posted by Garrett Washington
A review of Christianity in the Japanese Empire: Nationalism, Conscience, and Faith in Meiji and Taisho Japan, by EMILY ANDERSON
In 1979, Matsuo Takayoshi’s articles on Japanese Protestants in Korea shed light on the religious concomitants of Japan’s imperial expansion, creating an impetus for new research. After three decades, Emily Anderson has taken up the challenges and questions touched upon by Matsuo, added critical, new comparative information about Japanese Protestants beyond Japan’s early empire, and linked all this back to socio-political stances and actions of Protestant...
posted by Tomoyasu IIYAMA
A review of Contending States and Religious Orders in North China and in East Asian Context, 906-1260. By JESSE D. SLOANE.
Thoroughly reexamining the religious policies and administrations of the Liao, Northern Song, and Jin states, Contending States and Religious Orders in North China and in East Asian Context, 906-1260 successfully provides us with a whole new understanding of the history of the “conquest dynasties” and North China from the 10th to 13th centuries. The religious policies of the “conquest dynasties” have long been considered as manifestations of the excessive...
posted by Ann-Elise Lewallen
A review of Working through Skin: Making Leather, Making a Multicultural Japan. By JOSEPH DOYLE HANKINS.
Joseph Hankins explores contemporary Buraku efforts to achieve a new status under international human rights mandates as subjects of occupation- and descent-based discrimination, and therein to push for uptake of the notion that Japan now constitutes a “multicultural state.” Buraku refers to a community whose historical and contemporary bases of association cannot be adequately circumscribed by pre-existing rubrics of race, ethnicity, class, culture, or caste. Instead Buraku belonging...
posted by L. Halliday Piel
A Review of Tales for Tarō: A Study of Japanese Children’s Magazines, 1888–1949, by NONA L. CARTER.
In Tales for Tarō: A Study of Japanese Children’s Magazines, 1888–1949, Nona Carter narrates the history of children’s magazines in Japan from their inception in the 1880s to their decline in the late 1950s. The main theme of the dissertation is that children’s magazines played an important role in the construction of the modern Japanese nation-state. Publishers and government bureaus aimed to orient young minds towards nation-building, but their prescriptions changed with the...
posted by Kate Merkel-Hess
A review of Modern Homes for Modern Families in Tianjin, China, 1860-1949, by ELIZABETH LaCOUTURE.
Elizabeth LaCouture’s dissertation is structured around the multiple meanings of jiating (家庭)—family, house, and home—and the complicated interweaving of those meanings as China struggled in the early twentieth century to redefine society and nation. Drawing together formerly disparate bodies of scholarship on reform of the family (particularly xiao jiating 小家庭), changing house design, and aesthetics for home furnishing and decorating, LaCouture argues that, as it morphed from...
posted by Erik Hammerstrom
A review of The Householder Elite: Buddhist Activism in Shanghai, 1920-1956, by JAMES BROOKS JESSUP.
This dissertation studies the role that Shanghai’s elites played in constructing a new lay Buddhist identity in China from the 1920s to the 1950s. Jessup uses social history to examine the status of religion among Shanghai elites, investigating the social networks and the political and business connections within which such elites operated. This work brings together two distinct spheres of historical inquiry, and offers something to each: On the one hand, social histories of Republican...
posted by Nicolas Tackett
A review of Buddhist Empires: Saṃgha-State Relations in Tenth-Century China, by BENJAMIN BROSE.
Benjamin Brose’s dissertation is path-breaking in producing a history of Buddhism during the pivotal tenth century. Brose’s temporal focus is based on the premise that understanding the profound changes affecting China across the Tang-Song transition requires a better grasp of the interregnum between the two dynasties in question. His prosopographic approach (using collections of biographies of monks) allows him to place developments in Buddhism in a particular sociocultural context. As...
posted by Eric Vanden Bussche
A review of Marginal Constituencies: Qing Borderland Policies and Vernacular Histories of Five Tribes on the Sino-Russian Frontier, by LORETTA KIM.
Recent scholarship on late imperial Chinese history has examined how the Qing state devised distinct strategies to manage its heterogeneous population. Loretta Kim’s dissertation contributes to this on-going debate by focusing on the “Five Tribes” along the northern frontier with Russia: the Dagur, Heje, Oroqen, Sibe and Salon. Her objectives are twofold. First, she analyzes the Qing state’s changing policies toward the Five Tribes from the...
posted by Christopher Leighton
A review of Crossing the Urban-Rural Divide in Twentieth Century China, by JEREMY BROWN.
In this well-written and extensively documented dissertation, Jeremy Brown tackles the daunting and demanding topic of urban-rural relations in twentieth-century China through the case of Tianjin, focusing on the years 1949 to 1978. He argues that the fraught and mutually defining relationship between city and country, though framed by institutional structures and administrative fiat, formed from continuing personal interactions that reified difference even as they spanned those two zones.