Negotiating the Knowledge: The Formation of Socio-Anthropological Discipline and Chinese Nation-State Building

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: Booth 49
Oral Presentation
Yujing TAN , Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands
This paper intends to trace the early history of the formation of sociology and anthropology in China, and interpret how it had been defined and became a discipline under the nation-state building period. In order to illustrate the kaleidoscopic intellectual landscape, my paper divides into three parts:

Firstly, I will depict the general history of Chinese anthropology and the logic to facilitate the sociological and anthropological knowledge as a discipline “seeing like a state” before 1949. The Chinese anthropologists and state had to face up with two main intended or unintended social goals under the first round of nation-state building in China (1911-1949): the one is to construct a stable Chinese Nation (Zhonghua Minzu) community by which the modern state can identify itself and stand up to the external Others; the other is to mentally and physically develop and reform the country. Second, I will interpret how the academic circles and intellectuals of sociology and anthropology co-relate with the nation-state building projects from 1911 to 1949. Huang Xianfan (1899-1982), Wu Wenzao (1901-1985) and Lin Chunsheng (1902-1981)’s academic lives can vividly signify how and why different intellectual trajectories jointly push forward the Chinese sociological and anthropological knowledge. And I will close read their academic writings to show how the geopolitical facts impact their choice to produce the sociological and anthropological knowledge about understanding Chinese nation-state, and ask the questions how Huang’s learning from Tokyo Imperial University combined with the understanding of Chinese social realities made him a scholar of sociology and anthropology different from the nationalists, how Wu and Lin went to different discipline-formation track and settled their knowledge in China and Taiwan. At last, I will give opening conclusion on dealing with the relationship between the geopolitical gain/production of the knowledge and the practice of the knowledge in modern China.