The Global and Regional in China’s Nation-Formation

By Prasenjit Duara

© 2009 – Routledge

268 pages

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pub: 2008-12-01
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About the Book

China’s history tends to be studied from a national perspective only. The Global and Regional in China’s Nation-Formation attempts to train our eyes to see the picture of China less as a self-contained entity, a "geobody", than as part of a broader set of global and regional processes; from the "outside-in". It covers the major historical problems of China in the twentieth century, namely imperialism, nationalism, state-building, religion and the role of history

Part I views imperialism and nationalism in China from the perspective of global and regional circulations and interactions. It also examines the changing role of history over the twentieth century from the same perspective. Part II focuses on how myth, religion and Chinese conceptions of society and polity are re-shaped by external influences and forces, as well as how these internal practices themselves shape the external impact. Part III is a comparative section, examining how global processes become unique developments in China.

The Global and Regional in China’s Nation-Formation is an ideal resource for anyone studying China’s history, society and culture.


"Prasenjit Duara is one of the few historians who forces us to think in a completely new way about China. From a new idea of what makes up a nation to a profound rethinking of the nature of colonialism, Duara has reshaped the way we think about the Chinese past and its links to the present. This collection of essays showcases a writer who opens up new windows on China and its place in the world." - Rana Mitter, Oxford University, UK, April 2009

"The great appeal of this collection is it gives an excellent overview of the many provocative theoretical insights that this major scholar offers in his writing. The Global and Regional in China's Nation-Formation also sketches out a provocative new paradigm for historians of modern China, East Asia and, indeed, the modern world." - Justin Tighe, The China Journal, No. 64, 2010

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Nationalism and Imperialism 1. The Global and Regional Constitution of Nations: The View from East Asia 2. The Imperialism of "Free Nations": Japan, Manchukuo, and the History of the Present 3. Historical Narratives and Trans-nationalism in East Asia Part 2: Society and Religion 4. Superscribing Symbols: The Myth of Guandi, Chinese God of War Ch 5: Deconstructing China: How Recent is the Chinese nation? 6. ‘Tradition within Modernity’: Women and Patriarchal Regimes in Inter-war East Asia Part 3: China in Comparative Perspective 7. Between Sovereignty and Capitalism: The Historical Experiences of Migrant Chinese 8. Critics of Modernity in India and China 9. Visions of History, Trajectories of Power: China and India since Decolonization

About the Author

Prasenjit Duara is Director of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore.

About the Series

Asia's Transformations/Critical Asian Scholarship

This series is intended to showcase the most important individual contributions to scholarship in Asian Studies. Each of the volumes presents a leading Asian scholar addressing themes that are central to his or her most significant and lasting contribution to Asian Studies. The series is committed to the rich variety of research and writing in Asia, and is not restricted to any particular discipline, theoretical approach or geographical expertise.

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