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See below for a selection of the latest books from Asian history category. Presented with a red border are the Asian history books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Asian history books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
The Philippine Revolution of 1896-1905, which began against Spain and continued against the United States, took place in the context of imperial subjugation and local resistance across Southeast Asia. Yet scholarship on the revolution and the turn of the twentieth century in Asia more broadly has largely approached this pivotal moment in terms of relations with the West, at the expense of understanding the East-East and Global South connections that knit together the region's experience. Asian Place, Filipino Nation reconnects the Philippine Revolution to the histories of Southeast and East Asia through an innovative consideration of its transnational political setting and regional intellectual foundations. Nicole CuUnjieng Aboitiz charts turn-of-the-twentieth-century Filipino thinkers' and revolutionaries' Asianist political organizing and proto-national thought, scrutinizing how their constructions of the place of Asia connected them to their regional neighbors. She details their material and affective engagement with Pan-Asianism, tracing how colonized peoples in the periphery of this imagined Asia-focusing on Filipinos, but with comparison to the Vietnamese-reformulated a political and intellectual project that envisioned anticolonial Asian solidarity with the Asian center of Japan. CuUnjieng Aboitiz argues that the revolutionary First Philippine Republic's harnessing of transnational networks of support, activism, and association represents the crucial first instance of Pan-Asianists lending material aid toward anticolonial revolution against a Western power. Uncovering the Pan-Asianism of the periphery and its critical role in shaping modern Asia, Asian Place, Filipino Nation offers a vital new perspective on the Philippine Revolution's global context and content.
Over time and across different genres, Afghanistan has been presented to the world as potential ally, dangerous enemy, gendered space, and mysterious locale. These powerful, if competing, visions seek to make sense of Afghanistan and to render it legible. In this innovative examination, Nivi Manchanda uncovers and critically explores Anglophone practices of knowledge cultivation and representational strategies, and argues that Afghanistan occupies a distinctive place in the imperial imagination: over-determined and under-theorised, owing largely to the particular history of imperial intervention in the region. Focusing on representations of gender, state and tribes, Manchanda re-historicises and de-mythologises the study of Afghanistan through a sustained critique of colonial forms of knowing and demonstrates how the development of pervasive tropes in Western conceptions of Afghanistan have enabled Western intervention, invasion and bombing in the region from the nineteenth century to the present.
Late imperial Chinese Buddhism was long dismissed as having declined from the glories of Buddhism during the Sui and Tang dynasties (581-907). In recent scholarship, a more nuanced picture of late Ming-era Buddhist renewal has emerged. Yet this alternate conception of the history of Buddhism in China has tended to focus on either doctrinal contributions of individual masters or the roles of local elites in Jiangnan, leaving unsolved broader questions regarding the dynamics and mechanism behind the evolution of Buddhism into the renewal. Thriving in Crisis is a systematic study of the late Ming Buddhist renewal with a focus on the religious and political factors that enabled it to happen. Dewei Zhang explores the history of the boom in enthusiasm for Buddhism in the Jiajing-Wanli era (1522-1620), tracing a pattern of advances and retrenchment at different social levels in varied regions. He reveals that the Buddhist renewal was a dynamic movement that engaged a wide swath of elites, from emperors and empress dowagers to eunuchs and scholar-officials. Drawing on a range of evidence and approaches, Zhang contends that the late Ming renewal was a politically driven exception to a longer-term current of disfavor toward Buddhism and that it failed to establish Buddhism on a foundation solid enough for its future development. A groundbreaking interdisciplinary study, Thriving in Crisis provides a new theoretical framework for understanding the patterns of Buddhist history in China.
China is known for its deep veneration of history. Far more than a record of the past, history to the Chinese is the magister vitae (teacher of life): the storehouse of moral lessons and bureaucratic precedents. Mirroring the Past presents a comprehensive history of traditional Chinese historiography from antiquity to the mid-Qing period. Organized chronologically, the book traces the development of historical thinking and writing in Imperial China, beginning with the earliest forms of historical consciousness and ending with adumbrations of the fundamentally different views engendered by mid-nineteenth-century encounters with the West. The historiography of each era is explored on two levels: first, the gathering of material and the writing and production of narratives to describe past events; second, the thinking and reflecting on meanings and patterns of the past. Significantly, the book embeds within this chronological structure integrated views of Chinese historiography, bringing to light the purposive, didactic, and normative uses of the past. Examining both the worlds of official and unofficial historiography, the authors lay bare the ingenious ways in which Chinese scholars extracted truth from events and reveal how schemas and philosophies of history were constructed and espoused. They highlight the dynamic nature of Chinese historiography, revealing that historical works mapped the contours of Chinese civilization not for the sake of understanding history as disembodied and theoretical learning, but for the pragmatic purpose of guiding the world by mirroring the past in all its splendor and squalor.
This volume is written for anyone who has wondered about the growth of Chinese businesses and their relation to Chinese family and government institutions. Making full use of its partner volume's findings on village institutions in the southern prefecture of Huizhou, this volume explains how late imperial China's key regional group of merchants emerged from this prefecture's village lineages. It identifies the strategies they deployed to overcome the serious obstacles to their domination of major financial transactions and commodity markets throughout much of China from 1500 to 1700. At the same time it describes how the commercial success enjoyed by these 'house firms' undermined their lineages' social stability, making them vulnerable to competition from popular religious cults back home. In recounting how rural and urban institutions interacted through state and economic development, McDermott provides a powerful new framework for understanding late imperial China's distinctive trajectory to social and economic transformation.
In the 1930s and 1940s Marxist academics and others interested in liberal political reform often faced virulent accusations of treason from nationalist critics. In Arbiters of Patriotism, John Person explores the lives of two of the most notorious right-wing intellectuals responsible for leading such attacks in prewar and wartime Japan: Minoda Muneki (1894-1946) and Mitsui Koshi (1883-1953) of the Genri Nippon (Japan Principle) Society.As fervent proponents of Japanism, the ethno-nationalist ideology of Imperial Japan, Minoda and Mitsui appointed themselves judges of correct nationalist expression. They built careers out of publishing polemics condemning Marxist and progressive academics and writers, thereby ruining dozens of livelihoods. Person traces Japanism's rise to literary and philosophical developments in the late-Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1926) eras, when vitalist theories championed emotion and volition over reason. Founding their ideas of nationalism on the amorphous regions of the human psyche, Japanists labeled liberalism and Marxism as misunderstandings of the national particularities of human experience. For more than a decade, government agents and politicians used Minoda's and Mitsui's publications to remove their political enemies and advance their own agendas. But in time they came to regard both men and other nationalist intellectuals as potential thought criminals. Whether collaborating with the government to crush the voices of class struggle or becoming the targets of police surveillance themselves, Minoda and Mitsui came to embody the paradoxically hegemonic yet arbitrary nature of nationalist ideology in Imperial Japan. In this thorough examination of the Genri Nippon Society and its members, Arbiters of Patriotism provides a tightly argued and compelling account of the cosmopolitan roots and unstable networks of Japanese ethno-nationalism, as well as its self-destructive trajectory.
Published in conjunction with The Asia Society's Festival of Korea, this expanded issue of Korea Briefing provides historical insight into Korea, with retrospective chapters on politics and economics, and illuminates Korea's cultural heritage through chapters on music, dance, and literature. In addition, the political and economic chapters treat events of the past year, outlining the challenges and possibilities facing Kim Young-sam, the newly elected South Korean president. Another chapter examines the implications for U.S. policy toward Korea of Bill Clinton's election to the U.S. presidency. A chapter by the editor describing the U.S. outlook toward Korea is balanced by a chapter on the changes in Korean perspectives on the United States since the Korean War. The Korean American community's struggles in the United States are explored in a chapter that addresses the aftereffects of the Los Angeles riots in the broader context of issues facing the Korean American community.
In this ground-breaking new study, Teren Sevea reveals the economic, environmental and religious significance of Islamic miracle workers (pawangs) in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century Malay world. Through close textual analysis of hitherto overlooked manuscripts and personal interaction with modern pawangs readers are introduced to a universe of miracle workers that existed both in the past and in the present, uncovering connections between miracles and material life. Sevea demonstrates how societies in which the production and extraction of natural resources, as well as the uses of technology, were intertwined with the knowledge of charismatic religious figures, and locates the role of the pawangs in the spiritual economy of the Indian Ocean world, across maritime connections and Sufi networks, and on the frontier of the British Empire.
Why has China grown so fast for so long despite vast corruption? In China's Gilded Age, Yuen Yuen Ang argues that not all types of corruption hurt growth, nor do they cause the same kind of harm. Ang unbundles corruption into four varieties: petty theft, grand theft, speed money, and access money. While the first three types impede growth, access money - elite exchanges of power and profit - cuts both ways: it stimulates investment and growth but produces serious risks for the economy and political system. Since market opening, corruption in China has evolved toward access money. Using a range of data sources, the author explains the evolution of Chinese corruption, how it differs from the West and other developing countries, and how Xi's anti-corruption campaign could affect growth and governance. In this formidable yet accessible book, Ang challenges one-dimensional measures of corruption. By unbundling the problem and adopting a comparative-historical lens, she reveals that the rise of capitalism was not accompanied by the eradication of corruption, but rather by its evolution from thuggery and theft to access money. In doing so, she changes the way we think about corruption and capitalism, not only in China but around the world.
Traveller, soldier, author and adventurer, William Mesny (1842-1919) was born in Jersey but spent the greater part of his life in China, most notably as a decorated officer in the imperial army of the Qing dynasty, rising to the rank of major-general by 1873. He had fought beside 'Chinese Gordon' during the Taiping Rebellion and travelled through a great many provinces in the course of a long and lively career. His experiences, coupled with his ability to consult Chinese sources, equipped him to interpret historical and contemporary events in the East for readers in the West. This 1884 work presents his 'slight historical sketch' of the region that is now northern Vietnam. At the time of publication, French forces were engaged in their Tonkin Campaign and the Sino-French War was about to erupt. Mesny's final chapters include discussion of the Black Flag Army, the scourge of French imperialism.
Land of Plants in Motion is the first in any language to examine two companion stories: (1) the rise of an East Asian floristic zone in deep geological time, how the ancestors of many Japanese plants spread to eastern North America by 5 million years ago, and how the Japanese islands evolved an astonishing wealth of plant species since; and (2) the growth of Japanese botanical sciences, from focusing on herbal medicine and natural history in the Edo period (1600-1868) to developing modern plant biology and amateur botany since the Meiji period (1868-1912). Both paleoclimatological processes and modern commercial motives explain the movement of plants across time and around the world. The majority of plant species regarded as Japanese trace their origins to western China and the eastern Himalaya but are so indigenized that they often seem native today. Early modern scientists in Japan drew on knowledge of Chinese herbal medicine but achieved distinctive insights into plant life commensurate with but separate from their European counterparts. Foreign doctors and plant collectors sent Japanese species abroad in the nineteenth century for scientific study and to adorn ornamental gardens. Scholars at the University of Tokyo pioneered Japanese plant biology in the late nineteenth century, incorporating Western botanical methods but seeking a degree of difference in taxonomy while also gaining international legitimacy through publications in English. Makino Tomitaro and Minakata Kumagusu were extremely productive scholars who promoted public botany among amateur plant aficionados. Japan's age of empire (1895-1945) was one less of exploration than plant collection, for both scientific and economic benefits. Displays of species from throughout the empire made Japan's sphere of colonization and conquest visible at home. The infrastructure for research and instruction expanded slowly after World War Two: new laboratories, botanical gardens, university appointments, scholarly societies, and publications eventually allowed for great diversity of specialized study, especially with the growth of molecular biology in the 1970s and DNA research in the 1980s. Basic research was harmed by cuts in government funding during 2012-2017, but Japanese plant biologists continue to enjoy international esteem in many subfields of scholarship.
First published in 1909, at the midpoint of British occupation, this volume sought to provide the first popular history of Burma (now Myanmar) for British businessmen and visitors otherwise put off by difficulties of translation and understanding. Having lived in Burma for forty years, arriving between the second and third Anglo-Burmese wars, J. Stuart sought to rectify the reduction of Burmese history to barbarism, comparing the struggle for supremacy between historical Burmese factions to the combined history of France, England and Scotland up to James I. To that end, this volume contains a detailed, chronological history from A.D. 639 until 1900 along with 15 illustrations.