The Right Turn

Basharat Peer interview with Pankaj Mishra on China and India is worth reading, and not that long, but I was particularly struck by this bit towards the end: “India used to be the democratic exception and most other countries were authoritarian or dictatorships. Mr. Modi with his corporate chums is the greatest Indian exponent of […]

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Lagging

Mohammad Fadel, in Islamic Monthly (h/t Naheed Mustafa) chides critics of Islam who take contemporary Western ideals of egalitarianism and personal freedom as their measure, saying: In this respect, Maher and Harris reflect the all too common historical amnesia common among liberals, who are too quick to forget the recentness of the egalitarian achievements of […]

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Science, Social Science, and Pseudoscience of Diet/Culture Thesis

Eminent food historian Rachel Laudan alerted me recently to the existence of new scholarship, cultural psychology, giving support to the idea that different basic grains gave rise to different cultures which have measurable effects at the individual level: “Large-Scale Psychological Differences Within China Explained by Rice Versus Wheat Agriculture.” The research is intriguing for its […]

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Yes, I watched it.

As Jamie Noguchi said, I see these movies so you don’t have to: my review of 47 Ronin is up at HNN. As expected, it’s a blazing failure, with few details of either the original incident or famous dramatizations left intact. A subtitled video of the 1748 Bunraku play would have been better, artistically and […]

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Modern Japan in Anglophone Historical Fiction

ASPAC 2013 Jonathan Dresner Pittsburg State University “But writers of fiction do not stumble onto locales or times: they choose them and they use them to serve their narrative and aesthetic ends.” — Jonathan Dresner “…flaws typical of the genre: a carefully set but very selective milieu; characters cobbled together from cultural and psychosocial fragments; […]

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A memory stirs..

Reading Emily Whewell’s review of this new book on the Chinese and Japanese treaty port systems and extraterritoriality brought back a long-ago scholarly memory. My first seminar paper in graduate school — that small snippet of scholarship which is supposed to prepare callow youth (intellectually speaking) for greater things, and scout a path through the […]

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A memory stirs…

Reading Emily Whewell’s review of this new book on the Chinese and Japanese treaty port systems and extraterritoriality brought back a long-ago scholarly memory. My first seminar paper in graduate school — that small snippet of scholarship which is supposed to prepare callow youth (intellectually speaking) for greater things, and scout a path through the […]

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Daiyou Islands: New Sources, New Clarity?

NYT reporter Nick Kristof brought in a guest blogger, Han-Yi Shaw of Taiwan, to examine some new mid-Meiji documentation about Japan’s relationship with the contested Senkaku/Daiyou islands. The core of Shaw’s findings is the Meiji government acknowledged Chinese ownership of the islands back in 1885. After several abortive attempts to survey the islands, the Japanese […]

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