Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fun tool applied to Chinese Environment

B-wo at unfogged a fun tool. Amaznode allows you to search the amazon database by keyword and then gives you a network of books linked together by the measure "users who bought this book also bought." Searching for China and Environmentquickly brings up three books we have been working with a lot in preparing our course: Judith Shapiro, Mao's War Against Nature; Vaclav Smil, China's Past, China's Future; and Elizabeth Economy, The River Runs Black. As the cart evolves though, these books turn out to be bridges between three clusters: one on energy and business issues focussed on China Shifts Gears; one one cultural history, focussed on China Marches West: the Qing Conquest of Central Asia; and one on ancient military history, focussed on Ancient China and its Enemies.

Floating free of these clusters are a cluster about Discovering Nature: Globalization and Environmental Culture in China and Taiwan, which I just got out of the library an hour ago, and a cluster about Tigers, Rice, Silk and Silt. The latter cluster includes a lot of Foucault and Gramsci, along with Said's Orientalism, so it may contain just the book I've been looking for that does Orientalism in a specifically Chinese context. [Update: No luck, Said and Orientalism aren't in the index. It does look like a good environmental history, though. This also looks nice.]

[Interesting self reflective note: I didn't feel I understood the chart I had generated until I wrote the little narrative above about it.]

Later: Gapminder as applied to China.


Anonymous said...

Good list of books. There's another fun tool on the Chinese environment -- it's a fully bilingual website called that we set up last year to promote discussion across the language barrier on environmental issues. you can post comments in one language and they will be translated into the other.. and lots of environment related stories..
Isabel Hilton

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

Thanks. I've actually already linked to your page in the sidebar, and will probably be asking students to monitor it during the next semester.