Coming to Terms with the Nation

Coming to Terms with the Nation China Is A Vast Nation Comprised Of Hundreds Of Distinct Ethnic Communities, Each With Its Own Language, History, And Culture Today The Government Of China Recognizes Just 56 Ethnic Nationalities, Or Minzu, As Groups Entitled To Representation This Controversial New Book Recounts The History Of The Most Sweeping Attempt To Sort And Categorize The Nation S Enormous Population The 1954 Ethnic Classification Project Minzu Shibie Thomas S Mullaney Draws On Recently Declassified Material And Extensive Oral Histories To Describe How The Communist Government, In Power Less Than A Decade, Launched This Process In Ethnically Diverse Yunnan Mullaney Shows How The Government Drew On Republican Era Scholarship For Conceptual And Methodological Inspiration As It Developed A Strategy For Identifying Minzu And How Non Party Member Chinese Ethnologists Produced A Scientific Survey That Would Become The Basis For A Policy On Nationalities. The ethnic Classification Project portrayed in these pages is herculean and fragile all at once The project was monumental, as one can sense most palpably in the way it has saturated all subsequent modes of Chinese ethnological knowledge and formed a prism through which our understanding of Chinese ethnicity and the Chinese nation state is unavoidably refracted, p.134 This is, put simply, an excellent book Its subject the creation of 56 minority nationalities, or minzu in the 1950s where before there had been hundreds is riveting, and Thomas S Mullaney does it full justice with prose which is as detailed as it is enjoyable His choice of case study is also excellent by focusing on the southwestern frontier province of Yunnan, Mullaney is able to trace the extensive influences which British colonial attitudes and styles of scholarship had on the developing field of ethnology in the PRC He begins his investigation, appropriately enough, with the census carried out by the new government in 1953 4, demonstrating how policies from the center relied upon acquiring mass data not only about the life and livelihood, but also the ethnicity of millions of subjects He then examines how the unmanageable results of the census unleashed an enormous academic and adminis
Everyone was still riding the wave of the first flush of enthusiasm after the founding of the People s Republic of China, all kinds of nation building activity was afoot, announcements were being made left, right and centre, and the clock was ticking The first National People s Congress was going to be held in late 1954, all minority peoples of China were legally guaranteed representation and the very reasonable sounding plan was that they should be over representated compared to their proportion of the population, not least to minimize the risk of over domination by the Han majority , but a somewhat amusing problem presented itself no one could say who they were Who exactly was guaranteed representation What were the minority groups of China The most problematic area of the country was Yunnan Province, in the south west Qing Dynasty scholar officials sniffily dismissed as unscientific by their Republican descendants had described hundreds of groups Jiang Jieshi Chiang Kai shek and others in the GMD KMT had insisted that there was only one ethnicity in the whole of China merely divided by dialect, custom and religion though Sun Zhongshan, founder of the mod
I recommend this book if you are interested in the challenges of entering into the nation state model, and how China had to deal with the issue of ethnicity when attempting to form a unified nation The Qi
This book should really be subtitled How a Bored British Army Officer Created China s Ethnic Classification System, because it s mostly sort of true While I wouldn t recommend this book to the casual reader
my friend s advisor at Standford wrote this, seems like it will be a good read Henry Rodolph Davies Responsible for developing an ethnic taxonomy of Yunnan that was later adopted by early twentieth century Chinese ethnologists linguists wrote Yunnan the link between India and the Yangtze Wang Wia Li wrote a diary throughout the classification project of the 1950 s the Chinese State has been remarkably successful in bringing about a convergence between ethnotaxonomic theory and practice, a term Geoffry Bowker and Susan Leigh Star describe as the purposive act of changing the world such that they system s description of reality becomes true 14 Alain Desrosieres the social history of the creation of equivalence looks into how classification works minzu gongzuo nationality work actualizing the prescriptive categories of the 1954 classification politically 1911 end of the Qing Empire nation race single race republic Chiang Kai Sheck committed to this vision of the state Fei Xiatong praised Yunnan as a cultural laboratory par excellence In a single day, we will have travelled from Polynesia to New York Question What are the ontological spatial temporal limits of understanding a given object or phenomenon as it is, where it is, or when it happens See Korin Knorr cotina Epistemic Cultures How the Sciences make knowledge 1999The Davies Model facilitated the creation of at a g
This books moves to debase scholars common conceptions about the history of China s modern national minorities Based on a rigorous reading of the formerly inaccessible 1954 Yunnan Province Ethnic Classification Project, Mullaney interrogates the moments that led to the reification of Yunnan s official minzu, a term that is usually translated as nationality Mullaney argues that the 56 nationalities that currently constitute the Chinese nation were not the result of a CCP fiat that simply mimicked Stalin s Soviet model Instead, a mixture of legacies, politics, and creative work converged to create the nationalities mosaic that structures China s ethnic make up today.The author explains the multiple factors that converged to yield Yunnan s minzu First, the 1954 census was a response to an earlier crisis In an illustration of the Chinese Communists characteristic experimental style, early authorities allowed for the self reporting of nationality in the unpublished 1953 census Around 20 nationalities reported only one member this led to a crisis of representation at the National Congress, which was to allow for one representative for every nationality Second, although the Soviet model w
A fascinating discussion into the nature of identity formation when orchestrated according to government mandate While failing to advance the CCP s promise to provide all ethnic groups with representation in the National People s Congress, the ethnographers
An interesting and well written examination of the development of China s fifty six ethnic groups, with a specific focus on the Ethnic Classification Project in Yunnan Province This book does a great job of not only revealing how these 56 ethnic groups were established, but why and the thought process behind it The background on ethnology in China during the Republic and the early PRC was especially interesting, but occasionally confusing because the information was not given all at once, but scattered throughout several chapters Additionally, the description of ethnic minorities after the 1950s felt very rushed, with only the most basic of descriptions For example, the author mentions that ethnic minorities were persecuted during the Cultural Revolution for being part of the backwards, old traditions, but does not elaborate I would have appreciated information Also, this is a book that is best read with some prior knowledg
Mullaney is an awesome writer, though sometimes too much of a good writing might not be a good thing Anyway, the research is top notch and it deepens our understanding of the fluid ethnic identity and how CCP as well as previous regimes and scholars manipulated masterfully this plasticity of ethnic identity for the socialist project It s neither a dictated Stalin model nor an internalization of British model but a creative synthesis conjured up by the Chinese scholars as well as the inexperience

[Ebook] ↠ Coming to Terms with the Nation  Author Thomas S. Mullaney –
  • Hardcover
  • 256 pages
  • Coming to Terms with the Nation
  • Thomas S. Mullaney
  • English
  • 18 January 2017
  • 9780520262782