March 2016 News, Reviews, and Events


UW Press remembers Leroy (Lee) Soper, longtime member of the advisory board, who passed away on Tuesday, February 2, on the eve of his ninety-second birthday.

The four presses involved in the Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship Program are now all actively recruiting for positions (see joint announcement). If you know of excellent candidates, please send them our way (applications due March 15)! Read a piece by UW Press editor in chief and Principal Investigator Larin McLaughlin at the UW Press blog and an interview with the MIT Press editorial director Gita Manaktala at the MIT Press blog.

UW Press is also accepting applications for the 2016-17 Soden-Trueblood Graduate Publishing Fellow position (deadline: March 18). Read a guest post from 2015-16 Soden-Trueblood Graduate Publishing Fellow Becky Ramsey Leporati on her fellowship experience.

The Association for Asian Studies has announced the winners of this year’s AAS book prizes. Xiaofei Tian is winner of the Hanan Translation Prize for World of a Tiny Insect. Author Wai-yee Li (one of the translators of Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan and a coauthor of The Letter to Ren An) has won the Levenson Prize (Pre-1900 China) for her latest monograph (published by Harvard Asia Center). Congratulations to our authors and all involved!

P. Dee Boersma, author of Penguins, is a finalist for the prestigious Indianapolis Prize for conservation, sponsored by the Indianapolis Zoological Society (UW Today; Daily). Boersma and the five other finalists have been awarded $10,000 each and the winner will receive $250,000 and a medal. Listen to a recent interview with Boersma about iGalapagos on KUOW’s “The Record,” as well as in National Geographic and

Reviews and Interviews

BehindCovers-BlackWomen-00Black Women in Sequence author Deborah Elizabeth Whaley has Q&As at Blavity (picked up at the A.V. Club) and Little Village, and speaks with Comic Culture.

Emilie Raymond has an op-ed on Jay Z and Beyoncé’s new civil rights activism at History News NetworkStars for Freedom is mentioned in her byline.

Watch Frederica Bowcutt’January 6 Anthropocene Consortium Series lecture on The Tanoak Tree at the Evergreen State College (YouTube). Peter Crane, a former director of Kew Gardens and current dean of Yale’s forestry school, reviews her book at H-Environment: “[E]specially good. . . . Through the lens of the tanoak Bowcutt vividly brings home how carelessly and how rapidly our own species has exploited and manipulated nature, and how devastating our impacts have been. . . . [The tanoak], as is so thoroughly documented in the book, should stimulate reflection on the ethics of how we use our power to change the natural world.”

Agniezka Joniak-Lüthi speaks about The Han on the New Books Network: “This should be a must-read for anyone interested in historical and contemporary notions of identity in China.”

The Seeing Nature exhibition, now on view at the Phillips Collection through May 8, is featured in the Washington Post (syndicated) and Washington LifeExperiment Station, the Phillips Collection blog, features a few posts about the exhibition.

So Long, Moon Snail” from The Holding Hours by Christianne Balk is featured at Poetry Daily.

New Books

Forest Under Story: Creative Inquiry in an Old-Growth Forest
Edited by Nathaniel Brodie, Charles Goodrich, and Frederick J. Swanson

This vivid anthology from the Long-Term Ecological Reflections program at Oregon’s H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest includes work by some of the nation’s most accomplished writers—including Alison Hawthorne Deming, Robert Michael Pyle, and Scott Russell Sanders—and showcases the insights of important encounters among writers, scientists, and place.

Onnagata: A Labyrinth of Gendering in Kabuki Theater
By Maki Isaka

The onnagata, usually male actors who perform the roles of women, have been an important aspect of kabuki since its beginnings in the 17th century. In a “labyrinth” of gendering, the practice of men playing women’s roles has affected the manifestations of femininity in Japanese society. Isaka examines how the onnagata‘s theatrical gender “impersonation” has shaped the concept and mechanisms of femininity and gender construction in Japan. The implications of the study go well beyond disciplinary and geographic cloisters.

Forgery and Impersonation in Imperial China: Popular Deceptions and the High Qing State
By Mark McNicholas
China Program Books

Across eighteenth-century China a wide range of common people forged government documents or pretended to be officials or other agents of the state. This examination of case records and law codes traces the legal meanings and social and political contexts of small-time swindles that were punished as grave political transgressions.

Novel Medicine: Healing, Literature and Popular Knowledge in Early Modern China
By Andrew Schonebaum
Modern Language Initiative Books

Schonebaum demonstrates how fiction incorporated, created, and disseminated medical knowledge in China, beginning in the sixteenth century. Critical readings of fictional and medical texts provide a counterpoint to prevailing narratives that focus only on the “literati” aspects of the novel, showing that these texts were not merely read, but were used by a wide variety of readers for a range of purposes. The intersection of knowledge—fictional and real, elite and vernacular—illuminates the history of reading and daily life and challenges us to rethink the nature of Chinese literature.

Forests Are Gold: Trees, People, and Environmental Rule in Vietnam
By Pamela D. McElwee
Culture, Place, and Nature

McElwee examines the management of Vietnam’s forests in the tumultuous twentieth century-from French colonialism to the recent transition to market-oriented economics—as the country united, prospered, and transformed people and landscapes. Forest policy has rarely been about ecology or conservation for nature’s sake, but about managing citizens and society, a process McElwee terms “environmental rule.” Untangling and understanding these practices and networks of rule illuminates not just thorny issues of environmental change, but also the birth of Vietnam itself.

Africa in the Market
Edited by Silvia Forni and Christopher Steiner
Distributed for Royal Ontario Museum

This richly illustrated book introduces to the public the artwork in the Amrad African Art collection at the Royal Ontario Museum and addresses key issues of market trends, the transformation in taste and aesthetics in relation to changing historical conditions, and the role of artisans, traders, and collectors in mediating knowledge and value in the international art market.


Harvey SchwartzBuilding the Golden Gate BridgeSan Francisco History Days at the Old Mint, San Francisco, CA, March 5, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Christianne Balk, The Holding Hours, Village Books, Bellingham, WA, March 6, 4 p.m.

Emilie RaymondStars for Freedom, Virginia Festival of the Book (“Marching for Freedom: Communists to Celebrities and Civil Rights”), March 16, Charlottesville, VA, 10-11:30 a.m.

David B. WilliamsToo High and Too Steep, King County Library System, Newcastle Historical Society, Newcastle Library, March 16, 7 p.m.

Melinda BargreenClassical SeattleHistory Café at MOHAI (co-sponsored by Seattle Public Library, MOHAI, and HistoryLink), MOHAI, March 17, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Ana Maria SpagnaReclaimersHood River Library (co-sponsored by Waucoma Bookstore, the Hood River Library, and Gorge Owned), Hood River, OR, March 19, 1 p.m.

David B. WilliamsToo High and Too Steep, King County Library System, Bothell Library, March 21, 7 p.m.

Frederica BowcuttThe Tanoak TreeDunn Gardens, Seattle, WA, March 31, 6:30 p.m. (Members: $10, Nonmembers: $12)

Charles Goodrich and Frederick Swanson, Forest Under Story, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library with Oregon State University and Grass Roots Books and Music, Corvallis, OR, March 31, 7 p.m.

Harvey SchwartzBuilding the Golden Gate BridgePresidio Dialogues, Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, March 31, 6 p.m.