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Chinese Character Manipulation in Literature and Divination

The Zichu by Zhou Lianggong (1612–1672)

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Anne Kathrin Schmiedl

In Chinese Character Manipulation in Literature and Divination, Anne Schmiedl analyses the little-studied method of Chinese character manipulation as found in imperial sources. Focusing on one of the most famous and important works on this subject, the Zichu by Zhou Lianggong (1612–1672), Schmiedl traces and discusses the historical development and linguistic properties of this method. This book represents the first thorough study of the Zichu and the reader is invited to explore how, on the one hand, the educated elite leveraged character manipulation as a literary play form. On the other hand, as detailed exhaustively by Schmiedl, practitioners of divination also used and altered the visual, phonetic, and semantic structure of Chinese characters to gain insights into events and objects in the material world.

Divining with Achi and Tārā

Comparative Remarks on Tibetan Dice and Mālā Divination: Tools, Poetry, Structures, and Ritual Dimensions

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Jan-Ulrich Sobisch

Divining with Achi and Tārā is a book on Tibetan methods of prognostics with dice and prayer beads ( mālā). Jan-Ulrich Sobisch offers a thorough discussion of Chinese, Indian, Turkic, and Tibetan traditions of divination, its techniques, rituals, tools, and poetic language. Interviews with Tibetan masters of divination introduce the main part with a translation of a dice divination manual of the deity Achi that is still part of a living tradition. Solvej Nielsen contributes further interviews, a mālā divination of Tārā and its oral tradition, and very useful glossaries of the terminology of Tibetan divination and fortune telling. Appendices provide lists of deities and spirits and of numerous identified ritual remedies and supports that are an essential element of a still vibrant Tibetan culture.

Masters of Psalmody (bimo)

Scriptural Shamanism in Southwestern China

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Aurélie Névot

In Masters of Psalmody (bimo ) Aurélie Névot analyses the religious, political and theoretical issues of a scriptural shamanism observed in southwestern China among the Yi-Sani. Her focus is on blood sacrifices and chants based on a secret and labile writing handled only by ritualists called bimo.

Through ethnographic data, the author presents the still little known bimo metaphysics and unravels the complexity of the local text-based ritual system in which the continuity of each bimo lineage relies on the transmission of manuscripts whose writing relates to lineage blood. While illuminating the usages of this shamanistic tradition that is characterized by scriptural variability between patrilineages, Aurélie Névot highlights the radical changes it is undergoing by becoming a Chinese state tradition.

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Edited by William Hurst

This collection includes seven essays translated from the leading Chinese-language journal Open Times. Bringing together a wide range of leading experts across several disciplines, this book offers critical insights on some of the most important questions of contemporary urban Chinese politics and society. Drawing on extensive research across different localities and issues in China, the chapters offer rich data and fresh analyses of the shifting contours of urban governance, social mobilization and contention, and mechanisms of social control in the new Millennium. Taken together, this collection represents the most comprehensive look in some years at how urban Chinese political institutions have adapted and responded to challenges and how social actors and groups have mobilized to press for redress of substantial new grievances.

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Edited by Letian Zhang and Yunxiang Yan

This rare unusual collection contains a total of 774 letters, most of which were written by a couple, Mr. Lu and Ms. Jiang, who lived apart for more than fifteen years between 1961 and 1986 and relied mainly on letter-writing to communicate. They passionately revealed romantic love and conjugal compassion to each other; they discussed mundane details of everyday family life including management of the household economy, efforts of interacting with in-laws, relatives, and friends, learning course of raising children, and strategies of coping with financial hardship. They also sincerely engaged each other in a soul-searching process of making themselves into socialist subjects and participating in various political campaigns.

The content of these letters is as rich and complicated as the flow of life itself in which the personal, economic and political are intermingled together. The degree of sincerity and honesty in these letters is greater than that in many other kinds of historical data because the authors are not writing for public consumption. This rare collection of personal letters presents not only a huge amount of original and disaggregated data but also constitutes an oral history of social life in China that is unintentionally being recorded by the authors.

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Edited by Letian Zhang, Fuqun Xi and Yunxiang Yan

This book presents a complete set of the daily work journals by a village cadre, Mr. Zhou Shengkang (1926-2012), from 1961 to 1982. Mr. Zhou carefully—and almost religiously—recorded all the meetings he attended or chaired, the information he received from his superiors, the various speeches and work tasks he completed, records of good and bad behavior by fellow villagers, details on village elections and leadership changes, and political campaigns and other important events in the community, plus his personal observations and reflections on these events.

To date such a systematic, rich, and detailed set of original work journal records have never appeared in published form or been made available to the public. When used as records of social history, Zhou’s work journals allow researchers to delve more deeply, and when used for comparative purposes, researchers can explore more widely to gain additional insights. Regardless of how the journals are used, they contain a gold mine of information waiting to be explored and uncovered.

Managing Frontiers in Qing China

The Lifanyuan and Libu Revisited

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Edited by Dittmar Schorkowitz and Ning CHIA

In Managing Frontiers in Qing China, historians and anthropologists explore China's imperial expansion in Inner Asia, focusing on early Qing empire-building in Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet, and beyond – Central Asian perspectives and comparisons to Russia's Asian empire are included. Taking an institutional-historical and historical-anthropological approach, the essays engage with two Qing agencies well-known for their governance of non-Han groups: the Lifanyuan and Libu.
This volume offers a comprehensive overview of the Lifanyuan and Libu, revising and assessing the state of affairs in the under-researched field of these two institutions. The contributors explore the imperial policies towards and the shifting classifications of minority groups in the Qing Empire, explicitly pairing and comparing the Lifanyuan and Libu as in some sense cognate agencies. This text offers insight into how China's past has continued to inform its modern policies, as well as the geopolitical make-up of East Asia and beyond.
Contributors include: Uradyn E. Bulag, Chia Ning, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Nicola DiCosmo, Dorothea Heuschert-Laage, Laura Hostetler, Fabienne Jagou, Mei-hua Lan, Dittmar Schorkowitz, Song Tong, Michael Weiers,Ye Baichuan, Yuan Jian, Zhang Yongjiang.

Mapping China

Peasants, Migrant Workers and Informal Labor

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Edited by Chongqing Wu

This collection includes seven articles from the journal Open Times, a window into contemporary Chinese academic trends. All the articles deal with the topic of “peasants, migrant workers and informal labor,” but each has a different emphasis.

It illustrates various ways that people from a countryside make use of local social resources to seek out ways to making a living. In these models, we can still see traditional social networks, various degrees of ties based on kinship and locality, and the existence of humans as social groups. It also analyzes Dagongmei’s collective actions to fight against the capital and patriarchy, workers’ collective resistance at OEM factories, and the impacts of labor migration on rural poverty and inequality.

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Laurence Roulleau-Berger

Within a movement towards the circulation and globalisation of knowledge, new centres and new peripheries form and new hierarchies appear - more or less discretely - producing competition and rivalry in the development of “new” knowledge. Centres of gravity in social sciences have been displaced towards Asia, especially China. We have entered a period of de-westernization of knowledge and co-production of transnational knowledge. This is a scientific revolution in the social sciences which imposes detours, displacements, reversals. It means a turning point in the history of social sciences. From the Chinese experience in sociology the author is opening a Post-Western Space where after Post-Colonial Studies, she is speaking about the emergence of a Post-Western Sociology.

Family and Social Change in Socialist and Post-Socialist Societies

Change and Continuity in Eastern Europe and East Asia

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Edited by Zsombor Rajkai

In Family and Social Change in Socialist and Post-Socialist Societies, the authors address the social transformations of eight transitional societies in recent decades (Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, China and Vietnam). Each chapter discusses a different society and reveals their struggles in the reconstruction of the intimate and public spheres amid the post-Cold War period.

Making use of a semi-structured analytical framework, the respective chapters address the ambiguous relationship between familism and individualisation seen through change and continuity in demographic behaviour, family values, family solidarity, gender relations, state policy and marketisation. The volume also outlines the possibility of a modified second demographic transition theory as a correction of Western-based interpretations of current social trends.

Contributors include: Zsombor Rajkai, Yulia Gradskova, Lyudmyla Males, Tymur Sandrovych, Maƚgorzata Sikorska, Peter Guráň, Jarmila Filadelfiová, Miloš Debnár, Csaba Dupcsik, Olga Tóth, Borbála Kovács, Zhou Weihong, Liu Wenrong, Xue Yali, Nguyen Huu Minh, Chang Kyung-Sup.