井底之蛙

6/7/2005

井底之蛙 Site Launch

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 12:32 pm

Welcome to 井底之蛙, the newest addition to Frog in a Well. This new academic group blog is primarily focused on the study of the history of China, broadly defined, but some of our contributors will be writing from the perspective of other fields.

This is the sister blog to 井の中の蛙, or Frog In a Well – Japan, focusing on Japanese history, and this weblog shares similar goals. Its name 井底之蛙 is a proverb that comes from the writings of Zhuangzi, one of the founders of what we now call Daoism (In the Burton Watson translation of his Basic Writings the story can be found in Section 17 “Autumn Floods” on pages 107-8). A frog tries to convince a turtle to join him in his wonderful well, of which he is a master. After trying to get in and getting stuck, the turtle withdraws and tells the frog instead of how deep and wide the sea is. The frog is left dumfounded. The proverb, which grew out of this Daoist fable, has come to represent a state of limited vision and even ignorance — of not being able to see outside one’s own immediate environment. Our weblogs begin from this position of humility, and we look forward to a useful and lively exchange of ideas and perspectives on the study of China.

We have a great list of starting contributers, each of whom are graduate students or professors studying China and have agreed to share some of their ideas, discoveries, and other comments online here. I will invite each of them to introduce themselves so you may learn a little more about their respective interests and background and will then add them to the list of authors in the side bar. Information on how to contact us is also available in a link from the sidebar.

Let us hope that this new weblog, which will eventually be a multilingual Chinese and English weblog, will not only make a useful contribution to online discourse about Chinese history but also catches the interest of other academics who may have yet made the plunge to share their thoughts and research directly online. For those who are interested, below is a more detailed description of the goals, audience, and content for this weblog.
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