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Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture (Encyclopedias of Contemporary Culture) Hardcover – February 11, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Encyclopedias of Contemporary Culture
  • Hardcover: 824 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (February 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415241294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415241298
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.2 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,851,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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. 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, the actress Pan Hong) to several pages (Cars and taxis, Cinema in Taiwan, Tiananmen Square). 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 also 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 © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

'It will serve as a welcome introduction to all facets of Chinese studies. Highly recommended.' - Library Journal

'Highly recommended for the reference sections of academic and larger public libraries, and a pleasure for the curious to dip into at random.' - Booklist

'An excellent reference work for anyone with an interest in contemporary Chinese culture.' - The China Journal

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mauri G. Gronroos on December 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture (edited by Edward L. Davis) is a book containing
plenty of historical information, but more importantly, it gives the reader a view to modern China. Besides having a plethora of information on culture, the book also has insight on a few major cities, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Each topic in this encyclopedia is covered briefly, giving the reader a general view of the subject. Some topics were explained more in depth, while the encyclopedia covered others more briefly. However, if a reader feels that some topic was covered too briefly and wishes to know more, the book suggests sources for more reading material. This link to outside sources supports the reader in gaining more insight on the subject at hand.

Illustrations could have been informative in some cases, for example, when describing a certain art style. Therefore, the lack of illustrations makes the encyclopedia a bit less appealing; which might cause some people hesitation to start reading it. The layout of the text was rather informal for an encyclopedia which may oppose to the readers liking and expectations.

Overall the book is a well written, informative package with a refreshing variety of topics. I would recommend this to people who are interested in China and wish to gain a better understanding of their culture and way of life. Without a doubt there is something interesting for everyone, and the variety is truly impressive.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Sutter on February 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
The revised edition shown on this page (released in 2008, copyright date 2009) appears to have been substantially revised, perhaps for the better, from the 1st edition, which is the only version available for on view on Amazon as of the date of this review. However, I've examined a copy of the 2009 edition, and some of its "features" include:

@ use throughout of a pseudo-pinyin transliteration without tone markings
@ no Chinese characters anywhere (whether in the encyclopedia entries, in a separate index, etc.), including no Chinese characters for any names
@ no illustrations.

The first "feature" means you're not given adequate guidance as to correct pronunciation -- expect puzzled looks if you try to discuss what you've read with Chinese friends. The second means you're not given any guidance as to how to find references in Chinese-language material, or how to distinguish the name from homonyms -- of which there are lots in Chinese, even assuming you already know the correct pronunciation. Together, these reduce the book's usefulness to anyone with a scholarly or practical interest in China, unless you already know precisely whom and what the article you're reading is about. The lack of illustrations diminishes the book's interest to the casual reader.
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