Review by Choice Review
The sociopolitical transformation of China at the end of the Cultural Revolution and the shift to a market economy in the early 1980s set the tone for a new era that contrasts astonishingly with China's socialist past. Davis defines as "contemporary" this period since 1979. His work focuses on the cultural developments in mainland China over the last quarter century and also covers aspects of contemporary culture in Hong Kong and Taiwan. He classifies the 1,200 signed entries written by a team of 215 international specialists into 18 categories: architecture and space, education, ethnicity and ethnic identity, fashion and design, film, food and drink, health, language, literature, media, music, performing arts, political culture, religion, society, sports and recreation, visual arts, and women and gender. Most of the entries include an essay, cross-references, and lists of further readings. Fascinating topics include academic e-journals, political jokes, lesbianism in literature, beauty contests, and intellectual property. The book ends with a general index. Despite some omissions, Davis's book is an effective reference source for understanding contemporary Chinese culture. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General and academic readers. K. T. Wei University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
The astounding pace of change in China presents a daunting obstacle to any attempt to present an overview of its contemporary culture. The easier of his two preliminary tasks, notes editor Davis, was to justify 1979 as a starting point for "contemporary" China. This date coincides roughly with the beginning of the post-Mao, post-Cultural Revolution, or "reform era," which continues to the present. The more difficult task, for purposes of this encyclopedia, was to define Chinese.0 Davis's decision was to focus on the People's Republic of China while still including "long entries on aspects of the culture of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore" and shorter ones on native Chinese cultural producers who now live abroad. Entries range from a long paragraph ( Literary awards, Recreational associations,0 the actress Pan Hong0 ) to several pages ( Cars and taxis, Cinema in Taiwan0 , Tiananmen Square0 ). More than 200 contributors have provided nearly 1,200 articles on architecture, education, ethnic identity, food and drink, language, performing arts, political culture, religion, sports, and more. The literally hundreds of entries for individuals begin with year and place of birth and, if appropriate, year of death. Many entries are followed by see also0 references and a list of English--language sources for further reading. Some Web sites and non-English-language sources are also cited. Main entry terms within other entries are boldfaced, as are page numbers of main entries in the thorough index. Writers were encouraged, beyond simply stating the basic facts, "to analyze, to make judgments, and even to editorialize." Thus, for instance, contributor Lionel M. Jensen writes eloquently on the joyful and tragic history of Tiananmen Square and its evolution into the planned site of beach volleyball in the 2008 Olympics. Highly recommended for the reference sections of academic and larger public libraries, and a pleasure for the curious to dip into at random. --Craig Bunch Copyright 2005 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Davis (history, Univ. of Hawaii) and his team of more than 200 contributors (primarily from academia, with a judicious balance of both Chinese and Western experts) have undertaken a bold project to capture the rapidly changing culture of China. There are over 1200 entries on individuals, art forms, political movements, and popular entertainment, each with citations of recent publications of more comprehensive sources for those seeking additional information. The emphasis is solidly on mainland China, but there is limited coverage of Singapore, Taiwan, and elsewhere in the Chinese world. Written in a generally crisp, objective, and balanced manner, the wide-ranging entries cover everything from Falun Gong, theme parks, and sexuality and behavior to university entrance examinations and cosmetic surgery. The fields of literature, film, and music are particularly well covered. Bottom Line There is no denying the increasing importance of the Chinese presence in the world, and this attractive reference book, in spite of its rather high price, deserves a place in the libraries of academic institutions teaching contemporary Chinese subjects. It will serve as a welcome introduction to all facets of Chinese studies. Highly recommended.-Harold M. Otness, formerly of Southern Oregon Univ. Lib., Ashland (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.