The Master’s Teachings Are Not Far: The Analects of Confucius and Its Modern Relevance

Editorial Introduction

kongzi2The Analects of Confucius is believed to have been written by his disciples around 2500 years ago, and has remained one of the most influential texts in China to this day. This text was written in order to provide people with the teachings of Confucius. His disciples did this by writing down their questions along with the answers that Confucius gave them. In this series of questions and answers various terms that Confucius believed people should live according to are continuously referred to. What is the Dao the master was pursuing? How to become a junzi or superior man? Are the Confucian values such as filial piety and trustworthiness still relevant today? Is Confucius’s political goal still meaningful? The three papers here are contributed by students from HIST 3200 Traditional China, an upper-level history course taught by Dr. Hongjie Wang at Armstrong in the spring semester of 2017. These authors try to answer the aforementioned questions from their respective perspectives based on their reading of the ancient text. Continue reading


Civilization and Nature: A Reading of Ancient Texts

Wen Li Teng

University of California, Los Angeles


Detail of the Code of Hammurabi (Wiki)


The Code of Hammurabi was a comprehensive set of 282 laws enacted by the Babylonian ruler Hammurabi (r. 1792–1750 BCE), which included provisions for contract, criminal, family, transactional and even military law; The Book of Exodus tells how Yahweh led the Israelites out of Egypt through the prophet Moses; the Egyptian Book of the Dead was a New Kingdom funerary text used from 1550 BCE to 50 BCE. These texts appear markedly different: a law code, a religious narrative, and a book of spells to help the dead in the afterlife. Yet all three texts reveal the close relationship between these societies and the natural environments in which they lived. Insofar as themes of water, land, and fauna are present in these various texts, this paper aims to determine the extent to which the Code of Hammurabi, Exodus, and the Book of the Dead differ in their depictions of nature.

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Emporia and the Roots of Market Mercantilism in the Early Middle Ages

Lee Morrison

Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)



Quentovic and surrounding trade routes (Wiki)

Throughout the early Middle Ages, the decline of the Roman world was in full motion as various tribes assumed local power in the former provinces.  Many aspects of classical life changed, including trade, which shifted from a large-scale global system to a compartmentalized, regional economy.  The Roman system of high imports and sea trade gave way to the manorial economy, a regional system of agriculture and manufacture.  However, the development of a North Sea Economic Zone and the rise and fall of the emporia created a global trade market in Northern Europe.  This market flourished from the Merovingian period into the Viking age as demand for luxury and commodity goods resulted in development of more emporia, as well as smaller subsidiary locations and local trade fairs.  These trade cities began as instruments of a ruler’s political reach, but soon evolved into more independent areas of commerce that defined the economic zone around them.  By the end of the ninth century the emporia were well into their decline, but modern archaeological research has brought about a valuable change in perspective on these strange trade cities.  Gridded streets and permanent housing for craftsmen allowed emporia to combine elements of long-distance trade, monopolistic regional production, and urbanization.  In the early Middle Ages, the roots of capitalist production took shape in the planning, production, and function of the emporia.

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Musui’s Story or Mafia’s Story: A Different Reading of Musui’s Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai

Fred Smithberg

Armstrong State University (Savannah, Georgia)


m1Contemporary Japan is often advertised as one of the safest and crime free countries on earth. The number of inmates in Japanese prisons today is an uncomfortable subject for the Japanese.  However, crime does exist in Japan, but is well organized and controlled by organized crime networks. The streets are safe in Japanese cities as a result of its organized crime, not in spite of it. In 2001, there were 84,000 registered crime family Continue reading

Women and the Domestic Slave Trade in the Antebellum South

Allie Cobb

Presbyterian College (Clinton, South Carolina)


Editorial introduction

allie1“History of the South: Southern Symbols,” one of the most popular history courses taught by Dr. Maggy Carmack at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, is a survey of the South’s history and culture, starting with early English settlement and progressing to the modern day. It attempts to interpret “Southern” symbols and how the South is imagined today versus the reality of the past. One of the major readings assigned for this class is Steven Deyle’s famous book, Carry Me Back: The Domestic Slave Trade in American Life (2005), which concludes by arguing that “only by acknowledging the centrality of the domestic slave trade to the early history of the United States can we truly understand the many complexities of antebellum American life.” Perhaps most students would agree with Deyle that the domestic slave trade was central to antebellum life, but the question how the domestic slave trade worked to shape white Southerners conceptions of themselves and their place in an evolving market society could always be understood differently. In the following paper, Allie Cobb takes a gendered approach to assessing the domestic slave trade, exploring the roles of gender and sexuality during the antebellum period based on her reading of Deyle’s work.


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The Gossamer Years: Gender, Religion and Aesthetics in Heian Japan

Editorial introduction

heian1Kagerō Nikki or The Gossamer Years: The Diary of a Noblewoman of Heian Japan is an autobiographical diary by a noblewoman who lived in Heian Japan (794–1185). The author wrote candidly of her life, particularly about her relationship with her husband, who she referred to as “the prince.” The diary provides an excellent example of what life of nobilities consisted of in the classical period of Japan. The following papers written by the students from Prof. Hongjie Wang’s History of Japan class examine different aspects of Heian Japan revealed by the diary, including the daily life of noblewomen, courtship practices, importance of religion as well as the taste of mono no aware, a classical aesthetics defined as “a refined sensitivity toward the sorrowful and transient nature of beauty.” Together, these essays showcase the many ways in which one can use this diary to take a glimpse into the past and learn about classical Japanese society and culture. (editor John Hendrix)

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The Black Friary: Reflections on a Community Archaeology Project

Jordyn Marlin
Palm Beach Atlantic University (West Palm Beach, Florida)

Editorial introduction


BCHAP program ad from IAFS website

The Blackfriary Community Heritage and Archaeology Project (BCHAP),conducted by the Irish Archaeology Field School (IAFS), is a program focused on community focused archaeological excavations at the location of a 13th century Dominican friary in Trim, Co. Meath, Ireland. IAFS has attracted students of various skills and backgrounds from around the world to participate in various heritage themed courses such as field archaeology and bio-archaeology. Students are provided in-depth insight into Irish archaeology and culture through experiential hands-on learning, specialized lectures, and tours of various leading heritage sites. Jordyn Marlin, currently a senior studying history at Palm Beach Atlantic University, attended the IAFS in the summer of 2014 and had the privilege of returning as a student assistant in 2015 as a member of the Community Team. Her essay below outlines a contextual summary of the Black Friary and its excavation, as well as the importance of the Black Friary project to Trim’s community today. More information about the project can be found on the official website

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