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SOAS China Institute

Recent Publlcations

The Mongol Century: Visual Cultures of Yuan China, 1271-1368
The Mongol Century: Visual Cultures of Yuan China, 1271-1368

McCausland, Shane 
Reaktion Books, 2014

The Mongol Century explores the visual world of China’s Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), the spectacular but short-lived regime founded by Khubilai Khan, regarded as the pre-eminent khanate of the Mongol empire.

This book illuminates the Yuan era – full of conflicts and complex interactions between Mongol power and Chinese heritage – by delving into the visual history of its culture. Shane McCausland considers how Mongol governance and values imposed a new order on China’s culture and how a sedentary, agrarian China posed specific challenges to the Mongols’ militarist and nomadic lifestyle. He also explores how an unusual range of expectations and pressures were placed on Yuan culture: the idea that visual culture could create cohesion across a diverse yet hierarchical society, while balancing Mongol desires for novelty and display with Chinese concerns about posterity.

 

Ethical Eating in the Postsocialist and Socialist World
Ethical Eating in the Postsocialist and Socialist World

Jung, Yuson and Klein, Jakob A. and Caldwell, Melissa L., eds. 
University of California Press, 2014

Current discussions of the ethics around alternative food movements--concepts such as "local," "organic," and "fair trade"--tend to focus on their growth and significance in advanced capitalist societies. In this groundbreaking contribution to critical food studies, editors Yuson Jung, Jakob A. Klein, and Melissa L. Caldwell explore what constitutes "ethical food" and "ethical eating" in socialist and formerly socialist societies. With essays by anthropologists, sociologists, and geographers, this politically nuanced volume offers insight into the origins of alternative food movements and their place in today's global economy. Collectively, the essays cover discourses on food and morality; the material and social practices surrounding production, trade, and consumption; and the political and economic power of social movements in Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Lithuania, Russia, and Vietnam. Scholars and students will gain important historical and anthropological perspective on how the dynamics of state-market-citizen relations continue to shape the ethical and moral frameworks guiding food practices around the world.

 

An Early Chinese Commentary on the Ekottarika-agama
An Early Chinese Commentary on the Ekottarika-āgama: The Fenbie gongde lun 分別功德論 and the History of the Translation of the Zengyi ahan jing 增一阿含經 

Palumbo, Antonello
Taipei: Fagu Wenhua – Dharma Drum, 2013

This study reassesses an old problem in the history of Chinese Buddhism, the origins and nature of the Zengyi ahan jing 增一阿含經 (Taishō 125). It does so by a close investigation of the Chinese translation of the Ekottarika-āgama at the end of the fourth century and of its most important witness, the Fenbie gongde lun 分別功德論 (Taishō 1507). It is argued that the latter document, whose original title was Zengyi ahan jing shu 增一阿含經疏, should be seen as an unfinished commentary to the newly translated collection, produced within the original translation team (including Dao'an 道安, Zhu Fonian 竺佛念 and the Indo-Bactrian master Dharmananda) during the tumultuous end of the Later Qin 後秦 empire in A.D. 385. This reconstruction yields further insights into the cultural origins of the Chinese Ekottarika-āgama, and its broader significance for the history of Buddhism.

Christopher A. Daily (2013). Robert Morrison and the Protestant Plan for China.
Robert Morrison and the Protestant Plan for China

Daily, Christopher A
Hong Kong University Press, 2013

This book critically explores the preparations and strategies behind this first Protestant mission to China. It argues that, whilst introducing Protestantism into China, Morrison worked to a standard template developed by his tutor David Bogue at the Gosport Academy in England. By examining this template alongside Morrison’s archival collections, the book demonstrates the many ways in which Morrison’s influential mission must be seen within the historical and ideological contexts of British evangelism. The result is this new interpretation of the beginnings of Protestant Christianity in China.