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.
This book explores the mutual constitutions of visuality and empire from the perspective of gender, probing how the lives of China’s ethnic minorities at the southwest frontiers were translated into images. Two sets of visual materials make up its core sources: the Miao album, a genre of ethnographic illustration depicting the daily lives of non-Han peoples in late imperial China, and the ethnographic photographs found in popular Republican-era periodicals. It highlights gender ideals within images and develops a set of “visual grammar” of depicting the non-Han. Casting new light on a spectrum of gendered themes, including femininity, masculinity, sexuality, love, body and clothing, the book examines how the power constructed through gender helped to define, order, popularise, celebrate and imagine possessions of empire.
Censorship in Colonial Indonesia, 1901–1942 Nobuto Yamamoto examines the institutionalization of censorship and its symbiosis with print culture in the Netherlands Indies. Born from the liberal desire to promote the well-being of the colonial population, censorship was not practiced exclusively in repressive ways but manifested in constructive policies and stimuli, among which was the cultivation of the “native press” under state patronage. Censorship in the Indies oscillated between liberal impulse and the intrinsic insecurity of a colonial state in the era of nationalism and democratic governance. It proved unpredictable in terms of outcomes, at times being co-opted by resourceful activists and journalists, and susceptible to international politics as it transformed during the Sino-Japanese war of the 1930s.