Professors publish new book on Chinese culture

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University of Notre Dame professors Susan D. Blum and Lionel M. Jensen examine contemporary Chinese culture in a new book titled “China off Center: Mapping the Margins of the Middle Kingdom,” published this month by the University of Hawaii Press.p. Blum and Jensen have compiled a collection of interpretative essays and enthographic reports that analyze little-known but significant aspects of Chinese society. Rather than drawing general assumptions about China, the authors present an authentic perspective by relying on testimony from members of the indigenous culture and make the argument that the diverse national terrain is best conceived as it is experienced by the native Chinese. The anthology covers topics such as ethnic minorities, linguistic diversity, competing regional loyalties, sexuality, gender and work, the floating populations, and popular religion.p. “China off Center” has been acclaimed by a wide variety of scholars and critics for exceeding the boundaries of academic analysis. “[The book] is sure to generate lively discussion,” said Victor Mair, professor of Chinese at the University of Pennsylvania. “Its most exciting element is the generous coverage of areas and topics that are usually completely ignored but which will take on increasing importance in coming years.”p. “The book presents scholarly writing that is at once authoritative and a pleasure to read,” said Andrew Nathan, professor of political science at Columbia University. “‘China off Center’ topples the myth of Chinese monolithism and opens the way to a view of China that is more plural, more human, and more true.”p. An associate professor of anthropology, Blum received her doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1994. Her principal research interests lie in the areas of cultural, linguistic and psychological anthropology.p. Jensen received his doctorate from the University of California-Berkeley. He is an associate professor and chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and a concurrent professor of history at Notre Dame. His research focuses on areas of Chinese religion and thought, folklore, early Sino-Western contact, and nationalism.p. p.

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