The Discourse of Race in Modern China

The Discourse of Race in Modern China

by Frank Dikötter
     
 

This is the first systematic study of a topic which cuts straight through the heart of many aspects of intellectual life in modern China and has hitherto remained unexplored because it has been deemed to be embarrassing and politically unfashionable: the discourse of race. This book looks at the emergence of racial stereotypes during the nineteenth century, the…  See more details below

Overview

This is the first systematic study of a topic which cuts straight through the heart of many aspects of intellectual life in modern China and has hitherto remained unexplored because it has been deemed to be embarrassing and politically unfashionable: the discourse of race. This book looks at the emergence of racial stereotypes during the nineteenth century, the gradual formation of a racial discourse at the turn of the century, the conceptualization of racial nationalism at the beginning of the 1910s, and the institutionalization and habituation of this discourse by the academic community in the 1920s and '30s. It also provides the first analysis of eugenics--the pseudo-science of race improvement--in Republican China. The work is based on a wide variety of sources, some hitherto neglected by sinologists, such as primers on anthropology, genetics and eugenics, pamphlets on racial nationalism, medical handbooks, schoolbooks and caricatures. The author first demonstrates that racial categories of analysis were not confined to the edges of Chinese thought systems, but have been widespread and influential during the past century. Secondly, he argues that racial discourse did not result from 'Western influence' but was largely due to endogenous developments which had only a minimal relationship to Western thought. Thirdly, he dispels the myth of Chinese 'cultural universalism' to show that outgroups were often classified according to physical characteristics alleged to be permanent. And finally, he indicates that this discourse did not exist in isolation of social movements but was part of a symbolic universe in perpetual change. Frank Dikotter's conceptual approach is grounded in discourse analysis, social constructivism and intergroup sociology. He makes detailed comparisons with Western notions of race, and approaches a number of related topics such as Occidentalism, non-Darwinian evolutionism, categorical thought, the construction of emotions, and the misuse of

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804719940
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
Publication date:
01/01/1994
Pages:
259
Product dimensions:
5.91(w) x 8.66(h) x (d)

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