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University of Washington Press

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Chang'an 26 BCE Cover

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Chang'an 26 BCE

An Augustan Age in China

During the last two centuries BCE, the Western Han capital of Chang'an, near today's Xi'an in northwest China, outshone Augustan Rome in several ways while administering comparable numbers of imperial subjects and equally vast territories. At its grandest, during the last fifty years or so before the collapse of the dynasty in 9 CE, Chang’an boasted imperial libraries with thousands of documents on bamboo and silk in a city nearly three times the size of Rome and nearly four times larger than Alexandria. Many reforms instituted in this capital in ate Western Han substantially shaped not only the institutions of the Eastern Han (25–220 CE) but also the rest of imperial China until 1911. Although thousands of studies document imperial Rome’s glory, until now no book-length work in a Western language has been devoted to Han Chang’an, the reign of Emperor Chengdi (whose accomplishments rival those of Augustus and Hadrian), or the city's impressive library project (26-6 BCE), which ultimately produced the first state-sponsored versions of many of the classics and masterworks that we hold in our hands today. Chang’an 26 bce addresses this deficiency, using as a focal point the reign of Emperor Chengdi (r. 33–7 bce), specifically the year in which the imperial library project began. This in-depth survey by some of the world’s best scholars, Chinese and Western, explores the built environment, sociopolitical transformations, and leading figures of Chang’an, making a strong case for the revision of historical assumptions about the two Han dynasties. A multidisciplinary volume representing a wealth of scholarly perspectives, the book draws on the established historical record and recent archaeological discoveries of thousands of tombs, building foundations, and remnants of walls and gates from Chang’an and its surrounding area.

Charming Gardeners Cover

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Charming Gardeners


by David Biespiel

A Chemehuevi Song Cover

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A Chemehuevi Song

The Resilience of a Southern Paiute Tribe

by Clifford E. Trafzer

The Chemehuevi of the Twenty-Nine Palms tribe of Southern California stands as a testament to the power of perseverance. This small, nomadic band of Southern Paiute Indians has been repeatedly marginalized by European settlers, other Native groups, and, until now, historical narratives that have all too often overlooked them. Having survived much of the past two centuries without rights to their homeland or any self-governing abilities, the Chemehuevi were a mostly “forgotten” people until the creation of the Twenty-Nine Palms Reservation in 1974. Since then, they have formed a tribal government that addresses many of the same challenges faced by other tribes, including preserving cultural identity and managing a thriving gaming industry. A dedicated historian who worked closely with the Chemehuevi for more than a decade, Clifford Trafzer shows how this once-splintered tribe persevered using sacred songs and other cultural practices to maintain tribal identity during the long period when it lacked both a homeland and autonomy. The Chemehuevi believe that their history and their ancestors are always present, and Trafzer honors that belief through his emphasis on individual and family stories. In doing so, he not only sheds light on an overlooked tribe but also presents an important new model for tribal history scholarship. A Chemehuevi Song strikes the difficult balance of placing a community-driven research agenda within the latest currents of indigenous studies scholarship. Chemehuevi voices, both past and present, are used to narrate the story of the tribe’s tireless efforts to gain recognition and autonomy. The end result is a song of resilience.

China and Iran Cover

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China and Iran

Ancient Partners in a Post-Imperial World

by John W. Garver

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China's New Socialist Countryside

Modernity Arrives in the Nu River Valley

by Russell Harwood

Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this case study examines the impact of economic development on ethnic minority people living along the upper-middle reaches of the Nu (Salween) River in Yunnan. In this highly mountainous, sparsely populated area live the Lisu, Nu, and Dulong (Drung) people, who until recently lived as subsistence farmers, relying on shifting cultivation, hunting, the collection of medicinal plants from surrounding forests, and small-scale logging to sustain their household economies. China's New Socialist Countryside explores how compulsory education, conservation programs, migration for work, and the expansion of social and economic infrastructure are not only transforming livelihoods, but also intensifying the Chinese Party-state’s capacity to integrate ethnic minorities into its political fabric and the national industrial economy.

China watcher  Cover

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China watcher

confessions of a Peking Tom

Richard Baum is professor of political science at UCLA. His many books include Burying Mao: Chinese Politics in the Age of Deng Xiaoping.

This audacious and illuminating memoir reflects on 40 years of learning about the People's Republic of China through China watching - the process by which outsiders gather and decipher official and unofficial information to figure out what's really going on behind China's veil of political secrecy and propaganda.

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Cities of Others

Reimagining Urban Spaces in Asian American Literature

by Xiaojing Zhou

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City of Virtues

Nanjing in an Age of Utopian Visions

by Chuck Wooldridge

Throughout Nanjing’s history, writers have claimed that its spectacular landscape of mountains and rivers imbued the city with “royal qi,” making it a place of great political significance. City of Virtues examines the ways a series of visionaries, drawing on past glories of the city, projected their ideologies onto Nanjing as they constructed buildings, performed rituals, and reworked the literary heritage of the city. More than an urban history of Nanjing from the late 18th century until 1911—encompassing the Opium War, the Taiping occupation of the city, the rebuilding of the city by Zeng Guofan, and attempts to establish it as the capital of the Republic of China—this study shows how utopian visions of the cosmos shaped Nanjing’s path through the turbulent 19th century.

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