- Editorial Preface
The Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies has long been known for its robust book reviews. Rather than publish many short reviews, HJAS chooses a modest number of works and allows reviewers to engage with them at length. Long reviews have many benefits. Rather than a quick summary of the contents, reviewers have the opportunity to place the work into its intellectual context, discuss its strengths and weaknesses in some detail, and otherwise give readers not just a sense of an individual book but of a broader field as well. Publishing a small number of long reviews—no more than about a dozen per issue—involves trade-offs, of course. The most obvious is that we inevitably overlook many works that merit review. Choosing books for review makes for interesting discussions among the editorial staff as we try to balance geographical areas, disciplines, and time periods, as well as to feature works by a mix of junior and senior scholars.
Beginning with this issue, we are introducing review essays as a regular feature in HJAS. We must necessarily be opportunistic in commissioning them, but our general aim is to give readers a chance to look beyond their specializations and get a sense of the issues that animate colleagues in other fields of Asian studies. Some review essays will highlight work in core but relatively underrepresented fields of East and Inner Asian studies. Donald Baker’s essay in this issue on Tonghak as a religious movement in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Korea is an example of this sort. Others will focus on scholarship that pushes HJAS’s geographical and disciplinary boundaries. Elena Barabantseva’s review of four books on the human ties between China and the United States is our first effort in this direction. [End Page 257]