Download Dear Colleague: Common and Uncommon Observations by Yi-Fu Tuan PDF

By Yi-Fu Tuan

"Maybe the main influential pupil you may have by no means heard of" was once how a function article within the Chronicle of upper schooling lately defined Yi-Fu Tuan, a commonly traveled Chinese-American geographer whose letters to his buddies and co-workers, distilling observations, principles, and reviews, have carried Tuan's insights, and his recognition, some distance past his selected box. Culling the main attribute options and compelling moments from those prized letters, expensive Colleague in the end provides readers close to and much the chance to proportion what Tuan's correspondents have already experienced-and to find the pleasures of the underlined passages in a e-book of existence without delay edifying, pleasing, and exemplary. Reflecting on own encounters and impersonal forces, Tuan conducts us alongside a course that leads from nature to human nature, via society and tradition, geography and heritage, morality and faith, existence and demise. via turns playful and aphoristic, those letters carry revelations either funny and harrowing. even if browsed for his or her significant incidental pleasures or perused intensive from starting to finish, they manage to pay for their reader the infrequent inside wisdom of one other individual and his international, and a fair rarer glimpse of the connections among sensation and mind that lie on the very middle of the humanistic firm. presenting the insights of a popular pupil, revealing the tensions-and contradictions-that exist among existence and suggestion, remarking on rules from different thinkers, and increasing on perennial concerns of morality and which means, faith and formality, excitement and soreness, expensive Colleague maps Tuan's personal humanity in a lucid, dependent, and remarkable method. Yi-Fu Tuan is professor emeritus within the division of Geography on the collage of Wisconsin. he's largely thought of the founding father of human geography, and is the writer of many books together with Cosmos and fireplace (1996) and house and position (new version, 2001), released by means of the collage of Minnesota Press. he's additionally the writer of books on desolate tract landforms, China, the background of rules, and an autobiography, Who Am I? (1999).

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Before the overwhelming splendor of the universe, we can only be lost in admiration. Հ Chinese ethnocentrism is well known, but not Chinese racism, a much uglier picture (see Frank Dikötter’s, The Discourse on Race in Modern China). The two “isms”—the one focusing on culture, the other on physical characteristics—frequently merged in the thought of Chinese officials and intellectuals in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Ethnocentrism meant that the Han Chinese tended to view the non-Han as barbarians, culturally backward and uncouth, but since the words (or characters) used for them commonly bore an animal radical—that of sheep, pig, or snake—the implication was that the barbarians were not just culturally backward but exhibited physical traits that made them not fully human.

The yearning for something fixed—identity—is incompatible with this dynamism. Predictably, in our postmodernist times, both European Enlightenment and Christianity are in bad odor. Հ Alberto Manguel’s A History of Reading is about all aspects of reading, including what he calls heroic reading—reading against adverse circumstance. The greatest example of heroic reading, Manguel says, is slaves in the American South: they read despite the threat of physical punishment. My first thought is, How tragically ironic, for the descendants of these heroic readers have lost their passion for reading, to the degree that universities have to seek them out and plead with them to come.

I think the problem lies in the fact that contemporary American society recognizes—although it has never publicly acknowledged—a hierarchy among the different achievements, with “family relations” and “worship and celebration” at the bottom, and “structure and organization” and “creativity and invention” at the top. What is the basis of this ranking? I believe it is the degree that the mind (or intelligence) has to be exercised. ” Brainpower is not a prerequisite. As for “worship and celebration,” well, they’re distinctly human, but somehow there is the feeling that, in these activities, emotion rather than intelligence is more deeply engaged.

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