Awakening China: Politics, Culture, and Class in the Nationalist Revolution

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Stanford University Press, 1996 - History - 461 pages
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This innovative work is the first to approach the awakening of China as a historical problem in its own right, and to locate this problem within the broader history of the rise of modern China. It analyzes the link between the awakening of China as a historical narrative and the awakening of the Chinese people as a political technique for building a sovereign and independent state. In sum, it asks what we mean when we say that China "woke up" in this century. Fiction and fashion, architecture and autobiography, take their places alongside politics and history, and the reader is asked to move about among writers, philosophers, ethnographers, revolutionaries, and soldiers who would seem to have little in common. Rumor is sometimes taken as seriously as truth, novels are consulted as frequently as documents, and dreams are given a prominence normally reserved for facts in the writing of history. This book follows the legend of China's awakening from its origins in the European imagination, to its transmission to China and its encounter with a lyrical Chinese tradition of ethical awakening, to its incorporation and mobilization in a mass movement designed to wake up everyone. The idea of a national awakening crossed all discursive boundaries to make room for nationalist politics in personal culture and helped to conscript personal culture into service of the revolutionary state. The book focuses on the Nationalist movement in south China, highlighting the role of Sun Yat-sen as director of awakenings in the Nationalist Revolution and the place of Mao Zedong as his successor in the politics of mass awakening. Of special interest is the previously untold story of Mao's role in the NationalistPropaganda Bureau, showing Mao as a master of propaganda and discipline, rather than as peasant movement activist.

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User Review  - Scapegoats - LibraryThing

This book uses the metaphor of “awakening China” to demonstrate how it moved from the almost feudal Qing dynasty to mobilize the Chinese people into a nation-state. Fitzgerald’s focus is on ... Read full review

Awakening China: politics, culture, and class in the Nationalist Revolution

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China in the first three decades of this century was a land in ferment, politically and culturally. The old imperial order was collapsing, and in the ensuing vacuum politicians, literary figures, and ... Read full review

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About the author (1996)

John Fitzgerald is Professor of Asian Studies at La Trobe University, Australia.

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