Introduction to China - China: General Works and Bibliographies



Three recent encyclopedic volumes provide an overview of Chinese history and culture: the Cultural Atlas of China (Blunden and Elvin 1983), which includes an annotated starting bibliography as well as numerous maps and a series of comprehensive essays on social and cultural history; The Cambridge Handbook of Contemporary China (Mackerras and Yorke 1991), with an annotated bibliography and a range of current statistical tables; and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of China (Hook 1982), with essay contributions by many outstanding contemporary scholars covering history and various facets of social and cultural life.

Although now slightly outdated, the best bibliographic compilations are the series published by Stanford: Modern Chinese Society: An Analytical Bibliography, covering Western-language, Chinese, and Japanese sources (Skinner 1973, Skinner and Hsieh 1973, and Skinner and Shigeaki 1973). More recent citations can be found in the annual issues of the Bibliography of Asian Studies (Association for Asian Studies). Readers of Chinese who are interested in China's minorities should look at Minzu Yanjiu (Ethnology Research), a monthly journal from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. In addition to the articles in each issue and Statistical updates, the journal provides comprehensive topical bibliographies of recent publications several times each year.

For an overview of China's languages and peoples see The Languages of China (Ramsey 1987), which provides ethnographic information as well as examples and discussion of dialect and language differences and samples of the various writing systems.

Several journals in the China field carry articles of interest to anthropologists, particularly Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, China Quarterly, Journal of Asian Studies , and Modern China. Social Sciences in China is an English-language publication from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, offering translations of recent articles by leading Chinese scholars. See also Chinese Sociology and Anthropology, which carries translated articles from Chinese journals and publishes several times a year.

Numerous references deal with China's social history, ranging from general works to specialized monographs. Among the most useful for anthropologists are Chinese Civilization and Society: A Sourcebook (Ebrey 1981), which brings together a number of representative documents from pre-Han to modern times; The Pattern of the Chinese Past (Elvin 1973), an economic and social history covering imperial China; and Family, Field, and Ancestors (Eastman 1988), a social and economic history from 1550 to 1949 that includes a useful bibliography. For a general introduction to contemporary China see China: People and Places in the Land of One Billion (Smith 1991) and The Chinese: Adapting the Past, Facing the Future (Dernberger et al. 1991).


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