aries1988 + history   702

【专访】哈佛学者宋怡明:在服从与反抗之间,明代人如何与国家互动协商 | 界面新闻
如果你去读西方法律史,你会看到“天赋人权”(natural rights)的概念:每个个体都有自己与生俱来的权利,这些权利不是由国家授予的,而是由上帝授予的,属于自然法则的一部分,因此法律要做的是保护这些权利。在中国的情况是——我需要反驳一些你刚才说的内容——并不是说判官把国家的权利置于个人权利之上,个人权利根本不在判官的考虑范围之内,即使是在西方,个人权利也并不总是能赢得官司,而是说法官需要在作出裁决时把个人权利的因素考虑在内(但个人权利在官司中往往是两相冲突的)。
但中国人对法律的理解是不同的。我们如今可以看到大量的判牍,它们记录了判官是如何裁决案件的。判官从来不会谈权利问题,他们谈的是法、情和理。“理”指的是或许存在于法律之外的行事准则,“情”指的是“情况”和“情绪”。所以当判官把土地判给军户的时候,他遵循的是“理”,而不完全是“法”,因为根据法,原告和被告双方都有所有权,但判官指出的是,这里我们需要尊重某些规则。
这是一种比较复杂的法律系统,这肯定不是我愿意生活在其中的法律系统,但它的确是曾经真实存在过的法律系统,只不过这种系统的基础不是“权利”。

界面文化:所以这是中国没有自然过渡到现代社会的原因吗?
宋怡明:不好意思,这是一种比较过时的关于中国的提问方式了。在我所在的领域,在很长一段时间里,一个横亘在学者面前的大问题是:中国怎么了?中国出了什么错?中国为什么失败了?但从当下的视角来看,我们不能再用成功/失败的叙述方式去理解中国了。我们看到的是通向现代性的不同路径,成为现代社会的不同速度。所以我们不能说哪一点让中国“与众不同”了,我们只能去做比较研究。我们不能说哪个社会更好,哪个社会更糟,我们需要问的是,为什么权利意识没有在中国萌发,而是在西方萌发了?

宋怡明:历史上的中国是个高度组织化的社会,中国拥有许多能够解决问题的机构,其中的部分机构甚至是用来解决一些非常现代的问题的,比如说中国历史上就有提供公共服务的机构,有医院、孤儿所、慈善机构,人们集资造桥修路。但到了某个时刻,在中国的那些欧洲中心主义的改革者认为通往现代性的唯一道路就是彻底打破中国所有既有的机构。这个观念从19世纪开始萌发,在五四运动时成为知识分子的普遍共识,在1930年代到1940年代拥有了广泛的政治影响力,但它无视的是一些中国传统组织的办事效率,我的确认为这为20世纪的中国带来了许多悲剧。
book  ming  family  local  government  negociation  opinion  chinese  history  culture 
22 days ago by aries1988
A report from Xinjiang - Many Han Chinese don’t mind the gulag for their Uighur neighbours | China | The Economist

the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (the bingtuan, in Chinese). This sprawling organisation, part state-run firm and part paramilitary force, has since emerged to dominate Xinjiang’s agriculture, leaving little room for Uighurs to compete. It controls vast tracts of land, on which it produces a large share of China’s cotton and tomatoes, often using migrant Han workers brought in from other parts of China. It is also involved in construction, property dealing and the oil industry (other large, Han-dominated, state-owned firms control most of this). In recent years its share of Xinjiang’s GDP has risen (see chart).
xinjiang  history 
5 weeks ago by aries1988
Invaders | The New Yorker
On marches when there wasn’t time to milk, Mongol riders would open a vein in their horses’ necks and drink the blood, either straight or from a pouch. Mongols were especially fond of fermented mare’s milk, called kumis.
Mongols also ate meat tenderized by being sat on beneath their saddles on long journeys; marmot steeped in sour milk; curds dried in the sun; roots, dogs, rats—almost anything, according to several observers.
during a siege of a Chinese city, a Mongol army ran out of food and ate one of every ten of its own soldiers. Mediterranean people who knew the Mongols only by reputation believed they were creatures with dogs’ heads who lived on human flesh.

Custom forbade them from ever washing their clothes. Also contributing to their smell might have been their diet, which at certain times of the year was mainly mare’s milk.

Sonam Gyatso, who became the Dalai Lama in 1543, set out on a missionary journey to Mongolia in 1577, performed many miracles on the way, and was greeted by the Mongols with rejoicing. In less than a generation, many Mongols had become Lamaists, renouncing not only warfare but all other violence, including hunting and hawking. Today the Tibetan Buddhists believe that the saintly Sonam Gyatso is alive in his latest reincarnation, in the person of Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, recently seen smiling beatifically in ads for a computer brand.

It is possible, therefore, that more than thirty-two million people in the world today are descended from Genghis Khan.

Like the sack of Baghdad, the Egyptians’ defeat of the Mongols was a moment at which history turned. As a result, Islamic culture in Cairo did not get crushed by the Mongols, and so for a time Egypt became the center of Islam; and the Mongols never extended their power beyond Asia into Africa.

Many Muslims believe that the Mongol destruction of Baghdad and of the caliphate was the worst misfortune ever to befall Islam. With it, the faith’s first period of flowering came to a decisive close (though its actual decline had, of course, begun earlier).
Historical speculations about what might have been if the disaster had never occurred go in various directions, some tending toward the wild. A book on Arab cultural identity published in the nineteen-fifties quoted a high official in the Syrian government who said that if the Mongols hadn’t destroyed the libraries of Baghdad, Arab science would have produced the atom bomb long before the West.
mongol  history  asia  middle-east  war  killing  irak  humor  islam  disaster  american  usa  anecdote 
6 weeks ago by aries1988
How Protestantism influenced the making of modern science | Aeon Essays

There is a stubbornly persistent version of the history of science, much beloved of more than a few popular writers, that has science first emerging with the ancient Greeks, sliding into a moribund stagnation in the Christian Middle Ages, and bursting forth again in the 17th century with scientific heroes such as Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton. In this cartoon version of history, the long medieval hiatus of science and reason is often attributed to the influence of religion. The scientific revolution of the 17th century and the triumphant march of science ever since are said to be a consequence of the fact that science managed to extricate itself from the clutches of a censorial and stultifying religious establishment.

there really was something quite distinctive and revolutionary about the new sciences of the 17th century: new experimental methods, new combinations of mathematics and physics, the idea of science as a collective enterprise, revised understandings of nature and its meanings, and, crucially, the alignment of science with a set of values that would sustain it, and eventually propel it right into the centre of Western culture.

given the importance of religion to early modern European intellectual life, it would be remarkable if the tumultuous upheavals of the 16th century, and the subsequent schism between Catholics and Protestants, did not leave an indelible mark on an emerging modern science. The real question is how.

Aristotelian science was accordingly based on commonsense observations of nature, conducted without instruments or experiments. This approach gave rise to a number of familiar, but erroneous, Aristotelian doctrines: a heavy object (the stone) will always fall more quickly than the light one (the feather); terrestrial objects move in straight lines and will eventually come to rest; celestial objects move perpetually in circular paths.

Kepler, Boyle and others saw their scientific work as part of a religious mission to uncover the divine order of the natural world. Again, then, values derived from Protestant ideas of vocation motivated at least some of the most influential scientists of the period, and provided a religious rationale for pursuing the study of nature.

Allegory, in short, was a practice that brought together the reading of the book of nature and the book of scripture. In consequence, a change to the status of allegorical interpretation would necessarily have implications for how nature was conceptualised.

Protestant reformers campaigned against the excesses of allegorical interpretation.

The advocates of experimental science found themselves needing to devote considerable effort to establishing the utility of their fledgling enterprise, and aligning it with existing values. In these efforts, the partnership of natural philosophy and natural theology proved vital. It established the new science with religious credentials and much-needed social legitimation. The authority of natural theology helped to make natural science a mainstream activity in the modern West. This alliance also helps to explain how early modern Europe managed to break out of the boom-bust cycle that characterised the scientific cultures of other places and historical periods.

The Protestant Reformation unleashed in vexing and potentially chaotic ways the problem of religious pluralism. The advocates of each religion insist that only one religion – their own – is true. The discordance raised the spectre of atheism: what if, after all, competing religions cancelled each other out? In such an environment, the alliance of natural science and natural theology offered protection against impiety and unbelief, and support for the truth of religion in general. Indeed, the new alliance between natural theology and natural philosophy produced potent evidence for the wisdom and power of God, support more solid, it was claimed, than the more philosophical and speculative arguments of the medieval era, which were light on empirical evidence.

Almost from the first, Protestants sought to associate a particular version of history with Protestantism, reason and progress. They likewise insisted that Catholicism was part and parcel of superstition, censorial attitudes and scientific backwardness. This Protestant historical consciousness lent itself to a progressivist Enlightenment narrative that promoted a similar view of history. It is this contentious historiography, deeply imbued with residual anti-Catholic sentiment, that informs the simplistic picture of the history of science with which this piece began.
religion  science  history  protestant  historiography  west  scientist  christianity 
7 weeks ago by aries1988
被忽略的淮北:明清治水政治与水患困局
潘季驯在与常三省的争论中,可谓全胜而归,这是因为潘所持的理由是保运保漕,是明代公认的“大局”。史称:“蓄清以敌黄,乃转漕大政。”而常上书的目的则是为了保护泗州一地,他所列举的泗州城乡被淹惨状,对于泗州人而言,无疑是生死存亡之事,但与维持京师及北部边境的粮食供应,保障国家的正常秩序这一核心利益相比,是极不相称的,只能属“局部利益”。局部利益必须服从大局,这是中国传统政治所注定的。

南京国民政府时期,代表安徽利益的宗受于仍然认为:“苏居下游,阻淮出海之路,致洪湖逐渐淤高,上游来水壅滞。皖、豫平原之沟渠河道,以流停沙积,数百年来悉皆填成平陆。昔之井田沃野,今则赤地千里。或则泛滥无涯,农民辍耕,流为兵匪。农利损失,不可亿计。故直接受淮之害惟皖豫,间接受淮之害为鲁南。而苏则除开坝溃堤之年,尚能保持其农利也。”这种防邻戒心,实在不应归咎于人们不能顾全大局,而是由于政府对治水大业缺乏宏观统筹、尤其是缺乏综合治理、长期非此即彼地牺牲某些穷困地区造成的。因此,因治水而造成的地区性冲突,在淮河下游地区俯拾即是。

苏北地区的水患。事实上也是人为“治理”而成。徐州、海州地区原为淮、泗、沂、沭交汇之地,但河道通畅,水流井然有序,“亘古不闻有水患”。后由于黄河、运河、淮河三条大河在此相交,中央政府每年都要大兴河工,进行“治理”,造成了这里的水文环境严重恶化。

综上所述,在修建巨型工程高家堰并蓄水成湖时,政府享受了水之利,暂时维持了其核心利益;而把水之害推给了这一地区的百姓,并把淮河下游不同的亚区推向了你死我活的争斗中。

潘季驯主持修筑的高家堰,虽然暂时解决了黄河的淤垫问题,但却在基本上没有什么落差、地势极为平坦、极不适合修建水库的淮河中游地区造就了一个庞大的人工湖泊洪泽湖,把堰西数千平方公里的乡村镇市变为鱼鳖乐园,并在堰东地区的上空悬了一把每年必定下落的利剑,实为淮河下游生态衰变史上的分水岭。在以后的近300年里,一代又一代的河臣们不断地加筑高家堰,不断地扩大两淮地区的灾源。并把泗盱与高宝地区的百姓推向你死我不活的地区性斗争,成为明至民国前期无法释解的地缘性冲突与对立。

归根结蒂,淮河下游地区是被传统专制权力牺牲的地区,维持空洞的政治象征与实质性的漕粮供应是国家的最高利益,淮河下游地区的生态畸变则被视为局部利益。在淮河下游内部的地区性斗争中,斗争的最终砝码仍然是每个地区权力拥有者们势力的大小。
moi  anhui  flooding  jiangsu  ming  huanghe  river  china  history  region  poverty  book 
8 weeks ago by aries1988
尼尔·弗格森:我是在批评那些老旧的历史描述方式

尼尔·弗格森:如果一个历史学家认为,践行自己的责任就是给象牙塔里的几十个、几百个、几千个学生授课,那么,在我看来,他对于“责任”的理解过于狭隘。我们这些研究“昨天”的人的责任不只在于告诉哈佛、牛津,或者清华的学生“从前发生些什么”,而是要面向更大范围的公众,面对那些掌握权力的人,把历史的经验解释给今天那些制定政策的人。比如说,怎样的中美关系更有利于两国人民的利益?更有利于全世界人民的利益?我相信历史学家可以给出一些建议。
historian  history  book 
9 weeks ago by aries1988
阿拉伯世界五百年:奥斯曼征服至今的历史

这项制度每年从巴尔干行省征募年轻的基督教男孩,然后他们将作为奴隶被送往伊斯坦布尔,远离原生家庭,强制皈依伊斯兰教,接受训练培养,等待成为奥斯曼军队和政府精英的后备人选。“男孩征募”制度日后被证明是奥斯曼帝国能够快速崛起并有效维持统治的一个重要原因。

瓦哈比主义崛起的过程与沙特家族的历史密不可分,所以被尤金·罗根称为“沙特-瓦哈比联盟”。1744 年,沙特家族首领与阿卜杜·瓦哈卜签订协议,双方完成政教合一,从此以后,沙特家族为瓦哈比派提供保护和支持,瓦哈卜谢赫家族则为沙特家族的扩张“圣战”寻找伊斯兰法学理论上的合法性依据。

尽管像塔赫塔维这样的伊斯兰现代化启蒙先驱付出了巨大努力,但令人遗憾的是,无论穆罕默德·阿里发起的“洋务运动”,还是奥斯曼帝国在1839-1876年进行的“坦齐马特”改革,都没能让统治者彻底走出困境。改革失败的内因当然有很多,不过在尤金·罗根看来,欧洲帝国主义经济控制的外因也不容忽视——奥斯曼中央政府及其阿拉伯属国为了自身强大而推行改革,改革需要借贷,最后却债台高筑,反而受制于人,这便是历史的吊诡之处。“改革运动的初衷是加强奥斯曼帝国及其属国,防止外部干涉,结果却让欧洲进一步掌控中东各国。”
arab  ottoman  saudi  history  book  ethnic  turkey 
9 weeks ago by aries1988
Social Media Is Warping Democracy - The Atlantic

For example, in “Federalist No. 10,” James Madison wrote about his fear of the power of “faction,” by which he meant strong partisanship or group interest that “inflamed [men] with mutual animosity” and made them forget about the common good. He thought that the vastness of the United States might offer some protection from the ravages of factionalism, because it would be hard for anyone to spread outrage over such a large distance. Madison presumed that factious or divisive leaders “may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States.” The Constitution included mechanisms to slow things down, let passions cool, and encourage reflection and deliberation.

Social media pushes people of all ages toward a focus on the scandal, joke, or conflict of the day, but the effect may be particularly profound for younger generations, who have had less opportunity to acquire older ideas and information before plugging themselves into the social-media stream.

citizens are now more connected to one another, in ways that increase public performance and foster moral grandstanding, on platforms that have been designed to make outrage contagious, all while focusing people’s minds on immediate conflicts and untested ideas, untethered from traditions, knowledge, and values that previously exerted a stabilizing effect. This, we believe, is why many Americans—and citizens of many other countries, too—experience democracy as a place where everything is going haywire.
social-network  psychology  history  constitution  usa  research  policy  society  instability 
10 weeks ago by aries1988
How writing began, and other unexpectedly funny stories about cuneiform | Aeon Videos
How writing began, and other unexpectedly funny stories about cuneiform Cuneiform, the ancient Sumerian script that emerged in Mesopotamia’s Fertile Crescent…
video  explained  language  writing  history  book  hero 
11 weeks ago by aries1988
Sylvain Gouguenheim, Aristote au Mont-Saint-Michel

Nous évaluerons cet ouvrage selon trois angles : son constat historiographique, sa méthode d’analyse des phénomènes culturels et intellectuels, sa vision de l’Islam et de l’Occident.

Ce combat pour la réhabilitation du Moyen Age est louable mais quelque peu dépassé et plus aucun historien ne prétend sérieusement aujourd’hui que le monde franc est « inculte et barbare » (p. 36). En aucun cas l’hypothèse d’un « Islam des Lumières » n’implique de définir le Moyen Age occidental comme Dark Ages. Extrapolant les implications idéologiques des études scientifiques antérieures, l’auteur entend se positionner contre une forme d’auto-dénigrement occidental qu’il juge « démoralisateur ».

Il accorde une préférence trop marquée aux seuls auteurs donnant une image négative de l’Islam plutôt que de les confronter à d’autres points de vue et sortir d’une logique d’opposition stérile. Établissant comme préalable le refus de la « dette » de l’Occident à l’égard du monde arabo-musulman, l’auteur pose comme problématique à son ouvrage une question de pure rhétorique fermant immédiatement le débat qu’il prétendait ouvrir : « si les Grecs n’ont pas inspiré fondamentalement l’esprit même de notre civilisation d’Occident qui d’autre l’aurait fait ? » (p. 177).

Au niveau méthodologique, la différence d’intensité critique, selon que l’auteur aborde l’Occident ou l’Islam, décrédibilise une démarche comparatiste caractérisée par le manque de rigueur et de précision dans les éléments comparés ainsi que par la confusion entre permanences historiques et jugements essentialistes (p. 167).

Affirmant que « l’islam étant plus qu’une simple religion » (p. 151), c’est « une orthopraxie » (p. 194), l’auteur dérive clairement vers une condamnation morale de cette religion comme obscurantiste. Il définit ainsi l’islam par rapport au christianisme, affirmant la « simplicité du dogme islamique, en regard de celui de la foi chrétienne » (p. 159).

En effet l’auteur fait de la langue le fondement essentiel et déterminant de la culture et de l’identité, des « structures mentales » (p. 137). Cette approche ethnico-linguistique aboutit à une distinction caricaturale et dangereuse entre l’arabe, qui serait une langue de religion et de poésie (p. 136), dont la verbosité ne serait pas adaptée au discours philosophique (p. 185), et le latin, le syriaque ou le grec qui seraient des langues de la raison, de la culture (p. 85) et du droit (p. 162).
language  arab  greek  europe  book  critic  comparison  history  science  christianity  islam  from instapaper
november 2019 by aries1988
“The King” is a timely examination of the corrupting influence of power - Lenity and cruelty
The Agincourt battle remains the climax of the film, and Mr Michôd delivers a thrilling mix of mud and blood. But it is the duplicity in the cause of nationhood that makes “The King” feel so vital and challenging. Going to war on the basis of falsehoods calls forth the run-up to the second Iraq war, but “The King” goes further in suggesting that power is always based on lies. Henry V may be the poster boy for proud English triumph, but the paper is thin.
english  français  history  war  movie  nation  hero  king 
november 2019 by aries1988
"Histoire du monde au XVe siècle", sous la direction de Patrick Boucheron : et le monde se globalisa...

Depuis une trentaine d'années, ce qu'on appelle la "World History" a fait d'un monde décloisonné son objet d'étude privilégié, jouant des rapprochements et des comparaisons pour dépasser des récits nationaux au cadre souvent étriqué et surtout artificiel. Ainsi, en France, l'"histoire connectée" a été encouragée par les travaux de Serge Gruzinski et de Sanjay Subrahmanyam.

Ils y explorent les prémices de la mondialisation avant l'âge des empires coloniaux, considérant que le XVe siècle, "ample et large, complexe et divers", en constitue une étape décisive. Les auteurs parcourent donc les "territoires du monde", depuis la prise du pouvoir par le conquérant turco-mongol Tamerlan, dans les années 1370, jusqu'au passage du fameux détroit par Magellan en 1520.

Trente ans après Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme de Fernand Braudel, il s'agit ici de dépasser une "histoire totale" fondée sur une "grammaire des civilisations" aujourd'hui remise en question.

Au XVe siècle, le monde s'organise autour d'immenses territoires, unifiés ou en passe de l'être, tels la Chine des Ming ou l'Empire ottoman, les terres russes progressivement rassemblées autour de Moscou, les empires aztèque et inca. D'autres régions restent morcelées autour d'unités territoriales plus réduites, tels l'Inde et l'Asie du Sud-Est, les royaumes africains ou européens et leurs subdivisions internes. De vastes zones d'échange et de circulation relient déjà ces mondes, autour de la Méditerranée, de l'océan Indien ou des territoires musulmans.
15C  history  historiography  world  comparison  review  book  français  explained  moi  from instapaper
october 2019 by aries1988
“Samurai: A Concise History” by Michael Wert

The Kamakura shogunate was Japan’s “first warrior regime.” Its establishment was, writes Wert, “a watershed moment … that forever changed how one group of warriors related to another.” Samurai, who previously interacted mostly with family members, now associated with other warriors and “developed as a social group” at Yoritomo’s palace at Kamakura. Samurai trained, hunted, and socialized together, which strengthened “the bonds to each other and to the shogunate.”

Wert notes, however, that medieval Japanese warriors were not always loyal to their nobles and their self-sacrifice “was the exception that proved the rule.”
samurai  japan  history  book 
october 2019 by aries1988
The astonishing and violent rise of the East India Company

The book’s major omission is a full analysis of the Asian trading system centred around Bengal—the role of commercial agents who acted autonomously from the company; the position of Calcutta as an entrepot; and the strong links between the EIC and Chinese trade. Stamford Raffles, who founded Singapore, was a clerk in the EIC. William Jardine, who would co-found a firm that led the opium trade with China, first worked as an EIC ship’s surgeon.
banyan  india  uk  colonialism  history  state  commerce  from instapaper
october 2019 by aries1988
萨义德与东方学:为什么西方人眼中的东方充满偏见?

萨氏所分析的东方学史,是现代世界体系(the modern world system)形成的内在部分。在《现代世界体系》(1973)一书中,瓦勒斯坦已经探讨了西方资本主义体系如何在十四世纪之后形成以及在十六世纪以后逐步成为世界经济地理空间的内核(core),如何使非西方社会变成“边际”(periphery)。瓦氏的理论主要是建立在世界市场的形成和扩散的研究基础之上,对于与世界市场形成同步发生并难以分割的西方霸权产生的东渐,瓦氏并没有加以分析。实际上,十四世纪以后的世界史不只是一部经济政治的变迁史,还是一部文化变迁史。用沃尔夫的话说,它是西方文化史排挤东方历史的过程,是欧洲变非西方社会为“无历史”的民族的过程。《东方学》的描述与分析,反映的正是瓦氏忽视的一种历史取代另一种历史并使后者成为“无历史”的历史。不过,它的意义远远超过补充《现代世界体系》的解说,而更重要的是为从事文化批评的学者指出社会、历史、与文本(textuality)的密切关系以及学术、意识形态、与权力的关系,为一般的读者指出文化自我和他人的观念在人们生活中的重要角色,为第三世界指出西方文化的潜在力量以及东方世界如何透视这一力量。
orientalisme  asia  west  book  theory  culture  anthropology  history  origin  question  from instapaper
october 2019 by aries1988
毛升序傅高义《中国和日本》︱“对不起”与“谢谢你”_上海书评_澎湃新闻-The Paper
傅高义却强调,日本侵华,未必有一个精心设计的计划。明治天皇去世后,曾将中日两国结合在一起的各种体制发生了根本的变化,两国都无法重建一个有效而稳定的政治制度。当中国出现军阀割据时,日本的政治权力亦为军人所窃取。日本政府无能,军人不服东京管制,越来越肆无忌惮。而到了1931年末,日本民众的反华情绪也已经异常激烈,即使关东军占领满洲这一明显的军事独断,民众也乐见其成,还继续予以支持。政治上的失序、军人的不服从,以及民众的非理性,再加上日方严重低估了中国人抵抗的决心,最后导致日本走上了万劫不复的战争之路。当我们将中日战争这一事件“本质化”(essentialization),相信这就是日本人的“本性”使然,那么不仅战争无法避免,仇恨也无法化解。历史偶然性则强调“机会”(chance)“变化”(change)与“非必要性”(unnecessity),战争关乎各种因素机缘巧合所产生的意外,事先没有计划,战争中日军的暴行亦透露出他们深陷其中的困境。
bookstore  japan  china  history 
september 2019 by aries1988
“Visions of Empire: How Five Imperial Regimes Shaped the World” by Krishan Kumar

Kumar focuses on five empires: Ottoman, Habsburg, Russian/Soviet, British, and French, but he begins the book by examining what he calls the “parent of Empire”—that of classical Rome, including its eastern half in Byzantium, an example of which, he believes, shaped all of those that came after it. Its imperial legacy included a “civilizing mission”, the spread of a state religion (Christianity), an enlightened approach to non-Romans within the empire, and its claim to universality. “In one way or another,” Kumar writes, “modern imperialism evolved in dialogue with Rome.” All of the empires he examines shared most elements of Rome’s imperial legacy.

these empires fell, he believes, because of war (Habsburg, Ottoman, Russian), the economic and psychological exhaustion caused by war (Britain and France), and lengthy, straining competition with a competing power (the Soviet Union). He agrees with the British historian Paul Johnson that “there are no inevitabilities in history”.

We can still learn and benefit from Toynbee’s massive A Study of History, which sought to find common elements in the birth, rise, decline, and death of civilizations.
history  book  empire  merit  from instapaper
september 2019 by aries1988
The Dark Ages Were Actually Good. What Can That Teach Us? - The Atlantic

The era that began with Rome’s collapse—“late antiquity,”

Before, we have the familiar characters in togas; sometime after, knights in armor. But in between? And specifically: How did the diverse terrain that had been the Roman empire in the West respond when central authority gave way? When the last emperor was gone, how did that register in Hispania and Gaul? How did people manage without the imperial system that had built roads and aqueducts, and brought its laws and language to so much of the world?

These included not only the breakup of empire into the precursors of what became modern countries but also “much that a sensitive European has come to regard as most ‘modern’ and valuable in his own culture,” from new artistic and literary forms to self-governing civic associations.
history  today  comparison  usa  local  movement  politics  community  government  2019  spqr  from:rss 
september 2019 by aries1988
The Interpreter: Facts and feelings and genocide

To pay for that house and the time to sit in his well-appointed rooms tinkering with brilliant ideas, Jefferson enslaved hundreds of human beings, including at least four of his own biological children. To fill it with treasures, he used people — families — as collateral for loans.
He thought it should be abolished. But he lived in luxury and comfort, and did not free the people he had enslaved.

American history, at least in the standard teaching, has been like that Monticello tour. It acknowledges slavery, but tends to make it a secondary consideration, ranked somewhere below the accomplishments and ideas of those who used slave-derived wealth to build a new country.

All of those memorials, all of the reckonings they might trigger, are political. But that’s only because forgetting is a political act too.

Reckoning with past atrocities can stir up shame and a kind of cognitive dissonance. It’s not just that we don’t want to see national heroes and other beloved members of our “team” — people and institutions we have been taught to revere and identify with — as capable of monstrous acts. It also threatens our sense of a just world. If people can commit atrocities but still go on to be revered, that suggests the world is unjust; that we cannot trust history’s calculus of who is a hero and who is a villain. Or, for that matter, trust our own.

That is … uncomfortable.
explained  feeling  human  shame  history  usa  slavery  genocide  memorial  ancestor  hero  politics 
august 2019 by aries1988
F**k Jared Diamond

Diamond won a Pulitzer Prize because he made this ridiculous, racist argumentsound like common sense. His books do not merely sanitize a history of colonialviolence; they are its disinfectant. They offer compelling and seemingly intuitivearguments that serve as the “ideology of an imperial capitalism,” as geographer DickPeet called it.B

Cold northern climates produce hardy and thrifty people who thus flourish. Meanwhile, the unrelenting heat along the equator produces lazy people condemned to forever languish in patterns of poverty as predictable as the trade winds.
paper  opinion  determinism  geography  racism  polemic  history  west  colonialism  inequality  human  continent  anthropology  from instapaper
august 2019 by aries1988
罗杰·克劳利访华 | 跨越地中海的旅行与穿越中世纪的写作
英国历史学家罗杰·克劳利(Roger Crowley),出生于英格兰,童年在地中海的“心脏”马耳他度过。毕业于剑桥大学英文系,后在伊斯坦布尔居住、教学。在伊斯坦布尔,他对奥斯曼帝国、拜占庭帝国、威尼斯人产生了浓厚兴趣,用多年时间广泛游历地中海世界,获得了关于地中海历史与文化的渊博知识,写出了“地中海史诗三部曲”:《1453》、《海洋帝国》和《财富之城》,以及后来的《征服者:葡萄牙帝国的崛起》。同时,他也是腾讯·大家的专栏作者,为中国的读者书写地中海世界的故事。

通过“地中海史诗三部曲”,《纽约时报》畅销书作家罗杰·克劳利确立了自己的地位:他是我们这一代研究欧洲伟大航海帝国的卓越历史学家,也是十字军东征之后东西方冲突领域的专家。
writer  nonfiction  history  book 
august 2019 by aries1988
勒高夫与“长中世纪”
勒高夫选择从“历史分期”这个大问题入手思考。中国读者对历史分期问题不会感到陌生。在作为一门现代学科的中国史学走向形成的过程中,古史分期问题一度扮演了核心角色。共和国“十七年”史学的“五朵金花”中,分期问题居首,而且与另外两朵金花(“中国封建土地所有制形式问题”与“中国资本主义萌芽问题”)密切关联。

可能与他的盛期中世纪视角有关,在《分期》中,勒高夫没有论及与他的主题密切相关的另一项传统分期“晚期中世纪”(大致1350—1500年)及其当代学术史,我们不妨在这里简略地加以补充

给予“长15世纪”这个晚期中世纪与文艺复兴的重叠时段以专门的关注:并非因为期间发生了重大的历史断裂,而是这个时段自身或许具有某些区别于之前的盛期中世纪与之后的早期现代的独特历史气质。

他生平最富学术原创性的两大论断刚好反映了这种张力。一是“时间”的发现。勒高夫认为,中世纪欧洲的最大发明是一种在经济和思想的双重意义上支配和管理时间的意识,而这种意识构成了西方现代文明的基石。二是“民间文化”。在他看来,中世纪基督教文化的主流并非以规整的拉丁语著作和高深的神学思想为代表的高级“教士文化”,而是一种诉诸口头流传、缺乏严格的教义和仪程规范、充满怪力乱神的流行文化。

尽管这个概念本身极少被当代法国学者接受和使用(包括勒高夫)。如今,“早期现代”与“古代晚期”(Late Antiquity)一同构成了英美欧洲史学界最热门的两大领域。
history  historiography  middle-age  europe  early-modern  français  concept  debate  Renaissance  west  book  buy 
august 2019 by aries1988
What About Nagasaki?

After Hiroshima, now that the bomb was no longer a secret, the Army Air Forces had drafted propaganda leaflets to inform the people of Nagasaki about the possible coming shock—as much an act of psychological warfare as a humanitarian warning. But internal coördination with the bombing crews was so poor that the leaflets were delivered late. They fluttered down over the city the day after the Fat Man went off.

The day after Nagasaki, Truman issued his first affirmative command regarding the bomb: no more strikes without his express authorization. He never issued the order to drop the bombs, but he did issue the order to stop dropping them. Even if Hiroshima remains preëminent in our historical memory—the first nuclear weapon used in anger—Nagasaki may be of greater consequence in the long run, something more than the second attack. Perhaps it will be the last.
nuclear  bomb  japan  1945  usa  history  from instapaper
august 2019 by aries1988
a16z Podcast: The Search for the Secret Metal that Powers All Our Devices – Andreessen Horowitz
The exploration for and mining of certain metals has driven huge epochs of human civilization, from copper and iron to gold and diamonds. In this conversation, Kurt House, CEO and co-founder of KoBold Metals; John Thompson, professor of earth and geosciences at Cornell and longtime advisor to the mining industry; and a16z General Partner on the consumer team, Connie Chan, talk with a16z’s Hanne Tidnam all about why it is that cobalt is suddenly one of the most important metals on the planet.
metal  mining  future  interview  podcast  industry  copper  history 
july 2019 by aries1988
“Ottoman Odyssey: Travels through a Lost Empire” by Alev Scott

contiguous empires of Russia, Austria-Hungary, China and the Ottomans. These latter were multi-ethnic and—using modern sensibilities—in some ways multinational edifices. They all came to an end around the time of the First World War: China and Russia morphed into republics and largely kept their territories; the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires were replaced by a welter of new countries.

Ahmet Davutoğlu who, as Foreign Minister in 2013, said:
The last century was only a parenthesis for us. We will close that parenthesis… We will again tie Sarajevo to Damascus, Benghazi to Erzurum to Batumi. This is the core of our power. These may look like different countries to you, but Yemen and Skopje were part of the same country a hundred and ten years ago…

The numerous remnants of empire are physical (mosques and bridges), consumable (coffee, pastries, sausage) and intangible (vocabulary and music).
book  turkey  history  culture  exchange  ethnic  empire  ottoman  from instapaper
july 2019 by aries1988
Did British Merchants Cause the Opium War? - Quillette
A review of Song-Chuan Chen’s Merchants of War and Peace: British Knowledge of China in the Making of the Opium War , Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press…
qing  war  history  book  british  from instapaper
july 2019 by aries1988
新疆的“再教育”:从“多元帝国”到“民族同化”|广场|端传媒 Initium Media
这些估测都不包括一般监狱中监押人数近期的剧增:据中国政府官方数据显示,2016至2017年间新疆的刑事拘捕人数增加了20万人,占全国2017年总拘捕人数的21%。要注意,新疆总人口数当时才占全国总人数的1.5%左右。人们相信,截至目前中国政府已经拘禁了新疆成年穆斯林人口的10%以上。

“如果我们不根除宗教极端主义,那么暴力恐怖袭击事件就会像无法治愈的恶性肿瘤一样蔓延开来。”
“虽然一些被灌输极端主义意识形态的人还没有犯下任何罪行,但他们已经感染了这种疾病。这种疾病随时都有可能表现出来,一旦症状暴发将会对公众造成严重伤害。这就是为什么他们必须要及时被送入再教育营进行治疗,要将极端思想病毒从他们大脑中清除出去,恢复他们的正常思维。我们必须澄清的是,被送入再教育营接受治疗并不算强行逮捕,也不能被认为是将个人锁起来进行惩罚的一种方式。这是一项拯救他们的全面的,综合的,详尽的救援任务的一部分。”

到底该怎么治理新疆?是采用清朝式的帝国民族多元主义,还是以汉族为中心的民族同化主义。

当汉族占绝大多数的共产党重新占领在中亚的前清朝帝国领土时,它也面临了与以俄罗斯人为中心的苏联共产党同样的问题:如何治理一个帝国而又看起来不像个殖民者?中国政府大致效仿了苏联的例子,即官方认可了55个非汉族群体为少数民族,赋予其特殊权利并载入中国宪法。一些名义上自治的行政区域重新以民族名称命名:如像新疆和西藏等省级地区被改名为新疆维吾尔自治区和西藏自治区。

尽管所有维吾尔人的群体抵抗事件都会被中国官方声明和央视媒体贴上 “恐怖主义” 和 “分裂主义” 标签,但西方观察者对过去十年中发生的大多数暴力事件的解读更多是 “骚乱” 或 “抵抗” 而非“恐怖主义”——比如说街头示威或袭击当地政府办公室或农民持刀具、农具来袭击警察等行为。

新疆当局如今定义为“极端主义”表现的事物或行为有:面纱,头巾,“不正常胡须”,罩袍或类似罩袍的服饰,斋月禁食,问候时说assalam alaykum(阿拉伯语中的‘愿平和安宁与你同在’ ),避开酒精,不吸烟,给新生儿取有“伊斯兰”意味的名字,如穆罕默德或法蒂玛,星星和新月的符号,宗教教育,出入清真寺,举办过于简单的婚礼,举办有宗教意味的婚礼,举办没有音乐的婚礼,埋葬前清洗尸体,埋葬尸体(而非火化),参观苏菲圣陵 ,苏菲宗教舞蹈,双脚分开祷告,有国外游学或旅行经历,对国外游学或旅历感兴趣,与身居国外的朋友或亲戚有联系,家中有禁书或手机中有不该有的内容,不收听国家电台或不收看央视等。

像这样用训练不足的警务人员来强行关押多达一百万人以强制进行灌输的操作是非常危险的。即使假设新疆再教育古拉格能避免其他地方与种族清洗相伴的大规模虐待,强奸和杀戮,即使假设维吾尔人和其他突厥人民能忍受再教育营造成的心理创伤,再教育营的存在还是一个悲剧,意味着中国政府已经摒弃了中国传统,并开始采纳西方的民族主义意识形态来治理其多民族社会。这是多么地不符合那个中国共产党憧憬塑造的全球化时代。尤其是想到中共曾经还创制了自治区,经济特区,以及“一国两制”的概念。

中国政府曾经颇具创造性地试验过重新分配政治和经济主权的模式,以解决之前清朝遗留下来的边疆问题(新疆,西藏,香港,台湾)。中国为此所实施的政策理念多来源于前清朝的实践(即帝国多元化,边境贸易飞地,免税区,条约口岸)。
xinjiang  opinion  ethnic  policy  history  origin  terrorism  from instapaper
july 2019 by aries1988
《木兰诗》种种
(原载《文史知识》1998年11月号,中华书局出版。现略加修改定稿) 《木兰诗》种种 ·方舟子·…
classic  poem  analysis  history  tang  chinese  female  warrior  war  ethnic  research  from instapaper
july 2019 by aries1988
外资零售巨头中国掘金失败史:曾躺着赚钱,无奈中国对手太能打?_36氪
在美国,家乐福遇到了沃尔玛等强劲对手,经过5年搏杀,家乐福低头认输,关闭在美国的两家门店,彻底退出美国市场。伤心之余,家乐福将国际战略重心从美洲调整到亚洲,并将中国市场作为它的登陆首选地。

福建省闽侯县一个叫张轩松的小生意人,用做啤酒批发赚到的100万,在福州繁华的街头开了一家叫“古乐微利超市”(三年后改名永辉超市),从名字就可以看出,他不是奔着暴利来的,店面也很小,仅100平方米。

至于现在大家耳熟能详的大润发,当时八字还没一撇,到大陆淘金还是两年以后的事,而且其起步时经营大卖场还处于幼稚园的水平。

“我曾把和家人一起逛家乐福的日子看做是‘家庭日’,从柴米油盐到清洁用品、从鲜奶水果到小吃零食,几乎每周一次,每次都是满载而归,那是我童年幸福的回忆。”北京日报做的一期采访中,一位受访人如是回忆。

从2012年开始,无论大卖场还是百货商场等零售业态,外资零售大鳄们出现了一波关店潮。这和国内阿里、京东等电商崛起的时间线高度耦合。

电商崛起的推动力则是4G。

2013年是4G元年,中国的互联网重心开始从PC切换到手机,网络购物从末流变为主流,线下大卖场则从主角退居配角。在电商的冲击下,家乐福、沃尔玛包括大润发开始了网络转型,试图将线下卖场搬到线上。

效率高可以获得更低的价格,更快的货物上架速度,这对主要售卖生鲜和日用百货的商超来说,就是竞争的高点。大润发、永辉等中国对手之所以能后来居上,秘诀就在于供应链效率更高。其中,永辉的生鲜供应链效率高到其售卖的生鲜比集贸市场还便宜,但照样能赚钱。

沃尔顿的极致定律:“零售就是找准定位,然后做到极致”,极致也就是效率管理,包括极致的品类丰富,极致的供应链效率,极致的价格优势,极致的用户体验等,以此打造竞争力。
supermarket  business  competition  china  history  numbers  from instapaper
july 2019 by aries1988
1999:大使馆的血、北京的游行,与世纪之交的中国知识分子|深度|端传媒 Initium Media

出生于毛时代后期的一代人,少年时代的文化生活并不丰富,从冷战中社会主义阵营引进的为数不多的译制片,被视作珍宝。游击队电影在1980年代进入中国,因其叙事节奏快、故事复杂,区别于早年引入的社会主义电影的情节扁平、人物刻板,受到热烈欢迎。男孩们在课后扮演《瓦尔特保卫萨拉热窝》(Valter brani Sarajevo)电影中游击队员的角色,想象着像里面的英雄一样牺牲。他们乐此不疲地对接着暗号:“请给我放大一张我表妹的照片!”,“空气在颤抖,仿佛天空在燃烧!”“是啊!暴风雨就要来了”……那些电影塑造了一代人的记忆,让他们对南斯拉夫有着童年乡愁般的亲近感。

“如果放在具体的历史语境中,我想当时的情感体验跟客观现实之间是有一定距离的”,二十年后再回溯,黄纪苏认为,“国际社会如何对人道主义灾难进行干涉是一个值得深入讨论的问题。但在当时,无论是南斯拉夫,还是美国,都是作为符号进入了中国人的情感经验”。

现任教于中央戏剧学院戏文系的赵志勇1999年正在武汉大学读书,武汉没有美国领事馆,只有位于汉口的法国领事馆,他记得他的同学走几小时路到法国领事馆示威,一位同学鞋子走坏了,光着脚从汉口走了回来。

王炎也认为,1999年大使馆被炸事件标志着民族主义不再被国家所垄断,它开始成为具有高度能动性的民众力量——尽管它不一定总是正面的。

“主权与人权之辩”是科索沃战争在全球知识界开启的重要问题
以哈贝马斯为代表的“人权派”支持北约对发生在科索沃的种族清洗进行人道主义干涉,而以乔姆斯基( Noam Chomsky)为代表的“主权派”则批判美国为首的利益集团重塑后冷战时代新世界秩序的野心。

当“美国”取代了“工人阶级”,成为了活跃于全球化时代的中国左翼绕不开的问题,他们如何弥合民族主义情感结构下的主权国家视角,与共产主义运动历史中“无产阶级没有祖国”式的国际主义情感结构?

在资本主义穿透一切的时代,后冷战时代的自由主义意识形态视“主权”为最大的障碍——“人权”话语经常扮演着后冷战时期中心地带对边缘地带的掠夺工具。“国际主义”改弦更张被新自由主义经济秩序所接管,而参与这套天罗地网般的经济秩序,又只能以主权国家为单位。后发国家的左翼在对抗这套经济秩序,捍卫边缘国家在这套游戏规则中不成为中心国家经济上的殖民地时,似乎不得不站稳主权国家的位置。

二十年后的今天,中美贸易战打响,美国垄断的信息秩序对中国民族资本的封锁,再度点燃了从知识界到民间的反美民族主义情绪。
politics  left  chinese  2009  history  usa  imperialism  marxism  nationalism  anti-american  from instapaper
june 2019 by aries1988
Mohamed Morsi, Who Brought the Muslim Brotherhood to the Egyptian Presidency | The New Yorker
Peter Hessler on the death of Mohamed Morsi, the former President of Egypt, who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and came to power in the wake of the Arab…

The former President has been described as a martyr, but the term isn’t exactly appropriate. A martyr dies for a larger cause; a victim dies because of larger forces. There’s a tendency for some Americans to view the Muslim Brotherhood as a kind of negative essence of Islam, as if all of the flaws of the organization can be attributed to the faith that its followers espouse. But the group is a product of its history: it was founded during a period of colonial occupation, and then it was shaped by decades of government repression. The issue isn’t just that the institutions of the state were always opposed to the Brothers but that the group itself has internalized the brutality and dysfunction of its environment.

In a nation of splintered institutions, frustrated idealism, and dysfunctional governance, even the highest seat of power can turn into a trap—a caged man shouting, “I am the President of the Republic!”
portrait  president  egypt  revolution  islam  arab  politics  history  prison  from instapaper
june 2019 by aries1988
Liu Cixin’s War of the Worlds
For the Chinese, achieving parity with the West is a long-cherished goal, envisaged as a restoration of greatness after the humiliation of Western occupations and the self-inflicted wounds of the Mao era.

In 2015, China’s then Vice-President, Li Yuanchao, invited Liu to Zhongnanhai—an off-limits complex of government accommodation sometimes compared to the Kremlin—to discuss the books and showed Liu his own copies, which were dense with highlights and annotations.

Liu’s fellow sci-fi writers in China call him Da Liu—Big Liu—but he is small, with an unusually round head, which seems too large for his slight, wiry physique. He has the unassuming presence, belying an unflappable intelligence, of an operative posing as an accountant. Rarely making eye contact, he maintains an expression at once detached and preoccupied, as if too impatient for the future to commit his full attention to the present.

his father had turned him on to speculative fiction, giving him a copy of Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” To the young Liu, reading Verne’s book was like walking through a door to another world. “Everything in it was described with such authority and scrupulous attention to detail that I thought it had to be real,” Liu told me.

Although physics furnishes the novels’ premises, it is politics that drives the plots. At every turn, the characters are forced to make brutal calculations in which moral absolutism is pitted against the greater good. In their pursuit of survival, men and women employ Machiavellian game theory and adopt a bleak consequentialism. In Liu’s fictional universe, idealism is fatal and kindness an exorbitant luxury. As one general says in the trilogy, “In a time of war, we can’t afford to be too scrupulous.” Indeed, it is usually when people do not play by the rules of Realpolitik that the most lives are lost.

“What about individual liberty and freedom of governance?” He sighed, as if exhausted by a debate going on in his head. “But that’s not what Chinese people care about. For ordinary folks, it’s the cost of health care, real-estate prices, their children’s education. Not democracy.”

“Here’s the truth: if you were to become the President of China tomorrow, you would find that you had no other choice than to do exactly as he has done.”

It was an opinion entirely consistent with his systems-level view of human societies, just as mine reflected a belief in democracy and individualism as principles to be upheld regardless of outcomes.

When Liu is at his most relaxed, which is usually when he’s looking at, or learning about, something, he sounds almost like a child. There’s an upward lilt to his voice that suggests a kind of naïve wonder—someone happily lost in his own boundless curiosity.
interview  scifi  chinese  politics  today  history  bio  portrait  family  from instapaper
june 2019 by aries1988
From tea to opium: how the Scots left their mark on China | Aeon Essays
Like their 18th-century predecessors, Jardine and Matheson financed Britain’s lucrative tea trade in Canton by moving their clients’ money from India to China. Instead of transferring these fortunes through a variety of legal Indian and Southeast Asian commodities, namely cotton, pepper, wood, tin and saltpetre, as had been done in the past, the Scottish traders relied increasingly on a contraband product: Indian opium. In defiance of the laws of China they, along with private traders of different nationalities including Americans and Indian Parsis, smuggled tens of thousands of chests of opium into China each year during the first half of the 19th century.

In 1848 and again in 1849, Fortune travelled in full disguise, including the traditional Qing dynasty hairstyle with a shaved hairline and long braid, deep into the countryside of Zhejiang, Anhui and Fujian provinces. He was searching for the finest tea plants in China. Having acquired thousands of specimens and seeds, he shipped them all, carefully packed in airtight glass cases, from Hong Kong to the East India Company’s Botanical Gardens in Calcutta. From there, they went further, to the Company’s gardens in the Himalayas.

Scots played an outsized role in the intertwined trades of tea and opium, giving rise to social, economic and cultural developments that changed the macro relationship between Britain and China as well as everyday cultural practices and patterns of sociability.

When British consumers began sweetening their Chinese tea with Caribbean sugar, these two commodities, one from the East Indies, the other from the West, reinforced one another. The result was new fuel for the industrial revolution. In addition to coal, sugary tea made the revolution possible by helping British workers endure inhumanely long shifts in the textile factories of the industrial North.
drinking  uk  china  qing  history  scotland 
june 2019 by aries1988
Opinion | Thirty Years After Tiananmen: Someone Always Remembers - The New York Times
This view is not limited to a few dissidents or foreign scholars, people out to make China look bad or who just can’t let bygones be bygones. The memory of Tiananmen is also being kept alive by people in China who believe that a government that uses force to stay in power is illegitimate.

History is also written with the smallest of gestures. Every spring I make a small trip to the Babaoshan cemetery in the western suburbs of Beijing to pay respects to two victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre
Four lines of the poem inscribed on the back of Xuehan’s tombstone explain, in a code of sorts, both the cause of his death and Xu Jue’s ritual:

Eight calla lilies
Nine yellow chrysanthemums
Six white tulips
Four red roses

Eight, nine, six, four. Year, month, day. June 4, 1989.

Two years ago, Ms. Xu died of cancer, at 77. Both years since, I’ve made the trip to the graves, thinking someone ought to put out the flowers. Each time, the 27 flowers were already there, tied in a neat bundle. Someone remembered. Someone always remembers.
1989/6/4  history  concept  minjian  people  china  censorship  family  death  memory  ritual  beijing 
june 2019 by aries1988
Twitter
Free chart download - Timeline of French History 1789-1870:
france  revolution  infographics  history  from twitter_favs
june 2019 by aries1988
郑力轩:战争的昭和、暧昧的平成,曙光初露的令和|深度|端传媒 Initium Media
历经了战前超民族主义的狂热与破灭之后,战后昭和则是透过许多日本独特制度,展开了受到世界瞩目的高速发展,奠定了日本认同。在昭和时期“日本第一”的呼声下,日本成为兼顾成长与平等、品质与效率、传统与现代的代名词。到了平成时期,这些具日本特色的制度遇到种种危机,然而是否要引入国外制度,特别是美国的制度,又让日本在复杂的自尊与疑虑间持续纠结。

平成年间日本,就是处在这样的暧昧情境下,既没有墨守成规,但也很难说大刀阔斧的改变,而是在不同方向的拉扯中缓步向前。

昭和时期日本政治社会经济体制是以追赶欧美发展为核心,而有以下几个特征:在经济上,以大企业为中心的日本式资本主义,不仅促进了高速成长,也因其独特的运作型态受到全球广泛的注目;在政治上则是以1955年自由民主党结成时形成的55年体制,由民选议员、官僚与企业组组成的铁三角稳定控制日本政局,形成了民主国家中罕见的一党长期执政;在家庭上则形成所谓近代家族,也就是具有明确性别分工的核心家庭。

在雇用上采取长期雇用、不轻易裁员的制度。员工(通常限定在男性)在学校毕业后集体进入企业,到55岁前享受安定雇用的保障。其次,在企业治理上,日本企业主要由终身在同一公司工作的经理人所控制,许多董事会(取缔役会) 成为经理人升迁的一部份,而非欧美式股东利益的代表。也因此,日本企业的决策往往出现以“从业员福祉”而非“股东利润”为核心的运作型态。

在经济上,1985年的广场协定加上国内宽松的金融,导致许多日本企业放弃了之前众所称道的长期视野,转向操作财务技术以获取短期利润,带来严重的土地与股市泡沫。在社会上,对女性职涯的高度压抑,随着女性教育程度提高而形成严重扞格,带来少子化的现象。昭和时代的落幕,正是伴随着诸多过往体制积弊的爆发;而平成时代的序幕,正是由昭和时代所累积诸多问题的爆发所揭开。

2009年,民主党以“彻底改革”的诉求获得压倒性胜利上台,带来平成时期第二次政党轮替,但在内外失调以及311大地震处理的失败,在2012年底选举惨败,政党走向瓦解收场。

总体而言,相较于昭和时期日本主流社会以“追赶发展”为职志,平成时代的日本不仅必须面对各种昭和体制所遗留的问题,就社会发展方向,而言也呈现出更复杂、更多样的风貌。这个追赶完成以及面对未知后所产生的多元取向,是平成暧昧性的根源,也是日本社会将持续面临的问题。
analysis  history  japan  epoch  politics  economy  society  policy  comparison 
may 2019 by aries1988
'Game of Thrones' Lost Its Way as a Political Drama - The Atlantic

In its first half, and perhaps even for a season or two after leaving Martin’s books behind, the show trusted its audience enough to avoid allegory and the simplistic morality that comes with it. It trusted that the audience knew right from wrong, and knew that both could coexist within a character. It asked viewers to find their own messages in a series about a faux-medieval world of dragons and ice zombies—and take them or leave them as they saw fit. It would have been better if the show had ended that way.
tv  critic  2019  morality  history  fiction  writing 
may 2019 by aries1988
宋徽宗为什么失败? - 宋徽宗 - 豆瓣

从大历史的角度,靖康是中国胡汉文明在融合冲突过程的必然,几乎可以视为南北融合的代价。南宋偏安并非毫无好处,这也使得中国南方得到进一步发展。按照雷海宗先生的区分,中国四千年来的历史可分为两大周。“第一周,由最初至公元三八三年的淝水之战,大致是纯粹的华夏民族创造文化的时期,外来的血统与文化没有重要的地位。第一周的中国可称为古典的中国。第二周,由公元三八三年至今日,是北方各种胡族屡次入侵,印度的佛教深刻地影响中国文化的时期。”

宋代是一个平民社会,这其实也是宋代在遭遇进攻时,难以将庞大经济力量转化为致命武力的原因。南北朝时代,传承儒家正统的,主要不在晋朝,反而是北方的大家族。唐宋之后,南渡衣冠渐成绝响,在新的平民社会中,门阀士族等中间组织被打散。科举制造就了新一代文人,看起来是一个美好时代,方便了皇帝与官僚科层的结合,却并不有利于军事机器的效力。宋朝风雅之下的集权倾向与阶层变异,看起来怪异,其实放在科举背景下,很容易理解。
song  history  aristocracy  fail 
april 2019 by aries1988
Gauls, gilets jaunes and the fight for French identity

# the roman national
The British used to read Our Island Story — the hoary best-seller whose chronicling of stirring events and great men and women from Albion to Queen Victoria introduced generations of schoolchildren to history. (David Cameron once claimed it was his favourite childhood reading.) Across the Channel, books like the so-called Petit Lavisse did much the same thing, recounting the whole great sweep of what the French term the roman national from the days of the Gaulish general Vercingetorix to the French Revolution and its aftermath.
Historians once found it natural to tell stories that were designed to imbue their countrymen with pride.
“Whatever your ancestors’ nationality, young Frenchmen and women, at the moment you become French, your ancestors are the Gauls and Vercingetorix.”

In 1987 historian Suzanne Citron published an important essay on “the national myth” in which she deconstructed the assumptions behind the traditional narratives then commonly taught in schools.
The purpose was to show how France’s past could not be understood except within a larger context — global, we might call it today — in which ideas and people and goods flowed across borders and shaped one another.

Alain Finkielkraut, self-appointed guardian of the old story, and himself recently on the receiving end of anti-Semitic abuse from gilets jaunes, denounced the authors as “gravediggers of the great French heritage”.

Gaul being — in a favourite nationalist phrase — the “eldest daughter” of Rome

Countries prosper, so the message runs, when they welcome strangers (like the Armenian refugees who gave France Charles Aznavour) and they suffer from the consequences of their own narrow-mindedness.

Now it is not the book’s gleeful dismantling of the récit national that is under attack, but rather its purported underplaying of a long history of inequality and its consequences.
there are real problems with reading globalisation back into the past, not least because trade in general, and foreign trade in particular, was simply far less important as a part of economic life in earlier times than it is today
a more militant, provincial and insurgent history of burdens and privileges.
separate communal and local activism from outright xenophobia

The limitations of the nationalist narrative have been exposed. But what is the alternative? To abandon narrative altogether, in favour of the episodic and the vignette?
is it best replaced by a multitude into which we can dip at will? The idea of a past that is shared may then slowly slip entirely from view.
historiography  debate  narrative  world  nationalism  français  france  history  2019  book  society  conflict  manif  macron  globalization  opinion  from instapaper
april 2019 by aries1988
Colonialism as mitosis – the rise and fall of empires, rendered as cell division | Aeon Videos
Colonialism as mitosis – the rise and fall of empires, rendered as cell division During the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, Great Britain, France, Portugal and…
The duo illustrates the centuries-long process of decolonisation as a kind of mitosis, with newly independent nations splitting off from the colonial powers. According to Cruz, the soft, cellular bodies used for the visualisation are meant to convey the ‘volatility and dynamic nature’ of these empires over time.
visualization  history  video  colonialism  portugal  espagna  france  england  comparison  from instapaper
april 2019 by aries1988
罗新 | 一切史料都是史学 文汇学人

传统的中国史学固然不是不辨真伪地使用文献和材料,但没有在理论上区分史料与史学,对古代史料缺乏批判鉴别的方法自觉,这使得读史者更倾向于盲目崇古信古,越古老越盲从。古代,无论东方还是西方,当然也有许多优秀的学者能处理混乱复杂的史料,并从中获得至今仍有价值的历史解释,但他们的成就主要依赖于经验与才能,他们基本上不具备理论和方法的自觉。更多的学者则是盲从教条。无论中国的传统史学多么发达,但那是在古代条件下的发达,学科本身没有发展出史学与史料学的理论自觉。史料是历史学的关键因素。中国现代学科体系中的历史学,发端于重审史料,由此告别了、解放了并且现代化了中国传统史学。

无论是完整的还是残碎的,哪怕是一句话,哪怕是一个碎片,都可被视为一部史书的残剩部分,都有特定的写作者(authorship),其作者本有清楚的诉说对象(readership),有明确的、特定的写作目的。这样的材料,我们都应该把它当作史学来对待,如分析一部史著那样去分析其作者、读者和写作目的,而不是简单地认定为某种客观史料。

我们现在要讨论的是积极的遗忘,是出于某种目标,主动地、有意识地切断与过去之间联系的遗忘。焚书、文字狱等等,就是要造成一种主动的遗忘、一种强制性的遗忘。对于研究者来说,这样的遗忘是有历史学意义的。

我常常强调“遗忘的竞争”,因为我们能够了解的所谓过去、所谓历史,都是不完整的碎片,这些碎片是往昔岁月中持续进行的各种竞争——记忆与记忆的竞争、遗忘与遗忘的竞争、记忆与遗忘的竞争——的结果。
那些相互矛盾冲突的史料碎片,不再是简单的孰是孰非、孰真孰伪的关系,值得我们辨识的是它们各自体现着怎样的叙述传统,代表着怎样的竞争力量,反映了什么样的竞争过程。我们要考察那些被排斥在集体记忆之外的内容,回顾过去几千年我们能够看到的传统史学。中国史学有官修正史悠久的、独特的传统,这反映了政治权力作为历史叙述竞争力量的绝对优势地位,所有其他的竞争者都因弱势而难以发声。

我们要知道,历史越是单一、纯粹、清晰,越是危险,被隐藏、被改写、被遗忘的就越多。我们要拂去竞争的烟尘理解过去,展示历史本来的多种可能。

学习和研究历史,不是为了预测未来,而是为了扩大人类的视野,理解我们现在所处的情况既不是自然的,也不是不可避免的。我们必须知道,我们的过去有非常丰富的可能,而不是如今天呈现在我们面前、特别是呈现在某些叙述中的那样单一和绝对。
historian  historiography  opinion  future  chinese  history  from instapaper
april 2019 by aries1988
杜卿:作为“记忆之场”的巴黎圣母院,透过脆弱寻回神圣价值|端傳媒 Initium Media
这些间歇性的事件并未改变圣母院与政治的关系,它对王权的重要性,依旧无法与举行加冕仪式的兰斯(Reims)大教堂、和安葬国王与王后的圣德尼(Saint Denis)教堂比肩。

1638年10月,在王子奇迹般地诞生后,路易十三发布了著名的誓愿,将他自己和整个王国献给玛利亚,圣母崇拜因此飞跃发展。其实,早在他差点病死在里昂后,他就写下了该誓愿的初稿,并选择8月15日圣母升天节(Assomption)来庆祝。是日,巴黎的父母都会带着小孩来圣母院祈祷,这一传统甚至流传至今。

路易十四继承父亲的遗志,重修了整个祭坛,放上圣母哀悼基督的雕像;而且每次军事胜利,他都在此举行盛大的赞美颂,并把敌军的旗帜保存在圣母院。政治与宗教自此融合,时常举行赞美颂、圣母升天节祈福、军队祈福和重要人物葬礼的圣母院,逐步媲美甚至超越了兰斯和圣德尼大教堂。

圣母院最高光的时刻之一,即1804年拿破仑的加冕典礼。为了赋予自己新的合法性,他不愿前去传统中国王加冕的兰斯大教堂,这位自诩的“法国人的国王”,再次肯定了圣母院新的国家象征的地位。

拿破仑三世(Napoléon III)治下,每逢攻陷塞瓦斯托波尔(Sébastopol)、马真塔(Magenta)战役获胜、皇子受洗等大事,圣母院的钟声定会响起。

自1843年始,建筑师让-巴蒂斯特·安托瓦·拉叙(Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus)与欧仁·维奥莱-勒-杜克(Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc)主持的圣母院修复工程持续了20年。他们添加了数个滴水兽和新的尖塔,仿佛雨果笔下荒诞与诡谲并存的黑色哥特虚构被赋予了实体。
history  paris  france  church  cathedrale  from instapaper
april 2019 by aries1988
为什么历史上会出现先进文明被落后文明征服的情况? - 知乎

有观点认为宋朝市民阶层活跃,官学私学兴起,皇帝与士大夫共天下,在人文精神方面堪比文艺复兴。一连串的窝囊废皇帝确实缺少权威,官民发声也是好事,但宋朝搞来搞去的人文精神,结果居然是推崇圣人训的程朱理学。“为天地立心,为生民立命,为往圣继绝学,为万世开太平”。这种酸腐的呓语被当做时代的强音,哪里有文艺复兴中质疑上帝说的影子?

经济繁荣之下,很多人会有很多奇思妙想并付诸实践。宋人先记录再说,不管是否成熟或能推广应用。夸大的文字描述与真实的技术功效之间,经常在有意无意中充满了欺骗性,最典型的例子就是沈括在《梦溪笔谈》中记述毕昇的泥活字印刷术。

元朝没能像法兰克王国扭转欧洲进程那样扭转中国的进程,其新拓展的疆域与汉文化不能相容。蒙古人和汉人的交流也不成功,在元末农民起义的大潮中,又退回蒙古高原,成为固守漠北的最后一支民族。

辽宋金元更替时期的另一个深远影响是中国的政治中心发生了变化。唐朝后期,关中平原因千年持续开发,植被破坏及水土流失严重,已无地利可言。唐末,长安、洛阳毁于战火,五代中除后唐定都洛阳,其他四朝均定都于华北平原的汴梁,随后北宋也顺势定都汴梁,完成了政治中心的一次东移。但是汴梁地理条件较差,地势过低,靠近黄河和大运河的便利不能抵消水患连连,最终在辽金的持续冲击下被放弃。
region  theory  history  war  state  civ  question  song  china  han  from instapaper
april 2019 by aries1988
An 800-year history of Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral

According to tradition, Denis was beheaded on the hill of Montmartre (“martyrs’ mount”) in the mid- to late-third century A.D., after which he ran six or so miles while carrying his severed head. In a spot north of the city, alleged to be where he stopped running, a basilica was built in the 12th century to honor him.

In 1220 the ceiling was reconceived with rib vaults, one of the great innovations of the Gothic style, that used intersecting stone ribs to brace the structure. As a result, less pressure was put on the supporting walls, and more windows could be featured.

Culturally, Notre Dame was never of central importance to the French monarchy. They preferred to start their reigns by being crowned at the Cathedral of Reims some 80 miles northeast of Paris, and to end them by being interred at the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

On the Île de la Cité, Haussmann had houses and other buildings around the cathedral pulled down in order to open up a new square in front of the main facade. For the first time, Parisians could stand back and contemplate the cathedral in all its grandeur.
paris  history  cathedrale  from instapaper
april 2019 by aries1988
日本年号变迁与时代记忆 日经中文网

不可思议的是,明治(1868~1912年)、大正(1912~1926年)、昭和(1926~1989年)都通过年号形成了时代的印象。尽管没有合理的解释,不过可以确定的是,年号会改变人的心情。此次改元或许会成为走向全新日本的契机。

说起明治就想到维新,说起大正就联想到民主和浪漫,说起昭和则想到战争和经济增长。年号让人回顾起当时的时代。而平成似乎总带着抹不掉的负面印象。

被称为日本宪政之神的尾崎行雄曾在战败后这样提倡过。尾崎主张“为了让不论男女老少还是贵贱贤愚的全体国民都认清战败的事实,我认为应该改年号。年号可以带有‘新生日本第一年’的含义。或者是带有‘民主主义元年’、‘兴国元年’或‘投降2年’等含义”(《尾崎咢堂全集第10卷》195页)。
japanese  year  calendar  time  emperor  history  future 
april 2019 by aries1988
Fairy Tales Could Be Older Than You Ever Imagined | smithsonianmag.com | Smithsonian
It turns out that it’s pretty hard to figure out how old fairy tales are using simple historical data. Since the tales were passed down orally, they can be almost impossible to unwind using a historian or anthropologist’s traditional toolbox. So the team borrowed from biology, instead, using a technique called phylogenetic analysis. Usually, phylogenetic analysis is used to show how organisms evolved. In this case, researchers used strategies created by evolutionary biologists to trace the roots of 275 fairy tales through complex trees of language, population and culture.

As they tracked, they found evidence that some tales were actually based in other stories. More than a quarter of the stories turned out to have ancient roots—Jack and the Beanstalk was traced back to the split between Western and Eastern Indo-European languages more than 5,000 years ago and a tale called The Smith and the Devil appears to be more than 6,000 years old.

The findings might confirm the long-disregarded theory of fairy tale writer Wilhelm Grimm, who thought that all Indo-European cultures shared common tales.
linguist  children  tale  history  story 
april 2019 by aries1988
When Asia Ruled the World
Nonfiction The Pudong skyline, Shanghai. Credit Lauryn Ishak for The New York Times Amazon Local Booksellers Barnes and Noble When you purchase an independently…
contrarian  west  empire  conflict  world  war  success  europe  fail  qing  ottoman  book  opinion  history  prediction  theory  from instapaper
april 2019 by aries1988
为什么刀叉没有像筷子那样在中国古代社会广泛普及?
中国人早在战国时期就发明了筷子。如此简单的两根小细棍,却高妙绝伦地应用了物理学上的杠杆原理。筷子是人类手指的延伸。手指能做的事,筷子也能做,且不怕高温,不怕寒冻,真是高明极了。
cuisine  history  asia  west  from instapaper
march 2019 by aries1988
讲稿|许宏:考古学视角下的“中国”诞生史
我们一直以来就存在着历史文献学和考古学两大话语系统,这两大话语系统最初是边界明显的:一边是历史文献上的伏羲、女娲、三皇五帝、夏商周王朝;一边是考古学上的前仰韶、仰韶、龙山、二里头、二里岗时代。这两大话语系统的合流是在殷墟。为什么是在殷墟?有一个绝对不可逾越的条件就是,当时有可以证明自己族属和王朝归属的文字材料出现,这才可以把这两大话语系统整合

从历史学阐释来讲,大家可能注意到了,我们正在逐渐放弃奴隶社会、封建社会的这样一些概念。比如像封建社会这样的概念,完全是误译和误用,完全不符合中国的历史实际。如果说中国有过封建时代的话,那么它应该指的是秦汉帝国之前西周王朝“封邦建国”的那个时代,它是一种政治的分权化,而不是后来大一统的、郡县制的、中央集权的东西。中国可能出现过奴隶,但是没有什么证据能证明当时存在过一个叫奴隶制的时代。在中国国家博物馆“古代中国陈列”中,开宗明义就说我们已经放弃了这套话语系统,但是在该馆对面的“复兴之路”那个展览上,半封建半殖民地社会这样的说法还有,这实际上也是社会进步比较大的一个表现。

大体上在距今四千年前后,有一个大的断裂,从那儿开始,像二里头、二里岗、殷墟文化就是所谓的夏商文化,这样大的中原文明出现了。我现在是二里头考古队的队长,二里头这个遗址既不是最大的,也不是最早的,但它是整个东亚大陆人类群团从多元走向一体,从满天星斗变成月明星稀的这么一个节点,而青铜在其中起到了极大的作用。

黄帝是土生土长的中国人吗?这也是个问题。黄帝号称轩辕氏,最拿手的是“以师兵为营卫”,善用兵车,而车完全是外来的。在青铜时代及之前,在五百年前的大航海时代之前,西北地区才是中国改革开放的前沿阵地,等于说陕北的重要性就在于它是连接欧亚大陆内陆和中原地区的一个纽带和桥梁,这样一看就明白了。

吉德炜教授从器物的组合来推想当时人们思维的复杂化,推想当时的制作是需要有一定的组织与管理,从而可能会导致思维的复杂化,甚至这种合作会导致语言的复杂化。而这种思维和语言方面的复杂化,使得整个东部的中国人在最初的时候是走在前列的,然后大家逐鹿中原,到最后才导致一个更高的文明实体出现。

说到中国的饮食习惯,南北方的主食完全不同、生活习俗完全不同,但是后来由于文字和整个政治架构的因素,被融合在了一起,这其中也有不少问题有待于探究。

德国著名汉学家雷德侯教授的《万物》一书,就是从模件和它的规模化生产,引申出中国人的行为方式甚至思维方式,像汉字的偏旁部首,也就那么几个,却让中国人出神入化地造出了那么丰富的汉字。

在这里,我们还发现了中国最早的中轴线布局的、四合院式的宫殿建筑群。大家知道,中轴线对中国人太重要了,坐北朝南、封闭式结构、土木建筑、中轴对称……这样一些建筑原则甚至是礼制、政治原则,一直为后代中国所承继。这些东西,从建中立极到中庸,甚至河南话的“中不中?中!”,这就是“中”文化,是原典文化。
用什么方式来显现类似于巴特农神庙那种带有纪念碑性质的东西呢?由于中国的土木建筑堆不高,我们就向纵深发展,“庭院深深深几许”,注重多进院落,大家说单进的四合院就是小门小户,三进的和五进的恐怕就得是贵族和王爷一级的居所了。

在二里头和此后的二里岗时期,就是郑州商城的那个时期,二里头和郑州商城以外,绝对不允许也不可能有任何一个地方能够或敢于铸造青铜礼器,这就是“国之大事,在祀与戎”。祭祀,就是青铜礼器这套东西;戎,就是绝对的打击能力。这也是“两手抓,两手都要硬”,这些就代表了当时“先进文化的发展方向”。这些东西使得二里头发达起来了,现在看来,这“立国之本”在古代和现代都是一样的。以前是祭祀,现在是开会,都是提高凝聚力。所以就是这样一套与礼制相关的东西已经开始出来了,大家看在此前是相对平等的社会,还没有这些东西。

整个黄河上、中、下游,包括三星堆都受到二里头的影响,三星堆青铜文明高度发达,已经到了殷墟时期,跟二里头比还是相对很晚的。在各地出土的跟二里头很相近的东西,模仿品,说明二里头的扩散应该不是强力的军事推进,而是各地的酋长、首长或者是人民选择性地接受二里头元素的产物,就是以它为高、为大、为上,导致文明向外扩散。

长程地看,前国家时代和国家文明还是泾渭分明的。这种向心、开放的聚落形态是属于原始民主制的,这样的模式跟这种封闭性、独占性、秩序性的聚落形态形成鲜明对比。不少著名学者在他们的书里都说,“不让看”是中国古代政治文明的一个重要特征,账本不让看、地图不让看、紫禁城不让看,它是封闭性的、独占性的,它很难形成广场上纪念碑式的东西,这些都是一脉相承的。大家看从二里头开始,整个大四合院的建筑、多进院落宫室建筑群一直到明清紫禁城,这是一脉相承发展下来的。
如果现在观察中国中西部农村,跟两千年以前,就是战国到汉代铁犁铧发明之后的农民生活,几乎是一样的,但我们不能说中国没有进步,还是要看都邑,看金字塔的塔尖。

我们如果放开眼界,就会发现以青铜冶铸为代表的一些外来的因素有东渐的趋势,很明显,这种交流和传递是一波一波的。我的下一本小书就想以“东亚青铜潮”为主题,以前甲骨文时代的千年变局为主线,从全球文明史的视角,来写这个宏阔的态势,探究中国是怎么诞生的。有种叫塞伊玛-图尔宾诺的文化现象在中亚地区最初出现年代比较早,可能对西北的齐家文化,甚至二里头文化产生过重要的影响,所以说那个时候我们不是封闭的,我们的青铜文明的发生大量吸收了外来的文化因素。

文字是否一定要通过几千年的积累才能成型?契丹文字和日本文字可以在很快的时间,吸收外来的刺激和影响后产生

比如说兵马俑,古代中国人的解剖学常识是非常差的,兵马俑那样的非常逼真的东西是纯本土的吗?甚至我们现在也有同仁在研究,像秦汉帝国这样大的帝国统治方式是不是我们自己的发明。要知道,在它二三百年之前,波斯帝国已经形成了,非常有意思。所以从这个意义上讲,只懂考古,已经搞不好考古了,只懂中国,已经搞不清中国了。是不是这样的道理?诸位年轻人外语非常好,一定要开阔眼界,在全球文明史的层面来看我们中华文明的形成。今后一定要从这样大的视野来做整合研究。
world  history  advice  archaeology  china  origin  opinion  asia  historiography  from instapaper
march 2019 by aries1988
A Certain Idea of France | Peter Hitchens

Charles de Gaulle’s life would perhaps have been better lived in the seventeenth or eighteenth century, in times when personal courage, mystical imagination, chivalry, and religious fervor were more welcome than they are now. In this world of the United Nations, risk assessment, lawyers, Geneva Conventions, television and superpowers, there is not really enough room for such a man to swing his sword, just as there is no room for old-fashioned great powers in the shadow of superpowers. Had he not been so magnificent, he would have been ridiculous. He looked, more than anything else, like a camel, not least because of the superior expression on his face suggesting that he alone knew the secret One Hundredth Name of God, which camels are supposed to know.

It is a strange fact that the potentially attractive political combination of liberty, domestic socialism, well-armed patriotism, and social conservatism seldom exists in the advanced countries of the West.

François ­Mitterrand, his old rival, undid almost all of de Gaulle’s work. He wholly rejected the general’s belief in an enduring, sovereign France. ­Mitterrand had been decorated by Pétain’s collaborationist Vichy government, and like many intelligent Frenchmen, saw 1940 as a moment of truth that France could not thereafter ignore. It fell to people like him to implement Hector Dexter’s vision of a Europe whose common cultural bond was Coca-Cola, and ­McDonald’s, too.
leader  president  france  français  history  ww2  europe  eu  fail  politics  bio  american  anti  from instapaper
march 2019 by aries1988
Laisky's Blog

非常不错的科普读物,通过对大量历史事件和研究的对比分析,介绍了纵跨整个人类文明史的农耕演进, 并且对当前的农业现状和前景发出了警示,值得一读。

苏美尔农业面临的关键问题,是河流丰水期与作物生长期不重合。在春季,来自北部山川的融雪汇入底格里斯河和幼发拉底河,使其进入丰水期;而河流流量最低的夏末初秋,却正值作物需水量最大的时候。集约农业需要通过蓄水以应对夏季飙升的气温。高温使大量灌溉入田的水还未来得及被作物吸收就已蒸发,而这又使更多的盐分在土壤中累积。
agriculture  farming  history  china  explained  nature  degredation  soil  from instapaper
march 2019 by aries1988
futurists and historians
What best distinguishes our species is an ability that scientists are just beginning to appreciate: We contemplate the future. Our singular foresight created…
history  future  mind  animal  human  question  opinion  futurism  historian  from instapaper
march 2019 by aries1988
The devil’s lottery: the perils of diving for ‘Baltic gold’

The rush for Baltic gold, which sometimes sells for more than the real thing, has been driven by consumers in China, where it is mainly used as jewellery for both men and women. From soyabean fields on the fringes of the Amazon to copper mines in the south of Congo, Kaliningrad is one of the many regions being reshaped by China’s voracious demand for commodities.

The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad is the epicentre for the world’s amber trade, with the region holding about 90 per cent of the global reserves of the fossilised tree resin. It also boasts some of the oldest amber in the world — the product of a coniferous pine forest that fell into the Baltic Sea between 40m and 50m years ago.

At the time when Mr Krupnyakov and his gang were offering their services to illegal miners, the market was booming. Amber dealers say prices increased as much as 10 times between 2012 and 2016 on the back of strong demand from China. Although used for little other than jewellery and ornaments these days, amber has been a prized commodity in China ever since the days of the Ming dynasty and is seen as carrying healing powers and good fortune.

In May last year, Hong Kong Customs seized about 50kg of suspected smuggled amber, which it said had an estimated market value of about $1.5m, making the amber worth about $30 a gramme. The white amber, dealers say, can be sold to China for as much as $40 a gramme, and if the piece is really special, up to $50 or even $100 a gramme. That is more than the current market price of gold: about $41 a gramme.

Amber jewellery for adults has gone out of fashion in the west over the past decade, but necklaces for babies have become popular, having been lauded for their ability to relieve teething pain. But after a one-year-old was strangled, the US Food and Drug Administration put out a warning in December about the safety risks of such necklaces.

The authenticity of amber can be tested by burning, drilling into or even rubbing it. If genuine, it should give off a pinelike smell. It can also be tested to see if it floats in salt water (it should), while a UV lamp shone at it should show up as blue or green. Amber divers who go out to sea at night take UV torches with them.
russia  history  today  china  consumer  death  sea  diving  from instapaper
march 2019 by aries1988
Finding Lena, the Patron Saint of JPEGs

About six months later, a copy of the issue turned up at the University of Southern California’s Signal and Image Processing Institute, where Alexander Sawchuk and his team happened to be looking for a new photograph against which to test their latest compression algorithm—the math that would make unwieldy image files manageable. Lena’s glossy centerfold, with its complex mixture of colors and textures, was the perfect candidate. They tore off the top third of the spread, ran it through a set of analog-to-digital converters, and saved the resulting 512-line scan to their Hewlett-Packard 2100.

as she told me her life story, recalling her trips from America to Sweden, her marriages and jobs, the lives of her children and grandchildren, it became abundantly clear that the Playboy episode and its aftermath is a curious footnote, a part of her life that she has been largely excluded from, if only because no one thought to tell her very much about it.
controversy  female  technology  image  computer  history  model  story  sweden  from instapaper
february 2019 by aries1988
Steven Pinker on slavery and the Enlightenment - Marginal REVOLUTION
Early modern Europe, including its later manifestation of the Enlightenment, brought great benefits to the world. Part of those benefits involved enhanced capacities. Some of those enhanced capacities were used to do great evil
a more complicated mood toward progress

I would note also that so many of the most radical abolitionists, including in Britain, were Christians.

Pinker's critics argue that the world was better before Europe and its enlightenment values took off. They point to slavery as evidence of this.
Pinker argues that slavery was a common place institution before and after the enlightenment and it is largely enlightenment ideas that motivated it being abolished.
debate  enlightenment  world  slavery  history  progress 
february 2019 by aries1988
孔令伟评《丝绸之路与唐帝国》︱“中央欧亚”的流动_上海书评_澎湃新闻

过去研究安史之乱的学者,多半从中国史内部的视野,认为安史之乱起源于安禄山与李林甫的政治斗争。然而从中央欧亚大陆长时段的历史发展看来,安史之乱可以被视为征服王朝的先驱,亦即中央欧亚大陆骑马民族通过结合游牧社会军事力与丝路贸易经济力二者,试图将南方的中原纳入势力范围的一种趋势。然而根据森安本人所划分的历史分期,这个趋势一直要到十世纪北方游牧文化与南方农业社会进一步深入融合并形成一系列稳定的行政、商业、情报制度,方才臻于完备。而八世纪所崛起的安史势力,仍不具备这些军事以外的统治条件,因此森安称之为过早的征服王朝(310页)。换句话说,就中央欧亚史的脉络而言,安史之乱虽然仍不具备作为征服王朝的成熟条件,却深刻体现了辽、金、元、清等征服王朝的发展轨迹。

森安指出回鹘在与吐蕃的边界战争中占得上风,加上唐朝与吐蕃讲和,最终形成了九世纪二十年代唐朝、回鹘、吐蕃三国会盟的鼎立局面,这个局面维持约二十年余年,直到九世纪四十年代回鹘与吐蕃帝国崩溃。而北庭争夺战的历史意义,在于阻挡了吐蕃帝国的北进,确立了突厥语系的回鹘人在今日中亚的地位,这个影响直至今日(355页)

原本活跃于丝绸之路的粟特人,则由于八世纪中叶以后阿拔斯王朝等伊斯兰政权进入中亚后,逐步伊斯兰化而其原有的语言与宗教传统相对受到限缩。但这并不意味着粟特文化的遗产完全消失,大约在十世纪后期至十四世纪前期,粟特文化的影响仍体现在中央欧亚的佛教壁画及个别语言词汇中。此外粟特语也被以语言岛的形式,被保存在今日塔吉克斯坦境内的雅格诺比语(Yaghnobi)社群中。而根据粟特字母所创制的回鹘文字,也先后在十三世纪与十六世纪末成为蒙古文以及满文的构成基础,从而为后世中央欧亚大陆的历史发展留下深刻的遗产(356-357页)。
tang  history  xinjiang  middle-asia  religion  book  japanese  from instapaper
january 2019 by aries1988
Audio: I went to a Shen Yun show. Here's what I saw | 89.3 KPCC
Five dance troupes accompanied by live orchestras travel the world simultaneously so that Shen Yun shows are often taking place the same week on different continents.  The show is bringing in millions of dollars during its month-long spin through Southern California, helping to offset the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the company is spending on advertising and renting top venues like the Microsoft Theater, according to Gene Del Vecchio, a USC adjunct professor of marketing.
history  sect  chinese  usa 
january 2019 by aries1988
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