Martin Saxer and Juan Zhang, eds.
The Art of Neighbouring
Making Relations Across China's Borders
Amsterdam University Press 2017
New Books in Central Asian StudiesNew Books in East Asian StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Russian and Eurasian StudiesNew Books in Southeast Asian StudiesNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network October 18, 2018 Ed Pulford
China’s growing presence in all of our worlds today is felt most keenly by those living directly on the country’s borders. They, together with the Chinese people who also inhabit the borderlands, are parties to a dazzling array of of China-driven transformations unfolding on a vast scale in economics, politics, culture, kinship and other spheres.
Consequently, Juan Zhang and Martin Saxer’s edited volume The Art of Neighbouring: Making Relations Across China’s Borders (Amsterdam University Press, 2018) is a timely contribution to our understanding of what is going on at many points of China’s local contact with its 14 neighbouring states. The collected volume sees anthropologists, geographers and historians draw on extensive fieldwork all around the country’s borders with Russia, Laos, Nepal, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar and Vietnam, seeking in part to answer the question “what does China’s rise mean for its immediate neighbours?” (p. 12). But The Art of Neighbouring is much more than this, for it also offers a theoretical intervention into old debates over China’s past and present approaches to the outside world, and encourages us to look anew at how states and peoples living next-door engage one another more broadly.
Here’s an open-access version of the book.
Ed Pulford is a postdoctoral researcher at the Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University. His research focuses on friendships and histories between the Chinese, Korean and Russian worlds, and northeast Asian indigenous groups.