The Rural Modern: Reconstructing The Self And State In Republican China

Hardcover | August 17, 2016

byKate Merkel-hess

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Discussions of China’s early twentieth-century modernization efforts tend to focus almost exclusively on cities, and the changes, both cultural and industrial, seen there. As a result, the communist peasant revolution appears as a decisive historical break. Kate Merkel-Hess corrects that misconception by demonstrating how crucial the countryside was for reformers in China long before the success of the communist revolution.
 
In The Rural Modern, Merkel-Hess shows that Chinese reformers and intellectuals created an idea of modernity that was not simply about what was foreign and new, as in Shanghai and other cities, but instead captured the Chinese people’s desire for social and political change rooted in rural traditions and institutions. She traces efforts to remake village education, economics, and politics, analyzing how these efforts contributed to a new, inclusive vision of rural Chinese life. Merkel-Hess argues that as China sought to redefine itself, such rural reform efforts played a major role, and tensions that emerged between rural and urban ways deeply informed social relations, government policies, and subsequent efforts to create a modern nation during the communist period.

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Discussions of China’s early twentieth-century modernization efforts tend to focus almost exclusively on cities, and the changes, both cultural and industrial, seen there. As a result, the communist peasant revolution appears as a decisive historical break. Kate Merkel-Hess corrects that misconception by demonstrating how crucial the c...

Kate Merkel-Hess is assistant professor of history and Asian studies at Penn State University. She has written for the Times Literary  Supplement and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and she is coeditor of China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance.  

other books by Kate Merkel-hess

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State Violence in East Asia

Kobo ebook|Jan 24 2013

$50.59 online$65.62list price(save 22%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:August 17, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022638327X

ISBN - 13:9780226383279

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

A Note on Romanization
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1          Writing for New Literates in the Chinese Countryside
2          To the Countryside
3          Organizing the Village
4          Village Contestations
5          A Movement Made and Lost
Conclusion
Archives
Notes
Glossary of Chinese Terms
Bibliography
Index
 

Editorial Reviews

“The Rural Modern addresses a very important and neglected topic. Despite works focusing on the performance of rural economy, we still don’t have a full picture of the modernization movement in China’s rural hinterland. Merkel-Hess fills this glaring gap by contributing an extensive bird’s-eye narrative of a key aspect of China’s nation-building efforts, as well as creating a convincing panoramic view of the movement and highlighting both common themes and fundamental differences.”