If you work in Asian studies as a scholarly field, you should read Fabio Lanza
’s new book.
The End of Concern: Maoist China, Activism, and Asian Studies
(Duke University Press, 2017) takes as its central case study the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars (CCAS) and The Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars
that the CCAS published. Tracing the history of the organization from its founding in the midst of the global 60s to its transformations with the dissipation of global Maoism, the book is a carefully researched, beautifully written, and generous history of this organization and its members. But it is also much more broadly relevant to (and directly engaged with) themes of importance for any of us who work on scholarly pursuits within or beyond the academy right now, as it gives careful consideration to the modern history of tensions that many of us experience right now: between scholarship and activism, between the political and the intellectual, between thinking and acting. (And of course, these are not necessarily mutually exclusive poles or firm dichotomies.) Lanza’s book also gives helpful context to the history of Asian studies as a discipline and the role of “China” within it, looking closely at the contexts of its emergence, its transformations, and the scholarly practices that it has helped to create. Put another way, this is a book that’s also, on some level, about what it is )and what is has been, and what it could be in the future) to be a scholar of/in/with Asian studies.
Carla Nappi is the Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Department of History at the University of Pittsburgh. You can learn more about her and her work here.