Culture and education in the late Qing era and early Republic are the subjects of the four articles in this issue. Li-Lin Tseng brings an art historian’s sensitivity to her study of Zheng Zhengqiu, who got his start as a publisher of illustrated newspapers. He made use of images and approaches from that genre, including a commitment to social change, as a pioneer of new drama and film in the 1910s and 1920s. Jiacheng Liu focuses on Beijing actresses in the same period, exploring the professional and personal lives of the first generation of women allowed to perform on the stage. She argues that these actresses were well aware of the tendency of theater audiences and the press to look on their bodies as commodities; some responded to this by crafting a new type of flirtatious feminine persona, quite unlike the image of courtesans of the past or other female ideals emerging in the early twentieth century.
Educational and communication initiatives launched by the two dominant political parties in the 1920s and 1930s round out this issue. Shaoqian Zhang documents and analyzes the Nationalist Party’s propaganda work and shows how it drew on both earlier Chinese political imagery and models from the Soviet Union. She argues that the successful use of propaganda posters by the Nationalists preceded the better-known propaganda work of the Communist Party. Di Luo examines the methods and goals of the Communist literacy campaigns during the period of the Jiangxi Soviet. Analyzing the literacy primers that were employed, she argues that literacy campaigns were seen as central to the process of creating revolutionaries from among the peasantry of Jiangxi.
In addition to these four articles, this issue of Twentieth-Century China includes reviews of three new books on, respectively, urban-rural relations in the early PRC period, museums in contemporary China, and the fortunes of a family business that operated under five different political regimes in twentieth-century China.
Readers may have noticed some recent additions to the journal’s staff. Professors Zhao Ma of Washington University in St. Louis and Margaret Greene of the University of Montana have joined the journal as associate editors, and Gregory Epp has taken on the role of coordinating editor. Our publisher, Maney, has been acquired by Taylor & Francis, which has led to some changes in the production staff. We thank our Maney colleagues for their excellent work on behalf of the journal and look forward to developing the same productive relationship with our new Taylor & Francis associates. [End Page 1]