Needham’s ambition as a researcher had long been to create a biochemical embryology that would meld the reductionism of the chemists with the inevitable concern of biologists for organisms and processes as a whole. An anti-mechanistic (he preferred the term ‘organic’) view of science had an obvious appeal for developmental biologists... It pioneered the concept of living things organised in hierarchical levels, classically set out in Needham’s Order and Life (1936). The whole organism, he argued, could not be fully grasped at any one of the lower levels of increasing size and complexity – the molecular, macromolecular, cells, tissues etc – and new modes of behaviour emerged at each level which could not be interpreted adequately in terms of those below or at all, except in their relations. As he wrote in Order and Life, ‘The hierarchy of relations from the molecular structure of carbon to the equilibrium of the species and the ecological whole, will perhaps be the leading idea of the future.’ Process, hierarchy and interaction were the key to a reality that could be understood only as a complex whole. And – though one would not discover this from Winchester’s book – this view drew him towards the country and civilisation to which he devoted the rest of his life.Hobsbawm is not a scholar of Chinese science, ((neither am I)) so he goes a bit too far in the "holistic China" direction for me, but the review is an excellent addition to the book. If anyone ever writes a dissertation on Needham not as a scholar of China but as a link between the intellectual concerns of the English and the Chinese (maybe Waley would fit here as well) this would be a good staring point.
we volunteer to compile a book on the exact share for each household, rich or poor, in the year of 1608. Every pu (the neighborhood unit for the huojia system) will meet together to collect and compile this information into a list named Wucheng puce (the neighborhood almanac for the Nanjing Five Districts) and together we will send it to the government to be used as an official reference.This makes a nice opening for an article, because it is pretty weird behavior. Not surprisingly the citizens of Nanjing wanted to be taxed for a good reason, namely that the new cash tax was to replace an old labor tax that they found more onerous and less flexible. Fei is interested in the case primarily because it shows a lot about public opinion in the Ming and how the state used and reacted to it. I bring this up partly because it is an interesting article but mostly because issue 28.2 of Late Imperial China is now available to anyone with a web browser. So you should go read it and then subscribe.
It was the ninth month, first auspiciousness, wushen-day (no. 45), Boshi said: "Buqi, the Border Protector! The Xianyun broadly attacked Xiyu, and the king commanded us to pursue to the west. I came back to send in the captives. I commanded you to defend and to pursue at Luo, and you used our chariots sweepingly attacking the Xianyun at Gaoyin; you cut off many heads and took many prisoners. The Rong greatly gathered and followed chasing you, and you and the Rong greatly slaughtered and fought. You have done well, and have not let our chariots get trapped in difficulty. You captured many, cutting off heads and taking prisoners." Boshi said: "Buqi, you young man! You are nimble in warfare; [I] award you one bow, a bunch of arrows, five households of servants, ten fields of land, with which [you are] to take up your affairs." Buqi bowed with [his] head touching the ground, [and extols the] the beneficence. [Buqi] herewith makes for my august grandfather Gongbo and Mengji [this] sacrificial gui-vessel, with which to entreat much good fortune, longevity without limits, and eternal pureness without end. May [my] sons' sons and grandsons' grandsons eternally treasure and use [it] in offerings. __________ It was in the tenth month, because the Xianyun greatly arose and broadly attacked Jingshi, [it] was reported to the king. The king commanded Duke Wu: "Dispatch your most capable men and pursue at Jingshi!" Duke Wu commanded Duoyou: "Lead the ducal chariots and pursue at Jingshi!" On the guiwei (no. 20) day, the Rong attacked Xun and took captives. Duoyou pursued to the west. In the morning of the jiashen (no. 21) day, [he] struck [them] at Qi. Duoyou had cut off heads and captured prisoners to be interrogated: in all, using the ducal chariots to cut off 2 [X] 5 heads, to capture 23 prisoners, and to take 117 Rong chariots; [Duoyou] liberated the Xun people captured [by the Xianyun]. Furthermore, [Duoyou] struck at Gong; [he] cut off 36 heads and captured 2 prisoners and took 10 chariots. Following [the Xianyun], [Duoyou] pursued and struck at Shi; Duoyou again had cut off heads and taken prisoners. Thereafter, [Duoyou] rapidly pursued [them] and arrived at Yangzhong; the ducal chariotry cut off 115 heads and captured 3 prisoners. It was that [they] could not capture the [Rong] chariots; they burnt [them]. And it was their (the Xianyun's) horses that they wounded gravely. [Duoyou] recaptured the Jingshi captives. Duoyou contributed the captured, the heads, and the prisoners to the duke, and Duke Wu then contributed [them] to the king. [The king] therefore addressed Duke Wu and said: "You have pacified Jingshi; [I] enrich you and award you lands." On the dingyou (no. 34) day. Duke Wu was in the Xian-hall [He] commanded Xiangfu to summon Duoyou, and [Duoyou] entered the Xian-hall. The duke personally addressed Duoyou and said: "I initially assigned [you the task], and you have done well! [you] did not disobey, but have accomplished [the deed and] taken many captives. You have pacified Jingshi. [I] award you one jade tablet, one set of bells made in finest bronzes and one hundred jun of the jiaoyou copper." Duoyou dares to respond to the duke's beneficence, and herewith makes [this] sacrificial ding-vessel, with which to entertain friends; may my sons' sons and grandsons' grandsons eternally treasure and use it! ((Zhou bronze inscriptions sound a lot like blog posts))This semester I am only teaching three classes, one section of East Asia History, one of Early China, and an Honors College class the first part of which is about ancient Chinese bronzes. So I have been going over some of the same things at three different speeds with three (mostly) different groups of students. This would seem to be a situation that is ripe for all sorts of profound insights. Sadly, I do not have too many. ((One is that if you are teaching similar courses in the same semester you should try to at least get them scheduled for different rooms, which might reduce the number of times you end up asking the students if you have gone over this point with them before.)) Teaching Early China has changed a lot since I was a kid, in part because of all the archeological work that has been done since 1976. Pre-Han stuff used to centered on the philosophers and their (fairly disembodied) debates, in large part because philosophical texts were about all we had. When Fairbank and Twitchett first started the Cambridge History of China project (back in the 1960's) they deliberately left out the Pre-Qin period on the grounds that "It may well be another decade before it will prove practical to undertake a synthesis of all these new discoveries that will have lasting value. " ((General Editor's Preface)) The Cambridge History of Ancient China, which came out in 1999 was intended to remedy this problem. In the last 30-odd years not only have we made a lot of progress in understanding classical texts but there has been a huge amount of progress in understanding the social and political systems of the Shang and Zhou in large part becuse of archeological evidence like the above. It used to be pretty much impossible to discuss the actual workings of Zhou feudalism with students, or to have a meaningful debate on the validity of "feudalism" as a concept in China, or to do lots of other stuff. Textbooks have not really caught up with this, but it is getting easier and easier for even non-specialists to teach Early China.
Ethan Persoff has posted a nice set of Chinese anti-American cartoons, which he dates to 1958-60. I think a lot of these are coming from Russian models, since while they have a few on the Japanese as America's evil allies there is a lot more on Germany, as above. And, there are a lot of atom bombs and H bombs. Making sense of the atom bomb took a while in the West (Orwell, for one, never seems to have gotten his head around them) but here they are everywhere and seem to be the ultimate marker of American depravity and power. Mao of course famous for valuing the power of peasant militias over modern technology, and even atomic weapons did not change this calculus for him, as the many militia pictures during the Cultural Revolution show. These cartoons were intended to convince Russians and other Europeans that the atom bomb had ushered in a new age, but they do not seem to have had that effect in China at all.
Some of these cartoons do show Russian positions that will be picked up on by later Chinese propaganda, like the importance (and existence of) the toilers of other lands Has anyone done anything on Chinese popular understanding of the nuclear era? I'm drawing a blank. Via Mutant Palm, which has a nice set of links to Chinese image sites.
When interrogating the criminals take into account the different conditions they are in, their personality, psychology, the severity of their crime, and their varying degrees of education. Try to appeal to them, seek their trust and their sympathy, and make them believe that only you can solve their problem, while trying to transfer their hatred of us onto the enemy. Make them trust that we are their benefactor and seek to raise their political consciousness... (( Contact me if you want detailed archive file references, or wait for my dissertation. ))A major problem, of course, is the uneven implementation of these policies, both then, and most likely, even now. Also, this does not begin to address what happens to those who confess guilt in the hands, after all, of the treason elimination squads. So far, the local statistics I have come across are very mixed in terms of sentencing. In the Bohai area in northwestern Shandong, for example, one chart claims that 110/149 "traitors" (in this case, pro-Japanese collaboration) were shot from 1942 to the first half of 1946, but those deaths of prisoners held by the 行政公署 (what is the best translation of that?) do not include those killed by the treason elimination squads operating in that area, which likely amount to significantly larger totals. In the Weihai area, at least from January to March 1944, however, over 70% of "traitors" in custody of the treason elimination squads were released without punishment. (( The numbers from those three months are almost the same as the five and a half years of the Bohai "traitors" in the previously mentioned chart. This included all flavors of "treason," which according to the chart, apparently included "gambling" listed alongside being "interpreter" for the Japanese, "puppet" principal of school in Japanese, or Nationalist party spies, showing that, at least by 1944, the anti-treason squads had expanded to fill the functions of regular police - an issue I'll have to address in my dissertation. These kinds of statistics also do not include, I believe, deaths resulting from "mass participation" in the "struggle" sessions associated with the separate anti-traitor movement launched as the close of the war approached. This was often intentionally combined, to great effect, with the "rent and interest reduction" campaign that preceded full land reform. It needs to be looked at in its own distinct context. ))