starlady: the cover from Shaun Tan's The Arrival, showing an aquanaut in suburbia (i'm a stranger here myself)
[personal profile] starlady
Awesome
One of my ongoing personal hangups is the fact that the ancient world was not like our modern world (and I'm using "modern" here with extreme intent); subjectivity and the relations between polities were completely different, and our projections back onto the past don't match that past. (This is part of what Prasenjit Duara means when he talks about rescuing history from modernity.) Ancient societies had far more in common with each other than we might think (and they were also far more diverse than we might think); they also had more in common with us than we might think, though in different respects.

So I was delighted to learn that further analysis has revealed that the Ivory Bangle lady of York, a wealthy resident of the Roman town there in the 3rd century, was of North African extraction.

Woah
I'm sure most people have heard by now of the magnitude 8.8 earthquake that occurred off the coast of Chile early this morning. Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy has some striking geological analysis and visual tsunami projections. I hope for the best in Chile, and that people around the Pacific, particularly in Hawai'i, are able to heed the warnings in time.

WTF
Actually this might go in the category "speaking ill of the dead," which is something to which I don't have intrinsic objections, especially for public figures. [livejournal.com profile] doonesburyc has a darkly funny roundup of classic cartoons related to the late Alexander Haig.

I'm surprised that the Lower Merion school webcam fracas hasn't been getting more press in the media. [personal profile] naraht has a post quoting some bloggers here; local public radio station WHYY has the best coverage I've heard/seen in the area. Essentially, the Lower Merion school district (allegedly) used the webcams installed on the laptops it distributed to students to spy on them in their homes and then attempted to use the pictures it obtained to discipline students in school. As I said to [personal profile] naraht, I can't decide whether the part that boggles me most is the parents who aren't concerned or the parents who are concerned--that the lawsuits being brought against the school district will cost them money in taxes.

And finally, on a musical note, the Philadelphia Orchestra musicians have accepted a pay cut and a hiring freeze. I was headed off at the pass, as it were, at the start of my "Philadelphia Orchestra & its woes" rant to [personal profile] naraht by the subway schedule last Sunday, and I'm only slowly converting it into a post, but suffice it to say that this is potentially both good and bad. And if it doesn't bring in the $$ it will be very, very, bad.

Do I need a history tag?  

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-03 13:50 (UTC)
onceamy: Organs in a blender,  (Organs-1)
From: [personal profile] onceamy
You need a history tag, and if I end up doing the post I want, I'll need one too :).

One of my biggest pet peeves is the whitewashing of Roman history. It's logical that the streets of Rome itself were not all white, as the Romans had a freaking establishment in North Africa. The news pleases me, too! For far too long have the straight white abled males had control of how people perceive history.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-02-27 23:54 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zahrawithaz.livejournal.com
Love this:

"One of my ongoing personal hangups is the fact that the ancient world was not like our modern world (and I'm using "modern" here with extreme intent); subjectivity and the relations between polities were completely different, and our projections back onto the past don't match that past. (This is part of what Prasenjit Duara means when he talks about rescuing history from modernity.) Ancient societies had far more in common with each other than we might think (and they were also far more diverse than we might think); they also had more in common with us than we might think, though in different respects."

This is something I think about a lot, especially as someone who studies histories of peoples that often have strong resonance for modern-day identity politics. I like your point about how much ancient societies had in common with each other--far more with each other than with us, most of the times, even in times and places where we cannot help but project back.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-02-28 00:38 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlady38.livejournal.com
Yes! And it's so hard to talk about and even to conceptualize properly--our very perceptions of history and of time itself, as denizens of modernity, have been altered by modernity so much that when we look back we naturally project our ideas modern ideas about identity and how it's defined backwards, when in reality it was completely different, from the conception of time to subjectivity to how societies related to each other. And while many aspects of ancient societies were analogous to aspects of our modern societies/global society (such as, frex, what the article at the link calls "multiculturalism"), ancient people didn't think of it in the same way at all--but because the terms used are often superficially similar, or the phenomena look the same at a superficial level, the differences between the discourses are summarily flattened.

And for the same reason it's really hard to find books that address the issue head-on. Thomas LaMarre and Prasenjit Duara have gestured towards it at times in some of their books, but usually in the context of other discussions.

Um, this kind of might be one of my primary research interests--or at least, the difference between ancient and modern (conceptions of) empires, with particular attention to Japan/Northeast Asia.

One of my favorite examples of such ancient commonalities, though, is drama in ancient Japan and ancient Greece (http://starlady38.livejournal.com/324414.html). The similarities are ridiculously obvious, and fascinating, if you know what to look for.

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