ahorbinski: The five elements theory in the style of the periodic table of the elements.  (teach the controversy)
Bibliographic Data: Mullaney, Thomas S. Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011.

Main Argument:
These differences in ethnotaxonomy [from the Qing to the Republic to the PRC] cannot be accounted for at the level of the categorized. Rather, what changed over the course of this period were the ethnopolitical worldviews of the different Chinese regimes, the modes and methods of categorization they employed, and the political commitments that guided their respective efforts to reconceptualize China in the postimperial era. There was no single “search for a nation in modern Chinese nationalism”—rather, there were searches, in the plural. (3)
Historiographical Engagement: James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State; others

Finding the minzu in modern China )

Critical assessment: Mullaney is a really smart dude, and therefore it's doubly frustrating that this book is so short. I am reliably informed that he knows a lot more about this topic than he actually says in the book, and even aside from that, he gestures towards some really interesting ideas in his introduction that are never picked up again in the book--indeed, he never pursues most of the interesting implications of his ideas. So, I think he is substantially correct as far as he goes, but this is a short book, and if I were an editor, I would have asked him for the missing 1/3 of the manuscript before I published it.

Further reading: Laura Hostetler, Qing Colonial Enterprise; Scott, Seeing Like a State; Fan, British Naturalists in Qing China


ahorbinski: shelves stuffed with books (Default)
Andrea J. Horbinski

August 2017

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