Category Archives: China

A Short Discussion on the Zuo Reader with Editors Stephen Durrant, Wai-yee Li, and David Schaberg

To celebrate the recent release of the The Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan Reader: Selections from China’s Earliest Narrative History, editors Stephen Durrant, Wai-yee Li, and David Schaberg had a virtual conversation about the guide to the study of early Chinese culture and thought. Below is their conversation.

Wai-yee Li: Our intention in putting together the Zuo Reader was to emphasize that Zuozhuan is not only a valuable source of historical understanding but also an indispensable source of information about early Chinese culture and thought. Consequently, rather than organize the passages selected for it in chronological order, we have organized them according to fifteen topics or themes. As we explain in the introduction, our selection of topics is somewhat arbitrary, although we do believe they cover issues that recur and illustrate the variety and richness of the full text.

David Schaberg: This topical organization of the reader is not meant to obscure Zuozhuan’s importance as a work of history. In fact, it can give modern students a keen sense of how important historical memory and historical writing were to the early Chinese and can convey some of what they aimed to accomplish in their historical writing. Beginning in the eighth century BCE, the work already shows a fascination with details of social and cultural change and the continuous unfolding of new challenges. The text also conveys a strong sense of how governing practices and rituals helped define the early Chinese world and laid the foundation for a broader set of East Asian political debates and institutions. The Zuo Reader can also convey a sense of China’s role as one of several historical cultures to have defined itself in part around an early set of texts and religious practices.

Stephen Durrant: Not only does the Zuo Reader convey an understanding of an ancient culture and history but it also reminds us how many problems and issues broached remain relevant. So often as we read about the past, even the deep past as in the case of Zuozhuan, we suddenly realize that we are also reading about ourselves. This was brought home to me just recently while reading papers written by men at the Oregon State Penitentiary who were using the Zuo Reader in a class on Chinese narrative. Their papers discussed such issues as the passages concerning “Succession Struggles” (ch. 2) and what they might tell us about the recent controversy over presidential succession here in the United States. They struggled with the complex personalities of Chong’er (ch. 4) and King Ling of Chu (ch. 10), comparing some of the character traits and life experience of those ancient Chinese personalities with their own problem-fraught pasts. And they argued as they read “Laws and Punishment” (ch. 9)—men who have all had direct experience with our legal system—whether or not Shuxiang was right in saying, “Why should there be any penal codes at all? When the people have learned how to contend over points of law, they will abandon ritual propriety and appeal to what is written.”

DS: These kinds of personal responses highlight the advantages of being able to read Chinese history through a translation like the reader rather than a summarized overview. A summarized overview would be effective in relating historical facts, but it would omit something that the materials in the Zuo Reader do exceptionally well: they convey historical actors’ individual responses to facts, often quoting conversations and long speeches. Both in reading quoted remarks and in reading the historical narratives themselves, students encounter the attitudes and emotions of the ancients and learn to experiment with seeing the world through the values that are written into the text. The difference is something like that between giving someone a fish and teaching them to fish. By reading the narratives gathered in the Zuo Reader, students will get a direct sense of the kinds of historical stories Confucius and other thinkers knew and took into account in their arguments.

SD: Moreover, a handy one-volume collection of these narratives facilitates using it in comparative courses. For example, a course on comparative early historiography would use it alongside portions of the Hebrew Bible and the writings of classical Greek historians Herodotus and Thucydides. In fact, we believe from a pedagogical perspective, the Zuo Reader is highly serviceable.

DS: Not only might it be used in comparative courses but it also could be used as the main reading in a class on early Chinese historiography, paired with supplemental materials from other early Chinese texts, or it could be used in a course on the history of Chinese prose narrative. Moreover, the topical arrangement is particularly suitable to a course on early Chinese thought, perhaps by pairing chapters on subjects with especially relevant “Masters” texts: “Law and Punishment” with The Book of Lord Shang or Han Feizi, “Ritual” with Xunzi’s “Discourse on Ritual,” “Confucius” with Analects. Whatever the course, there are a variety of ways a teacher might use the Zuo Reader in the classroom: organize weekly discussions around one or two chapters, using the chapter topics to introduce the discussion and steadily building the interconnection of themes each week; break students up into small groups for close reading of narratives, then bring them back together to share their readings; have students identify a theme or character in it and investigate it further in the complete translations; have students examine the use of poetry citation and recitation in speeches; have students write a speech or narrative in the style of Zuozhuan; and so forth.

WY: The Zuo Reader is wonderful for the classroom also because the narratives are condensed and often provocative. Because of its long and complex process of formation, Zuozhuan often contains multiple perspectives on the same issue. For example, we find arguments both for and against the right of the people to protest unjust policies, both praise and suspicion of centralizing power, both idealistic and cynical views of ritual propriety, and so on. In our choice of passages, we have made sure to bring out these differences. In a classroom scenario, students can be easily organized to debate the different positions and processes of reasoning underwriting various passages. Those who have some knowledge of later Chinese history may be surprised by the more varied views of loyalty and political hierarchy in the Zuo Reader. Unlike the elevation of imperial authority and glorification of the subject’s absolute loyalty in some later materials, students will find in it lively debates on whether the expulsion or even assassination of a ruler can be justified or questions on the proper balance of power between the Zhou king and the lords. Some of the moral precepts readily associated with the “Chinese Tradition” take on different contours in the Reader. Also, because Zuozhuan is both interested in offering judgments and committed to “respecting the facts,” it ends up with stories of surprising moral complexity. Dissecting such nuances will be really fun in the classroom.


Stephen Durrant is professor emeritus of Chinese language and literature at the University of Oregon. Wai-yee Li is professor of Chinese literature at Harvard University. David Schaberg is professor of Asian languages and culture and dean of humanities at UCLA. Their joint translation of Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan: Commentary on the “Spring and Autumn Annals” was awarded the Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize for Translation, sponsored by the Association for Asian Studies.

Opening Access to Scholarship: Stevan Harrell on the Studies on Ethnic Groups in China Series

UW Press books on ethnicity and ethnic relations in China are now open access—freely available online to anyone who can get on the internet. Cultural Encounters on China’s Ethnic Frontiers led off the UW Press series Studies on Ethnic Groups in China (SEGC) in 1995. At the time, it was among a few pioneering volumes in English covering the lives and history of China’s 120 million ethnic minority peoples. Since then we have published twenty-three more books—the newest offering is Jarmila Ptáčková’s Exile From the Grasslands (2020). Scholars now widely consider SEGC to be the most prestigious series concentrating on ethnic groups and ethnic relations in China. We’ve kept the books reasonably affordable, at least for North American and European professors, but as with most specialized academic books, those who can’t afford to buy them often can’t find them in their local library. This is particularly true for readers in China, where libraries often don’t have much of a budget for English-language books, as well as readers in countries where libraries have little budget for specialized monographs at all.

It was thus welcome news when in 2017 the University of Washington Libraries invited the press to participate in a pilot project to make some UW Press books open access, meaning that anyone anywhere with an internet connection could read them online. This joint project was funded by a grant from the Transformation Fund of the Kenneth S. and Faye G. Allen Library Endowment. I asked the series’ authors if they would be willing to participate, and nearly all of them replied enthusiastically, agreeing that any small amount of book royalties lost by people reading their books online rather than buying print copies would be more than balanced out by greater exposure to their scholarship.

There are a variety of formats for online books or digital editions (often called e-books), many of which can be used for either open access or restricted access. For example, there are a lot of books on the UW Libraries website that you can read if you have a UW NetID as a student, staff, or faculty member—reading these books online is like checking out a print copy from the library. Open access is different—anyone with internet access can read an open access book or article. This model of open access is also very different from the one certain journal publishers employ. A respected journal published by one of the big journal publishing houses recently accepted an article I had submitted, and they offered to make it open access if I would pay a modest fee of around $2,800. No thanks. Our model is not like that. It is, for now, grant-supported, meaning that authors contribute nothing other than, as my late aunt used to say, “applying of the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair” for the years it takes to make a book.

To host the books, UW Libraries and the press chose Manifold, an innovative platform developed by the University of Minnesota Press, the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, and Cast Iron Coding. Reading a book on Manifold is really a manifold literary experience. You can, of course, just read. But you can also do more. If you are the author, you can add all sorts of material that is not part of the physical book: updates, really geeky footnotes, color photos, even audio recordings or videos.

Resources are available for readers as well. Create a Manifold account, and after you’ve logged in, you can add annotations or comments for your own use, and if the author agrees, you can make those public. Otherwise you can just use them yourself, rather like marking up a print book with marginalia or a yellow highlighter, only not so naughty. You can even use the handy online yellow highlighter pencil, but on your own copy so it doesn’t bother other people.

For teachers, the possibilities are even greater. Use a book as a text for your class without requiring students to buy it. Annotate passages in the book, making them visible to students only, and ask students to make annotations as class assignments or to facilitate class discussions. Students can annotate for their own private use, or for the use of the class, at theirs or the instructor’s discretion. And it’s all free. We know that some of our books, like Jenny Chio’s A Landscape of Travel, have even been used in class projects by high school students.

Manifold is not the only way to find Studies on Ethnic Groups in China in open access format. The press has also worked with Project MUSE, a platform developed at Johns Hopkins University for e-book publication, and with JSTOR, the granddaddy of all online book and article publishing platforms, to make our books openly available there too. They are available from the UW Libraries’ ResearchWorks repository, HathiTrust, and other sites as well.

We now have exciting statistics on the actual usage of the JSTOR and MUSE online editions of the Studies on Ethnic Groups in China books. They are rather spectacular: in 2020, for example, our JSTOR editions were used by readers in 123 countries. We would of course expect a lot of readers in China, given the topics, and indeed our books were accessed by thousands of readers there. And we would also expect readers from European countries, since many of our authors are European. But who would have expected readers in (just to take the Es) Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, and Ethiopia? Or, to sample the Bs, in the Bahamas, Belarus, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, and Botswana? Clearly, there is global interest in our books.

Comparative research on use brought even more impressive results. Comparing “hits” or views and downloads of our books on Project MUSE during the period before and after they became open access, the press found that use increased dramatically. In a selected sample of twenty UW Press books on similar topics that are not open access but available as e-books through JSTOR and MUSE, in 2020, the open access books were used about thirteen times as often as books accessible only via library passwords.

Series authors were enthusiastic about the news. Emeritus Professor Thomas Heberer from the University of Duisburg in Germany, commented on the statistics for his Doing Business in Rural China:

I am really impressed about the wide online readership on a global scale as well as almost 100 readers from Germany! This is specifically important and helpful with regard to the visibility of both the books and the authors, and signifies the excellent position of the University of Washington Press in a globalized world! Congratulations!

Professor Susan McCarthy, from Providence College, was equally pleased about the global reach of the series:

I am gratified—and to be honest, a bit stunned—to discover that since being made open access, my book Communist Multiculturalism has been downloaded or read online in sixty-three countries, from Uganda to Ukraine, the Netherlands to Nepal. I am especially pleased that so much of the interest—55% of the “hits” in Project MUSE—appears to be coming from China. . . .  In a ten-month period after open access was enabled, hits on my ebook increased more than eighteen times over, compared to the prior year and half. Enabling open access has allowed my book, published in 2009, to continue to inform debates about the politics of ethnicity, religion, and national identity in China, at a time when such issues are increasingly, globally salient.

Fifteen years ago, e-books were the wave of the future, but now they are commonplace. Five years ago, open access was a radical idea, and whether it can become the norm in the next few years will depend on funding models. But projects like the pilot with Studies on Ethnic Groups in China are an important step toward that goal of equal access regardless of country or social class. We’re proud to be pioneers in this area.  


Stevan Harrell is UW professor emeritus of anthropology and of environmental and forest sciences, and editor of the Studies on Ethnic Groups in China series.

The open-access editions of the books in the series are available on the UW Press Manifold site, among other platforms.

UW Press Author Roundtable: David Fedman, Ian Miller, and Meng Zhang

Authors David Fedman, Seeds of Control, and Ian Miller, Fir and Empire, joined forthcoming author Meng Zhang, Timber and Forestry in Qing China, for a virtual roundtable about their books on Asian environmental history. Below is their conversation.

What topics in Asian environmental history deserve more attention?

Meng Zhang: This is based on my own interest, but I would like to see more works that take both the environmental and the economic seriously. Don’t get me wrong—environmental histories often have something to say about the economic, as the rapacious drive for profit and consumption is the most obvious perpetrator to be blamed. However, as more environmental scholars are beginning to caution us, we also need to be wary of a danger in elevating the morality of environmentalism to a degree that this discourse could play a similar role in justifying domination—domestically and internationally—as the previous discourse of modernization and development has done. Indeed, we already see a version of how this could play out in David’s wonderful account of how the Japanese Empire mobilized the rhetorical contrast between the Japanese “forest-love” thought and the Korean bare mountaintops. In both environmental and economic history, I hope to see more works that recognize the legitimacy of alternative interests and priorities and bridge the discursive gap between the two fields (rather than treating each other as a footnote).

David Fedman: Where to begin? To me, one of the most striking gaps in the field is geographic: namely, Southeast Asia. I’d love to see more work on the environmental histories of Indonesia, the Philippines, Laos, and elsewhere. There are, of course, some great books already written about these places but not much work that crosses borders to connect Southeast Asia to the developmental politics of Japan, China, and South Korea. Another topic begging for analysis in my opinion is historical climatology: how different states and actors have tried to understand the variegated climates that define a unit as vast as China or the Japanese Empire.

Ian M. Miller: To me the biggest gaps in the record are the voices of peoples who lived in and used the forest in ways that were not central to the actions of large states and interregional markets. Asia is home to many so-called forest peoples—from Manchus and Ainus in the north to Hmong, Bataks, and many others in Southeast Asia, and the Adivasi or “scheduled tribes” of India. There has been plenty of anthropological work, especially on India and Southeast Asia, but historical work has yet to catch up. In particular, I would like to see more work done to disentangle these groups and their historical identities and livelihoods from the ways they were classified and controlled by colonial empires in the nineteenth century and nation-states in the twentieth.

What misconceptions about East Asian environmental history would you most like to see dispelled?

DF: For me, it’s the notion that Japan has historically lived in harmony with the landscapes, that contemporary reverence for cherry blossoms and forests is evidence of a unique national relationship with nature. Environmental historians of Japan have long taken aim at this discourse, but it dies hard, especially in the public eye.

What needs for timber in late imperial China prompted changes in forestry?

MZ: Construction, shipbuilding, and manufacturing were the main sectors that consumed timber. If we think about the iconic architecture in the urban landscape of early modern China (and East Asia in general)—theaters, guild chambers, temples, ancestral halls, brothels, restaurants, teahouses—all were built with timber logs. The cover design of my book comes from a section of a famous eighteenth-century scroll painting, Prosperous Suzhou, also called Burgeoning Life in a Resplendent Age. As the title suggests, it depicts the lively urban scenes with people from all walks of life in the affluent Lower Yangzi metropole of Suzhou. The section used for my book cover shows two timber rafts floating into the city, supplementing the material bases of this prosperity. In response to such booming demand for timber generated by urbanization, commercialization, and population growth, an interregional trade structure developed over the course of several centuries and expanded to cover thousands of miles, straining natural forests but also motivating regenerative forestry in the remote interior hinterlands. My book has focused on timber production—woods that are big enough to be used for construction and worthwhile enough to be produced and transported across long distances. A big omission is firewood, whose production and consumption remained rather local; even with fuel shortages, high transportation costs meant that firewood had never become worthwhile to transport over very long distances to be used as fuel.

Meng and Ian, your two books examine Chinese forestry in different time periods and with a somewhat different geographical focus, but both suggest that Chinese forest management may have been superior to better-known European approaches. Can you say more about that? To what extent was forestry in late imperial China “sustainable”?

MZ: We often think of the issue of sustainability as either/or, but it really is a gradation of degrees. It also has multiple dimensions: we hope a sustainable pace of resource use is also socially sustainable in that it does not involve the systematic deprivation of a group. From a pragmatic perspective, if the kind of environmental measures that we come up with today can prove to be sustainable, environmentally and socially, for a couple of centuries, I would consider us very able and lucky. The practices of regenerative forestry in late imperial southern China can be called sustainable in this sense: for several centuries, they were able to regenerate timber at a pace that satisfied market and state demands and substituted for natural growths; and the multiple players along the supply chain, from tenant planters and timberland owners to lumberjacks, rafters, brokers, merchants, bankers, consumers, and officials, despite their many conflicts and negotiations, ultimately all had a stake in ensuring the next round of saplings were grown in time.

The way in which private forestry was organized was mundane and ingenious at the same time. It wouldn’t shock any scholar who knows something about late imperial Chinese land tenure that the same contractual formats for rice paddies were used for timberlands. But out of these familiar contractual terms, abstract shares were created and claims on the trees changed hands as liquid financial instruments, liberating the landowners and planters from an excruciating wait for the trees to grow up. This shareholding practice in forestry was in line with (and even anticipated) the proportional liability shareholding structures that were widely used in Chinese business partnerships. If these financial practices sound surprisingly savvy for traditional forestry, one would be even more surprised to learn that they were found in the ethnically diverse, economically less affluent frontier regions of southwestern China. This holds some serious implications for how we think about effective forestry and the history of finance and business in a globally comparative framework. On a personal note, a historian’s happiness really comes from excavating these surprises.

IMM: I would not necessarily say that Chinese forest management was superior to European approaches, because this is ultimately comparing apples to oranges. Compared to European approaches, Chinese management developed in very different environmental conditions and focused on a different type of tree, the China fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata). Some characteristics of the fir—including its incredibly rapid and straight growth and its suitability for a variety of purposes, from ships to buildings and chests—meant that management in China was easier. For example, China fir reaches marketable dimensions in twenty-five to fifty years, as opposed to the hundred-plus years needed for oak, which was the principal European shipbuilding tree.

Nonetheless, I would say that the Chinese forest system converged rather quickly to market-based solutions that eventually came to dominate in other places and largely did so without large state interventions that caused some problems in Europe. The Chinese forestry system also has a much longer track record—tree plantations have been cultivated in parts of southern China for close to a thousand years at this point, whereas the history of tree plantations in Europe only really goes back two hundred years. This speaks to a long-term ability to produce enough timber for most uses. Empires in China did tap their frontiers, including the southwest and Manchuria, to supplement the plantations of the interior, but there is also nothing comparable to this huge European quest for timber abroad in the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

David, Japan is legendary for its history of forestry, also called “forest-love.” How do your new insights about Japanese forestry in Korea reshape that understanding?

DF: I think my book helps to show how much of this mythology about “forest-love” and reverence is an invented tradition, a process bound up with the rise of the nation-state during the Meiji period. Forest-love is not so much a timeless culture of stewardship as a discourse, one used to nurture emperor-worship and nationalism at home and justify woodland expropriation in colonial territories. This ideological project sat at the very foundation of Japan’s claims to greenification in Korea—and, one could argue, continue to animate more recent incursions into the forests of Southeast Asia.

How can your book inform global conversations around conservation as a tool of colonialism—“seeds of control”?

DF: My book underscores the simple but easily overlooked point that the greening of landscapes is not always a singularly good thing. Although we tend to positively associate greenification with notions of investment and renewal, reforestation can also operate as a tool of expropriation and exploitation. At a time when scientists and activists are calling for massive tree planting schemes to combat climate change, we’d be wise to think more critically about what this breakneck regeneration looks like on the ground for local residents, human and animal both.

What does the study of plantation forestry in particular offer to the study of Asia or environmental history writ large? We all seem to be writing about forest regeneration in one way or another, and I wonder if our collective works don’t offer new perspectives on what some are calling the “plantationocene.”

IMM: This is a really interesting question. I had not heard plantationocene before, and it took me down a very interesting rabbit hole. My perspective on it is this relates to the ways that people have been talking about the anthropocene, which I think are flawed but useful conversation points. There is one definition of the anthropocene—massive human modification of the environment—that starts in deep antiquity. It goes something like this: humans have been modifying grasslands in intensive ways for something like five to ten thousand years, starting with the domestication of grains (which are grasses) and ruminant animals (which eat grasses). There is another definition of the anthropocene that starts with modernity. It goes something like this: humans have been causing indelible changes to biogeochemical cycles for one or two centuries—going back either to the layer of fallout from nuclear weapons in the 1940s and ’50s, or the first large-scale use of coal in the 1800s. Both of those are useful markers of large scale anthropogenic environmental change.

But there is another change point that we need to talk about, which is more or less the watershed of the early modern. Jason Moore has called this the capitolocene and thinks it is about the new ways that markets are interlinked coming out of the Middle Ages. Charles Mann has called it the homogenocene and ties it to Alfred Crossby’s work on the Columbian Exchange, in that 1492 was the first moment since deep prehistory when the American and Afro-Eurasian continents were closely linked and transferred species between them. These are both useful. But there is a third transition that ties them together: the historical moment when intensive human cultivation of things that we might call plantations begin to spread from farms (domesticated grasslands) to forests (domesticated woodlands). This plantationocene comes to a fever pitch in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with the spread of things like rubber, palm oil, coffee, and so on, but I think it begins with the types of plantations that the three of us are talking about in our books.


David Fedman is assistant professor of history at the University of California, Irvine and the author of Seeds of Control: Japan’s Empire of Forestry in Colonial Korea.

Ian M. Miller is assistant professor of history at St. John’s University and author of Fir and Empire: The Transformation of Forests in Early Modern China.

Meng Zhang is assistant professor of history at Loyola Marymount University and author of Timber and Forestry in Qing China: Sustaining the Market.

Spring Dawn at Su Causeway: Xiaolin Duan on “The Rise of West Lake”

I never expected that 2020 would be shadowed by COVID-19 in both my home country and the one I am currently living in. Like many of my friends and colleagues, I have been spending more time online, joining Zoom meetings, sending messages, and reading every piece of information about this unfolding crisis.

Two news articles grabbed my attention as they mentioned the cultural site I wrote about in the book The Rise of West Lake: A Cultural Landmark in the Song Dynasty. On March 13, when the situation had somewhat stabilized in China, China Daily published an article “Hangzhou’s West Lake an idyllic spring destination.” Photos in this article show not only the willow trees that start sprouting but also sightseers strolling along the lake, all maintaining social distance measures and wearing masks (which is considered a necessary form of protection).

March has always been one of the best seasons for an outing to West Lake and long been extolled by poets and rendered by painters with emotionally charged brushes. The scenery is not much different from past years—not even from almost a thousand years ago. The willow and peach trees were planted along the causeway by the local governor Su Shi after an eleventh-century dredging project, and the Leifeng Pagoda in one photo has guarded the south end of the lake since the tenth century (the current one was rebuilt in 2002). Such scenery, however, becomes particularly precious this year. Hangzhou, like other cities in China, experienced a “stay-at-home” quarantine for the entire month of February, and major scenic sites were all closed to the public. It is not surprising that this article uses West Lake in the spring to symbolically convey the message that this is a long-awaited stabilized time; the masks in the image reveal just how much people miss the fresh air after four-weeks of self-quarantine. The lake indicates that it is now safe to go outdoors to embrace nature and represents the hope of going back to normal life. The emotion conveyed by springtime also enhances such hope. Literature and images about the lake love to portray the theme “Spring Dawn at Su Causeway,” one of the Ten Views that formed in the thirteenth century. At this moment, there is no better term than “spring dawn” to describe what people have desired during their long struggle in the dark.

Another article is about a bus that passed along the street next to West Lake that was painted with the three colors of Italy’s national flag, offering moral support for Hangzhou’s sister city, Verona. The bus exterior features both the painting of the Colosseum and the image of “Three Stupas and the Reflecting Moon,” another one of the Ten Views. The three pagodas in the middle of the lake were built by Su Shi to mark the boundary allowed for diked paddies. The practical function of these pagodas later disappeared while the scenic beauty they added to the lake became a popular theme for artistic creation. This scene also appears on the back of the one-yuan bill. Using this scenic site side-by-side with the Colosseum offers reassurance that the lake and its cultural sites are still considered as symbols for the city and Chinese culture.

Hangzhou and West Lake have long served as icons of Chinese landscape appreciation, literary and artistic expression, and tourism. During this difficult time, when people are living in fear, uncertainly, and isolation, the lake had become especially attractive and idealized. The fact that the lake welcomes visitors eases feelings of insecurity, and the iconic landscape symbolizes rapprochement with people in another country. The natural beauty of West Lake, as it has done many times throughout history, again has functioned as something comforting. Over time, writings on West Lake constructed it as a prominent landscape, consisting of stable elements such as the willow trees that always turn green in the spring and pagodas that silently yet firmly stand on the lakeshore. The “eternal” cultural tradition it conveys allows the lake to function as an anchor for identity, through which visitors and commentators have expressed their affection and a sense of hope for the country during such a scary and unknown time.

West Lake has dried up several times in history, and at times its beauty was shadowed by war and disasters. However, it could always resume its prosperity thanks to the endeavor, courage, and emotional attachment of people. Just as the lake has revived, I hope we can soon return to a time when people—in China, in the United States, and all other places—can enjoy and celebrate the natural scenery together with families and friends without worrying about social distancing.


Xiaolin Duan is assistant professor of history at North Carolina State University. The Rise of West Lake: A Cultural Landmark in the Song Dynasty is available now.

Re-envisioning Shanghai’s Architectural History

The roots of Improvised City trace back to my first visit to Shanghai in August 1997. I was a college undergraduate majoring in architectural studies, and I had arrived in China for the first time six months earlier to study in Xi’an. I spent June and July in Hong Kong as an intern for an international architectural office before taking the train to Beijing and then Shanghai, from where I would eventually fly home. None of my experiences in China up to that point in time prepared me for the place. Shanghai overwhelmed me—its scale, its pace, the collage-like quality of the urban fabric. It made a lasting impression that would stay with me for years, when as a graduate student I began to delve more deeply into the architectural and urban history of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century China.

I was traveling with a friend at the time, and we stayed at the Astor House Hotel—now a four-star hotel, but then a shabby youth hostel known for its convenient location at the confluence of the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek. We were given an airless dormitory room tucked away down a dimly lit hallway with wide, creaky floorboards. There was a specific, spectral quality to the building’s spaces I’ve never quite forgotten. Although I did not know the extent of its history at the time, it was clear that the many political, economic, social, and cultural shifts in China’s past over the preceding century had become inscribed upon the architecture in consequential and identifiable ways.

In the mornings, my friend and I woke up early and walked over the Waibaidu (Garden) Bridge toward Nanjing Road. It was a hot, humid August in Shanghai; we encountered elderly couples out for some early morning air and exercise in their pajamas. I also recall watching, mesmerized, as a man sat out on the street gutting live eels using a narrow wooden plank through which protruded a strategically placed, upturned nail. From Nanjing Road we’d walk around People’s Square, and out into any number of adjacent streets, finding our way from the former International Settlement down through the French Concession into the former walled Chinese city. We spent entire days walking tirelessly around the city in search of vestiges of its historical architecture and urbanity.

 

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Years later, my memories of that trip helped to inspire my research on Shanghai’s architectural and urban past. I have lived in Shanghai and made many trips to the city since then, but my initial experience there remains formative to my curiosity concerning its architectural past. Throughout my investigation of Shanghai’s architectural history, I have sought to learn how architectural objects and urban spaces in the city served to demarcate control and project authority amid the various power struggles for municipal administration that took place between foreign and Chinese officials over the course of the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries. Shanghai’s uniqueness was shaped, in part, by the legal machinations that took place around its re-definition as an international treaty port and whether foreign residents would be subject to Qing laws—questions that rapidly materialized in the design and construction of architecture and urban space throughout the city. For example, the book’s title, Improvised City, was inspired by a letter written by a group of foreign residents to the British envoy and minister plenipotentiary to the Qing court in 1863. In the letter, the group declared that Shanghai had become “an improvised city” in which routine municipal architectural activity had taken on particular meaning due to the city’s abrupt redefinition as an international treaty port, the odd spatial qualities that emerged as a result, and the unruly cosmopolitanism generated by these changes.

The idea that architecture could be used to transform or somehow “improvise” a city into being was fascinating to me, and it inspired me to rethink Shanghai’s architectural history. We often define and study architecture based on certain aesthetic or stylistic qualities; in Shanghai, for example, the Bund is celebrated for its visual display of different kinds of architectural expression. Yet architecture offers a tool with a range of distinctive material, spatial, and scalar qualities that reveal lessons about how we live and, by extension, who we are. Architectural artifacts prompt us to interpret and confront a city’s physical present and its past through spaces that shape daily practices and beliefs.

One can still find traces of these dynamics and the complex history that resulted in built objects and urban spaces throughout the city despite the significant physical redevelopment that has occurred there in the past 40 years. It’s also a history that is revealed through unbuilt or long-forgotten work captured in drawings, photographs, and documents found in archives all over the world, including Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Washington, D.C., among other places. Discovering and re-constructing these fragments into a book has been a long journey, but one I am excited to be able to share.


Cole Roskam is associate professor of architectural history at the University of Hong Kong. To learn more about what Shanghai’s architectural history reveals about the relationship between built environments and extraterritoriality, buy his new book Improvised City: Architecture and Governance in Shanghai, 1843-1937!

March 2018 News, Reviews, and Events

News

The University of Washington Press has an outstanding opening for an Editorial Assistant (job number 153892). Please help us get the word out to excellent candidates who are interested in getting into acquisitions!

We were thrilled to announce that starting March 1, 2018, the University of Washington Press joins the UW Libraries and reports to the vice provost of digital initiatives and dean of University Libraries, Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson. The Press and the Libraries currently collaborate on a number of joint initiatives, and the Press has also published a number of books in association with the Libraries. Read the full press release on the UW Press Blog and more at Shelf Awareness Pro.

Monthly Giveaways

Reviews and Interviews

The Spokesman-Review publishes an opinion piece by The Spokane River editor Paul Lindholdt.

The Indian Express features an article by High-Tech Housewives author Amy Bhatt about how US immigration policy is impacting Indian families.

The Seattle Times mentions Seattle Walks by David B. Williams in a Lit Life column about the Seattle Public Library’s Peak Picks program.

Light reviews Nasty Women Poets edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (dist. Lost Horse Press): “This anthology is the burn, the salve on the burn, and the funny story you make up years later to explain the scar.”—Barbara Egel

Kotaku Australia includes Black Women in Sequence by Deborah Elizabeth Whaley in a round-up of comics-related Black History Month reads (2/15/18). The author also gets a mention in a New York Times opinion piece (no book mention; 2/16/18), which is syndicated and translated at Gazeta do Povo.

UW Today / UW News highlights news that UW professor emeritus and UW Press author Quintard Taylor has been awarded the lifetime achievement award from the Washington State Historical Society. The Forging of a Black Community gets a mention.

Redmond Reporter features Looking for Betty MacDonald by Paula Becker.

The Forbes Science / #WhoaScience stream features the second edition of The Orphan Tsunami of 1700 by Brian F. Atwater, Satoko Musumi-Rokkaku, Kenji Satake, Yoshinobu Tsuji, Kazue Ueda, and David K. Yamaguchi (published with US Geological Survey, Department of the Interior): “A rather beautifully illustrated account.”—Robin Andrews

Above & Beyond publishes an article about ptarmigans by Michael Engelhard. Ice Bear gets a byline mention.

University of Montana News features Douglas H. MacDonald and Before Yellowstone.

The Fil-Am Magazine and Inquirer.net US review A Time to Rise edited by Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo, and Bruce Occena: “For anyone looking to engage in the issues they believe in or find inspiration amid today’s discouraging headlines, the lessons shared by former KDP members in A Time to Rise are deeply impactful. . . . Detailed and informative, the memoirs in A Time to Rise hash out the struggles that made the difficult road to justice possible. . . . More than a list of achievements, A Time to Rise is personal.”—Renee Macalino Rutledge

Association of King County Historical Organization (AKCHO) Heritage Advisor / News features Frederick L. Brown and his 2017 AKCHO Virginia Marie Folkins Award-winning book The City Is More Than Human.

The Art Newspaper reviews No Idols by Thomas Crow (dist. for Power Publications):”The greatest value of No Idols is in its widest implication: that even if we try, we cannot rid ourselves of the past. Art, stripped of its religious foundations, lives on in a secular world, but ghostly remnants will always remain.”—Pac Pobric

International Examiner mentions Monica Sone’s Nisei Daughter and Yoshiko Uchida’s Desert Exile in a review of Jeanette Arakawa’s The Little Exile.

Live Science mentions Ancient Ink edited by Lars Krutak and Aaron Deter-Wolf in an article about newly published research on prehistoric tattooing. The article interviews lead researcher and book contributor Renée Friedman, and her team’s original article is published in the March 2018 issue of Journal of Archaeological Science.

Ethnic Seattle features Monica Sone and Nisei Daughter in a Women’s History Month round-up of women of color writers from Seattle.

Diplomacy’s Public Dimension reviews Mediating Islam by Janet Steele: “Steele brings the strengths of an accomplished journalism and media scholar and twenty years of field research in Southeast Asia to a book that explores important questions. . . . Not least among many contributions in this important study is the way the author, a self-described Western, secular, female scholar, has engaged in sustained, productive cross-cultural dialogue with journalists in majority Muslim countries, many of whom are not liberal or secular.”—Bruce Gregory

Panorama Television (PCTV) “Now Where Were We?” interviews Lorraine McConaghy about Free Boy. Stream the segment on YouTube.

Food Politics blogger Marion Nestle features The Organic Profit by Andrew N. Case.

The New York Times Lens section’s latest Race Stories piece by Maurice Berger features Al Smith’s life, work, and Seattle on the Spot (dist. for Museum of History and Industry).

Cool Green Science (the conservation science blog of The Nature Conservancy) reviews Razor Clams by David Berger: “An entertaining account, and guide, to the real fun of digging your own food in the beach. . . . Berger’s book is an excellent testimony that gathering is still an enriching, fun and tasty pursuit. Long may it be so.”—Matthew L. Miller

Science interviews Ted Pietsch, coauthor of the forthcoming Fishes of the Salish Sea, about first-ever footage of living anglerfish. More via UW News.

Santa Fe Council on International Relations interviews Janet Steele about Mediating Islam.

The Seattle Times Outdoors section features two (out of six) spring hikes from Seattle Walks by David B. Williams.

Humboldt State Now interviews Cutcha Risling Baldy and mentions We Are Dancing for You in a news release about the 32nd Annual California Indian Conference to be held at Humboldt State University on April 5 and April 6. She is chair of the conference organizing committee.

Science to the People rebroadcasts their interview with Dawn Day Biehler about Pests in the City.

New Books Network interviews Frederick L. Brown about The City Is More Than Human (posted on the NBn American Studies, American West, Environmental Studies, History, and Native American Studies channels).

The Booklist Reader features Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart and recommends additional contemporary Filipino-American fiction: “Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart is a cornerstone of classic Asian-American literature.”—Terry Hong

New Books

A Family History of Illness: Memory as Medicine
By Brett L. Walker

While in the ICU with a near-fatal case of pneumonia, Brett Walker was asked, “Do you have a family history of illness?”—a standard and deceptively simple question that for Walker, a professional historian, took on additional meaning and spurred him to investigate his family’s medical past. In this deeply personal narrative, he constructs a history of his body to understand his diagnosis with a serious immunological disorder, weaving together his dying grandfather’s sneaking a cigarette in a shed on the family’s Montana farm, blood fractionation experiments in Europe during World War II, and nineteenth-century cholera outbreaks that ravaged small American towns as his ancestors were making their way west.


Firebrand Feminism: The Radical Lives of Ti-Grace Atkinson, Kathie Sarachild, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and Dana Densmore
By Breanne Fahs

Breanne Fahs brings together ten years of dialogue with four founders of the radical feminist movement and provides a timely and historically rich account of these audacious women and the lasting impact of their words and work.


Before Yellowstone: Native American Archaeology in the National Park
By Douglas H. MacDonald

Douglas MacDonald tells the long history of human presence in Yellowstone National Park as revealed by archaeological research into nearly 2,000 sites — many of which he helped survey and excavate. He describes and explains the significance of archaeological areas and helps readers understand the archaeological methods used and the limits of archaeological knowledge.


Olympic National Park: A Natural History, Fourth Edition
By Tim McNulty

In this updated classic guide to the park, Tim McNulty invites us into the natural and human history of thesenearly million acres and offers a detailed look at Elwha River restoration after the dam removal, inspiring descriptions of endangered species recovery, and practical advice on how to make the most of your visit.


The Spokane River
Edited by Paul Lindholdt

From Lake Coeur d’Alene to its confluence with the Columbia, the Spokane River travels 111 miles of varied and often spectacular terrain — rural, urban, in places wild. The twenty-eight contributors to this collection — including activists, storytellers, and scientists — profile this living river through personal reflection, history, science, and poetry.


Uplake: Restless Essays of Coming and Going
By Ana Maria Spagna

These engaging, reflective essays muse on rootedness, yearning, commitment, ambition, and wonder, and remind us to love what we have while encouraging us to still imagine what we want.


Cultivating Nature: The Conservation of a Valencian Working Landscape
By Sarah R. Hamilton
Foreword by Paul S. Sutter

Shifting between local struggles and global debates, this fascinating environmental history reveals how Franco’s dictatorship, Spain’s integration with Europe, and the crisis in European agriculture have shaped the Albufera Natural Park, its users, and its inhabitants.


Bringing Whales Ashore: Oceans and the Environment of Early Modern Japan
By Jakobina K. Arch
Foreword by Paul S. Sutter

In this vivid and nuanced study of how the Japanese people brought whales ashore during the Tokugawa period, Arch makes important contributions to both environmental and Japanese history by connecting Japanese whaling to marine environmental history in the Pacific, including the devastating impact of American whaling in the nineteenth century.


Transforming Monkey: Adaptation and Representation of a Chinese Epic
By Hongmei Sun

In this far-ranging study Hongmei Sun discusses the thousand-year evolution of Sun Wukong (aka Monkey or the Monkey King) in imperial China and multimedia adaptations in Republican, Maoist, and post-socialist China and the United States.


Medicine and Memory in Tibet: Amchi Physicians in an Age of Reform
By Theresia Hofer

Medicine and Memory in Tibet examines medical revivalism on the geographic and sociopolitical margins both of China and of Tibet’s medical establishment in Lhasa, exploring the work of medical practitioners, or amchi, and of Medical Houses in the west-central region of Tsang.


Making New Nepal: From Student Activism to Mainstream Politics
By Amanda Thérèse Snellinger

Based on extensive ethnographic research between 2003 and 2015, Making New Nepal provides a snapshot of an activist generation’s political coming-of-age during a decade of civil war and ongoing democratic street protests.


Mediating Islam: Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia
By Janet Steele

Broadening an overly narrow definition of Islamic journalism, Janet Steele examines day-to-day reporting practices of Muslim professionals, from conservative scripturalists to pluralist cosmopolitans, at five exemplary news organizations in Malaysia and Indonesia.


Buddhism Illuminated: Manuscript Art from South-East Asia
By San San May and Jana Igunma
Published with British Library

Buddhism Illuminated includes over one hundred examples of Buddhist art from the British Library’s rich collection, relating each manuscript to Theravada tradition and beliefs, and introducing the historical, artistic, and religious contexts of their production. It is the first book in English to showcase the beauty and variety of Buddhist manuscript art and reproduces many works that have never before been photographed.


Captive Light: The Life and Photography of Ella E. McBride
By Margaret E. Bullock and David F. Martin
Distributed for Tacoma Art Museum
Exhibition on view through July 8, 2018

Internationally acclaimed fine-art photographer Ella McBride (1862–1965) played an important role in the Northwest’s photography community and was a key figure in the national and international pictorialist photography movements. Despite her many accomplishments, which include managing the photography studio of Edward S. Curtis for many years and being an early member of the Seattle Camera Club, McBride is little known today. Captive Light reconsiders her career and the larger pictorialist movement in the Northwest. Captive Light is part of the Tacoma Art Museum’s Northwest Perspective Series on significant Northwest artists.


Julie Speidel: The Center Holds
By Matthew Kangas
Foreword by Rock Hushka
Distributed for Speidel Studio LLC

In this richly-illustrated monograph, the art of Julie Speidel is seen as one of myth and materiality, encompassing the creation more than four decades of numerous objects that inhabit a variety of locales and fulfill a wide variety of purposes. She has created sculpture in many different media and a variety of scale, as well as an impressive body of prints.

Events

MARCH

March 30, A Time to Rise edited by Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo, and Bruce Occena, Bayanihan Community Center with Arkipelago Books, San Francisco, CA

March 30 at noon, Janet Steele, Mediating Islam, New York Southeast Asia Network and NYU Wagner’s Office of International Programs, New York, NY

APRIL

April 2 at 7 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass Amherst), History of Art & Architecture, Amherst, MA

April 2 at 7 p.m., Ingrid Walker, High, King County Library System – Des Moines Library, Des Moines, WA

April 5 at 7 p.m., Ana Maria Spagna, Uplake, Whitman College, Reid Ballroom, Walla Walla, WA

April 6 at 6 p.m., Bruce Guenther, Michael C. Spafford (dist. for Lucia | Marquand), Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Seattle, WA

April 7 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Quin’Nita Cobbins, Paul de Barros, Howard Giske, Jacqueline E. A. Lawson, and Al “Butch” Smith, Jr., Seattle on the Spot (dist. for Museum of History and Industry), On the Spot Gallery Talk, Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), Seattle, WA

April 7 at 10 a.m., Stevan Harrell, Ways of Being Ethnic in Southwest China, Saturday University: Textiles of Southwest China, Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas, University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies and Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle Art Museum, Plestcheeff Auditorium, Seattle, WA

April 8 at 3 p.m., Ana Maria Spagna, Uplake, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

April 9 at 4:30 p.m., Sylvanna Falcón, Power Interrupted, Wellesley College, 2018 Domna Stanton Lecture in Women’s and Gender Studies, Wellesley, MA

April 11 at 12:30 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Garfield Senior Center, Pomeroy, WA

April 11 at noon, Janet Steele, Mediating Islam, George Washington University, Sigur Center for Asian Studies, Washington, DC

April 11 at 7 p.m., Nasty Women Poets edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (dist. Lost Horse Press), GA Nasty Women Poets, Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

April 13 at 7:30 p.m., Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots, with Donna Miscolta, Town Hall Seattle and Phinney Neighborhood Association, In Residence—History Is an Act of the Imagination, Taproot Theatre, Seattle, WA

April 14 at 10:30 a.m., Jennifer Ott, Waterway (dist. for HistoryLink), Redmond Historical Society, Old Redmond Schoolhouse, Redmond, WA ($5 suggested donation for Non-Members)

April 14, Eileen A. Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Oregon Aviation Historical Society, Cottage Grove, OR

April 17 at noon, Jakobina K. Arch, Bringing Whales Ashore, Whitman College, Whitman College Bookstore at Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom, Walla Walla, WA

April 18 at 3 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, Suffolk University, Boston, MA

April 19 at 3:30 p.m., Brett L. Walker, A Family History of Illness, University of Oregon, Department of History, Eugene, OR

April 21 at 3:30 p.m., Douglas H. MacDonald, Before Yellowstone, Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, Missoula, MT

April 23 at 5 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

April 26 at 3:30 p.m., Dorothy Ko, The Social Life of Inkstones, University of Washington, Seattle Campus, The East Asia Center and China Studies Program at the Jackson School of International Studies with the Seattle Art Museum, Thomson Hall,  Seattle, WA

April 26 at 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Ko, The Social Life of Inkstones, Asia Talks, Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas, Seattle Art Museum, Nordstrom Lecture Hall, Seattle, WA (Free with RSVP; Doors at 7 p.m., Talk begins at 7:30 p.m.)

April 27 at 11:15 a.m., Marisol Berríos-Miranda, Shannon Dudley, and Michelle Habell-Pallán, American Sabor, MoPOP, Pop Conference 2018, Roundtable: Making American Sabor, Seattle, WA

April 27 at 5 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Timberland Regional Library – Raymond Library, Raymond, WA

April 27 – September 2, Adman edited by Nicholas Chambers (dist. Art Gallery of New South Wales), Exhibition, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA

April 27-28, Ana Maria Spagna, Uplake, Get Lit! Festival, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, WA (Tickets on sale March 27 at 10 a.m. PST)

April 28 at 10:30 a.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Timberland Regional Library – South Bend Library, South Bend, WA

April 28 at 2 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Timberland Regional Library – Naselle Library, Naselle, WA

Save

Save

New in Asian Studies for the Association for Asian Studies 2018 Annual Conference

From March 22-25, we will be attending the 2018 Association for Asian Studies (AAS) annual conference in Washington, DC.

Executive editor Lorri Hagman and advancement and grants manager Beth Fuget will be representing the Press at the conference. Come see us in the exhibit hall at booths 413 and 415, join us and NUS Press for a special book signing of Mediating Islam by Janet Steele, and follow along with the meeting on social media at #AAS2018.

We are thrilled to celebrate new and recent books across the range of our Asian Studies lists including volumes in our Global South Asia series, the Critical Dialogues in Southeast Asian Studies series, books in the Mellon-funded collaborative Modern Language Initiative (MLI), and recent book prize winners:

Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan: Commentary on the “Spring and Autumn Annals” translated by Stephen Durrant, Wai-Yee Li, and David Schaberg is winner of the 2018 Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize for Translation (China and Inner Asia) from the Association for Asian Studies. Read an excerpt from the volumes on Scribd.

Book signing with Janet Steele:

Saturday, March 24 at 5:15 p.m.

Mediating Islam: Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia
By Janet Steele
Critical Dialogues in Southeast Asian Studies

Broadening an overly narrow definition of Islamic journalism, Janet Steele examines day-to-day reporting practices of Muslim professionals, from conservative scripturalists to pluralist cosmopolitans, at five exemplary news organizations in Malaysia and Indonesia.

New and Forthcoming in Asian Studies

The Art of Resistance: Painting by Candlelight in Mao’s China
Shelley Drake Hawks
Art History Publication Initiative Books

The Art of Resistance surveys the lives of seven painters during China’s Cultural Revolution (1966– 1976), a time when they were considered counter- revolutionary and were forbidden to paint. Drawing on interviews with the artists and their families and on materials collected during her visits to China, Shelley Drake Hawks examines their painting styles, political outlooks, and life experiences.

Shanghai Sacred: The Religious Landscape of a Global City
By Benoit Vermander, Liz Hingley, and Liang Zhang
Forthcoming April 2018

Shanghai Sacred demonstrates how religions are lived, constructed, and thus inscribed into the social imaginary of the metropolis. Evocative photographs by Liz Hingley enrich and interact with the narrative, making the book an innovative contribution to religious visual ethnography.


Sexuality in China: Histories of Power and Pleasure
Edited by Howard Chiang
Forthcoming June 2018

Ranging from imperial times through the post-Mao era, chapters examine an array of topics, including polygamy, crimes of passion, homosexuality, and sex work. Collectively, they reconsider Western categorizations and explore Chinese understandings of sexuality and erotic orientation.


Living Sharia: Law and Practice in Malaysia
By Timothy P. Daniels
Critical Dialogues in Southeast Asian Studies

This book traces the contested implementation of Islamic family and criminal laws and sharia economics to provide cultural frameworks for understanding sharia among Muslims and non-Muslims.


Down with Traitors: Justice and Nationalism in Wartime China
By Yun Xia

Down with Traitors reveals how the hanjian were punished in both legal and extralegal ways and how the anti-hanjian campaigns captured the national crisis, political struggle, roaring nationalism, and social tension of China’s eventful decades from the 1930s through the 1950s.


Medicine and Memory in Tibet: Amchi Physicians in an Age of Reform
By Theresia Hofer
Studies on Ethnic Groups in China

Medicine and Memory in Tibet examines medical revivalism on the geographic and sociopolitical margins both of China and of Tibet’s medical establishment in Lhasa, exploring the work of medical practitioners, or amchi, and of Medical Houses in the west-central region of Tsang.


Slapping the Table in Amazement: A Ming Dynasty Story Collection
By Ling Mengchu
Translated by Shuhui Yang and Yunqin Yang
Introduction by Robert E. Hegel

Slapping the Table in Amazement is the unabridged English translation of the famous story collection Pai’an jingqi by Ling Mengchu (1580-1644), originally published in 1628. It includes translations of verse and prologue stories as well as marginal and interlinear comments.


Bringing Whales Ashore: Oceans and the Environment of Early Modern Japan
By Jakobina K. Arch
Foreword by Paul S. Sutter
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books

Drawing on a wide range of sources, from whaling ledgers to recipe books and gravestones for fetal whales, Jakobina Arch traces how the images of whales and byproducts of commercial whaling were woven into the lives of people throughout Japan.


Buddhas and Ancestors: Religion and Wealth in Fourteenth-Century Korea
By Juhn Y. Ahn
Korean Studies of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
Forthcoming June 2018

Two issues central to the transition from the Kory to the Choson dynasty in fourteenth-century Korea were social differences in ruling elites and the decline of Buddhism, which had been the state religion. In this revisionist history, Juhn Ahn challenges the long-accepted Confucian critique that Buddhism had become so powerful and corrupt that the state had to suppress it.

New and Forthcoming from Modern Language Initiative Books

Transforming Monkey: Adaptation and Representation of a Chinese Epic
By Hongmei Sun

At the intersection of Chinese studies, Asian American studies, film studies, and translation and adaptation studies, Transforming Monkey provides a renewed understanding of the Monkey King character as a rebel and trickster, and demonstrates his impact on the Chinese self-conception of national identity as he travels through time and across borders.


Forming the Early Chinese Court: Rituals, Spaces, Roles
By Luke Habberstad

Forming the Early Chinese Court builds on new directions in comparative studies of royal courts in the ancient world to present a pioneering study of early Chinese court culture. Rejecting divides between literary, political, and administrative texts, Luke Habberstad examines sources from the Qin, Western Han, and Xin periods (221 BCE-23 CE) for insights into court society and ritual, rank, the development of the bureaucracy, and the role of the emperor.


Many Faces of Mulian: The Precious Scrolls of Late Imperial China
By Rostislav Berezkin

In exploring the evolution of the Mulian story, Rostislav Berezkin illuminates changes in the literary and religious characteristics of the baojuan (precious scrolls) genre as a type of performance literature that had its foundations in multiple literary traditions.

New and Forthcoming from the Global South Asia series

High-Tech Housewives: Indian IT Workers, Gendered Labor, and Transmigration
By Amy Bhatt
Forthcoming May 2018

In this revealing ethnography, Amy Bhatt shines a spotlight on Indian IT migrants and their struggles to navigate career paths, citizenship, and belonging as they move between South Asia and the United States.


Making New Nepal: From Student Activists to Mainstream Politics
By Amanda Thérèse Snellinger

Based on extensive ethnographic research between 2003 and 2015, Making New Nepal provides a snapshot of an activist generation’s political coming-of-age during a decade of civil war and ongoing democratic street protests.


Mobilizing Krishna’s World: The Writings of Prince Savant Singh of Kishangarh
By Heidi R. M. Pauwels

Through an examination of Savant Singh’s life and works, Heidi Pauwels explores the circulation of ideas and culture in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries in north India, revealing how Singh mobilized soldiers but also used myths, songs, and stories about saints in order to cope with his personal and political crisis.


The Rebirth of Bodh Gaya: Buddhism and the Making of a World Heritage Site
By David Geary

This study of Buddhism’s most famous pilgrimage site examines the modern revival of Buddhism in India, the colonial and postcolonial dynamics surrounding archaeological heritage and sacred space, and the role of tourism and urban development in India.


Banaras Reconstructed: Architecture and Sacred Space in a Hindu Holy City
By Madhuri Desai

Desai examines the confluences, as well as the tensions, that have shaped this complex and remarkable city. In so doing, she raises issues central to historical as well as contemporary Indian identity and delves into larger questions about religious urban environments in South Asia.



Displaying Time: The Many Temporalities of the Festival of India

By Rebecca M. Brown

Using extensive archival research and interviews with artists, curators, diplomats, and visitors, Brown analyzes a selection of museum shows that were part of the Festival of India to unfurl new exhibitionary modes: the time of transformation, of interruption, of potential and the future, as well as the contemporary and the now.

Now Available in Paperback

February 2018 News, Reviews, and Events

News

The 2018 Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize for Translation (China and Inner Asia) will be awarded to Steven Durrant, Wai-yee Li, and David Schaberg as co-translators of Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan. The 2018 Awards Ceremony will take place at the AAS conference in Washington, DC on Friday, March 23. The biennial prize was first awarded in 2016 – Xiaofei Tian won the inaugural Hanan Prize for Translation for The World of a Tiny Insect by Zhang Daye – so UW Press authors have won all prize rounds to date. Congratulations to the translators, series editors, UW Press executive editor Lorri Hagman, and all involved!

Please join us in welcoming a couple of new hires to the Press. Michael O. Campbell, most recently US sales manager at Lone Pine Publishing, is our new sales and marketing director. Neal Swain has joined us as contracts and intellectual property manager. She comes to us from Wales Literary Agency, where she will continue as assistant agent.

Monthly Giveaways

Reviews and Interviews

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner selects The Tao of Raven by Ernestine Hayes as one of their best Alaska books of 2017: “The Tao of Raven is likely the most thoughtful book you’ll read all year, memoir or otherwise.”—Addley Fannin


VICE interviews High author Ingrid Walker about drug policy and use.


UW News features a Q&A with American Sabor authors Marisol Berríos-Miranda, Shannon Dudley, and Michelle Habell-Pallán.


Northwest Asian Weekly features The Hope of Another Spring by Barbara Johns: “Her work puts us in Fujii’s time and place, a gift to those who lived through that time, and to those who have only a sketchy idea of the reality of the Issei experience as told through Fujii’s words and art.”—Laura Rehrmann


The Washington Post / Made By History publishes an op-ed by Emilie Raymond on the history of celebrity civil rights activism. Stars for Freedom, out in paperback this spring, gets a byline mention.


Reading Religion reviews The Jewish Bible by David Stern: “This is a fascinating, engaging, and instructive volume. The breadth of topics and traditions covered is vast, and Stern’s knowledge of and research on these issues is remarkable. Beyond the content, the volume is beautifully illustrated, with over 80 color images illuminating the various topics. A study on the materiality of the Jewish scriptures needed to be written, and we can all be thankful that it was Stern who took up the task.”—Bradford A. Anderson

KUOW interviews Kevin Craft about Vagrants & Accidentals. Poetry correspondent Elizabeth Austen and Bill Radke discuss “Matinee” and Craft reads “For the Climbers” and “Borders without Doctors.”


3rd Act Magazine reviews Walking Washington’s History by Judy Bentley (Winter 2018): “Even if you don’t leave your comfy chair, you’ll learn much more about Washington in this interesting book.”—Julie Fanselow


The Conversation features an article by Amy Bhatt, author of the forthcoming High-Tech Housewives, and UMBC colleague Dillon Mahmoudi about the likely effects of Amazon’s HQ2 on local diversity, equity, and quality of life.


Somatosphere publishes a book forum on Tracing Autism by Des Fitzgerald.

New Books

American Sabor: Latinos and Latinas in US Popular Music / Latinos y latinas en la musica popular estadounidense
By Marisol Berríos-Miranda, Shannon Dudley, and Michelle Habell-Pallán
Translated by Angie Berríos Miranda

With side-by-side Spanish and English text, this book traces the substantial musical contributions of Latinas and Latinos in American popular music between World War II and the present in five vibrant centers of Latin@ musical production: New York, Los Angeles, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Miami.

Ancient Ink: The Archaeology of Tattooing
Edited by Lars Krutak and Aaron Deter-Wolf

This first book dedicated to the archaeological study of tattooing, presents new research from across the globe examining tattooed human remains, tattoo tools, and ancient art.  Ancient Ink connects ancient body art traditions to modern culture through Indigenous communities and the work of contemporary tattoo artists.


The Art of Resistance: Painting by Candlelight in Mao’s China
By Shelley Drake Hawks

Drawing on interviews with the artists and their families, this art history surveys the lives of seven fiercely independent painters during China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), a time when they were considered counterrevolutionary and were forbidden to paint.


Slapping the Table in Amazement: A Ming Dynasty Story Collection
By Ling Mengchu
Translated by Shuhui Yang and Yunqin Yang
Introduction by Robert E. Hegel

The unabridged English translation of the famous story collection Pai’an jingqi by Ling Mengchu (1580-1644), originally published in 1628.


Many Faces of Mulian: The Precious Scrolls of Late Imperial China
By Rostislav Berezkin

The story of Mulian rescuing his mother’s soul from hell has evolved as a narrative over several centuries in China, especially in the baojuan (precious scrolls) genre. This exploration of the story’s evolution illuminates changes in the literary and religious characteristics of the genre.


Forming the Early Chinese Court: Rituals, Spaces, Roles
By Luke Habberstad

This pioneering study of early Chinese court culture shows that a large, but not necessarily cohesive, body of courtiers drove the consolidation, distribution, and representation of power in court institutions.


Down with Traitors: Justice and Nationalism in Wartime China
By Yun Xia

Built on previously unexamined documents, this history reveals how the hanjian (“traitors to the Han Chinese”) were punished in both legal and extralegal ways and how the anti-hanjian campaigns captured the national crisis, political struggle, roaring nationalism, and social tension of China’s eventful decades from the 1930s through the 1950s.


Christian Krohg’s Naturalism
By Oystein Sjastad

The definitive account of Norwegian painter, novelist, and social critic Christian Krohg (1825-1925) and his art.  Sjastad examines the theories of Krohg and his fellow naturalists and their reception in Scandinavian intellectual circles, viewing Krohg from an international perspective and demonstrating how Krohg’s art made a striking contribution to European naturalism.


Sacred to the Touch: Nordic and Baltic Religious Wood Carving
By Thomas A. DuBois

This beautifully illustrated study of six twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists reveals the interplay of tradition with personal and communal identity that characterize modern religious carving in Northern Europe.


Gender before Birth: Sex Selection in a Transnational Context
By Rajani Bhatia

Based on extensive fieldwork, this book looks at how sex selective assisted reproduction technologies in the West and non-West are divergently named and framed. Bhatia’s resulting analysis extends both feminist theory on reproduction and feminist science and technology studies.


Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith
By Quin’Nita Cobbins, Paul de Barros, Howard Giske, Jacqueline E. A. Lawson, and Al “Butch” Smith, Jr.
Distributed for The Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)
Exhibition on view through June 17, 2018

Al Smith’s photography chronicled the jazz clubs, family gatherings, neighborhood events, and individuals who made up Seattle’s African American community in the mid-twentieth century. This companion book to the exhibition at MOHAI features highlights from Smith’s legacy along with reflections from historians, scholars, friends, and family members.

Events

FEBRUARY

February 8 at 7 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, Three Stones Gallery, Concord, MA (Snow date: February 9 at 7 p.m.)

February 8 at 7:30 p.m., Thomas Crow, No Idols (dist. Power Publications), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA

February 9 at 2 p.m., Heidi R. M. Pauwels, Mobilizing Krishna’s World, UW South Asia Center, Thomson 317, Seattle, WA

February 11 at 2 p.m., Frederica Bowcutt, The Tanoak Tree, Grace Hudson Museum and the Sanhedrin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, Ukiah, CA

February 15 at 7 p.m., Nasty Women Poets edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (dist. Lost Horse Press), SoulFood Poetry Night, Redmond, WA

February 18 at 3 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA

February 23 at 7 p.m., Nasty Women Poets edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (dist. Lost Horse Press), Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

February 24 at 9 a.m., Ernestine Hayes, The Tao of Raven, 2018 Search for Meaning Festival, Seattle University with Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

February 24 at 2;45 p.m., Lorraine K. Bannai, Enduring Conviction, 2018 Search for Meaning Festival, Seattle University with Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

February 24 at 3:30 p.m., Eileen A. Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Northwest Aviation Conference, Puyallup, WA

February 25 at 1:30 p.m., Eileen A. Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Northwest Aviation Conference, Puyallup, WA

February 25 at 3 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Fairwood Library, Renton, WA

February 27 at 4 p.m., Amanda Thérèse Snellinger, Making New Nepal, UW South Asia Center, Seattle, WA

February 27 at 7 p.m., Paul de Barros, Jackson Street After Hours, The Black and Tan: Reimagining Seattle’s Legendary Jazz Club, Museum of History and Industry in partnership with the Black and Tan Hall, Seattle, WA ($5 for MOHAI members / $10 general public)

February 28 at 12:30 p.m., Ingrid Walker, High, Publish and Flourish, Sponsored by UW Office of Research, University Book Store Tacoma, and UW Tacoma Library, Tioga Library, Tacoma, WA

Save

Save

‘What makes work meaningful?’: Q&A with ‘The Social Life of Inkstones’ author Dorothy Ko

The following interview originally appeared at Barnard News and is adapted and used with permission. (Courtesy of N. Jamiyla Chisholm, Barnard College, New York City.)


To honor Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, Barnard College professor of history Dorothy Ko offers a peek into ancient and modern-day Eastern culture and politics.

According to the Library of Congress, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month takes place in May for two reasons: May 7, 1843, marked the immigration of the first Japanese citizen to the U.S.; and on May 10, 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed, mostly by Chinese immigrant workers.

Credit: Marvin Trachetenberg

Dorothy Ko explores the subjects of gender and body in early modern China. In her books, Ko unravels the complex worlds of Chinese footbinding (Cinderella’s Sisters: A Revisionist History of Footbinding), fashion (Every Step a Lotus: Shoes for Bound Feet), and feminism (Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-Century China). Her latest, The Social Life of Inkstones: Artisans and Scholars in Early Qing China, introduces the West to the world of ancient Asian stones and includes close to 100 images (see slideshow below). Ko explains the significance of this highly specialized art form.

What exactly is an inkstone and what is its significance in East Asian culture?

An inkstone is a piece of polished stone about the size of an outstretched palm. Before the invention of fountain pens, let alone laptops and iPads, every student, writer, or painter in East Asia had to grind a fresh supply of ink at the desk by dipping an ink-stick in water and rubbing it on the surface of the stone. This process was as instinctive to them as recharging our iPhones is to us. Day in and day out, the writers and painters developed deep attachments to their implements. More than an instrument for writing, the inkstone was a collectible object of art, a father’s gift to his school-bound son, a token of friendship, and even a diplomatic gift between states.

Why is this tool so unfamiliar to Western civilizations when it has represented so much for the East for more than a millennium?

Europeans drew ink from an inkpot so they had no use for an ink-grinding stone. Nor did the early European collectors appreciate its subtle beauty as the Chinese connoisseurs did. The color of the inkstone tended to be deep purple or black; it is small and does not display well in a stately home or fancy apartment. So it is no wonder that there is no notable collection of inkstones in Europe or America.

Your book shines a light on craftswoman Gu Erniang who became famous for her inkstone-making skills, which were refined between the 1680s and 1730s. What made her such a standout?

Her extraordinary skills. Gu Erniang was a remarkable woman who thrived in a field dominated by men; she became more famous than her male colleagues. Her name was associated with technical and artistic innovations as well as refined taste. It is also interesting to mention that she enjoyed more gender freedom than her genteel sisters in that she could receive male patrons in her studio to discuss commissioned projects face-to-face.

How has the significance of inkstone artisans changed over time?

Gu Erniang was one of the first inkstone makers in China to attach her signature mark on her work, suggesting a heightened respect that exceptional artisans like her enjoyed. Today, because the inkstone is no longer a functional object, all inkstone artisans have to present themselves as creative artists.

What interests you most in this topic area and what are some of the biggest “ah ha!” moments you had conducting research for the book?

I love all the modern conveniences we enjoy but increasingly feel the need to look back and reassess the heavy price we pay for such “industrial development” or “progress.” I became interested in the craftsmen because theirs was a sustainable livelihood that was environmentally responsible. Through their eyes, I arrive at tentative answers to my big question at the moment: What makes work meaningful? The craftsman’s answer: Making one-of-a-kind objects with attention and skill in a collaborative environment. Craft makes us more human by inspiring us to strive for perfection.

How does the research conducted for this book connect to research from your previous publications on footbinding and Chinese feminism?

As a historian of gender, I’m sensitive to power inequalities and trained to analyze the operations of power. In the same way that I had retrieved women in Chinese history in my earlier books, I set out to retrieve the artisans from erasure in the hands of male scholars. Little did I know that the latter turned out to be a far more difficult project.

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April 2017 News, Reviews, and Events

News

Seattle Magazine features director Nicole Mitchell and the University of Washington Press in a Spotlight piece: “The University of Washington Press is making a big noise in publishing circles. . . . Whether you’re an academic looking to wow undergrads with a reading list or a general reader aiming to wow yourself, the century-old press has a must-read book for you and an undeniable dynamism.”—Florangela Davila

Indian Blood by Andrew J. Jolivette is a finalist for the 2017 Lambda Literary Award (“Lammy”) in LGBTQ Studies. The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on June 12, 2017 in New York City. Congratulations to the author and all involved!

Reviews and Interviews

KOMO Radio “Midday News” interviews David B. Williams about Seattle WalksThe National Association of Science Writers (NASW) news and features includes an interview with the author.


Alaska Dispatch News/We Alaskans reviews Menadelook edited by Eileen Norbert: “The story of Menadelook’s life is fascinating and well told and would be a worthy book even without the photographs, but to have the pictures as well makes this volume a treasure. . . . Much like the Menadelook we meet in these pages, this book is modest on the surface, but its contribution to Alaska is profound. It presents a world that would be completely vanished but for the presence of one man and his camera.”—David A. James

NBC Asian America picks Troubling Borders edited by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Lan Duong, Miriam B. Lam, and Kathy L. Nguyen as one of its “Six Asian-American Memoirs to Read for Women’s History Month”: “The wide variety of stories told dispel stereotypes and take on the complex challenges of colonialism, militarization, love, resistance, family, migration, and more. They reveal the intersectional and multilayered experiences of Southeast Asian women in the diaspora.”


Seattle Weekly/Seattle Review of Books reviews Kevin Craft’s Vagrants & Accidentals: “The University of Washington Press’ Pacific Northwest Poetry Series has shepherded a gorgeous new collection of Craft’s poetry into being: Vagrants & Accidentals, which feels like a book that’s been bottled up for a decade, just waiting to be introduced to an unsuspecting world. The poetry in Vagrants is eager and obsessed with big ideas like evolution and the act of becoming. . . . Craft argues that without the eyes to see and the lips to speak and the fingers to write, the world may as well not have existed at all. On that same wavelength, a Seattle without Craft’s poetry in it would be a forgettable dot on a map. He breathes life into our world, as an editor, a publisher, and most definitely as a poet.”—Paul Constant

NPR.org’s The Salt blog interviews Puer Tea author Jinghong Zhang in a post about the sought-after fermented tea.


Pacific NW Magazine features an excerpt from Ice Bear by Michael Engelhard.


Outdoor Research’s Verticulture blog features Reclaimers by Ana Maria Spagna in a round-up of OR’s favorite women’s adventure books: “The most influential book I’ve read recently. . . . It’s not a typical story of adventure, but I found it absolutely motivating to get out and learn about our wild places, cherish them, and listen to the stories of people who call them home. It also makes very clear that adventure is not just found high up on a rock face or in a deep snowy couloir – the world is full of places to take risks and dive deep into, to be curious and ambitious and wild and bold.”—Jenny Abegg

“Interfaith Voices” interviews Sanctuary and Asylum author Linda Rabben in an episode about “Welcoming the Stranger.”


KEXP’s “Mind Over Matters Sustainability Segment” interviews Native Seattle author Coll Thrush.


A KUOW interview with Dismembered coauthor David E. Wilkins about the NookSack Tribe aired on “All Things Considered.”


Anchorage Press reviews The Tao of Raven by Ernestine Hayes: “In a lyrically intoxicating style, Ernestine Hayes crafts a . . . mesmerizing story-telling, an alternative world, that reveals as much, if not more, about how our society works, or does not work, for today’s Alaskan Native citizen. . . . Her bold study marries the tragedies of her life with the greater horrors perpetrated upon Alaskan Natives. . . . Hayes manages to wrangle a promising, optimistic tinged message as she closes out her autopsy of what has gone awry. In her inimitable, metaphorical style she voices cause for hope – a prayer that all is not forsaken.”—David Fox


KUOW’s “Speakers Forum” aired a talk by Looking for Betty MacDonald author Paula Becker in celebration of Betty MacDonald’s 110th birthday on March 26.

New Books

A Year Right Here: Adventures with Food and Family in the Great Nearby
By Jess Thomson

Armed with “The Here List” and a Type-A personality, Seattle-based writer and cookbook author Jess Thomson sets out to spend a year exploring the food of the Pacific Northwest with her family. Planning to revel in the culinary riches of the region and hoping to break her son, Graham, of his childhood pickiness, the adventures into the great nearby include building a backyard chicken coop, truffle hunting in Oregon, and razor clamming on the Washington coast. With touching, funny, sometimes devastating stories that we all can relate to, Jess pulls the reader in as she abandons “The Here List” and learns that letting go can be just as important as holding on.

Join us for these author events:

March 30 at 7 p.m., University Book Store, Seattle, WA

April 17 at 7 p.m., Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

April 20 at 7 p.m., Village Books, Bellingham, WA

April 22 at 7 p.m., Phinney Books, Seattle, WA

April 23 at 7 p.m., Powell’s City of Books in conversation with Diane Morgan, Portland, OR

May 8 at 6:30 p.m., Book Larder, Seattle, WA

The Propeller under the Bed: A Personal History of Homebuilt Aircraft
By Eileen A. Bjorkman

On July 25, 2010, Arnold Ebneter (82) flew across the country in a plane he designed and built himself, setting an aviation world record for aircraft of its class. Pilot and aeronautical engineer Bjorkman frames her father’s journey from teen plane enthusiast to Air Force pilot and Boeing engineer in the context of the rise, near extermination, and ongoing interest in homebuilt aircraft in the United States, and gives us a glimpse into life growing up in a “flying family.”

Idle Talk under the Bean Arbor: A Seventeenth-Century Chinese Story Collection
By Aina the Layman
With Ziran the Eccentric Wanderer
Edited by Robert E. Hegel

This landmark collection of twelve short stories from the early Qing (Doupeng xianhua) uses the seemingly innocuous setting of neighbors swapping yarns on hot summer days to create a series of stories that embody deep disillusionment with traditional values. The tales, ostensibly told by different narrators, parody heroic legends and explore issues that contributed to the fall of the Ming dynasty a couple of decades before. These stories speak to all troubled times, demanding that readers confront the pretense that may lurk behind moralistic stances. This collection presents all twelve stories in English translation along with notes from the original commentator, as well as a helpful introduction and analysis of individual stories.

The Nature of Whiteness: Race, Animals, and Nation in Zimbabwe
By Yuka Suzuki

This vivid ethnography explores the intertwining of race and nature in postindependence Zimbabwe. Nature and environment have played prominent roles in white Zimbabwean identity, and when the political tide turned against white farmers after independence, nature was the most powerful resource they had at their disposal. Suzuki provides a balanced study of whiteness, the conservation of nature, and contested belonging in twenty-first century southern Africa. The Nature of Whiteness is a fascinating account of human-animal relations and the interplay among categories of race and nature in this embattled landscape.

Book of the Month Giveaways

Enter to win one of this month’s picks! (Open to US residents only.)

  1. A Year Right Here by Jess Thomson (Entry form)
  2. Birds of the Pacific Northwest by Tom Aversa, Richard Cannings, and Hal Opperman (Entry form)

The giveaways will close on on Friday, April 7, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. PT. The giveaway winners will be notified by Monday, April 10, 2017.

Events

APRIL

April 5 at 6:30 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Omnivore Books, San Francisco, CA

April 5 at 7 p.m., David B. Williams, Seattle Walks, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

April 6 at 6 p.m., Lorraine McConaghy and Judy Bentley, Free Boy, Performance of Free Boy, the musical, MOHAI Free First Thursday, Free performance of Free Boy, the musical, by 5th Avenue Theatre’s Adventure Musical Theater Touring Company, Seattle, WA

April 6 at 7 p.m., Deborah Elizabeth Whaley, Black Women in Sequence, African American Museum of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA

April 7 at 5 p.m., Judy Bentley, Hiking Washington’s History, Words, Writers, and West Seattle, Westwood Village Barnes & Noble, Seattle, WA

April 8 at 11 a.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

April 15 at 2 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Neverending Bookshop, Bothell, WA

April 17 at 7 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

April 22 at 6:30 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Island Books, Mercer Island, WA

April 20 at 7 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

April 22-23, 2017, Darren Speece, Defending Giants, Nonfiction: Nature & Politics, Conversation 1095, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (University of Southern California), Los Angeles, CA

April 22 at 10:30 a.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Tacoma Public Library, Kobetich branch, with King’s Books

April 22 at 2 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Tacoma Public Library, Wheelock branch, with King’s Books

April 22 at 7 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA

April 23 at 2 p.m., Judy Bentley, Walking Washington’s History, Everett Public Library, Everett, WA

April 23 at 7 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Powell’s City of Books, Portland, OR; in conversation with Diane Morgan

April 27 at 7 p.m., Linda Rabben, Sanctuary and Asylum, Annapolis Bookstore, Annapolis, MD (Monthly Book Club selection)

April 29 at 11 a.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Book Larder, signing for Independent Bookstore Day, Seattle, WA

April 30 at 4 p.m., David B. Williams, Seattle Walks, Eagle Harbor Books, Bainbridge Island, WA

MAY

May 2 at 7:30 p.m., Carolyne Wright, Kathya Alexander, Laura Da’, Jana Harris, and Holly J. Hughes, Raising Lilly Ledbetter (Lost Horse Press), Town Hall Seattle, Seattle, WA (Tickets $5)

May 3, 2017 at 6 p.m., 12th Annual Literary Voices, Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots; Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald; Eileen Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed; Moon-ho Jung, The Rising Tide of Color; Tom Reese & Eric Wagner, Once and Future River; Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here; Thaisa Way, The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag; Margaret Willson, Seawomen of Iceland; North Ballroom at the HUB. Tickets: $150 per person; $1,500 per table, register online

May 5 – 6, Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots, with Dani Cornejo and Nicole Yanes on Opata language and culture revival, “The Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ“ Indigenous Foods and Ecological Knowledge Symposium, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

May 6 at 11 a.m., Eileen Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Book signing and fly-in at Harvey Field, Snohomish, WA

May 7 at 7 p.m., Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

May 8 at 6:30 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Book Larder, Seattle, WA

May 11 at 6 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Darvill’s Bookstore, Orcas Island, WA

May 12 – 13, Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan, translated by Stephen Durrant, Wai-Yee Li, and David Schaberg, UCLA International Institute Asia Pacific Center, Taiwan Studies Lectureship Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA