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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.
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.
The Six Companies and China’s Policy toward Exclusion
This is a striking, original portrait of the Chinese Six Companies (Zhonghua huiguan), or Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, the most prominent support organization for Chinese immigrants in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century. As a federation of "native-place associations" (huiguan) in California, the Six Companies responded to racist acts and legislation by organizing immigrant communities and employing effective diplomatic strategies against exclusion. Yucheng Qin substantiates recent arguments that Chinese immigrants were resourceful in fighting for their rights and, more importantly, he argues that through the Six Companies they created a political rhetoric and civic agenda that were then officially adopted by Qing court officials, who at first were unprepared for modern diplomacy. Out of necessity, these officials turned to the Six Companies for assistance and would in time adopt the tone and format of its programs during China’s turbulent transition from a tributary system to that of a modern nation-state.
Eventually the Six Companies and Qing diplomats were defeated by a coalition of anti-Chinese interest groups, but their struggle produced a template for modern Chinese nationalism—a political identity that transcends native place—in nineteenth-century America. By redirecting our gaze beyond China to the Six Companies in California and back again, Yucheng Qin redefines the historical significance of the huiguan. The ingenuity of his approach lies in his close attention to the transnational experience of the Six Companies, which provides a feasible framework for linking its diplomatic activism with Chinese history as well as the history of Chinese Americans and Sino-American relations.
The Diplomacy of Nationalism enlarges our view of the immigrant experience of Chinese in the U.S. by examining early Sino-American relations through the structure of Six Companies diplomacy as well as providing a better understanding of modern Chinese nationalism.
Government and Politics
This volume analyses the evolution of a unique brand of politics in Hong Kong. It examines how a Crown Colony system responded to the demands made of it by its Chinese and British residents in the shadow of the often volatile politics of modern China.