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Knowing Society, Cultivating Citizens, and Making the State in Post-Imperial China

Knowing Society, Cultivating Citizens, and Making the State in Post-Imperial China REV I EW E S S AY S Knowing Society, Cultivating Citizens, and Making the State in Post-Imperial China Bard College Tong Lam. A Passion for Facts: Social Surveys and the Construction of the Chinese Nation-State, 1900– 1949. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. 280 pp. $60 (cloth). Janet Y. Chen. Guilty of Indigence: The Urban Poor in China, 1900– 1953. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. 320 pp. $45 (cloth/eBook). Understanding society and building the national community were, in many ways, paired common goals for China’s intellectuals and political leaders during the first half of the twentieth century. Complementary new books by Tong Lam and Janet Chen illuminate key dynamics of those processes. Lam’s A Passion for Facts: Social Surveys and the Construction of the Chinese Nation- State, 1900– 1949 tracks the development of the social survey movement (she- hui diaocha yundong) during the first half of the twentieth century. Chen’s Guilty of Indigence: The Urban Poor in China, 1900– 1953 analyzes efforts to explain poverty, categorize the poor, and extend to the needy “active relief,” which was meant to transform them from “parasites” into productive citizens. Together the books demonstrate how new systems of knowledge served to map the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review University of Hawai'I Press

Knowing Society, Cultivating Citizens, and Making the State in Post-Imperial China

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © Research Institute of Korean Studies, Korea University
ISSN
2158-9666
eISSN
2158-9674

Abstract

REV I EW E S S AY S Knowing Society, Cultivating Citizens, and Making the State in Post-Imperial China Bard College Tong Lam. A Passion for Facts: Social Surveys and the Construction of the Chinese Nation-State, 1900– 1949. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. 280 pp. $60 (cloth). Janet Y. Chen. Guilty of Indigence: The Urban Poor in China, 1900– 1953. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. 320 pp. $45 (cloth/eBook). Understanding society and building the national community were, in many ways, paired common goals for China’s intellectuals and political leaders during the first half of the twentieth century. Complementary new books by Tong Lam and Janet Chen illuminate key dynamics of those processes. Lam’s A Passion for Facts: Social Surveys and the Construction of the Chinese Nation- State, 1900– 1949 tracks the development of the social survey movement (she- hui diaocha yundong) during the first half of the twentieth century. Chen’s Guilty of Indigence: The Urban Poor in China, 1900– 1953 analyzes efforts to explain poverty, categorize the poor, and extend to the needy “active relief,” which was meant to transform them from “parasites” into productive citizens. Together the books demonstrate how new systems of knowledge served to map the

Journal

Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture ReviewUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: May 22, 2013

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