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Title:Staging modern statehood: world exhibitions and the rhetoric of publishing in late Qing China, 1851-1910
Author(s):Hur, Hyungju
Director of Research:Chow, Kai-Wing
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Shao, Dan
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Chow, Kai-Wing; Toby, Ronald P.; Ruskola, Teemu
Department / Program:East Asian Languages and Cultures
Discipline:East Asian Languages and Cultures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
World Exhibition
Chinese Publishing
Sino-Japanese Relationship
Abstract:This dissertation examines how the objective of the Qing government to stage its modern statehood through participating in the world exhibitions and hosting the Nanyang Industrial Exposition of 1910, the first national / international exhibition of China, was challenged and transformed by various agents with different views and rhetorics regarding the representation of China at the exhibitions. The Imperial Maritime Customs, a product of European imperialist encroachment on China, echoed the imperialist discourse on an “uncivilized” China. Simultaneously, Japan strove to demonstrate its status as the only “modern” or “civilized” state in Asia at the world exhibitions and continuously attempted to overwhelm China with its more grandiose exhibits, including those from its colony, Taiwan. In the wake of the Hundred Days’ Reforms of 1898, Chinese intellectuals were becoming increasingly antagonistic toward the Qing government, whose incompetence and corruption were considered major reasons for the humiliating representations of China at world exhibitions, particularly those at the Osaka Exhibition of 1903 and the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. Furthermore, by taking advantage of a transnational network of publication operating beyond the control of the Qing government, the Chinese reformers and revolutionaries circulated rhetorical attacks on the Qing government, undermining its political legitimacy. They condemned the Qing government as the cause of “national humiliation.” Their coverage of the Chinese exhibit was often exaggerated, even fabricated. However, by the time the Nanyang Industrial Exposition was held in 1910, the Qing government had agreed to establish a cabinet and a parliament in order to transform China into a modern, constitutional state. As a result, the Chinese intellectuals adopted a supportive stance toward the exposition, thereby embodying the political reconciliation between the Qing government and the Chinese intellectuals under the rhetoric of constitutionalism. This dissertation shows that the representations of China at the world exhibitions during the late Qing period bespeak, on the one hand, the obstacles China encountered in building a modern state worthy of participation in world exhibitions, and on the other, how their modernizing efforts contributed paradoxically to the undermining of its own legitimacy through transnational communication and the movement of populations in East Asia.
Issue Date:2012-05-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Hyungju Hur
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-05-22
Date Deposited:2012-05

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