A Note to Our Readers

Wen-hsin Yeh, University of California, Berkeley
Sungtaek Cho, Korea University
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September 2013

Dear Cross-Currents readers,

The research articles featured in the eighth issue of the Cross-Currents e-journal are connected by the theme “Bordering China: Modernity and Sustainability.” These articles represent a selection of the scholarship presented at the 2012 Berkeley Summer Research Institute (BSRI), organized jointly by the Institute of East Asian Studies of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan. Participants in the BSRI considered the impact of modernity on—and prospects for sustainability in—communities and identities that cut across the territorial boundaries of the Chinese nation. Wen-hsin Yeh’s introduction to this special issue presents each article and its contributions to this larger effort.

In the September 2013 issue, you will also find a review essay by Haydon Cherry (North Carolina State University) covering two 2013 publications about Ngo Dinh Diem, the first president of the Republic of Vietnam (1955–1963): Jessica Chapman’s Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam (Cornell University Press) and Edward Miller’s Misalliance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and the Fate of South Vietnam (Harvard University Press). Cherry probes these new books for answers to the question of why, by the time Diem was assassinated at the end of 1963, he had lost the support of many of his people, crucial members of his own government, and the United States of America.

In this issue’s “Readings from Asia” section, Kyu Hyun Kim (University of California, Davis) reviews Nakano Satoshi’s Tōnan ajia senryō to nihonjin: Teikoku nihon no kaitai  東南アジア占領と日本人: 帝国・日本の解体 [The occupation of Southeast Asia and the Japanese: Dissolution of the Japanese empire] and Higashi ajia no kioku no ba  東アジアの記憶の場 [The site of memories in East Asia], edited by Itagaki Ryūta, Chŏng Chi-yŏng, and Iwasaki Minoru. Kim recommends both books, with their “even-handed understanding of the corrective power of memory as well as its pitfalls,” to Japanese-language readers interested in the intersection of memory and history, as well as to students of modern Japanese and Korean history.

The photographs featured in “Chinese Leisure Scenes through Sidney Gamble’s Camera” have been selected for Cross-Currents from a large collection of nitrate negatives taken by sociologist, China scholar, and avid amateur photographer Sidney D. Gamble. Luo Zhou, the curator of the collection, which is held in the library archives at Duke University, provides background and context for the collection and the images she selected in an accompanying essay.

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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