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The roles played by intellectuals in Chinese society were transformed over the course of the twentieth century and continue to evolve rapidly today. Professionalization has been twinned with marginalization, yet the voices of intellectuals reverberate in China in a way that they do not, for example, in the United States.
This essay discusses the following works. Ge Zhaoguang, What is China? Territory, Ethnicity, Culture, and History. Trans. Michael Gibbs Hill. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2018. 201 pp. $41.00 (cloth). | Els van Dongen, Realistic Revolution: Contesting Chinese History, Culture, and Politics after 1989. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. 276 pp. $99.99 (cloth). | Sebastian Veg, Minjian: The Rise of China's Grassroots Intellectuals. Global Chinese Culture Series. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019. 352 pp. $65.00 (cloth).