starlady: (bang)
I wrote the following for one of the two history classes I took in college in spring 2006. I'm still really pleased with it.


Samurai Stew: History and Anime in Edo

“…Yet there is something that’s special, that one ingredient that makes it a stew. And do you know what that is?”
“The meat?”
“That’s what everyone says. The meat. But that same meat could be used for anything. Curry, goulash, it’s the same ingredients.
It’s the stew mix that makes it a stew.”
Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven’s Door

To the average person outside of Japan, one of the most familiar images of the country is undoubtedly that of the samurai. While the age of the samurai lasted approximately 700 years, from roughly 1185 to 1876 CE, these stereotypical images are almost always drawn from the early-modern Edo period (1603-1867), when Japanese society was “frozen,” at least according to official ideology, in the patterns it had acquired in the sixteenth century and before.

One of the primary vehicles for constructing this image of Japan, both in Japan and abroad, is that of the moving image. Anime & history in Edo )
starlady: (the wizard's oath)
Some awesome
[community profile] three_weeks_for_dw posts:

[personal profile] copperbadge posts a really eloquent argument for DreamWidth and a summation of LJ's latest awfulness--he is moving [livejournal.com profile] sam_storyteller to DW!

[personal profile] mumblemutter is hosting Video Killed the Radio Star, a multifandom music video challenge! Why is there not Lady Gaga fic on there yet.

[personal profile] synecdochic on modesty and what's wrong with it.


I wrote the following in December 2005. It's by no means a perfect or even a great paper, but I still like it for the fact that I basically wrote an exploration of the Lone Power in Diane Duane's Young Wizards books (who as a character and as a concept absolutely fascinates me) and turned it in for a grade in a college class. I would do a lot of things differently were I to write this paper now--invert the structure, most notably, and less with the generalizations (but I am by no means a philosopher)--and I've put it under two cuts to facilitate people who just want the Young Wizards discussion getting where they want to go.

Evil, beauty, and Tiantai )The Lone Power )
starlady: "Where's your sister?" "She's on Jupiter, Mom." (sister's on jupiter)
My fan essays on Young Wizards wonthe poll handily; this post, while brief, is a necessary prelude to the more extended effort (for which I will have to learn the html for footnotes, woe is me). I wrote the following for a course in philosophical theology in 2005; it's an extract from a response paper to assigned readings that rapidly devolved into talking about the Lone Power, by way of Dante.

Also, check out these Young Wizards icons by [personal profile] stripped, for [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw!


Moving on to the far more interesting topic of beauty, all I could think about in the beginning of the piece was the ending of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose: stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus ("The rose stands pristine in name; we hold the names alone.") This led me to thinking of the celestial rose at the end of Dante’s Paradiso (trans. Mark Musa): Up the snakes & down the ladders )
starlady: (moon dream)
I wrote the following for a course in philosophical theology in November 2006. I should mention at the outset that the paper is a fairly direct attempt to explain the actual physics of time as they are currently understood to my professor, who is a wonderful man and a brilliant philosopher but a very poor physicist (not that I can make any claims to being anything more than an educated layperson in that field). Consequently I wound up talking about Harry Potter and the books of Gene Wolfe in an attempt to illustrate my points comprehensibly. I still enjoy this essay, and I hope readers will too--the suspiciously broad generalizations stop right after the cut, I promise.

In Search of Time, Lost and Otherwise

Before the modern era there was no distinction between science and philosophy; someone who might today be labeled a scientist would have called him or herself, at most, a “natural philosopher.” Thinkers such as Aristotle and Hypatia discussed the nature and composition of the cosmos as readily as they did morality, ethics and the good life. It was not until the modern scientific revolutions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that science and philosophy parted ways, but today the disjunction between them is nearly as profound as that between science and religion.

This state of affairs is unfortunate on a number of levels. Both science and philosophy are engaged in explaining the nature of existence, but the insights of each field are lost on the other. Nowhere are the pernicious consequences of this situation more evident than in the study of time.

Time is the one thing you do not have. )

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