New Books Network

Takeshi Morisato, “Faith and Reason in Continental and Japanese Philosophy” (Bloomsbury, 2019)
Faith and Reason in Continental and Japanese Philosophy: Reading Tanabe Hajime and William Desmond (Bloomsbury, 2019) by Takeshi Morisato is a book that brings together the work of two significant figures in contemporary philosophy. By considering the work of Tanabe Hajime, the Japanese philosopher of the Kyoto School, and William Desmond,... Read More
Sam van Schaik, “Buddhist Magic: Divination, Healing, and Enchantment through the Ages” (Shambala Publications, 2020)
As far back as we can see in the historical record, Buddhist monks and nuns have offered services including healing, divination, rain making, aggressive magic, and love magic to local clients. Studying this history, scholar Sam van Schaik concludes that magic and healing have played a key role in Buddhism’s... Read More
Fabio Rambelli, “Spirits and Animism in Contemporary Japan” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019)
In Japan, a country popularly perceived as highly secularized and technologically advanced, ontological assumptions about spirits (tama or tamashii) seem to be quite deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric. From ancestor cults to anime, spirits, ghosts, and other invisible dimensions of reality appear to be pervasive. In Spirits and Animism... Read More
Karl Gerth, “Unending Capitalism: How Consumerism Negated China’s Communist Revolution” (Cambridge UP, 2020)
Karl Gerth’s new book, Unending Capitalism: How Consumerism Negated China’s Communist Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2020) details how the state created brands, promoted and advertised particular products, set up department stores, and facilitated the promotion of certain luxury consumer products (notably wristwatches, bicycles, and sewing machines)—all in the Mao era. Though... Read More
Lorenz M. Lüthi, “Cold Wars: Asia, the Middle East, Europe” (Cambridge UP, 2020)
What was the Cold War that shook world politics for the second half of the twentieth century? Standard narratives focus on Soviet-American rivalry as if the superpowers were the exclusive driving forces of the international system. Lorenz M. Lüthi, Associate Professor of History at McGill University in his new book Cold... Read More
Joshua Esler, “Tibetan Buddhism among Han Chinese: Mediation and Superscription of the Tibetan Tradition in Contemporary Chinese Society” (Lexington Books, 2020)
While Tibetan Buddhism continues to face restrictions and challenges imposed by the state in contemporary China, it has in fact entered mainstream Chinese society with a growing middle-class and even celebrity following at the same time. In Tibetan Buddhism among Han Chinese: Mediation and Superscription of the Tibetan Tradition in... Read More
James Carter, “Champions Day: The End of Old Shanghai” (Norton, 2020)
Shanghai’s status as a bustling, international place both now and in the past hardly needs much introduction, although the centrality of horse racing to the earlier incarnation of the city’s cosmopolitanism is less known. Taking activities at the erstwhile Shanghai Race Club as a lens through which to examine life... Read More
Brian R. Dott, “The Chile Pepper in China: A Cultural Biography” (Columbia UP, 2020)
In China, chiles are everywhere. From dried peppers hanging from eaves to Mao’s boast that revolution would be impossible without chiles, Chinese culture and the chile pepper have been intertwined for centuries. Yet, this was not always the case. In The Chile Pepper in China: A Cultural Biography (Columbia University... Read More
Zuraidah Ibrahim, “Rebel City: Hong Kong’s Year of Water and Fire” (World Scientific, 2020)
In June of 2019, a proposed amendment to Hong Kong’s Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, sparked widespread protests across the region. Protestors saw in the bill a threat to the judicial independence that Hong Kong has enjoyed since its return to China from the United Kingdom in 1997. The Special Administrative Region... Read More
Brian Eyler, “Last Days of the Mighty Mekong” (Zed Book, 2019)
The Mekong River is one of the world’s great rivers. From its source in the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau it snakes down through southern China and then borders or runs through all the countries of mainland Southeast Asia: Myanmar, Thailand, Lao, Cambodia and Vietnam. Almost 70 million people depend either directly or... Read More