Not everything that is logically possible and technically feasible is also natural, for example, placing China in the exact center of a world map. Such a map would not correspond to the laws of perception.
Matteo Ricci, who was the first to create Chinese world maps on which the Americas were depicted, had to choose between two ideals, between a world map that obeys the gestalt principles of perception and a world map with the “Central State” China in its center. The first ideal mattered more to him than the second, although he took the latter into account as well. The result was a Pacific-centered map.
Since we live on a sphere, what we perceive to be in the East and in the West depends on our location. It is therefore natural that in East Asia, world maps show America in the East and not – as in Europe – in the West. This was the argument underlying Ricci’s creation of Pacific-centered maps, and not the intention of depicting China as close to the center of the map as possible.
It is only in East Asia that Ricci was the first to create Pacific-centered maps. World maps with the Pacific in the midfield were made in Europe before Ricci, motivated by the traditional unidirectional numbering of the meridians (0°–360°) from West to East starting with the Atlantic Insulae Fortunatae (Canary Islands).
Paṃkhvālī nāv (The winged boat) is a Hindi novel by Paṃkaj Biṣṭ that appeared in installments in Haṃs (2007) and was published as a book in 2009. The protagonist is a homosexual man, and the novel, defined by the author as a “sensitive human tragedy” (Tehelka, 05/12/2012), constructs a highly heterocentered discourse on queerness. Set in India just before the neoliberal turn, the story discusses sexual citizenship not only with reference to Indian society, but also in a global context.
In this article I analyze the text, problematizing the notion of gender and the emergence of a queer identity corresponding with the opening up of Indian economy to neoliberal capital. Politics of sexual identity in newly globalizing economies are linked to global discourses on HIV/AIDS prevention, sexual health, sexual rights, and reproductive health. Also the emergence of queer literature in India, and of khuś literature in the Hindi literary field, has to be investigated on the backdrop of global queer identity. Drawing on the ‘anti-social turn’ in Queer Studies, I propose an interpretation of queerness and failure as resistance to capitalism.
The article engages with the question of an exclusivity, an ‘otherness’ of the Bengali culture, in the available representative modes of Indian cinema. It studies the socio-cultural dynamics through which this ‘otherness’ can be found reorienting itself in recent years in a globalized perspective. It takes two contemporary films, Kahaani (Hindi, 2012) and Bhooter Bhobishyot (Bengali, 2012) to dwell upon. The analysis aims to historicise the construction of a cultural stereotype called ‘Bengali-ness’ in Indian cinema by marking some significant aspects in the course of its historical development. Using the films as cases in point, the article attempts to develop a framework in which the changing landscape of the city of Kolkata, shifting codes of the cultural habits of the middle class and reconfigured ideas about a ‘Bengali nation’ can be seen operating to develop a refashioned relationship between the state of Bengal and the rest of the country. It suggests that the global cultural inflow, along with the localized notions of the new, globalized Bengali-ness, are engaged in developing a new politics of representation for the city and the Bengali society in the cinemas of India.
Unconcluded Studies: The Fratricide of Cain from a Theological View
The story of Cain and Abel as it is told in the Qurʾān (Q 5:27–32), which follows closely that in the Bible (Gen 4:1–16), became the topic of various discussions among early Muslim theologians, especially Abel’s statement when threatened by Cain: “I wish you to take both your sin and my sin and become one of the companions of the Fire.” In the context of civil war, Abel’s pacifism became a paradigm of ideal behavior, and the notion of ridding oneself of sin through victimhood appeared attractive. It was used as a model in stories concerned with battles between Muslims, such as the battle of al-Ḥarra (683 CE), in which many Qurayshi notables and Qurʾān reciters from Medina were killed by the Syrian army. According to advice from the prophet Muḥammad, the correct behavior would have been not to participate in the fighting and, in the face of death, to quote Abel’s words. Whoever acts in this manner attains Paradise. However, some theologians denied the possibility that the burden of somebody’s sin could be transferred to another. The story was thus reinterpreted. In his commentary on the Qurʾān, al-Ṭabarī (d. 923 CE) proposed that Abel’s sentence should be understood differently: “I wish you to take your [previous] sin[s] and the sin against me …”, since he could accept neither that Abel committed a sin, nor the transfer of sin to somebody else.
Sociological discussions regarding the structural integration of immigrant descendants has gained increasing academic attention in recent years. Migrants around the world are experiencing inter-generational development in the societies to which they migrated, and this pattern is also evident among overseas Chinese. This research explores the structural integration of children of Chinese immigrants in France by examining their career development paths. The article begins with an analysis of the influence that various socialization factors have on the career development of second-generation Chinese immigrants. While the family serves as the most fundamental socialization agent in early individual development and primary education, the education system then begins to be a determining factor in individual development. During adulthood, the broader social sphere has a stronger impact than the education system and family. Delving into the characteristics of the career development of second-generation Chinese immigrants in France, the differences between the first generation and the second generation become apparent, with Chinese migrant youth more professionally adept in the French job market and enjoying higher mobility between France and China as middle men/women. This has resulted in multiple modes of structural integration that have been better than those of the previous generation.