Diaspora experience as a function of modernity, imperialism, and nationalism.

From my online course on Asia-US migration, an upcoming discussion: The second half of [Vinay] Lal’s book [The Other Indians: A Political And Cultural History of South Asians In America] is our first detailed look at the post-1965 Immigration Act situation, and particularly interesting look through the lens of Diaspora. South Asian immigrants to the […]

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Opium warlord dies

If you study the history of drugs in Asia1 the period right after 1945 marks an important divide. Down to maybe 1840 (or in some contexts much later) drugs (mostly opium) were a fairly ordinary trade good. After WWII, dangerous drugs (now also including things like morphine and heroin) were treated like illicit substances in […]

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A clash of symbols

In the introduction of Julia Lovell’s The Opium War she discusses an incident from November, 2010. David Cameron had gone to China, and it being November he and his team were all wearing poppies. For the British the poppy is a symbol of the war dead of the Great War. It is not really a […]

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History and hats

One book that I use in my classes is Bickers’ Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai. The book is the story of William Tinkler, an Englishman who served in the Shanghai Municipal Police. Students sometimes find it hard to warm up to the book because Tinkler is not easy to identify with.1 Bickers […]

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Boxers and history

Via Jeremiah Jenne, a link to an Economist article on the legacy of the Boxers. It is without a doubt the best article on Chinese history I have ever seen in a mainstream magazine. It made me think of one of my favorite scenes from Wang Shuo’s Please Don’t Call me Human Old man Tang, […]

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The Will of a Traitor

There is a lot of treason to be found in the vicinity of LOC number DS777.5195.W34 in the Harvard-Yenching library. It’s Wang Jingwei (汪精衛) territory, infamous puppet lord of wartime occupied China, and reviled former patriot turned running dog of Japanese imperialism. He is also known as Wang Zhaoming (汪兆銘 Wang Chao-ming), Wang Jingwei being […]

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Imperial Visits and Attitudes

I just learned of the Japanese Emperor and Empress’ visit to Hawai’i [via]. It’s not the first time that a member of the Japanese Imperial family has visited the islands, though you would hardly know it from the gushing “historic” reports of the media. Though this is the first visit by Akihito as Emperor, Akihito […]

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"Never the Twain Shall (Track) Meet": Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Olympic Lies

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of the Yale School of Management has a well informed insider’s view of the Olympics, “Olympics Reveal East-West Divide.” (Forbes.com August 20, 2008) which starts with Rudyard Kipling’s classic 1889 “Ballad of East and West“: Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet ‘Till Earth and Sky […]

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Learning about Tibet III

Having learned any number of things about Tibet recently I thought I would learn some more, and thankfully the new Modern China (34.2) arrived with an interesting article by Daphon David Ho “The Men Who Would Not Be Amban and the One who Would: Four Frontline Officials and Qing Tibet Policy, 1905-1911” The article looks […]

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Asian symbols

  Useless Tree has a post up on the Chinese roots of the Korean flag. This post led me to look up an interesting, if rather old, article on the use of “the T’ai Chi symbol in Japanese wartime propaganda.”1 That Japanese governments in  China used “Chinese/Pan-Asian” images like the Great Ultimate was not news […]

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