; CHINA IS NOT A FOREIGN COUNTRY: THE PROMISES AND PERILS OF CROSS-CULTURAL COMPARISON
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CHINA IS NOT A FOREIGN COUNTRY: THE PROMISES AND PERILS OF CROSS-CULTURAL COMPARISON

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Just as comparative anatomy gave us Darwin's concept of evolution and comparative linguistics Chomsky's generative grammar, so the comparative study of literature, philosophy, or popular culture might well be expected to generate the kind of paradigm-shifting knowledge and theory that could lift us beyond outmoded parochialisms. For surely an honest, open attempt to come to terms with a "foreign culture" requires belief as well, a leap sustained by the faith that on the other side of the divide we will find not absence and mystery and absolute foreignness, but rather a fresh improvisation on a faintly familiar theme, conveying all the richness and variety and fullness of human life played out in an unfamiliar key.

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