Book Beat: May 2000

Recent publications from CLAS faculty.

A Concise Grammar of Mandarin Chinese

book coverChauncey Chu, Department of African and Asian Languages and Literatures
(Wunan Press, 2000)

This is a bilingual grammar for teachers and students of Chinese as a foreign language. It aims at a clear and easy-to-understand explanation of how the modern Mandarin works as a system. It tries to stay away from the technical terminology of linguistics, but incorporates as much of the findings of recent cognitive and functional research as possible. Though based on a comparison between Chinese and English, this book states the similarities between the two languages only in an outline format, but it discusses in a greater length the differences between them and attempts an explanation wherever possible. The focus is on the functions of the structures rather than on what form a structure takes and what rules to follow.

- author's translation from book jacket

True to Her Nature: Changing Advice to American Women

True to Her Nature: Changing Advice to American WomenMaxine L. Margolis, Department of Anthropology
(Waveland Press, 2000)
Available through Amazon

From colonial times to the present, advice givers from Cotton Mather to Dr. Benjamin Spock and Martha Stewart have offered a litany of opinions on proper child care and good housekeeping. Drawing on sermons, child-rearing manuals, and women's magazines, Maxine L. Margolis explores changing ideologies about middle-class women's roles and asserts they can only be explained within a larger material context. Variables such as household vs. industrial production, the demand or lack of demand for women's labor, and the changing costs and benefits of rearing children have been instrumental in influencing views of women's "true nature" and "proper place." This provocative and persuasive analysis suggests there are well-defined material causes for attitudes toward women's employment and housework, changing advice on child rearing-including the "discovery" that fathers are parents too-and the rebirth of feminism.

- Publisher


The image of "house beautiful" depicted by women's domestic advisors from the 1920s through the 1960s, an archetype that took a full-time homemaker's presence for granted, did not begin to crack until the early 1970s, an era when more than half of all married women were employed. The lofty standards necessary to keep homes beautiful-standards that had been touted for decades-began to succumb to the burden of the double day. Women now held two jobs-one at work and one at home-and no longer needed advice on how to stay busy. As such, for the first time since industrialization, homemaking was no longer a full-time career for a majority of married middle-class women.

Contemporary Perspectives on Family Research

Contemporary Perspectives on Family ResearchConstance L. Shehan, Department of Sociology, Volume Editor
(JAI, 2000)
Available through Elsevier

In the social scientific study of families, parent-child relationships have been examined primarily from the parents' perspective. Emphasis has been given to such issues as the rewards parents seek, and the costs they accrue, in child bearing and child rearing, and the impact of children on the parental relationship. Even socialization-one of the few research areas in which children's lives have taken center stage-has been examined as an adult-directed process in which the young conform to parental instructions. Thus, as Barrie Thorne observed more than a decade ago, our understanding of children's lives is filtered through adult viewpoints and priorities. In this volume, we challenge family scholars to reframe their perspectives on children's lived experiences in families by presenting studies which regard children as complex actors and creators of family culture. Topics include: children's involvement in family conflict resolution and communication processes; children as paid and unpaid family workers, wage earners and consumers; children's access to household resources; children's relationships with same-generation family members; children's goals for and satisfaction with family life; and children's use of time.

- Editor

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