The first decade of the twentieth century saw anti-Qing insurrection culminate in the 1911 Nationalist Revolution. But the new Nationalist government of the Republic of China had neither the power nor the means to manage the country. Revolutions of different kinds, from ideological to literary, from feminist to cultural, were also taking place and it was these that were really changing the country.
Nationalism did not save China, as the country disintegrated after the 1911 revolution. Warlords were able to control different parts of the country and they battled each other for power. This was further compounded by Russian–Japanese rivalry and the Japanese invasion. War seemed endless as the Chinese people were subjected to the civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists after the end of the Second World War.
This chapter examines the Mao era (1949–1976), when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched many initiatives, the Great Leap Forward being one, to advance the country economically. But differences within the CCP led to a fierce power struggle that resulted in the Cultural Revolution. This brought the country to the brink of collapse and unprecedented suffering to the Chinese people and economy.
The death of Mao ended the Cultural Revolution and opened the way for Deng Xiaoping to undertake much-needed reform. Post-Mao economic reform has pulled millions out of poverty and enabled China to catch up with Western countries/economies. But this has been accomplished without political reform, which has led to a series problems that will continue to plague the CCP.
Women provide a great window for us to gauge the transformation of modern China. This chapter examines the lives and works of Chinese women from the late Qing to the post-Mao era. Although many historians believe that they were oppressed, this chapter will challenge this verdict on women’s liberation and it will also introduce students to the growing body of complex scholarship.
There is a potentially bewildering array of sources for historical material culture research – this chapter explains in detail the potentials and the pitfalls of using different kinds of repositories and also where to locate material in a range of environments including museums, galleries, historic houses and institutions. The chapter provides a step-by-step guide to using museum documentation to locate relevant collections and also discusses online catalogues, which are commonly a first port of call for the material culture researcher.
This chapter highlights how careful and rigorous thinking through of the research questions at an early stage gives confidence in the methodology and justification for using the object or collection as key primary sources. This chapter will show how object-specific questions create important and vital studies in and of themselves, but also how they can contribute to overarching research questions with wider historical significance.
Ten Lessons tells the story of modern China from the eve of the First Opium War to the Xi Jinping era. This was a most turbulent period of time as the Middle Kingdom was torn apart by opium, Christianity, modernisation, imperialists, nationalists, warlords and the Japanese, and as China reinvented and reasserted itself on the world stage in the post-Mao era. Unlike the handful of existing textbooks, which narrate without primary sources and without engaging with academic debate, Ten Lessons is devoted to students, from university to high school, as it uses extensive primary sources to tell the story of modern China and introduces them to scholarship and debates in the field of Chinese history and beyond. This will help students understand the real issues involved, navigate their way through the maze of existing literature and undertake independent research for essays and dissertations. The book also points out gaps and inadequacies in the existing scholarship, to encourage postgraduate studies. It is ‘mental furniture’ for the increasing army of journalists, NGO workers, diplomats, government officials, businesspeople and travellers of all kinds, who often need a good source of background information before they head to China.
This chapter guides researchers through the writing up process. While much of this advice will apply generally to historical writing, this chapter pays particular attention to specific skills and conventions associated with writing about material culture – the use of images and diagrams, appropriate referencing styles and acknowledgements. The chapter discusses writing about material culture in different contexts, for example dissertations and theses as well as object labels and blog posts.
This chapter introduces the three principal theoretical frameworks for doing the history of emotions – emotional communities, emotional regimes, and emotional styles – each of which in turn is associated with a particular scholar: Barbara Rosenwein, William Reddy, Peter Stearns. The chapter also includes a critical review of ‘emotionology’ and ‘emotives’, ‘emotional refuges’ and ‘emotional suffering’.