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Revealed by the Ghosts of Ji Xiaolan
Toward the end of the eighteenth century Ji Xiaolan, widely regarded as the most eminent scholar and foremost wit of his age, published five collections of anecdotes and discourses centring on the interaction between the mundane and spirit worlds, but also including purely earthly life stories and happenings. Some items represent Ji’s own thought and experiences, but the majority were supplied by others, Ji acting only as recorder. Settings range socially from the milieux of peasants, servants and merchants to those of governors and ministers, and geographically extend to the far reaches of the Qing empire. Contents may dwell on comedy or tragedy, cruelty or kindness, corruption or integrity, erudition or ignorance, credulity or scepticism; several items borrow ghost stories to satirize men and manners; some straightforwardly examine current beliefs and practices. Taken together, this miscellany presents a picture of the contemporary world unmatched in its scope and variety of perspectives, and in this way comes nearer to depicting “real life” than novels or institutional histories.
The Chinese State and the New Global History
Will the rise of China change the international system built by the industrial and constitutional democracies of the West of the past centuries? Should China be content with the maintenance of that system: one of competing nation-states of absolute sovereignty and relative power? Does the Confucian past contain a moral vision that may connect with universal human values of the modern world? And will the rising China become an engine for a renewed Chinese civilization that contributes to the equity in the international system? Pondering these fundamental questions, historian Prof. Wang Gungwu probes into the Chinese perception of its place in world history, and traces the unique features that propel China onto its modern global transformation. He depicts the travails of renewal that China has to face and betters our understanding of China’s position in today’s interconnected world. This collection of Prof. Wang Gungwu’s thoughts is a must-read for us to contemplate China’s root and routes along its modernization trajectory.
Cabaret Culture and Urban Politics, 1919–1954
Drawing upon a unique and untapped reservoir of newspapers, magazines, novels, government documents, photographs and illustrations, this book traces the origin, pinnacle, and ultimate demise of a commercial dance industry in Shanghai between the end of the First World War and the early years of the People's Republic of China. Delving deep into the world of cabarets, nightclubs, and elite ballrooms that arose in the city in the 1920s and peaked in the 1930s, the book assesses how and why Chinese society incorporated and transformed this westernized world of leisure and entertainment to suit its own tastes and interests. Focusing on the jazz-age nightlife of the city in its "golden age," the book examines issues of colonialism and modernity, urban space, sociability and sexuality, and modern Chinese national identity formation in a tumultuous era of war and revolution.
Between Universalism and Indigenism
Within this text, the contributors provide a historical perspective on the development of anthropology and sociology since their introduction to Chinese thought and education in the early twentieth century, with an emphasis on the 1930s and 1980s. The authors offer different windows on theoretical and research agendas of anthropologists and sociologists of the PRC and Taiwan, shaped as much by their political context as by disciplinary training. In examining the careers of several individual scholars, they also make note not only of their creative contributions, but also of the resonance of their intellectual concerns with contemporary issues in sociology and anthropology (culturalism, frontiers, women). Finally, the volume is organized loosely around the problem of how to translate these disciplines into a Chinese context(s), the issues of "indigenization" (bentuhua) or "making Chinese" (Zhongguohua), which have haunted the two disciplines since their establishment in the 1930s because of the contradictory expectations that they generate. This is where the case of China resonates with similar concerns in other societies where the disciplines were imported from abroad as products of a Euro/American capitalist modernity, conflicting with aspirations to create their own localized alternative modernities.
From one of China’s most important poets after 1980, this is a stunning book of poetry, a poetry that is characterized by electric honesty and acute observation. In these pages, we hear Wang Xiaoni’s candid and penetrating voice about contemporary China—all through her quiet but powerful verse. The translator Eleanor Goodman, herself a wonderful poet, should be congratulated for her brilliant translation.—Kang-i Sun Chang, Malcolm G. Chace ’56 Professor of East
Literary Culture and Social Memory in Guangdong
What has traditionally been the main matter explored by Cantonese literati? From the earliest poets—oceanic elements and riparian scenes contrasted with stunning rock formations; a love for the exotic, especially local plants, products, and lore; Daoist transcendentalism; and, finally, a concern for pointing up local loyalty to the distant throne and a fierce pride in being culturally authentically Chinese. The Southern Garden Poetry Society in Guangzhou was the only major literary club in Chinese history to be periodically reconvened over the Ming, Qing, and Republican eras. Beginning with an examination of its five founding members during the Yuan / Ming transition period, in particular Sun Fen (1335–1393), David Honey traces the various elements of this Southern Muse that became embodied in later Cantonese poetry, and pursues the issue of social memory by focusing on later reconvenings of the society.
The Making of a Modern Academic Discipline in Twentieth-Century China
Transforming History examines the profound transformation of historical thought and practice of writing history from the late Qing through the mid-twentieth century. The authors devote extensive analysis to the common set of intellectual and political forces that shaped the study of history, from the ideas of evolution, positivism, nationalism, historicism, and Marxism, to political processes such as revolution, imperialism, and modernization. Also discussed are the impact and problems associated with the nation-state as the subject of history, the linear model of historical time, and the spatial system of nation-states. The result is a convincing study that illustrates how history has transformed into a modern academic discipline in China.
A Genealogy of Chinese Occidentalism
Long before the Europeans reached the East, the ancient Chinese had elaborate and meaningful perspectives of the West. In this groundbreaking book, Wang explores their view of the West as other by locating it in the classical and imperial China, leading the reader through the history of Chinese geo-cosmologies and world-scapes. Wang also delves into the historical records of Chinese “world activities,” journeys that began from the Central Kingdom and reached towards the “outer regions.” Such analysis helps distinguish illusory geographies from realistic ones, while drawing attention to their interconnected natures. Wang challenges an extensive number of critical studies of Orientalist narratives (including Edward Said’s Orientalism), and reframes such studies from the directionological perspectives of an “Oriental” civilization. Most significantly, the author offers a fundamental reimagining of the standard concept of the other, with critical implications not only for anthropology, but for philosophy, literature, history, and other interrelated disciplines as well.
Selected Poetry of Bai Hua
Considered the central literary figure of the post-“Misty” poetry movement of the 1980s, Bai Hua was born in Chongqing in 1956. After graduating from the Guangzhou Foreign Languages Institute, he taught at various universities before starting work as an independent writer. His first book, Expression (1988), received immediate critical acclaim. A highly demanding writer, Bai Hua has composed only about ninety poems over the past thirty years, and from the late 1990s until 2007, he wrote no poetry at all. However, during this more than a decade of silence, he remained a prolific writer of prose and hybrid texts. Bai Hua has received the Rougang Poetry Award and the Anne Kao Poetry Prize.