Deploying a heavier editorial hand in tweaking research-laden content into accessible pages is becoming de rigueur. Some even go the pictorial or illustrated route to further entice general readers. Others package the content in beautiful covers complete with glossy pages, just as one would do in trade publishing.
So, when PW asked some of the publishers in this report to select three important or new titles each for this showcase, the results were eclectic to say the least: lessons on the spirituality of Buddhism and Confucianism, morbid funeral and burial customs, an illustrated compendium of China’s insects, and studies on long-extinct graptolites. Clear-cut studies of coral island freshwater lens are offered, as are the beautifully photographed mystical and mythical mural paintings of a Tibetan monastery. And high-level STM topics that speak specifically to the academia, too, are aplenty—from high-plasticity magnesium alloys to magnetic resonance spectroscopy for the central nervous system.
Clearly, when it comes to the humanities and social sciences, these publishers are seeking to highlight China’s traditions and unique characteristics, while the goal in the STM segment is international recognition for notable research, studies, and expertise. Springer Nature, for instance, has successfully worked these two categories: it has copublished an English book series, Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture, with Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press and published research by the Xi’an Jiaotong University professor Yu Maohong on plasticity and strength hypotheses many times in recent years.
It is important to note that new academic publications and research coming out of China often reflect the country’s national initiatives (see “Hot Topics in Chinese Academic Publishing” p. 26). This is because most Chinese university and academic presses are state-affiliated, with an obligation to support, and report on, government initiatives. Presently, a lot of publications are focused on the progress—and challenges—of such initiatives specifically on social issues such as education, pollution, renewable energies, social mentality, and urban transportation.
There is also a new effort to promote contemporary Chinese literature by casting the spotlight on winners of major literary awards in China such as the Mao Dun Literature Prize (awarded every four years), Lu Xun Literary Prize (awarded every three years), and Lao She Literary Award (awarded every two to three years to a Beijing writer). The push is as much about popularizing the awards themselves as it is highlighting the important social commentary inherent to many of these works, which are barely acknowledged in the literary and publishing world outside of China.
At the same time, the presence of bilingual Chinese-English editions and even English originals in the list elucidates the nascent efforts to surmount the language barrier that is often seen as hampering the wider translation (and even acceptance) of Chinese titles in the international market. In other words, “global engagement” through the presentation of the best academic research and titles on all aspects of China to the world is a major goal. Idealism aside, selling rights is on top of everybody’s agenda, and these academic book publishers are no exception.
The following pages contain a sampling of original publications on offer from eight academic book publishers. Presses have provided the descriptions.
Beijing Jiaotong University Press
The History of Chinese Animation
This two-volume work narrates the comprehensive history of Chinese animation against the backdrop of social, political, economic, diplomatic, educational, artistic, and technical factors. The first volume covers the period from 1923 to 1976; the second continues the story from 1977 to 2015. (440 p.)
Tributes to China’s Urban Rail Transit
Based on a five-year investigation, this book is essentially a case study from China. It faithfully records the development of the local urban rail transit industry, and its export in the past 20 years. Topics in this book include independent innovation, diversity, localization, and coordinated development promotions across regions. (410 p.)
Magic Cube of Value: Internet & E-cubic Economy
The internet and Big Data have provided a methodology for the development of modern economies and industries, and transformed the structure of the global economy. This book discusses Industry 4.0, the structural problems of China’s economy and their possible solutions, and the profound impact of the internet on traditional industries. (236 p.)
Beijing Normal University Press Group
Research on Contemporary Chinese Marxist Philosophy
Edited by Yang Geng
This 18-volume series contains representative works on contemporary Chinese Marxist philosophy research, which examines basic theoretical problems and challenging issues from various perspectives. It also embodies the challenges faced by Marxist scholars in China since the start of the country’s reform and opening-up policy. (8,900 p.)
The Collection of Ancient Books of the Yuan Dynasty
Edited by Han Geping
This second series of 12 volumes is a collection of existing literature produced during the Yuan Dynasty. It is an important reference for academic research on the political, economic, and cultural studies of that period as well as for the study of ancient Chinese philosophy and history. (5,860 p.)
Handbook of the Philosophy of Science
Edited by Dov M. Gabbay et al.
The translation of this nine-volume series, recognized as the most authoritative academic publication on the subject, started in 2006 when it was first released in English. This series, which has just been published after a decadelong translation effort, showcases BNUP’s determination to publish and translate the best academic titles and research for the Chinese market. (10,392 p.)
Chongqing University Press
Development of the Coral Island Freshwater Lens
This book introduces the generation, dynamics, development, and protection of the coral island freshwater lens. The main content includes laboratory simulation and hydrogeology surveys, mathematical models, developmental strategies, and protection of the lens, as well as the formation and distribution of coral islands. (408 p.)
Chinese Insects Illustrated
Zhang Weiwei and Li Yuansheng
Using an extensive collection of field ecological photos and descriptions of features, living habits, and distribution areas, this book presents nearly 2,200 species of insects in China. It is a valuable biological tool and a treasure trove for entomologists and all nature lovers. (690 p.)
Advanced High-Plasticity Magnesium Alloys
This book, which focuses on high-plasticity magnesium alloys, provides a detailed discussion on the development, key mechanisms, and characteristics influencing the plasticity of magnesium alloys. It also introduces the first-principle calculation for high-plastic magnesium alloys, and some newly developed high-plastic magnesium alloys, including Mg-Gd-Zr, Mg-Mn, Mg-Sn, and Mg-Gd-Y-Zn-Mn. (280 p.)
East China Normal University Press
365 Must-See Chinese Traditional Architecture
This book is authored by an amateur team of professionals in the fields of architectural history, fine arts, archeology, and history. The team chooses everyday images of key cultural relics under state protection and adds a 150-word footnote to each. The pages include buildings, painted sculptures, wall paintings, ruins, burials, and rock caves. (750 p.)
Chinese Short Classics: Second Collection
Edited by Shi Tiesheng
This collection contains representative works by winners of major Chinese literary prizes, including the Mao Dun, Lu Xun, and Lao She awards. It includes deep analyses of human nature and also shows inclusiveness and tolerance. (1,867 p.)
China Road: Basic Education in China in the Context of Globalization
Huang Zhongjing et al.
The book explores the path of Chinese education under globalization. It discusses the possibility of educational development with respect to fairness, quality, comprehensiveness, independence, professional guidance, and a Sino-Western blend. (276 p.)
Shaanxi Normal University General Publishing House
The author conducts a modern consolidation of the doctrines about the heart and soul, which form the core of Buddhist thoughts from the past and present in China and around the world. It is an academic masterpiece with both simplicity and depth and a textbook for readers interested in Buddhist psychology. (1,150 p.)
Luo Jintang’s Research on Qu Poetry Theories Series
Available for the first time in China, this four-volume series contains a wide range of rich materials, ample research data, and solid evidential support in a succinct structure. It provides a comprehensive and meticulous collation of origins of qu theories and lists of relevant playwrights and authors and plays and other compositions of various qu. (1,068 p.)
The Foregone Ethos
The author offers deep insight into current public morals while exploring specific issues in modern society. He attempts to search for the precious spiritual elements in Chinese traditional culture from various sources. He also writes about his own realizations on issues of Chinese culture and literature in terms of culture, literature, and literary creation. (338 p.)
Social Sciences Academic Press
Inner Experience of the Chinese People: Globalization, Social Transformation, and the Evolution of Social Mentality
This volume offers an insightful account of how Chinese people’s inner experience and social attitudes have changed over nearly four decades of national reform and opening up. (440 p.)
Diary of Fu Bingchang: 1943–1945
Annotated by Foo Yeewah and Zhang Li
Readers will learn from this annotated collection of the experience of the Republic of China’s ambassador to the U.S.S.R. (1943–1949) on the eve of and during the first two years of World War II. (636 p.)
A History of Chinese Funeral and Burial Customs
Edited by Li Bosen
This eight-volume set presents a panoramic view of how the philosophy, institutions, rituals, facilities, and accoutrements related to Chinese funeral and burial practices evolved from the pre-Qin era to the Republic of China period. (3,336 p.)
Xi'an Jiaotong University Press
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in the Central Nervous System
The first monograph on the research of magnetic resonance spectroscopy on the central nervous system in China, the book has great significance to the country’s research into and clinical diagnosis and treatment using MRS. The 10 chapters cover the basics of MRS, and its applications in clinical diagnosis, treatment, and scientific research. (550 p.)
Knowing Shiji (Records of History) by Illustrations
Shiji, one of the most famous books in Chinese, shows us the history of the 3,000-plus years prior to the West Han Dynasty. If you want to know the ancient history of China, this book is your best choice. With the book’s numerous illustrations and accessible language, readers will find studying history a breeze. (1,940 p.)
Understanding Chinese Culture in Chinese & English
This book is written for foreigners who are eager to learn about the history, society, and culture of China. It is a bilingual Chinese-English edition that also helps foreign readers study Chinese while reading the English text. Readers will form a direct and deep impression of China through the many lifelike illustrations. (396 p.)
Zhejiang University Press
Ngari Mural Paintings: The White Temple of the Tholing Monastery
Edited by the Cultural Bureau of Ngari Prefecture in Tibet Autonomous Region
When it comes to the art of Tibetan Buddhism painting, Ngari mural painting distinguishes itself by its unique artistic appeal and aesthetic sentiments, thereby constituting an exceptional art genre while presenting multicultural characteristics. (314 p., also available in English.)
General Annals of Confucianism in the 20th Century
Edited by Pang Pu
This four-volume work is a survey and research of the development of Confucianism in the 20th century. It also presents its values throughout the 2,000-year history in an objective and impartial way. (1,881 p.)
Darriwilian to Katian (Ordovician) Graptolites from Northwest China
The result of nearly 30 years of stratigraphic investigation in northwestern China, this book is a systematic paleontology of 131 species belonging to 43 genera from the mid-Darriwilian to early Katian periods, illustrated with taxonomic, stratigraphic, and biogeographic comment. (354 p.)
As Chinese academic publishers continue to bring out books that pay homage to the country’s characteristics, history, culture, and arts, there is now a collective approach to expanding offerings to appeal to a general readership and broader overseas market. After all, explaining what is happening in China—in education, globalization, and morality, for examples—is as much about educating the Chinese people as it is about sharing the experiences with the rest of the world.