Journal of Modern Chinese History
VOLUME 12 NUMBER 2 December 2018
Articles: The Transformation of Media in Modern China
Rethinking Media History in Modern China: The Cases of Lithography, Slide Shows, the Telegraph, and Motion Pictures
May Bo CHING
Pictures and Music from Stone: The Indigenization of Lithography in Modern China, 1876-1945
XIE Xin; May Bo CHING
ABSTRACT: Lithography, which originated in Germany, was introduced into China by European missionaries in the nineteenth century. Inexpensive and uncomplicated, it quickly became an important medium for disseminating knowledge throughout a century of social change in modern China. The indigenization of this foreign technology in China was constantly shaped by and in turn shaped a variety of factors such as equipment, materials, human agency, and the market. This new method of printing enabled Chinese publishers to disseminate information and knowledge vividly and introduced Chinese elements into the printing of images and musical notation.
KEYWORDS: Lithography, science magazines, illustrated newspaper, calendar posters, Chinese musical notation
The Early Slide Projector and Slide Shows in China from the Late Seventeenth to the Early Twentieth Century
ABSTRACT: In the mid-seventeenth century, Europeans invented the early slide projector, which was later introduced to China both by Jesuit missionaries and through foreign trade. By the nineteenth century, this “Western instrument” had become an important aid in Protestant missionaries’ “scientific preaching,” and its use had spread throughout China; slides and the slide show became a major medium for disseminating modern knowledge. Against the background of the global circulation of knowledge in the period from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth century, complex interactions occurred between local resources in China and this medium in terms of denotation, production, use, and diffusion. Modern educational technologies and patterns involving the projector and slides became popular at church speeches, at public lectures in treaty ports, and in modern school education in China. Changes also occurred in how Chinese intellectuals gathered and in the role they played: they shifted from forming their own associations to holding open slide presentations. This had a profound influence on their transition from literati to intellectuals.
KEYWORDS: Magic lantern, slide projector, scientific preaching, modern education, knowledge production
The Grammar of the Telegraph in the Late Qing: The Design and Application of Chinese Telegraphic Codebooks
ABSTRACT: The invention of the telegraph was an important chapter in the nineteenth-century revolution in communication. The key to disseminating information at the speed of photoelectricity was to devise a coding system for converting text into electric signals. Based on the widely used Morse code, symbols (letters of the alphabet or numbers) were used to represent phrases and sentences, and various codebooks were compiled for the purpose of transmitting messages confidentially and economically. When international telegraph lines reached China in 1871, the Great Northern Telegraph Company of Denmark devised the first Chinese codebook for sending and receiving telegraphic messages in Chinese. Officials and businessmen in the late Qing period also made many attempts to do this. The Zongli Yamen, the foreign affairs ministry in imperial China, compiled and issued a codebook entitled New Regulations for Telecommunications (Dianxin xinfa), establishing a new mechanism for governmental exchanges of information. Those who did not possess a codebook had to rely on those who did. At the same time, some departments and government-controlled corporations (guandu shangban) compiled codebooks as well, which caused obstructions in intrabureaucratic communication.
KEYWORDS: Telegraph, Chinese codebooks, New Regulations for Telecommunications (Dianxin xinfa), Zongli Yamen, information exchange mechanisms
From Motion Pictures to Still Photographs: A Case Study of A Page in the History of the Republic
ABSTRACT: China’s pioneering filmmaker Li Minwei began making the documentary film A Page in the History of the Chinese Republic (Jianguo shi zhi yi ye), aka The Glorious Cause (Xun ye qianqiu), shortly before the start of the Northern Expedition, but did not complete the film until the end of WWII. During these two decades, the Chinese motion picture industry underwent the transition from silent films to films with sound. This technical evolution made it possible for Li’s documentary to be reedited, dubbed, and used as a source for still photographs. During this process, the film was used to produce varied historical narratives to appeal to different audiences. By focusing on the production history of this documentary film rather than the finished filmic text, this study offers an alternative approach to the study of media history.
KEYWORDS: Documentary film, Sun Yat-sen, Li Minwei, Jianguo shi zhi yi ye, Xun ye qianqiu
Giving Voice to the Voiceless People in Local Society: An interview with Wang Di, June 6, 2018
WANG Di; LIU Wennan
Digital Data and Historical Studies: An Introduction to the Data Platform of the Anti-Japanese War and Modern Sino-Japanese Relations
ABSTRACT: Built by the Institute of Modern History at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Data Platform of the Anti-Japanese War and Modern Sino-Japanese Relations is an integrative platform that upholds the ideals of public interest and sharing. Since its online trial use in the second half of 2017, this data platform has added about four hundred late Qing and Republican era newspapers, more than eight hundred periodicals from those periods, and more than eight thousand books. It also contains over eight million pages of scanned and catalogued images. Compared with other large databases related to modern Chinese history, this data platform has clear advantages: it has more data and is easier to use. It is an attempt to build a research-oriented integrated database in the age of big data.
KEYWORDS: Data Platform of the Anti-Japanese War and Modern Sino-Japanese Relations, free database, big data
Premodern Beijing and Western Civilization, by OUYANG Zhesheng, Beijing, Peking University Press, 2018, 653 pp., ISBN 978-7-301-29676-9
The Relief Campaign after the Eight-Nation Alliance’s Invasion in 1900, by FENG Zhiyang, Beijing, Beijing Normal University Press, 2018, 410 pp., ISBN 978-7-303-23620-6
Between Locality and Nation: Literati in Wenzhou Prefecture in the Late Qing and the Local Transformation of Knowledge, by XU Jiagui, Shanghai, Fudan University Press, 2018, 559 pp., ISBN 978-7-3091-3619-7
Modern Chinese Magistracies in a Period of Great Change: Individuals and Groups, 1906-1928, by LI Zaiquan, Beijing, Social Sciences Academic Press, 2018, 401 pp., ISBN 978-7-5201-2350-1
The Search for a New Republic: A Study on Thoughts and Activities of Zhang Dongsun at His Early Age (1886-1932), by GAO Bo, Beijing, SDX Joint Publishing Company, 2018, 401 pp., ISBN 978-7-108-06216-1
Intellection as a Way of Living: Rethinking Modern Chinese Intellectual History, by WANG Fansen, Beijing, Peking University Press, 2018, 364 pp., ISBN 978-730-12-7029-5
Sacred Labor: The Perspective of Early Chinese Sociology, by WEN Xiang, Beijing, The Commercial Press, 2018, 266 pp., ISBN 978-7-100-15905-0
Creating a Consumer Paradise: Department Stores and the Modern Urban Culture of Shanghai, by LIAN Lingling, Beijing, Social Sciences Academic Press, 2018, 460 pp., ISBN 978-7-5201-2668-7
A Collection of Historical Documents on Taxation in the Republican Period, compiled by WEI Wenxiang, Beijing, National Library of China Publishing House, 2018, 30 vols., 18,000 pp., ISBN 978-7-5013-6318-6