1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

"'Civilizing' China: Cultural Beliefs about the Urban and Modern in the People’s Republic of China"

"The Chinese Revolution of 1949 is seen by scholars as the quintessential peasant  revolution, and a pro-peasant stance became standard in political rhetoric following the Revolution. But during my ethnographic work over the last three decades I have heard just the opposite view of the peasantry expressed by both urban and rural Chinese. In this lecture I will discuss the stigmatizing of the peasantry and the corresponding valorization of the city. I will demonstrate how the governmental  mission to urbanize China is not only motivated by economic imperatives, as many scholars argue, but is a process emically"
"construed to ""civilize"" the nation and its peasantry. The talk concludes by comparing China's civilizing tropes to those common in other nations and cultures.
"Martin Schoenhals is a cultural anthropologist specializing in China. He first conducted  research in China in 1988-89 at an elite urban high school. He later returned  to study the Sichuan Province countryside and the consequences of Sichuan's huge out-migration  of peasants to coastal urban work sites."
"Schoenhals  has been a professor at numerous universities, including Columbia University, the  University of Pennsylvania,Johns Hopkins University and  Swarthmore College."
1:00 PM, Brooks Hall Commons
Reception to follow in Brooks Hall Foyer
Co-Sponsored with the East Asia Center and The Global Studies Program
Event Date: 
Friday, 16 February 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Martin Shoenhals
Speaker Title: 
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill