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Title: Prehistoric Societies on the Northern Frontiers of China: Archaeological Perspectives on Identity Formation and Economic Change
Author: Shelach, Gideon
Publisher: Acumen Publishing; Publication Date: 2009
Hardcover; ISBN: 9781845533151
Volumes: 1; Pages: 224
List Price in Hardcover: $140.00 Our price: $113.99
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This book focuses on the formative period in pastoral'sedentary relations, the late second and early first millennium B.C.E, on today's northern borders of China. This area--known as the Northern Zone--emerged as a crucial arena for interactions among sedentary, semi-sedentary, and nomadic people during a decisive period in which the region's unique economic adaptations, socio-political systems, local cultures and identities took shape. It is also during this period that the real and symbolic chasm between the "Chinese" (or Zhou) states and their northern neighbors emerged, and when conscious attempts were made to define a broader, ethnic-like identity vis-�-vis the "other" way of life.
Based on archaeological field work in the Chifeng area of Inner Mongolia and on data carefully collected from Chinese archaeological publications, as well as on anthropologically-derived theories and rigorous analytical methods, the book challenges common perceptions which were based mainly on the Chinese historical records. It demonstrates that while changes in aspects of daily life, such as subsistence strategies and political organization, were gradual; a much more dramatic change occurred in the style and quantity of symbolic expression. This suggests that the construction of identities--local and regional- was not merely the end result of the process but rather was, from the beginning, an important catalyst of change.
The book brings more comprehensive and nuance understanding to the archaeology and history of East Asia. By focusing on issues of identity, its construction, manipulation and materialization in symbols and artifacts, it also brings new theoretical and methodological innovations to a topic which has a relatively long history in anthropology but which has only recently been seriously addressed by archaeologists.
Introduction: The Seeds of the New Order: How East Asia Changed During the Period Between 1100-600 B.C.E.
Chapter Two. Charting the Change: What Can We Learn from the Archaeological Record About Changes that Occurred Between 1100-600 B.C.E.
Chapter Three. Is it the Economy? Economic and Political Processes in the Northern Zone
Chapter Four. Symbols and Identity: The Drawing of Mental Boundaries
Chapter Five. Local, Regional and Global: Interaction Spheres and Social Change
Chapter Six. Conclusions: Archaeological versus Historical Perspectives on Processes during the first half of the first Millennium B.C.E. and Beyond