- Purchase/rental options available:
Highlighting four themes in travelogues in an influential daily newspaper supplement in the 1920s, this article argues that Chinese travelers to the West and Japan at that time had mixed and conflicting impulses. Their observations of and reflections upon what they saw and experienced helped form and inform Chinese discourses of the time to construct or confirm, or sometimes destabilize, such notions as "the Chinese nation," "national character," "colonized people," "civilization," and "progress." The discourse exhibited a Chinese internalization of the mega-narrative on modernity and Western superiority, even though alternative views were also voiced at times. What these travelogues signified was a Chinese subjectivity deeply conditioned by that historical moment. The said subjectivity cannot be easily categorized as colonial or anti-colonial or post-colonial consciousness, but rather an uneasy and ambiguous mixture of multiple, often conflicting, normative and cognitive subjectivities. The mixture itself reflected the colonial world order of the early twentieth century in which China was situated.