This new volume explores the surprisingly intense and complex relationships between East and West during the Middle Ages and the early modern world, combining a large number of critical studies representing such diverse fields as literary (German, French, Italian, English, Spanish, and Arabic) and other subdisciplines of history, religion, anthropology, and linguistics. The differences between Islam and Christianity erected strong barriers separating two global cultures, but, as this volume indicates, despite many attempts to 'Other' the opposing side, the premodern world experienced an astonishing degree of contacts, meetings, exchanges, and influences. Scientists, travelers, authors, medical researchers, chroniclers, diplomats, and merchants criss-crossed the East and the West, or studied the sources produced by the other culture for many different reasons. As much as the theoretical concept of 'Orientalism' has been useful in sensitizing us to the fundamental tensions and conflicts separating both worlds at least since the eighteenth century, the premodern world did not quite yet operate in such an ideological framework. Even though the Crusades had violently pitted Christians against Muslims, there were countless contacts and a palpitable curiosity on both sides both before, during, and after those religious warfares.
In their earliest encounters with Asia, Europeans almost uniformly characterized the people of China and Japan as white. This was a means of describing their wealth and sophistication, their willingness to trade with the West, and their presumed capacity to become Christianized. But by the end of the seventeenth century the category of whiteness was reserved for Europeans only. When and how did Asians become "yellow" in the Western imagination? Looking at the history of racial thinking, Becoming Yellow explores the notion of yellowness and shows that this label originated not in early travel texts or objective descriptions, but in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scientific discourses on race. From the walls of an ancient Egyptian tomb, which depicted people of varying skin tones including yellow, to the phrase "yellow peril" at the beginning of the twentieth century in Europe and America, Michael Keevak follows the development of perceptions about race and human difference. He indicates that the conceptual relationship between East Asians and yellow skin did not begin in Chinese culture or Western readings of East Asian cultural symbols, but in anthropological and medical records that described variations in skin color. Eighteenth-century taxonomers such as Carl Linnaeus, as well as Victorian scientists and early anthropologists, assigned colors to all racial groups, and once East Asians were lumped with members of the Mongolian race, they began to be considered yellow. Demonstrating how a racial distinction took root in Europe and traveled internationally, Becoming Yellow weaves together multiple narratives to tell the complex history of a problematic term.
What drives a person to take his or her own life? Why would an individual be willing to strap a bomb to himself and walk into a crowded marketplace, blowing himself up at the same time as he kills and maims the people around him? Does suicide or ‘voluntary death’ have the same meaning today as it had in earlier centuries, and does it have the same significance in China, India and the Middle East as it has in the West? How should we understand this distressing, often puzzling phenomenon and how can we explain its patterns and variations over time? In this wide-ranging comparative study, Barbagli examines suicide as a socio-cultural, religious and political phenomenon, exploring the reasons that underlie it and the meanings it has acquired in different cultures throughout the world. Drawing on a vast body of research carried out by historians, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists and psychologists, Barbagli shows that a satisfactory theory of suicide cannot limit itself to considering the two causes that were highlighted by the great French sociologist Émile Durkheim – namely, social integration and regulation. Barbagli proposes a new account of suicide that links the motives for and significance attributed to individual actions with the people for whom and against whom individuals take their lives. This new study of suicide sheds fresh light on the cultural differences between East and West and greatly increases our understanding of an often-misunderstood act. It will be the definitive history of suicide for many years to come.
Non-reproductive sex practices in Asia have historically been a source of fascination, prurient or otherwise, for Westerners, who being either Catholic or Protestant, were often struck by what they perceived as the widespread promiscuity and licentiousness of native inhabitants. Graphic descriptions, and pious denunciations, of sodomy, bestiality, transvestitism, and incest, abound in Western travel narratives, missionary accounts, and ethnographies. But what constituted indigenous sexual morality, and how was this influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, and Christianity over time and place? What sex practices were tolerated or even encouraged by society, community, and religious ritual, and what acts were considered undesirable, transgressive and worthy of punishment? Sexual Diversity in Asia, c. 600-1950 is the first book to foreground same- sex acts and pleasure seeking in the histories of India, China, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. Drawing on a range of indigenous and foreign sources, the contributors, all renowned experts in their fields, shed light on indigenous notions of gender and the body, social hierarchies, fundamental ideas concerning morality and immorality, and episodes of seduction. The book illuminates - in striking case studies – attitudes toward non-procreative sex acts, and representations and experiences of same-sex pleasure seeking in the histories of Asia. This path-breaking book is an important contribution to the study of gender and sexuality in Asian cultures and will also interest students and scholars of world history.
Great travel classic offers a vivid portrait of 17th-century life at the court of the Shah: social customs, geography, soil and climate, trade, flora and fauna, and much more.
This book is a biographical and illustrated account of the life of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a French national who traveled extensively for almost forty years of his life—travels that took him to most of the European countries, to the Ottoman Empire, to Persia, to Southeast Asia, and to India. This writer cannot think of any other personality, at any time in history, who wandered around for so long and for so far. Tavernier has a number of achievements to his credit—achievements of having written extensively on the areas he traveled, the people he met, and the diverse activities he pursued. His memoirs became a blockbuster in the seventeenth century, outshining any other publication of the time—even of those who were known to be heavy with ideas.
Wealth of material on rings: the poison-bearing rings of the Borgias, Solomon’s ring, religious uses, healing, methods of ring making. 290 illus.
Twenty-five years ago, Edward Said's Orientalism spawned a generation of scholarship on the denigrating and dangerous mirage of "the East" in the Western colonial mind. But "the West" is the more dangerous mirage of our own time, Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit argue, and the idea of "the West" in the minds of its self-proclaimed enemies remains largely unexamined and woefully misunderstood. Occidentalism is their groundbreaking investigation of the demonizing fantasies and stereotypes about the Western world that fuel such hatred in the hearts of others. We generally understand "radical Islam" as a purely Islamic phenomenon, but Buruma and Margalit show that while the Islamic part of radical Islam certainly is, the radical part owes a primary debt of inheritance to the West. Whatever else they are, al Qaeda and its ilk are revolutionary anti-Western political movements, and Buruma and Margalit show us that the bogeyman of the West who stalks their thinking is the same one who has haunted the thoughts of many other revolutionary groups, going back to the early nineteenth century. In this genealogy of the components of the anti-Western worldview, the same oppositions appear again and again: the heroic revolutionary versus the timid, soft bourgeois; the rootless, deracinated cosmopolitan living in the Western city, cut off from the roots of a spiritually healthy society; the sterile Western mind, all reason and no soul; the machine society, controlled from the center by a cabal of insiders—often Jews—pulling the hidden levers of power versus an organically knit-together one, a society of "blood and soil." The anti-Western virus has found a ready host in the Islamic world for a number of legitimate reasons, they argue, but in no way does that make it an exclusively Islamic matter. A work of extraordinary range and erudition, Occidentalism will permanently enlarge our collective frame of vision
A North Caucasian ethnic group that has been largely obscured in world history as a result of their expulsion from their homeland by Tsarist Russia in the 1860s, Circassians now comprise significant communities not only in the Northwest Caucasus but also in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Europe and the US. The Circassian Diaspora investigates how a community of impoverished migrants has evolved into a well-connected and politically active diaspora. This book explores the prominent role Circassians played during the Turco-Greek War or the "Turkish National Liberation War of 1919-1922," and examines the changing nature of Circassians’ relations with the Turkish and Russian states, as well as the new actors of Caucasian politics such as the US, the EU, and Georgia. Suggesting that the Circassian case should be studied alongside those of the Jews, Armenians and other diasporas whose formation is fundamentally tied up to a violent detachment from their homeland, and arguing that Circassian diaspora politics is not a post-Soviet phenomenon but has a history dating back to early 20th Century, this book will be of interest to scholars and researchers of Diaspora Studies, History, and Politics.
This translation of the French Femme au dix-huitiéme siécle from 1862, first published in English in 1928, traces the life of the Eighteenth Century woman in an historical account. Through discussion of evidence from paintings and memoirs, the book draws an intimate lifelike account of what lay behind these images for women in France of this time. The Goncourt brothers wrote several social histories but were also art critics and novelists. Here they offer portraits of upper, middle and working class women in France. This is one of the earliest accounts of life for women in this period.
User's Guide Nutritional Supplements is a Basic Health Books publication.
In 1839, Muslims attacked the Jews of Meshhed, murdering 36 of them, and forcing the conversion of the rest. While some managed to escape across the Afghan border, and some turned into true believing Muslims, the majority adopted Islam only outwardly, while secretly adhering to their Jewish faith. Jadid al-Islam is the fascinating story of how this community managed to survive, at the risk of their lives, as crypto-Jews in an inimical Shi'i Muslim environment. Based on unpublished original Persian sources and interviews with members of the existing Meshhed community in Jerusalem and New York, this study documents the history, traditions, tales, customs, and institutions of the Jadid al-Islam—"New Muslims."