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Patrick Lucas

In recent years, the culturally distinctive Tunpu, a people group in southwestern China, have been reimagined by outsiders, including media, tourist companies, scholars, and especially Han Chinese from other regions in a search for perceived lost roots of Chineseness. Building upon a Tunpu narrative of migration to the region during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) period, these outsiders imagine Tunpu sociocultural alienness to be representative of ancient unchanged Ming-period character. Thus romanticized, the Tunpu become an unspoiled reservoir where an authentic national Chinese essence can be rediscovered. Through a complex process of embodied engagement with the Tunpu landscape and its objects, however, it is a class of non-Tunpu settlement that becomes celebrated by these outside actors as ideal representation of Tunpu settlement and architecture. This total process fundamentally transforms Tunpu time and place. Yet, it also interacts intricately with local knowledge, and leads to complex local responses and reappropriations of new historical elements.

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Anne-Christine Trémon

This article examines the process of neoliberalization in the Shenzhen special economic zone in Guangdong Province, China. Building on the case study of a former peasant and almost single-lineage village that has become a part of the city of Shenzhen, I show how neoliberal principles aimed at advancing the transition to capitalism are combined with and countered by other ethical traditions. Owing to the long-standing conception of the lineage as an enterprise, the maintenance of the lineage structure in the transformation of the rural collectives has offered fertile ground for the emergence of a local capitalist coalition. Yet the current discourses on the necessity of obliterating the remains of the collective economy and introducing individual ownership run counter to the collectivist values of the lineage village community and the embeddedness of its economy in kinship and territorial ties. I further illustrate this discordance by the way in which the villagers managed to save their founding ancestor's grave site following government requests to clear the land by removing tombs. These policies form a complex blend of state interventions in the economy, neoliberal governance, and Confucian principles.

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The Mutable, the Mythical, and the Managerial

Raven Narratives and the Anthropocene

Thomas F. Thornton and Patricia M. Thornton

The Anthropocene is rooted in the proposition that human activity has disrupted earth systems to the extent that it has caused us to enter a new geological age. We identify three popular discourses of what the Anthropocene means for humanity's future: the Moral Jeremiad admonishes the transgression of planetary boundaries and advocates reductions to live sustainably within Earth's limits; the Technofix Earth Engineer approach depicts the Age of Humanity as an engineering opportunity to be met with innovative technological solutions to offset negative impacts; and the New Genesis discourse advocates re-enchantment of humanity's connections to earth. By contrast, we find that in many indigenous and premodern narratives and myths disseminated across the North Pacific and East Asia, it is the trickster-demiurge Raven that is most closely linked to environmental change and adaptation. Whereas Raven tales among northern Pacific indigenous communities emphasize a moral ecology of interdependence, creative adaptation, and resilience through practical knowledge (mētis), robustly centralizing Zhou Dynasty elites transposed early Chinese Raven trickster myths with tales lauding the human subjugation of nature. Raven and his fate across the northern Pacific reminds us that narratives of environmental crisis, as opposed to narratives of environmental change, legitimate attempts to invest power and authority in the hands of elites, and justify their commandeering of technological xes in the name of salvation.

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Indonesia Seen by Outside Insiders

Its Chinese Alters in Transnational Space

Donald M. Nonini

Chinese businessmen in Indonesia still want to come [to Australia] for safety for their families, especially their children. Right now many Chinese in Jakarta fear violence, because commercial grudges are actually being settled by attacks on them. Recently, a famous Chinese businessman in Indonesia was shot dead even though he was guarded by men from KOPPASUS [an elite counter-terrorist army unit]. He was killed by men due to some business grudge … I do not want my son to do business in Indonesia because of the violence. He could make a competitive tender for a government or other contract, but then find that someone bears a grudge against him for being underbid and decides to hurt or kill him. One never knows.

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Modern Mobilities in Mainland China

A Review of the Academic Field

Nanny Kim and Xu Tao

Modern transport history in China is rooted in academic support of the modernization effort. Influential and creative historians of the Republican period (1911–1949) reformulated “mobility history” (交通史) as an academic discipline. Its approaches were inspired by Western historical method as well as sociology and ethnology, but retained the tradition of an erudite consideration of all written texts as potential sources. From the 1950s, however, the field became a rarely visited sideline of history. With the restoration and vigorous expansion of academic research since the 1980s, transport and mobility gradually reemerged as a key interest among historians. By the turn of the century, the number of scholars working in this subdiscipline approached critical mass. In 2009, a group of historians working on railroads founded the Association for the History of Modern Chinese Mobility and Society (中国近代交通社会史研究学会). Jiang Pei 江沛 of Nankai University, Tianjin, was the initiator of the association and organized the first meeting. The second meeting, in 2011, was organized by Ding Xianyong 丁贤勇 of Hangzhou Normal University. The third meeting in fall 2012 will be hosted by Fudan University, Shanghai. The following is a brief survey of the field of mobility studies in mainland China, aiming not for exhaustive completeness but for an introduction to non-Chinese-speaking colleagues.

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Richard York, Christina Ergas, Eugene A. Rosa and Thomas Dietz

We examine trends since 1980 in material extraction in China, India, Indonesia, and Japan—which together contain over 40% of the world's population—to assess the environmental consequences of modernization. Economic and population growth has driven rapid expansion of material extraction in China, India, and Indonesia since 1980. China and India exhibit patterns consistent with the Jevons paradox, where the economic intensity of extraction (extraction/GDP) has steadily declined while total extraction grew. In Indonesia, extraction intensity grew along with total extraction. In Japan, total extraction remained roughly constant, increasing somewhat in the 1980s and then slowly declining after 1990, while extraction intensity declined throughout the entire period. These different patterns can be understood to some degree by drawing on political-economic and world-systems perspectives. Japan is an affluent, core nation that can afford to import materials from other nations, thereby avoiding escalation of material extraction within its borders. China and India are rapidly industrializing nations that, although increasingly drawing on resources from beyond their borders, still rely on their own natural resources for growth. Indonesia, an extraction economy with less global power than the other nations examined here, exports its own natural resources, often unprocessed, to spur economic growth. The trends highlighted here suggest that in order to avert environmental crisis, alternative forms of development, which do not involve traditional economic growth, may need to be adopted by nations around the world.

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Ruth Mostern

China’s Yellow River is the most sediment laden water course in the world today, but that came to be the case only about a thousand years ago. It is largely the result of agriculture and deforestation on the fragile environment of the loess plateau in the middle reaches of the watershed. This article demonstrates that the long term environmental degradation of the Yellow River was primarily anthropogenic, and furthermore, it explains how the spatial organization of state power in imperial China amplified the likelihood and consequences of landscape change.

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The Image of Jews as Constructed by Lexical Items

Translations of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice as a Case in Point

Xiu Gao

In the Western world, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is controversial due to its stereotypical description of Jews as evil and greedy. In China, the work was not widely known until its translations came out. This article deals with two Chinese renderings of Shakespeare’s classic, by Laura White (1914–1915) and Shiqiu Liang (2001/1936) respectively, which reconstruct the image of Shylock and Jews on the basis of the translators’ perceptions of the original figure, combining their identities and social backgrounds. In imagology, based on the ideas of Pageaux (1989/1994), the image of the ‘other’ can be analysed on three levels: lexical items, larger textual units, and plot. On the face of it, the image of the ‘other’ in translation can originate in either the source or target culture. However, the present article, which focuses on the lexical level, shows that there is a third possibility – a lexicon that blends two or more cultures.

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Joshua A. Fogel

One of the most famous voyages in the modern history of East Asia occurred in 1862 when, for the first time in over three centuries, Japanese were sent on an official mission of investigation and trade to China. There had been limited Sino-Japanese contacts throughout those many years carried out by Chinese trading vessels that made periodic trips to Hirado and later Nagasaki, the only port open to them during most of the Tokugawa era (1600–1868); and a small number of Japanese fishermen had been shipwrecked, picked up by British or American vessels and deposited in Shanghai, though often not repatriated for many years thereafter because of the stringent travel restrictions of their homeland, for Japanese remained strictly forbidden from venturing on the seas.

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The Mule Caravans of Western Yunnan

An Oral History of the Muleteers of Zhaozhou

Ma Jianxiong and Ma Cunzhao

Mule caravans established a network across physical, political, and ethnic boundaries that integrated Southwest China, Southeast Asia, and Tibet. This article is a first exploration of this little-known mobile network. Based mainly on oral history, it focuses on the mule caravans based in Zhaozhou in western Yunnan from the late Qing to the 1940s, when the first motor roads were constructed. The investigation assembles horse and mule technologies and trade organization in detail in order to reconstruct the role and standing of transporters and their networks in local society, in the regional setting, in a volatile political environment, and in the face of challenging natural conditions.