East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

November 17 Workshop


Workshop on East Asia:

Politics, Economy and Society Presents

Social Change and the National Imaginary of Intellectuals in 1980s China

Saul Thomas

PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago

4:00-5:30pm, Tuesday

November 17, 2009

Pick Lounge

5828 South University Ave.

Workshop website: http://lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/eastasia/

Student coordinator: Jean Lin (jeanlin@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang, Cheol-sung Lee, Dingxin Zhao

The workshop is sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance, please contact the student coordinator in advance.


While most recent studies of Chinese nationalism have emphasized the
role of the state as the deliberate author of nationalism as a tool for
perpetuating its own legitimacy, this study focuses on the conditions
that shaped the distinct national imaginaries of non-state actors during
the early reform era, particularly intellectuals. I focus primarily on
the social and cultural effects of two developments which proved to be
of central importance for the post-Mao social order: the reinstitution
of the university entrance examination and the establishment of the
market economy. I discuss these social and cultural processes with
reference to the works of Bourdieu and other social scientists, and also
with reference to the concerns raised by the subaltern studies and
postcolonial schools.

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