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Transformations of Cultural Traditions in Oceania
This book sheds new light on processes of cultural transformation at work in Oceania and analyzes them as products of interrelationships between culturally created meanings and specific contexts. In a series of inspiring essays, noted scholars of the region examine these interrelationships for insight into how cultural traditions are shaped on an ongoing basis.
The collection marks a turning point in the debate on the conceptualization of tradition. Following a critique of how tradition has been viewed in terms of dichotomies like authenticity vs. inauthenticity, contributors stake out a novel perspective in which tradition figures as context-bound articulation. This makes it possible to view cultural traditions as resulting from interactions between people—their ideas, actions, and objects—and the ambient contexts. Such interactions are analyzed from the past down to the Oceanian present—with indigenous agency being highlighted. The work focuses first on early encounters, initially between Pacific Islanders themselves and later with the European navigators of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to clarify how meaningful actions and contexts interrelated in the past. The present-day memories of Pacific Islanders are examined to ask how such memories represent encounters that occurred long ago and how they influenced the social, political, economic, and religious changes that ensued. Next, contributors address ongoing social and structural interactions that social actors enlist to shape their traditions within the context of globalization and then the repercussions that these intersections and intercultural exchanges of discourses and practices are having on active identity formation as practiced by Pacific Islanders. Finally, two authorities on Oceania—who themselves move in the intersecting space between anthropology and history—discuss the essays and add their own valuable reflections.
With its wealth of illuminating analyses and illustrations, Changing Contexts, Shifting Meanings will appeal to students and scholars in the fields of cultural and social anthropology, history, art history, museology, Pacific studies, gender studies, cultural studies, and literary criticism.
Contributors: Aletta Biersack, Françoise Douaire-Marsaudon, Bronwen Douglas, David Hanlon, Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin, Peter Hempenstall, Margaret Jolly, Miriam Kahn, Martha Kaplan, John D. Kelly, Wolfgang Kempf, Gundolf Krüger, Jacquelyn Lewis-Harris, Lamont Lindstrom, Karen Nero, Ton Otto, Anne Salmond, Serge Tcherkézoff, Paul van der Grijp, Toon van Meijl.
An Irreverent Novel
This brilliant little novel, set against the backdrop of post-Mao China, juxtaposes recollections of childhood, pet ownership, and marriage with discussions of art, sex, and murder, weaving together an absurdist tapestry that is the inner life of the novel’s felicitously named protagonist, Huang Haha. Subversive, iconoclastic, and wholly irreverent. Fiction from Modern China
One Woman’s Transit from Tokugawa to Meiji Japan
The Chaos and Cosmos of Kurosawa Tokiko is the story of a self-described “base-born nobody” who tried to change the course of Japanese history. Kurosawa Tokiko (1806–1890), a commoner from rural Mito domain, was a poet, teacher, oracle, and political activist. In 1859 she embraced the xenophobic loyalist faction (known for the motto “revere the emperor, expel the barbarians”) and traveled to Kyoto to denounce the shogun’s policies before the emperor. She was arrested for slander, taken to Edo’s infamous Tenmachō prison, and sentenced to banishment. In her later years, having crossed the Tokugawa-Meiji divide, Tokiko became an elementary school teacher and experienced firsthand the modernizing policies of the new government. After her death she was honored with court rank for her devotion to the loyalist cause.
Tokiko’s story reflects not only some of the key moments in Japan’s transition to the modern era, but also some of its lesser- known aspects, thereby providing us with a broader narrative of the late-Tokugawa crisis, the collapse of the shogunate, and the rise of the Meiji state. The peculiar combination of no-nonsense single-mindedness and visionary flights of imagination evinced in her numerous diaries and poetry collections nuances our understanding of activism and political consciousness among rural non-elites by blurring the lines between the rational and the irrational, focus and folly. Tokiko’s use of prognostication and her appeals to cosmic forces point to the creative paths women have constructed to take part in political debates as well as the resourcefulness required to preserve one’s identity in the face of changing times. In the early twentieth century, Tokiko was reimagined in the popular press and her story rewritten to offset fears about female autonomy and boost local and national agendas. These distorted and romanticized renditions offer compelling examples of the politicization of the past and of the extent to which present anxieties shape historical memory.
That Tokiko was unimportant and her loyalist mission a failure is irrelevant. What is significant is that through her life story we are able to discern the ordinary individual in the midst of history. By putting an extra in the spotlight, The Chaos and Cosmos of Kurosawa Tokiko offers a new script for the drama that unfolded on the stage of late-Tokugawa and early Meiji history.
A Memoir of World War II Internment in the Philippines
Hours after attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers stormed across the Philippine city of Baguio, where seven-year-old Curt Tong, the son of American missionaries, hid with his classmates in the woods near his school. Three weeks later, Curt, his mother, and two sisters were among the nearly five hundred Americans who surrendered to the Japanese army in Baguio. Child of War is Tong’s touching story of the next three years of his childhood as he endured fear, starvation, sickness, and separation from his father while interned in three different Japanese prison camps on the island of Luzon. Written by the adult Tong looking back on his wartime ordeal, it offers a rich trove of memories about internment life and camp experiences. Relegated first to the men’s barracks at Camp John Hay, Curt is taken under the wing of a close family friend who is also the camp’s civilian leader. From this vantage point, he is able to observe the running of the camp firsthand as the war continues and increasing numbers of Americans are imprisoned. Curt’s days are occupied with work detail, baseball, and childhood adventures. Along with his mother and sisters, he experiences daily life under a series of camp commandants, some ruling with intimidation and cruelty but one, memorably, with compassion. In the last months of the war the entire family is finally reunited, and their ordeal ends when they are liberated from Manila’s Bilibid Prison by American troops. Child of War is an engaging and thoughtful memoir that presents an unusual view of life as a World War II internee—that of a young boy. It is a valuable addition to existing wartime autobiographies and diaries and contributes significantly to a greater understanding of the Pacific War and its impact on American civilians in Asia.
Depictions of children have had a prominent place in Chinese art since the Song period (960-1279). Yet one would be hard pressed to find any significant discussion of children in art in the historical documents of imperial China or contemporary scholarship on Chinese art. Children in Chinese Art brings to the forefront themes and motifs that have crossed social boundaries for centuries but have been overlooked in scholarly treatises. In this volume, experts in the fields of art, religion, literature, and history introduce and elucidate many of the issues surrounding child imagery in China, including its use for didactic reinforcement of social values as well as the amuletic function of these works.
The introduction provides a thought-provoking overview of the history of depictions of children, exploring both stylistic development and the emergence of specific themes. In an insightful essay, China specialists combine expertise in literature and painting to propose that the focus on children in both genres during the Song is an indication of a truly humane society. Skillful use of visual and textual sources from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) period explains children's games and the meaning of depictions of boys at play. Gender issues are examined in an intriguing look at mothers and children in woodblock illustrations to Ming versions of the classical text Lie ni juan. Depictions of the childhood of saints and sages from murals and commemorative tablets in ancient temples are considered. The volume concludes with two highly original essays on child protectors and destroyers in Chinese folk religion and family portraits and their scarcity in China before the nineteenth century.
Contributors: Ellen B. Avril, Catherine Barnhart, Richard Barnhart, Terese Tse Bartholomew, Julia K. Murray, Ann Waltner, Ann Barrott Wicks.
Chinese Avant-garde Art and Independent Cinema
Children of Marx and Coca-Cola affords a deep study of Chinese avant-garde art and independent cinema from the mid-1990s to the beginning of the twenty-first century. Informed by the author’s experience in Beijing and New York—global cities with extensive access to an emergent transnational Chinese visual culture—this work situates selected artworks and films in the context of Chinese nationalism and post-socialism and against the background of the capitalist globalization that has so radically affected contemporary China. It juxtaposes and compares artists and independent filmmakers from a number of intertwined perspectives, particularly in their shared avant-garde postures and perceptions.
Xiaoping Lin provides illuminating close readings of a variety of visual texts and artistic practices, including installation, performance, painting, photography, video, and film. Throughout he sustains a theoretical discussion of representative artworks and films and succeeds in delineating a variegated postsocialist cultural landscape saturated by market forces, confused values, and lost faith. This refreshing approach is due to Lin’s ability to tackle both Chinese art and cinema rigorously within a shared discursive space. He, for example, aptly conceptualizes a central thematic concern in both genres as "postsocialist trauma" aggravated by capitalist globalization. By thus focusing exclusively on the two parallel and often intersecting movements or phenomena in the visual arts, his work brings about a fruitful dialogue between the narrow field of traditional art history and visual studies more generally.
Children of Marx and Coca-Cola will be a major contribution to China studies, art history, film studies, and cultural studies. Multiple audiences—specialists, teachers, and students in these disciplines, as well as general readers with an interest in contemporary Chinese society and culture—will find that this work fulfills an urgent need for sophisticated analysis of China’s cultural production as it assumes a key role in capitalist globalization.30 illus.
Understanding Its Past
China: Understanding Its Past aims to fill a conspicuous gap in conventional world history texts, which are often Eurocentric and give scant attention to Asia. Using role-playing, simulations, debates, primary documents, first person accounts, excerpts from literary works, and cooperative learning activities, this text will help students explore many key aspects of China's history and culture. The teacher's manual includes a synopsis of each chapter and section, learner outcomes, definitions of key concepts, directions for student activities, and possible responses to questions posed in the student text. The CD contains selections of Chinese music from different time periods and locales. Liner notes include English translations of lyrics as well as historical information about each selection.
China Off Center takes as its fundamental assumption that contemporary China can only be understood as a complex, decentralized place, where the view from above (Beijing) and from tourist buses is a skewed one. Instead of generalizing about China, it demonstrates that this diverse national terrain is better conceived as it is experienced by Chinese, as a set of many Chinas. To that end, this anthology of interpretive essays and ethnographic reports focuses on the everyday, the particular, the local, and the puzzling. Together with contextualizing introductions, the readings provide students with a compelling look at some little-known but significant aspects of China from the past decade; for those already familiar with China, they furnish an assortment of uncommon viewpoints in a single, convenient volume.
Vol. 1 (1994) through current issue
Every quarter, China Review International presents timely, English- language reviews of recently published China-related books and monographs from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere. Its multi-disciplinary scope and international coverage make it an indispensable tool for all those interested in Chinese culture and civilization, and enable the sinologist to keep abreast of cutting-edge scholarship in Chinese studies.
Architecture, Ritual, and Response in Nanjing
When the Chinese Nationalist Party nominally reunified the country in 1928, Chiang Kai-shek and other party leaders insisted that Nanjing was better suited than Beijing to serve as its capital. For the next decade, until the Japanese invasion in 1937, Nanjing was the “model capital” of Nationalist China, the center of not just a new regime, but also a new modern outlook in a China destined to reclaim its place at the forefront of nations. Interesting parallels between China’s recent rise under the Post-Mao Chinese Communist Party and the Nationalist era have brought increasing scholarly attention to the Nanjing Decade (1927–1937); however, study of Nanjing itself has been neglected. Charles Musgrove brings the city back into the discussion of China’s modern development, focusing on how it was transformed from a factional capital with only regional influence into a symbol of nationhood—a city where newly forming ideals of citizenship were celebrated and contested on its streets and at its monuments.
China’s Contested Capital investigates the development of the model capital from multiple perspectives. It explores the ideological underpinnings of the project by looking at the divisive debates surrounding the new capital’s establishment as well as the ideological discourse of Sun Yat-Sen used to legitimize it. In terms of the actual building of the city, it provides an analysis of both the scientific methodology adopted to plan it and the aesthetic experiments employed to construct it. Finally, it examines the political and social life of the city, looking at not only the reinvented traditions that gave official spaces a sacred air but also the ways that people actually used streets and monuments, including the Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum, to pursue their own interests, often in defiance of Nationalist repression. Contrary to the conventional story of incompetence and failure, Musgrove shows that there was more to Nationalist Party nation-building than simply “paper plans” that never came to fruition. He argues rather that the model capital essentially legitimized a new form of state power embodied in new symbolic systems that the Communist Party was able to tap into after defeating the Nationalists in 1949. At the same time, the book makes the case that, although it was unintended by party planners who promoted single-party rule, Nanjing’s legitimacy was also a product of protests and contestation, which the party-state only partially succeeded in channeling for its own ends.
China’s Contested Capital is an important contribution to the literature on twentieth-century Chinese urban history and the social and political history of one of China’s key cities during the Republican period.
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