The Newsletter 85 Spring 2020

New reviews on

Now available to read online. is the go-to Asian studies book review website, administered by IIAS. The site lists the newest titles in the field of Asian studies and makes them available for review. All reviews are posted online, whilst a lucky few also make it into The Newsletter. Browse a selection of the latest reviews below.;


Writing resistance‘An excellent pathway through the medium of Dalit fiction and literature to get a sense of the realities Dalits still face in India, among other places, today’ – Peter Admirand

Laura R. Brueck. 2017.
Writing Resistance: The Rhetorical Imagination of Hindi Dalit Literature
New Delhi: Primus Books
ISBN 9789384092726

Chinese Script‘Without doubt Hӧllmann has produced a book that … every reader will be delighted to have chosen as a first entry into the world of the Chinese script’ – Arthur Th. Witteveen

Thomas O. Hӧllmann, trans. by Maximiliane Donicht. 2017.
Chinese Script: History, Characters, Calligraphy
New York: Columbia University Press
ISBN 9780231181723



Collecting-Experience-in-the-1930s‘A comprehensive insight into aspects of travelling and collecting in the 1930s in the Pacific and Indonesia’ – Itie van Hout

Fiona Kerlogue and Dagmar Pospíšilová. 2018
Collecting Experience in the 1930s – Indonesian and Pacific Collections of Rȗžena Charlotta Urbanová in the National Museum
Prague: National Museum Prague
ISBN 9788070365779



Shadow-Modernism‘A sensible and indispensable scholarly discovery of literary, photographic, and artistic imaginations of the golden era of early 20th-century Shanghai modernity’ – Lei Ping

William Schaefer. 2017.
Shadow Modernism: Photography, Writing, and Space in Shanghai, 1925-1937
Durham, NC: Duke University Press
ISBN 9780822369196



The-Millennial-Sovereign.jpg‘Ground-breaking and novel study of Iranian and Indian kingship that expertly examines the social processes through which sacred kingship is constructed from the rule of Timur through the Safavids and into the early Mughal period’ – Caleb Simmons

Asfar Moin. 2017.
The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam
Delhi: Primus Books
ISBN 9789384092719



The Regulatory Regime of Food Safety in China‘A new addition to the thriving field of the Chinese food regulatory framework’ – Louis Augustin-Jean

Guanqi Zhou. 2017.
The Regulatory Regime of Food Safety in China: Governance and Segmentation
London: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN 9783319504414



The World in Guangzhou‘A fascinating portrait of the daily functioning of low-end globalization during the early decades of this century … in Guangzhou’ – Hans Schenk

Gordon Mathews with Linessa Dan Lin and Yang Yang. 2017.
The World in Guangzhou: Africans and Other Foreigners in South China’s Global Marketplace
Chicago and London: Chicago University Press
ISBN 9780226506104



Development-and-Distribution‘A timely book on how Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand achieved a transition out of agriculture without an increase in inequality’ – Soundarya Iyer

Andy Sumner. 2018.
Development and Distribution: Structural Change in South East Asia
Oxford: Oxford University Press
ISBN 9780198792369



The-Politics-of-Compassion‘An important lens for us to better understand volunteerism, nationalism, civil society, state–society relations, and moral–political dilemmas in contemporary China’ – Qiaoyun Zhang

Bin Xu. 2017.
The Politics of Compassion: The Sichuan Earthquake and Civic Engagement in China
Stanford: Stanford University Press
ISBN 9781503603363



Bishkek Boys‘This impressively detailed account is not only a fascinating read but one that could be of use to migration and identity scholars, beyond anthropology’ – Charlie Rumsby

Philipp Schröder. 2017.
Bishkek Boys: Neighbourhood Youth and Urban Change in Kyrgyzstan’s Capital
Oxford: Berghan Books
ISBN 9781785337260



The-Business-of-Transition.jpg‘Complex and comprehensive; but needs a collective, concise, and consolidating conclusion’ – Anthony Rausch

Melissa Couch (ed.) 2017.
The Business of Transition: Law Reform, Development and Economics in Myanmar
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
ISBN 9781108416832



Comics-Art-in-China‘Lent and Xu have given the English-speaking world an invaluable resource on the history of graphic narratives in China’ – Richard Miller

John A. Lent and Xu Ying. 2017.
Comics Art in China
Jackson: University Press of Mississippi
ISBN 9781496811745



Urban-Marginalisation-in-South-Asia.jpg‘A Wasted Opportunity’ – Anubhav Pradhan

Nandini Sen. 2018.
Urban Marginalisation in South Asia: Waste Pickers in Calcutta
Abingdon and New York: Routledge
ISBN 9780815357667






Chinese Ways of Being Muslim.jpg‘If any thread unifies this book, it is the myth of the incompatibility of Islam and “Chineseness” and how Chinese Indonesian converts to Islam have acted to counteract that myth since 1998’ – Mary Somers Heidhues

Hew Wai Weng. 2018.  
Chinese Ways of Being Muslim: Negotiating Ethnicity and Religiosity in Indonesia
Copenhagen: NIAS Press
ISBN 9788776942106



Changing-Lives-in-Laos‘Given the paucity of research and writing on contemporary Laos, Changing Lives in Laos: Society, Politics, and Culture in a Post-Socialist State is a welcome addition to the literature’ – Ronald Bruce St John

Vanina Bouté and Vatthana Pholsena (eds). 2018.
Changing Lives in Laos: Society, Politics, and Culture in a Post-Socialist State
Singapore: NUS Press
ISBN 9789814722261



Transcultural-Justice-at-the-Tokyo-TribunalTranscultural Justice, while not always successful, is distinct in viewing the Tokyo Trial as a meeting ground for different national legal cultures’ – Vinay Lal

Kerstin von Lingen (ed.) 2018.
Transcultural Justice at the Tokyo Tribunal: The Allied Struggle for Justice, 1946-48
Leiden: Brill
ISBN 9789004359970



Western Medicine and Colonial Society‘A comprehensive resource for understanding the history of Calcutta’s hospital system’ – Chelsea McGill

Srilata Chatterjee. 2017.
Western Medicine and Colonial Society: Hospitals of Calcutta, c.1757-1860
Delhi: Primus Books
ISBN 9789384092986



Changing Taiwanese Identities‘An uneven collection of articles but nonetheless important for their broad coverage of an under-studied topic’ – David Schak

J. Bruce Jacobs and Peter Kang (eds). 2018.
Changing Taiwanese Identities
Abingdon and New York: Routledge
ISBN 9781138636781