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Modern China Lecture Series: The Significance of the Frontier in Twentieth Century Chinese History
March 21, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Speaker: Shellen Wu, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The 1890s set off an unprecedented rush for the last remaining unclaimed lands around the world. Developments in the preceding century saw the social sciences and disciplines like geography and agronomy connecting Europe, the Americas, and Asia. The educated elite from around the world increasingly spoke a common language of science and the social sciences.From the nineteenth through the twentieth centuries, the discourse of endless frontiers stretched from Eastern Europe, Soviet Central Asia and Siberia, to Inner Mongolia, and Western China, in each case becoming absorbed into long-running historical concerns about territory and identity.These disparate places shared a centrally planned vision of turning the frontiers into fertile agricultural heartlands. The global circulation of imperialist and geopolitical discourse helped to shape the modern Chinese geographical imagination. Geomodernity in China emerged from this fundamental spatial reconceptualization of Chinese territoriality.