Book Reviews Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China. By thomas s. mullaney. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. 256 pp. $60.00 (cloth); $29.95 (paper and e-book). In recent years, scholars of modern Chinese history have increasingly turned their attention to various facets of the question of how it was that much of the territory occupied by the multi-ethnic, Manchuled (i.e., non-Chinese) Qing Empire was transformed into the modern Chinese nation-state. In his contribution to the discussion, Thomas Mullaney explains the ideological background and the workings of the Ethnic Classification Project (minzu shibie; ECP), a state-making and nation-building project in early 1950s People's Republic of China (PRC) that succeeded in reducing hundreds upon hundreds of disparate ethnonyms, found in late-Qing gazetteers and/or through the self-identification of putative members of the ethnic groups in an early PRC census, into just fifty-six such names (fifty-five "ethnic minorities" plus the majority Han [Chinese]). Mullaney contends that the state-sponsored, social scientific project was "an attempt to reestablish territorial integrity and to legitimate a state in which a predominantly Han Chinese regime would govern a highly diverse polity encompassing peoples of strikingly different linguistic, cultural, religious, and social backgrounds"
Journal of World History – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Aug 9, 2012