Justification by Heaven: A Comparative Analysis of Political Legitimacy in Confucianism and Mohism

Sung Min Kim

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 

Statue of Confucius at Confucian Temple in Shanghai, China

Statue of Confucius at Confucian Temple in Shanghai, China

Before the unification of China under Qin Shi Huang in 211 BCE, the region was filled with unceasing strife between powerful lords vying for domination. Before the disintegration of the feudal Zhou dynasty’s authority, these lords were restrained by the political, military, and moral power of the Son of Heaven (tianzi 天子), the Zhou king. Gradually, however, the states that were supposed to be subservient to the king increasingly acted as independent countries, amassing armies and invading their neighbors Continue reading

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A City of Feuds: Competitive Spirit, Architecture, and Brunelleschi’s Individual Renaissance in Florence

Landen Kleisinger

University of Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada)

 

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Statue of Brunelleschi. Wiki

Daedalus, the unparalleled inventor and master craftsman of Greek mythology, fashioned wax wings for his son Icarus by which they attempted to escape Crete. Flying too close to the sun, Icarus’ wings soon melted, causing him to plummet into the sea. If “Icarus has come to symbolize hubris, in his failure to respect the limits of human flight imposed by nature, Daedalus’ ability to construct tools to transcend nature’s limits effectively symbolizes the triumph of technology over nature.”[1] This transcendence of human nature came to be Filippo Brunelleschi’s (1377-1446) mythic achievement. While both philosophers and artists of the Renaissance period embodied the same humanistic movement centered around the rebirth of science, culture, art and philosophy of classical Greece and Rome, the way they viewed their contemporaries is in stark contrast. While the knowledge Continue reading

“Chinaman” and the Constitution: The Development of Federal Power over Immigration in 19th-Century United States

Raymond Yang

University of California, Merced

 

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The first page of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Wiki

On the Sixth of May 1882, H.R. 5804 was signed into law by President Chester Arthur. Titled as “An act to execute certain treaty stipulations relating to Chinese,” it became better known as the Chinese Exclusion Act. With the stroke of his pen and the backing of Congress, the President of the United States signed into law legislation that, for the first time in American history, would restrict immigration from a specific country. It was the climax of a major fight between California and the United States over what actions to take in response to Chinese immigration. This Chinese Question was witness to a transformation of the United States. The Chinese Question, as it turns out, would have a significant impact on American constitutional jurisprudence. The Supreme Court of the United States would end up Continue reading

Division and Unity: The History and Historiography of the Pennsylvania Constitution

Wen Li Teng

University of Chicago

 

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Pennsylvania state constitution of 1776

The Pennsylvania State Constitution of 1776 was controversial not only for eighteenth-century Pennsylvanians, but also for the scholars who have written about it since the late nineteenth century. A direct response to the Declaration of Independence and the demand by the Second Continental Congress for colonies to reject British rule, the creation of the 1776 constitution evinces the tensions felt by Americans during the revolutionary period. Issues concerning the franchise, religious beliefs, and balance of government in the country have continued Continue reading

“I Will Rise Again”: The Life and Legacy of the U.S.S. Monitor

Declan Riley Kunkel

Yale University (New Haven, CT)

 

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Site of Monitor Shipwreck
(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

The residents of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina saw something strange on the chilly morning of December 31st, 1862. [1] Just offshore, two side-wheel steamships were towing what looked like a barge. The object had a large mound protruding from the deck, and lay so low in the water that the waves nearly reached the deck. But this was no barge. The odd-looking vessel was the USS Monitor: the United States Navy’s first “ironclad” warship. It was three months after the Battle of Hampton Roads, where the Monitor had defeated the Continue reading

A War That Never Ends: Internal Conflicts, External Interventions, and the Civil Wars in Afghanistan

Chang-Dae David Hyun

University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada)

 

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Afghanistan militia. Source: adst.org

The civil war in Afghanistan lasted for over two decades until it finally came to an end in 2001. During this horrific period of time, two million Afghan were killed and over five million fled the country.[1] Many families lost their livelihood and beloved ones while the entire country has been suffering from socio-economic and political meltdown. It brings to our attention why there was Continue reading

“Light of the World”: The Life and Legacy of Nur Jahan (1577-1645)

Maggie Schuster

University of Minnesota

 

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Fig.1 1620 by Abu’l Hasan (Harvard Art Museum)

The rulers of the Mughal empire (1526-1858) used their connection to Timur (d.1405) and the Timurids to legitimize their rule over India and had always considered patronage of royal women a common practice. Timur himself claimed lineage with Genghis Khan through his wife, a relative of the Mongolian ruler, to legitimize his own rule. Because of this, female members of the Timurid and Mughal royal families were encouraged to contribute to the empire through the commissioning of charitable and non-charitable institutions. It was this convention that aided Nur Jahan, wife of Jahangir (r. 1605-1627), in her patronage of many of the Continue reading