Forthcoming Book Reviews

The following book reviews have been received at Pacific Affairs and will be published in the print edition within the next 12-18 months. Please note that minor textual changes may occur before final publication in our print and official online edition (hosted at IngentaConnect and here).
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Last updated 12 September 2016

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Asia General


MIGRANT ENCOUNTERS: Intimate Labor, the State, and Mobility Across Asia. Edited by Sara L. Friedman and Pardis Mahdavi. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. viii, 245 pp. (Figures.) US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8122-4754-1.

Sex, when engaged transnationally, is not simply fantastically creative; it can also be surprisingly transformative. Sara Friedman and Pardis Mahdavi explain that this transformative experience occurs at two levels: at the personal level when each partner brings her/his sexual norms and expectations into the relationship, and at the national level when international marriages (especially with foreign women) have forced recipient countries to amend their membership rules. They write, “migrant intimacies create new possibilities for interpersonal relationships, sexual desires, and gender domesticity” (2). Building on previous sociological and anthropological studies on transnational intimate labour, the book adds a nuanced and comparative perspective to the topic.

Rich in ethnographic research across Asia, and including the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, this edited volume brings established immigration scholars (primarily anthropologists) of Asia to explore creative strategies of intimate labourers and how migratory labour, especially by female workers, has transformed intimate relationships. It is divided into three parts. Part 1 (The Intimate Lives of Intimate Laborers) addresses the transformative experience of migrants’ intimate lives through their own morality and values. Hyun Mee Kim describes how remittances by Vietnamese wives in South Korea to their families back home can significantly improve a couple’s marital intimacy. Kim explains that Korean men are well aware of their foreign partners’ motivation for marriage, and therefore understand that “remittances are a form of economic compensation offered in exchange for their contribution to the family through reproduction [i.e. giving birth to a child]” (38). Filippo Osella looks at the personal transformations of South Indian migrants to the Gulf. He has documented some of the “social ills” that these migrants have brought back to modern Kerala. For instance, Osella mentions a situation of “divorce where wives sought separation from their migrant husbands because these men had asked them to perform ‘lewd sexual acts’ learned from watching pornographic DVDs in the Gulf” (53). Meanwhile, “migrants’ wives are suspected of taking lovers to make up for their husbands’ long-term absences, leading to intense policing and control of their sexuality” (53).

Part 2 (Migration and the National Family) discusses how immigration and nationality laws can shape the types of national families and legal regimes for reproductive migrants. Pardis Mahdavi evaluates Kuwaiti laws that stipulate “a child born to an unmarried, noncitizen mother will be … defined as stateless” (76). There are at least 100,000 stateless people in Kuwait. Because pregnant, unmarried migrants seeking prenatal assistance or to report their pregnancies (including sexual assaults) can be sent to prison, some migrant women have decided to hide their pregnancies and abandon their child in order to continue working in the country. Moreover, the law allows for an abandoned child to gain Kuwaiti citizenship. Similarly, Nicole Constable details migrants’ creative use of existing laws in Hong Kong to file torture claims (even in the absence of torture) after becoming pregnant in order to temporarily extend their legal stay. In Japan, Nobue Suzuki shows, Filipina mothers have brought legal challenges against Japan’s Nationality Law, demanding that their children born out of wedlock to a Japanese father be allowed to obtain Japanese nationality even in instances when the father acknowledges paternity after birth.  Suzuki has found that despite their success, these children have grown up struggling to find a recognized existence for themselves in either/both side(s) of the family and parental society.

Part 3 (Negotiating the State) problematizes state actions and explores the creative responses of foreign migrants to their illegality and/or irregularity. Ironically, the state, which determines legality, sometimes produces the irregularity that it aims to prevent. For example, Mark Johnson and Christoph Wilcke discuss migrants’ decisions to become “freelancers” in the Middle East and the Gulf in order to circumvent gendered and restrictive laws on domestic worker employment. Hsiao-Chuan Hsia provocatively argues that the Taiwanese state promotes its competitiveness in the global economy by strategically using legality to lower the costs of production and reproduction. Similarly, Brenda Yeoh and Heng Leng Chee examine the Singapore government’s strict regulatory distinction between migrant wives and domestic workers, which has created a new form of illegality when foreign wives with a history of domestic work in the country seek employment. In the final chapter, Sara Friedman criticizes Taiwan’s strict and discriminatory laws on cross-Strait marriages, which have resulted in mainland Chinese wives pursuing legal strategies that are publicly deemed as “illegal” or “inauthentic” practices.

Overall, I found the book, in most parts, to be intellectually stimulating and plan to use it in my graduate seminar on “Transnationalism, Citizenship, and Migration in Asia.” I have only minor and, perhaps, unfair critiques. As a political scientist, I think the authors should have tried to engage intellectually with scholars beyond the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, and the law when discussing the role of state and state actors. Ideally they would also have engaged with the publications by scientists on the subject. Even if they deliberately elided this body of work for some reason, at the very least, the authors could have complemented their fieldwork among foreign migrants with interviews with policy makers and other political elites. In addition, a concluding chapter to bring the arguments advanced by various authors together would also be helpful for readers.

Apichai W. Shipper, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA                                                   

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LEVERAGE OF THE WEAK: Labor and Environmental Movements in Taiwan and South Korea. Social Movements, Protest, and Contention, v. 42. By Hwa-Jen Liu. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. xv, 225 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$27.50, paper. ISBN 978-0-8166-8952-1.

Taiwan and South Korea, the two largest of the four East Asian Tigers, attracted global attention for the rapidity of their industrial development under authoritarian rule. The 1970s witnessed the beginning of popular protests calling attention to some of the negative consequences of this development, particularly as regarded labour exploitation and environmental degradation. The sequencing of labour and environmental movements in the two societies was reversed, with environmental protest coming first in Taiwan, and labour in Korea. The question of movement sequencing is at the core of this book, inspired largely by Karl Polanyi’s concept of the “double movement”: popular movements to protect aspects of society and nature that had been converted into fictitious commodities in the process of capitalist industrialization.

Taking movement power as her organizing concept and Mills’ “method of difference” as her approach, Hwa-Jen Liu analyzes the origins of the movement sequencing, the consequences of this sequencing for subsequent movements, and then the trajectory of the four central movements in the two societies.

She argues that movements derive power from different sources, such as the structural position of their main constituents (the labour case) or the power of ideas and ideology that are accepted by people who cut across class lines (the environment case). Of course, in practice, movements draw on both structural and ideological power. Turning to “movement emergence,” the author utilizes time series data to trace the escalation of protest activity. Key to this emergence is success at breaking out of institutional confines, which, in these two hard authoritarian states, were quite potent. But it is important to recognize the differences here, much of which can be traced to the different patterns of industrialization: Taiwan’s quasi-Leninist corporatist system, combined with large state-owned enterprises and small private firms, monitored and suppressed labour activism. On the other hand, the geographic dispersal of firms and their record of heavy pollution created the ground for popular awareness of the consequences of this development pattern, which then evolved into a protest movement. The political elites utilized the evolving electoral system to publicize environmental issues and bring them into public discourse. When the labour movement later emerged, it took the electoral route as well.

In Korea, by contrast, geographical concentration of large enterprises contributed to the formation of worker consciousness and labour’s ability to leverage this into a protest movement. Pollution was also more concentrated and its effects less dispersed among the population, stunting the rise of environmental consciousness. Politically, Korea had a series of often unstable military regimes without the kind of effective incorporationist party organization in Taiwan. This political structure created fertile ground for dramatic protest action for all causes.

Once these first movers had achieved some success, subsequent protesters were able to benefit from their experience, either utilizing the electoral system as labour did in Taiwan, or organizing aggressively as environmentalists did in Korea. The respective states took note, of course, changing their responses, resulting in a cat and mouse cycle where the movements also changed leadership and tactics.

While Polanyi’s ideas about the double movement served as initial inspiration, Antonio Gramsci hovers above and throughout the book—in particular, his thinking on the formation of collective actors. That involves the evolution from the economic-corporate level to that of class, and then to the hegemonic level of universal social interest. Liu’s two types of power are located at different levels in this schema: leverage at the economic-corporate and ideological at the hegemonic. Therefore, the labour and environmental movements had different points of departure, faced different challenges, and followed different trajectories. Basically, the leverage-based labour movement needed to develop ideological power as it attempted to move in the direction of hegemonic power, while the identity- and- ideologically-based environmental movement needed to garner leverage power at the economic-corporate level. This dynamic, interactive process, with learning, setbacks, and coalition making along the way, forms the basis of the book’s narrative.

Liu starts by exploring how to determine when a movement emerges. She argues that this involves the synchronization of escalating protest activities with the emergence of new consciousness: in other words, action and consciousness. It is not a matter of forming organizations. Utilizing interviews as well as documentary evidence, she traces the movements’ emergence in great and compelling detail. She demonstrates how the Korean state excluded and repressed the labour movement, resulting in a “desperate fighting spirit” (80), while Taiwan’s state incorporated the labour movement on the island.

Liu acknowledges the particular characteristics of labour and environmental protest movements as well as the special historical contexts of Taiwan and South Korea. But she succeeds in highlighting her contribution to social movement theory by drawing our attention to the importance of deconstructing the starting points and trajectories of all movements. She also strongly advocates movements speaking to each other, unabashedly wanting to see a labour-environmental alliance, where the strengths and experience of each can complement the other.

Stepping back from the particularities of the cases under examination here, readers and activists can certainly gain insights into the details of movement development. Although there are many quotes from interviews in the book, its approach is highly structural. I would have liked biographies of key figures and an attempt to understand their mindset as they analyzed challenges and developed strategies. I also think more attention should have been paid to the different roles Taiwan and Korea played in the Japanese imperial division of labour, which had consequences for the development of a large industrial working class and protest field more broadly in the latter than in the former. Finally, with undeniable evidence, the book lays much of the blame for labour repression and environmental degradation on capitalism, but we know that the actually existing socialist world committed probably worse atrocities in these and other realms, while repressing labour and environmental movements with more brutality and effectiveness than Taiwan, Korea, and other capitalist societies.

Thomas B. Gold, University of California, Berkeley, USA

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AT HOME AND IN THE FIELD: Ethnographic Encounters in Asia and the Pacific Islands. Edited by Suzanne S. Finney, Mary Mostafanezhad, Guido Carlo Pigliasco, Forrest Wade Young. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xiii, 331 pp. (B&W illustrations.) US$28.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-5379-2.

The editors of At Home and in the Field set themselves a daunting task with this anthology: to bring together nearly forty essays in order to coherently depict both the contemporary state of ethnographic research and of everyday life in a diverse and increasingly globalized Asia-Pacific. They envision the collection as an introductory text for those interested in Asia and the Pacific Islands, cultural geography, anthropology, or ethnic studies. As one might imagine, the scope of the essays, both in terms of geography and subject matter, is vast and varied, ranging from mobile phones and marriage in Vanuatu (Vaughan) to noodle shop etiquette in Tokyo (Fukutomi) to volunteer ecotourism in Thailand (Mostafanezhad). The essays are, quite simply, “stories of the ethnographic endeavour” (2), and most chapters, written with clarity and reader engagement in mind, are no more than six pages long. The essays are organized into nine thematic sections, each of which is preceded by a brief introduction. These themes reflect topics and ideas commonly found in introductory syllabi:

  • Real Encounters: Predicaments of Fieldwork
  • Meaningful Encounters: Learning, Representing, Engaging the Field
  • Language Encounters: Voices, Discourse, Digital Practice
  • Identity Encounters: Gender, Ethnicity, Nationality
  • Close Encounters: Marriage, Kinship, Social Networks
  • Economic Encounters: Class, Development, Inequality
  • Green Encounters: Environment, Sustainability, Restoration
  • Political Encounters: Power, Conflict, Resistance
  • Deep Encounters: Worldview, Religion, Spiritual Practices

Rounding out the collection are the preface and epilogue, by Christine R. Yano and Geoffrey White respectively, which situate the collection in terms of its contributions to two key areas of scholarship: understanding ethnography as methodology and thinking about Asia-Pacific as an object of analysis. Addressing either one of these topics on its own would be a significant achievement; addressing both, and doing so through the inclusion of so many perspectives, has the potential to be unwieldy. Fortunately, the editors and authors have achieved their goal with panache, creating a collection that is ambitious in scope and rich in detail, yet filled with clear, unassuming prose and compelling stories.

The book’s success results from the titular focus on the ethnographic encounter as its organizing principle. By focusing on encounter as the analytical starting point, rather than geographic or cultural location, the authors deftly avoid the question of what it is that defines Asia-Pacific as an area of study. Rather, a sense of Asia-Pacific-ness emerges from the juxtaposition of different ethnographic perspectives, stories, contexts, and encounters.

Similarly, the editors and authors acknowledge that contemporary fieldwork and ethnography, so central a methodology for social scientists interested in everyday life and local practices, has changed greatly since its inception in the last century, without offering up a too-tidy explanation of how it might be defined today. Rather, they include recent (post-2000) ethnographic updates in order to “highlight new forms of writing and research prevalent in twenty-first-century ethnography” (1). Again, it is by foregrounding the methodological significance of the encounter that these essays contribute to our understanding of fieldwork and ethnography. Some encounters are digital, some are urban, others are rural, but all are ethnographic. Importantly, the focus on encounter in At Home and in the Field demonstrates that home and field are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and many of the authors conduct fieldwork at home, either geographically or in terms of political solidarity or belonging.

By far the most compelling result of the focus on ethnographic encounter, and perhaps the greatest strength of the anthology, is that so many of these essays capture how doing ethnographic fieldwork feels, and how much of what we know as ethnographers is born of affect and embodiment. In several chapters, this focus is explicit: for instance, there are chapters on Tongan bodyscapes (Cottino), on negotiating sentiment in Fiji (Pigliasco), and on making sense of trauma in Indonesia (Samudra). Yet even in chapters where this focus remains implicit, it is made clear that the experience of ethnographic research often involves discomfort and dislocation (regardless of whether one does one’s fieldwork at home or away), and that it is through these very visceral experiences that ethnographic knowledge is produced. As an anthropologist who often teaches ethnographic research methods to undergraduates, I find that this fact of ethnography is often the most difficult to convey. Yet the authors in this collection manage to convey the experience of ethnographic fieldwork with great aplomb. As such, while the editors have, indeed, created a wonderful introductory text, I would further recommend this volume as an excellent teaching tool for instructors of fieldwork methods classes. Indeed, anyone, be it a student, a lay person, or a seasoned fieldworker, who has ever asked, “What is ethnography and how do we do it in a globalizing world?” would no doubt be greatly enriched through their reading of this vibrant collection.

Maggie Cummings, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada                                                              

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THE CRISIS OF GLOBAL MODERNITY: Asian Traditions and a Sustainable Future. Asian Connections (Series). By Prasenjit Duara. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. x, 328 pp. (Illustrations.) US$32.99, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-44285-6.

Prasenjit Duara will not be contained. He thinks both through the interstices and beyond the confines of our academic disciplines and our self-balkanized area studies to challenge conventional methodologies with a new one of his own making: historical sociology. In many ways, this new book for me is a summary, capturing as it does Duara’s advocacy of the interdisciplinary, empirical, and cutting-edge research that has distinguished the Asia Research Institute he directed at the National University of Singapore that for many years has been one of our academy’s most exciting intellectual forums.

Duara’s argument is both simple and intricate. The three pieces of it are captured in the title of his book: the crisis of global modernity, sustainability, and the Asian traditions. His first task is to unravel and identify the intertwined matrix of economic, political, and importantly, cultural forces that, with their depleting conquest of nature, have in our time converged in crisis as an unsustainable modernity. In a world in which the modern universalisms of high culture available to plot our way have been reduced to a wholly disenchanted nationalism and consumerism that now threaten our very physical survival, there is real urgency in finding a new compass to correct our course: a revisionist, post-Western modernity. As this global crisis—this perfect storm—continues to billow forth and darken on the horizon, the existing Western, Eurocentric system of competing sovereign “nation-states” in their various forms no longer has the possibility of tacking through the squalls of solvable problems. Indeed, the crisis is diffused, circulatory, and global in scale, and not reducible to problems at all. We have come face-to-face with a full-blown predicament the resolution of which is fundamentally religious and cultural, requiring of us nothing less than a change in our values, our intentions, and perhaps most pressing, our practices.

Four identifiable characteristics of this predicament of modernity that we can draw from the pages of Duara’s book are that it is organic, interpenetrating, and zero-sum: we cannot address any one “problem” effectively without striving to resolve them all. Second, this predicament respects no national, ethnic, or cultural boundaries. Indeed, it challenges the very idea of boundaries with complexity theory and “big history”—“pulsating global networks of exchange  . . .  of capital, of political systems, and of culture” (13). Third, the coterminous and interdependent nature of the various elements of the predicament means that no single actors on the world stage can address the malaise alone. As a species we either win together, or we all lose big time. And finally with the good news, we probably have the depth of cultural resources available to us to reshape our present conditions to produce a sustainable emergent and processual post-Western modernity. But in order to transition to this alternative modernity, we need to abandon the current mentality of sovereign nation-states contending at all costs to win, and to embrace a new dialogical vision of our complex and interdependent “circulatory histories.” As Duara insists, our destiny is either planetary, or not at all.

Duara looks for a path to sustainability by expanding our relevant cultural assets to take full advantage of the Asian traditions. He opens up, surveys, and inventories the full cornucopia of humanistic resources that can be drawn upon for the resolution of the looming predicament, with particular emphasis on resourcing the values of the antique and largely ignored Asian traditions that to date have been denied their proper place at the table. With the rise of Asia, and particularly China, in one generation we have witnessed a seismic sea change in the economic and political order of the world, a reconfiguration of power that is relatively easy to track. But what about the reach and influence of Asia on a newly emerging world cultural order? While Charles Taylor would appeal to the language of “hypergoods” as his description of the fundamental, architechtonic religio-ethical goods that serve as the basis of our moral frameworks, Duara wants to play with “transcendent authorities” as his alternative term of art. By appealing to a contrast between notions such as “radical transcendence,” associated with the symbol of an absolute and hegemonic Abrahamic God, and the “dialogical transcendence” that grounds more pluralistic religious practices, Duara attempts in a nuanced way to address the question: “How do movements founded on transcendence seek to control, shape, and authorize circulatory forms even as they themselves may be shaped by circulations?” (13). In the emergence of our local and changing idealities, reverence and reason are intertwined with networks of hope to provide these transcendent imperatives with their sacrality and a moral force that can inspire us to aspire to our highest human standards as a universal commons.

This book is dense and demanding of its readers, reporting as it does on a messy world with all of its existing complexities. And a short review of it at best can only be an invitation to readers to take it on. But the reward is more than worth it. While Duara abjures some easy answer to our pressing problems, he does provide a new framework for registering how the global predicament has arisen, and how we might move beyond it most effectively. At the end of the day, perhaps most reassuring is our confidence in the hopeful Duara who has, on thinking through this crisis of global modernity, recommended a way forward for us.

Roger T. Ames, Peking University, Beijing, China

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THE SAN FRANCISCO SYSTEM AND ITS LEGACIES: Continuation, Transformation and Historical Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific. Asia’s Transformations, no. 45. Edited by Kimie Hara. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xviii, 290 pp. US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-13-879478-8.

It has become trendy to publish edited volumes on important anniversaries. This one—reflecting on the 60 years since the signing of the San Francisco Peace—explores the legacies that this treaty and associated agreements have bestowed upon East Asia. Probably the most problematic legacy—as emphasized throughout this book—are the lingering territorial disputes that plague the region. Indeed, more than half the essays are dedicated to this problem, including chapters on Takeshima/Dokdo, Senkaku/Diaoyu, the Kuriles, and the Spratly and Paracel Islands as well as on Okinawa and Taiwan. Other chapters look at “history issues” (such as ‘comfort women’) or evaluate the negative effects of the San Francisco Treaty system in a broader perspective. All these topics have been debated extensively in the past. Therefore, one will inevitably want to ask what new contributions this book brings to the debate. Despite the quality of the scholarly line-up, the answer is not too positive.

First, a seasoned reader of this literature will be familiar with many of the sources and arguments in this collection of essays. The editor’s own contributions are the most telling example. In her introduction, Professor Hara posits that the San Francisco Peace Treaty structured the Cold War conflict in Asia, that this conflict has not yet ended, and that the current territorial disputes are a product of ambiguities that the United States deliberately left in the treaty. All these points are well taken. But the scholar has been making identical arguments in many of her previous publications. Similarly, in her conclusion she proposes a multilateral solution akin to the Åland Islands settlement as a way forward. This would be interesting if Hara had not already edited an entirely different volume that explored this idea (Kimie Hara and Geoffrey Jukes, Northern territories, Asia-Pacific regional conflicts and the Åland experience: untying the Kurillian knot,  Routledge, 2009).

Those who do not necessarily seek original but rather a timely update on East Asian politics and the San Francisco System will not walk away satisfied either. Although published in 2015, the book is a product of a conference that took place in 2012. The content reflects this, as the governments of Koizumi (2001–2006) and Hatoyama (2009–2010) are the primary subjects of attention. The significant developments that have taken place since Xi Jinping’s accession to power and Abe’s return to it in late 2012 are not covered here. For these reasons this volume already appears a bit dated.

Readers might also at times be confused about the real target of this study. There are essays that keep their focus on the San Francisco Peace Treaty and its implications, or examine the US-Japan Security Treaty or the Taipei Treaty that together with the San Francisco Peace Treaty form the basis of the so-called San Francisco System. Other articles, however, refer to these agreements only very superficially. Given their content, they could have as easily been part of a different volume. This applies, for example, to Nong Hong’s discussion of the South China Sea disputes with regard to the UNCLOS framework. Or to Konstantin Sarkisov’s essay that offers an overview of the last sixty years of Russia-Japan relations from the perspective of the Northern Territories problem. Lee Seokwoo’s essay then reads more like a treatise in defense of South Korea’s claims to Dokdo than a sober analysis of the Treaty’s effects on this issue. And Scott Harrison’s contribution rather laboriously injects the San Francisco Treaty as a casual variable into the debate when in fact the scholar has in mind the larger processes of the Cold War. Not differentiating between these categories, and using terms such as Cold War, the San Francisco Treaty, and the San Francisco System almost interchangeably is presents serious problems for the proposed arguments. But this conceptual slippage also affects other chapters in the volume

To be sure, the book contains interesting pieces that are worthy of our attention. This is particularly true for chapters by John Dower, John Price, Unryu Suganuma, and Man-Houng Lin. But as is often the case with conference volumes, some of the other contributions that seem to require more fine-tuning before they can be recommended. For instance, in his chapter, Haruki Wada also suggests that multilateralism—in this case the Six-Party Talks—could be the key to solving territorial disputes in Asia. Notwithstanding the fact that the meetings have been discontinued since 2009, one wonders how realistic is this proposal? After all, the Six-Party Talks were not able to resolve even the one issue on which all its participants agreed. A multilateral approach that must include the U.S. is also a proposed solution at the end of Dong-Choon Kim’s chapter. This comes, however, after a degree of U.S./Japan bashing, since Kim appears to hold both states responsible for the problems that befell the Korean Peninsula and its relations with Japan. In many ways this chapter is symbolic of today’s discourse in Northeast Asia: here, too, calls for multilateralism are often accompanied by uncritical insistence on one’s own national positions.

The authors in this volume do not always agree with each other. They do, however, share a similar view on the overall effects of the San Francisco System. For them the alliance structure based on the treaties signed in 1950–1951 was designed to primarily serve U.S. interests with terrible consequences for East Asia (whether this includes problems of unresolved historical conflicts or national sovereignty/territorial issues). However, this is not the only way to assess the system’s long-term consequences. One could also, for example, consider the substantial economic and security advantages that this structure brought to various Asian countries. The authors–mostly progressive academics–downplay or avoid mentioning these benefits. Eventually, the reader will have to reach out to other works to obtain a fuller picture.

Ivo Plšek, University of California, Berkeley, USA                                                                              

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THINK TANKS AND NON-TRADITIONAL SECURITY: Governance Entrepreneurs in Asia. Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific Series. By Erin Zimmerman. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 214 pp. (Illustrations.) CAD$105.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-48824-4.

Regional security governance in Asia has become much more complex in recent years, since it involves both a growing variety of actors—state and non-state—and an increasing number of non-military and transnational threats to be managed. Zimmerman’s book covers both of these very salient themes in a singular effort.

The book explains how think tanks and their networks in Asia mobilize discourse to increase their influence despite being positioned at the margins of political power. The author focuses on the promotion of a “non-traditional security” (NTS) agenda by four networks: the ASEAN-Institutes of Strategic and International Studies (ASEAN-ISIS), the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP), the IISS-sponsored Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD), and the MacArthur Foundation Asia Security Initiative (ASI). Zimmerman argues that by controlling both how NTS is framed and the space in which this discourse is performed, these networks have been able to position themselves as “governance entrepreneurs.” The “NTS agenda” that they promote, detailed in chapter 3, not only calls for the securitization of a growing number of non-military and transnational issues, but also privileges solutions that amount to institutional change in regional security governance. These solutions include giving up strongly held norms that have structured regional security governance in Asia, strengthening the regional security architecture, and further developing inter-state cooperation on transboundary issues. The author claims that since formal regional institutions, in failing to cope with NTS issues, are increasingly perceived as ineffective, think tanks have become a credible alternative.

Zimmerman sets out to make three contributions. First, she claims to update and go beyond the existing literature on think tanks and their networks in Asia. Second, she adds discursive institutionalism (DI) to the repertoire of theoretical approaches used to study the influence of non-state actors on security governance (see chapter 2). Third, she undertakes a comparative evaluation of think tanks influence on policy in Asia, throughout chapters 4 to 7.

The author convincingly demonstrates that think tanks in Asia have promoted the NTS agenda, and the problem/solution pairing it entails more specifically, as a way to gain enough political influence to push for institutional change. The complex portrayal of NTS as referring simultaneously to a set of objective issues, a series of ideas about how regional security governance is managed, and a particular agenda promoted through discourse for strategic motives, is as rare as it is valuable. The book also provides a much-needed appraisal of the current level of political influence exerted by the well-established ASEAN-ISIS and CSCAP. It also introduces newer initiatives such as the SLD and the ASI, which have been increasingly influential and yet remain understudied. Overall, this serves as a noteworthy empirical contribution and allows for a better understanding of the complex web of interactions that characterizes the relationship between actors involved in the official regional process and members of epistemic networks in Asia. At the theoretical level, the author contributes to the diversification of theoretical approaches in Asia Pacific IR, adding to a still modest but promising branch of recent scholarly work that sheds light on the role of discourse in the social construction of reality. While the core of the argument is convincing and the contributions significant, the book may still encounter a few objections, as a number of caveats prevent it from realizing its ambitions fully.

The argument would have benefited from better clarifying the meaning of NTS. Its meaning fluctuates throughout the book, at times including initiatives pushed by think tanks that have very little to do with the management of non-military and transnational issues. Moreover, a number of methodological limitations may have resulted in overstating the actual level of success of think tanks in bringing about institutional change. The comparative evaluation suffers from permeability between case studies, thus causing redundancy. The same individuals are typically involved simultaneously in multiple networks, which makes it difficult to isolate each network’s contribution. Also, the implication that the NTS agenda runs counter to state sovereignty and must lead to the relinquishment of traditionally upheld diplomatic norms, such as non-interference and soft institutionalism, has not materialized in practice, despite the successful mainstreaming of NTS in the agenda of regional organizations. The development of NTS cooperation among states even serves as a way for them to collectively extend their control over their national borders. The state remains the main—if no longer the sole—provider of, and referent to, security in the region.

Finally, since the role of discourse as a vehicle for ideas is widely implicit in constructivist scholarship, there is undoubtedly worth in the author’s effort to make it explicit. However, limiting its added value to the role of conduit for other factors amounts to underestimating its own productive power, which is situated in its ability to shape actors’ understanding of the world, and the benefits that come from using discourse-based approaches in IR. Portraying DI as a mere bridge-building enterprise between constructivism and institutionalism is not only reductive, but makes it hard to understand what it brings to the table in comparison to the rich scholarship on norm entrepreneurship, diffusion, and localization in the context of international institutions, to which the author only refers partially.

These quibbles notwithstanding, this book provides a very useful portrayal of the space where regional security governance is defined, and of the discursive strategies used by think tanks to increase their influence. The critical distance shown by the author when addressing the way NTS is being framed and its effects on regional security governance is commendable. This book certainly contributes to highlighting the inherent potential of discourse-based work on security regionalism in Asia. Therefore, it should be read by anyone interested in the evolution of regional security governance in Asia and in the role of non-state actors in this process.

Stéphanie Martel, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada

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BILATERAL LEGACIES IN EAST AND SOUTHEAST ASIA. Edited by N. Ganesan. Singapore: ISEAS Publishing, 2015. x, 208 pp. US$29.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4620-41-3.

This book demonstrates clearly that memories of past events as well as the people who participated in creating them can impede current discussions aimed at improving contemporary relationships at the bilateral level. In order to do so the volume’s editor and contributors collectively develop the concepts of legacy and overhang and proceed to use them as tools of analysis as they explain their importance as impediments to successful bilateral interactions between sets of Asian nations. They begin their analysis by noting that interactions among and between nations take place at three levels: the global (or system), the regional (or subsystem) and the bilateral (or nation to nation). They concentrate on the latter, which involves past relationships within historical settings. After reviewing the methodological approaches to analyzing these interactions, they concentrate on bilateralism and the impediments raised by overhangs and legacies and proceed to account for them in five separate but integrated chapters. Each chapter is a case study of a set of interactions involving China-Japan, Japan-Korea, China-Vietnam, Myanmar-Thailand, and Thailand-Cambodia. The chapters “…discuss these bilateral relationships and narrate their importance both in history and the presence, paying special attention to…how these issues became embedded in bilateral discourse, what are the constituencies that invoke them and under what circumstances, and finally, what are the possibilities of such issues eventually fading into the back-ground” (19).

Bilateral legacies are enduring products of past financial and economic conflicts, territorial disputes, tensions, political posturing, security and military threats, armed conflicts, as well as ideological differences that previously arose between two nations. When these legacies fail to fade from memories, the results are hangovers that impede the maturation of amity between nations and over time can lead to enmity. As a result, “…one thing is certain—it is incumbent upon political elites to muster sufficient political will and resources to overcome overhangs or legacies…[and] since such overhangs and legacies obtain within the context of a bilateral relationship, such efforts must be pursued by both countries in the relationship simultaneously to achieve progress” (19).

The volume emphasizes emphatically the point that history matters because legacies and overhangs leave a “…negative perception that derives from historical interactions and subsequently becomes embedded in the psyche of the state, both at the level of the elites and the citizen body” (22). The primary emphases of the volume are to describe in detail how these perceptions came about and to explore ways for decision-makers (mainly political elites) to resolve them in order for effective and mutually beneficial bilateral interactions to take place.

The emphases are core to the chapters and in his concluding segment the editor summarizes their contents and highlights their implications while reaching this caution: “…negative images of neighboring states should not be played up by a state as part of responsible international behavior. It is certainly no way to accrue good will and soft power in the international arena. Consequently the state and its agencies should refrain from utilizing overhangs or legacies in their foreign policy output” (179). Ganesan goes on to add, “…such efforts among its own citizens and fringe groups trying to gain political mileage should be opposed…In order to preserve cordial ties with proximate neighbours” (170). It’s important to note that over time cordial ties are important because environments change, as in the case of China and Vietnam, which “…share a long history of relations market by extended periods of collaboration and shorter periods of military conflict” (95). Depending upon when in the course of historical ebbs and flows discussions take place, hangovers might or might not arise and this makes enduring ties essential.

In addition to the rigor exhibited throughout the volume, important attention is paid to key factors such as the importance of civility and mutual respect among leaders and decision-makers as they conduct foreign affairs. Not only is comity likely to bind neighboring personnel (thereby enhancing the likelihood of reaching mutually advantageous bilateral relationships) but it also could have important spillover effects when it comes to discussions about forming broader regional and subregional arrangements. Mutual cordiality among leaders could help to overcome remnants of hangovers involving the nations that they represent during formative deliberations about the future.

The book’s chapters are organized in a logical and linear fashion, are uniformly well-written, and exhibit an impressive level of scholarship, and while reading through the volume readers are likely to think about other bilateral and regional interactions where legacies and overhangs come to mind. The concepts are not simply academic abstractions. They influence outcomes in terms of how well Southeast Asian national leaders are able to form symbiotic interactions: for example, between Thailand and Malaysia in their cross-border development effort; or among four ASEAN members and Yunnan Province of the People’s Republic of China in their effort to take advantage of the natural economic territory contained in the Greater Mekong Subregion; or among the ten-nation participants in a joint effort to create an ASEAN Economic Community that would enable producers to take advantage of horizontal and vertical market linkages that result in long run efficiencies due to the creation of a larger and more integrated region.

The volume is both interesting and useful, and in the judgement of this reviewer it would provide excellent reading material in either advanced upper division courses or graduate level seminars in fields ranging from international economics to international relations. The chapters can serve as case studies in which an individual student or a student-group could either present analyses of specific chapters to fellow classmates or could discover and analyze bilateral relationships among other nations. In effect, the book’s contents accomplish two tasks: they contribute to the state of knowledge about what scholars and decision-makers know about bilateral relationships and they provide students and teachers with ideas worth pursuing within classroom settings.

Robert L. Curry, Jr., California State University (Emeritus), Sacramento, USA                                

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PARTY SYSTEM INSTITUTIONALIZATION IN ASIA: Democracies, Autocracies, and the Shadows of the Past. Edited by Allen Hicken, Erik Martinez Kuhonta. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. xviii, 354 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$34.99, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-61423-9.

In Party System Institutionalization in Asia, Allen Hicken and Erik Kuhonta assemble an impressive series of chapters with a quality and analytical coherence that is difficult to achieve in an edited volume. Drawing on Samuel Huntington’s concept of institutionalization, along with Scott Mainwaring and Timothy Scully’s later work on party system institutionalization, the authors set out to explain the existence—and non-existence—of institutionalized party systems in Asia.

Political parties, often maligned institutions, are viewed by the authors as central to the health of a democratic system. Party systems with a high degree institutionalization provide citizens with coherent electoral options capable of channeling interests. They act as a bridge between society and government, facilitating accountability. Party systems with a low degree of institutionalization, on the other hand, contain ever-changing partisan options, are often dominated by a leader’s personality, and contain vague platforms. Because they are disciplined and cohesive, institutionalized systems are in a better position to deliver public goods. They can also improve the quality of democracy. As one prominent contributor puts it, institutionalized party systems do not ensure good democratic outcomes, “but in the medium and long terms, it is difficult to have good outcomes under democracy without a reasonably institutionalized system” (344).

In a neatly written introductory chapter, the editors make several key empirical and theoretical contributions. Most obviously, they extend the analysis of party system institutionalization to Asian cases using a comparative approach. Theoretically, they underline the important relationship between authoritarian legacies and party system institutionalization. Those party systems with the highest degree of institutionalization—Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan—all at some point relied on authoritarian rules to constrain competition. Only Taiwan ever made a transition to democracy. Hicken and Kuhonta note, “A highly institutionalized party system…may emerge from the shell of undemocratic politics” (16).

The twelve-country case study chapters are of an impressive quality. Meredith Weiss’s chapter on Malaysia compellingly argues that democratic change seems most plausible during periods of party system deinstitutionalization. The other chapters, focusing on semi-democratic and non-democratic parties, all tend to bring the issue of leadership succession to the fore. Netina Tan argues that routinized leadership recruitment mechanisms in Singapore’s People’s Action Party have entrenched the power of the hegemonic party and contributed to the stability of the regime. Tuong Vu examines temporal periods of institutionalization and deinstitutionalization of the Vietnamese Communist Party through an examination of leadership turnover and the shifting social bases of the party’s elite. Likewise, Yongnian Zheng’s chapter on the Chinese communist party examines intra-party processes and the party’s relationship with society and the state, finding that the party is capable of the adaptation necessary to prevent the rise of an organized opposition. In all these cases, party system institutionalization aids authoritarian survival.

There is little agreement on what, if any, effect electoral systems have on institutionalization. Tun-jen Cheng and Yung-ming Hsu’s chapter on Taiwan suggests single non-transferable voting rules aided party system institutionalization by forcing the nascent opposition to coordinate its electoral activities. Kenneth Mori McElwain thinks those same rules produced a clientelism and weak party identification in Japan, albeit in a stable, predictable pattern of interactions. Hicken’s chapter outlines all the institutional variables that keep the Philippines party system weakly institutionalized, while Csaba Nikolenyi finds that legislative rules against party defection have, to some degree, contributed to party system institutionalization. Institutions matter, but the particular institution and the direction of the effect appear to vary across contexts.

Several chapters present evidence to challenge the theoretical linkage between institutionalized, programmatic parties and desirable outcomes like democratization and the provision of public goods. On the one hand, Kuhonta finds that Thailand’s non-ideological, feckless party system has contributed to regime instability. Yet Paige Johnson Tan argues that the recent success of less-rooted parties in Indonesia may actually reduce potentially dangerous political polarization. Likewise, Joseph Wong’s examination of South Korea demonstrates the possibility of expanding public goods provision in the absence of a strongly institutionalized party system.

While Hicken and Kuhonta extend Mainwaring’s party system institutionalization concept to Asia, Mainwaring himself shows up at the end of the volume to provide his analysis and voice some concerns. Party system institutionalization should be sorted by regime type, insists Mainwaring, as the measures used to study institutionalization in competitive systems are inappropriately applied to hegemonic systems like Malaysia and Singapore. For example, does the Cambodian People’s Party steady collection of around 40 to 50 percent of the electoral vote indicate party system stability or simply the successful manipulation of polls and harassment of opposition? Sorpong Peou’s Cambodian chapter suggests the latter, finding electoral stability is likely “based more on coercion than consent” (232). Mainwaring raises methodological and empirical issues, and notes his skepticism that authoritarianism itself does much to bolster later party system institutionalization. The dialogue between the editors and Mainwaring helps situate the book’s contribution beyond Asia.

The book does not end up providing a clear path forward, both in terms of research agenda and practice. The authors find that existing theories provide minimal insight: democratic experience has not lead directly to party system institutionalization, and electoral engineering is likely to have unpredictable effects. Party system institutionalization may be the legacy of authoritarian policies, but most autocratic regimes in Asia have not arrived at this destination. In terms of democratic longevity, several non-institutionalized systems survive just fine, while Thailand’s recent experience with increasingly programmatic, rooted parties ended poorly. The emergence of institutionalized, programmatic party competition is certainly a worthwhile subject, but the Asian experience offers few lessons as to how a democracy transitions from a non-institutionalized to an institutionalized party system without triggering destabilizing polarization.

Although the empirical findings often challenge existing theories of party system institutionalization—and the editors’ key arguments—the shared analytical focus anchors the book and creates a productive dialogue among contributors. This is a worthwhile volume, containing chapters that can be assigned in class as standalone pieces while reaching a level of rigour that will inform future research.

Nathan Allen, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, Vancouver, Canada                                           

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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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China and Inner Asia


CHINA’S URBAN CENTURY: Governance, Environment and Socio-Economic Imperatives. Edited by François Gipouloux. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015. xxii, 287 pp. (Tables, illustrations.) US$135.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-78471-508-3.

In the field of urban China studies, most scholarship to date is produced by single authors or a small number of collaborators, and it is rare to see large-scale collaborations involving multiple universities and dozens of researchers. China’s Urban Century is an example of such collaboration. It is a collection of articles resulting from a collaborative research project “UrbaChina: Sustainable Urbanization in China,” funded by the European Union from 2011 to 2015. The research team included scholars, practitioners, and policy makers based both in China and Europe, and representing diverse fields such as sociology, geography, planning, design, architecture, and law. The project is collaborative in the true sense, as most chapters are coauthored by Chinese scholars and their European counterparts.

Four cities are featured in the book to examine key issues concerning urban governance: Shanghai, Chongqing, Kunming, and Huangshan. However, it is never explained why these four cities are chosen, especially in the case of Huangshan, a relatively little-known municipality in Anhui Province. To a certain extent, these cities can represent China’s top-tier, second-tier, and small cities, and can offer excellent cases for comparison. But no comparative analyses are attempted, and the selection of the cities seems to be based on convenience, reflecting the home bases of the Chinese contributors to the book.

The theme and organization of the book are a bit puzzling too. The book does not focus on any single theme, but covers a wide range of disparate topics—perhaps out of a concession to the research interests and professional expertise of individual contributors. These various topics— central-local relations, hukou reform, social housing, eco-cities, etc.—are loosely grouped into four sections, and chapters examining similar topics are placed in separate sections.

The book  is a commendable attempt to jointly investigate a wide range of issues on urban social change in China, but unfortunately this collaborative research effort does not go deep enough to generate new insights. Most chapters offer familiar accounts and confirm what we already know. For example, section 1, titled “institutional foundations,” examines the market reform in hukou, land, and housing sectors. Drawing upon secondary literature and policy documents, the discussion reveals that the dual-track land market has created problems for planning and property development (chapters 3 and 4), that the hukou reform lacks serious commitment to improve the social welfare of migrant workers (chapter 5), and that migrant workers have limited access to the formal housing market (chapter 6). Similarly, in section 2, titled “environmental and social infrastructure,” the contributors discuss the well-studied dilemmas faced by local governments in China, such as conflicts between environmental protection and economic growth, and between historical preservation and gentrification.

Chapter 10, on social housing programs, stands out in the book by offering a compelling story of how housing prices and the demographics of migration have shaped local policies on social housing in Shanghai and Chongqing. Elosua and Ni conducted fieldwork interviews and surveys in a number of social housing projects in the two cities. Chongqing has constructed more social housing units than any other Chinese city, and many of its social housing projects are well equipped with infrastructure and amenities, and have decent access to public transit. However, the interviews reveal that migrant tenants want to move out as soon as they can and purchase their own apartments. This is partly due to the relatively low housing prices in Chongqing—i.e., within the reach for skilled migrant workers—but also, the authors tell us that migrant workers resent living with their neighbours, many of whom are resettled local farmers. Compared to Chongqing, Shanghai’s social housing program is minimal. It has only a small number of projects completed and these are mostly reserved for young professional migrants. The social housing projects in Shanghai studied by the authors have few amenities and poor access to public transit. But most tenants expressed a strong desire to stay, as they can take advantage of the cheap rent and also they enjoy living with their neighbours—i.e., other young urban professionals. The study thus reveals the little-known emerging class divisions in China’s new social housing projects.

Instead of trying to be comprehensive, the book could have benefitted from focusing on a smaller number of topics and delving deeper into each of them, perhaps with comparative analyses. For example, it would be a good contribution to the field if the book could illuminate how the various urban planning experiments and policy reforms discussed, such as eco-cities, redevelopment of inner cities, and hukou reforms, are carried out and lead to different outcomes in top-tier, second-tier, medium and small cities.

Overall, this is an admirable group effort by Chinese and European scholars and institutions to jointly study Chinese urbanism. It offers useful narratives that map the macro trends of Chinese urbanization.

Xuefei Ren, Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA                                                                 

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CHINA’S STRATEGIC PRIORITIES. Routledge Contemporary China Series, 138. Edited by Jonathan H. Ping and Brett McCormick. London; New York: Routledge, 2016. xviii, 158 pp. US$140.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-70734-3.

Few areas of research in international policy studies pose more difficulties than China’s strategic thinking because of the political secrecy, irrational decision making, and unpredictable actions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which remains in control of the government, military, and media in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Jonathan Ping and Brett McCormick have edited a collection of essays and provide a new perspective to understanding Chinese strategy by moving their focus away from the usual policy analysis approach and instead examining the relatively neglected topics of Chinese strategic background, military culture, and international environment. Based at prestigious universities and governments in China, the United States, Australia, Mexico, and Europe, the contributors to this volume open up new debates by applying alternate frameworks to theories in strategic studies so that specific policies can be viewed as part of a general pattern that can be tested with greater interpretative power in order to determine the consistent inner logic behind CCP strategic thinking. Their new perspectives offer a better understanding of Chinese strategic issues and operational behaviours, and identify some general trends among Chinese leaders, who face varied international crises and make different choices according to their individual backgrounds and worldviews.

In the first chapter, Andrew Wilson revisits Chinese military classics and challenges “the conventional wisdom” on Chinese strategic culture, such as a defensive tradition and civilian control over the military. He points out that these myths, “reductionist and misleading,” give “dangerously simplistic explanations of Chinese strategic intent and strategic behavior” (8). Su Hao and Cui Yue employ a geopolitical approach in the second chapter and state that the Sanjiangyuan area in China’s west is “the center of gravity” and a strategic priority. Sanjiangyuan is “the origin of the three ‘Mother Rivers’ for the Chinese people: the Yellow River, the Yangtze River, and the Lancang River” (26). In their co-authored chapter, Eric Hyer, Zhang Qingmin, and Jordan Hamzawi examine the influence and impact of domestic politics and public opinion on China’s foreign policy making. Their study indicates that “[m]ultiple international and diverse domestic factors are competing to shape China’s foreign policy acting to both create and prioritize” (57). Gaye Christoffersen exposes a crisis management system among China, Japan, and the United States in China’s regional seas. The chapter identifies “different configurations for [a] crisis management mechanism,” which could escalate tensions in the area (74). Ulises Granados continues the discussion on China’s dispute with Japan over the Senkaku (Diaoyu in Chinese) Islands in the fifth chapter. With an emphasis on the US factor, the essay states that “Washington has the responsibility and the power […] to help de-securitize the Diaoyu/Senkaku issues and lower tensions” (92), which neither Japan nor China is willing or able to do. The next chapter, by Jonathan H. Ping, explains China’s relations with India from a historical perspective, and identifies “the China-India border dispute as a strategic priority for China” (108). In the seventh chapter, Timothy D. Hoyt argues that “the current environment offers new strategic opportunities as well as challenges” for both China and Pakistan (114). After the death of Osama bin Laden, “China’s relationship with Pakistan has been much less volatile than U.S.-Pakistani ties” (116). In the last chapter, Alica Kizekova considers China’s regional leadership role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), including Russia and other countries in Central Asia. She concludes that the SCO serves Beijing’s goal “as a mechanism for enhancing regional security, in order to protect and advance China’s economic cooperation and investments in Central Asia” (142).

According to the book’s editors, the inter-disciplinary research represented in this volume reflects ten years of continuous collaborative endeavour and academic exchanges between the East Asia Security Center at Bond University, the University of New Haven, and the China Foreign Affairs University. Their endeavours move beyond existing scholarly boundaries, seek to spark new debates, and propose to find solutions while reflecting on China’s foreign relations. Crucial to this volume is its assessment of empirical data that places major events in the context of national security, the China-US relationship, and international politics. The book’s comprehensive coverage presents a broad spectrum of knowledge of the on-going debates surrounding Chinese strategic studies. While factors of insecurity and instability remain, China does not enjoy a favourable security environment, a reality it has faced since the founding of the PRC. This volume prepares us for any major and unexpected event for a fairly long period of time into the future. Furthermore, this work does not reject legitimate issues in China’s foreign policy implementation.

Like most other essay collections, however, the volume could not cover all of China’s strategic priorities, such as the issues of the South China Sea, Taiwan, Tibet, Vietnam, and the modernization of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). It did not have the opportunity to look into the CCP’s political culture, which is not only important but also necessary for an understanding China’s most complex and enigmatic strategic priorities. For the PRC, there are more opportunities and challenges, and more hopes and difficulties, ahead. Xi Jinping and his government (2012–2022) are seeking a growing role for China on the global political stage while assuring the international community that China is not pursuing a policy of military and political hegemony in a conventional sense. However, while China is repositioning itself by creating a new centre of gravity in the Asia-Pacific region, its demands will create potential problems. Possible sources of crisis are the highly sensitive and increasingly dangerous issues of the sovereignty of these disputed islands. This collection deserves a close reading, particularly in view of the current tensions in the South China Sea between the PLA and the US Navy.

Xiaobing Li, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, USA                                                             

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REVOLUTIONS AS ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE: The Communist Party and Peasant Communities in South China, 1926–1934. By Baohui Zhang. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2015. 182 pp. (Tables, map.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-988-8208-39-5.

This book originates from a doctoral dissertation presented to the University of Texas at Austin in 1994. Composed of eight chapters, the book evaluates the symbiotic relationship between communal organizations and agrarian revolution in South China. By conceptualizing peasant revolutions as grassroots efforts to subvert and change the sociopolitical structure of communal politics, Zhang argues that the ecological and sociopolitical settings of rural organizations determined the processes, patterns, and outcomes of peasant uprisings. In particular, the institutional setup of communal organizations shaped how peasants acted politically and how they assessed the potential gains and losses from joining the Communist movement (72).

Delving into the theories of Chinese Marxism, moral economy, rational choice, and structural transformation, Zhang highlights the spatial variations of the Communist uprisings in Jiangxi and Hunan provinces. While the Communist cadres had little presence in rural Hunan, tuan-lian (local militias) showed a remarkable ability to organize themselves. They took advantage of the political vacuum created by the advancing Communist-Nationalist troops to launch “spontaneous and radical” revolts against landlords and powerholders in 1926–1927 (22). By comparison, the Communists had great difficulty enlisting the support of lineages in Jiangxi’s revolutionary upheavals of 1929–1934. Because lineage leaders and members were skeptical of the Communists’ vision and remained ideologically “passive and conservative” (2–4; 119), the socialist land reform in Jiangxi was a failure (32).

Much has been written about the diverse patterns of the Chinese Communist mobilization. Zhang’s study substantiates many of the existing scholarly interpretations. First is the localization of the Communist revolution. Along the same reasoning of Elizabeth Perry, Odoric Wou, and Stephen Averill, Zhang reveals the variations of peasant uprisings in Hunan and Jiangxi, places where Mao Zedong and other regional Communist leaders acquired, improved, and mastered the strategy of rural mobilization. Consulting the newly released party documents, Zhang critiques the hagiographic depiction of Mao in the conventional party history. What Zhang presents is a complicated picture of policy adjustments, crisis resolutions, and constant negotiations between Communist outsiders and rural communities. Field operatives, peasant recruiters, and military officials seldom interacted with peasant communities in a vacuum. Their interactions were affected by a range of exogenous and endogenous factors, and a web of human relations that had predated the arrival of the Communist Party. For example, in the interior of Jiangxi, with powerful communal organizations like lineages and bandits, the Communists had to be flexible and accommodative, adapting their revolutionary agendas under different political, socioeconomic, and military circumstances.

The second scholarly interpretation substantiated by Zhang is the crucial role played by extra-local activists. Lacking adequate resources in the initial stage of the revolution, the Communists needed to partner with communal groups. The personalities of the communal strongmen, their predatory and protective operations, and their negotiations with the Party often influenced the recruitment and retention of peasant rebels. When the extra-local cadres’ objectives conflicted with local expectations, tensions and conflicts would escalate into violent confrontations. Consequently, the Communists had to eliminate these communal leaders due to their local allegiances.

Equally important is the persistence of intra-party rivalries between native and extra-local revolutionaries. The multilayered disputes among local Communists, regional party cadres, and top party leaders greatly impacted the process of peasant uprisings. Similar to the communal organizations that they set out to coopt, these Communist tactical units embodied their unique political visions, vested interests, and policy expectations. Cadres of various levels debated about the management of the revolution, the construction of base areas, the advancement of struggle strategies and tactics, and the appropriation of student unions and peasant associations as revolution-building instruments.

Methodologically, Zhang is correct to emphasize the influences of communal contexts on the Communist mobilization. But the analysis remains largely a thematic study of revolutionary politics at the elite level. Though Zhang refers to some examples of co-opting lineages, bandits, and militias, he does not draw on the primary sources to elaborate these issues. Revolving around the Party’s revolutionary policies, his study would be more informative if he reconstructed the diverse patterns of peasant mobilization and consciousness-building efforts in Hunan and Jiangxi.

Furthermore, he has yet to problematize the term “peasant” in the investigation. Using “peasant” as an analytical category allows him to conceptualize an external-turned local agrarian movement. However, the official documents indicate that the peasant supporters came from both rural elites and commoners who often appropriated the Communist support to empower themselves in the local habitus of resource competition. The picture of party-and-community encounters exhibited different patterns and results, and it was filled with angst, violence, and confusion. At the end, the outcome of the revolution lay in the mutual negotiations and situational adaptations undertaken by individual cadres and communal leaders. This calls for a need to reassess the Chinese Communist activities in specific temporal and spatial settings.

Although the book breaks little new ground, non-specialist readers will still benefit from its tightly written summaries of the multiplicity of the Chinese Communist revolution.

Joseph Tse-Hei Lee, Pace University, New York, USA                                                                          

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CHINA’S SPATIAL (DIS)INTEGRATION: Political Economy of the Interethnic Unrest in Xinjiang. Elsevier Asian Studies Series. By Rongxing Guo. Waltham, MA: Chandos Publishing (an imprint of Elsevier), 2015. xxvii, 179 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$141.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-08-100387-9.

This study attempts to assess the causes and patterns of the surge in ethnic conflict between Uighur and Han in China over the past several years. The geographical backdrop is the far northwestern autonomous region of Xinjiang. The author, Rongxing Guo, head of the Regional Economics Committee at Peking University, also takes pains to draw linkages with the experiences and actions of Uighurs living in the inner provinces. Guo puts forth what he portrays as an innovative approach to analyzing the uptick in ethnic violence, one that combines the more familiar historical and social narrative with a less frequently attempted statistical analysis. The result is an often disjointed but occasionally bold study of the unique position of Xinjiang and its titular (though barely) majority Uighur ethnic group within China today.

Most readers are likely to be disappointed by the first half of the book, in which Guo provides a disparate collection of seemingly random anecdotes, summaries of published government reports, and chronologies of ethnic violence in Xinjiang over the past thirty years. It is not clear what the point of many of the author’s personal anecdotes are, other than to underscore the fact that the perception of the likelihood of imminent violence is assuming an ever larger profile in the daily consciousness of Han and Uighur residents in Xinjiang. Guo’s account of how he once learned from a Han friend of his how best to defend himself from a Uighur attack—punch him hard enough in the nose so as to draw blood, since “many Uyghurs are blood-sick” (xxvi)—may help to support a legitimate point in an anthropological report of ethnic relations in Xinjiang. In a study that concludes with policy proposals for how Beijing can best solve ethnic conflict in Xinjiang, however, it is irrelevant at best and offensive at worst.

Throughout his book, Guo evinces an uneasy mix of official government discourse and bold departures from the official line of the Chinese Communist Party. He routinely refers to Uighur “terrorists” without the use of quotation marks or any sort of linguistic qualification, and is prone to uncritical reproductions of official policy statements, such as a reference at one point to the state’s “massive, benevolent, and patriotic policy” (128) of encouraging wealthier coastal provinces to invest in poorer interior regions such as Xinjiang. And yet for a scholar currently affiliated with a Beijing policy outfit, Guo also frequently goes against the grain in his blunt acknowledgements that the PRC has since 1949 consistently failed to solve the problem of ethnic conflict in Xinjiang, and in many ways has adopted policies that have clearly exacerbated the root causes of Uighur discontent. If nothing else, the narrative portions of Guo’s study do effectively confirm what many media reports have increasingly suspected: since the 2013 Uighur car bombing incident at Tiananmen Square, the state has cracked down increasingly hard on areas of suspected Uighur dissent in Xinjiang, raising the specter of an ugly escalation in reciprocal reprisals and suppression.

For anyone lacking advanced training in mathematics, Guo’s statistical analysis in the second half of the book will likely be difficult if not impossible to follow. And yet, assuming his calculations are correct—a judgment this reviewer is unqualified to make—the conclusions he derives from this statistical analysis are far more interesting than those put forth in the narrative portion of his study. In short, Guo finds that among China’s officially recognized fifty-six ethnic groups, the Uighurs represent a rare statistical anomaly as one of the few minority groups whose residence in the inner provinces of the Han heartland does not contribute to a rise in interprovincial trade, in this case with Xinjiang. Guo explains this unexpected finding by reference to the controversial theory that conflict is more common within culturally, linguistically, and ethnically heterogeneous societies than it is within comparatively homogenous ones. Regardless of the validity of this theory, Guo takes it in an interesting direction. First, he claims that the Uighurs, as a Turkic-speaking, Muslim people of “Caucasoid” descent, are the most dissimilar of all China’s fifty-five minority groups when compared to the majority Han. Guo explicitly contrasts this with the Tibetans, who, as a Sino-Tibetan-speaking, Buddhist people of “Mongoloid” descent are supposedly much more similar to the Han, and thus able to better encourage economic exchange between Tibet and those inner provinces where Tibetans reside in large numbers.

Ultimately, Guo concludes that ethnic integration and mixing is not necessarily a good thing for China, especially between two population groups evincing such dramatic linguistic, religious, and cultural differences. The chief reason for this, according to Guo, is that the dramatic disparity in income equality seen among Uighur and Han communities in Xinjiang—blamed here on post-1949 economic investment strategies weighted heavily toward official state enterprises and the Han workers they employed—are likely to be interpreted by the less economically privileged group through an explicitly ethnic lens, thus giving rise to ethnic conflict and mutual economic distrust. Guo concludes his study with several policy recommendations. First, the state should attempt to reduce income inequality among Uighur and Han in Xinjiang, something that Guo doubts the state will be able to do. Failing that, Guo recommends that Beijing consider dividing Xinjiang into two smaller jurisdictional units, with the goal of providing the Uighurs with a relatively homogenous political unit of their own that could better reflect the “autonomous” moniker currently appended to the increasingly Han-dominated provincial-level unit of Xinjiang itself. As a final step, he even suggests granting this new autonomous Uighur jurisdiction—i.e., southern Xinjiang, or Altishahr—a political status akin to that which Hong Kong abides by.

Though Guo’s recommendations are unlikely to be adopted by Beijing, it is interesting to note the striking parallels they share with Chinese administrative strategies in Xinjiang from an earlier era. Like Yang Zengxin, the first Han governor of Xinjiang during the Republican era (1912–1949), Guo is advocating a policy of deliberate ethnic segregation as a means of lessening the likelihood of ethnic conflict. And like the Nationalist government of the 1940s, he is proposing the carving up of China’s largest provincial-level unit into various smaller jurisdictional units as a means of meeting demands for ethnic self-government. It seems that Xinjiang is still beset by the same problems, the same ever-present spectre of ethnic conflict, and the same policy proposals. Unfortunately, there is no reason to suspect that the Chinese central government will be any more successful in this endeavour today than it was in the last century.

Justin M. Jacobs, American University, Washington DC, USA                                                           

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MEETING CHINA HALFWAY: How to Defuse the Emerging US-China Rivalry. By Lyle J. Goldstein. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2015. vi, 389 pp. (Figures.) US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-62616-160-3.

Agreement is virtually unanimous in the United States, certainly within the foreign affairs establishment, that war with China must be avoided: that it would be disastrous for the United States, for China, and for the world. The issue for specialists, in and out of the government, is how best to serve US interests in the context of China’s rise. How can the “Thucydides’ trap”—of conflict triggered by the emergence of a new contender for world power—be avoided as tensions mount, especially in the South China Sea?

Early in his presidency, Barack Obama reached out to China in an attempt to improve relations. Beijing did not reciprocate. China became more assertive, most recently in its construction of military bases in the South China Sea. Then, in 2011, the Obama administration announced its “pivot” (later “rebalance”) to Asia, confirming Chinese suspicion of US intent to contain China, to hamper its rise.

The community of American policy makers and scholars concerned with US-China relations divides between those who would appease (not meant pejoratively) China and those who would confront China. The men and women who argue for appeasement insist that the Chinese threaten no vital American interest. Those demanding confrontation argue that the Chinese are hostile to the United States and all it stands for—that the enmity is indisputable—and it is essential to push back, to avoid being perceived as weak.

Lyle Goldstein is a superb analyst (albeit a less than superb historian), well read in the relevant Chinese literature. In this book he offers a carefully reasoned argument, reflected in the title. His argument is not to my taste. I confess to being more confrontational, less willing to put aside human rights issues (the Chinese government ceased perceiving me as a “friend of China” after my reaction to the Tiananmen massacres). I must acknowledge, however, that Goldstein offers a very well-conceived series of steps both sides can take to alleviate tension, and avoid conflict. He calls them “cooperation spirals” (confidence-building measures) that will allow the two states to cooperate in the twenty-first century. His proposals are comprehensive, with chapters on concerns over Taiwan, economic issues, the environment, activities in the developing world, the Middle East, Korea, Southeast Asia, and India.

My reservations begin with his contention that the United States should be more accommodating because of US participation in the multilateral imperialism in China during the “hundred years of humiliation.” His history of early Chinese-American relations is reasonably fair, but one-sided. He ignores the Chinese mistreatment of Westerners that led to American gunboats on the Yangtze. Whatever guilt Americans should have felt was surely mitigated by the aid (admittedly modest) to China in the 1930s and during World War II—and all that the United States has done since the 1980s to make China’s rise possible. And a student of Chinese history might wonder how much guilt the Chinese feel for what they’ve done to their neighbours in days gone by.

Similarly, his use of Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s willingness to abandon Taiwan in 1949–1950 neglects the context (see Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, Patterns in the Dust, Columbia, 1983). Acheson despised Chiang Kai-shek and saw no reason to allow a nasty dictator, hated by the people of the island, to stand in the way of his efforts to reach accommodation with the People’s Republic. Today we are dealing with a democratic state whose people have no interest in reunification with the Mainland. Goldstein’s contention that Ma Ying-jeou succeeded in building a consensus for his policies of accommodation with Beijing has been proven false since Goldstein wrote the book.

Like most of us, Goldstein finds persuasive writers whose work fits his argument—and others less so. I was amused by his praise for Henry Kissinger’s pathetic On China (Penguin, 2011). On Taiwan, one of the more blatant examples of gamesmanship occurs when he finds Charles Glaser’s argument for eliminating the Taiwan issue persuasive and dismisses the reply by Nancy Bernkopf Tucker (my late wife) and Bonnie Glaser. At a panel at the Center for Strategic and Internal Studies (CSIS), Tucker and Bonnie Glaser easily shredded Charles Glaser’s argument—an outcome he, an exceptionally thoughtful scholar, would readily concede. Goldstein is far too ready to have the United States push Taiwan toward reunification, a decision for which the people of Taiwan are entitled to a say.

Among his cooperation spirals, several seem laughable. Getting any Japanese prime minister—let alone Shinzo Abe—to go to Nanjing to apologize for the Nanjing massacre is surely a non-starter, as is imagining the US forcing Israel to surrender its nuclear weapons. Expecting Beijing to agree to allow labour unions independent of the Communist Party or to agree to allow strict and intrusive verification of a climate change agreement are surely fantasies. But Goldstein would be the first to acknowledge that not all of his proposals are practical and he calls for other suggestions. His key point is that a spiral of cooperation is essential to avoid a senseless war—and it would be absurd to disagree.

Given existing mistrust, how can you get this started? How can one trust a Chinese government that first denies transgressions—proliferation, cybersecurity, militarization of South China Sea “islands”—and only under pressure agrees to stop doing what it earlier claimed it wasn’t doing? Can a repressive, authoritarian dictatorship and a liberal democracy ever trust each other? But there is a consensus among foreign affairs specialists that policy has failed. Surely a modified Goldstein approach is worth a try.

Warren I. Cohen, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC, USA                                                                                             

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CHINA’S FOREIGN AID AND INVESTMENT DIPLOMACY, VOLUME I: Nature, Scope, and Origins. By John F. Copper. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. xi, 282 pp. US$121.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-55181-8.

CHINA’S FOREIGN AID AND INVESTMENT DIPLOMACY, VOLUME II: History and Practice in Asia, 1950-Present. By John F. Copper. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. xii, 273 pp. US$121.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-55182-5.

CHINA’S FOREIGN AID AND INVESTMENT DIPLOMACY, VOLUME III: Strategy Beyond Asia and Challenges to the United States and the International Order. By John F. Copper. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. xii, 317 pp. US$121.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-55183-2.

This three-volume work by John Copper provides a comprehensive and detailed examination of China’s foreign aid and investment diplomacy from the tribute trade to the present. As the title suggests, the lens through which foreign aid and investment are viewed is that of diplomacy, an examination of the aims and purposes of what Copper frequently terms “China’s generosity.” The result of this examination is to illuminate how this generosity has been an important part of China’s strategy to win friends and influence others over a long historical period as well as having a strong moral basis in terms of assisting others. This in itself provides a contrasting starting point from other works which emphasize China’s dealings with dictators and a self-interested quest for resources in return for aid and investment. These latter topics are included and discussed in Copper’s book too but his different starting point leads him to be more sympathetic than many.

Volume 1 provides an introduction to the definitions and measurement of foreign aid and investment, setting out distinctions which are used throughout the book in regional case studies. Also included in this volume are chapters on China’s worldview (which introduces the moral basis for foreign aid and investment going back to the tribute system, and the system of international relations which underpinned it in which obligation played an important role), China’s economy and the role that foreign aid and investment diplomacy have played in it, and China’s foreign policy.

In volume 2, the four chapters focus on China’s foreign aid and investment diplomacy in Asia, the region that has received the majority of China’s aid and investment, from 1950 to the present. The chapters examine Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Northeast and Central Asia, with a fourth chapter analyzing the “special case” of Taiwan and the use of aid and investment diplomacy to isolate it.

The third volume, like the other two, also contains four chapters, with the first three expanding the regional theme to cover Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Oceania. Of these three chapters, Africa receives two to itself while the other regions share one chapter. The final chapter in the volume is a long concluding chapter which brings the various parts together.

Taken together, the volumes provide an invaluable source for scholars and students interested in the subject matter. The coverage is comprehensive and by providing a longer historical view they offer the reader a more nuanced understanding of contemporary “China’s rise” and “new colonialism” literature, which likes to draw upon some of the same examples and trends for its arguments, such as China’s massive projects building dams, pipelines, and economic zones around the world,. Each chapter is detailed, well researched, and well referenced.

The comprehensiveness of the regional studies and the historical span are obvious strengths and result, in part, from the luxury of a three-volume set rather than the standard-length monograph. The downside, as one might expect, is the exorbitant cost of the set. For those working closely in the field, though, it will be a worthwhile source for at least two reasons. The first is somewhat technical but nevertheless important. That is the discussion of the definition and measurement of foreign aid and investment. Copper lays out the data and interpretation problems very clearly and doesn’t hide his view that much of the data is either unavailable or very problematic. He reviews the Chinese and Western/international differences in the concept of foreign aid and the difficulties in creating comparable, reliable data for China. Having made his best guess, he concludes that China’s aid has, in fact, been significantly higher than most estimates put it. Topics such as whether and under what conditions central bank currency swaps, for example, constitute “foreign aid” may seem rather arcane but it is this type of careful scholarship which is needed to get a firmer grasp of the dimensions of China’s foreign aid and the problematic nature of the data that might be reported by international institutions. The blurred lines in practice as to what constitutes foreign aid and what constitutes foreign investment is also a salutary lesson, even more so when we learn that the conceptual differences are blurred too for many Chinese officials.

The second major contribution of the set is in its setting out of the different factors in play in China’s diplomacy with the various regions analyzed. Part of the volumes’ narrative shows how China’s motives changed over time and how foreign aid and investment diplomacy has been subject to various phases in line with its political upheavals and cycles. This will not come as a surprise to readers although here it is still useful to note the various shifts in the composition of aid over time, such as the role of military aid and medical aid in previous phases compared to the dominance of infrastructure in the current period. Copper effectively lays out the transition from aid giver under Mao to the world’s largest aid recipient in 1989 to being now potentially (or actually, depending on source) the largest global foreign aid provider and investor. These phases are accompanied by detailed analysis of the shifts in country focus and policy that went with them. Beyond this, the variation in experiences across the various regions even within the same phases constitutes an interesting contribution. By describing the ways in which China has used aid and investment in the different regions of the world, the book provides a rich analysis and a useful antidote to accounts which tend to treat China as one large, homogenous actor. As examples, we learn that China became actively involved in peacekeeping and, in 2006, “became the largest contributor of personnel to UN peacekeeping operations among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council” (volume 1, 25) in part because the People’s Liberation Army had changed its position on peacekeeping. Of course, the economic ministries have also been heavily involved in the provision of financial aid packages to countries experiencing crises.

There is, therefore, much detail in the regional chapters which scholars will find useful. This is Copper’s strong suit. When he moves to the larger topics of assessing whether China’s aid and investment is “good” or “bad” or is challenging “the West,” the analysis becomes less convincing. At times, Copper comes across as too much of a champion for Beijing in his contextualizing of China’s motives and in his relativism in judging their impacts. At others, however, he seems too keen to provide a contrast between China and other countries. For example, China, we are told, has been “very aggressive in using foreign assistance to help its own economy” whereas, apparently, the United States “has not promoted American business abroad as in the past because its critics find it distasteful if not morally wrong to do this” (volume 3, 192). There is certainly much that could be argued with here. Taken together the volumes do, however, provide us with a sound empirical basis on which to enter such arguments.

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

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ASSESSING CHINA’S POWER. Asian-Palgrave Macmillan Series. Edited by Jae Ho Chung. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. xiv, 299 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$38.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-137-53707-2.

In recent decades there has been a great deal of debate about China’s growing power, as scholars attempt to understand the implications of China’s “rise” for East Asia, the United States, and the larger international community. This book addresses important questions about China’s emergence as a regional and global power through an analysis of the topic from a variety of perspectives. Bringing together thirteen prominent China scholars from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Australia, the People’s Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea, this volume offers a comprehensive assessment of China’s national power that is notable for both its breadth and depth. Each chapter follows a similar pattern in identifying specific criteria for evaluating Chinese power, reviewing recent developments, comparing China’s power to that of the United States, and projecting future directions.

In his introductory chapter, editor Jae Ho Chung identifies three schools of thought with regard to China’s rise to global power: the “Confident School,” the “Pessimist School,” and the “Uncertain School.” The contributors to this volume tend to fall into the latter camp, which recognizes that China has the potential to become a great power or even a hegemon, but acknowledges that there is a great deal of uncertainty in this process and that China faces numerous challenges and problems along the way. As a result, Chung advocates “careful empirical investigations from multiple angles and perspectives” (3). That is exactly what Assessing China’s Power delivers to its readers.

The initial chapters examine domestic aspects of China’s rising power, such as economic growth and governance. Tony Saich, for example, explores how economic development has changed Chinese society, creating a large middle class that is both connected to the global economy and active on social media. Despite these changes, the Chinese Communist Party has maintained its “authoritarian resilience” and Saich finds that Chinese citizens have increasing confidence in the central government. Local officials, on the other hand, face significant criticism and protests, which remains a daunting challenge as Chinese leaders grapple with corruption and the changing expectations of the Chinese people.

Andrew Erickson, Michael S. Chase, and Kevin Pollpeter analyze recent PRC military developments in air, naval, nuclear, space, and cyber war capabilities. All argue that the Chinese military has made significant progress in recent decades, but China’s overall weapons systems and capabilities remain far behind those of the United States. Chinese officials have concentrated on quality, rather than quantity, seeking to develop a military force sufficient to deter foreign intervention along China’s periphery and coastal areas. Thus, rather than challenge the United States in numbers of ships, missiles, or nuclear warheads, the Chinese military hopes to maintain a zone of influence in the region using a strategy of “deterrence by denial” (86). Cyber warfare, as a way to offset the advantage of any high-tech opponent, plays a central role in this strategy and the People’s Liberation Army has devoted significant resources to this area.

Evaluating China’s normative or “soft” power poses special problems, but some of the volume’s contributors offer detailed analyses of China’s ability to influence other states. Hankwon Kim argues that while China has made great strides in developing its economic and military power, it lags behind in terms of “soft power.” Chinese leaders have attempted to present China as an appropriate model for developing states, but with minimal results. Ann Kent points out that China’s global influence has increased with its greater involvement in the international community, but China retains a deep-seated determination to uphold its traditional notions of national sovereignty. This limits China’s willingness to participate in collective interventions in other areas of the world and leads Chinese leaders to view with skepticism Western suggestions that China should be a “good citizen” and take on greater international responsibilities.

David Kang and Evelyn Goh see China’s relations with its neighbors as an important window on China’s role in the larger global community. While acknowledging that the South China Seas dispute is the most likely flashpoint for regional conflict, both see signs of stability despite China’s new military capabilities and growing assertiveness in regional affairs. Kang points to static or declining military budgets among Northeast Asian states, including Taiwan, as an indication that China’s neighbors do not feel the need to match China’s military spending. He finds little difference between those that have military ties to the United States and those that do not. Goh argues that while China has had a profound economic impact on Southeast Asia, most of these states desire a strong American presence in the region, which they hope will serve as a balance to growing Chinese power.

In the final section, Suisheng Zhao and Zhimin Chen explore Chinese perspectives on China’s rise as a global power, particularly in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. They conclude that Chinese elites now see themselves as global leaders and have adopted a more assertive and proactive foreign policy. As Chen puts it, there is a new sense of national strength among Chinese leaders who no longer see China as a “weaker member among the second-tier great powers of the world” (286). These leaders also have a keen interest in assessing China’s global influence and researchers in Chinese think tanks are hard at work seeking empirical data with which to better measure China’s normative power.

All of the authors contributing to this volume offer intelligent analysis of recent developments, ongoing challenges, and likely future directions as China continues its rise within the global community. The essays are remarkably coherent and complimentary, collectively providing a comprehensive assessment of China’s economic, military, normative, regional, and global power. As such, this is an important and useful book for anyone interested in contemporary Chinese affairs.

Peter Worthing, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, USA                                                          

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CHINA’S MACAO TRANSFORMED: Challenge and Development in the 21st century. Edited by Eilo W.Y. Yu, Ming K. Chan. Kowloon: City University of Hong Kong Press, 2014. cv, 411 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$38.00, paper. ISBN 978-962-937-207-1.

This edited volume of eighteen essays could not have come at a better time than 2014, which marked the fifteenth anniversary of the establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR), as well as the first decade of Vegas-style entertainment entering Macao. The eighteen essays, containing much useful and updated data, treat an array of post-handover issues and phenomena pertaining to vital domains wherein Macao, as a unique city under the framework of “One Country, Two Systems,” grows and morphs; topics explored are grouped into, namely, 1) legal and political dimensions; 2) socio-economic dimensions; 3) identity, education, and cultural dimensions; and 4) external links.

Preluding the volume’s interdisciplinary discussion are two overviews by Zhiliang Wu (xxxv–liv) and Jorge Rangel (lv–lxii), who offer their analytical observations of post-handover Macao from local Chinese and Luso-Macanese perspectives, respectively. The overviews are immediately followed by Ming Chan’s historical sketch (lxiii–cv), which outlines Macao’s recent changes and developments through examining Luso legacies in Macao as well as post-colonial changes, breakthroughs, and readjustments in the MSAR.

Part 1 contains four essays that focus on legal and political matters. In chapter 1, Herbert Yee evaluates the implementation of “One Country, Two Systems” in the MSAR and argues that “the trend of ‘mainlandization”’ (4) could jeopardise the city’s future development. Bill Chou demonstrates in chapter 2 how the MSAR government has been negatively impacted by inadequate autonomy, inadequate representativeness, and inadequate civic participation. In chapter 3, Jorge Godinho assesses the representativeness and legitimacy of chief executive and legislature elections. Asking a similar question of legitimacy and representativeness, Bruce Kwong in chapter 4 reviews the 2009 chief executive election. The essays in this part share a collective hope that a higher degree of public involvement in electoral procedures will be beneficial to the MSAR political landscape.

The three essays in part 2 analyse Macao’s transformation from a socio-economical perspective. In chapter 5, Sonny Lo looks at the city’s casino capitalism and examines the implications of its impact on Macao’s society, politics, and economy. Ricardo Siu and Miao He conduct a case study of VIP gambling rooms in Macao in chapter 6, in which they offer a comparative analysis of the Macao gambling room model and the Las Vegas casino resort model, and investigate the potential, obstacles, and tensions of integrating the two models. In chapter 7, Eilo Yu, Emma Lao, and Duncan Cheong paint a scenario of e-politics in Macao by presenting analytical readings of how young people, including university students, engage themselves in cyber politics and how such online platforms have enabled and promoted a continuous growth of a new socio-political voice in Macao.

Part 3 houses five essays that look at Macao’s culture, identity, and education. Jean Berlie studies in chapter 8 the identity of Macao Chinese by making reference to aspects including language use, social problems, and association membership. In chapter 9, Malte Kaeding offers an interesting analysis of how the Macao identity has been and continues to be formed by looking into the cultural identities and civic identity present in the city, and by identifying and interpreting indicators for a Macao identity. In chapter 10, Benson Wong, while addressing issues pertaining to education reform, argues that teacher professionalism in Macao is essentially a political matter and that Macao and Hong Kong share a few factors leading to the underdevelopment of teacher professionalism. Hayes Tang in chapter 11 evaluates the ecology of higher education in Macao and expresses concern for the phenomenon of academic capitalism in Macao that will likely threaten academic autonomy and hamper positive advancement of skills and the quality of the city’s workforce. Through reviewing four heritage dispute cases—the municipal market of S. Lourenço, the Social Welfare Bureau building (affectionately known as laam ook jaai 藍屋仔, or “the blue house”), the Guia Lighthouse, and the Mong Ha Military Barracks, Derrick Tam evaluates in chapter 12 the negotiating forces of heritage production, tourism, and urban planning in Macao.

The three essays in the eclectic part 4 present different types of external links Macao has. José Matias presents in chapter 13 how Macao has developed into a hub that bridges China and Portuguese-speaking countries. In chapter 14, Minxing Zhao examines how the case of Macao’s Banco Delta Asia, a bank blacklisted by the US Treasury Department in 2005 for “its alleged involvements in facilitating North Korea’s illicit financial activities” (365), was only an isolated event which really played to the US’s foreign policy objectives. In chapter 15, Cathryn Clayton looks at three types of internationalisation, namely, making globality, making locality, and globalising the local, in an attempt to venture a description of a/the local identity in post-colonial Macao.

This collection of essays makes a valuable contribution to the study of contemporary Macao as well as modern China. The chapters are appropriately dialogical and balanced in terms of perspectives, although, if the reviewer may, the inclusion of a discussion of Macao’s increasingly vibrant performing arts scene and creative industry would have made the volume even more comprehensive. This reviewer would not hesitate to recommend China’s Macao Transformed to students and researchers who wish to have an organic understanding of China’s “One Country, Two Systems.”

Katrine K. Wong, University of Macau, Macao SAR, China                                                               

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TONGZHI LIVING: Men Attracted to Men in Postsocialist China. By Tiantian Zheng. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. 244 pp. US$27.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8166-9200-2.

The anthropologist Tiantian Zheng has combined exhaustive fieldwork with a sophisticated theoretical framework to produce an informative ethnography of homosexual men in the city of Dalian in northeast China. Her incisive analysis lends this book significance far beyond the ostensible subject matter. By describing a despised minority subculture in such detail, the author provides a unique perspective on issues central to contemporary Chinese society and politics, including the construction and maintenance of hierarchy, mechanisms of social control, and the allocation of status.

The author avoids using the term gay, which implies the public affirmation of sexual orientation, political action, and a globalized sexuality based on Western norms. Instead she employs the terminology that her subjects use and calls them tongzhi (comrades). This appellation began as a mocking appropriation of communist jargon, which an oppressed group ironically redefined to stake out a nonconformist identity.

Unlike Western gay identity, tongzhi divide themselves into two discrete categories. They call men who take the insertive role in intercourse by the number 1, while sexually passive men are known as 0s. Identifying one another by sexual position replicates the heterosexual division between male and female roles. As with men and women in the straight world, tongzhi have different expectations for 1s and 0s. They assume that the 1 in a relationship will be the breadwinner and provide financial support for the 0.

Tongzhi have to cope with fierce prejudice from government functionaries, coworkers, and family members. Faced with intense hostility from key institutions, tongzhi rarely dare to come out of the closet or engage in activism. To the contrary, they actively collaborate with the state and strive to be accepted by the dominant culture, thus weakening their collective solidarity. Foreign mass media depict the globalized gay lifestyle in positive terms, making tongzhi acutely aware of their predicament. As a result, they find themselves trapped between their desires and circumstances. While tongzhi long to embrace a Westernized gay identity, they have no choice but to remain hidden. To deal with this contradiction, they outwardly pretend to conform to social norms. An estimated 90 percent enter into sham heterosexual marriages. But behind this protective façade, they construct a parallel secret life.

Unlike the West, where religious beliefs drive homophobia, in China this prejudice originates in secular society. Zheng accounts for the disdain toward tongzhi as an outgrowth of the national strengthening ideology that developed in the late Qing dynasty and early twentieth century. Ever since the May Fourth movement, Chinese have consciously manipulated gender roles to try to increase national strength. Because they associate homosexuality with decadence and effeminacy, they consider it a threat to the nation. Most Chinese regard tongzhi with contempt, seeing them as akin to traitors.

The title of this book emphasizes the importance of the postsocialist nature of Chinese society to understanding this minority. Extreme inequality permeates contemporary China, making class consciousness a major factor in the personal identity of individual tongzhi. Because they come from every stratum, their community is riven by inequalities of income, power, and status. Tongzhi tend to follow the example of mainstream society and define themselves through consumption. So despite the persecution they face, tongzhi end up adhering to the state’s official line by eschewing activism and devoting themselves to work and shopping.

Zheng explores relationships between men of different economic backgrounds, which often involve the exchange of gifts or money. Although tongzhi of various social stations interact to some degree in person and online, they exclude one group from their community. Tongzhi of all backgrounds are extremely hostile toward internal migrants. Lacking education, connections, and resources, migrant tongzhi often end up working as low-end male prostitutes. Because of their debased status, other tongzhi regard migrants as polluted and dangerous and treat them with disdain.

The author has previously done extensive fieldwork on HIV/AIDS in China, and this book includes a chapter describing tongzhi involvement in these organizations. Because almost all of the staff at Chinese HIV organizations are tongzhi, becoming involved in the cause is one of the only ways for them to interact directly with mainstream society and the state. HIV organizations serve as de facto tongzhi clubs, and men use them to socialize and find sex partners. Surprisingly, Zheng documents embezzlement at one of these organizations, where senior staff siphon off funds donated by the government and charities. But by succumbing to the dishonesty that pervades postsocialist society, tongzhi end up undermining the organizations that provide them refuge.

Although Tiantian Zheng’s professed subject matter is the ethnography of homosexual men in a single city, this book opens up unique perspectives on the current state of Chinese society as a whole. The oppression suffered by tongzhi provides a detailed case study of the mechanics of social and political control in contemporary China. Although tongzhi have been marginalized and forced underground, they nevertheless embrace the dominant values that underpin the postsocialist order. They avoid activism, and instead devote themselves to work and consumption. They replicate the general class hierarchy within their own community. And they present themselves to outsiders as complying with the norms that oppress them. The surprising conformity of this persecuted group goes a long way toward explaining how the Chinese Communist Party maintains power in the face of so many challenges.

Bret Hinsch, Fo Guang University, Jiaoxi, Taiwan                                                                             

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THE CHINA BOOM: Why China Will Not Rule the World. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Ho-fung Hung. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015, c2016. xxiv, 232 pp. (Illustrations, map.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16418-4.

In The China Boom: Why China Will Not Rule the World, John Hopkins-based sociologist Ho-fung Hung sets out to challenge the conventional view that China’s development path is unique and can offer an alternative growth model for emerging nations. Not only is Hung able to convincingly demonstrate that mainstream conceptions of so-called “Chinese capitalism” are wrong; rather, such views are creating intellectual blinders that fail to see the risk of China’s looming economic downfall. Drawing on socio-economic theorists such as Marx and Weber, the study offers a strong historical account of China’s turbulent development path towards an authoritarian capitalist state.

Hung’s thought-provoking analysis centres on what he sees as two dominant myths within the political economy literature. First, he rejects the notion that China has seen an ideological split from its Maoist beginnings that has brought about a radically unique pro-capitalist state. Rather, China’s development path has been continuous and the result of institutional foundations established under Maoist policy. Indeed, Hung argues that capitalism in China has developed through historical state-institution building, geo-political interests, and volatile state-society social relations.

Second, Hung contends that China’s ascent does not pose a subversive risk to the current Bretton Woods-centric economic system. Citing American economic and militaristic hegemony, he points to China’s dependency on the US consumer market with Beijing readily serving as a principle financier through US Treasury bonds to ensure its stability. As Hung writes, “the China boom relies on the global free-market instituted and warranted by the United States. It is thus far from China’s interest to undermine the global neoliberal status quo and U.S. leadership in it” (174). This leads to a convincing argument that China is not driving a radical restructuring of global power.

The book is divided into two parts, the first focusing on the emergence of the capitalist system in China, while the second discusses China’s impact on the global economic system. It is here that Hung lays out his argument for what he sees as the inevitable collapse of China’s growth success. Not only does Hung’s study present a rigorous yet concise account of China’s political economy, it does so within the important context of East Asia’s historical growth model.

The book begins with an account of imperial China’s development patterns within the constraints of the centralized paternalistic state. Hung notes how capitalism was constrained by the government, which saw wealth accumulation as a threat to social stability, and the “elites failure to build a coherent, strong state machinery necessary for surplus centralization and state-led industrialization in the nineteenth and early twentieth century” (33). The following two chapters discuss China’s mid-nineteenth century failed attempt to follow Europe’s industrialization path. It would not be until the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took power that a successful model of primitive accumulation was introduced in an effort to re-direct wealth from the countryside to the cities. According to Hung, the result led to state-owned industrial capital and infrastructure that was then leveraged through post-Maoist market reform. This allowed Beijing to develop an export-oriented modernization program that benefited from the Cold War economic policies of the United States and the strengthening of East Asian capitalist markets.

It is not until chapter 4 where the book shifts attention towards Hung’s premise on the possible risk and rewards associated with China’s unsustainable growth. Although Hung sees China’s impact on global inequality as significant, he is skeptical if such a trend will continue, especially as China’s per-capita income rises higher than global averages. He also challenges the belief that the developing world will benefit from China’s growth. In chapters 5 and 6, Hung then rejects the view that China is challenging American hegemony. In building his case, he draws on the dominance of the US dollar and military power. He rightly argues that this “twin dominance” will continue shaping the world with China at best emerging as a “new power in an old order.” Indeed, Beijing is dependent on US market strength to support its export-oriented economy since its domestic market is weak. As evidence, Hung points to Beijing’s overinvestment through deficit spending, consumer under-consumption, and China’s general internal wealth imbalance.

While Hung’s assessment is convincing, it offers little in terms of solutions other than a vague commentary on the urgent need for social and political reform. While questioning if China’s authoritarian state can sustain itself without reform, he leaves the reader guessing what such a massive undertaking would look like in a country dominated by an entrenched communist party with over 80 million members. Furthermore, Hung’s position can present itself as overly alarmist. For example, Hung writes, “The imminent and inevitable readjustment of the Chinese economy is poised to create significant repercussions throughout the world” (176). The reader is again left grasping for more direction on what to expect if China is indeed leading the world towards global economic imbalance.

Despite these limitations, Hung’s work is important and will be of interest to those looking for an alternative account for understanding China’s capitalist rise. What’s more, the book should be mandatory reading for anyone concerned with transnational economic policy planning. The China boom is not to be underestimated.

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

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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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Northeast Asia


ART, LITERATURE, AND THE JAPANESE AMERICAN INTERNMENT: On John Okada’s No-No Boy. American Culture (Frankfurt am Main, Germany), Bd. 12. By Thomas Girst. New York: Peter Lang, 2015. 261 pp. (Figures.) US$64.95, cloth. ISBN 978-3-631-65937-3.

Before approaching Thomas Girst’s erudite study of Art, Literature and the Japanese American Internment, one should read John Okada’s No-No Boy (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2014 ed. [originally published in 1957]). No-No Boy is an eminently readable novel about the inner turmoil and self-doubt of a young, sensitive Japanese American war resister who returns home to Seattle after his release from prison following the Second World War (see book review of an earlier edition by Gordon Hirobayashi, Pacific Affairs 53, no. 1 [Spring 1980]: 176-177). Okada in No-No Boy uses fiction to reveal the diversity of opinion within the Japanese American community about the war, internment, military service, citizenship, and the United States. In his study, Thomas Girst analyzes the broad significance of Okada’s novel to the developing canon of Asian American literature as well as No-No Boy’s place within a wider world literature. Focusing on the cultural trajectory of Japanese American internment, both during and after the Second World War, Girst also investigates how art, prose, and poetry emerged despite the restraints of manipulation, propaganda, and censorship.

Art, Literature and the Japanese American Internment begins with an introduction: “Japanese American Internment and the Holocaust.” One of the questions that Girst raises is “how scholarship on the arts and the Holocaust can be applied or be of use while examining artistic forms of expression revolving around the Japanese American internment camp experience” (14). He argues that artists caught in the unspeakable tragedy of the German concentration camps in the Second World War were still able to demonstrate the incredible ability of people to retain their humanity. It was this basic approach, derived from the horrors of Nazi Germany, which provided guidance for Girst’s analysis of the Japanese American internment experience.

Chapter 1 is the longest, fifty-eight pages, dealing with “Artistic Expression and Internment,” and it is divided into four subsections, two of which deal with two specific artists, Isamu Noguchi and Miné Okubo, while the other two investigate “camp photography” and “prose and poetry.” Girst points out that “[a]rt in the camps was about creating harmony and aesthetic reprieve from the harsh camp environment” (36). He stresses that art “could also become a retainer for remembrance—constructed as private and individual or collective and cultural” (42). Ruth Ozeki, in her foreword to the 2014 edition of No-No Boy, quotes Okada as writing that “only in fiction can the hopes and fears and joys and sorrows of people be adequately recorded” (No-No Boy 2014 edition, Ozeki foreword, xvii).

Chapter 2 investigates “No–No Boys, Draft Resisters, and the Origins of Asian American Studies.” This provides helpful information concerning the history of No-No Boys and the resistance to the draft among Japanese American internees. It also looks at the postwar history of the struggle to establish Asian American studies at American universities. Girst contends that “it is only with this background in mind that the discovery, early reception and institutionalization of Okada’s No-No Boy can be fully comprehended” (113).

Chapter 3 looks at “John Okada, Writer and World War II Veteran.” Here, Girst provides biographical details of Okada’s life. While Okada was interned for a short time in 1942 in Minidoka camp in Idaho, he did (in sharp contrast to the protagonist in his novel) volunteer for the armed forces and saw service with the United States Air Force in the Pacific theatre and later as an interpreter for a few months with the US Occupation Forces in Japan. Returning to Seattle in 1946, he went to university, graduating in English and dramatic writing from Washington University, receiving an MA in teaching English from Columbia University, and finally a second BA in library science from Washington University. Married with children, Okada made his living in the business world. Although he wrote a second book, it was never published and the manuscript was lost amidst the changes in family fortunes resulting from his sudden death in 1971 at the early age of forty-seven.

Chapter 4 analyzes “Reading No-No Boy as World Literature.” Girst’s close reading of No-No Boy reveals that Okada’s educational background allowed him to use a wide spectrum of European literary techniques in creating a complex multi-layered novel. Girst also draws heavily on the aesthetic values espoused by the Italian writer, Italo Calvino, and the views of Milan Kundera in regards to world literature to prove definitively that Okada’s book transcends the nationalistic and belongs to the realm of Weltliteratur.

Chapter 5 draws attention to the “Publication History, Reception and Teaching of John Okada’s No-No Boy.” Girst makes it clear that No-No Boy the book was well received when it first came out, but it just was not a commercial success. It took the emergence of Asian American studies in the years after Okada’s death before the book was widely read and appreciated. Girst follows the text with a useful selection of images that includes examples of official photographs, drawings, and cartoons that depict the Japanese American internment experience. Other photographs are related to John Okada’s life.

In his concluding chapter, Thomas Girst advocates the teaching of Asian American studies in Germany because he hopes “German thought and understanding of a future speedily headed toward a heterogeneous, globe-spanning and fragmented culture could greatly benefit and gradually begin to thrive” (210). In that respect, Art, Literature and the Japanese American Internment provides a valuable teaching tool in a university course in Asian American studies. For the general reader, Girst has written a thoughtful and informative study which helps to illuminate the complexity of No-No Boy as a novel as well as the diversity of the Japanese American response to internment.

Hamish Ion, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Canada

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THE EVOLUTION OF THE US-JAPAN ALLIANCE: The Eagle and the Chrysanthemum. Chandos Asian Studies Series. By Matteo Dian. Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2014. xxviii, 247 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$141.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-84334-766-8.

At the core of Matteo Dian’s The Evolution of the US-Japan Alliance is a question central to the study of alliance management. How do alliances evolve over time, especially those where there is an asymmetry of power? Dian’s work traces the evolution of the US-Japan alliance, breaking the partnership into four stages. These might be described as a creation phase lasting from 1960 until 1969 (27–67), a détente phase from 1969 until 1978 (69–106), a renewal phase from 1997 until 2008 (107–149), and a pivot phase from 2009 until 2013 (151–197). The book is located within alliance management theory and focuses especially on which factors shape the “internal cohesion” (7) of alliances as they develop. By making use of such concepts as balance-of-threat, security dilemma, and second-image constructivism, the book draws out several key factors to explain different possible alliance outcomes: their origin, evolution, and “possible demise” (1). These factors include the level of external threat, shared threat perceptions, interests and commitments, and security identity limits.

The main chapters of The Evolution of the US-Japan Alliance, which cover these four stages of the US-Japan relationship, offer readers a broad study of the alliance’s progress from the 1960 revision of the original security treaty through to the current period of American “pivot” and Japanese security “normalization.” The book covers some of the key historical developments in the alliance’s management, such as Japan’s shifting approach to the alliance during the Vietnam War (51–54) and Japan’s strategic reorientation following the Nixon shocks and the subsequent deepening of the alliance during the late 1970s (80–89). More contemporaneously, it provides a detailed examination of vital current issues reshaping the alliance, including ballistic missile defense cooperation (133–137) and Japan’s attempts to normalize its security role since 2009 (171–183).

If the book’s aim was to fully trace the alliance’s evolution from its origin to today as a study of internal cohesion, some of the choices over which periods of evolution to exclude might seem contentious. Beginning the alliance story in 1960, rather than 1951, is justified on the basis that the “previous treaty did not represent an actual alliance treaty” (22), that the treaty was uneven, and that it did not oblige the US to defend Japan. Yet, in international relations theory, the concept of alliance is more contested, and arguably broader, than this approach would suggest. Similarly, excluding this period because the relationship was uneven appears at odds with the book’s focus on asymmetry. Further, the US-Japan alliance was not alone in terms of the ambiguities of the “obligation” involved: this was also characteristic of America’s alliance with Australia and New Zealand, signed at the same time.

Similar exclusions later in the book are also puzzling. By not covering the 1980s, the book misses some crucial alliance developments and important shifts in external threats, threat perceptions, and interests. Examples include the 1981 agreement for Japan to play a greater role in protecting sea lanes, as well as the two sides’ subsequent close diplomatic cooperation over the Soviet Union’s ballistic missile threat. Likewise, the choice of 1997 as the beginning of the fourth chapter would appear to exclude some major external changes to the alliance prior to this date, such as the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan Strait crises, although these are in fact discussed. Important intra-alliance controversies from the mid-1990s relating to the alliance’s changing commitments, interests, and identities, such as over America’s military presence in the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, also receive little attention.

The use of a single case study to make an argument on the evolution and internal cohesion of alliances generally is ambitious. Identifying factors that could contribute to the demise of alliances, for instance, is impossible here, given that the US-Japan partnership is still strong after sixty-five years. The book also sets itself a difficult task of establishing causal relationships between multiple (perhaps too many) independent and dependent variables or “multi-dimensional intra-allied interactions” (208). Disentangling these becomes an almost overwhelming task for the conclusion. Norms “cannot be excluded” (201), while similar preferences produce different “behaviours” in different situations. Shared threat perceptions cannot explain the evolution of alliances—the book is highly critical of Stephen Walt’s balance-of-threat theory. Commitment plays a crucial role by creating in the junior ally a “freedom of irresponsibility” (204), but this seems less applicable to the post-Cold War period.

The book’s central conclusion focuses on a mixture of these variables under the heading of the “sharing/control dilemma and the paradox of self-reliance” (208). Put simply, the alliance has evolved as the US has pressured Japan to take up a greater burden, creating a dilemma for the US as it struggles to accept ceding influence. For Japan, this greater role has made it more susceptible to US demands but also more able to resist US pressure. If these pressures are in fact crucial, internal cohesion in the US-Japan partnership may become more difficult in the future as the alliance becomes less asymmetrical. Alternatively, both sides may simply adapt as the alliance becomes more equitable.

Overall, The Evolution of the US-Japan Alliance provides an in-depth examination of some of the most significant issues of the US-Japan alliance since the two nations revised their Mutual Security Treaty more than fifty years ago. The final text would have benefitted from greater copyediting scrutiny from the publisher, as occasional misspellings (e.g., “Yunichiro” Koizumi, xxviii) and inconsistencies can be distracting. Nonetheless, the book should be of interest to students and scholars working both on the important US-Japan alliance and on alliances in general.

H.D.P. Envall, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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MAKING WE THE PEOPLE: Democratic Constitutional Founding in Postwar Japan and South Korea. Comparative Constitutional Law and Policy. By Chaihark Hahm and Sung Ho Kim. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. xii, 316 pp. US$110.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-01882-2.

To what extent do an identifiable and sovereign People “establish and ordain” democratic constitutions? In Making We the People, Hahm and Kim debunk three common assumptions about popular sovereignty through a comparison of constitutional founding in Japan and South Korea. They advocate jettisoning the ideal of “an all-powerful and ever-living people” (58) who craft a constitution without being influenced by external forces or the past. Instead, they argue that the very identity of “We the People” is formed by constitution making, which is always a process situated in a particular time and place.

Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are apt cases with which to develop this theory. Both countries’ constitutional founding in the 1940s involved external influences, fraught histories and institutions, and significant transformations of the people’s relationship to the state. Despite the well-known parallels and interconnections between these processes in Japan and Korea, they have not been subject to as systematic a comparison as this book offers. Herein lies the primary merit of this book. Things taken for granted in one context come into sharper relief through comparison. Although Making We the People recaps an article—which is not cited in the book—that Hahm and Kim published in the International Journal of Constitution Law in 2010 (“To Make ‘We the People’: Constitutional Founding in Postwar Japan and South Korea,” 8, no. 4: 800–848), their extensive analysis is better suited to book-length treatment.

The book is logically structured and eloquent. In chapter 1, Hahm and Kim weave together prior scholars’ critiques of the ideal of popular sovereignty to elaborate a theory about the mutually constitutive relationship between a body politic and its constitution. Somewhat Western-centric, chapter 1 would have benefitted from the incorporation of Japanese and Korean scholarship on questions of popular sovereignty and self-determination. Although their theory is relevant outside East Asia, it also illuminates themes that reverberate through contemporary debates in Japan and Korea about constitutional revision, the separation of powers, freedom of expression, and the expansion of the electorate. The authors acknowledge this briefly (1–3, 280), but more explicit engagement with current debates would have widened the book’s appeal.

Making We the People joins landmark works like Richard Samuels’ Machiavelli’s Children (Cornell University Press, 2003) in using carefully paired comparisons to generate theoretical insights. More than just the institutional structures and rights enumerated in two constitutions, the processes of constitutional founding are Hahm and Kim’s focus as they scrutinize the origins and initial implementation of key provisions in the Japanese and Korean constitutions. Each empirical chapter highlights one of the three common assumptions about popular sovereignty, and the chapters build on each other.

Chapter 2 analyzes the extent to which external influences (i.e., US occupiers, nascent competition with the communists, international society) shaped the war-renouncing Article 9 in Japan’s constitution and the quasi-socialist economic provisions in the ROK constitution. It also shows how emerging Cold War exigencies twisted these portions of both constitutions. Yet their evidence for “Japanese people’s embrace of peace” (96) despite reinterpretation of Article 9 and Korean people’s embrace of socioeconomic equality as central to their constitutional identity is thin.

Chapter 3 examines how Japanese and Korean actors creatively used, embellished, or rejected aspects of the past to legitimate actions. It compares how Japan’s emperor was reinvented as a symbol and how the ROK invented a democratic republican pedigree while seeking to punish collaborators (Articles 1 and 101). In line with other scholars, they identify continuities across the 1945 line of defeat/liberation and agents’ bricolage with fragments of the past.

The third and final empirical chapter integrates their points about the importance of existing institutions, the recent past, and external forces in analyzing the mutual constitution of a body politic and its constitution. It traces multiple redefinitions of Japanese and Korean peoplehood through the lens of the household registries (a prewar institution that rendered people “legible” to the state) and election and nationality laws.

The empirical chapters are well researched and the narrative rich, but some weaknesses remain. First, the fascinating discussion of Japanese and US occupation authorities’ debates over jinmin vs. kokumin (232–239) suffers from the absence of an analogous analysis of Korean debates over what to call the people. In their 2010 article, Hahm and Kim proffer such an analysis (842–847), but not in the book. Condensing the book’s section on prewar household registries (199–223) would have given the authors space to unpack the implications of adopting the kokumin/kukmin term for the evolving boundaries of each country’s body politic and ongoing debates about, for example, multicultural families, foreigners’ voting rights, and (in Japan) married women’s surnames. Without such discussion, the authors risk leaving readers with the impression that each people’s identity was constituted in stone with these founding constitutions.

Moreover, Hahm and Kim don’t address the fact that the Korean constitution has been repeatedly amended or revised while Japan’s constitution is the oldest unamended one in the world. While this reality doesn’t invalidate the comparison, it certainly begs questions, especially since the authors warn against analyzing constitutions as frozen in time or apart from their context. The authors’ analysis of constitutional amendment in Korea and reinterpretation in Japan in the 1950s is strong, but they verge on equating amendment or revision with reinterpretation (57 n. 122, or 285). Arguably, these processes’ differences signal distinctions in how each polity relates to its constitution that may help explain the phenomenon in Korean authoritarianism of “rule by law.” The authors could have effectively addressed these differences in the introduction rather than belatedly dismissing it as beyond the book’s scope (280–281). Considering current Japanese debates about revising Articles 9 and 96 and Korean debates about authoritarian creep, which are mentioned in opening anecdotes, this omission seems like a missed opportunity.

Nevertheless, Hahm and Kim persuasively argue that we can only discover who “We the People” named in a constitution are by adopting a broader spatial and temporal lens (61) that considers external influences, creative uses of the past, and shifting definitions of peoplehood. Making We the People thus contributes significantly to comparative constitutional studies, East Asian studies, and scholarship on nation building and democratic theory.

Celeste L. Arrington, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA                           

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DISASTERS AND SOCIAL CRISIS IN CONTEMPORARY JAPAN: Political, Religious, and Sociocultural Responses. Edited by Mark R. Mullins, Koichi Nakano. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. xii, 318 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$105.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-52131-6.

The essays that form this book analyze the responses to the natural and man-made disasters of 1995—the Kobe earthquake and the Tokyo sarin gas attacks—and the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. The book’s overarching question is: What insights can be learned from considering the various responses to these two critical historical junctures? The result is an original contribution featuring engaged, authoritative voices from authors with hands-on experience with post-disaster issues.

The book starts with an introduction and is divided into political, religious, social, and cultural responses. In the opening chapter, Koichi Nakano critically discusses the recent sharp shift to the right in Japanese politics. The argument is that rather than reflect citizens’ views, this shift has been unilaterally driven by the political elites. Nakano observes that each time the country has tilted to the right, the shift has been preceded by a crisis that gave the ruling elites a chance to push forward their own controversial agendas.

Rikki Kersten’s second chapter assesses whether there actually was a strengthening of the Japan-US alliance in 2011 following the participation of Self Defense Forces and American military troops in disaster relief missions, the so-called “Operation Tomodachi”. The author also ponders whether the results of these joint missions are likely to modify the pacifism that has characterized contemporary Japan.

Chapter 3 by Jeff Kingston presents a powerful analysis of the issues affecting the outcome of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. He explains why 3.11 was not a game changer, and sheds light on how the “nuclear village” has been resilient in the face of never ending scandals surrounding Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and its ineptitude when dealing with the crippled nuclear reactors.

In chapter 4, Ria Shibata discusses the resurgence of nationalist discourse in Japan in connection with the country’s identity crisis and deteriorating relations with China. As Japan’s collective self-esteem was damaged due to economic stagnation and natural disasters, Japan’s ruling elite has committed itself to revamping national identity with a sense of purpose that links the present to a glorified (wartime) past.

Chapter 5 by Mark Mullins skillfully articulates the connections between organized religions and neonationalism in post-disaster Japan. His detailed analysis of the activities of neonationalist movements sheds light on the controversial transformations that have been taking place within Japanese society and the clash between global values and those championed by neonationalist leaders.

In chapter 6, Barbara Ambros investigates the response of a religious group called Tenrikyo to the Great East Japan Earthquake. She traces the group’s shifting reasons for its sustained participation in volunteer work to the history of Tenrikyo and its involvement in relief efforts during the 1995 earthquake.

Richly ethnographic, Tim Graf’s chapter 7 deals with the Buddhist responses to the 3.11 disasters and discusses processes of clinicization and psychologization of religion.

Simon Avenell’ s essay on volunteering (chapter 8) and the 1995 Kobe earthquake discusses how volunteer groups supported vulnerable communities of non-Japanese and ethnic minorities. He argues that although conceptions of citizenship broadened after this crisis, leaders in the volunteer efforts later joined national disaster relief structures, ironically becoming part of those very organizations that failed badly in 1995.

Chapter 9 by David Slater, Love Kindstrand, and Keiko Nishimura offers a compelling argument backed by extensive anthropological fieldwork that explains the importance of constitutive and instrumental functions of the spread of social media in a context of disaster. Their essay discusses strengths and weaknesses of this type of political mobilization, and the novel ways in which citizens become loosely associated in movements that respond to and challenge the inefficacy of the state.

In chapter 10, Phoebe Holdgrün and Barbara Holthus analyze the importance of gender roles when mothers become active participants in movements that seek to protect children from radiation. The authors posit that, to effectively negotiate with local authorities, concerned mothers pursue a strategy of “small steps” but in a long-term approach.

Chapter 11 by Rumi Sakamoto examines the neonationalist responses to the 1995 and 2011 disasters expressed in the works of manga artist Kobayashi Yoshinori. Sakamoto unpacks how Yoshinori maintains antinuclear views that might appear inconsistent with the discourse of the right, thus challenging traditional stereotypes of both the right and the left.

Chapter 12 by Rebecca Suter sheds light on Haruki Murakami’s literary responses to the 1995 and 2011 disasters. She explains how, despite being portrayed as apolitical in his native country, Murakami has in fact shifted towards more outspokenly critical views of the Japanese government and nuclear power.

This book offers a strong collection of essays that will help readers understand more deeply Japan’s contemporary attitudes towards disaster. Perhaps a note of caution, however, should be made. The 1995 and 2011 disasters differ considerably in nature and scope. The Kobe earthquake resulted in some 5,000 deaths; in 2011 about 18,000 people lost their lives as a consequence of the tsunami—not the earthquake.

Moreover, “man-made” means very different things in the contexts of the sarin gas attacks and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In the first event, a group of fanatics carried out gas attacks on the Tokyo metro system. In the case of the Fukushima disaster, blatant connivance among the nuclear regulators and the electric company, institutional complacency, and systematic cover-ups of nuclear mishaps were responsible for incubating a compound catastrophe that affects not only people in Fukushima but Japanese society at large: as of 2016, there are still more than 100,000 nuclear evacuees. Furthermore, the widespread health and environmental consequences of radioactive contamination confronts Japanese society with ethical, medical, and technological questions that differ ostensibly from the ones raised by the events of 1995. These qualitative differences should be kept in mind along with the common patterns and linkages.

That being said, these timely essays succeed in contextualizing and making sense of the recent political, religious, and sociocultural responses to catastrophe, and the collection is an important contribution to the multidisciplinary understanding of social struggle, crisis, and disaster in contemporary Japan.

Pablo Figueroa, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan                                                                             

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THE FAILURE OF SOCIALISM IN SOUTH KOREA: 1945–2007. Routledge Advances in Korean Studies, 30. By Yunjong Kim. London; New York: Routledge, 2016. xvi, 190 pp. (Tables.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-138-91405-6.

“Socialism” and “South Korea” seem incompatible categories from the perspective of conventional perceptions of the Cold War divide on the Korean peninsula. But Yunjong Kim connects them in his book by examining the reasons for the failure of socialism in South Korea. For this purpose, the author offers a comprehensive historical review of the political processes in South Korea, from the liberation and then division of Korea to recent times, with a focus on the parties of the Left, ranging from radical revolutionary parties (communist, socialist) to moderate or social democratic ones. Kim divides the factors contributing to the failure of socialism in Korea to structural, such as the Cold War divide and the military regimes in the South, and agency—leadership and strategies of the parties (2). The author combines the two groups of factors in studying the evolution of socialism in South Korea. While Kim agrees with the traditional view that in the pre-democracy period (1945–1987), structural factors played a crucial role in stifling socialism, he also pays attention to agency factors (6, 161). The author concludes that the failure of Marxism to convert to socialism, and radical socialism to reformism, in the era of democratization since 1987, is mostly due to outdated ideologies, problems of strategy, and “poor leadership in legal politics” (161).

Starting his narrative with national liberation, the author supports traditional interpretations of the division of Korea. For example, he points to Soviet expansionism and the establishment of a state in the North by Kim Il Sung in December 1945; the American occupational authority’s rejection of the Korean (Chosun) People’s Republic because it was “overwhelmingly communist”; the Korean War was started by communist attacks, etc. (51, 56). Kim acknowledges the importance of structural factors like American support for a right-wing government in the South, but also maintains that the communists made mistakes that cost them dearly, such as their “overly optimistic view of the revolutionary consciousness of the working class and the peasant class” (48­–49). The question remains, though, even if the leftist forces in the South had more realistic views and strategies, they could hardly have forced a different outcome.

The author outlines key structural barriers for socialism in the 1950s, such as the Korean War, during and after which the Left was thoroughly suppressed in the South; “conservative party cartel”; the lack of democracy; and the low-level of industrialization, which translated into insufficient working-class support (57, 59, 84). Despite the rise of the Progressive Party and electoral successes under the leadership of Cho Bongam, who was executed in 1958, “there was almost nothing the Left could do” within the Cold War setting (56). Similarly, the Left faced insurmountable obstacles during the period of military regimes (1962–1987), but it re-emerged in the form of the minjung undong (people’s movement), led by undonggwon—pro-democracy activist groups, or the “new Left,” and based on an alliance between students and labour organizations (87, 107).

In the 1980s, democratization allowed the reestablishment of the trade union movement. Hence the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was established with the support of the major trade union—the Federation of Democratic Trade Unions (109). Nevertheless, Kim identifies “the new Left’s strategy based on a revolutionary underground party” and “revolutionary socialism” as the key reasons for its failure to develop into a moderate Left or social democratic force, despite the favorable conditions, such as democratization, a civil society, and prosperous economy (113, 137). Further, the DLP also failed to develop a social democratic strategy suitable to the electoral politics of the early 2000s due to its radical socialist agenda and factionalism. Two radical rival factions controlling the DLP—the nationalist pro-North Korea group called National Liberation and the radical socialist one called People’s Democracy—eventually led to a party split in 2008 (139, 143, 159).

The study of South Korean democratization since the 1980s is focused exclusively on the traditional left and its more radical forms. It is somewhat surprising that the author does not consider political forces like the parties led by Kim Dae-jung as social democratic phenomena, rather than sticking to the conventional definition of the dissident-turned-president as a “centrist.” Liberal and progressive parties in South Korea, including those of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, have much in common with European social democratic parties. For instance, they all support small and medium businesses and have anti-monopoly economic agendas; promote social welfare; supported rapprochement and cooperation with socialist countries during the Cold War era (in South Korea this meant the “Sunshine Policy” toward the North), etc. Yunjong Kim’s analysis confines itself to orthodox terminology and misses important political trends of the democratization era in South Korea. For any reference to terms like “Left,” “social democratic,” “socialist,” let alone “communist,” in the South Korean context are inevitably drawn into the gravitational pull of the Cold War paradigm and the North-South ideological and political divide. With a few exceptions, North Korea’s impact on South Korean politics is another omission in the book. It is difficult to examine thoroughly the socialist trend in South Korea without taking into account the dichotomy on the Korean peninsula. The South Korean Constitutional Court’s ban of the Unified Progressive Party in 2014 for being pro-North Korean is a fresh example for this interconnectivity.

Yunjong Kim’s book provides a discussion of major communist and socialist trends in South Korea, engaging various interpretations in secondary sources. Yet the study offers little new evidence for scholarship, as its use of primary sources is limited. The author undertakes a comparative analysis of socialism in Western Europe and Latin America, which helps to elucidate the evolution of socialism in South Korea. Kim mentions the collapse of communist parties in Eastern Europe (15), but the democratization of the socialist countries could be a productive venue for comparative study, particularly the transformation of former communist parties into social democratic ones (similar to West European socialist parties in the post-war period), parties which managed to become political forces to be reckoned with and even won elections and formed governments in the post-communist era. Overall, the book presents a valuable review of the political processes in South Korea and contributes to the broader discussion of the evolution of socialism on the Korean peninsula as an important part of that country’s modern history.

Avram Agov, Langara College, Vancouver, Canada                                                                          

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NATURE IN TRANSLATION: Japanese Tourism Encounters the Canadian Rockies. By Shiho Satsuka. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015. xii, 263 pp. (Maps.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5880-0.

Should we expect different cultures to appreciate and understand nature in the same way? Anthropologist Shiho Satsuka suggests—well, no! In a fascinating account of Japanese tour guides in the Canadian Rockies (this book is not really about Japanese tourism or Japanese tourists) she explores how Canadians think about and “do” nature, and how Japanese think about and “do” nature amid the same landscapes. She finds there are many differences.

The geographical setting of this study is certainly “big nature”—specifically, Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Based upon her ethnographic research in the early years of the last decade (2000–2001), she recounts how, as a student fresh from Japan, she and a handful of Japanese young people that she met in the Park’s Banff township navigated not only their own appreciation of the Canadian Rockies, but made sense of the logic (and sometimes illogic) of heritage management of Banff National Park by Parks Canada.

The background to this research is, of course, the “boom” in Japanese mass tourism that took place in the 1980s and 1990s, and the popularity (at that time) of spectacular nature tours taken mainly in cross-country coaches of iconic Canadian sites such as Niagara Falls, the Rocky Mountains and the Columbia Ice Fields. This rapid growth in tourists, together with their lack of English language comprehension, and the special young people holiday working visa that Japanese could take advantage of in Canada, led to a relatively large number of young Japanese in Banff working as tour guides. Who were these guides and how did they find their way to Banff? Satsuka introduces them to us in her book. Essentially, they were “odd-balls” who did not fit into Japanese corporate culture—but they all loved to ski!

In effect, the skill of these “step-on” tour guides added value to the coach tour companies by making the Japanese tourists understand what they were seeing. Through their information and their stories, they helped to ensure that Japanese tourists, whether retirees who wanted an outstanding overseas experience or newlyweds who saw Canada as a “cool” honeymoon tour destination, took back to Japan the fondest memories. Basically, they interpreted the Rockies and its natural setting. But, as can be guessed by the book’s title, there was often something lost in translation, just as in the renowned film of that name, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson (2003).

Before we get to the main act, however, Satsuka makes us aware of two important characters that also played a role in “translating” Canadian nature to the Japanese in previous eras. In the 1920s a certain Maki Yuko was a Japanese mountain climber who is feted in Banff as the first to climb Mount Alberta, in 1925. A generation or so later, Ohashi Kyosen (the Johnny Carson of Japanese late-night television) opened his first OK Gift Store in Banff in 1973. Satsuka calls him a “populist cosmopolitan” (67) and notes that he was responsible for popularizing the Rockies to Japanese audiences through his TV program. Beyond this, she argues that he also encouraged Japanese to live a middle-class life, and reassured them that going overseas on packaged holidays was also “OK.”

Chapters 5 and 6 provide the climactic twist of Satsuka’s story. In 2001, Parks Canada made it clear that a special guide’s certification would become a condition of any business licensing. Consequently, any Japanese tour or hiking guide working within the Banff Mountain Parks had to be certified. And, a special organization, the Mountain Parks Heritage Interpretation Association (known as MPHIA—or “mafia” to most of the guides) would be responsible for ensuring that guides working in the Rockies actually knew their stuff! So, beyond coping with their status as precariat seasonal workers in a transnational setting, and their rigorous training by a Japanese head guide—almost similar to that of a young Buddhist priest in a temple and with a similar amount of discipline—they also had to study the lessons of ecology and heritage planning promoted by the Park’s scientists. Central to Satsuka’s argument is that the environmental interpretation demanded by the MPHIA was “confusing” and “challenging,” especially the Western (Judeo-Christian) concept of environmental stewardship. In one telling passage (166) she notes that a high-ranking Japanese guide (Takagi-san), after taking the prescribed MPHIA courses, presented for his oral exam a narrative that was “filled with facts highlighting the immense scale of the glacier,” but contained nothing to indicate his position as an environmental steward (as mandated by the MPHIA and Parks Canada). In other words, his “translation” of nature left the “meaning of nature” to the Japanese tourists that he was addressing, rather than impose the desired ecological and environmental stewardship message of Parks Canada.

Satsuko is a good academic and so she then proceeds to reveal how the scientific approaches to “ecological integrity” are not merely neutral scientific concepts, as assumed by Parks Canada, but have “developed within specific philosophical and aesthetic traditions” in North American culture (194). Satsuko ends the book by suggesting that nature is an elusive concept whose interpretation is always changing, and that a more inclusive paradigm is required that “invites people who do not necessarily share the same epistemological traditions to participate in knowing nature” (220).

My final observation on this anthropological study is that since the early 2000s there has emerged a new type of Japanese tourist, the FIT or “free independent traveller,” who comes to Banff either alone or with a small number of friends carrying the Japanese equivalent of Lonely Planet and interpreting Canadian “big nature” in their own way. These new Japanese tourists are more English language-savvy, and more willing to strike out by themselves to various destinations; and so they are less comfortable in joining the limiting mass-tourist coach tours. The present book would provide an excellent start to expanding the theme of how nature is translated as Japanese society evolves.

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

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KŌMEITŌ: Politics and Religion in Japan. Japan Research Monograph 18. Edited by George Ehrhardt, Axel Klein, Levi McLaughlin and Steven R. Reed. Berkeley, CA: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2014. 298 pp. US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-55729-111-0.

The first chapter in Kōmeitō: Politics and Religion in Japan is written by the editors of the volume, and its title, “Kōmeitō: The Most Understudied Party of Japanese Politics,” makes the main purpose of their project clear from the start. The editors, along with five other contributors, have filled a void in the study of Japanese politics and religion that has been long neglected, and have provided the field with an essential study of the fifty-year collaboration between the twentieth-century Buddhist sect, Sōka Gakkai (創価学会), and its political offshoot, Kōmeitō (公明党). In addition to providing a detailed investigation of the party’s founding and historical evolution, as well as its electioneering operations, funding, and political coalitions, the writers were also motivated to counteract the predominance of slanderous representations of Kōmeitō from Japanese news media and contentious former associates of the party who are primarily concerned with settling scores. By presenting a thorough up-to-date study based in data-driven evidence and operational observations, the collaborators in this volume have provided a much-needed objective source for serious researchers.

The chapters are divided into four areas, including context, history, structure, and strategies of power. The first chapter, “Religious Groups in Japanese Electoral Politics,” shows that while there is little evidence to suggest religion-based parties in Japan hold any real advantage in electoral politics, Kōmeitō is the one exception. The party has benefitted from the political activities of Sōka Gakkai, successfully electing three to four times more candidates than all other religious parties combined (26). This level of political weight also suggests the importance of examining the sect in order to understand how its members organize and promote nominees.

The chapters in the history section are divided into two periods: from the inception of Sōka Gakkai in 1930 to the year 1970 when Kōmeitō was rocked by scandal, and from 1970 to the present. After the founder of Sōka Gakkai, Makiguchi Tsunesaburō, died of malnutrition in jail for refusal to support State Shinto during the Pacific War, his successor, Toda Jōgai, reformed the movement as a religion of the poor, and expanded membership during the 1950s through sectarian publications and “proactive conversion.” The ultimate vision of Toda’s reforms was the achievement of the “ordination platform,” a state-sponsored ordination system for universal conversion to Sōka Gakkai. It was from this primary goal of the ordination platform that the necessity for a political party evolved. After a period of strong outside opposition, Ikeda Daisaku inaugurated the formation of Kōmeitō in 1964 (67).

The subsequent rapid expansion of both Kōmeitō and Sōka Gakkai was severely damaged in 1969 with the publication of a university professor’s book denouncing Sōka Gakkai as a fascist sect. This criticism was further exacerbated by a public scandal resulting from stories of Kōmeitō officials attempting to stop the book’s publication. Ikeda responded in 1970 with a public apology, stating that Kōmeitō and Sōka Gakkai were two separate organizations, and renouncing the plans for an ordination platform.

Kōmeitō pursued coalitions with left-leaning parties during the early 1970s in order to alter its identity as a religious organization. But by the end of the decade the party began a shift right to expand the voter base beyond Sōka Gakkai, and to begin courting a coalition with the establishment Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). At the same time, members of Sōka Gakkai were beginning to lean right as well, due to improvements in socio-economic standing, and continued to support Kōmeitō.

In “The Structure” section, details on choosing candidates, the organization of rallies, the funding of campaigns, and the mobilization of voters are examined. The influence and support of Sōka Gakkai continues to be a necessary component of Kōmeitō success, due to the sect’s well-organized social networks. These networks are primarily led by married women, which in turn drives much of the policy making decisions for the party. In addition, candidate selection is still, “largely shaped by the party’s relationship with Sōka Gakkai” (141). A study of Kōmeitō campaign finance reveals that the party mirrors Sōka Gakkai fund-raising activities as well, based mainly in newspaper sales and the contributions of individual donors.

The final section analyzes the strategies that have been employed by competing parties to weaken Kōmeitō’s political standing. These countermobilizations have primarily been led by rival religious organizations ever since the formation of Kōmeitō in 1964. In the 1990s the political countermobilizations were mainly related to political maneuverings of the rival LDP, which ironically led to a coalition between the two parties in 1999.

The conclusion of the authors is that Kōmeitō is a “normal” political party, operating in a similar fashion as other Japanese or Western political parties that have supporting constituencies. While members of Sōka Gakkai provide a highly successful voter mobilization for Kōmeitō, the authors did not find evidence of “brainwashing” as their critics have contended, or even Sōka Gakkai functioning as some kind of “litmus test” for Kōmeitō policymaking. (270) Although the volume provides a wealth of insight regarding the functioning of Kōmeitō as a political party, the authors contend they have only “scratched the surface” (272), calling for more research on Kōmeitō’s role in a coalition government, as well as research on the relationship between Sōka Gakkai and the party. The main constraints in the present volume may be in the limited access of the authors to the inner-workings of the party and its relationship with Sōka Gakkai. George Ehrhardt’s contributions to the volume are the only ones that relied on fieldwork, while the other chapters are primarily relying on data collected from public documents and previous studies. Regardless of these limitations however, the text is a must-read for anyone interested in the study of election politics in Japan.

Victor J. Forte, Albright College, Reading, USA                                                                                

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HIGH-STAKES SCHOOLING: What We Can Learn from Japan’s Experiences with Testing, Accountability, and Education Reform. By Christopher Bjork. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016. 251 pp. (Tables.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-226-30941-5.

Christopher Bjork has written an important book that reflects his long experience with fieldwork and Japanese education, as well as reporting on his most recent research. It is at once steeped in expertise as well as innovative. While I have read the book through the lens of someone who has long shared Bjork’s focus on Japanese education, the insights he draws from his research, as well as the broader implications he points to, make this a book that scholars who focus on the transformation of education systems more broadly will find very interesting. Bjork’s study also provides telling conclusions about the (in)ability of seemingly unitary and powerful states to effect change across a vast and varied number of organizations.

One of the bases for the contribution that Bjork makes here is his methodological choice to conduct research across stages of education, across school types. Scholarship on Japanese education has long noted, but not explained, the differences between the free-flowing, inquiry-based pedagogy of elementary schools, and the rigid, somewhat numbing teaching style that becomes the norm in middle schools and through high school (and university). Bjork deliberately selected both, elementary as well as middle schools to be able to examine these in the context of their location and social setting. This makes his research somewhat unique in the academic literature and thus a good candidate for assignment in courses where a discussion of school types might be compressed.

The introductory chapters discuss the ebb and flow of Japanese educational policy, particularly the arrival of yutori education in the early 2000s, and the reaction against these reforms in the 2010s, and thus provide essential context. The core of the book are the empirical chapters, and it is here that Bjork shines. Chapter 3 thus describes the synonymous Nishiyama City where he conducted his research in six schools. Chapters 4–8 examine different aspects of the implementation of education reforms in schools, from the involvement of teachers in reforms (chapter 4), a focus on teachers in elementary schools (chapter 5) and middle schools (chapter 6), to the impact that policy implementation has had on students’ learning (chapter 7) and a discussion of a transformation of the relationship between students and teachers (chapter 8). The final three chapters zoom out from Japan and discuss comparisons across Asia (chapter 9), US teachers’ reactions to Japanese reform efforts and teaching (chapter 10), and a summary of and reflections on the findings (chapter 11) of Bjork’s research.

One of the puzzles that arises from Bjork’s descriptions of schools is that his interviews with teachers suggest that yutori education changed relatively little in elementary schools. In many ways, they were teaching in the “more relaxed” fashion encouraged by yutori education reforms already before these reforms. So, the introduction of the general study period (intended for project-based, more holistic instruction with greater connections to students’ surroundings and experience), in some ways forces a more rigid structure on teachers than what they had been accustomed to. This structure did not come with much support or resources for teachers to adapt to it, so it has been a source of tension among teachers.

By contrast, yutori education was designed to change teaching practices quite a bit in middle schools, but Bjork observed only limited implementation. The lack of training for implementation is one factor, but another important factor is teachers’ professional ethos and obligations. Ultimately, teachers face students in the classroom and feel some accountability to students and their parents. These in situ challenges point to tensions between the overall desire by policy-makers to move away from some of the rigidity of education, and the lack of movement in other aspects of the education system (like the high-stakes tests that still determine students’ futures in significant ways) that teachers find themselves faced with. There is also a pronounced sense that some of the changes are undermining teachers’ professional autonomy at a time when broader social changes are also reducing the authority inherent in the sensei position.

The broader insight we gain from Bjork’s research is that even in a seemingly top-down, unitary education system like that of Japan, where the national bureaucracy seems to hold a lot of power, all implementation of educational policy is local. The extent to which teachers buy into reform efforts thus not only determines the implementation of a policy, but also the significant variability in implementation from school to school or even classroom to classroom.

However, a book about “high stakes schooling,” as the title suggests, this is not. While Bjork conducted his research in the context of Japanese educational reforms that have long embodied an emphasis on testing, but have also shifted along with global policy-making that marches to the drum of the accountability beat, the schools he researches seem primarily to be resisting national policy-making and caught between much more local fronts of parents, neighbourhoods, and professional concerns.

But despite my misgivings about the title of this book, it is a terrific update on teaching practice and its relationship to national policy in contemporary Japan presented by a skilled researcher and thoughtful scholar.

Julian Dierkes, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                                          

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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

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

South Asia


BRAC, GLOBAL POLICY LANGUAGE, AND WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: Transformation and Manipulation. By Manzurul Mannan. Albany, NY : SUNY Press, 2015. xiii, 379 pp. (Tables, maps, illustrations.) US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-5783-3.

This book makes a highly original contribution to the small but growing anthropological literature on non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The primary aim of the book is to move beyond “the well-intentioned work of NGOs” (2) to consider instead what a focus on NGOs can tell us about how ordinary people experience development processes, and how these NGOs contribute to the construction of what the author calls the “development-scape” within a particular historical setting. Its focus is on the ethnographic study of Bangladesh as a country that has for many years been on the front line of both international development and NGO worlds.

The author suggests here that we need to pay attention to NGOs in Bangladesh because they “are so closely intertwined with and involved in development that they are practically synonymous with the concept of development” (1). This leads Manzurul Mannan to develop a highly distinctive approach to the topic in which he seeks to highlight the hidden aspects of people’s lives that are affected and changed by NGO work. For example, he shows how NGO credit reduces women’s reliance on traditional social networks. Mannan is also concerned with investigating globalization and development through his analysis of the “development-scape” which seeks to show firstly how power operates through international development bureaucracies and encompasses local culture in developing countries, and secondly to highlight the role played by NGOs in translating and filtering narratives that produce projects and programs.

Across ten detailed chapters, the author takes the Bangladeshi organization known as BRAC (not an acronym, but simply the name of the world’s largest NGO) as his entry point to analyze a series of important and original questions. What does it mean for an NGO to pursue an agenda of trying to bring about societal change? What effect does NGO work have on Bangladesh’s societal values at the local level? How does the NGO translate, mediate, and diffuse external Western ideas about developmentalist social change at the local level and what are the social and cultural implications of this for local populations? How does an NGO manage the conflict of values that occurs within an organization that tries to balance its obligations to thirty million women with whom it works with its position within the global development system? The resulting narratives around women, patriarchy, and poverty in Bangladesh are the focus of the book.

Central to the book’s conceptual framework is the author’s suggestion that a “global policy language” has emerged that has created a universalizing discourse within NGO worlds as these take shape in local developing country contexts. This embodies six main elements: it builds consensus and equality among poor people; it promotes a positive view of economic growth as a solution to poverty, along with a set of “non-negotiable” values around human rights, gender, and governance that serve to underpin NGO work; it creates unintended “casualties” of the development process in the form of people who do not fit the intended outcomes; it generates organizational cultures of reflection and continuous improvement through processes of regular experimentation; and finally it operates to construct narratives of excluded and poor women that are essentially decontextualized.

The monograph covers a huge amount of ground. It presents a systematic analysis of the social and political context of Bangladesh, the history and evolution of the NGO sector in the country, and considers how local understandings of hierarchy and equality intersect with NGO work. This is situated within the ever-changing development policy and practice landscape which results in “every five to six years with the replacement of old agendas by new ones” (36). The NGO is carefully revealed as a complex hybrid of a local project and international relationships, such that it does not easily fit the conventional notion of a bounded organizational entity.

The idea of a shifting “global policy language” is central to the author’s analysis, which is a distinctive contribution of the book. There is also a valuable discussion of the research methodology used, the relationship between anthropology and development, and the role that “applied” NGO research plays in the life world of an NGO. The disjuncture between managerial and academic knowledge is usefully probed in the reflexive sections of the book, which are frequent and full of insight. A key strength is the way the author is constantly alive to the complexities raised by his earlier career as an NGO worker in a variety of settings and as a development consultant, and the difficult relationships that arise when NGOs position themselves as both commissioners and consumers of development research. The fifth chapter, which discusses the “cooperative antagonism” that arises between researchers and managers, was for this reader one of the genuine highlights of the book.

Bangladesh is a country that possesses an extensive NGO sector and where these organizations play important—but largely understudied—roles in the lives of large numbers of people. This book helps us to better understand why and how NGOs like BRAC have effects that go way beyond the stated aims of development projects and interventions.

David Lewis, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom                                                                                               


MILITARY AND DEMOCRACY IN NEPAL. By Indra Adhikari. New Delhi: Routledge, 2015. xviii, 364 pp. (Illustrations, map.) US$120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-138-82125-5.

This book addresses an understudied subject: the evolution, socio-cultural orientation, and democratization of the Nepalese Army. This area of inquiry is important because few authors have analysed Nepal’s monarchy-military complex, which has inhibited the institutionalization of the country’s democracy. In addressing civil-military relations and democratization in South Asia, Adhikari first discusses the trend of military recruitment in Nepal. She then analyses the military-democracy and the monarchy-democracy interfaces. Finally, she offers an account of post-monarchy democratization efforts and outstanding challenges.

The book’s message is that Nepal’s rulers—from Rana oligarchs to former monarchs—have used the army as a tool to consolidate power. In this, the military has been submissive. Because of this relationship, defence reform remains incomplete even ten years into the peace agreement. The author uses interview notes and a literature review to establish her points. Therefore, primary data is the major strength of this volume. Adhikari is known for her strategic analyses and contributions to the security discourse. Her previous works on gender, inclusion, and the institutional aspects of the Nepalese Army also enrich this work as she is able to analyse the subject from multiple angles.

However, the book is not underpinned by a central theoretical question and does not provide a “research puzzle.” This does not mean the book has no theory and methodology, but it does not explicitly state them. It is difficult, therefore, to assess whether the claims have been substantiated or whether they are just the general beliefs of the author. The book is analytical-descriptive in nature because its content consists primarily of a factual recounting of events in a journalistic style. The author neatly examines concepts such as militarization or militarism in South Asia, but the concluding section lacks the contextualization of these concepts using the data presented in the book. A separate discussion chapter could have summarized key messages against the background of these conceptual discussions. The author’s arguments would be more rigorous if she had tried to offer thematic observations on the incidents discussed, rather than merely narrating them. All this makes for a weak concluding section because it remains unclear to which questions this chapter is responding.

Adhikari disagrees with some previous literature and castigates the cronyism of the so-called “reformist” military leader Bhimsen Thapa. However, much of her second chapter unquestioningly endorses existing literature, which inhibits her ability to critically engage with past scholarship. Several parts of this book read as very presumptive because the author jumps to establishing personal assumptions as conclusions, even as she starts a new chapter. The author tries to incorporate almost every historical phase and institutional aspect of the Nepalese Army and, in doing so, fails to concentrate on a timeframe and specific political events. Generalist discussions about Panchayat politics and post-2006 political horse-trading occupy space that could have been used to analyse information about the army and to critically engage with the primary data. For example, the author cites a Ministry of Finance source to claim that the Nepalese Army has comparatively good auditing practices, but a number of the auditor general’s reports, which disclose the army’s corrupt practices, are not mentioned.

Verbosity leads to awkward content. Lengthy footnotes sometimes occupy up to two-thirds of a page. The author re-uses several lines, even paragraphs, in multiple places with only minor changes. Typos are frequent, as are inconsistencies in the spelling of non-English words. Sometimes the typos lead to factual errors (like 9 September for 11 September, 214). A mistake is visible even in the author’s biographical note, in the name of her affiliated organization.

Memoirs and subjective accounts dominate strategic discourse in Nepal. Nevertheless, Adhikari’s piece is much richer than previous literature in terms of information and analytical balance. She has adequate evidence in the book to establish her arguments. It will prove useful for academic audiences as much as for those who seek in-depth knowledge about the organizational biography of the Nepalese Army. The introductory part consists of a good conceptual discourse and empirical evidence. The details on the evolution, institutional structures, recruitment trends, and orientation of the Nepalese Army are thought provoking. This section also broadens the reader’s insight because the author contextualizes the Nepalese case with other South Asian countries. The research process has covered a wide variety of informants, which reflects the author’s diligence. However, an explanation of the selection criteria for informants would have been useful.

Adhikari raises interesting questions about the inclusivity the Nepalese Army is claimed to have long practiced. She asks whether the socio-cultural orientation of the military allows for a free, fair, and just recruitment process. Another critical examination concerns the Nepali class structure and its fallout in the military. Equally insightful is the exploration of the nexus between land distribution and military power that characterizes Nepali militarism. The sections addressing the gender analysis of recruitment, the delegation of responsibility, and the establishment and transparency of the military welfare fund also deserve praise.

This reviewer seconds the author’s opinion that the monarchy-military complex doomed democracy because it frequently curtailed the rights of people and political parties. The book concludes that the Nepalese Army was also caught between rightist, leftist, and absolutist politics. Seen from her agency perspective, the Nepalese Army appears like an organization that has been fulfilling the orders of de facto powers. The democratic control of the armed forces does not mean that the military should be subservient in every situation. Rather, it should be treated as an equal partner with civilian authorities in the conceptualization, formulation, and implementation of defence policies. Worth mentioning here is that in Nepal, “democratic” leaders mostly prefer a more “loyal army” over a professional one, even now. Overall, this book does not stand out as a substantial theoretical contribution, but it can be considered important to Nepal’s military discourse. While the author has extensive knowledge of the issues involved, a bit more emphasis on theoretical and epistemological aspects, an analytically rich discussion section, and careful proofreading could have made it much better.

Safal Ghimire, University of New England, Armidale, Australia                                                        

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ENTANGLED URBANISM: Slum, Gated Community, and Shopping Mall in Delhi and Gurgaon. By Sanjay Srivastava. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015. xliv, 317 pp. (Figures.) US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-809914-7.

In the field of urban studies, single-city profiles tend to come in two varieties: a first offers arguments about a city as a whole, and thus invites comparative analysis with other, “similar” cities. A second takes an opposite tack, homing in on particularities—specific localities, identities, and meanings within a single city—then making arguments about these particular places and people. Sanjay Srivastava’s Entangled Urbanism: Slum, Gated Community and Shopping Mall in Delhi and Gurgaon, begins instead with the evocative claim that the city itself is “like an argument” (xviii). That is, rather than approach India’s National Capital Region as either a “totality” or as a collection of splintered spaces, Srivastava focuses on what he calls the “intimate entanglements” (27) by means of which seemingly separate places, people, and ideas (slums and gated communities; shopping malls and nationalist sentiment; temples and theme parks) are co-constituted in the city. The fruits of this approach are borne out in a richly ethnographic, deeply insightful, and at times wonderfully surprising portrait of urban contestation, transformation, and self-making in contemporary Delhi and Gurgaon.

The book is divided into three parts. The first takes place on the bank of the Yamuna River in the basti settlement of Nangla Matchi, where the ethnography narrates the lead-up to the neighbourhood’s demolition (as part of an urban “beautification” drive). Srivastava probes the processes and contestations that link the “formal city” to the “exertions and activities of the occupants of its putatively ‘informal’ spaces” (xli). Focusing on Nangla Matchi residents’ efforts to shore up individual claims to compensation in the event of demolition, the chapter follows the “life-stories” (6) of three characters: first we meet Chamkili, a neighbourhood leader who enlists the technical skills she acquired during an earlier career working for a power company to now (informally) supply electricity to neighbourhood residents at a tidy profit; next we meet Balkees, who puts “faux symbols of authority” (22) to work in producing passable versions of official government documents needed to claim post-demolition compensation; lastly we meet Rakesh, an auto-rickshaw-driver-turned-real-estate-broker, whose information-gathering skills honed over two decades spent chatting with passengers underpin a lucrative (if legally dubious) career buying and selling plots of land in a slum resettlement colony. This fascinating chapter demonstrates how the elusive power to access and deploy the authority of “the state” stems from the precarious world-making practices of urban marginality itself.

Chapter 2 introduces the assorted techniques of “mutually agreed upon fraud and deception” (32)  by means of which Nangla Matchi residents seek to prove eligibility for a compensatory allotment in a resettlement colony. At the heart of this chapter are the vagaries of documentary “proof”: the sociomaterial array of paper slips, signatures, and socialities that are assembled in a “great chain of documents” to make a case for eligibility. Thus we see how “entitlement” inheres not in the extent to which any particular chain of documents reflects or narrates any “true” history, but rather in the tricks, mimicries, and ruses through which “genuineness is established through fakeness.” “Faking,” Srivastava argues, is not only “crucial to the making of community life” (53) in Nangla Matchi, but relations between the urban poor and the state are produced and instantiated by means of these relations of deception and trickery. The bulldozers finally roll into Nangla Matchi, but not before the narrative has led us through a series of tortuous paper trails, gone-awry appeals to patronage, rumour-infused misinformation, and frantic efforts to establish “rights” to compensation—dynamics that unfold in sometimes triumphant and other times heartbreaking ways.

Part 1 concludes with a discussion of the state’s “arbitrariness”: “the state has no norms,” Srivastava writes, and in the context of this inscrutability, Nangla residents approach the state as they might a fickle lover: seeking to decipher its “moods” (68) and to match moods with correspondingly capricious tactics. A good ethnography might be said to be one in which the accounts not only impel readers to question received histories and taken-for-granted categories, but one in which the material can sometimes exceed the author’s own categories of explanation and analysis. Undoubtedly “the state” that Nangla Matchi’s residents encounter is not of the Weberian variety. But words like “moody,” “erratic,” and “arbitrary” do not quite do justice to Srivastava’s ethnography, which reveals not an arbitrary or unknowable state, but rather one that perhaps Nangla’s residents know entirely too well: one that is run through with power-infused, asymmetrical social relations of caste, class, and exclusionary ethno-religious nationalism. In this context, the ethnographies in part 1 raise pressing questions: What enables some people to take advantage of the porosities inhering in the social and semeiotic complexity of contemporary “urban entanglements,” and not others? What new forms of knowledge (social, spatial, technical) are re-valued in this context?

Part 2 leaves the rubble-strewn lanes of Nangla Matchi and the dusty offices of the lower-level bureaucracy, to turn towards the (air-conditioned) localities where “emerging cultures of market-citizenship” (110) animating “post-nationalist” Delhi come into view. The protagonist of part 2 is Delhi’s multifarious and elusive “middle class.” Chapter 5 outlines how a new form of nationalist citizen-consumerism has been spatialized through a combination of “consanguineal capitalism,” “corporatist ambition and state patronage” (130), fuelling a construction boom in gated residential complexes. Yet notwithstanding elite fantasies that gated “enclaves” like DLF City in Gurgaon might enable residents to secede from the surrounding city (and region and nation), the ethnographies show instead how “decrepitude” and “unruliness” (149) leak through the gates in pesky ways. When a “stream of sewage” (145) appears as an “unexpected water feature” in a swish Gurgaon colony (whose residents thus discover their colony has not been connected to the municipal sewage system), we learn that affluence does not enable a “clean break” from the materiality of the city and its infrastructures. And when caste-based agitations for expanded educational quotas elicit a frantic response among DLF City’s largely high-caste parents (who fear rising numbers of lower-caste students in their children’s classrooms), we see how this would-be “island of plentitude” (149) is decisively implanted in the region’s “larger restless geography” (147). Enclave residents respond to these sorts of looming “threats” with mismatched efforts to wall off their world with amped-up security—to sometimes unintended effect.

The unintended outcomes of the “urban entanglements” that Srivastava’s book presents militate against any easy vilification (or celebration) of “post-nationalist” consumer capitalism or market (neo)liberalism. The ethnographies show instead how particular versions of “history, heritage and contemporary and ancient religiosity” are bound up with the “theme-ing” (216) of Indian modernity in ways that enable a multitude of experiences and appropriations. For the upwardly mobile “service class,” we see how shopping malls are a stage for “personality development” (246), for the cultivation of middle-class comportments, and for achieving and performing “self improvement.” While cultures of consumer citizenship play out along gendered lines in uneven ways across the socioeconomic spectrum, malls are also where asymmetrical relations of power and hierarchy are reproduced (“you don’t want to be seen at the wrong mall!” [243]). Spaces of consumption emerge as sites where “multiple dramas of distinction” play out simultaneously.

Entangled Urbanism leaves us with the conclusion that the city is “no whole entity, but a series of connected realms, each of distinct character, linking varied lives and processes into an urban entanglement” (261). While it may indeed be true that the complexity of Delhi’s “entanglements” defies any tidy interpretation, Srivastava’s beautifully textured account suggests a more pointed proposition: that perhaps the socio-material complexity of contemporary urbanism invariably surpasses any singular effort to know the city, thereby exceeding the designs of those who would control the city and seek to circumscribe its possibilities.

Lisa Björkman, University of Louisville, Louisville, USA                                                                    

DISPLACEMENT, REVOLUTION, AND THE NEW URBAN CONDITION: Theories and Case Studies. By Ipsita Chatterjee. New Delhi: Sage Publications India, 2014. xvi, 158 pp. (llustrations.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-81-321-1660-8.

Chatterjee’s book is an ambitious project for providing a comprehensive theory of contemporary urban transformation, in a short compass. It engages with theoretical developments as well as an empirical case study in an effort to “reverse the arrow of theory transfer” (xv). In doing so, Chatterjee reengages with the theories that originate within the context of Euro-America, including gentrification, new urban politics, municipal neoliberalism, and the right to the city. Chatterjee is invested in the Lefebvrian ideal of revolutionary transduction—the urban revolutionary praxis emanating from conceptualization and empirical observation. Like Lefebvre, the process of conceptualization remains the cornerstone of revolutionary spatial transformation for her. In her schema, conceptualization is not merely an intellectual exercise but a deeply embodied, affective, and political act. Thus, Chatterjee advances an activist and public intellectual claim for making connections across the globe for democratic politics.

Her starting point is the subject of displacement, which lies at the heart of urban exploitation and contemporary global conditions. Chatterjee steers clear of the wide-ranging body of postcolonial literature and varieties of urban theories emerging in the global South. Thus, the book is a Marxist meditation on what she argues is the estrangement of labor from the laboring spaces. According to her, labor estrangement is coterminous with spatial estrangement as “labor produces herself through space” (xiv). She takes up the specific case of Sabarmati River Front Development (SRFD) in the city of Ahmedabad to analyze the dialectical process of urban exploitation through displacement and resistance to it. Chatterjee conceptualizes the simultaneous displacement and exclusion of some and the emplacement and “development” of others as these processes define the urban/global condition of the contemporary world. She argues that the rapid urbanization that has become characteristic of the global condition takes place through a process of “territorialization of exploitation” and “deterritorialization of a people” (4). She also provides an account of the strengths and weaknesses of phenomenologists in addressing the issues of place-making, historical memory, and the production of identities. Her debt to the Marxist lineage of thought is obvious as she brings a political economy analysis to analyze place-making in the light of displacement and exploitation. However, she does not fully engage with some key theorists of phenomenology nor with the related work of David Harvey (David Harvey, “From Space to Place and Back Again,” in Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference [Blackwell Publishers, 1996, 291–326] and David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change [Blackwell Publishers, 1990]). Her primary theoretical resource is the body of literature concerning New Urban Politics (NUP). She argues, however, that NUP literature that focuses on the shift from redistributive policies to entrepreneurial strategies of urban governance falls short on two counts. It neither sufficiently engages with the overlapping municipal neoliberalism literature, which emphasizes the examination of actual local entrepreneurial strategies enshrined in neoliberal models of governance, nor does it take into account the cultural strategies and spectacles analyzed within the place promotion literature. She builds on the conceptual parameters noted above to address the inadequacies within each body of literature in order to provide a comprehensive theoretical apparatus for investigating urban exploitation.

Apart from her case studies on “estranged spaces,” she makes original contributions with respect to “scientific mysticism,” “plebeianization,” and the varieties of struggles to claim the “right to the city” propounded by multiple constituencies. In particular, she proposes the concept of scientific mysticism to illustrate how ethno-religious discourses are spliced with entrepreneurial strategies for the scientific management of urban space. For instance, performative urban governance strategies such as Rath Yatra (chariot processions) of Hindu gods accompany modern techniques of enumeration, inscription, and cartography. Thus, the cultural tropes of religiosity and ethno-phobia are conjoined with entrepreneurial strategies of capital accumulation in the service of urban exploitation. Here, the shift towards profit-making within what she calls a “farewell [to] welfare approach” only guarantees minimal redistribution (34). She proposes the concept of plebeianization to examine the simultaneous processes of displacement, gentrification, and resettlement. Thus, while she sees gentrification as “the territoriality of class displacement” (9), her focus is on the containment of the plebeian classes through the process of resettlement. In particular, she analyzes how poor Muslims are contained within resettlement sites through ethno-religious exploitation. Further, she updates the Lefebvrian theory of the “right to the city” by analyzing varying conceptualizations on the part of three different constituencies. For example, in the social movement attempting to include all communities under the banner of Sabarmati Nagrik Adhikar Manch, the activists claim resettlement, Muslims demand the right to stay put, fearing ethnic violence in resettlement sites, and Hindus demand the right not to live with Muslims, thereby advocating ethnic “purity.” She makes an important point here in noting that the call for a variation on transduction or right to the city may not always yield emancipatory or truly revolutionary results.

While it is a delight to read her reviews and revisions of a range of theorists, the book lacks coherence as a whole. The ethnography is unfortunately thin. Thus, while she mentions the reclamation of old mill lands, caste and religious differences, and the controversial lottery system concerning resettlement, we do not get much detail about the shifts in the political economy of labor and industrial relations, the mechanics of displacement and subsequent resettlement in redeveloped mill areas, the conflicts along the lines of caste, community, and gender, or the struggles for eligibility. Her argument also appears reductionist in applying a Marxist analysis to explain the cultural tropes of entrepreneurialism. In fact, her empirical example of ethno-phobia raises important questions about ethnicity, spatial containment, and planning theory. Oren Yiftachel has produced certain interesting conceptualizations on these themes (Oren Yiftachel, “Re-Engaging Planning Theory? Towards ‘South-Eastern’ Perspectives,” Planning Theory 5, no. 3 [2006]: 211–222). Further, an engagement with state secularism, policies towards minorities and inter-caste/community conflicts shaping plebeian urban aspirations in a postcolonial democracy, could have opened up an interesting path of analysis (see also Thomas Blom Hansen, Violence in Urban India: Identity Politics, ‘Mumbai’, and the Postcolonial City [Permanent Black, 2005]). It is also notable that she does not engage with Partha Chatterjee’s influential work, which has provided important perspectives to rethink capitalism, democracy, and subaltern politics—the concerns that occupy the author (Partha Chatterjee, Lineages of Political Society: Studies in Postcolonial Democracy [Permanent Black, 2011]). The processes of habitation, displacement, and resettlement are often the consequence of protracted struggles. Thus, what is required is a critical examination of modernity and democracy, caste and ethno-politics, and informality and capital accumulation in the global South in order to understand urban transformations. While she has used ethnography, interviews, and oral history to build a narrative on Ahmedabad, a review of the history of planning and an account of the specific roles of the Ahmedabad Development Authority and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation are missing. This lack is particularly significant as Chatterjee has the grand vision of understanding the “global political economy of urbanism” as a comprehensive process (13). Along with understanding capitalist trends, patterns, and shifts of planning, it is also important to analyze historical legacies, cultural meanings, and the operation of social structures and institutions that shape urban transformations.

Chatterjee’s strength lies in showing how urban exploitation destroys the landscapes and lifescapes of labor but “reproduces the landscapes and lifescapes of accumulation” (5). Further, her innovative attempts yield important insights into “scientific mysticism,” “plebeianization,” and “farewell welfare approach.” In other words, perhaps only partial universalisms—to use an oxymoron—obtained with respect to capital accumulation and the neoliberal entrepreneurial spirit. As the book shows, theory has to emerge from context-specific realities and from comparative research across spaces and scales.

Sanjeev Routray, Northeastern University, Boston, USA                                                                   

INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY. Oxford India Short Introductions. By Sumit Ganguly. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015. 210 pp. (Figures.) US$14.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-808221-7.

India’s foreign policy can come across as enigmatic to those who are unfamiliar with the political context that underpins it. Apparent contradictions abound. The country of apostles of peace like Buddha and Gandhi, India is an unofficial member of the nuclear club. An impressive arsenal of conventional weapons complements India’s bombs and missiles, many of them indigenous in origin. However, despite the possession of this deadly stockpile, India does not have an explicit doctrine stating whom these weapons are aimed against. The Indian nuclear test of 1998, undertaken by a Hindu nationalist-led ruling coalition was not, as the subsequent events have shown, merely a flash in the pan. Despite the political bickering over details, a bi­partisan consensus has grown over the need for India to acquire nuclear weapons and delivery capacity by a range of indigenously developed missiles. Nevertheless, official Indian policy systematically downplays the ownership of these deadly weapons of mass destruction. A similar incoherence marks India’s use of “coercive diplomacy,” launched against Pakistan following the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in Operation Parakram of 2001–2002. It involved mobilizing a large number of troops who were then recalled, without any demonstrable goals having been achieved or explanations offered. This lack of clarity about broader goals affects the global perception of India’s foreign policy as a whole.

Sumit Ganguly’s compact and concise volume offers a guide through this labyrinth. The book is divided into five chapters. The first introduces the current debate on India’s foreign policy, focused on the issues of “the precise role that India hopes to play in global politics” (13). The second discusses core ideas that underpin India’s foreign policy consisting of anti-colonialism, non-alignment, a world free of nuclear weapons and a genuine search for a new world order. Ganguly discusses their pre-independence origin, evolution, and continuity during the post-independence years, leading up to India’s military debacle in the 1962 Sino-Indian war. At a time when it is fashionable to castigate Nehru, Ganguly stands by his admiration for him as the founder of modern India. That, however, does not stop him from criticising Nehru for failing “to undertake any measures to bolster the security of India’s northern borders despite Patel’s explicit sounding of the tocsin” (34). Nor does Ganguly overlook Nehru’s policy of “appeasing and accommodating the PRC [which] had, for all practical purposes, ended in a complete military debacle” (41). The third chapter focuses on the period during the disastrous 1962 war and the end of the Cold War, with the disappearance of the Soviet Union as India’s major global backer. Ganguly argues, Indian foreign policy straddled the contrary pulls of the “ideational” elements and the “recognition of the significance of and quest for material power” (4). “Incomplete acceptance of the importance of material capabilities” marked the fourth phase. The final section of the book discusses current trends and capabilities and the limitations of Indian foreign policy in meeting its stated objectives.

Ganguly’s analysis will provide much food for thought both to the general reader and the specialist. The former will benefit from the historical narrative that helps follow the unfolding of India’s foreign policy. For the latter, the real bonus lies in the cache of interviews conducted with the diplomatic corps and high-ranking military officers, who have been part of the story that he tells. One finds insights in these narratives that help us understand turns of events that normally remain shrouded in mystery.

With the robust clarity that marks his scholarship, Ganguly excoriates the government of India for keeping India’s diplomatic corps limited in size, causing in large part its inability to meet the challenges of a fast moving world. “In 2012 the Indian Foreign Service had a mere 600 odd officers, with 150 missions across the world. For the purpose of comparison, Belgium and Holland had similar size diplomatic corps” (18). He upbraids India’s numerous think tanks for their limited value in providing policy-relevant advice: “The vast majority of them lack a sufficient corpus of individuals who have adequate professional training in international affairs and strategic studies. Most, in fact, are autodidacts of varying quality and with differing levels of knowledge and expertise” (16). The consequences are to be seen in the “residual anti-Americanism in the foreign policy apparatus in New Delhi” (137), the Indian reaction, “at the arrest and apparent maltreatment of an Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, in New York in December 2013…bordering on petulance and quite unbecoming of what one might reasonably expect of a strategic partner and an aspiring global power” (136), or India’s failure to develop a suitable strategy to cope with cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan in the face of the “nuclear overhang” (119).

The long shadow of Jawaharlal Nehru hangs heavily on Ganguly’s view of Indian foreign policy. His analysis stops with Manmohan Singh’s India. Prime Minister Modi has one entry in the book (19), but even this reference is to his time as Chief Minister of Gujarat. It is therefore not possible within this frame of analysis to situate Modi’s India and ask if India has reached a turning point, or whether one is still stuck with the famous aphorism of Stephen Cohen: “One is … tempted to ask whether India is destined always to be ‘emerging’ but never actually arriving” (India: Emerging Power [Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2001], 2). By recent indications, particularly, the multiple trips of Prime Minister Modi to the centres of power, and the reciprocation of some of these visits by the high and mighty to India, it might be argued that the direction of India’s foreign policy has taken a radical turn. The two figures most closely identified with emerging India—Prime Minister Modi and Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar—showcase a different profile of India. “A stage has come where no country can now think of treating India with contempt or condescension. Every country today is looking at us either with deference or as an equal” (Narendra Modi, 2014). Jaishankar adds: “India now aspires to be a leading power, rather than just a balancing power,” and carries with it “a willingness to shoulder greater global responsibilities” (Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, 20 July 2015, Readers of Ganguly’s elegant and incisive analysis will eagerly look forward to his evaluation of this new phase in the unfolding of India’s foreign policy.

Subrata K. Mitra, National University of Singapore, Singapore

ON THE EDGE OF EMPIRE: Four British Plans for North East India, 1941–1947. Edited by David R. Syiemlieh. New Delhi: Sage Publications India, 2014. xiv, 255 pp. (Illustrations.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-81-321-1347-8.

After more than sixty years of Indian independence and Northeast India’s participation in that project, debates about that region’s tenuous and often troubled relationship with the rest of the country abound. The history of how the once fiercely independent hill tribes came to be part of the Indian state-making project is widely contested, and this has given fuel and sustenance to decades-old insurgency in the region. The multiple versions of history that have arisen, partly due to the lack of written records of the region, provide both sides of the fence with a legitimacy that cannot ultimately be ascertained. This collection of essays that brings into the public domain primary sources on a crucial aspect of planning for the region following the departure of the British administration establishes a solid empirical foundation on which future debates can now be anchored.

The book, which in chronological order takes readers through plans written by four different colonial administrators towards the end of the Raj, throws light, and in some cases provides much detail, on the different futures that were then being considered for Northeast India. These confidential plans were drawn up by four members of the Indian Civil Service who all served in various capacities in Northeast India. The authors of these plans were Sir Robert N. Reid, Governor of Assam (1937–1942); his successor Sir Andrew G. Glow (1942–1947); James P. Mills, Advisor to the Government of Assam for Tribal Areas and States; and this latter’s successor and fellow officer, Philip F. Adams. The book begins by providing useful contextual background in terms of the administrative machinery and political activities among the hill tribes around the time the plans were secretly being discussed. It also makes insightful references to the careers of British officers and their relationships with colleagues as well as the hill tribes.

It was Reid who first put across the idea that the hill people of the region should be afforded special attention by the British Government. Within his note of 1941 is the concept of the Crown Colony for Northeast India and the hill regions of Burma. The note makes a detailed study of how the hill people were to be governed, with suggestions for another and different phase of British administration. Governor-General Lord Linlithgow, who was amongst the first to receive a copy of Reid’s note, in turn sent a copy to L.S. Amery, the Secretary of State for India. Amery, who was impressed with the plan, sent a copy to the Oxford Professor Reginal Coupland who was writing the third and final volume on the constitutional problem in India. Given the confidential nature of the idea, Coupland was prohibited from quoting British officers and the proposed plan was to be aired as one of many broad ideas, with one intention being to garner views on the matter. This is how the first public conjuring of the idea of a crown colony took Coupland’s name.

However, Reid’s successor, Sir Andrew Clow, the last British Governor of Assam, disagreed with Reid on many issues. His long note is a detailed review of the administration of the Assam tribes. Both Reid and Clow had Mills as their adviser. Mill’s own note, quite different from his bosses’, puts in perspective the future of the hill tribes of the region in a self-governing India, given that by the time he wrote his note, it had become clear that the British would not stay much longer in India. Adams, who took over from Mills, stayed on as Secretary to Sir Akbar Hydari, the first Indian Governor of Assam. His short note provides some insights and references on the British thinking towards the hill tribes.

Interestingly, all the notes to varying extent dwell on the common idea of a balance between preservation of culture and development of the tribal population, though they differ in their views on how to go about this. This is an issue that continues to resonate and these documents provide a historical context to the policy confusion that has bound successive governments in independent India. Finally, the book is also hugely significant in providing direction for further research that might give greater clarity to the events that followed, and which determined the fate of the region. Two areas stand out in particular, the different accounts raise many interesting questions about the views of the locals on these plans and the factors and dynamics driving the opinions of different tribal organizations of them. Secondly, the production of primary sources around the plans begs for similar scholarship and more sources on the plans as well as the negotiations and correspondence with the Indian and regional leadership that immediately followed independence.

Laldinkima Sailo, National University of Singapore, Singapore                                                        

DIVIDED WE GOVERN: Coalition Politics in Modern India. By Sanjay Ruparelia. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. xxiv, 480 pp., [16] pp. of plates (B&W illustrations.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-026491-8.

A succession of coalition governments held power in India between 1977 and 1979, 1989 and 1991, and 1996 and 2014. A coalition can be said to have governed since mid-2014 as well, although the Bharatiya Janata Party has a parliamentary majority that gives it a pre-eminence that no party in those earlier periods possessed. There is a very real chance that when that government’s term ends in 2019, yet another coalition will succeed it.

So to understand India’s recent political history—and the foreseeable future—we need a meticulous, nuanced analysis of power dynamics within those quite varied coalitions, and an objective assessment of their achievements and limitations. Sanjay Ruparelia has provided just that.

Crucially, he brings to his task a realistic understanding of how such episodes must be analysed. He makes it clear from the outset that these coalition governments faced tight constraints, but that despite this, opportunities existed to achieve certain important changes. Leaders within the coalitions grappled with impediments imposed by objective conditions. They undertook “gambles” in the knowledge that there is some limited “room for alternatives in history”—in the words (which Ruparelia quotes) of Fernando Henrique Cardoso who, after writing them, demonstrated the point during his eight years as Brazil’s president. The leaders of those coalitions sometimes miscalculated or bungled, or were thwarted by constraints and opponents. But they accomplished enough to leave their mark—on occasion for ill, but often for good. Rising regional parties were necessarily drawn into the coalitions, as were new social forces, and India’s democracy was deepened.

Politics and state-society relations in India are fiendishly complex topics at the best of times. But given the internal tensions that exist within any coalition, and the precarious hold on power of some of them, the complications that confront Ruparelia as he charts the tactical machinations of important actors are especially daunting. And yet he has managed to make these intelligible. His ability to avoid and correct misinterpretations, which are legion in the Indian media and some academic analyses, is impressive.

The stories that he tells are so byzantine that this text cannot be an easy read. Ruparelia tackles each episode with a fine-tooth comb, but he also provides accounts of considerable clarity—despite the often mind-boggling complexity of his material. His assessments are consistently judicious, so that this book will surely stand as the locus classicus, the essential source, for studies of coalition politics between 1977 and 2014. And if, as seems likely, coalitions re-emerge in the future, this volume will be essential for studies comparing the new with the old, even for those who challenge its arguments.

In one further respect, this book will never be surpassed. Ruparelia conducted an enormous number of interviews with key actors engaged with the coalition processes, and many of those witnesses will not survive for much longer. Indeed, a number have since passed away. So no successor study will have his rich array of sources available.

We often hear complaints that the long period of hung parliaments, and of either minority or coalition governments between 1989 and 2014, left India adrift without the decisive leadership that it needs. But those who hanker after the smack of firm government fail to recognise that this era produced two fundamentally important benefits for India’s democracy, which emerge from Ruparelia’s analysis.

First, it brought to an end the era under Indira and Rajiv Gandhi (for all but three of the years between 1971 and 1989) when abuses of prime ministerial power were rife. The subsequent period between 1989 and 2014 witnessed only a tiny number of such abuses, far fewer than India had suffered before 1989 or the United Kingdom suffered under either Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair.

Second, and as a consequence, after 1989, institutions which had been gravely damaged by assaults in that earlier era, especially under Indira Gandhi, acquired considerable power, autonomy, and independence. They included (inter alia) the courts, the presidency, parliament and its committees, the Election Commission, regulatory agencies, and the Comptroller and Auditor-General, all at the national level—plus state governments, centre-state relations, the federal system, and elected local councils. Checks and balances acquired substance, hence the decline in abuses. Politics became more open and pluralistic, and more attentive and responsive to a wider and deeper array of interests. The political process became less tidy, but key institutions and Indian democracy underwent regeneration.

Ruparelia makes it vividly apparent that, as is so often the case with important political processes, his material does not lend itself to rigorous “proofs” to which some aspire. Instead, he offers arguments of high plausibility. He also argues that the episodes he examines are so complicated that “singular theoretical paradigms” fall short, and that “temporal contingencies and complex causal chains make theoretical generalization difficult” (329). Social scientists who crave such generalizations will bemoan this, and those who cling to such paradigms will attack his analysis, but he is surely right. He makes the most of various paradigms, and his engagement with coalition theory is especially valuable. But in demonstrating their limitations, he offers us a refreshingly realistic assessment of India’s baffling, ambiguous political reality.

James Manor, University of London, London, United Kingdom

UNSETTLING INDIA: Affect, Temporality, Transnationality. By Purnima Mankekar. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015. xiv, 301 pp. (Illustrations.) US$26.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5836-7.

Feminist anthropologist Purnima Mankekar’s primary objective in this terrific book is to “explore how our assumptions about India and about cultural change are stirred up—unsettled—in contexts of neoliberalism and the circulation of transnational public cultures” (190). Though the result is not solely a critique of Hindutva, her interviews in New Delhi and in the United States demonstrate her conviction that “intellectual work and political solidarity must always go hand-in-hand” (x). Her fascinating study focuses on the upwardly mobile beneficiaries of globalization in Delhi—as does Rana Dasgupta’s popular Capital: The Eruption of Delhi (Penguin, 2014), to which this volume compares quite favorably—and to upwardly mobile South Asians in Silicon Valley. But equal time is devoted to the less successful aspirants in Delhi and Silicon Valley who seem inescapably emplaced in situations of desperate stasis—individuals who “navigate and inhabit parallel, often discrepant, social worlds” (224). The volume pays a great deal of attention to class distinctions, to race perceptions, and to gender roles, and to how these play out in the creation and maintenance of nationalistic affect. Although the study is written in accessible prose, recounting conversations with particular individuals in their local contexts before concluding with broad complex abstractions, Mankekar (who conducted much of the investigation while teaching at Stanford, and who now serves in the Departments of Gender Studies and Asian American Studies at UCLA) engages throughout with engrossing ongoing debates in social theory.

Earlier versions of large portions of the book’s chapters have appeared in journals over the years, going back as far as 1994, but they are effectively organized here to make a compelling and unified argument that builds on her earlier Screening Culture, Viewing Politics: An Ethnography of Television, Womanhood, and Nation (Duke UP, 1994). Mankekar does a close reading of several popular Bollywood classics and television programs, with particular attention given to Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), Bunty aur Babli (2005), and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001). Such media serve to reconceptualize “Indianness,” building on the shifts in nationalist affect of the 1990s to portray a “New India” that is not tethered to territorial location. This is in contrast to earlier films like Purab aur Paschim (1970) that warned against the dangers of losing one’s Indianness by living abroad. More recent films, intent on yoking non-resident Indians to a resurgent India, portray protagonists who may adopt western appearance and swagger, but who seek occasions to reaffirm their cultural purity. These films affirm a masculinity that is affluent, cosmopolitan, modern, and militantly heterosexual. Viewers abroad get the message that one does not once-and-for-all leave home: they carry India in their hearts—and therefore must be true to what is “most” Indian and homogeneously Hindu. Her Sikh and Muslim informants protest that such exclusion reinscribes the marginalization that they have felt all their lives in India, a marginalization that many of them also find in the diasporic communities of Silicon Valley.

Mankekar’s chapter on the Indian grocery stores in Sunnyvale portrays them as sensoria of homely smells and sounds that reaffirm ties to India for some shoppers, but that underscore for some others the clean break they prefer to embrace. These are locations that remind some working-class immigrants that they are not, in fact, part of the wonderful success story of the middle- or upper-middle class entrepreneur and computer executive narrativized by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Mankekar is intent on reading these local stores as disrupters of the notion of the “real” India, demonstrating a complex range of affects that are held in productive tension: variously “spaces of surveillance, solidarity, ambivalence, and/or hostility” (105).

A chapter on transnational Hindi television, and especially on soap operas of the 1980s and 1990s, focuses on working-class informants in Delhi to discuss the affects generated by the commodities portrayed and the erotics intertwined in that portrayal, with some worried that earlier representations of “Indianness” prompted self-sacrifice, and newer ones seem to valorize helping oneself to these goods. As has been observed in many other regions of the world—see, for example, Carmela Garritano’s African Video Movies and Global Desires (Ohio UP, 2013)—such television and film productions open the eyes of all classes to the lifestyles of the wealthy, their mobility and acquisitions. This is seen as particularly unsettling by those who worry about overt expressions of women’s erotic desires in Indian society, especially with an increasing focus on self-expression rather than group identity.

These familiar observations lead to the book’s highly suggestive final chapters on global India and the production of moral subjects, and on the role of impersonation, mobility, emplacement, and aspiration in call centres in India. Mankekar analyzes the BJP’s appropriation of swadeshi (Gandhian self-rule) in its campaign for self-reliance, recording her informants’ protest against being “oppressed” in “their own lands” by the non-Hindus. Such individuals (in Delhi, but also in Silicon Valley) recommend a detoxification of India (the rejection as cultural contamination of celebrations in India of Valentine’s Day, and the valorization of the “new Hindu woman” who should be morally self-disciplined). By these lights, “tradition indexes futurity rather than the past” (172) by providing a blueprint for “how to live in the future as moral subjects of Global India” (172). This requires “the containment of erotic desire, deference to parental authority, and the reinscription of conventional gender roles” (180): goals, Mankekar shows, even for those who had never been to India itself.

Mankekar concludes this India-centred study with an analysis of the reaction in the United States to 9/11, suggesting that “regimes of affect and temporality enabled the creation of a national community. . . predicated on the marginalization and demonization of racial and cultural Others” (230), and thereby foregrounding the allegorical significance of her study for the “unsettling” of other patriotisms. The book is highly recommended.

John C. Hawley, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, USA                                                               

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

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                                                  

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                                                           

Southeast Asia


NOTHING EVER DIES: Vietnam and the Memory of War. By Viet Thanh Nguyen. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016. viii, 374 pp. (Illustrations.) US$27.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-66034-2.

Decades ago, at the end of a devastating conflict, a flow of humanity, braving all dangers while paying a deadly price, fled Indochina to asylum countries where they resettled into new lives, their homelands branded into their memories. Their experiences— seldom directly recounted by themselves but more so by their children, a generation further removed from the conflict—became a barely discernible genre within a voluminous stream of works known in the English language as the Vietnam War literature. This genere involves not only the written word but also a filmography churned out by Hollywood, which has been viewed globally and implicitly accepted as expressing the wartime realities, whether rendered coarsely as in the Rambo series or artistically as in Apocalypse Now.

These works tend to be Manichean in their interpretations, predominantly concerned with explaining how the United States, the most powerful nation in the world, lost to an underdeveloped, formerly colonized country, Vietnam. None went beyond this dualistic approach which opposed the (American) Self/perpetrator and the (non-American) Other/victim, ignoring the fact that the victim could also be the perpetrator. None, that is, until Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Nothing Ever Dies.

Nguyen’s work is a multidimensional reflection on conflicts in general and on the Second Indochina War in particular, from the further removed location of memories; it is about how the Vietnam or American War—the names are “false choices” (7)—is remembered, reflected, produced, and disseminated, and by whom. The author explores memories grouped under three headings—“Ethics,” “Industries,” and “Aesthetics”— canvassing a vast literary, artistic, and cinematographic array produced in the English language. Employing Marxist dialectics and influenced by the school of memory and forgetting, from Halbwachs to Ricoeur, Nguyen argues that remembrances, themselves part of a thriving industry of memory, are reflections of a dualistic imbalance of power, the powerful versus the weak, the rich versus the poor, the developed versus the underdeveloped, as “memories are signs and products of power, and in turn, they service power” (15).

Nguyen strives to be as inclusive as possible, including not only the voices of Americans and   Vietnamese but also of Cambodians, Laotians, Hmong, and others. He advocates “just memory” to be approached “by recalling the weak, the subjugated, the different” (17). Nothing and no one escapes his scrutiny, from the hallowed Vietnam War Wall in Washington, DC, to the revered Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, as he examines the underpinnings of consecrated symbols, and shines light on the victims to show that they can be equally perpetrators, “human and inhuman.” The author extends such metaphorical analysis to present-day “others” such as the Muslim, the Arab, or the terrorist, who are supposedly treated in some circles “in the same idealized fashion as the antiwar movement treated the Vietnamese” (74).

Nguyen’s work is a reflection not just on the Vietnam War but also on other conflicts fought by the United States (e.g., Korea, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Iraq), explaining that “historically intractable conflicts continue” because both sides see themselves as victims but refuse to acknowledge that they are also perpetrators (73). It ponders racial relations in America between the predominant English-speaking white majority and the varied ethnicities that have also settled the land, and the problematics of writing from an ethnic point of view—be the perspective that of the Vietnamese American or another ethnicity. Nguyen confronts the paradox of Vietnamese American and, by extension, all ethnically based literature bound to a defining trauma as “minority writers know they are most easily heard in America when they speak about the historical events that defined their populations” (201).

Nothing Ever Dies’ strength lies in the voice he gives to the disenfranchised via a lyrical, impassioned style, fuelled by a considerable scholarship and coloured by numerous trips to Asia. He demands that we, the readers, always remember “ethically.” While having “Vietnam” in its title and a Vietnamese author’s name may limit its readership to those eternally seeking an answer to the conflict, this work is very much of the moment—and beyond—in its examination of current issues that are at the forefront of American society such as racial relations, identity politics, war, and memories. While the work by itself may read as a philosophical discourse on “just forgetting,” on Asian Americans and their fates in “the land of the free,” it conveys a touch of tenderness and relatable fragile humanity via a filigree of a voice, that of the refugee child that the author used to be before his metamorphosis into a full-fledged, Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer. His trajectory of exodus, resettlement, and return to his roots make him palpably one of “them,” in search of his “self” in his ancestral as well as adopted land.

Throughout the work, the author strives to be inclusive by refusing to accept the dominant memories of the “patronizing, guilt-ridden” majority (196). This drive, while necessary and commendable, is weakened by his attempt to step into cultures and lands with which by ethnic membership and scholarly training, the author is unfamiliar. Thus his examination of the Cambodian Genocide through visits to the killing fields reads as simplistic and reductive in its interpretation of such a complex phenomenon, just like his desire to include the Lao experience is limited by the scarcity of English-language works about such a little-known nation. Equally it is sometimes plagued by facile, jargonistic phrases such as “the American industry of memory is on a par with the American arms industry just as Hollywood is the equal of the American armed forces” (108).

Overall, Nothing Ever Dies affects us all, whether we are students of the Vietnam/American War or simply concerned by questions of “identity politics,” whether we are part of the first or second generation of exiles adapting to a new homeland or whether we are curious about the “other.” It will affect all readers who are musing about present-day conflicts, and above all, those of us who try to remember justly.

NGUYỄN Thị Điểu, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA

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JAVAPHILIA: American Love Affairs with Javanese Music and Dance. Music and Performing Arts of Asia and the Pacific. By Henry Spiller. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xii, 266 pp. (Figures.) US$42.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-4094-5.

Javaphilia is a smartly researched, historical account of four influential individuals’ engagement with Javanese music and dance in the American cultural imagination. The biographical data is sandwiched between two expositions, the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which featured the Java Village, and the 1986 Exposition in Vancouver, where the First International Gamelan Festival and Symposium was held. Culminating in several performative moments throughout the decades, Spiller provides critical perspectives on four influential “javaphiles,” or “those who love Java” (vii): artist Hubert Stowitts (1892–1953), singer Eva Gauthier (1885–1958), ethnomusicologist Mantle Hood (1918–2005), and composer Lou Harrison (1917–2003). Henry Spiller shows that artists and scholars alike have participated in a subcultural affinity for Javanese expression since 1893, leaving perennial waves in the contemporary American cultural imagination.

By utilizing a microhistorical approach, Spiller explores “the minute details of small events or individuals’ lives to illuminate larger cultural patterns and narratives” (17). More specifically, the purpose of the book is to illuminate and critique the ways in which Americans have imagined Java through an analytical lens that explores “self-understanding and self-fashioning, orientalisms, and microhistory” (25). Four of the book’s seven chapters are devoted to specific individuals, those mentioned above, illustrating how each used Java for their own careers and “self-fashioning” (25), while contributing to a wider cultural affinity for Javanese arts. He argues that for Stowitts, Gauthier, Hood, and Harrison, Javanese arts provided more individually suitable ways to negotiate aesthetic sensibilities and identity formations where mainstream American artistic practices could not. Spiller also reflexively includes himself in his nuanced critique of javaphilia in America by providing his own, albeit brief, microhistory in the form of an autobiographical account.

The central theme of the book revolves around the notion that American mainstream values and sensibilities left each individual javaphile feeling marginalized, pushing them to pursue new ways of forming identities through the idea of Java. Gauthier was not well received as a singer before traveling to Java, Stowitts felt alienated by homophobia at home, Hood was frustrated with Cold War values, and Harrison shied away from the “anxious expressions” of the American music establishment (5). Each of these javaphiles was disenchanted by their place in American culture; as Spiller notes, “[n]one of the conventional subject positions available to them was quite suitable” (5).

While focusing primarily on biography and microhistory as method, Spiller also weaves in musical analysis that illustrates the ways in which individuals have imagined Java, Indonesia, and the East through orientalizing and decidedly American filters. These analyses are interesting given that, as Spiller argues, many javaphiles looked to Java as an alternative site through which to express their artistic, sexual, and political identities and desires. As revealed throughout the book, these desires are often expressed through misrepresentations and exaggerations of Javanese culture. Notably, as Spiller demonstrates, many of the musical features associated with Java remain consistent from the time of the 1893 World’s Fair, throughout each of the aforementioned javaphile’s lives, and remain salient for affinity groups today.

The primary musical characteristics that came to represent Java in American performances included “complex timbres, stratified polyphonic textures, and formulaic repetitiveness of the music that stuck in people’s ears” (27). While these features stood out and remained consistent in American conceptions of Javanese music, other biases in musical transmission included practices such as conforming transcriptions to Western musical preconceptions (37), or gravitating towards Western harmonic conventions in Javanese song arrangements (73). These and other tendencies are traced throughout the book, from transcriptions by visitors to the World’s Fair to Lou Harrison’s tuning and stylistic adaptations in what he called the American gamelan.

In concluding the book, Spiller notes that individuals no longer dominate the arena of javaphilia but have influenced a wider subcultural affinity for Javanese culture, most notably in university settings. Citing what ethnomusicologists have called “ethnodrag” in university gamelan performances, where students and teachers play the part of Indonesia through often awkwardly fitting costumes and musical adaptations, he suggests that the American gamelan musician is a “double-Other” who, in part because of his or her own feelings of alienation and need to identify outside of the American cultural mainstream, reinterprets Javanese culture in order to construct an identity for him- or herself (199).

Though critical in his examination of American javaphilia, a critique that includes himself, Spiller is charitable in his assessment of Americans’ love of Javanese culture. Noting that “assimilation is different from intimate familiarization, and that the former is impossible in an American setting,” he provides an ultimately supportive and positive interpretation of the cross-cultural bridges that are built upon an initial platform of individual self-fulfillment (199). In addition to self-fulfillment, the author cites ethnomusicologist Mark Slobin’s two-pronged approach as a way of understanding affinity groups: self-fulfillment and communitas (199). Spiller argues that it is through these motivations that javaphilia continues in American settings today.

Spiller’s work contributes to a lesser-covered topic in ethnomusicology: gamelan and Javanese arts in American settings. Along with works such as Judith Becker’s “One Perspective on Gamelan in America” (Asian Music 15, no.1 [1983]: 81–89), or Leta Miller and Fredric Lieberman’s “Lou Harrison and the American Gamelan” (American Music 17, no. 2 [summer 1999]: 146–178), where ethnomusicologists have examined the impact of gamelan in North America, Javaphilia is a significant contribution. Relevant to a wide range of cultural scholars, but especially ethnomusicologists, those studying Javanese arts will appreciate the many insights into their field through Spiller’s careful historical research. Beyond interest to specialists, the book is relevant for all those working and studying in American—and wider—academic institutions where ethnomusicology and world music is taught and performed. Alongside works such as Performing Ethnomusicology: Teaching and Representation in World Music Ensembles, edited by Ted Solís (University of California Press, 2004), which examines the performative aspects of ethnomusicology as a discipline, or Ethnomusicology and Modern Music History, edited by Stephen Blum, Philip Bohlman, and Daniel Neuman (University of Illinois Press, 1991), which discusses ways that ethnomusicology fits into historical music research, Henry Spiller fills in a major portion of the performative history of ethnomusicology, a portion significantly and influentially bound up with javaphilia.

Jᴏᴇ Kɪɴᴢᴇʀ, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

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ROMANCING HUMAN RIGHTS: Gender, Intimacy, and Power between Burma and the West. Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Transcultural Studies Series. By Tamara C. Ho. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press in association with UCLA Asian American Studies Center, Los Angeles, 2015. xxvi, 184 pp. US$49.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3925-3.

One of the benefits of Myanmar’s ongoing transformation after decades of military rule is that the scope of academic reflection is broadening, and broadening quickly. In the past, scholars were generally content to grapple with the familiar binaries: generals and democrats, minorities and majorities, war and peace. In Tamara C. Ho’s densely composed and passionately argued Romancing Human Rights, we get an entirely new set of critical dispatches. These emerge from the close reading of a motley collection of source materials and authors, everything from George Orwell to Aung San Suu Kyi, and Rambo to Zoya Phan. The interpretations are bold, often grasping at a single paragraph to make punchy postcolonial assertions about the deeper priorities and prejudices of the authors.

The basis for Ho’s re-reading of “the hegemonic influence of Western heteropatriarchy” (xi) is “Asian/American” (xvi), meaning there is a “slash” in the identity matrix. In her words, Ho presents a “queer/feminist genealogy [that] tracks displaced Burmese women as real and fictional author-translators across the twentieth century in various geopolitical spaces” (xvii). Her advantage for this type of scholarship is historical and personal: Ho is a “doubly diasporic feminist critic, a tayoke (Chinese) immigrant from Burma with the privileges of US citizenship and education” (xviii).

Given the genre, there is no escaping the barrage of concepts and theory, unleashed with gusto in chapter 1’s survey of “interracial affiliations and transnational antagonisms.” Ho’s “analysis highlights how the political power of ‘the West’ (the United States in particular) operates in neo-Orientalist, messianic discourses about ‘saving’ the abjected, minoritized, and postcolonial Other” (5). The whole point of her re-reading of the literary materials is to challenge “heteropatriarchical normativity” (15), which at one stage morphs into “an overdetermined and homophobically Orientalist trope” (22).

In this case, the literary homophobe is the scripting of Rambo, a 2008 film that sees the classic Hollywood brawler take to a Myanmar army battalion with a heavy machine gun. It is hardly high art, but Ho gives Sylvester Stallone’s notorious character the full critical treatment. In her view, “Rambo perpetuates a heterosexist, individualistic ethos and unchecked collateral damage while reinforcing U.S. exceptionalism and Christian spiritual redemption” (23). Later, in chapter 2’s discussion of “possessive investments in masculinity,” we learn “how Western imperialism and patriarchal hegemony worked to obliterate feminized and minoritized discourses” (26). Later, on the same theme, we get the interpretation of a “phallic needle” (50).

However, when it comes to the grim and often violent politics of Myanmar, Ho is curiously imprecise. She lumps together a “series of brutally repressive military governments since 1962 (i.e., General Ne Win and the BSPP, SLORC, SPDC, USDA, and USDP)” (67). The fact that the USDA was never the government, and that the USDP (which ruled from 2011 to 2016) implemented wide-ranging political and economic reforms, does not fit Ho’s story of uninterrupted and unrelenting brutality.

Instead, Romancing Human Rights goes back to broadcasting unflattering appraisals of other writers. One unlucky biographer is admonished for a “passage [that] illustrates enduring voyeuristic and Orientalist fantasies about Burma” (81). In this style, Ho ends up criticizing those with whom she more-or-less agrees, arguing that one otherwise useful analyst “falls prey to the imperialist (Western) tendency to sexualize and eroticize Burmese bodies” (81). In Ho’s sharp assessments, nothing can ever be taken for granted or accepted at face value. Apparently “the authors of Burmese descent examined in Romancing Human Rights are a few examples of minoritized voices that are too often ignored or repackaged for exploitation/profit by the publishing marketplace and consumption by mainstream audiences of the global North and One-Third World” (110). In another section, Ho scornfully writes of Myanmar’s “reforms” (115). Myanmar today remains imperfect, of course. The fact that this book does not appear to mention Naypyitaw, not even once, is an indication of a curious disconnect from the harsh realities of power and ideas.

The book’s 498 footnotes are also fascinating artifacts of Ho’s literary method. Footnote 3, on page 121, presents another phallic reference, this time about sixteenth-century reports of penile enhancement. Later, on page 158, in footnote 25, Ho admits that her “study does not extensively engage literature or journalism written in Burmese” (158). Given her immense effort to reclaim a more authentic and politically acceptable vision of Myanmar culture, it is surprising that we do not learn more from the pluralized vernaculars of the people themselves.

Colonialisms and their postcolonial rebuttals are certainly worthy subjects of scholarly labour and Ho is to be commended for her thorough and radical approach. Yet, when it comes to today’s geopolitics, if there is a serious colonial element to life in Myanmar it rarely emanates from Ho’s reviled West. It is big Chinese players—ably abetted by Singaporeans, Koreans, Thais, and Malaysians—who are doing their utmost to reshape the economy, exploit national and human resources, and stamp an entirely new set of values on society. In most cases, these implacably illiberal influences are the ones deserving our sustained critical scrutiny. In this respect, Ho’s literary interpretations may prove anachronistic when put side-by-side with the foundational battles for livelihood that matter so much to millions of people across Myanmar today.

Nicholas Farrelly, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia                                   


THE MAKING OF MIDDLE INDONESIA: Middle Classes in Kupang Town, 1930s–1980s. Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, v. 293; Power and Place in Southeast Asia, v. 5. By Gerry van Klinken. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2014. xviii, 300 pp. (Figures, map, table.) US$148.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-26508-0.

Political scientists tend to focus on capital cities, and anthropologists on the village, but few scholars pay much attention to what is in between, despite the fact that smaller cities house the bulk of the world’s urban residents and represent underappreciated political power. Gerry van Klinken’s The Making of Middle Indonesia: Middle Classes in Kupang Town, 1930s-1980s shines a light on the administrative class of one such middle city. Kupang serves as the backdrop to a careful historical study of local politics, charting the rise of administrative classes and detailing their connections to the central government. Van Klinken paints a picture of local administrators as synaptic figures, mediating between metropolis and village, centre and periphery. He argues that administrative elites represent the lifeblood of Indonesian politics, the glue holding the sprawling archipelago together.

Van Klinken has penned some of the most interesting, in-depth work on Indonesian politics, and this book is no exception. A companion to his co-edited volume, In Search of Middle Indonesia (KITLV Press, 2014), The Making of Middle Indonesia is an explicitly historical study, one with many implications for today. Organizationally, early chapters provide an introduction, assess the literature, and discuss fieldwork, and are then arranged chronologically, from Dutch colonialism, to the Japanese invasion and independence struggle, the Sukarno era, the ascent of the Indonesian Communist Party, the rise of the bureaucratic class, and the violent purge of Kupang’s leftists in 1965. The core of the book is a thoroughly researched local history of Kupang. Van Klinken has browsed archives, conducted interviews, and examined personal collections to construct a history that has not really been told. One of the book’s many highlights is the range of images and figures included, such as local maps and even labels from local manufacturing, providing some local flavour.

The book’s core contention is that “Middle Indonesia,” the country’s administrative classes, constitute Indonesian politics. As Indonesia survived the chaos of reformasi, scholars wondered what holds this massive, diverse country together. Some saw strong leaders, pluralism, or perhaps anti-colonial experiences as playing this role. Van Klinken’s response is that the country is bound together by state patronage and the personal networks of the thousands of bureaucrats across various levels of the state. For those who have conducted research in remote parts of the country, this explanation is entirely convincing. The state dominates regional political economies, keeping notables within Jakarta’s orbit. Here we see an evolution in van Klinken’s work, as he previously explained post-Suharto violence in terms of competition for control of local bureaucracy. The role of the subnational state is illustrated nicely by an example in the late 1960s, when 60 percent of East Nusa Tenggara’s provincial budget expenses were marked “other,” and 85 percent of this funding came from Jakarta (201). This illustrates both the local patronage and national resources that make subnational administrative classes such an important area of study.

“Middle Indonesia” refers to both a class of administrators as well as the towns they inhabit. In a sense, this is a different type of middle class; instead of the educated cosmopolitans of capital cities that dominate the democratization literature, these are the somewhat corrupt town leaders. If globalized middle classes in capital cities are forces for political change, provincial middle classes appear as vanguards of political stability. The provincial and township administrative classes are important because they are connected to rural Indonesia in ways that Jakarta’s middle classes are not, and indeed this is where Middle Indonesia draws its power.

For all of the book’s great strengths, I perceived a couple of shortcomings. Although the concept and empirics are exceptional, I found references to other studies to be awkward. Chapters 1 and 2 appear at first glance to provide a literature review and some broader historical context (chapter 2 is titled “Historical Synthesis”). However, both chapters fluctuate between academic theories and Indonesian events. There are dozens of times where the author alludes to academic theories, but not in a sustained, coherent manner. For instance, on page 11 there is a focused discussion of John Allen’s concept of Associational Power. Despite appearing as a touchstone for the book, it is not really returned to. Later chapters provide sporadic references to other studies, mentions that seem not entirely fleshed out.

Another potential criticism is that the book stops suddenly in the late 1960s. This was especially surprising since the introduction alludes to post-Suharto politics, the title suggests a focus through the 1980s, and early on notes the centrality of the 1970s oil boom in making Middle Indonesia. The book’s primary focus is, surprisingly, the 1965–1966 massacre of leftists and its immediate aftermath, with only a few pages devoted to the 1970s or 1980s, and none for events after this. Given extensive decentralization, subnational bureaucratic politics seem more important now than ever; the discussion of the creation of Nusa Tenggara Timor Province to reward local elites has clear parallels for the recent blossoming of district governments. Although more contemporary content is provided in the companion edited volume, this omission nevertheless makes this book feel incomplete.

Overall, though, this is an exceptional study. The author is to be commended, providing a convincing account of what makes Indonesia tick. It will be appreciated by anyone studying subnational politics and outer Indonesia, and it will provide an important lesson for those who study national politics or village life. Even though this detailed study is aimed mostly at Indonesia experts, it is a rewarding read for those interested in the places between metropolis and village in any country. As Indonesia has decentralized, it is reassuring that the keenest observers of the country have followed suit, providing a new appreciation for the vibrant middle.

Shane J. Barter, Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, USA                                                          

DEATHPOWER: Buddhism’s Ritual Imagination in Cambodia. By Erik W. Davis. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. xii, 303 pp. (Illustrations.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16918-9.

Interest in the study of Buddhism in Cambodia has grown among scholars in recent years. Historian Ian Harris provided us with Cambodian Buddhism: History and Practice (2005) and Buddhism in a Dark Age: Cambodian Monks under Pol Pot (2013), which provide comprehensive analyses of Buddhism and its role in Cambodian society. Anna Ruth Hansen’s How to Behave: Buddhism and Modernity in Colonial Cambodia, 1860–1930 (2007) explored Buddhist modernism in the French protectorate of Cambodge in the first half of the twentieth century. While these studies broke new ground, certain aspects of Cambodian Buddhism, such as the death ritual practice and its connection to present-day Cambodian culture and society, remained unexamined. This is why Deathpower: Buddhism’s Ritual Imagination in Cambodia by Erik W. Davis, an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Macalester College, is especially felicitous. Davis’ book is the most intensive ethnographic study of contemporary Buddhist death rituals in Cambodia to date.

The book contains eight highly readable chapters that combine Davis’ observations, interviews, and theoretical regressions to highlight the nature and form of Buddhist death practices in Cambodia. It is an expansion of his dissertation and fieldwork, which focused primarily on two temples in Phnom Penh (Wat Koḥ Yakkha and Wat Trī Loka) from 2003 to 2006. Davis draws from Michel Foucault’s notion of “biopower” for his concept of deathpower, which he calls a “domain of death over which human power has taken control” (134). More specifically, it refers to the relationships between the living and the dead as mirrored in the interactions on how Buddhist monks care for the dead. Davis also acknowledges in his introduction that Cornelius Castoriadis’ concept of the “magma of social significations” influenced his work considerably, and credits Clifford Geertz and Catherine Bell for their performance-oriented ethnography.

The first three chapters discuss types of burials, ritual personnel, technical details on the preparation of the body for cremation, and activities conducted after the cremation. Davis describes his fieldwork in two crematoriums where Buddhist monks and lay-ritual specialists physically bind the corpse of the dead to a location. This section includes an insightful discussion of the interconnections between rice agriculture and religious concepts. Chapter four explores funerary practices and two types of power held by the king who controls life and the Buddhist sangha (community of monks) that controls death. Davis introduces the boundary (sīmā) ritual, which he suggests “mimics and replaces the historical decapitation of a human head” (119). Davis then examines the connection between Buddhist ritualistic imagery and agricultural activities, including the role of paṃsukūla (rag robe) and its ties to the burial shroud. Here, he seeks out “agricultural resonances” (153) to link death rituals to agricultural imagery. Chapter six examines Bhjum Pinda (lit. “gathering the rice balls”), which Cambodians perform annually in the autumn and in which the Buddhist monks play a vital role, noting that a “monk serves as a conduit to the dead ancestors, whose blessings are the prerequisite for wealth, health, and happiness for their descendants” (168). The next chapter moves its attention to the ritual use of “physical remains of a human being to the remnants of another’s meal” (189) to show the differences between Buddhist monks, spirits mediums, and witches. Davis turns to the central question of his work in the book’s final chapter: what is, after all, Cambodian Buddhism? The title of the chapter, “Buddhism Makes Brahmanism” is somewhat misleading, since by “Brahmanism” the author does not mean the religion that existed in India or Cambodia prior to the advent of Buddhism. Instead, the author refers to all non-Buddhist spiritual entities and practices other than Cambodian Buddhism.

Davis argues that Buddhist ritual practice creates the “non-Buddhist category of spirits through its domination of them” (22) and “it needs non-Buddhist spirits to treat, tame, instrumentalize, or transform into beneficent ancestors” (241). This gives the sense that the sangha has certain control over non-Buddhist religious practice in Cambodia. How common is it for a non-Buddhist to ask Buddhist monks to perform funeral rituals for their family member? What might ethnic minority peoples in Cambodia who also believe in the spiritual world think of this “lumped” category? Moreover, Davis seems to disagree with the concept of syncretism or hybridity in relation to Southeast Asian Buddhism, suggesting an integration of them into a common Cambodian cultural imagination in which “Buddhism is a moral and ritual offense against a world essentially composed of wild, amoral spirits, including those that constitute us as human beings” (22). But this process is dialectical since Buddhism adopted religious aspects of other local religions and incorporated them. A Buddhist/non-Buddhist binary opposition may occur within the sangha imagination in an urban setting, but this is a questionable assumption in rural communities where everyday interaction and practice are often not as static. Davis acknowledges that Buddhism “embrace[s] as many types of spirits as it can, as long as they are willing to submit to the ultimate moral authority of Buddhism and its power over them” (242). How then can we determine what is Buddhist and “non-Buddhist”? What type of moral authority and power of the “non-Buddhist” submits to the Buddhist? In addition, Davis explains that he focuses more on lay ritual specialists rather than monks, but I wonder if Buddhism as portrayed by monks in general is the same Buddhism as practiced by lay followers?

Deathpower is insightful reading that provides sound scholarly analysis of complex phenomena at play within Cambodian Buddhist practice. This book is a long overdue contribution to the field of Buddhist studies in general and Cambodian Buddhism in particular. Davis’ ethnographic approach to his topic throws into sharp relief new and engaging aspects of the nature of Southeast Asian Buddhism’s encounters with local practices and performances. His work is persuasive and well researched, and should be compulsory reading for any scholar who is interested in both Cambodian studies and contemporary Buddhism in Southeast Asia.

Mai Bui Dieu Linh, Concordia University, Montréal, Canada                                                             

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FRONTIER LIVELIHOODS: Hmong in the Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands. By Sarah Turner, Christine Bonnin, Jean Michaud. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015. xii, 223 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-295-99466-6.

Frontier Livelihoods: Hmong in the Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands, is a compelling, interdisciplinary examination of the livelihood decisions of the Hmong in the mountainous regions along the Sino-Vietnamese border. Methodologically, the study draws from geography, history, and anthropology, with a significant reliance on interviews and participant observation, in order to provide nuanced answers to its guiding question of how the Hmong “make and negotiate their livelihood decisions” (4).

The Hmong population is estimated to be approximately 4 million, yet is spread across at least five different Asian countries, with the largest populations found in southern China and northern Vietnam. The Hmong communities in both countries share several important characteristics, such as their marginality; their official status as a minority group; their residence in mountainous regions on the peripheries of the two nations; and their embrace of an economic system in which they “are mainly rural, semi-subsistence farmers practicing a mixture of permanent and temporary agriculture, with production centered on household needs” (22). The combination of these characteristics is vital because it has historically marked them as a group that national governments seek to “develop,” particularly through modernization and integration into the market economy.

The volume’s broader theoretical goal is to demonstrate that the successful study of livelihood choices requires attention to culturally informed local agency, especially as this applies to the choices that people make to accept, ignore, modify, or resist the policies or agendas being imposed upon them by others who are more powerful. In order to demonstrate their theoretical arguments, the authors provide four primary cases that illustrate the cautious and complex manner in which the Hmong engage with the development projects designed and implemented by the Vietnamese and Chinese governments and the recent push toward the market economy: buffalo (chapter 4), alcohol (chapter 5), cardamom (chapter 6), and textiles (chapter 7). All four of these cases involve items that were historically part of the Hmong economy. Buffalo were important farm animals as well as symbols of wealth; locally produced alcohol was central in various ceremonial and social contexts; cardamom grew naturally in the region and was used medicinally; and locally woven and embroidered textiles were markers of Hmong identity as well as funerary clothing. One strength of the authors’ approach in all of these chapters is that they treat these items with cultural and historical sensitivity, especially the fact that in recent decades, with the transition to market economies in Vietnam and China, all have become commodities that have created new possibilities for cash income, but that at the same time bring new risks.

It is on the issue of managing risk that the volume makes some of its most interesting contributions. The authors demonstrate that the Hmong are neither tradition-bound nor “inept at trading and lack[ing] economic entrepreneurship” as often depicted in China and Vietnam (147), but instead are ready to embark upon what the authors fittingly describe as “measured engagements” (169) with new opportunities. Two representative examples of this are the utilization of new, hybrid rice forms and the commodification of Hmong textiles. Both the Chinese and Vietnamese governments have aggressively advocated hybrid seeds because of their higher yields. Hmong farmers in Vietnam recognize that while the so-called “Chinese rice” (53) can have advantages, it can also bring with it a variety of problems related to the timing of seed availability, input costs, labor and draft animal supply, and an unappealing taste. Thus, instead of either fully embracing or rejecting hybrid seeds, many farmers have taken a more cautious approach in which traditional rice varieties, though particularly sticky rice, are grown for personal or ceremonial use (53), while hybrid rice is used in alcohol production (89). Regarding Hmong textiles, which are distinctively patterned and produced by women, a vibrant market has emerged, especially for tourists. Hmong women have become actively engaged in this trade, which as the authors point out has created a new source of cash for them (132), but have done so in a careful manner. They have cleverly used it as an opportunity to repurpose used clothing they no longer need, but have not abandoned agriculture completely (133), and in instances when dealing with non-Hmong strangers, have preferred to rely on either kin or other Hmong to receive a fair price (136–137). The Hmong do not, as the authors argue, unrestrainedly seek to maximize profits, but instead, “using culturally rooted judgments, they resist becoming involved in the market beyond what seems relevant to them” (169).

Another virtue of the analyses is their careful articulation of the commodity chains associated with these products, some of which extend not just to lowland Chinese or Vietnamese society, but to other Southeast Asian nations and even the Hmong diaspora, which provides a fascinating vision of the global market forces that now affect Hmong communities. Unfortunately in all of the cases examined the Hmong are “economically subordinate” (145) and receive the smallest profits of the various parties involved in these trades. Still, as the authors convincingly demonstrate, the Hmong are open to innovation in their livelihood choices and employ a “productive bricolage” (62) of the new and old in order to survive in challenging circumstances. Instead of being passive recipients of development policies or modernizing directives, the Hmong employ their culturally informed agency to carefully negotiate their relationship to market integration and construct their own combinatory “indigenized” modernity (9). This highly readable and empirically rich study will be of interest to scholars of highland Southeast Asia and China as well as to anthropologists, geographers, and those who seek to understand how societies in peripheral regions negotiate development, modernization, and existence on the margins of a powerful nation-state.

Shaun Kingsley Malarney, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan                                   

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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 capitalists. Reflective of the generally placid social scene are nineteen plates of inserted photographs on everyday town lives, religious ceremonies, and city development (150-164). Only the first photograph on police headquarters and barracks hints at heightened social tension, but even this is marked clearly as a residue of past counterinsurgency years, from 1948 to 1960. This reinforces the book’s starting point that it is the early history of violence, fragmentation, disorder, and chaos in the pre-1969 period that had produced the silences about the history of class inequality in Malaysia and the forgetting among Chinese Malaysians.

In trying to claim originality and high contribution, the study has perhaps overstated its repeatedly harsh critique of the extant scholarly and journalistic literature on Overseas Chinese communities as being Sino-centric and overly focused on the Chinese mercantile elite (2, 5-7, 9-10, 125-126, 166, 202, 210, 282, 284, 300-301). It is indeed inaccurate to portray extant Overseas Chinese studies as almost exclusively focused upon the rich and famous with their self-governing segmentary hierarchical Chinese society, to the total neglect of the ordinary working class with their everyday lives. It has already been widely recognized that the waves of mass migration out of China in the post-Opium War era were overwhelmingly loaded with poor labourers and peasants, with a scattering of petty property owners. There are numerous extant writings about Chinese coolies, tin miners, rickshaw pullers, squatters, prostitutes, etc. Also, this field of study has for most recent years been vigorously engaged with interrogating the term “Chinese diaspora,” de-centering “Sino-centrism,” questioning “unchanging, essentialized Chinese culture,” examining “localized pluralism,” and exploring “re-migrations.” It is not viable for a 2015 book to ignore or dismiss this body of writings.

One other notable feature of this monograph is its confession that it has been “so long in the making,” with a “long and circuitous route to publication” (viii, x). The journey began with Professor G. William Skinner dispatching the author to northern West Malaysia in 1978 to explore its regional, hierarchical, central-place economic system and ethnic Chinese traders (ix, 57). When practical ethnographical difficulties in this line of inquiry proved too daunting, the author switched to a more general approach and eventually submitted a PhD thesis in 1983 on “the political economy” of the Chinese community of a West Malaysian market town (332). Although he regards it as a “failed project” and he points out that “the dissertation was never revised or published,” the author states that “my faltering efforts at a regional analysis” and the “positivist impulse” behind it nonetheless provided him with a grasp of the economic profile and everyday life in the township (57-58). Hence, he picked up the project again years later to rethink and reformulate it into this present volume, with brief follow-up fieldtrips in 1990-1993, 2002, 2004, and 2007. The additional research work is primarily presented in part 2 on globalization from 1985 to 1997 and in the epilogue addressing the years from 1997 to 2007, thus positioning the monograph as a longue durée thirty-year study. Therefore, this arduous journey on the one hand reflects the difficulties and limits in dusting off and reinvigorating old research projects. On the other hand, it demonstrates how important it is not to discard preciously collected ethnographic data. The relatively unknown township of Bukit Mertajam has this handsome volume to thank for capturing the history and ethnographical profile of its Chinese community for posterity.

Huang Jianli, National University of Singapore, Singapore

DYNAMICS OF RELIGION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: Magic and Modernity. Global Asia (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2; IIAS Publications Series, Monographs. By Volker Gottowik. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, in close collaboration with the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS); Chicago: University of Chicago Press [distributor], 2014. 338 pp. (Illustrations.) US$99.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-8964-424-4.

This book is the outcome of six conferences organized at various German universities.

Comprising thirteen essays and an introduction by European and mostly German anthropologists, the book addresses changes and continuities in the religious life of members of contemporary Southeast Asian societies as they deal with processes of modernization and forces of “modernity.” Chapters concern both the impact of modernity on religion and the impact of religion on modernity. As the editor points out, the inclusion of “magic” in the title reflects a view of “modernity” itself, possessing an “almost magic aura” and therefore has little to do with magic in the conventional anthropological sense. In one respect, however, the book’s title is somewhat misleading, for ten of the thirteen chapters focus exclusively on Indonesia. Like the editor’s introduction, one—Bräunlein’s chapter on spirits—addresses the wider Southeast Asian region, and the other two respectively concern Vietnam and Laos (in the second case, specifically the highlanders called Rmeet, formerly “Lamet”). Of the Indonesia chapters, six are focused on either Java or Bali, while the rest concern developments in some of the “outer islands” (specifically, Sumatra, Sulawesi, the Moluccas).

The focus on Indonesia is perhaps understandable in view of that country’s far greater size in relation to its regional neighbours and perhaps also its greater accessibility.

Superimposed on this qualified diversity is a formal division of chapters into three sections called “Spirits,” “Modern Muslims,” and “Modern Traditions.” The attention given to Islam is obviously consistent with the greater attention given to Indonesia. However, all the chapters included in “Modern Traditions” also relate to Indonesia, more specifically to religious developments in non-Muslim parts of that country (including “Hindu” Bali and Christian north Sumatra).

Religion, including both “world” and local regions, unquestionably continues to play an important part in the lives of Southeast Asians, and all the authors engage this fact to challenge the long-standing (and mostly discredited) view, dating back to Weber and nineteenth-century evolutionary anthropology, that modernization entails “secularization,” meaning both a loss of religious belief and a relegation of surviving belief and practice to the private sphere. By the same token, various authors advance a view of “modernity” as something that comes not only in a single European or Western version but in many forms, including at least one in which religion not only survives but apparently prospers.

At the same time, the chapters reveal how religion has undergone obvious changes in the region, in the case of Indonesia bound up with internal and external political change. Changing government policy towards religion and spirituality in Vietnam, the topic of Dickhardt’s chapter, is another case in point.

As Reuter notes, while maintaining the constitutional requiring that all Indonesians adhere to a world religion (and enforcing identification of atheism with a despised communism), until his fall in 1998 Suharto kept religion out of the political sphere, and was partly by this means especially effective in countering more fundamentalist brands of Islam. At the same time, practices bound up with local religions, while being denied official status as “religions,” were subjected to a process of folklorization (or “Disneyfication,” as it has sometimes been called) in the interests of promoting tourism (see the chapters by Christensen and Rodemeier). Followed shortly by the attacks on New York in September 2001, the post-Suharto era has largely coincided with a period of deteriorating relations between the West and the Islamic world, including of course Indonesia, and as Nertz and Reuter point out, this has raised questions about how to reconcile a positive value on modernity—for obvious historical reasons still largely identified with the West—and a commitment to Islam. One resolution, according to Reuter, has been sought in a revival of cultural nationalism including Pancasila and the principle of “unity in diversity” associated with the first (and repopularized) Indonesian president, Sukarno.

Illustrating the diversity of the volume, and without meaning to suggest other contributions are without merit, specific mention may be given to the other three chapters that especially drew the present reviewer’s interest. Whereas a Western and especially Christian worldview treats religion and economics—like religion and rationality—as radically opposed, Sprenger’s essay on Rmeet ritual and “ritual money” shows how the model of a market permeates the Rmeet spirit world and relations between this world and the world of humans, facilitating their interrelation, and hence moderating the impact of a modernizing economy on religion in a way that promotes both. Writing on Balinese religion, Hornbacher shows how a recent adoption of Hindu orthodoxy, serving the aim of modernizing Balinese religion to conform to the definition of “religion” required by the Indonesian constitution, is combined with continuing adherence to practices reflecting an indigenous value on ancestor spirits. Focusing on relatively elaborate cremation rituals contrasting with the Hindu conception of cremation as a simple rite of purification, the author then shows how the ultimate Hindu aim of moksa—escape from the cycle of death and rebirth—is contradicted by Balinese rites that aim to transform spirits of the death into ancestors for the benefit of the living.

Not only are religion and modernity not radically opposed in Southeast Asia but in many cases world religions—or in the case of Islam, some purified version of religion—have served as an expression or vehicle of modernity. In his introduction, Gottowik briefly makes this point with regard to the adoption of the veil by middle-class Indonesian women, for whom veiling is “a symbol of an informed … or modern Islam” (14). A more elaborate demonstration is found in Klenke’s article on Protestant Christianity among the Karo of north Sumatra. Also focusing on women, Protestantism, it is shown, offers a way to mediate modern pressures for women to become both public and attractive figures, while at the same time maintaining a necessary modesty.

Despite several qualifications indicated above, this is on the whole an excellent collection of ethnographically and historically well-informed and well-written essays. As indicated by the bibliography, many authors have previously published mostly in languages other than English; hence for many the book will serve as a welcome introduction to non-Anglophone research into Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, however, two other criticisms must be registered. Unaccountably, the chapters are not numbered and the book contains no index, an omission which seriously reduces its value.

Gregory Forth, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada                                                  

THE IMMORTALS: Faces of the Incredible in Buddhist Burma. Topics in Contemporary Buddhism. By Guillaume Rozenberg; translated by Ward Keeler. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xxix, 316 pp. (Figures.) US$35.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-4096-9.

What does it mean to believe? How do we, as scholars, understand forms of believing? These questions run throughout Rozenberg’s intriguing account of the cult of the four weikza, extraordinary humans with supernatural powers and potential immortality, in contemporary Burma. As Rozenberg examines the founding and workings of the cult and its intersections with Burmese Buddhism, he simultaneously explores the forms the weikza’s disciples’ beliefs take and the ways in which he, as an anthropologist, unpacks them. The book is both an ethnographic accounting of numerous practices surrounding the weikza and a critical reflection on the process of conducting ethnographic research. Rozenberg brings the reader along on his journey as he learns about the cult and its practices, ranging from possession, manifestations of invisible beings, alchemy, and martial arts to an elaborate ceremony, a trial by fire as a life-prolonging rite for the weikza. People’s beliefs and understandings and even doubts about the weikza are presented as accurately as possible, and the anthropologist’s own methods and musings are made transparent. The voices of his interlocutors speak for themselves as he describes their actions and explanations without judgment.

Rozenberg makes no attempt to explain apparent contradictions within indigenous beliefs and practices. He uses the weikza cult as a means to examine the complexities of Burmese Buddhism. Rather than trying to label aspects of their practices as Buddhism, animism, or anything else, he reveals how disciples of the weikza understand religion. Their actions and the ways they discuss them reflect the fluid interplay between diverse forms of belief and interpretations of religion. For the disciples, the weikza are equated with the Buddha in numerous ways, even as some skeptics (scholars and Burmese) argue otherwise. One is left questioning whether the apparitions are real, but at the same time one recognizes that the veracity of the possessions and appearances of these usually invisible, long-lived (the oldest of the four weikza is 1,035 years old) humans does not matter. What counts is that the disciples believe what they experience, and these experiences address Rozenberg’s questions about belief: in society, in people’s lives, and in the anthropologist’s imagination.

Through detailed consideration of language, rituals, and other practices, Rozenberg gains insight into indigenous conceptions of Buddhist concepts. A good example is the concept of fate. Fate is a complex idea within Buddhism. People’s situations in a given life are the result of past actions and intentions (karma), yet their futures are not predetermined. Rozenberg asks what fate is for Burmese Buddhists as reflected in the intersections of Buddhism and weikza. What are the mechanisms, actions, and interventions used to influence one’s fate? He unpacks interpretations and uses of critical words and concepts to get at the nuances of meaning. How disciples understand these concepts are integrated with Pali language analyses and the gleanings of the anthropologist. Rozenberg’s approach enables the reader to grasp the complexities of the Buddhist concept of fate in people’s lives. Here Buddhism is a lived religion in which abstract concepts such as karma become both guides and tools for practitioners.

Storytelling brings these concepts and seeming contractions to life. Rozenberg does not employ common conventions for his presentation of the weikza cult. His articulations shift from first person to third person, from present to past to future tense. One story begins, is interrupted with explanatory or inquisitory—and often lengthy—asides that raise new issues before he returns again to the initial tale. The reader becomes invested in the lives of the players, especially the main disciples and the medium for the weikza. The stories offer rich details drawn from diverse sources and perspectives. At times, Rozenberg relates his and his fellow researcher, Victorious’s, direct experiences. Other times he writes in the present tense from first-hand accounts of past events.

Rozenberg’s approach is not intended to compare this cult with other Buddhist cults. Nor does he attempt to debate how different scholars have interpreted Burmese ideas of weikza or possession. He uses his stories of the four weikza and their disciples as a way of illuminating aspects of Burmese society. The characters’ lives, choices, and beliefs are played out on a larger historical, social, and political stage. Insights into crucial moments in Burmese history and their impacts on people’s lives are woven into the stories throughout the book, such as Britain’s occupation of Burma, military rule since 1962, and the crackdown of 1988. The stories shed light on Burmese identity formations, Buddhist practice, and social hierarchy, among other aspects of Burmese society.

That said, this book would be challenging for those unfamiliar with Burmese history, society, or Buddhism looking for an overview. The manner in which Rozenberg plays with time and space addresses more the process of anthropological research and the complexities of indigenous belief than it introduces a reader to Burma.

Ward Keeler has done an excellent job translating the book from French into English. The beauty of the language, the complexities of the ideas and theories involved, and the storytelling come across without any distractions from the translation. While at times the book can be challenging to follow, as some stories twist and turn in unexpected and dense ways, I suspect this results from Rozenberg’s original approach rather than Keeler’s translation.

In sum, The Immortals is invaluable on many levels. It left me thinking deeply about both how and why people believe in the incredible, and how anthropologists can negotiate the delicate balance between respecting people’s beliefs and practices and drawing conclusions that enable those from other places and societies at least to begin to make sense of, if not fully comprehend, those beliefs.

Susan M. Darlington, Hampshire College, Amherst, USA                                                              

Australasia and the Pacific Islands


POSTCARDS FROM OCEANIA: Port Towns, Portraits and the Picturesque during the Colonial Era. By Max Quanchi, Max Shekleton. Suva, Fiji: University of the South Pacific Press, 2015. 202 pp. (B&W and some coloured photos.) US$60.00, paper. ISBN 978-982-01-0941-4.

There is a wealth of scholarly literature about Oceania and colonialism but very little exists that focuses specifically on postcards and their important link to colonialism. This accessible volume by Max Quanchi (a scholar of Pacific history and the history of photography) and Max Shekleton (the owner of the 60,000-plus postcard collection used for the book) is a welcome addition to the literature. The authors’ goal is to mine the images from the “postcard craze” period (1890s through 1930s) to explore the interrelated histories of photography, anthropology, and colonialism. They underscore the contrary and complex readings of the images, and shed light on the convoluted production processes in which Euro-American photographers often stage images, and printers often twist captions and incorporate faulty information. The book combines textual information alongside more than two hundred images of postcards as examples of the variety of images, colouring techniques, and styles employed.

The first chapter introduces the key ideas. One is that postcards relied on images and captions that portrayed people and settings in generalized and distant ways. Individuals were rarely named and were referred to as “native,” “warrior,” “chief,” etc. For example, a club-wielding Kanak man has the label “Kanak warrior, New Caledonia.” A cluster of houses under coconut palms captioned “Scene along Agana River, Guam” becomes the idyllic “South Seas” village. A second idea is that postcard images were open to multiple interpretations. “Readers in the early 20th century may have thought postcards were an authentic record of empire, proven by the stamp, scribbled message, and origin out in the colonies, but we argue in the following chapters that postcards offered selective, mediated and multiple meanings” (14). Many things—captions, cropping, colour, format, style of publication, and manner of distribution—all affected the audience’s interpretations. Was the Kanak warrior made to pose with his club or did he choose to proudly display his identity in that way? Does the romantic image of the village indicate an unchanged world? Or do depictions of wharves, schools, roads, and ships indicate unwanted change? Third, and most important for the authors, there is the persistent theme of colonialism. “Colonial propaganda underpins nearly every photograph and postcard” (27). For example, a posed photo of uniformed men in formation conveys colonial order, European authority, and loyal subjects.

The second chapter describes the postcard craze that began soon after the first postcard was produced in 1861. The authors outline the history and details of postcard production, where German suppliers were the main manufacturers. They describe how identical images were recycled, with slight changes to the way they were cropped, tinted, given new codes and captions, or reversed on the page. These changes make it difficult to correctly attribute the cards and images today.

Following the two introductory chapters, the remainder of the text is organized sensibly into six chapters that focus on various topics that the authors have extracted from studying the images: the picturesque, portraits, village life, traditional culture, town life, and colonialism. “The Picturesque” category includes romantic scenes of mountain peaks, lush valleys, and cascading waterfalls, all formulaic images indicating European penetration of the wild interior. In terms of numbers of postcards this was the least popular category. “Portraits” comprises posed unnamed individuals that indicate a Western “scientific” interest in the expression of faces and the shapes of heads and noses. These images usually include markers of “South Sea” islanders, such as tattoos, scarification, and bodily adornment. Many were staged with a portable backdrop. Not surprisingly, the majority were images of women, thus satisfying Western interest in exotic female bodies. “Village Life” includes postcards of houses, which were easy to photograph and were seen as symbols of primitive life. House-building techniques that illustrated pandanus weaving, post erecting, and roof thatching appealed to Western interest in indigenous technology. Ironically, everything was labelled “village” even though the local inhabitants usually used this term to refer only to the European-dominated administrative centre, and not to the hamlets where they lived.

Postcards in the category of “Traditional Culture”—showing pottery, tapa making, fishing, gardening, food preparation, dancing, kava ceremonies, and men climbing coconut trees—exemplify the abundance of errors that can occur when staging and labelling. Although customs were changing, as seen in images of ox-carts and European clothing, a search for authenticity seems to lie behind many of these images. The “Town Life” category includes streets, wharves, stores, banks, hotels, schools, and churches, as well as tidy streets lined with businesses and houses with verandas, all communicating messages about the success of empire, Christianity, and modernization. This category comprises about half of all images produced, although 95 percent of indigenous people did not live in towns. The chapter on “Colonialism,” with its images of busy natives and bustling activity, best illustrates the mixed messages of the postcards. Is the behaviour benign and beneficial or exploitative and oppressive? Postcards, of course, tended to depict only the benign side of colonialism through pictures of schools, churches, parades, monuments, women in Mother Hubbard dresses, and the clearing and replanting of land for plantations. There are no portrayals of patrol officers collecting taxes or inspecting latrines. One would have to read beyond the margins of the postcard to understand a more accurate portrayal of colonialism.

Postcards from Oceania is a clear and concise text that is highly descriptive in nature. The book could have been even more engaging had the authors pushed further and presented some analytical ideas about such broad topics as visual imagery, authenticity, authority, or impact. In the introduction they say that interpreting these visual images can complement interpretations based solely on textual documents, yet they never actually pursue this intriguing notion. Also, more information about the photographers and manufacturers would have been welcome. These minor quibbles aside, the book is definitely a worthwhile contribution to the literature.

Miriam Kahn, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

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IDYLLIC NO MORE: Pacific Island Climate, Corruption and Development Dilemmas. By Giff Johnson. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2015. 153 pp. (Illustrations.) US$7.50, paper. ISBN 978-1512235586.

In his second book, Giff Johnson provides a well-versed historical and intimate look at the most challenging issues of great relevance to the sovereign identity and development of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), although the focus is definitively on the latter, where Johnson has resided for several decades. This self-published work is a compilation of essays originally scribed as blog entries between 2013 and 2015 for the Pacific Institute of Public Policy. As the editor and major contributor for the RMI’s only newspaper, The Marshall Islands Journal, Johnson’s finger is undeniably and authoritatively on the pulse of the country’s state of affairs, and these pieces immediately bear that signature. The great advantage, and notable difference, between his contributions to the weekly news editions and these essays, is the freedom afforded him in the latter to provide more personal contemplation, analysis, and commentary not afforded to him in his professional role. This distinction is an extraordinarily valuable one, and Johnson’s best work is here in his critical examination of the many underlying political and cultural motivations behind high-level historical and contemporary decisions.

The book is divided into chapters that organize his essays into topics, such as the ongoing strained relationship between the US and the RMI thanks to its nuclear legacy, teen pregnancy, and the disincentives complicating healthy lifestyle choices. In the first three chapters, Johnson addresses the linked themes of corruption, development, and governance, offering the most valuable insights of the work. Pointing to the financial corruption scandals increasingly surfacing in the Marshall Islands, he identifies a “long-term, ingrained” problem of the failed nature of donor funding, western-style development plans, and local engagement. He provides several examples depicting a culture of active disengagement that he identifies as another (albeit subtler) “flavor” of corruption on par with direct theft or misuse of money. Quoting FSM’s former Yap Governor John Mangefel, he gets to the core of a viral incentive problem plaguing the young nations: “If you work, you eat. If you don’t work, you still eat.” In terms of societal and economic development, notably exemplified by the failure of many Pacific Island countries to meet even half of the Millennium Development Goals, funding continues to pour in and plans develop on paper regardless of visible evidence of effective results.

Johnson is not afraid to place a fair helping of blame on the failures of a local leadership that spends more than half their time abroad at conferences, and rarely suffers the consequences of poor decisions that unduly affect the larger community. It is not hard to empathize with local frustrations when leadership flexes its sovereignty muscles demanding more control (and less transparency) over its allocation of received donor funding, while dismissing and chastising local citizenry’s criticisms of the lack of reform or improvements in livelihood.

In a rare positive note, Johnson’s attention to fisheries in chapter four commends the great strides and advances undertaken by synergistic multinational efforts, notably the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) regional fisheries entity, and the Micronesia Challenge conservation consortium. Revenues in fisheries have more than tripled under the PNA initiatives, and regulation and conservation efforts have increased in both scope and effectiveness, trickling further down to an increase in sustainable business ventures. Where Johnson sees a remaining challenge is the application of these more successful strategies in other arenas of governance, and the struggle for respectful buy-in by the international community.

Climate change is the most discussed topic of the day for many Pacific Island countries, and no work on challenges to the region would be complete without addressing it, which Johnson does in chapter five. His most notable contribution questions the relative worth of the aggressive international campaign for global climate change action, as well as calling out the so-called hypocrisy of the Marshall Islands’ economic profit from the fossil fuel industry (as the world’s third largest ship registry of drilling rigs and oil tankers), while simultaneously demanding the international community reduce dependency on said fossil fuels. Johnson’s suggestions include reducing local government employees’ attendance at all-too-frequent international meetings, and focusing human and monetary resources on scientifically supported local studies and focused mitigation projects.

The book’s slim final chapter begins to confront the double-edged dilemma of out-migration and the “local” challenges citizens of the Freely Associated States (those of FSM, Palau, and RMI) face abroad, an increasing trend that very well may be the future of a majority, if not the entirety, of the region’s population. While relocation in relation to climate change displacement or nuclear contamination is described in terms of loss and pain, it is clear that thousands of islanders are actively electing, often permanently, to relocate. In their selected homes in the United States, they face another set of challenges amidst a leadership regime full of inadequacies of its own.

While Johnson laments that many of the addressed dilemmas are unlikely to change in the immediate future, his repeated call for both an abandonment of the blind implementation of western-style development plans, and the rampant negligence and complacency by leadership, is sorely needed. It is unfortunate that there is no concluding essay or chapter tying all of these linked challenges he so carefully and passionately explores into a more broadly reflective and historical context.

The book’s essays appear to be minimally edited from their original versions, and are lacking dates of authorship or revised considerations, with relevant updates limited to asterisked sentences. As standalone pieces they are astute and timely reflections, yet some readers may find the oft repeated facts and sentences in back-to-back essays tiresome. Zealous academics too will find themselves yearning for citations for the splendid examples and statistics, or additional supporting evidence for many of the statements.

These additions and revisions would certainly improve the value of the collection’s shelf life, although their absence does not hinder the primary value of this work as a fresh, but historically deep and well-grounded reflections on witnessed and lived dilemmas in the North Pacific region. Johnson’s “calling it like it is” approach is rarely heard so sensitively yet unabashedly expressed outside of beer and kava sessions with trusted peers. Those familiar with the region will find a solemn salience to Johnson’s remarks, and perhaps even be challenged to address those less-than-idyllic accusations, but it remains to be seen who that readership will be. And will it fall on deaf ears?

Ingrid Ahlgren, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia                                         

THE PACIFIC FESTIVALS OF AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND: Negotiating Place and Identity in a New Homeland. By Jared Mackley-Crump. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. x, 216 pp. (Tables.) US$58.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3871-3.

Jared Mackley-Crump draws on his academic background of ethnomusicology to investigate how Pacific festivals are used as sites where diasporic Pacific communities negotiate personal and communal identities, and further perpetuate cultural inclinations that are representative of wider cultural changes in Aotearoa New Zealand (AO, NZ). Beginning with a historical account of Pacific festivals, the book describes how these festivals have emerged and continue to develop alongside the “coming of age” (51) of Pacific peoples in AO, NZ. Mackley-Crump relates these socio-cultural and political processes to the concept of “festivalization.” The second half of the book discusses findings drawn from the author’s PhD fieldwork at two major festivals in AO, NZ: Pasifika festival in West Auckland and the Positively Pasifika Festival in Wellington. The book portrays Mackley-Crump’s ability to weave together several narratives, including interviews with a range of participants, historical records, and theoretical ideas. The topics and perspectives, as a result, are relatively accessible and have a capacity to reach wider audiences beyond academia.

This book is located within established theoretical debates on authenticity, tradition, cultural change, place and identity. Beyond these key themes, the book is also situated within Pacific Studies and is pertinent to the research of diasporic communities in Pacific Rim cities. I commend Mackley-Crump for his significant contribution to this field by linking together critical academic works by Pasifika researchers (dispersed in various fields like education, social sciences, and anthropology, to name a few) and to frame a discussion of diasporic Pacific peoples in AO, NZ. The author, for example, employs the notion of “edgewalking,” as discussed in Anne Marie Tupuola’s work, “Pacific Edgewalkers: Complicating the Achieved Identity Status in Youth Research” (Journal of Intercultural Studies, 25, no. 1 [2004]), to theorise cultural agency operating between cosmopolitan and Pacific identities in AO, NZ. He also applies ‘Epeli Hau‘ofa’s profound ideas from the eminent work “Our Sea of Islands” (The Contemporary Pacific, 6, no. 1 [1994]), to frame the fluidity of the diasporic situation. Moreover, Karlo Mila-Schaaf’s concept of “polycultural capital,” presented in “Polycultural Capital and the Pasifika Second Generation: Negotiating Identities in Diasporic Spaces” (PhD diss., Massey University, 2010) encapsulates the diverse resources Pacific people draw on to generate festivals. This book illustrates how Pacific theories can frame, as well as provide depth of meaning to, studies of Pacific communities.

Mackley-Crump does not try to define Pacific culture and identity, but presents the multivalent views of how participants perceive themselves. Mackley-Crump argues these definitions are neither static nor conclusive as binary forms of contemporary and traditional identities. He asserts that the idea of “mooring posts” better represents the fluid and “multilocal” references to Island and new homeland identities (170). Through Mackley-Crump’s objective approach, we gain insight into the multifaceted Pacific diasporic identities manifested through festivalization in AO, NZ.

Mackley-Crump contributes to an important discussion about the relationship between Pacific and Māori communities in New Zealand. He reinforces the varied views held by his Pacific participants about their relationships to Tāngata whenua (the Indigenous people of the land), and moreover, how these relationships are acknowledged spatially and ceremonially in the festival space.

A key argument of this book is that festivals provide a space for Pacific communities to define themselves, and reciprocally festivals define these communities. This transactional quality of Pacific festivals and communities in AO, NZ underlines the relationship between place and identity—a complex theme that is alluded to throughout the book, but not fully discussed until the end.

Although it is hard to fault this book, I have some minor criticisms, which raises further queries. Firstly, the book’s structure is reminiscent of a PhD thesis. While this is an inevitable structure of a published thesis, it does tend to delay the critical synthesis of theory and data until later in the book. This can be theoretically disorientating for a reader in the first instance. To his credit however, Mackley-Crump’s syntheses in each chapter’s concluding paragraphs does help to propel and maintain common themes across each chapter.

For a discussion of festivalization, place and identity, the book does miss images and maps to show readers who are not familiar with AO, NZ or the Pacific region, the cultural materiality and spatial qualities raised in this discussion. Such visualisation would only improve the accessibility of this book.

One other shortcoming I present as an issue for wider debate is the use of certain cultural ideas in a generic or Pan-Pacific way. For instance, Mackley-Crump uses “palagi” (125), which is a Sāmoan Polynesian word referring to a Caucasian, and more recently a foreigner, in the account of a Fijian participant, where the correct word in this context is “kaivalangi.” Furthermore, Mackley-Crump applies the Tongan idea of “tauhi vā” (as presented in the commonly referenced research of Tēvita O. Ka‘ili titled, “Tauhi Vā: Nurturing Tongan Sociospatial Ties in Maui and Beyond” (The Contemporary Pacific, 17, no. 1 [2005]) to theorise kinship relations in the Pacific diaspora (166). Similar Pacific ideas are presented in wider literature, such as the notion of “teu le va” in the Sāmoan context. Although Mackley-Crump does carefully apply these ideas, what is implied is an assumption that any Pacific group’s concepts are relevant to other Pacific groups, and the tendency of existing scholarship to generalise certain Pacific groups’ notions of self, others, and kinship as universal for all Pacific peoples. This calls for comparative research to understand the appropriate extent to apply one cultural group’s ideas beyond its boundaries.

The book displays such comprehensive and well-crafted research that, regardless of the few shortcomings mentioned, I recommend this book as one of the first sources to read for all students of Pacific diasporic cultures. As a Tongan, born and raised in South Auckland by Tongan parents who migrated to New Zealand in the 1970s, I can trace my life and the lives of others through this book. Mackley-Crump has written a book that is rigorously academic, but as a personal reflection, he has respectfully acknowledged the challenges of my community and how far we have come along this journey of self-realisation in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Charmaine ‘Ilaiū Talei, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia                                              

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THINKING LIKE AN ISLAND: Navigating a Sustainable Future in Hawai‘i. Edited by Jennifer Chirico and Gregory S. Farley. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. ix, 274 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$45.00, cloth . ISBN 978-0-8248-4761-6.

What can islands—the Hawaiian Islands in particular—teach the world about sustainability? The eleven chapters in this book all provide answers to this question from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, which despite their eclecticism, share an attention to culture and an emphasis on collaborative, systems-based approaches.

Islands in general provide powerful models for theorizing and developing sustainable approaches to resource use, simply by the nature of their geographic boundedness, isolation, and finite resources. As the book’s editors point out in their Introduction, the problems of sustainability of island communities can be imagined as a parable for the sustainability of the island earth. The Hawaiian Islands bear an especially important message for sustainability advocates; traditional Hawaiian ecological knowledge sustained an abundance of resources for a sizable, self-sufficient, and healthy native population prior to European contact; today the modern State of Hawai‘i imports over 90 percent of its food, and the island state’s requirements for imported food and energy raise the stakes for the sustainability movement. Responding to the challenge of its island geography, Hawai‘i “is becoming a sustainability showcase: a model for sustainable living that is also applicable to isolated communities worldwide” (1).

Three chapters pay particular attention to Hawaiian culture and to the preeminent role of water in Hawaiian cultural ecology and customary moral-legal understandings. The first chapter, written by Scott Fisher, director of conservation for the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, outlines the conceptual foundations of sustainability in Hawaiian culture: an island worldview, a religious connection to the natural world, and a sense of communal interdependence between social classes and between the people and the land that supported them. Fisher briefly chronicles some of the post-contact transformations that disrupted established patterns of resource use—the sandalwood trade, the demographic shifts through depopulation and the growth of harbor towns, and the introduction of a western religious paradigm of “human’s intrinsic right of domination over the natural world” (17). Fischer notes the Hawaiian renaissance and recent reassertion of Hawaiian culture: the Protect Koho‘olawe ‘Ohana direct action movement and the “attempt to retrieve traditional Hawaiian values” (19), including Hawaiian language immersion schools, the revival of hula, and the recovery of celestial navigation knowledge. Fisher describes one successful case study for sustainability: the Waihe‘e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge in Maui, which resulted in restoring more than 55 acres of coastal strand and wetlands habitat, including numerous historical and cultural sites.

Penny Levin, founder and project coordinator of E kūpaku ka ‘āina (The Hawai‘i Land Restoration Institute), contributed two admirable chapters, both focused on kalo (taro) farming, “the first, oldest, and culturally most significant food crop in the state” (46). She explains how the resurgence of kalo farming is redefining and restoring the concept of sustainable agriculture in Hawai‘i, and she lays out “lessons from the taro patch” (79) in terms of five axiomatic “foundations” and their constituent elements that form the Hawaiian traditions of growing kalo. Both Fisher and Levin discuss aspects of the Hawaiian ahupua‘a, an integrated system of habitats and watercourses from montane zones to reef flats, which emphasized whole systems thinking and management.

Political scientist George Kent, in a chapter on food security, faults the state government of Hawai‘i for giving inadequate attention to overall food supply and related disaster planning.

Discussion of sustainability-related issues throughout the book are grounded in recent case studies and provide practical insights and lessons. Two chapters focus on island water systems. Lauren C. Roth Venu, the founder and president of Roth Ecological Design, explains the Pilot Living Machine, an ecologically engineered wetland technology and one of the state’s first bioremediation projects for treatment of wastewater. Steve Parabicoli, the water recycling program coordinator for Maui County, reviews successes and challenges of the county’s Wastewater Reclamation Division. Luis Vega and Reza Ghorbani, both at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, discuss the potentials and impediments of wave energy converters and estimate they could provide up to 90 percent of energy needs of some Hawaiian communities. Green-building specialist John Bendon and architect Matthew Goyke write about the Kumuhao Development in Waimanalo, a case study in sustainable design of residential housing. Linda Cox and John Cusick, both at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, discuss sustainability efforts within Hawai‘i’s tourism sector, particularly the mixed success of attempts to develop a certification program for ecotourism. Educator-consultant Shanah Trevenna describes a case study of a student-led movement at the University of Hawai‘i to reduce campus energy use. And a case study of a Maui elementary school’s successful development of a school garden project was contributed by landscape designer Susan Wyche and the school garden project coordinator, Kirk Surry.

This book will be of interest to a wide range of students and practitioners of sustainable resource use, cultural ecology, Hawaiian Studies, and urban planning. The authors bring a great deal of knowledge and expertise, hands-on experience, and celebratory optimism to their contributions. L.C. Roth Venu captures this tone in the concluding lines of her chapter: “In the end, humanity has the ability to collectively decide as a society how to forge forward. Fortunately, a global renaissance is upon us, and fortunately all the solutions are abundant in nature—all we need to do is look around” (140).

Donald H. Rubinstein, University of Guam, Mangilao, Guam                                                            

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SAVAGE HARVEST: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art. By Carl Hoffman. New York: William Morrow [an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers], 2014. 322 pp. (B&W photos, maps.) US$26.99, cloth. ISBN 978-0-06-211615-4.

A gripping blend of fiction and meticulous journalism, this book is the latest attempt to solve the “mystery” surrounding the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller. Hoffman weaves an intriguing tale of revenge, murder, cannibalism, and conspiracy, interspersed with some insightful observations about the colonial and historical contexts in which the young Rockefeller disappeared.

In November 1961, the son of one of the most powerful families in the United States vanished while attempting to swim ashore in remote western New Guinea after his disabled catamaran became waterlogged. Speculation concerning the young Rockefeller’s fate has given rise to several scenarios, despite the official declaration that he drowned while attempting to swim to shore. However, the possibility that he was met by Asmat “cannibals” and dispatched in a way that horrifies, yet intrigues Western sensibilities remains the popular conclusion. There seems to be an unrelenting penchant for factoring cannibalism into Rockefeller’s demise and the opening chapters in this book leave no doubt as to the author’s position on this.

Savage Harvest begins with the scene unfolding on Michael’s last day. Full of youthful confidence, he strips to his underpants and slips into the warm, muddied waters of the Arafura Sea off the Casuarina Coast, and into Asmat country. With two emptied petrol cans attached for flotation, he swims towards a horizon that dimly marks the estuarine swamps inhabited by the Asmat, renowned headhunters. These opening chapters are purely fictional. There is no way we can know what Michael’s thoughts were during his long swim to shore, no way of knowing that he even made it to shore, let alone that he was speared, beheaded, ritually dismembered, and eaten by Asmat warriors. It is puzzling that a work of non-fiction should open with such a speculative dramatization, delivering a forgone conclusion to what has never been established in fact. Nevertheless, the author proceeds to unravel the circumstances that lead him to the inevitable conclusion that Michael Rockefeller was killed and eaten by “a pre-Stone Age culture just fifty years ago” (234; how they can be a “pre-stone age culture” is another issue!).

Despite the obvious sensationalism encountered throughout, what follows is a careful and seemingly meticulous disentangling of the available documents and interviews. Hoffman gives an interesting background account of what may have motivated the young Rockefeller’s journey to New Guinea, weaving together facts gleaned from examined documents and his own interpretations of the material. Reading between the lines, Hoffman constructs intentions and motivations from Rockefeller’s conversations with school friends, exposure to New York high society, the opening of the Museum of Primitive Art in 1957 and, what is assumed, Rockefeller’s desire to fulfil a destiny embedded in his DNA. The narrative takes its reader with Michael Rockefeller and his first encounters with the “primitive” peoples of Dutch New Guinea. The author sets up a compelling case for Asmat revenge on a white man by recalling a 1957 incident wherein Dutch military and local police kill several village men. Hoffman explores what is known about Asmat culture and their worldview, requiring human heads to avenge deceased ancestors. The political backdrop of an emerging new Indonesia, finally free from the yoke of Dutch colonialism, and their dual claims over the more remote western half of New Guinea provide a compelling argument as to the reasons for Asmat taking the life of Rockefeller and for Dutch secrecy surrounding rumours of Rockefeller’s more distasteful fate.

Throughout the unfolding narrative Hoffman moves back and forth between the events leading up to and immediately after Rockefeller’s disappearance and his own journey to the Asmat in search of the “truth.” Hoffman divulges his own need to connect in some strange way with his humanity and what he sees as a personal melding between himself and the assumed motivation of Rockefeller to “discover” himself in the “wilds” of New Guinea. It is a personal journey of discovery tied into reconstructing the ghost of Rockefeller.

Curiously, Hoffman develops the notion that he is predestined to set Rockefeller’s spirit free, that he alone has the tenacity to avenge the stricken Rockefeller and free his soul, enabling it to move to the Asmat afterworld of Safan: “The more I knew about Asmat, the more I couldn’t stop imagining Michael in the Asmat cosmos: that he was like one of those men whose spirits his people had not done enough to push on to Safan… . All the speculation continued because his family had failed to fully seek closure and no one else had managed to gather the essential information” (347).

While there is much to commend the author, particularly the investigative journalism he conducts with a research assistant in Holland, there is much to complain about. For example, to assume that one is able to achieve a “deeper understanding” (349) of a people and their culture by living with them for only a month is ludicrous. Furthermore, there is an underlying reification of “primitivism,” a romanticizing of the exotic, notwithstanding attempts to “understand” the Asmat in a contemporary world. Despite overtly distancing himself from the warping effects of ethnocentrism, Hoffman can’t help but reinforce the “otherness” of Asmat while simultaneously finding elements of our shared humanity, elevating the “wonder” that is Asmat culture while at the same time recoiling from the horrors of their cannibalistic practices. Although the book is about the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller and the author’s conviction that it was Asmat cannibals who were responsible, there is an uneasy obsession with this aspect of Asmat culture. Hoffman tries to put this into its cultural context, explaining its rationality from an Asmat perspective. However, the reader is relentlessly reminded of this part of Asmat life. The practice’s horrifying appeal to civilized, Western sentiments pervades the book so that one is left with the feeling that the Asmat continue to hunt for heads and consume their victims!

Depicting the Asmat as living in a “drowned Eden” (84) is juxtaposed with Hoffman’s search for the truth of what occurred in November 1961. There is a tension between the Asmat, as a primitive reflection of us, and a civilizing culture’s worldview that eschews that most heinous behaviour: head hunting and cannibalism. It is the remote Asmat who deliver a most unnatural death for the son of one of the world’s richest dynasties.

Shirley Campbell, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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THE POLYNESIAN ICONOCLASM: Religious Revolution and the Seasonality of Power. ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology, v. 5. By Jeffrey Sissons. New York: Berghahn Books, 2014. viii, 160 pp. (Figures, map.) US$85.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-78238-413-7.

Jeffrey Sissons, who has written widely about historical change in the Pacific, turns his attention in this volume to the chiefly embrace of Jehova in the islands of Tahiti, the Cooks, and Hawai‘i. In all cases, conversion yielded striking results: the populations became Christian, ritual was altered, and the nature of paramount leadership was transformed. Chiefs became leaders of centralized kingdoms. Sissons is correct and justified in calling these events an iconoclasm.

Sissons’ argument is logically presented. He introduces the thesis of the book in the first chapters, detailing both his theoretical orientation and the importance of the seasonality of rituals for the maintenance of Polynesian chieftainships. Such seasonality was important in order to reinforce the nature of chiefly power and to cement loyalty throughout all levels of a stratified society. Seasonal rituals were totalizing and central, directed by chiefs and priests and followed by commoners. Before the coming of Christianity, the year was divided into two ritual seasons: the first, Pleiades Above (designating the place of the constellation in the skies of the Southern hemisphere) in which opposites came together, god images were destroyed, and sacrifices occurred all marking communitas; in the second half of the cycle, Pleiades Below, hierarchy was reasserted, chiefly buildings were (re)constructed, ceremonial spaces were purified, and god images were rewrapped. In short, seasonality demonstrated the tearing down and reconstruction of the cultural order according to the state of the heavens. The cycle was led by priests and chiefs and followed by commoners. While there were variations among the island groups, the pattern revealed by Sissons remained substantially similar throughout the Eastern and Central Pacific.

Sissons, who acknowledges his debt to Sahlins’ analysis of Hawai‘i, suggests the expression “rituopraxis” in place of Sahlins’ “mythopraxis.” This seems superfluous, given the substantial overlap of myth and ritual. It is true that Sissons’ argument builds largely on ritual practices, but these are intricately combined with mythological implications. This is however a minor quibble in a well researched, creative, and insightful study.

Sissons has carefully and scrupulously examined missionary records, reading the diaries and letters of missionaries, who witnessed massive cultural transformations. Conversion was neither uniform nor global. Sissons allows the reader to see the different faces of the London Missionary Society as he carefully describes the political ambitions of chiefs and the determination of missionaries. Sissons’ attention to particular island contexts permits us to see heroic history in action.

In the case of Tahiti, Pomare’s conversion to Christianity, assisted by both his priests as well as the missionaries from the London Missionary Society, worked clearly to his political advantage.  Once conversion was complete, chiefly power was consolidated and stratification was institutionalized. By orchestrating the sacrifice of the Tahitian god Oro at the appropriate point in the ritual cycle, Pomare established Jehova as the source of concentrated political and religious power.  Centralized political structures headed by Pomare, were now celebrated, as seasonality was abandoned and hierarchy remained the chief’s permanent prerogative.  Religious iconoclasm led to political transformation, as political leadership was restructured and reimagined.

The universe had been recreated once again, but the terms were now different. New majestic buildings dedicated to Jehova, the baptism of the royal family, and new laws that were written and enforced by Pomare, all supplanted any previous indicia of communitas, replacing them with indisputable hierarchy. Tahitians now understood Pomare’s power to be bestowed by Jehova; loyalty to the royal personage characterized the centralized, regal kingdom that emerged.

The transition from communitas to hierarchy had its parallel in the unwrapping and rewrapping of god images. Pomare, in concert with his priests and LMS missionaries, abolished attention to the binding of god figures and replaced these wrapped images literally and metaphorically with bound books. Sissons points out, following Adrienne Kaeppler, that it is binding and wrapping that create sacred bundles. Such bound volumes, numerous but containing only one god, contributed to an understanding of hierarchy, as disparate social entities are linked together. Majestic buildings, bound entities signifying simultaneously stratification and connection, and newly codified laws all generated a hierarchical, totalizing, and centralizing social order that transformed chiefly mana into the power of kings.

Sissons has written a carefully organized, very well researched study of religious and political transformation. This book is suitable for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and anyone with an interest in Pacific history. The author leads the reader carefully through the complexities of his argument, an argument that moves through time and space in Polynesia. Sissons commands a great deal of historical and ethnographic knowledge of the Pacific. It is entirely to his credit that he is able to communicate this so lucidly. In putting all the pieces together, Sissons is truly innovative, noticing and detailing relationships that were not previously evident. Tracing the shift from seasonality to hierarchy throughout the Eastern and Central Pacific, Sissons provides us with a unified view of the transformation of chiefs into kings in Polynesia. By concentrating on individuals, Sissons permits us to view, and to understand, heroic history. As chiefdoms become kingdoms, as chiefly establishments yielded to regal edifices, religious changes promoted iconoclastic political shifts. Sissons has documented these processes very well indeed.

Karen Sinclair, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, USA                                                          

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SOVEREIGN SUGAR: Industry and Environment in Hawai‘i. By Carol A. MacLennan. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. x, 378 pp. (Illustrations.) US$39.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3949-9.

Hawai‘i’s status as one of the world’s premier tourist destinations requires little explanation given its extraordinarily picturesque landscapes, comfortable climate, and genuine “aloha spirit.” How the islands shifted from a unified sovereign state governed by indigenous Hawaiian monarchs and ruling chiefs to become a strategic part of the United States is a rather complex and tragic story. That story has been told repeatedly from different perspectives, by historians and Hawaiian scholars. In her account of the ascent of the sugar planters in politics and economy in Hawai‘i, Carol MacLennan digs deeply to produce an impressively intricate story of the subterfuge and web of connections that led to the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and the rise of sugar capitalists who reshaped landscapes and land ownership and tenure, undermined community self sufficiency, and introduced new labor ethnicities into the islands after 1850. MacLennan focuses her research on the period of immense social change that began in the 1840s but does not ignore the social and political preconditions that may have facilitated epochal events. She states that her goal is to unravel “the relationships between the industrializing developments of the sugar industry and Hawai‘i’s human and natural landscapes” (7). Her account illuminates the process by which small scale production of sugar by Hawaiians with the help of Chinese immigrants was overtaken in the 1850s largely by American missionary residents and their Hawai‘i-born descendants who were emboldened by the support of local merchants and overseas investors. These new sugar planters/capitalists grew the industry into the most technologically sophisticated and productive, if not always the most profitable, in the world. MacLennan’s meticulous documentation of how and why the planters achieved their immense status, including the monarchs’ mounting financial indebtedness, presents a powerful study of the inner workings of capitalism and the relentless and ruthless path to profits. Thus she argues that while the heritage of Hawai‘i’s sugar industry is obvious in the alteration of indigenous landscape ecologies, because of impacts on society and culture the full extent of the industry’s legacy may yet be revealed.

The book consists of eleven chapters, an introduction, and conclusion plus useful appendices. Chapter 1 discusses three waves of human-nature interaction: the first wave is associated with Polynesian settlement around 1000 CE. By the early 1800s the rapidly growing population had cleared native vegetation and planted the major valleys and fertile leeward slopes of the major islands up to 1500 feet elevation. At the turn of the nineteenth century, Captain Cook and the early European traders set off a more intense second wave of social and environmental changes, including the precipitous decline of the indigenous population from introduced diseases. The third wave of change began in the 1880s, commencing with the peak of industrial sugar production which began a process of intense alteration of the islands’ environments.

Chapter 2, entitled “Sugar’s Ecology,” highlights the natural, scientific, and technological resource demands of sugar production. MacLennan compares Hawai‘i with other cane sugar producing areas in the world highlighting the unique features of Hawai‘i’s sugar industry, such as its heavy reliance on irrigation and scientific farming practices, unified plantation mill-field ownership, and vertical integration to form a sugar industrial complex. But crucial to industrial success was the achievement of economies of scale and the crafting of a corporate lock on the economic and political power of the Hawaiian nation.

The remaining chapters dwell on questions the author says are at the heart of the book: 1. How did sugar production, a precarious endeavor at best before the 1870s, survive and eventually thrive? 2. What were the environmental effects of sugar’s development? 3. What role did the Hawaiian nation play in the industry’s development? 4. What role did sugar planters play in the demise of an independent Hawaiian state? 5. What is the true ecological legacy of one hundred and fifty years of sugar production in Hawai‘i? Ample answers are provided through the explication of the rise of the four families (chapter 4) and five companies (chapter 5) that persisted through years of production and financial uncertainty (primarily 1866–1875) to triumph because they were able to impose private property ideology, eventually convincing the Hawaiian monarchs to abandon a system of communal land use-rights in favor of a private property regime. Sugar planters forged access to private ownership and/or leases of extensive tracks of land to undertake large-scale sugar production. Nevertheless, the five dominating companies (“The Big Five”) might not have grown so big without outside capital from San Francisco, Germany, and Great Britain, or without securing a Reciprocity Treaty with the United States (1875), the manipulation of the body politic (e.g., the Bayonet Constitution of 1887), or the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy (1893) and eventual incorporation into the United States in 1898 through territorial status.

The remaining chapters examine the agricultural landscapes, plantation centers, and plantation community as well as the ethic of strong cooperation and management linkages between sugar planter families and business entities. Workers’ responses to wages and living conditions are discussed. All of this is worthwhile reading not least because the author goes behind the scenes to reveal the bundle of actions and reactions, failures and successes, that changed the life of the land and communities in Hawai‘i.

The conclusion focuses on two decades—the 1970s to 1990s—when all but one of the sugar plantations closed (the last plantation, the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company, has announced the shut down of its 36,000 acre plantation by the end of 2016). Sugar is no longer sovereign but its impact over 150 years of growth and decline in Hawai‘i cannot be undone. While the book provides much less discussion of the specific impacts of industrial-scale sugar production on the natural landscape than promised, the book’s closing discussion highlights four environmental issues that have accrued from the study. Overall, the book is a valuable source of information about the political economy, social relationships, and general landscape alteration that characterized sugar’s reign in Hawai‘i.

Sonia P. Juvik, University of Hawai‘i, Hilo, USA                                                                               

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FROM KING CANE TO THE LAST SUGAR MILL: Agricultural Technology and the Making of Hawai‘i’s Premier Crop. By C. Allan Jones & Robert V. Osgood. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xvi, 266 pp. (Illustrations, map.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-4000-6.

The authors of From King Cane to the Last Sugar Mill, C. Allan Jones and Robert V. Osgood, are agricultural scientists who have worked for the Experiment Station of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association and have firsthand experience of Hawai‘i’s technological and scientific advances in the sugar industry. Tracing a direct genealogy from John Vandercook’s classic King Cane, the Story of Sugar in Hawaii (1939), From King Cane to the Last Sugar Mill sets out to give a balanced view of Hawai‘i’s sugarcane industry through the complex intersections of scientific, technological, economic, environmental, and ethnic forces that have helped to shape it. Jones and Osgood discuss how world events and developments in agricultural technology shaped the sugar industry in Hawai‘i from its origins in the 1820s, with a focus on the sugar industry of Maui, the island that as of 2016 is home to the last sugar company still operating in Hawai‘i today: the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S).

To structure this history, the authors lay out the history of sugarcane chronologically, organized into five chapters. The first chapter (500 CE to 1875) spans from when Native Hawaiian voyagers brought (sugarcane) to the islands, to sugarcane’s development as an industry in the mid-1800s as Hawai‘i’s population, land, and industries were affected by the Great Māhele (land division), the California gold rush, and the American Civil War. Chapter 2 (1876 to 1897) explains the effects of the Reciprocity Treaty between the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and the United States that eliminated import duties, making sugar readily available to the U.S. market. The need for imported labor and labor unrest affected the sugar economy, but agricultural developments in harvesting systems and cultivation kept the industry profitable.

The sugar industry was fundamental to the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, resulting in the annexation of Hawai‘i by the United States in 1898. The third chapter (1898 to 1929) analyzes the effects of annexation on labor and water resources as the industry boomed under U.S. control. The authors highlight how Maui’s irrigation systems and solar radiation levels gave it a boost in sugar production. In chapter 4 (1930 to 1969), the authors describe how, “In the late 1930s—prior to the U.S. involvement in World War II—the cash wages paid by the Hawaiian sugar industry (not counting benefits like housing and medical care) were the highest paid by any sugar industry in the world” (123), but this quickly changed with the Great Depression and World War II. The industry was pressured to reduce its labor force and mechanized tools replaced hand harvesting. The economy in the 1950s and 1960s boomed, which allowed for advances in overall factory operations and sugarcane breeding.

Finally, the chapter 5 (1970 to 2014) details the modern Hawaiian sugar industry into the twenty-first century. Since the 1970s, factory costs have not matched the price of raw sugar on domestic and international markets. However, technological advances to shed labor and production costs as well as the dissolution or consolidation of companies have kept the sugar economy alive. Drip irrigation allowed most of Hawai‘i’s irrigated plantations to survive until the 1990s. In the 2000s, more and more plantations and companies closed, leaving HC&S the last remaining sugar company in the state by 2011. HC&S faces environmental, political, and economic challenges.

From King Cane to the Last Sugar Mill is clearly written and organized, and one of its greatest strengths is that through the eyes of agricultural scientists, we can understand the importance of the technological advances Hawai‘i made in the sugar industry to allowing that industry to thrive. From King Cane to the Last Sugar Mill also analyzes the specific history of one company, HC&S, within the broader contexts of the international sugar trade and the forces of local and world history. As authors of one of the most recent texts on Hawai‘i’s sugar industry, Jones and Osgood are able to tell the story of HC&S as the last sugar mill, and why and how HC&S has survived beyond the nineteenth century when sugar was king.

Social science and humanities readers will find Jones and Osgood’s insights into labor, politics, and ecological factors most helpful, while the scientific specificity of the industry limits the audience to agricultural specialists. Furthermore, despite From King Cane to the Last Sugar Mill’s clear organization, it does not focus equally on each factor that influences the industry in every chapter—for example, focusing on labor or water rights during in each time period would help trace their chronology. Instead, the chapters focus on different factors as they become important during each period, so labor might be highlighted in one chapter but not in the next.

Overall, however, From King Cane to the Last Sugar Mill brings together Hawai‘i sugar’s environmental, political, and agricultural elements to form a pragmatic perspective. Other studies have recounted sugar’s history with a focus on plantation labor and life in Hawai‘i in the early twentieth century. Rather than separating technology and culture, Jones and Osgood bring the histories of agricultural technology and societal forces together to develop insights into Hawai‘i’s sugar industry, especially in the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. As HC&S has recently announced that it will close at the end of 2016, meaning the end of sugar mills in Hawai‘i, From King Cane to the Last Sugar Mill is a welcome addition to what has been missing in histories of the sugar industry and an important text for scholars of Hawaiiana and agriculture.

Kara Hisatake, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA                                                              

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THE PEARL FRONTIER: Indonesian Labor and Indigenous Encounters in Australia’s Northern Trading Network. By Julia Martínez and Adrian Vickers. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. ix, 227 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-4002-0.

As a social history of the pearling trade in the Arafura and Timor Seas, The Pearl Frontier examines interactions among late colonial era racism, labour exploitation, and nation building. A peripheral frontier between nascent nations becomes a social and economic hub that forces and shapes Australian national policies on the categorization and civil rights of diverse ethnicities.

Blending life history narratives with detailed archival research, the authors chronicle the century of large-scale Australian-run pearling businesses arising after 1860 when slavery was abolished in the Dutch East Indies. Based in Broome, Darwin, and the Torres Strait Islands, white Australian pearling masters recruited Asian workers from Singapore and the Dutch East Indies. Systematic abuse of Asian workers by indenturing them at low wages occurred while European states passed laws against colonial slave-like labour practices. Ironically, “white Australia” national policy exceptions, made specifically for pearlers to exploit foreign labour, led to the establishment of multi-ethnic communities in Australia and eventually undermined the agenda of Australia as the Pacific’s white bastion. Personal histories of people who lived this painful process are a major strength of this book. Australian citizenship application records of former indentured servants from Indonesia provide substance to these accounts.

A key argument of the book is that pearling industry toil intensified cultural and social relations among the Timor and the Arafura Seas region’s diverse peoples through mobility and intermarriage, and created a contiguous social region. Intensification occurred despite the creation of legal obstacles to physical and social mobility. Indonesian pearling workers were needed by an exploitive industry, but not wanted as people, as exemplified by Australia’s 1901 white-only immigration law.

Chapter 1 introduces the region’s social history of ethnicities, mobility, and seasonal work. Chapter 2 examines the 1860­–1890 entry of Australian entrepreneurs into a long-established pearling trade amid British, Dutch, and Portuguese competition for control of East Indies commodities, territory, and labour. The Australians recruited male Asians on two- or three-year indentured contracts. Pearl shell and pearls were processed in Australia for export to world markets. Seasonal weather conditions kept workers on shore in northern Australia for three-months each year. Segregation of whites and non-whites led to social relations between Indonesians and Australian Aboriginal peoples, despite legal impediments. Stories of an Alorese man’s unregistered marriage to an Aboriginal woman, whose descendants met the authors in Broome in 2010, adds an engaging narrative quality.

Chapter 3 explores eastern Indonesian understandings of their maritime world; land and sea blend into a contiguous series of places defined by cultural histories. Symbolic ship imagery pervades coastal villages. Livelihoods depend upon boat travel or walking in shallow seas. Chapter 4 chronicles business activities of Australian and Arab pearling entrepreneurs, who attempted to influence world pearl shell prices. Windfall profits and bankruptcies followed fluctuations in fashion and demand for pearl shell. Narratives of these entrepreneurs’ careers explain the motivations behind labour strategies shaping the lives and deaths of the workers. In 1911, in the Torres Strait area, 11 percent of the divers died in accidents; many other workers died from vitamin deficiencies. Despite risks, many workers vied for lucrative diving jobs.

Chapter 5 develops the book’s central argument regarding labour migration into northern Australia. Political lobbying by pearl industry titans resulted in Australian labour law exemptions for indentured foreign workers, classed as “outside civilized community.” The authors’ use of personal narratives provides Indonesian perspectives underlying changing patterns of marital relations, religious practices, and work. The pearling masters would jail and not pay indentured workers who refused to sign contracts or were disobedient. Such abuses raised dilemmas for Darwin’s growing trade unions, which lobbied for a white Australia and segregation of Asian workers staying on shore. However, flagrant abuses of Asian workers motivated intervention by some union leaders. Thus, Asian workers on Australian soil challenged white Australian policies. If unions stood for workers’ human rights, then Asian workers needed to be classed as nonhumans in order to maintain the fiction.

The book demonstrates the consequent challenges to Australian racist policies. Defiance of social segregation arose in Darwin and Broome where Asian and Aboriginal people outnumbered whites. Chapter 6 addresses intergroup dynamics among workers at sea and on shore. The racial hierarchy placing Japanese and Chinese below Europeans, but above diverse cultural groups of Indonesians and Aboriginals, led to conflicts escalated by poor living conditions and wages. For decades, tensions in a few northern Australian towns fueled debates over segregation and immigration policy in Australia.

When Japan entered World War II, the Australian pearling industry shut down. Chapter 7 describes internments of Japanese workers, and unprecedented relocations of Indonesians, stranded in Australia by the war, to southern Australia. Consequent settlement support from churches and anti-segregation advocates established connections which in postwar decades led to overturning the white Australia policy. Indonesians enlisted to fight the Japanese, often as special forces or espionage agents behind enemy lines. Capture meant execution. The book profiles Indonesian men who survived the war, but had minimal success gaining their promised Australian citizenship, which raised questions in Australia about race-based human rights.

The Australian pearling industry declined following Indonesian independence in 1949; decolonization made it difficult to contract indentured workers. By the early 1970s, Indonesian economic nationalism policies pushed out Australian pearling businesses, leaving behind social connections between Indonesians and Aboriginals across the Timor and Arafura Seas. The results support the authors’ central argument that histories of trade, labour, consumption, and social relationships are intertwined, but the strand of trade establishes the path.

This book makes a valuable contribution to scholarship on the history of commerce and labour in the Timor and Arafura Sea region. Pearling activities shaped the region’s modern society and inadvertently transformed race-based ideologies and labour movements throughout Australia. Blending scholarship with chronicles of the workers’ lives makes the book accessible and interesting to a wide readership. A minor critique of the book is a lack of detail regarding the perspectives of Japanese pearling workers. Otherwise, the book makes a significant contribution to consolidating rare knowledge of historic relations between peoples of Indonesia and Australia.

A. Ross Gordon, University of Alberta, Edmonton,Canada                                                              

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THE VALUE OF HAWAI‘I 2: Ancestral Roots, Oceanic Visions. A Biography Monograph. Edited by Aiko Yamashiro and Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua. Honolulu: Published for the Biographical Research Center by the University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. xiv, 308 pp. (Illustrations.) US$19.99, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3975-8.

This book continues the profound conversation initiated in Howes and Osorio’s (2010) first volume responding to political changes and ongoing struggles for Kanaka ʻŌiwi around quality of life in Hawaiʻi. The first volume sought a range of articles from contributors who had intimate knowledge and experience negotiating challenges emerging from economic, government, social services, and ka ʻāina for Kanaka ʻŌiwi. This was a volume grounded in voices of experience, academic analysis, and long-time activists. As Mari Matsuda of the first volume reflected, there seemed to be an absence of young energy. Yamashiro and Goodyear-Kaʻōpua understood that absence while also clearly hearing the younger voices as they opened spaces for contemporary voices committed to the mutual obligations of land and people to care for one another. Both volumes were written for general audiences, rather than solely academic ones, and focus on the ideas, challenges, projects, and dreams of the Kanaka ʻŌiwi and Hawaiʻi. The second volume includes the views of scholars, artists, business people, activists, farmers and fishers, teachers, and professionals across a broad range of ages expressing hope for the future and urging a change of perspectives. The diversity of authors is extremely successful in tying together moʻolelo, kuleana, huakaʻi, puʻohonua, and aloha while adding more traditional subject guides (e.g., health, food, relationships with elders, land, education, gender, and the sacred) for those who seek specific topics.

Although one can read for specific topics of interest, I highly recommend reading the work as a whole. Each section structures the discussion and brings to life what Meyer (Manulani Aluli Meyer, Hoʻoulu: Our Time of Becoming: Hawaiian Epistemology and Early Writings, ʻAi Pohaku Press, 2003) identifies as Kanaka ʻŌiwi epistemology. Yamashiro and Goodyear-Kaʻōpua suggest that the Hawaiian name for the archipelago—nā kai ʻewalu, or the eight seas that connect each island to one another and Hawaiʻi to the larger Pacific or Oceanic community—contextualizes the book’s framework. This shift prepares the reader for a key component of Kanaka ʻŌiwi epistemology: quality and level of relationships are the primary way to share knowledge. Relationality imbues the stories, music, analysis, community strategies, contributors, and very structure of the book. They are all woven together as organic, relational forces energized by history and future possibilities. I felt like I was watching the spirits of the contributors to the first volume flowing through this current volume into the future. Although Kanaka ʻŌiwi perspectives and values shape the flow and content of the book, the spaces and practices encompass all who come to Hawaiʻi and commit to her well-being.

The first section about aloha frames qualities of relationships that can lead to knowing through experience. The chapters describe maternal love, grace, perseverance, fierceness, and sacrifice echoing Pele and Hiʻiakaikapoliopele. The moʻolelo section sings about the need to listen to new voices such as youth activism through spoken arts, community health, and agriculture. Reading the multiple intersections of moʻolelo and modern issues of gender, private education, poetry, and “myths made new” invite the reader to experience the full range of ideas, analysis, emotion, and dreams emerging from those who care about Hawaiʻi. The third section on kuleana, or responsibilities to care and contribute, focuses on the responsible development of Hawaiʻi. It is tempting to pick-and-choose topics of interest, but the section read as a whole overlays community wealth, individual family traditions, energy, waste, food, urbanism, and poetry among others to provide an experience of how each component is crucial to the other. A sense of richness, vitality, and kuleana radiates from these chapters. The fourth section explores finding a position or way through voyaging, diaspora, decolonization, alternative economics, settler colonialism, social justice, and personal efforts. It is a powerful section knotting together wayfinding practices and metaphors with material contributions and personal knowing. Puʻuhonua, revolving around creating safe and sacred spaces, insightfully connects the spirit and ethics of the relationality of social compacts (as different from social contract) to larger forces and interconnections, with the last chapter highlighting the power of spiritual connections. The final section returns to aloha and sketches out Island-style activism and the power of ceremony to guide future actions.

The interweaving of personal examples, moʻolelo, ongoing initiatives to nourish a quality of life, and maintaining the vision of wholeness provided a powerful sample of the forces in Hawaiʻi and the deep conversations about how to shape the future. The diversity of Hawaiian voices highlights different paths to taking care of each other and intersections of kuleana. While directed toward general audiences, there is much that is relevant to scholarly audiences attuned to Kanaka ʻŌiwi epistemology, the intersection of disciplines, and the self-determination of Kanaka ʻŌiwi. Personally, I would love to see a third volume where these intersections of differences and agreements are examined highlighting the power of Kanaka ʻŌiwi epistemology. This volume adds to the first as it crosses generations and demonstrates how practices of old shaped and continue to shape emerging strategies and solutions that nourish the well-being of all. The Value of Hawaiʻi 2: Ancestral Roots, Oceanic Visions is best savoured for the range of contributions, insights emerging from the people who will act and carry the responsibilities for Hawaiʻiʻs future. It makes a wonderful companion to the first volume (The Value of Hawaiʻi: Knowing the Past, Shaping the Future) and potentially a powerful series.

Karen Fox, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada                                                           

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BEING POLITICAL: Leadership and Democracy in the Pacific Islands. Topics in the Contemporary Pacific. By Jack Corbett. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xii, 243 pp. (Map, tables.) US$54.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-4102-7.

Are politicians really as self-serving and corrupt as they are often depicted to be by scholars and news media alike? Are they to blame for the cynicism and disillusionment that is often expressed when it comes to describing contemporary politics? Jack Corbett has interviewed 112 politicians from Pacific countries and draws upon biographic sources for many others to find out what these politicians themselves think of this characterization and of the work they do. His aim is to construct a “political-centered account of political life in the Pacific Islands” (22).

Not surprisingly, zooming in on the details of how political lives and careers are experienced offers Corbett a nuanced understanding of the ambiguities and dilemmas of leadership and politics more generally. Corbett has structured the book as a would-be career as he follows these politicians from their decision to go into politics to candidacy in an election, to political dealings in parliament or as a minister, to the day of retirement. The starting point has been to take the accounts of the interviewees seriously rather than being normative or trying to identify what makes good or bad politicians. Corbett does discuss the question of whether these politicians may be lying or polishing their images in the interview situation, but as he points out, even if they have done so, the interviews and the patterns that emerge from them are still a valuable account of political life from the point of view of those who practice it. This approach leads to an interesting discussion of structure versus agency in political life pursued through what Corbett refers to as “collective portraits”; an amalgam of individual voices to identify patterns and commonalities.

The book begins with a chapter that thoroughly delimits the study and its rationale (supplemented by an appendix on the methodology of life interviews, which seems aimed at those who prefer “objective” measures rather than those familiar with interpretive approaches).

The second chapter outlines the backgrounds of the politicians in question and what they claim motivated them to enter politics—family, upbringing, kinship, community relations, educational resources, or church membership, and how they have relied upon or built “profiles” and “reputation.”

Chapters 3 and 4 outline perspectives on the four core roles of politicians: candidate, representative, legislator and minister. The main topics covered here include how profile, constituency dynamics, gender, geographic location, and much else affect trends of growing expectations, the influence of gatekeepers, and senses of uncertainty. These chapters are about what it means for these politicians to represent as well as their strategies in how to achieve it.

Chapter 5 returns to what is arguably the main theme of the book, namely the question of what motivations and interests politicians have. Corbett finds that most of his interviewees claim to be driven by strong views (although it is not clear to me as a reader what they consider a “view” to be, nor what is meant by “ideal” as a cultural category). The chapter continues by going through the ways such factors as money, ambition, calling, and challenge are seen as motivating to the interviewees.

Chapter 6 discusses the legacy that politicians make for themselves along with the contradictions and challenges of leadership (versus ideals of democracy). The first half of this chapter is my favorite, with fine coverage of various positions and arguments pertaining to the dynamics of politics and the corruption of politicians. The second half is about considerations of when (or if) to leave politics, either due to age, financial costs, family, and the chances of regaining a seat, among others.

The concluding chapter 7 returns to the overall issues outlined in the introductory chapter.

While the interview-based approach to the topic has undoubtedly presented the author with a wealth of material, the potential of the material for theoretical insights are, unfortunately, rarely explored in depth. Corbett chooses wisely to anonymize his interviewees, but the consequence is that many of the quotes stand as mere apt illustration of a point that has been made through a review of the literature. Most of the analytical points have been documented by others, and it is not clear to me how the interview excerpts do more than add empirical flavor to the discussions of the dynamics of “being political” in the Pacific that the author arrives at. The analysis would have been stronger if the interview material had figured more prominently.

While the theoretical discussions drawn upon are relevant, the book generally provides a good recapitulation of existing positions and arguments. Unfortunately, some of the discussions are engaged somewhat superficially. Most problematic is that the term “anti-politics” has more connotations than Corbett gets around to covering. To Corbett, it appears to refer to the disillusionment and cynicism by which political leaders across the board are classified as corrupt (which is the popular view Corbett wants to dispel), whereas James Ferguson, whom Corbett cites, discusses anti-politics as the masking of political decisions in a language of “experts” and “neutral technocratics.” This is a significant difference even if disillusionment and resentment of politicians as amoral stem from such ploys to disguise decisions as “necessary” rather than “choice.” That is, I am not convinced that the book adds much that is new to our theoretical understanding of discourses of leadership and “anti-politics.”

Nonetheless, the book is well written in a clear and unpretentious language, and the interesting and novel empirical perspective on Pacific political leadership is insightful. For that reason, I would recommend it as particularly relevant for those specializing in Pacific politics and their leaders, though there is much to be gained by those interested in political leadership more generally, as well as by novices keen to gain an introduction to the dilemmas faced by Pacific leaders.

Steffen Dalsgaard, IT University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark                                    

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ENGAGING WITH CAPITALISM: Cases from Oceania. Research in Economic Anthropology, v. 33. Edited by Fiona McCormack, Kate Barclay. Bingley, UK: Emerald, 2013. x, 357 pp. (Illustrations.) £72.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-78190-541-8.

This edited volume brings together attempts by anthropologists to understand the consequences of capitalism in Oceanic communities. In the preface McCormack and Barclay indicate that they were guided by the question of “how people may get what they want from capitalism without losing the vibrancy and importance of other ways of being in society” (ix). Anthropologically most interesting are the contributions by Ploeg, Mosko, Dalsgaard, and Boyd, as they see capitalism as relations. Ploeg’s article is exceptional in that it defines capitalism from the outset—“a form of socioeconomic organization in which capital: land, knowledge, and skills, and movable assets, especially money, is employed for financial profit” (258)—and finds elements of it among the Me of West Papua at a time when capitalism was not brought to them from the outside. We discover that the precolonial life of the Me included a number of capitalist elements, such as currency, accumulation, and unequal division of labour. Ploeg highlights the misleading characterization of the present as a period marked by an increasing and ever more threatening penetration of capitalism into the domains of indigenous communities.

Mosko’s chapter discusses recent intensifications of commoditization among the North Mekeo of Central Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Those familiar with Mosko’s theoretical interest will not be surprised that his framework of analysis revolves around the juxtaposition of the “partible” or “dividual” of personhood associated with Melanesian ontologies and models of “possessive individualism” associated with market societies. Mosko argues that the latter holds less explanatory power than the dividual personhood models and related Maussian gift exchange when it comes to explaining recent social change among the Mekeo. Despite growing degrees of commoditization, Mosko discerns on-going Melanesian dividuality among the Mekeo. Dalsgaard, in his study of the politics of remittances and the role of returning migrants in Manus Province, PNG, highlights how people differentiate between local “traditional” systems and capitalism in the world of villagers who have moved elsewhere for wage labour. Over the years, gaining access to the remittances of these migrants has become crucial in sustaining internal social and economic activities as well in maintaining relationships to the outside world. Dalsgaard highlights the social and moral tensions of the transactions between migrants and villagers. People negotiate different systems in terms of different values and different ways of living. Boyd’s chapter takes us to the highlands of Papua New Guinea in the period following World War II until 1996. It details the Irakia Awa response to capitalism in the form of the creation of an alternative local version of modernity. After decades of participation in labour migration for earning cash, people returned home and set about creating a more modern and inviting village lifestyle.

The chapters by McCormack and van Meijl focus on new models of ownership that have emerged as a result of engaging with capitalism in New Zealand. Van Meijl examines the impact of the settlement of the Waikato-Tainui claim on socio-economic development of the tribe, while McCormack looks at the negative outcomes for Maori of the privatization of fishing rights that prevent Maori from fishing. McCormack compares her New Zealand materials with the situation in Hawai‘i where a less rigid system gives way to the co-existence of a “gift economy” with a “cash economy.” Shedding more detailed light on the strategies created by subaltern groups is the chapter by Horan. Grounded in thorough ethnography, this chapter shows how Cook Islanders in New Zealand create opportunities for the production of tivaivai cloth for a commercial purpose while still pursuing “their own non-capitalist aims of strengthening sociality and accruing prestige within their own worldview and understanding of value and what constitutes valuables” (102). With less ethnographic evidence, the chapter by Barclay and Kinch on sustainability in coastal fisheries raises the point of assumed capitalist work ethic at the level of communities that have become the beneficiaries of donor-funded development projects in Solomon Islands and PNG. But because the participants approached their activities with communal concerns in mind and the project design did not accommodate this, the projects fail.

Analysing landowner business development around large-scale mining in Papua New Guinea, Bainton and Macintyre continue the discussion around the continuity of Melanesian ways of doing things. The conclusion of their careful and well-developed discussion is that even though mining has produced significant economic opportunities for local communities, many of the evolving local businesses have divided people and entrenched inequalities. Yang’s chapter aims to understand how the Bugkalot (Ilongot) of the Cagayan River in Northern Luzon, Philippines, respond to large-scale logging. Not surprisingly Bugkalot see that envy and desire drive their pursuit of a capitalist economy and Yang also identifies an emerging new notion of the self. Sharp’s chapter brings us back to PNG and documents how local ideas about sociality and exchange shape rivalry and companionship in Mount Hagen betel nut trade.  This is the first detailed study of betel nut trade in PNG. In their concluding piece Curry and Koczberksi’s return to the guiding question of the volume in an attempt to draw together its key themes.

These chapters, some more successful than others, remind us that there is of course no one abstract theory of capitalism that is not affected by the cultural and historical contexts within which capitalism as we label it evolves. Hence capitalism can only be researched as contingent, diverse, and embedded in local contexts, not as some vaguely defined entity that is affecting local contexts. The ethnography offered in this book underpins the importance of seeing capitalism as being embedded in a locality in terms of relations. Nevertheless most of the analyses shed light on embedded meanings of capitalism in terms of symbolic or metaphoric discourses that directly address problems related to the ordeal of the everyday life of capitalism. To say that these discourses speak about capitalism is one thing, but to assert that they have capitalism as their object and to imply that they can be read as an apprehension of capitalism is something altogether different.  Despite my criticism, this volume is a good source for development work as it teaches lessons about how communities respond to projects premised on simple capitalist notions of market mechanisms.

Jaap Timmer, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

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CONSTITUTION MAKING DURING STATE BUILDING. By Joanne Wallis. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xvii, 401 pp. (Maps, tables.) US$99.00, cloth . ISBN 978-1-107-06471-3.

It has happened with such frequency that by now it hardly comes as a surprise. A colonial power turns over the reins of government to a newly created nation. But the nation is not in any real sense of the term a nation at all. It is a haphazardly cobbled together jumble of ethnic groups, religious factions, and cultures. Or a civil war or other upheaval or insurgency causes the boundaries of and membership in a state to be re-determined. But the new determination does little more than reconfigure the rifts that led to strife in the first place. The result, in too many cases, has been a failed state, with the resulting criminality, war, poverty, and displacement that come in the wake of governments unable to govern.

Scholars, lawyers, politicians, and journalists have all tried their hands at proposing solutions to this problem. Lawyers, of course, have looked to the law for answers, recommending the adoption of constitutions that enshrine democratic rule, or support human rights—or the opposite. But states with every sort of constitution have failed. Wallis joins a cluster of scholars who have looked for solutions not in the constitutions themselves but in the processes by which those constitutions are created.

Her thesis is that a more inclusive constitutional drafting process will increase the legitimacy of the constitution and, thus, of the government chosen under its aegis and the laws passed according to its rules. She suggests that a fragmented polity can be unified into one nation by a constitution-making process that educates people broadly on the goals and responsibilities of the constitution makers, seeks out popular input in depth, and includes it in the final product.

This is not a new theory. Wallis follows in the footsteps of quite a number. But one of the signal successes of her book is her thorough and wide-ranging survey of the literature on the topic. Moreover, she draws from the survey an extensive and detailed menu for constitutional planning committees on how best to go about creating a process that includes broad representation and that shows due respect for all segments of the new state. (One pesky irritant in her writing needs to be mentioned: she refers, over and over, to this canon of theoretical work as “the literature,” as in “the literature generally concludes that an appointed body is preferable” [214] or “the literature argues that the manner in which the drafting body makes decisions is influential” [218].)

The central focus of Wallis’ study is her application of the theory to two relatively recent instances of constitution making. Timor Leste and Bougainville each came to their respective constitution-making moments from a recent past that involved an insurgency against, in Timor Leste’s case, the former colonial power, and, in the case of Bougainville, the larger state of which it had been forced to be a part as the colonial power withdrew. Both had also suffered internal clashes, when citizens disagreed, sometimes violently, about the insurgency. Any knowledgeable observer would have ranked both in the states-unlikely-to-succeed category, which made them prime candidates for Wallis’ observation, especially when it turned out that one – Bougainville – has succeeded as a unified nation-state, and the other – Timor Leste – has not. And the icing on Wallis’ theoretical cake: Bougainville followed the recommended participatory process in planning and drafting its constitution; Timor Leste did not.

The “literature” posits a number of rules that constitution makers should follow in order to be as participatory as possible, including: settling on a time frame that is long enough to permit education of and participation by the public; creating a constitutional planning and drafting body that is broadly representational and that doesn’t unduly favour one class or political party or ethnic group; operating as much as possible by consensus rather than by votes, since voting can lead a large but dissatisfied minority never to accept the constitution or, by extension, the new state; being as transparent about processes and goals as possible, while maintaining the secrecy needed to achieve compromises; staging frequent meetings, at the beginning, middle, and near the end of the planning process, all around the country, and letting the meetings go as long as needed; limiting the influence and perceived roles of international bodies and advisors; and, finally, choosing a manner of adoption of the constitution that appears fair and representative.

Needless to say, the constitutional planning process in Bougainville satisfied each and every one of these criteria; that of Timor Leste failed them all. While Bougainvilleans initially hoped to draft the constitution in a matter of months, they permitted the time frame to lengthen when it became evident that committee members were finding rich sources of information in their lengthy, unstructured meetings with local leaders, women’s groups, union representatives, and other members of Bougainville’s diverse communities. The process in Timor Leste, however, was heavily regulated by the United Nations’ Transitional Administration in East Timor, which set a very short time frame that allocated very little time for public education or public meetings. The two countries differed radically, also, in the composition of the constitutional bodies: Bougainville’s was appointed, and the different groups that had to agree on the appointments created a broadly representative committee made up of all the different factions; Time Leste’s was elected and therefore was overwhelmingly captured by the majority political party. I needn’t continue—although Wallis does, and in interesting and provocative detail.

I am not sure she is correct. Two examples do not prove a theory. She might just be lucky in the two she chose. But her choices are instructive, and regardless of whether it is always true that a more participatory process will lead to a stronger state, the arguments she makes for participation are compelling in and of themselves.

Jean G. Zorn, The City University of New York, New York, USA                                          

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BELONGING IN OCEANIA: Movement, Place-Making and Multiple Identifications. Pacific Perspectives, v. 3. Edited by Elfriede Hermann, Wolfgang Kempf and Toon van Meijl. New York: Berghahn Books, 2014. vi, 221 pp. US$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-78238-415-1.

The past encroaching of colonial states drove Pacific peoples from their native lands, and they have been moving ever since: for work, to alleviate overpopulation, or due to a scarcity of resources. Belonging in Oceania adds a multiplicity of layers to the analysis of cultural identification, looking at the roots people have in their homeland, at the web of spatial and social relationships in their new environment, and to the expectations people portray upon their environment from a social, cultural, and spatial perspective. The editors bring together an array of insights under the general headings of “movement,” “place-making,” and “cultural identifications,” resulting in “multiplicities of belonging,” which they see as “the product of dialogical processes operating within the frame of specific power relationships” (16).

The nine case studies show both the perspectives’ wealth of possibilities, but also that it is hard to bring the individual arguments together as a consistent argument. Dürr characterizes the encounter between Maori and Mexican secondary-school students in southern Mexico as a transpacific, cross-cultural encounter, with both groups attempting to communicate their cultural identities. The Maori are almost combatively aware of their culture and the Mexicans, as part of a strongly Americanized urban setting, are more estranged from their “roots.” In Dürr’s words, “identity is formed primarily by comparing and contrasting oneself with the ‘other’” (42). In that respect it is interesting how the Mexican students re-evaluate their own cultural heritage.

Brandt, focusing on cross-cultural friendships in New Zealand, takes Dürr’s perspective further. For many urban Maori their link to ancestral homelands has eroded and their identity rests on a pan-tribal construct. Brandt shows in detail the contrast this creates between any relations a Maori has to his or her Pakeha (non-indigenous New Zealander) friends, rather than Maori ones. Relationships with Pacific islanders further complicate this. The dialogical results show “a relatively high degree of flexibility in the construction of difference and similarity [providing] informal spaces ‘in between’ in which actors can re-imagine themselves and others” (184).

The studies of Garond and Rollason both take us into the historical shaping of cultural identity through colonial settlement. In Garond’s study displacement plays a prominent role as up until the 1970s Aboriginal peoples across Queensland were relocated to reserves like Palm Island. People consequently trace identity not only to their present location, but also to historical places (reserves, missions), and traditional camps. This gives not only a mixed sense of belonging, but also fosters notions of “cultural loss” and the wish to overcome this.

Rollason, working on Panapompom Island (Milne Bay, PNG), traces the present sense of underdevelopment among the islanders to the link between identity and copra production during colonial times. The collapsing copra economy, replaced by harvesting marine resources, left the locals perceiving themselves as failing “to live up to standards they located in a context they shared with white people and in which they had invested a great deal” (88).

Thode-Arora, Pascht, and Fer and Malogne-Fer trace common denominators within the processes by which Pacific islanders create a common identity within urban New Zealand. First, urban migrants experience a loss of culture and language. Additionally, a new pan-Polynesian identity comes into existence. Co-authors Fer and Malogne-Fer specifically explore the role of Protestantism in this respect. While some groups establish distinctive congregations within their community, others must identify themselves within mixed congregations. Thode-Arora points here to the establishment of weaving groups to maintain Niue identity. Pascht focuses explicitly on the land right issues among the Cook islanders and identifies a third common denominator: kinship and genealogy. Even though the present generations are often born in New Zealand, the authors show that relations to one’s place of origin remain important and will be maintained by gifts or—as is shown by Pascht—the establishment of occupation rights.

In the epilogue, Kempf and Hermann provide a perspective on the effects of present global warming. Atoll states in the Pacific are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. The example of Kiribati shows the complex interplay between official discourse on global warming, the search for a new homeland, and the very practical threat of loss of identity. The authors point to the ability of the Pacific islanders to “exercise agency by mobilizing the fact of their belonging to a particular land and its people—or, and increasingly so, to many communities” (208).

The volume covers a lot of ground, perhaps even too much. The authors showcase interesting arguments in their chapters, but often what is said relates only in part to the main perspective of the volume itself. This is even true of the epilogue to the volume, though the authors do refer back to the individual contributions. The problem is that the net is cast very wide. If the number of contributions to the volume had been larger the overall impression of the volume would be more outspoken. Also, while the authors refer to each other’s work in general, there is too little common ground in the various contributions. While most authors refer to the urban setting of New Zealand as a partial or core locality, these different strands remain unattached and that is a missed opportunity.

Sjoerd R. Jaarsma, Papua Heritage Foundation, Hilversum, The Netherlands

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DON’T SPOIL MY BEAUTIFUL FACE: Media, Mayhem and Human Rights in the Pacific. By David Robie; foreword by Kalafi Moala. Auckland (New Zealand): Little Island Press, 2014. xv, 361 pp. (B&W photos., maps, tables.) NZ$40.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-877484-25-4.

This book is a sequel to two earlier published books by David Robie and draws on his journalism and educational viewpoints since embarking on a Pacific media education career at the University of Papua New Guinea in 1993. As such, the book is a personal account of Robie’s career in relation to the various political issues, tensions, human rights violations, and conflicts that have affected the Pacific (and the Philippines and Canada), such as the Kanak struggle in New Caledonia, the 1987 military coup in Fiji, and the Bougainville conflict. The title of the book refers to yet another struggle and protest in the Pacific. It is based on a photograph of a young ni-Vanuatu girl with a “no nukes” placard stating “Please don’t spoil my beautiful face,” which was taken by Robie at the third Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) conference in Port Vila, Vanuatu. The twenty-four chapters of the book are divided into six parts, dealing with: Robie’s own career and journey into the Pacific; colonial legacies conflicts; indigenous struggles; forgotten wars; environmental struggles; and media education. The broad geographical area, themes, and timeframe covered (from before 1974 to 2013), means Robie presents us with a series of snapshots detailing elements of troubling events that have happened and are happening in the Pacific and beyond.

Don’t Spoil My Beautiful Face starts with a foreword (xiii-xv) by Kalafi Moala, deputy chair of Pasifika Media Association, who was jailed in Tonga in 1996 for contempt of Parliament. He acknowledges Robie’s journalistic work in the Pacific and, in particular, Robie’s efforts to set him and his fellow prisoners free. Robie’s subsequent introduction, titled “Trust and transparency,” discusses the interplay between journalism and political power in relation to, in particular, Murdoch. He also highlights his own position as an independent journalist, providing testimonies by third parties to indicate that he is an “impassioned chronicler of Pacific currents” (8) and events.

The first part of the book (Out of Africa), details Robie’s career, the various topics he covered and agencies he worked for across the world, and how he ended up setting his own Pacific News Agency in New Zealand (chapters 2-4). Part 2 covers an array of events and topics that are grouped together as “Colonial legacy conflicts.” It contains Robie’s work in New Caledonia on the Kanak revolt and massacre of Hienghène in New Caledonia in 1984, and the 1987 “nomadization” policy and the aftermath of the siege of Ouvèa (chapters 5, 6, and 8); the “Rise of the Flosse dynasty in Tahiti, 1986 (chapter 7); the 1987 Fiji coup (chapter 9); anti-Chinese riots in Tonga in 1991 (chapter 10); Human rights abuses in the Pacific (chapter 11); and the jailing of the “Tongan three” in 1996, which involved the imprisonment of the earlier mentioned Kalafi Moala (chapter 12). Part 3 of the book is titled “Indigenous Struggles” and covers First Nation Rights in Canada (chapter 13); indigenous people’s struggles in the Philippines (chapter 14); and the Hagahai “biopiracy” affair, whereby the US government issued a patent on the human cell line of a Hahagai (Papua New Guinea) tribesman in 1995 (chapter 15). In part 4, titled “Forgotten wars, elusive peace,” Robie covers the Bougainville conflict (chapter 16); the political instability and violence caused by rogue military leaders in the Philippines (chapter 17); and the victims of this violence and the role of the Philippine Independent Church (chapter 18). The final chapter in this part contains Robie’s reflections on the horror of the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in Timor-Leste (chapter 19). The fifth part of the book (“Moruroa, mon amour”) focuses on climate change and nuclear refugees in the Pacific (Chapter 20); and the politics surrounding the Rainbow Warrior, which was bombed by French secret agents in Auckland in 1985 (chapter 21). The sixth and final part of the book focuses on media education in the Pacific. The first chapter discusses the issue of freedom of speech, which is centred around Robie’s Pacific Journalism Review article on the topic published in 2002 and an article published in the same year with the subtitle “Don’t shoot the messenger” (chapter 22). The subsequent chapter deals with conflict reporting in the Pacific (chapter 23). In the final chapter (chapter 24), Robie engages with changing paradigms in Pacific journalism, exploring models of news media and news values in the Pacific, journalism’s rights and responsibilities, and that journalists covering issues such as the abuse of power and violations of human rights in the Pacific need to become more critical and deliberative, thereby “becoming part of the solution rather than being part of the problem” (340). Robie’s epilogue consists of a series of snapshots on journalists, the media, and media education in the Pacific, and the responsibilities a new generation of educated journalists have in encouraging positive change in the region.

With the exception of chapter 24, the chapters in Don’t Spoil My Beautiful Face are based upon Robie’s earlier work that was disseminated in the media or elsewhere. Most of the chapters consist of earlier published media articles that are briefly introduced and updated. Although Robie’s engaged and critical journalism is very informative and illustrative, the way the book is organized also implies a lack of depth and engagement with, for example, academic work on these topics. This could have been partially addressed by adding a short bibliography to each chapter with key academic works on the issue, instead of providing a short selected biography at the end. What Don’t Spoil My Beautiful Face does offer is a great overview of troubling politics and violence in the region and Robie’s reporting of these events. As such, it is of interest to anyone who is interested in Pacific media and politics, and Robie’s work and coverage of these issues in particular.

Anna-Karina Hermkens, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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