The West has never understood China. Since Marco Polo, it has shrouded China in Orientalism and otherizing mystique. Centuries of the Chinese Empire ended with the overthrow of the Qing; civil wars erupted; the Japanese invaded; and a communist state rose from the ashes. America, threatened with the near-continental communist blocs of the People’s Republic and the Soviet Union, grew increasingly anxious about its status as the leader of the free world and fanned the flames of McCarthyist paranoia.
Seventy years later, a strong stance toward China still seems to be one of the few positions that crosses the partisan divide. Democrats and Republicans agree, for example, that Chinese companies have short-circuited the traditional route to economic development by aggressively stealing innovation from US corporations and research institutions.
Continue reading “America, keep your China witch hunt out of academia”
AS AN INTERNATIONAL student from Korea, I had an extremely uncanny experience watching Bong Joon-ho’s award winning film Parasite (2019). Set in Seoul, South Korea, the film begins by depicting the daily struggles of the Kims, a low-income family that lives in basement apartments. Ki-woo, the college-aged son of the family, lands the opportunity to tutor a student from the affluent Park family. One by one, all of the Kims find cunning ways to get employed by the Parks and test the limits of how much the rich family can be exploited. Built-up tension and pressure to keep the fraud hidden culminate in an ending that captures the quintessence of class warfare.
Continue reading “Parasite, or The Cozy Relationship Between the West and Korean Elites”
DERISIVELY KNOWN as “Bushmen,” the San people of South Africa suffered the fate of many other hunter-gatherer communities. First threatened by African farmers with a more settled way of life, San society was dealt its mortal blow by the entry of Europeans. Following their arrival in Cape Town in 1652, the Dutch treated the indigenous people of South Africa as vermin—massacring the San in the thousands and cowing them into submission. Little evidence was left of their culture, though the cave art that adorns rocks across Southern Africa gives us a momentary glance into their worldview.
Continue reading “How Climate Change Will Change Us”
IN AMERICAN politics, Bernie is something of an anomaly: a socialist above the age of thirty. In other parts of the world, politicians like Bernie fall closer to the political center—and, in a few notable cases, surprisingly far from the political center. So we asked the Sphere’s international writers (and Jacob Kuppermann) to answer the question, “Where would Bernie fall on the political spectrum of [Country X]?”
These are their responses.
Continue reading “As the World Berns: Six International Perspectives on Bernie”
This past week, another thousand Hondurans gathered and departed from bus stations in San Pedro Sula, journeying northwest towards Mexico and, ultimately, the US. Hundreds did not wish for sunrise to begin their mammoth voyage, so left on foot in the rain in the dark.
Continue reading “Human Rights Aren’t Universal – Not the Way We’re Doing Them”