next section is titled Japan and Russia Economics. The first chapter in this section examines the causes of Japan’s economic recession in the 1990s and 2000s, and analyzes the so-called Abenomics: Prime Minister Abe’s plan to revitalize Japan’s economy. The second chapter revisits the question of Russia’s modernization and examines the various proposals and plans to modernize Russia’s economy during Medvedev’s presidency and the structural challenges these plans face.

Sections 5 and 6 focus on the foreign policies of Russia and Japan today. The first chapter in the Japan section mostly critiques DPJ’s foreign policy towards the US and China while the second chapter offers an overview of the Russian perceptions of Japan’s foreign policy in general and the US-Japan alliance in particular. Both of the chapters in the Russia section portray its foreign policy as reactive and, while offering a broad survey of post-Soviet Russian international relations, devote a special section to Russia’s relations with Japan.

As is often the case with edited volumes, the quality of the chapters varies greatly. Some, like Dmitry Streltsov’s chapter on political parties in Japan or Nobuo Shimotomai’s take on Putin and Medvedev’s “tandemocracy,” provide original and thought-provoking interpretations of the two countries’ domestic politics. Some of the other chapters are more polemic and prescriptive rather than analytical. The biggest problem of this edited volume however is that it is not driven by any coherent comparative framework, and thus lacks cohesion. Furthermore, each of the chapters focuses on one of the countries in question and none of the chapters attempt to engage in a comparative analysis between Japan and Russia. Thus the reader is left to wonder regarding the purpose of collecting scholarship on Japan and Russia in one volume, or, alternatively, to draw one’s own conclusions about the similarities and differences between the two.

No doubt, from a historical perspective the two countries share more commonalities than is usually assumed. Both were latecomers to modernity and started not only their political and economic reforms but also the process of nation building in the second half of the nineteenth century. Well into the twentieth century, both Japan and Russia were seen as outsiders by the Western powers and regardless of occasional alliances were not construed as equal members of the international society. In both cases national identity constructs were shaped to a large extent by the peripheral position attributed to their respective nations in the Western worldview. In the twentieth century, both Japan and Soviet Russia revolted against the West and, while the end of the Cold War can hardly be compared to the way Japan’s quest for the Greater Asia Co-prosperity Sphere has ended, both were defeated.

Some of these historical similarities are noted by the editor on pages 3 to 5. The focus of the volume however is on contemporary politics and economics and none of the chapters make any reference to the historical similarities mentioned above. It is probably possible to see certain ideological similarities between Prime Minister Abe and President Putin and the one-party rule of the LDP and United Russia. It is also possible to argue that both countries are facing serious economic challenges, as the chapters in section 4 suggest. It is also possible to argue that the foreign policies of both Japan and Russia are more reactive than proactive. The question, however, is whether these similarities offer a deeper understanding of the issues faced by both countries or are they merely superficial. In my view, the academic merit of exploring the similarities that can be discerned from this volume is negligible. After all, can we really compare the LDP to the United Russia: the former arguably created Abe while the latter was Putin’s creation? Can we draw parallels between the advanced economy of Japan, and Russia, which relies heavily on income from exporting oil and gas? Is there any meaningful semblance between Japan’s US-centred foreign policy and Russia’s attempts to position itself as a contender to US global hegemony? To the best of my understanding, the answer to all of these questions is negative. Thus while some chapters in this volume do offer certain valuable insights into Japan and Russia in the early 2010s, the question posed in the subtitle of the book is all but superfluous. Today’s Japan and Russia are not polar opposites but they also do not share any deep commonalities. They are simply too different to compare.

Alexander Bukh, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand                          

INTIMATE EMPIRE: Collaboration and Colonial Modernity in Korea and Japan. By Nayoung Aimee Kwon. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015. xi, 277 pp. (Figures.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5925-8.

Nayoung Aimee Kwon’s expertly researched and handsomely illustrated Intimate Empire: Collaboration and Colonial Modernity in Korea and Japan examines the frequent and varied cultural encounters between Korean and Japanese literary figures and literatures during the colonial period (1910–1945), as well as the disavowals of these ties for much of the postcolonial era. In so doing, Intimate Empire joins a growing corpus of scholarship, now liberated from the constraints of national literatures and literary histories, that rigorously probes the deep albeit regularly fraught interconnections between Korean and Japanese writers.

A principal concern of Kwon’s book is to move away from such binaries as assimilation and differentiation, as well as collaboration and resistance, and instead to reframe “the scandalous confluence of cultures under imperialism . . . within a more historical term of intimacy” (8). Kwon also seeks to redefine colonial modernity as “the experience of modernity in colonial subjection, whether through actual colonial domination or the hegemonic power and occupation of the West, both real and imagined.” For Kwon, colonial modernity is “a disavowed conundrum shared between the colonizer and the colonized in Korea and Japan, and more broadly shared throughout the non-West, with troubling implications for postcolonial legacies into the present” (10). Kwon uses the term “conundrum of representation” to refer to the impasse that the colonial modern subject was forced to negotiate. She divides this challenge into five categories: conundrum of (modern) subjectivity, of language, of history, of aesthetic representation, and of recognition. Intimate Empire probes the intricacies of these conundrums by shining the spotlight on a body of imperial-language texts by colonized cultural producers that reflect conditions of modernity lived under both direct colonial rule and the threat of Western imperialism.

Following the introduction, chapter 2, “Translating Korean Literature,” examines colonial debates regarding Korean literature, particularly focusing on the complexities of the colonial modern condition. As Kwon argues, “In the absence of Korea as a sovereign entity, the perceived lack of a modern national literature in the colony exemplified the paradoxes of the conundrum of representation in the imperial global order” (18). Chapter 3, “A Minor Writer,” highlights Kim Saryang, the Akutagawa Prize-winning author of the Japanese-language short story “Into the Light” (Hikari no naka ni), as a case study of the “minor” writer and translator. For its part, chapter 4, “Into the Light,” probes more deeply into this text, revealing how textually and metatextually it “embodies the complex process of imperial co-optation” (59) and how it does not, contrary to the assertions of metropolitan critics, embrace the form of the I-novel. Kwon rightly notes that this story, composed at a time when writings by the colonized were being both subsumed and marked as “different” vis-à-vis the canon of imperial literature, exhibits much of the “deep pain and anxiety about its own uncertain location in the cultural politics of representation in the empire” (78). In chapter 5, “Colonial Abject,” the scope broadens to the great recognition that the Japanese gave some colonial writers, which far from celebrating their individual talent, “relegated them to new secondary roles as ethnic translators or native informants.” They were expected to write “exotic self-ethnographies in translation for the consuming passions of the metropolitan audience” (82), which placed them in a clearly subordinate position.

Chapter 6, “Performing Colonial Kitsch,” takes up Chang Hyǒkchu, who although largely forgotten in the postwar years because of the alleged collaborative nature of his writings, achieved great prominence during the colonial period. As its title suggests, through the case study of the staging of Ch’unhyang, this chapter also deepens our understanding of the broader phenomenon of “colonial kitsch,” a term referring to the “devaluation and exoticization of the colony’s culture circulated as mass-produced commodities to fulfill imperial consuming desires” (104).

In chapter 7, “Overhearing Transcolonial Roundtables,” the focus turns to the staged and well-publicized discussions among colonizers and colonized. Kwon correctly argues that the roundtables were a relative failure in enhancing understanding between the two often very different groups. Chapter 8, “Turning Local,” reexamines the colonizer/colonized divide by contextualizing the increase in translated texts advertised as ethnographic “colonial collections,” exploring the significance of colonial literature “being collected and curated as mass-produced objects of colonial kitsch for consumption in the empire” (156). Chapter 9 introduces the life and works of Kang Kyǒngae, a Korean colonial writer who migrated to Manchuria, revealing the triangulated position of Korea between Japan and China. Chapter 10, “Paradox of Postcoloniality,” takes the reader into the postwar period, revealing as Eurocentric the assumptions undergirding postcolonial studies.

Intimate Empire provides valuable insight into Japanese imperialism. But at times it can be a bit repetitive, as Kwon tells us again and again that “binary thinking,” the “binary logic of national resistance and colonial collaboration,” is inadequate, that it is this “binary logic of resistance and collaboration which . . . still dominates the study of colonial literature.” Kwon is absolutely correct that discussing historical phenomena in terms of either/or is counterproductive, but she overestimates the extent to which this mode of thinking continues to monopolize scholarly discussion. In fact, much recent scholarly work outside East Asia on Japanese and other forms of colonialism has argued strongly for more nuanced understandings. Also, it is ironic that despite Kwon’s emphasis on thinking beyond binaries, she speaks constantly of “contact zones.” As has been pointed out, the term “zone” itself establishes separations, indeed binaries, that can unintentionally misrepresent colonial and postcolonial dynamics by not leaving space for the many phenomena that do not fit neatly inside or outside a particular “zone.”

But these are small concerns, given Kwon’s admirable use of archival materials and her clear command of the colonial literary scene in Japan and Korea. Intimate Empire is a most welcome addition to transcultural scholarship on East Asian literatures and cultures and sets an excellent example for future research on imperialism in East Asia and well beyond.

Karen Thornber, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA                                                                 

RECASTING RED CULTURE IN PROLETARIAN JAPAN: Childhood, Korea, and the Historical Avant-Garde. By Samuel Perry. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2014. xii, 228 pp. (Illustrations.) US$49.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3893-5.

By the late 1920s, the proletarian cultural movement had evolved into one of the most complex and vibrant movements in the cultural and intellectual history of twentieth-century Japan. In this well-presented volume, Samuel Perry sets out to shed new light on the flourishing cultural activities associated with the Japanese Communist Party. He does this by drawing on a wide array of writings ranging from reportage to fairy tales and also from poetry to educational journals. In order to foreground what the author calls “marginal” aspects of the proletarian cultural movement, the book delves into three case studies: childhood literature, the revolutionary genre of “wall fiction,” and literary works about Korea and the Korean minority in Japan. Purposely shifting the focus away from canonized works of proletarian literature and art, these detailed case studies serve to “restore much of the forgotten ideological and aesthetic complexity of Japan’s proletarian movement and show that it must be central to any understanding of modern Japanese culture in the early Shōwa period” (3). Perry maintains that, in Japan, proletarian literature “was rich and diverse as were the social experiences of its many participants and it came into being within a history that gave a particular shape to its evolving aesthetic forms, critical consciousness, and social practices in Japan” (8).

Following an introductory chapter, the book takes up the formation of revolutionary children’s literature. Motivated by the founding of a revolutionary school for poor farmers’ children in the village of Kizaki in Niigata Prefecture, from about 1926 the genre of leftwing children’s fiction emerged among proletarian authors who contested many middle-class assumptions about childhood by criticizing traditional “liberal” or “nationalist” approaches to education. Citing a wide range of writers and sources, Perry argues that the proletarian movement made an “immense impact on children’s culture in Japan” (68) by indefatigably insisting that the division of classes produced different childhood experiences and by emphasizing the children’s revolutionary potential, which ran counter to the bourgeois ideal of the innocent child. The chapter stresses global influences on children’s literature that not only fostered class solidarity and praise for the Soviet Union, but also internationalism and a critique of Japanese imperialism. A variety of writers like f.e. Kaji Wataru or Fujieda Takeo wrote stories about African or Chinese boys becoming revolutionaries and defying colonial authorities. Another positive aspect is the citation of the periodical Shōnen senki that favourably reported on the Korean Children’s Day, eliciting compassionate responses from its young readers, who stressed the importance of international solidarity. Nevertheless, at times it seems that Perry exaggerates the political content as well as the impact of single works for young children. While the inclusion of questions of race and imperialism add another important layer to the analyses, one is left wondering about the relationship between proletarian children’s literature and the children of other marginalized groups within Japan, in particular Dōwa Japanese.

By analyzing kabe shōsetsu (“wall fiction”) in chapter 3 Perry goes on to buttress the central narrative of the book: offering a correction to the “dominant assumptions about the role the Communist Party played in the cultural movement” and to point out “the vanguard character of its aesthetic vision” (71). A highly visual form of literature, kabe shōsetsu were illustrated short narratives designed to be cut out and posted on the walls of factories or in public that were also taken up by mainstream intellectual journals like Chūō Kōron (75). Perry shows how this short-form literature evolved into a platform for labour protest and antiwar activities. Furthermore, the chapter includes works by Korean writers in order to strengthen the argument that the practice of wall fiction not only radiated across Japan’s borders where it was adopted by Korean and Chinese revolutionaries, but also carried over into the postwar period. However, Perry only briefly touches upon other forms of participatory literature that might prove equally defining for postwar literature and art if more thoroughly examined.

As in both the preceding chapters there had already been a special focus on the role of Koreans within the movement, the narrative comes full circle in the last chapter when Perry turns to Japanese communist writers’ perceptions of colonial subjects. Citing works by Japanese authors Makimura Kō and Nakano Shigeharu alongside Korean works like Chang Hyŏk-chu’s Gakidō, he describes a wide array of literary strategies to expand class analysis across the borders of the Japanese nation-state. One does not have to concur with his blatant dismissal of scholarly critiques of the above-mentioned Japanese writers for putting class over nation as mere ahistorical anti-communism. However, he carefully reconstructs the “many different, often competing, claims within the movement about how best to translate revolutionary politics and radical literature into discussions about colonial Korea and the Korean people” (169). Against a backdrop of very low literacy rates the question as to what extent the majority of ordinary Koreans were able to actively participate in these debates remains unanswered.

Recasting Red Culture succeeds in offering an important corrective to the view that the proletarian cultural movement in prewar Japan and its expanding empire was merely a crude but ultimately ineffective instrument of communist propaganda. Perhaps its greatest contribution lies in adding another layer of complexity to our understanding of proletarian culture that was clearly more than a monolithic product of the typical male Japanese industry-worker. Nonetheless, the book covers only marginal literary and artistic works that reached only a comparatively small number of recipients during a rather short period of time. Due to its scope, the book is clearly not designed to provide an introduction to leftwing literature in Japan before World War II. Indeed, a concluding chapter that brings together the three interesting case studies under the main narrative certainly would have facilitated the reader’s understanding of the coherencies between prewar and postwar proletarian literature, as well as between the different forms of literature analyzed in this book. Hence, this work will mostly appeal to an audience that already possesses a substantial knowledge of the proletarian culture of prewar Japan and Korea.

Dolf-Alexander Neuhaus, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany                         

INTIMATE RIVALS: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China. By Sheila A. Smith. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. xviii, 361 pp. (Figures, tables, maps.) US$40.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16788-8.

This carefully researched book looks at how Japanese social actors have mobilized in response to China’s rise in the twenty-first century. It builds on comprehensive insight into both the Japanese and English literature on how Japan has reacted to the increasing activity and influence of China. The author has had remarkably good access to some of Japan’s major politicians: four prime ministers, four foreign ministers, and two cabinet secretaries (one of whom later became a prime minister) have been interviewed. Overall, the picture drawn is that there are a variety of opinions on China in Japan, but an increasing number of people are skeptical of the Japanese government’s ability to negotiate agreements with Beijing.

The first of the book’s seven chapters gives a brief overview of diplomatic tensions between Japan and China in recent years and introduces the cases that will be examined. Chapter 2 begins with a broad presentation of China’s rise and moves on to describe the maneuvers by Japan and the United States in the beginning of the 1970s that led to their establishment of diplomatic relations with China. It ends with a presentation of the policies toward China advocated by the main political and business groups. The next four chapters examine the impact on Japan of disagreement with China in four fields.

Visits by Japanese politicians to the Yasukuni Shrine, an institution with an unrepentant attitude to Japan’s past wars, is criticized by China. The analysis shows that Nippon Izokukai, which is both a policy advocacy group representing those who lost family members in World War 2 and an important vote gatherer for the Liberal Democratic Party, has taken a moderate stance on the shrine in recent years. Nevertheless, support for Yasukuni by Prime Minister Koizumi and others made it difficult to establish a new, more neutral national facility to memorialize the country’s war dead.

Under new UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) rules that were ratified in 1996, Japan and China had to negotiate maritime boundaries. Japan proposed a median line to divide the East China Sea, whereas China claimed an exclusive economic zone that extended far beyond that line. It took many years for Japan to develop a policy to achieve its interests under the new UNCLOS rules, and some politicians blamed this delay on diffusion of authority over maritime issues among several ministries. In order to achieve better coordination, the Japanese government passed a new oceans law and established a Headquarters for Ocean Policy at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in 2007.

Several people in Japan fell ill in 2008 when they ate frozen Chinese dumplings that were found to contain poison. This brought attention to the increasing dependence on food imports from China. In Japan, food importers reacted by seeking to have Chinese factories meet Japanese food safety standards. The scandal also stimulated the establishment of Japan’s first Consumer Affairs Agency, and Shufuren (Japan Housewives Association) played a role in deliberations about the new agency’s mandate.

China disputes Japan’s sovereignty over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Therefore, Beijing reacted strongly in 2010 when a Chinese fishing trawler captain was arrested near the islands and in 2012 when the Japanese government purchased them from a private owner and “nationalized” them. China sent its own patrol ships to the islands after the events in 2012. These two incidents furthered Japanese moves already under way to strengthen the defense of the islands, to start training Japanese self-defense forces in amphibious operations together with US forces, and to give the Japan Coast Guard policing authority over the country’s remote islands.

Japan’s response to the rise of China has thus been characterized by a diversity of social groups advocating policy on China, incremental problem solving, and adaptation. Groups as diverse as Nippon Izokukai and Shufuren were often critical of the government’s deference to Chinese interests. As maritime affairs were handled by several ministries with insufficient coordination, it took nearly ten years to develop a policy on the implications of new UNCLOS rules for the East China Sea. Difficulties in negotiating policy with Beijing in various fields seldom led to Japanese accommodation or confrontation but more often to adaptation. For example, Japan made a new oceans law and established a new agency for consumer affairs, and as a result of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands conflict, strengthened cooperation between the Maritime Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Coast Guard.

In this way, the book charts the effect of the opinions of social groups and domestic institutions on foreign policy choices toward China. This is a valuable contribution to a field where most of the focus has been on the perspective of the elite. The analysis would, however, benefit by bringing in other factors as well, some of which belong to the international level of analysis. One such factor is the degree to which Japan views China as a threat. One way to gauge this is by looking at the strength of China’s military capabilities compared to Japan’s and whether the Japanese perceive China’s intentions to be in any way aggressive. Japan’s policy choices are also affected by the balance that it must strike in its alliance policy to avoid being abandoned by the US while also avoiding entrapment in a conflict involving the US that it wants to keep away from. Such factors, in addition to the ones examined in the book, have contributed to Japan’s policy of having a close economic relationship with China while maintaining a strong alliance with the US, and in recent years, reorganizing its self-defense forces so that they can respond to contingencies in parts of Japanese territory that lie close to China.

Eivind Lande, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS IN JAPAN: Contributions in an Era of Population Decline. Japanese Society Series. Edited by Yoshitaka Ishikawa. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press; Kyoto: Kyoto University Press; Portland: International Specialized Book Services [exclusive distributor], 2015. xxiv, 313 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$84.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-92090-191-2.

Over the last thirty years Japan has become a country of immigration again. While the literature on migration to Japan is growing, reliable data on the issue is still scarce. Yoshitaka Ishikawa’s edited volume is a major contribution to closing this void. The book consists of twelve papers exclusively by geographers, featuring four nation-wide empirical studies, five ethnic- and regional-specific surveys, and three papers on national policies, the labour market and local government responses, with a focus on recent immigration. The book thus does not cover the Korean and Chinese communities which have existed since Japan’s prewar colonial encroachment on Asia.

As the title suggests, the overall theme is the contribution of migrants to Japan’s economy and society during the current phase of population decline. Besides settlement, economic and social integration, naturalization, and fertility outcomes of migrants in Japan, the important role of long-term (migrants with Japanese ancestry) and short- to mid-term labour migration (foreign trainees and interns), especially in semi-urban and rural industries, is being stressed. Here the three policy-oriented papers make for a good introduction, though one wonders why they are placed at the end of the book.

The first chapter, on occupational attainment, compares household data from the 2010 population census and finds variations in the labour market integration based on nationality, length of stay, and gender. As its main merit the study highlights the share of high occupational attainment (white-collar jobs) among eleven nationalities. However, correlations are presented as causalities and it remains unclear how “positive selection” and “limited international transferability” can be identified as explanatory factors, while racial and gender discrimination, as well as discriminatory Japanese immigration policies, are being excluded from consideration (15).

Chapter 2 examines the contribution of immigrant women to fertility in Japan. Though the “number of births to foreign women increased between the late 1980s and the mid-1990s,” it did not contribute to an increase in Japan’s “total fertility rate” (41). This situation differs significantly from that found in Europe.

Applying logistic regression models on microdata from the 2005 population census, chapter 3 compares the fertility outcomes of cross-border, immigrant, and native-born couples in Japan and finds significant variations. It shows low fertility outcomes of cross-border couples of Japanese spouses with either Asian wives or husbands from “less developed countries” (71). Husband’s employment status and dwelling type had a higher effect on fertility than the country of origin (71).

Addressing a major desideratum chapter 4 analyzes the spatial distribution of naturalized Japanese citizens, pointing out that “statistics on naturalization are practically nonexistent” (75). Detailed data was electronically retrieved from the Naturalization Permission Official Gazette Notice database and produced a number of 462,795 people living in Japan who acquired Japanese citizenship through naturalization between 1950 and 2009. Large naturalized populations are concentrated in the Tokyo and Osaka-Kobe metropolitan areas, followed by Nagoya, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, and Fukushima Prefecture.

Chapter 5 sheds light on a specific ethnic migrant group in Japan: female Filipino migrants as well as Filipino mothers and their children with Japanese fathers and thus Japanese nationality re-migrating to Japan, who are referred to as “Shin Nikkei Filipinos” (102). Female Filipino migrants mostly find employment in the care and nursing industry in regional urban areas afflicted by aging and depopulation.

Chapters 6 to 8 analyze different aspects of mostly Brazilian nationality migrant life in the town of Hamamatsu. Brazilian ethnic businesses had not expanded to the non-ethnic market, while Brazilian customers frequented Japanese “non-ethnic” stores (145). One explanation is that Brazilian migrants concentrate in industrial cities and “remain in lower socioeconomic classes” (145). Ethnic businesses functioned as ethnic employers when many Brazilian workers lost their jobs in manufacturing due to the economic crisis from 2008 onward.

Addressing migrants’ quality of life, chapter 7 examines the density of public and private facilities providing services and goods for daily needs in areas where migrants live. Though access to services and goods was adequate and there was no spatial segregation between Japanese and foreign nationality residents, most migrants concentrated in built-up zones close to industrial areas, an indicator of their limited social mobility.

Taking a closer look at the education of migrant children, chapter 8 discusses the relations between local government, public schools, and volunteer groups teaching Japanese to migrants in Hamamatsu. While hierarchical and non-cooperative relations between teachers and volunteers are observed, the paper stresses the importance of voluntary activity, which however suffers from limited funding through the local government.

Religion is an often overlooked aspect of migration to Japan. Chapter 9 therefore studies the function of religion and the ways the Quran is taught in the small Turkish communities of Aichi prefecture. It argues that Islam is at the centre of the communities and facilitates “remote nationalism” (209), but that its teaching differs with the socio-economic background of the communities: stricter in communities from rural Turkey and “more easygoing” in communities with an urban “white-collar” background (210).

Due to the normative focus on “contributions,” many papers in this book stress problems, difficulties, and concerns related to migration and most papers conclude with recommendations for more and better integration policies and services for foreign residents and their children, so they can contribute more effectively in the future. However well-intentioned this approach is, it perpetuates the view of the presence of migrants as a problem, rather than as an opportunity to think about social change and how to make life more fair and enjoyable for everybody.

Overall the papers compiled in the book are a good introduction to the complex and multifaceted realities of newcomer migrants and shed light on some understudied quantitative and qualitative aspects of migration to Japan.

Daniel Kremers, German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ), Tokyo, Japan                         

WOMEN PRE-SCRIPTED: Forging Modern Roles through Korean Print. By Ji-Eun Lee. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xi, 182 pp. (Illustrations.) US$49.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3926-0.

Women throughout much of Korean history have left behind little evidence in the historical archives. The copious volumes of historical documents from the premodern period occasionally hint at the presence of women, but only a handful of sources, like petitions and letters, allow us to reconstruct their lives. Ji-Eun Lee addresses this dearth of women’s voices in Korean history in Women Pre-scripted: Forging Modern Roles through Korean Print through an examination of the discourse on “New Women” as Koreans discussed the issues of modernity, enlightenment, and nation for the first time within the print media in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By gathering together a wide range of materials such as cartoons, literary works, and editorials, the author contributes many insights into the construction of modern Korean womanhood.

The first chapter of Women Pre-scripted starts with a discussion of female readership during the Chosŏn Dynasty (1392-1910). A succinct overview of the secondary research on female participation in the book culture of Chosŏn highlights the difficulties in determining the extent of female writing and literacy. The general lack of conclusive evidence calls into question some of the claims that tend to link vernacular fiction and the han’gŭl script to women. The ambiguity of women’s participation in reading and authorship in the premodern era makes it hard for us to draw firm conclusions about how Korean women understood their gender relations. Therefore, the careful literature review allows us to appreciate the intellectual contribution of Women Pre-scripted, which provides a nuanced analysis of the historical period when the first writings on women and by women appeared in the modern media.

The second and third chapters introduce several representative periodicals such as The Independent newspaper and Korea’s first women’s journals Kajŏng chapchi to show how women’s roles became “prescribed” with modern knowledge that was “appropriate,” while critiquing those aspects of modernity found to be problematic. The initial male-dominated discourse of The Independent offers few discussions outside the topics of a woman’s role in the family and women’s education. In a sense, male guidance regarding a woman’s role restricted women to the home during this initial period. Ji-Eun Lee draws attention to the writings of Yun Chŏng-wŏn (1894-?) in the journal T’aegŭk hakpo, because she is the first known female contributor in the modern media. Yun’s writings differ from The Independent’s discourse on womanhood, because she establishes a clear role for women in public life. While women were encouraged to take an active role outside the home, at the same time the new women’s journals like Kajŏng chapchi, written mostly by men, emphasized the importance of practical knowledge and domesticity for women. The images of womanhood that emerge from this period are mired in contradictions, as women were called upon to construct a “home” for Korea’s male patriots while also taking a limited part in the public life beyond the confines of traditional gender roles.

Chapters 4 and 5 examine in detail two women’s journals from the colonial period, Sinyŏja and Sinyŏsŏng, and discuss their importance in fostering the emerging discourse on “New Women.” These two chapters highlight the importance of literary forms like confessions and letters in establishing an emerging female agency in the print media. Sinyŏja was particularly important because it was a journal edited by a woman and featured mostly female writers. This new space for imagining the role of Korean women was not without its limits, and the most successful women’s publication during the 1920s, Sinyŏsŏng, was predominantly produced by men and had few developments that could be viewed in a progressive light. Ji-Eun Lee’s analysis emphasizes the problematic assumptions within these journals and provides a broader historical framework for understanding how modern womanhood emerged from these women’s publications.

Women Pre-scripted brings to light the historical value of Korean periodicals as sources that can provide a major window into the cultural and social developments of modern Korea. The volume skillfully links the emergence of literary forms, readership, and authorship with newly emerging gender roles. Yet a number of unresolved issues remain in this study because of the limited selection of journals. For example, the author provides a valuable corrective that we should be careful in linking han’gŭl script with women by highlighting the usage of mixed Chinese-character script in Sinyŏja. While the diversity among female readers needs to be kept in mind, there is considerable indirect evidence that links women to the han’gŭl script. Several women’s journals published in the early 1920s, like Puin, were published all in han’gŭl and the association between women and the vernacular script becomes even more pronounced in the 1930s. Women Pre-scripted carefully limits its analysis to a small subset of highly educated women readers in the 1920s, who were mostly affiliated with religious organizations. However, this limited selection of journals does not allow for a broader overview of the female readership, which expanded rapidly through the mass publications that emerged in the 1930s and early 1940s.

Ultimately, the decision to examine only Sinyŏja and Sinyŏsŏng raises the problem that they represent only a small fragment of the female readership of the colonial period. Kaebŏksa, the publisher of Sinyŏsŏng, stopped publishing in the mid-1930s, because it could not compete with the relatively well-financed newspaper companies and other organizations that entered the journal market. The mass women’s publications of the late colonial period eventually reached tens of thousands of readers per issue. Examining the earliest publications to explain how the modern discourse on womanhood emerged is an important contribution, but the insights are not connected to the long-term trends in colonial print culture such as the increasing usage of the Japanese language and the commodification of female identities. Despite these reservations, Women Pre-scripted offers an excellent and compact introduction into the world of pre-1945 women’s journals for English-language audiences. The insights into the literary production and the discussion of key players in the discourse of womanhood provide a welcome contribution for specialists of East Asian history and literature.

Michael Kim, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea                                                                   

CAN ABENOMICS SUCCEED?: Overcoming the Legacy of Japan’s Lost Decades. By Dennis Botman, Stephan Danninger, Jerald Schiff. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2015. vii, 193 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-49832-468-7.

Those already well versed in both economics and Japan’s policy debates will find plenty of nuggets of information and insight in this collection of essays. However, those looking for a detailed assessment of the contributions and shortcomings of “Abenomics”—the nickname for the policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe—will find it wanting. It does not live up to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) usual standards. Most of this collection of essays reads like it could have been written five years ago or five years from now, and its title could have been “Stuff we think Japan should do to avoid a fiscal crisis.”

This volume is organized around the famous “three arrows” of Abenomics: monetary ease, “flexible” fiscal policy, and structural reforms to promote higher long-term growth. Even though the volume repeatedly stresses that success requires all three arrows, the majority of chapters seem to judge the arrows, not on their ability to raise per capita growth and living standards, but mainly by their ability to provide enough real growth and inflation and spending/taxation adjustments so as to lower the ratio of government debt to GDP. That reinforces the contention of critics that IMF stands for “It’s Mostly Fiscal.”

Each chapter starts with a solid analysis of the problems facing Japan in areas like deflation, fiscal stability, growth rates, labour markets, corporate behaviour, finance, and so forth. Surprisingly, there is no chapter devoted to the economic gains and losses caused by the large depreciation of the yen, one of the few impactful facets of Abenomics. In most chapters, this analysis is well-reasoned, even if expert readers will find themselves in agreement with some of it and in disagreement with other parts. That is to be expected; if the diagnosis were so self-evident, the cure would have come much more quickly. One helpful bit was illustrating how most of Japan’s fiscal dilemmas stem from the consequences of insufficient revenue to deal with the costs of aging rather than more easily corrected wasteful spending. Particularly illuminating was the essay on Japan’s rigid labour markets. It highlighted the adverse consequences for growth of the growing bifurcation between higher-paid, better-trained “regular” workers and the lower-paid “non-regular” workers, to whom firms do not provide the on-the-job training essential to productivity growth.

Each chapter then moves to detailed proposals on how to address these problems. Some readers will agree with the proposals; some will disagree, and that is fine. But one would think the proposals would set the yardstick by which Abe’s policy efforts would then be judged. But no chapter gives more than cursory mention of what Abe is doing in that particular policy area. There is little detailed evaluation of what is working and what is not, where there is action and where mere rhetoric.

The volume inherently limits its audience by assuming a great deal of familiarity with economic theory, the statistical methods of econometrics, and the intricacies of policy debates about Japan. It would not be suitable for most undergraduate economics students.

That is a valid editorial choice. However, even when addressing experts, one finds glaring omissions. For example, in the chapter on aging, the author tells us that, “[i]n the simulation, it is assumed that structural reforms raise potential growth [i.e., the growth rate at full employment and full of physical capacity—ed.] by 0.25 percentage point by 2015 and 0.5 percent point by 2018” (44). This would be a stupendous achievement: a doubling in just five years of the IMF’s current estimate of Japan’s annual potential growth rate of just 0.5 percent. Yet, nowhere in the entire volume is there an attempt justify, or even explain, this assertion. Nor in a book published in 2015 is there any analysis of whether Abenomics has, in fact, gone anywhere in meeting the 2015 projection, let alone the one for 2018. We get fascinating reportage on cases where other countries have raised their potential growth over a decade-long process, as well as many worthwhile proposals on how Japan could raise its long-term growth. But there is no detailed assessment on whether Abenomics has any realistic chance of attaining Abe’s promise of 2 percent long-term real growth. Nor does it try to measure what it would take to reach that goal. It just tells us that reaching 1 percent is hard, and 2 percent even harder.

This reviewer has a fundamental disagreement with the premise offered in several essays that, as stated in the chapter on growth policies, “[s]tripping out the effects of population aging, Japan’s growth was solid until the global financial crisis. During the 2000s, growth per capita was at par with the US and TFP [Total Factor Productivity growth, i.e., output per unit of labour and capital combined—ed.] was comparatively high and at similar levels to Germany” (93). If this were the case, it would imply that what Japan most needs is an increase in investment levels and labour supply, for example, more women workers, more immigrants, rather than a productivity revolution. The chapter does, in fact, make many worthwhile proposals for productivity hikes, but the overarching premise would allow those who oppose politically difficult structural reforms to downplay their necessity.

The fact is that, from 1991 to 2007, per capita GDP growth in Japan, at 0.8 percent per year, was just half the average of the Group of Seven countries. As for TFP, which is the foundation for sustainable growth in GDP per work-hour, during 1991-2007, Japan’s TFP growth at 0.6 percent per year was lower than that of any other G7 country except for Italy. It was just half of the growth rate seen in Germany. Japan’s comparatives look better in the post-2007 period, not because its performance improved, but because Europe did so much worse as a result of its devotion to fiscal austerity.

The bottom line is this: economists with expertise in Japan will be able to glean gems of information, analysis, and proposals. Others will find it disappointing and sometimes even hard to get through.

Richard Katz, The Oriental Economist, New York, USA

LICENSE TO PLAY: The Ludic in Japanese Culture. By Michal Daliot-Bul. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. xxxiv, 186 pp. (Black and white illustrations.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3940-6.

Michal Daliot-Bul’s License to Play is a worthy addition to the field of cultural studies in Japan. In this monograph, she investigates the changes in cultural understandings of play over time and analyzes how those changes are both a product of and an influence on the sociohistorical context in which they occur. In doing so, she seeks to demonstrate the dynamic relationship between culture and play to better understand the way this relationship influences daily life. While this work offers an overview of the history of play in Japan, Daliot-Bul focuses her analysis on what she perceives to be the three most instructive periods for this topic: the Heian period (794-1185), the Edo period (1603-1868), and the 1970s.

With her first chapter, “The Linguistic Concept of ‘Play’ in Japanese,” Daliot-Bul starts her study of play in Japan by delineating the boundaries of the word “asobi,” arguing that through its susceptibility to cultural shifts, there is a clear role for play in Japanese sociocultural life. While the idea of play is found throughout the history of Japan, Daliot-Bul argues that at certain periods, certain groups, by their position and status, could engage in “legitimized” play, rendering it a “formative element of culture” as “a seedbed of cultural production” (15). According to Daliot-Bul, there is a cycle, albeit irregular, during which play achieves high cultural status and legitimacy and when play becomes the model for aesthetic and moral ideals. Her analysis of various usages of the word asobi is interesting and helps readers understand the long history of play in Japan, but by confining the history of pre-modern play to this chapter, Daliot-Bul misses out on some of the intertextual richness she might have incorporated into later chapters.

In chapter 2, “Play as a Formative Element of Culture,” Daliot-Bul discusses how play came to be part of daily life by focusing on the courtiers of Heian Japan, the city dwellers of Edo Japan, and the urban youth of the 1970s. While she acknowledges that these aren’t the only three possible examples, she argues that in these three groups one can see the most instructive changes in the scope of asobi as embodied in the sociocultural and economic developments and thus demonstrates how play becomes an increasingly influential force. The choice to focus on these specific groups seems unconvincing at times and causes the reader to wonder why other important examples from Japanese history (the mobo and moga urban culture of the Taisho era being a notable example) are omitted.

In chapter 3, “The Otherness of Play,” Daliot-Bul moves beyond the historical and turns her focus to contemporary playscapes. In particular, she argues that the boundaries of play are culturally constructed symbols of the separation between play and reality and uses the example of modern-day Tokyo sakariba as a liminal “third space” that facilitates a sociocultural inversion. Even as the boundaries shift, Daliot-Bul argues, it is precisely in this third space that players are given an opportunity to critique social norms and experiment with different identities. As her analysis shifts to contemporary practices of play, the crux of her arguments regarding the significance of play in Japan becomes much clearer.

In chapter 4, “The Rules of the Game, or, How to Become the Best Player,” Daliot-Bul studies the practice of play as enacted by many different types of players, from the high school club member to the Shinjuku cosplayer. According to Daliot-Bul, the “ideologies of hegemonic work-oriented culture” (77) and the growing information culture of contemporary Japan have heavily influenced late-twentieth and early twenty-first century consumer culture, and, as a result the way people play. By looking at how people learn to play and then how they play, Daliot-Bul highlights the culturally and temporally constructed practices of play.

In “Creativity in Play,” the fifth chapter, Daliot-Bul turns the discussion away from the complex rules and social structures of play, and explores instead the connections between play and creativity. Daliot-Bul argues that the best creative players are not the ones who work outside of the rules but the ones who are able to use mimicry and parody—what she refers to as the “eloquent subjugation to rules, patterns, and structures of knowledge” (114)—to legitimize their play. Daliot-Bul’s discussion of the practice of play (in chapter 4) and its derivatives (in chapter 5) speaks to the long history of intertextuality in Japanese culture.

In the final chapters “Contested Meanings of Play” and the epilogue, Daliot-Bul analyzes the potential for play to be the avenue through which people can best engage with cultural rhetoric relating to shifting notions of societal value. By focusing on the various sociocultural discourses that give play its meaning in contemporary Japan, Daliot-Bul suggests that play has become idealized precisely because it allows players to have agency in a world of constantly shifting realities.

Daliot-Bul covers a broad sweep of history and cultural shifts while also giving readers a firm grounding in the theoretical underpinnings of her argument. The brocade of analysis she presents focuses on trends in play culture from the 1970s to today. This is a dense, scholarly book with thick academic prose. As such, it may not be accessible to a broader and more general audience, who would greatly benefit from the research presented here. That aside, given the depth and breadth of research here, Daliot-Bul has created an engaging theoretical and analytical work that should appeal to scholars interested in intellectual history, contemporary Japanese cultural studies, and play and game theory.

Susan W. Furukawa, Beloit College, Beloit, USA

HOKUSAI’S GREAT WAVE: Biography of a Global Icon. By Christine M.E. Guth. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xv, 256 pp. (Illustrations.) US$20.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3960-4.

Christine Guth’s study of the print officially titled “Under the Wave off Kanagawa,” or Kanagawa oki no namiura, now commonly known as “The Great Wave,” explores how this image travelled in time and space from 1831, Edo, Japan, to so many parts of the world, being reconfigured and reworked by artists all over the world in so many media. So what can this example teach us about the process of global cultural socialization?

Drawing on art history and the history of design, anthropology, sociology, and media studies, Guth answers questions, such as what defines an icon, what does globalization mean, also exploring the biography of the print and how it first travelled on the waves of Japonisme, and later as the eye-catcher in publications and exhibition catalogues on Hokusai—who happened to be the designer of the original print—and again, more recently in national antagonism, as well as in media such as manga, anime, and the Internet. It may be added here that the first Japanese monograph on Katsushika Hokusai (Iijima Kyoshin, Katsushika Hokusai den, 2 vols., Tokyo: Hōsūkaku, 1893) makes no mention of The Wave, whereas the first Western monograph study of the artist (Edmond de Goncourt, Hokousaï, Paris, 1896) that mostly describes prints in just one or two lines, devotes ten lines to The Wave (166, cited by Guth on 81f.), as it also does for South Wind at Clear Dawn from the same series of prints (163f.), and please note that De Goncourt would also devote nine lines to Hokusai’s second-best-known design, the plate of Octopuses and a diver woman in the album Kinoe no komatsu (175).

In chapter 1, Guth examines the popularity of The Wave from about 1831 to the 1860s (21). It opens with the statement that “[i]n 1830 the publication of a series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji by the artist Hokusai was announced in the back of a collection of stories by Ryūtei Tanehiko” (17). In fact, this announcement appeared in a novel issued in the first month of Tenpō 2, that is February of the year 1831 in the Western calendar. On page 26, she then asserts, in keeping with Henry D. Smith II, that “five monochrome blue prints, including views of Mount Fuji from Shichirigahama and Tsukudajima … had already been issued,” to be followed by a “next group of five, still featuring blue outlines but with a more varied palette, appeared at the New Year of 1831, including ‘Under the Wave off Kanagawa,’ ‘South Wind, Clear Dawn’ … and ‘Rainstorm beneath the Summit … .’ ” Yet, these three designs are all signed “Hokusai changing his name to Iitsu,” whereas the five (actually ten) designs printed in tones of blue exclusively bear the signature “by Iitsu, formerly Hokusai”—just like all other prints issued in the series until 1833, suggesting just the reverse.

Guth appears to have done insufficient research, or relies too heavily on secondary sources without addressing the various contradictions between them. As for Hokusai’s precursors, it may be true that Minsetsu’s book Hyaku Fuji, 1771, had “only limited circulation” (19), yet, there is a reprint dated 1818. Moreover, there is also the Kyōka Fujisan of 1814, with illustrations by Tanba Tōkei, and certainly known to Hokusai, as well as some 31 views of Mt. Fuji by Ōishi Shūga in his Sannō shinkei of 1822, also known in various editions. And then, we shouldn’t forget that Hokusai already had incorporated a few first drafts of his Fuji prints in his Hokusai manga volumes of 1814-1819. Citing the case of the “projected series of One Hundred Poems as Told by the Nurse, of which only ninety-one of a promised hundred appeared” to substantiate her remark that “the publisher would likely have discontinued” publication “had the Fuji series not found public favor,” is hardly convincing. The truth is that only 27 prints came out during Hokusai’s lifetime, and that Nishimuraya, facing bankruptcy, was obliged to sell the blocks. Yes, this was the Tenpō crisis, also hitting the world of prints and books. So let’s move on to the following chapters.

In chapter 2, Guth presents a fascinating overview of how The Wave rolled over Europe after its first discovery in 1883 (67), aided by an earlier and more direct appreciation of the Hokusai manga volumes and the One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji, from the 1850s or 1860s, eventually leading to the canonization of The Wave. Hokusai’s designs appealed to many, often for totally opposite reasons: see the views of Bing and De Goncourt (84f.), or how Henri Rivière’s series of Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower (1888-1902) helped rescue this structure from its scheduled demolition in 1909. The wide appreciation of The Wave, seen in prints, paintings, and even in Royal Copenhagen plates, also gave rise to an “indigo-mania.” However, it seems questionable whether De Goncourt’s “biography was as much about the writer as the artist” as it “does not contain a single illustration” (81)—this was simply part of a series of projected monographs on Japanese artists, such as Utamaro (1891), Hokusai (1896), Kōrin and Gakutei.

In chapter 3, Guth explores how The Wave, but also Japanese prints in general, came to be appreciated and collected in America, where it would play a much more diverse role in all kinds of various discourses than was the case in Europe.. As this quality came to be recognized in America, this also gave rise to a more recent answer, or reaction, in Japan itself. Indeed, it would be used to both express and contest narratives of race and nation.

In the following chapters, Guth presents a comprehensive view of The Wave’s most recent afterlife. How it came to be suitable to a variety of social levels, such as even environmental sensitivity, how its distinctive silhouette, even if altered or rendered in simplified linear form would be recognized, serving whatever an international lexicon demanded—indeed, how The Wave became canonized and iconized. Guth’s study of how this 1830 Japanese print became a very meaningful image, as it is still today and no doubt for many years to come, is more than a fascinating study of one of today’s icons, seen from many various viewpoints. It is as much a study in international cultural history.

Matthi Forrer, National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, Netherlands

THE DECADE OF THE GREAT WAR: Japan and the Wider World in the 1910s. Edited by Tosh Minohara, Tze-ki Hon, Evan Dawley. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2014. xxi, 540 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$234.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-27001-5.

Perhaps at least in part because the impact of World War II on Japanese society was so enormous (and has thus been examined so exhaustively), Japan’s place within the historical context of World War I and that conflict’s global diplomatic, political, and cultural consequences has been less studied in English language scholarship to date. The Decade of the Great War is thus a welcome addition to the field that offers a rich variety of detailed explorations concerning the impact of the First World War on Japan’s relationships with nations both within and beyond East Asia. In particular, the editors contend that, more than merely complicating the typically Eurocentric chronology of the era, the chapters contained within this volume illuminate two significant East Asia-driven shifts in global history during the 1910s: first, “Japan replaced China as the core of East Asia” and, second, “Japan and the United States displaced Europe and began to shift the epicenter of global affairs from the Atlantic to the Pacific” (17). While not all of the essays speak directly to these interpretive themes, the book as a whole offers a nonetheless fresh and valuable rendition of Japan’s engagement with the global scene during the first decades of the twentieth century.

A total of twenty-three chapters divided into two broad thematic categories of “Diplomacy and Foreign Relations” and “National and Transnational Networks” give the book a substantial and wide-sweeping range of vision. Part 1 covers topics ranging from immigration policy, the Siberian Intervention and merchant marine commerce to Swedish perceptions of Japan’s regional rise, Japan’s recognition of independent Poland, and the interactions of Pan-Asian activists in Japan and Ottoman Turkey. Part 2 then features studies on issues such as colonial migration, urban planning, and women’s education to Buddhist internationalism, railroad labour management, and cholera epidemics. Such diversity of research foci is one of the book’s greatest strengths, as is the editors’ inclusion of numerous East Asian scholars among their contributors. Not many multi-author edited volumes on modern East Asian history have done as well to bring the work of Japanese and Chinese historians to an English-reading audience. While some readers might find the topics examined by those authors to be a tad esoteric and data-heavy, the book deserves merit even so for its commitment to internationalism in both content and authorship.

For a work that aims to de-emphasize Europe, however, one might regret that Japan’s relations with the Western world still garner the lion’s share of interest from the volume’s contributors. Indeed, because a considerable majority of the book examines Japanese engagement with the peoples and states of Europe and North America, other more explicitly East Asian-focused and equally significant topics do not always receive their due attention. For example, the wartime years fundamentally transformed the developmental course of Chinese and Korean nationalism vis-à-vis Japan’s position at Versailles and the nature of the settlements reached there. While Caroline Rose’s insightful chapter reviews the politics of Sino-Japanese memory regarding the 1910s, and both Sōchi Naraoka and Yoshiko Okamoto unearth important new layers of meaning in Japan’s Twenty-One Demands upon China in 1915, that no chapter directly explores Japan’s impact on China’s May Fourth Movement of 1919 seems a striking absence. Likewise, the 1919 March First Movement in Korea significantly shaped the changing nature of Japan’s colonial rule on the peninsula, but Japan-Korea relations during the 1910s also largely escape the purview of the book (save for passing references in chapters by Shinohara and Dusinberre). Such observations, however, do not significantly detract from the overall value of this collection. In fact, that a reader would want to learn more about some of the topics left untreated in the volume is a testament to the power of the book as a whole to inspire deeper consideration of this complex and critically important period in early twentieth-century global history.

In sum, The Decade of the Great War is an exemplary achievement in transnational scholarly collaboration that offers its readers a valuable array of methodological approaches to the study of how Japanese society both influenced and was transformed by global events during the 1910s. Accessible to both East Asia specialists and First World War enthusiasts from other regional disciplines, the book will surely prove valuable as a source of new knowledge and an inspiration for future study.

Erik Esselstrom, The University of Vermont, Burlington, USA                                                         

JAPANESE DIPLOMACY: The Role of Leadership. SUNY Series, James N. Rosenau Series in Global Politics. By H.D.P. Envall. Albany: SUNY Press, 2015. xiv, 251 pp. (Tables.) US$85.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-5497-9.

How have Japanese prime ministers’ leadership styles, personalities, perceptions, and beliefs shaped Japan’s foreign relations? To what extent have Japanese prime ministers, especially those before the arrival of Koizumi Junichiro in the 2000s, been able to pursue idiosyncratic leadership styles not necessarily in step with their political environment? In the existing literature related to Japanese foreign policy, most studies have focused on the role of Japanese national identity and the change of material structure in the context of the power rivalry between China and the United States in East Asia. By contrast, this book successfully demonstrates the significant impact of the prime minister in shaping Japanese foreign policy. It offers an alternative theoretical perspective on understanding Japanese foreign relations via the lens of political leadership.

The main body of the book consists of two parts. In the first part, three aspects focused on the theoretical, environmental, and historical context of Japanese leadership at the macro level are discussed. Chapter 1 introduces the general literature of leadership studies, and the foreign and domestic constraints towards political leadership. Chapter 2 offers a general analysis of Japanese political leaders and their diplomatic leadership, and chapter 3 reviews the role of Japanese prime ministers since the Second World War. In the second part, three case studies of Japanese prime ministers before the 2000s are presented in a stimulating and thoughtful way. The three cases all focus on Japanese prime ministers’ performances during international summits. Chapter 4 evaluates Ohira’s leadership at the Tokyo summit in 1979. Chapter 5 examines Prime Minister Suzuki’s leadership in Ottawa in 1981, and Nakasone’s leadership at the Williamburg summit in 1983.

Two major arguments are offered in the book. First, the author rightly points out that Japanese political leadership in foreign affairs cannot be easily typecast and viewed as simply a representation of domestic preferences. Through the three case studies, all three prime ministers demonstrated a distinct leadership vision and style that reflected their personal beliefs, proving that preferences do matter in the process of Japanese foreign policy making. Second, by developing two concepts, action and actor dispensability, the author finds that Japanese prime ministers had a significant influence on the country’s diplomacy. The author points out that this is particularly true in Japan’s summit diplomacy, with the effective employment of leadership strategy.

The book makes a significant contribution to understanding the role of prime ministers in Japan’s foreign policy making through the theoretical lens of political leadership. It would be more interesting if the author could offer further discussion on how the change of electoral systems influences the degree of Japanese prime ministers’ autonomy on making their foreign policy decisions based on their own personal beliefs and preferences. As the author rightly points out, leadership environments matter in the decision-making process. Since 1994, the role of the Japanese prime minister in the ruling party has been significantly empowered due to electoral system reform, with a combined electoral system initiated in the House of Representatives (Lower House) with single-member districts and proportional representation in regional constituencies. Under the new electoral system, with the introduction of 300 single-member districts, the prime minister has the authority to endorse party members as official candidates and to allocate the political funding of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Unlike in the previous medium-sized election district system, only a single LDP candidate runs in each lower-house election district, which means that a Japanese prime minister (as party leader) would be able to discourage party members who do not follow his or her policy preferences by not nominating him/her or allocating political funding for a national election campaign (for example, Koizumi’s election on postal service privatization in 2005). On the other hand, Japanese prime ministers are also being constrained due to the linkage of their approval rating (naikaku shijilitsu) and their domestic political survival. If the prime minister’s approval rating declines significantly, he or she will be perceived by party members as not being able to lead the party to win the next national election, undermining his or her domestic legitimacy within the ruling party. In many cases, seeking political survival has been the precondition for Japanese prime ministers when they decide whether to pursue a policy based on their personal preferences and political beliefs. The policy variation revealed in the recent two Abe administrations over the Yasukuni problem (Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine in 2013 but not in 2006, 2014, or 2015) indeed offers an interesting insight to understanding the power and limitations of Japanese prime ministers, which should be the subject of future research.

In sum, this book is highly recommended for anyone interested in Japanese foreign policy, domestic politics, and leadership studies, as it offers a unique perspective on our understanding of Japanese foreign policy making that has been typically ignored in the current IR literature in general and Japanese foreign relations in particular. A leadership study of Japanese prime ministers will be able to provide an effective road map for readers to understand the future development of Japanese diplomacy.

Mong Cheung, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

MARCHING THROUGH SUFFERING: Loss and Survival in North Korea. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Sandra Fahy. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. xiii, 252 pp. US$40.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-17134-2.

Speech acts (as John Langshaw Austin and others would understand them) have become a key component of engagement with North Korea in recent years. Speech acts focused on witness, testimony, and advocacy, which address Pyongyang’s perceived violation of the rules of the contemporary normative and hegemonic consensus surrounding human rights and critiquing North Korea’s acutely different political and economic systems in particular, have driven institutional agendas in the United Nations and elsewhere through the recent Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea led by the Honourable Michael Kirby. The realm of popular media and consciousness has also been marked and dominated by the translation of speech acts by North Koreans who are no longer living in North Korea (variously known as defectors, refugees, or migrants depending on one’s political and philosophical predilections) into a peculiar strain of literary production, the defector memoir. Mostly co-productions and acts of co-authorship, works such as those by Shin Dong-hyuk, Park Yeon-mi, Hwang Jang-yop, and Jang Jin-sung have captured the imagination of the wider world with their vivid, acerbic, brutal, and occasionally lysergic testimonial. Their narratives, similarly to those of North Korea, are subject to intense debate when it comes to matters of veracity and reliability. While it is not the intention of this review to contribute to that debate, it is the contention of its author that generally textual and literary co-productions are determinedly focused on acts of speech which are de-territorialized and de-temporalized from their original context in North Korea. Instead of being rooted in the lived experiences of North Korean famine, desperation, and escape, they become more abstracted moments of politics: speech acts focused on the acts of others and on future acts of regime change and unification.

On the other hand, Sandra Fahy’s fascinating work Marching Through Suffering: Loss and Survival in North Korea, while perhaps sourcing its evidential base from the same ex-patriated, diasporic community of North Koreans as the afore-mentioned more conventional works of advocacy and international agitation, achieves something of much depth and empirical utility to the scholar in its navigation of these narratives of difficulty and distress. Instead of an embedded concern for those acts (of speech or otherwise) which condemn, de-stabilize, or deconstruct North Korea in the midst of its period of crisis, Fahy, with an anthropologist’s ear, seeks out those speech acts which North Koreans themselves used to negotiate, explain, construct, and experience that period.

Fahy’s book is structurally a journey through its contributors’ own experiences of North Korea’s great famine period of 1992–1997 and journeys to their temporal and geographic presents, as North Koreans who no longer live in North Korea. Fahy adopts her contributors’ own temporal marking and linguistic categorization of their passage to the outside world. Hence what the wider world knows as a famine, and North Korean institutional narratives present as a second arduous march, is conceived of by Fahy’s interviewees as “The Busy Years.” The reader then follows their emotional journey from ideological cohesion to disintegration, near death and finally a break with the nation of their birth.

Utilizing the analytic tools of anthropology and ethnography, Fahy explores the linguistic transformations and strategies present in her interviewees’ past lives, as well as the often neglected temporal difference in the famine experience for North Koreans, dependant on their regional positionality. The busy years apparently began earlier in the late 1980s for those in the periphery and not arriving in Pyongyang’s heart of North Korean bureaucracy until the mid-1990s. In keeping with Alex De Waal’s theoretical frameworks focused on famine, Fahy unveils a deeply uneasy, mediated netherworld of familial and community discourse in which people do not die of starvation or experience famine, but freeze to death or encounter acute and severe pain.

In a clear marked difference from what must constitute a media and popular narrative of not just North Korea’s difficult period, but any moment of famine and acute, life-threatening deprivation experienced by a national or regional population, Fahy builds a picture derived from her interviewees’ accounts and their linguistic and conceptual stratagems of a people possessed of a distinct and determined agency. Faced with extraordinary and at times incomprehensible challenges, North Koreans, in spite of a collapse in conventional morality, social morays, and behaviours, are determined to survive. Her interviewees describe seeing old men steal food from the hands of small children, orphaned and abandoned children left to unsuccessfully fend for themselves and die in public, and families depending on precarious and illegal private vegetable plots in the mountains for food. Yet North Koreans deploy these new forms of private and public language to both cope emotionally and navigate the complex web of political and social expectation, they utilize hidden and subtle uses of humour, and, most prominently, they become adept at engaging with the practices and praxis of market economics, both in semi-public spaces and through acts of determined subterfuge.

Ultimately Fahy’s fine book holds an empathic and emotional ear to its subjects’ stories, narrating both their external and internal travels with an assertive yet subtle sensitivity. Fahy’s subjects are not the North Koreans of public and media nightmare—sallow, disempowered shadows of humanity—but active agents of their own, albeit occasionally unknown or unknowable destiny. Even at their moment of breaking with North Korean territory and sovereignty in the act of becoming that most transgressive of political beings, the North Korean who no longer lives in North Korea, Fahy’s subjects make powerful, rational decisions to bridge and survive existential challenges. This reviewer has rarely read a work which does such empirical and narrative justice to a much maligned and misunderstood people, allowing the reader to encounter their march through, encounter with, and survival from a truly disastrous moment of history in valuable new ways.

Robert Winstanley-Chesters, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

MARATHON JAPAN: Distance Racing and Civic Culture. By Thomas R.H. Havens. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xi, 227 pp. (Illustrations.) US$47.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-4101-0.

I like running. I also like reading about running, including academic writings, so what else would it need to warrant a highly sympathetic account of the first and therefore highly welcomed history of distance running in Japan? Certainly a bit more than the run-of-the-mill narrative of modernity that the renowned historian of modern and in particular twentieth-century Japan offers, with his incessant quoting of athletes’ names, running times, and rankings. Readers who are thrilled by an almanac of annual finishing times and records will find their bible in this book. For me, reading page after page about who ran the fastest marathon in Japan in 1967, how the follower-up did in 1968 at the Mexico Olympics in relation to the fastest times of the year, and what times Japan’s top runners delivered in 1969 and what their respective ranking was in 1970, was a bit like the dreary stretch between kilometres 32 and 36 of a marathon: hard to enjoy but necessary to slog through on the way to the finish. So if you want to get a feel for the meaning distance running has and had for the Japanese, or if you want to know what civic culture may have to do with the fascination Japan obviously has with running, you will have to wait for another study—maybe one more interested in body culture, the anthropology of running or fieldwork among runners than in the assemblage of facts. But this would be exactly the opposite of what Havens promises in the opening lines of his study.

It is not that Marathon Japan entirely fails to identify the aspects that have helped make Japan into a runners’ nation, both at the elite and more recently at the mass participation level, too. But the evidence Havens gained from combining randomly selected academic secondary sources with a fastidious extraction of rankings tables and finishing times from sport chronicles and genre magazines like Rikujo kyōgi (Track and Field) or Rannāzu (Runners) and a strikingly positivist interpretation of elite runners’ autobiographical accounts is not strong enough to provide a consistent explanation and coherent answers to the core questions the book wants to address: why Japanese love to watch marathons and distance relay races (ekiden) that are Japan’s original contribution to global running culture, and why so many decide to become distance runners themselves.

Judging from its name, the opening chapter on “The culture of running in Japan” appears to look into possible theoretical explanations for the role of running in society. In fact this chapter is a condensed summary of the chapters to follow. As Havens chooses an old-fashioned approach, putting trust only and exclusively on facts from the archives, he does not attend to theories or analytical frameworks developed by other scholars of sport in society. Partly due to the self-selected seclusion, the pattern that emerges from the five chronologically ordered chapters hardly differs from what other more or less undertheorized historical analyses of Japanese sport in general, or baseball or football in particular, have unsheathed.

Chapter 2, on “Racing to catch up,” covers the early period of modern sport in Japan from its introduction by Western powers until the end of the Pacific War. Running, very much like other sport disciplines, was tied to nationalist aspirations as well as to educational objectives, and the nation’s elite schools nurtured the top athletes that came to represent Japan on the international stage. Chapter 2, “A galaxy of distance runners,” records the development of running at the top level throughout the first two decades of postwar recovery. The emerging dominance of Japanese runners is explained in front of the background of national rehabilitation, industrial growth, and rising prosperity. More than the marathon, ekiden races captured the attention of the nation at a time when television became the lead mass medium and Japanese companies provided their semi-professional employee-athletes with ideal training conditions to excel in the name of the nation, when abroad, or the company, when competing at home.

Corporate Japan’s wealth continued to provide the basis for the ongoing success of Japanese runners abroad. Despite its theory-savvy chapter heading, “Distance running as a commodity” entertains the reader just like all the other chapters: first of all with detailed accounts of runners’ biographies and achievements, both in domestic and international arenas. However, the period from the 1970s onward is the first time that women runners entered centre stage. Chapter 5, somewhat wearily titled “Greater depth, more women,” argues that organizational changes during the 1990s opened up teams and contests for recreational runners that had been previously confined to top runners only, and thus initiated the burgeoning popularity of distance running across all boundaries of age and gender. This was certainly the case ten years later and therefore is extensively covered in chapter 7, “Running for everyone.” In between, chapter 6, “From peak to plateau: elite runners in the 2000s” offers more detailed information on the achievements of Japan’s top runners.

In the course of reading the 175 pages of text, I encountered an impressive amount of details about the history of top-level running, of which I have forgotten all but the more curious at the time of writing this review. As mentioned above, the general storyline that links the sport of running to the state’s ambitions of nation building and corporate Japan’s commercial interests is far from being new or original, while the scholarship that has taken the lead in that regard remains almost invisible. The link between civic culture and the sport of running is not elaborated in a way that explains differences and similarities to the running boom in other places. I can only guess if a historian would agree with me in rating the analytical power of the chosen approach as weak; the cumulative usage of words like “perhaps,” “maybe,” “seem,” or ‘apparent’ that soften many of the more general statements leaves the reader wondering what evidence is needed for more affirmative results. Listening to the subjects of this history would have been one option. The voices of runners, coaches, and sport administrators only emerge from published sources, such as autobiographies and interviews in the sport media. These are fine sources but like any other source they demand reflection and nuanced interpretation. In that regard I found it striking how statements produced for media consumption are taken at face value and treated exactly in the same manner as race results and finishing times. Shunning theory is one thing, but writing history without reflection on the nature of the data is certainly “old school,” without the positive connotation of the term.

Wolfram Manzenreiter, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

PARTNERS IN PRINT: Artistic Collaboration and the Ukiyo-e Market. By Julie Nelson Davis. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xvii, 242 pp. (Figures.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3938-3.

This study’s main thrust is to dispel the obsession in ukiyo-e studies both with authorial intention and with single-sheet colour prints. This is accomplished through the examination of the larger network which constituted “the floating world” of vernacular production in late eighteenth-century Japanese urban centres, to which Davis persuasively applies Howard Becker’s concept of the “art world.” The book revolves around four study cases addressing “four dimensions of cultural inquiry vital to the floating world: the status of art, the definition of beauty, the physicality of the body, and the inquiry into the intellect” (19).
Chapter 1 follows an atypical “floating world” artist: Toriyama Sekien, accomplished in a range of painting styles and significant as “a key point of transfer of traditional painting style for the floating world” (23). Going beyond recent scholarship’s recognition of painting as an important medium in the “floating world,” Davis explicates the imbrication between styles and practitioners of painting and print formats. This is exemplified by the focus image, a collaboration between Sekien and his pupils Kitagawa Utamaro and Toriyama Sekichūjo: Utamaro’s children reacting to Sekien’s lion on a painted screen prompts an engaging discussion of “an extended play upon the conceit of copying, representation, and mimesis” (20) which would nevertheless have benefitted from references to studies such as Wu Hung’s The Double Screen.
Chapter 2 focuses on the book The Mirror of Yoshiwara Beauties, Compared (Seirō bijin awase sugata kagami), “designed from the start as a collaborative process” (77) between illustrators Kitao Shigemasa and Katsukawa Shunshō, publishers Tsutaya Jūzaburō and the “brothel owners as possible financial contributors” (91). The book emerges as representative of a “floating world” culture configured by “material distinctions in support of rank and prestige” (102). Davis characterizes these “illustrated books” as “nameable, knowable and visible work, one of many such commodities openly available in the print market” (107). The analysis reveals the social dynamics of the media apparatus of this “economy of pleasure” (61, recalling Lyotard’s “libidinal economy,” often employed for Edo’s prostitution quarters but rarely discussed in-depth).
Chapter 3 explores the exquisite Scroll of the Sleeve (Sode no maki), which poses two tricky issues: it is an erotic scroll, carrying no information on authorship. Instead, “style and production values serve as the indexical markers for designer and publisher” (114), convincingly identified as Torii Kiyonaga and Nishimuraya Yohachi, respectively. This is followed by one of the most significant critical discussions in the book: that of labels for such erotic images. Davis reaches to a larger art-historical discourse when settling for the term “erotica”—all the more commendable since the book had already gone to print by the time the 2013 British Museum exhibition and catalogue “Shunga: Erotic Art in Japan” had materialized. This shows that the discussion of eroticism in Japanese culture is maturing and, more specifically, erotic images are being taken seriously as an integral part of ukiyo-e studies. Davis acknowledges the broad range of readership and audience response, and spells out the logical conclusion of a serious study of erotica: all “floating world” images contain “implicit eroticism” (142).
Chapter 4 unpacks a collaboration between the author Santo Kyōden and the illustrator Kitao Masayoshi: Greatest Sales Guaranteed: Quick-Dye Mind Study (Daikokujō uke aiuri: Shingaku hayasomegusa, 1790). Unlike the previous study cases, this satire of the populist doctrine Shingaku is a non-elite work whose humour depended on historically situated facts often difficult to recover. Research on this challenging genre of yellow-backed novels (kibyōshi) has been the province of literary studies, and the work in question has already been translated into English. However, Davis shows how art historians read such works differently than literary historians, effectively claiming this genre as art-historically relevant: no ukiyo-e specialist can now afford to ignore it. Davis’s unpacking of the visual rhetoric is highly entertaining, and close analysis makes the political satire clear, going against the received view in Japanese scholarship, where such kibyōshi with themes from popular religion are considered apolitical in the wake of late 1780s censorship.

Some observations: while discussing the revenge of the Good Spirit Family on Evil Spirits during the scene of the protagonist’s repentance, Davis states that “Good Spirits … may knock down their enemies but they shall not slay them” (173). However, the illustration clearly shows a Good Spirit slashing an Evil Spirit, blood gushing out. Additionally, Kyōden’s extended creative use of the theme of Good and Evil Spirits would have been worth mentioning: the 1793 Yoninzume nanpen ayatsuri replaces them with devils and Buddhas controlling characters with puppet strings, and in the 1796 Onikoroshi kokoro no tsunodaru various Spirits compete for the characters’ control (both works available on Waseda University Library’s Japanese & Chinese Classics online database). And while Davis mentions “handbills, short books, talismanic images, and chapbooks for children” (150) promoting popular religion, the possibility of kibyōshi referencing these materials, both textually and visually, remains unexplored. Kyōden’s title, for instance, ends with the term “gusa,” which most probably parodies titles of illustrated children’s books such as Wakizaka Gidō’s 1784 and 1793 Yashinaigusa or the 1791 Mutsumajigusa (the latter available on Waseda University Library’s database).

In each chapter, the author’s thorough research is patiently deployed in unpacking the logic of the complex argument which, besides collaborative networks, encompasses formats, subjects, and practices of appreciation. This is a welcome variation from the urgency of journal articles and from Japanese scholarship too often content with classification and vague critical discussions.

Though it has been clear for some time that “the floating world” meant much more than single-sheet prints, this is one of the first studies taking its complexity seriously. It reveals that beyond formats and content, the “floating world” was essentially a network of artistic collaboration. This dense and entertaining book shows the maturity of the field of ukiyo-e studies and reaches towards a syncretic study of the “floating world.”

Radu Leca, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, Norwich, United Kingdom

HERITAGE MANAGEMENT IN KOREA AND JAPAN: The Politics of Antiquity and Identity. Korean Studies of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. By Hyung Il Pai. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2013. xl, 258 pp. (Maps, figures, tables.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-295-99305-8.

Hyung il Pai’s new book showcases her scholarly endeavour on a subject that requires extensive research in the fields of archaeology, art history, anthropology, cultural management, and, of course, history. Pai’s previous book and articles have already presented her in-depth analysis on this topic, which has colonial roots but contemporary relevance for Korean archaeology, heritage management, and museum practice, but this book without a doubt elevates the level of discussion by comparing the parallel historical development of heritage management in Japan and South Korea. It is no surprise that archaeological excavations and heritage management systems in and around Japan were fuelled and meticulously guided by the Japanese colonial regime’s eager search to establish the racial superiority of the Japanese people and the authenticity of their culture. The postcolonial adaptation of these colonial remnants in Japan’s former colonies—that is, inheriting both the Japanese colonial structure of heritage management and its categorical perception of ethnicity and race—is a rather inconvenient truth that the author describes as a “culturally sensitive and still politically charged topic” (preface, xxx).

Pai shows that the Japanese archaeological effort on the Korean Peninsula was part of a larger colonial project which aimed to justify the concept of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and an historical narrative explaining the backwardness of Korea. Using Japanese historical sources, she describes the origins of Japanese heritage management in the Meiji period, centred around an effort to account for historical artefacts which supported the imperial history of Japan. In chapter 3, Pai meticulously follows the activities of four individuals who were responsible for categorizing, promoting, and protecting Japanese art. Korean historical heritage was included under this heritage management system with the help of a colonial historical narrative, formulated to justify colonial domination with the logic of a Japanese civilizing mission in East Asia. Further, she explores heritage management on the Korean Peninsula, and based on flyers and information booklets from the colonial period, she traces the promotion of colonial tourism in Japan, which emphasized the role of the Japanese government in the enlightenment and modernization of Korea (263).

The flow of the book is smooth, and the chapters are carefully arranged in historical sequence, covering the institutionalization of the heritage ranking system, the establishment a system for the documentation and categorization of historical artefacts, and the development of heritage tourism.

In the end, what then is the true value of heritage for Pai herself? If there is such a strong history of using a country’s cultural heritage for political purposes and economic ends, is there actually a purely disinterested way of preserving heritage for the future? In the end, Pai’s own viewpoint as an historian seems romantically positivistic, but such a outlook does not invalidate her illuminating research on the myriad ways heritage management is in fact used to remember the past. I highly recommend this book to scholars and graduate students in Korean studies, Asian studies, museum studies, and those interested in post-colonialism in general.

Kyung Hyo Chun, Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea

NORTH KOREA: Markets and Military Rule. By Hazel Smith. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. xii, 381 pp. (Map.) US$32.99, paper. ISBN 978-0-521-72344-2.

Described by the author as “a long time in the making,” North Korea: Markets and Military Rule stands out as Hazel Smith’s magnus opus. Based on her twenty-five years of research on North Korea, Smith presents an integrated understanding of North Korean politics, economics, and society spanning from the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea to the present. More importantly, Smith narrates a story about internal change, an idea which may be less apparent to those who only follow mainstream media accounts of North Korea. In particular, Smith shows “how and why the society and economics of North Korea changed from a command economy to one that is marketised,” thereby decreasing the legitimacy of the political system (5).

The book is divided into three sections with a total of fifteen chapters. Smith sets the stage in part 1 by “jettisoning caricatures” of North Korea often portrayed in the mainstream news media, and providing a deeper historical context for the North Korean identity, tracing it as far back as the period of the Three Kingdoms. Part 2 focuses on the rise and fall of Kim Il Sungism. It chronicles the rise of the North Korean state following the end of Japanese rule to the onset of the great famine in the 1990s. Part 3 describes the changes which have occurred throughout the country in response to the famine. The ruling regime has reverted to its “military-first” (songbun) policy as elites and ordinary citizens are increasingly resorting to market activity for their very survival. Although the chapters proceed in mostly chronological fashion, the first two parts of the book build momentum for the final, third section of the book.

There is much to applaud about this new volume. The number of books on North Korea have proliferated in recent years, but few will match the depth and breadth of research of North Korea: Markets and Military Rule. Backed with empirical data, Smith speaks with authority on a range of topics including public health, the status of women, the shift in status of North Korean workers, the rise of the nouveau riche, and the marketization of various segments of North Korean rule including the Party, the military, and even the family. Students of North Korea will particularly appreciate the abundance of citations to other secondary and some primary sources.

The lengthy review of the history and politics of North Korea may frustrate some readers who expect to see a book focused primarily on markets, military rule, and recent social transformation, as the title and introduction suggest. To her credit, however, Smith manages to narrate a forward-moving story by building readers’ expectations early on about the onset of internal change. Basic knowledge of the country is therefore integrated with new research outlining how marketization has altered the social and economic landscape of contemporary North Korea, and in particular, state-societal relations.

Readers can appreciate Smith’s balanced and intellectually honest approach to her subject matter. She does not shy away from detailing human rights abuses or the catastrophic impact of the famine, the latter at times described poignantly as the author reveals how individuals ultimately relied on markets and family members for survival. Insights regarding the important role of family, the “only place where … trust-based relationships could thrive” in a heavily policed state were particularly interesting (184). Yet she does not dwell on such horrific events and facts, reminding readers throughout the book that North Korea is not monolithic. For instance, when describing the lives of North Korean youth, Smith writes, “Young people were not involved in organized activity all of the time. Young people, as anywhere in the world, found ways to hang out together, in parks, by the rivers, in sports venues as players and spectators, at the movies and in each other’s homes” (182).

Although Smith remains critical of caricatured portrayals found in the global media, her account of change is consistent with what has appeared in news reports and academic blog posts on North Korea such as NKNews and 38 North, and even more traditional news outlets such as the Washington Post (see foreign correspondent Anna Fifield’s reporting on North Korea). However, North Korea: Markets and Military Rule, leaves readers with a few unanswered questions. For instance, when describing the dissonance between government rhetoric and realities on the ground, Smith states that the “population” began treating the government as “irrelevant” leading to the “embedding of a culture of cynicism about government” and the “degradation of the Party as an institutional power and political authority” (224-25). But to what extent does this cynicism and degradation of political control take place in North Korea? Which segment of the population does Smith refer to? Smith at times suggests that transformative social and economic change has taken place throughout North Korea. At other times, she is more reserved, qualifying that levels of political repression remain high even with significant changes in social and economic structures (293, 327). Clearly change has taken place, but the degree to which marketization has transformed daily life inside North Korea remains less clear based on the available evidence. This is a problem not only for Smith, but other scholars working on research in North Korea.

Nevertheless, North Korea: Markets and Military Rule is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about North Korea, and more generally, transitions from command to market economies. The book is written for a broad audience, but it can be equally appreciated by seasoned observers of North Korea.

Andrew I. Yeo, Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., USA

MAKING PERSONAS: Transnational Film Stardom in Modern Japan. Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series, 79. By Hideaki Fujiki. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2013. xiv, 408 pp. (Figures.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-06569-7.

Making Personas: Transnational Film Stardom in Modern Japan is an impressive, in-depth analysis of the film stardom in Japan during the 1910s and 1920s. As Fujiki notes upfront, the star might be indeed “nothing but [a] product of differentiation,” and I must admit that such an impression was one of the side effects that this monumental book left with me (10). The exhaustive approach taken by the author results in an almost immersive experience of reading through dense accounts of the making of stars. Flipping through 300-plus pages, one will gradually begin to grasp the nonlinear evolution of stardom in early twentieth-century Japan. The question of enlightenment is often present in the background of each chapter, but is not always addressed explicitly. This is especially true of the book’s conclusion, a point which I will return to shortly.

The book traces three main strands of early film stardom in Japan: early Japanese film stars (from the 1910s until the mid-1920s), American film stars (from the mid-1910s onward), and a new type of Japanese film star (after the early 1920s). Though these strands overlap in time, the overall chronological presentation of the formation of each strand fulfills one of the book’s aims: to narrate the larger structural change in institutional and social processes of the production of a star persona rather than presenting in-depth studies of individual stars. By dialectically moving through these strands, Fujiki weaves a transnational history of early film stardom in Japan that does not follow the Hollywood-versus-national-cinemas paradigm. The important dimensions of the transnational operation of film stardom in Japan that the book highlights include: the circulation of American star images in an unprecedented scale that was made possible by the development of print media, the reception of these images by Japanese audiences and critics, and the restructuring of the Japanese film industry and its star system, modeled on Hollywood.

The book’s aim is to maintain a fine balance between the effort to historicize film stardom and the need to underscore the incomplete nature of the process of differentiation as characteristic of stardom, that is, the plasticity of the star persona and the fluidity and multiplicity of meaning attached to the star image. It follows that one of the most engaging chapters is the one on the replacement of the onnagata by actresses. Starting in the early 1920s, the Japanese film industry largely adapted the American production system and established the new star system. The change also less directly, but no less profoundly, affected representations of domestic stars by making direct comparison with American film stars possible. One of the most illustrative transformations brought by this change was the abolishment of the onnagata (female impersonators). Although film actresses appeared in some shinpa films and in rensageki as early as in the 1910s, they were not perceived as comparable to American stars, whose images were already widely circulated and consumed in Japan. Instead, both female performers and critics relied on the existing theatrical model, especially those of the onnagata, and fans and critics centred their aesthetic judgments around gei, the art of acting. One of the important ways in which the onnagata came to be seen as problematic vis-à-vis American film stars is the perceived incongruity between gender and sex that onnagata embodies. Femininity was no longer understood as part of gei, virtuosic mastery of theatrical conventions, but rather as the “natural” capacity of the female performer. While the onnagata survived as a distinctive—“classical” and “national”—form of performing arts, in cinema, medium-specificity arguments were strongly made against the onnagata. Some male audiences exercised a new type of fandom around body-based sexual images of American film actresses. That itself came to be recognized as problematic by many critics, but as Fujiki argues, a heterosexual fan/star relationship was now seen as “normal.” These male fans and critics together formed and practiced a new discourse of sexualized spectatorship.

As Fujiki acknowledges at the onset of the book, the history of early film stardom in Japan remains incomplete without a discussion of stars in comedy among others, male stars in the 1920s, and jidaigeki stars. Nonetheless, one of the accomplishments of the book is to provide a coherent historical narrative of the formation and transformation of film stardom during the 1910s and 1920s without compromising the subtlety and complexity of individual strands. This is particularly remarkable given the extremely limited primary sources available for this area of study. The book is a welcome addition to “early” cinema studies. It has turned historiographical insight into an innovative approach and contributed to broaden our sense of what counts as archival materials for the study of cinema.

The closing discussion of Ri Kōran or Li Xinglang (1920-2014) shows a marked shift in tone, focusing more on the historical development of Japan and the figure of Ri. This conclusion is relatively new to this project: neither Fujiki’s dissertation, on which the book is based, nor the revised Japanese version of his dissertation, which came out six years earlier, contains any discussion of Ri’s stardom. In Stars (British Film Institute, 1998), Richard Dyer defines “star image” as not “an exclusively visual sign, but rather a complex configuration of visual, verbal and aural signs” (34). In the Japanese version, Fujiki refers to this passage to acknowledge the importance of audio sources even for the study of silent cinema. In Making Personas, he contextualizes the passage differently to argue that the star is a media(ted) phenomenon which “appears not only as the ‘image’ […] but also as a persona to which consumers can attach meanings and emotions” (14). The star image of Ri—who was singer and actress—is aural as much as visual, and the transnational stardom of Ri must be addressed against the vibrant audio-visual culture of imperial Japan. We must then “imaginatively consider,” to borrow his phrase, forms of spectatorship that take into account her dynamic star persona (23). The conclusion serves as a deeply suggestive beginning of such an imagination.

Junko Yamazaki, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

THE CHAOS AND COSMOS OF KUROSAWA TOKIKO: One Woman’s Transit from Tokugawa to Meiji Japan. By Laura Nenzi. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2015. ix, 263 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$48.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3957-4.

This is a fascinating and illuminating account of the travails of a poet, prognosticator, and educator from rural Japan who was compelled by cosmic signs and rational analysis of contemporary events towards extraordinary political activism at a crucial moment towards the end of the Tokugawa (1600–1868) era. The author laudably nuances both our understandings of women’s roles in late Tokugawa loyalism, and rural commoners’ contributions to late Tokugawa ideology and society (3-4).

One of Nenzi’s principal aims is to locate the story of one woman, Kurosawa Tokiko, in the broader context of political and ideological developments in the latter half of nineteenth-century Japan. She intricately weaves Tokiko’s story into discussions of broader themes — such as the negotiation of gender norms and expectations, political activism, expressions of loyalty, and dissent — at a tumultuous moment in modern Japanese history: the fall of the Tokugawa military government and installation of a young emperor as national sovereign.

The book comprises three parts organized around Tokiko’s story, beginning with a framing of organizing principles of the book, including the importance of a specific locale (a village in Mito domain) and connections beyond it. The thread throughout the first and second parts is the analogy of a bird’s flight outlined in the introduction. A second analogy—that of a theatrical performance—is introduced in the second part, which treats Tokiko’s decision to deliver in person an appeal to the emperor in Kyoto, and her journey from Mito that involved illicit travel and covert assistance along the way from people connected by poetry and other networks. The third part treats the telling of Tokiko’s story, both by herself and, after her death, by others. In this section, Nenzi cogently demonstrates that Tokiko’s story lent itself to reconstruction by local officials, memorialists, biographers, novelists, cinematographers, illustrators, and women’s magazine editors, and that the resultant versions reflected particular contemporary political purposes. The historiographical sensitivity that leads Nenzi to refer to the work of other scholars of Japanese history is here carefully deployed to elucidate a multiplicity of accounts spanning the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Kurosawa Tokiko is a gem of a find: as a well-educated and connected poet, not only did she leave ample documentary evidence from which her story could be reconstructed but also she seems to have been a remarkably self-conscious and confident individual. How was it that she determined that she had a role to play in national events? Nenzi is adamant that Tokiko should not be seen as representative of rural women loyalists in the bakumatsu era (1853–1868), comparing her to other women who have attracted scholarly attention. She repeatedly reminds the reader why her story is meaningful—her deployment of divination, encounters with ghosts and appeals to cosmic forces—but this reader would also have appreciated some more direct consideration of what underpinned Tokiko’s self-assuredness and, more broadly, what exceptional figures tell us about particular moments of time. The absence of such a discussion is surprising in view of the emphasis on Tokiko’s exceptional characteristics by historians and local officials when reconstructing her story in the latter half of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century.

Nenzi’s argument about macro- and micro-history is challenging: How do historians ascribe significance to ordinary people, especially at times of radical or revolutionary change? A useful summation of the lessons to be drawn about locating the ordinary individual in “large-scale history,” and a statement on the significance of Tokiko’s story (201) is provided in the conclusion.

Nenzi employs several analogies throughout the book to explain Tokiko’s actions: Tokiko is at times a nesting bird or one in flight, an aspiring playwright, an actor in a theatrical performance. Nenzi seems particularly taken with the idea of performance, variously referring to theatrical and cinematic performances and scripts, spotlights, backdrops, extras, and main actors, and raises significant historical questions such as: How should historians understand the self-consciousness of individual historical figures at what are, in retrospect, particularly significant moments in time?

The analysis is creative but not entirely convincing in places. Nenzi interprets in Tokiko’s creative projects a proprietary concern with her own story and historical legacy, without providing substantive supporting evidence that Tokiko was concerned about her place in history. That Tokiko saw her journey to Kyoto as a pivotal event in her story is a recurring theme in an exegesis of her memoires and poetry (chapter 5), and the basis for a lengthy forensic analysis of the staged self-portrait that is reproduced on the front cover (chapter 8). Perhaps echoing Tokiko, Nenzi also reads significance into coincidence, describing the fact that Tokiko is cross-examined by authorities at about the same time as better-known male loyalists as “a remarkable instance of an extra sharing the spotlight with some of the lead historical actors” (121). Nenzi attributes keen awareness of the nature of political debate and change to her protagonist, and a tenacious determination to negotiate this change in her own favour, while also strategically protesting her insignificance on occasion: Tokiko “reinvented her role as a pivot between community and cosmic forces, between the small and the large scale, in the wake of the 1864 Mito civil war” (120).

The multiple interpretative layers that give so much texture to Nenzi’s account of a complex persona become in some places burdensome. A careful editor may have recommended a judicious selection where multiple analogies overlap, as well as ameliorated occasional inconsistencies in translated poetry (for example, the last line of the first poem on page 132 “yama ni hairu hito” is translated as “go deep into the mountain” but immediately below is described as an allusion to the Shugendō practitioners who “enter the mountains”).

The Chaos and Cosmos of Kurosawa Tokiko is not readily accessible for readers without a basic understanding of the national political developments of mid-nineteenth-century Japan but a careful reading will reward anyone interested in fringe political activism and identity construction (gender, local, national) at a critical juncture in the modern history of an important nation-state.

Vanessa B. Ward, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

EATING KOREAN IN AMERICA: Gastronomic Ethnography of Authenticity. Food in Asia and the Pacific. By Sonia Ryang. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xi, 138 pp., [8] pp. of plates. (Colored illustrations.) US$39.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3935-2.

Upon receiving this volume, I was unsure of what to expect. The title implied, at least to this reader, that the work would centre on Korean cuisine in the US; however, the subtitle also brought to the fore the ubiquitous buzz word of “authenticity” that seems to pop up everywhere in present scholarly literature. Nonetheless, having written a good deal on the history of Korean food, I was happy to have the opportunity to read something cast in a different light, on a cuisine that my own experiences indicate is at times quite different than what we might find in Korea.

This small volume—less than 140 pages—focuses on just four main dishes as served in primarily four disparate regions of the US. Ryang comments on naengmyŏn in Los Angeles, chŏn in Baltimore, kalbi in Hawaii, and pibimbap in Iowa City. At first glance, my thought was that one would be hard pressed to find four more distinct areas of the US, or, for that matter, four more dissimilar foods. The randomness did have a common thread, though, that being that the author had lived in/researched/visited these spots at some point in her academic career.

Each chapter begins with a brief description of the area, its demographic characteristics and the history of the Korean population residing therein. This I found informative for setting the backdrop. The chapters then follow a pattern of Ryang’s experience with a particular food in that locale and her own experiences or memories of the food elsewhere. There is some historical discussion on the food’s place in Korean history (however, as will be discussed below, this is clearly not the author’s strength), how the local rendition might vary, and then some larger implications about cross-cultural currents that might be drawn from the various developments in the food’s trajectory over both spatial and temporal boundaries.

Ryang’s narrative tends to stray from her discussion at times and brings various episodes relating to her travels into the volume. Thus we learn of her bus commute to the Koreatown in Los Angeles, during which a male bus rider exposed his genitals, her first weeks in Baltimore, and her purchase of, evidently, delicious lilikoi (Hawaiian passionfruit) bread on Hawaii’s Big Island. It is a narrative style that not all readers will appreciate; in this reader’s opinion it detracts from the more consequential aspects of the book and takes away from the focus of her study.

Ryang’s conclusions are sometimes stimulating. While I find the question of “authenticity” to be entirely moot, she does ask the right questions, such as: “Did authentic naengmyeon even exist in the first place?” (107). Frankly, it does not matter and nor does the question of the authority to declare a particular food authentic or take ownership of a tradition. Ryang gives the perfect example concerning the South Korean’s government’s various attempts to “claim the right to determine the authenticity of kimchi” (2, 100-111, 119). Korean cuisine, like all cuisines, has always been in a state of flux and foods have changed greatly over time. Her final arguments concerning the relationship of global capitalism, authenticity, and food are excellent and clearly demonstrate the role of global capitalism in taking “a basic element for the preservation of human life” (120) and using that for profit-making, consequences be damned. This is indeed tragic.

While I was initially not enamoured with the randomness of place and food, as I read through the volume Ryang’s approach grew on me and became more apparent. The connection between places and foods mirrors in many ways the randomness of the development of Korean cuisine over the centuries. Who knows what forces led to garlic making its way from Southeast Asia to the Korean Peninsula, or why chili peppers became so prominent in Korean food after their introduction in the early seventeenth century? Why did Korean, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines develop so differently, despite a great overlap in ingredients and shared knowledge between these cultures? The reason is significantly less important than the result, and this is the same bond I found between Los Angeles, Baltimore, Hawaii, and Iowa City, and the foods described in the volume. The same processes—human movement, cultural adaptation and assimilation, and innovation—that have shaped Korean food in Korea and are in play in the US.

The volume would have benefitted, like so many others nowadays, from a better understanding of history. While I understand this is not the focus of the work, there are some rather glaring misunderstandings. For example, Ryang states that rice was the primary source of carbohydrates in premodern Korea (11). This is not the case, however, as most commoners could only afford to eat rice a few times a year; instead, they ate other grains such as millet and barley. She also questions whether one could find a “science of Korean food” (10) in past times. Indeed we can find numerous works that link various foods to maintaining health and curing disease, the most prominent being the Tongŭi pogam (Exemplar of Eastern Medicine) compiled in the mid-Chosŏn period. The chung’in were not artisans and craftsmen (12), but rather the technocrats of the Chosŏn bureaucracy and served as physicians, accountants, astronomers, jurists, and translators. Like Japan (68), butchers were looked down upon in Chosŏn Korea and considered as part of the outcast group known as the paekchŏng. There are other such examples, but I suppose these are probably minor flaws, if not completely undetectable to readers interested in modern-day Korean foods in the US.

In closing, this is an interesting book and when one considers Ryang’s main argument concerning the flow of food caused by the wars of the past century, immigration and capitalism, it is a compelling work that adds significantly to the discourse on “national” foods in contemporary society.

Michael J. Pettid, Binghamton University, Binghamton, USA

RELIGION AND PSYCHOTHERAPY IN MODERN JAPAN. Routledge Contemporary Japan Series, 54. Edited by Christopher Harding, Iwata Fumiaki, and Yoshinaga Shin’ichi. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xviii, 300 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$155.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-13-877516-9.

This edited volume offers an intriguing collection of articles that manage to address an impressive variety of topics and themes while remaining tightly focused on the volume’s core topic: the interaction between religion and psychotherapy in Japan. All of the individual articles, with the exception of an introductory historical overview provided by one of the editors Christopher Harding, are by Japanese scholars. Consequently, the volume serves not just as a useful compilation of research on this topic but also as a valuable English-language resource for Japanese scholarship on the topic.

Psychotherapy remains a marginal practice in Japan and public surveys repeatedly suggest a similar low priority is accorded to religion. Consequently, focusing on the interaction of these two topics in a Japanese context may seem a very niche endeavour. However, the influence of psychoanalysis and its associated theories reach much further than client numbers might suggest. And similarly, claims of the secular nature of Japan tend to ignore the popularity and prevalence of non-denominational practices and beliefs. As a result, the volume provides insight that is more broadly applicable than would first appear and will be of interest not just to religious scholars and psychoanalysts but also anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and potentially cross-cultural psychologists.

Harding’s introduction provides an excellent orientation to the rest of the volume, succinctly summarizing the key themes and core debates surrounding psycho-religious discourses. He also cautions about the problematic issue of a lack of information concerning the perspectives of dissatisfied customers, or clients more generally, in the volume, an especially pertinent caveat given the number of chapters that focus on the lives and theories of influential founding figures. This general introduction is then supplemented by the first two chapters, which offer a concise chronological review of the changing relationship of psychological disciplines and religion (Harding) with a variety of well-chosen historical illustrations (Hashimoto). These chapters cover a lot of ground and provide ample evidence of how the interactive dynamic between religion and psychotherapy has fluctuated between ambivalence, open antagonism, and endorsement with the adoption of religiously inspired psychoanalytical therapies (for example, Morita and Naikan).

The historical detail in the first half of the book is particularly rich and while this means the chapters occasionally veer into historical minutiae, they also provide a detailed contextual foundation which grounds the later chapters focusing on influential figures (Iwata, Ando, Tarutani), specific therapies (Kondo and Kitanishi, Shimazono, Terao), regional variations (Shiotsuki, Taniyama) and contemporary practices (Horie, Tamiyana).

While the quality of contributions is generally high there are a few chapters that are worth highlighting in particular. Shimazono Susumu’s contribution provides a short but useful overview of the “psycho-religious composite movement” but it is his case study of the religious origins of Yoshimoto Naikan therapy and the charting of its later secular alterations that makes this chapter stand out. Iwata’s chapter detailing the significant Buddhist influence on the pioneering psychoanalyst Kosawa Heisaku and his influential “Ajase complex” theory is also excellent. Iwata’s account of the rejection of this Buddhist spiritual foundation by Kosawa’s well-known students, Doi Takeo and Okonogi Keigo, also offers a microcosmic illustration of the dramatic variation in viewpoints presented throughout the volume. Finally, Horie Norichika’s chapter on contemporary views of reincarnation in Japan provides some much-needed evidence drawn from more recent trends. His analysis of online reincarnation accounts is statistically problematic but the chapter overall illustrates clearly how in the contemporary era there is a multiplicity of reincarnation narratives that variously accord and conflict with more traditional Buddhist accounts.

Half of the articles are translations of previous publications and while this does not detract from their relevance it does result in some rather jarring tonal departures. In particular, the chapter by Kondo and Kitanishi on Morita therapy comes across as an unusually hagiographic account of Morita Masatake, the founder of the practice, and includes some questionable generalizations about the unique “Asian” psychological and philosophical underpinnings of the practice. This is more understandable if one is aware that Kondo and Kitanishi are Morita practitioners offering an “insider analysis”; however, without careful reading of the introductory chapter (14) this fact is likely to be overlooked by readers. Similarly, while Terao’s chapter on Catholic Naikan practices is less indulgent, at times it also seems to cross into implicit endorsement of Catholic perspectives: “The sacrament of Communion, which goes beyond the solace of words, is an experience of being united with the real body and blood of Christ” (174).

By contrast, the final chapter on chaplaincy work in disaster areas, by the Buddhist priest Taniyama, is entirely devoid of such implicit endorsements and instead provides a careful account of how modern religious practitioners in Japan might offer non-intrusive support in the wake of disasters. The personal accounts detailed in this chapter are fascinating and demonstrate the ambiguous and marginal position of religious institutions operating in the public sphere in Japan.

Overall, this volume provides a unique resource for scholars interested in modern Japan and a clear illustration of how the Japanese response to Western-derived psychoanalytical theories was far from passive receptivity. Instead, the contributions to the volume demonstrate diverse and creative interpretations that at times have drawn heavily on the cultural heritage of Japan’s religions. Furthermore, while the volume illustrates that the role of religious institutions in caring for the mentally ill has declined throughout the twentieth century, it also indicates that traditional religious philosophies and introspective practices remain a significant component of contemporary therapy. Similarly, several chapters highlight that there is a continued interest in traditional healers and new “spiritual” groups, as well as ongoing attempts by religious practitioners to reinvigorate their pastoral roles, all of which means that, even as the influence of mainstream religion declines, the interaction between religion and therapeutic practices in Japan remains a relevant topic in the contemporary era.

Christopher M. Kavanagh, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

HOLY GHOSTS: The Christian Century in Modern Japanese Fiction. By Rebecca Suter. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. x, 194 pp. (Figures.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-4001-3.

Rebecca Suter’s Holy Ghosts: The Christian Century in Modern Japanese Fiction revisits the interpretive trope of Jesuit missions and their influence during the Warring States Period (1567-1603) and the early Edo Period (1603-1868) as the Christian Century, first expounded by C.R. Boxer in The Christian Century in Japan, 1549-1650 (1951) and refined into an explanatory tool for anti-Christian discourse and official institutions and ideology by George Elison in Deus Destroyed: The Image of Christianity in Early Modern Japan (1973). The author repurposes the trope to examine how writers and other cultural producers of modern Japanese fiction employed specific notions of Christianity from that period as a way of registering contemporary anxiety about Japan’s unstable cultural identity. Her two chief topics are the short stories on Christianity, or Kirishitan mono, written by famous prewar writer Akutagawa Ryūnosuke between 1916 and 1926, and books, manga, video games, and so forth from the postwar period (1945-) on the largely Christian peasant uprising in 1637 and 1638 known as the Shimabara Rebellion. She employs Judith Butler’s idea of “mimetic incorporation,” as presented in Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), to explain how representation of foreigners in these works amounted to a constitution of the Japanese self through the projection of the European, Christian Others.

The book is divided into three main parts. In chapter 1, “Contexts,” Suter takes up Elison’s argument that official anti-Christian sentiments played a major role in how Edo Period authorities legitimated their rule and constructed the social order. She also locates the basis for her claims about “the Christian [C]entury in modern Japanese fiction as a metaphor for the cultural negotiations of the Meiji (1868-1912) and postwar periods” in Ideology and Christianity in Japan (2009), in which Kiri Paramore asserts the existence of continuities between Edo and Meiji Period anti-Christian discourse (26). She differentiates herself from these elite-focused approaches by drawing on Higashibaba Ikuo’s Christianity in Early Modern Japan: Kirishitan Belief and Practice (2001) to explain how Christian symbols became associated with sacredness and magic through the processes of local adaptation and syncretization. However, she neither addresses the debate about the usefulness of the trope of the Christian Century nor explains precisely what she considers her own historiographic intervention within this trope to be, focusing instead solely on the trope as an organizing principle in modern Japanese fiction.

In part 2, Suter situates Akutagawa’s Kirishitan mono and other prewar fiction within Meiji Period and Taishō Period (1912-1926) efforts to modernize. Noting the conflicting calls for Westernization and a return to Japanese values, she argues that Christianity provided the Japanese people with “an alternative model for Japanese cultural negotiations with its European Other, which helped critically appraise, and possibly transcend” the numerous binaries based on East/West (42). She employs this concept to explain how by setting his stories in the distant past, Akutagawa upset the spiritual/scientific dichotomy, portraying Christian practices as magical, and traditional Japanese medicine as rationally, scientifically oriented. She also discusses the issue of Communist apostasy, or tenkō, in the wake of government crackdowns in the 1920s and 1930s by analyzing Akutagawa’s stories on Christian martyrs and apostates. For Suter, such stories constituted one of the ways in which the seemingly disengaged Akutagawa made political commentary, “propos[ing] a creative appropriation of recantation as a radical alternative” to disengagement or direct social commitment (76).

Suter’s more ambitious inquiries come in part 3, when she discusses postwar fiction on the leader of the Shimabara Rebellion, Amakusa Shirō. Accounts of the rebellion attribute to him numerous miracles and feats of black magic, depending on whether or not authors were sympathetic to the Kirishitan. The resulting ambiguity proved a bountiful source of creative potential, as authors wrote about his divine and/or demonic resurrection. Yamada Fūtarō’s Makai tenshō (Demonic Resurrection, 1967) provides a particularly critical view of Christianity through an inversion similar to Akutagawa’s, “presenting the Kirishitan as both hypersexual and sexist” (124). Suter tracks this ambiguity through various adaptations of Makai tenshō and other works like the video game series Samurai Spirits (1993-2010), which portray Shirō with ambiguous gender and other characteristics that blur numerous dichotomies, together making him simultaneously “foreign and native, male and female, and good and evil” (137). Suter also locates the shift towards more positive evaluations of Shirō and Christianity as coming from new spiritual movements after the Aum Shinrikyō gas attacks on the Tokyo subways in 1995, citing the time-displaced, female, heroic Shirō of Amakusa 1637 (2001-2006), among others.

Suter makes a good case for the usefulness of the Christian Century as a literary and cultural analytic frame for understanding modern Japanese fiction. Her choice of topics also lets her make a rather clear chronology of the shifting concerns about cultural negotiation; the Kirishitan mono deal with issues of prewar modernization/Westernization, while the Shimabara Rebellion stories deal with the postwar myth of the ethnically and culturally homogenous Japan through the hybrid Amakusa Shirō. Yet it is almost too simple a narrative, as though there were no stories about Shimabara before the war, and there were no other subjects for stories about Christianity. Suter’s book would have been richer if she had situated these two topics within the larger context and trends of contemporary Japanese Christianity.

The book also lacks cohesion, such that the Kirishitan mono and Shimabara Rebellion stories seem entirely unrelated, and Suter’s narrative feels artificial. Her unclear historiographic intervention is similarly indicative of the book’s generally loose argumentative structure. She introduces Marilyn Ivy’s arguments from Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan (1995) in chapter 4 and in the conclusion to discuss how the ontological category of Japan can only exist in relation to the West, in this case specifically Christianity. Her work is clearly heavily influenced by Ivy’s, notably through frequent use of the concept of phantasms of premodernity, which must exist in order for modernity to constitute itself. A greater, more open theoretical reliance on Ivy might have made Holy Ghosts a more sustained engagement with issues of Japanese cultural identity with bolder conclusions about the significance of Japan’s cultural anxiety.

Nonetheless, Holy Ghosts is an interesting foray into a syncretic analysis of different mediums of culture on the popular topic of Christianity in Japan. It helps fill the massive gap in scholarship on manga and anime, and it seeks to provide some answers as to the contemporary matters of cultural hybridity with a historical legacy. Although it might fall short of all its promises, Rebecca Suter’s ambitious project is a step in the right direction.

Alexander Kaplan-Reyes, Columbia University, New York, USA

AN INTRODUCTION TO JAPANESE SOCIETY. By Yoshio Sugimoto. 4th ed. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xi, 382 pp. (Figures, map, tables.) US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-62667-6.

This thorough and wide-ranging book comparatively explores the vast elements that make up Japanese society from what Sugimoto calls a “multicultural approach.” Its aim is to demonstrate how the internal variation within Japanese society can complicate and disavow cultural essentialisms such as the notion that there is a singular, “typical” Japan, and to cast off persistent stereotypes and generalizations about Japanese society. This fourth edition of the book builds on updates from the last, drawing significantly on newer statistical data as recent as mid-2014, and adds a welcome section on the relationship of civil society in Japan to protest movements following the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in 2011.

Sugimoto takes a two-pronged multicultural approach in his study. On the one hand, he seeks to avoid the pitfalls of scholarship that insists on Japan’s particularity (being “uniquely unique” among advanced nations) such as the much-discredited Nihonjinron discourse, which would only analyze Japan through the lens of Japan-specific concepts (such as Takeo Doi’s term amae, or “dependence”). To do so, he employs a “multicultural research focus that spotlights the domestic stratification and sub-cultural differentiation of Japanese society” (36). On the other hand, so as not to merely apply the theory and concepts of Western social sciences that purport universality to the specificities of Japanese society, Sugimoto utilizes both emic concepts specific to Japanese society (such as honne/tatemae, omote/ura, soto/uchi), and etic concepts that are applicable across national and ethnic boundaries. Put another way, he explores difference and variation within Japan’s many sub-cultures within society while comparing these sub-cultures to those existing elsewhere in the world through theoretical tools that more clearly delineate what is specific to Japan and what is not. This is a compelling methodology precisely because it avoids the trap of a simple comparative study of national societies which, through the act of comparison itself, must treat each society as whole, unitary, and homogeneous.

The book moves through four major themes over the course of its ten chapters, from an overview of class and stratification in Japan, to a discussion of how occupation and education relate to this stratification, then on to stratification based on gender and ethnicity, and finally the interplay of the (political, bureaucratic, and business) establishment and its dissenters within civil society. This organization is sound and reads smoothly, even when various topics of discussion intersect in ways that do not mirror the linearity of the chapter layout.

In chapter 2, the conventional theory that Japanese society is classless and egalitarian gets contradicted by the reality of class divisions as well as the widespread acknowledgement that the predominant middle class has collapsed (if it ever existed in the first place!) and that a kakusa shakai (disparity society) has emerged. Competing methodologies for classifying classes and strata—the Marxian tradition that groups people together based on their location in the organization of economic production versus the non-Marxian (often Weberian) methodologies that classify people according to categories of income, power, and prestige—has led to differing models of classification among researchers in Japan, but Sugimoto navigates the reader through the findings of both, with the unambiguous conclusion that whatever the method employed, “a comprehensive examination of Japanese society can neither ignore nor avoid an analysis of class and stratification and the inequality and disparity of Japan’s distribution of social rewards” (50). The following chapters 3 through 7 deal with the so-called “agents of stratification” that determine an individual’s access to societal resources, such as geography, work, education, gender, and ethnicity, and the institutionalized ways that inequality is reproduced. Factors such as the structural set-up of major corporations and their hierarchical chain of subsidiaries and subcontractors in their keiretsu networks, or the patriarchal and discriminatory practices embedded into the structure of the koseki family registry, are but a few sites where Japan’s institutions reproduce this social inequality.

Sugimoto’s major achievement throughout the book is how he consistently demonstrates the internal variation among the discrete categories, a task he accomplishes through extensive research driven by statistical findings (and what appears to be encyclopedic knowledge), coupled with concise analysis and conclusions. I also found convincing the difficult questions he raises about the nature of “Japaneseness” and the multiple ways it is conceived (nationality, genetics, language competence, etc.) (201), highlighting the arbitrariness with which “Japaneseness” is socially constructed. This discussion may have benefitted from a theorization of race itself and its difference from ethnicity in the context of Japan and its colonial past. Later in the text, Sugimoto’s skepticism towards Cool Japan and its potential to resuscitate monolithic images of Japan reminiscent of Nihonjinron discourse provides an important cautionary note.

An Introduction to Japanese Society is a meticulously organized and thorough analysis of Japanese society that should be of interest to scholars and students of Japan from diverse fields, not simply the social sciences. Although the chapters may be read independently, topics such as the nuclear crisis at Fukushima, and the conditions that enabled it, from chapter 10, greatly benefit from the analysis of chapter 8, in which concepts such as amakudari and other forms of collusion between the national bureaucracy and the private sector are covered. This tendency to build on knowledge from earlier chapters yields value in a cover-to-cover read as well.

Within the past several decades, many publications have sought to address Japan’s multicultural and multiethnic nature, so much so that multicultural studies may be considered a genre within Japanese studies scholarship. Examples include Michael Weiner’s Japan’s Minorities: The Illusion of Homogeneity (1997), Eiji Oguma’s A Genealogy of Japanese Self-Images (2002), Harumi Befu’s Hegemony of Homogeneity: An Anthropological Analysis of Nihonjinron (2001), and Mark Hudson’s Multicultural Japan: Palaeolithic to Postmodern (2001). Yet, while Sugimoto may indeed be a founding member of the field, this text both fits squarely within it and is broad enough to exceed it.

Jeffrey DuBois, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, St. Joseph, USA

GRASSROOTS FASCISM: The War Experience of the Japanese People. Weatherhead Books on Asia. By Yoshimi Yoshiaki; translated and annotated by Ethan Mark. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. vi, 347 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16568-6.

In Yoshimi Yoshiaki’s Grassroots Fascism: The War Experience of the Japanese People, Japanese soldiers on the battlefields of the Second World War are soaked, stinking, and covered in rashes. Draped in necklaces made of the shriveled pinky fingers of their fallen comrades, they are witnesses to—and participants in—looting, rape, and mass killings of civilians. Their compatriots on the Japanese mainland and dispersed throughout the peripheries of the Japanese empire are absorbed as much in matters of inflation and taxes, rice prices, rations, and draft notices as they are in the rhetoric of patriotism. The strength of Grassroots Fascism is that through Yoshimi’s assiduous collection and transcription of letters, diary entries, memoirs, and opinion polls, we readers are privy to these everyday experiences of Japan at war—the ambivalence, resentment, regret, horror, and apathy—related directly by the common people themselves.

Despite the presence of the word “fascism” in the work’s title, Yoshimi’s study does not attempt to join the scholarly debate about whether or not Japan’s political extremism qualifies as fascism. Neither does Yoshimi seek the roots of Japan’s fanatic popular nationalism in administrative policies, propaganda campaigns, and social structures. Rather, in the vein of the 1960s “people’s history” movement in which Yoshimi himself came of age as a scholar, Grassroots Fascism attempts to provide a history of the Second World War that recognizes the individual subjectivity of ordinary people, to investigate how the Japanese people were simultaneously the victims of radical imperial consciousness and the aggressors perpetuating it. Whereas other histories of militarist Japan may oversimplify the complacency of the Japanese public in swallowing the myths of a holy war waged for the autonomy of the Japanese empire, Yoshimi presents a history that recognizes “the people” as engaged both in the demands of their immediate environment and in the transcendental discourse of honour and sacrifice.

The work’s four chapters sketch the chronological rise and fall of “grassroots fascism” by tracing the tendency of men and women across the Japanese empire to filter their daily work and struggles through the narrative of a righteous war. Chapter 1 presents the voices of soldiers and townspeople during the early stages of the Asia-Pacific War: individuals who increasingly support Japan’s mission in Asia with the hope that the fighting will end quickly. Chapter 2 demonstrates that with Japan’s victories across the Pacific and, eventually, at Pearl Harbor, rising popular support of the war was beginning to take root not only on the Japanese home front but also throughout its growing empire. This chapter in particular shines in its discussion of the spiritual incorporation of members of the Japanese imperial populace often glossed over in scholarship of World War II Japan, such as the Uilta of Karafuto, the Chamorro of Guam, and Korean volunteer soldiers. In chapter 3, the reader is confronted by the horrors and confusion of the battlefield as the imperial military’s withdrawals begin to outnumber its successes, and chapter 4 concludes that despite a trend toward self-preservation and apathy as the promise of a Japanese victory fades, the “fighting spirit” of the populace does not founder until the emperor’s radio announcement of surrender; indeed, the “imperial consciousness” that drove popular support for the war lives on even after defeat.

By introducing the circumstances and musings of soldiers, farmers, teachers, fujinkai volunteers, merchants, and mothers, Grassroots Fascism gives credit to individual feelings and to how these feelings are sorted out on paper. Although translator Ethan Mark generously describes Yoshimi’s presentation of these various personal accounts as “a remarkable array of popular voices deftly assembled” (7), the experience of reading Grassroots Fascism feels more like a visit to a labyrinthine museum exhibition, where we readers press “play” at random in an oral history archive listening booth. Yoshimi provides no methodological explanation for his selection of the entries included, and he makes little effort to connect them thematically. Also almost entirely absent is any critical questioning of the sources in terms of the speakers’ intent, choice of medium for expression, or the individuals’ motivation for putting pen to paper in what was undoubtedly a climate of hyper-surveillance. And yet, even if the voices in Grassroots Fascism are too often disembodied, the effect does surround the reader with the murmurs of an empire at war, reiterating that the individual experience of war is disjointed and disorienting. Readers accustomed to the typical format of contemporary English-language scholarship may also be frustrated by the absence of an overall theoretical argument and of explicit definitions by the author of the key terms he employs (such as what he means by “fascism” and “the people”). Helpfully, the translator’s introduction and extensive notes situate the work by providing details of Yoshimi’s academic influences and methodological foundations.

Originally published in Japanese in 1987, Grassroots Fascism spoke to a readership confronting the failure of the Japanese state to acknowledge war responsibility at the fortieth anniversary of defeat (as West Germany’s president and former chancellor had famously done). The release of its English translation, which coincides with the seventieth anniversary of surrender, will reach a wider audience yet engaged in matters of the legacy of the war. Yoshimi’s study demonstrates that despite what Japanese government officials may have said (or left unsaid) over the past seven decades regarding responsibility for wartime atrocities, the experience of the war on the individual level was a complex jumble of anxiety, grief, and acknowledgement of brutality. In the musings and representations preserved in Grassroots Fascism, we see that non-elite individuals who supported and participated in the war were not simply succumbing blindly to propaganda. Rather, they were motivated by economic realities and the desire for personal advancement, negotiated amid rhetoric of the holy mission of the divinely favoured Japanese race.

A. Carly Buxton, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

JAPAN’S INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES POLICY: Law, Diplomacy and Politics Governing Resource Security. Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies Series. By Roger D. Smith. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xvii, 216 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-13-877523-7.

It is clear from policies on rice imports and subsidies for farmers that the Japanese government takes the issue of food security very seriously, and is not content to rely only on international trade to meet its food needs. This book explains why, and how concerns about dependence on imports of strategic raw materials have played out in foreign policy, especially since World War II.

Detailed historical research puts into perspective the escalation in territorial conflicts with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) over the Senkaku (Daoyutai) Islands lying between Okinawa and Taiwan. Chinese historians such as Jane Lovell and Yangwen Zheng have explained how the “century of humiliation” following the Opium Wars inflicted by Japan and Western powers on China is one of the factors fuelling contemporary Chinese belligerence over maritime borders. This book then posits historical background for the Japanese side. Smith shows how access to fisheries resources outside Japan’s territorial waters has been a key strategy for food security since the colonial era, through the occupation period when Japan needed to replace the food production that had come from its empire, and which was then whittled away through the implementation of the United Nations Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) enclosing large areas of what had been international waters as national exclusive economic zones in the 1970s and 1980s. Officials have long referred to Japan as a “sea people” or “maritime nation” and been passionate in defense of maritime access and aghast when restrictions have been imposed. These historical factors, combined with the potential energy resources of the area, and the domestic political capital to be gained by both sides in fanning conflict between them, help explain the lengths to which Japan has gone in asserting ownership of these uninhabited rocky outcrops in the sea.

Smith categorizes ocean governance as being made up of: 1) the international legal and political framework for access to maritime areas; 2) national politics and states pushing their own interests; and 3) international diplomacy and conflict over maritime territory under the aegis of international law. The book focuses on Japanese diplomacy relating to codification of international law pertaining to the oceans, and the interplay of foreign policy and domestic politics in shaping Japan’s involvement in various conflicts over a 60-year period from World War II to the present. Some of the important events in addition to the implementation of the UNCLOS covered include the discovery of new petroleum sources and the development of domestic environmental laws.

The main theoretical contribution of the book is on the nature of Japanese foreign policy. Smith weighs into the debate about what kind of foreign policy Japan has, given its postwar lack of international political influence commensurate with its economic power. “Comprehensive security” is the framework used to explain Japanese international fisheries policy, diplomacy, and conflicts arising when the actions of other countries threaten Japan’s access to marine resources. Comprehensive security is described as a unique Japanese defense strategy, involving non-military factors in strategic calculations.

Rather than siding with political commentators who find, along the lines of Karel van Wolferen’s argument, that Japan has no coherent foreign policy direction beyond following the US and making platitudes about peace and prosperity, Smith finds that Japan has had a discernible international oceans policy that it has pursued in an incremental and subtle manner. Although Japan has not taken an overt leadership role for the most part, it has influenced the international system governing marine resources and achieved important goals. A related finding is that policy agendas have been set by self-driven sectoral groupings, in this case the fishing industry in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). In this sense the book complements the scholarship of Aurelia George Mulgan on the role of the MAFF in Japanese politics, with Mulgan’s work focusing on agriculture and Smith’s work on fisheries.

Smith argues that Japan’s policy to secure its food supply has involved both autarky and promoting the international trade in food. Japanese demand for seafood exceeds the productive capacity of its national waters. In the immediate postwar years more fish was a basic need, as the country faced famine. Additional sources of animal protein were sought through the occupying forces, allowing Japanese fishing fleets to once more move out from Japanese waters. This was the era of industrial whaling for national nutritional needs. By the 1970s, seafood consumption had gone beyond filling a basic nutritional need as the population became wealthy, and food culture preferences meant the demand for seafood escalated, and diversified into luxury foods such as sashimi, supplied by Japanese fishing vessels operating around the world. At the same time, however, the progress of the UNCLOS meant the Japanese fleet was no longer to freely access many international fishing grounds. As a response Japanese international fisheries policy was to secure access through creating joint ventures in coastal states, and to espouse food security as a keystone of its multilateral diplomacy through United Nations agencies.

Japan’s International Fisheries Policy is a useful book for scholars and students of Japan’s foreign policy, as well as of its domestic politics relating to food and other marine resources over the decades since World War II. It is also a good reference work for people interested in international ocean governance, where Japan is a key player, as a fishing state, as a major supporter of multilateral measures to promote food security through fisheries, and as a big bilateral aid donor for fisheries in developing countries.

Kate Barclay, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia

BAD WATER: Nature, Pollution, and Politics in Japan, 1870-1950. Asia-Pacific; Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University. By Robert Stolz. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2014. xi, 269 pp. (Table, figures.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5699-8.

The environmental history of Japan has flourished in recent years with a blossoming of strong English-language scholarship from established figures (like Brett Walker) and a younger generation of newcomers to the field (including the author of this volume). Despite all the critical environmental topics and themes as of yet untouched by historians, a great deal of this research has clustered around a relatively limited range of subjects, notably industrial pollution incidents, the idea of nature in Japanese thought, and environmental activism. Robert Stolz’s Bad Water: Nature, Pollution, and Politics in Japan, 1870-1950 is part of this scholarly pile-up on turf already well-trod in Japanese environmental history. Happily, Stolz brings to his study fresh and important perspectives on familiar events, intellectual trends, and individuals as well as introducing heretofore little-known (but significant) thinkers and narratives to the Western scholarship.

At its core, Bad Water is a critical reassessment of the thought and intellectual influence of Tanaka Shōzō (1841-1913), the Meiji politician, journalist, and activist celebrated (and even lionized) in the historiography as Japan’s first conservationist, a principled crusader against an authoritarian state and irresponsible corporations, and an agrarian conscience in a nation (and a landscape) being transformed by rapid industrialization. Tanaka, who was elected to the Diet in Japan’s first general election of 1890, had all the makings of a pioneering and heroic environmentalist: horrified by the widespread devastation caused to farmland and villages by the toxic effluvia washed downstream from the Ashio Copper Mine in his native Tochigi Prefecture, Tanaka was relentless in his efforts to stir public opinion and spur government action. Although he and his fellow protesters were able to win some redress from the corporate owners of the mine and incremental policy concessions from Tokyo, Tanaka eventually despaired of a political solution, resigning his seat in the Diet, withdrawing to live in Yanaka (one of the villages hardest hit by the Ashio pollution), and devoting himself to reflection and writing.

Although often cast as a backward-looking champion of the peasant soul of a Japan already lost to capitalism, industry, and the pursuit of empire, Tanaka emerges in Stolz’s book as a more creative, progressive, and influential thinker. Through a careful and compelling re-reading of Tanaka’s career and writings, Stolz reveals Tanaka as a complicated figure, transformed by the horrors of industrial pollution from an archetypal Meiji liberal (who cherished the abstract vision of an autonomous subject divorced from his/her surroundings) into an impassioned spokesman for a new environmental politics. In what Stolz describes as his “environmental turn,” Tanaka came to recognize the folly of humans’ (and the modern state’s) attempts to control or contain nature; instead, he took as his environmental and social ideal the notion of “flow” (nagare), a liberated and healthy condition for rivers and people alike. Thus, in his mature writings Tanaka not only articulated a profound critique of Meiji political philosophy and the inherent ecological contradictions of capitalism but also crafted a powerful environmental vision of what he called “true civilization.”

Stolz’s book is not simply an intellectual biography of Tanaka, however, as he also explores at length the lives and work of three other Japanese environmental thinkers: Matsumoto Eiko, a radical journalist whose ethnographic work on pollution informed Tanaka’s thought; Ishikawa Sanshirō, an eccentric anarchist and nudist influenced by Tanaka, who proposed an ecological alternative to industrial modernity based on the rhizome; and Kurosawa Torizō, who founded Snow Brand (still one of Japan’s largest milk and cheese companies) and aimed to create a Danish-style community of environmentally sustainable dairy farms in Hokkaidō. In these four unusual individuals, Stolz reveals four potential paths for progressive environmental activists under prewar Japanese authoritarianism: escape (as Matsumoto emigrated to California not long after publishing her work on Ashio), engagement (modelled by Tanaka through his life of protest, community organization, and advocacy), withdrawal (Ishikawa sought self-sufficiency and privacy on a small farm west of Tokyo), and utopianism (in Kurosawa’s quest for a socialist dairy paradise in Japan’s farthest hinterlands). As these cases demonstrate, the options for forward-thinking environmentalists in the highly circumscribed political landscape and inalterably capitalist socio-economic order of imperial Japan were extremely limited.

For all the strengths of Bad Water, the volume is not without its flaws. Frustratingly, especially for a rigorous intellectual historian, Stolz does not define or clearly differentiate the English terms nature, environment, or ecology, nor does he unpack the meanings of ten, a Japanese word he seemingly interchangeably translates as “heaven” and “nature.” At times, Stolz’s narrative reads like a quaint search for “resistance” in Japan before and immediately after World War II, a longstanding project of left-leaning historians that today seems dated and unnecessary. And Stolz’s conclusion, which is the only part of the book too heavy on jargon, is painfully dark, indeed almost nihilistic in its hopelessness for those of us who perforce live in capitalist societies and retain a shred or two of faith in liberal subjectivity. In this regard, Stolz participates in what now seems like a curious “race to the bottom” among historians of the Japanese environment, as scholars like Brett Walker paint Japan’s ecological past, present, and future with almost unremitting bleakness.

Although the conclusion of Bad Water almost assures that readers will finish the book with an anguished frown on their faces, Stolz’s contributions to the environmental and intellectual histories of modern Japan—from his timely reinterpretation of Tanaka Shōzō to his fascinating story of Snow Brand’s trajectory from Danish inspiration to fascist mobilization to recent tainted food scandals—are undeniably substantial.

William M. Tsutsui, Hendrix College, Conway, USA

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BEYOND THE METROPOLIS: Second Cities and Modern Life in Interwar Japan. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. By Louise Young. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. xiii, 307 pp. (Maps.) US$49.95, cloth . ISBN 978-0-520-27520-1.

In Beyond the Metropolis, Louise Young strives to fill a gap in the scholarship on Japanese modernity, a story, she asserts, that historians have “overwhelmingly told … from the vantage point of Tokyo” (6). Locating her work “at the interstices of social and cultural history” (12), Young focuses her attention on “tracking the discourse on the modern” (7) in four prefectural capitals: Okayama, Niigata, Kanazawa, and Sapporo. She defines those cities in tightly circumscribed terms, viewing each first “as a constellation of institutions” and second “as a set of ideas—a social imaginary” (11). Her broader goal for the work, she states, is to “illuminate … the lived interdisciplinarity of social life” (12) as reflected in these modernizing processes. In a work teeming with urban portraits, sketches of individuals’ life courses, capsule discussions of knotty terms such as kokyō/furusato and ura Nihon, and broad treatments of the ongoing construction of railways, Meiji and Taisho economic evolutions, and twentieth-century inventions of tradition, however, images of lived reality in each of her cities gain and lose resolution page to page.

Young organizes her study in three parts. In the first, “Contexts,” she argues that the economic “boom” brought to Japan by the First World War “ushered in a new age of the city” (6) as wartime affluence “spurred municipalities to expand the range of urban amenities and develop basic infrastructure to accommodate the demands of a surging population and burgeoning local industry” (21). The war years promoted urban growth, but they also brought new social forces: the presence of the narikin, the newly rich who profited from wartime production (23–27), and the threat of the urban crowd that rose to prominence with the 1918 Rice Riots (27–32).

The second part, “Geo-power and Urban-centrism,” begins with an exploration of “a new cultural geography that … defined Japan in terms of Tokyo and its Others” (39). This emphasis on Tokyo, as elsewhere in the work, threatens to derail her central argument. Here, however, after demonstrating through the biographies of prominent intellectuals that “ascension to Tokyo” (jōkyō) for higher education not only “deprived provincial cities of local talent” but also prompted the students to adopt the capital as foundation for a new identity, she offers close readings to argue that “their provincial origins left conspicuous traces in their literary production,” resulting in figures who “located themselves as men of the metropolis, but also in relation to an earlier, provincial identity” (53). Young continues mediating the relationships between the metropolis and these provincial cities by careful analysis of local institutions, particularly schools and the press. While she concludes that “the newspaper provided a critical institutional foundation for local cultural movements” (69), she suggests also that the independence of local culture remained limited, as the local press largely “served as conduits for the import of new ideas and practices from abroad” (70), and an “assertive localism” expressed by provincial literary societies was in fact rooted in “movements that had been heavily influenced by Tokyo writers” (78).

This section’s second chapter reverses the center-Other equation, proposing that in “a time of transformation in the urban-rural relationship,” regional cities assumed a new centrality, “breaking down … old patterns of self-sufficiency and obstacles to demographic mobility … and replacing them with a new dependency on the urban market” (83). Young illustrates these trends through clearly formulated and detailed discussions of the economic and spatial development of her cities: the experience of Okayama, for example, demonstrates the destabilizing effects of railroads on existing patterns of commerce (92–95), while the suburbanization of Sapporo’s surrounding villages offered a “performative fix” against rigid rural–urban dichotomies (135).

The book’s final section, “Modern Times and the City Idea,” first relies on locally produced histories to establish how “urban elites,” perceiving “a crisis of socialization for municipal governments,” responded by “stretch[ing] the meaning of the city, installing [sic] the belief that the rising urban centers … represented natural communities that drew on a shared cultural heritage” (142). This line of argument takes Young to the edges of profound and highly contested dynamics in the historiography of twentieth-century Japan, including activities of local history movements (145–54), the roles of folklorists in reenvisioning the collective past (166, 171), and regionalism as itself an “invented tradition” (143) constructed “within a national frame” (144).

In the book’s final chapter, “The Cult of the New,” Young again leaves the local to focus on “broader intellectual trends that oriented people toward the future” (188). These cultural discourses transcended the local even as they attempted to control, reform, and contain it, and much of what Young cites are nationalist and centralist: “a new mania for government planning,” as well as “a boom in popular science and science fiction … in the service of nationalism,” and “a new faith in the efficacy of measurement and prediction, statistics, and prognostication … in the social sciences, management ideology, and government policy” (188).

Her late emphasis on centralizing discourses highlights two issues that run through the book as a whole. The first is a matter for social history: the definition of the actors who can be linked directly to the dynamics she cites. From the narikin (23) to the “urban crowd” (27), “urban elites” (142) to “prominent public intellectuals” (167), “city leaders” (142), an “urban-based middle class of professionals, technocrats, and managers” (189), and even “scholars and artists” (189), the identification shifts and wavers. The second is cultural, addressing the social imaginary of these times and places. The relentless pull toward the centre reflected throughout Young’s text serves as a constant reminder of the backdrop to all she dramatizes: the steady convergence of nationalist and militarist factions and eventual integration of all social institutions into the centralized state. From the viewpoint of the postwar era, Japan’s interwar modernity must be treated as complicit in those centralizing processes and, local boosters aside, one wonders how that centralization registered with local residents. That the topic is only briefly touched on in the epilogue to Young’s otherwise illuminating work represents a missed opportunity as we try to refine our view of Japan’s modernization.

Peter Siegenthaler, Texas State University, San Marcos, USA

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KINDAI NIHON NO KAKUSHINRON TO AJIA SHUGI: Kita Ikki, Ōkawa Shūmei, Mitsukawa Kametarō ra no Shisō to Kōdō 近代日本の革新論とアジア主義: 北一輝,大川周明,満川亀太郎らの思想と行動. By Christopher W.A. Szpilman (Kurisutofā W.A. Supiruman cho). Tokyo: Ashi Shobō 芦書房, 2014. 351 pp. ISBN 978-4-7556-1274-9.

This book is without a doubt a tour de force for Chris Szpilman, a scholar known for his extensive research into Japanese right-wing kakushin (renovationist) intellectuals of the prewar period, in particular that of the kokkashugi (statist) nationalists such as Kita I’kki and Mitsukawa Kametarō. After years of research, in addition to the extensive use of the personal papers of Mitsukawa which he had a prominent role in uncovering, Szpilman has completed a quality tome that examines the trio—with Ōkawa Shūmei completing the threesome—who formed the infamous kokkashugi (statist) organization Yūzonsha in August 1, 1919. However, the book does not limit its examination to the three; there are additional chapters that provide further insight into the relatively obscure kokusuishugisha (ultranationalist; the extreme form of kokkashugi) Kanokogi Kazunobu, as well as his well-known counterpart, Prime Minister Hiranuma Kiichirō. Wrapping up his examination of the five prominent Japanese kokkashugi/kokusuishugi actors of their time, is a final chapter that adroitly compares pan-Slavism in both Poland and Russia to that of Japan’s ajiashugi (Asianism).

While there is an abundance of literature on Ōkawa, Kita, and Hiranuma, especially in terms of Japanese language sources, there is relatively scant research on Mitsukawa and Kanokogi. Of the two, Szpilman’s detailed treatment of Mitsukawa in particular shines through as he not only makes generous use of the Mitsukawa papers, but also shows his deep understanding of the intellectual thought of the individual who was also the mastermind who brought together Ōkawa and Kita in his quest of pursuing a greater thrust for the “statist” movement in Japan. His grasp of the subject matter clearly manifests itself and is helped by his earlier experiences as co-editor to not only the diaries of Mitsukawa (Ronsōsha, 2010), but also his personal papers (Ronsōsha, 2012) which are now accessible to the public at the Kensei Office of the National Diet Library in Tokyo. However, this book is much more than a biography, as Szpilman’s strength is clearly evident in his meticulous attention to detail, which successfully brings out the innermost intellectual thoughts of his subjects while also delving deep into the various actions that they took in their mission to restructure and reform Japan.

Although an excellent book in many aspects, as with any work, it does have a few minor weaknesses. The first lies with the title as it gives the impression that the book is a whole lot more encompassing than it actually is. If kakushinron (renovationist theory) and ajiashugi (Asianism) are to be thoroughly covered, as the main title suggests, the book needs to expand both its breadth and scope to incorporate relevant individuals in both the Japanese military (active members, unlike Kakonogi who had resigned from the Imperial Japanese Navy) as well as in the bureaucracy. As a matter of fact, such comparisons regarding differences and similarities with the Yūzonsha trio in addition to Kanokogi to their counterparts acting within government—with Hiranuma being the notable exception—would have added a new dimension to our existing understanding of the nature of Japanese Asianism during this period; alas this was not the original intent of the author. Furthermore, as a book that is formed from an anthology of previously published articles, a sense of uniformity and unity is lacking between the chapters. In particular, his final chapter that compares pan-Slavism to Japan’s Asianism, while an important contribution, feels out of place and leads to the impression that it is more of an appendix (there is actually an appendix immediately after the first chapter which also appears awkward). With more strenuous editing in linking and better integrating the various chapters together, this book would have surely attained a much more polished quality. Unfortunately, in its current state, even though the book is written by a single author, it conveys the impression that it is actually a multiple-authored compiled volume.

Finally, one cannot overlook the fact that the overall balance of the book is greatly skewed, with Mitsukawa by far receiving the most attention within the book at nearly 100 pages of text. On the other hand, the other individuals who are part of the book receive on average a mere twenty pages or so. The reason for this is obvious since this is where the author’s heart truly lies; Szpilman’s primary research interest is in Mitsukawa, and the other actors are introduced as a way to provide a basis of comparison in order to bring about contrast to the character, thought, and actions of Mitsukawa. There is no fault in this approach per se, but perhaps more initial strategy was warranted in structuring the book in order to improve its balance. But of course, none of these are serious flaws, and they do not in any way detract from the high quality of Szpilman’s research. Recognition is also due to the contribution of this work to the existing body of scholarship, particularly in its discussion of Mitsukawa.

In sum, contained within these pages is a solid body of research that sheds much more light to our understanding of prewar Japanese right-wing nationalist actors who played a prominent role outside of government (excluding Hiranuma) in their ultimately futile attempt to alter the shape and course of Japan. Packed with a wealth of information, this book comes in at a hefty 351 pages. But this should not deter any potential reader as the book is well written and thus is very readable. Finally, one should also not forget the present-day relevance of this book as Japan readdresses the Pacific War during the 70th anniversary of the conclusion of the war. The failure and responsibility of Japan’s kokkashugi/kosuishugi intellectuals should not be forgotten. In midst of Japan’s current debate about normalizing its stance over issues relating to national security, what Szpilman’s groundbreaking work makes readily apparent is that Japan’s prewar intellectual roots have truly been severed from its past.

Tosh Minohara, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan

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ON THE MARGINS OF EMPIRE: Buraku and Korean Identity in Prewar and Wartime Japan. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 349. By Jeffrey Paul Bayliss. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2013. xii, 437 pp. (Tables.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-06668-7.

This book examines the identity formation of the Buraku and Korean communities in Japan from the Meiji era to the end of World War Two. It compares the experiences of these groups at the social and political margins of the Japanese empire and their responses to the condition of marginalization at different levels. It argues that while divergent historical origins and political contexts shaped their struggles in different ways, the Burakumin and Koreans, the largest minority groups in Japan, were both victims of Japanese imperialism and modernity. Their political and social struggles in the empire not only mirrored each other but also intertwined through inter-ethnic cooperation and conflict.

The bulk of the book is composed of seven chapters, organized chronologically and thematically. Chapter 1 examines how images of Burakumin and Koreans were respectively marginalized in the Meiji era. While in both cases social and ideological systems in the Tokugawa era played a role, the categorization of these two groups as inferior was a product of Japanese imperialism in the modern era. Chapter 2 probes the similar positions of Buraku bourgeois and Korean students in Japan, the elites of the two groups at the beginning of the twentieth century, when Japanese nationalism swelled following the Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War. Both considered themselves to be the natural leaders of their communities, fighting against discrimination from mainstream Japanese society on the one hand, and partially applying such discrimination to the lower classes of their own communities on the other. Chapters 3 and 4 discuss the dynamics between the inclusive ideologies and policies of assimilation (dōka) and conciliation (yūwa) and how different members of these two communities responded in different ways in the interwar period, a flourishing time for democratic and liberalist movements in the Japanese empire. Buraku and Korean leaders believed that capitalist exploitation was at the root of all discrimination, and therefore sought an ultimate solution through inter-ethnic collaboration with the Japanese working class. On the other hand, the less educated members in both communities stuck to their ethnic identity for self-empowerment, in order to combat the ubiquitous racism they experienced in their daily lives. The dynamics between the two communities and the discourse of inclusion in the imperial state in the era of total war are examined in chapters 5 and 6. In order to maximize all possible resources for war, the empire promised equal treatment to both communities under the principle of impartiality and equal favour (isshi dōjin); however, in reality, they were treated with mistrust in almost all aspects. As in the interwar period, Buraku or Korean communities responded to the discourse of inclusion uniformly. Burakumin were generally more responsive to the state’s war mobilization efforts; however, in both communities the elites’ passionate support of the war was contrasted by the indifference of the masses. Chapter 7, the final chapter, reveals the complicated relationship between the two communities, an important but insufficiently studied topic in existing literature. Both Buraku-Korean collaborations and their discrimination against each other, as Bayliss convincingly argues, should be understood in the context of Japanese imperialism and the logic of Japanese racism.

Based on thorough examinations of primary sources such as journals, newspapers, and interview records, and scholarly works mainly in Japanese and English, this book enhances our understanding of racial struggles in the Japanese empire in different ways. Joining the growing literature on racial identity in the Japanese empire in recent years, this book makes an important contribution to the deconstruction of the myth of Japan as mono-ethnic nation and empire. It illustrates the ever-changing and at times contradictory racial policies and ideologies of the state toward minority groups, and also brings nuance to our understanding of the two communities’ layers of responses to the state.

Perhaps the most important contribution of the book is the approach of examining the experiences of Burakumin and Koreans in Japan together. This innovative perspective allows us to probe racial identity formation in the Japanese empire beyond the boundaries of individual ethnic groups and the categories of colonial subjects and ethnic minorities. It not only brings scholarly studies on these two types of racism into the conversation but also demonstrates how the racial struggles of the two communities converged: their ethnic identities were both products of Japanese imperialism and objects of the state’s policies of racial inclusion, and they also at times replicated the logic of Japanese racism for self-empowerment by differentiating themselves from each other.

Such a path-breaking approach also inspires readers to ask new questions. To what extent are the historical experiences of Burakumin and Koreans in Japan separable and to what extent are they not? How will our understanding of the Japanese empire be changed by comparing and connecting the experiences of Burakumin and Koreans? Can the experiences of other minority groups, such as Okinawans and Ainus, be included in the comparison? This is a well-researched book, with eye-opening comparisons and rich details. It brings the scholarly inquiry of identity formation and racial relations in the Japanese empire to a new level. It will be welcomed by historians of the Japanese empire and scholars who are interested in the issue of ethnic minorities in modern Japan.

Sidney Xu Lu, Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA

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THE REAL MODERN: Literary Modernism and the Crisis of Representation in Colonial Korea. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 357. By Christopher P. Hanscom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2013. ix, 235 pp. US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-07326-5.

It was not until the late 1990s or early 2000s that the obstinate dichotomy that saw Korean modernization during the colonial era only in terms of nationalism/anti-nationalism began to break up. According to this dichotomy Korean modernity and its culture could be understood and evaluated only from the perspective of resistance—rather, direct resistance—to Japanese imperialism. Simply put, all the lives and cultural products of colonial Korea had value only insofar as they directly and effectively manifested such resistance. These superficial binaries—of nation vs. anti-nation, resistance vs. collaboration, and anti-Japan vs. pro-Japan—had constituted the Korean imagining of the colonial period.

Our understanding of Korean literature of this period has also been based upon a binary outlook, with scholars viewing Korean colonial literature through such schemata as realism vs. modernism, content vs. form, the real vs. the aesthetic, etc., with literary history narrated on the assumption of the former’s superiority over the latter. Such an approach also began to collapse only in the late 1990s.

Freed from such binary schemata and a methodology that had worked so well, scholars were then faced with two salient characteristics of modernity itself: contradiction and irony. Since the 2000s, this irony has resulted in ample achievements in the study of colonial Korean literature. Korean scholars were better able to understand the complexity and multi-layered character of the colonial period, which in turn allowed them to reflect more deeply on the idea of modernity itself.

Christopher Hanscom’s book, The Real Modern: Literary Modernism and the Crisis of Representation in Colonial Korea, reflects such a tendency in Korean studies. What Hanscom first suggests from his meticulous, elaborate reading of the works of Pak T’aewŏn, Kim Yujong, and Yi T’aejun, representative authors of Korean modernist fiction, is a strong and valid anti-thesis to the schema of realism vs. modernism and the assumption of the former’s superiority over the latter. According to Hanscom, these authors reveal “the distrust of a positive basis for both perceiving and representing the ‘real’ of a predetermining actuality” (15). This distrust makes their works “more real than real” as a sort of “hyperrealism” (15). He defines the literary-historical situation of colonial Korea in the 1930s as a time “when the transparency of language itself, the unproblematic correlation of signifier and reference that arguably compromised the basis of both realist and formalist aesthetic practices, came into question” (80). By doing so, he lifts the stigma placed on these authors, such as “escape from the real” and “art-for-art’s sake,” and redefines their literary works and practices as “a response to the loss of faith in language as a ‘crisis of representation’ prevalent in Seoul literary circles in the 1930s” (13).

Above all, Hanscom attempts to move beyond the long-held dichotomy of universality vs. particularity regarding the colonial era by reading their modernist works as recognition of the crisis of representation and a reflection on the impossibility of linguistic communication in the 1930s. If we follow this dichotomy, we cannot but choose between universality and particularity. If we understand colonial thought and culture only in terms of universality, it may lead to our approval of European hegemony and collaboration with imperialism. On the other hand, if we insist on the so-called colonial particularity, it may mean ignoring the universality of world history, ending with either self-contempt or narcissism through the privileging a local particularity. This conundrum often found in the study of colonial modernity is a major problem that no scholar of colonialism can escape. As Hanscom clarifies, the first aim of this book is “to rethink Korean literary history in relation to a redefinition of modernism outside the Eurocentric/native binary” (17). In other words, Hanscom attempts in his book “to retain an attentiveness to the literary and historical context while also reaching beyond a model of ‘European diffusionism’ that understands non-Western cultural products as either radically different from or as derivative of the West” (17). In my view, this is one of the most significant achievements of his work. His theoretical approach is very effective in abolishing the old-fashioned, comparative perspective which continues to frame the study of colonial as well as contemporary literature. Ultimately, Hanscom’s approach will lead us to acquire a transnational perspective from which we can newly understand world history and culture, replacing the old perspectives of nationalism as well as its extension, internationalism.

Chul Kim, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

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JAPANESE NEW YORK: Migrant Artists and Self-reinvention on the World Stage. By Olga Kanzaki Sooudi. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. ix, 253 pp. US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3942-0.

New York City is to aspiring members of Japan’s creative class today what Paris was to foreign artists in the interwar years: a place where dreams of recognition and success can come true. At any given time among the estimated 100,000 Japanese staying legally or otherwise in New York, there is a sizeable minority that left Japan in order to re-invent themselves, hoping to make it as painters, musicians, installation artists, fashion designers, or as practitioners of similar professions that offer opportunities for self-realization.

But just as Ernest Hemmingway and Gertrude Stein chose Paris and not Lyons, so Japan’s present-day émigrés head for New York and not Los Angeles or San Francisco. For creative Japanese, New York has taken on magic qualities associated with no other urban centre in the world. Among the scores of works to be found on New York City in bookstores in Japan today, several contain the word mahō (magic) in their titles. To Japanese fans of New York, the city is imbued with the capacity to transform.

To say that there is a cult of New York in Japan today might be only a slight exaggeration. More than 600 Japanese-language blogs can be found with subject lines containing the words New York. Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, has been carrying regular weekly TV programming focusing primarily on fashion, the arts, and pop culture exclusively from New York. NHK does this for no other city.

It is the attraction of New York and the motivation of a small but significant group of adventurous and ambitious Japanese who go there to seek self-realization that is the subject of anthropologist Olga Kanzaki Sooudi’s excellent, and highly readable, ethnography of Japanese expatriate bohemian life.

The fabric of Japanese New York consists of an intertwining of several different strands. It is first and foremost an ethnography that examines the goals and values of members of a distinct group defined by language, national origin, and area of professional activity. In choosing to focus on an expatriate community, even though its members insist that they do not constitute an identifiable group, the work ventures into the field of migration studies. By delving into her subjects’ search for an “authentic experience” outside Japan, Sooudi explores identity issues and takes her work into the realm of philosophy, specifically modernity discourse. While Japanese New York is ultimately an academic work, it is also a good read. Sooudi is an accomplished storyteller.

However, Japanese New York is unlike other works on migration because the phenomenon it describes is unique. Sooudi’s Japanese subjects are neither refugees nor immigrants. They do not leave Japan intending never to return. In their preference for Japanese food, their concern for Japanese identity, and in how they relate to other Japanese, they take Japan with them. Moreover, the artists do not seek to make a new life in America in the hopes of earning more money than they might in Japan. Most gladly accept serious financial hardship for years after arrival. Although some choose to leave Japan because opportunities for young artists in Japan—in fact for young people in general—are limited, the majority go for positive reasons: to pursue a dream, to become successful artists, but failing that, to prove to themselves that they can survive living astride boundaries of language and culture.

Although Sooudi locates Japanese New York on the map of Manhattan in a rapidly gentrifying part of the East Village, she explains that the group cannot be defined in physical terms since unlike immigrant communities, members of Japan’s émigré creative class are united not by where they live or even where they work but by their goals and values. While one of its few successful members can be found in her own handbag boutique in a better part of downtown Manhattan, another who is down on his luck as a flamenco guitarist stacks boxes of canned food in the basement of a Japanese grocery store at the south end of Broadway.

What unites these Japanese émigrés is that they came to New York to pursue a dream, or as Sooudi quotes several of them as saying, to succeed on the world sutēji (stage). They come in search of the elusive goal of “authenticity,” what one Japanese jazz musician describes as the nama (raw, meaning real or genuine) experience. For this artist hearing jazz in New York was an entirely different experience than in Japan. In the former it was real while in Japan it was mere imitation. Although Sooudi is generally sympathetic to her subjects, she sees an inconsistency in the authenticity argument. She notes that in their search for validation in New York they implicitly locate the authentically modern outside Japan. Though they cling to a Japanese identity they seek validation outside of Japan. Sooudi’s conclusions would seem to indicate that the perceived tension between what is Japanese and what is modern, a relic of prewar Japanese intellectual discourse continues to haunt Japanese artists seeking to maintain their identity as Japanese abroad.

Adding greatly to the pleasure of reading Japanese New York is a constant flow of characters and stories. We meet Yuka, a visual artist, who says, “When I think of the city, the painful part comes to mind first.” But she adds that it “has a big heart because no matter where you come from you are welcome.” She is impatient with those who hate the city “because they can’t accept differences”(86). Yuka is a case of successful transformation both from a career and a personal perspective. The majority of Japanese artist émigrés, however, do not do so well. We encounter waitresses at a Japanese restaurant, cashiers at a Japanese grocery who do menial jobs while waiting for breaks in creative careers. Naoko is among these and at first glance she appears to be a failure. An industrial designer who spends five years in the United States, mostly in New York obtaining a second university degree, submitting to an unpaid internship and finally giving it all up to return to Japan where she faces corporate HR staff who attach negative value to the time she spent away from Japan. And yet at the end of the book, Naoko tells Sooudi: “I would do it all over again if I had the option. Because I feel I get more depth in my life … . It’s like a movie. No one wants to see a movie with just happy people. You want complicated feelings.” Japanese New York provides plenty of those.

Andrew Horvat, Josai International University, Chiba, Japan

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PROTEST POLITICS AND THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF SOUTH KOREA: Strategies and Roles of Women. By Youngtae Shin. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015. xxii, 161 pp. (B&W illustrations.) US$80.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7391-9025-8.

Youngtae Shin, a political scientist at the University of Central Oklahoma, conducts a social movement analysis of “secondary agents” in the democratization movement of South Korea (1970s-2000s). This focus permits Shin to move behind the front lines of primary agents (social movement activists and dissidents) and investigate the role played by wives and mothers in the care, support, and protection of primary agents. While these “Mothers of the Movement” initially engaged in the traditional role of family caretaker, they soon underwent transformations into political activists based on their encounters with the military state. Shin uses these encounters to challenge some assumptions within the social movement literature, as well as to provide a cultural and gender analysis of protest politics.

Based on over a decade of participant observations, interviews, opinion surveys, and primary document analyses, Shin examines two social movement organizations (SMOs) founded by women (the Association of the Families of Democratic Movement and the Association of the Families of the Bereaved). Shin’s representation of these famous and anonymous “Mothers” provides an empirical voice that challenges two claims in the literature, namely that people join SMOs due to political beliefs, and that effective SMOs require professional organizers. In this case, most of the Mothers began their political activism seeking the recovery of their husbands or sons from jail or prison. Through meeting one another through these sites, the Mothers soon developed a political perspective on their family members’ arrests. While the Mothers often lacked formal education or professional expertise, they nonetheless formed SMOs that would engage in political activism for democratization and human rights.

In analyzing their stories, Shin argues the Mothers could conduct protest politics due to their capacity to wield the cultural armour of middle-aged motherhood. The Mothers applied moral pressure against state agents (police officers, prison guards, government officials) through cultural shaming. Rather than violate social and cultural norms against mother figures, many state agents complied or consented to their demands. When this form of moral pressure failed, the Mothers were not immune to using verbal, emotional, and physical power, as well. These moral and emotional strategies also worked with civil society in mobilizing resources for their SMOs. This cultural analysis of atypical political actors helps current scholars understand what can be gained when the research focus moves beyond “bean counting.”

While Shin’s findings represent a substantive contribution to the field, the monograph could have used additional editorial and peer review. Awkward sentence constructions and repetitive phrasings make for a rough read, while the attempt to blend three Romanization systems gives rise to numerous inconsistencies between Korean references in the text and bibliography. In chapter 7, “Mothers’ Stories,” Shin presents the written narratives of the Mothers divided by temporal divisions (1970s, 1980s, and 1990s). While one could argue the merit in letting the Mothers tell their stories across time, an academic audience expects some analysis beyond the diachronic presentation of raw data. Finally, more comparative attention to recent works focusing on women’s SMOs and political activism from Argentina to Palestine would have helped qualify some of her larger claims.

Twenty-eight years after the summer of 1987 and the overthrow of the Chun Doo-hwan military regime, Shin has added another layer to the events, moving beyond the public display of tear gas barrages and Molotov cocktails to the private networks of care and support that enabled the drive for democratization. This contribution provides social scientists a qualitative resource in analyzing how participants join, organize, and maintain SMOs based on cultural and relational networks. It also directs our attention to the emotional and cultural practices that enable non-traditional political actors to enact social change, even in the face of strong-arm states.

William Hayes, Gonzaga University, Spokane, USA

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JAPAN’S MARITIME SECURITY STRATEGY: The Japan Coast Guard and Maritime Outlaws. Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific. By Lindsay Black. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. xii, 221 pp. (Graphs.) US$105.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-38554-3.

In the field of international security, Japanese behaviour is pre-eminently explained as the product of one of two different attitudes. A core of realist scholars considers Japanese governments to have a preference for strategies seeking to avoid major responsibilities in dealing with major security issues. Others, including constructivist writers, understand that Japanese behaviour is trapped between an inability to “normalize” and the tendency to conform to international norms. In particular, the combination of the engrained nature of what Thomas Berger defined as Japan’s culture of anti-militarism, and the legacy of the imperial military past, have continuously constrained the scope of Japanese actions in international security.

Lindsay Black disagrees with this view. In this carefully constructed book, he argues that this literature has failed to capture Japan’s “innovative contribution to the maintenance of international order since the late 1990s” (7). Black looks at Japanese responses to maritime security threats to show how, in this branch of international security, authorities in Tokyo have not merely followed other international actors, nor have they just sought to do as little as possible. On the contrary, they took a frontline role in tackling maritime outlaws, from terrorist groups and pirates to criminal organizations. Indeed, Black argues, Japanese authorities displayed a degree of entrepreneurship, devising innovative policies that contributed to the capacity building of law-enforcement agencies and the financing of multilateral institutions from Southeast Asia to the Gulf of Aden. This is no trifling achievement since, in so doing, Japanese authorities balanced self-perceptions about anti-militarist norms and the legacy of the imperial past against the need to address a serious security challenge.

Black’s choice to focus on maritime security is no coincidence. No aspect of international security is more relevant to explore the evolving nature of Japanese behaviour, and few areas of international security have gained the same level of attention in East Asia over the past decade and a half. As a maritime nation, Japan depends upon unfettered access to shipping routes for its economic survival. From a security perspective, the sea represents both a crucial factor of vulnerability and a platform from where the defence of national borders is exercised. Thus, changes to the international maritime security order require Japanese authorities to act and, in a fast-changing East Asian maritime landscape, Black had no lack of examples to investigate the subject. The intellectual framework underscoring the book’s analysis draws upon the English School of International Relations, which the author mobilizes with great mastery to conceptualize both the boundaries of the Japanese identity as a member of the international society, and the nature of the challenge presented by state and non-state maritime outlaws. The first half of the book is used to adapt this theoretical framework to the maritime context—an exercise that is particularly successful.

The second part of the book focuses instead on examining Japanese policy reactions in relation to three sets of issues: North Korea’s incursions into Japanese waters in 1999 and 2001, piracy in Southeast Asia and in the Gulf of Aden, and counterterrorism and anti-proliferation initiatives. The chapter analysis of the Japanese policy-making process vis-à-vis maritime piracy in Southeast Asia is particularly compelling. In it, the lengthy theoretical discussions of the previous chapters find a clear empirical application. The book convincingly reviews the Japanese choice to see the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) promoting cooperation with counterparts in ASEAN, offering advice through personnel exchanges and thematic seminars, and hosting and contributing to exercises. As the chapter shows, Japan’s self-perceived identity informed by anti-militarism and the legacy of the imperial past shaped the process, favouring the use of the JCG instead of the navy, known as the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF). On the other hand, this self-perception did not prevent innovative action to ensure the maintenance of regional order, with the Japanese active promotion of a Singapore-based Information Sharing Centre, established in 2004.

Notwithstanding the title (and the cover picture), however, this book is not really about maritime strategy, nor about the Japan Coast Guard (JCG). Practitioners or specialists of maritime affairs will find no intellectual reference in the theoretical chapters to the classic works of Alfred Mahan and Sir Julian Corbett or to more modern authors like Ken Booth and Geoffrey Till, nor practical explanation as to how the JCG operates or how it interacts with the JMSDF. This has two implications. The first is that the book lacks a basic understanding of maritime operations, leading the author to overstate the case of the JCG. For example, in the Gulf of Aden, the JCG maintained a mere eight officers on board of a JMSDF task force of three warships and two P-3C aircraft based in Djibouti. Contrary to what is suggested in the book, the navy deployed its own special boarding unit for the mission and maintained a firm operational control in patrols, inspections, boarding, convoying, and coordination with other navies. The JCG had a supporting role in monitoring the compliance to law enforcement; this state of affairs makes it hard to support the notion that the Japanese government perceived piracy as “falling within the purview of a civilian police authority” (138). The second implication is that what the author calls Japan’s “dual” maritime security strategy, is actually a maritime security policy aimed at deploying the coast guard or the navy (or both of them in tandem) depending on the nature of the challenge. Indeed, from a maritime perspective the examples referred to in this book—most notably that of North Korea’s incursions—undermine the very existence of “two” strategies. These events have in fact been driving the development of manuals and practices for coordinated actions between the two organizations. Like other state actors with significant maritime interests, Japan seems to have one strategy and coordinated maritime policies to employ its coast guard and navy to maximum effect.

In all, these considerations leave the door open for further research as to what is the balance between identity and operational requirements in the shaping of Japan’s responses to maritime security. Is the entrepreneurial behaviour displayed by Japan in tackling maritime outlaws during the 1990s and early 2000s a sign of the emergence of a different international security actor with a tendency to favour civilian actions as opposed to military ones? Or, are the examples cited by Black just the expression of an initial cautious engagement that is now seeing the navy taking a stronger role alongside with the JCG? Recent Japanese naval exercises with NATO as part of the anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden and increasing defence engagements in Southeast Asia would suggest that the latter interpretation stands at least on equal footing with the former. The debate is open and this book deserves credit for setting forth a strong theoretical framework in support of one of the possible answers.

Alessio Patalano, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom

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SOUTH KOREA’S RISE: Economic Development, Power, and Foreign Relations. By Uk Heo and Terence Roehrig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xi, 215 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$29.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-69053-0.

South Korea’s Rise: Economic Development, Power, and Foreign Relations begins by identifying the relative paucity of attention in the existing literature to the issue of how economic development affects a country’s foreign relations. As countries undergo the structural transition that marks development, the question itself certainly has applicability outside of South Korea’s experiences to other “rising powers,” as the authors note (10). The book claims to present a “theory on how economic development affects foreign relations” (3), with South Korea as a case study, focusing on security relations, economic and political ties to major powers, and increasing involvement in areas outside of Northeast Asia.

A brief introduction is followed by chapter 2, which outlines the “theory.” Succeeding chapters are organized around South Korea’s relations with individual or a group of countries. To wit, Chapter 3 focuses on inter-Korean relations, chapter 4 relations with the US chapter 5 Russia and China, chapter 6 Japan, chapter 7 the EU, chapter 8 India, and chapter 9 with the developing world: Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Chapter 10 describes South Korea’s contributions to multilateral agreements and international organizations such as UN Peacekeeping Operations, the OECD and Official Development Assistance programs. This is followed by a short conclusion.

In empirical terms, the most useful element of the book is that there are compact and clear descriptions of South Korea’s foreign relations. However, specialists expecting new empirical information will be disappointed. Newspaper articles and a sampling of some relevant works in English are used, but nothing in the way of archives or interviews. Further, the absence of any engagement with several touchstone works in English on Korea’s history of development, such as books by Robert Wade or Alice Amsden, means a missed opportunity to point out the paucity of analyses of externalities of the developmental state, or explain how this book might differ from previous work on state power and development. Also, only a couple of published academic articles in Korean are cited despite the voluminous and increasing body of work on a range of related subjects that has been published in the last ten years alone.

Some of the passages are compact to the point of distortion. For example, the authors claim that South Korea was unable to become an official member of the United Nations (UN) prior to 1991 due to the vetoes exercised by Moscow and Beijing (173). In actuality, the relevant Korean archives and published debates of the 1980s indicate there was constant lobbying to win votes by both Seoul and Pyongyang from the 1960s onwards to be allowed entry into the UN. In addition, there was intense domestic debate within South Korea about the desirability of being recognized prior to unification either jointly or separately, as some argued that the division of the peninsula would become legally recognized within the UN and by South Korea itself as an indirect result, regardless of the conditions of entry into the UN. Another case is the mistaken assertion that the Japanese government claims that “it made restitution” for the colonial past under the terms of the 1965 Normalization Treaty (102). In fact, Japan’s official position is that past claims were “settled”; the difference is crucial. The Japanese government has deliberately avoided using the terms “restitution” or “compensation” in any portion of the treaty itself or in comments about it after.

In analytical terms, the argument is dulled by some questionable assertions and puzzling elisions of literature. The authors argue that because development leads to democratization, new elites emerge, the government gains more transparency and responsiveness, resulting in a stronger sense of national pride and identity. This in turn attracts more FDI, generating improvements in infrastructure, outward FDI and ODA, and, ultimately, greater international influence (10-26). While some of the propositions are useful to use as tests in analyzing long-term changes in Korea’s foreign relations, the actual causal mechanisms outlined in chapter 2 are not applied in any of the body chapters. There are simply descriptions, followed by a short claim in each chapter that the arguments apply. The linear causal dynamics that invoke 1960s modernization theory instead of more contemporary frameworks in international political economy also mean that there is no attempt to explain why historical issues stemming from the colonial period have not been resolved between Japan and Korea despite the improvement in Korea’s economic performance, which, according to this book, should simply result in better relations. Nor is there an attempt to account for the rapid growth in exports and overall growth rates under the authoritarian presidency of Chun Doo-Hwan from 1981 to 1986, and the challenges this posed the US government in its handling of the bilateral relationship. Similarly, there is no discussion of negative production externalities, such as how industrial pollution, produced through economic development or overfishing, might affect foreign relations. There are various other conceptual issues, such as the lack of clear distinctions between effects of development as opposed to growth on foreign relations, or the claim that the size of trade flows makes other countries desire more relations (21). The latter point is not cogent without specification regarding whether trade balances (as opposed to just scale) or types of exports (high end, primary goods) matter or not.

Moreover, the engagement with the existing theories of economic diplomacy and international political economy is uneven. The authors refer to the applicability of their “theory” to “rising economic powers” (10) without even referring to the existing literature in international relations on “middle powers,” even though this concept had been applied to analyses of Korea when it co-hosted the G20 meetings during 2010 with Canada. Other scholars whose work readers might expect to be engaged with, such as John Ruggie, Robert Cox, or John Ravenhill, are entirely missing from the footnotes. Puzzlingly, books by Robert Gilpin that are more directly connected to international political economy, such as The Challenge of Global Capitalism (Princeton University Press, 2010), and The Political Economy of International Relations (Princeton University Press, 1987), are not cited at all, while another of his works with more tenuous relevance, War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1981), is.

The book never claims to contribute new empirical information, but the fact that the analytical framework is hampered by limited engagement with the relevant theoretical literature, and that it is not consistently applied in any of the body chapters limits its appeal for specialists of Korea and international political economy. The book, however, provides compact descriptions of South Korea’s foreign relations with a wide range of countries, making some of the chapters potentially useful as a textbook.

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

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JAPANESE AND KOREAN POLITICS: Alone and Apart from Each Other. Asia Today. Edited by Takashi Inoguchi. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. x, 295 pp. (Figure, tables.) US $100.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-48830-5.

This book, edited by Takashi Inoguchi on the fiftieth anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea, is a timely culmination of joint efforts by academics of both countries to examine domestic politics and foreign policies in order to understand how the current “unfriendly relationship has come about” (ix).

The contributors are authoritative scholars based in East Asia and many possess track 1 or 1.5 experience. The book, therefore, emphasizes government-focused analyses and Inoguchi is clear about the adopted level-of-analysis: “the states governing the population in a certain territory with sovereign power are the major actors” (260).

The book is organized into three parts: the first two analyze Japan and South Korea’s macro-economic policies and party politics separately, while the last part deals with bilateral relations more directly. Instead of the contributors solely analyzing their countries of origin, each section balances the writers’ nationalities.

In part 1, Inoguchi explains how the current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies of “Abenomics” (quantitative easing) and “Abegeopolitics” (proactive pacifism and pursuing revisions to the Peace Constitution) have fared (chapter 1). He concludes that many Japanese regard Abenomics as satisfactory, but that Abe’s goal of turning Japan into his version of a “beautiful country” is still contingent upon alleviating important neighbours’ concerns about Abegeopolitics. Yutaka Harada expands on the Abenomics analysis and explains why the Bank of Japan (BOJ) did not adopt an expansionary monetary policy earlier. By providing an overview of the nature of the BOJ’s relations with political parties and the bureaucracy, he argues that only a politician with a popular mandate to end deflation could push for reform, and that Abe should be given credit for achieving it.

The latter two chapters of part 1 focus on Japanese party politics. Cheol Hee Park argues in chapter 3 that the return of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) under Abe in 2012 was possible because of the incapability of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and other opposition parties. Park predicts that Japan’s single-member district system will eventually force the “opposition parties to reshuffle themselves to pose challenges against the LDP” (68). Seung-won Suh in chapter 4 examines bilateral relations through the lens of Japanese party realignment. Before losing power, the DPJ tried to improve relations with South Korea, but, as a result of nationalist identity politics on both sides, the attempt did not bear fruit. Suh argues that the use of the “other-nation-blame card” has crossed party boundaries in Japan and has impacted cooperation with Korea, which, in turn, also uses the card in abundance.

Part 2 focuses on Korean macro-economic policies and party politics. Jongryn Mo explains President Park Geun-hye’s dilemma in implementing her “Geun-hye-nomics.” Her goal is to improve welfare spending and the “democratic” foundation of economic growth, while still relying on export promotion based on a developmental state model. Mo predicts that public expectations about Park’s reforms will be disappointed, because making Korean capitalism more democratic requires holding economically powerful actors accountable, but export entails close ties between the government and the chaebols—the supposed target of Park’s “discipline” (chapter 6). In chapter 5, Won-Taek Kang argues that Korea’s party politics are in crisis. Citizens are dissatisfied with a two-party-dominated system that is frozen in ideological divide and regional rivalry, but alternative candidates have not been able to break in.

Part 3 deals with foreign policies at the bilateral level. Kazuhiko Togo provides an overview of Abe’s foreign policy from his second prime ministership onward. Chung-In Moon and Seung-Chan Boo explain how South Korea’s strategic calculation to maintain harmonious relations with both the United States and China affects South Korea-Japan relations. The concluding chapter by Inoguchi reiterates the importance of international monetary flows in East Asian politics.

The book is insightful for emphasizing how party politics and macro-economic/monetary policies—two areas that many security-focused books overlook—are closely linked to bilateral interactions. For example, regarding Korean anxiety about Japanese constitutional revision, Park deduces that the current party alignments provide more options for the LDP in choosing potential coalition partners, thus undermining the bargaining power of the New Komei Party, which is cautious of the revision. The book also introduces arguments that are rare in English-speaking academia: Yuki Asaba argues that the immobility of Japanese politics—caused by the bicameral parliamentary system in which the House of Councillors is dominated by a foot-dragging oppositionis comparable to the identical system in Korean politics before the military coup in 1961 (173-175); and Harada talks about “Galapagosization of Japanese intellectuals” to explain how the problematic BOJ policy of tightened monetary control had been legitimized by scholars who supported bureaucrats with theories that were only applicable to Japan (41).

The book’s greatest strength is the way that it highlights Japan and South Korea’s diverging strategies in facing the United States-China rivalry, and explaining this as one of the most serious sources of bilateral deadlock. According to Suh, it comes down to “a failure of bridging geopolitical imaginations” between the two states (86): Japan emphasizes an “alliance of democracy” to counter China’s rise, while South Korea’s complex position pursues a harmonious relationship with both in order to be a “gateway” to “bridge the maritime realm and the continental realm,” all while maintaining its traditional alliance with the United States (87-88, 244).

However, not all chapters engage directly with the book’s initial question. In this regard, it would be a rewarding and thought-provoking exercise to thematically connect all the knowledge gained by reading the book and seek the answers oneself. For those interested in understanding the cultural/ideational aspects of Korea-Japan relations, The Japan South Korea Identity Clash: East Asian Security and the United States by Brad Glosserman and Scott A. Snyder (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015) could be a worthwhile complementary reading.

Seung Hyok Lee, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada

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CONFIGURATIONS OF FAMILY IN CONTEMPORARY JAPAN. Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies. Edited by Tomoko Aoyama, Laura Dales, Romit Dasgupta. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xvi, 179 pp. US$145.00, cloth . ISBN 978-0-415-71765-6.

We can notice the continued centrality of family in contemporary Japan through any number of measures. From politicians’ rhetoric that links perceived threats to family risk, to omnipresent worries about Japan’s falling birth rates and its attendant problems, to deeply personal decisions about who to marry, when to divorce, and what children need to thrive, families remain a key symbol in contemporary Japan. This centrality seems to be reinforced through three interlocking platforms. First, as Carol Gluck and others have convincingly argued, the modern Japanese nation was created partially through the ideological force of “national family” (kazoku koka), when Meiji politicians built unity through constructed claims that all citizens should be figurative kin. Second, families matter in practice because, as in many other cultural contexts, Japanese people often understand their own families as vitally important in their own lives and they put tremendous resources into building, sustaining, and reformulating them. Third, and perhaps less visibly, families remain a key force of political economy because, throughout the postwar period, particular family structures worked in synergy with labour markets to create tremendous profit made by loyal salarymen who, in turn, required housewives to sustain them. Despite all this, academics and the Japanese public are still struggling to acknowledge, measure, and judge the particular shifts that have overtaken families in the last twenty years. In light of falling birth rates, later marriage, and shifting models for how romance should fit within nuclear or extended families, there are open questions about how family norms might be changing, and what implications such change might bring.

Within that context, Configurations of Family in Contemporary Japan, edited by Tomoko Aoyama, Laura Dales, and Romit Dasgupta, offers new examples and analysis of how family continues to matter. Because this analysis comes in chapters written within a range of disciplines and research methodologies, the volume enables the reader to trace how contested family norms might translate from, say, literature to television to people’s individual experiences. The book rightly pushes against any idea of a singular Japanese family and suggests the multi-vocal perspectives or positions within families that continue to tell us something broader about Japan. I understand a particular strength of this volume to be how such interdisciplinary work intersects with visual culture; many chapters, including those written by ethnographers, directly engage popular films or television. Therefore in addition to the convincing analysis included in the chapters, the collection offers a veritable “to watch” list for anyone interested in these themes.

After a brief introduction, the volume is divided into four sections, the first of which explores “Family and Companionship.” Romit Dasgupta analyzes two films, Tokyo Sonata and Hush! The former tells the story of mini disasters wrought in a middle-class family when the husband/father is laid off, while the second represents the tensions surrounding two men and one woman who contemplate building what might seem like a queer family. Laura Dales’ chapter analyzes how single women are represented in Japanese television dramas (dorama) compared with how actual single women understand themselves and their choices. Although she focuses on women, she convincingly argues that singlehood might be more problematic for men after a certain age. In a chapter exploring how LGBTI people plan for, and experience, older age, Leonie Stickland successfully tackles one of the most visible problems (aging society) within a diverse group often given less attention.

In the volume’s second section, “Old Age, Women, and Storytelling,” the chapters engage directly with literary and filmic representations of older women. Using lovely examples from manga, Tomoko Aoyama lays out a typology of how older women tend to be represented in Japanese fiction, from the fairy godmother, to the mountain witch (yamanba), or the “super-active and self-centered old woman” (55), to highlight slippages between young girls and older women that might offer representations of new social formations. Lucy Fraser’s chapter contrasts the Japanese folktale of “The Old Woman’s Skin” (Ubakawa), the 1986 British novel Howl’s Moving Castle, and the Studio Ghibli animated version of the same story released in 2004. Working in conjunction with the previous chapter, Fraser’s work argues that these iterations of similar tales demonstrate shifting anxieties about family life and aging, particularly for women.

The volume’s third section, “Contemporary Parenting,” includes two chapters suggesting that parenting might be both a hotbed of anxiety and a scapegoat for more generalized troubles. In her chapter, Tomoko Nakamatsu describes the vast difference between the ways Japanese-Brazilian parents are described in Brazil and Japan. In the former, they are often represented as model minorities who bring up highly successful children; in the latter, Brazilian-Japanese parents are instead represented as likely failing their own children and hurting society more generally. Kayoko Hashimoto’s chapter traces the power of discourse about “monster parents,” so-called because they make unreasonable demands of schools, teachers, and staff. She convincingly concludes that this discourse demonstrates a breakdown in respect between families and the education system.

The final section of the volume, “Transnational Families,” sheds needed light on the experiences of Japanese people abroad within the families they build. Leng Leng Thang and Mika Toyota explore Japanese women who have married and stayed in Bali. The women who marry and stay are usually women who aged out of the marriage market within Japan (not to say this is the reason they made such a choice) and now have to deal with the expectations put upon daughters-in-law in Balinese culture. In the next chapter, Sachiko Sone and Leng Leng Thang analyze Japanese women who make families in western Australia, describing such patterns as rendered more important in the years since 1999, a period in which more Japanese women than men have permanently left Japan (121). In Jared Denman’s description of how Japanese migrants to Australia understand their own filial piety, he finds a range of beliefs and practices but all suggest a continuing presence of the idea of the stem family (ie) system and the piety supposedly within it. The volume concludes with a powerful epilogue by Vera Mackie analyzing how families—and the discourse surrounding them—have changed in recent decades.

Overall this volume provides compelling literary and ethnographic examples for scholars interested in debates surrounding families in contemporary Japan. I imagine the analysis of media representations will be particularly helpful for those looking to get a sense of how people debate what families should be and why they continue to matter.

Allison Alexy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

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WORKING SKIN: Making Leather, Making a Multicultural Japan. Asia Pacific Modern, 13. By Joseph D. Hankins. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2014. xxii, 277 pp. (Figures.) US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28329-9.

Working Skin is a highly original treatise which explores one of the primary tensions pertaining to the contemporary Buraku problem in Japan: “that multicultural forms of political argument that authorize labor as a category of Buraku marginalization are gaining traction at the precise moment the labor that renders people stigmatized as Buraku is disappearing” (240). Based on the author’s extensive engagement in broad-ranging fieldwork activities including working in the Buraku-affiliated NGO International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) and a Tokyo leather tannery, the book offers perhaps the most theoretically sophisticated and ethnographically reflexive attempt by any scholar to date to wrestle with issues of contemporary Buraku liberation within the broader context of liberal multiculturalism and globalization.

As the introduction makes plain, multiculturalism is viewed as a liberal discourse employed by both Burakumin and non-Burakumin alike in recent decades to construct and manage issues pertaining to difference. Working Skin offers a study of what is termed “the labor of multiculturalism,” making sense of the differing, gendered conditions under which such multicultural signification takes place, the kinds of labour employed in the constitutive process, the bodies of content entailed in the production process, and the transformative power of that labour. Multiculturalism in the book is interpreted as a discourse that “disciplines and dominates the lives of people both at the margins and at the center of the nation-state” (17).

Chapter 1 analyzes and contrasts the different kinds of labour engaged in by employees in both the IMADR and a leather processing plant in Tokyo. The chapter shows how the different labour undertaken in both settings, which is both gendered and shaped historically by divergent practices of economic production, works to produce different bodies of Buraku subjects ultimately brought together under the same label. Chapter 2 focuses on the problem of the “non-production of signs of being Buraku” and the question of “how this non-production troubles the Buraku political movement” (62). Defining the desire of people not to want to identify as Burakumin “Ushimatsu” (based on the leading protagonist in Shimazaki Tōson’s novel Hakai), and identifying this tendency at various scales including both the individual and the geographical collective level, Hankins demonstrates the tensions this kind of ideology has for the Buraku Liberation League in its search for “complete liberation” (69), and establishes via a historical argument the ways in which such an idea has emerged in conjunction with a (neo)liberal politics that advocates multiculturalism.

Chapter 3 marks the commencement of a new section which shifts the focus of the book away from the production and non-production of Buraku signs to the kinds of content produced and the forms of labour undertaken to draw public attention to this difference. Here the focus is first on understanding the transformations in the criteria that have physically and conceptually determined Buraku identity (occupation, residence, and kinship), an analysis that is conducted through (among other things) the intriguing lenses of environmental critique and private detective investigations. Chapter 4 then moves on to introduce how attention to the signs of Buraku difference is constituted in two public settings important for the Buraku liberation movement: human rights seminars and denunciation campaigns. By focusing on the figure of the “sleeper” within a human rights seminar setting (members of the public allegedly in attendance of their own volition), and contrasting these figures alongside a public that needs to be forced to admit to both direct and indirect acts of Buraku discrimination, the chapter convincingly shows that rather than seeing both figures as mutually opposed or chronologically consecutive moments in a process of liberation, they can be productively understood as twin processes designed to constitute and discipline a Buraku public.

Chapter 5 marks the beginning of a third section in the book dealing with the transnational aspects of Buraku liberation and the attempts to create a basis for international solidarity. The chapter specifically focuses on the attempt by the Buraku Liberation League to develop international partnerships with various overseas groups by fostering a sense of the corresponding nature of their experiences of discrimination. The chapter offers an analysis of “Discrimination Based on Work and Descent,” a now officially recognized category of discrimination which emerged as the result of the political collaborations of various international partner groups including the Buraku Liberation League, and examines the kinds of labour undertaken in this project to create a universally recognizable subject suffering a unique form of discrimination. The chapter further explores the interpretative problems such a project poses, and the ways in which such an undertaking is both connected to and generated by broader liberal concerns.

Chapter 6 deals with a particular instance of what Hankins terms the “transnational solidarity project” (200) wherein a group with Buraku ties in Tokyo, through the English language tutelage and then interpreting efforts of the author, prepared for and embarked upon a journey to Tamil Nadu to strengthen ties with Dalit organizations experiencing what was projected by participants to be similar forms of discrimination. This chapter also looks to examine the kinds of labour undertaken to articulate a particular form of “wounded” subjecthood transnationally, the different forms such labour takes and the tensions they produce, as well as the work engaged in to forge solidarity between groups whose experiences of discrimination and movements towards liberation are at times jarringly different. The conclusion then seeks to tie the various sections of the book together by addressing important questions about why the labour of multiculturalism has gained traction and support from funding bodies in recent times and how it has worked to transform the Buraku subjects who engage in it.

Working Skin offers powerful insights into the nature of the contemporary Buraku liberation movement as well as addressing broader issues pertaining to constructing and managing difference in Japan. By asking original questions and then developing investigative methods and interpretative strategies that permit highly suggestive answers, the book sets a new gold standard for both studies of Burakumin and multiculturalism in Japan. The work’s exciting theoretical underpinnings and powerful conclusions suggest that it will also have a much broader appeal for scholars and students working further afield both in the disciplines of anthropology and history as well as in the various locations where they intersect.

Timothy D. Amos, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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LIFE SUPPORT: Biocapital and the New History of Outsourced Labor. By Kalindi Vora. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. 184 pp. US$22.50, paper. ISBN 978-0-8166-9396-2.

Life Support is an innovative attempt to grapple with the new forms and geographies of labour, production, and service provision that have emerged in the global economy. Drawing on insights from three sites in India’s outsourced economy—call centres, the IT industry, and surrogacy clinics—Kalinki Vora develops a theory of labour as “vital energy.” Building on the concept of biocapital, she argues that reproductive labour plays a central role in this new mode of transnational accumulation. Be it the affective labour of a call centre worker in Gurgaon dealing with an irate customer in New Jersey, or the work of gestation and mothering performed by a paid surrogate in Gujarat who creates a baby for a wealthy foreign couple, Vora argues that the production, circulation, and appropriation of vital energy stands at the centre of the production of value and processes of accumulation in these businesses.

Building on feminist and postcolonial theories, the author develops her conceptual approach in chapter 1. She argues that in order to understand these forms of work and how they generate value, we need to go beyond Marxist theories of labour and even the notion of biocapital, and instead centre attention on the “production and circulation of vital energy represented in the categories of affective and biological labor” (41). Her strategy is to juxtapose seemingly very different kinds of work in order to draw out their connections: “What call center work and commercial surrogacy have in common is the labor of producing and transferring human vital energy directly to a consumer, through the work of affect and the intentional or dedicated use of bodily organs and subjective processes. The work of producing vital energy … is distributed unequally at the level of international exchange, as are opportunities for consumption” (39). Vora suggests that the appropriation of vital energy from workers in India to fulfil the requirements of customers in the West echoes and replicates older, colonial modes of accumulation: “In performing this labor with its transnational transfer of value, racialized and gendered bodies or subjects become the bearers of colonial legacies and neoliberal restructurings that create an opportunity to expand as well as think outside of current ways of conceptualizing labor” (39).

To develop her argument, Vora draws not only on ethnographic research with call centre employees, IT professionals, and gestational surrogates, but also on literary sources. The style of writing and mode of argumentation falls more within cultural studies than anthropology, and as a result the book seems over-theorized: the “data” presented is somewhat too thin to support the heavy theoretical load that it is expected to carry. While one can understand the eclectic choice of source material given the stated aim of the book—to develop a novel theoretical framework through which to address the question of labour in the globalized service economy—I did wish for a richer presentation of ethnographic material collected from surrogacy clinics and other sites. For instance, the discussion of call centre workers’ experiences in chapter 2, which draws mainly on a play and a second-hand ethnographic account, is inadequate in view of the substantial anthropological literature that we now have on Indian call centres, exploring diverse aspects of work and workers’ experiences in these transnational workspaces. Similarly, the interpretation of the narratives of IT professionals in chapter 3 provides a rather one-dimensional picture, homogenizing the highly varied and conflicted aspirations and experiences of Indian software engineers, which cannot be simply reduced to the themes of marginality and temporariness. The fourth chapter on transnational surrogates is much fuller and nuanced, and here Vora does an excellent job of bringing out the complexities of subjectification and the social relationships that are forged in the context of such intimate labour. For instance, she shows that surrogates are carefully coached to think and speak of surrogacy as a simple contract in which their “empty” wombs are utilized to grow a child for someone else, but “another theory of value and sociality inhabits their narratives of surrogacy” (106). Although surrogates temper this extremely alienating form of labour with their own cultural expectations and notions of giving, the text poignantly brings out their powerlessness to enact the kinds of social relationships that they imagine could emerge from this contract, with the commissioning parents and even with the child that is produced through their reproductive labour.

The effort to encompass these various forms of work within an overarching theoretical framework often leads the author to gloss over their specificities. For example, Vora frames all three kinds of labour as “gendered” and “racialised,” yet does not adequately develop her argument about the gendering of labour in call centres (where at least half the workforce is male), much less in IT companies. Similarly, by collapsing all these instances into the idea of a racialized workforce providing outsourced labour for clients in the West, she overlooks the complexities of identity within the global IT industry, where the circulation of Indian software labour takes multiple forms and produces diverse subjectivities.

Despite these drawbacks, Life Support is an engaging and provocative read that makes a significant contribution to current debates on globalization and labour.

Carol Upadhya, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India                                         


HINDU-CATHOLIC ENCOUNTERS IN GOA: Religion, Colonialism, and Modernity. By Alexander Henn. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014. xi, 214 pp. (Illustrations, map.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-253-01294-4. 

This is an exciting book that touches on many issues: colonialism and Christianity, community and church, Hinduism and Catholicism, conversion and memory, narrative and ritual. Henn’s methods are eclectic: historical and comparative, textual and ethnographic. His questions are two-fold: about the politics of religious identity and difference, and the relation between syncretism and liberalism and the role of religion at the onset of modernity.

Goa was the political and religious capital of the Portugese Asian empire and the Catholic archdiocese of Asia and Africa. Vasco da Gama’s arrival on the Malabar Coast in 1498 brought Christian theology, viewed as the only religion or “Truth,” and was meant to contain Islam and eradicate the pagan. It transformed both the region’s culture and religion.

Goa witnessed forced religious conversion, iconoclastic violence, and attacks on Hindu practices, rituals, and festivals beginning in the mid-sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This involved the desecration of temples and idols and their replacement with churches, chapels, and crosses—the Vetal temple became St. Anthony’s church in Siolim. Some 90 percent of the population became Christian. Francis Xavier, heralded as the “Apostle of Asia,” led the Counter-Reformation and was known to have targeted the famous Tirupati temple, an important sacred centre of the powerful medieval Vijaynagara Empire. Simultaneously, Jesuit missionaries also became students of Indian languages and literature and produced the celebrated Kristapurana, authored by the English Jesuit Thomas Stephens (1549-1619) and which represented empathy.

Even as Goa experienced the Inquisition, Europe was giving birth to a modern understanding of religion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as Henn elaborates.

Humanism and the Enlightenment conceived of religion as a universal human quality, but the Portuguese and Spanish encounters with pagan cultures in Asia and America involved the experience of a plurality of religions. The modern Western concept of religion, Henn argues, became the “theoretical paradigm for the integration of global religious plurality” (169). Books published in the late seventeenth century used the term religion in their titles and the new classifications of religion—for instance, Christianity, Judaism, Mohammedanism, and idolatry—led to the comparative study of religion.

The modern idea of religion had two philosophical sources: Lord Edward Herbert’s idea of natural religion, which was the belief in and worship of a supreme power found in all human beings and the Protestant challenge to the Catholic claim of universal Truth.

Henn is also interested in the question of how religion relates to the social and economic realm, and its role in the coexistence and syncretism between Hindus and Catholics. Goa evolved into a cosmopolitan space including Moors, Jews, Armenians, and others. By the late eighteenth century Hindus began building temples in proximity to Catholic monuments. The book explores the village as the site of religious coexistence, the interaction of Hindus and Catholics and the affinity between village gods and Catholic saints and the Trinity. Goan Hindus came to worship Saiba St. Francis Xavier while Goan Catholics venerated the goddess as Saibini Sateri-Shanta Durga.

Syncretism constitutes religion, Henn argues. Goan syncretism comprises, as the ethnography demonstrates, spatial commonalities (neighbourhoods or sacred sites), ritual commemoration of shared pasts and therapeutic iconographies, and ritual memory that resists the historicism of modernity. Henn might have fruitfully used the idea of anti-syncretism, as when Christian liturgy prohibited Hindu sacred objects including plants, flowers, rice, coconut, betel leaf, areca nut, and turmeric or the more recent intervention by Hindu nationalist organizations emphasizing reconversion and de-Christianization. Syncretism has its limits: while Goan Christian practice continued with incense burning and the offering of flowers and Hindus and Catholics pay ritual homage to each other’s shrines, they do not challenge core religious identities; indeed, surface tolerance often reveals competition.

Henn addresses modern anthropology’s neglect of cultural hybridization in favour of viewing cultures as unique and self-contained. His reconsideration of syncretism discusses the landmark Shaw and Stewart volume that, in his view, overemphasizes the politics of syncretism as against its other aspects. Henn does not, however, see as problematic the argument made by van der Veer in this volume that the idea of Indian civilization as essentially tolerant and pluralistic is a “Hindu idea” that denies the idea of Islam in India.

Shail Mayaram, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, India                                      


BEING BENGALI: At Home and in the World. Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series, 77. Edited by Mridula Nath Chakraborty. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xvii, 236 pp. US$155.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-62588-3.

If Bengal has long been “one of the key centers of civilisation and culture in the Indian subcontinent,”, what does it mean to be Bengali, especially now that Bengal is divided between India and Bangladesh, and a large part of the Bengali diaspora does not live in either of those two countries? This is the inspiring question this edited volume sets out to answer. This book stems out of two workshops, one of which took place in Dhaka and the other in Sydney, and one would assume, therefore, that it would have a greater representation of chapters on Bangladesh; that, however, is unfortunately not the case.

“Using ‘Bengalis’ as a case study, this volume seeks to understand what constitutes Bengaliness, imagined or otherwise, as a way of entering the debate from a linguistic angle,” because, as aptly argued by Chakraborty, “being Bengali is built around the idea of a common language” (1). Unfortunately, we do not have enough articles taking up this debate. Next, there are some inaccuracies such as “(T)he Bengaliness that started consolidating itself around the fifteenth century and reached its peak during the nineteenth century Bengal Renaissance, underwent religious divisions under Mughal and British rule” (1). Can one, now, after Richard Eaton’s historiography, still use certain rehashed tropes to understand “Bengaliness”?

This said, there are some thought-provoking chapters which manage to take the book forward. Ranabbir Samaddar’s “Eternal Bengal,” Sekhar Bandyopadhyay’s “Does Caste Matter in Bengal Examining the myth of Bengali exceptionalism,” and Ali Riaz’s “Being Bengali abroad: identity politics among the Bengali community in Britain” come closest to looking at issues of caste and religion when reflecting upon “Bengaliness.” Samaddar does this by pointing out how being “a Bengali is a product of modern time” and he goes on to seek the beginnings of this ‘modern time’by looking at the issue of death and of race and religion. Within the history of the ‘becoming’ or ‘being Bengali’, he adds another necessary faultline between the stereotypical identities of the “enthusiastic Hindu Bengali teenager and youth” versus that of the “fanatic Bengali Muslim,” and this becomes the marker of a divided nation (194). But, as he himself asks, “where does enthusiasm end and fanaticism begin?” (195). And so, Samaddar concludes, “It is as if Bengal is the subject that eternally encounters the division of its own subjectivity” as well as eternally remaining “an object of study to itself” (195).

In his chapter “Does caste matter in Bengal?” Sekhar Bandyopadhyay addresses the heart of the bhadralok myth that caste has never really mattered in Bengal. Bandyopadhyay reminds us that while there were attempts to ensure social justice for the untouchables or Dalits, caste maintained, and has maintained, its cultural hegemony by going against certain fundamental reformist endeavours, co-opting social challenges and marginalizing ideological dissidence. Indeed, he argues, “caste still survives, because of the ambivalence of Bengali modernity. It is still an important marker of social identity for many Bengali Hindus—an important cultural accoutrement to assert their distinctive self in the midst of the levelling impacts of modernization and globalization” (33). This rich chapter, which really addresses the heart of the issue of Bengali Hindu modernity, immensely contributes to the book, but the book would have gained by providing a similar study of its Bengali Muslim counterpart.

Ali Riaz’s “Being Bengali abroad: identity politics among the Bengali community in Britain” explores the reasons for the salience of “Muslim identity” (as opposed to, or at the expense of, say “Bengali/Bangladeshi identity”) amongst the younger generation of British-Bangladeshis. Riaz argues that this change occurred alongside the strengthening of religious groups and institutions such as the East London Mosque and has three main characteristics: Islam being a “global religion” allows one to transcend ethnic identity, be part of a global community, and to challenge traditional religious authorities (163). Riaz, agreeing with Stuart Hall, argues that this process allows the young to constantly reinvent an identity which is seen as coherent but which remains a fantasy.

Shibaji Bandyopadhyay’s “Producing and reproducing the New Woman: a note on the prefix ‘re’” and Paulomi Chakraborty’s “The refugee woman and the new woman: (en)gendering middle-class Bengali modernity and the city in Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar (The Big City 1963)” talk about the figure of the woman (albeit it remains a Bengali Hindu one) in the making of the Bengali soul. In “The University of Dhaka and National Identity formation in Bangladesh,” Fakrul Alam discusses the importance of Dhaka University as a site for the production of the national imaginary and how it remains to this day a kind of “secular pilgrimage.” Sadia Toor’s “Bengal(is) in the house: the politics of national culture in Pakistan, 1947-71” problematizes the idea of nation-making in relation to the issue of the Bengali language. In her historical piece, Toor looks at the Urdu-Bangla controversy to highlight the west Pakistani elites’ justification for disqualifying Bengali from being a “national” language. Toor looks at how the basis for Pakistan was Islamic culture and Bengali was considered not “Muslim” enough. Nayanika Mookherjee’s “In pursuit of the ‘authentic’ Bengali: impressions and observations of a contested diaspora” adds a very interesting layer of insight to what it means to be Bengali, from either side, in the context of multi-ethnic Britain, past and present. In her personal piece, Mookherjee appraises the fears and limits one is forced to deal with when confronting the “other” Bengali.

The book on the whole is a welcome new study of an old question and one wishes academics such as Ananya Jahanara Kabir, Meghna Guhathakurta, Vivek Bald, Reece Jones, Jason Cons, Willem Van Schendel, Hans Harder, Joya Chatterji, Andrew Sartori, and Muntassir Mamoon, all of whom have dwelled upon Bengali identity at some point in the recent past, had made more of an appearance in it—at least in the reference and footnotes section.

Annu Jalais, National University of Singapore, Singapore                                                                  


INDIA’S MILITARY MODERNIZATION: Strategic Technologies and Weapons Systems. Oxford International Relations in South Asia. Edited by Rajesh Basrur, Bharath Gopalaswamy. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015. xi, 264 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$79.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-945162-3.

In the aftermath of the disastrous Sino-Indian border war of 1962, India’s policy makers embarked on a massive program of military modernization. It entailed the creation of ten new mountain divisions prepared for high altitude warfare, the expansion of the air force to forty-five squadrons equipped with supersonic aircraft and an enlargement of the army to a million men under arms. There was also a modest program of naval modernization.

Over the next six decades, several, though not all, of these goals have been realized. In 2014, a parliamentary panel revealed that the Indian Air Force, despite having a sanctioned strength of forty-five squadrons, could only field twenty-five operational squadrons. This abject shortfall  can be attributed in considerable part to an extremely dilatory approach to weapons acquisition and one that has been marked with bureaucratic sloth, allegations of widespread corruption, and the failure of the indigenous weapons industry to meet stated targets.

The most egregious of these failures, of course, has been the attempt to build an indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). The project was formally commissioned in 1983. Multiple attempts at building an engine resulted in failure. Eventually the designers acquired a General Electric engine to power the aircraft. In 2015, over three decades after the decision to build the aircraft, the Indian Air Force is scheduled to receive two squadrons in 2017.

Several chapters in Basrur and Gopalaswamy’s edited volume touch upon some of these endemic problems that have dogged India’s attempts to build a domestic defense industrial base and to modernize its armed forces. The overall quality of the book, however, is quite uneven. Most importantly, it does not deal with perhaps the two most compelling failures of India’s efforts toward defense indigenization: the efforts to manufacture a main battle tank and field a light combat aircraft.

One of the better chapters in this volume is that of Bibhu Prasad Routray, who shows that the behemoth public-sector firms, which have dominated India’s defense industry, have abjectly failed to meet deadlines, global standards, and production targets. He correctly argues that the technical personnel who have dominated these entities have been able to successfully defend their turf. In considerable part their ability to maintain such autonomy has stemmed from early political decisions which privileged technocrats over the uniformed military. Furthermore, he also underscores how defense research and development organizations’ putative success in the realm of missile technology has enabled it to ward off compelling criticism of its myriad failures.

Another chapter that also merits mention is Gaurav Kampani’s analysis of the dysfunctional features of India’s operational nuclear policy. Kampani, who has written extensively on this subject elsewhere, makes a deft argument that organizational pathologies, more than any other factor, have hobbled India from adopting a viable operational policy for its nuclear weapons. In this chapter he also carefully outlines some of the doctrinal tensions that have undermined the quest for a successful operational strategy.

Other chapters in this volume, such as that of one of the two editors, Bharat Gopalaswamy, on India’s space policy, demonstrate a firm grasp of technical issues and questions. However, the principal drawback of his contribution is that it is mostly descriptive. Furthermore, instead of tracing the evolution of India’s space policy and the acquisition of various assets, it focuses disproportionately on the role of space technologies of other states and the role they played in various recent conflicts.

Other chapters further underscore the unevenness of this volume. For example, Probal Ghosh’s discussion of India’s quest for ballistic missile defense makes some theoretical as well as practical claims that are questionable if not untenable. At a theoretical level he argues that India’s acquisition and deployment of a BMD system would strengthen deterrence against Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Under ideal circumstances an Indian BMD system could contribute to a strategy of deterrence by denial. However, from Pakistan’s standpoint, India’s pursuit of a BMD system, combined with some of the more expansive claims that a number of Indian technocrats have made in the public domain, it appears that India is seeking a strategy of escalation dominance. Not surprisingly, Pakistan is now seeking to dramatically expand its nuclear arsenal and is resorting to strategies of concealment to thwart any advantage that India might derive from the successful deployment of a BMD system.

Ghosh’s chapter alone is not the sole problematic contribution to this volume. Despite much apparent theoretical sound and fury, Kartik Bommakanti’s chapter on innovation in strategic technologies lacks empirical substance. It fails to home in on specific technologies and cases and instead proceeds to discuss various technological developments and choices in a scattershot fashion. As a consequence it makes no significant contribution to either theoretical development or policy analysis.

Two final comments about this volume are in order. As with many edited books this one suffers from a familiar problem. There are individual chapters that are thoughtful, well argued, and cogently written. Others, obviously, are not. Additionally, another drawback of this volume is the lack of a clear organizing framework that would have made these contributions dovetail into one another. The absence thereof leaves the reader wondering about the analytical basis for the selection of the topics included and the exclusion of others.

Sumit Ganguly, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA                                                                      


CONFLICTING VISIONS: Canada and India in the Cold War World, 1946-76. By Ryan Touhey. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015. xi, 304 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$37.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7748-2901-4.

Beginning with an imaginative riff comparing Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, and Lucknow, Ontario, Ryan Touhey establishes that the Raj administration of India and the British settlement of Upper Canada were well connected in the mid-nineteenth century. But for state-to-state relations Touhey wisely opens with the 1946 appointment of Canada’s first ambassador (high commissioner) to India and the opening of Prime Minister King’s and future Prime Minister Louis St-Laurent’s relations with Prime Minister Nehru himself. Ambassadors exchanged between countries in the Commonwealth have always retained the title “high commissioner” (and for readers outside the limited circle to whom this makes sense, I shall use the terms ambassadors and embassies here for simplicity).

This is a much-needed book in the field of Canada’s (and India’s) bilateral relations, and is based on a painstaking search through the vast (and often nonlinear) RG25 file group at the National Archives in Ottawa. In that Canada had no consulates in India, this book focuses largely on the life of an embassy and more particularly on the thinking of a number of ambassadors, usually in contest with their counterparts and supervisors in Ottawa. Touhey keeps up with the life and times of Indian high commissioners (ambassadors) living in Ottawa and reporting to Delhi. However, India did have consulates, including important ones like Vancouver, so the two structures were never quite comparable. Touhey does, however, refer to files in Delhi about Canada in the National Archives of India. He tries to keep a balance between the official Indian views of these relations and the Canadian views, but the sheer volume of Canadian documents and richness tilts him inevitably towards seeing more through a Canadian lens. And there is an occasional reference to US and UK files, showing that the British and Americans weren’t entirely ignoring what was going on.

There is little treatment of business, intellectual, cultural, migration, or military relations. The purchase and/or donation of wheat, or light aircraft with dual use, are given weight insofar as they affect the overall tone of the relationship. Canadian investment in India occurred only well after 1974, except for the renowned Bata Shoe Company, incorporated and manufacturing just outside Kolkata, since the late 1930s. The role of print media in framing and explaining the peculiar stresses and contradictions in the relationship is mentioned and sometimes quoted, but is not a major focus.

This is an excellent study of diplomatic access to the top, the role of ministers of external affairs (both countries used similar names for this activity), and the role of the powerful unelected officials who guarded the doors and crafted the language of policies. Up until 1964, when Chester Ronning was replaced as ambassador in Delhi and PM Nehru died, the relationship had rested in very few hands. Even after the May 1974 nuclear test in Rajasthan, Touhey shows how all the moving parts of the old relationships were intact and could soon go into negotiating action again, a short period after the Canadian denunciations of the test. Given the long Liberal Party hold on the PM’s office in Ottawa (from Pearson’s arrival in 1963 to Trudeau’s departure in 1979) an old boy’s network around foreign policy worked well in Ottawa.

Touhey has skillfully established the scope and depth of the number of ministry officials in Ottawa who had experience with Indian diplomats, largely after the Korean War and in the foundation and operation of the International Commission for Supervision and Control in Vietnam and Laos. Some of these officials, critical of India’s motives and irritated by Krishna Menon and some of his procedures and decisions (until his downfall and resignation in October 1962), rose steadily to high ranks in Ottawa “with sour memories,” right up to the 1974-1976 period.

In fact an important exception to the “diplomacy first” thrust of the book is the nuclear relationship which ran through the entire thirty years, right to the May 1976 Cabinet decision to terminate Canada’s commitment to help build another nuclear reactor near Chennai. From those important positions, their skeptical criticism was applied to nuclear cooperation between India and Canada (cooperation that was confirmed profitably when the CANDU reactor contract was signed in 1963), continuing through to the unsuccessful renegotiations in 1974-1976.

Through a study of the stresses and contradictions in this Cold War relationship, Touhey illuminates the power and complexity of Canada’s American and British relationship, and the indirect influence of the Soviet relationship; France, one of Canada’s rivals in the nuclear business in India, is only mentioned. But the Commonwealth donor relationship vs. the Commonwealth voting relationship, the independent CIDA donor relationship vs. the Vietnam Commission relationship, the lack-of-a-Security Council seat relationship for both countries, Indian resentment of Pakistan and China—all these added to the complexity of how India perceived Canadian positions and decisions, and vice versa. For instance, when many other countries in 1971 took positions on supporting either Pakistan or Bangladesh (read India), Canada took no official position, hoping the question would go away. Prime Minister Gandhi, however, had “gone out on a limb” for Bangladesh between September and December, and had a list of countries that had agreed with and supported her; surely she noted Canada’s silence?

This is a good and important contribution to diplomatic history in Asia, weaving in China, Vietnam, and Pakistan. It provides insight into the complicated relations of foreign affairs ministries and their numerous embassies and ambassadors. It adds also to an aspect of state-to-state negotiations which can be compared with US-India or Britain-India relations, particularly in the excellent chapter 10 on the unsuccessful 1974-1976 nuclear bargaining. Those studies scarcely mention Canada, although Touhey’s book cannot avoid having their involvement. In that sense, too, it is very Canadian.

Robert Anderson, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada                                                         

DEMOCRACY AND TRANSPARENCY IN THE INDIAN STATE: The Making of the Right to Information Act. Routledge/Edinburgh South Asian Studies Series. By Prashant Sharma. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xx, 238 pp. (Tables.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-13-880217-9.

The movements which supported the emergence and implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act in India under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments of 2004–2015 have perhaps been overshadowed in public memory by more recent popular movements against corruption, and by the 2014 landslide election of the Bharatiya Janata Party. However, the existence of the law, only ten years old in 2015, has been hailed as a significant moment in the development of the relationship between Indian citizens and the state.

Prashant Sharma’s book provides the reader with a fresh perspective on the emergence of the RTI Act and on the different actors and locations involved in the process of drafting and enactment. Across six chapters, each with the useful addition of a bibliography and extensive endnotes, he reveals some of the history and social networks involved in the conception and enactment of the Right to Information. The main thrust of the book is to question what Sharma calls the “dominant narrative” concerning the emergence of the Right to Information in India, and in doing so reflect upon the relationship between the RTI Act and discourses of democratic deepening in India.

For Sharma the dominant narrative of the RTI in India holds that the demand for transparency and accountability, for a fundamental change in the relationship between the citizens and the state, emanated from a grassroots struggle which blossomed into a national campaign and gained sufficient traction to pressure political parties to include the Right to Information in their agendas; that the RTI Act was a response to local, and therefore particularly Indian, social and political circumstances; and, that bureaucratic and political resistance from those who felt their position threatened by increased transparency and accountability was overcome because of the strength, persistence, and simple justice of the demand from below. Locating the dominant narrative within a selection of academic, activist, policy, and media sources that he argues both celebrate and overemphasise the role of grassroots political action, Sharma proposes that if the narrative is correct then we would have evidence of a significant process of democratic deepening taking place in India.

However, Sharma problematizes the dominant narrative by identifying three significant “silences.” When these gaps in the narrative are filled in, Sharma argues, the emergence of the Right to Information in India might be understood to be more a product of elite interests and changes in the social and political character of the state under neo-liberalism than it was an example of deepening democracy.

These silences are addressed one by one through the three central chapters of the book. In the first of these, titled “Digging up the Grassroots,” Sharma traces the social histories of prominent movement activists. For Sharma a “small, intimate, dense network” (84) of urban, upper caste, upper middle class activists possessed the social and cultural capital necessary to gain access to, and be comfortable operating within, high level political, policy and media forums. The political access of this “elite fraction” of the middle class was crucial in promoting the idea of the RTI, and thus it could be argued that the RTI Act was not a response to pressure from below. Building on this theme, he goes on to argue that the RTI was acceptable to those in government precisely because it did not threaten the hegemony of the ruling elite, and thus was not as radical a law as the dominant narrative suggests.

The second silence is addressed in a chapter entitled “Opening up the Government.” Sharma argues that the account of bureaucratic resistance to the RTI in the dominant narrative is not borne out by his interviews with senior officials involved in the legislative process. He identifies the antecedents of the 2005 RTI in post-independence policymaking, legal precedent, and judicial activism and locates the law within wider processes of neo-liberal state reform. Sharma’s bureaucrat informants assert that rather than responding to demands from below for an information law the impetus came from within government itself. Ultimately it appears that the law emerged from a number of factors, both civil society activism and top down governance reform, which combined to produce a moment of possibility for the Right to Information.

The third silence is addressed in chapter 5, “The Foreign Hand.” Here, Sharma outlines the ways in which the Indian RTI Act emerged within the context of the global good governance zeitgeist of the 1990s and early 2000s and partly in response to pressure from international institutions such as the World Bank and the WTO. This period saw a huge growth in freedom of information laws, of which India’s was just one example. In turn, the drafting process of the Indian RTI Act itself drew upon existing clauses in the FOI laws of a range of countries. Thus, Sharma argues, the Indian RTI Act was not as much of a response to a specifically Indian set of circumstances as the dominant narrative would suggest.

Overall, Sharma sets out the argument of the book very clearly. There is a lot of detail, particularly in the chapters on the role of the state and the international context, which adds to our understanding of the emergence of the RTI in India. It is important that we understand the social and political processes through which legislation such as the RTI is produced and the role of class and power as key factors. However, in the construction of an elegant argument designed to refute the dominant narrative Sharma swings too far in the other direction. Sharma’s dominant narrative is a straw man. The narrative’s privileging of the grassroots and change from below is replaced by an account of elite interest and foreign influence that effectively erases subaltern voices and agency from the story of the RTI in India. Inevitably the result of research such as this will be a partial truth and thus this is a book that should be read against existing and forthcoming accounts of the RTI process in India. As such it contributes to an ongoing debate, particularly in light of the implications of its critique of the potential of grassroots movement politics, rather than acting as the last word.

Martin Webb, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, United Kingdom                              

REVOLUTIONARY LIVES IN SOUTH ASIA: Acts and Afterlives of Anticolonial Political Action. Edited by Kama Maclean and J. Daniel Elam. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. x, 125 pp. US$150.00, cloth . ISBN 978-1-13-879497-9.

The chapters in this book were originally published in Postcolonial Studies (16, no. 2 [June 2013]). The main objective of this edited volume, outlined by the editors in the first chapter, is to interrogate the moniker “revolutionary” within the specific academic, political, and cultural contexts of South Asia’s past and present. The editors outline the book’s loosely biographical approach to this question, hoping to reiterate the humanness of revolutionary politics. The time frame for this exercise is the overlapping global interwar and late colonial periods. Three chapters of the book are devoted to three Indian activists and their effects within and beyond the British Empire. These three are M.N. Roy, V.D. Savarkar and J.P. Narayan. The remaining four chapters of the book focus on the members of the Hindustan Socialist Revolutionary Army (HSRA). One glaring omission from this list is M.K. Gandhi. The reason for this omission, the editors point out, is the recent proliferation of works on him. Gandhi however does not disappear from this volume totally as as “he continually hovers in the imagination of many of the figures under analyses” (5).

A key issue related to interrogating the term “revolutionary” is the relationship of this term to violent action. As the editors perceptively point out, there has been much recent academic discussion around forms of violence and legitimate resistance. They are right to point out that the historiography of Indian nationalism continues to be wedded to the binary between “violence” and “nonviolence” with little systematic and rigorous scrutiny of the disarray of such terms in anticolonial texts. Such a binary, in effect, reproduces British colonial representations of revolutionary activity, “where ‘revolutionary’ and ‘terrorist’ were frequently interchangeable descriptions of anticolonial agitations” (6). The truth, as is usually the case, is more complex and the various chapters chart this complexity in relation to both specific individuals as well as to the HSRA.

The legacy and symbolism of Bhagat Singh has been aggressively appropriated in contemporary India and Pakistan across the political spectrum for various ends. Chris Moffat’s chapter on Bhagat Singh and the HSRA aims to move beyond a debate about what Bhagat Singh symbolises in the contemporary period and instead looks at Bhagat Singh in the context of his present, to understand better the politics of action and the contexts of action. A central point of this chapter is the need to understand Bhagat Singh as a key member of the HSRA, especially in the context of the HSRA’s slogan, Inqilab Zindabad (“Long Live Revolution”). Tracing the various influences on Bhagat Singh, from Lenin to the French anarchist, Auguste Vaillant to the Ghadar Party and Kartar Singh Sarabha, this chapter points to understanding Bhagat Singh’s notion of the immediacy of his present as a key driver of his politics of action. Moffat’s chapter is a key contribution to the literature on both Bhagat Singh and the HSRA as it subverts the cliché associated with him—what he would have been if he had not been hanged at the gallows. Moffat’s chapter is definitely required reading for anyone interested in the intricacies of the anticolonial movement in India.

The other interesting chapter in this book is by Aparna Vaidik on Hans Raj Vohra, a member of the HSRA who testified against Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev in the Lahore Conspiracy Case trial, 1929–1930. The author poses a key question: “is it possible to write a non-celebratory history of nationalism, which is sensitive to the instances when nationalist solidarity is fractured and betrayed?” (105). This is definitely a refreshing starting point especially in relation to understanding the specific contexts and motivations of revolutionaries who became informants against their revolutionary comrades. The key point Vaidik makes is that Hans Raj Vohra decided to testify against the HSRA trio not because of some pecuniary benefit to himself, nor due to torture or threat thereof from colonial authorities (both of which are usually cited as reasons for revolutionaries to become “approvers” against their previous comrades). Instead, Vohra decided to testify because he believed that Sukhdev, to whom he was related and through whom he came to be associated with the HSRA, had confessed to vital information about the HSRA’s activities once the latter was arrested by the colonial authorities. Despite its interesting starting point, however, the reader is left wondering if this explanation and Vohra’s documented guilt until his death in the 1980s could possibly be the self-serving justification of a young Vohra who wanted to escape the fate of rigorous colonial imprisonment or even the gallows. Vohra’s pardon from charges related to his involvement with the activities of the HSRA in return for his testimony could possibly be cited as proof of this motivation.

Overall, this is an important work for anyone interested in the history of the anticolonial movement in South Asia. It is also an important contribution to present-day discussions of “terrorism” and what constitutes contemporary legitimate resistance against various structures of imperialism and colonialism in our collective present.

Sinderpal Singh, National University of Singapore, Singapore

INDIA’S 2014 ELECTIONS: A Modi-led BJP Sweep. Edited by Paul Wallace. New Delhi: Sage Publications India, 2015. xxiv, 427 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$59.95, cloth. ISBN 978-93-515-0187-9.

The 2014 national election in India is seen as a seminal one. In fact, shortly after the results were announced a prominent journalist wrote a book called 2014: The Election That Changed India. One reason why many saw the election as a game changer was due to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) becoming the first non-Congress party to win a clear majority on its own. It was also the first time since 1984 that a party had a majority on its own in the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament). Moreover, many felt that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who ran a presidential style campaign in 2014, the BJP, with its Hindu nationalist leanings, could redefine the idea of India.

The book under review is the fifth in a series—the first four were edited by Paul Wallace and Ramashray Roy—which analyses India’s national elections normally held every five years. The series has been of immense value for anyone interested in election data and its analysis. In recent times, the Election Commission of India’s website has been an invaluable storehouse of data on Indian elections, minimising the need for publications on electoral data. But the commission does not tell us about campaign strategies, how and why voters voted the way they did, and the impact of elections on national and state politics. This is where books like India’s 2014 Election, edited by Paul Wallace, are useful. The book is divided into two parts: the first treats broad themes, such as Modi’s role in the BJP victory, and the second is composed of state or provincial-level studies. Not all of India’s 29 states are covered, with Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala being some of the notable exceptions.

Of the thematic chapters, Christophe Jaffrelot and Gilles Vernier’s essay gives a good overview of the elections and makes the argument that despite the clear majority won by the BJP, the “era of coalitions is far from over” (43). They note the “noticeable geographical concentration” (29) of the BJP’s vote, with the Party winning 190 of the 225 seats in the Hindi belt comprising Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, and Jharkhand. They also note that whereas the BJP won 31 percent of the national vote, in the Hindi belt (plus Gujarat) it won 45 percent of the vote. They make the important point that the regional parties have held their own, winning 46.6 percent of the vote share, which was roughly the same as in the 2009 national elections. There were, of course, variations in the performance of the regional parties with parties in the east and south—the Trinamul Congress (TMC) in West Bengal, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Orissa, and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu—doing exceedingly well while the parties in the northern states underperformed. Another important essay is that of Jyotirindra Dasgupta and Anshu Chatterjee on how civic associations in the run up to the 2014 elections have enriched democratic politics.

Of the states, Uttar Pradesh (UP) contributed a whopping 71 seats to the BJP’s tally. Sudha Pai and Avinash Kumar’s analysis of the UP results suggests that it was not so much a Modi wave but a combination of Hindutva and development that paid off for the BJP. They argue that the BJP followed a strategy of creating a “broad Hindu vote bank encompassing the upper castes, the backwards, and also the Dalits” (120). This was apparent in the vote swing in favour of the BJP, according to the National Election Study by Lokniti-CSDS, cutting across castes. Thus, in addition to a majority of the upper castes, 53 percent of the Kurmis/Koeris and 45 percent of Dalits (leaving aside the Jatavs) voted for the BJP. Pai and Kumar also credit Modi’s close aide and current BJP president Amit Shah for the way he ran Modi’s “hi-tech, US presidential style, plebiscitary campaign” (135).

Bihar was another Hindi heartland state where the BJP did very well winning 22 of the 40 seats. According to Maneesha Roy and Ravi Ranjan, the BJP was successful in stitching together a “collation of extremes” despite chief minister Nitish Kumar contesting on his own. Because of the BJP’s alliance with parties like the Lok Janashakti Party and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, it won votes across castes. Conversely, Nitish Kumar, despite his considerable personal popularity, did not have the caste arithmetic on his side. However, the authors are prescient when they point out that an alliance between the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (United) and Congress would be a “robust social combination,” as was proved by the 2015 state assembly elections.

There are insightful essays on several other states. Andrew Wyatt, for instance, argues that the appeal of national parties in Tamil Nadu is limited and that they can “only win elections when they are integrated into alliances with regional parties” (335). Interestingly, he also argues that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which suffered a heavy loss in the 2014 elections, was reasonably well placed for the state assembly elections in 2016. However, some chapters, including the one on West Bengal, disappoint.

Wallace in his introduction notes a transition in 2014 from coalition politics to one-party majority rule under a strong leader, namely Modi. At the time of writing, however, the latter model seems to have hit road bumps as testified to by the state election results in 2015 and the impasse in national parliament.

Ronojoy Sen, National University of Singapore, Singapore                                                               

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IMAGINING MUSLIMS IN SOUTH ASIA AND THE DIASPORA: Secularism, Religion, Representations. Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series. Edited by Claire Chambers and Caroline Herbert. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xvi, 222 pp. US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-65930-7.

Imagining Muslims in South Asia and the Diaspora: Secularism, Religion, Representations is a collection of essays edited by Claire Chambers (Lecturer in Global Literature, University of York, UK) and Caroline Herbert (Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK). Claire Chambers and Caroline Herbert have previously worked on Muslim Women Writers (2011) and Postcolonial Cities (2013), respectively. This book is their concentrated theoretical contribution towards South Asian and Postcolonial Studies. It offers an interesting collection of essays focusing on the image and representations of Islam and Muslim identity and the complications surrounding both. The four sections of the book integrate responses from international academics who collectively present a thought-provoking analysis of the subject by observing discourses, reviewing historical facts, challenging theoretical approaches and analyzing contemporary South Asian literary genres.

The first section, “Surveying the field: comparative approaches,” is based on discussions by Tabish Khair, Anshuman A. Mondal and Lindsey Moore. Khair narrates his personal dilemma of growing up as a Muslim in India (chapter 1). When the responses in India shift towards associating him with “mullah religion,” he chooses to move abroad. Based on his earlier work, Young Muslim Voices, Mondal (chapter 2) critiques Rushdie and Kureshi, who either create foreign characters or make Muslim characters voiceless (Shalimar the Clown and Satanic Verses), continue to debate secularism vs fundamentalism (The Black Album), or criticize the ways the second generation fights the moral and cultural values imposed upon them by their parents. Lindsey Moore argues that South Asian (Attiya Hussain, Uzma Aslam Khan) and Maghrebi (Fatima Merrinsi) female writers share similar themes, including the conflict between cultural and religious values, public vs. personal space for women, the female body as problematic, the struggle to make women visible, audibility through textual presence, autobiographical accounts, and tracing historiography (chapter 3).

In the second section of the book, “Syncretism, Muslim cosmopolitanism, and secularism,” Muneeza Shamsie argues that Islam has continued to be a threat to Europe starting from the eighth century to the present day (chapter 4). She suggests that this is one of the reasons why many South Asian Muslim writers (Agha Shahid Ali, Shadab Zest Hashmi, Shahid Suharwardi and Imtiaz Dhraker and Rushdie) evoke Europe’s “suppressed narrative,” reminding their readers of a Euro-Arab culture that flourished in Spain as Al-Andalus. Rachel Farebrother and Peter Morey explore Kashmiri writers, Agha Shahid Ali and Mirza Waheed poetry and fiction, respectively. Farebrother has reviewed Agha Shahid Ali from a perspective of being detached from the violence in Kashmir (The Country Without a Post Office) (chapter 6). She finds his writings paradoxical because while experimenting with western genres like turning pastoral poetry into political expressions, he also uses cultural and religious symbols from Kashmir. Morey suggests The Collaborator (2011) reflects a kind of procrastination, rejecting the positions of both Indian and Pakistani sides in the dispute over Kashmir (chapter 7). Unlike the other chapters in this section, which focus on fiction or poetry, Caroline Herbert bridges music and fiction in order to understand the minoritization of Muslims and the shared Hindu Muslim history and offers a close analysis of Shahshi Deshpande’s Small Remedies (chapter 5).

In section 3 of the book, titled “Currents with South Asian Islam,” E. Rashid critiques Ed Husain’s The Islamist as a Bildungsroman creating confusion over Islamism and liberal Islam, which in his view problematizes the nature of British Islam (chapter 8). He contends that Muslim scholars have contributed towards these ambiguities by presenting plagiarized western political thought. Madeline Clements explores Rushdie’s idea of Islam and faith as expressed in Shalimar the Clown (2008) and The Enchantress of Florence (2009) (chapter 9). In her view, Rushdie’s anti-Islam responses towards Muslim practices, liberalism, and private vs. public space for practicing religion reflect a kind of identity crisis since Rushdie emphasizes his Indian Muslim and Kashmiri identity and yet remains bewildered about his association with the broader Muslim community. Following the theme of the problematized nature of defining a Muslim, Claire Chambers explores the politically desirable possibilities of a good Muslim through Tahmima Anam’s The Good Muslim, a novel that complicates these binaries and unsettles the boundaries between the good and bad Muslims (chapter 10).

The final section of the book, “Representations, stereotypes and Islamophobia,” begins with Cara Cilano’s discussion of Benazir Bhutto’s dual personality as representing both “Larkana Benazir” (Benazir from Sindh) and “Radcliffe Benazir” (Benazir from Radcliffe College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts), who was pro-democracy and supported gender equality (chapter 11). Her leadership reflected the war on terror discourse because she identifies the difference between the intra-Islamic debate within Pakistan and the gap between Islam and the West on the international scale, which further divide Muslims into “good” and “bad” categories. Cilano’s stance that Benazir represents American ideologies instead of just representing Pakistan as a leader is vaguely concluded. Aroosa Kanwal discusses post 9/11 interpretations of “Islam,” “Muslims,” and “Terrorism” through the example of Kamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadows and Broken Verses. The author agrees with Shamsie that there is a pressure on the Muslim community to redefine Islam as a religion of peace. Like other authors in this book and Kamila Shamise, Kanwal agrees that there is a difference between being a “Muslim” and being an “Islamist” (chapter 13). On a different note, S.A. Meghani resists the stereotyping of Muslim identities and genders and discusses Straightening Ali, a work of fiction by Amjeed Kabil, and the film Touch of Pink by Ian Iqbal Rashid (chapter 12). The protagonists in both cases deal with their Muslim background and gayness as “incompatible identities” due to which they fear detachment from their families and community.

To conclude, this book deals primarily with the complications of defining the Muslim identity. It challenges the “hardening of definitions” and invisible “prejudices” between Hindu and Muslim identities, religions, personal spaces, and expectations (Tabish Khair and Mondal). The problems of identifying good vs. bad Muslims are an important concern (Cilano and Chambers). The question of differentiating between secular and extremist Islam remains problematic (Husain) but is addressed carefully by some authors. Despite all the pressures in the form of the “War on Terror” (Kanwal), works by Muslim and South Asian writers are observed as intentionally drawing Euro-Arab connections perhaps with the intention of drawing some positive conclusions and maintaining peace (Shamsie). Voicing female writers and queer South Asian Muslims significantly symbolizes dual oppression on the basis of religion and ethnicity (Moore and Meghani). In the process of interpreting Muslim identity, the stereotypes created by South Asian writers are challenged by some authors because in their view this means the misrepresentation of Muslim identity and Islam as ideology. This work emphasizes the responsible role of a creative writer as well as academics who can continue the dialogue and clarify the ambiguities surrounding the topic in focus. While some authors fairly believe that if literature or theory fails to deal with the complexities of issues, bridging discourses like art, fiction (Herbert) and film (Meghani) can address certain ambiguities.

Nukhbah Taj Langah, Forman Christian College, Lahore, Pakistan

FRONTIERS, INSURGENCIES AND COUNTER-INSURGENCIES IN SOUTH ASIA, 1820-2013. By Kaushik Roy. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xix, 226 pp. (Illustrations, maps.). ISBN 978-1-138-89252-1.

A leading military historian, Kaushik Roy has produced a finely crafted work on the interrelationships between colonial making of frontiers, state formation, and small wars conducted by the British in South Asia. The book contributes substantially to writings on protracted armed conflicts in South Asia, drawing extensively on archival sources to analyze Small Wars and counter-insurgency operations (COIN) in South Asia. Roy argues that the origins of insurgencies and counterinsurgency operations of contemporary states in South Asia can be traced back to British policies of managing the border regions in the North-East of India, in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and in Baluchistan, all of which have experienced long-standing insurgencies. Frontier management policies and COIN in South Asia are traced back to the politics of limited warfare “fought by the British with limited military assets for limited political aims” (159). The author writes, “the British Small Wars against the Nagas, Kukis, Lushais, and the Pathans were limited conflicts from imperial perspectives, but appeared as Total War for the stateless frontier societies” (161).

British policies in the NWFP (circa 1800-1913) and the North-East (1772-1913), as the author argues, were largely motivated by military-strategic interests, for example in the NWFP, where COIN operations were driven by the threat of possible attacks from Russia in Afghanistan. According to British ethnographic accounts, the NWFP was described as “the traditional highway of conquest of the sub-continent” (11). The tribesmen in this region, such as the Pathans, “existed in a state of ordered anarchy” (15). Further, he notes, “[t]he possession of firearms became a symbol of prestige and allowed individuals to engage in feuding” (15). British policy towards the NWFP was based on two different approaches, one that focused on economic concessions and diplomacy and the other mostly led by military officials, focused on “punitive actions against the recalcitrant tribes” (83). The latter approach prevailed. The British imposed fines and made inroads into Waziristan by constructing roads and stationing troops in the “troubled regions” as part of its Small War campaigns in the NWFP (87).

Small wars were also conducted to maintain peace in the North-East frontiers where the British encountered guerilla uprisings led by the Naga and Kuki tribes. Chapter 3 discusses how the British faced these encounters and how borders were managed during the two World Wars (1914-1945). In the North-East sector, four battalions of Assam Rifles, including a Gurkha regiment, were deployed to contain the Kuki rebellion in 1917. Similarly in the NWFP, as the author notes, “[i]n 1915, the British GOI deployed 22 infantry battalions, 21 cavalry squadrons, eight batteries of 48 guns and two sapper companies (equivalent to two divisions) in order to deter the North-West Frontier tribes and Afghanistan” (70).

What implications do these frontier management policies have for postcolonial state formation processes, and the integration and management of frontier lands into the “national mainstream?” Roy argues that frontier policies in postcolonial South Asia, particularly in India and Pakistan, were shaped by British policies of management and integration. Road building, used as an important COIN technique, allowed the postcolonial polities to “integrate the marginal borderlands within their national mainstream” (95). The author, however, rejects the views held by previous scholars that postcolonial states, particularly India, simply inherited the COIN of British India. Roy argues that unlike Pakistan, the Indian army adopted a “sophisticated COIN doctrine where military aspects are subordinate to political aspects. Minimum force remains the operative principle of post-1947 India’s COIN. Unlike Pakistan, India in its COIN operation never uses anti-personnel mines, artillery and airpower. This is partly due to democratic governance, vigorous public media and a strong middle class” (162).

Chapter 4 analyzes how the Indian army implemented its COIN operations during the India-Pakistan war in 1947-1948, and then how the continuation of conflict in the border region throughout the 1980s and 1990s, engaged the Indian army “along and across the LOC, involving exchanges of intense artillery, missile, mortar and automatic fire with the Pakistani army, along with almost daily clashes between border patrols and mujahideen attempting to infiltrate into the valley. The other war was the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism in the hinterland of the valley against Islamic tanzeems and their overground organizations” (108). The COIN operations in Kashmir were characterized not only by “small scattered actions” but also by nation-building exercises, where the army functioned as a facilitator for the civil state machinery, especially in the post-Kargil war in the late 1990s. Chapter 5 continues the discussion on COIN operations in the Naga hills and in this context, the author reveals that besides armed operations, co-option of surrendered rebels into the Indian army, the Border Security Forces and the Nagaland state police was an important COIN technique used by India.

These COIN strategies are different from the methods of extreme repression used by the Pakistani army in Baluchistan and East Pakistan. Chapter 4 describes how the armed bands like Hemayat Bahini carried out guerilla operations against the Pakistani army. The latter used “aerial artillery against the insurgents” but was unable to crush the insurgency (119). The author argues that the absence of “nation-building” or the absence of “winning the hearts and minds” approach of the Pakistani army was one of the major drawbacks of the COIN operation of the Pakistani army, and shows how the Awami League gained in the form of support for independence not only from the local Bengali population but also from the Security Forces across the border on the Indian side.

Archival evidence that the author presents in the book provides a wealth of original information to the reader. Historical analysis in the book sheds interesting insights on the roots of the organized violence of the stateless communities in the borders and the Small Wars conducted to pacify these communities in the frontier regions of South Asia. Barring these contributions, the book is limited in its analysis of the origins of the insurgencies—for instance, the insurgencies in Northeast India analyzed in chapter 5. The author also adopts a reductionist view while claiming that the “Assamese insurgency is the product of the Assamese Hindu middle class antipathy towards Muslim immigration,” whereas the insurgency has roots in profound socio-economic grievances discussed elsewhere by scholars like Udayan Mishra in The Periphery Strikes Back: Challenges to the nation-state in Assam and Nagaland (IIAS, 2000). The author claims that “India’s COIN includes both military and non-military elements” (156). However it is not clear how this is applicable in the case of India’s Northeast and the frontiers in FATA region. Despite these lacunae, the book makes an important contribution to the existing literature on the disturbed “marginal” borderlands in South Asia.

Pahi Saikia, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati, India                           

INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY: Ambition and Transition. By Chris Ogden. Cambridge: Polity Press; Hoboken: Wiley [distributor], 2014. x, 245 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7456-6087-5.

This is an excellent comprehensive textbook that succeeds in presenting a nuanced story of India’s foreign engagement as an emerging power. It notes that the contradictions of India’s emergence lie in personalistic caste-based politics, rampant poverty, and an underfunded and poorly manned foreign service whose scale of operations far exceed the resources with which its objectives are pursued. The book succeeds as a description of the institutional setting and resources that undergird India’s diplomatic history. It deals with the performance of India’s foreign policy while engaging with both its external and domestic political roots.

Chapter 1 describes how India’s foreign policies are made. The Prime Minister’s Office is very powerful. The Parliament, ministries (including the Ministry of External Affairs, MEA), and think tanks are accorded a lesser role. This is a rather parsimonious view. Can we expect India to be very different from industrialized democracies where international relations occur to a much greater extent within the black box of government? What goes against the grain of too narrow a determination of Indian foreign policy are the many hotly debated issues such as the nuclear deal with the US, and economic agreements with organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the World Trade Organization, to name just a few. Policy movement in these and many other cases is slow largely because of the democratic impulse. The Indian prime minister today looks rather more like the American president or the British prime minister than the Chinese president or even the first Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Chapter 2 deals with the difficult topic of India’s strategic thinking and behaviour rather more deftly. It notes the importance of understanding strategic culture for explaining the roots of foreign policy. Does the ancient Indian text Arthashastra reveal more about India’s foreign policy than the country’s anti-colonial struggle? This chapter succeeds in describing India’s military and nuclear modernization more successfully than in explaining its grand strategy.

The chapter on India’s economic transformation is an impressive one. It is an authoritative story of India’s transition from a closed underperforming economy to one that has become the third-largest one in terms of purchasing power parity. The chapter describes developmental challenges such as energy security, social development, and realization of the demographic dividend. There could have been a section on the rise of welfare and the rights-based approach to Indian development in the new millennium as well.

Is India a natural hegemon? Chapter 4 describes India’s relations with Pakistan and other South Asian neighbours, as well as its relations near Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar. The coverage is more extensive than analytical. It is a lucid summary of developments in foreign relations. India-Pakistan and India-Myanmar relations have recently been overtaken by events beyond the publication of this book.

Chapter 5 is a fine-grained survey of India’s tryst with multilateral organizations ranging from the United Nations and the World Trade Organization to the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Shanghai Cooperation Council, and India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA). India has moved away from non-alignment to pursuing its own developmental interest. Despite this, policy autonomy and attending to developing country concerns have not totally vanished from India’s strategic imagination.

The chapter on India and the great powers—China, Russia, European Union (EU), and Japan—is a comprehensive survey of these relationships. The merit of this chapter is both its crispness and its historical detail. We learn how India-China relations moved from hostility towards pragmatic cooperation; how India-Russia (Soviet) relations evolved from almost an alliance relationship to a cooperative one; why Indo-EU relations are functioning considerably below potential; and, the significant strategic and commercial value of Indo-Japan relations.

The chapter on India and the US, like the other historical chapters, is both detailed and comprehensive. We learn how Indo-US relations survived the Cold War to become one of the major relationships in the twenty-first century. More nuanced attention could have been paid to the period between 1957 and 1962 when the US and the USSR were both cosying up to India for two diametrically opposite reasons. The US thought that India had to be secured from communism while the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) seemed convinced that India’s state-led import substitution and independent positions in foreign policy were clearly not the makings of a camp follower of the US. These were the hey days of non-alignment.

The last chapter, titled India Emergent, demonstrates how Indian foreign policy is able to deal deftly with countries ranging from Israel to Saudi Arabia and Iran. Perhaps the conclusion could have stressed that such diversity of relationships has something to do with India’s preservation of its non-aligned identity. The book scores higher marks as a comprehensive historical account that connects with ideas of grand strategy than one that provides the reader with a conceptual orientation. This is both the strength and the weakness of this book. This book is arguably the best introduction to Indian foreign policy available for readers today.

Rahul Mukherji, National University of Singapore, Singapore

GLOBALISATION, DEMOCRACY AND CORRUPTION: An Indian Perspective. Critical Debates in History & Politics. By Pranab Bardhan. London; Kolkata: Frontpage, 2015. x, 250 pp. US$21.95, paper. ISBN 978-93-81043-17-2.

Pranab Bardhan is a highly regarded and prolific economist. He was the long-time chief editor of the Journal of Development Economics, the leading journal in its field, and much of his work is technically sophisticated, but he is also an outstanding public intellectual, who argues cogently for social justice. He states his credo in a recent interview with the Kolkata newspaper, The Telegraph, reproduced in Globalisation, Democracy and Corruption: “I do not really believe that Left and Right labels mean much. I think one has to be clear about one’s objectives. I would consider myself Left if by Left people mean a commitment to social justice. But if the meaning of Left implies necessarily favouring the state over markets, I am not Left” (208). He is impatient with dogma, regardless of its source, though his particular concern has been with what he sees as “the amazing capacity of the Left parties [in India] for self-deception … avoidance of the hard realities and resort to clichés and solace from sacred texts” (183). He is impatient, too, with the sort of lazy radicalism that makes market capitalism and its attendant globalization responsible for all the ills of developing countries. He is surely right that globalization (meaning for him the expansion of foreign trade and investment) is neither the main cause nor the solution to a developing country’s problems, and that its impact will depend upon local factors, notably the state of the country’s physical infrastructure and mass education. Though he is understandably chary of using the term social democracy, given the suspicion with which it is regarded by both Right and Left, not least in India, his writing is inspired by a social democratic sensibility. In only one of the essays, a piece from YaleGlobal in 2006, does he refer to the experience of social democracy in the Nordic countries, pursued in the context of integration into international markets. But it is clear that the way in which the Scandinavians succeeded in enhancing social equity without giving up on competitive efficiency commands his respect. The challenge of combining equity and efficiency, which is what the pursuit of social democracy must confront, is rarely far from his thinking.

Drawing extensively on his professional work as an economist, especially in regard to poverty and inequality, Bardhan’s Globalisation, Democracy and Corruption (an unfortunately nondescript title) brings together 38 articles published between 2006 and 2014, some in newspapers, including the Financial Times and the New York Times as well as top English-language newspapers and magazines published in India, several published in the Economic and Political Weekly, and others in such on-line publications as YaleGlobal and Ideas for India. They engage with a wide range of topics, including globalization, inequality and poverty, corruption, democracy, and comparisons of India and China, as well as with key questions concerning current policy debates in India. One article, published before the outcome of the 2014 Indian general election was known, contains an assessment of Narendra Modi, now the prime minister, which has proven prescient in regard to the rise of the banal Hindu nationalism that has become increasingly evident in the course of 2015. The final piece is “A Conversation with Amartya Sen,” from 2006, about Sen’s books The Argumentative Indian and Identity and Violence, and which in its emphasis on the importance of deliberative public argument stands as a testament to what Indian society seems now to be losing.

The subjects covered in the various articles are diverse; yet they come together around a core theme of the damage that is done to societies in general, and to Indian society in particular, by social and economic inequality. Bardhan especially emphasizes the extent of educational inequality in India, though he sees it as a serious problem in the United States as well. In this respect India is one of the worst cases in the world. An admittedly crude measure (a gini coefficient based on years of schooling in the adult population) shows that India (with a coefficient of 56) lags far behind both China (37) and Brazil (39), and most of the rest of Latin America. Were we to take into account the quality of education, which with the exception of a few private schools is truly lamentable in India, the problem of educational inequality would be recognized as being even more serious. Bardhan says much less in these essays about the state of health care in India, but he consistently emphasizes the importance of improving the quality of health services, as well as education and physical infrastructure, for the mass of the people in the interests both of equity and of efficiency. India suffers too—it is one of the reasons why economic growth has delivered much less poverty reduction in India than it has in China—from its historic failure to address the problem of inequity in the distribution of land, as well as from deep inequalities in social status. Greater equity would, Bardhan argues, make it less difficult than it has been to build consensus and organize collective action, and so to establish a virtuous dynamic of growth and social justice: “attempts to reduce the extreme inequities may increase trust in government and make it easier to persuade most people to make short-run sacrifices for the long-run benefits of all” (80).

As it is, however, trust in government is seriously wanting. Bardhan puzzles over why it is that in a vibrant electoral democracy Indian voters do not hold governments to account, much more than they do, for the failure of the state to address the poor quality of public services from which most suffer. Part of the problem is that the rich can afford to secede. Another is that in the context of deep inequality, widespread poverty, and extensive social fragmentation, short-term populist solutions have a strong electoral appeal, even if they do not serve the interests of the poor over the longer run. At the same time, for want of electoral reform, the sheer costs of fighting elections in India—as in the United States—encourage corruption. A further factor fostering corruption—rather ironically, given the precepts of economic liberalism that the state has supposedly embraced—is that the government exercises great discretion over access to key resources. But these structural causes are ignored, as “public rage is somehow directed away from the rich bribe givers and onto venal politicians” (74), thanks to the influence of figures such as Anna Hazare in India, who project authoritarian populism: they know best what is in the people’s interest. There is a syndrome of dysfunctional government that encourages distrust of democratic politics—a distrust that is fanned by the discourse and the actions of what may be in some ways progressive civil society organizations. Civil society activism can never finally replace the functions of political parties in negotiating and reconciling the inevitably conflicting priorities of different groups and interests. But this vitally important process is vitiated by the failings of democratic politics in India, and in the many other parts of the world in which representative electoral democracy has come into question. Bardhan argues that middle classes, never reliable friends of democracy, increasingly turn away to the “ultra-nationalism” that is becoming increasingly evident across Asia, and look to authoritarian leaders.

Pranab Bardhan is an unfailingly engaging commentator. These diverse writings offer valuable insights into all the topics with which they deal, and the book as a whole offers a strong case for social democracy. It is not really a criticism of it to say that where it falls down is that Bardhan has so little to say about the politics that would make such an approach a practical possibility, and reverse the vicious spiral in which democratic government is locked. His role as a public intellectual is to contest the hegemony of the Right in the realm of ideas, and his book makes a significant contribution to this task.

John Harriss, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada                                                   

“NATION-STATE” AND MINORITY RIGHTS IN INDIA: Comparative Perspectives on Muslim and Sikh Identities. Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series, 83. By Tanweer Fazal. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. vii, 222 pp. (Illustrations, map.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-74775-2.

While the advent of the idea of majority/minority in Europe was essentially an outcome of the “Peace of Westphalia” and the French revolution, in South Asia it is principally traced to the late nineteenth-century conjuncture of colonial modernity and the projects and practices of rule. Conventionally it is understood that the enumerative and classificatory exercises undertaken by a colonial state imposed new uniformity to community identities, amended conceptions about their collective self-image, and reconfigured representational tropes. According to this view majorities and minorities as constructed entities were outcomes of these processes. An awareness of the intellectual history of nationalism in South Asia reveals how self-representations derived through identification with these categories shaped fraught national identities and ambivalent political subjectivities in the region.

Tanweer Fazal’s book historicizes this complex sociology of nationalism and the nation-state from the vantage point of minorities and the discourse of minority rights. It focuses on the Muslim and Sikh minorities in India, where, according to him, “the issue of minority rights … has far-reaching implications” and is not merely a “ceaseless academic exercise” (15). Given the acrimony over the “minority problematique” in contemporary India, this seems a reasonable justification for such a study.

Given its methodological inflection, the book juxtaposes historical moments, state practices, and discourses to expose, in the Foucaultian frame, the epistemic alteration of community identities. Fazal in the opening chapter advances the thesis that in addition to the disciplinary regimes of the colonial state, a significant rupture in the self-consciousness of communities was the inauguration of the idea of the “nation-state” and its organizing principles. By implication he considers the idea of the “nation” as the central “discontinuity” in the traditional self-perception and identity of communities and illustrates how the transit from being communities to becoming nations in due course shaped the framework for competitive “national” mobilizations. Following Lord Acton’s assessment (1), Fazal avers that as the nation-state necessitates a single “national” community, in poly-ethnic contexts “national minorities” became an inevitable consequence. He fittingly problematizes the “givenness” of the “nation” idea in India and goes on to critique the homogenization and exclusions that flow from an apparent unitary construction of ‘national’ identities; exclusions both between and within national groups. His broad inference is that the project of nation building in India implied submergence of the distinctiveness of minority groups (29).

In order to argue his case, Fazal maps three projected “constructs of Indian nationhood” (9) that he describes as essentialist, nationalist, and modernist. He claims that though “seemingly in opposition” (9) to one another these constructions instinctively rendered majoritarian symbols and impulses a default primacy. The cultural metaphors, the political symbols, and later even the constitutional clauses, were all reflective of a “deep-seated majoritarianism” (10). He attributes this predisposition to their existence “in a shared discursive sphere” (9) where the logic of “power differentials” (29) between communities perceptibly foregrounded majoritarian interests to the “exclusion of peripheral voices” (29).

Fazal’s engagement with the discursive/public sphere (28) makes chapter 2 analytically pivotal to his understanding and account of the definitive trajectory and nature of minority rights in postcolonial India. The need of the “national” state to defend its privileged relationship with a “skewed public domain” (189), he claims, obliges it to adopt a blinkered conception of minorities and their rights. Tracking the nuances of its development and the governing discourses that shaped this “shared space,” Fazal suggests that the constitutive features of the national “public” were expressively coded and dominated by majoritarian sentiments and standpoints. It resulted in a “deep-seated nationalist prejudice against the concept of minority per se” (48). Such an ethnically circumscribed “public” gave definitive shape to the public discourse on minorities and the later constitutional conception and legal interpretations regarding the rights of minorities. Fazal argues that the shared collective understanding, or “national commonsense,” being morally majoritarian, treats minority rights merely as a compensation for the subjugated (162).

In conclusion, Fazal critiques the language of minority rights in India for legally institutionalizing an essentialist conception of community identities. This, he claims, instrumentalizes community identities and triggers a politics of “minorityism” (195) that places immoderate power in the hands of minority elites. Against a picture of essentialist cohesion Fazal emphasizes the internal plurality of minority subjectivities and suggests the need for privileging the politics of redistribution to redress issues of minority group disadvantage.

As a historically conscious and comparative account of minority rights in India, this book is a remarkably valuable intervention in the field. But it has crucial limitations. Fazal is right in tracing the modernity of the minority condition and explaining the invention of majorities/minorities to the introduction of the nation-form. Yet a historical survey of the “trajectory of the discourse” is too reductionist a perspective. It fails to capture the contingent role and effect of electoral politics, political parties, and democratic institutions in shaping the nature of majority-minority relations, especially in post-independent India. Fazal refers to the “elective principle” but does not fully unpack the dynamics of this principle or their implications for the discourse of minority rights at different moments of India’s postcolonial political history.

As for insights into the idea of the public sphere, other than Habermas, Fazal could have examined works of Eisenstadt and Schluchter and the relevance of their conceptualization to his case study. More crucially Fazal forsakes engagement with the work of scholars like Amir Ali on the nature and evolution of the public sphere in India. Amir Ali’s work not only antedates but is also analogous to that of Fazal. Regrettably Ali finds no mention even in Fazal’s bibliography. These comments notwithstanding, Fazal’s book is an important analysis of the problematic discourse of minority rights in India. The book straddles a range of disciplines and methods and marks a notable interdisciplinary attempt to capture the dialectic between nation, nationalism, minority identities and rights in India.

Rajesh Dev, University of Delhi, Delhi, India                                                                                     

INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY IN TRANSITION: Relations with South Asia. Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series, 86. By Arijit Mazumdar. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xix, 224 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-13-801911-9.

India’s foreign policy has been characterized more by continuity than change. Nevertheless, we are living in an interconnected web of interdependence, and being one of the fastest-growing economic powers, India is reaching out, and in recent years we have witnessed a remarkable transformation of India’s foreign policy. Indeed, India needs a peaceful periphery for sustained economic growth and the current Indian government has clearly indicated it prioritizes building stronger ties with its neighbourhood.

Indian Foreign Policy in Transition explores the political evolution of South Asia to study the forces shaping India’s relations with its South Asian neighbours. The author asserts that “[t]his book is not simply a study of India’s past and present foreign policy but also analyses ongoing political changes and developments in India’s neighbourhood” (1). The book identifies three key drivers: India’s growing economic profile, recent democratic transitions in several South Asian countries, and greater US engagement in the region. The author then examines the three-fold research question: the nature of the relationship between India and other South Asian countries, patterns in the historical interactions, and the impact of key drivers. The author writes that “enhanced US presence has provided opportunities for states to carry out fundamental changes to their foreign policies” and “US presence in the region can be leveraged by smaller states to check India’s regional aspirations” (17). The book does not reflect ground realities and several points articulated by the author are based on flawed assumptions.

The book underlines Nehru’s instrumental role in defining India’s external relations and identifies “non-alignment” and “Panchsheel” as the twin pillars of Indian foreign policy. Further, it highlights that “Indira Gandhi’s tenure as prime minister did not see any major departure from Nehru’s policies towards South Asia” (29). It does, however, note that Indira Gandhi became the first prime minister to articulate India’s version of the Monroe Doctrine. The author has rightly pointed out the increasing influence of regional parties and state governments on foreign policy matters. While there were consultations with state governments in the past, centralized foreign policy making is facing resistance from various state governments. Hence, federalization of foreign policy could be very helpful in advancing India’s national interest.

Discussing India’s relations with Pakistan, the author notes that each country feels the other is an existential threat. While the author identifies the Kashmir issue as the most sensitive, he surprisingly overlooks issues of terrorism, infiltrations, and cross-border firing. Mazumdar finds India’s policy towards Pakistan reactive in nature and ad hoc. Moreover, the author claims that “the Pakistani establishment (civilian and military) was quite disturbed by the events of 1947-1948. The initial trauma of Partition and the subsequent conflict over Jammu and Kashmir, gave rise to suspicions regarding India’s intentions” (43). He goes on further to suggest that India “should support US efforts to stabilize Pakistan and address its security concerns,” ignoring the crux of the matter.

Analyzing India and Afghanistan, the author underlines Pakistan’s rulers’ support to radical Islam and asserts that “the Taliban’s fall in November 2011 hurt Pakistan’s regional interests.” [66] He adds that “[m]ilitarily defeating the Taliban is not possible” (76) and argues that stability in Afghanistan and improvement of India-Afghanistan relations are interlinked to the success of India-Pakistan relations. He continues on to say that “the strong military presence of the US and other international actors in Afghanistan is somewhat of a concern for India. It does not want to see the US military footprint expanding across other countries of South Asia” (78). Then in the next paragraph he writes that “India is a major power and has a decisive role to play in regional security. The US presence in Afghanistan is considered crucial to stabilizing the country, while preventing both Pakistan and China from gaining influence there.” The author’s message is unclear here.

Explaining India and Bangladesh relations, the author provides a detailed historical overview and throws light on the complexity of domestic politics in Bangladesh. Nevertheless, he doesn’t talk about the massacre by the Pakistani military. Deciphering the issue of transit between India and Bangladesh the author writes that historically Bangladesh has been unwilling to grant transit rights to India. Bangladesh “feared that the Indian military could use these rights to move personnel and equipment to its northeastern region during peace-time as well as in the event of conflict with China. It did not want to be seen as a military ally of India and damage relations with China. It was also concerned about the possibility of Indian security and intelligence agencies utilizing transit rights to spy on Bangladesh” (93). However, it is not clear if these are the author’s opinions or views from Bangladesh. Suitable references provide credibility to such interpretations.

In the chapter on India and Sri Lanka, the author draws causal links between economic and political relations. “The weakening economic links between the two countries during the 1980s contributed to the strain in political relations” [118]and therefore, economic linkages are a crucial element in determining the nature of India’s involvement. Surprisingly, the author writes that “the ‘Tamil Question’ is a law and order/economic issue not a political problem.”[125] While he sees China’s “legitimate interests” in Sri Lanka and dismisses the apprehensions surrounding China’s growing power, he recommends that India and the US play the “good cop/bad cop” routine and take a “carrot-and-stick” approach towards Sri Lanka.

Analyzing Indian and Nepalese relations, the author writes that “increasing Chinese influence in recent times has raised fears within the Indian establishment.”[159] Likewise, he adds that “strategic rivalry between India and China” is stimulating tensions between India and Nepal. “Nepal has been uncomfortable with India’s influence over it, while India has attempted to restrict Nepal’s ability to pursue an independent foreign policy.”[160] The author considers that all is well with India’s relations with Bhutan and the Maldives, and so the focus on these two countries is inadequate.

The book concludes with eight policy prescriptions based on partial analysis of the political history and evolution of South Asian states. The author recommends that India be proactive in making “promotion of democracy” a core element of its foreign policy but ignores the likely implications. He also suggests appointing a “special envoy to the region” to supplement the role of India’s ambassadors to the South Asian countries and to advise “neighbouring governments on economic and security issues.”[172]

Overall, the book lacks meaningful research and insights, and presents a prejudiced and inadequate analysis of India’s South Asia policy. More importantly, it neglects several key issues and regional/sub-regional initiatives and fails to add value to the existing scholarship.

Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, National University of Singapore, Singapore                                     

BEYOND PARTITION: Gender, Violence, and Representation in Postcolonial India. Dissident Feminisms. By Deepti Misri. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014. xi, 201 pp. (B&W photos.) US$28.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-252-08039-5.

Beyond Partition, a powerful commentary on the “cultural history of violence associated with divergent ideas of India after 1947,” complicates how the meaning of the “floating signifier ‘India’, is secured and unsecured time and again through violence” (4). An exploration of representational practices of violence, Beyond Partition traverses literary texts such as short stories and memoirs, visual representations such as photographs and cartoons, and performance texts such as theatrical or embodied performances. Moving across a multitude of historical, social, and political contexts, Misri explores frame-by-frame diverse and contradictory ways of seeing violence in postcolonial India. Beyond Partition argues that it is crucial to underscore how forms of representations and creative expressions “figure violence” since these “lead to uncovering the ways in which violence itself is a representation” (10).

Chapter 1, Anatomy of a Riot, directs the reader to the genealogy of male-on-male violence often elided in Partition writings. The chapter opens with Manto’s powerful Black Marginalia to offer a reading of sexualized violence on male bodies. The reflection on Manto’s sketches explores the “logic of metonymy” (38) underlying the practices of identification of victims in a communal riot. The illegibility of the evidence of religious identity when read off the body materializes the fiction of “body-as-proof” (43). While pointing towards the “intersecting logics of commerce, communal hate and patriarchy” (39), Misri argues that “in [a] communal riot men become vulnerable by the same patriarchal rules that first appoint them as the privileged somatic bearers of religious identities, into which women enter merely by association” (53). The figure of the Sikh man or the violence of de-turbaning is evoked to destabilize this reading of Manto to highlight how the categories—minority, citizenship, and secular—come to be configured in the conversations between men who transact violence. Chapter 2, The Violence of Memory, moves our gaze from the inscription of violence on male bodies to women, who are “pre-figured in the sinister scripts of patriarchal representation—symbolically and literally—as dead metaphor” (86). Juxtaposing Krishna Mehta’s memoirs Kashmir 1947 with Baldwin’s What the Body Remembers, Misri concurs with Veena Das that “transgression of patriarchal norms is staged alongside and even through an observance of them” (69). She thereby points to the complex gendered politics of remembrance and mourning 1947.

Chapter 3, Atrocious Encounters, brings together two series of violence routinized in postcolonial India: the intersecting violence of caste atrocity with the state-sanctioned murder of suspects by the police, dubbed as encounter killings. Reading Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, Misri notes that Roy “steered clear of the Dalit woman as the ‘most subaltern of subalterns’ … and focussed instead on the vulnerability of the Dalit male body to caste and state violence” (103). Misri is interested in how caste violence may be represented without being reduced to certain imaging of victimhood. Here we are led to an important discussion on atrocity photographs and what kind of testimonial burden is put on Dalit and Adivasi women. Misri takes seriously the critique of Dalit feminist Madhuri Xalxo, who critiqued how a 2007 photograph of an Adivasi woman who had been stripped and paraded was used during the Delhi protests in 2013. The use of the victim’s real name and the circulation of the photograph of the stripped body is critiqued for re-enacting repeatedly the original moment of stripping and parading. However, activists also use the atrocity photograph as evidence of injury and suffering. While Misri recognizes that activists may require the magnification of the “visual and visceral evidence of caste atrocity” (112), she points out that circulating photographs of mutilated and naked bodies may entail the re-inscription of unspeakable suffering.

If stripping and parading is a routinized technique of power, how do we make sense of those “naked protests” where women strip to protest against sexual violence challenging thereby the visual economy of shame and honour? Chapter 4, Are You a Man? is an examination of the “cultural specificities in which nakedness becomes intelligible as a ‘feminist’ mode of protest to the violence of the Indian state, while also examining the epistemic stakes of nakedness as a gendered mode of protest by women” (132). This chapter offers a complicated reading of Mahasveta Devi’s Draupadi that sits along her reading of the protests by Manipuri women who stripped in front of the army headquarters to protest against rape by army officials. Misri evokes other kinds of naked protests that do not quite displace appeals to paternalism and protectionist masculinities, thereby also suggesting that these protests may not inaugurate a new vocabulary of protest. Rather it may be folded back into circuits of voyeurism and spectacles of impunity.

Misri ends with a powerful commentary on the optics of state power and the protests over disappearances in Kashmir. In chapter 5, This is not a Performance, Misri argues that enforced disappearance “involves the literal and metaphorical re-organisation of perception. It is a process that extends beyond the mere abduction of a person: it is the process by which the seen is rendered unseen” (138). The protests of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) emphasize the fact that the grieving mothers, whose public performances challenge the scopic regime of forgetting and erasure, are not only “icons of grief” but also generate counter-knowledge around the form of violence enacted by the state. The centrality of the scopic regime to the maintenance of militarized state power institutes an entire apparatus for destroying visual evidence of impunity and regulates what “its citizens must, may or may not see” (138). Beyond Partition could be made to speak to the optics of power, where the split between development and violence finds terrifying enactment in India today. It allows us to contemplate how resistance itself operates within stabilized scripts of power. This brilliant and exciting book illuminates how representational practices of violence are co-constitutive of power and resistance.

Pratiksha Baxi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

THE ENGAGEMENT OF INDIA: Strategies and Responses. Edited by Ian Hall. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014. x, 217 pp. US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-62616-086-6.

With regular, frequent, well-orchestrated, and reciprocated visits by heads of states, trade, industry, and armies from the four corners of the world, India has graduated from the ranks of the “emerging powers” of the world to the “emerged.” India, no longer the outcast, is now firmly “engaged” and “engaging.” The fine set of essays by Ian Hall, Daniel Twining, H.D.P. Envall, Lavina Lee, Louse Merrington, Harsh Pant, David Brewster, Rajesh Basrur, and Nick Bisley in this handsomely produced and modestly priced volume analyze the consequences of India’s emergence as a major power for global order. The selected cases include countries both large and small, ranging from the United States, Japan, Russia, China, Australia, Vietnam, and Indonesia, to Singapore. Those looking for the general lessons of the “engagement” strategy will find fresh insights in Rajesh Basrur’s “Paradigm Shift: India during and after the Cold War.” Equally interesting is Harsh Pant’s analysis of engagement in its different forms, including the ‘half-hearted” and the simultaneous in his chapter on “China’s Half-hearted Engagement and India’s Proactive Balancing.”

In the introduction, Ian Hall defines engagement “as any strategy that employs positive inducements to influence the behaviour of other states” (2). He adds a further precision. “Exchange strategies” engage the target state through positive inducements such as trade deals or delivery of weapons systems, aimed at obtaining reciprocity, whereas “catalytic” strategies offer specific inducements to “catalyse something bigger, perhaps even wholesale transformation of a target society” (3), such as the creation of an emerging elite cast in the mould of the engager (the integration of post-communist Eastern Europe with the Western world is a case in point) (3). Hall presents the American overtures to China initiated by President Richard Nixon in 1971-1972 as the iconic exemplar of the application of engagement as the core of the new shift in foreign policy towards China. It paid off for both the engager and the engaged. “In the short term, China secured recognition, the UNSC seat, and a tacit ally against the Soviet Union. In return, the United States secured Chinese help in bringing the Vietnam War to a close and a changed Eurasian balance of power” (4).

The successful transition of conference proceedings to a coherent book is an exception rather than the rule. By this criterion the Engagement of India is a model of its genre. The chapters (initially presented at a conference in 2011) effectively apply the core concept of engagement consistently in their analysis of diplomatic, commercial, and political transactions with India and vice versa. However, this exemplary coherence might have been achieved at a cost to the underlying theory of engagement. The choice of cases, each of which illustrates a successful case of engagement, gives an impression of a selection bias. There are no counterfactuals in this study. The book does not include disastrous cases of engagement such as that of Nazi Germany by Chamberlain in the 1930s. Nor does it delve into the issue of non-engagement, such as that of India by Pakistan. In fact, the Pakistani strategy of privileging armaments (nuclearization, matching delivery capacity) rather than engagement of India through the conventional means of trade, tourism, pilgrimage, joint-ventures, and student-exchange, has perhaps been a more effective strategy in terms of gaining parity with the much larger belligerent neighbour.

Another point where one can take issue with the main approach of the book is that it treats relationships between countries as a dyadic, bilateral game. However, the multipolar world, with cross-cutting alliances and conflicting loyalties, rarely allows such pristine purity in relationships. Most relationships tend to be triangular, with the parties jockeying for position as the pivotal power, seeking to balance the other two against one another in order to gain extra room to manoeuver. This strategy has now become the main goal of Indian foreign policy, seeking to off-set the Chinese “string of pearls tactic” by walking the extra mile towards the United States, taking care, however, to remain friends with the United States and not become an ally. Here, India might have taken a leaf out of the Pakistani book of diplomacy, seeking to match the dexterity with which Pakistan has drawn on China to compensate for India’s superior conventional power. The fact remains, therefore, that the decision to engage or not to is a rational choice. In some conditions, non-engagement might be the optimal strategy. With due respect to the liberal-institutionalism that the authors of the Engagement of India appear to share—a value consensus which, in fact, gives this book its enviable coherence—one has to take into account the fact that under some conditions, engagement is the luxury of the rich and powerful whereas non-engagement, aided by a spot of triangulation, might be the preferred choice of the weak.

Finally, why does the engagement of India work? Successful engagement of two rational players must carry a sense of mutuality and incentives. We learn from Engagement how India is able to offer something (but not the same things!) to all in the game: leverage against China to the US, Australia, Japan, and Singapore; a chance to emerge from Latin American isolation and play a role in global politics to Brazil; markets to European powers; to Russia, a chance to become an important pole in the multipolar world; and finally, to China, markets, and a sense of “Asian solidarity” to balance the West. But, will an “engaged India” have enough heft to be a pivot, fulcrum, and bridge, and become “the key swing state” (197) to facilitate the transition towards a just, multi-polar, orderly, and sustainable world, toning down its immediate self-interest on issues such as global warming for the sake of the global commons? The Engagement of India deserves high praise for setting the agenda on this larger question with great force and unsentimental lucidity.

Subrata K. Mitra, ISAS, National University of Singapore, Singapore

POLITICS OF EDUCATION IN COLONIAL INDIA. By Krishna Kumar. London; New Delhi: Routledge, 2014. xii, 248 pp. US$105.00, cloth. ISBN 978-415-72879-9.

First published in 1991 as Political Agenda of Education: A Study of Colonialist and Nationalist Ideas, this third edition is a substantially revised one. Challenging the popular and simplistic view of colonial education—that it was designed by a “twisted mind” (x) to produce clerks to assist colonial administration—Kumar not only details continuities between colonialist and nationalist ideas of education but also analyzes colonial attempts to socialize and train “the native to become a citizen” (14). These processes and their residues continue to shape Indian schooling into the present. While the title refers to colonial “India” the primary focus of this book is the “Hindi region,” that is, the Central and United provinces of British India. Kumar, however, does highlight influences from other parts of India. One of Kumar’s biggest strengths is an engagement with vernacular scholarship in Hindi; he draws liberally from Hindi sources including speeches, autobiographies, fiction, magazines, and other documents. His other source materials include educational reports written by colonial officers and other official documents; works of social reformers and nationalist leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, and Rabindranath Tagore; and scholarly works that examine schooling and experiences of schooling in colonial India.

The book is divided into two parts, Dynamics of Colonization and Dynamics of the Freedom Struggle, each comprised of three chapters. Part 1 begins with Colonial Citizen as an Educational Ideal (chapter 1) and deals with the logic that informed the idea of creating a “little civil society” (26) in India and the role of education in this process. English education produced a civil society in India and simultaneously legitimized and accentuated traditional hierarchies, creating a “collaborating class” that shared in the colonizer’s paternalism towards the masses (31).

In Appropriate Knowledge: Conflict of Curriculum and Culture (chapter 2) Kumar elaborates on zones of “conflict” between the indigenous and colonial educational systems, and how resolutions of these conflicts “moderated the transition from old to new hierarchies” (65). Colonial education transported schools and teachers from community life—both the school and the teacher having been supported by resources drawn from the community—to state control. This impacted curriculum or what was considered “worth learning” (58). Curricular changes necessitated teacher training. It also marked the introduction of the examination system, thereby evolving a “bureaucratic, centralized system of education” (59). Schools thus emerged as a “certifying authority [that] regulated social mobility and moderated the transition from old to new hierarchies” (65).

Meek Dictator: The Paradox of Teacher’s Personality (chapter 3) juxtaposes a teacher’s identity prior to and after the introduction of colonial schooling, in which the teacher, who had once been a well-respected part of the local community, became a meek salaried servant of the government. The teacher’s concerns were no longer the selection, pacing, and transaction of knowledge, but pleasing school inspectors, covering textbook content, and preparing the students for examinations without disrupting the teacher’s authority in the classroom.

In the second part of the book, Kumar focuses on three “quests”—equality, self-identity, and progress—and the ways in which they inspired and inflected educational thought during freedom struggle. In Pursuit of Equality (chapter 5) Kumar takes up discourses on education vis-à-vis the lower castes and girls in colonial India, while being cognizant of regional variations. Nationalistic perspectives view the political awakening of the lower castes as an outcome of the spread of education among the oppressed classes. However, Kumar argues this does not account for the narrow spread of education nor the egalitarian struggles by lower castes. Rather, education “contributed” to these struggles by creating lower-caste elites, who found in the British “an audience and an agency for fighting against Brahmin domination” (103). With regard to girls’ education, Kumar points out that the educated Englishman and the colonial Indian elite were in agreement over socializing girls into becoming “better wives for English-educated Indian men … and more enlightened mothers” (121). While education might have widened the employment opportunities available for women, it “remained incapable of rivaling patriarchy as a socializing force” (122).

Quest for Self-Identity (chapter 6) illustrates that the search for an identity in a colonial society can be rife with conflict, and that education was one of the prominent arenas in which this quest and conflict found expression. For the educated colonial citizen, English education was a vehicle for exposure and social mobility even when it was considered alien and deficient in moral training. In the Hindi region, this conflict found expression in the development of Hindi prose as a language indigenous to India and untainted by external influences unlike Urdu. Through an analysis of Hindi literary history and school textbooks, Kumar illustrates that the entrenchment of Hindi in schools and colleges played a crucial role in the identification of Hindi with “Hindu.” The colonial administration further fuelled the Hindi-Urdu divide.

Meanings of Progress (chapter 7) highlights contestations over nineteenth-century ideals of progress. India’s backwardness was compared to the superior scientific knowledge of Europe, resulting in “ambivalence … in nationalist thought on education” (170). While nationalist leaders concerned with education did not fail to criticize the “alien character” of English education, its narrow curriculum, and its limited spread, they also acknowledged the necessity of this education for India’s material advancement.

To conclude, this book sheds light on the establishment of a “modern” system of state-sponsored schooling in colonial India. Unlike in colonizing countries (see I. Hunter, “Assembling the school,” in A. Barry, T. Osborne, & N. Rose (Eds.), Foucault and political reason: Liberalism, neo-liberalism, and rationalities of government. London, UK: UCL Press, 1996. pp. 143-165), in colonized India, associated transitions were inflected by the bureaucratic and disciplinary concerns of an ontologically exploitative state. Kumar regards the disconnect that colonial education policy wrought between school knowledge and everyday knowledge as “the most negative of all the consequences” (214) and one of the most enduring legacies of colonial education. A “history of ideas,” this seminal work is invaluable for those examining the legacies of pre-colonial, colonial, and nationalist thought on modern schooling in postcolonial societies.

Mary Ann Chacko, Columbia University, New York, USA                                                  

THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF ETHNIC CONFLICT IN SRI LANKA: Economic Liberalization, Mobilizational Resources, and Ethnic Collective Action. Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series. By Nikolaos Biziouras. New York: Routledge, 2014. xii, 226 pp. US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-74233-7.

In The Political Economy of Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka, Nikolaos Biziouras, an associate professor of Political Science at the US Naval Academy, argues that the conventional view posits a linear relationship between economic liberalization and ethnic conflict. In contrast, he seeks to demonstrate that the relationship between economic liberalization and ethnic conflict is non-linear: “I expect to find little, if any, ethnic conflict at low and high levels of economic liberalization, and high levels of ethnic conflict at medium levels of economic liberalization” (15).

Stating that “economic freedom requires … governments to refrain from many activities” (27), Biziouras defines levels of economic liberalization ranging from low to high in relation to the extent of state involvement in the economy, specifically fiscal exposure, trade openness, and regulatory intervention. Notwithstanding references to “measuring and coding,” the book does not provide details on how composite indices on levels of economic liberalization were derived. As a result, the categorization of low, middle, and high levels of liberalization appear vague and arbitrary.

Biziouras seeks to prove his thesis—high levels of ethnic conflict at medium levels of economic liberalization—through a historical case study of economic liberalization and ethnic collective action in Sri Lanka. Fitting the historical facts of the Sri Lankan case into this neat thesis, he attempts to trace ethnic conflict to a singular causal variable, namely economic liberalization.

Biziouras presents the British colonial period in Sri Lanka as characterized by “high economic liberalization” with a prevalence of caste-based as opposed to ethnic-based coalitions: “the market rather than the state determined the chances for upward mobility, and it did so without an emphasis on ethnicity” (40). In reality, however, the very origin and consolidation of the colonial economy, including its legal, fiscal, trade, land, and labour matters, were determined largely by a class of British “planter-officials” who constituted the colonial state rather than by objective market forces (Asoka Bandarage, Colonialism in Sri Lanka: The Political Economy of the Kandyan Highlands, 1833-1886, Mouton, 1983). Again, it was not the market but non-market forces, such as the greater number of English-language schools established by Christian missionaries in the Northern Province, that gave preferential access to Tamil Vellalas over the majority Sinhalese in the colonial administration.

Biziouras attributes the “inter-ethnic peace” between the Sinhala and Tamil elite prior to 1936 to what he says was the maintenance of a high level of economic liberalization by the British (62). But the reason for the unity between the Sinhala and Tamil elite during the first two decades of the twentieth century was due largely to the assumed parity between the “two majority communities” (Asoka Bandarage, The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka: Terrorism, Ethnicity, Political Economy, Routledge, 2009, 33). Despite their much smaller numbers than the Sinhalese, the Tamils were able to gain a politically equal if not a dominant position in the Legislative Council. Again, this was due not so much to market factors as to the Tamil elites’ close cooperation with the British colonial state. It was the threat and eventual disruption of the assumed ethnic parity following electoral democratization, not the “medium level of liberalization,” as argued by Biziouras, that set the stage for the ethnic conflict.

Biziouras’s singular focus on levels of economic liberalization as the determinant of ethnic conflict results in a dismissal of the confluence of geographic, political, ideological, and other factors in ethnically-based political mobilization. The narrow focus on the domestic dimension leads to a neglect of the regional dimension of the Sri Lankan conflict and the role of South India. Separatist Eelamist sentiments were first heard in Sri Lanka when the majority status enjoyed by the Tamils in the Legislative Council was threatened in 1920. Following the break- up of the inter-ethnic Ceylon National Council, Sri Lankan Tamil leader Ponnambalam Arunachalam stated the objective of the Ceylon Tamil League at its inaugural meeting in 1923: “to keep alive and propagate … throughout Ceylon, Southern India and the colonies … the union and solidarity of ‘Tamil akam’, the Tamil Land” (Bandarage, The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka, 35). Arunachalam was influenced by growing Tamil nationalism in South India at the time. He was the first Tamil leader to articulate a sense of Sri Lankan Tamils as an oppressed group and seek refuge in a vision of Tamil Eelam.

Biziouras attributes the increasing ethnic conflict in post-independence Sri Lanka to a “medium level of economic liberalization” and mobilization by both Sinhala and Tamil ethnic political entrepreneurs of their respective critical masses. But, this limited explanation ignores the fact that to a large extent, from the beginning of Sri Lanka’s political independence from the British, Sri Lankan Tamil (as opposed to Indian or “plantation” Tamil) political mobilization was not motivated by upward mobility within the Sri Lankan state as much as by efforts to separate from it. In other words, economic benefit was and is never the sole motive of ethnically based political mobilization, as claimed in the book under review. Sri Lankan Tamil separatism was born irrespective of the level of economic liberalization and well before discriminatory language, university entrance, or employment policies were introduced by Sri Lankan governments to redress the subordination of the Sinhala majority during British colonial rule. The establishment of the Sri Lankan Tamil State Party in 1949 was preceded by calls from the Sri Lankan Tamil elite to the British to create a separate state, as in the case of India, in order to avoid majoritarian dominance following independence.

In attributing the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict solely to an arbitrarily determined “medium level of economic liberalization,” this book fails to grasp the complexity and multi-causal nature of the conflict and to make a useful contribution to the literature on Sri Lanka. The book states that most recent cases of ethnic conflict elsewhere (Yugoslavia, Chechnya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Indonesia) have also occurred at “medium levels of economic liberalization.” However, in failing to provide any comparative information whatsoever on these cases, the book also fails to make a contribution to the broader literature on the political economy of ethnic conflict.

Asoka Bandarage, American University, Washington DC, USA                                                     

CAFÉ CULTURE IN PUNE: Being Young and Middle Class in Urban India. By Teresa Platz Robinson. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014. viii, 284 pp. US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-809943-7.

Robinson’s book, Café Culture in Pune: Being Young and Middle Class in Urban India, marks an important contribution to the literature on youth in India. The book is neatly divided into six chapters which separately deal with various aspects of the lives of young middle-class Puneites. These include public places, clothing, education, friendships, romantic relationships, and family life. In the same vein as Craig Jeffrey’s work on young lower-class men in Uttar Pradesh’s educational institutions, Ritty Lukose’s work on college students in Kerala, Jamie Cross’s work on young working-class men in Andhra Pradesh’s Special Economic Zones and Nicholas Nisbett’s work on young men in Bangalore’s internet cafes, Robinson frames Pune’s coffee shops and night clubs as similar spaces of encounter in which identities, relationships, aspirations, and ideas are constructed, negotiated, and subverted by youth in novel ways.

First, the book’s choice to examine what goes on behind the doors of the franchised coffee shops that have been dotting India’s cities and towns with increasing frequency is an important one given that they are among the most visible symbols of India’s current phase of modernity. Second, the book’s setting, Pune, is one that has been projected by many, much like Bangalore, as a model of development for the rest of India to follow, and so it is interesting to see how the city plays into the urban middle-class youth story. Third, and arguably the book’s most important contribution, is its focus on not only young men, but also young women, who in many ways, because of their class status, share the “café culture” space with their male counterparts as equals. Much of the literature on youth in India has been male-centric yet Robinson’s book achieves a balanced account of both young men’s and women’s stories of navigating a “rapidly changing world in Pune in 2008” (257).

Robinson begins the book by stating the middle- and upper-middle-class backgrounds of her participants. Their affluence can be inferred from the ease with which they are able to access Pune’s high-priced coffee shops and night clubs. However, greater detail could have been provided regarding some of the material aspects of their lives, including the types of possessions they own (although she does cover clothes), their parents’ professions, and the houses and neighbourhoods they live in (which she touches on briefly in the book’s introduction). These would have better located them within the context of India’s multi-layered and constantly shifting class hierarchy.

The constant references to certain practices in the book as “middle class,” lying “between the elite and the poor” (25), are somewhat problematic considering the sheer size of, and diversity within India’s middle class, where those with just enough capital to be considered middle class can be seen as inhabiting completely different worlds from those who are not yet quite rich enough to be considered upper class. The very term “middle class” itself is highly contested and perhaps requires further interrogation. Nevertheless, Robinson’s interpretation of middle class here is less concerned with issues of financial resources or locations within the labour market but rather its metaphorical meanings and imaginings within Indian society. These are evident from the telling interviews recorded by Robinson in which her participants convey their “middle-classness” in a variety of ways, from security and frugality to morality and social attitudes.

The book provides numerous insights into how the categories of middle class and youth intersect to create new practices, separating her participants from those of other age or class groups. For example, Robinson identifies playing football, smoking hookah, dating, and engaging in cross-gender friendships as increasingly common features of contemporary middle-class life among youth, whereas “many amongst the parents’ generation claimed to only have had same-sex friends” (181). She also links the growing individual autonomy of middle-class youth and the increasing amount of time spent outside the home and in the public space to shifting responsibilities and transforming social roles. She characterizes the influence of individualization amongst those she studied as leading to deeper and closer friendships, taking on functions such as “caring, protection, learning and communion” typically performed by the family (184). At the same time, rather than simplifying these friendships as purely resembling parent-child relationships, Robinson fleshes out the deeply layered nature of such friendships. She reveals they are equally rooted in fun, frivolity, and a sense of mutual understanding caused by being similarly aged or experiencing a similar phase of life. Numerous examples are included to illustrate these complexities, including one referring to a form of intimacy between young men that would be hard to find within a family or family-like relationship, as she writes how “in their intoxicated states of mind, they would pour out their hearts to each other about their problems with the ladies” (180).

Robinson argues how young Puneites frequently “transcended the local while domesticating the global” (183), providing an example of a young man who regularly visited the temple whilst at the same time was a DJ. However, the argument could be further developed given the ambiguities surrounding what constitutes the “local” and the “global.” Overall, the book is a powerful portrait of the agency with which Indian youth have negotiated the changes around them. As she details how the flourishing public spaces which form the sites of her study not only reflect rapidly growing markets but are also used by young adults as “tools to make and remake themselves” (79), she helps to dispel the myth that India’s youth are mere consumers of Westernization and liberalization, but rather, are active agents of change engaged in writing a new narrative for themselves of what it means to be Indian in an increasingly global world.

Rahul Advani, King’s College, London, United Kingdom                                                           

THE EVOLUTION OF INDIA’S ISRAEL POLICY: Continuity, Change, and Compromise since 1922. The Oxford International Relations in South Asia Series. By Nicolas Blarel. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015. xv, 411 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$35.00, cloth . ISBN 978-0-19-945062-6.

India’s evolving relations with Israel provide a fascinating window to the hopes and aspirations, constraints and limitations, and diplomatic capacities and resilience to deal with unexpected and persisting challenges facing India’s foreign policy makers. The greatest mystery of this relationship has been the long gap between the recognition of Israel as a sovereign, independent nation by India in 1950 and the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1992. This book is a serious scholarly attempt by the author, Nicolas Blarel, to unravel this mystery of 42 years, and the subsequent developments in India-Israeli relations.

The author divides his subject into five time segments starting from 1922 and ending in 2012. In the first segment (1922–1947), the conflicting roots of Indian and Israeli nationalism are traced for their impact on one country’s approach toward the other. Gandhi and Nehru, who shaped India’s destiny during the initial years of India’s independence, were reluctant to accept the notion of a religious state. They supported the Khilafat movement as a protest movement but insisted on a secular identity for a state. The next two segments of 1948 to 1956, and 1956 to 1974 present detailed and meticulously researched accounts of many occasions when India could establish diplomatic relations with Israel but did not due to a variety of factors and forces, including the role of individuals. The analytical or thematic division between these two segments is a bit blurred and somewhat fragile. Then the author looks closely at a period of eight years, from 1984 to 1992, which is described as “From Estrangement to Engagement” of India with Israel. Finally, the book very systematically analyzes the “Consolidation of India’s New Israel Policy” during the two decades from 1992 to 2012, when establishment of diplomatic relations eventually led to the firming up of a “strategic partnership.” This segment is most informative and well organized and gives relevant and valuable details of emerging economic, defence, and political relations between the two countries. It even presents accounts of the visits of various chief ministers of Indian states to Israel (331–333). The author also compiles a list of India’s arms procurements from Israel, though the authenticity of this information may be debatable at many places in the compilation.

The role played by the “institutional” and “ideational” obstacles deterred the pragmatic approaches of many Indian rulers towards establishing diplomatic relations with Israel until 1992. Obstacles identified by the author include the religious identity of the Israeli state and India’s aversion to this identity, India’s support and sympathy for the Arab countries and the Palestinian people, the consideration of the political preferences and religious sentiments of the sizable Muslim minority within India, and the role of the Cold War and Israel’s aggressive posture towards the Arabs and Palestinians. The change in India’s approach towards Israel occurred as part of a significant shift in India’s foreign policy as a whole at the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the 1990s. Since Narasimha Rao’s coming to power in 1991, India liberalized its economy, opened up to Southeast Asia under its Look-East policy and became increasingly sensitive to international and Jihadi terrorism. Political turbulence, ideological confusion, and a breakdown of solidarity within the Arab world also played a significant role in shaping the change in India’s policy towards Israel. The shift in US attitude towards India, the consequent change in Indo-US relations by the end of the 1990s, and subsequent growth dynamism in the Indian economy certainly gave impetus to India’s cooperation with Israel.

Major policy changes in a country like India do not occur through knee-jerk reactions. The author rightly questions Jeffrey W. Legro’s theory that change occurs only when one “orthodoxy” collapses and another gets consolidated in the realm of policy. In this questioning, the author of this study claims that he was breaking new theoretical ground by demonstrating that within a “sub-system” of policy, like India’s approach towards Israel, change can be both “gradual” and “dynamic” (360). This, however, is not a great theoretical formulation. Most of the changes take place gradually and incrementally, particularly in large, diverse, and complex societies like India. In the course of his discussion, the author also highlights the role of policy “shocks” in inducing the change, but fails to show as to why many such “shocks,” like the Arab failure to support India’s position in the 1962, 1965, and 1971 wars (151), could not deliver the expected change? What in fact the author describes as policy “shocks” were hardly considered to be major “shocks” within the Indian policy portals.

The value of this study lies not in any major theoretical contribution, but in presenting the evolution of Indo-Israeli relations in a historical perspective. It gives us a narrative that is meticulously chronicled and copiously researched. It makes the reader aware of the conflicting claims often made on Indian policy makers on sensitive and critical issues. Its value would have been enhanced if the author had detailed the parallel debate within the Israeli establishments about India. The book gives us a very comprehensive bibliography and an impressive database on the subject. The author’s efforts deserve commendation, as this study can be of immense value to serious scholars, analysts, and commentators, as well as policy makers dealing with India’s foreign policy.

Sukh Deo Muni, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

THE INDEPENDENCE OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN: New Approaches and Reflections. Edited by Ian Talbot. Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press, 2013. vi, 295 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$27.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-906478-6.

This latest work by Britain’s leading historian of the Punjab, the independence movement, and the history of Pakistan is an excellent collection that brings together established as well as young scholars in examining issues old and new regarding the partition of India in 1947. Divided into three parts, “Violence,” “Politics,” and “New History,” it offers a fine introduction which succinctly summarizes the historiography of the subject and the topics developed in the ten chapters that follow.

The “Violence” chapters include a republication of Paul Brass’s 2003 article where he delineates the concept of “retributive genocide” in the Punjab to account for the violence which occurred at the time. He argues that violence, instigated by political leaders, created the conditions for partition in Bengal, where it subsided once Pakistan had been granted, and then to ethnically cleanse various areas of the Punjab. The British categorization of ethnic groups as “Muslims” and “Non-Muslims” made violence targeted toward the “other” “highly likely” (30), especially if a group of people was left out of a category and made vulnerable by being interspersed with others. In the Punjab, the situation was complicated due to the third community, the Sikhs, and the 16 semi-autonomous states scattered around the province. Muslims in the Western part of the Punjab eagerly turned on Sikhs and Hindus, who retaliated in the east as they expelled Muslims, who as refugees in the west brayed for revenge; and so the cycle of violence continued, with all communities guilty. Ilyas Chattha, in an important contribution, looks at some 1,000 First Information Reports lodged at local police stations in Gujranwala, Sialkot, Lahore, and Sheikhupura. Written in Urdu and now almost completely disintegrated, they document everything from petty crimes to large-scale murder and serve to give details, hitherto unknown, about the violence and the means by which it was perpetuated with, for example, one policeman absconding with a rifle and 50 cartridges. Talbot, in a fine contribution, focuses on the city of Sheikhupura, a major communications hub especially prized by both Muslims and Sikhs for its economic and religious value. Some two-thirds of the city’s property and businesses were owned by Hindus and Sikhs and plans were long made by Muslims to ethnically cleanse them to seize their wealth. When Muslim refugees who had been “turned out” by Sikhs arrived from the east, the desire for revenge was overwhelming. His study helps to map the violence in the Punjab and to indicate a “clear connection” (115) between transport nodes and violence hot-spots. Gurharpal Singh examines the role of Sikhs and the causes and consequences of violence, and the theories behind it from a “planned conspiracy,” a “cultural given,” “retributive Genocide,” and a “function of militarization.” He offers six suggestions for further research but calls for the “systematic overview that the subject desperately deserves” (134).

The four chapters in “Politics” are a delight for political historians. Victoria Schofield looks at how Wavell, temperamentally unsuited to be Viceroy, but an astute and knowledgeable observer of India affairs, was never given the authority to negotiate and govern that Mountbatten had. Had he been given the same powers and the same political support as Mountbatten, many believe independence would have occurred without its disastrous consequences. As it was, Wavell, out of favour with Attlee, as he had been with Churchill, was unceremoniously dumped for Mountbatten, who was more keenly attuned, as Talbot rightly points out, to nationalist forces in Southeast Asia, and the need to satisfy them, than many British (and especially French) administrators. Nick Lloyd looks at the role of Sir Evan Jenkins, the staunch supporter of the Unionist Party and the last British governor of united Punjab, and how his warnings about the consequences of Mountbatten’s policies were ignored. Between a rock and a hard place, Jenkins was blamed for the breakdown of law and order by some of the same people who were causing it! Mountbatten is central to the saga of partition and its horrific outcome. He was always lucky that the people who could have offered an alternative narrative, such as Wavell, Sir Evan Jenkins, and the last British commander-in-chief of the Indian Army, Claude Auchinleck, chose not to do so. Schofield’s and Lloyd’s chapters offer ideas for an analysis that helps redress the balance in the narrative. Sten Widalman looks at the role of Kashmir in the events of 1947, critically assessing how it was important to India to establish its secular credentials and to invalidate the demand for Pakistan.

The final section offers two chapters. The first is by Paul Griffin on the Christians of West Punjab (less than 2 percent of the population) who supported the demand for Pakistan as they were attracted by the All-India Muslim League’s minority rights discourse. Many of them attended the Lahore session of the league when the Pakistan Resolution was passed. Many migrated to the cities after partition, where Protestants attended Catholic churches, seeing no problem in doing so. The chapter adds another dimension to the partition story. Ritu Bhagat rounds out the volume by exploring the new field of social memory as part of her innovative project on “Landscape and Memory: Refugee Rehabilitation in Post-Partition Delhi.” In this fragment of her study she examines how food “constituted an important component of the partition migrant’s memory” (260). In doing so, she explains how migrants from the North-West Frontier Province, Punjab, and Sindh established restaurants in Delhi, most notably Moti Mahal and Embassy, that established “Punjabi” cuisine, especially tandoori (clay oven cooking) and butter chicken (chicken cooked with butter and spices), as the most renowned cuisine of north India and the diaspora. “Punjabi” food and restaurants became sites around which migrants maintained communal ties and memories. This chapter, and the entire volume, adds food for thought on partition studies, and is a valuable contribution.

Roger D. Long, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, USA

KEYWORDS FOR MODERN INDIA. By Craig Jeffrey and John Harriss. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. xii, 200 pp. US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-966564-8.

The demand for comprehensive and accessible reviews of modern Indian society and political economy has intensified of late, fuelled by the growing geo-economic significance of the sub-continent. The transitional status of India from a more or less abject object of developmental studies to the more favoured status of an “emerging economy” in neo-liberal parlance has made older and new paradoxes appear both more visible and acute: the co-presence of democratic stability alongside steepening inequality, the persistence of radical social movements alongside a revitalized Hindu right, the widening of systemic corruption alongside a critical moral political economy of state/economy relations. Keywords for Modern India, co-authored by Craig Jeffrey and John Harriss, does not attempt a comprehensive review nor does it offer a critical history of the present. Instead it offers an accessible, well-researched, and often lively portal into modern and contemporary Indian politics, economy, and society via a kind of curated glossary of major concepts and categories of public debate and practice. The explicit inspiration is Raymond Williams’s profoundly innovative 1976 work, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. Attempting to replicate this template, Jeffrey and Harriss offer entries that range across social sectors, temporal spans, and discursive fields, showcasing the research strengths and interpretative gloss of the authors. It encompasses terms with general social-scientific import such as: capitalism, labour, civil society, colonialism, development, secularism, and poverty; others rooted in a specific political sociology or movement such as Coolie, Dalit, OBC (Other Backward Classes), Dowry, Adivasi, Reservations, Green revolution; and some narrowly institutional in origin such as BDO (block development officer), DM (district magistrate), Collector, NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) Three people make the compendium, namely, B.R. Ambedkar, M.K. Gandhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru. Most entries begin with a potted account of the English-language term’s original usage based either on the OED or Raymond Williams’s 1976 work, followed by a thumbnail sketch of their subsequent usage and meaning in Indian studies. Absent throughout is an engagement with the growing historiography on concept formation in colonial and postcolonial India and there is no mention even of prior efforts, for example, the wondrous hybrid of social history and cultural mapping contained in the 1886 Hobson-Johnson dictionary that included vernacular, English, and Anglo-Indian terms. But the entries are broadly speaking judicious, insightful, and incisive. The volume is in this regard a useful resource for new entrants into contemporary and modern Indian studies across the non-historical social sciences as well as for commentators and journalists outside the academy.

But fundamental methodological and conceptual ambiguities remain. All the entries are English-language terms, effectively ignoring not only the “actually existing” linguistic diversity of modern India, but overt issues of class, cultural capital, and spatial politics. For Williams, in contrast, the differential meanings assigned to general terms telescoped the cleft between bourgeois and popular orders, the socially rooted divide between ordinary usage and elite deployments. The absence of such cross-linguistic vernacular keywords as “swadeshi,” “vikaas,” and “goonda” shuts off the socially resonant diverse meanings that they have accumulated across conjunctures. Likewise, the decision to exclude Indian-English terms—especially cross-over social-scientific and popular terms such as “vote-bank” or “time-pass” (bewildering given Jeffrey’s excellent ethnography of unemployed youth)—forecloses an account of the socioeconomic and discursive complexity of transformations in modern India.

Given these significant flaws, the most striking feature of the volume—its explicit modelling of Raymond Williams’s Keywords—begs more questions than it resolves. Williams’s Keywords is justly regarded as a lodestone of British cultural Marxism and more generally, of a new left critical historical sensibility. The culmination of several decades of research, it integrated political, analytical, and aesthetic commitments towards a revitalized historical materialism. The dual analytical and political status of “culture” in Williams’s work was tied to the new left project of envisioning a socialism that encompassed the totality of human relations, one beyond a narrowly construed arena of political economy. It appeared in a moment before Thatcherism held sway, when Marxist and left-historical debates flourished in the British academy and when a radical left ranged across local councils, trade unions, and within the Labour Party. The self-description of Williams’s work as an exercise in “historical semantics” was a robust riposte to the static structuralism that undergirded what later came to be called the “linguistic turn,” setting it apart from formalistic linguistic models. The commitment to historical reflexivity was evinced most overtly in its explicit mapping of the dynamic, variegated, and often contradictory meanings of such keywords as class (the longest entry), masses, equality, private, and welfare, among others. What inoculated Williams’s project from the temptations of scholarly solipsism was its effort to historicize major shifts, hitching mutations in meaning to wider social, economic, and ideological transformations. This buoyant historical materialism placed Williams’s Keywords beyond an ordinary encyclopedia, dictionary, or glossary, setting it apart as well from the kind of “objectivist” philology associated with the conservative German historian Rienhart Koselleck. Jeffrey and Harriss provide a useful glossary to assorted terms in contemporary Indian studies, but its methodological and conceptual flaws are too apparent and numerous to assuage those with a critical historical orientation.

Manu Goswami, New York University, New York, USA

RITUALS OF ETHNICITY: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India. Contemporary Ethnography. By Sara Shneiderman. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. xvi, 305 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$75.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8122-4683-4.

Theoretically informed (but never pompous), attractively and clearly written (but not over-written), ethnographically grounded (but never boring), multi-sited and boundary-crossing, politically aware, engaged, and reflexive, Sara Shneiderman’s ethnographic monograph makes a significant, indeed brilliant, intervention in Himalayan anthropology, one that is (or ought to be) just as relevant for specialists of India as it is for scholars of Nepal.

Shneiderman’s people are the Thangmi/Thami ethnic group, around 40,000 people found principally in Nepal, in a small way just over the border in Tibet (People’s Republic of China), and importantly in Darjeeling, with a satellite settlement in the southeast Nepali border district of Jhapa. Before the work of Shneiderman and her linguistic anthropologist husband, Mark Turin, put them on the map, the Thangmi were as unknown and obscure to scholars as they were to most Nepalis. In the past Thangmis were classic hybrid Zomians—avoiding the control and gaze of the state as much as they could, remaining so far below the radar that even now few have heard of them. Shneiderman’s story focuses on how an entirely new kind of politically assertive identity emerged, focused on literary production, public performance, and making claims on the state. It began in Darjeeling and then moved to Nepal (the activists in the two places crucially being in dialogue and mutual support). Shneiderman’s theoretical bent is to stress how this new form of identity is (when understood more profoundly) in deep continuity with older ways of being Thangmi, not least in its focus on sacred origins and symbols.

Shneiderman traces the history of organized Thangmi/Thami ethnicity in Darjeeling, Jhapa, Dolakha, and Kathmandu, starting in the 1930s. The infamous Piskar incident of 1984, in which policemen shot dead two villagers celebrating a festival, on the grounds that they were singing subversive songs, occurred in a Thangmi village and the victims were all Thangmis, though this was not evident to many people at the time. Shneiderman shows how the build-up to the incident was intimately connected to underground communist organizing in the region. At the same time, very different campaigns were taking off in India, for OBC (Other Backward Class) and ST (Scheduled Tribe) status, which required middle-class activists who no longer spoke Thangmi or had any experience of shamanic traditions to prove the “backwardness” of their group; at one point, in order to prove “primitive traits,” there was a campaign for a “return” to eating mouse meat, a practice that only one leader of the relevant organization in Darjeeling actually claimed to be distinctively Thangmi.

Shneiderman is well aware of, and highlights, the multiple ironies that ensue when activists seek to make public points for a political purpose about cultural practices they are not very familiar with. The second national convention of the Nepal Thami Samaj was held to coincide with the key annual Bhume festival in Dolakha. Shneiderman comments, “The fact that the leadership could schedule [the convention] to conflict with Bhume Jatra, a ritual event that all of their publications proclaimed central to their ethnic identity, demonstrated that the activists had in fact constructed a parallel universe for the ritual production of ethnicity through political action” (167). The activists had timed their convention deliberately: they preferred not to have the ritual gurus present; it was easier to construct their own world, for all that it depended symbolically upon the existence of the gurus and their traditions, without the competition around. Meanwhile, in India, activists both needed the Nepal-based “traditional” Thangmis to provide material for their claims to “primitive traits,” yet simultaneously needed to downplay links to Nepal in order to make their claims as Indian citizens. These same activists are simultaneously proud of their ancestors’ traditions and embarrassed by the associated “primitive traits” (drinking the blood of sacrificed animals, acting as demons in a Devi festival, eating beef).

Yet another irony is that Shneiderman’s description of the Devikot festival, published in 2005, was submitted in evidence as part of the Darjeeling Thangmis’ application for SC status; the article argued, using high-flown theory from Judith Butler, that the Thangmis’ participation, though apparently subordinating, actually transmuted ritual power and asserted the pre-eminence of the Thangmis, thus explaining why Thangmis themselves viewed it as the key ritual defining Thangminess. Just a year after she published the article and submitted it to activists in Darjeeling, the Thangmis back in Dolakha stopped participating in the festival on the grounds that they were being exploited. Shneiderman candidly admits that this sudden decision shook her faith in her ethnographic analysis.

Perhaps because the Thangmi are a relatively small group, Shneiderman seems to have been acquainted with all the activists in every location. This gives her account of ethnogenesis—or better, ethno-transformation—a completeness that most other monographs lack. But, as her account makes clear, this did not mean (as in some even smaller groups) that this work of ethnic creation was accomplished by one man alone. On the contrary, as Shneiderman indicates (even if she does not always go into detail), there were fierce debates and differences on many issues. What is less clear is whether there was a yawning gap (as there certainly is in other larger ethnic groups) between the activists’ perspectives and many of those on whose behalf they claim to speak. Nor does Shneiderman tackle the question—a very difficult one for Janajati activists to face or even admit to—of the relationship between Thangmis and Dalits in Dolakha and Sindhupalchok (the more relaxed situation in Darjeeling is mentioned).

Rituals of Ethnicity is a subtle and important contribution to discussions of ethnicity everywhere. It will be particularly significant for scholars and students of the Himalayas. As such, the University of Pennsylvania Press should make it available in paperback and in an affordable South Asian edition as soon as possible.

David N. Gellner, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

AYYA’S ACCOUNTS: A Ledger of Hope in Modern India. By Anand Pandian & M.P. Mariappan; afterword by Veena Das. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014. xii, 216 pp. (Map, B&W photos.) US$24.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-253-01250-0.

Ayya’s Accounts is a most wonderful product of listening, narrating, and co-writing between Anand Pandian, an anthropologist of Tamil descent born and bred in the US, and his grandfather, Ayya—as he is respectfully called by the family—a merchant whose life story started in colonial Burma and came to fruition in Madurai, South India. The book, which reads as an eminently enjoyable novel, presents an account of Ayya’s life as it was conveyed to Pandian over many conversations between the two of them, several other family members, and much-loved Paati, Ayya’s now deceased wife. The text consists of 27 short chapters, most of which are large chunks of Ayya’s Tamil voice translated into English and interspersed with shorter chapters by Pandian, who offers ongoing reflections on what Ayya’s narratives contain, mean, reveal, and hide as they were told to him over the years.

The title Ayya’s Accounts is intentionally plural. At one level, it refers to the rich accounts of life that Ayya keenly shared with his grandson, an ethnographer of Tamil Nadu. Ayya teasingly prodded him one day, “When are you going to write my story?” Starting with the birth of Ayya in 1919, the account covers a life straddling the twentieth century: from Ayya’s early involvement with the family’s shop in Burma, to a rushed and traumatic overland return to India in late 1941, to adulthood as a respected merchant and husband with eight children back in the village, and finally retired life with a son’s family in Madurai, punctuated by visits to children and grandchildren across the US. But the title also refers to a core aspect of Ayya’s person: his life-long involvement with trade as a respected merchant and his love for—and obsession with—counting numbers, keeping accounts, and maintaining ledgers to record even the smallest of business transactions he concluded. Trade was what Ayya knew, what he was good at, and whose profits enabled him to educate his children in the pursuit of a better life.

While the rich and touching narratives contained in this book cannot be summarized here, three things, among many others, stand out for me. First, in the introductory pages Pandian ponders what the particular quirks of a single life story can tell us about modern India. What can be learned from the stories of a poor Nadar boy who started life running a shop with his brothers in Burma and ended up as a successful fruit merchant in Madurai? The answer is, of course, that such a life story can teach us a great deal, and probably much more than what can be gleaned from grand narratives of independence, freedom, economic development or religious tradition—in Ayya’s village, we learn, they didn’t even realize that Independence had happened until weeks after the event! Ayya’s successes and failures reveal the broader upward struggles of his caste, whose members’ ulaippu (toil) and hardship ultimately translated into economic improvement and social mobility in post-Independence India. Or, as Veena Das summarizes in her afterword, Ayya’s accounts are “a witness to the stupendous changes that took place in the caste to which Ayya belonged, in the political systems of the nations in which he tried to make his home, and to the ways aspirations changed as each generation tried to make a different future for itself” (200).

Second, Ayya’s life story contains unique material to reflect on agency, or what is left of it in a changing world that imposes opportunities and challenges rather than allowing individuals to pick and choose. Indeed, much of Ayya’s life course was not shaped by his own choices or wishes, but forced upon him by other people, other events, and good or bad luck. It was his father who brought him to Burma to work in the family shop, it was war that forced his return to India with his brother, it was his marriage to Paati that landed him in his in-laws’ textile shop, and it was his brother’s fruit trade that eventually made him into a prosperous merchant. Circumstances, one could call them, are what also led to the premature death of his daughter and to several of his adult children leaving the country in search of opportunities elsewhere. Ayya recounts his own story in terms of hard work, moral commitment, honesty and skill—and all of these were undoubtedly his assets. But his accounts also leave a strong trace of coming to terms with the realization that one lacks agency, control, and grip on most of life’s events.

Finally, the accounts provide wonderful insights into the ways in which as humans we confront the uncertainties and anxieties engendered by the unpredictability of life, and how we reconcile them with our aspirations for a “good life” and a “moral life”—topics Pandian has long engaged with in his work. Uncertainty and anxiety about past experiences and unknown futures always abound. For Ayya, Pandian concludes, counting, recording, hard work, and repaying one’s debts constitute practical ways—techniques—of retaining control, of creating some stability amidst the flux of everyday life, and of learning “simply to live with the unexpected” (191).

This book is anything but an ordinary ethnographic account of a life. It is a work of passion: the passion that Pandian holds for his family (reciprocated by them), for the power of listening and telling, for understanding life in contemporary India, and, perhaps most of all, for grasping how ordinary people make sense of what a good and moral life is all about. A book, intended as a tribute to his grandfather, does as much honour to anthropology and to the power of using narrative to convey social and personal lives. Ayya is a man whom I for one would like to meet, and the accounts he and Pandian have left us are ones that I for one will use to help students gain insight into personal lives, aspirations, and social change in India today. It is also highly recommended reading for anyone interested in questions of morality, meaning making, and survival in a rapidly changing world.

Geert De Neve, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom

ANSWER THE CALL: Virtual Migration in Indian Call Centers. By Aimee Carrillo Rowe, Sheena Malhotra, and Kimberlee Pérez. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013. xiv, 242 pp. US$75.00, cloth, ISBN: 978-0-8166-8938-5; US$25.00, paper, ISBN: 978-0-8166-8939-2.

In Answer the Call, Aimee Carrillo Rowe, Sheena Malhotra, and Kimberlee Pérez attempt to situate, and make sense of, Indian call centres in economies of neoliberal outsourcing projects, and the labour and time arbitrage they solicit. They claim that uneven compressions of time and space are always and already unequal and contested relationships that open new modes of access while also furthering forms of exclusion. The title adeptly refers to Althusser’s discussion of “interpellation” (“Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” Monthly Review Press, 1971) to describe the “hailing” of “US power and global capital” ensconced in the phone calls of Americans to customer service centres in India, that materializes call centre agents as particular types of subjects (19). Answer the Call takes particular interest in how “the call” of these neoliberal projects are “answered,” how people negotiate these experiences, and what processes emerge that are defined by, and redefine, these global relationships.

The authors draw from call centre literature and migration studies to trace the impact of call centre labour on workers and suggest new ways of thinking about the categories and geographies naturalized in these discussions. They focus on how the international interactions and virtual movements involved in this labour actually remake workers’ lives, desires, and subjectivities. They pay particular and innovative attention to the ways in which call centre agents reorient their temporal, relational, and material lives towards the United States to serve the demands of a globalized market economy and the often more privileged global subjects calling from across the world. Because of virtual connections to other places, agents’ labour both permits and constrains travel, forming “virtual borderlands” where callers and agents meet but where there remains a conceptual and territorial boundary between national belongings. According to the authors, this sense of movement creates migrant workers who become a diaspora community living inside, rather than outside, the homeland (142).

In chapter 1, Carrillo Rowe, Malhotra, and Pérez develop the concept of “power temporalities” which is central to their theoretical contribution. Time can be structured differently and unevenly and imbalances legitimize particular hegemonic influences. The authors use several American documentaries and reality TV shows on Indian call centres to show how power temporalities are normalized through developmental time structures based on racialized, gendered, and

Westernized narratives of modernity (33). The way these programs portray call centres and workers situate India in a traditional past that is behind the United States in its progress towards modernity. Moreover, white, male narrators are contrasted with brown, Indian femininity, reiterating racial and gendered power relationships that give moral power and authority to America (50). The authors suggest these productions are intended to alleviate anxieties towards perceived threats to America’s identity and global position of power.

Chapter 2 turns to workers’ experiences in order to explore the implications of call centre labour for their sense of embodied self and how it reconfigures their connections and desires. Call centre agents often imagine alternate identities in order to interact with American callers, manipulating their bodies, interests, and communicative practices to perform and embody these identities. Agents also work night shifts to use the time difference between India and the United States. Such processes estrange many employees from relationships and daily life in India, effectively orienting them towards America and preferencing the realities of consumers. While social mobility achieved from good pay and increased confidence does occur, some agents also feel diasporic loss or experience physical sickness as the long hours and stresses of this labour are manifest in the body, testing the limits of global subjectivities (174).

Chapters 3 and 4 discuss the anxiety that these interactions and movements incite, not only in the United States, but also in India, focusing on the politics of citizenship and national identity. In chapter 3 the authors argue that even though market capitalism, globalization, and new forms of entitlements redefine territorialized notions of citizenship, current conceptions still include the national as well as the transnational. Agents are “caught in politics of recognition” where both statements congratulating authentic assimilation as well as overtly racist exclusions (embodied racialization also occurs through aural registers) serve to reify a cohesive concept of “Americanness” that is rearticulated and monitored by callers (31). However, workers also contest national exclusions by asserting their position as global players.

Expressions of national anxiety do not occur only in virtual space, nor are they reserved to American national ideologies. Chapter 4 explores the implications of the “spilling” of American identities into the daily lives of call centre workers, and thus, into Indian society. This process causes concern regarding Indian national identity and its stakes for India’s future. Workers, families, and managers expressed feelings of cultural loss that are often in tension with desires for social mobility and global involvement. Call centre agents are seen as participating in nation building while also disrupting and Westernizing the nation (174).

Answer the Call both challenges space- and place-based geographies and problematizes the universalization of the discourse on globalization and interconnectivity. It shows how such discussions often ignore power relationships inherent in globalized space-time relations that privilege the experiences and time of some people over that of others, silencing the experiences of those whose labour produces and facilitates these connections. It is an important inquiry into how conceptions of national identity, the nation-state, and the borders between them are still present and defended in a globalized context of continual physical and virtual migrations across territorial lines. The authors do crucial work to tie these discussions to the demonstration of how difference, including gender, racial, and sexual difference, is created in a discourse of national belonging. They also take a step forward in addressing the role of technology in those processes.

More attention could be given to the material artifacts and procedures involved in call centres, however, as well as the technologies themselves, which are drawing attention from the bourgeoning field of science and technology studies. Future works addressing the call centre industry would do well to look more closely at how the devices, codes, and production of technology, as well as their underlying ideologies, participate in difference- and similarity-making and are significant mediators and actors in forming the identities of call centre agents and the customers who call them.

Eileen Sleesman, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

THE DURABLE SLUM: Dharavi and the Right to Stay Put in Globalizing Mumbai. Globalization and Community, v. 23. By Liza Weinstein. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. xvi, 216 pp. (Illus.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN 978-0-8166-8309-3; US$25.00, paper, ISBN 978-0-8166-8310-9.

Liza Weinstein’s The Durable Slum: Dharavi and the Right to Stay Put in Globalizing Mumbai tells a fascinating story of Dharavi, a settlement that is considered the largest “slum” in Asia. The book contests the notion of totalizing transformations wrought by globalization, such as the flows of global capital, planning ideals, and entrepreneurial models endorsed by global and domestic developers. In contrast, Weinstein’s analytical lens focuses on “stability” and “durability.” As she argues, her project attempts to understand “the relationship between change and stability, ephemerality and entrenchment, in the context of urban development” (7). Drawing on Chester Hartman’s idea of “the right to stay put,” she illustrates that the politics of Dharavi entails attempts to resist displacement due to interventions designed by the state and the developers. According to her, the marginalized in Dharavi navigate party politics, judiciary systems, housing, transnational activism, and planning mechanisms in the city with the modest aim of the “right to stay put” rather than the Lefebvrian revolutionary ideal of the “right to the city.” Addressing the “right to remain in limbo” (20), she emphasizes the struggles necessary to maintain a “precarious stability.” In so doing, she provides a historical account of Dharavi by drawing on planning documents, classic studies, gazettes, and an ethnographic analysis.

Weinstein provides a historical account of the settlement by analyzing migration dynamics, urban planning and land use, population growth, caste- and community-specific occupational and social formation, and industrial development. In this light, she cogently maps the transition of a 535-acre fishing village into an informal settlement defined by working-class housing and unregulated industries. In chapter 1, her key argument highlights the “supportive neglect” on the part of the state and the interaction of the state with various other informal sovereignties and governance structures that shape everyday life in Dharavi. In chapter 2, Weinstein analyzes the interventions that have been targeted at Dharavi, especially once it was deemed Asia’s largest “slum.” She discusses how institutional and political fragmentation, diverse power arrangements, and contestations over the settlement have undermined the planning interventions. As a result, the durability of the settlement has not only meant successful resistance against state-led displacement and interventions, but also the existence of low-quality housing.

In chapter 3, the author maps the neo-liberal impetus behind the Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP). She provides an insightful analysis of deindustrialization and the associated processes of “criminal involvement, violence, and abuses of state power entailed in the city’s emerging political economies of land” (91). In particular, she analyzes how the settlement’s prime location has invited attention for its transformation on the part of profit-minded developers and state bodies. Subsequently, she examines the intricate political and social processes that undermine this entrepreneurial aspiration and contribute to the durability of settlements like Dharavi. In chapter 4, she discusses the inability of Mukesh Mehta— the developer-entrepreneur who envisioned transforming Dharavi in pursuit of capital accumulation—to forge an effective coalition among various stakeholders to push forth his agenda. Mehta not only had to contend with political fragmentation and conflicts with activists but also had to grapple with criticisms regarding lack of public accountability and centralization of authority. As argued in chapter 5, the mobilization of the residents and the constraints of local politics undermined the DRP despite Mehta’s efforts. As Weinstein argues, the institutional and political complexities forced the potential developers to withdraw from the project. The book beautifully illustrates how the obduracy of local resistance against global visions of city-making forecloses the possibility of turning Mumbai into Shanghai. An ensemble of power relations, interests, and contingencies shapes the obduracy of resistance. Thus, resistance against global capital, developers, and profit accumulation is emboldened by the configuration of group interests among various stakeholders. Further, the fragility and unpredictability of resistance is reflective of the weight of capital, developers, and state power.

The strength of the book lies in its analysis of the worldview of the developers (ethnographic vignettes of salesmanship on their part), and the interactions among various stakeholders in the context of the changing political economy of land. However, the book could have gained from further ethnographic details on the everyday negotiation of community leaders and political mediators, and the residents’ mundane struggles for visibility. While Weinstein has done a splendid job of analyzing the diversity and specific community interests in the settlement, one also wonders about the nature of intra- and inter-community conflicts and solidarities among Kolis, Kumbhars, Dalits, and Muslims in the light of planning interventions, given the massive size of the settlement. It is also striking that there is inadequate gender analysis with respect to the language of planning, “political entrepreneurship,” and negotiation and resistance to the developers’ models. Nevertheless, this is a significant contribution to the literature on urban transformations and the durability of low-income residents and their settlements. In particular, the book calls for attention to the need for context-specific analysis of urban planning, the local power dynamics among various stakeholders, and the contingency of resilient politics, all of which have to be understood on a case-by-case basis with the caveat that not all cities may respond to the same globalizing processes to the same degree.

Sanjeev Routray, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

BRIDGING THE SOCIAL GAP: Perspectives on Dalit Empowerment. Edited by Sukhadeo Thorat, Nidhi Sadana Sabharwal. New Delhi; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication, 2014. xxvii, 279 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-81-321-1311-9.

In recent years, analysis of the status of disadvantaged groups such as Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in Indian society has emerged as a major area of research in the social sciences, which has created a need for statistical data to understand their socio-economic condition and levels of empowerment. While the issue of discrimination in the social sphere has been well researched, studies on exclusion in the economic sphere have not received as much attention. The volume under review, edited by Sukhadeo Thorat and Nidhi Sadana Sabharwal, attempts to fill these gaps. It was initially conceived as an “alternative” Human Development Report (HDR) that would include variables on exclusion and discrimination to be designated as a Dalit Development Report. But separating HD indicators by caste and ethnic groups of SCs and STs from the general data proved difficult as group-wise data is not available for many indicators, though the same data are available at the aggregate level. Hence, the editors decided to widen the conceptual dimension of the HD perspective by bringing in variables related to group inequalities, which they argue has made their analysis more “distribution-sensitive.” This necessitated disaggregation of the Human Development Index (HDI) and the Human Poverty Index (HPI) by various groups based on class, caste, ethnicity, and religion and second, analysis of the causal factors associated with a lower level of HD among the selected disadvantaged groups.

The adoption of this framework is significant as few countries—Malaysia, Gabon, Nepal, US, Canada, Guatemala, and India—have disaggregated indicators of HD by social groups. The HDRs of 2000 and 2004 prepared by the UNDP have also made some progress in providing data on some dimensions and indicators of exclusion. In India, national HDRs are available since 2001 and 14 states have also published such reports. The state level HDRs provide data on the deprivations suffered by the SC, ST and Other Backward Classes and observe that the HD levels of these groups fall below that of the general population. But they do not estimate the composite index of Human Development or Human Poverty of these groups, they avoid dealing with issues of inter-social disparity, and the indicators used are limited and vary from state to state. Moreover, as the editors point out, in these reports there is inadequate conceptualization, or attempt to develop indicators that capture caste-based exclusion and discrimination and linkages with the human deprivation faced by disadvantaged groups.

Using this framework the volume addresses four interrelated issues. First, based on the prevailing academic literature, it conceptualizes exclusion-linked deprivation and elaborates the concept of social exclusion and of caste, untouchability, and ethnicity-based exclusion of socially disadvantaged groups, namely SCs and STs. Second, it presents the status of these socially disadvantaged groups and their inter-social group inequalities vis-à-vis the general population by constructing an HDI and an HPI using indicators of well-being. Three, it analyzes deprivation among these socially disadvantaged groups in terms of lower levels of access to resources, employment, education, and social needs. Finally, it examines the role of caste discrimination in economic, civil, social, and political spheres, which involves a denial of, or selective restrictions on, the right to development or equal opportunities for socially disadvantaged groups.

While the introduction lays out the conceptual and empirical methodology used, it is the first three chapters that present the above-mentioned issues in detail. The discussion in these chapters indicates that while there have been improvements in the condition of these social groups, there is ample evidence to suggest that exclusionary and discriminatory practices persist in the functioning of public institutions. Societal discrimination and exclusion in multiple spheres, together with violent opposition by upper castes and state institutions, have narrowed the space for SCs and STs to utilize the civil, political, and economic rights and equal opportunities guaranteed by the Constitution. Some strategies and policies—such as legal enforcement of anti-discriminatory laws, reservations and financial schemes under the SC and ST sub-plans, anti-poverty schemes and general empowering policies—have introduced positive changes. However, the rate of improvement has been slow and has not been sufficient to reduce the absolute level of deprivation between them and the non-SC/ST population. A high degree of “exclusion-induced deprivation” continues and socially inclusive policies need to be framed by the state.

Against this backdrop, the remaining chapters examine various seminal aspects of the socio-economic conditions of SCs and STs: levels of consumption, poverty, literacy and educational levels, housing, health, access to resources, and housing. Each chapter, written by a well-known scholar in the field, is well researched, informative, and provides an in-depth analysis of the condition of SCs and STs in the selected field; collectively, they provide an understanding of the disadvantages faced by these two groups and improvements and failures in public policy of the Indian state. While such studies exist, bringing them together in one volume and linking them to exclusion and discrimination make them valuable.

A basic difficulty with the volume is that the statistical data on which the study is based are dated, only including data up to the year 2000. The Indian economy experienced high economic growth in the early 2000s and it would have been useful to know if this has trickled down to disadvantaged groups, or, as alleged by some scholars, due to neo-liberal reforms, poverty and inequality has increased. It is hoped that this drawback will be addressed through an updated version. Despite this shortcoming, the volume makes three theoretical and methodological contributions: it has provided a conceptual framework to study the causes of low HD of excluded and indigenous groups and estimates the inter-group disparities in HDI and HPI; it has constructed the HDI and the HPI at aggregate level and disaggregated it by groups; and it has presented the situation of SCs and STs in comparison with others, with regard to individual indicators. These are valuable contributions and make the volume a tool for future research.

Sudha Pai, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

INDIANS IN SINGAPORE, 1819-1945: Diaspora in the Colonial Port City. By Rajesh Rai. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014. xxix, 325 pp. (Tables.) US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-809929-1.

In this rich volume, readers are treated to an encyclopedic assessment of Indian presence in Singapore. From the Raffles treaty with the Sultan of Johor in 1819, and the more formalized incorporation of the island into British commercial horizons, through to the defeat of Japan in World War Two, the book utilizes an impressive array of primary sources to weave a textured narrative. Much of the tale and its methodological underpinnings are familiar to those engrossed in the now weighty literature on Southeast Asia’s Indian-origin communities and diasporas, but this engaging synthesis should be popular with students and citizens interested in the nation’s historical ethnic tapestry. It may prove slightly less appealing to a wider academic audience hungry for innovative transnational histories of the vibrant, networked Indian Ocean world, of which Singapore was a key node. Still, this attractive book is an admirable piece of scholarship that tells the reader a great deal about the diversity and multi-layered identities of Singapore’s Indian communities.

The book is broken into three chronological parts. Part 1, “Pioneers at the Frontier,” takes the narrative from Raffles to the 1867 transfer of the territory from British East India Company control to Crown Colony. Part 2, “Diasporic Transformations in the Age of Mass Migration,” ups the pace to the 1940s, with the shorter final section focusing on the well-studied period of Japanese Occupation and the Indian National Army. One might quibble that a work subtitled “diaspora in a colonial port city” could have played around with more counter-hegemonic chronologies, but the structure is generally helpful in orientating the reader through the long timeframe. Within its own Singaporean and transnational terms the book soon progresses on a dense and thematically rewarding journey. It summarizes well the changing contexts and historiography of nineteenth-century imperial militarism, colonial labour and independent commerce that brought Singapore into various scales of “Greater India,” “Greater Madras” or even “Greater Punjab,” at the same time as Southeast Asia itself impacted the social, economic, and demographic history of rural India. Rai’s attention to detail is impressive, for example in explaining the stages of linkage between the Madras Presidency and Singapore. He expertly describes the ebb and flow of British anxiety about Indian mobility and agency, especially from the 1860s to the 1920s. Rai is notably strong in evoking a teetering sense of colonial control and its attendant authoritarian turns, which emerge forcefully in his narrative with the 1867 Muharram procession (in the context of Chinese secret society activity) and the 1915 Singapore Mutiny (inflamed by the globalized Indian radicalism of the Ghadr movement).

The volume shines further as it delves into the socio-cultural arena, vividly presenting urban spaces as diverse Indian communities bedded down into agglomerations such as Serangoon Road into the twentieth century. Analysis of the taxonomies of communal difference, as well as trans-ethnic collaboration, is interesting and apt. The most original section is chapter 5, which engages the complexities of Indian associational culture. This fills a scholarly lacuna, even if the short sections and prose dictate a rather staccato style. The connections to Indian nationalist and regional ethnic politics tether nicely to the book’s conceptual ambitions and are informative, even if such Southeast Asian scholarship at large arguably lags behind comparable work on Africa and “Greater India” by scholars such as Isabel Hofmeyr, Jim Brennan, and Sana Aiyer. The final section, “The Japanese Occupation and the Indian National Army,” provides an excellent Singaporean (as opposed to wider Malayan) treatment of this most emotive episode in Singapore’s South Asian history. It is a good first port of call for those interested in the period and underlines Rai’s copious bibliographical industry within canonical and more unusual sources.

“Diaspora” is at the centre of Rai’s analysis, but in some senses, notwithstanding excellent source endeavour and conceptual flourishes book-ending the volume, he does not go far enough in dissecting and theorizing the cacophony of diasporic voices and transnational bonds across the Bay of Bengal. He is astute in consistently seeing the port city as a “porous site of confluence,” flux, and multi-directionality of connection (280-285). Colonial infrastructure intentionally and inadvertently sustained such webs, as well as regulated them, as Rai incisively observes. But for a book so explicitly concerned with “mobility and circulation across nodes spread over vast regions … best understood within the transnational networks frame” (xix), one might have expected deeper methodological liaison with Indian (and other Indian Ocean) sites that produced some of this transnational noise in Singapore, as well as new cutting-edge secondary literature. The excellent monograph cited in the introduction as influential in moving us beyond a “plantation frontier” and “homeland” focus of South Asian mobilities, Claude Markovits’ The Global World of Indian Merchants (Cambridge University Press), is now fifteen years old. Since then an effervescent body of Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian interventions—a driver of the latest avatar of the “transnational turn”—has also been directly preoccupied with Rai’s own task of assessing how dialogues of imperial, Indian, and Indian Ocean worlds in colonial port cities consistently re-negotiated a range of local, transnational, and global identities. With the supple analysis of multivalent print cultures, carceral archipelagos, pilgrimage networks, revolutionary undergrounds, and the permissive global languages of self-determination, scholars such as Sunil Amrith, Clare Anderson, Enseng Ho, Eric Tagliacozzo, Su Lin Lewis, Mark Ravinder Frost, and Tim Harper are building a sophisticated vista of connection, cleavage, and even cosmopolitanism within and beyond Empire. This book is pulling on the same rope and does so with empirical diligence. Its strength is a focus on the peculiarities of Singapore’s transnational porousness, which Rai states has been understudied. Yet, Rai’s diasporic focus would have been enriched conceptually by engaging more deeply and comparatively this newer work on regional connection and wider registers of permeability. As it stands, this fine book on Singaporean exceptionalism and regional relations misses certain historiographical tricks. Nevertheless, this busy synopsis does move us forward in addressing Indian diaspora in Asia. Anyone interested in the contingent ways in which Empire and migration shaped the “elaborate texture” of Singapore should digest its content.

Gerard McCann, University of York, Heslington, United Kingdom

ETHNOGRAPHIES OF SCHOOLING IN CONTEMPORARY INDIA. Edited by Meenakshi Thapan. New Delhi; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2014. x, 368 pp. US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-81-321-1385-0.

Interest in India’s system of education has greatly increased across the world over the last two decades. The opening up of the Indian economy—i.e., its “liberalization”—marks a change in earlier policies, both economic and educational. No new framework of state policy in education has yet evolved, and the recent political developments do not offer much hope that a new policy will be formulated with consensus. In the meantime, the National Policy on Education formulated in 1986 continues to be used as a point of reference by scholars who want to make sense of the bewildering diversity of schools and the systems that govern them. Those interested mainly in studying India’s economic liberalization often raise older, more familiar questions, such as: Is literacy going to remain a public agenda? Can universal schooling coexist with child labour? Such questions have returned because economic development and social change since independence from British colonial rule have not changed the larger picture of India as a country of sharp inequalities and hierarchies. Scholarship in different social sciences has enhanced common awareness of the complexities of this picture, by demonstrating how gender disparity is deeply implicated in older understandings of caste as a key axis of hierarchy and basis of class inequality. The role of religion too is now somewhat more candidly accepted when problems and policies of social justice are discussed. Compared to three decades ago, there is greater global interest now in studying India’s attempt to modernize itself which in turn creates a demand for deeper perspectives and descriptions of the different institutions shaping the socio-economic and political ethos.

For this purpose, the school is a prime institutional site. Meenakshi Thapan’s anthology of six long essays responds to this demand by offering ethnographic accounts of different types of urban schools. Citizenship is a common focus of these essays. The values that constitute citizenship supposedly form the basis of the socialization that takes place at school. The interplay between these values and the wider culture that shapes children’s life at home naturally interests social anthropologists. The scholars whose writings are presented in this volume are especially interested in gender-related values and practices. These scholars follow the ideas and methodological practices now widely appreciated in educational theory, specifically on the matter of observing children in the school setting. The editor and other authors of this volume regard children as participants in the creation of the school ethos. Imparting agency to children is an important decision, given the climate of both society and policy in India wherein children are perceived as objects or targets.

The other emphasis in these studies is on looking at schooling as experience. This is also an important decision, but the writers of this volume could have gone further than they have in defining the term “experience.” This is important because social categories like caste, class, and gender play a major role in shaping a child’s classroom experience. Experience also has to do with learning, both in terms of “what is learned” and “who succeeds in learning.” But schools are not merely venues for teaching; they are also dispensers of opportunity—to proceed beyond the school towards higher institutional and occupational destinations. How this role of the school is shaped by history—of society, community, politics, and policies—does figure in this book but not as much as one might expect. It figures most richly in the essay about a school for Muslim girls in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The three writers of this essay, Tanya Matthan, Anusha Chandana, and Meenakshi Thapan, construct a much larger explanatory framework than the other essays for analyzing the meaning that schooling acquires for the young. This essay fulfills the high expectations that the volume, as a whole, arouses. Here we learn how complex an institution a school is, straddling its traditional role as a social institution, on the one hand, and its modern incarnation as a state institution, or one that the state must “recognize” through codes of legitimacy, on the other.

The title and all the essays in this volume demonstrate the potential of ethnography for delving into the world that schools contain within them. There is plenty of ethnographic literature on education that establishes its scope and potential for application in educational studies. As all six essays included in this volume show, the ethnographer’s contribution to the study of education lies in drawing attention to the culture that life at any school embodies. Schools, however, are not self-contained sites. Life in a school is shaped as much by systemic forces, located in history and the political economy, as by interactivity within its four walls. Some of the authors acknowledge this wider affiliation but do not engage with it. The paper cited earlier stands out because it situates experience in a palpable systemic reality. It also shows why it may be useful to redefine and refurbish anthropological approaches to educational research by making provision for the historical dimension in human affairs.

Citizenship education is a major focus of this volume. Under this focus, the authors note the plurality of practices used in schools to nurture a civic identity and some of the contradictions in these practices. Surprisingly, a major policy shift is ignored. This shift involved the replacement of the old subject, called “Civics,” by “Social and Political Life” in the junior secondary classes. The epistemology of this new curricular area would have provided interesting material for inquiry into teachers’ efforts to negotiate critical pedagogy which was alien to the old subject of civics, but is central to the idea of a politically active citizen that informs recent curricular initiatives. How this new idea copes with wider political changes in the near future will be a matter of interest to those following India’s economic and political fortunes.

Krishna Kumar, University of Delhi, Delhi, India

GLOBALIZATION AND INDIA’S ECONOMIC INTEGRATION. South Asia in World Affairs Series. By Baldev Raj Nayar. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014. xvi, 299 pp. (Tables.) US$69.50 cloth. ISBN 978-1-62616-107-8.

Baldev Raj Nayar has written an account of globalization and economic integration in India which steers a middle course between the Scylla of economic boosterism—the brakes came off the economy in 1991 and a tiger was uncaged—and the Charybdis of anti-globalist pessimism—a discourse wherein overwhelming global forces are made the mainspring of an erosion of state capacity and social cohesion in modern India, not to mention of rising inequalities between social groups and across the Indian space economy. Nayar is clear that economic growth has been stimulated by what he calls “economic liberalization” in post-1991 India. In this respect he lines up closely with commentators like Arvind Panagariya and Jagdish Bhagwati. At the same time, Nayar accepts that economic growth has brought with it widening income inequalities, at least in the short run. Importantly, though, Professor Nayar insists that the national economy in India has not been segmented or excessively dislocated by economic liberalization. Rather, there has been significant consolidation of markets and improved linkages across the space economy as a result of new infrastructural developments and trade and investment flows.

Thus described, Nayar’s book takes its place as a very fine and sensible addition to the vast middle ground of studies of globalization in India, and indeed of globalization more generally. The idea that globalization is wholly new or one-directional was disposed of many years ago by critics including Paul Hirst and Grahame Thompson. Where Nayar’s book adds significant value to these stylized debates is by means of his core empirical chapters. Having set the scene and reviewed the literature in chapter 1, Nayar completes the first section of his book with an overview of the state of India’s economy and economic policy making up to 1991. The second and third parts of the book then deal with “the state after economic liberalization’ and the “market after economic liberalization.” Under the first heading, Nayar deals incisively with issues of fiscal federalism and the slow process of indirect tax reform in India. These are excellent chapters. Under the second heading, Professor Nayar addresses the integration/disintegration dialectic by means of an extended consideration of trade and investment policies, migration, and the rise of a pan-Indian class of capitalists. Again, this is very well done. Statistics are well marshalled and the narrative accounts are consistently well told.

For all its considerable strengths, Nayar’s account of globalization and economic integration in India also has several weaknesses—as is perhaps inevitable when the canvas is so large. First, the account offered here largely treats as unproblematic the idea of 1991 as some kind of Year Zero in India—the year when economic autarky was put to bed and economic reason was unleashed in its place. All the evidence suggests, however, that the Indian economy was turned around a full decade earlier, even if some of the growth in the second half of the 1980s was heavily debt-financed and unsustainable (as was revealed in the 1991 balance of payments crisis). Second, and relatedly, much of the growth that could be observed in the Indian economy in the 1980s, and indeed subsequently, was driven far more by pro-business reforms (favouring incumbents) than by reforms that were more openly pro-market. Atul Kohli has made this argument as well as anyone and I was surprised his work was not engaged with more closely by Professor Nayar. The particular forms of globalization in India have been significantly affected by this underlying political settlement. Third, again relatedly, precisely because globalization in India has been so partial at the level of the productive economy – consider the absence of Thatcher-style privatizations and the very slow reform of the power sector – the impact of economic globalization has been relatively more marked in the lives of ordinary Indians in the sphere of consumption: what is available to them in shopping malls or the marketplace and the effects that new consumption patterns have on the making of a new Indian middle class. This dimension to globalization—which is also linked to the production of new forms of identity politics in India, as elsewhere—is barely mentioned in Nayar’s account of globalization and economic integration, an unfortunate limitation on an otherwise extremely good and thorough study.

In sum, Professor Nayar has written a book that many students of India and of globalization will find useful. It is well organized, well written and generally balanced in its treatments of key issues. Given that no author can be expected to cover all aspects of economic globalization in one text it is perhaps unfair to suggest that Nayar’s book is limited by its reluctance to deal directly with the new logics of economic consumption in India. But this is a limitation, nonetheless.

Stuart Corbridge, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom

THE US-INDIA NUCLEAR AGREEMENT: Diplomacy and Domestic Politics. By Dinshaw Mistry. Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xii, 280 pp. (Figure, tables.) US$79.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-07341-8.

There are two tendencies in the study of nuclear diplomacy: one to reduce the moves and turns to a kind of formulaic game-like calculus, the other to follow one side of the game more closely because the author enjoys an advantage there. Dinshaw Mistry successfully unites his access to and subtle understanding of both the Indian and American sides of this complex story, and avoids reducing it to formulas. He enters deep into the political labyrinths of the American and Indian policy-making environments to show how limited the mandates have been for the negotiating teams. Now at the University of Cincinnati, Mistry has made skillful use of very different sources, including the insight of skilled Indian and US journalists/writers who worked this subject almost every day. A good reason that Mistry’s balanced and detached work is important to Pacific Affairs readers, even those whose interest in nuclear history is slight, is because it is so revealing about the political cultures of both countries. As India’s influence in the rest of the Pacific Affairs region increases, such knowledge is inherently valuable.

The India-US nuclear relationship opened in 1949-1950 when American officials and leaders, alarmed by French moves on India’s huge thorium deposits, agreed to purchase a great deal of beryllium at an exaggerated price in a secret multi-year contract. In 1955 India asked for, and soon received, 20 tons of US heavy water for the new CIRUS reactor commissioned in 1961. The first functioning electrical power reactor was an American-designed light water reactor, commissioned in 1970. But when India tested its first atomic bomb in 1974, cooperation narrowed to the completion of an enriched uranium contract for the US reactor, and official sanctions were placed on further US involvement. Even the spent US fuel at this reactor had to be stored (by India) on site for more than thirty years. Just as these sanctions were unwinding, India tested five bombs (one of them thermonuclear) in 1998, thus attracting new sanctions. So the twentieth-century relationship between India and the US is best described as a history of “managing disappointment.”

When the Bush government realized in 2005 that India was more important to the US, and that most sanctions on India were counter-productive, the relationship entered the twenty-first century. Sanction-lifting had already occurred in September 2001, “but only because they were simultaneously lifted on Pakistan, whose assistance Washington required for its military campaign in Afghanistan” (39). The book skillfully treats the international dimensions of the process, such as India’s continued voting at the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency in favour of Iran’s nuclear program. Senior US officials had to work on nuclear lobbies in other countries (such as Canada, New Zealand, and Japan) to reduce those governments’ interference with the draft agreement. India and the US had tough negotiations with critical partners at both the IAEA and Nuclear Suppliers Group. But rather than standing out alone, with domestic politics subordinated to them, Mistry shows that these multi-national variables had their tangled domestic roots too. That is where his analysis has flourished.

One way to look at Mistry’s excellent book is to see this process as a time of “nuclear learning.” The teams established what Mistry calls “win-sets,” building from lists of issues around which separate negotiation had to occur. The learning occurred, in my view, when the proponents of an agreement realized where they could compromise with each other, and where opponents of the agreement (such as the left parties in India and members of the US Congress) realized the limits of their influence. Mistry says that inclusion of certain items in the win-set of the other country “allows” each of them to accept an arrangement leading to the agreement. He conveniently provides a quantitative scale to each of the options, and their consequences, for each party.

Some of the issues which Mistry examines are:

  1. Separation of military and civil uses of nuclear facilities in India, with “firewalls” between them.
  2. Access to new Indian sites for US electrical power reactor-building corporations, with limited liability in case of accidents and damages. India had not forgotten the 1986 experience with Union Carbide after the accident at its Bhopal fertilizer plant, and established stringent nuclear accident liability regulations. India opposed any IAEA checks on nuclear application of its liability laws.
  3. Restraints on India’s plan to test nuclear weapons, and a schedule for the termination of cooperation after a future Indian nuclear test.
  4. Restraints on India’s exports with weapons-of-mass-destruction potential (chemicals, organisms, equipment, and technology).
  5. Inclusion of India’s breeder reactor on the list for IAEA inspection; among India’s twenty-two reactors (some of them were operating at 50 percent of their capacity), only six were in a safeguarded position in 2005.
  6. Assurances of continuing US enriched fuel supply; India had not forgotten the difficulties and costs caused by US withdrawal of shipments of enriched uranium for Tarapur in 1974-1978.

Mistry contrasts the two country’s decision regimes, saying “the most powerful bureaucratic actors—the president, secretary of state, national security advisor, and under-secretary of state for political affairs—made the final negotiating decisions” for the US. But in India the top nuclear officials often drew the red lines beyond which they did not wish PM Manmohan Singh and/or External Affairs officials to move (14-15).

Mistry assembled evidence on how track-two diplomacy was used, including the roles of think tanks, strategic affairs elites, business associations with lobbying power, and the media. Positions of important individuals (such as Jimmy Carter), and editorials of influential sources like The Hindu are carefully analyzed. Americans were on the ground in India and their president and secretary of state went to meetings and worked the phones on this subject for years. India hired two US public relations firms close to both Republican and Democratic parties. Mistry carefully sifted through testimony before committees, shows how a US Coalition for the Partnership with India actually operated, and shows that the absence of such a coalition in India was not, in the end, a decisive flaw.

No conclusive knock-out punch leading to “yes” is suggested for either side, just a messy cluster of issues which had to be separately negotiated, one interest bumping into another. The business potentials, which had unlocked some American doors in 2005, still remained unfulfilled for the US (and for Russian and French reactor builders too) even seven years after conclusion of the agreement. Mistry curiously confines to a footnote the insight that the US and Indian negotiating styles were different, namely that “while Washington looks for specific answers in talks with India, New Delhi often pursues ‘the art of nondiplomacy’, meaning that it does not say yes or no” (242). This question of negotiating style should be more prominent, because political cultures contain negotiating cultures.

Mistry reminds us that this entire process was not for the nuclear establishments of each country alone. The curious thing about nuclear diplomacy is “the puzzle of why two major powers (that is, the US and India) that had strategic interests in building a partnership found it very difficult to do so” (242). Yes, a most curious thing.

Robert Anderson, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

INDIA’S NORTH-EAST: Identity Movements, State, and Civil Society. By Udayon Misra. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014. viii, 366 pp. US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-809911-6.

Northeast India, home to a hundred ethnicities and mutinies, remains highly complex, yet poorly understood. The dearth of good quality writing on the region is only recently beginning to be rectified. This volume, a collection of earlier, mostly published works of the author dealing with ethno-nationalist struggles in Assam and Nagaland states, promises hope, but only just. The puzzle the author seeks to explain is that of “how Assam, with its centuries old relationship with the Indian sub-continent could give rise to a militant movement with distinct secessionist overtones” (viii). The volume is organized into four chapters: Roots of Alienation; Course and Character of Naga Struggle; Assam: Insurgent Movements and Identity Politics; and lastly, State and Civil Society in Northeast India, each containing a number of shorter pieces on the subjects at hand.

The author uses three sites of examination to address his questions. The main arguments are summarized below.

First is the issue of identity politics, which forms the backdrop to much ethno-nationalist contestation. The author shows that these contestations have antecedents in pre-Independence negotiations. It was post-Independence developments, however, that set the stage for the Northeast’s confrontation with the Indian nation-state, whose “initial approach to the region was marked by a highly centrist approach based on security concerns and mono-cultural integrationist discourse” (3). In the case of Assam, the author shows, the key junctures were the discussions around the Cabinet Mission of 1946, and the “grouping plan”. Post-independence, the major sources of upset were: non-inclusion of Assam in the adopted national anthem; the pressure by central leaders on Assamese politicians to open up their doors wider to Bengali refugees from East Pakistan; and later, the central leaders’ perceived indifference to the influx of migrants from Bangladesh into Assam. A lack of financial autonomy further radicalized public opinion, with what was seen as a poor share for the state in revenues deriving from local produce (taxation on tea and petroleum), and poor development of industrial infrastructure (21).

As for Nagaland, the author argues, Nagas have always considered themselves separate from the Indian nation state. Administered lightly and directly by British administrators, the tribal elite from Nagaland and other tribal districts were not party to the national freedom movement. Naga National Council (NNC), the principal Naga political formation had, even before Indian Independence, declared Nagaland’s independence. This, among other factors, led to the deployment of the military in the Naga district of Assam, with the Army given unfettered powers over civilians, embodied in the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) factions picked up from where the NNC left in its armed struggle against the Indian state. Since 1997, a ceasefire has been in effect between security forces and NSCN (Isaac -Muivah), and peace talks have been underway, but without much prospect of a lasting solution.

These dynamics point to the second focus of the author’s examination: the state and its “dual role” of “repression” and “negotiation.” The author argues that “it would … .not be an exaggeration to state that the seeds of the separatist movements … were embedded in the policies and prejudices of the central Congress leadership” (21). What followed further drilled in the problem: the AFSPA and its “normalisation” of the exceptional powers bestowed on armed forces personnel; the negative impact of the deployment of the Army for long durations, with frequent human rights violations such as disappearances, tortures, arrests, ‘fake encounters’ and the like.

The third and perhaps the most fruitful of the author’s examinations is of the civil society in the region, to understand how it has sought to engage as the interlocutor between the state and its armed opponents in an effort at seeking peaceful solutions, and the divergent outcomes in Assam and Nagaland. The author demonstrates that recently, it has been Naga civil society groups, principally Naga Hoho (literally council) and Naga Mothers’ Association that have led efforts at reconciliation between Naga factions (295), and negotiations with the state. “If the peace process in Nagaland continues today despite so many hurdles,” claims the author, “it is largely because of the collective opinion of the Naga people for a peaceful and negotiated settlement is so well articulated by the civil society groups of the state” (307).

In Assam, on the other hand, it is the author’s contention that civil society space has been constantly denuded by populist agitations and armed conflicts. The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and the Asom Sahitya Sabha (Assam Cultural Association), key civil society formations leading the “Assam Agitation,” do not tolerate dissent. And the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), the principal armed outfit, with its militaristic view, has further put off alternative voices, leaving it unable to garner much support among mainstream society (288). The outcome has been poor legitimacy, not just for the ULFA but also for civil society in recent peace talks aimed at the restoration of normality.

The papers in the volume provide a dense description of the antecedents and dynamics of the ethno-nationalist movements, in Assam and Nagaland particularly. Given that the papers are drawn from the author’s writing on the subject over the past three decades, the volume represent a significant tracking of the history of popular movements in the two states under review. It is a pity, then, that there has been no attempt to draw out any lessons from the set of papers; there being a lack of an overarching argument, a framework, or some attempt at developing thoughts on a comparative solution. Moreover, whilst empirical depth is helpful, the absence of any reference to theory, of ethno-nationalism or political theory, among others, whilst trying to understand and explain the phenomenon of ethno-nationalist movements, is a weakness of the work. And barring the section on civil society, nothing has been said here that has not already been said elsewhere, especially on identity movements. In that sense, then, the material presented in the volume only adds to cataloging further evidence of existing understandings of the socio-political scenario of northeastern India.

Sajjad Hassan , Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi, India

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THE FIRST NAXAL: An Authorised Biography of Kanu Sanyal. By Bappaditya Paul. New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 2014. xiv, 249 pp. US$68.00, paper. ISBN 978-81-321-1787-2.

For anyone interested in the radical left in India, Paul Bappaditya’s An Authorised Biography of Kanu Sanyal is an important book. It is not that the book is an accurate history of the Naxalite movement, or that it is a well thought through sociological analysis of Sanyal’s life and works. It is, however, a sincere attempt to portray the emergence of the Naxalite movement as Sanyal wanted it to be seen towards the end of his life. Bappaditya conducted more than 121 interviews with Sanyal over three years but more significantly we are told that Sanyal personally read and cleared all its chapters except for the last one about his death. As such, the biography itself is an important historic artefact of the Naxalite movement.

Bappaditya covers the span of Sanyal’s life beginning with his birth in Kurseong in the Darjeeling hills in 1929 into a middle-class family (his father was a court clerk) and his initial recruitment as a revenue collection clerk. This early history is interlaced with his enchantment with the radical Indian Congress leader Subhas Chandra Bose, then the banned Communist Party which led to his political mobilization, and subsequently, inspired by Charu Mazumdar, giving up his family and becoming a party “whole-timer” in 1951.

His various stints in jail began a year earlier in 1950 and all of them fascinatingly led to Sanyal meeting different incarcerated communist leaders, intense political discussion, and his political formation. There are narrations of much of the organizational work that Sanyal and his co-workers undertook amongst peasants and tea plantation workers in Darjeeling District though sadly we don’t get much of an understanding of those communities themselves and the contradictions and differences between them, the challenges of working with them.

One of the most fascinating accounts of Sanyal’s life history is his trip with three other comrades in 1967 on foot across the Himalayas into China to meet the mystical Chairman Mao, their warm reception by the People’s Liberation Army there, the theoretical and military training they received, and their eventual meeting with the great leader and the advice they received from him. “Forget everything you have learnt here in China. Once back in Naxalbari, formulate your own revolutionary strategies, keeping in mind the ground realities over there” (130), Sanyal recalled Mao to have said.

Perhaps the most overwhelming theme that comes across is an attempt to correct historical representation of the leadership of the Naxalbari uprisings. Usually portrayed as an uprising of peasants and workers in 1967, here the rebellion is traced back to the organizing that Sanyal and other communist leaders undertook amongst tea plantation workers and peasants in Darjeeling District in the decade before. It is Sanyal that is shown as the mastermind and main force of this grassroots organization, challenging conventional accounts which portray Mazumdar as the architect of the Naxalbari uprisings, with Sanyal being his “lieutenant.”

A key rift between Mazumdar and Sanyal, unknown to both their grassroots workers and the “outside” world at the time, is unveiled as having chequered the history of the movement. Mazumdar is argued to have been against nurturing mass organizations, seeing them as “revisionist tools that would weaken the revolutionary zeal of the comrades” (86) and to have focused instead on the formation of small combat groups that would secretly annihilate those they saw as enemies (landlords and high-level state officials). Sanyal, on the other hand, proposed that armed insurrection and annihilation of class enemies should only take place after mass agitations and it is argued that it was this that was crucial to the success of the 1967 uprisings. It is Mazumdar who, however, became seen as the leader of the movement because of the “Historic Eight Documents” he wrote in 1965-1966 against revisionism and because throughout many of the crucial phases of the movement, when Sanyal and others were busy organizing the peasantry “underground,” he was bedridden and therefore easily accessible to the world outside, it is claimed. In Sanyal’s eyes, Mazumdar “exploited” this opportunity to propagate his version of the strategy and “wrongly projected this as the true spirit of Naxalbari movement and for obvious reasons, this got widely publicized in the news media” (105). Although Sanyal is keen to remove the heritage of Naxalbari from those who today are most visibly seen as bearers of its torch, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) (he discredits them as “left adventurists”), in the context of today’s extreme state repression, it is the tension between armed violence and mass organization which plagues today’s revolutionary struggle.

Scattered throughout the book are what appear to be the laments of a bitter old man wanting to correct history by sowing the seeds of doubt about the revolutionary credentials of Mazumdar into the potential Naxalite zealot. Mazumdar is portrayed as a “left adventurist,” a “dogmatic,” someone who willfully ignored and sidelined crucial comrades, and perhaps even had them conveniently jailed in 1966 (this is the suggestion on page 92). Perhaps none of this is entirely out of the ordinary—Sumanta Banerjee’s In the Wake of Naxalbari (Subarnarekha, 1980) has already presented the rift between them—but what is unexpected is that Sanyal wanted this to be the central feature of this biography and that he sought instead to be recognized as the “founder” of the movement. This is surprising because, apart from one exception to which I will return, the narrations of Sanyal’s life suggest that—like many of today’s Naxalites—he had sacrificed himself for the cause. This meant not only giving up his family, but also giving up any desire to be personally recognized or credited for his self-sacrifice, erasing the sense of an ego and replacing any individualism with the contentment and pride of being seen as just a point in the making of history.

Why, then, at the end of his life, the desire to wear the trophy of the “First Naxal”? Is this a consequence of the artistic freedom of the author? Or is it the pressures of a publisher to sell the book with a catchy hook? Or is it because, at the end of his life, Sanyal had finally given up on the revolutionary cause? Though he was seriously unwell, Sanyal is shown to have ended his life with an act which today’s bearers of the Naxalbari struggle see as the opposite of sacrifice, the ultimate act of selfishness, the killing of the revolution as embodied in oneself: suicide. Although the Central Committee of his party do not accept it, Sanyal is said to have hung himself from a ceiling fan at his office and home at Sebdella Jote, Siliguri, in March 2010. The irony is that of course in allowing Paul Bappaditya to author his biography as “The First Naxal,” Sanyal has given oxygen to the embers of the Naxalbari revolution that still live on by generating further interest in its revolutionary cause.

Alpa Shah, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom

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INDIA’S GRAND STRATEGY: History, Theory, Cases. War and International Politics in South Asia. Edited by Kanti Bajpai, Saira Basit, V. Krishnappa. New Delhi: Routledge, 2014. xiv, 582 pp. (Tables.) US$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-73965-8.

In 1992, George Tanham, a former RAND analyst with no prior background in South Asian politics, published a monograph Indian Strategic Culture: An Interpretive Essay. In his view, India lacked any intellectual tradition of strategic thought, a shortcoming that he mostly attributed to some putative features of the country’s Hindu cultural ethos.

Within the past decade there has been a renewed interest in India’s grand strategy. Most of these contributions, in the form of monographs, have emerged from think tanks in India. Their arguments and evidence clearly belie the rather bizarre and polemical claim that had undergirded Tanham’s analysis. Among the most recent contributions is the multi-authored Nonalignment 2.0: A Foreign and Strategic Policy for India in the Twenty-First Century. Apart from its somewhat misleading title, as it does not suggest a resurrection of a moribund doctrine, the study is a curious amalgam of ideational and realist analyses. Despite its inherent tensions it did generate a much-needed discussion about the intellectual underpinnings of the future course of India’s foreign policy in a vastly changed post-Cold War world order.

The volume under review, India’s Grand Strategy: History, Theory, Cases, constitutes an attempt to examine both historical and contemporary features of India’s grand strategy. One of the distinguishing and welcome features of this volume is that it departs from the mostly policy-oriented work and instead seeks to provide more rigorous and scholarly analyses. Unfortunately, the volume suffers from two important limitations, both of which are the bane of most edited works. First, the contributions to this volume are uneven in quality. Second, despite the efforts of the editors to deal with historical, theoretical, and substantive issues under specific rubrics, there is little or no connective intellectual tissue between the various chapters.

Commenting on the features of every chapter in this substantial volume is simply beyond the scope of this brief review. However, a discussion of a number of salient chapters can illustrate both of the concerns alluded to above. One of the most perceptive, insightful and perspicacious essays in this volume is Rahul Sagar’s chapter, entitled “Jiski Lathi, Uski Bhains,” loosely translated from the Hindi as “whoever wields a stick owns the buffalo.” In this chapter, Sagar deftly traces the ideological and intellectual roots of the Hindu nationalist worldview through a careful and nuanced reading of the key works of two ideological stalwarts, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar. Central to their views, Sagar persuasively argues, were their pessimistic views about the possibilities of human confraternity and their consequent embrace of a constructed, primordial vision of nationalism.

Similarly, Siddharth Mallavarapu’s chapter, “Securing India: Gandhian Intuitions,” shows considerable sensitivity toward Gandhi’s views about the use of force in international politics. It is also to Mallavarapu’s credit that he effectively demolishes rather self-serving interpretations of Gandhi’s ideas of cowardice and self-defense.

In marked contrast to these analyses, Srinath Raghavan’s chapter in the historical section of the volume, “Liberal Thought and Colonial Military Institutions,” focuses mostly on the historical antecedents of civil-military relations in India from the colonial era onwards. However, he adds pitiably little about liberal ideas that animated a significant segment of the Indian nationalist movement. Parenthetically, he refers to Mohammed Ali Jinnah as a “liberal” owing to his early commitment to constitutional change and democracy. However, this characterization flies in the face of Jinnah’s feckless courtship of the most obscurantist religious authorities as he sought to bolster the claim for Pakistan.

Other chapters also underscore the unevenness of this volume. For example, there is much sound and fury about the need to highlight the existence of a non-Westphalian view of global order in Jayashree Vivekanandan’s “Strategy, Legitimacy and the Imperium: Framing the Mughal Strategic Discourse.” To her credit, she carefully outlines how the Mughal Empire did not enjoy a monopoly of violence in securing and maintaining political order. Instead it relied on various institutional innovations such as mobile durbars, on the co-optation of local potentates, and a degree of religious pluralism emanating from the emperor, Akbar, himself. Some of these governing precepts, especially the commitment to religious pluralism, clearly did not survive Akbar. Furthermore, empires, whatever virtues they may have once embodied, are anachronistic. Consequently, while these governing arrangements may have well served his reign it is difficult to see how they might inform today’s needs for global governance. For good or ill, the Westphalian order has proven to be rather durable and universal.

The case studies in this volume are also of varying quality. Ali Ahmed’s chapter, “Indian Strategic Culture: The Pakistan Dimension,” suggests that there has been a significant doctrinal shift in India’s strategic orientation toward Pakistan since 1971. More to the point, he correctly argues that it has taken on a strong coercive bent, a movement that he clearly laments. Ahmed traces this growing embrace of a more muscular strategy to the forces of cultural nationalism. However, his evidence suggests that the shift cannot be traced merely to an ideological shift in Indian domestic politics. Instead he shows that a series of provocations from Pakistan precipitated changes in India’s strategy.

Other case studies are more promising. Rudra Chaudhuri’s chapter, “Aberrant Conversationalists: India and the United States Since 1947,” reveals a firm grasp of the texture of Indo-US relations since independence. The historical material that he summarizes does not alter any prior understanding of key developments and turning points. However, he does provide a most useful dissection of Indian decision making when asked to provide a military contingent in support of the US-led military intervention in Iraq.

The limitations of this volume notwithstanding it is nevertheless a worthwhile attempt to address multiple dimensions of the grand strategy of a state that may yet play a critical role in shaping the global order in the twenty-first century. Perhaps it will encourage further discussion of the subject to the benefit of both theory and policy.

Sumit Ganguly, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

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STREET CORNER SECRETS: Sex, Work, and Migration in the City of Mumbai. Next Wave: New Directions in Women’s Studies. By Svati P. Shah. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2014. xviii, 258 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$89.95, cloth, ISBN 978-0-823-5689-9; US$24.95, paper, ISBN 978-0-8223-5698-1.

Mumbai’s Kamathipura, Asia’s largest red-right district, is shrinking in the face of neighbourhood gentrification, and political haggling over prime land to accommodate housing and industrial projects in Mumbai. The area is vulnerable to excessive regulation from the police and interventionist NGOs, as well as to unannounced demolitions instigated by builders and bureaucrats. Daya, a brothel owner, sat with the book’s author, Svati Shah, and pointed to Kamathipura’s Thirteenth Lane. It was early evening, and instead of brightly dressed sex workers waiting for customers, the lane was filled with young men chatting and playing music. An exasperated Daya said: “What do you expect to do for the women now. There are no women. Look at this lane—there are only men, living seventeen to a room” (183). The decline of this red-light district has made the lives of its sex workers unstable in terms of access to housing, water, and social support, which in turn has impacted the kin networks dependent on the women for material sustenance. According to Daya, most dhanda (sex work) now happens in private apartments, five-star hotels and bars, and Mumbai’s infamous red-light district is no longer an alluring site for solicitation. This gripping dialogue is captured eloquently in Svati Shah’s timely book Street Corner Secrets. Daya’s lament illustrates the essence of the author’s journey through multiple spaces in Mumbai, where sex work is intimately related to women’s diminishing access to informal wages and basic infrastructural facilities.

Shah’s critical ethnography, an apt tribute to William Foote Whyte’s Street Corner Societies (1943), analyzes how rural female migrants in the city negotiate sexual services as one of many strategies for gaining a livelihood. These low-caste migrants are from economically deprived and drought-prone districts of India. Most women drift in and out of the urban workforce to escape poverty, caste discrimination, and the unavailability of agricultural work, in the hope of better earnings, schooling, and potable water in the city. Using multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork, Shah persuasively argues that these female migrants turn to a range of legitimized and stigmatized activities while maneuvering through Mumbai’s casual labour sector.

According to Shah, prostitution is produced spatially in this search for economic survival in the city. The author states that “the production of public space in Mumbai must be understood in relation to discourses and histories of the urban geographies of sexual commerce” (4). She focuses on three primary field sites: the brothel, the street, and the wage labour market in Mumbai (known as a naka), where sexual commerce is solicited discreetly alongside other income-generating activities. A naka forms for a period of time in an outdoor space, where 150 to 200 people gather every day to seek contracts for manual labour in construction work. Yet spatial order is maintained within the chaos of vehicular and pedestrian traffic through people sitting in caste, kin, and gendered clusters. Shah observes that solicitation in the naka is less visible than in a brothel or on the street, even though the use of unemployed women from the naka in sex work is common knowledge. The strength of the naka ethnography lies in “the questions of unspeakability” (111) raised by the author. For example, workers use metaphors such as bura kaam (bad work), jawani loot liya (snatched her youth), and faltu baat (offensive language) to refer to women’s immorality. Unlike the brothel, a space historically designated for sex work, a culture of disapproval exists around naka women’s unethical use of public space meant for procuring legitimate work. And this subtle shaming of their transgression is critiqued by women labourers who do sex work to fill their bellies (pet ke liye), and avoid sitting at home hungry with their honour (izzat) intact.

The author creatively unpacks the politics of public space by exploring further the regulation of sex work on a busy street near a commuter railway station, and in Kamathipura. Her study highlights the role of the local police and shop merchants in sporadically harassing street-based sex workers in an effort to keep commercial areas safe for middle-class families. While women in Kamathipura receive important education from HIV prevention drives, they also remain fairly defenseless against aggressive developers, and police raids prompted by anti-trafficking NGOs. The author’s bold allusion to the flow of international researchers with their predictable questionnaires gathering stale data on poverty and sex work is an intriguing slice of life from Kamathipura. Shah argues that erratic policing by both the state, and people with moral and institutional authority against sexual commerce, puts forward a convoluted interpretation of citizenship and criminality. Migrant prostitutes are subsequently characterized as diseased encroachers in the global city. Despite the wide acknowledgement of their vulnerability, they are not recognized as a population to be protected (but rather protected against) within Mumbai’s drive towards unfettered modernity.

Street Corner Secrets rounds off by underlining the significance of representing sex workers through their multiple subjectivities: of migrant, slum dweller, construction worker, and sex worker. This complicates the nature of women’s agency, and the book convincingly contests gender analyses of sex work through choice/force binary frameworks. Shah has an experimental, expressive, and empirical style of writing. But the narratives of the chapters are slightly uneven: they move between a focus on the abstract dialectics of space and complex discourse analysis, and the stark worlds of women sex workers being solicited by drunks. Short and succinct theoretical explanations would have enhanced the fascinating ethnography. I was unsure why several vernacular words like naka were italicized in some paragraphs and not in some others. Overall, this book’s ethnography makes a vibrant contribution to urban anthropology. Crafting an understanding of sexual labour that reflects the intricacies of rural-urban migration, the book sheds light on the management of knowledge around sex work, from secrecy to the rehabilitation of “rescued” prostitutes, and shows how spaces occupied by women sex workers have multiple uses and meanings in Mumbai’s contested urban landscape.

Atreyee Sen, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

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DALIT WOMEN’S EDUCATION IN MODERN INDIA: Double Discrimination. Routledge Research on Gender in Asia Series, 7. By Shailaja Paik. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xiv, 356 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$155.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-49300-0.

This book covers three different subjects: caste, gender, and education. As is evident from its title, it explores educational experiences and trajectories of women from Dalit communities, those who were once treated as untouchables in the Indian caste system and continue to experience exclusion and discrimination, albeit in changed form, even today. The focus on education helps the author raise many questions, ranging from the idea of Indian modernity, nationalism and social reforms to contemporary realities of intersecting social inequalities and discriminations.

Even though we have a fairly good volume of research on each of these subjects, and occasionally also on their intersections, the book shows that there still is a lot that needs to be explored and understood. Another distinction of the book is its disciplinary openness. Even though a historian has written the book, it actively engages with sociological and political questions of the present day, and with scholars from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds.

Renegotiation of gender relations and personal/public life during the colonial period through social reform movements has come to be widely accepted as one of the foundational moments in the history of Indian modernity. Drawn mostly from historical research on colonial Bengal, this common-sense understanding of the gender question concludes that male social reformers reinvented Indian identity through their interaction with colonial modernity. According to this “resolution” of the gender question women were to be assigned the task of cultivating traditional Indian-ness at home while men modernized themselves in order to engage with the outside world of Western materiality. In the process, Indian women came to symbolize a new form of femininity and genteelness, invented by the reformers and the nationalists and cultivated through specific forms of education and training.

Paik questions such a thesis. While this could be true of the new middle-class Calcutta Brahmins, it was not the case for everyone or in every region of the subcontinent. However, this interpretation has tended to prevail. Even when a large volume of historical research has been produced on the subalterns in the colonial period, much of it has remained blind to the realities of caste and its regional diversities.

Paik’s own work focuses on the western region of India, urban Maharashtra, where she looks at the history of education of Dalit women. The category of Dalit is itself a modern construct. Even though it has come to be used across India for the ex-untouchable communities, its history is rather recent, embedded in the social movements in the western region that came up during the late colonial and post-independence period. It was here that, thanks to the efforts of some social reformers and with the opportunities opened up by the colonial policies, a new middle class began to emerge among the erstwhile untouchable groups. B.R. Ambedkar, who went on to become the first law minister of independent India, one of the most well-educated Indians during the later colonial period, has come to symbolize this new mobility among those located at the bottom of the Hindu society. Not only did he become a symbol of “low” caste mobility and political identity, he also emerged as the most vocal and radical critic of the caste system. He re-conceptualized caste and presented it in the language of power and discrimination.

Disagreeing fundamentally with Gandhi and other nationalists who invoked the idea of Indian tradition as a possible source of Indian nationalism, he, along with Jyotiba Phule, advocated the need for radical reform within Hindu society. Education, along with agitation and community mobilization, was a critical instrument of change for him. It was within this perspective that Dalit women began to be educated. Unlike the middle-class Bengali women, education of Dalit women was a clearly modernist political project that was directed against the idea of preserving “tradition.”

However, Paik recognizes that the identity of Dalit women was not weighed down only by their caste but also by their gender. Their experience of going to school was not very pleasant. They encountered strong prejudice and active discrimination, as did Dalit men. Their teachers and fellow students treated them differently, as untouchables, in the classroom as well as in the playground. The experience of education actively reinforced in them both the identities of gender as well as of caste.

However, education was not simply a matter of formal learning. It brought them out of the village, to the urban slum, and occasionally to a middle-class locality. Even though Ambedkar had imagined and hoped that migration to the city and acquisition of modern education would liberate untouchables from their caste disability, it did not happen. But, it did change their identity and worldviews. They became political subjects. Their self-image was no longer that of untouchables, who willingly or unwillingly accepted their positions in the caste hierarchy. Even when modernity did not deliver what it promised, it transformed the Dalit women (and men) quite fundamentally.

It is this journey of gaining a new subjecthood that Paik explores in her book quite successfully. This story of education of Dalit women is fundamentally different from the popular historical narrative on the subject that draws almost entirely from the upper-caste Hindu experience. What seems to be almost missing in her book is a critical analysis of the new patriarchy within middle-class Dalit households in urban India.

Surinder S. Jodhka, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

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ELITE PARTIES, POOR VOTERS: How Social Services Win Votes in India. Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics. By Tariq Thachil. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xiv, 331 pp. (Illustrations, map.) US$99.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-07008-0.

Why would poor, socially marginalized people vote for a party run by—and for—a deeply entrenched social and economic elite? Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas? (Holt, 2005) asked a version of this question about the United States, where a striking proportion of working-class people supported a Republican Party that systematically advanced the interests of better-off Americans.

An Indian variant of this puzzle is the subject of Tariq Thachil’s Elite Parties and Poor Voters: How Social Services Win Votes in India. Thachil examines how and why the elite-dominated Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has attracted the votes of Dalits and Adivasis. What particularly interests Thachil is a method the BJP has used to cultivate support from these subaltern groups: delivering social services through party-affiliated, yet nominally independent, welfare organizations. Thachil regards the operation of these schools, clinics, and community centres in predominantly Dalit and Adivasi areas as a strategy to broaden the party’s appeal—one with parallels in other countries. He devotes part of a chapter on comparative cases to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which (like the BJP) was founded and dominated by elites, and which (also like the BJP) has developed a robust service-delivery apparatus. Both parties regard serving the poor as a religious obligation. Thachil notes the ideological difference between such “charitable” work and the emancipatory projects pursued by class-oriented parties. The most important distinction he draws, however, is between the work of the BJP’s privately financed service-delivery organizations and two conventional methods for attracting subaltern votes: clientelism (the selective distribution of state benefits to a party’s supporters) and a redistributive policy agenda. Clientelism has been of limited use to the BJP, Thachil claims, because the party has been out of power for most of its existence; a pro-poor policy platform is constrained by the preferences of the BJP’s elite core.

Thachil deserves credit for identifying the private provision of “local public goods” as a party-building strategy, and even more kudos for showing how it works and why it does not always produce the desired results. There is much else to praise in this book. Thachil’s prose is uncluttered, his methodological tastes omnivorous. The empirical material, which includes close scrutiny of welfare organizations in a number of states, is analyzed sensitively. Thachil deftly deploys the personal narratives of service workers to illustrate the subtle ways in which the teachers and health professionals who staff these BJP-linked organizations become opinion-shapers in the localities where they work: these individuals do not officially endorse candidates, but rather suggest to the people they serve which candidate is their own personal preference.

Thachil also makes good analytical use of comparisons between (and within) India’s states. The BJP’s divergent electoral fortunes in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, for instance, demonstrate how the viability of the BJP’s private-welfare-provision strategy is adversely affected by increased social-service expenditure by state governments. Thachil’s comparison between Chhattisgarh, Kerala, and Uttar Pradesh nicely captures how the strategies pursued by the BJP’s state-level rivals influences the party’s approach. He also takes time to explain outliers, such as Gujarat, where the BJP has experienced electoral success despite a relative shortage of party-linked service organizations.

One shortcoming of Thachil’s analysis stems from one of the book’s greatest strengths: the laser-like focus on advancing his claims. This leads Thachil, on occasion, to give short shrift to alternative explanations. He claims, for example, that the division of labour between the BJP and its affiliated service organizations has been dictated by a contradiction between the party’s elite core and the subaltern voters it seeks to attract. But are the BJP’s financial backers, and its largely upper-caste leadership, really so implacably opposed to pursuing elements of a pro-poor agenda? During the 2014 general election that brought it to power, the BJP’s manifesto promised merely to reform, rather than abolish, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), the previous government’s flagship welfare program. Some BJP-run state governments—e.g., Rajasthan in the 1980s and 1990s; Madhya Pradesh in the first two decades of the twenty-first century—pursued high-profile pro-poor programs. BJP stalwarts, in other words, may be more aware of the need to counter the party’s elitist image through programmatic adjustments than Thachil acknowledges. (His impressive review of BJP policy statements cannot, unfortunately, capture the complex reality of how the BJP governed in practice.) The BJP, in this sense, is not hugely dissimilar to the Congress Party, whose more progressive manifesto commitments in recent years have been driven by much the same political motivations. Both the industrialists who provide the bulk of the Congress’s funds, as well as the party’s leadership, itself drawn largely from one or another fragment of India’s variegated elite, have long regarded such policy accommodations as the cost of doing business.

Thachil may also underestimate the degree to which the BJP recruits subalterns through divisive rhetoric and provocative acts that target religious minorities and are designed to unite Hindu voters, regardless of caste, behind the BJP. Communal mobilization of this type—a classic of the BJP’s political repertoire—does not generally work with Dalits, Thachil contends, because subalterns tend to shun ideologies that legitimize and facilitate their oppression. Yet, in places where Dalits compete for jobs, housing, and services with members of religious minorities, or are employed by them, one cannot assume that Dalits are immune to the perceived psychic, and sometimes material, rewards that can accompany the persecution of another subordinated group. Dalits and Adivasis are also reported to have voted for the BJP in parts of Rajasthan as a result of private assurance that, once in power, the party would protect these vulnerable groups from locally dominant land-owning castes (of “intermediate” or “backward” status) that are often the most direct threat to Dalit and Adivasi well-being, including their physical security. The existence of such clientelist political arrangements, which because of their secretive nature are difficult to identify definitively, would undercut Thachil’s claim that private service-delivery, not patronage, was the main technique for luring subaltern voters to the BJP.

These criticisms do not detract from Thachil’s achievement. Indeed, they attest to the book’s ability to stimulate debate. Elite Parties, Poor Voters is a major contribution to our understanding of how India’s parties court the poor, and will be an invaluable resource for researchers examining these questions comparatively.

Rob Jenkins, Hunter College, New York, USA

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Southeast Asia


FORGOTTEN PEOPLE: Poverty, Risk and Social Security in Indonesia: The Case of the Madurese. Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, v. 296; Power and Place in Southeast Asia, v. 6. By Gerben Nooteboom. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2015. x, 314 pp. (Illustrations.) US$163.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-28250-6.

In general, this book will be of interest to two groups of readers: those who are interested in issues related to poverty and those who seek to understand the Madurese, an ethnic group that originally resided on Madura Island in East Java Province in Indonesia but has now spread all over the country. The contents of the book are derived from decade-long ethnographic research on Madurese migrants residing in mainland East Java and in East Kalimantan Province.

The book is divided into two parts, with the first part covering various aspects of the livelihoods of descendants of Madurese migrants in a rural village in mainland East Java, while the second part focuses on an urban setting, studying more recently arrived Madurese migrants in the city of Samarinda in East Kalimantan. For those who are looking to understand the contents of the book quickly, the concluding chapter provides a succinct yet comprehensive summary of the main issues discussed in the book.

Meanwhile, the introductory chapter sets the stage and defines terms used throughout the book, some of which are specific and may be different from the definitions understood generally. First of all, why the Madurese? In Indonesia, the Madurese officially constitute the fourth-largest ethnic group, after the Javanese, Sundanese, and Malays (29). However, they are relatively neglected and marginalized in terms of both popular daily life discourse as well as academic works, hence the book title “Forgotten People.” Ironically, the Madurese were once the centre of attention when they suffered from violent ethnic conflicts in the West and Central Kalimantan provinces during the late 1990s and early 2000s, which further marginalized their position. Even then, hardly any study looked at the conflicts from the Madurese point of view.

Notwithstanding that the subject is exclusively the Madurese, the research findings included in the book provide a general understanding on the poor’s livelihood, various shocks that they have to face, and insufficient protection that they have.   There are three central ideas in the book. First, when faced with difficulties in their lives, people follow diverse trajectories guided by individual and cultural preferences that are shaped by their cultural boundaries. Second, reciprocal social security based on a patron-client relationship is alive and well in rural areas. However, it is important to note that these social security arrangements are often insufficient and unreliable as a means of protection when a shock occurs. Third, in an ethnically heterogeneous urban setting, such locally organized social security arrangements are largely absent, with kinship and ethnic-based protection filling in.

In addition, the book also dispels a few myths about rural life and the poor, which are prevalent in development circles. First, the book shows that there is no evidence of the much romanticized harmonious rural life. On the contrary, rural life is full of contestations among various groups, classes, and individuals. The author argues that the false view of harmonious rural life has contributed to incorrect targeting in government programs aimed at the poor, possibly because they ignore the local political economy. Second, the book also provides evidence that the view that the poor are inherently risk averse is unfounded. For various reasons, ranging from simply looking to add excitement to a dull life to taking a chance in order to open up a possibility of progress, the poor often take quite large risks, which sometimes endanger their livelihoods.

One strength of the book is that it is based on research spanning a long period of time. This makes it possible for the author to observe changes both at individual and community levels. Based on these observations, for example, the author concludes that poverty is not static but dynamic. Some households can fall from an affluent position to the bottom of the social strata, while some originally poor households are able to move up the ladder to become part of the rich group of villagers. This conclusion, while strong, is not new. Studies of poverty dynamics have long come to the same conclusion. Hence, it is surprising that the book does not make a reference to the relatively abundant literature on poverty dynamics, which is mostly based on quantitative analysis of panel data. The book complements this literature by providing qualitative evidence on the dynamics of poverty.

The book also makes some observations regarding the role of gender in household livelihood and its protection. For example, it concludes that women are much more concerned with food security and livelihood protection than are their husbands. In explaining why some poor people seem to take excessive risks that endanger their livelihood, it argues that gender structure in the household and social relations in the society offer a minimal safety net. However, the treatment of gender in this book lacks rigour. In general, the views and perspectives offered in the book are those of an adult male.

To conclude, the book provides a fresh perspective on both the life of the Madurese and livelihood dynamics and protection among the poor. The many life stories told in the book make it an attractive and enjoyable read. Furthermore, by contrasting the first and second parts of the book, one can learn about the differences between rural and urban poverty. As poverty in Indonesia and the world is becoming more urbanized over time, understanding these differences will be very useful for both development academics and practitioners alike.

Asep Suryahadi, The SMERU Research Institute, Jakarta, Indonesia                                                                  


INDONESIA’S DELIMITED MARITIME BOUNDARIES. By Vivian Louis Forbes. Berlin: Springer, 2014. xvii, 266 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) C$129.00, cloth. ISBN 978-3-642-54394-4.

Indonesia consists of over 17,500 islands, around 6000 of which are inhabited by a population in excess of 250 million people forming the world’s largest archipelago stretching nearly 5000 kilometres from the Indian Ocean in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east.

Indonesia’s sheer size, together with the proximity of a wide range of neighbouring coastal states, has resulted in a multiplicity of potentially overlapping maritime boundaries, the delimitation of which is crucial to everything from good governance of living and nonliving marine resources to protection of the environment, to freedom of navigation.

This newly revised version of a previous work thoughtfully and accurately updates important developments that have occurred over the past while in the area of conflict resolution and maritime boundary delimitation, including: revisions to Indonesia’s archipelagic baseline system; a dispute over the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) boundary between Indonesia and Australia; maritime boundary issues associated with the independence of East Timor; and the resolution of a dispute before the International Court of Justice between Indonesia and Malaysia over sovereignty over two islands, Pulau and Sipadan.

Indonesia’s Delimited Maritime Boundaries consists of an introduction, three main chapters, and a conclusion. The three main chapters focus on: explaining and critically reviewing the legal foundation for Indonesia’s maritime jurisdictional zones; providing a chronology of how Indonesia has so far determined maritime boundaries; and contemplating the future, including disputes Indonesia may have in the future, including with China. Also touched on are the crucial leadership role played by Indonesia in the negotiation and implementation of the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; and the background and history to the over 17 maritime boundary disputes that Indonesia has successfully resolved with Malaysia, Australia, India, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. These materials are all exceedingly well supported with a wide range of figures, maps, diagrams, and appendices.

This volume is an important contribution to the scholarly academic literature regarding maritime boundary delimitation. It also affirms the timely and indispensible role the rule of law could, and should, play in conflict resolution and preventive diplomacy throughout the world in general and in the South China Sea in particular.

The current risk of conflict in the South China Sea is particularly significant. China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines are among the sovereign states that have competing territorial and jurisdictional claims, particularly over rights to exploit the region’s possibly extensive reserves of oil and gas. Marine environmental quality, conservation of living marine resources, and freedom of navigation in the region are also contentious issues, especially between the United States and China, including over the right of US military vessels to operate in China’s two-hundred-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). According to Bonnie S. Glaser, senior advisor for Asia, Center for Strategic and International Studies, these tensions are shaping, and being shaped by, rising apprehensions about the growth of China’s military power and regional intentions. China has embarked on a substantial modernization of maritime paramilitary forces as well as naval capabilities to enforce sovereignty and jurisdiction claims by force if necessary. In this context there is much to be learned from Indonesia’s thoughtful application of the rule of law to resolve both real and potential maritime boundary disputes. There is also a compelling case to be made for Indonesian leadership on these issues throughout the region.

This volume should be of particular interest to those with an interest in maritime boundaries, conflict resolution, and ASEAN countries.

Richard Kyle Paisley, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                               

HISTORIES OF HEALTH IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: Perspectives on the Long Twentieth Century. Edited by Tim Harper and Sunil S. Amrith. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014. viii, 250 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-253-01491-7.

Histories of Health in Southeast Asia is a welcome addition to the field of the history of medicine and health in Southeast Asia. The essays it contains will also, individually, be of value to historians of medicine and health in the non-western world in general and to scholars who study Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and/or Thailand in particular. This volume also contains interesting and quite detailed chapter insets on subjects such as the eradication of smallpox in Indonesia (Vivek Neelakantan), a survey of traditional medicine in Cambodia (Sokhieng Au), and an examination of what author Alberto G. Gomes terms the “Forest Peoples of Southeast Asia” and the destructive impact of environmental changes on them. The last mentioned of these also exemplifies the main strength of this book, namely that it attempts to address region-wide commonalities that affect medicine and health in particular ways in specific places or among specific groups and the socio-political implications of these patterns.

Indeed, the gracefully written essays by Rachel Leow (“Healing the Nation: Politics, Medicine, and Analogies of Health in Southeast Asia”) and Eric Tagliacozzo (“Pilgrim Ships and the Frontiers of Contagion: Quarantine Regimes from Southeast Asia to the Red Sea”) should be required reading for scholars who study nineteenth- and twentieth-century Southeast Asia, whether or not they themselves work on the history of medicine. Likewise Atsuko Naono’s excellent piece (“‘Rural’ Health in Modern Southeast Asia”), in which she examines the various definitions of what constitutes “rural,” has implications far beyond the field of the history of medicine, and beyond Southeast Asia for that matter, while Mary Wilson’s article (“Epidemic Disease in Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asia”) does a fine job of explaining the ecological, economic, and demographic factors that contribute to Southeast Asia’s vulnerability to communicable diseases.

Histories of Health in Southeast Asia is a centennial offering of sorts for the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the China Medical Board and its authors were recruited from a variety of disciplinary perspectives in order to examine “the social, cultural, demographic, and political dimensions of health in the widest possible sense” (2). With this as an editorial objective, this volume should have been not only of interest, but also of real use, to scholars of Southeast Asia who are not specialists in the history of medicine. Conversely, this book could also have been a gateway for medical historians into the study of Southeast Asia if it had been made more user friendly. A map indicating many of the places mentioned would certainly have helped. Even those of us who are Southeast Asianists do not necessarily know, without looking at a map, the different provinces of the Philippines and it is unreasonable to expect non-Southeast Asianists to have any idea about the location of ancient, but not internationally well-known, cities such as Ayutthaya and Hoi An.

Specific editorial interventions could also have made this book much more user friendly even for those of us who are scholars of both Southeast Asia and the history of medicine. Following conventions such as having birth and death dates for individuals discussed in the text noted on first mention of the individual would have helped, so would the translation of Southeast Asian terms on first use, brief explanations of rather specialized medical terms such as “chaulmoogra therapy” (191), and a list of acronyms for an article that uses at least thirty of them (Tadem, “The Role of Non-governmental Organizations in the Field of Health in Modern Southeast Asia”).

At its best academia is a gathering of communities of scholars who exchange information and ideas among themselves and who are in conversation with many others beyond their own group. This volume does not go as far as it should in aiming for scholars in the large number of fields it could attract. For example, reading the brief discussion (vii and 2) of the China Medical Board (CMB), many scholars of Southeast Asia will have probably never heard of it, and many historians of medicine who do not study Asia may also never have heard of it. Yet one comes away from this volume’s discussion of the CMB only with the knowledge that it was founded in 1914, the inference (it is never explicitly stated) that it is part of the Rockefeller Foundation, and a list of places where the Rockefeller Foundation took “its experiments in public health” (Amrith and Harper, “Introduction,” 1). That’s all.

This volume was not intended to be a history of the CMB and thus one should not expect a full history of that institution here. However, the small amount of information presented appears to have been written for an audience that already knows a good bit about the CMB. But the many scholars of both Southeast Asia and the history of medicine do not have such information, and they are not going to get more here.

This is just one example, though others from this volume could be discussed, of the point that in an editorial sense this book aims at a rather narrow audience when many of its essays should actually be of interest, and use, to a much larger audience. Several of its essays would have had much broader resonance if they had received more guidance. The field of the history of medicine in Southeast Asia is fairly small and despite the problems that may exist with this volume, it is still a valuable addition to the literature on the subject and belongs on the bookshelf of any scholar with a serious interest in the subjects of health and medicine in Southeast Asia.

C. Michele Thompson, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, USA               

HYBRID JUSTICE: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Law, Meaning, and Violence. By John D. Ciorciari, Anne Heindel. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 2014. xi, 433 pp. (Illustrations.) US$85.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-472-11930-1.

This book offers the most comprehensive treatment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)—a hybrid criminal court established to try former Khmer Rouge government officials who committed mass atrocities during their reign of terror that lasted from 1975 to the end of 1978.

The co-authors examine the ECCC from their institutionalist perspective, which I find somewhat stimulating because of their in-depth analysis of the Court’s institutional development, its public legitimacy, and its legacy. This major study is important to the extent that some legal institutionalists regard hybrid tribunals as having the potential to help transform world and national politics.

The reader will learn much about the institutional development of the Court (chapters 1 and 2), its structure, and its distinct features. Although the ECCC is based in Cambodia, it has been managed by the Cambodian Government and the United Nations. As an internationalized hybrid court, the two-headed ECCC (“serving two masters” in chapter 3) is not only different from ad hoc tribunals and the permanent International Criminal Court, but also from other hybrid courts, such as the ones in East Timor and Sierra Leone. The book sheds light on the ECCC’s unique features, such as its majority-domestic system, its civil law-based approach to mass atrocity crime, the historic recognition of victims as case parties (chapter 8), and the Court’s potential for success in transforming Cambodian politics because of its in-country location and access to relatively robust local media and civil society organizations.

It has often been assumed that hybrid criminal tribunals like the ECCC are superior to ad hoc and permanent ones for various reasons, but they are also viewed as having their own challenges and carrying different risks. According to the authors, the ECCC has been successful in terms of both bringing top Khmer Rouge leaders to justice and meeting international judicial standards. Chapter 4 focuses on Case 001, where the former and infamous Khmer Rouge torture chief named Guek Eav alias “Duch” was convicted and sentenced. Chapter 5 focuses on “Case 002—The Centrepiece Case against Senior Leaders: ‘Cutting the Head to Fit the Hat’,” in which the authors discuss how two top Khmer Rouge defendants were tried and convicted of some offences. Chapter 6 draws attention to unsuccessful cases: namely, Cases 003 and 004, involving attempts by the international ECCC officials to bring five or six additional Khmer Rouge suspects to justice. In their view, the Cambodian ECCC counterparts and their Government stood in the way. The Court is, thus, regarded as being both inefficient and subject to political interference known to observers as the most powerful cause of judicial paralysis.

For the authors, who are institutionalists at heart, design and agency matter significantly. They give analytical attention to the ECCC’s design flaws, weak oversight mechanisms, problematic negotiations, the United Nations’ half-hearted ownership and limited authority, weak international responses, and so on. Structural imperfections are inevitable, but they can be overcome. Numerous recommendations for future policy action are offered, based on a normative commitment to justice and expectations of what effective tribunals should look like and be able to accomplish. Criminal tribunals can be more successful, for instance, if run by experienced, principled, independent, and proactive appointees.

Whether the ECCC could be more successful is a matter of debate. One thing is clear though: even proponents of criminal justice, such as human rights advocates or activists, are harshly critical of the Court and some of them even said the Court should never have been established. Their criticism is deeply rooted in the huge gap between their idealism and the type of realism they found associated with problematic trial processes and poor results. After almost ten years of work and having spent more than $200 million, the ECCC convicted only three Khmer Rouge officials (two of whom were frail and elderly). The Court is hardly a model for the world—an honest observation the authors share.

Less satisfying is the fact that the book does not really assess the ECCC’s actual effects on war and peace, political stability, national reconciliation, democratic politics, and the rule of law. Critics like myself who have observed Cambodian politics since the early 1970s and studied world politics since the mid-1980s have made the case that internationalized criminal tribunals operating in war-torn, institutionally fragile states are almost always politicized institutions that hardly help terminate war or bring about peace, promote national reconciliation, enhance democratic politics, or strengthen the rule of law. Interestingly, the authors also acknowledge that, “The ECCC’s broader effect on the Cambodian judiciary or rule of law is much less apparent. Major change in the domestic legal system in the near term is unlikely…” (274). In fact, the Court did not help end the war that lasted until 1998 and may have encouraged the government to consolidate power and keep the judicial and legal system highly politicized. Interestingly, the comparatively more anemic international pursuit of criminal justice in East Timor and Indonesia has not made them less democratic or more lawless than Cambodia.

Whether future hybrid tribunals will overcome many of the challenges countries like Cambodia will face remains to be seen. Legal institutionalists remain steadfast in the type of idealism bound by their stubborn optimism that unfortunately tends to overlook certain harsh realities in places where survival is almost always the political elites’ ultimate concern. Instead of paying some attention to arguments that are not music to their ears, they consistently fail to notice that tribunals work more effectively when they are institutionally stronger and when alleged criminals are politically weaker or less well-armed. They ignore, and often demonize, those who think that political compromise and other remedies may be more effective than retributive justice in terms of helping to end war or deter atrocity crime.

Sorpong Peou, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada                                                                       

EMBODIED NATION: Sport, Masculinity, and the Making of Modern Laos. Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory. By Simon Creak. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xiv, 327 pp. (Figures, map.) US$54.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3889-8.

Ferocious fighting erupted between Lao spectators and visiting Vietnamese team members at the end of a 1936 soccer match in Vientiane. No fighting marred the 2009 Southeast Asia Games held in Vientiane; instead Laos received an International Olympic Committee award for the nation’s “outstanding effort in the promotion of sport in Laos … [and] for fulfilling … Olympic ideals” (230). These two events respectively introduce and conclude Creak’s argument. However, the intervening pages are about much more than sporting progress in Laos.

Embodied Nation argues that sport and physical culture have been used by a series of Lao governments in attempts to inspire the populace to support and enact the political vision of its leaders. Or, as Creak writes: “Successive regimes have called on sport and physical culture as modes of subject formation with the ultimate objective of constituting, performing, and reinforcing state power” (240). The arguments of Embodied Nation are convincingly supported by an impressive array of archival and secondary sources in three languages: English, French, and Lao, and by data from the author’s field work in Laos.

Laos is a particularly good place to observe the relationship between physicality and the body politic. In little more than a century, Laotians experienced four different political systems with differing ideologies: colonialism, royalist /nationalism, socialist revolution, and post-socialism. Creak illustrates his thesis with carefully detailed examples from each. In each example, the sporting subjects are primarily male. It was the male body and a robust masculinity that these governments summoned to reinforce state unity and power.

Examples of the relationship between physicality and politics begin with tikhi, a pre-colonial Lao ritual game, and continue respectively with the Vichy French colonial emphasis on physical training, sport as political theater in the Kingdom of Laos, controversy over representation of a divided Laos at regional sports events, socialist culture of physicality to mobilize the revolution, and, finally, the 2009 Southeast Asian Games. Tikhi was interpreted by early French colonizers as the national sport of Laos as the French sought to develop a distinct cultural identity for this newly constituted unit of French Indochina. Western sport arrived in Laos during the Vichy French period of World War II (1941–1945) with ideas about the body derived from Nazi sources. These ideas are well summarized by the chapter title: “Renovating the body, restoring the nation/race” (52). The Lao Nhay cultural renovation movement and French officials implemented these ideas by establishing sporting clubs, leagues, and events and by promulgating a new cultural view of masculinity illustrated in published drawings and photographs of muscular and diligent young men. Building on these new physical culture ideas, Laos moved toward nationhood under French tutelage emphasizing militarization and military masculinity.

The 1961 and 1964 National Games in the Kingdom of Laos under the Royal Lao Government (RLG) illustrate the use of sport to showcase national unity in the stadium at a time when political power was highly contested. Creak notes that “ideas and practices linking the athletic body to national destiny were evidence of major changes in political culture” (139). The growing Cold War-related conflict in Laos was manifested in its attendance at the 1966 non-aligned nations Games of the New Emerging Forces (GANEFO). The RLG team represented Laos in the 1963 GANEFO games (Laos was still officially neutral at that time), but refused the invitation to attend in 1966 (the RLG was closely allied with the U.S. by then), so a communist Neo Lao Hak Sat team represented Laos there, arousing the ire of royalist editors in Vientiane. Therefore, the Cold War played out in regional sporting events as well as in other venues (166).

The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) came to power in 1975 determined to create the “new socialist person.” A “mass sport and physical culture movement” could create these healthy, strong, resolute, and politically knowledgeable persons who could then build and strengthen the “national body politic” (167–168). Official reports on this project were mostly of the failure to build such a movement among the masses. The LPRP had better success in “mobilizing the revolution” through elite-level spectator sports (195). Spectator sporting events sponsored by the state reinforced the idea of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) unity under the Party. Friendship competitions with other socialist countries fostered a sense of membership in the socialist family of nations, and, with participation in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, of visibility on the world stage. The accomplishments of outstanding women athletes and teams were well publicized internally, promoting the official ideology of equality between the sexes. But the revolutionary period did not endure. The Party retained its political power, but, beginning in 1986, began planning for capitalist economic development. Leaping quickly over the early post-socialist period to the final chapter, Creak focuses on the 2009 Southeast Asian Games, the Lao PDR’s “latest and undoubtedly greatest performance of the link between physical contests, ideas, and practices, on the one hand, and politics and culture, on the other” (231). The unprecedented cheering, flag-waving, excitement, and joyful expression of national pride during and immediately after the Games were genuine, but the ultimate beneficiary was the secretive LPRP and the authoritarian state it remorselessly directs.

Creak’s work extends and specifies theory and scholarship about sport culture and politics with this detailed case study. Embodied Nation addresses aspects of Lao society (sport and physical culture, masculinity) that have not yet been explored, at least in English language scholarly work. Creak’s extensive referencing of official Lao and French language documents may guide other researchers to similar useful sources. Advanced students, scholars, and practitioners in the following fields will be interested in this well-written and scholarly work: history, culture, and politics of Laos and Southeast Asia; sport and culture; and gender studies, especially masculinity.

Carol Ireson-Doolittle, Willamette University, Salem, USA                                                          

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SAVING BUDDHISM: The Impermanence of Religion in Colonial Burma. Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory. By Alicia Turner. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. xi, 221 pp. US$54.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3937-6.

Alicia Turner examines the ways in which Burmese responded to colonial conditions and, in the process, developed new ways of envisioning themselves through their activities in newly created Buddhist associations. Turner seeks to locate the discourses on Buddhism during the British colonial period in their own terms, separate from issues of nationalism and modernism. Her interest is in how local Burmese understood what was happening to Buddhism in Burma and the ways in which these Burmese used their understandings to preserve Burmese Buddhism and in the process transformed both Buddhism and themselves.

The introduction begins this argument by describing discourses on sasana (often glossed as “Buddhist religion”), identity, and religion as they were understood in the West. Sasana is a broader term that encompasses Buddhist texts, practices, monks, and rituals as locally understood. When the British took control of Burma the king was sent into exile, and so laypeople began to step in and fulfill the kingly role of protecting and purifying the sasana, founding Buddhist associations to do so. These associations led to a sense of community among their members and a shift in their identities. The third discourse, that of religion, played British and Western ideas against and through the Burmese understandings creating an arena for Burmese Buddhists to contest and resist British colonial practices.

The second chapter focuses on sasana and the history of Buddhist reforms in Burma to argue that these reforms, while meant to preserve and purify Buddhism in practice, transformed it, recreating a Buddhism that fit current ideas and contexts. The Buddhist religion, like everything else, is impermanent and declines through time. The first aspect of Buddhism to disappear would be the Buddhist teachings. Earlier rulers sought to stem the decline by preserving the texts and rewarding monastic learning. Now laypeople sought to preserve Buddhism by forming organizations to raise money for the monks and monasteries and to preserve texts by encouraging their memorization. The Buddhist associations drew on Western technologies for organizing groups, complete with membership lists, journals, and membership fees. The post-colonial changes in Burmese Buddhism, then, are not a result of radically different processes but rather another series of changes that seek to preserve Buddhism, and Buddhist practices, but that in fact reshape it.

Education and the different ways in which the Burmese and the British understood it is the focus of the second chapter. Monastic education was a way for boys to make merit for their parents and to learn and preserve the Buddhist Pali texts, thus staying the decline of Buddhism. The British, seeing the monastery schools, imagined an education system they could use to train Burmese students in modern subjects. These two notions of education were antithetical and the British did not succeed in having secular subjects taught in monastic schools. Lay lead schools that provided an education in modern subjects that prepared the students for jobs in the colonial bureaucracy began replacing monastic education. People saw schoolboys becoming increasingly disrespectful to parents and other authorities and Burmese saw this as another sign of the decline of Buddhism. The solution was to teach Buddhism in these schools, often for no more than half an hour a day; this meant a radical change in what constituted a Buddhist education.

Besides joining associations to preserve Buddhism, Burmese began to consider what else they needed to do to prevent Buddhism’s further decline. Although generosity remained an important Burmese virtue, they started to emphasize personal morality as central to preserving Buddhism. Morality and asceticism became individualized as Burmese signed pledges not to drink alcohol or eat meat. As with the Buddhist associations, the temperance movement drew on Western notions for organization, including the signing of temperance pledges. Individuals’ behaviour becomes a means to preserve Buddhism as morality becomes internalized, a part of their self-identity. Individuals become agents whose actions can save Buddhism.

The ambiguity of the term “religion” opened up spaces for the Burmese to resist British modernist universalist understandings of religion and to assert the particularity of Burmese Buddhism. Turner explores this with her analysis of the “shoe question,” where Europeans removed their hats as a sign of respect at pagodas rather than removing their shoes as a Burmese would and the issue of the Shikho, where Burmese would prostrate themselves before monks who were their teachers, something the British wanted school boys to do to their secular teachers. The Burmese argued that both of these were important particular aspects of their Buddhism and school boys should not have to bow down to secular teachers and that Europeans should remove their shoes. And the British, eventually, had to acquiesce to the Burmese demands.

The conclusion takes us back to how we should understand the processes involved in the saving of Buddhism. Turner argues that we should not simply see these processes as nascent forms of nationalist movements or the inevitable effects of modernization on traditional religions but rather as specific adaptations in the particular Burmese place and time. This book is an important corrective to those views and ably demonstrates that the Burmese were the actors and agents of the changes in Buddhism, although the range of their actions and agency is limited to colonial context.

It is a rare treat to read a book that explores an old topic—the impact of colonialism on Buddhism in Burma—and find a new, intriguing approach to the issue. The book would be useful in courses where colonial and global processes are being examined as well as courses that focus on the complexity of analyzing lived religions. It is accessible to middle-level undergraduates and above.

Nicola Tannenbaum, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, USA

THE LOST TERRITORIES: Thailand’s History of National Humiliation. Southeast Asia—Politics, Meaning, Memory. By Shane Strate. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xi, 245 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$52.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3891-1.

Two central tropes dominate the official royal-nationalist historiography in Thailand. The first trope celebrates how Thailand has never been colonized by a foreign power. Following the official rendering of the country’s history it is the diplomatic skills of Thai kings and their success with modernizing the Thai state along the lines of a modern nation-state at the turn of the twentieth century that secured Thailand’s independence. The second trope laments the territorial losses inflicted on Thailand by foreign colonial powers. Here the Franco-Siamese crisis of 1893—when France sent gunboats towards Bangkok and subsequently established control over the territories later to become Laos—looms large as the embodiment of foreign colonial aggression. An ever-growing corpus of revisionist scholarship has challenged this official perception of Thailand’s history. While a foreign power never formally colonized Thailand, this revisionist reading of Thailand’s past shows how colonialism nonetheless conditioned Thailand’s path to modernity. Breaking with the binary conception of colony versus non-colony, revisionist readings characterize early twentieth-century Thailand as a crypto- or semi-colony. At the same time, scholars have also taken the idea of the lost territories to task, highlighting how it represents an ahistorical depiction of the modern boundaries of a nation-state back in a distant past.

In his book Strate brings the topic of lost territories on to a new ground as he examines how the Thai state over time has made use of what he calls a national humiliation discourse—or a discourse of victimization—to prop up an anti-Western nationalism. As the title of the book indicates, he links the idea of how Thailand lost territories to European colonial powers at the turn of the twentieth century with this humiliation discourse. Strate traces central elements in the genealogy of this discourse through an analysis of a series of well-chosen cases that organizes the book. First, he explores the roots of the humiliation discourse, outlining the historical events that later became a cornerstone in the discourse: unequal treaties, extraterritoriality, and the Franco-Siamese crisis of 1893. The following four chapters deal with the period from the early 1930s to 1946. In these, Strate traces the emergence and proliferation of this discourse of national humiliation in which 1893 becomes what he calls a “chosen trauma.” Strate shows how border negotiations with the French in 1940 were pivotal in the creation of this discourse and how it underscores the military regime’s commitment to a pan-Asian rhetoric during the Second World War. Strate also turns his attention to an anti-Catholicism campaign of the early 1940s and argues that the state rationalized this extreme nationalism as an attempt to confront the country’s history of victimization. Finally, Strate also deals with the international court case concerning the temple Preah Vihear in the early 1960s. In Thai official discourse this temple is synonymous with the lost territories and an integral part of the national humiliation historiography.

With this analysis, Strate demonstrates how a militant anti-Western nationalism linked with the notion of lost territories existed in contrast and in a complex relationship with the well-known and well-researched royalist-nationalist ideology. While the latter stresses the heroism of past kings in securing Thailand’s independence, the former emphasizes the humiliation Thailand has suffered over time from foreign powers. The idea of the lost territories encapsulates the overall sense of the injustice, dishonour, and humiliation that resulted from Western intervention and thereby communicates the extent of past injuries sustained by the body of the nation. Hereby, the nation emerges as both hero and victim—independent but humiliated by Western powers—and the state has replaced the monarchy as the guarantor for independence and the vindication of past injuries. With this analysis, Strate follows in the footsteps of, for example, Matthew Copeland (Contested Nationalism and the 1932 Overthrow of the Absolute Monarchy in Siam, PhD dissertation, Australian National University, 1993), in highlighting the existence of an alternative nationalism in Thailand, which the official historiography seeks to silence. Strate also documents the existence of a significant anti-Western discourse in Thailand and brings forward a more nuanced picture of the West’s role in Thailand’s history than is generally acknowledged. The book is well researched, empirically rich and based on an impressive amount of source material collected in Thailand, France, and the US. It sheds new light on questions that are central to the historiographical debate and contributes to the current revisionist historiography.

Søren Ivarsson, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark                                     

“GETTING BY”: Class and State Formation among Chinese in Malaysia. By Donald M. Nonini. Ithaca (NY): Cornell University Press, 2015. x, 348 pp. (Illustrations.) US$27.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8014-7908-3.

This is a study of the Chinese community in the city of Bukit Mertajam in the Penang state of Malaysia over a thirty-year period from 1978 to 2007, undertaken by deploying the two different but complementary investigative optics of history and ethnography. At the most basic level, it is a triangulation of the three processes of class, ethnicity, and state formation. The attractive central argument is that the working-class ethnic Chinese in this township were put in a disadvantaged, subjugated position vis-à-vis the racially discriminative state policies and, while accepting state sovereignty and second-class citizenship, they had developed in their daily survivalist practices the art of deception and disputation. Their unfavourable entanglement with state formation on the basis of everyday experiences has thus been framed between the larger nation-state rubric of “making of citizens” and the vague, deceptive community mantra of “Getting By,” which thus serves as the monograph title.

The book begins with an introduction and a historical background before plunging into six chapters under “Part I Development, 1969-85” and another three chapters under “Part II Globalization, 1985-97,” with an epilogue on the decade from 1997 to 2007. This bifurcated structure works reasonably well because of an appropriate insertion of additional prefaces to explain the two respective major partitions. One map is included about a temple management committee’s dialect groupings in China’s southeastern coast (191) and another on a religious procession route (257). But strangely and sorely lacking for the general readers is a locational map showing visually where Bukit Mertajam is situated vis-à-vis the entire length and breadth of Malaysia. In terms of content, there is a neat balance between discussing theoretical or conceptual issues and the presentation of empirical ethnographic materials. There is also general fluency and clarity throughout the volume.

Although there are forays of exploration into the angle of gender (for example, through family labour of male proprietors and female garment factory workers), the study remains anchored on class. The key class segment under scrutiny is the community of male truck drivers which the author had spent much time with during his fieldwork. But the study touches upon all three major Chinese social classes: the small cluster of prominent mercantile capitalists, the group of petty businessmen and professionals, as well as the majority working-class people. Instead of violent class struggles and ethnic conflicts under adverse state discriminative policies, the societal outcome was far from revolutionary—it had merely produced an ethnic Chinese survivalist mantra of “getting by.” This chanting was often followed by an elaboration of how hard business or life had been under predatory governing logics of the Malaysian state, especially about the corrupt exactions as embedded within the pervasive tributary relations between government functionaries and Chinese petty ca