New Books Network

Xiaofei Tian, “Visionary Journeys: Travel Writings from Early Medieval and Nineteenth-Century China” (Harvard University Asia Center, 2011)
Xiaofei Tian‘s Visionary Journeys: Travel Writings from Early Medieval and Nineteenth-Century China (Harvard University Asia Center, 2011) is a model of comparative history. A study of travel writing in early medieval and nineteenth-century China,Visionary Journeys uses this juxtaposition to tell a surprising, rich, and beautiful story of travelers and their... Read More
Gail Hershatter, “The Gender of Memory: Rural Women and China’s Collective Past” (University of California Press, 2011)
When I teach my course on gender, sexuality, and human rights, my students invariably want to talk about China’s one-child policy. They imagine living in a state where the government tells you how many children you can have – and they’re horrified. One thing I learned from reading Gail Hershatter‘s... Read More
Rowan K. Flad, “Salt Production and Social Hierarchy in Ancient China” (Cambridge UP, 2011)
Many of us try to be thoughtful about the ways that we incorporate (or try, at least, to incorporate) different modes of evidence into our attempts to understand the past: objects, creatures, words, ideas. Rowan Flad‘s Salt Production and Social Hierarchy in Ancient China: An Archaeological Investigation of Specialization in... Read More
Thomas Mullaney, “Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China” (University of California Press, 2011)
In telling a clear story about the emergence of ethnic categories in modern China, Tom Mullaney‘s Coming to Terms With the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China (University of California Press, 2011) ranges across Saussurean linguistics, census reports, oral histories, and the historiography of laboratory science. Mullaney uses a careful,... Read More
Timothy Brook, “The Troubled Empire: China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties” (Harvard UP, 2010)
Tim Brook‘s The Troubled Empire: China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties (Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 2010) rewards the reader on many levels. Though it provides an excellent introduction to Yuan and Ming history for both students and advanced scholars, it’s not merely a dry textbook: The... Read More
Carol Benedict, “Golden-Silk Smoke: A History of Tobacco in China, 1550-2010” (University of California Press, 2011)
Carol Benedict‘s Golden-Silk Smoke: A History of Tobacco in China, 1550-2010 (University of California Press, 2011)is many things at the same time; among other things, it’s both an exceptionally rich account of an object (or set of objects) that were crucial to the history of China in the world, and... Read More
Erik Mueggler, “The Paper Road: Archive and Experience in the Botanical Exploration of West China and Tibet” (University of California Press, 2011)
First things first: this is an outstanding book. In the course of The Paper Road: Archive and Experience in the Botanical Exploration of West China and Tibet (University of California Press, 2011), Erik Mueggler weaves together the stories of two botanists traveling through western China and Tibet in a lyrically-written... Read More
Marta Hanson, “Speaking of Epidemics in Chinese Medicine: Disease and the Geographic Imagination in Late Imperial China” (Routledge, 2011)
Marta Hanson‘s book is a rich study of conceptions of space in medical thought and practice. Ranging from a deep history of the geographic imagination in China to an account of the SARS outbreak of the 21st century, Hanson’s book maps the transformations of medicine and healing in late imperial... Read More
Yi-Li Wu’s book, “Reproducing Women: Medicine, Metaphor, and Childbirth in Late Imperial China” (University of California Press, 2010)
In what must be one of the most well-organized and clearly-written books in the history of academic writing, Yi-Li Wu‘s book, Reproducing Women: Medicine, Metaphor, and Childbirth in Late Imperial China (University of California Press, 2010), introduces readers to a rich history of women’s medicine (fuke) in the context of late... Read More
Dagmar Schaefer, “The Crafting of the 10,000 Things: Knowledge and Technology in Seventeenth-Century China” (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
In her elegant work of historical puppet theater The Crafting of the 10,000 Things: Knowledge and Technology in Seventeenth-Century China (University of Chicago Press, 2011), Dagmar Schaefer introduces us to the world of scholars and craftsmen in seventeenth-century China through the life and work of Song Yingxing (1587-1666?). A minor... Read More