Critical Han Studies: The History, Representation, and Identity of China's Majority
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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Critical Han Studies: The History, Representation, and Identity of China's Majority

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Addressing the problem of the ‘Han’ ethnos from a variety of relevant perspectives—historical, geographical, racial, political, literary, anthropological, and linguistic—Critical Han Studies offers a responsible, informative deconstruction of this monumental yet murky category. It is certain to have an enormous impact on the entire field of China studies.” Victor H. Mair, University of Pennsylvania

“This deeply historical, multidisciplinary volume consistently and fruitfully employs insights from critical race and whiteness studies in a new arena. In doing so it illuminates brightly how and when ideas about race and ethnicity change in the service of shifting configurations of power.” David Roediger, author of How Race Survived U.S. History

“A great book. By examining the social construction of hierarchy in China,Critical Han Studiessheds light on broad issues of cultural dominance and in-group favoritism.” Richard Delgado, author of Critical Race Theory: An Introduction

“A powerful, probing account of the idea of the ‘Han Chinese’—that deceptive category which, like ‘American,’ is so often presented as a natural default, even though it really is of recent vintage. . . . A feast for both Sinologists and comparativists everywhere.” Magnus Fiskesjö, Cornell University

“This collection of trenchant, penetrating essays interrogates what it means to be ‘Han’ in China, both historically and today. It will make a valuable and enduring contribution to our understanding of the uniqueness and complexity of Chinese history and culture. Dru Gladney, Pomona College

Constituting over ninety percent of China's population, Han is not only the largest ethnonational group in that country but also one of the largest categories of human identity in world history. In this pathbreaking volume, a multidisciplinary group of scholars examine this ambiguous identity, one that shares features with, but cannot be subsumed under, existing notions of ethnicity, culture, race, nationality, and civilization.

Thomas S. Mullaney is a professor of history at Stanford University. James Leibold is senior lecturer and Asian studies program convenor at La Trobe University. Stéphane Gros is a research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. Eric Vanden Bussche is a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University.

Contributors: Uradyn E. Bulag, Kevin Carrico, Zhihong Chen, Tamara Chin, Mark Elliott, C. Patterson Giersch, James Leibold, Thomas S. Mullaney, Nicholas Tapp, Emma J. Teng, Chris Vasantkumar, and Xu Jieshun

Series: New Perspectives on Chinese Culture and Society, vol. 4

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