Everyday Modernity in China

Edited by Madeleine Yue Dong and Joshua Lewis Goldstein

  • $35.00s paperback (9780295986029) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2006
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; History
  • Bibliographic information: 336 pp., 3 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Studies in Modernity and National Identity
  • Contents

Is modernity in non-Western societies always an "alternative" modernity, a derivative copy of an "original modernity" that began in the West? No, answer the contributors to this book, who then offer an absorbing set of case studies from modern China to make their point. By focusing on people's ordinary routines of working, eating, going to school, and traveling, the authors examine the notion of modernity as it has been staged in the minute details of Chinese life.

Essays explore people's basic search for food, water, and lighting during the late-Qing - early republican era; contradictory attitudes toward women and the violence of foot-binding; the role of Chinese scientists in promoting a shift to modern, nationalistic discourses; the growing popularity of savings banks among urban Chinese in the early twentieth century; the transnational and national identities of returned overseas Chinese in Xiamen, Fujian Province; and middle-class "Shanghai travelers" who imagined themselves as cosmopolitan consumers.

Looking at the post-Mao reform era of the late twentieth century, contributors explore the theme of "revaluation" - that is, the way China's move into global capitalism is commoditizing goods and services that previously were not for sale, from domestic labor to recycling and water resources, in an increasingly consumer-oriented society.
Madeleine Yue Dong is associate professor of international studies at the University of Washington. Joshua Goldstein is assistant professor of modern Chinese history at the University of Southern California. Other contributors include Alana Boland, James Cook, Wang Hui, Rebecca Karl, Hanchao Lu, Brett Sheehan, and Hairong Yan.
Introduction / Joshua Goldstein
1. Out of the Ordinary: Implications of Material Culture and Daily Life in China / Hanchao Lu
2. The Violence of the Everyday in Early Twentieth-Century China / Rebecca Karl
3. Discursive Community and the Genealogy of Scientific Categories / Wang Hui
4. The Modernity of Savings, 1900-1937 / Brett Sheehan
5. Reimagining China: Xiamen, Overseas Chinese, and a Transnational Modernity / James A. Cook
6. Shanghai's China Traveler / Madeleine Yue Dong
7. Self-Development of Migrant Women and the Production of Suzhi (Quality) as Surplus Value / Yan Hairong
8. The Remains of the Everyday: One Hundred Years of Recycling in Beijing / Joshua Goldstein
9. From Provision to Exchange: Legalizing the Market in China's Urban Water Supply / Alana Boland

"[This] approach is stimulating, the new research welcome, and the details memorable: between the shop-houses of Xiamen, the hot-dry noodles of Wuhan and the tale of Xiaohong's dismissal, readers will find much to enjoy."
-The China Journal