Timothy Brook works on the social and cultural history of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the Japanese occupation of China during World War Two, and historical perspectives on world history and human rights. A new book, tentatively entitled Sailing to China, will appear in the spring. It explores the Selden map, a Chinese map of the 17th century recently rediscovered in Oxford. Other current projects include cultural life in the Shanghai region in the early 17th century, and a price history of the Ming dynasty.
Explores the history of China between the Mongol reunification of China in 1279 under the Yuan dynasty and the Manchu invasion four centuries later, explaining how climate changes profoundly affected the empire during this period.
In one painting, a Dutch military officer leans toward a laughing girl. In another, a woman at a window weighs pieces of silver. In a third, fruit spills from a porcelain bowl onto a Turkish carpet. The officer’s dashing hat is made of beaver fur, which European explorers got from Native Americans in exchange for weapons. Beaver pelts, in turn, financed the voyages of sailors seeking new routes to China. There - with silver mined in Peru -...
The Beijing Massacre was a watershed in the history of modern China. In the early hours of June 4, 1989, the People’s Liberation Army forced its way into the center of Beijing. Its objective was to take control of Tiananmen Square, headquarters of the fledgling Democracy Movement, at all costs. Even the Chinese leaders may not have realized that the Army would carry out a massacre that would shred the legitimacy of the government in the eyes...
What a rogues’ gallery of atrociousness we find ourselves in. These characters are as familiar to us as evil storybook characters, yet as foreign to contemporary business standards as Genghis Khan. Their loyalty to their companies was exceeded only by their hubris, avarice and contempt for the welfare of others on a scale that is truly breathtaking.
We are drawn to Vermeer’s paintings as mundane enigmas. They appear to capture moments of banal domestic life utterly removed from the pressures of the wider world: a woman reading a letter by a window, a couple flirting at a table, a maid pouring a jug of milk, a young girl wearing a pearl earring. The apparently effortless, parochial qualities of Vermeer’s paintings seduce and frustrate. How are we to interpret them, beyond simply admiring the Delft Master’s style and technique?
Chinese pulp fiction written the year after Tiananmen. The story is too far-fetched to be true, perhaps, but the anxiety on which it plays is real. BBC journalist uses the novel in the final chapter of his exhaustive account of China since 1989 to talk about what many Chinese dread most – the death of . The architect of China’s unique combination of reform and repression, Deng is now in his early nineties.
BY FOR the first time since June 4, 1989, China is back in the public eye. The Beijing massacre in Tiananmen Square doused the goodwill of most Canadians and we turned our eyes elsewhere. But when China tossed MPs Beryl Gaffney, Svend Robinson and Geoff Scott out of the country last month, it stirred Canadians into thinking again about what the Chinese government has done, and how we should respond.
New Ghosts, Old Dreams captures the desperation of Chinese writers and intellectuals who find themselves trapped on the wrong side of myth. To writer Wang Luxiang, the Great Wall is no longer evidence of China’s strength, which is how the Communist government pictures it, but "a symbol of confinement, conservatism, impotent defence, and timidity." Songwriter Hou Dejian mourns that it has been his fate to grow up "under the claws of the dragon." Artist Zhang Hongtu can do nothing with the official portrait of Mao Zedong but cut it up for cartoons. And literary critic Liu Xiaobo regards the aura of spirituality in which Chinese culture often robes itself as nothing but a crutch for the senile.
The waiting room of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) offices is a long hall overlooking Front St. Twice a day, applicants for refugee status disappear into the labyrinth of hearing rooms to explain why they deserve to be recognized as political refugees and allowed to stay in Canada.