Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China

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Overview


China is a vast nation comprised of hundreds of distinct ethnic communities, each with its own language, history, and culture. Today the government of China recognizes just 56 ethnic nationalities, or minzu, as groups entitled to representation. This controversial new book recounts the history of the most sweeping attempt to sort and categorize the nation's enormous population: the 1954 Ethnic Classification project (minzu shibie). Thomas S. Mullaney draws on recently declassified material and extensive oral histories to describe how the communist government, in power less than a decade, launched this process in ethnically diverse Yunnan. Mullaney shows how the government drew on Republican-era scholarship for conceptual and methodological inspiration as it developed a strategy for identifying minzu and how non-Party-member Chinese ethnologists produced a “scientific” survey that would become the basis for a policy on nationalities.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This rich, nuanced and erudite book is a great accomplishment."--The China Journal

"A very important contribution to our understanding of the birth of the modern Chinese nation."--Journal of World History

"An exemplary piece of scholarship. . . . Tackles broad historiographical questions with a manageable and concrete set of new data."--British Jrnl For the History of Science

"Brief but elegantly argued. . . . Mullaney makes brilliant sense of mountains of data."--Hist Stds In the Natural Sciences

The China Journal - Elena Barabantseva University of Manchester

“This rich, nuanced and erudite book is a great accomplishment.”
Journal Of World History - Jeff Kyong-McClain

“A very important contribution to our understanding of the birth of the modern Chinese nation.”
British Jrnl For The History Of Science - Howard Chiang

“An exemplary piece of scholarship. . . . Tackles broad historiographical questions with a manageable and concrete set of new data.”
Hist Stds In The Natural Sciences - Ruth Rogaski

“Brief but elegantly argued. . . . Mullaney makes brilliant sense of mountains of data.”
Pacific Affairs - Sara A. Newland

"Mullaney's excellent book teaches us a great deal about the genesis of multiethnic China..."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520272743
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 12/27/2011
  • Series: Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Thomas S. Mullaney is Assistant Professor of History at Stanford University.
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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Foreword
Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. Identity Crisis in Postimperial China
2. Ethnicity as Language
3. Plausible Communities
4. The Consent of the Categorized
5. Counting to Fifty-Six

Conclusion: A History of the Future

Appendix A: Ethnotaxonomy of Yunnan, 1951, According to the Yunnan Nationalities Affairs Commission
Appendix B: Ethnotaxonomy of Yunnan, 1953, According to the Yunnan Nationalities Affairs Commission
Appendix C: Minzu Entries, 1953–1954 Census, by Population
Appendix D: Classification Squads, Phases One and Two
Appendix E: Population Sizes of Groups Researched during Phase One and Phase Two

Notes
Character Glossary
Bibliography
Index

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