The recent issue of The Medieval History Journal on “The Literary Subversive: Writings of Resistance in East Asian History,” edited by EALCS Professor Dominic Steavu, has just been published. This is the first time the flagship journal devoted an entire issue to East Asia. Collectively, the volume’s authors probe the roles of intellectuals in social and political resistance to hegemonic ideologies.
Challenging western theories of the role of intellectuals, the essays in the volume offer a range of East Asian perspectives. In addition to Professor Steavu’s visionary introductory essay on “The Literary Subversive: Writings of Resistance in East Asian History” and another article on “Cosmogony and the Origin of Inequality: A Utopian Perspective from Taoist Sources,” EALCS Professor Fabio Rambelli contributed, “The Vicissitudes of the Mahāsammata in East Asia: The Buddhist Origin Myth of Kingship and Traces of a Republican Imagination.” Other contributions include James A. Benn’s on “Self-immolation, Resistance and Millenarianism in Medieval Chinese Buddhism,” Gil Raz’s “‘Conversion of the Barbarians’ Discourse as Proto Han Nationalism,” Ari Daniel Levine’s “Stages of Decline: Cultural Memory, Urban Nostalgia and Political Indignation as Imaginaries of Resistance in Yue Ke’s Pillar Histories,” and Grégoire Espesset’s “Local Resistance in Early Medieval Chinese Historiography and the Problem of Religious Overinterpretation.”