Thursday, December 29, 2005
Monday, December 19, 2005
'Are you guilty?' said Winston.
'Of course I'm guilty!' cried Parsons with a servile glance at the telescreen. 'You don't think the Party would arrest an innocent man, do you?' His frog-like face grew calmer, and even took on a slightly sanctimonious expression. 'Thoughtcrime is a dreadful thing, old man,' he said sententiously. 'It's insidious. It can get hold of you without your even knowing it. Do you know how it got hold of me? In my sleep! Yes, that's a fact. There I was, working away, trying to do my bit -- never knew I had any bad stuff in my mind at all. And then I started talking in my sleep. Do you know what they heard me saying?'
He sank his voice, like someone who is obliged for medical reasons to utter an obscenity.
"Down with Big Brother!" Yes, I said that! Said it over and over again, it seems. Between you and me, old man, I'm glad they got me before it went any further. Do you know what I'm going to say to them when I go up before the tribunal? "Thank you," I'm going to say, "thank you for saving me before it was too late."
[Update, 12/27/05: Well, now that (as everyone probably knows), the student in question has admitted to lying, I guess we should all let down our guards and realize that the wiretapping and other domestic spying activities the U.S. government is conducting couldn't possibly endanger the freedoms of patriotic Americans. After all, Colin Powell says it's OK...]
Friday, December 16, 2005
Lillis, Theresa, and Mary Jane Curry. "Professional Academic Writing by Multilingual Scholars: Interactions With Literacy Brokers in the Production of English-Medium Texts." Written Communication 23.1 (2006): 3-35.
Scholars around the world are under increasing pressure to publish their research in the medium of English. However, little empirical research has explored how the global premium of English influences the academic text production of scholars working outside of English-speaking countries. This article draws on a longitudinal text-oriented ethnographic study of psychology scholars in Hungary, Slovakia, Spain, and Portugal to follow the trajectories of texts from local research and writing contexts to English-medium publications. Our findings indicate that a significant number of mediators, "literacy brokers," who are involved in the production of such texts, influence the texts in different and important ways. We illustrate in broad terms the nature and extent of literacy brokering in English-medium publications and characterize and exemplify brokers’ different orientations. We explore what kind of brokering is evident in the production of a specific group of English-medium publications—articles written and published in English-medium international journals—by focusing on three text histories. We conclude by discussing what a focus on brokering can tell us about practices surrounding academic knowledge production.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
- The writing workshop with Charles Bazerman on Dec. 3 went really well. There were over 100 people attending. Dr. Bazerman's talks on the history of literacy and of social organization and on assessment were well-received, as were the panels on text-type in teaching and assessment. I hope that we'll be able to do something like this again in the future. (And as Dr. Bazerman himself said, we don't necessarily need to have a big scholar from the U.S. to come in order to have such a conference. Though it was nice to have him here!)
- Saturday the 10th I went to Tainan to give a talk to Dr. Clyde Warden's IMBA class on using secondary sources in research. The IMBA program at National Cheng Kung University has students from many countries (I met some from Taiwan, New Zealand, the U.S., and Cambodia) and conducts its classes in English. Some students seemed to have done quite a bit of research before and some hadn't, so I tried to aim my talk to those with less experience. I was happily surprised to see Robert, a former student from Tunghai who's now in the IMBA program. Quite a coincidence to run into him!
- Both Chuck and Clyde talked to me about my dissertation, encouraging me to "finish it!" So I'm going to try to work harder on it, cutting out some of the less necessary distractions in life. (Though there seem to be more and more necessary distractions...) One of the LNDs for me is blogging, so I'm going to be taking what I hope is an extended vacation from the blogging life (contingent upon my ability to control myself!). I hope to be back at some point in the next few months with some good news about my dissertation...
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Suddenly, she hears creaking sounds. Before she can do anything, pieces of tile fly toward her, pointing their sharp edges at her...
Fortunately, her slow-moving but loyal companion Bing Xiang (冰箱) blocks the ceramic shards of death, saving her life.
The gruesome aftermath (caution: not for those with weak stomachs!):
To view the first episode in this series, click here. Note that this sequel has come out less than a year after the first episode. Take that, Sam Raimi!
Actually, the real story is the FNCS heard the noises and quickly got the camera to take shots as the tiles flew off the wall. (Unfortunately, the battery was dead, so she had to wait until it recharged to take pics of the aftermath...) But why ruin a good story with the truth?
Friday, November 25, 2005
Things like this happen in Taiwan, also. Every time a typhoon is coming, someone discovers that some industrious thieves have stolen the steel water gates that are needed to help prevent flooding. But it's amazing to me the trouble the Baltimore thieves are going to to take these light poles. As the Times reports,
Thieves are sawing down aluminum light poles. Some 130 have vanished from Baltimore's streets in the last several weeks, the authorities say, presumably sold for scrap metal. But so far the case of the pilfered poles has stumped the police, and left many local residents wondering just how someone manages to make off with what would seem to be a conspicuous street fixture.
The poles, which weigh about 250 pounds apiece, have been snatched during the day and in the middle of the night, from two-lane blacktop roads and from parkways with three lanes on either side of grass median strips, in poor areas and in some of the city's most affluent neighborhoods. Left behind are half-foot stubs of metal, with wires that carry 120 volts neatly tied and wrapped in black electric tape.
The culprits seem to have pole-snatching down to a model of precision and efficiency, city officials say. They appear to have gone so far as dressing up as utility crews, the police say, and placing orange traffic cones around the poles about to be felled, to avoid arousing suspicion among motorists.(My question here is, if the police know that the thieves have done this, why haven't they caught anyone yet?)
(Thanks to MJ for the New York Times reference.)
Tunghai sophomore English majors are required to take an introductory course in research methods. Some of the more important ideas that I hope students in that course will think about concern how they understand themselves as users of (English-language) texts and how they understand how the texts they are using have been designed to function. I will use basic reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias to serve as an example to discuss orienting students to texts that are nominally of the same genre. In Research Methods, students look at how surface differences (such as textual conventions like the use of complete sentences vs. fragments, use of headings, bold typeface, and italics) among various reference materials can inform them of those materials' different purposes and audiences. I hope that this focus will help students become more conscious users of reference materials (in particular) and of texts (in general).In my 10-minute talk, I want to take people through some of the experiences I had teaching the research methods course and coming to an awareness of what students needed in order to be able to use reference sources. I remember at first, years ago, when I gave students an exercise summarizing subject encyclopedia and subject dictionary articles related to their research topics, some of them would have a lot of trouble figuring out the main idea of the article. There turned out to be several reasons for this trouble, one of which was that the articles didn't always organize information in the same way. Articles in some reference works start out immediately with a brief explanation of exactly what the concept is. (Sometimes the brief explanation is all they have.) Others begin with a "funnel"-like introduction--moving from general to particular in ways similar to how students are often taught to write English essay introductions. (David Crystal's Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language is like this, for instance.) The variations in the organization of articles disrupted student expectations about how to identify the main idea(s). So part of what I found I needed to do was help students put aside those expectations.
Another related issue I will discuss concerns helping students see typographical conventions such as bolding, italicization, capitalization, and the use of different fonts as information rather than decoration. The idea that those surface features (what Paul Prior calls "typographical cuing systems") mean something was something I took for granted until I taught people and worked with people who didn't take it for granted. (This reminds me of Prior's story in Writing/Disciplinarity about an Indonesian undergraduate in one of his classes who had copied down a call number from the index but didn't know what to do with it. Prior's point is he considered libraries "transparent spaces" until then. What he considered "basic" knowledge was not so basic to the student who perhaps had never before used a library with an open-stacks system.) So one of the in-class activities I initiated involved looking closely at various dictionary entries on the same word, comparing and contrasting the information that different dictionaries presented about that word. (This exercise is similar to one that Roy Flannagan had us do in his graduate class in Milton back in the early 1990s, except, of course, we worked with different versions of a poem by Milton.) From there we could begin to discuss purposes and audiences for reference works and begin to see how compilers of those works find ways to condense different kinds of information in different ways for those audiences and purposes. Finally, we would look at the Oxford English Dictionary (which I think English majors should work with at least once before they graduate--if it's available, of course) in its physical and virtual forms. We worked on understanding the types and forms of information that the OED provides. The students' final assignment in this sequence was an exercise in "decompressing" the information in an OED entry and writing a brief "study" of a word based on that entry.
I hope that students were able to take out of these activities the idea that reading and using information in English requires attention to, and interpretation of the "typographical cuing systems" as well as the ability to read "through" the words to get at the meaning. I have some sense that many were able to do this. I think it also can help create an atmosphere in which learning how to use the MLA citation system is tied to communicative purposes rather than being merely an exercise in formalistic correctness.
Anyway, that's basically what I'm going to talk about on Dec. 3. If you're in the area, stop by! (Not just to hear me talk, though! More interesting people than I will be on hand!)
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Sunday, November 13, 2005
And today (well, actually, Nov. 13) is my parents' 40th wedding anniversary! (How 'bout you, Michael? Anyone in your family having an anniversary today? heh heh...) My parents like to say they were married on Nov. 13; 13 months later my brother was born, and 13 months after that I was born. Good thing we're not superstitious...
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
is an influential scholar in the field of Writing Across the Curriculum and has lectured in many countries about writing theory and practice.Dr. Bazerman's website contains a bibliography of his works and online versions of many of his essays.
He has authored and co-edited such books as Shaping Written Knowledge: The Genre and Activity of The Experimental Article in Science (1988), What Writing Does and How It Does It (with Paul Prior, 2004), and Reference Guide to Writing Across the Curriculum (with Joseph Little, Lisa Bethel, Teri Chavkin, Danielle Fouquette, and Janet Garufis, 2005).
He is Professor and Chair of the Department of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara (USA).
Saturday, October 29, 2005
I'm feeling similarly after skimming through the articles--but I'm wondering where the scholars in intercultural communication are--or the speech comm. people in general. Or a token rhetorician. I mean, the topic is communication...
You'd think ...
I mean ...
Oh, never mind.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon spoke from the margins of the Chinese-speaking world, from the diaspora, Chinese-America, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan, and from this position addressed both the rest of the world and mainland China itself. Hero has stepped up to speak from the centre in an indignant register, aiming to be more spectacular, more impressive and more successful than its marginal rival. Hero can be understood as an emphatic and wholly deliberate response by mainland cultural producers to both the globalization of Chinese culture and the presumption of other "Chinas" to speak for China.I remember when Crouching Tiger came out, I looked somewhat condescendingly upon its "Chineseness." So this piece is something of an antidote to my previous chauvinism. (What right would I have to be a Chinese cultural chauvinist, anyway?)
Call for AbstractsSounds interesting...
3rd Annual Conference on Intercultural Rhetoric and Written Discourse Analysis
June 7, 2006
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Chairs: Ulla Connor (IUPUI) and Alan Hirvela (The Ohio State University)
Papers are invited on topics including (but not limited to):
- Theoretical and Empirical Investigations
- Language- and Culture-Specific Studies
- Changing Methodologies for Research
- Practical Applications
- Teaching and Classroom Practices
- Writing in School and College
- Writing in Business and Professional Settings
- Orality and Literacy Connections
- Critical Approaches to Contrastive Rhetoric
Deadline for Submission: April 1, 2006
Notice of Acceptance/Rejection: April 15, 2006
Papers should be 20 minutes long with an additional 10 minutes for discussion.
Abstracts should be no more than 250 words long, typed on a single page. In the upper left-hand corner, place the submitter's name, address, institutional affiliation, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail address. Send submissions to:
Indiana Center for Intercultural Communication
ICIC Conference on Intercultural Rhetoric & Written Discourse Analysis
620 Union Drive – Union Bldg. Rm. 407
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5170
For more information:
Registration Fees (Lunch Included): $70 early registration, $80 onsite registration
$35 student registration, $45 onsite student registration
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Some details about the conference (swiped from the cfp):
Translators, interpreters, and other intercultural communicators and commentators are indispensable mediators in processes involving the movement of people, ideas, technologies, and literatures between different places, cultures, languages, and even times. Their role can, however, also be described as one of intervention, which stresses a more-or-less self-conscious commitment to effecting change and determining outcomes in societal, cultural, economic and other encounters. This, the 2nd Conference of the International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies (IATIS), aims to address issues of intervention in interlingual and intercultural encounters, asking, for example, how such intervention can be conceptualised and enacted? And if, following Hermans (2001), such encounters require the speaking subject to position itself in relation to, and at a critical distance from, a source text, does intervention grow as we take up positions that are in direct opposition to source texts? Or does maintaining the status quo not itself sometimes imply complicity with a position that may change the future for others?Well, maybe next time, though I have an idea for a paper on translating silences...
Following the success of its inaugural conference in Seoul in 2004, the International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies now invites proposals for papers and panels addressing the theme of Intervention in Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Encounters. The Conference will welcome contributions in areas where the ethical and ideological dimensions of translation, interpreting and other intercultural practices have traditionally been a focus, as well as in areas where these dimensions have been addressed less explicitly, although they are always present. Contributions in the following areas are thus particularly encouraged:
Contributions may be approached from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds including, but not restricted to: anthropology, corpus-based studies, cultural studies, gender studies, intercultural studies, interpreting studies, linguistics, literary theory, localisation, media studies, pedagogy, postcolonial studies, pragmatics, sociology, translation technology.
- Interpreting cultural interfaces
- Translator and interpreter training
- Language survival and nation-building/nationalism/transformation
- Post-colonial acculturation and hybridity
- The translation of literature (adult and children's) as intervention
- Oral literary traditions and folklore as intervention
- Globalisation and localisation in the developed/ing world
- Interpreting and the authentic voice
- Interpreting silences
- Corpus translation/interpreting studies
- Forensic linguistics
- Translation technology
- The crisis of representation in Western theory
The conference will be held at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa and will be truly international in its outlook, while at the same time drawing on South Africa's recent and rich experience of cultural and political transformation.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
I wrote this commment to BBC:
I don't think the headline "Taiwan to ignore flu drug patent" is an accurate reflection of the situation. The health official you quoted does say that they are in communication with Roche to try to get permission to mass produce. So they're not "ignoring" the patent.
Also, you might mention that Taiwan has never been allowed into the World Health Organization. (This means it probably won't get any WHO assistance if the bird flu attacks the island, just as it didn't get [any real] assistance from WHO when SARS struck.) In the end, we might need to balance the company's right to a patent against the right of the people of Taiwan to live.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
- Figure out what went wrong after I upgraded the ZoneAlarm firewall on our desktop computer. Now we can't access the Internet at all on that computer (but I can on this notebook, which is on a wireless network with the desktop). I even removed the firewall from the desktop, but the Internet connection still doesn't work. Help!!!
[Update, 10/24/05: Still trying to figure this one out. I tried the "complete uninstall" but there are about 3 files I just can't get rid of. Whenever I get on the Web I get Zone Alarm's warning page that they've locked down the Internet service. Then they give me a bunch of instructions that don't work. I'm contemplating a complete reformat of my C drive (!), but will try a few more things before I get to the point...]
[Update, 10/28/05: Finally got the Zone Alarm completely uninstalled. Didn't have to reformat C drive, either. Evidently I'm not the only person who has problems with Zone Alarm 6.0. 5.0 worked fine for me and I wish I still had a copy of it to reinstall. Now I've got to find a decent firewall program that won't gum up the works again...]
- Check in on the online chat that the students in my Intercultural Communication class will be doing (either Friday night or Saturday morning--not sure yet). I'm enjoying that class--got a great bunch of students. (Actually, I've always had a great bunch for that course!)
[Update, 10/24/05: The chat seemed to go OK. There will probably be another one Tuesday morning for those who couldn't make it on Saturday.]
- Respond to the ICC students' comments on our course blog. I'm way behind on that...
[Update, 10/24/05: Er... uh...]
- Put together a poster for the upcoming workshop on the teaching and practice of writing that our department will be hosting (Saturday, Dec. 3). The title of the workshop: "Situating Writing Instruction in an EFL Context: A Conversation with Charles Bazerman". Dr. Bazerman, who is professor of education at UCSB, will present on text type in teaching and on theory and practice of writing assessment and we'll have panel discussions on those topics, too, and how they might be applied in writing instruction in Taiwan universities. (Also, perhaps, on how EFL contexts like Taiwan's can challenge North American understandings about teaching text type and assessing writing.) Should be fun! I also need to get some work done on the website for the workshop. Got a draft up, but I'm not ready to unveil it yet...
[Update, 10/24/05: We (the former native Chinese speaker and I) got the poster done. Looks good and will be sent to a university English department near you soon! (If you're near a university English department in Taiwan, that is...)]
- Continue preparing for dissertation-related interviews that will be coming up in the next few weeks.
[Update, 10/24/05: Worked a bit on this. Mostly basked in the nice, helpful, and encouraging comments from my advisor, though...]
Sunday, October 16, 2005
I copied a paragraph from one of the stories we read, "The Judge's House" (originally written by Bram Stoker and retold in simplified version by Rosemary Border), into the Babelfish translator. Here's the sentence:
He almost dropped the lamp. He stepped back at once, and the sweat of fear was upon his pale face. His knees shook. His whole body trembled like a leaf. But he was young and brave, and he moved forward again with his lamp.Then I had the translator turn it into Chinese:
他幾乎投下了燈。他立即跨步, 並且恐懼汗水是在他的蒼白面孔。他的膝蓋震動了。他的整體打顫了像葉子。但他是年輕和勇敢的, 並且他再今後搬走了與他的燈。The Chinese is a bit odd (OK, it's positively weird). First of all, "dropped" becomes "threw"; then "stepped back" becomes "stepped" (no indication of direction); "the sweat of fear was upon his face" is rendered into very unidiomatic Chinese. A more likely sentence would be something like "他蒼白的面孔上冒出了恐懼的汗水。" (I'm sure someone can come up something better, but...) His knee is now no longer shaking--it's vibrating. And so on... Toward the end, "he moved forward again with his lamp" becomes a sentence about moving out (as in, from one's home) again from this day forward... er... with his lamp.
Just for the fun of it, I used Babelfish to translate the Chinese back into English:
He has nearly thrown down the lamp. He steps immediately the step, and the frightened sweat is in his pale face. His knee vibrated. His whole trembled has liked the leaf. But he is young and brave, and he from now on moved out and his lamp again.If you're saying, "Huh?", you're right. And this is what I'm seeing: mistakes that I've never seen non-native writers make before. Mistakes that are different--and usually more severe--than they probably would have made had they written it themselves in the first place.
My question about this is, how does this fit into the usual discussions of student writing
On the other hand, I also have to think that one of my purposes for asking students to write something is for them to practice using the English that they have already learned rather than merely generating English text. Perhaps I need to make that purpose clearer to them...
Thursday, October 13, 2005
"We never predicted that people would turn this into an evaluation tool for giving out grants and funding," says Mr. Garfield.One abuse of the impact factor is the pressure to self-cite (that is, cite other articles published in the same journal) in order to boost the journal's impact factor. Another problem has to do with the shaky relationship between journals' impact factors and that of the articles published in those journals:
Although the article is focused on the sciences, one might wonder if there are similar problems with the abuse of this approach in the social sciences and humanities. (It's not hard to guess what my answer to that would be...)
Mr. Garfield and ISI routinely point out the problems of using impact factors for individual papers or people. "That is something we have wrestled with quite a bit here," says Jim Pringle, vice president for development at Thomson Scientific, the division that oversees ISI. "It is a fallacy to think you can say anything about the citation pattern of an article from the citation pattern of a journal."
Such warnings have not helped. In several countries in Europe and Asia, administrators openly use impact factors to evaluate researchers or allocate money:
In England, hiring panels routinely consider impact factors, says Mr. Nevill.
According to Spanish law, researchers are rewarded for publishing in journals defined by ISI as prestigious, which in practice has meant in the upper third of the impact-factor listings.
In China, scientists get cash bonuses for publishing in high-impact journals, and graduate students in physics at some universities must place at least two articles in journals with a combined impact factor of 4 to get their Ph.D.'s, says Martin Blume, editor in chief of the American Physical Society, who recently met with scientists in China.
The obsession with impact factors has also seeped into the United States, although less openly. Martin Frank, executive director of the American Physiological Society, says a young faculty member once told him about a policy articulated by her department chair. She was informed that in order to get tenure, scientists should publish in journals with an impact factor above 5.
"We are slaves to the impact factor," says Mr. Frank, whose organization publishes 14 science journals.
There's an online discussion hosted by the Chronicle. (Begins at 1 p.m., US Eastern time)
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Monday, October 10, 2005
For this, you go to Google and type "[your first name] needs"... I got the following:
Jonathan needs to be redeemed, or made completely evil. (They're both tempting...)
Jonathan needs to draw up a business plan to demonstrate to potential backers that his idea is a sound investment.
Jonathan needs to restructure his portfolio.
Jonathan needs to start drinking more beer.
Jonathan needs to leave.
Jonathan needs some help with healthy eating and exercise, so Kathleen casts his little Brother as an aide. (Well, I'll agree with the first part, but I don't have a little brother...)
Jonathan needs to stop by and do some landscaping. (OK, but only if you don't make me mow the lawn.)
Jonathan needs to have the sh*t beat out of him. (And I know who's willing to do it...)
Jonathan needs to refocus his life as well as his career. (That's almost as harsh as the previous one!)
Jonathan needs to be sent to La Paz for an electrocardiogram at an estimated cost of 1,650.00 pesos. (Can't I just do it at the Veteran's Hospital in town?)
What Jonathan needs is some kind of crash course in how to come to grips with what has become of his life. (Best advice so far...)
Jonathan needs to be a man and own up to his own mistakes. (Maybe that's what the crash course would teach me?)
Jonathan needs to learn the definition of a "clean lead."
Jonathan needs to find a pit filled with punji sticks. (And to learn the definition of "punji sticks"...)
Jonathan needs a punch in the face...seriously. (What is it with these people?)
Jonathan needs to be struck down hard because of his actions. (Ouch!)
Jonathan needs some love cuz he's been spurned by an unfeeling Hollywood. (Especially if they're the folks beating the sh*t out of me, punching me in the face, and striking me down hard...)
jonathan needs his beauty sleep. (Amen!)
Thursday, October 06, 2005
[Update: Rebecca MacKinnon summarizes Gore's speech.]
Monday, October 03, 2005
(By the way, I registered for an account--who knows, one of these days I might be brave enough to post a comment there--and was pleasantly surprised to receive my password in the form of an e-mail from the "World Wide Web Owner". Glad to see the ol' owner of the Web is keeping busy sending out passwords to ordinary folks like me...)
Saturday, October 01, 2005
(picture from the Central Weather Bureau website)
[Update, Oct. 5: Longwang passed through quickly and hardly left any rain in the Taichung area. We had classes on Monday, much to my FENM students' dismay. (We had a quiz that day.)]
Friday, September 30, 2005
Not expecting this kind of question, she thought and thought. To help, the interviewer asked again: "What's your favorite fruit? You know, strawberries? Or bananas?"
"Oh yes!" said the interviewee. "I like to eat umbrellas!"
When she told me about this, I laughed and wondered aloud how anyone could say such a thing. My wife said maybe the applicant mixed the words "strawberries" and "bananas" to make "umbrellas". (They sort of sound similar. Sort of.) But I wasn't convinced. "I still don't see how anyone could do such a thing."
So she asked me, in Chinese what my favorite fruit was.
(Little extra credit: what did I mix up to get that result?)
Monday, September 26, 2005
It looks like it will shed some important light on an aspect of I. A. Richards's life that has not been deeply (or widely) discussed--his experiences in China. I don't remember how I first found out that Richards had traveled to China several times, mostly during the Republican era (1911-1949), but that, and mention of him in the preface to Anne Cochran's (the Tunghai FLLD chair in the '50s and '60s, not the singer) Modern Methods of Teaching English As A Foreign Language (a book I briefly mention here), motivated me to take a look at a biography of him by John Paul Russo. Russo discusses Richards's relationship with China in one chapter, and I'll be interested in reading how Koeneke expands on that discussion.
Two things I noticed while skimming the bibliography and index of Koeneke's book, though: 1) he doesn't seem to have used any Chinese-language sources. I wonder, then, if this book will cover more of Richards's perspective toward China than vice-versa. I'll have to see... and 2) a minor quibble--Tseng Yueh-nung (Beauson Tseng), first president of Tunghai, is mentioned (Tseng worked with Richards in China on a Subcommittee on Vocabulary Selection for Middle Schools), but his name is written "Tsing" for some reason. I wonder if that's how Richards wrote his name? (But I remember Tseng mentioned as "Tseng" in Russo's book.) Anyway, as I say, that's a minor criticism. Overall, I'm looking forward to reading this book and adding it to the background for my dissertation.
[Update, 1 Oct. 2005: Having read the first chapter of the book, I need to mention that Koeneke does acknowledge/comment upon his own lack of Chinese and this lack's relationship to his scholarship. He writes,
To a large extent, the decision to reconstruct the dramatic transformations which occurred in China and the West during the years of Richards's Basic enterprise from the evidence of his diaries, letters and published writings reflects the kinds of questions I asked about the way we narate the history of British imperialism. It also reflects my own limitations. British historians of the future will no doubt read a number of languages in addition to English (many already do) as the history of Britain is increasingly folded into that of the empire which for so long gave it its meaning. I read no Chinese, and speak about as much as my subject did. As a consequence, the enormously important story of Chinese reactions to Richards's efforts, as well as to those of the Rockefeller Foundation and other Western institutions in China during the tumultuous years between the Ching Dynasty and Mao's Revolution, can only be hinted at here. ... (17-18)He also mentions that he has purposely "retained Richards's spelling of Chinese names." He says, "In doing so I hoped to convey something of the air of privileged aloofness which Richards enjoyed as an Englishman abroad" (19).
Friday, September 09, 2005
I believe that the DSEi arms fairs are immoral, geopolitically reckless, sometimes illegal (e.g.) and improperly regulated (e.g.). Beyond this, I resent that a publisher which profits from the hard (and publicly funded) work of academics uses those profits to support the sale to undemocratic & repressive governments of such things as depleted uranium shells, cluster bombs, missile technology and small arms. The arms fairs Spearhead organises (yes, DSEi isn't the only one) are a measly amount of Elsevier's business, but it is a part that makes academics complicit in the deaths of civilians, in torture and in political repression around the world.Reed Elsevier's response to his letters basically claimed that arms trade is "legitimate business" and that "it is your democratic right" to disagree with RE's involvement in arms trading (though it won't affect their business).
When teaching Research Methods, I talk a lot about research ethics in terms of using sources properly--accurating citing sources, not taking the source's ideas or arguments out of context, using sources that are reliable, ... But this is sure a new twist on research ethics: what do we do when our school's library subscribes to journals and databases whose publishers are involved in business that many of us would consider immoral? And what should we teach our students about this?
(via Crooked Timber)
Thursday, September 08, 2005
OK, I'm a liar. That picture was from the Chiang Kai-shek Camping Area in Dakeng. Our balcony view actually looks more like this:
Except now we have some creepy vines on the balcony that I pulled off the walls because they were tearing the tiles off the wall of the balcony.
Anyway, that's our first experiment--no air con. It's OK, but it's a litle humid in here.
Second experiment: I was reading Academic Coach today--she has some suggestions regarding writing daily and keeping records of how long you write a day. So I'm going to try that out. Every week I'll report on how much time I spent on my diss. that week. (This will make for exciting reading, I'm sure...)
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
- Earth Wide Moth on "New London Group, 'A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies'" (wonders, among other things, about "the absence of 'rhetoric'" from NLG's discussion--I wonder if it's b/c NLG doesn't seem to have any rhetoricians participating?)
- Pinyin News on "Hakka and Chinese Characters" (Chinese article--mentions the problems of using Chinese characters to express Hakka words and how Taiwan's government's Council for Hakka Affairs is trying to work them out. Remind me some time to record the Hakka I learned last Saturday that I can use the next time my wife's grandmother asks me why we don't have any kids yet...)
OK. Back to the diss. Classes start next Thursday, so...
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Thursday, September 01, 2005
According to one report I heard, Talim evidently split in two when it hit the central mountain range. This weakened it--the rain hasn't been as heavy as predicted, but it is still pretty heavy.
I don't have any pictures yet, but Michael Turton has some pics of his neighborhood that he took when he "went out for newspapers this morning in a driving rain and strong winds" this morning. (Guess he's going for the nutty foreigner award. On the other hand, I heard the garbage truck driving around our neighborhood this morning and we saw a someone on a motorcycle almost get blown over outside our window. So I guess he's in good company!)
After hearing reports that there may be "thousands dead" in New Orleans, it's hard to get too uptight about what's happening here.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Update, 11:23 p.m.: Still windy (getting windier). And have some rain leaking into the apartment--somehow getting in through the air conditioner.
Here's the latest satellite image from the Central Weather Bureau.
Taiwan's down there somewhere...
I heard Mike Chinoy on CNN earlier, saying that Taiwanese are even more serious about this typhoon because of the coverage of Katrina that has been on the news here. Maybe. But I think it's also because this is such a huge typhoon. One news article mentioned that it has winds up to 184 kmh.
The news has announced that businesses and schools will be closed all over the island tomorrow. We'll probably have to prepare for a water shortage too, I imagine. Hopefully it won't be like last year. Time to fill up the bathtub...
Monday, August 29, 2005
In a discussion group on the Youth National Affairs Conference, a panel of National Youth Commission officials and youth representatives shared with international experts how the "deliberative democracy" decision-making process is being implemented locally.
"Deliberative democracy" refers to a fairly direct form of democracy similar to a political debate and decision-making process found in Swiss cantons, and was the theme of the meetings over the weekend, which focused on the "Impact of Deliberative Democracy on Youth of Taiwan."
The meetings included "Citizen Dialogue Circles", which "are group sessions that use study group methodologies to clarify and discuss issues by means of role-playing, active listening and vision building", and "Citizen Consensus Conferences", which
targeted issues related to educational resource allocation, career development for youth and even prenatal medical tests. Another major discussion stream centered on Taiwan's global role - as a globalized economy, as a global nation and as a global civil society.According to the article, last year's conference included discussion of the presidential election.
The process results in reports that might summarize discussion and/or make recommendations to leaders. According to Zeng Jhao-ming of the National Youth Commission,
"In the Taiwanese case, National Youth Commission is responsible for a view of policy rather than having a direct impact on or being responsible for implementation of policy...we are in a position to send out the recommendation or advice made..."The Youth National Affairs Conference website is here (Chinese only). Sunday's session was also attended by international scholars including James Fishkin of Stanford University's Center for Deliberative Democracy.
I haven't thought much about this youth conference or how (or if) deliberative democracy is being implemented in Taiwan. I'll have to come back to this at some point, though.
The Taiwan News has an editorial in today's edition: "Deliberation tools can boost quality of Taiwan democracy." The editorial comments on the potential usefulness of deliberative forums to increase citizen understanding of and participation in national and local issues.
As several analysts noted, deliberative forums or polls can provide an important supplement to both indirect representative institutions and to process of direct democracy, such as national citizen referendum, by providing channels for reasonable and informed discussion of urgent or important issues on a community or even national scale.The editorial goes on to point out that two of the basic prerequisites for successful citizen forums or other forms of public deliberation are the people's (and organizers') willingness to keep their minds open and their willingness to see discussion and deliberation as an end rather than a means:
Methods of deliberative democracy, such as citizen forums, "storytelling" among people of various ethnic and social groups and political views, and deliberative polling should be used to explore such critical questions in an open-ended manner instead of being seen as a means to "solve" a predefined problem.As the editorial points out, however, there is a great deal of "political polarization" in Taiwan--particularly in the Legislature--that would make "a bill that would require citizen discussion of proposed laws and programs" hard to pass. They suggest "an independent institution under the Cabinet or under the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission or its proposed replacement National Development Commission" as an alternative.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
This book is an extensively revised version of Zhu's master's thesis. It's a history of a school that was the first secondary school established for Taiwanese boys during the period of the Japanese occupation (1895-1945). The school was established through the efforts of Taiwanese elites like Lin Xiantang (林獻堂), Lin Lietang (林烈堂), and Gu Xianrong (辜顯榮). Looks like it'll be a good book! (The school is now a senior high school, by the way.)
Friday, August 26, 2005
Oh, and there's some A&W Root Beer too, for fans of that. Ahem.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Here's Badger's blog, by the way.
Update, 8/30/05: News from Academic Coach that Badger's husband has passed away. Also this from Badger herself.
- William J. Starosta, "On Intercultural Rhetoric"
- Mary Garrett and Xiaosui Xiao, "The Rhetorical Situation Revisited"
- Yameng Liu, "Justifying My Position in Your Terms"
Sunday, August 21, 2005
But Sun's book, as she emphasizes, is not "accusatory literature" (控訴文學) or "scar literature" (傷痕文學, also translated as "literature of the wounded"), but rather a book about gratitude. She thanks family members who took her, her mother, and her brothers in when her father was jailed; she thanks a teacher (Mr. Lan) who helped her family, even taking in her brother when her mother had to stay in the hospital for a while; she even thanks a rickshaw driver who took her family from the Xindian bus station to the military prison and refused to accept her mother's money for the trip because of his sympathy for the family's plight. In fact, most of the essays that make up Farewell (many of which have been previously published in various magazines and newspaper literary supplements) are organized around a person or group of people to whom Sun wants to express gratitude for their help during her family's time of need.
Part of the reason for this "literature of gratitude" comes, I'm sure, from Sun's deeply held religious beliefs. As a Christian, Sun wants to demonstrate how God led her family through the difficult circumstances of their lives during their time of suffering. One of the most difficult issues that many Christians (or any believers in a religious faith, I imagine) are asked about or have to face themselves regards why people suffer. While Sun's book is not a theological treatise on the roles of evil and suffering in the world, one gets the impression that she might view suffering as one way through which people can have the opportunity to help one another (and have the opportunity to be helped by others).
You're Babar the King!
by Jean de Brunhoff
Though your life has been filled with struggle and sadness of late, you're personally doing quite well for yourself. All this success brings responsibility, though, and should not be taken lightly. Life has turned from war to peace, from damage to reconstruction, and this brings a bright new hope for everyone you know. These hopeful people look to you for guidance, and your best advice to them is to watch out for snakes. You're quite fond of the name "Celeste".
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Sometimes I feel like one of Chris Farley's characters on Saturday Night Live--the one who would interview movie stars like Bruce Willis and say, "You know that time when you were in Die Hard and you tied the firehose around your waist and jumped off the building?"
"That was cool."
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
You're The Sound and the Fury!
by William Faulkner
Strong-willed but deeply confused, you are trying to come to grips with a major crisis in your life. You can see many different perspectives on the issue, but you're mostly overwhelmed with despair at what you've lost. People often have a hard time understanding you, but they have some vague sense that you must be brilliant anyway. Ultimately, you signify nothing.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I got a "big brown envelope" from my parents (as promised in an e-mail from my father). It contains a letter that my mother typed around a photocopy of a "Doonesbury" comic. (It's the one from July 24, in case you're interested--the one where Mike is daydreaming about Bush apologizing for the Iraq war. Dream on, Mike...) Among other things, my mother mentions that one of my uncles has just turned 65. ("I barely remember being that age!" she exclaims.) She also recounts their pastor's children's sermon, where the pastor
made the mistake of asking them if they'd ever gone swimming in the ocean, and they proceeded to yell out their experiences in the pool, ocean, bathub, whatever, and she couldn't shut them up to give the sermon. Finally said let's bring an end to this, and dismissed them.The brown envelope also contains an obituary for Richard H. Hart, a gentleman from Morgantown (but born in Martinsburg) who "died unexpectedly on July 20, in the Morgantown Public Library, his place of employment for the last 10 years, surrounded by his beloved books." My parents didn't know him, but they understand his feeling about books...
The envelope also contains a copy of the "Journal Junction" (from Martinsburg's newspaper The Journal), where some folks have called in to voice their opinions and The Journal has printed some of 'em. One caller's opinion is notable:
From my observations of the political scene in the past five years, I have concluded that the real difference between the Democratic and the Republican parties is that the Democrats want to improve the lives of the American people from the cradle to the grave and the Republicans want to control the lives of the American people from before the cradle to beyond the grave.Hmmm... I resonate with that... (Well, I should, considering the caller was my mother!)
Wrapping up this inventory, there's a (mighty late) apology letter and baggage tracing/claim form from United (they lost our luggage for close to a week while we were in the States, but it finally got to us). There are two pictures of my mother's four-foot tall (or is it five feet tall?) teddy bear playing the piano, and there's a copy (actually the original) of a treatise I wrote on "animal sex" when I was 6. (There--that last mention will definitely bring some new readers to this site!)
(And no, I'm not going to make a Technorati tag that says "animal sex"!)
Saturday, August 13, 2005
- 走出白色恐怖 (Farewell to the White Terror) by 孫康宜 (Sun Kang-i), a Tunghai graduate (FLLD, 1966) who teaches in the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department at Yale. Her father (a mainlander) was arrested during the White Terror period in Taiwan and jailed as a political prisoner for 10 years. The book was recommended to me by a Tunghai Chinese department professor, Hung Mingshui. I've gotten through the first 40 pages so far.
- 野火集 (Wildfire Collection) by 龍應台 (Long Yingtai). Republished in 2005, this is a 20th anniversary edition that includes her reflections on the essays she wrote and the reactions to those essays. I found out about this book from the post "Unpolitical Political Statements" on the EastSouthWestNorth blog. Interestingly, the first essay in the collection, 〈中國人，你為什麼不生氣〉("Chinese person, why aren't you angry?") is the first Long Yingtai essay that I read--years ago, in a collection of the R.O.C.'s best essays of 1984. At the time I read the essay, though, I had no idea who Long Yingtai was/is. (I don't mention this to show how well-read I am; rather, I think it demonstrates the huge role serendipity plays in my reading habits...)
- LA流浪記 (Roaming about in LA)*, by 蔡康永 (Cai Kangyong). Cai is a writer and a host of several kinds of shows on TV here (including interview shows about literature/the arts, shows about relationships, shows that interview celebrities, and even the recent Golden Horse Awards show). He also happens to be a Tunghai graduate (FLLD, 1985), which I didn't know until I saw this on the Tunghai website. Hmmm... Wonder if he'd be interested in doing an interview about his experiences as an FLLD student?
*I made up the English translation for Cai's book's title... was thinking about Harry Franck's books of the first half of the 20th century, like A Vagabond Journey Around the World (1910), Roaming Through the West Indies (1920) (both of which I have copies of), and Glimpses of Japan and Formosa (1924) (which I'd love to get a copy of sometime...). Anyway, guess I could have translated Cai's book "Vagabonding in LA", too...
Thursday, August 11, 2005
- "Locally-Scaled Rhetorics" ("What changes when we rename/reframe what formerly went by the name 'public rhetoric' as 'locally-scaled rhetorics'?"--from Working Blue)
- "Is Anthropology Global?" (discussion from Savage Minds)
- "Unpolitical Political Statements (Michel Foucault and Long Yingtai--from ESWN)
- "Seediq Bale" (a movie being planned about the Wushe incident--from Keywords)
- "Why Civil Rights Organizations Ignore Interracial Couples" (asks why concerns of interracial couples aren't "taken seriously as a civil rights issue"--from Mixed Media Watch)
- "The base line" (about "anti-illegal immigration activists" in the U.S.--from Orcinus)
- "Chocolate Proletariat" (on class, labor, and race in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory [which we just got back from watching]--from Vitia)
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Whatever its faults, I did archival research that uncovered some important facts, and provided a synthesis and overview of a large, important subject that --surprisingly-- had not been examined before through an interdisciplinary lens. And thanks to my editor at Respectable U Press, I wrote it clearly (with minimal jargon) so that non-academics and academics in disciplines outside of literature could read it without being annoyed.And that wasn't all: then he got a lousy review by someone who evidently didn't read the book very carefully. *sigh* A depressing tale it is...
But Respectable U Press only did a library edition that costs and arm and a leg. While my pals got their feet in at Bigshot Press and had astonishingly beautiful and affordable paperbacks produced, my gentle creation, dressed in quiet blue, marched anonymously into libraries across the nation. He did not get a viewing at the MLA book-fair, and missed several of the other interdisciplinary book fairs where he might have been seen. When he was displayed, he cost too much for anyone to take home with him. He got no posters. He got no cover jacket. He was dressed in gentle blue and he went gently into the good libraries of this nation.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Lawson notes that the dictionary has a lot of censored entries, though many of the blacked-out entries are still readable "because of the slight indentation that the printed characters make on the poor quality paper." Though a lot of the censored entries are blacked out for obvious reasons (they sound pro-Communist or sympathetic to Communist ideas), some seem to be censored just because they appear to "reflect badly on the performance of the Nationalist government in some way." This reminds me of some of the odd things I saw blacked out of English-language encyclopedias from the late 70s that you can (still) find in Tunghai's library. It appeared to be unacceptable, for instance, to suggest that the Nationalists had ever tried to cooperate with the Communists during the war. (Kind of like it's unacceptable to some to suggest the U.S. cooperated with Saddam Hussein a few years ago...?)
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Many popular PHP-based blogging, wiki and content management programs can be exploited through a security hole in the way PHP programs handle XML commands. The flaw allows an attacker to compromise a web server, and is found in programs including PostNuke, WordPress, Drupal, Serendipity, phpAdsNew, phpWiki and phpMyFAQ, among others.(via Michael Jacques)
Image of run-off from the scene of Sunday's fire
(from Yahoo!-Kimo News)
Here are a couple of articles in the English-language newspapers about Sunday's fire at the chemical plant:
- Taichung air safe despite smoke, officials say, from the Taiwan News
"The major reason for the water (from the scene of Sunday's fire) turning yellow was because of the 30 percent of hydrolysis protein found in the chemical fire-fighting foam," the Cabinet-level Environmental Protection Administration explained in a statement released later yesterday.
The statement acknowledged that the concentration of sodium nitrite and nitrate nitrogen in the creek was on the high side but did not exceed levels considered safe.
- Pollution from blaze at 'acceptable levels:' EPA, from the Taipei Times
Yesterday, two filtering systems in nearby rivers were established. Seven trucks collected sludge from the rivers and sent them to sewage plants for treatment. EPA officials said that the yellow color in the rivers is normal because decomposition of nitrate released from the factory had been processed in water.
The pH level of river water also remained at "acceptable levels," the EPA said. Since the river water is not source for drinking water, the public should remain calm, officials added. However, agricultural agencies in charge of irrigation management will be closely monitoring the river in the near future.
- New fire at Taichung plants under control, from the China Post
Sunday, July 03, 2005
[Update, 9:25 p.m.: Now Zhongtian news is reporting that chemicals have leaked into the Fazi River. From what I know, the Fazi is the only major river left in Taichung City that still had fish swimming in it (although I imagine the new "Science Park" they're building in Xitun will take care of that sooner or later). No news yet on how they plan to clean up the river, but the news was showing a lot of a thick foamy substance in it.]
[Update, 7/5/05: 12:10 a.m.: A lot of the fish that I mentioned above are turning up dead now.]
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Aboriginal groups, who account for less than 2% of Taiwan's population, have long complained the mainstream media either neglects or misrepresents them.
They see the new channel as a historic chance for their own voices to be heard, not just in Taiwan but around the world through collaboration with other indigenous television programmes.
The 12 aboriginal tribes in Taiwan, who trace their roots back 6,000 years, have their own traditions and languages, although the new station will mainly broadcast in Mandarin Chinese.