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The Allure of the Nation

The Cultural and Historical Debates in Late Qing and Republican China

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Tze-ki Hon

Covering half a century, from 1895 to 1945, The Allure of the Nation examines three interlocking aspects of Chinese nationalist modernity: (1) the quest to balance global connectivity and ethnic authenticity; (2) the desire to balance national unity and local autonomy; (3) the drive to balance history’s place as a tool of political propaganda and as a weapon used to critique orthodoxy and political suppression. By viewing the nation as a cluster of spatial-temporal relations that link individuals to a territorial state, this book provides a different view of early twentieth-century China where the party-state did not have full control of political and cultural affairs, and alternative political perspectives (such as local self-government and democratic aristocracy) could be freely expressed.