井底之蛙

4/12/2010

Guides at Frog in a Well

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 8:51 am

Here at Frog in a Well we have attempted to occasionally go beyond our role as a publisher of three group weblogs on the history of East Asia. Though it still has very few entries, our Frog in a Well Library contains some primary historical documents. The East Asian Libraries and Archives wiki contains a slowly growing collection of entries with useful information about libraries and archives in East Asia, as well as other information on databases, organizations, and links to other similar resources.

We would now like to announce a new addition: Frog in a Well Guides. Here we would like to host a collection of guides, created by students or scholars of East Asia. We currently imagine these to be primarily bibliographies or research guides tailored to specific areas of research on East Asia. It is inspired by other wonderful existing resources such as the Modern Chinese History bibliography, the Korean History Bibliography, and most of all the wonderful work by students of Professor Henry Smith’s Japanese Bibliography course at Columbia University.

All the guides will be published with a Creative Commons license to allow the greatest possible freedom in using them, and we welcome edited, revised, or expanded versions of existing guides by new authors. Also, each guide will have its own page on the EALA wiki where anyone may leave comments, or recommendations for others to incorporate in future updated versions.

Our first guide has been contributed by our own Sayaka Chatani, PhD Candidate at Columbia University:

A Basic Guide to Resources on Japanese Colonialism

The EALA wiki page for the guide, if you have suggestions can be found here. Many thanks to Sayaka for contributing this.

4/10/2010

Donald McGill looks at China

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 1:24 pm

As readers of Orwell know, the British of the interwar period were fond of buying comic and risque postcards while on seaside vacations, and Donald McGill was the king of postcard artists.

Thanks to China Postcard (Via JJ) you can now look at lots of postcards about China. There are a bunch of English ones, and although none by are by Donald McGill probably would have been sold on the same racks. Unlike modern postcards they are not really linked to a place, and are just supposed to be insightful or funny. They are the viral videos of the Good Old Days.

So what did the average Brit think of China?1

Well, to some extent, China is a place just like England, with women on the prowl.

Like the English the Chinese can also be sappy and  romantic.

As Orwell points out, these ”racy” postcards tend to have a pretty conventional idea of sexuality. Marriage and your honeymoon are the high-point of your romantic life, and transgressions may go past canoodling behind a newspaper, but not much beyond. So the Chinese are just like us, and even speak good English. They dress oddly but that’s about it.

There is at least one series where the Chinese are tied to technological backwardness (and Pidgin English)

And of course they are an odd, Topsy-turvy type of people.

They stand with their backs to the teacher while reciting lessons!

There are also a fair number that emphasize the child-like innocence of.. children

Some of these have bible quotes, and may or may not have been issued by Christian groups.

You’d need more pictures, and above all better dating to do anything serious with these, but it’s a fun collection to look through.

  1. note that I’m not sure of the dates for some of these, or even if they are English []

4/9/2010

Knitting with steel

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 7:10 am

NYT reports (via CDT) that China is offering to help California build a high-speed rail network. The Times’ take is that the worm has certainly turned if China is giving California high technology (and capital.) More interesting to me is the historical background of the current Chinese high-speed rail system. The Times gives us this map.

I would guess that some of these lines are being built for political reasons, to tie the country together. I assume there should be plenty of people in a hurry to get from Beijing to Tianjin, but maybe not so many in a hurry to get to Golmud. There is actually a long history of countries in general and China in particular using railways to bind the nation together. Sun Yat-sen had plans for railway expansion that might charitably be called highly ambitious, and were certainly more driven by the goal of protecting national territory than by economics. Mary Burdman explicitly connects China’s current rail expansion plans to Sun’s vision and included maps of other aspects of China’s planned rail system, like the planned regional intercity systems to be built around Shanghai and Beijing. Maybe soon it will be as easy to get from Nanjing to Shanghai as it is to get from Amsterdam to The Hague. Burdman (who is a LaRouchite) also belives that this is the first step in a grand global alliance between China, Russian, India and the U.S. to defeat the British, thus proving that even crazy people can make good historical analogies and provide good maps.

Just for fun, here is my video of the maglev from the airport to Shanghai. It’s the fastest train the the world! And it’s in China!

Famous bloggers

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 6:17 am

I have been remiss in pointing out that you should all go see how famous our 弟妹 blog on Japan is getting to be Or at least how one of its bloggers is moving into the big time.

4/6/2010

Spring is here

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 7:49 am

A beautiful Spring day. What could be better on a day like this than grading papers?

Cubs lost the opener 16-5. Spring really is here

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