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Creating Chinese Modernity

Knowledge and Everyday Life, 1900-1940


Peter Zarrow

Over the first half of the twentieth century, the lives of millions of urban Chinese were transformed by new ideas, new objects, new jobs, new leisure pursuits, new forms of transportation, new architecture: in a word, new «life-styles» and habits of mind. What did these changes mean to ordinary people? The essays in this book examine how prevailing discourses – on nationalism, feminism, democracy, individualism, socialism, and the like – emerged and were absorbed into the lived experiences and material culture of ordinary Chinese. Only from intimate personal experiences with forces ranging from war, revolution, and state-building to advertising blitzes and boycotts was Chinese modernity forged, forged out of «forces» larger than individuals but simultaneously observed, interpreted, adapted, and absorbed by those individuals.
Contents: Peter Zarrow: Introduction: New Discourses and Everyday Life in Modern China – Young-Tsu Wong: Zhang Binglin’s Critique of Western Modernity: A Chinese View of Cultural Pluralism – Peter Zarrow: Constitutionalism and the Imagination of the State: Official Views of Political Reform in the Late Qing – Jon Kowallis: Lu Xun and Terrorism: A Reading of Revenge and Violence in Mara and Beyond – Chi Kong Lai: Merchant Discourse on Self-interest in Modern China – WeipinTsai: Having It All: Patriotism and Gracious Living in Shenbao’s Tobacco Advertisements, 1919 to 1937 – Ning Jennifer Chang: Purely Sport or A Gambling Disgrace? Greyhound Racing and the Formation of Modern Shanghai – Jinlin Hwang: Authority over the Body and the Modern Formation of the Body – Ling-Ling Lien: Leisure, Patriotism, and Identity: The Chinese Career Women’s Club in Wartime Shanghai.