Postings by Alan Baumler
Contact: alan [at] froginawell.net
Perhaps the best answer to the propaganda which the Japanese put out to India and other places is simple the three words LOOK AT CHINA. And since I am now bringing these weekly commentaries to an end I believe those three words LOOK AT CHINA are the best final message I can deliver to India. (( W.J. West ed. Orwell: The War Commentaries New York: Pantheon, 1985 p.219))The post also talks a bit about Orwell's enlightened ideas about the colonized as people. It is one of my regrets as a teacher that I can't really ask students to read "Not Counting Niggers" since they always give me a funny look when I suggest they read it. Ibisbill goes on to talk about Chinese translations of 1984, Despite what he says, I struggle to think about how this book might be relevant to China today.
"To love the country one must first know its history" (( Ok.a better translation of would be "To love the country one must first know the country" History as such is only mentioned in the book title. ))This would look perfect in the hallway of every History Department in the world. We may think that historical study is more than just training in patriotism, but we know that a -lot- of the funding for historical stuff comes from just that. For a reminder of how important history is, and some of its implications you can't beat this. Would you buy a copy?
Maybe Village Children Of South China (1951) is more your style? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgF3QBL2kYk Or Nationalist troops in Nankin in 1927? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ryS5syi5y8 China Fish People (1930)? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttsgTmqM1sE An opium burning which I think is the one in 1919? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ50bne1_WM Not only is all this great content searchable, it is also free! This is the type of thing that convinces me that inventing the internet may not have been a mistake after all. What are your favorites? You can go to the Pathe channel here https://www.youtube.com/user/britishpathe and click on the magnifying glass to search.
Chinese geologists rejected the Confucian values of the political and social order and associated them with parochialism and complacency. However, they not only accepted the deeply Confucian values of the intellectual as servitor-cum-guide to state and society, but they also managed to identify this role with progressivism and morality by taking it as a call to self-criticism and renewal. ….geologists' shared sense of Chineseness grew out of their admission of guilt and the dedication to self-transformation. Geology was a discipline that would reshape its practitioners and resuscitate the nation on the verge of extinction. Unearthing the Nation. p.10You could use that as a nice summary of the May 4th project, and in fact I did so in class last week. Geology also matters because it ties in with wealth and power better than lots of other fields of study. Locating valuable rocks was something that both Chinese modernizers and foreign exploiters could get behind. Shen shows how Chinese geologists managed to replace foreigners and gradually they became the ones who surveyed an interpreted China's rocks for both foreign and domestic audiences. Geology had only fitful support from the Chinese state, but it was popular with young Chinese, in part because the emphasis on fieldwork helped distinguish geologists from traditional educated youth “with pale faces and slender waists, seductive as young ladies, timorous of cold and chary of heat, weak as invalids.” (( quote from Chen Duxiu. Were there any female geologists?)) Geologists also served the nation. They were the ones who found the Tungsten and other rare materials that wartime China exported. They also defined China as they Chinese would like. As Li Siguang put it.
at the time most people in western Europe invariably thought that Tibet was not fully part of China, and to correct this mistaken concept (whether intentional or unintentional) I purposely gave the Tibetan plateau first place among China's natural regions. p.136Of course service to the nation came with a price. The geologists did a better job than you might think in balancing a desire to do pure science and to serve China.
By training their sights on the overall development of geology in China and remaining flexible about details and timing Chinese geologists achieved many of their own goals while catering to the interests of both native philanthropists and foreign funding agencies. When the remains of Peking Man were first announced in 1926, for instance, the Chinese geological community quickly turned its attention to paleoanthropology. Though it had no experience in this field, the Geological Survey convinced the Rockefeller Foundation to fund a Cenozoic Research Laboratory to study both Peking Man and the “tertiary and quaternary deposits of northern China” more broadly. p.185This fits it with a lot of other examples I can think of where scholars adjusted their research to funding. It would be nice to have unlimited money to study anything, but practice that is not how China, or anywhere else, actually works. If you want a nice, short, well-written book that explains the birth of a modern science in China and why it matters, this is a good choice.