Plato Goes to China: The Greek Classics and Chinese Nationalism, Shadi Bartsch (Princeton University Press, March 2023)
Plato Goes to China: The Greek Classics and Chinese Nationalism, Shadi Bartsch (Princeton University Press, March 2023)

As improbable as it may sound, an illuminating way to understand today’s China and how it views the West is to look at the astonishing ways Chinese intellectuals are interpreting—or is it misinterpreting?—the Greek classics. In Plato Goes to China, Shadi Bartsch offers a provocative look at Chinese politics and ideology by exploring Chinese readings of Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides, and other ancient writers. She shows how Chinese thinkers have dramatically recast the Greek classics to support China’s political agenda, diagnose the ills of the West, and assert the superiority of China’s own Confucian classical tradition.

It helps to come to Islands & Cultures—a collection of essays focusing largely if not exclusively, as goes the subtitle, on “sustainability”—with at least some background on Polynesia, not because such background is necessary to follow the arguments in the various papers, but because otherwise one will be spending a great deal of time on the Internet chasing down one interesting reference after another.

It can be easy to think of colonies as having two populations: colonial subjects, and colonial overlords from Europe. It’s an easy narrative: one has power, status and privilege, the other does not. But in practice, European colonies created many populations in-between: groups who benefited from imperial power, yet not one of the elite.

Waves of Upheaval in Myanmar: Gendered Transformations and Political Transitions, Jenny Hedström (ed), Elisabeth Olivius (ed) (NIAS Press, November 2022)
Waves of Upheaval in Myanmar: Gendered Transformations and Political Transitions, Jenny Hedström (ed), Elisabeth Olivius (ed) (NIAS Press, November 2022)

This is the first comprehensive account of the multifaceted processes of gendered transformation that took place in Myanmar between 2011 and 2021, and which continues to shape events today. The period began with the end of direct military rule and the transition to a hybrid, semi-democratic regime, precipitating far-reaching political, economic and social changes across Myanmar. To date, the gendered dynamics and effects of this transition have not yet received sustained scholarly attention.

The Journey of Hindi Language Journalism in India: From Raj to Swaraj and Beyond, Mrinal Pande (Orient BlackSwan, September 2022)
The Journey of Hindi Language Journalism in India: From Raj to Swaraj and Beyond, Mrinal Pande (Orient BlackSwan, September 2022)

In India, the English-language media is considered the “national media”, while vernacular media remains “regional”. However, from the 1980s onwards, demographic changes and growth in literacy in the Hindi heartland broadened the market for Hindi newspapers.

In his new book, Uther Charlton-Stevens provides a rich history of the Anglo-Indian community, people of both Indian and British heritage, and explains why this small but important community deserves a greater focus. In this book he outlines the curious identity and relationship of Anglo-Indians with both the UK and India, and explains how they were “never simply the colonisers nor the colonised, but something in between”. Through this prism, he argues, we can re-analyse Indian history through a new vantage point and see how Anglo-Indians played a part in major events in Indian history. In his own words the book is “neither colonial apologia nor nationalist polemic”, rather an exploration of an often overlooked, but vitally important, community.