Beijing Opera Costumes Short-listed for Costume Society of America Award

Beijing Opera Costumes: The Visual Communication of Character and Culture,
by Alexandra B. Bonds, was short-listed for this year’s Milla Davenport Publication Award from the
Costume Society of America. The award is given “to a published book or exhibition catalog that makes a significant contribution to the study of costume, reflects original thought and exceptional creativity, and draws on appropriate research methods and techniques.”

The journal Theatre Design & Technology called Beijing Opera Costumes “one of the most useful costume books on Beijing (Jingju) opera in the English language. . . . Alexandra Bonds has done a huge service to those who strive to learn more about twentieth- and twenty-first-century Jingju style and how it came to be. It is a beautifully detailed book that historians and novices alike will find invaluable.”

Victoria Kneubuhl at the National Museum of the American Indian

As part of the Vine Deloria, Jr., Native Writers Series, Victoria Kneubuhl will be lecturing at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 6:30 p.m.

Kneubuhl’s play The Conversion of Ka‘ahumanu (featured in Hawai‘i Nei: Island Plays) will be performed at the Museum’s Rasmuson Theater on Friday, May 15, 7:30 p.m., and on Saturday, May 16, 2009, 2:00 p.m. Follow the production of the play at

Kabuki’s Forgotten War

According to a myth constructed after Japan’s surrender to the Allied Forces in 1945, kabuki was a pure, classical art form with no real place in modern Japanese society. In Kabuki’s Forgotten War, 1931–1945, senior theater scholar James R. Brandon calls this view into question and makes a compelling case that, up to the very end of the Pacific War, kabuki was a living theater and, as an institution, an active participant in contemporary events, rising and falling in consonance with Japan’s imperial adventures.

October 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3200-1 / $52.00 (CLOTH)

Racial Performativity and World War II

In The Spectacle of Japanese American Trauma: Racial Performativity and World War II, Emily Roxworthy contests the notion that the U.S. government’s internment policies during World War II had little impact on the postwar lives of most Japanese Americans. After the curtain was lowered on the war following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many Americans behaved as if the “theatre of war” had ended and life could return to normal. Roxworthy demonstrates that this theatrical logic of segregating the real from the staged, the authentic experience from the political display, grew out of the manner in which internment was agitated for and instituted by the U.S. government and media. During the war, Japanese Americans struggled to define themselves within the web of this theatrical logic, and they continue to reenact this trauma in public and private to this day.

July 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3220-9 / $35.00 (CLOTH)

“This is an original and well-written analysis, contributing much to the literature on internment and, thereby, re-energizing the ideological stages of internment discourse.” —Caroline Chung Simpson, University of Washington

Beijing Opera Costumes

Beijing Opera Costumes: The Visual Communication of Character and Culture, by Alexandra B. Bonds, is the first in-depth English-language book focused exclusively on the costumes of Jingju, the highest form of stage arts in China. This comprehensive volume provides both theory and analysis of the costumes and the method of their selection for the roles as well as technical information on embroidery, patterns, and construction. Extensive descriptions illuminate the use of colors and surface images derived from historical dress and modified for the stage. Details on makeup, hairstyles, and dressing techniques present a complete view of the Jingju performer from head to toe.

“This book is a very detailed and thorough examination of costuming (including make-up) in traditional Beijing opera as practiced today. The author has combined her expertise in costume design in general with extensive fieldwork and consultation in China. Because of the highly developed role-type system in Beijing opera and the premium put on visually distinguishing these role types on stage, costuming and make-up in Beijing opera are simultaneously very complicated, very full of meaning, and very worth paying attention to. This book, with its ample illustrations and clear structure, is an excellent guide to the symbolic systems used to differentiate characters on the Beijing opera stage, and, given the comparative lack in Beijing opera of scenery on the one hand and emphasis on the actor on the other, it could also be said to represent a guide to the visual world of Beijing opera in general. It is the only book of its kind in English, and it is very hard to conceive of it being surpassed any time soon.” —David Rolston, University of Michigan

April 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-2956-8 / $50.00 (CLOTH)