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Exhibiting the Past Cover

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Exhibiting the Past

Historical Memory and the Politics of Museums in Postsocialist China

Kirk A. Denton

During the Mao era, China’s museums served an explicit and uniform propaganda function, underlining official Party history, eulogizing revolutionary heroes, and contributing to nation building and socialist construction. With the implementation of the post-Mao modernization program in the late 1970s and 1980s and the advent of globalization and market reforms in the 1990s, China underwent a radical social and economic transformation that has led to a vastly more heterogeneous culture and polity. Yet China is dominated by a single Leninist party that continues to rely heavily on its revolutionary heritage to generate political legitimacy. With its messages of collectivism, self-sacrifice, and class struggle, that heritage is increasingly at odds with Chinese society and with the state’s own neoliberal ideology of rapid-paced development, glorification of the market, and entrepreneurship. In this ambiguous political environment, museums and their curators must negotiate between revolutionary ideology and new kinds of historical narratives that reflect and highlight a neoliberal present.

In Exhibiting the Past, Kirk Denton analyzes types of museums and exhibitionary spaces, from revolutionary history museums, military museums, and memorials to martyrs to museums dedicated to literature, ethnic minorities, and local history. He discusses red tourism—a state sponsored program developed in 2003 as a new form of patriotic education designed to make revolutionary history come alive—and urban planning exhibition halls, which project utopian visions of China’s future that are rooted in new conceptions of the past. Denton’s method is narratological in the sense that he analyzes the stories museums tell about the past and the political and ideological implications of those stories. Focusing on “official” exhibitionary culture rather than alternative or counter memory, Denton reinserts the state back into the discussion of postsocialist culture because of its centrality to that culture and to show that state discourse in China is neither monolithic nor unchanging. The book considers the variety of ways state museums are responding to the dramatic social, technological, and cultural changes China has experienced over the past three decades.

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Feeling the Stones

Reminiscences by David Akers-Jones

David Akers-Jones

This is a book for everyone with an interest in the recent history of Hong Kong and in an exceptional man who played a major part in that history as he ploughed a distinctive and individual, and sometimes controversial, path from District Officer to Acting Governor to Hong Kong Affairs Advisor.

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The First Chinese American

The Remarkable Life of Wong Chin Foo

SCOTT D. SELIGMAN

Chinese in America endured abuse and discrimination in the late nineteenth century, but they had a leader and a fighter in Wong Chin Foo (1847–1898), whose story is a forgotten chapter in the struggle for equal rights in America. The first to use the term "Chinese American," Wong defended his compatriots against malicious scapegoating and urged them to become Americanized to win their rights. A trailblazer and a born showman who proclaimed himself China's first Confucian missionary to the United States, he founded America's first association of Chinese voters and testified before Congress to get laws that denied them citizenship repealed. Wong challenged Americans to live up to the principles they freely espoused but failed to apply to the Chinese in their midst. This evocative biography is the first book-length account of the life and times of one of America's most famous Chinese—and one of its earliest campaigners for racial equality.

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Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms

Edited by Peter Lorge

The period of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960) has long been treated as an anomaly in the history of China, an age of great disunity between the empires of the Tang and the Song dynasties. Breaking with previous scholarship on China's middle period, this edited volume presents individual studies that focus on the art, culture, and politics of the interregnum, challenging underlying assumptions about the unitary nature of dynastic culture and its value as a category of historical analysis. It understands these decades as a time of important transition in which the incipient cultural shifts of the mature Tang dynasty turned into the foundations of Song society. Consequently it highlights the complex narrative processes that gave birth to Song culture.

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Forgotten Souls

A Social History of the Hong Kong Cemetery

Patricia Lim

This book follows on from the mapping and recording of the about 10,000 graves that make up the Hong Kong Cemetery for a database which will be held in the archives of the Hong Kong Memory Project and the Royal Asiatic Society among other places. The silent tombs and elegantly carved inscriptions dating from 1842 up to the present day aroused curiosity in the author about who these long-buried people were and how they lived their lives. Lim has teased out from many sources the answers to these questions. This small, alien and rather disparate band of adventurers came from a number of far distant countries to live and work in the tiny and insignificant British foothold of Hong Kong on the edge of a huge and little understood empire. The book tries to show their relationships with each other and with their Chinese neighbours on the island. It has attempted to breathe life into the stories behind the gravestones so that the Hong Kong Cemetery can be viewed as a cradle of history as well as a final resting place for the dead.

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Foundations of Confucian Thought

Intellectual Life in the Chunqiu period (722453 B.C.E.)

Yuri Pines

This ambitious work focuses on the world of Chinese thought during the two and a half centuries directly preceding and partly overlapping the time of Confucius. Ideas developed by Chunqiu statesmen and thinkers formed the intellectual milieu of Confucius and his disciples and contributed directly to the intellectual flowering of the Zhanguo (Warring States) era (453-221 B.C.E.), the formative period of the Chinese intellectual tradition. This study is the first attempt to systematically reconstruct major intellectual trends in pre-Confucian China. Foundations of Confucian Thought is based on an exploration of the Zuo zhuan, the largest pre-imperial historical text. Relying on meticulous textual and linguistic analysis, Yuri Pines argues that hundreds of the speeches of Chunqiu statesmen recorded in the Zuo zhuan were not invented by the compiler of the treatise but reproduced from earlier sources, thus making it an authentic reflection of the Chunqiu intellectual tradition. By tracing changes in ideas and concepts throughout the Chunqiu period, Pines reconstructs the dynamics of contemporary political and ethical discourse, distilling major intellectual impulses that Chunqiu thinkers bequeathed to their Zhanguo descendants.

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Friends and Teachers

Hong Kong and Its People 1953-87

James Hayes

The book covers several decades of Hong Kong's recent past, from the time James Hayes joined the Administrative Grade of the Hong Kong Civil Service in the 1950s to his retirement in the 1980s, thirty-two years later.

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From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization

Markets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China

In the thirty years since the opening of China's economy, China's economic growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. At the same time, however, its employment relations system has undergone a gradual but fundamental transformation from stable and permanent employment with good benefits (often called the iron rice bowl), to a system characterized by highly precarious employment with no benefits for about 40 percent of the population. Similar transitions have occurred in other countries, such as Korea, although perhaps not at such a rapid pace as in China. This shift echoes the move from "breadwinning" careers to contingent employment in the postindustrial United States.

In From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization, an interdisciplinary group of authors examines the nature, causes, and consequences of informal employment in China at a time of major changes in Chinese society. This book provides a guide to the evolving dynamics among workers, unions, NGOs, employers, and the state as they deal with the new landscape of insecure employment.

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The Future of China-Russia Relations

James Bellacqua

Relations between China and Russia have evolved dramatically since their first diplomatic contact, particularly during the twentieth century. During the past decade China and Russia have made efforts to strengthen bilateral ties and improve cooperation on a number of diplomatic fronts. The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation maintain exceptionally close and friendly relations, strong geopolitical and regional cooperation, and significant levels of trade. In The Future of China-Russia Relations, scholars from around the world explore the current state of the relationship between the two powers and assess the prospects for future cooperation and possible tensions in the new century. The contributors examine Russian and Chinese perspectives on a wide range of issues, including security, political relationships, economic interactions, and defense ties. This collection explores the energy courtship between the two nations and analyzes their interests and policies regarding Central Asia, the Korean Peninsula, and Taiwan.

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Governors, Politics and The Colonial Office

Public Policy in Hong Kong, 1918?8

Gavin Ure

This book explores the making of public policy for Hong Kong between 1918 and 1958. During much of this period, the Hong Kong government had limited policy-making capabilities. Many new policies followed initiatives either from the Colonial Office or from politicians in Hong Kong. This book examines the balance of political power influencing how such decisions were reached and who wielded the most influence—the Hong Kong or British governments or the politicians. Gradually, the Hong Kong government, through implementing new policies, improved its own policy-making capabilities and gained the ability to exercise greater autonomy. The policy areas covered by this book include the implementation of rent controls in 1922, the management of Hong Kong’s currency from 1929 to 1936, the resolution of the financial dispute over matters arising from World War II, the origins of Hong Kong’s public housing and permanent squatter resettlement policies, negotiations over Hong Kong’s contribution to its defence costs and the background to the granting of formal financial autonomy in 1958. Governors, Politics and the Colonial Office will be of interest to historians and political scientists, and to anyone with a general interest in the social, economic and political development of Hong Kong.

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