On Chinese exceptionalism, politics in history, and an interview with Harvard's Mark C. Elliott

Posted on by Graham Webster

The China Story website from Australian National University has a wonderful interview with Mark C. Elliott,* a professor at Harvard University and an authority on the role of Manchu and other ethnic ideas in Chinese history. The full interview is very much worth the read. In dialogue with Elisa Nesossi, Elliott offers perspectives on the continuities of “China” across several thousand years, on competing definitions and understandings of the “Han,” and…

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'Chinese' proves U.S. citizenship by speaking Chinook

Posted on by Graham Webster

Sometime in the 1870s, a Chinese man named Ling Fu was brought before Judge Cornelius Hanford in Seattle’s courthouse, accused of not having the proper citizenship papers. Facing deportation, Ling Fu argued that he did not need to carry papers: he had been born on Puget Sound. To test him, Judge Hanford quickly shifted his inquiry into Chinook Jargon, which had become nearly as common as Whulshootseed or English in Puget Sound…

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On the unfortunate presentism of China political science

Posted on by Graham Webster

From Neil J. Diamant on why we might want to study things before Reform and Opening in order to understand Chinese politics:

“Given the short history of the PRC, and that much of what we have learned about its politics is based in the ‘pre-archival era,’ it is far too soon to relegate the foundational years and critical events of the prereform PRC to ‘history.’ Think about this: what would the field of…

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California apologizes to Chinese Americans; U.S. Congress next?

Posted on by Graham Webster

Chinese migrants in California faced discrimination, violence, and forced expulsion from their homes on many occasions beginning in the mid-19th century. One historian’s account found almost 200 “roundups,” in which Chinese were pushed out of jobs, homes, and cities by those who resented the competition for jobs or mining spoils, or simply didn’t like Chinese people.* A lot of people are not around to hear the state of California apologize.

From Ling…

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Wasserstrom on the History of Chinese Boycotts

Posted on by Graham Webster

In The Nation, University of California, Irvine Professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom writes on some recent and not-so-recent history of anti-foreign boycotts in China:

Between the 1910s and 1930s, several foreign powers found themselves the target of Chinese student-led boycotts. In the majority of cases, Japanese products were the ones that were shunned, in protest of Japan’s encroachments into North China. One of the biggest of these took place during the May Fourth Movement…

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