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Neil McArthur

Great post. When I was a grad student people used frequently to tell me I should make sure I was reading historical texts with our contemporary interests in mind. I always wondered what they would say if I told them I wanted to visit Laos, for instance. Would they say: "Well okay, but make sure you don't just learn about the Laotians on their own terms. Always keep your own interests and concerns in mind!" It seems like a cliche that one of the purposes of traveling, reading and talking to people is that you learn to question what you think is normal or important or valuable. And surely if you were to say to someone undertaking a degree in East Asian Studies to make sure they were going to apply everything they learned to their own interests and concerns, they would be justifiably offended.

Eric Schliesser

Neil, we agree on the substance. I don't like the travel metaphor very much; too many tourists don't engage genuinely with the peoples they visit.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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