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"[W]hat Beauty in Oriental Art Means"

Asian Arts, Soft Diplomacy, and New Zealand Cultural Nationalism—The Loan Exhibition of Oriental Art, Christchurch, 1935

James Beattie and Louise Stevenson

This article presents new historical research on Asian art—particularly Chinese art—in New Zealand through the examination of the content and reception of the Loan Exhibition of Oriental Art, which was held in Christchurch from May to June 1935. It situates the exhibition within the context of Depression-era New Zealand, examines the place of Chinese art, in particular, in the developing cultural nationalism of New Zealand of this period, and highlights the role of one local connoisseur in the making of the exhibition. Moreover, the article’s focus on the southern hemisphere fills a gap in global histories of Chinese art exhibition in this period.

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Peter Salinger

The growth of the Hebraica/Judaica collections, which form part of the Ancient Near East Semitics and Judaica Section, reflect to a large extent the policies and resources of the library over the years, with the addition of some significant donations. The establishment of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 1917 came as a response to the long-felt need for a separate institution, as a constituent college of the University of London, for the study of the languages and cultures of Asia and Africa, in view of Britain’s worldwide interests. The nucleus of the Hebrew collection of the library was formed by transfers from University College, London. For a number of years, however, growth was slow, as the library’s budget and staff complement was very small, particularly until after the Second World War.

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Oriental Interests, Interesting Orients

Class, Authority, and the Reception of Knowledge in Victorian Women's Travel Writing

Muireann O'Cinneide

This essay considers epistemological vocabularies in aristocratic women’s travel writing of the Victorian period, examining the ways in which travelogues use ideas of ‘interest’ to stage the processing and dissemination of knowledge about, and personal experience of, ‘the Orient’ over the course of the nineteenth century. Each of the three travellers who are the main focus of my essay develops her own distinctive model of engagement with the regions in which she journeys: models which nevertheless all turn upon particular invocations of concepts of ‘interest’. I will first discuss what aspects of knowledge these writers are interested in and how they represent their own interest in the East, then analyse the ways through which the publication of their writings appeals to the interests of their British readership, before asking how the travellers’ best interests are furthered or hindered by the modes of epistemological authority they formulate. Ultimately, I argue that these inflections of interest reflect both the British upper class’s increasing emphasis on elite societal and cultural responsibility and, more generally, changing Victorian models of epistemological engagement with the Orient.

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Law in Theory, Law in Practice

Legal Orientalism and French Jesuit Knowledge Production in India

Danna Agmon

Letters written by early modern missionaries played an important role in the development of global intellectual networks and inquiry into religion, language, cartography, and science. But the historical ethnography of law has not recognized the role that Jesuits played in creating the field of comparative law. This article examines the writings on law in India by the French Jesuit Jean-Venant Bouchet, who was an important source for Enlightenment philosophes and later Orientalists. It considers Bouchet’s systemic accounts of Indian law alongside his more ethnographic description of his legal encounters in South India, and argues that the practice of conversion and experiences in local legal fora determined and shaped Bouchet’s interpretation of Indian law. In other words, legal scholarship was produced in spiritual, religious, and political contexts, and cannot be abstracted from them.

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Many a Standard at a Time

The Ottomans' Leverage with Imperial Studies

Marc Aymes

This article aims to explore the consequences of including Ottoman studies in the larger field of imperial studies. It strives to combine a close reading of the Ottoman imperial epithets with considerations of how the Ottomans may contribute to theorizing empire as a model. In particular, the article engages in a discussion of whether the "sublime sultanate" developed into a colonial pattern of empire over its final century of existence. As it turns out, the Ottoman practice of administration did not come down to a simulacrum of European colonialism; the article points instead to a semiotics of empire that took its cue from a multidimensional logic of governmentality. Accordingly, archival idiosyncrasies are taken to imply the contrary of an Ottoman exceptionalism. They serve rather to highlight that concepts carry with them a vast repertoire of meanings to be activated in practice.

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Gendering Balkanisms

Gender, Culture, and Class in Nineteenth-Century Women's Travelogues in the Balkans

Marina Matešić

This article links nineteenth-century travelogues about the Balkans written by European women travelers—Dora d'Istria, Maria Karlova, Emily Strangford, and Paulina Irby and Georgina Mackenzie—both to a broader historical discourse called Balkanism and to the socio-historical contexts of the authors themselves. It examines the ways in which these texts adopted existing hegemonic dichotomies of Balkanism concerning culture, ethnicity/religion, and gender and whether they set new paths for Balkanist discourse. Written during the time of anti-Ottoman uprisings and nation-building movements, the travelogues expressed diverse humanitarian, Christian, feminist, anti-imperial/Turkish and other agendas and discussed the crucial role of (Balkan) women in it. Through a particular focus on domestic life and the lives of women, these women travelers also spoke of their own position in society, bringing to light their struggle for equality in traveling, writing, and participating in broader political and social life, and in that way disturbed the male-centered Balkanist discourse.

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“Stop it, f*ggot!”

Producing East European Geosexual Backwardness in the Drop-In Centre for Male Sex Workers in Berlin

Victor Trofimov

In this article I examine the negotiations of national and sexual belonging of a Romanian gay sex worker in Berlin in the contemporary geosexual context defined by binarism between ‘modern’, ‘liberal’ and ‘tolerant’ Western Europe and its ‘traditionalist’ and ‘homophobic’ East European Other. I analyse how, by means of an overt display of his own homosexuality, the sex worker symbolically distances himself from his native country. By extension, this reinforces the image of the East and its inhabitants as inherently homophobic and, therefore, backwards. The article is based on ethnographic research in the drop-in centre for male sex workers in Berlin, an environment that reveals how deeply contemporary geosexual differences are anchored in the cultural logic of everyday life.

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Wu Wei East and West

Humanism and Anti-Humanism in Daoist and Enlightenment Political Thought

Eric Goodfield

Some contemporary authors have witnessed the flourishing of the Sinophilia of the Early Enlightenment and the direct impact of Daoist and Chinese thought on the ideas of Spinoza, Leibniz, Voltaire, Quesnay and the philosophes and have proceeded to make overt connections between the Daoist notion of 'non-action' or Wu wei and Enlightenment doctrines of laissez-faire. In contrast to such approaches, I argue that these frequent conceptual comparisons have often been inappropriate where touchstone humanist notions devoid of the Dao de Jing's fundamental spiritual and metaphysical commitments are brought forward as evidence of interconnection.

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Making Friends of the Nations

Australian Interwar Magazines and Middlebrow Orientalism in the Pacific

Victoria Kuttainen and Sarah Galletly

middlebrow sources. Drawing on, and extending, Christina Klein’s notion of “middlebrow orientalism” which she develops in her analysis of the way American middlebrow culture “churned out a steady stream of stories, fiction and non-fiction that took Asia and

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Nicole Abravanel

généalogiquement mais culturellement, à la sphère que nous nommons sépharade. Engagé dans l’écriture de sa première œuvre romanesque dans les mêmes années, Cohen fait paraître Solal en 1930. 4 L’illusion du moment 1925 et la figure de l’oriental Le moment 1925 fut