This article examines utopian communal experiments in China after the Great War (the first World War) while comparing them to coeval attempts in Japan and Palestine. Why did seemingly similar experiments in communal living emerge at roughly the same time in such disparate contexts as warlord-torn China, Zionist immigration to British controlled Palestine, and the burgeoning imperial power of Japan? First, I juxtapose these experiments and argue that they should be viewed as a global phenomenon, in contrast to the way in which they are usually examined within national histories. Second, I wish to argue that despite significant differences in local circumstances, the forms and timing of these experiments were remarkably similar, and then I attempt to explain this similarity. The article offers two lines of explanation. One traces direct influences—the mutual influences of Japan and China, and the flow of ideas from Central and Eastern Europe that merged with local circumstances and traditions. The second proposes that these communal experiments were formed in reaction to larger forces that were felt across the globe: the rise of secular modernity, nationalism, and the advent of mass politics.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 521-548
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.