Tag Archive for china

Dreaming of the far horizon

Fair warning: this is rough and addled; I’m in a particularly manic phase of writing/research of my dissertation, which has spilled over into all sorts of areas of my life. But it usually manifests in the desire to write something – anything – other than my dissertation, and read something – anything – other than…

I see your Weber and raise you some Confucius

I’ve been lucky during grad school to be ensconced in a place where East Asia matters a great deal and I have to spend very little time explaining why people ought to care about my area of study. In a rare reversal, we are sometimes accused of suffering from the ‘Middle Kingdom mentality’ – wearing…

‘An eternal yet banal sensation’

There is a wonderful quote in a book I otherwise think is fair-to-middling (if that – Edvard Radzinsky’s The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II): Nicholas kept a diary for thirty-six years without interruption. He began it at the age of fourteen, in 1882, in the palace at Gatchina, and ended it…

Just one mountaineering party (of 600 million)

Research is a funny thing; you sometimes find connections where you least expect them. I’ve been trawling through the database Duxiu, checking up on a few things that have popped up in archival sources. I checked up on a common search (the dramatist Meng Chao – who really made his name as a poet in…

Iron girls

I’ve been trotting through the history of Chinese women in the 20th century in preparation for a course I’m teaching this coming winter. Unraveling these narratives that have been put in service to nation building has been both a trip down memory lane (recalling the early days of my fascination with Chinese history) and diving…

In summer, it is the nights that are most beautiful

In summer the nights [are most beautiful]. Not only when the moon shines, but on dark nights too, as the fireflies flit to and fro, and even when it rains, how beautiful it is! (Sei Shōnagon, The Pillow Book, trans. Ivan Morris) Summer in Shanghai is draining – it’s hot and very humid, and it…

The cosmos is a weiqi board. A fair one, dammit.

Kris Ligman had a nice piece over at Pop Matters on class and games (RPGs, more specifically) – the class-blind, wonderful lands of opportunity that they are: Is there any ludonarrative dischord greater than the capitalist, white, middle-class attitudes of unrestrained play coming into conflict with issues of class and race so utterly failed by…

Hopes and Dreams and Money

I had a long post regarding the cancellation of the fiscal year 2011 Fulbright-Hays competition written up.  It – mostly a ‘What winning the Fulbright-Hays has meant to me’ post – depressed me too much, so I’ve deleted most of it.  I was recently told I was being “practically nihilistic” about the future of America…

Back in the fold

Immediately following on the heels of a family visit (and lots of Kindle reading!), I headed up to Beijing for a work-personal visit, which has actually been really great for work overall (and recharging my batteries in a different sort of way).  Shanghai has been oddly isolating, particularly after coming off of three years of…

Smashed jars & dictionaries

Being a Chinese historian – or, I should probably say, learning to be a Chinese historian – can be great fun, and also really frustrating, and fun and frustrating all at once.  Like most things in life, I guess, but I’m occasionally confronted with obstacles that make me wish I’d taken my mother’s initial advice…