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January 4, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright January 4, 2009. Used by permission.


For quite some time, the online journal Japan Focus has been moving toward covering Asia more generally, and recently it made that shift official with its new name, The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. In our series of lists of “surprising places to find great writing on China,” this is perhaps not the most shocking as it is coordinated by Mark Selden, whose first book, The Yenan Way, is on every China specialist’s exam reading list (and who has published widely in the last thirty years on China, Japan, and Asia).

So here is a list of five sample pieces from The Asia-Pacific Journal that prove how much good China writing happens there—but you can find even more by visiting the homepage and searching titles for “China” or “Chinese.”

1. Ashes of the American Raj in China: John Leighton Stuart, Pearl S. Buck, and Edgar Snow, by Charles Hayford

Hayford is a regular blogger at Frog in a Well and has contributed several pieces toChina Beat as well (such as his postings on “Wiki-ing China” in October). One of his persistent research interests in recent years has been the relationship between Americans and Chinese in the early twentieth century (particularly Americans who shaped US impressions of China—for instance, see “What’s So Bad About the Good Earth?” and “When is a Farmer not a Farmer?”) In this piece, Hayford examines the three title Americans in the following context:

All three played roles in an informal but real American Raj in China partly modeled on the British Raj in India and partly reacting against its imperial arrogance and racism.