Access your Project MUSE content using one of the login options below Close(X)
Browse Results For:
The Yellow River has long been viewed as a symbol of China's cultural and political development, its management traditionally held as a gauge of dynastic power. For centuries, the country's early rulers employed a defensive approach to the river by building dikes and diversion channels to protect fields and population centers from flooding. This situation changed dramatically after the Yuan (1260-1368) emperors constructed the Grand Canal, which linked the North China Plain and the capital at Beijing with the Yangtze Valley. One of the most ambitious imperial undertakings of any age, by the turn of the nineteenth century the water system had become a complex network of locks, spillways, and dikes stretching eight hundred kilometers from the mountains in western Henan to the Yellow Sea. Controlling the Dragon examines Yellow River engineering from two perspectives. The first looks at long-term efforts to manage the river starting in the early Ming dynasty, at the nature of the bureaucracy created to do the job, and finally focuses on two of the Confucian engineers who served successfully in the decade before the system was abandoned. In the second section, the author chronicles a series of dramatic floods in the 1840s and explores the way politics, environment, and technology interacted to undermine the state's commitment to the Yellow River control system.
Introducing radical counter-visions of race and slavery, and probing the legal and philosophical questions raised by indenture, The Coolie Speaks offers the first critical reading of a massive testimony case from Cuba in 1874. From this case, Yun traces the emergence of a "coolie narrative" that forms a counterpart to the "slave narrative." The written and oral testimonies of nearly 3,000 Chinese laborers in Cuba, who toiled alongside African slaves, offer a rare glimpse into the nature of bondage and the tortuous transition to freedom. Trapped in one of the last standing systems of slavery in the Americas, the Chinese described their hopes and struggles, and their unrelenting quest for freedom.
Yun argues that the testimonies from this case suggest radical critiques of the "contract" institution, the basis for free modern society. The example of Cuba, she suggests, constitutes the early experiment and forerunner of new contract slavery, in which the contract itself, taken to its extreme, was wielded as a most potent form of enslavement and complicity. Yun further considers the communal biography of a next-generation Afro-Chinese Cuban author and raises timely theoretical questions regarding race, diaspora, transnationalism, and globalization.
By the end of the nineteenth century, after a long period during which the weakness of China became ever more obvious, intellectuals began to go abroad for new ideas. What emerged was a musical genre that Liu Ching-chih terms "New Music." With no direct ties to traditional Chinese music, New Music reflects the compositional techniques and musical idioms of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early twentieth–century European styles. Liu traces the genesis and development of New Music throughout the twentieth century, deftly examining the cultural, social, and political forces that shaped New Music and its uses by politicians and the government.
In a demonstration of the value of interdisciplinary, culture-based approaches, this collection of essays on "later" Chinese Buddhism takes us beyond the bedrock subjects of traditional Buddhist historiography--scriptures and commentaries, sectarian developments, lives of notable monks--to examine a wide range of extracanonical materials that illuminate cultural manifestations of Buddhism from the Song dynasty (960-1279) through the modern period. Straying from well-trodden paths, the authors often transgress the boundaries of their own disciplines: historians address architecture; art historians look to politics; a specialist in literature treats poetry that offers gendered insights into Buddhist lives. The broad-based cultural orientation of this volume is predicated on the recognition that art and religion are not closed systems requiring only minimal cross-indexing with other social or aesthetic phenomena but constituent elements in interlocking networks of practice and belief.
The Perspective of Global Modernity
The essays in this volume grew from a series of talks delivered in late 2010 as the Liang Qichao Memorial Lectures at the Academy of National Learning (Guoxue yuan) of Tsinghua University, Beijing. Offering critical perspectives on a number of ideological issues that have figured prominently in Chinese intellectual discourse since the beginning of the so-called “reform and opening” (gaige kaifang) in the late 1970s, these essays range widely in subject matter, from Marxist historiography to sociology and anthropology in China to guoxue/national studies. Together they are conceived as different windows into a basic problem: the deployment of culture and history in postrevolutionary Chinese thought. Dirlik touches on a number of themes, including the repudiation of the revolutionary past after 1978, which has led to a rise of cultural nationalism. He further places these developments within a global context, ultimately making a case methodologically for “worlding” China: bringing China into the world, and the world into China.
The subject of sex was central to early Chinese thought. Discussed openly and seriously as a fundamental topic of human speculation, it was an important source of imagery and terminology that informed the classical Chinese conception of social and political relationships. This sophisticated and long-standing tradition, however, has been all but neglected by modern historians. In The Culture of Sex in Ancient China, Paul Rakita Goldin addresses central issues in the history of Chinese attitudes toward sex and gender from 500 B.C. to A.D. 400. A survey of major pre-imperial sources, including some of the most revered and influential texts in the Chinese tradition, reveals the use of the image of copulation as a metaphor for various human relations, such as those between a worshiper and his or her deity or a ruler and his subjects. In his examination of early Confucian views of women, Goldin notes that, while contradictions and ambiguities existed in the articulation of these views, women were nevertheless regarded as full participants in the Confucian project of self-transformation. He goes on to show how assumptions concerning the relationship of sexual behavior to political activity (assumptions reinforced by the habitual use of various literary tropes discussed earlier in the book) led to increasing attempts to regulate sexual behavior throughout the Han dynasty. Following the fall of the Han, this ideology was rejected by the aristocracy, who continually resisted claims of sovereignty made by impotent emperors in a succession of short-lived dynasties. Erudite and immensely entertaining, this study of intellectual conceptions of sex and sexuality in China will be welcomed by students and scholars of early China and by those with an interest in the comparative development of ancient cultures.
The Traditional Land Law of Hong Kong's New Territories, 1750–1950
Land was always at the centre of life in Hong Kong’s rural New Territories: it sustained livelihoods and lineages and, for some, was a route to power. Villagers managed their land according to customs that were often at odds with formal Chinese law. British rule, 1898-1997, added further complications by assimilating traditional practices into a western legal system. Custom, Land and Livelihood in Rural South China explores land ownership in the New Territories, analyzing over a hundred surviving land deeds from the late Qing Dynasty to recent times, which are transcribed in full and translated into English. Together with other sources collected by the author during 30 years of research, these deeds yield information on all aspects of traditional village life – from raising families and making a living to coping with intruders – and evoke a view of the world which, despite decades of urbanization, still has resonance today.
A Twentieth-Century Chinese Peasant Memoir
Daughter of Good Fortune tells the story of Chen Huiqin and her family through the tumultuous 20th century in China. She witnessed the Japanese occupation during World War II, the Communist Revolution in 1949 and its ensuing Land Reform, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the Reform Era. Chen was born into a subsistence farming family, became a factory worker, and lived through her village’s relocation to make way for economic development. Her family’s story of urbanization is representative of hundreds of millions of rural Chinese.
Forts, Ships and Weapons over 450 years
The forts built from the early seventeenth century onwards, the ships that defended Macau’s waters, the weapons that armed the facilities and the soldiers and sailors who manned them all are carefully detailed in The Defences of Macau. These forts, cannon and small arms were a familiar part of society for hundreds of years, and a significant part of Macau’s heritage. Macau is fortunate in having so many artifacts remaining, but very little research has been done on them. Richard Garrett, a retired civil engineer and an expert in antique weapons, addresses this gap by identifying many rare and unique weapons. More than 200 illustrations, many in colour, serve as a visual record of what has survived. Some of the forts are included among Macau’s World Heritage sites. Many visitors and those interested in the history of the region will be interested in these forts and arms that remain in relative abundance in Macau. The book will also appeal to those scholars specialising in military and arms history.
High-Technology Enterprises in China
During the economic reforms of the last twenty years, China adopted a wide array of policies designed to raise its technological capability and foster industrial growth. Ideologically, the government would not promote private-ownership firms and instead created a hybrid concept, that of "nongovernmental enterprises" or minying qiye. Adam Segal examines the minying experience, particularly in high technology, in four key regions: Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, and Guangzhou.
Minying enterprises have been neither clear successes nor abject failures, Segal finds. Instead, outcomes varied: though efforts to create a core of innovative high-tech firms succeeded in Beijing, minying enterprises elsewhere have languished. He points to variations in local implementation of government policies on investment, property-rights regulation, and government supervision as a key to the different outcomes. He explains these peculiarities of implementation by putting official decisions within their local contexts. Extending his analysis, he compares the experience of creating technology enterprises in China with those of Korea (the chaebol system) and Taiwan (enterprise groups).
Based on interviews with entrepreneurs and local government officials, as well as numerous published primary sources, Digital Dragon is the first detailed look at a major Chinese institutional experiment and at high-tech endeavors in China. Can China become a true global economic power? The evolution of the high- technologies sector will determine, Segal says, whether China will become a modern economy or simply a large one.