New from Harvard University Asia Center Press:
The popularization of basic legal knowledge is an important and contested technique of state governance in China today. Its roots reach back to the early years of Chinese Communist Party rule. Legal Lessons tells the story of how the party-state attempted to mobilize ordinary citizens to learn laws during the early years of the Mao period (1949–1976) and in the decade after Mao’s death. Jennifer Altehenger is a former An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fairbank Center, and is currently a Lecturer in Contemporary Chinese History at King’s College London.
China’s status in the world of expanding European empires of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has long been under dispute. Its unequal relations with multiple powers, secured through a system of treaties rather than through colonization, has invited debate over the degree and significance of outside control and local sovereignty. Anne Reinhardt examines the expansion of steam navigation, the growth of shipping enterprise, and the social climate of the steamship in the nineteenth century as arenas of contestation and collaboration that highlight the significance of partial Chinese sovereignty.
During China’s transition from dynastic empire to nation-state, the crowd emerged as a salient trope. Intellectuals across the ideological spectrum have used the crowd trope to ruminate on questions of selfhood and nationhood, and to advance competing models of enlightenment and revolution. Tie Xiao analyzes the centrality of the crowd in the Chinese cultural and political imagination and its global resonances by delving into a wide range of fiction, philosophy, poetry, and psychological studies.
The first comprehensive study of the lifework of Guo Moruo (1892–1978) in English, this book explores the dynamics of translation, revolution, and historical imagination in twentieth-century Chinese culture. Guo was a romantic writer who eventually became Mao Zedong’s last poetic interlocutor; a Marxist historian who evolved into the inaugural president of China’s Academy of Sciences; and a leftist politician who devoted almost three decades to translating Goethe’s Faust.
New from our faculty:
The China Questions: Critical Insights into a Rising Power, Harvard University Press, Michael Szonyi and Jennifer Rudoph, eds.
Many books offer information about China, but few make sense of what is truly at stake. The questions addressed in this unique volume provide a window onto the challenges China faces today and the uncertainties its meteoric ascent on the global horizon has provoked. Featuring chapters by thirty of the Fairbank Center’s faculty and affiliates, this book “should be on the shelf of anyone seeking to understand this fast-rising superpower.” opens in a new windowRead an extract from the book at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
opens in a new windowThe Art of Being Governed: Everyday Politics in Late Imperial China, Princeton University Press, by Michael Szonyi
How did ordinary people in the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) deal with the demands of the state? In The Art of Being Governed, Fairbank Center Director Michael Szonyi explores the myriad ways that families fulfilled their obligations to provide a soldier to the army. The complex strategies they developed to manage their responsibilities suggest a new interpretation of an important period in China’s history as well as a broader theory of politics. opens in a new windowListen to Michael Szonyi talk about his book at the Harvard University Asia Center.
opens in a new windowThe Halberd at Red Cliff: Jian’an and the Three Kingdoms, Harvard University Press, by Xiaofei Tian
The turn of the third century CE—known as the Jian’an era or Three Kingdoms period—holds double significance for the Chinese cultural tradition. How did Jian’an bifurcate into two distinct nostalgias, one of which was the first paradigmatic embodiment of wen (literary graces, cultural patterning), and the other of wu (heroic martial virtue)? Xiaofei Tian investigates how these associations were closely related in their complex origins and then came to be divergent in their later metamorphoses.
opens in a new windowThe Contentious Public Sphere: Law, Media, and Authoritarian Rule in China, Princeton University Press, by Ya-Wen Lei
Since the mid-2000s, public opinion and debate in China have become increasingly common and consequential, despite the ongoing censorship of speech and regulation of civil society. How did this happen? In The Contentious Public Sphere, Ya-Wen Lei shows how the Chinese state drew on law, the media, and the Internet to further an authoritarian project of modernization, but in so doing, inadvertently created a nationwide public sphere in China—one the state must now endeavor to control. opens in a new windowWatch Ya-Wen Lei discuss her book on PBS’s “The Open Mind.”
opens in a new windowZuo Tradition / Zuozhuan: Commentary on the “Spring and Autumn Annals” University of Washington Press, translation by Stephen Durrant, Wai-yee Li and David Schaberg
Zuo Tradition (Zuozhuan; sometimes called The Zuo Commentary) is China’s first great work of history. It consists of two interwoven texts – the Spring and Autumn Annals (Chunqiu, a terse annalistic record) and a vast web of narratives and speeches that add context and interpretation to the Annals. This translation by Stephen Durrant, Wai-yee Li, and David Schaberg, accompanied by the original text, an introduction, and annotations, was awarded the 2018 Patrick D. Hanan Translation Book Prize from the Association of Asian Studies.
opens in a new windowZouping Revisited: Adaptive Governance in a Chinese County, Stanford University Press, Steven Goldstein and Jean C. Oi, eds.
China has undergone dramatic change in its economic institutions in recent years, but surprisingly little change politically. This new volume, edited by Steven Goldstein and Jean C. Oi, examines the subtle but profound changes to the ways China’s political institutions and governing bodies actually work.
opens in a new windowThe Cold War: A World History, Penguin Books, by Odd Arne Westad
As Germany and then Japan surrendered in 1945 there was a tremendous hope that a new and much better world could be created from the moral and physical ruins of the conflict. Instead, the combination of the huge power of the USA and USSR and the near-total collapse of most of their rivals created a unique, grim new environment: the Cold War. Odd Arne Westad‘s book has the ambition to create a convincing, powerful narrative of the Cold War. opens in a new windowRead about Arne Westad’s research behind the book on the Kennedy School website.
opens in a new windowStrategic Adjustment and the Rise of China: Power and Politics in East Asia, Cornell University Press, Robert S. Ross and Øystein Tunsjø eds.
Strategic Adjustment and the Rise of China demonstrates how structural and domestic variables influence how East Asian states adjust their strategy in light of the rise of China, including how China manages its own emerging role as a regional great power. This book, edited by Robert S. Ross and Øystein Tunsjø, notes that the shifting regional balance of power has fueled escalating tensions in East Asia and suggests that adjustment challenges are exacerbated by the politics of policymaking.
opens in a new windowA New Literary History of Modern China, Harvard University Press, David Wang ed.
Literature, from the Chinese perspective, makes manifest the cosmic patterns that shape and complete the world—a process of “worlding” that is much more than mere representation. In that spirit, A New Literary History of Modern China, edited by David Der-wei Wang, looks beyond state-sanctioned works and official narratives to reveal China as it has seldom been seen before, through a rich spectrum of writings covering Chinese literature from the late-seventeenth century to the present.
New from alumni:
opens in a new windowCurating Revolution: Politics on Display in Mao’s China, Cambridge University Press, by Denise Ho
How did China’s Communist revolution transform the nation’s political culture? In this rich and vivid history of the Mao period (1949–1976), alum Denise Y. Ho examines the relationship between its exhibitions and its political movements. Watch Denise Ho present at our recent panel on opens in a new windowDazibao from our fall 2017 exhibition.