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June 7th, 2018

Book History Thoughts

By way of a listserv thread that devolved from a CFP on ancient texts and into grumps about the field's current trend towards globalized contexts.

The core of the problem is that the field hasn't really evolved for decades because it was where all the white boys went to hide when the rest of us were talking about gender, race, class, colonialism, etc. It's telling that there's actually a deal of BH work on these topics that ISN'T published in BH journals because -ism cooties.

And so here we are in 2018, and like, last year TPTB decided to acknowledge that China was a place and women exist and so on. (Not Africa, though. Like the edges of the discourse are willing to go to India and Nepal but not Africa. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Sigh.)

(Also if I could go back in time I'd tell bb!me to go learn Chinese or Korean so I could do translations and read all kinds of neat things I...totally can't right now. Like, did you know that China had a flourish queer literature in the 18th c.? Me neither!! Want to read more? We can't. Because no one has bothered to actually do translations and publish them.)

But anyway so the field is stuck in this retro mire and needs to be dragged into the 21st century, which is really exciting, but the backlash is SO a thing. But bit by bit it shall change...

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