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This book is a study of everyday life in rural north China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century told through the story of one man’s life.
China today is rife with contradictions: it’s a peasant society with futuristic cities, an ancient civilization striving for a modern identity. This Brief Insight paints a succinct and integrated picture of the country and its history, politics, and culture. Covering a range of topics from China’s economic boom and its record on freedom to the Beijing Olympics and the position of women in society, Modern China is an indispensable starting point for anyone striving to understand the world’s most populous nation.
Recent events—from strife in Tibet and the rapid growth of Christianity in China to the spectacular expansion of Chinese Buddhist organizations around the globe—vividly demonstrate that one cannot understand the modern Chinese world without attending closely to the question of religion. The Religious Question in Modern China highlights parallels and contrasts between historical events, political regimes, and cultural movements to explore how religion has challenged and responded to secular Chinese modernity, from 1898 to the present. Vincent Goossaert and David A. Palmer piece together the puzzle of religion in China not by looking separately at different religions in different contexts, but by writing a unified story of how religion has shaped, and in turn been shaped by, modern Chinese society. From Chinese medicine and the martial arts to communal temple cults and revivalist redemptive societies, the authors demonstrate that from the nineteenth century onward, as the Chinese state shifted, the religious landscape consistently resurfaced in a bewildering variety of old and new forms. The Religious Question in Modern China integrates historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives in a comprehensive overview of China’s religious history that is certain to become an indispensible reference for specialists and students alike.
Perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, the nineteenth century encounter between East Asia and the Western world has been narrated as a legal encounter. Commercial treaties--negotiated by diplomats and focused on trade--framed the relationships among Tokugawa-Meiji Japan, Qing China, Choson Korea, and Western countries including Britain, France, and the United States. These treaties created a new legal order, very different than the colonial relationships that the West forged with other parts of the globe, which developed in dialogue with local precedents, local understandings of power, and local institutions. They established the rules by which foreign sojourners worked in East Asia, granting them near complete immunity from local laws and jurisdiction. The laws of extraterritoriality looked similar on paper but had very different trajectories in different East Asian countries. P?r Cassel's first book explores extraterritoriality and the ways in which Western power operated in Japan and China from the 1820s to the 1920s. In Japan, the treaties established in the 1850s were abolished after drastic regime change a decade later and replaced by European-style reciprocal agreements by the turn of the century. In China, extraterritoriality stood for a hundred years, with treaties governing nearly one hundred treaty ports, extensive Christian missionary activity, foreign controlled railroads and mines, and other foreign interests, and of such complexity that even international lawyers couldn't easily interpret them. Extraterritoriality provided the springboard for foreign domination and has left Asia with a legacy of suspicion towards international law and organizations. The issue of unequal treaties has had a lasting effect on relations between East Asia and the West. Drawing on primary sources in Chinese, Japanese, Manchu, and several European languages, Cassel has written the first book to deal with exterritoriality in Sino-Japanese relations before 1895 and the triangular relationship between China, Japan, and the West. Grounds of Judgment is a groundbreaking history of Asian engagement with the outside world and within the region, with broader applications to understanding international history, law, and politics.
The May Fourth movement (1915-1923) is widely considered a watershed in the history of modern China. This book is a social history of cultural and political radicals based in China's most important hinterland city at this pivotal time, Wuhan. Current narratives of May Fourth focus on the ideological development of intellectuals in the seaboard metropoles of Beijing and Shanghai. And although scholars have pointed to the importance of the many cultural-political societies of the period, they have largely neglected to examine these associations, seeing them only as seedbeds of Chinese communism and its leaders, like Mao Zedong. This book, by contrast, portrays the everyday life of May Fourth activists in Wuhan in cultural-political societies founded by local teacher and journalist Yun Daiying (1895-1931). The book examines the ways by which radical politics developed in hinterland urban centers, from there into a nation wide movement, which ultimately provided the basis for the emergence of mass political parties, namely the Nationalist Party (Guomindang) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The book's focus on organizations, everyday life, and social networks provides a novel interpretation of where mechanisms of historical change are located. The book also highlights the importance of print culture in the provinces. It demonstrates how provincial print-culture combined with small, local organizations to create a political movement. The vantage point of Wuhan demonstrates that May Fourth radicalism developed in a dialogue between the coastal metropoles of Beijing and Shanghai and hinterland urban centers. The book therefore charts the way in which seeds of political change grew from individuals, through local organizations into a nation-wide movement, and finally into mass-party politics and subsequently revolution. The book thus connects everyday experiences of activists with the cultural-political ferment which gave rise to both the Chinese Communist party and the Nationalist Party.

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