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Robo Sapiens Japanicus

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Robo Sapiens Japanicus

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Robo Sapiens Japanicus by Jennifer Robertson Book Summary:

Japan is arguably the first postindustrial society to embrace the prospect of human-robot coexistence. Over the past decade, Japanese humanoid robots designed for use in homes, hospitals, offices, and schools have become celebrated in mass and social media throughout the world. In Robo sapiens japanicus, Jennifer Robertson casts a critical eye on press releases and public relations videos that misrepresent robots as being as versatile and agile as their science fiction counterparts. An ethnography and sociocultural history of governmental and academic discourse of human-robot relations in Japan, this book explores how actual robots—humanoids, androids, and animaloids—are “imagineered” in ways that reinforce the conventional sex/gender system and political-economic status quo. In addition, Robertson interrogates the notion of human exceptionalism as she considers whether “civil rights” should be granted to robots. Similarly, she juxtaposes how robots and robotic exoskeletons reinforce a conception of the “normal” body with a deconstruction of the much-invoked Theory of the Uncanny Valley.

Robo Sapiens Japanicus

Robo Sapiens Japanicus [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Robo Sapiens Japanicus by Jennifer Robertson Book Summary:

Japan is arguably the first postindustrial society to embrace the prospect of human-robot coexistence. Over the past decade, Japanese humanoid robots designed for use in homes, hospitals, offices, and schools have become celebrated in mass and social media throughout the world. In Robo sapiens japanicus, Jennifer Robertson casts a critical eye on press releases and public relations videos that misrepresent robots as being as versatile and agile as their science fiction counterparts. An ethnography and sociocultural history of governmental and academic discourse of human-robot relations in Japan, this book explores how actual robots—humanoids, androids, and animaloids—are “imagineered” in ways that reinforce the conventional sex/gender system and political-economic status quo. In addition, Robertson interrogates the notion of human exceptionalism as she considers whether “civil rights” should be granted to robots. Similarly, she juxtaposes how robots and robotic exoskeletons reinforce a conception of the “normal” body with a deconstruction of the much-invoked Theory of the Uncanny Valley.

Robo sapiens japanicus

Robo Sapiens Japanicus [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Robo sapiens japanicus by Jennifer Robertson Book Summary:

Japan is arguably the first postindustrial society to embrace the prospect of human-robot coexistence. Over the past decade, Japanese humanoid robots designed for use in homes, hospitals, offices, and schools have become celebrated in mass and social media throughout the world. In Robo sapiens japanicus, Jennifer Robertson casts a critical eye on press releases and public relations videos that misrepresent robots as being as versatile and agile as their science fiction counterparts. An ethnography and sociocultural history of governmental and academic discourse of human-robot relations in Japan, this book explores how actual robots—humanoids, androids, and animaloids—are “imagineered” in ways that reinforce the conventional sex/gender system and political-economic status quo. In addition, Robertson interrogates the notion of human exceptionalism as she considers whether “civil rights” should be granted to robots. Similarly, she juxtaposes how robots and robotic exoskeletons reinforce a conception of the “normal” body with a deconstruction of the much-invoked Theory of the Uncanny Valley.

Empire of Hope

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Empire of Hope by David Leheny Book Summary:

Empire of Hope asks how emotions become meaningful in political life. In a diverse array of cases from recent Japanese history, David Leheny shows how sentimental portrayals of the nation and its global role reflect a durable story of hopefulness about the country's postwar path. From the medical treatment of conjoined Vietnamese children, victims of Agent Orange, the global promotion of Japanese popular culture, a tragic maritime accident involving a US Navy submarine, to the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster, this story has shaped the way in which political figures, writers, officials, and observers have depicted what the nation feels. Expressions of national emotion do several things: they construct the boundaries of the national body, they inform and discipline appropriate expression, and they depoliticize messy problems that threaten to produce divisive questions about winners and losers. Most important, they work because they appear to be natural, simple and expected expressions of how the nation shares feeling, even when they paper over the extraordinary divergence in how the nation's citizens experience each incident. In making its arguments, Empire of Hope challenges how we read the relations between emotion and politics by arguing—unlike those who build from the neuroscientific turn in the social sciences or those developing affect theory in the humanities—that the focus should be on emotional representation rather than on emotion itself.

Takarazuka

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Takarazuka by Jennifer Robertson Book Summary:

The all-female Takarazuka Revue is world-famous today for its rococo musical productions, including gender-bending love stories, torridly romantic liaisons in foreign settings, and fanatically devoted fans. But that is only a small part of its complicated and complicit performance history. In this sophisticated and historically grounded analysis, anthropologist Jennifer Robertson draws from over a decade of fieldwork and archival research to explore how the Revue illuminates discourses of sexual politics, nationalism, imperialism, and popular culture in twentieth-century Japan. The Revue was founded in 1913 as a novel counterpart to the all-male Kabuki theater. Tracing the contradictory meanings of Takarazuka productions over time, with special attention to the World War II period, Robertson illuminates the intricate web of relationships among managers, directors, actors, fans, and social critics, whose clashes and compromises textured the theater and the wider society in colorful and complex ways. Using Takarazuka as a key to understanding the "logic" of everyday life in Japan and placing the Revue squarely in its own social, historical, and cultural context, she challenges both the stereotypes of "the Japanese" and the Eurocentric notions of gender performance and sexuality.

Miyazakiworld

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Miyazakiworld by Susan Napier Book Summary:

The story of filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki's life and work, including his significant impact on Japan and the world A thirtieth-century toxic jungle, a bathhouse for tired gods, a red-haired fish girl, and a furry woodland spirit—what do these have in common? They all spring from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki, one of the greatest living animators, known worldwide for films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and The Wind Rises. Japanese culture and animation scholar Susan Napier explores the life and art of this extraordinary Japanese filmmaker to provide a definitive account of his oeuvre. Napier insightfully illuminates the multiple themes crisscrossing his work, from empowered women to environmental nightmares to utopian dreams, creating an unforgettable portrait of a man whose art challenged Hollywood dominance and ushered in a new chapter of global popular culture.

Branding Japanese Food

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Branding Japanese Food by Katarzyna J. Cwiertka,Yasuhara Miho Book Summary:

Branding Japanese Food is the first book in English on the use of food for the purpose of place branding in Japan. At the center of the narrative is the 2013 inscription of “Washoku, traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese, notably for the celebration of New Year” on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The authors challenge the very definition of washoku as it was presented in the UNESCO nomination, and expose the multitude of contradictions and falsehoods used in the promotion of Japanese cuisine as part of the nation-branding agenda. Cwiertka and Yasuhara argue further that the manipulation of historical facts in the case of washoku is actually a continuation of similar practices employed for centuries in the branding of foods as iconic markers of tourist attractions. They draw parallels with gastronomic meibutsu (famous products) and edible omiyage (souvenirs), which since the early modern period have been persistently marketed through questionable connections with historical personages and events. Today, meibutsu and omiyage play a central role in the travel experience in Japan and comprise a major category in the practices of gift exchange. Few seem to mind that the stories surrounding these foods are hardly ever factual, despite the fact that the stories, rather than the food itself, constitute the primary attraction. The practice itself is derived from the intellectual exercise of evoking specific associations and sentiments by referring to imaginary landscapes, known as utamakura or meisho. At first restricted to poetry, this exercise was expanded to the visual arts, and by the early modern period familiarity with specific locations and the culinary associations they evoked had become a fixed component of public collective knowledge. The construction of the myths of meibutsu, omiyage, and washoku as described in this book not only enriches the understanding of Japanese culinary culture, but also highlights the dangers of tweaking history for branding purposes, and the even greater danger posed by historians remaining silent in the face of this irreversible reshaping of the past into a consumable product for public enjoyment.

Japan, Alcoholism, and Masculinity

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Japan, Alcoholism, and Masculinity by Paul A. Christensen Book Summary:

This book looks at issues surrounding admissions of alcoholism and attempts to lead a sober life by Japanese men in Tokyo.

Sex, Law, and Society in Late Imperial China

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Sex, Law, and Society in Late Imperial China by Matthew Harvey Sommer Book Summary:

This study of the regulation of sexuality in the Qing dynasty explores the social context for sexual behavior criminalized by the state, showing how regulation shifted away from status to a new regime of gender that mandated a uniform standard of sexual morality and criminal liability for all people, regardless of their social status.

Depression in Japan

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Depression in Japan by Junko Kitanaka Book Summary:

Exploring how depression has become a national disease in Japan, this work shows how psychiatry has responded to the nation's ailing social order & how, in a remarkable transformation, the discipline has begun to overcome longstanding resistance to its intrusion in Japanese life.

Monstrous Bodies

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Monstrous Bodies by Miri Nakamura Book Summary:

Miri Nakamura examines bodily metaphors such as doppelgangers and robots that were ubiquitous in the literature of imperial Japan. Reading them against the historical rise of the Japanese empire, she argues they must be understood in relation to the most “monstrous” body of all in modern Japan: the carefully constructed image of the empire itself.

Understanding Japanese Society

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Understanding Japanese Society by Joy Hendry Book Summary:

As Japan enters the 21st century with a new emperor, this title continues to be an indispensable guide through often enigmatic and historical idiosyncrasies of Japanese culture and politics that are often confusing to the outsider. This title includes information on the latest social developments, customs, rituals, business culture, medicine and arts.

Diva Nation

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Diva Nation by Laura Miller,Rebecca Copeland Book Summary:

Diva Nation explores the constructed nature of female iconicity in Japan. From ancient goddesses and queens to modern singers and writers, this edited volume critically reconsiders the female icon, tracing how she has been offered up for emulation, debate or censure. The research in this book culminates from curiosity over the insistent presence of Japanese female figures who have refused to sit quietly on the sidelines of history. The contributors move beyond archival portraits to consider historically and culturally informed diva imagery and diva lore. The diva is ripe for expansion, fantasy, eroticization, and playful reinvention, while simultaneously presenting a challenge to patriarchal culture. Diva Nation asks how the diva disrupts or bolsters ideas about nationhood, morality, and aesthetics.

Migration, Whiteness, and Cosmopolitanism

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Migration, Whiteness, and Cosmopolitanism by Milos Debnar Book Summary:

This book analyzes the increase in contemporary European migration to Japan, its causes and the lives of Europeans in Japan. Desconstructing the picture of highly skilled, privileged, cosmopolitan elites that has been frequently associated with white or Western migrants, it focuses on the case of Europeans rather than Westerners migrating to a highly developed, non-Western country as Japan, this book offers new insights on increasing diversity in migration and its outcomes for integration of migrants. The book is based on interviews with 57 subjects from various parts of Europe occupying various positions within Japanese society. What are the motivations for choosing Japan, how do white migrants enjoy the ‘privilege’ based on their race, what are its limits, and to what extent are the social worlds of such migrants characterized by cosmopolitanism rather than ethnicity? These are the main questions this book attempts to answer.

Age of Shojo

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Age of Shojo by Hiromi Tsuchiya Dollase Book Summary:

Examines the role that Japanese girls’ magazine culture played during the twentieth century in the creation and use of the notion of shōjo, the cultural identity of adolescent Japanese girls. Hiromi Tsuchiya Dollase examines the role that magazines have played in the creation and development of the concept of shōjo, the modern cultural identity of adolescent Japanese girls. Cloaking their ideas in the pages of girls’ magazines, writers could effectively express their desires for freedom from and resistance against oppressive cultural conventions, and their shōjo characters’ “immature” qualities and social marginality gave them the power to express their thoughts without worrying about the reaction of authorities. Dollase details the transformation of Japanese girls’ fiction from the 1900s to the 1980s by discussing the adaptation of Western stories, including Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, in the Meiji period; the emergence of young female writers in the 1910s and the flourishing girls’ fiction era of the 1920s and 1930s; the changes wrought by state interference during the war; and the new era of empowered postwar fiction. The bookhighlights seminal author Yoshiya Nobuko’s dreamy fantasies and Kitagawa Chiyo’s social realism, Morita Tama’s autobiographical feminism, the contributions of Nobel Prize–winning author Kawabata Yasunari, and the humorous modern fiction of Himuro Saeko and Tanabe Seiko. Using girls’ perspectives, these authors addressed social topics such as education, same-sex love, feminism, and socialism. The age of shōjo, which began at the turn of the twentieth century, continues to nurture new generations of writers and entice audiences beyond age, gender, and nationality. “This book provides many fascinating, perceptive, and fresh insights into a variety of aspects of girls’ literature and culture, which have not yet been discussed in English.” — Helen Kilpatrick, author of Miyazawa Kenji and His Illustrators: Images of Nature and Buddhism in Japanese Children’s Literature

Lovesick Japan

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Lovesick Japan by Mark D. West Book Summary:

In Lovesick Japan, Mark D. West explores an official vision of love, sex, and marriage in contemporary Japan. A comprehensive body of evidence—2,700 court opinions—describes a society characterized by a presupposed absence of physical and emotional intimacy, affection, and personal connections. In compelling, poignant, and sometimes horrifying court cases, West finds that Japanese judges frequently opine on whether a person is in love, what other emotions a person is feeling, and whether those emotions are appropriate for the situation. Sometimes judges’ views about love, sex, and marriage emerge from their presentation of the facts of cases. Among the recurring elements are abortions forced by men, compensated dating, late-life divorces, termination fees to end affairs, sexless couples, Valentine’s Day heartbreak, "soapland" bath-brothels, and home-wrecking hostesses. Sometimes the judges’ analysis, decisions, and commentary are as revealing as the facts. Sex in the cases is a choice among private "normal" sex, which is male-dominated, conservative, dispassionate, or nonexistent; commercial sex, which caters to every fetish but is said to lead to rape, murder, and general social depravity; and a hybrid of the two, which commodifies private sexual relationships. Marriage is contractual; judges express the ideal of love in marriage and proclaim its importance, but virtually no one in the court cases achieves it. Love usually appears as a tragic, overwhelming emotion associated with jealousy, suffering, heartache, and death.

My Life as a Spy

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My Life as a Spy by Katherine Verdery Book Summary:

As Katherine Verdery observes, "There's nothing like reading your secret police file to make you wonder who you really are." In 1973 Verdery began her doctoral fieldwork in the Transylvanian region of Romania, ruled at the time by communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. She returned several times over the next twenty-five years, during which time the secret police—the Securitate—compiled a massive surveillance file on her. Reading through its 2,781 pages, she learned that she was "actually" a spy, a CIA agent, a Hungarian agitator, and a friend of dissidents: in short, an enemy of Romania. In My Life as a Spy she analyzes her file alongside her original field notes and conversations with Securitate officers. Verdery also talks with some of the informers who were close friends, learning the complex circumstances that led them to report on her, and considers how fieldwork and spying can be easily confused. Part memoir, part detective story, part anthropological analysis, My Life as a Spy offers a personal account of how government surveillance worked during the Cold War and how Verdery experienced living under it.

Radiation Brain Moms and Citizen Scientists

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Radiation Brain Moms and Citizen Scientists by Aya Hirata Kimura Book Summary:

Following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 2011 many concerned citizens—particularly mothers—were unconvinced by the Japanese government’s assurances that the country’s food supply was safe. They took matters into their own hands, collecting their own scientific data that revealed radiation-contaminated food. In Radiation Brain Moms and Citizen Scientists Aya Hirata Kimura shows how, instead of being praised for their concern about their communities’ health and safety, they faced stiff social sanctions, which dismissed their results by attributing them to the work of irrational and rumor-spreading women who lacked scientific knowledge. These citizen scientists were unsuccessful at gaining political traction, as they were constrained by neoliberal and traditional gender ideologies that dictated how private citizens—especially women—should act. By highlighting the challenges these citizen scientists faced, Kimura provides insights into the complicated relationship between science, foodways, gender, and politics in post-Fukushima Japan and beyond.

Staged Seduction

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Staged Seduction by Akiko Takeyama Book Summary:

This manuscript provides a window into the Japanese nighttime bars where male hosts seduce their female clients and entice them to spend money. It attempts to answer questions such as: what happens when women are the financial providers and men are the paid seducers? How do they communicate when women want to be seduced but cannot say so? What is it like to be in a commodified form of romance? Takeyama investigates various aspects of the host clubs including the host club as workplace, the hosts themselves, the women who frequent host clubs, the club managers, and the ethics of host club deception. Ultimately, the book provides readers with an extraordinary look into the dynamics of seduction, and the broader dynamics of the contemporary Japanese political economy.

Owners of the Map

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Owners of the Map by Claudio Sopranzetti Book Summary:

On May 19, 2010, the Royal Thai Army deployed tanks, snipers, and war weapons to disperse the thousands of Red Shirts protesters who had taken over the commercial center of Bangkok to demand democratic elections and an end to inequality. Key to this mobilization were motorcycle taxi drivers, who slowed down, filtered, and severed mobility in the area, claiming a prominent role in national politics and ownership over the city and challenging state hegemony. Four years later, on May 20, 2014, the same army general who directed the dispersal staged a military coup, unopposed by protesters. How could state power have been so fragile and open to challenge in 2010 and yet so seemingly sturdy only four years later? How could protesters who had once fearlessly resisted military attacks now remain silent? Owners of the Map provides answers to these questions—central to contemporary political mobilizations around the globe—through an ethnographic study of motorcycle taxi drivers in Bangkok. Claudio Sopranzetti explores the unresolved tensions in the drivers’ everyday lives, their migration trajectories, consumer desires, and political demands amidst the restructuring of Thai capitalism after the 1997 economic crisis. Reconstructing the entanglements between their everyday mobility and political mobilization, Sopranzetti reveals mobility not just as a strength of contemporary capitalism but also as one of its fragile spots, always prone to disruption by the people who sustain its channels but remain excluded from their benefits. In so doing, Owners of the Map advances an analysis of power that focuses not on the sturdiness of hegemony or the ubiquity of everyday resistance but on its potential fragility as well as the work needed for its maintenance.

Robot Futures

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Robot Futures by Illah Reza Nourbakhsh Book Summary:

With robots, we are inventing a new species that is part material and part digital.The ambition of modern robotics goes beyond copying humans, beyond the effort to make walking,talking androids that are indistinguishable from people. Future robots will have superhumanabilities in both the physical and digital realms. They will be embedded in our physical spaces,with the ability to go where we cannot, and will have minds of their own, thanks to artificialintelligence. They will be fully connected to the digital world, far better at carrying out onlinetasks than we are. In Robot Futures, the roboticist Illah Reza Nourbakhshconsiders how we will share our world with these creatures, and how our society could change as itincorporates a race of stronger, smarter beings. Nourbakhsh imagines a future that includes adbotsoffering interactive custom messaging; robotic flying toys that operate by means of "gazetracking"; robot-enabled multimodal, multicontinental telepresence; and even a way thatnanorobots could allow us to assume different physical forms. Nourbakhsh follows each glimpse intothe robotic future with an examination of the underlying technology and an exploration of the socialconsequences of the scenario. Each chapter describes a form of technologicalempowerment -- in some cases, empowerment run amok, with corporations and institutions amassing evenmore power and influence and individuals becoming unconstrained by social accountability. (Imaginethe hotheaded discourse of the Internet taking physical form.) Nourbakhsh also offers acounter-vision: a robotics designed to create civic and community empowerment. His book helps usunderstand why that is the robot future we should try to bring about.

Jesus Loves Japan

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Jesus Loves Japan by Suma Ikeuchi Book Summary:

After the introduction of the "long-term resident" visa, the mass-migration of Nikkeis (Japanese Brazilians) has led to roughly 190,000 Brazilian nationals living in Japan. While the ancestry-based visa confers Nikkeis' right to settlement virtually as a right of blood, their ethnic ambiguity and working-class profile often prevent them from feeling at home in their supposed ethnic homeland. In response, many have converted to Pentecostalism, reflecting the explosive trend across Latin America since the 1970s. Jesus Loves Japan offers a rare window into lives at the crossroads of return migration and global Pentecostalism. Suma Ikeuchi argues that charismatic Christianity appeals to Nikkei migrants as a "third culture"—one that transcends ethno-national boundaries and offers a way out of a reality marked by stagnant national indifference. Jesus Loves Japan insightfully describes the political process of homecoming through the lens of religion, and the ubiquitous figure of the migrant as the pilgrim of a transnational future.

The Chinese Pursuit of Happiness

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The Chinese Pursuit of Happiness by Becky Yang Hsu,Richard Madsen Book Summary:

What defines "happiness," and how can we attain it? The ways in which people in China ask and answer this universal question tell a lot about the tensions and challenges they face during periods of remarkable political and economic change. Based on a five-year original study conducted by a select team of China experts, The Chinese Pursuit of Happiness begins by asking if Chinese citizens’ assessment of their life is primarily a judgment of their social relationships. The book shows how different dimensions of happiness are manifest in the moral and ethical understandings that embed individuals in specific communities. Vividly describing the moral dilemmas experienced in contemporary Chinese society, the rituals of happiness performed in modern weddings, the practices of conviviality carried out in shared meals, the professional tensions confronted by social workers, and the hopes and frustrations shared by political reformers, the contributors to this important study illuminate the causes of anxiety and reasons for hope in China today.

Body of Victim, Body of Warrior

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Body of Victim, Body of Warrior by Cabeiri deBergh Robinson Book Summary:

This book provides a fascinating look at the creation of contemporary Muslim jihadists. Basing the book on her long-term fieldwork in the disputed borderlands between Pakistan and India, Cabeiri deBergh Robinson tells the stories of people whose lives and families have been shaped by a long history of political conflict. Interweaving historical and ethnographic evidence, Robinson explains how refuge-seeking has become a socially and politically debased practice in the Kashmir region and why this devaluation has turned refugee men into potential militants. She reveals the fraught social processes by which individuals and families produce and maintain a modern jihad, and she shows how Muslim refugees have forged an Islamic notion of rights—a hybrid of global political ideals that adopts the language of human rights and humanitarianism as a means to rethink refugees’ positions in transnational communities. Jihad is no longer seen as a collective fight for the sovereignty of the Islamic polity, but instead as a personal struggle to establish the security of Muslim bodies against political violence, torture, and rape. Robinson describes how this new understanding has contributed to the popularization of jihad in the Kashmir region, decentered religious institutions as regulators of jihad in practice, and turned the families of refugee youths into the ultimate mediators of entrance into militant organizations. This provocative book challenges the idea that extremism in modern Muslim societies is the natural by-product of a clash of civilizations, of a universal Islamist ideology, or of fundamentalist conversion.

Tasting Qualities

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Tasting Qualities by Sarah Besky Book Summary:

What is the role of quality in contemporary capitalism? How is a product as ordinary as a bag of tea judged for its quality? In her innovative study, Sarah Besky addresses these questions by going inside an Indian auction house where experts taste and appraise mass-market black tea, one of the world's most recognized commodities. Pairing rich historical data with ethnographic research among agronomists, professional tea tasters and traders, and tea plantation workers, Besky shows how the meaning of quality has been subjected to nearly constant experimentation and debate throughout the history of the tea industry. Working across fields of political economy, science and technology studies, and sensory ethnography, Tasting Qualities argues for an approach to quality that sees it not as a final destination for economic, imperial, or post-imperial projects but as an opening for those projects.

To Be Cared For

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To Be Cared For by Nathaniel Roberts Book Summary:

To Be Cared For offers a unique view into the conceptual and moral world of slum-bound Dalits (“untouchables”) in the South Indian city of Chennai. Focusing on the decision by many women to embrace locally specific forms of Pentecostal Christianity, Nathaniel Roberts challenges dominant anthropological understandings of religion as a matter of culture and identity, as well as Indian nationalist narratives of Christianity as a “foreign” ideology that disrupts local communities. Far from being a divisive force, conversion integrates the slum community—Christians and Hindus alike—by addressing hidden moral fault lines that subtly pit residents against one another in a national context that renders Dalits outsiders in their own land."

Native and Newcomer

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Native and Newcomer by Jennifer Robertson Book Summary:

This expertly crafted ethnography examines the ways in which native and new citizens of Kodaira, a Tokyo suburb, have both remade the past and imagined the future of their city in a quest for an “authentic” Japanese community.

Environmental Winds

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Environmental Winds by Michael J. Hathaway Book Summary:

Environmental Winds challenges the notion that globalized social formations emerged solely in the Global North prior to impacting the Global South. Instead, such formations have been constituted, transformed, and propelled through diverse, site-specific social interactions that complicate and defy divisions between 'global' and 'local.' The book brings the reader into the lives of Chinese scientists, officials, villagers, and expatriate conservationists who were caught up in environmental trends over the past 25 years. Hathaway reveals how global environmentalism has been enacted and altered in China, often with unanticipated effects, such as the rise of indigenous rights, or the reconfiguration of human/animal relationships, fostering what rural villagers refer to as “the revenge of wild elephants.”

The Great Han

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The Great Han by Kevin Carrico Book Summary:

The Great Han is an ethnographic study of the Han Clothing Movement, a neotraditionalist and racial nationalist movement that has emerged in China since 2001. Participants come together both online and in person in cities across China to revitalize their utopian vision of the authentic “Great Han” and corresponding “real China” through pseudotraditional ethnic dress, reinvented Confucian ritual, and anti-foreign sentiment. Analyzing the movement’s ideas and practices, this book argues that the vision of a pure, perfectly ordered, ethnically homogeneous, and secure society is in fact a fantasy constructed in response to the challenging realities of the present. Yet this national imaginary is reproduced precisely through its own perpetual elusiveness. The Great Han is a pioneering analysis of Han identity, nationalism, and social movements in a rapidly changing China.

In Pursuit of the Good Life

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In Pursuit of the Good Life by Jocelyn Lim Chua Book Summary:

Machine generated contents note: Acknowledgments -- Note -- Introduction -- PART ONE. The "Problem" of Striving -- 1 Between the Devil and the Deep Sea -- 2 Gazing at the Stars, Aiming for the Treetops -- 3 Tales the Dead Are Made to Tell -- PART TWO. On Living in a Time of Suicide -- 4 Care-full Acts -- 5 Anywhere but Here -- 6 Fit for the Future -- Afterword -- Notes -- References -- Index.

Capital and Time

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Capital and Time by Martijn Konings Book Summary:

This book moves beyond mere denouncements of financial speculation to rethink the role of uncertainty, contingency, and time in contemporary capitalism.

Robo Sapiens

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Robo Sapiens by Peter Menzel,Faith D'Aluisio Book Summary:

Information about intelligent robots and their makers, including photographis, interviews, behind-the-scenes information and technical date about machines that is easy to understand.

From Village to City

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From Village to City by Andrew B. Kipnis Book Summary:

Between 1988 and 2013, the Chinese city of Zouping transformed from an impoverished town of 30,000 people to a bustling city of over 300,000, complete with factories, high rises, parks, shopping malls, and all the infrastructure of a wealthy East Asian city. FromVillage toCity paints a vivid portrait of the rapid changes in Zouping and its environs and in the lives of the once-rural people who live there. Despite the benefits of modernization and an improved standard of living for many of its residents, Zouping is far from a utopia; its inhabitants face new challenges and problems such as alienation, class formation and exclusion, and pollution. As he explores the city’s transformation, Andrew B. Kipnis develops a new theory of urbanization in this compelling portrayal of an emerging metropolis and its people.

Child's Play

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Child's Play by Sabine Frühstück,Anne Walthall Book Summary:

Few things make Japanese adults feel quite as anxious today as the phenomenon called the “child crisis.” Various media teem with intense debates about bullying in schools, child poverty, child suicides, violent crimes committed by children, the rise of socially withdrawn youngsters, and forceful moves by the government to introduce a more conservative educational curriculum. These issues have propelled Japan into the center of a set of global conversations about the nature of children and how to raise them. Engaging both the history of children and childhood and the history of emotions, contributors to this volume track Japanese childhood through a number of historical scenarios. Such explorations—some from Japan’s early-modern past—are revealed through letters, diaries, memoirs, family and household records, and religious polemics about promising, rambunctious, sickly, happy, and dutiful youngsters.

Working Skin

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Working Skin by Joseph D. Hankins Book Summary:

Since the 1980s, arguments for a multicultural Japan have gained considerable currency against an entrenched myth of national homogeneity. Working Skin enters this conversation with an ethnography of Japan’s “Buraku” people. Touted as Japan’s largest minority, the Buraku are stigmatized because of associations with labor considered unclean, such as leather and meat production. That labor, however, is vanishing from Japan: Liberalized markets have sent these jobs overseas, and changes in family and residential record-keeping have made it harder to track connections to these industries. Multiculturalism, as a project of managing difference, comes into ascendancy and relief just as the labor it struggles to represent is disappearing. Working Skin develops this argument by exploring the interconnected work of tanners in Japan, Buraku rights activists and their South Asian allies, as well as cattle ranchers in West Texas, United Nations officials, and international NGO advocates. Moving deftly across these engagements, Joseph Hankins analyzes the global political and economic demands of the labor of multiculturalism. Written in accessible prose, this book speaks to larger theoretical debates in critical anthropology, Asian and cultural studies, and examinations of liberalism and empire, and it will appeal to audiences interested in social movements, stigmatization, and the overlapping circulation of language, politics, and capital.

Us, Relatives

Robo Sapiens Japanicus [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Us, Relatives by Nurit Bird-David Book Summary:

Anthropologists have long looked to forager-cultivator cultures for insights into human lifeways. But they have often not been attentive enough to locals’ horizons of concern and to the enormous disparity in population size between these groups and other societies. Us, Relatives explores how scalar blindness skews our understanding of these cultures and the debates they inspire. Drawing on her long-term research with a community of South Asian foragers, Nurit Bird-David provides a scale-sensitive ethnography of these people as she encountered them in the late 1970s and reflects on the intellectual journey that led her to new understandings of their lifeways and horizons. She elaborates on indigenous modes of “being many” that have been eclipsed by scale-blind anthropology, which generally uses its large-scale conceptual language of persons, relations, and ethnic groups for even tiny communities. Through the idea of pluripresence, Bird-David reveals a mode of plural life that encompasses a diversity of humans and nonhumans through notions of kinship and shared life. She argues that this mode of belonging subverts the modern ontological touchstone of “imagined communities,” rooted not in sameness among dispersed strangers but in intimacy among relatives of infinite diversity.

From a Trickle to a Torrent

Robo Sapiens Japanicus [Pdf/ePub] eBook

From a Trickle to a Torrent by Geoff Childs,Namgyal Choedup Book Summary:

What happens to a community when the majority of young people leave their homes to pursue an education? From a Trickle to a Torrent documents the demographic and social consequences of educational migration from Nubri, a Tibetan enclave in the highlands of Nepal. The authors explore parents’ motivations for sending their children to distant schools and monasteries, social connections that shape migration pathways, young people’s estrangement from village life, and dilemmas that arise when educated individuals are unable or unwilling to return and reside in their native villages. Drawing on numerous decades of research, this study documents a transitional period when the future of a Himalayan society teeters on the brink of irreversible change.

Recreating Japanese Men

Robo Sapiens Japanicus [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Recreating Japanese Men by Sabine Frühstück,Anne Walthall Book Summary:

"Recreating Japanese Men is a wonderful and invaluable book. Its interdisciplinary mix of essays opens the door to a new world of scholarship on masculinity in Japan." --David L. Howell, Harvard University "By considering a wide variety of alternative masculinities throughout Japanese history, these essays reveal the tensions, conflicts and overlapping between competing masculine and feminine ideals and practices in surprising ways." --Robert A. Nye, Oregon State University "This gallery of striking but also subtle images of Japanese masculinity both reinforces old and reveals new historical understandings of Japanese political and military institutions, social divisions, and cultural anxieties. Essential reading in both Japan and masculinity studies." --Gary Cross, author of Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity.

Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan

Robo Sapiens Japanicus [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan by Patrick W. Galbraith Book Summary:

From computer games to figurines and maid cafes, men called “otaku” develop intense fan relationships with “cute girl” characters from manga, anime, and related media and material in contemporary Japan. While much of the Japanese public considers the forms of character love associated with “otaku” to be weird and perverse, the Japanese government has endeavored to incorporate “otaku” culture into its branding of “Cool Japan.” In Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan, Patrick W. Galbraith explores the conflicting meanings of “otaku” culture and its significance to Japanese popular culture, masculinity, and the nation. Tracing the history of “otaku” and “cute girl” characters from their origins in the 1970s to his recent fieldwork in Akihabara, Tokyo (“the Holy Land of Otaku”), Galbraith contends that the discourse surrounding “otaku” reveals tensions around contested notions of gender, sexuality, and ways of imagining the nation that extend far beyond Japan. At the same time, in their relationships with characters and one another, “otaku” are imagining and creating alternative social worlds.

Robot Rights

Robo Sapiens Japanicus [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Robot Rights by David J. Gunkel Book Summary:

A provocative attempt to think about what was previously considered unthinkable: a serious philosophical case for the rights of robots. We are in the midst of a robot invasion, as devices of different configurations and capabilities slowly but surely come to take up increasingly important positions in everyday social reality—self-driving vehicles, recommendation algorithms, machine learning decision making systems, and social robots of various forms and functions. Although considerable attention has already been devoted to the subject of robots and responsibility, the question concerning the social status of these artifacts has been largely overlooked. In this book, David Gunkel offers a provocative attempt to think about what has been previously regarded as unthinkable: whether and to what extent robots and other technological artifacts of our own making can and should have any claim to moral and legal standing. In his analysis, Gunkel invokes the philosophical distinction (developed by David Hume) between “is” and “ought” in order to evaluate and analyze the different arguments regarding the question of robot rights. In the course of his examination, Gunkel finds that none of the existing positions or proposals hold up under scrutiny. In response to this, he then offers an innovative alternative proposal that effectively flips the script on the is/ought problem by introducing another, altogether different way to conceptualize the social situation of robots and the opportunities and challenges they present to existing moral and legal systems.