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Author: Xiaoping Wang
Combining anatomies of textual examples with broader contextual considerations related with the social, political and economic developments of post-Mao China, Xiaoping Wang intends to explore newly emerging social and cultural trends in contemporary China, and find the truth content of Chinese society and culture in the age of global capitalism.
Through in-depth textual analyses covering a variety of media, ranging from fiction, poetry, film to theoretical works as well as cultural phenomena which mirror social and cultural occurrences and reflect the present ideological proclivities of the Chinese society, this study offers timely interpretations of China in the age of globalization, its political inclinations, social fashions and cultural tendencies, and provides thought-provoking messages of China’s socio-economic and political reality.
Author: Zaifu Liu
Volume Editors: Howard Y. F. Choy and Jianmei Liu
Liu Zaifu 劉再復 is a name that has already been ingrained within contemporary Chinese literary history. This landmark volume presents Anglophone readers with Liu’s profound reflections on Chinese literature and culture at different times. The essays collected here demonstrate Liu’s historical experience and trajectory as an exiled Chinese intellectual who persistently safeguards the individuality and the autonomy of literature, refusing to succumb to political manipulation.

Liu’s theory of literary subjectivity has opened ways for Chinese writers to thrive and innovate. His panoramic view not only unravels the intricate interplay between literature and politics but also firmly regards the transcendental value of literature as a significant ground to subvert revolutionary dogmatism and criticize Chinese modernity. Rather than drawing upon the existing paradigm, he reinvents his own unique theoretical conceptions in order to exile the borrowed “gods.”
In: Philological Encounters

Abstract

In this article, we explore the history of the development of the Islamicate manuscript collection at the Columbia University Libraries (approximately 575 manuscripts across a wide range of languages, subjects, and periods). The story of the collection is one of checkered growth and engagement, and of serendipitous development. We focus on the key actors responsible for collecting activities, mainly donors and faculty, and provide biographical information as well as details regarding the specific contributions made. Three broad phases of development are identified: the birth of the collection (1880–1930); a period of growth: the Smith-Plimpton Islamic science manuscripts (1930–1950); Arthur Jeffery, the Burke Collection and the last gasp of orientalist philological research at Columbia (1950–1970). We try to account for the ebb and flow of interest in the collection within the larger scholarly context of Islamic and Near Eastern studies in the city and at the University.

In: Philological Encounters

Abstract

This article examines a copy of Farhād Mīrzā’s Jām-i Jam (the World-Revealing Goblet) published in 1856 in Tehran and kept at Columbia University Library offsite storage. It demonstrates the dual importance of this book in geographic knowledge production and as part of the library of Saʿīd Nafīsī, one of the most prominent Iranian scholars of Persian literature. Methodologically, the paper offers various ways to study a single lithograph to decipher larger historical processes in histories of education, translation, and print. First, it analyzes the paratext to expose scholarly and political networks in order to examine the genealogy of geographic knowledge production in mid-nineteenth century Qajar Iran. Second, it studies the content and translation practices employed by Farhād Mīrzā to offer novel strategies for analyzing dissemination and reception of new ways of production and categorization of geographic knowledge as well as methods utilized in composition of pedagogical geography books. Finally, it discusses how cataloging practices affect current scholarship and lead to rendering certain texts “hidden.” It therefore illustrates how the study of Farhād Mīrzā’s Jām-i Jam, a book aspiring to reveal the world, can expose much about scholarly practices not only in the past but also the present.

In: Philological Encounters

Abstract

Historiography on the introduction of the Copernican astronomical paradigm in Iran has acknowledged the presence of Persian treatises from India in early-nineteenth century Qajar Iran for some time. In spite of this acknowledgment, the processes by which the modern paradigm was transmitted to Iran via the subcontinent have remained shrouded in mystery for the most part. MS Or. 462 at Columbia University, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, represents a unique early nineteenth-century composite manuscript (majmūʿah), in which, alongside treatises belonging to the premodern Ptolemaic paradigm, appears an entry on the Copernican planetary system. The treatise in question, titled “The discovery of the novel opinions of the sages of Europe” (Istikshāf-i rāyhā-yi tāzah-ʾi ḥakīmān-i farang), outlines the expanding geographical knowledge of Europe as well as the cosmological revisions of Copernicus and Newton, among other unnamed European scholars. In this article, we first examine the treatise’s connection to its Indo-Persian source and present an overview of its content on the new Copernican cosmology. Furthermore, we examine an encounter between proponents and detractors of the new scientific paradigm as detailed at the end of the treatise. Finally, we draw a few conclusions about the introduction of modernity and modern science into nineteenth-century Qajar Iran, based on the information that can be retrieved from this treatise.

In: Philological Encounters
Author: Himani Bannerji
The Ideological Condition: Selected Essays on History, Race and Gender is a reader comprised of many of Himani Bannerji’s English writings over a long period of teaching and research in Canada and India. Bannerji creates an interdisciplinary analytical method and extends the possibilities of historical materialism by predominantly drawing on Marx, Gramsci, and Dorothy Smith. Essays here instantiate Marx’s general proposition that while all ideology is a form of consciousness, all forms of consciousness are not ideological. Applying this insight to issues ranging from patriarchy through race, class, nationalism, liberalism and fascism, Bannerji breaks through East-West binaries, challenging the mystifying approaches to the constitution of the social, and shows that a sustained struggle against ideological thinking is at the heart of a fundamental socialist struggle.
In: The Ideological Condition: Selected Essays on History, Race and Gender