Sunday, September 11, 2016

A couple of links about expressivism

Might need these next spring when I have to spring to the defense of how I'm running this semester's first-year writing classes:

The other possibility is that Murray doesn’t get read anymore because what he advocates, particularly in terms of who generates knowledge in the writing classroom, remains too radical for rhetoric and composition. With so many first-year composition programs still focused on “academic writing” and the teaching of argument, often through themed courses or standardized syllabi in which students have limited choice about what they write, there is little sense of classrooms that are truly “student-centered.” More than a few composition teachers talk in the hallways about the need for student-centered classrooms, but run courses in which there is no doubt that authority and expertise remain with the instructor. Frankly, I have been and can be as guilty of this inconsistency as anyone. I like being in charge and I often push students toward writing about subjects that I think will be more beneficial to them. Of course Murray isn’t saying that teachers shouldn’t know what they are doing; just that students have knowledge and expertise too that we need to bring into the classroom.
  • James Zebroski. 1999. “The Expressivist Menace.” History, Reflection, and Narrative: The Professionalization of Composition, 1963-1983. Ed. Mary Rosner, Beth Boehm, and Debra Journet. Stamford, CT: Ablex. 99-114.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Even lighter blogging ahead

I don't want to give up on this blog, but I feel I should warn my reader(s?) that since classes have started here (just finished week one), I don't think I'm going to have a great deal of time to post things here. I will try my best, however. I'm joining a faculty writing group again that will meet once every other week. It sounds like we'll be just sitting together writing. Maybe I'll do some blogging during that time (if I can get away with it!).

I see that I posted something about the first week of classes about two years ago. This time, I'm teaching different classes (except for the business writing class). But it was still a hot week!

As I mentioned in some previous posts that I'm too lazy right now to link to, I'm teaching first-year writing this semester and I'm asking students to do some journaling. In addition to that, they're going to be developing semester-long research/writing projects growing out of their readings of our school's academic plan. (Hope that link works until the end of the semester!) I don't know what they'll come up with yet for topics, but it will be interesting, I'm sure.

More later?

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Thoughts and questions about George H. Kerr, Edward Paine, and Formosa Betrayed

Recently I came across a post by Stephen O. Murray that has me thinking again about Edward Paine's role in the authorship of Formosa Betrayed. The post is a revision (update) of a chapter in Looking through Taiwan: American Anthropologists' Collusion with Ethnic Domination (U of Nebraska P, 2005), co-authored by Murray and Keelung Hong. For those who don't know Edward Paine, he worked in Taiwan for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA) after WWII and witnessed the corruption and incompetence of the Chen Yi government that climaxed with the March Massacres in 1947.

Murray writes that after the 228 Incident, Paine and Kerr worked together on a book about what had happened. Murray continues,
Although they had received an advance from a publisher, Kerr stopped work on the book without giving Paine any satisfying explanation, and only much later (1965) published Formosa Betrayed. That book is very critical of Chiang and his subordinates. It would have had a greater impact, however, closer to the time of the events (and closer to the time when it appears to have been written). I wrote to Kerr asking about the sequence of writing and publication of Formosa Betrayed, but in two letters Kerr avoided the direct (and repeated) question of why a book about his observations did not appear much earlier. (My guess is that the virulent attack on American experts for “losing China” in part for reporting the unpopularity of Chiang Kaishek had traumatized and/or deterred him, but this is a surmise for which I have no evidence.)
As I wrote in a comment to Murray's post, I posted some notes a few years ago about the publication history of Formosa Betrayed based on research I conducted in the Okinawa Prefectural Archives. In those notes, I quoted from some 1965 correspondence between Kerr and editors at Houghton Mifflin in which Kerr blames the failure to publish earlier on the McCarthy era. In fact, he implies that it would not have been possible to publish at that time. He does not mention Paine in those letters, however.

In an article introducing the George H. Kerr collection at the Okinawa Prefectural Archives (Chinese; pdf), historian Su Yao-tsung (蘇瑤崇) also cites the WUFI story that has circulated about Paine's role in the composition of what became, almost 20 years later, Formosa Betrayed (see my 2010 notes for details of that story). Su argues that although Kerr used materials that Paine had provided him for book (and thanked him in the acknowledgements), most of the book was based on Kerr's own experience, so Kerr "was without a doubt the first author" (p. 247, my translation).

There are some interesting (and frustratingly confusing) twists to this whole tale, though. In no particular order:
  • Articles in two issues of Pacific Affairs, published in Dec. 1949 and Dec. 1951, include references to a book project by Kerr entitled The Development of Modern Formosa as a project sponsored by the Institute of Pacific Relations (the publisher  of Pacific Affairs). The article in the Dec. 1949 issue describes The Development of Modern Formosa as an "extensive report, with particular emphasis on wartime and postwar developments, [that] has now been completed and is scheduled for publication under the auspices of the IPR International Secretariat early in 1950" (p. 410). The 1951 article mentions that the book was supposed to come out in 1952 (p. 421). Neither of the notes about the project mentions Paine as a co-author; this suggests that whatever Paine thought (in 1986) about the book as a co-authored project, Kerr had gone ahead with a book about "modern Formosa" by himself.
  • Su Yao-tsung notes in his article that according to archival documents, Kerr wrote in 1948 that he had a manuscript "in preparation" entitled "Seeds of Rebellion: Formosa under Kuomintang Rule, 1945-1947." What is the relationship between "Seeds of Rebellion" and The Development of Modern Formosa? (Thanks to Prof. Hidekazu Sensui for first raising this question in an email.)
  • In Volume Two of Correspondence by and about George Kerr (Taipei: 228 Museum, 2000), there are several letters to Paine that imply that Kerr and Paine were working on a book together. Evidently Paine had written to several people who had been in Taiwan before and during 228, asking them for information about their experiences and observations. For instance, there's one letter to Paine from Allan Shackleton (author of Formosa Calling) that mentions "your book" (Vol. 2, p. 848), and there's a letter from Muriel Graham (pp. 855ff) in which she writes, "I do wish I could help you and Mr. Kerr more..."
  • Kerr and Paine did evidently work together on a memorandum about Taiwan's situation that they sent to several media outlets. It was entitled "Can Formosa Be Used in Solving Our Dilemma in China?" and can be found on pp. 166ff. in the Collected Papers (Taipei: 228 Museum, 2000). Interestingly, although it appears to have been a collaborative effort (see Correspondence vol. 1, p. 435), Kerr writes on the draft found in Collected Papers, "I prepared this to distribute..." Several questions related to this: Who's the audience for this note? Why does Kerr leave out Paine? (He could have written "Ed Paine and I prepared this...") 
  • Finally (?), there's the question of the phrasing of Kerr's reason (given in 1965) for not publishing: "it was not possible to get a hearing" by the time he got the manuscript back. What exactly did Kerr mean by that? Was it impossible to publish it, or was Kerr "deterred" (as Murray puts it) from publishing it? (This isn't directly related to the authorship issue, but it's related to Kerr's reasons for postponing the publication of the book for close to 20 years.)
Well, I'm left with a bunch of questions. Su Yao-tsung has told me that there are two boxes of Kerr-Paine correspondence in the Kerr collection at the Taipei 228 Museum. Anyone want to do some fishing for me? ;)

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Judging from this email from LinkedIn, I'm a multitalented guy...

Jonathan: International Sewing Club, Inc., Nepris Inc., and National Security Agency are looking for candidates like you.

New year's resolutions, Fall 2016

Tried this 10 years ago. The idea was that the more meaningful unit of measurement for us academic-y types (at least those of us in the U.S. and some other parts of the world) starts in September and goes until May (or December, if you want to do "new semester resolutions"). So it seems reasonable to make resolutions at the beginning of the school year instead of in January.

Anyway, the idea was nice, but I pretty much failed on all of my resolutions, with the possible exception of #7 (though you'd have to ask her about that). But I'm 10 years old now, so maybe I'm mature enough by now both to make achievable resolutions and to successfully carry out those achievable resolutions. (?) So here goes:
  1. Write regularly. (I forget what "write incrementally" meant and the link to Krista's blog is broken.) Keep a journal in which I write at least 750 words a day.
  2. Exercise more--at least do some more walking.
  3. Drink more water and fewer sugary drinks. (Including iced coffee and iced tea.)
  4. Send a polished draft of my GHK paper to a journal. (At least I need to get some feedback on it.)
  5. Spend quality time with the family. (Hopefully this can be combined with #2.)
  6. Spend less time on the internet, particularly Facebook.
  7. "Keep to a schedule enough so that at the end of every day I can look at my daybook and feel satisfied that I accomplished a few important things." (That sounded good 10 years ago, and it still applies.)
  8. "Don't make too many resolutions, promises, and/or commitments that I won't be able to keep." (That's also from 10 years ago. It still seems reasonable.)
That should be enough. And they're mostly pretty vague (except for 1 and 4), so perhaps I can fine-tune them as the year goes on.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Summer winding up (down?)

Today we went to the New England Aquarium since this is the last week of summer vacation. The little guy had a good time, I think--he seemed to enjoy looking at the fish; he even touched some in the shark petting tank (!). Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures because it was too hard to manage. Guess this is something we'll have to learn to do--my dad managed to take pictures of my brother and me when we were little.

I managed to get some things written this summer--mostly on this blog, but I also contributed a post about A Pail of Oysters to the Asian Books Blog. In addition, I was interviewed for an article in the Monroe News about the republication of Oysters. I would have liked to get more done on an article about George Kerr that I've been working on for about three years, but I'm still not sure where it's going. I've sort of written myself into a corner with it. I might post a blog entry at some point in the near future about some issues related to the authorship of Formosa Betrayed and the chronology of its publication, updating this post I wrote about 6 1/2 years ago (!). But right now I have more questions than answers on that front.

My main goal for the semester (besides to teach well) is to maintain my own writing schedule so that I can maintain some momentum in the midst of everything else in life. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 26, 2016

New book in the former native speaker's library

I already had Harry A. Franck's A Vagabond Journey around the World (1910) and Roaming through the West Indies (1920), but I've been wanting to get Glimpses of Japan and Formosa (1924) for awhile.


I did a little Googling research about the book and found a few reviews that came out around the time the book was published. The reviews were mixed. A couple were relatively positive:
  • A February, 1925 review in The Bookman; A Review of Books and Life praised the book: "Here are no stilted observations, but lively human snapshots of life as lived by the Joneses and Smiths and Browns of Japan and Formosa. Exit the intriguing politician and the fanatical high priest, and enter the bourgeoisie, with the homely eccentricities as common to every people as the provincialisms of the national tongue. It can be truly said of 'Glimpses of Japan and Formosa' (Century) that its glimpses ring true and, in so far as the lay mind can tell, are faithful reproductions of Far Eastern life."
  • A February 13, 1925 review in Journal of the Royal Society of Arts says that Franck "has a quick eye for noticing things of interest and a bright, pleasant way of telling them." The reviewer notes that Franck appears to have been able to see "a good deal" of Taiwan, as well.
The others that I found, however, were quite critical of Franck's book:
  • A May, 1925 review in The Geographical Journal argues that Franck "needs a longer residence in the Island Empire before he can fill the gap [in observations of the "New Japan"] with much success." "Mr. Franck," the reviewer continues, "says little enough that has not been said before, and he is not always well informed when he makes original remarks--as, for instance, when he states that independence is regarded as 'not even worth thinking about' by the Chinese-Formosans."
  • A note in the September, 1925 issue of Political Science Quarterly calls the book "interesting" and "human and humorous," but concludes that it is "the utterance of a stranger describing strange things rather than a comprehending analysis by one who through years of association has become an understanding friend." 
While I admit that my search for reviews only scratched the surface, what struck me about these reviews was that three of them were from academic journals. It was surprising to me that, for instance, The Geographic Journal would take Franck's travel writing seriously enough to review Glimpses of Japan and Formosa. I don't imagine an academic journal in geography or political science nowadays would devote space to reviewing, say, Paul Theroux's The Happy Isles of Oceania.

I did find some more recent scholarship that made use of Glimpses, though. Rachel Snow, in a 2006 dissertation on "vernacular photo-travel books," uses some images from the book although it appears that the bulk of her discussion of Franck is based on Roaming through the West Indies. Paul Barclay, in his 2010 article on "image-making in Taiwan under Japanese colonial rule," cites Franck in a couple of places, but he doesn't analyze the book in depth.

Finally, I'd note that Franck's descendants have developed their own website about the travel author. It shares some information about his biography and his service in the Second World War.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Brush with history: My father's photos of the May 19, 1946 Tokyo food demonstrations

My late father went to Tokyo as a member of the MacArthur Honor Guard at the beginning of the U.S. Occupation. He was, as I recall, experimenting with photography at the time and took many pictures. My wife and I are scanning some of photo albums, and I thought I'd share some pictures that might interest my reader(s).

Here are a few he took of a protest march from 1946.

The sign reads, I believe, "Establish Democratic People's Government"



A diary excerpt by Mark Gayn (collected in The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, edited by Jussi M. Hanhimäki and Odd Arne Westad) describes the demonstrations as follows:
The political pot is boiling madly. [Prime Minister] Yoshida is still struggling to form a new cabinet. As fast as he picks his ministers, it is discovered that they are war criminals subject to purge. Meanwhile, the food rationing machinery has bogged down. In the far north the distribution of food is thirty days behind schedule; in Tokyo, twelve. There are street-corner rallies, parades, mass meetings of protest. On Tuesday, eight hundred people demonstrated before the palace, demanding to know what the emperor was eating. On Friday, there were eight "food demonstrations" in front of rationing stations. Yesterday, twenty. There is a steady stream of marching men past the Diet and the premier's residence.
The climax came today with a "Give Us Rice" mass meeting. By ten o'clock on this bright, warm morning, there were at least 60,000 people at the imperial plaza. They had put three trucks together, and mounted tables on them for the speakers' platform. The chairman was the head of the Transport Workers' Union. But the meeting was actually run by a hard-looking man in corduroy knickers and a sports jacket. This was Katsumi Kikunami, an editorial writer for the Asahi, head of the Newspaper Union, and founder of the huge Congress of Industrial Unions. Grimly, he introduced a succession of speakers--union leaders, political workers, and just plain people.
One of these was a housewife of thirty-five, slim and plain-looking and obviously undernourished. She came from a ward in which there has been no rice distribution in two weeks. She had a child strapped to her back, and as she denounced the police and the rationing officials, the child's wailing came clear and loud over the loudspeaker.
But most of the speakers talked of politics. They demanded Yoshida's resignation, a Popular Front, a new cabinet including workers and farmers. "We must use the privileges we've gained since the war," cried Suzuki, editor of the Yomiuri, "One of them is the right to make revolutionary changes that will produce a democratic government. A one-day general strike will force Yoshida out!"
Tokuda was the last to speak. He wheeled around on the table top, pointed at the palace, and shouted: "We're starving. Is he?" He denounced Yoshida and the war criminals in the Diet, but he saved his sharpest barbs for the emperor. "Last week," he said, "we went to the palace and asked to see the emperor. We were chased away. Is it because of the emperor can say nothing but 'Ah, so. Ah, so?'" He mimicked the emperor. The crowd cheered wildly (...)
There's more in the book, including General MacArthur's response to the protests, which, as Gayn's diary suggests, were attended by ordinary people, labor leaders, and more radical left-wing elements. In Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, John Dower argues that the Americans occupying Japan after the war "contributed unwittingly to the circumstances in which such radical activities flourished by deciding to promote political freedom and social reform without taking an active role in rehabilitating the economy." MacArthur's response to the demonstrations "chilled the popular movement," writes Dower, although "it certainly did not freeze it." Later on, Dower writes that eventually,
[i]n the summer of 1948, MacArthur reversed occupation labor policy by withdrawing the right to strike from public employees, who commonly were in the vanguard where miserable pay, layoffs, and radical unionism were concerned. Simultaneously, occupation authorities worked diligently behind the scenes to promote the emergence of a virulently anticommunist "democratization" (mindo) movement within organized labor.
By that time, however, my father, having been honorably discharged, was back in the U.S. and beginning the next chapter of his life. (Which also involved photography!)

My wife and I are scanning and organizing some of my late father's pictures from when he was in the MacArthur Honor Guard in postwar Japan. I'm not sure what camera he was using, but some of the pictures might be a bit out of focus.