Cover image for Understanding contemporary China
Understanding contemporary China
Gamer, Robert E., 1938-
Publication Information:
Boulder : Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999.
Physical Description:
xvi, 416 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
China: a geographic preface / Stanley W. Toops -- The historical context / Rhoads Murphey -- Chinese politics / Robert E. Gamer -- China's economy / John Wong -- China beyond the heartland / Robert E. Gamer -- International relations / Robert E. Gamer -- Population growth and urbanization / Ma Rong -- China's environmental problems / Richard Louis Edmonds -- Family, kinship, marriage, and sexuality / Zang Xiaowei -- Women and development / Laurel Bossen -- Religion / Chan Hoiman and Ambrose Y.C. King -- Literature and popular culture / Charles A. Laughlin -- Trends and prospects / Robert E. Gamer.
Geographic Term:

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Material Type
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DS706 .U53 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Introduces contemporary China from the perspectives of a number of disciplines, for students with little prior knowledge of the country. Some topics covered, such as geography, history, politics, and religion, are essential components of any introduction to China. Other subjects, such as discussions of the environment, roles and problems of women, sexuality, and popular culture, are important topics often ignored in introductory works. All chapters give historical overviews along with discussion of current events. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This anthology was first published in 1998 (CH, Jun'99, 36-5836). Since then, China has changed dramatically to become the world's second largest economy. What has not changed is that this fifth edition remains arguably the best multidisciplinary anthology on China, offering up-to-date information in a single volume. Original editor Gamer has added Stanley W. Toops (Miami Univ.) as coeditor, as well as 2 new contributors to the original 11 from the first edition. An introduction sets the themes, and two articles provide the geographical and historical context for ten more articles on domestic politics, economy (growth and constraints), the heartland and beyond (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet, and overseas Chinese), international relations, population (including tenuous ethnic relations and urbanization), environmental issues, family (including marriage and sexuality), women's issues, religion, literature, and popular culture. Nearly all articles have an eye on the past, present, and future, which novices to China will appreciate. A final chapter includes a very brief summary and a glance through an opaque crystal ball on China's future. An extensive bibliography follows each article. There are 7 maps (one historical), 12 tables, 7 figures, and 33 black-and-white photographs. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General, public, and undergraduate libraries. --H. T. Wong, emeritus, Eastern Washington University

Table of Contents

Robert E. GamerStanley W. ToopsRhoads MurpheyRobert E. GamerJohn WongRobert E. GamerRobert E. GamerMa RongRichard Louis EdmondsZang XiaoweiLaurel BossenChan Hoiman and Ambrose Y. C. KingCharles A. LaughlinRobert E. Gamer
List of Maps, Tables, and Figuresp. ix
List of Photographsp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
1 Introductionp. 1
Creative Tensions
New Challenges
2 China: A Geographic Prefacep. 11
The Natural Landscape
3 The Historical Contextp. 29
The Peopling of China
Political Patterns of the Past
Chinese Attitudes and Ours About China
4 Chinese Politicsp. 63
A Legacy of Unity and Economic Achievement
A Century of Turmoil
Unity Nearly Restored
Two Decades of Turmoil
Into the World Economy
Maintaining Unity
What Will Endure and What Will Change?
5 China's Economyp. 103
China's Dynamic Growth
China's Traditional Mixed Economy
From Revolution to Reform
The Successful Transition to a Market Economy
Is High Growth Sustainable?
Overcoming Problems and Constraints
Muddling Through
6 China Beyond the Heartlandp. 141
Overseas Chinese
Hong Kong
7 International Relationsp. 179
China's Foreign Relations Before the Opium Wars
From the Opium Wars to the People's Republic
Foreign Policy Under Mao
The Cultural Revolution
Joining the World Community
Conflicting Priorities: Unity or Accommodation
8 Population Growth and Urbanizationp. 207
City and Countryside in History
Population and Food
City and Countryside Today
Ethnic Minorities
9 China's Environmental Problemsp. 237
Contemporary Environmental Problems
Nature Conservation
The Three Gorges Dam
Prospects for China's Environment
10 Family, Kinship, Marriage, and Sexualityp. 267
Family Structure
Marital Breakdown
Family Relations
11 Women and Developmentp. 293
The "Traditional" Portrait of Chinese Women
Women in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
Women's Status After the Communist Revolution
Women and Economic Reform
Women and Politics
12 Religionp. 321
First Configuration: The Rise of Humanistic Religion
Second Configuration: The Axial Age and the Rise of Confucianism
Third Configuration: Foreign Impetus and Neo-Confucianism
Fourth Configuration: The Foreign Impetus of Christianity and Communism
Religion and Chinese Society
13 Literature and Popular Culturep. 355
Writing: The Human Pattern
Singers and Poets
Storytellers and Novelists
Priests and Playwrights
Resisting Modern Orthodoxies
14 Trends and Prospectsp. 391
The Contributorsp. 399
Indexp. 401
About the Bookp. 416