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Are we "Yellow" and who is "Us"?

Müller-Saini, Gotelind

In: Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung, 32 (2008), pp. 153-180

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This essay proposes to look at the process of introducing Western “scientific” concepts of “race” into China in terms of a negotiated process of “glocalisation” (Robertson), i.e. of being global and local at the same time. In comparison to other terms like indigenisation, appropriation, adaptation etc., the advantage of the “glocalisation” approach is to acknowledge the remaining link (and even at times contribution) to global discourse while at the same time focusing on a specific locality into which something is introduced and by which it is framed. This essay will demonstrate on the one hand in which ways linguistic, cultural and above all historical contingencies were of crucial importance in the process of glocalising “race” in China; on the other it will show how the specific motivation of individual actors made for notable twists in this development. Thus, it will become evident that although the Western “race” concept was taken up by various Chinese, this should not just be interpreted as a passive submission to an “imposed hegemonic discourse” but rather as an active manipulation by different “glocalisers” with their own ends, at times consciously using the pseudo-scientificy of a global discourse to fight against local, i.e. inner-Chinese adversaries. For demonstrating the above, a close reading and a historical contextualisation of texts and authors is proposed here, focusing on texts by Chinese intellectuals of the time.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung
Volume: 32
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2013 08:59
Date: 2008
Page Range: pp. 153-180
Faculties / Institutes: Philosophische Fakultät > Institut für Sinologie
Subjects: 950 General history of Asia Far East
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