Michael Szonyi's Practicing Kinship

911 Words4 Pages
Michael Szonyi’s book, Practicing Kinship: Lineage and Descent in the Late Imperial China, was hardly critiqued when knowledgeable Asian historians James L. Watson and Pamela Kyle Crossley reviewed his work. Both Watson and Crossley believe that Szonyi’s has a modern perspective and he presented an abundance of information to the reader. However, the reviewers analyzed and reported on different aspects of the book. Ultimately, Crossey’s review proved most insightful, while she provided a plethora of evidence to support her argument, while Watson veered off subject and praised the field of Asian studies more than Szonyi’s book. In 2004, two years after Szonyi’s book was published, Pamela Crossley’s review was published in The American Historical…show more content…
Crossley expresses interest in Szonyi conclusion on the localization of Chinese lineage. Szonyi states that the localization of identities became a mechanism of political power for the elite or simply an indication of origin for the…show more content…
However, that seems to be the only commonality. In Watson’s review, he specifically stated that “all anthropologists, sociologists, demographers, and historians” should refer to Szonyi’s work and catered his review around specific scholars. On the other hand, Crossley did not single out a specific audience and strictly examined the Szonyi’s book. Crossley’s used great detail to prove that Practicing Kinship was primarily about paternal lineage and the localization of identity. This focus on Szonyi’s work created a stronger argument. In Watson’s review, he pulled from his own arsenal of knowledge and Szonyi’s research to provide the reader with an informative analysis; however, it lacked the supportive evidence that Crossley provided. Furthermore, Watson and Crossley’s style of writing differ from one another. Watson uses his words to tell a story while simultaneously providing the reader with a factually driven review by providing stories and connecting Szonyi’s research to the modern field of Chinese Kinship. Crossley adopts a different approach by presenting her review in a more formal tone utilized by your typical research papers. While Crossley supplies a great amount of detail from Szonyi’s book, Watson’s writing style keeps readers more
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