Asia Pacific Modern

Published by: University of California Press

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Asia Pacific Modern

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Colonial Project, National Game

A History of Baseball in Taiwan

Andrew D. Morris

In this engrossing cultural history of baseball in Taiwan, Andrew D. Morris traces the game’s social, ethnic, political, and cultural significance since its introduction on the island more than one hundred years ago. Introduced by the Japanese colonial government at the turn of the century, baseball was expected to "civilize" and modernize Taiwan’s Han Chinese and Austronesian Aborigine populations. After World War II, the game was tolerated as a remnant of Japanese culture and then strategically employed by the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Even as it was also enthroned by Taiwanese politicians, cultural producers, and citizens as their national game. In considering baseball’s cultural and historical implications, Morris deftly addresses a number of societal themes crucial to understanding modern Taiwan, the question of Chinese "reunification," and East Asia as a whole.

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Frontier Constitutions

Christianity and Colonial Empire in the Nineteenth-Century Philippines

John D. Blanco

Frontier Constitutions is a pathbreaking study of the cultural transformations arrived at by Spanish colonists, native-born creoles, mestizos (Chinese and Spanish), and indigenous colonial subjects in the Philippines during the crisis of colonial hegemony in the nineteenth century, and the social anomie that resulted from this crisis in law and politics. John D. Blanco argues that modernity in the colonial Philippines should not be understood as an imperfect version of a European model but as a unique set of expressions emerging out of contradictions—expressions that sanctioned new political communities formed around the precariousness of Spanish rule. Blanco shows how artists and writers struggled to synthesize these contradictions as they attempted to secure the colonial order or, conversely, to achieve Philippine independence.

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The Gender of Memory

Rural Women and China’s Collective Past

Gail Hershatter

What can we learn about the Chinese revolution by placing a doubly marginalized group—rural women—at the center of the inquiry? In this book, Gail Hershatter explores changes in the lives of seventy-two elderly women in rural Shaanxi province during the revolutionary decades of the 1950s and 1960s. Interweaving these women’s life histories with insightful analysis, Hershatter shows how Party-state policy became local and personal, and how it affected women’s agricultural work, domestic routines, activism, marriage, childbirth, and parenting—even their notions of virtue and respectability. The women narrate their pasts from the vantage point of the present and highlight their enduring virtues, important achievements, and most deeply harbored grievances. In showing what memories can tell us about gender as an axis of power, difference, and collectivity in 1950s rural China and the present, Hershatter powerfully examines the nature of socialism and how gender figured in its creation.

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A Passion for Facts

Social Surveys and the Construction of the Chinese Nation-State, 1900–1949

Tong Lam

In this path-breaking book, Tong Lam examines the emergence of the "culture of fact" in modern China, showing how elites and intellectuals sought to transform the dynastic empire into a nation-state, thereby ensuring its survival. Lam argues that an epistemological break away from traditional modes of understanding the observable world began around the turn of the twentieth century. Tracing the Neo-Confucian school of evidentiary research and the modern departure from it, Lam shows how, through the rise of the social survey, "the fact" became a basic conceptual medium and source of truth. In focusing on China’s social survey movement, A Passion for Facts analyzes how information generated by a range of research practices—census, sociological investigation, and ethnography—was mobilized by competing political factions to imagine, manage, and remake the nation.

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The Politics of Gender in Colonial Korea

Education, Labor, and Health, 1910–1945

Theodore Jun Yoo

This study examines how the concept of "Korean woman" underwent a radical transformation in Korea's public discourse during the years of Japanese colonialism. Theodore Jun Yoo shows that as women moved out of traditional spheres to occupy new positions outside the home, they encountered the pervasive control of the colonial state, which sought to impose modernity on them. While some Korean women conformed to the dictates of colonial hegemony, others took deliberate pains to distinguish between what was "modern" (e.g., Western outfits) and thus legitimate, and what was "Japanese," and thus illegitimate. Yoo argues that what made the experience of these women unique was the dual confrontation with modernity itself and with Japan as a colonial power.

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Race for Empire

Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War II

Takashi Fujitani

Race for Empire offers a profound and challenging reinterpretation of nationalism, racism, and wartime mobilization during the Asia-Pacific war. In parallel case studies—of Japanese Americans mobilized to serve in the United States Army and of Koreans recruited or drafted into the Japanese military—T. Fujitani examines the U.S. and Japanese empires as they struggled to manage racialized populations while waging total war. Fujitani probes governmental policies and analyzes representations of these soldiers—on film, in literature, and in archival documents—to reveal how characteristics of racism, nationalism, capitalism, gender politics, and the family changed on both sides. He demonstrates that the United States and Japan became increasingly alike over the course of the war, perhaps most tellingly in their common attempts to disavow racism even as they reproduced it in new ways and forms.

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Redacted

The Archives of Censorship in Transwar Japan

Jonathan Abel

At the height of state censorship in Japan, more indexes of banned books circulated, more essays on censorship were published, more works of illicit erotic and proletarian fiction were produced, and more passages were Xed out than at any other moment before or since. As censors construct and maintain their own archives, their acts of suppression yield another archive, filled with documents on, against, and in favor of censorship. The extant archive of the Japanese imperial censor (1923-1945) and the archive of the Occupation censor (1945-1952) stand as tangible reminders of this contradictory function of censors. As censors removed specific genres, topics, and words from circulation, some Japanese writers converted their offensive rants to innocuous fluff after successive encounters with the authorities. But, another coterie of editors, bibliographers, and writers responded to censorship by pushing back, using their encounters with suppression as incitement to rail against the authorities and to appeal to the prurient interests of their readers. This study examines these contradictory relationships between preservation, production, and redaction to shed light on the dark valley attributed to wartime culture and to cast a shadow on the supposedly bright, open space of free postwar discourse. (Winner of the 2010-2011 First Book Award of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University" ).

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Tropics of Savagery

The Culture of Japanese Empire in Comparative Frame

Robert Tierney

Tropics of Savagery is an incisive and provocative study of the figures and tropes of "savagery" in Japanese colonial culture. Through a rigorous analysis of literary works, ethnographic studies, and a variety of other discourses, Robert Thomas Tierney demonstrates how imperial Japan constructed its own identity in relation both to the West and to the people it colonized. By examining the representations of Taiwanese aborigines and indigenous Micronesians in the works of prominent writers, he shows that the trope of the savage underwent several metamorphoses over the course of Japan's colonial period--violent headhunter to be subjugated, ethnographic other to be studied, happy primitive to be exoticized, and hybrid colonial subject to be assimilated.

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Visuality and Identity

Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific

Shu-mei Shih

Shu-mei Shih inaugurates the field of Sinophone studies in this vanguard excursion into sophisticated cultural criticism situated at the intersections of Chinese studies, Asian American studies, diaspora studies, and transnational studies. Arguing that the visual has become the primary means of mediating identities under global capitalism, Shih examines the production and circulation of images across what she terms the "Sinophone Pacific," which comprises Sinitic-language speaking communities such as the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Chinese America. This groundbreaking work argues that the dispersal of the so-called Chinese peoples across the world needs to be reconceptualized in terms of vibrant or vanishing communities of Sinitic-language cultures rather than of ethnicity and nationality.

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Working Skin

Making Leather, Making a Multicultural Japan

Joseph D. Hankins

Since the 1980s, arguments for a multicultural Japan have gained considerable currency against an entrenched myth of national homogeneity. Working Skin enters this conversation with an ethnography of Japan’s "Buraku" people. Touted as Japan’s largest minority, the Buraku are stigmatized because of associations with labor considered unclean, such as leather and meat production. That labor, however, is vanishing from Japan: Liberalized markets have sent these jobs overseas, and changes in family and residential record-keeping have made it harder to track connections to these industries. Multiculturalism, as a project of managing difference, comes into ascendancy and relief just as the labor it struggles to represent is disappearing.

Working Skin develops this argument by exploring the interconnected work of tanners in Japan, Buraku rights activists and their South Asian allies, as well as cattle ranchers in West Texas, United Nations officials, and international NGO advocates. Moving deftly across these engagements, Joseph Hankins analyzes the global political and economic demands of the labor of multiculturalism. Written in accessible prose, this book speaks to larger theoretical debates in critical anthropology, Asian and cultural studies, and examinations of liberalism and empire, and it will appeal to audiences interested in social movements, stigmatization, and the overlapping circulation of language, politics, and capital.

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