Stephen Roddy teaches in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of San Francisco. Recent publications include a translation (with Wang Ying) of Li Yu’s The Fragrant Companions (Columbia University Press, 2022), and articles on Qing poetry, fiction, and prose.

Johnnie Got His Gun, While Liang Took Up the Plough: Nostalgia in the United States and China, Then and Now

This essay examines the nostalgic pragmatism of the reformer and Confucian philosopher Liang Shuming (1893–1988). Liang’s responses to the social and economic dislocations of the early Republican era, including a series of concrete steps to ameliorate them, are surprisingly relevant to the spiralling cycles of racism and violence afflicting US society in the twenty-first century. His diagnosis of the harms of industrial society and prescription for restoring the moral as well as physical health of rural populations remain valid both for China and for the United States—in particular, with regard to addressing climate change and its attendant psychophysical trauma known as solastalgia.

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