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Early in the morning of August 26, 2008, a large group of stick-wielding, black-shirted masked men forced their way into the studios of Bangkok's NBT television station, briefly detaining a number of staff. Once inside, they flung open the main doors, allowing several hundred more yellow-shirted protestors from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) inside. Other PAD supporters occupied the grounds of the station. NBT, the channel of the government's Public Relations Department (PRD) formerly known as Channel 11, was held by the PAD for around twelve hours. During this time, rogue engineers tried unsuccessfully to channel their illegal—but wildly popular—ASTV television signal through the NBT network. Defeated by the technical challenges, the protestors gave up their occupation of NBT, returning to Government House, the office of the Thai prime minister. That same afternoon, PAD supporters had climbed the fence of Government House and occupied the compound surrounding the Italianate Khu Fa building.
The fraught encounters between biological sciences and religions such as Buddhism have raised philosophical issues for many. This essay will focus on one of them: Can form ground the truth of life? The author suggests that, along with the introduction of evolutionary biology from Europe, literary realism in China has emerged as a technology of biomimesis, among other such technologies, to grapple with the problem of “life as form.” Focusing on Lu Xun's early interest in Ernst Haeckel and science fiction, especially his translation of “Technique for Creating Humans” and his narrative fiction “Prayers for Blessing,” which drew extensively on a Buddhist avadāna, the essay seeks to throw some new light on the familiar as well as unfamiliar sources relating to Lu Xun's life and works and to develop a new understanding of how the debates on science and metaphysics have developed in modern China.
This paper uses the concept of the “rule of law” to compare Qing China and British India. Rather than using the rule of law instrumentally, the paper embeds it in the histories of state power and sovereignty in China and India. Three themes, all framed by the rule of law and the rule of man as oppositional yet paradoxically intertwined notions, organize the paper's comparisons: the role of a discourse of law in simultaneously legitimizing and constraining the political authority of the state; the role of law and legal procedures in shaping and defining society; and the role of law in defining an economic and social order based on contract, property, and rights. A fourth section considers the implications of these findings for the historical trajectories of China and India in the twentieth century. Taking law as an instrument of power and an imagined realm that nonetheless also transcended power and operated outside its ambit, the paper seeks to broaden the history of the “rule of law” beyond Euro-America.
The growth of consumption and the emergence of the consumer have become major fields of study in the history of Europe and North America but have been largely neglected by historians of Japan, especially economic ones. This paper argues that, in Japan as elsewhere, the “birth of the consumer” predated the onset of industrialization—hence was not simply a function of the opening of the country to Western modernity—and that the growth of consumption, of “indigenous” as well as “foreign” goods, went on to represent an integral part of the process of economic development. This argument is illustrated by a case study of growth and change in the “ordinary consumption” of food and drink, and in particular of sake, a “traditional” product that emerged as a major consumer good, and of beer, the “foreign” product that was to become, alongside sake, one of the necessities of modern Japanese life.
This article has two main goals for its examination of wartime diaries: (1) to argue against the idea that a diary's reliability is directly related to the degree of privacy that its author enjoyed, and (2) to suggest an alternate use for these texts by scholars—namely, the construction of the author's concept of self through acts of “self-discipline.” The article briefly outlines military diary writing and reportage in modern Japan, showing how “fact” and “truth” came to be understood in diaries. Through an examination of published and manuscript diaries, the article addresses theoretical premises such as “intended audience,” “private language,” and the nature of “privacy” itself. Finally, the article provides an alternative reading of diaries: The texts represent the author's attempt to construct a compelling and coherent subject position. Because diarists are involved in the construction of their identities, the article suggests that scholars use diaries to move beyond examinations of subjectivity solely reliant on disciplinary institutions.
This article describes the manner in which the English language took root in modern India. It does so by using gender as the unit of analysis. Building a feminist analysis on the symbolic role of culture, the author traces the history of English education in Bombay and Poona. The rise of English as the language of power in the nineteenth century was actively enabled—and further legitimated—by the patriarchal interests of Indian class and caste formation. The author analyzes English- and Marathi-language memoirs, school reports, debates in the “native” press on the content of the English education curriculum, and other cultural productions by men and women detailing their experiences and opinions of English education. Based on those sources, the author demonstrates that upper-caste masculine authority came to be yoked to the charisma of colonial English and, with that, subtly coded the English language as masculine. Consequently, the power of Indian English emerged from its ability to evade charges of cultural mimicry for certain classes, to organize native gender difference, and to express and orient (hetero)sexual desire.
The protests in and around Tibet in 2008 show that Tibet's status within China remains unsettled. The West is not an outsider to the Tibet question, which is defined primarily in terms of the debate over the status of Tibet vis-à-vis China. Tibet's modern geopolitical identity has been scripted by British imperialism. The changing dynamics of British imperial interests in India affected the emergence of Tibet as a (non)modern geopolitical entity. The most significant aspect of the British imperialist policy practiced in the first half of the twentieth century was the formula of “Chinese suzerainty/Tibetan autonomy.” This strategic hypocrisy, while nurturing an ambiguity in Tibet's status, culminated in the victory of a Western idea of sovereignty. It was China, not Tibet, that found the sovereignty talk most useful. The paper emphasizes the world-constructing role of contesting representations and challenges the divide between the political and the cultural, the imperial and the imaginative.