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Title:A Semiotic Phenomenology of the Boxers' Movements: A Contribution to A Hermeneutics of Historical Interpretation
Author(s):Chen, Kuang-Chung
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Social Structure and Development
Abstract:In this project, I attempt to illustrate how history is reconstructed by the power/knowledge discourse. Within the concrete study of the Boxers' movements (abbreviated as BsMs hereafter) in China between 1898 and 1901, I have indicated the fundamental problem: the sources are insufficient and have to be examined hermeneutically (interpreted as texts). That is, history and its production contain the problematics of temporality, causality, facts vs. meaning, data vs. realities. I attempt to offer an alternative possibility of understanding which, mainly, includes a set of unexplored materials and a new way of interpretation, i.e., an intersubjective-synchronic analysis of Chinese nationalism in late nineteenth-century China.
In Chapter II, I will specifically illustrate the kinds of general problems of historical study which exist in the Boxer historiography: politicized readings, objective over-emphases and the tyranny of historical documents. Chapter III is an overview of the different discourses of power/knowledge, viz., the ex post facto reconstructions of the BsMs after 1901.
In Chapter IV, I will list six translated placards produced in the "conjuncture" of the BsMs and briefly introduce how they were presented. An analytic reading is placed at the end of each text to point out the general organizing principle of the social formation of nineteenth-century China. By examining conventional and current views on nationalism and ideology, Althusser and Geertz especially, I submit that nationality, the subjectivity of a nation is constituted relationally in a process of meaning production in Chapter V. Culture has been considered as a determining factor of nation and nationalism. With the aid of the semiotic square, I will lay out the structural form of the Chinese culture in Chapter VI. Chapter VII illustrates the historical dimension of synchronicity which has been emphasized in other chapters. Chapter VIII concludes by briefly re-summarizing my key arguments and my suggestion for further directions for research on the subject. I will end this dissertation with a discussion of a sociology of meaning and its relevance to the "total history" paradigm.
Issue Date:1985
Description:319 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1985.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8600146
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1985

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