井底之蛙

3/21/2008

Help me pick some books

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 10:38 am

Book order forms for the Fall are on my desk again, and again I am going to ask for any advice people might feel like sending my way. The two Asia courses I am teaching are Modern Japan and Introduction to Asian Studies.

Introduction to Asian Studies is the tricky one. It is supposed to introduce our Asian Studies majors and minors to the study of Asia. I learned from my evaluations last time that some of them expect the class to cover all the societies of Asia from all possible disciplinary perspectives. I am a bit more modest in my goals and usually build the class around four or five books and a couple of movies that deal with several different parts of Asia from various disciplines.

The theme for this time will be “Protest and Dissent in Asia”  and I was thinking of using

-Multatuli Max Havelaar: Or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company Indonesia, colonialism, and it’s a novel!

-Apter and Sawa Against the State:Politics and Social Protest in Japan Japan and Political Science. Has anyone used this?

-Nir Rosen In the Belly of the Green Bird: The Triumph of the Martyrs in Iraq Iraq (obviously) and journalism. I like making them read something by a journalist, since they read a lot of journalism stuff anyway and should learn how to work with it. This title jumped out at me, but It has not arrived yet and I have not yet read it. Any other suggestions?

John W. Dardess Blood and History in China: The Donglin Faction and its Repression 1620-1627  China and history. I have my doubts about this. I liked it, but will it work for students? I like making them realize that the world existed before 1800, but this book may not work. There must be some biography or whatever of some pre-modern dissident that is out in paperback. Maybe do Keene’s Frog in a Well  and dump Apter and do something Poly-Sci ish on China, like Lee’s Against the Law: Labor Protests in China’s Rustbelt and Sunbelt?(really more Anthro than poly-sci, actually)

Basically, I am looking for good books that will stick with students. Any recommendations are most welcome.

For the Modern Japan class I am going to use a textbook and probably

-Walthall The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration
The one stop shop for all your Late Tokugawa society, Meiji politics Gender and Economics stuff.

-Kawabata The Scarlet Gang of Asukusa looks very good, although I have not used it before. Has anyone tried this?

-Then something postwar. But what? I did Embracing Defeat last time and it worked o.k., although I think it was a bit too long.

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