A Note to Our Readers

Wen-hsin Yeh, University of California, Berkeley
Sungtaek Cho, Korea University

June 2013

Dear Cross-Currents readers,

The research articles featured in the seventh online issue of the Cross-Currents e-journal are connected by the theme “Law, Politics, and Society in Republican China.” These articles represent a selection of the scholarship presented in a fall 2012 workshop organized jointly by the Institute of Modern History of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Institute of East Asian Studies of the University of California, Berkeley, to capture a sense of the changing dynamics in the historiography of Republican China. Wen-hsin Yeh’s introduction to this special issue presents each article and its contributions to this larger effort.

In the June 2013 issue, you will also find three review essays. The first essay, by editorial board member Dana Buntrock (UC Berkeley) presents and compares two 2012 publications about the history and practice of making tea in Japan: Fujimori Terunobu’s Fujimori Terunobu no Chashitsugaku: Nihon no Kyokushō Kūkan no Nazo (Fujimori Terunobu’s tearoom studies: The riddle of Japan’s smallest space) (Rikuyosha) and Kristin Surak’s Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice (Stanford University Press). The juxtaposition is intriguing, as Buntrock concludes: “Fujimori’s tea is one that can accept outside influences; Surak’s sits complacently at the center of an industry built on centuries of history. Surak shares the conventions of tea; Fujimori celebrates its unconventional fringes.”

In the second review essay, Erich DeWald (University Campus Suffolk) reflects on Philippe Peycam’s The Birth of Vietnamese Political Journalism: Saigon, 1916–1930 (Columbia University Press, 2012) and Hue-Tam Ho Tai’s Passion, Betrayal, and Revolution in Colonial Saigon: The Memoirs of Bao Luong (University of California Press, 2010). DeWald suggests that these recent publications are both “significant for their efforts to chart the untidy but vital personal and professional connections that drew Vietnamese into modern politics and, in many cases, revolution.”

The third review essay, by Xiaobing Max Tang (University of Michigan), places the two most recent books by cultural historian Paul Clark in conversation with each other in order to consider the “vast and fast-changing landscape of modern and contemporary Chinese cultural experiences and expressions.” The Chinese Cultural Revolution: A History (2008) and Youth Culture in China: From Red Guards to Netizens (2012) were both published by Cambridge University Press.

For this issue’s “Readings from Asia” section, Yerim Kim (Yonsei University) reviews Sei-jin Chang’s Sangsangdoen America: 1945 nyǒn 8wol ihu Hangukui neisǒn seosanǔn ǒtteoke mandǔleogǒtnǔnga (Imagined America: How national narratives of Korea have been constructed since August 1945) (Purǔn Yeoksa). According to Kim, this 2012 publication offers a shift of scholarly attention by viewing the United States as a construct created by responding agents, rather than as a bounded entity. This perspective, Kim notes, is especially useful when probing relations between South Korea and the United States at the level of culture—more specifically, when examining not the nature of their relations but the kind of imaginary actions that came forth as a result of their relations.

The photographs featured in “The Voyage of the USS Juniata (1883–1885)” are selected from a remarkable collection of five-by-eight-inch glass plate negatives taken by Asa M. Mattice, a U.S. Navy officer on board the Juniata during its three-year expedition to the Far East. Photographer John Dowling, who owns the collection, has restored and digitally scanned the images, in addition to researching them by using Mattice’s brief written identifications as his starting point. The images featured in this issue are accompanied by a curator’s statement by Dowling, as well as by a contextualizing essay written by historian Robert Bickers (University of Bristol).

In addition to the online and print journals, the Cross-Currents project includes a biennial forum that is alternately hosted by Korea University and UC Berkeley. The third forum, held in Seoul from June 27 to 29, 2013, brought forty scholars from Asia and the United States together to present and discuss papers on the theme “Multiple Modernities in East Asia: Everyday Lives, Popular Culture, and the Practice of Technological Governance.” We expect that some of this new research will be published in future issues of Cross-Currents and exposed to the broader audience it deserves.

Please note that you can purchase individual issues of the print version of Cross-Currents, as well as individual and institutional subscriptions, through the University of Hawaii Press website (http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/t-cross-currents.aspx). The open-access online journal is freely available to all.

As always, we look forward to receiving your feedback. Be sure to register here on the Cross-Currents website in order to leave comments for our contributors and join the conversation.


Wen-hsin Yeh  &  Sungtaek Cho