2014 Plath Media Award: Playing with Nan; Honorable Mentions

Kharel Playing with Nan

Playing with Nan Dipesh Karel (University of Tokyo) and Asami Saito (Media Help Line, Kathmandu) 2013, HDV, color, 88 minutes Synopsis:  Playing with Nan is the story of a young Nepali man who migrated to work in a Nepali restaurant in northern Japan. The film explores his daily life at work and his family at home, which reflects socio-cultural problems related to … [Read more...]

2014 Hsu Book Prize: Tragic Spirits


Tragic Spirits gives us a mesmerizing depiction of the revival of shamanism among the Buryats of Mongolia under tragic circumstances.  Facing life-threatening economic misfortunes in an era of neoliberal reform, Buryats turn to shamans to explain the causes of their hardships.  The shamans explain their clients’ bad fate in terms of neglected ancestral spirits and it is here … [Read more...]

Interview with Junko Kitanaka, 2013 Hsu Book Prize Recipient

Junko Kitanaka (Keio University). Photo courtesy of Junko Kitanaka

Junko Kitanaka was awarded the 2013 Frances L.K. Hsu Book Prize for her book Depression in Japan: Psychiatric Cures for a Society in Distress. Heidi Lam: What drew you to the issue of how depression has been defined in Japan? Junko Kitanaka: Since my undergraduate days, I have always been interested in how people placed in extreme situations can still find meaning in … [Read more...]

2013 Hsu Book Prize: Depression in Japan


Junko Kitanaka’s book, Depression in Japan: Psychiatric Cures for a Society in Distress, presents a fascinating story of the use of biologizing discourses to make “patients” out of individuals who would otherwise resist psychological treatment. It carefully balances the mobilization of critical cultural analysis with an understanding of the real suffering of depression that, … [Read more...]

2013 Bestor Prize: Lesley R. Turnbull, Cornell University


In Pursuit of Islamic “Authenticity”: Localizing Muslim Identity on China’s Peripheries This essay is an ethnographic examination of the self-production of Hui-Muslim identities in Kunming, in light of state-defined nationality. With great attention to detail and a methodical pursuit of question and answers, Turnbull drew out the narratives of interlocutors and analyzed them … [Read more...]

2013 Plath Prize: Peasant Family Happiness


农家乐 Peasant Family Happiness Jenny Chio, Emory University This documentary explores the backstage efforts of locals in the world of ethnic tourism. Chio observes and documents interactions between locals and tourists with a focused yet easy rapport with members of local communities. A variety of perspectives, views and experiences are presented with appreciation for the … [Read more...]

2013 Hsu Book Prize: Ten Thousand Things


Farquhar and Zhang's book Ten Thousand Things: Nurturing Life in Contemporary Beijing presents vivid descriptions and insightful and provocative analyses of Beijing residents' everyday practices of yangsheng, a kind of self-cultivation which includes activities such as taijiquan, qigong, calisthenics, jogging, swimming, dancing, singing, meditation, chess, painting, writing, … [Read more...]