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Royal Asiatic Society China in Shanghai and Hong Kong University Press ‘China Monographs’ Series

Now Available

Shelly Bryant – The Classical Gardens of Shanghai

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Launched in the autumn of 2012 the RAS China in Shanghai in association with Hong Kong University Press has begun a series of books on various subjects within the Society’s range of interests. As you know, various RAS branches around the world also have publishing programmes, usually in conjunction with universities or academic presses, and we will too.

However, we’re slightly different and involve many more members and friends in writing books for the series. We’re producing several books (with e-book editions too) a year in a smaller format – 30-35,000 words with images – to allow for members to express their niche interests without feeling the need to produce a vast tome. The books will be readable, interesting and build up to form an attractive, reasonably priced series covering subject areas of interest to members and the wider public. A major aim is to unlock all that knowledge we know is out there amongst the membership, develop it and take it to a wider audience. With Hong Kong University Press, we have a partner that is also very interested in bringing new subject areas and topics to the book shelves in an attractive form. We also hope to involve a Chinese partner so as to ensure that the series becomes available in the Chinese language as well as English.

The first two are now available – Dr Anne Witchard of Westminster University with a study of the great writer Lao She’s time in 1920s London (Lao She in London) and Lindsay Shen of Shanghai’s Sino-British College on the life and times of Florence Ayscough, a truly remarkable Shanghailander woman (Knowledge is Pleasure). Now available in book shops in Shanghai and Hong Kong as well as kindle editions on and

So – the system exists and the series is launched! What is required now is more ideas…from you. We already have several fascinating ideas suggested and in the works but need more. The remit of the RAS is fairly broad as you know and historical, cultural and contemporary subjects all fall within it. Most important is a passion for the subject and a desire to write about it. Any idea considered. To give a few ideas of what is potentially in the mix at the moment to hopefully spur some more ideas and wet an appetite or two:

  • Architecture of the China Eastern Railway
  • Ancient Gardens of Shanghai
  • Alexander Wylie’s contribution to Chinese mathematics
  • Joseph Needham’s role in the Dunhuang controversy

The process is a relatively simple one. Just let me know a rough outline and we can work up a proposal. We’ve called the series ‘China Monographs’ in the hope of attracting engaged and committed writing from people who love their subject and have knowledge and ideas that really needs to be brought to a wider audience and ultimately increase everyone’s awareness and knowledge. We are able to offer help in developing the idea and Hong Kong University Press’s team of professional editors too.

And there is also now a Chinese language version of Anne’s Lao She in London available…

Andrew Field’s Mu Shiying: China’s Lost Modernist and Diana Yeh’s The Happy Hsiungs


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