The Newsletter 89 Summer 2021

IBP 2021 German Language Edition

Total number of books submitted: 13

Organizing Entity: Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) 
Secretary: Christiane Brosius 
Acting Secretary: Radha Malkar 
Reading Committee Members: Eva Gerharz and Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka (social sciences); Hans Martin Krämer and Barbara Mittler (humanities)
Sponsor of the IBP 2021 German Edition: Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) 

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AUTHOR: Daniel Leese 

TITLE: Maos langer Schatten. Chinas Umgang mit der Vergangenheit 

PUBLISHER: C.H. Beck, 2020. 

Meticulously researched and elegantly written, rich in detail and daring in its conclusions about none less than timeless questions of dealing with historical guilt, this book takes a pivotal moment in the history of the Chinese Communist Party as its point of departure: the crucial decade after Mao’s death in 1976, which saw significant changes in China’s economy and society. First and foremost, as the book argues, this was a period of transitional justice. While the “mistakes” of late Maoism (e.g. the Cultural Revolution) were attributed to a small group of people, the “Gang of Four”, the Party attempted, at the same time, to do justice to the many who had been implicated in factional fighting and whose “crimes” needed to be rehabilitated. Based on a digital archive at, which contains thousands of uncovered documents (from secret speeches to collections of model cases, oral history transcripts and private petitions), the book enhances our awareness of the importance of the Maoist past for the Chinese present.



IBP German Language 2021 Shortlist

Außer GefechtAUTHOR: Marcel Berni 

TITLE: Außer Gefecht: Leben, Leiden und Sterben »kommunistischer« Gefangener in Vietnams amerikanischem Krieg / Incapacitated: The Life, Suffering and Death of ‘Communist’ Prisoners in Vietnam's American War 

PUBLISHER: Hamburger Edition, 2020. 

Based on a wide range of newly discovered historical sources, this fascinating book provides an in-depth account of the atrocities at the hands of US and South Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam war. In an extraordinarily vivid account, Marcel Berni relentlessly reveals the ‘communist’ prisoners’ experience of violence, and describes the life in prison, harassment and torture.  This book stands out not only for its detailed and dense descriptions, but also for its thorough analysis of the ways in which violence and the enactment of power and control intersect. It also provides insights into how acts of violence are justified and normalised, how they unfold along the hierarchies within the military and how challenging not only the prosecution but also the reappraisal of these traumatising experiences continues to be. 


Argumente des HeiligenAUTHOR: Markus Rüsch 

TITLE: Argumente des Heiligen. Rhetorische Mittel und narrative Strukturen in Hagiographien am Beispiel des japanischen Mönchs Shinran / Arguments about the Holy: Rhetoric Means and Narrative Structures in Hagiographies, Using the Example of the Japanese Monk Shinran 

PUBLISHER: Iudicium Verlag, 2019.  

What appears at first glance to be a rather specialized study on hagiographic texts about a thirteenth-century Japanese monk turns out to be a meticulously polished monograph with great relevance both for literary as well as religious studies. Rüsch develops a methodology for analysing hagiographies that encompasses rhetorical strategies, paratexts, and narratological aspects. He also situates ‘the holy’ as an object of investigation in a way that is not theological but takes the inner religious logic of this concept seriously. Rüsch’s in-depth analysis of hagiographies from the fifteenth to the twentieth century focuses on the interplay of (literary) narrative and (religious) doctrine, an approach that promises to be fruitful for other regions and epochs. 


esuitenerbe in PekingAUTHOR: Lianming Wang 

TITLE: Jesuitenerbe in Peking: Sakralbauten und transkulturelle Räume 1600-1800 / Jesuit Heritage in Beijing: Sacred Buildings and Transcultural Spaces, 1600-1800 

PUBLISHER: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2020. 

This is a very complex and highly interesting enquiry into the material heritage of the Jesuit mission in Peking between 1600 and 1800. The book combines themes of architectural history with urban studies that are examined from a transcultural and global perspective. Wang Lianming discusses architectural styles, religious transnationalism, and religious patronage drawing upon insights from different parts of the world, displaying their connectivities, frontiers and transformations over time. Material representations are also analysed against the backdrop of identity and representational politics. The book provides fascinating insights into the relations between religious and political structures, also delving into the dynamics of public communication. It is clearly written and the written narrative gains from the many photographs and illustrations. 


Auf der Jagd nach der SonneAUTHOR: Tobias Weiß 

TITLE: Auf der Jagd nach der Sonne. Das Journalistisches Feld und die Atomkraft in Japan / Chasing the Sun: The journalistic Field and the Nuclear Power in Japan 

PUBLISHER: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, 2019.  

After the Fukushima accident of 2011, numerous studies devoted to the examination of the anti-nuclear movement in Japan appeared. Yet, the much more interesting question is how the pro-nuclear lobby managed to keep the image of nuclear power positive well into the 21st century, even though it had long since turned negative in many other countries. In his book, Weiß dissects the micro-politics within three large Japanese media companies by combining in-depth interviews with a content analysis of a large body of newspaper articles and historical materials. In the course of doing so, the extraordinary means the Japanese nuclear industry resorted to in order to control public discourse on nuclear power become visible, but at the same time Weiß also shows the significant degree of autonomy some newspapers managed to retain both before and after the Fukushima accident.