New Books Network

Xiaoqiao Ling, “Feeling the Past in Seventeenth-Century China” (Harvard Asia Center, 2019)
As much of the world’s population is currently discovering, living through a historical cataclysm is a more common fact of human existence than one might think. Perhaps one reason why this is easily forgotten is the fact that it is hard to make the empathetic leap between oneself and other... Read More
Ting Zhang, “Circulating the Code: Print Media and Legal Knowledge in Qing China” (U Washington Press, 2020)
How could a peasant in Shandong in the Qing dynasty come to know enough about a specific law that he felt confident enough to kill his own wife and his lover’s husband and think that he could get away with it? As Ting Zhang’s new book, Circulating the Code: Print... Read More
Postscript: A Deep Dive on China
Todays begins a new set of podcasts from New Books in Political Science called POST-SCRIPT. Lilly Goren and I invite authors back to the podcast to react to contemporary political developments that engage their scholarship. In a podcast devoted to the concerning political developments in China, four scholars — from... Read More
Rebecca E. Karl, “China’s Revolutions in the Modern World: A Brief Interpretive History” (Verso, 2020)
China’s emergence as a twenty-first-century global economic, cultural, and political power is often presented as a story of what Chinese leader Xi Jinping calls the nation’s “great rejuvenation,” a story narrated as the return of China to its “rightful” place at the center of the world. In China’s Revolutions in... Read More
Mayfair Yang, “Re-enchanting Modernity: Ritual Economy and Society in Wenzhou, China” (Duke UP, 2020)
In Re-enchanting Modernity: Ritual Economy and Society in Wenzhou, China (Duke University Press, 2020), Mayfair Yang examines the resurgence of religious and ritual life after decades of enforced secularization in the coastal area of Wenzhou, China. Drawing on twenty-five years of ethnographic fieldwork, Yang shows how the local practices of... Read More
Andreas Fulda, “The Struggle for Democracy in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong” (Routledge, 2020)
The key question in The Struggle for Democracy in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong: Sharp Power and its Discontents (Routledge, 2020), is to what extent political activists in these three domiciles have made progress in their quest to liberalize and democratize their respective polities. Taking a long historical perspective,... Read More
Eugenia Lean, “Vernacular Industrialism in China”(Columbia UP, 2020)
In early twentieth-century China, Chen Diexian (1879–1940) was a maverick entrepreneur—at once a prolific man of letters and captain of industry, a magazine editor and cosmetics magnate. He tinkered with chemistry in his private studio, used local cuttlefish to source magnesium carbonate, and published manufacturing tips in how-to columns. In... Read More
Yuhang Li, “Becoming Guanyin: Artistic Devotion of Buddhist Women in Late Imperial China” (Columbia UP, 2020)
How did Buddhist women access religious experience and transcendence in a Confucian patriarchal system in imperial China? How were Buddhist practices carried out in the intimate settings of a boudoir? In Dr. Yuhang Li’s recent monograph, Becoming Guanyin: Artistic Devotion of Buddhist Women in Late Imperial China (Columbia University Press,... Read More
Gina Anne Tam, “Dialect and Nationalism in China, 1860-1960” (Cambridge UP, 2020)
The question of how a state decides what its official language is going to be, or indeed whether it even needs one, is never simple, and this may be particularly true of China which covers a continental landmass encompassing multitude of different language families and groups. Indeed, what is even... Read More
He Bian, “Know Your Remedies: Pharmacy and Culture in Early Modern China” (Princeton UP, 2020)
He Bian’s new book Know Your Remedies: Pharmacy and Culture in Early Modern China (Princeton University Press, 2020) is a beautiful cultural history of pharmacy in early modern China. This trans-dynastic book looks at how Chinese approaches to knowledge changed during the Ming and Qing as state-commissioned pharmacopeias dwindled, amateur investigations... Read More