“ASIA PAST & PRESENT” is the AAS scholarly monograph series. This series is overseen by the AAS Editorial Board and the series editor, William M. Tsutsui. AAS expects to publish 1–2 “Asia Past and Present” books a year, each fully refereed and selected on the basis of exemplary, original, and enduring scholarship.

The following “Asia Past & Present” titles, written by leading scholars in their fields are now available:

edited by Deborah Shamoon and Chris McMorran

EAST MEETS EAST: Chinese Discover the Modern World in Japan, 1854–1898. A Window on the Intellectual and Social Transformation of Modern China
by Douglas R. Reynolds with Carol T. Reynolds

edited by Haihui Zhang, Zhaohui Xue, Shuyong Jiang, and Gary Lance Lugar

CHANGING LIVES: The “Postwar” in Japanese Women’s Autobiographies and Memoirs
by Ronald P. Loftus

SCATTERED GODDESSES: Travels with the Yoginis
by Padma Kaimal

MEMORY, VIOLENCE, QUEUES: Lu Xun Interprets China
by Eva Chou

SOUTH ASIAN TEXTS IN HISTORY: Critical Engagements with Sheldon Pollock
edited by Yigal Bronner, Whitney Cox, and Lawrence McCrea

BEATING DEVILS AND BURNING THEIR BOOKS: Views of Japan, China, and the West
edited by Anthony E. Clark

COLLECTING ASIA: East Asian Libraries in North America, 1868–2008
edited by Peter X. Zhou

TO DIE AND NOT DECAY: Autobiography and the Pursuit of Immortality in Early China
by Matthew V. Wells

PRESCRIBING COLONIZATION: The Role of Medical Practices and Policies in Japan-Ruled Taiwan, 1895–1945
by Michael Shiyung Liu

TOOLS OF CULTURE: Japan’s Cultural, Intellectual, Medical, and Technological Contacts in East Asia, 1000s to 1500s
edited by Andrew Edmund Goble, Kenneth R. Robinson, and Haruko Wakabayashi

edited by Teri Shaffer Yamada

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The 10 best travel stories on “Go Overseas” this Septermber

The stories we bring home with us are perhaps the most rewarding remnants of an experience abroad. Not only are they filled with memories and personal growth, but they’re often an inspiration for others to follow suit and have adventures of their own.

“Experience is the best way to gain knowledge and insight. [...] until YOU travel somewhere for yourself, you are only ever living someone else’s story and perspective.”

From teaching English in Spain to working with children and animals in South Africa, here are (in no particular order) 10 of the best stories from the Go Overseas community this September!

1. Sophie Boulter, Volunteer with DAKTARI Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage in South Africa

A full-time primary teacher, Sophie recounted her first solo experience volunteering at Daktari Bush School in South Africa as a “brilliant opportunity to not only make a difference for these children but improve my own teaching in a situation completely different to the one I am used to in England.”

Although she was nervous about traveling solo, Sophie is now a confident traveler: “Now I wouldn’t think twice about traveling solo — strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet!”

For more stories, see

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Catholicism and Transnational Human Rights Movements in Guatemala, 1968-1996

IASH Fellows Speaker Series – Fall 2015 continues

Michael Cangemi, graduate student in history, will speak on “‘We Cannot Distort History, nor Should we Silence the Truth’: Catholicism and Transnational Human Rights Movements in Guatemala, 1968-1996” at noon Wednesday, Oct. 14, in the IASH Conference Room (LN-1106). He will argue that the Catholic Church’s transnational nature allowed it to offer a human rights model that was fundamentally different from either the United States or Soviet blocs’ competing models.

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Belarusian Author and Journalist Svetlana Alexievich Wins 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature

Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2015 has been awarded to the Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich. The Swedish Academy, which awards the prestigious prize,commended Alexievich “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.”

A Belarusian author writing in Russian and an investigative journalist, Alexievich has been praised for her documentary reports depicting life and war in the Soviet Union and in the post-Soviet era, based on many in-depth interviews. She is the 14th woman to win one of the 111 awarded Nobel Prizes for Literature, and the first Russian-language author to be granted the honor since 1987, when poet Joseph Brodsky received the prize.

Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, told journalists on October 8 at the announcement of the award in Stockholm that Alexievich “has offered us new historical material and she has offered us a new genre.” Wall Street Journal also highlighted the writer’s more current work, calling her “a vocal critic of her country’s leader and a prominent voice against Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.”

Alexievich’s works, mixing fiction and documentary prose to convey emotional stories of the role of women in World War II and the Chernobyl disaster based on witness accounts, have been translated into many languages and won international awards. But her books are not published in her home country, Belarus, ruled by long-standing president Alyaksandr Lukashenka, due to a continuing crackdown on free speech and pervasive censorship.

Read more here.

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Turkey and the War Against ISIS: A Reliable Ally?

Sinan Ciddi, director, Institute of Turkish Studies at Georgetown University, will speak on “Turkey and the War Against ISIS: A Reliable Ally?” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, in UU-209. What are the salient factors that determine Turkey’s position toward ISIS; do Turkey and the U.S. have a joint plan on how to defeat ISIS, and what is the likely role that Turkey will play in the future stability of the Middle East? Event co-sponsors: Middle East and North Africa Program, Sociology Department, History Department and Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies.

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The Power of Objects: Ars Sacra and the Negotiation of the Sacred in Late Byzantium

The Department of Art History invites you to the first lecture of 2015 in the Harpur College Dean’s Speaker Series in Visual Culture by Tera Lee Hedrick, visiting assistant professor of art history at Binghamton University, at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in FA-218. Her talk is titled “The Power of Objects: Ars Sacra and the Negotiation of the Sacred in Late Byzantium.” Visit the art history department blog for more information about VizCult.

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A Gauge of Our Faithfulness’: Religion and the Politics of Immigration Reform

Wendy Wall, associate professor of history, will present “A Gauge of Our Faithfulness’: Religion and the Politics of Immigration Reform” at noon Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the IASH Conference Room, LN-1106.

Few developments since World War II have changed the face of American religion or American politics more than the Immigration Act of 1965. Given this, it is surprising how little attention scholars of either politics or religion have paid to the postwar politics of immigration reform. Those few who have addressed the issue have generally portrayed the 1965 act as the inevitable product of a postwar liberal consensus without exploring how any such consensus was forged or the nature of its fracture points and limitations. This talk attempts to recover that history, focusing particularly on the role of religious language, institutions, and issues.

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The Petroleum Commons: Local, Islamic, and Global

George Caffentzis, well-known political philosopher, will speak on “The Petroleum Commons: Local, Islamic, and Global” from 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the IASH Conference Room, LN-1106. Caffentzis is an autonomist Marxist who is a founding member of the Midnight Notes Collective and the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. He was professor of philosophy at the University of Southern Maine. Among his books are Midnight Notes Goes to School: Report From the Zapatista Escuelita and In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and Value. The event is sponsored by the Department of Sociology.

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New York Times bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran to speak

Binghamton University celebrates 50 years of offering PhDs with a presentation by Azar Nafisi, best known as the author of the international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. Nafisi will speak on campus at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, in the Anderson Center Chamber Hall. The talk is free and open to the public.

Currently a visiting professor and the executive director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., she is a professor of aesthetics, culture and literature, and teaches courses on the relation between culture and politics.

Reading Lolita is Nafisi’s account of her experiences conducting classes in her home in Iran for women students based on the premise that everyone has a right to an education – even women hidden under mandatory veils. These classes form an agenda for a new human rights curriculum.

Nafisi’s latest book, The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books, celebrates the power of literature in a democratic society. Praised as the memoir in books that does for America what Reading Lolita did for Iran, this passionate book illustrates the importance of fiction, and especially of active reading, to change people’s lives.

For more information, go online.

The book, Reading Lolita in Tehran, is available in the Bartle Library.

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Award-winning Caribbeanist to speak Friday, Oct. 2

Valérie Loichot, professor of English and French at Emory University, will speak on “Art as Grave: Radcliffe Bailey, Jason deCaires Taylor, Edouard Glissant and the unritual” at 1p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, in the IASH Conference Room (LN-1106).

This presentation is part of the 2015-2016 Dean’s Speaker Series Current Trends in Caribbean Thought: Francophone, Anglophone and Hispanic Perspectives, organized by assistant professors Sandra Cassanova-Vizcaíno and Robyn Cope and co-sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, LACAS, comparative literature, art history; and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

For more information, contact Cope or Cassanova-Vizcaíno.

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