Image Studies

Image Studies

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KEYWORDS: Discourse / Dunhuang star map


DISCOURSE 
is a term with no single stable definition. It is used differently by different theorists and in a variety of disciplines, with many tracing back to French philosopher and historian of ideas Michel Foucault (1926 – 1984) who is often seen as the founder of discourse theory. At its simplest, discourse is a written or spoken communication or debate. More specifically, it is a connected series of utterances or texts that can be analysed: discourse is not an object in itself, but rather a set of relationships existing between discursive events. Importantly, discourse analysis is not only a study of traditional texts, but uses images (and other visual objects) as texts that interact and interplay.

DUNHUANG STAR MAP is one of the first known graphical representations of stars from ancient Chinese astronomy, dated to the Tang Dynasty (618–907). The astronomy behind the map is explained in an educational resource posted on the website of the International Dunhuang Project, where much of the research on the map has been done. The Dunhuang Star map is to date the world’s oldest complete preserved star atlas.

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