Press news

AAS underway
from Press News, posted 03/27/2015 - 17:23

 The AAS annual conference is now underway in Chicago and, despite the overnight snowstorm and wobbly internet connection it is cheery inside. Within minutes of the book exhibition opening an hour ago, we had a faithful scholar passing by to say hello, Craig Lockard from U. Wisconsin (please excuse the shaky picture).

NIAS Press editor in chief Gerald Jackson will be on duty at our stand (#411, across from Hawaii) for much of the conference. If you are at the AAS, please call by and say hello.

Gerald will also be presenting at a publishing panel tomorrow morning (What Editors Look for, and Common Mistakes by Authors).


 

New catalogue
from Press News, posted 03/26/2015 - 19:58

With so many new NIAS titles are being announced right now, we have released an extra ‘Spring 2015’ catalogue. Among these titles are a flashback to events in 1945 presented in a radical new way that includes daily ‘broadcasts’; a journey inside China’s contested internet; an alternative guide to Phnom Penh’s little-known attractions – and many more.

No, this is not the catalogue cover that you see opposite but that for an older catalogue – all due to a small technical problem (unavailability of our IT guy, Bernd, to swap a file). We trust that the correct cover will be there soon.

However, if you click on the old cover opposite, you'll be taken inside our new catalogue. We hope you are as excited by these new offerings as we are.


 

Long-listed
from Press News, posted 03/26/2015 - 16:46

News just in the other day – two NIAS Press books have been long-listed as best Social Science title for the ICAS Book Prize. These are Chris Hudson’s Beyond Singapore Girl anf Philip Taylor’s Khmer Lands of Vietnam. They are two out of 10 Social Science titles long-listed, in all 175 books submitted.

Congratulations to both Chris and Philip!

Remember that, in addition to the two book prizes (the other for the Humanities), there is also the IBP 2015 Colleague’s Choice Award. Cast your vote for your favourite book among the 175 submitted books. The polling booth will be open until 16 June 2015.

 


 

Uniquely comprehensive
from Press News, posted 02/05/2015 - 13:14

A review of Modern China-Myanmar Relations by David I. Steinberg and Hongwei Fan has just been received. Appearing in the Fall 2014 issue of the Journal of Cold War Studies, Balázs Szalontai of Kwangwoon University writes:

This book, a breathtakingly panoramic analysis of Sino-Burmese relations from 1949 to the present, demonstrates that this traditionally neutralist Southeast Asian country occupied a more significant role in Beijing’s Cold War strategy than one would assume from the standard monographs on China’s policy in Asia, focused as they are on the battlefields of Korea and Indochina.

The strategic importance of Burma/Myanmar is nowhere more apparent than in this map from a recent NIAS publication.

Balázs Szalontai concludes:

All in all, this book is a uniquely comprehensive monograph on post–1949 Sino-Burmese political, security, and economic relations. … Steinberg and Fan masterfully integrate the history of the Sino-Burmese partnership into the larger context of Cold War politics and by doing so illuminate the Cold War from a novel angle. Furthermore, the observations they make on various aspects of recent Chinese-Myanmar cooperation—such as the nationalist Burmese leadership’s unwillingness to become too subordinated to its colossal neighbor—offer valuable lessons for specialists of Sino–North Korean relations too.

This very positive review is not the first we have received for the book but its positive judgement is in line with the others. Not for nothing did Robert H. Taylor write in 2013 “Modern China-Myanmar Relations will be an essential reference work for years to come.”


 

Snow flurries and Hong Kong
from Press News, posted 02/03/2015 - 12:47

So far this year, winter has had little of its old bite. Eren Zink’s fine study of global warming seems especially relevant right now. However, yesterday the snow fell much of the day and a few flurries continue today, lightening up the post-Christmas drabness, as can be seen out of one of the windows in the Press office (we are blessed with three).

“Flurries” in more ways than one … Recently, there’s been a flurry of book reviews coming in. Typical here is the case of Negotiating Autonomy in Greater China: Hong Kong and its Sovereign Before and After 1997, edited by Ray Yep, which was published 18 months ago but is only now garnering reviews in the journals (a matter of frustration given the rich topicality of the volume).

Last week was the turn of China Information (28:3), in which John M. Carroll of the University of Hong Kong wrote:

The premise of this exceptionally well-focused collection of essays is that Hong Kong’s autonomy has always been a process of negotiation, and that understanding how autonomy becomes political reality requires analysing it within a complex range of interactions between London and Hong Kong and between the PRC’s centre and its periphery regions.

And now today, in the China Journal (no. 73), Alvin Y. So of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology writes:

All the chapters in this book are interesting and well-written. The book sheds new light on the contentious process of negotiating autonomy by offering insights from scholars from different disciplines (including political science, public administration, sociology, law and history) and researchers from different social backgrounds, including expatriates who have served and lived in Hong Kong for decades; local academics born in Hong Kong who are well versed in Western and liberal ideas; and overseas Chinese who crave an identity distinctive from the mainland regime. The richness and sophistication of this book is enhanced by the diversity in perspective, discipline and case materials, as well as the different personal backgrounds of the authors.

Quite.


 

First books in 2015
from Press News, posted 01/13/2015 - 17:37

The first two titles of 2015 have showed up at our NIAS Press office (and are out there in the wider world, hopefully coming to a bookshop or library near you). Both books coincidentally deal with important issues affecting China –territorial disputes and the environment.

This made for a perfect opportunity to charter Karolina to present the books in true NIAS Press fashion!

On the left we have Coping with Calamity: Environmental Change and Peasant Response in Central China, 1736-1949 by Jiayan Zhang, an important contribution to the field of environmental history, providing unique insights on the Jianghan Plain (Central China) and its volatile environment.

Then on the right, shining under an ornamental pragmatic dragon hanging in our office, we have Eric Hyer’s The Pragmatic Dragon: China's Grand Strategy and Boundary Settlements. This title provides a comprehensive and detailed treatment of China's various border issues and negotiations, and examines the strategic environment in which China has operated.

And there’s more. The two massive volumes on the Danish Royal Library’s Japanese and Korean collections (mentioned in October after the printer’s proofs were checked by Gerald when he passed through Singapore) should have been soon reaching our shores but for a glitch discovered in the jackets of both volumes. This morning we heard that all is now fine and the books will be on their way.

More about that later.


 

Number 1
from Press News, posted 12/19/2014 - 13:13

Certainly, the hot new NIAS Press title this year has been Burma/Myanmar - Where Now? edited by Mikael Gravers and Flemming Ytzen. But the hotness is now official. The news just in is that the book is #1 on TripAdvisor's recommended reading list for Myanmar

That is not surprising - but well done all the people who made it happen!

(More about the book here.)


 

New titles on their way
from Press News, posted 10/30/2014 - 12:36

If you look at the 'Forthcoming' section of the Press website right now you'll see only one book sitting there. This is misleading; a whole lot of new books are on their way but haven't been announced on our website yet. Likewise there is a new catalogue being loaded on the website real soon.

Two new titles are well advanced, both belonging to our COMDC series of catalogues from the Royal Library in Copenhagen - vol. 10.1 (Japanese manuscripts and rare books) and vol. 10.2 (Korean).

NIAS Press editor in chief Gerald Jackson was in Singapore recently and found time to visit our printer there to check the proofs of both volumes.

We are pleased to report that both sets of proofs looked great and the volumes are now being printed with the first copies available by Christmas.

If you are interested to learn more about such printers proofs, a fuller explanation is here.


 

The Banning of a Book in the Maldives
from Press News, posted 09/22/2014 - 12:12

Trying to find out about the process in which my book has been banned by the current Maldivian regime has reminded me of Franz Kafka's 'the Castle'. It has given me insight, although this would imply that I have at least seen something -which I didn't, in the hidden and uncanny ways the Maldivian government works.

For the past six months I have been seeking to elucidate why my publisher NIAS Press has had no success trying to get my book 'Folktales of the Maldives' published and distributed in the Maldives.

The place would be an ideal market since there is a big tourist industry and this is the first time a comprehensive collection of traditional tales is published in one volume. Long ago the publisher approached Novelty and the months passed. I was telling him to be patient. Maldivians are usually very slow, and things in the islands take time. But two years have passed and this is far from normal. After much prying I have found out from my Maldivian friends that somebody high up is blocking the permission to publish and distribute. Letters and applications are useless. They say that it must be someone very powerful within the administration. They made it clear this is no second-level official, but a topmost figure who is unshakable and very secure in their high position. The process is subtle and absolutely noiseless.

To the local would-be publisher a discreet hint is given from above; he is quick to realize that this is really a command, and freezes on the spot, immediately submitting to the will of the lofty master. Following this brief but intense event, no acknowledgement whatsoever is made that there has been a vehement order forbidding the publication of the book. The person receiving the "hint" will protect the source, keeping mum about the fact that any such powerful veto has been given. The increasingly desperate reminders of the foreign publisher are repeatedly ignored in the hope that NIAS just gets weary of requesting. A pall of silence falls after the last puzzled appeals, and the potential questions hang in the air. Thus the book has been banned.

I got this assurance that the book has definitely been banned only after much inquiring and from a couple of good sources who are too afraid to be named.

Now the questions in my mind are: 'Why has this book on local tales been forbidden?' Is there someone who wants to keep the folklore of the country buried? Could it be that the current administration does not want to be seen as promoting syncretistic traditions? Do religious hardliners truly have a lot of weight within the system? Do they feel threatened by customs that are not strictly Islamic, but which still are very much part of the character of the nation? It is difficult to know.

~Xavier Romero-Frias

 


 

Grant Evans
from Press News, posted 09/17/2014 - 14:16

We have just heard the following sad news from Justin McDaniel on the TLC list:

I am very sad to announce the news of the passing of one of the greatest scholars of Southeast Asian Studies in the last century. Grant Evans, author of numerous ground-breaking books and friend and mentor to many people in the field, passed away from cancer on 16 September 2014. I thank Ian Baird and Nick Enfield for informing me. They have no details about his memorial at this time, but I will send any information out when I hear. He passed away in his home with friends and family.

Thanks to Philip Taylor for the advice.

As well as editing Where China Meets Southeast Asia and contributing to such other NIAS publications as Contesting Visions of the Lao Past, Grant undertook peer reviews for us and generally offered critical support to many scholars in the field. He will be sorely missed.


 

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