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Race and Racism in Modern East Asia

Interactions, Nationalism, Gender and Lineage


Edited by Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel

A sequel to the groundbreaking volume, Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western and Eastern Constructions, the present volume examines in depth interactions between Western racial constructions of East Asians and local constructions of race and their outcomes in modern times. Focusing on China, Japan and the two Koreas, it also analyzes the close ties between race, racism and nationalism, as well as the links race has had with gender and lineage in the region. Written by some of the field's leading authorities, this insightful and engaging 23-chapter volume offers a sweeping overview and analysis of racial constructions and racism in modern and contemporary East Asia that is unsurpassed in previous scholarship.

This book is also available in hardback.

Milinda Banerjee

This essay interrogates the category of the ‘global’ in the emerging domain of ‘global intellectual history.’ Through a case study of the Indian social-religious reformer Rammohun Roy (1772/4-1833), I argue that notions of global selfhood and rights-consciousness (which have been preoccupying concerns of recent debates in intellectual history) have multiple conceptual and practical points of origin. Thus in early colonial India a person like Rammohun Roy could invoke centuries-old Indic terms of globality (vishva, jagat, sarva, sarvabhuta, etc.), selfhood (atman/brahman), and notions of right (adhikara) to liberation/salvation (mukti/moksha) as well as late precolonial discourses on ‘worldly’ rights consciousness (to life, property, religious toleration) and models of participatory governance present in an Indo- Islamic society, and hybridize these with Western-origin notions of rights and liberties. Thereby Rammohun could challenge the racial and confessional assumptions of colonial authority and produce a more deterritorialized and non-sectarian idea of selfhood and governance. However, Rammohun’s comparativist world-historical notions excluded other models of selfhood and globality, such as those produced by devotional Vaishnava, Shaiva, and Shakta-Tantric discourses under the influence of non-Brahmanical communities and women. Rammohun’s puritan condemnation of non-Brahmanical sexual and gender relations created a homogenized and hierarchical model of globality, obscuring alternate subaltern-inflected notions of selfhood. Class, caste, and gender biases rendered Rammohun supportive of British colonial rule and distanced him from popular anti-colonial revolts and social mobility movements in India. This article argues that today’s intellectual historians run the risk of repeating Rammohun’s biases (or those of Hegel’s Weltgeschichte) if they privilege the historicity and value of certain models of global selfhood and rights-consciousness (such as those derived from a constructed notion of the ‘West’ or from constructed notions of various ‘elite’ classicized ‘cultures’), to the exclusion of models produced by disenfranchised actors across the world. Instead of operating through hierarchical assumptions about local/global polarity, intellectual historians should remain sensitive to and learn from the universalizable models of selfhood, rights, and justice produced by actors in different spatio- temporal locations and intersections.

Radhika Seshan

with others in Europe. Peter Burke’s (2009) definition of a frontier as a place of cultural hybridity and selective permeability (which in turn is shaped by historical factors) is also a trope that could have been used, in addition to the existing ones of encounter and hybrid or local environmental

Kenneth R. Hall

“networked space” where there was ongoing cultural synthesis between the emic and the etic that resulted in a localized hybrid. The heterotopic “colony” thus performed a vital community service as the delegated “agency space” for social change, where new societal potentials were “tested” as societal

Santhosh Abraham

, particularly along the seashore at Tellicherry. An important feature that can be traced in the styles of residences and warehouses is a rare combination of local, pan-Indian and European designs, such as Victorian glassworks, exhibiting a new hybrid cosmopolitan culture in Malabar. In this context, the Keyis

Nishino Noriko

century was a very unique place where cultural exchange was encouraged by its geopolitical position, the international situation, and the chaos in China. 32 The hybrid culture or religion there could have enticed the Eastern Wu (呉) to formulate a policy of advancing south or taking action against the

Margaret Jones and Chandani Liyanage

Sri Lanka on the nature and practice of the Ayurveda that emerged from this process. The establishment of training institutions (where Western medicine was also taught), certification, registration, and canons of knowledge has led to claims that what has resulted is a “hybrid” between Western and

Jean-Jacques Ngor Sène

and morally hybrid. A being who, in his most spontaneous actions and reactions, strives to overcome his condition, that is to say challenging a humanity that they consider [/considers them] inferior. Yet, the unbreakable bonds of destiny tie them to that very condition […], two very different things

Thomas David DuBois

Medical charity in northeast China evolved through the confluence of three processes: the foundation of state medicine, the legal and political transformation of private charities, and the militarized competition for influence between China and Japan. Following the plague of 1910, a series of Chinese regimes began building medical infrastructure in areas under their control, but their ultimate inability to establish a comprehensive public health program left private charities to fill the gaps. In contrast, the Japanese administered concessions in Kantō and along the South Manchuria Railway instituted a farsighted and multivalenced medical policy. The Japanese model did not merely tolerate medical charities, it reserved for them a very specific role in the larger strategic framework of healthcare provision. Under the client state of “Manzhouguo,” the Japanese model further evolved to channel medical voluntarism into a hybrid state-charitable sector.

Roger R. Thompson

This study of the introduction of telegraphy to China in the late-nineteenth century tells three interrelated stories: China’s pursuit of telegraphic sovereignty with its strategic networking of the empire in the period 1881–99; the functioning of China’s hybrid express courier-telegraphic communications infrastructure; and the international communications crisis during the Boxer Uprising and the “Siege of the Legations” in 1900. The material reality of two inter-connected networks—the privately owned Imperial Telegraph Administration network and the government-run telegraph network—allowed Qing-era Beijing and its provincial governors to communicate with much greater speed. The materiality of these networks—how this new communications technology affected the practical realities of government communications, including the ease of lateral communications between provincial governors—is explored in the context of the communications crisis of 1900. In May and June of 1900 all telegraph lines to Beijing, and throughout much of North China, were cut or otherwise destroyed. While these blinded Western governments are no longer able to exchange telegrams with their Beijing-based envoys, the Qing express courier system continued to operate. Moreover, both the court and provincial officials quickly improvised ad hoc telegraphic communication protocols through the use of “transfer telegrams” (zhuandian) that relied on mounted express couriers between Beijing and those North China telegraph stations with working network connections. This assessment of real-time secret imperial communications between the Qing court and the provinces is based on the documentary register Suishou dengji (Records of [documents] at hand) maintained by communications managers in the Grand Council. China lost its telegraphic sovereignty in the capital region when Allied troops occupied the Beijing-Tianjin line of communications in the summer and fall of 1900. Moreover, Western dreams of laying, landing, and controlling submarine cables on the China coast were finally realized in North China by the end of 1900. The British, therefore, were able to add a critical section to their planned global network of secure telegraphic communications. China’s recognition of the Western and Japanese right of protecting the Beijing-Tianjin line of communications was codified in Article 9 of the Boxer Protocol of September 1901. These losses of China’s telegraphic sovereignty would not be completely reversed until after 1949.