Archive for the Quotes Category

Quote of the Day, by Inga Clendinnen

Posted in Quotes on February 13, 2011 by salul

It might be true that humans are impervious to reason and compassion, and are therefore unredeemable. If they are, history is indeed “bunk”, because its intrinsic purpose is to increase the role of reason and compassion in this world.

“The History Question: Who Owns the Past?”, Quarterly Essay, No. 23, pg. 37.

(Note, full access to the text in that link is by paid subscription only)

Clendinnen is definitely one of my favourites: an Aussie historian who decided she could displace herself from her regional environment and ended up writing brilliant, innovative stuff on both Mayan AND Australian historical episodes of culture contact.

Cita del mes, junio 2010

Posted in Quotes on June 14, 2010 by salul

Cortesia de Mauricio Tenorio Trillo, en el Nexos de junio 2010:

O está aquí, nada más que ensordecida, o surgirá, espero, la generación de creadores, estudiosos, intelectuales y científicos que hagan lo que ni mi generación ni las anteriores pudieron hacer: mudarnos el rostro ante el mundo.

Acaso ya andan por ahí, con marca made in Mexico, los grandes músicos, los modestos pero sólidos profesores en México y en el extranjero, uno que otro poeta que no peina Barcelona en busca de agente literario o un historiador mexicano que estudia la India. Sin esta sólida base, no habrá otra cara mexicana ante el mundo. Por lo pronto somos una caballada flaca, buena para carreras locales y para vender lo que los mercados culturales internacionales demandan de México y poco más.

No me canso de decirlo, debe reinventarse del todo la política educativa y la de promoción de investigación y creación en México. No basta llenar las embajadas de “creadores nacionales” que rezan a su santo y, a menudo, con copal, nopales y angustia latinoamericanista, que es lo que pide el agente literario.

Sobre todo, habría que ceder la acera a mexicanos que no hablan sólo de México.

Quote of the Day, by Perry Anderson

Posted in China, Quotes on April 11, 2010 by salul
Enthusiasm, however well-meaning, is no substitute for discrimination. Chinese antiquity stretches back to 1500 BCE or beyond. But this no more makes today’s People’s Republic a special genus of ‘civilisation-state’ than comparable claims for la civilisation française make one of the Third or Fourth Republic.

Talk of ‘civilisations’ is notoriously self-serving, and delimitations of them arbitrary: Samuel Huntington arrived, rather desperately, at eight or nine – including an African, Latin American and Eastern Orthodox civilisation.

Nothing is gained by affixing this embellishment to the PRC. Like France in the 1930s or 1950s, contemporary China is an integrist nation-state, cast in an imperial mould, if with a much longer past and on a much larger scale. Nor are inflated claims for the age-old economic centrality or social wisdom of pre-modern China much help in understanding the present or future of the country.


Nor are idyllic images of sage concern for the welfare of the masses much closer to the realities of rule by successive dynasties, which in the words of one of China’s finest historians, He Bingdi, were always ‘ornamentally Confucian and functionally Legalist’ – repression wrapped in moralising rhetoric.

London Review of Books Vol. 32 No. 2 · 28 January 2010