Posted to H-Asia, more on the print exhibition that “caused” a controversy. The terrifying thing is that university bent to this coordinated hate campaign. These people have flexed their muscles, and felt their power. What will “offend” them next?


May 1, 2006

Controversy over Japanese Block prints of Sino-Japanese war; MIT Courseware “Visualizing Culture” withdrawn after protests by Chinese students and others.

From: Frank Conlon

Todays _Inside Higher Ed_ e-journal brings news of a controversy at MIT involving an online courseware “Visualizing Cultures” by John W. Dower and Shigeru Miyagawa:

This was part of an MIT initiative, several years in development, which shared course materials freely.

Late last month a coordinated e-mail campaign attacked the Dower-Miyagawa materials for inclusion of wood block prints of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95. The captions clearly indicated critically the derision of the Chinese and arrogant representation of the ‘old Asia’ (China” and the ‘new Asia’ (Japan.) One set of blocks, “Illustration of the Deapitation of Violent Chinese Soldiers” was circulated (without the captions) on the internet, leading to protests, particularly from a group of MIT graduate students, mostly from the People’s Republic of China the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, complaining of the ‘hurtful’ nature of these illustrations which they characterized as graphic and racist. Dower and Miyagawa decided to take down the unit and work on a solution–one suggestion being multi-language captions.

The CSSA official letter was measured and open to seeking solutions, but the matter has stirred considerably controversy involving academic freedom, cultural ensitivities, the global reach of the internet, what some call ‘political correctness’ and the general malaise that fills so much of our present days.

Frank F. Conlon
Professor Emeritus
University of Washington
Co-editor, H-ASIA