Textbook Notes (367,747)
Canada (161,363)
POLI 338 (20)
Juan Wang (20)

POLI 338 - Gladney: Representing Nationality in China.doc

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Political Science
POLI 338
Juan Wang

Gladney – Representing Nationality in China: Refiguring Majority/Minority Identities Argues: 'minority' in China reflects objectivizing of a 'majority' nationality discourse that parallels the valorization of gender and political hierarchies. Minority is to majority as female is to male. Widespread notion/representation of 'minority' as exotic, colourful, and 'primitive' homogenizes undefined majority as united, monoethnic, and modern. Reveals much about project of 'imagined' national identity. Argues that the objectified portrayal of minorities as exoticized, and even eroticized, is essential to the construction of the Han Chinese majority, the very formulation of the Chinese 'nation' itself. That is, representation of minorities has more to do with constructing a majority discourse than with minorities themselves. Chinese representation of minorities have strong parallels with Western portrayals of the 'East'; this is an 'oriental orientalism.' Thus, so-called 'peripheral minorities' have played a pivotal role in influencing and constructing contemporary Chinese society and identity. This objectification of minorities is more than a response to Western consumer tourism; it also provides state with symbolic capital. The Public Display and Commodification of the Minority Other in China On New Years' Eve show: “In striking resemblance to the 'tribute' offerings of the ancient Chinese empires, the minorities performed, sang, and presented ritualized prostrations as they offered greetings to the studio audience.” That China is a multinational state is a point critical to China's representation of itself to itself, and to the international sphere. So is the myth of democratic representation. Points to pictorial Chinese Nationalities, where ethnic minorities are represented in natural setting and in traditional dress, while the Han is represented in modern dress and an urban setting. “The state, through commodifying and representing its minorities as colrful and exotic, engages in a project familiar to the representation of colonized peoples by colonial regimes.” Essentializing the Han Presentation of Han has 'normal' and 'un-exotic' is critical for understanding construction of present-day Chinese identity. Argus that han minzu is a modern phenomenon, arising from the shift from empire to nation. This first gained popularity under Sun Yatsen. It is surprising that the invention of han nationalism has never been challenged by China scholars. Han Modernity and the Construction of Primitivity Chinese Marxist social science is heavily influenced by stage evolutionary theory. “In China, minority studies became an avenue for proving Morgan (and it was believed, Marxist thought in general) to be right, over and over again, through the examination of minorities as representatives of earlier forms of society, 'living fossils' of savagery and barbarism. The Han, as representative of 'higher' forms of civilization, were clearly more evolved.” The Han “are defined to be in the cultural and technical vanguard, the manifest destiny of all the minorities.” The 'primitivity' of the minorities contrasts and brings out the supposed Han 'modernity.' In the West, it is 'whiten
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