Note to Readers

John Lie, University of California, Berkeley
Sungtaek Cho, Korea University

December 2014

Dear Cross-Currents readers,

We are pleased to present you with the thirteenth quarterly issue of the Cross-Currents e-journal.

Unlike many of our past issues, which have had a unifying thematic focus, the current issue features individually submitted China-related research articles whose topics cover scouting, gardens, wartime cartoons, copper mining, and patriotic music. You will appreciate that these articles take full advantage of our online format by including plenty of full-color photographs and maps. One article—“‘Music for a National Defense’: Making Martial Music during the Anti-Japanese War,” by Joshua H. Howard (Mississippi)—is also enhanced by links to audiovisual presentations of some of the songs analyzed in the text.

In a brief essay titled, “Key Issues in Historical Anthropology: A View from ‘South China,’” Helen Siu (Yale) provides an overview of the analytical themes to which she, David Faure, and other China historians from the cohort who did fieldwork in China in the late 1970s have devoted their academic careers. The essay serves at once as a self-reflective intellectual history, literature review, and genealogy for the interdisciplinary group of scholars that came to be known as the “South China Gang” (a regionalized identity Siu rejects). Siu concludes her piece by expressing the hope that she and her colleagues “can share [their] ‘history-in-the-field’ perspectives with a younger generation eager to engage an Asian renaissance.”

The December 2014 issue also includes a review essay by Margaret Kuo (CSU Long Beach) that discusses two new contributions to the study of gender and the historical politics of female infanticide and prostitution regulation in China: Michelle T. King’s Between Birth and Death: Female Infanticide in Nineteenth-Century China (Stanford, 2014) and Elizabeth J. Remick’s Regulating Prostitution in China: Gender and Local Statebuilding, 1900–1937 (Stanford, 2014). Kuo finds that these works “are both compelling historical studies that use gender as a category of analysis to make important contributions to our understanding of the construction of the modern Chinese state, the periodization of modern Chinese history, and the political and cultural significance of controlling the female body.” Both King and Remick should be admired, she concludes, “for the exemplary way in which they have written these rather depressing subjects into fascinating histories.”

This issue’s photo essay—“Tibet in the 1930s: Theos Bernard’s Legacy at UC Berkeley”—features images taken in 1936 and 1937 by American yoga master, Buddhist, explorer, and writer Theos Casimir Bernard (1908–1947) and his Tibetan assistant, Gegen Dorje Tharchin. The photos in this essay—selected by UC Berkeley’s Jacob Dalton and Caverlee Cary—are from Bernard’s estate and are housed at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Julia M. White, Senior Curator for Asian Art at the UC Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive, provides historical and institutional context to enhance your appreciation of the significance of these photographs and the archive more generally.

The “Readings from Asia” feature will resume in the March 2014 online issue of Cross-Currents.

We hope you enjoy reading this issue. As always, we look forward to receiving your feedback. Be sure to register here on our website in order to leave comments for our contributors and join the conversation.

We look forward to seeing some of you at the Association for Asian Studies annual conference in Chicago at the end of the March. Please stop by booth #515 in the exhibit hall and introduce yourself!


John Lie and Sungtaek Cho