Rural electrification and population control have as much to do with technology as they do with politics. This leads to the question of whether technological or political change was more revolutionary in the Chinese countryside since 1949? Which type of change had a more lasting impact? Official class status labels are gone, but the lights are still on. Of course, technology and politics are intertwined and cannot be examined in isolation from one another, but scholars have tended to overemphasize politics (阶级斗争、政治运动、阶级成份) while overlooking other forms of transformation that brought fundamental changes to the countryside. I suspect that this is because the Chinese Communist Party’s own emphasis on politics has been so prominent, especially during the Mao years. Yet every noisy political treatise was matched by quietly distributed manuals about how to operate machines or apply pesticides. Eagerly reading materials about political campaigns while ignoring dry technical manuals leads to an unbalanced view of what was so revolutionary about the Chinese revolution in the countryside. It reveals more about the scholar than it does about the society he or she is studying.
After grappling with such methodological dilemmas of finding interviewees, building trust, and recording or transcribing conversations, scholars of PRC history face different challenges as they shift from field research to the writing stage: how to present oral testimonies on the written page, and how to integrate oral history with textual sources. Drawing on the author's experience conducting more than one hundred interviews about the rural-urban divide, the aftermath of accidents, and the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, this paper offers practical advice about:- When to name names and when to protect anonymity;- How to track down interview subjects mentioned in written sources;- How to balance the scholarly impulse to frame and condense oral testimonies with the benefits of letting interviewees speak for themselves;- Which types of written sources most fruitfully complement oral histories. In addition to discussing the author's own discoveries and mistakes, the paper also highlights the contributions and shortcomings of other recent works that draw on oral testimonies.
We are Learning Turkish (Türkçe Öğreniyoruz), a complete course in Turkish, comprises four volumes. Each volume has 10 chapters that aim to help students understand, write, read and speak the Turkish language through a step by step approach.
Chroniclers of Egyptian archaeology have questioned the "scientific" pretensions of native Egyptologists to a far greater degree than they have questioned such pretensions among their European forbears, the purported pioneers of "scientific" Egyptology. Such a focus upon Egyptian nationalists' appropriation of Egyptology as a symbolic means by which to bolster political agendas, although warranted, has tended to harden, in the absence of comparable questioning of European appropriations, the predominant view of "selfish" Egyptians "fiddling" with the "scientific" findings of "impartial" European Egyptologists. Yet, images of the ancient Egyptians were eminently flexible means to distinctly functional, political ends in the hands of purportedly "scientific" Egyptologists.
The English Church Missionary Society (CMS) dispatched a contingent of missionaries to Egypt in 1825. This article analyses the methods and impact of that contingent. The schools that the CMS missionaries introduced are cast not as vehicles of enlightenment — as is frequently the case in mission historiography — but as technologies of power. Specifically, the article recounts how the head of the mission, the Reverend John Lieder, deployed Lancaster schools among the Coptic Christians of Cairo to effect not merely a spiritual, but further, a cultural conversion of this Orthodox community. Lieder, his predecessors, and his contemporaries in the Mediterranean field sought to instil in the Copts the “evangelical ethos” of industry, discipline, and order. The article links this CMS project of cultural conversion to the process of state-building in Egypt. Indeed, Lieder was a pioneer purveyor of technologies of power that would prove indispensable to late-nineteenth-century elites in their efforts to produce, in the subaltern strata of Egyptian society, industrious and disciplined political subjects resigned to their lowly positions in the Egyptian social order.