Ayesha Jalal at University of Texas Austin today

Jalal_PityofPartitionRenowned historian Ayesha Jalal will visit the Hindi Urdu Flagship at University of Texas Austin today to launch her new book The Pity of Partition: Manto’s Life, Times, and Work across the India-Pakistan Divide. Jalal will give a seminar on her book at 3.30pm on April 11 in the Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118. The seminar is free and open to the public.

For details, please check out the Hindi Urdu Flagship site: http://hindiurduflagship.org/2013/04/renowned-historian-ayesha-jalal-to-launch-new-book-at-huf/

Circle of Animals, Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei on Princeton University Campus

Hope you have a chance to see the heads while they are on display outside of the Woodrow Wilson School. They really are impressive. We tracked their arrival and assembly many months ago and are proud to publish Weiwei-isms, too.

Ai WeiWei_Weiwei-isms

Justin Lin Lectures on his Book and More

In late December Justin Lin, the first non-westerner to be chief economist of the World Bank and the author of the book The Quest for Prosperity: How Developing Economies Can Take Off, gave two public lectures in the UK. During his lectures at Overseas Development Institute and London School of Economics, Lin discussed his thoughts on the state of China, the economy, and his book.

You can see both of his lectures here:

Ai Weiwei releases “How to Scientifically Remove a Shiny Screw with Chinese Characteristics from a Moving Vehicle in Eighteen Turns”

We have just seen early copies of Weiwei-isms. It is a terrific little book and would make a great stocking stuffer for fans of Ai Weiwei or those who appreciate bons mots on art, human rights, the digital revolution, and countless other subjects.

How many university press authors would do this? Ai Weiwei rocks Gangnam style moves in new video.


“The Internet is uncontrollable. And if the Internet is uncontrollable, freedom will win. It’s as simple as that.”

–Ai Weiwei, “China’s censorship can never defeat the internet,” The Guardian, April 15, 2012


Gangnam style has been taking over the world in recent weeks so it isn’t too surprising that it’s finally filtered into the university press world. The gauntlet has now been thrown down in this delightful homage to pop culture by Ai Weiwei and friends. Who among our authors can top it?

We are going to have a lot of fun publishing Weiwei-isms by Ai Weiwei in a few weeks. To read up on the book, which was a late addition to our fall 2012 catalog, please click through the book’s page.




Ai Weiwei

Edited by Larry Warsh


FACT: “Farming began in Bali with the arrival of the Austronesians, who colonized the Indonesian archipelago between 4,500 and 3,000 years ago. The Austronesians were farmers and fishermen whose agricultural assemblage included pigs, dogs, and chickens; root and tree crops such as coconuts, bananas, taro, and bamboo; and a tool technology that included stone adzes.”

Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali
by J. Stephen Lansing

Along rivers in Bali, small groups of farmers meet regularly in water temples to manage their irrigation systems. They have done so for a thousand years. Over the centuries, water temple networks have expanded to manage the ecology of rice terraces at the scale of whole watersheds. Although each group focuses on its own problems, a global solution nonetheless emerges that optimizes irrigation flows for everyone. Did someone have to design Bali’s water temple networks, or could they have emerged from a self-organizing process?

Perfect Order—a groundbreaking work at the nexus of conservation, complexity theory, and anthropology—describes a series of fieldwork projects triggered by this question, ranging from the archaeology of the water temples to their ecological functions and their place in Balinese cosmology. Stephen Lansing shows that the temple networks are fragile, vulnerable to the cross-currents produced by competition among male descent groups. But the feminine rites of water temples mirror the farmers’ awareness that when they act in unison, small miracles of order occur regularly, as the jewel-like perfection of the rice terraces produces general prosperity. Much of this is barely visible from within the horizons of Western social theory.

The fruit of a decade of multidisciplinary research, this absorbing book shows that even as researchers probe the foundations of cooperation in the water temple networks, the very existence of the traditional farming techniques they represent is threatened by large-scale development projects.

We invite you to read Chapter 1 here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s8186.pdf

Assembling the Zodiac Heads exhibition – video

This is the set-up at a different location, but you can imagine this is pretty much what happened here on Princeton campus a few weeks ago. The exhibit of Zodiac Heads is just a few steps from our office and we are gearing up for the release of Weiwei-isms later this year.

Watch Daniel A. Bell discuss The Spirit of Cities in D.C.

The Comparative Urban Studies Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center in D.C. recently hosted author Daniel A. Bell for a great discussion around his recent book, The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age, co-authored with Avner de-Shalit.

Bell was joined by John J. DeGioia, President of Georgetown University. This event was also co-sponsored by the Program on America and the Global Economy and the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States. You can download the full audio podcast and PowerPoint presentation on the event page on the Woodrow Wilson Center site.

Do you have any questions for Daniel A. Bell or Avner de-Shalit about cities? Let us know in the comments section!


FACT: “The Chinese empire was established in 221 BCE, when the state of Qin unified the Chinese world after centuries of intensive interstate warfare. The nascent empire was then roughly contemporary with the Maurya Empire in India and with the Hellenistic and Roman empires in the Mediterranean area. The Chinese empire ended with the proclamation of the Republic in 1912 CE, almost simultaneously with the final collapse of three major empires in the West: the Ottoman, the Habsburg, and the Romanov.”

The Everlasting Empire: The Political Culture of Ancient China and Its Imperial Legacy
by Yuri Pines

Established in 221 BCE, the Chinese empire lasted for 2,132 years before being replaced by the Republic of China in 1912. During its two millennia, the empire endured internal wars, foreign incursions, alien occupations, and devastating rebellions—yet fundamental institutional, sociopolitical, and cultural features of the empire remained intact. The Everlasting Empire traces the roots of the Chinese empire’s exceptional longevity and unparalleled political durability, and shows how lessons from the imperial past are relevant for China today.

Yuri Pines demonstrates that the empire survived and adjusted to a variety of domestic and external challenges through a peculiar combination of rigid ideological premises and their flexible implementation. The empire’s major political actors and neighbors shared its fundamental ideological principles, such as unity under a single monarch—hence, even the empire’s strongest domestic and foreign foes adopted the system of imperial rule. Yet details of this rule were constantly negotiated and adjusted. Pines shows how deep tensions between political actors including the emperor, the literati, local elites, and rebellious commoners actually enabled the empire’s basic institutional framework to remain critically vital and adaptable to ever-changing sociopolitical circumstances. As contemporary China moves toward a new period of prosperity and power in the twenty-first century, Pines argues that the legacy of the empire may become an increasingly important force in shaping the nation’s future trajectory.

“Deeply researched, packed with detail, and bold in scope and analysis, The Everlasting Empire offers a compact yet profound interpretation of the ideological foundations of Chinese political culture. Reflecting on imperial China through its cycles of unity and disintegration from antiquity to the present, this magisterial contribution to empire studies and global history comes at a pivotal moment in time.”—Martin Kern, Princeton University

We invite you to read the Introduction here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9723.pdf

Announcing Two New Books in the Lives of Great Religious Books Series

book jacketsLives of Great Religious Books is a new series of short volumes that recount the complex and fascinating histories of important religious texts from around the world. We are pleased to announce two more books are available in the series. These books examine the historical origins of texts from the great religious traditions, and trace how their reception, interpretation, and influence have changed–often radically–over time.

The Book of Mormon:
A Biography

by Paul C. Gutjahr

Late one night in 1823 Joseph Smith, Jr., was reportedly visited in his family’s farmhouse in upstate New York by an angel named Moroni. According to Smith, Moroni told him of a buried stack of gold plates that were inscribed with a history of the Americas’ ancient peoples, and which would restore the pure Gospel message as Jesus had delivered it to them. Thus began the unlikely career of the Book of Mormon, the founding text of the Mormon religion, and perhaps the most important sacred text ever to originate in the United States. Here Paul Gutjahr traces the life of this book as it has formed and fractured different strains of Mormonism and transformed religious expression around the world.

We invite you to read chapter one online at:

The I Ching:
A Biography

by Richard J. Smith

The I Ching originated in China as a divination manual more than three thousand years ago. In 136 BCE the emperor declared it a Confucian classic, and in the centuries that followed, this work had a profound influence on the philosophy, religion, art, literature, politics, science, technology, and medicine of various cultures throughout East Asia. Jesuit missionaries brought knowledge of the I Ching to Europe in the seventeenth century, and the American counterculture embraced it in the 1960s. Here Richard Smith tells the extraordinary story of how this cryptic and once obscure book became one of the most widely read and extensively analyzed texts in all of world literature.

Read the introduction online at:

For a complete listing of the books in the series, please visit:


FACT: “When Tipu Sultan attacked Travancore, a British ally, in 1789, it led to war with the East India Company. For two years, Tipu held his own against the British forces until Charles, Lord Cornwallis, laid siege to Tipu’s capital. Hostilities were ended in 1792 by the Treaty of Srirangapattana, in which Tipu surrendered half his territories, paid thirty million rupees, and handed over two of his sons—Abdul Khaliq, age eight, and Muiz-ud-din, age five—as hostages to the British.”

The Black Hole of Empire: History of a Global Practice of Power
by Partha Chatterjee

When Siraj, the ruler of Bengal, overran the British settlement of Calcutta in 1756, he allegedly jailed 146 European prisoners overnight in a cramped prison. Of the group, 123 died of suffocation. While this episode was never independently confirmed, the story of “the black hole of Calcutta” was widely circulated and seen by the British public as an atrocity committed by savage colonial subjects. The Black Hole of Empire follows the ever-changing representations of this historical event and founding myth of the British Empire in India, from the eighteenth century to the present. Partha Chatterjee explores how a supposed tragedy paved the ideological foundations for the “civilizing” force of British imperial rule and territorial control in India.

Chatterjee takes a close look at the justifications of modern empire by liberal thinkers, international lawyers, and conservative traditionalists, and examines the intellectual and political responses of the colonized, including those of Bengali nationalists. The two sides of empire’s entwined history are brought together in the story of the Black Hole memorial: set up in Calcutta in 1760, demolished in 1821, restored by Lord Curzon in 1902, and removed in 1940 to a neglected churchyard. Challenging conventional truisms of imperial history, nationalist scholarship, and liberal visions of globalization, Chatterjee argues that empire is a necessary and continuing part of the history of the modern state.

“This is a powerfully argued account of the origins and subsequent justification of British rule in India, and an exploration of the response by Bengali elites to colonialism. A work of classic history, this book carries an intellectual power and brilliance of insight that will excite much interest and comment.”—Thomas Metcalf, professor emeritus of history, University of California, Berkeley

We invite you to read Chapter 1 here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9756.pdf

Cornel West and Matthew Briones talk election year in interracial America

Recently Matthew Briones, author of Jim and Jap Crow: A Cultural History of 1940s Interracial America, collaborated with esteemed Princeton scholar Cornel West on an essay for our Election 101 forum discussing this election year in interracial America. The interaction of racial and ethnic groups, particularly the  alliances between Asian Americans and African Americans, has been understudied in the US, and many actually see the two groups as pitted against one another. Read on to hear their arguments for the importance of interracial coalitions, not only in the 1940s, but especially now as we head into the election season.


“…there’s a train a-comin’”

Cornel West and Matthew Briones


As this election season envelops the nation, we have already witnessed the Republican Party pivot within a nasty primary from a usually disciplined election-year message to an array of cultural war “greatest hits,” including assaults on women’s rights and their bodies, contraception, and personhood amendments.  Meanwhile, an increasing number of state legislatures have eviscerated the few benefits workers deserve these days, quashing unions (under 12% participation nationwide) and proclaiming themselves right-to-work states (23 and counting).  In Benton Harbor, Michigan, an expanded state law permitted an unelected emergency manager to overrule and disband the duly elected city council and commissioners under the guise of fiscal discipline.  The authoritarian power grab obviated the rights and franchise of thousands of citizens, predominantly African American (90%), while this manager saw fit to prioritize the building of a sprawling new golf course (for its predominantly white [92%] and wealthier sister-city, St. Joseph) with nary a concern over poverty in the area.  In sum, we’ve experienced an unabashed assault on women, workers, African Americans, and the poor in the past year, and the best our mainstream media can provide is whether or not Snooki is pregnant.

With the publication of Matt’s new book, Jim and Jap Crow: A Cultural History of 1940s Interracial America, we wanted to recapture the gaze of concerned citizens and freedom fighters alike, to bear witness to the new “Jim and Jap Crow” taking place in 2012 interracial America.  First and foremost, readers of all colors should be extremely concerned over the insidious (but familiar) practice of voter suppression laws wending their way through state legislatures.  Some of these measures include eliminating same-day registration, limiting the timeframe for early voting, making it more difficult for ex-felons to vote, and most significantly, requiring government-issued identification cards or other similar photo ID documents.  These acts blatantly overburden the poor, college students, workers, and people of color—all of whom comprise the traditional foundation of the Democratic Party electorate.  According to Harvard legal scholar Alexander Keyssar, “[B]eefed-up ID requirements have passed in more than a dozen states since 2005 and are still being considered in more than 20 others.”  As the civil rights icon and U.S. Representative John Lewis penned in the New York Times on the eve of the unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, these 21st-century schemes are little more than “A Poll Tax by Another Name.”

On an intertwined subject, the Associated Press most recently revealed to us its 2012 corollary of “Jap Crow,” through their reportage on the NYPD’s systematic surveillance of Muslims in Newark, New Jersey, and college students of Muslim faith across the Northeast.  In a sad but not unexpected twist of partisan politics, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey (R) has loudly denounced the practice, along with Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), while Democratic senator Chuck Schumer and Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) have defiantly justified the NYPD tactic.  Hence, nearly seventy years to the day that Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 (February 19, 1942), which unconstitutionally incarcerated 120,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast in the racialized hysteria of World War II, the AP issued an update on its ongoing investigation of America’s spying on its own citizens of color.  As one tragicomic example, they reported that an undercover policeman posed as a student to accompany a Muslim students’ organization from the City College of New York on a white-water rafting trip upstate.  Jawad Rasul, one of the students on the trip, remarked, “There’s nothing to say really about the trip, except that it was a group of Muslims.”  According to Rasul, in retrospect, the spy’s intentions now appear quite obvious: “What makes us think that we know who it was is that he was an older person, nobody saw him taking classes even though he said he was taking engineering classes. He said he had a job but somehow he was available for all the trips.”  Rasul has since admitted that he now constantly updates his Facebook status, in order to provide complete transparency for Big Brother eyes he knows are watching him.  While the federal government has not rounded up over 100,000 Americans and imprisoned them behind barbed wire as it overtly did seventy years ago, its deafening silence over the covert activity of the NYPD demonstrates that government no longer needs physical barbed wire to virtually corral and monitor Muslim Americans whom they believe prima facie are terrorists-in-the making.  The systematic oppression signified by “Jap Crow” in the 1940s has simply transmuted into its Orientalist cousin of the 21st century.

Of course, in this tragicomic phase of America culture, when it seems the plutocrats scoffing at the 99% have won the day, and the weight of simply living as “everyday people” has crushed us, as we pay our debts, feed our children, keep our neighborhoods safe, and maintain our dignity, we also bear witness to the courageous acts of resistance and protest evidenced by the Occupy Movement, promising a spring revival of its own, in many ways a humble tribute to the Arab Spring of last year.  The Right, lobbyists on K Street, and even those surfeited on Pennsylvania Avenue will be surprised when May Day draws immigrant workers of all colors—Asian brothers and sisters from Chinatown, Latina/o brothers and sisters from Boyle Heights to Queens, and proud Black brothers and sisters from Chicago to Tulsa.  They will take pause when they see members of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe in Hayward, Wisconsin, military veterans in Akron, Ohio, workers at the DC Central Kitchen, and coal miners in West Virgina banding together, standing up and protesting, “Enough!  Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  And our collective fight must be waged—not only through the power of our franchise at the ballot box, but also through the strength of our voices and footfalls in the streets.  People, get ready.

Matthew M. Briones is assistant professor of American history and the College at the University of Chicago.

Cornel West is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton and, in June 2012, he will return to the site of his first teaching post at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan.  A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard, Dr. West also earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton.  A consummate teacher and mentor, Dr. West is best known for his New York Times Bestseller Race Matters (1993) and The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism (1989).  He co-hosts a weekly discussion with Tavis Smiley on Public Radio International (PRI), while the two have most recently collaborated on The Rich and The Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto (2012).