Places of Memory in Modern China

History, Politics, and Identity


In the last decades, the scholarship on issues of national and cultural identity of China has been constantly on the rise. This edited volume aims at addressing these issues by applying Pierre Nora’s approach of places of memory ( lieux de mémoire) to the Chinese context. The volume assembles a number of articles that focus on the most significant places of memory in modern and contemporary China, ranging from Qin Shihuang’s Terracotta Warriors to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The genesis and nature of these places are discussed in detail by combining approaches of both cultural and historical sciences. In addition, issues of cultural memory and politics are addressed in order to question the ideological construction of these places.
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Biographical Note

Marc Andre Matten (Ph.D. 2007, University of Bonn, Germany) is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Chinese History at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. He has published extensively on the issues of Chinese nationalism and national identity, including The Borders of Being Chinese – On the Creation of National Identity in 20th century China (German, Harrassowitz, 2009).

Review Quote

"The concept of the politically charged 'site of memory' inspires college courses and academic conferences, but this is the first volume to focus entirely on the phenomenon in China." Shana J. Brown, University of Hawai'i, Manoa, Journal of Asian Studies Vol. 72 Number 1 (Feb. 2013) “ Places of Memory in Modern China exemplifies the methodological flexibility offered by memory theory. For these reasons, I enthusiastically recommend the volume for scholars in Chinese studies, historians of 'modern' China, and students of collective memory more generally.” Todd M. Goehle, Frontiers of History in China Vol. 8 Issue 3 This excellent volume of collected essays represents the maturation of memory studies in the field of modern Chinese history. Vera Schwarcz, Monumenta Serica 61 (2013)

Table of contents

1. History, Memory, and Identity in Modern China Marc Andre Matten Leaders and Their Legacy 2. Qin Shihuang’s Terracotta Warriors – Commemorating the Cultural State David J. Davies 3. The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei: A Contested Place of Memory Marc Andre Matten 4. A Place Where Great Men Rest? The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall Daniel Leese The Ubiquitous Past—Present and Lost 5. A Rock, a Text, and a Tablet: Making the Song Emperor’s Terrace a Lieu de Mémoire Hon Tze-ki 6. China Resists: Humen as a Site of Memory James Flath 7. The Ruins of Yuanmingyuan: Or, How to Enjoy a National Wound Lee Haiyan 8. Yan’an as a Site of Memory in Socialist and Postsocialist China Kirk Denton


All those interested in the modern history of China, the issues of cultural memory and national identity in a transforming China, the significance of historical and national consciousness in Chinese society.