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Author: Di Luo
Beyond Citizenship focuses on the role of literacy in building a modern nation-state by examining the government provision of adult literacy training in early twentieth-century China. Based on untapped archives and diaries, Di Luo uncovers people’s strategic use of literacy and illiteracy in social interactions and explores the impact of daily experiences on the expansion of state power. Highlighting interpersonal and intergroup relations, Beyond Citizenship suggests a new methodology of studying literacy which foregrounds the agentive role of historical actors and so moves away from a more traditional approach that treats literacy itself as the key factor enabling social change.
In the past decades, the world has watched the rise of China as an economic and military power and the emergence of Chinese transnational elites. What may seem like an entirely new phenomenon marks the revival of a trend initiated at the end of the Qing. The redistribution of power, wealth and knowledge among the newly formed elites matured during the Republican period.
This volume demonstrates both the difficulty and the value of re-thinking the elites in modern China. It establishes that the study of the dynamic tensions within the elite and among elite groups in this epochal era is within reach if we are prepared to embrace forms of historical inquiry that integrate the abundant and even limitless historical resources, and to engage with the rich repertoire of digital techniques/instruments available and question our previous research paradigms.
This renewed approach brings historical research closer to an integrative data-rich history of modern China.
Editors / Translators: Laura Hostetler and Xuemei Wu
Commissioned by the Qianlong emperor in 1751, the Qing Imperial Illustrations of Tributary Peoples (Huang Qing zhigong tu 皇清職貢圖), is a captivating work of art and ideological statement of universal rule. Best understood as a cultural cartography of empire, the captivating artwork paired with ethnographic texts helps us to understand the complexity of Chinese diplomatic relations as well the ideological force behind them which was rooted in both dynastic history and the specifics of Qing rule.
Author: Xinjiang Rong
Editor / Translator: Sally K Church. et al.
Volume Editors: Sally K Church and Imre Galambos
This first and only English translation of Rong Xinjiang’s The Silk Road and Cultural Exchanges Between East and West is a collection of 28 papers on the history of the Silk Road and the interactions among the peoples and cultures of East and Central Asia, including the so-called Western Regions in modern-day Xinjiang. Each paper is a masterly study that combines information obtained from historical records with excavated materials, such as manuscripts, inscriptions and artefacts. The new materials primarily come from north-western China, including sites in the regions of Dunhuang, Turfan, Kucha, and Khotan. The book contains a wealth of original insights into nearly every aspect of the complex history of this region.
Author: Yongqin Guo
In this volume Guo Yongqin provides an overview of the most important taxes, land and labor tax, in Imperial Qing China (1644-1912). The previously unpublished fiscal sources presented in this volume give a tremendous amount of information about Qing society and economy, like the bureaucratic system, political institutions, economic inequality, and environmental conditions. The data is accompanied by a detailed introduction, offering a valuable resource for further research on how the standardized tax system performed and affected the Qing regime.
Author: Yuezhi Xiong
Translators: Lane J. Harris and Chun Mei
In this book, Xiong Yuezhi and a team of distinguished scholars bring together cutting-edge research on the urban history of Shanghai and the diversity of its distinctive culture. Occupying an interstitial space between Chinese and foreign power, Shanghai from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century experienced almost unimaginably complex developments in its political, social, economic, and cultural history. To untangle this complexity, Xiong and his team have carefully constructed, in thematic and chronological fashion, the interactions between the imperialist powers, foreign settlers, and the Chinese community of Shanghai from the origins of the racially-segregated International Settlement in the 1840s to the internment of foreign settlers in Shanghai during World War II in the 1940s.
Author: Zhaoyang Zhang
How did people solve their disputes over debt, compensation, inheritance and other civil matters in early China? Did they go to court? How did the authorities view those problems? Using recently excavated early Chinese legal materials, Zhang Zhaoyang makes the compelling argument that civil law was not only developed, but also acquired a certain degree of sophistication during the Qin and Han dynasties. The state promulgated detailed regulations to deal with economic and personal relationships between individuals. The authorities formed an integral part of the formal justice system, and heard civil cases on a regular basis.
Free access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities

Abstract

When it comes to the favorite food of the outlaws of Mount Liang, beef is the undisputed champion. The 120-chapter edition of Water Margin has nearly 50 scenes that depict the heroes feasting heartily on beef. The next most frequently evoked type of meat is mutton, but the number of times it is mentioned is only half that of beef and the relevant scenes are depicted with far less detail. Because cattle slaughter and the sale of beef were strictly forbidden during the Song dynasty, an expanding community of researchers considers this choice of food as a subtle reflection of the bandits’ defiance of law and order. However, this school of thought has yet to sufficiently take into account several elements, including the extent to which this law was enforced during the Song dynasty, when the adventures of Song Jiang and his sworn brothers took place; society’s attitude toward beef consumption during this same period; the compilation of the novel in the Ming dynasty and the author’s awareness of historical facts; and the limited presence of beef in the Song-Yuan antecedents of the novel.

Taking these points into consideration, this article reexamines the motif of beef consumption in Water Margin and the development of this theme through a historical lens. To do so, it first focuses on the legal issues pertaining to cattle slaughter and the sale of beef during the Song dynasty. Particular attention is paid to the enforcement of relevant laws and the circulation and popularity of black-market beef during this period. Then, it highlights the discrepancies between the way in which beef consumption is presented in the Ming novel and historical facts, followed by a discussion of the portrayal of meat consumption in Yuan dramas featuring Song Jiang and his gang of outlaws. In the end, by thoroughly considering the presentation of food in the developmental history of Water Margin, from Yuan dramas to the Ming novel, this article sheds light on the importance of this subject as a literary motif in medieval Chinese literature.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities

Abstract

Xie Lingyun was the first of China’s great nature poets. As the most celebrated poet in fifth-century China and a histrionic scion of the illustrious Xie clan of the Eastern Jin, he had cultural influence that extended beyond the literary into religion and philosophy. This article examines Xie’s poetic exploration of the concept of “return” – an important rhetorical trope throughout the history of Chinese literature. By close reading, annotating, and analyzing a selection of Xie’s poems, the article sheds light on the poet’s obsession with instability in the meaning of “return” and argues that beneath the compliant poetic surface lies a saliently dissenting voice. Xie’s distinctive imagery and ideation emerge from an intricate deployment of earlier texts, among which the Classic of Changes is of paramount importance.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities