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Insect Histories of East Asia

By: David A Bello(Editor), Daniel Burton-Rose(Editor)
255 pages, 4 b/w photos and b/w illustrations, 2 tables
Insect Histories of East Asia
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  • Insect Histories of East Asia ISBN: 9780295751801 Paperback Jun 2023 In stock
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About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Interactions between people and animals are attracting overdue attention in diverse fields of scholarship, yet insects still creep within the shadows of more charismatic birds, fish, and mammals. Insect Histories of East Asia centres on bugs and creepy crawlies and the taxonomies in which they were embedded in China, Japan, and Korea to present a history of human and animal cocreation of habitats in ways that were both deliberate and unwitting. Using sources spanning from the earliest written records into the twentieth century, the contributors draw on a wide range of disciplines to explore the dynamic interaction between the notional insects that infested authors' imaginations and the six-legged creatures buzzing, hopping, and crawling around them.


A Note on Terms and Conventions
Chronology of Dynasties, Reign Periods, and Countries
Introduction / David A. Bello and Daniel Burton-Rose

Part One :Conceptual Categorization and the Philology of Chong
1. What Did It Take to Be a Chong? Profile of a Polysemous Character in Early China / Federico Valenti
2. The Masculine Bee: Gendering Insects in Chinese Imperial-Era Literature / Olivia Milburn
3. Manchu Insect Names: Grasshoppers, Locusts, and a Few Other Bugs in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries / Mårten Söderblom Saarela

Part Two: Insect Impacts on the Exercise of State Power
4. Locusts Made Simple: Holding Humans Responsible for Insect Behavior in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century China / David A. Bello
5. A Silkworm Massacre: Agricultural Development and Loss of Indigenous Diversity in Early Twentieth-Century Korea / Sang-ho Ro
6. “Lives without Mosquitoes and Flies”: Eradication Campaigns in Postwar Japan / Kerry Smith

Part Three: The Institutionalization of Entomology in Twentieth-Century China
7. Circumscribing China with Insects: A Manual of the Dragonflies of China and the Indigenization of Academic Entomology in the Republican Period / Daniel Burton-Rose
8. The Dialectics of Species: Chen Shixiang, Insect Taxonomy, and the “Species Problem” in Socialist China / Lijing Jiang

Glossary of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Terms

Customer Reviews


David A. Bello is E. L. Otey Professor of East Asian Studies and director of East Asian studies at Washington and Lee University. His most recent book is Across Forest, Steppe, and Mountain: Environment, Identity, and Empire in Qing China's Borderlands.

Daniel Burton-Rose is visiting assistant professor of history of science, technology, and the environment at Wake Forest University. He is the East Asia editor of the journal Asian Medicine.

- Lijing Jiang
- Olivia Milburn
- Sang-ho Ro
- Marten Soederblom Saarela
- Kerry Smith
- Federico Valenti

By: David A Bello(Editor), Daniel Burton-Rose(Editor)
255 pages, 4 b/w photos and b/w illustrations, 2 tables
Media reviews

"An important contribution to the historical study of human-animal relations in East Asia that will appeal to a wide range of readership in East Asian studies, environmental history, and the history of science."
– He Bian, author of Know Your Remedies: Pharmacy and Culture in Early Modern China

"This work of 'insect humanities' is grounded in the broad Chinese concept of 'chong' rather than the more narrow English term 'insect,' a useful distinction that could see this volume become a foundational text for the field."
– Kathlene Baldanza, author of Ming China and Vietnam: Negotiating Borders in Early Modern Asia

"This fascinating book illuminates myriad hidden relations between humans and our six-legged cousins. The unexpected stories told within its pages add new life to our understanding of East Asia's history."
– Edward D. Melillo, author of The Butterfly Effect: Insects and the Making of the Modern World

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