China’s Bending Bodies: Contortionists and Politics in China is a research study monograph that covers the theories, history, and development of global contortionists. It is highly recommended as a foundation guide for any collection strong in in-depth circus history and culture.
Cultural anthropologist Mariam Ala-Rashi grounds her survey in a world investigation of contortionist history before narrowing the focus to China. She conducts a thorough investigation of the events and influences that have made Chinese contortionism a different form than in the West, creating a backdrop for better understanding the cultural and social influences on contortionists who work in different settings. Scholars who look for the hallmarks of a well-researched study receive extensive footnotes and source materials listed in a bibliography which includes studies not just from Western resources, but around the world. They will especially appreciate the critical eye that Ala-Rashi casts upon other studies: “It should be mentioned, however, that her publication Chinese Acrobatics through the Ages offered only a few references to support her findings. This leads...
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