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An Ethnography of the Classics-reading Movement in Contemporary China
Author: Sandra Gilgan
Sandra Gilgan’s Utopia in the Revival of Confucian Education examines the classics-reading movement in contemporary China as not only driven by attraction to certain elements of tradition, but even more by caesuras in the past that caused people to detach from their cultural roots. The author argues that activism in the classics-reading movement arises from an entanglement of past, present, and future. Social and political upheaval in the near past of the twentieth century caused people to disconnect from their traditional culture and ways of living, resulting in the present need to reconnect with perceived “original” culture and tradition from the more distant past. Through peoples’ imaginaries of a better future that are informed by past traditions, new ways of the past find entrance into life and education in study halls and academies. This new study draws on multi-sited ethnographic field research in ten Chinese cities, with the broadest database currently available. It combines theoretical elements from anthropology, history, sociology and sinology in a grounded theory approach. As an interdisciplinary study, the book is of interest for academics in Asian and Chinese studies, heritage and memory studies, religious studies, educational sciences, history, and cultural anthropology, as well as social and political sciences.
From Animators’ Perspectives
Volume Editor: Daisy Yan Du
This volume on Chinese animation and socialism is the first in English that introduces the insider viewpoints of socialist animators at the Shanghai Animation Film Studio in China. Although a few monographs have been published in English on Chinese animation, they are from the perspective of scholars rather than of the animators who personally worked on the films, as discussed in this volume. Featuring hidden histories and names behind the scenes, precious photos, and commentary on rarely seen animated films, this book is a timely and useful reference book for researchers, students, animators, and fans interested in Chinese and even world animation.

This book originated from the Animators’ Roundtable Forum (April 2017 at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), organized by the Association for Chinese Animation Studies.
Women’s Speculative Fiction in Contemporary Japan
Author: Kazue Harada
Contemporary Japanese female speculative fiction writers of novels and manga employ the perspectives of aliens, cyborgs, and bioengineered entities to critique the social realities of women, particularly with respect to reproduction, which they also re-imagine in radical ways. Harada examines the various meanings of (re)production in light of feminist and queer studies and offers close readings of works by novelists Murata Sayaka, Ōhara Mariko, Ueda Sayuri and manga artists Hagio Moto and Shirai Yumiko. Scholarship of SF in Japanese studies has primarily focused on male authors, but this book shows not only how women writers have created a space in SF and speculative fiction but how their work can be seen as a response to particular social norms and government policies.
At a lonely place, in a remote hermitage somewhere in the Himālaya, the god Śiva is teaching Tantric worship to his humiliated sons, who want to regain their divine status: “You should worship the goddess Mahāmāyā Kālikā”. Remarkable are his ‘talks’ about preliminary rituals, mudrās, and animal as well as human sacrifice. The Tantric Teachings form the inner core of the Kālikā Purāna, i.e. ‘Old Stories about Kālikā’, composed by a learned Brāhmin about a thousand years ago in Kāmarūpa (Assam). Careful listening to the text has been my first priority when presenting the relevant passages in text and translation.
Anthropology, Epistemology, Ethics, Space
Volume Editors: Asis De and Alessandro Vescovi
An Indian Bengali by birth, Amitav Ghosh has established himself as a major voice in what is often called world literature, addressing issues such as the post-colonial and neo-colonial predicaments, the plight of the subalterns, the origin of globalisation and capitalism, and lately ecology and migration. The volume is therefore divided according to the four domains that lie at the heart of Ghosh’s writing practice: anthropology, epistemology, ethics and space. In this volume, a number of scholars from all over the world have come together to shed new light on the works and poetics of Amitav Ghosh according to the epistemic frameworks that form the bedrock of his fiction.

Contributors: Safoora Arbab, Carlotta Beretta, Lucio De Capitani, Asis De, Lenka Filipova, Letizia Garofalo, Swapna Gopinath, Evelyne Hanquart-Turner, Sabine Lauret-Taft, Carol Leon, Kuldeep Mathur, Fiona Moolla, Sambit Panigrahi, Madhsumita Pati, Murari Prasad, Luca Raimondi, Pabitra Kumar Rana, Ilaria Rigoli, Sneharika Roy, John Thieme, Alessandro Vescovi.
Author: Guy Burak

Abstract

This essay is an attempt to read the section on invocations, prayers, the unique qualities of the Quran and magic squares of the palace library of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (d. 918/1512) along with several works by ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Bisṭāmī (d. c. 858/1454 or 1455) to cast light on underexamined perceptions of calligraphic styles and alphabets/scripts employed to inscribe talismanic objects and manuscripts. Methodologically, the intention is to situate the inventory of the palace library in the intersection of prescriptive texts, on the one hand, and talismanic objects and manuscripts of invocations, on the other. By taking the inventory as a document of practice, the essay seeks to illustrate the importance of paying attention to other elements of the talismanic compound in general, and to the use of alphabets/scripts with their specific talismanic attributes in particular.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World
Free access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World
Free access
In: Philological Encounters

Abstract

Mohism and Confucianism are usually characterized as utilitarian and anti-utilitarian, respectively. This article argues that although Confucians do not espouse the kind of utilitarianism found in the Mozi, both Confucianism and Mohism qualify as forms of consequentialism in emphasizing that the outcome of a given behavior or action constitutes the basis for determining whether the latter qualifies as morally good. Through an analysis of the classical texts of the Analects and the Mengzi, I demonstrate that the similarities between the Confucian and Mohist perspectives on yi and li are much greater than their supposed differences, which have generally been taken for granted. Like Mohism, Confucianism upholds what we might call a “deliberated utilitarianism.”

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities

Abstract

Pre-Qin era Mohist thought was endowed with a Confucian legacy as well as a critical eye and a unique set of ideas. These ideas later affected Legalist thought and attracted criticism from Mencius, Xunzi, and Zhuangzi, and many disputes arose thereafter between the later Mohists. Mohist thought can be broadly characterized as possessing distinctively ethical, rational, and practical features, and we can identify three main aspects of the modern transformation of Mohist philosophy. The first derives from Mozi’s statement on “[the endeavor to] procure benefits for the world and eliminate its calamities,” which can be interpreted as calling on humanity to resolve regional issues from a global viewpoint. The second draws upon Mozi’s statement on “universal love and mutual aid” to promote a manner of thinking that embraces peace at a global level and cultivates strong worldwide environmental awareness. The third draws upon Mozi’s ideas of “identification with the superior” and “Mohist methods of thinking” to promote a type of technological integration that incorporates cultural and social approaches and scientific thought to establish a global teaching system.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities