queerqueen: Linguistic Excess in Japanese Media

Claire Maree. queerqueen: Linguistic Excess in Japanese Media. Oxford University Press, 2020.

Queerqueen examines the editing and writing of queer excess into Japanese popular culture through mediatisation of queerqueen styles. The book illustrates how a diversity of gender identifications, sexual orientations, and discursive styles are packaged together as if to form a homogenous character – the queerqueen. In a range of genres from conversational dialogue books to lifestyle television and animations, queerqueen styles are configured as crossing into popular media via the body of the authentically “queer male,” whose “authentic” speech is produced spontaneously without scripting. Editorial interventions enacted through the collaborative language labor of stenographers and record makers, graphic designers and illustrators, and editorial teams (re)trace the sonic qualities of the queerqueen. Through visual mimesis, contemporaneous citational practices, and the mobilisation of nostalgia, queerqueen styles are enregistered as talk that is inherently excessive and in need of containment. Editorial acts of containment such as self-censorship simultaneously expose the sexualised nature of gendered norms of talk in Japanese. It is also here that possible spaces for dissent open up through contestation of the limits to excess. The visual and sonic crossings of gender norms unsettle heteronormative mapping of speech styles onto statically gendered bodies. Strategic use of a variety of linguistic resources such as hyper-masculine forms and hyper-politeness exposes the veneers of technologies that seek to regiment excess. Analysis of the inscription of queerqueen styles reveals metapragmatic stereotypes of gender, sexuality, and desire that are essential to the business of mainstream entertainment.

Chinese Immigration and Australian Politics: A Critical Analysis on a Merit-Based Immigration System

Jia Gao. Chinese Immigration and Australian Politics: A Critical Analysis on a Merit-Based Immigration System. Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

This book analyses how an increasing number of new Chinese migrants have integrated into Australian society and added a new dimension to Australian domestic politics as a result of Australia’s merit-based immigration system and its shift towards Asia. These policies have helped Australia sustain its growth without a recession for decades, but have also slowly changed established patterns in the distribution of job opportunities, wealth, and political influence in the country. These transformations have recently triggered a strong Sinophobic campaign in Australia, the most disturbing aspect of which is the denial of the successful integration of Chinese migrants into Australian society. Based on evidence gathered through a longitudinal study of Chinese migrants in Australia, this book examines the misconceptions troubling Australia’s current China debate from six important but overlooked perspectives, ranging from migration policy changes, economic factors, grassroots responses, the role of major political parties, community activism, to knowledge issues.

Yongxian Luo. Morphology in Kra-Dai Languages. Oxford University Press. 2020.

The Kra-Dai languages (also known as Kam-Tai, Tai-Kadai, Tai-Kradai, Daic) are generally described as one of the most representative and extreme examples of isolating and analytic types; they are tonal, lacking in inflectional morphology of the type found in Indo-European. Kra-Dai languages can be said to have no distinction for number and gender in morphology, although many languages have lexical items to indicate number and gender, and some of these are increasingly used as prefixable morphemes. The majority of basic vocabulary items are monosyllabic, but disyllabic and multi-syllabic words also abound.

Slow Train to Democracy: Memoirs of Life in Shanghai, 1978 to 1979

Anne McLaren. Slow Train to Democracy: Memoirs of Life in Shanghai, 1978 to 1979. Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2020.

This memoir offers a rare insight into everyday life during the first year of the reform movement that created the China of the twenty-first century. The book interweaves personal encounters with records of the democracy movement in Shanghai, revealing a vast outpouring of grievances by ordinary people at a time of dramatic social change.

Indonesia: State and Society in Transition

Jemma Purdey, Antje Missbach, and Dave McRae. Indonesia State and Society in Transition. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2020.

Indonesia remains a country in transition even now, some two decades after its extraordinary shift from authoritarianism to democracy and from economic crisis to a rapidly growing economy. What explains the trajectory of that shift? What challenges does this island nation of 270 million people – with the world’s largest Muslim population – face now, as the quality of democratic life erodes and it grapples with profound social and economic inequalities?

Addressing these questions, the authors comprehensively explore the dynamics of Indonesia’s politics, society, political economy, and culture, as well as its role in the international order.

New Frontiers in Japanese Studies

Akihiro Ogawa and Philip Seaton (eds.,). New Frontiers in Japanese Studies. Routledge, 2020.

Over the last 70 years, Japanese Studies scholarship has gone through several dominant paradigms, from ‘demystifying the Japanese’, to analysis of Japanese economic strength, to discussion of global interest in Japanese popular culture. This book assesses this literature, considering future directions for research into the 2020s and beyond.

Shifting the geographical emphasis of Japanese Studies away from the West to the Asia-Pacific region, this book identifies topic areas in which research focusing on Japan will play an important role in global debates in the coming years. This includes the evolution of area studies, coping with ageing populations, the various patterns of migration and environmental breakdown. With chapters from an international team of contributors, including significant representation from the Asia-Pacific region, this book enacts Yoshio Sugimoto’s notion of ‘cosmopolitan methodology’ to discuss Japan in an interdisciplinary and transnational context and provides overviews of how Japanese Studies is evolving in other Asian countries such as China and Indonesia.

New Frontiers in Japanese Studies is a thought-provoking volume and will be of great interest to students and scholars of Japanese and Asian Studies.