Rounsevelle Wildman: The Lone Ethnographer

vuw95set_largeWen Li Teng (The University of Chicago)

From 1893 to 1897, Rounsevelle Wildman (1864-1901), the United States Consul at Singapore, published a series of articles in several American magazines. These eyewitness accounts and short stories were published mostly in the Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, but also in The Youth’s Companion and St Nicholas: An Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks. Wildman’s narratives and descriptions of the Malay Continue reading

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Scandal: Public Reactions to Two Famous Affairs in History

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A caricature mocking Caroline for her affair (Wiki)

Caroline Nowlin (Washington and Lee University)

“The higher the tower, the greater the fall thereof.” It is a fundamental trait of human nature to be fascinated by the downfall of others. When it comes to those who dwell in the proverbial limelight, this interest is magnified tenfold. Gossip magazines recount the lurid details of the latest celebrity divorce, journalists dissect the private affairs of Continue reading

The Woman as Outcast: An Examination of Miaoshan in The Precious Scroll of Incense Mountain in Light of Choice, Risk, and Martyrdom

Lianna Arcelay

University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

 

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Precious Scroll of Incense Mountain (Baidu)

The tale of Miaoshan exemplifies that a woman’s devotion to religion—or, more specifically, her moral self-cultivation through religion—induces her being cast out of the society she inhabits. This paper seeks to expound on the Christ-like characteristics Miaoshan embodies in the first narrative of The Precious Scroll of Incense Mountain. It additionally discusses the manner in which her father, the emperor, Continue reading

Codifying Discrimination: The Status of Women, Slaves and Freedmen in the Ancient Near East

Graham Dunbar

St. Norbert College (De Pere, Wisconsin)

 

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figure at the top of Code of Hammurabi stele. Wiki

Writings from several thousand years ago in the Ancient Near East have the potential to give us fascinating insight into humanity’s baser instincts and values, allowing us to track the progress of “Western Civilization” from its source.  Countless law codes stress the idea of proportional retribution, especially in the case of violent crimes.  It is evident in these documents, particularly the ancient Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, that this retribution was primarily reserved for free-born adult men and that penalties for crimes against women, while not negligible, were considerably more lenient.  It is also evident in these documents that slavery in Ancient Near Continue reading

Voltaire’s Critique of Organized Religion in Candide

Fatima Khan

Wesleyan College (Macon, Georgia)

 

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Candide, Penguin Classic, 1947

Voltaire expressed his contempt towards organized religion and its disregard for human suffering in his famous satirical novel, Candide.  He targeted Leibnitz’s teaching that  “all is for the best” by creating characters that fall into miserable situations and face both internal and external strife by attempting to fit it into the church’s world view.[1] The only place free from Voltaire’s critiques was a made up New World town known as El Dorado where the only religion is an appreciation for life and nature.[2] El Dorado represented Voltaire’s perfect society  and provided insight into how he would have preferred society in Europe to be structured. Even though efforts to reform the Church were brought forward through Calvinism and the Council of Trent, Voltaire shows disdain for the major principles of organized religion in the 18th Continue reading

The Menkaure Triad, Numerical Thinking, and Divine Configurations in Ancient Egypt

Wen Li Teng

The University of Chicago

 

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The Menkaure Triad, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In the numerical thinking of the ancient Egyptians, numbers served as a system of classification that was simple, but permitted complex thematic variations in the concepts of unity, difference, and plurality.[1] The number three, for example, was considered the plural par excellence, and triads of gods were used to express familial relations (e.g. Osiris-Isis-Horus), modality (e.g. Khephri-Re-Atum), and unity (e.g. Amun-Re-Ptah).[2] The statue of King Menkaure (of the Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4), the goddess Hathor, and the deified Hare nome is one such triad (Boston MFA 09.200). The statue was one of many excavated by George Andrew Reisner in 1908 in the temple of Menkaure’s funerary complex at Giza.[3] The triad reveals the power structure of the Old Kingdom, exemplifies the religious beliefs of Continue reading

Education and Government in the Eyes of a Confucian Scholar in Modern China

liudapengEditorial Introduction

In times of rapid socio-political changes, individuals accustomed to the old ways of life are left scrambling to find a new place within a new system that bears nothing in common with what they once knew. The Man Awakened from Dreams: One Man’s Life in a North China Village, 1857-1942 by Henrietta Harrison is the case study of Liu Dapeng, a Confucian scholar who experienced the extreme changes brought on by the fall of the Qing Dynasty and rise of the Chinese Republic in the early 1900s. Liu Dapeng witnessed the replacement of traditional Chinese institutions with Westernized ones. This collection focuses primarily on the themes of education and Continue reading