Under the pressure of the national crisis in modern China, millennia-old traditional concepts have been broken and adjusted, and new trends and ideas have emerged in large numbers. In order to defeat local cosmetics, from the moment they entered China foreign cosmetics companies attacked the traditional Chinese cosmetics of eyebrow pigment (dai), lip pigment (gong), rouge (zhi), and face powder (fen). Corresponding to the enlightenment ideas of the early twentieth century, women could no longer pursue beauty in a way that harmed their bodies. In the movement to liberate women’s bodies in the 1920s, radical intellectuals developed a severe criticism of the bad habits of using corsets and applying powder, and the concept of “healthy beauty” came into being. However, in the context of the development of the women’s liberation movement and the respect for women’s consumer rights, the healthy beauty theory failed to suppress women’s consumption of beauty products, and “natural beauty” and “artificial beauty” ultimately coexisted in lifestyles of women in the modern era of Shanghai.
Since 1949, Chinese mainland historians and creators in film and television, novels, and reportage have continued to shape the heroic image of female groups in the base areas of the Communist Party of China (CPC) during the Anti-Japanese War. They participated in production, women’s mobilization, and reconstruction of the rural political order “like men.” They pursued the equality between men and women, marked by freedom of marriage, and also participated in regional guerrilla warfare to combat the Japanese puppet army “as men.” However, in the remote villages of north China at the end of the Qing dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China, it was not common for women to unbind their feet. In wartime, most women over twenty years of age were forever left with the “three-inch golden lotus” (sancun jinlian) feet. The damage of the war accelerated their acceptance of the CPC’s emancipation concepts and policies and presented them with an opportunity to actively implement them. The experience of survival drastically changed traditional aesthetics, ideas, and customs related to women. Physical and psychological changes occurred as a result of the war; women began to go out of their homes to participate in the work of the Women’s Salvation Association and the Youth Salvation Association, and a group of women achieved marriage equality between men and women in the form of “divorce her husband” (qi xiu fu). Due to pressure, women carried more physical and mental responsibilities, faced insufficient advocacy for their rights, and the aesthetics and mentality of womanhood underwent change.
During the period of the Japanese occupation, ordinary civil servants were the main force keeping the puppet municipal government of Tianjin functioning. In the first years of the occupation, the puppet municipal government mainly hired former civil servants who had served under the Nanjing National Government. After the situation was stable, the puppet municipal government also recruited civil servants by civil service examinations. The ranks of civil servants and the rules and regulations they observed were basically the same as those of the former National Government. Most ordinary civil servants came from the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, and were relatively young and well educated. They mainly relied on their salaries for their livelihood. For the first three years of the Japanese occupation they lived comfortably, because of their relatively high and stable incomes and the slow rate of inflation. After that, inflation soared, but their salaries did not increase correspondingly, therefore the living conditions of civil servants declined constantly. The Japanese puppet government exercised strict control over civil servants, physically and psychologically, and forced them to receive enslaving education. In short, they were in a distorted and struggling state both in their material life and their spiritual world.
This article explores the life of the professors of National Southwest Associated University during the Anti-Japanese War in detail, and tries to reveal their mental outlook and their enlightenment on how to live. The paper also describes the daily lives of Professor Zheng Tianting and his colleagues, including living and sleep, body care, diet and hobbies, family life, closeness to nature, appreciation of cultural artifacts, various cultural and entertainment activities, nostalgia for deceased relatives, communication and care within clans and social groups, diary writing, and self-cultivation. Zheng and his colleagues from National Southwest Associated University felt deeply that people living in social groups needed to take the initiative to find friends, make friends, and be critical friends. Friends can encourage each other, solve difficulties, promote personal development, enrich life interest, and improve quality of life, which makes an already active life more dynamic and colorful. The life of Zheng and his colleagues was in accord with the social conditions of the times. There are three aspects of consistency between them: the common experience of war, patriotic spirit, and confidence that China would definitely win; traditional moral benevolence and the inheritance of the spirit of the ancient Chinese intellectuals who cared about the country and the people before personal enjoyment; and maintaining the spirit of the times, which was a new awareness of independent personality and consciousness. There are many inspirations for life that can be drawn from the daily life of Zheng and his colleagues: People should have a rich and diverse life, every meal deserves to be taken seriously, and one should watch art performances, play mahjong and poker, appreciate art works, collect cultural relics, and so on. Such is what life should mean. Whether it was the willingness of the professors of National Southwest Associated University to “go Dutch” when they had dinner parties during the Republic of China or the novel experience of daylight savings time, these were considered new things in life. They are a reminder that we need to continue to supersede closed thoughts. The professors, who had both the essence of traditional morality and the modern sense of democracy, realized their desire to be their own “master.”
The judicial system in Qing Beijing integrated both Ming and Manchu institutions. In the Ming judicial system, the first level of courts in Beijing included the Ministry of Justice and the Censorate, and on the second level was the Court of Judicial Review. During the Ming, however, this system became heavily disrupted by the intelligence security apparatuses, like the Eastern Depot. In the Manchu system, on the first level of courts was the banner company captains and on the second level was the Ministry of Justice. After 1644, the Ming’s institutional legacies and lessons remained so important to Manchu rulers that they eventually created an integrated legal system that primarily drew from the Ming system. This integration reflected the Qing dynasty’s endeavor to adopt Ming institutions. Prince Regent Dorgon insisted upon judicial separation on the first level of the courts—Censors of the Five Wards could not settle cases involving banner people, nor could the banner system handle cases involving civilians—while the Shunzhi emperor and his successors wanted judicial unity in Beijing and ordinary banner people and civilians to be adjudicated by the same courts.
This article uses case studies to examine the rainmaking activities of provincial military governors during a historical period when a decentralized China suffered from frequent droughts. On the one hand, it analyzes why their rainmaking has been interpreted in a very negative light and demonstrates that progressive intellectuals writing in the Republican-era (1912–49) print media were crucial to fostering misunderstandings of the rainmaking activities of these “warlords” as superstitious and backward. On the other hand, it argues that public ceremonies of praying for rain served as a crucial venue for the military governors to perform their local authority and make a claim to political legitimacy. Some of them pursued efficacy by all possible means, including experimenting with Western “scientific” rainmaking techniques of concussion and fire, which suggests that their rainmaking efforts were not merely a utilization of traditionalism, but drew from a complex and eclectic rainmaking culture emerged in early twentieth-century China. In an age when truly effective weather modification methods had not yet been discovered, the highly visible public rainmaking activities of warlords, regardless of results, constituted an integral and important dimension of their local governance, particularly in desperate times, amidst prolonged and severe droughts when popular feeling was unsettled and volatile.
This article examines disability as a contested notion of social inclusion by focusing on the blind songstress (guji) in early twentieth-century Guangzhou (Canton). Through personal memoirs, the print press, and institutional documents, this article reconstructs the social life of guji as their experiences intersected with professional community, workplace, and charity. First, I show that the adoption of blind girls from families into training guilds managed by veteran guji was a chosen kinship strategy for blind women since the late Qing period. Second, the commercial sponsorship of guji following the establishment of the Republic not only expanded working opportunities for blind women but also exposed their vulnerability to male-dominated entertainment spheres. Third, the reformist critique of guji as an inappropriate form of sex-related consumption pushed the nascent military government to collaborate with foreign missionaries in “rescuing” blind girls from their professional households. The experiences of guji thus reveal competing ideas of what qualified a disabled person to become a member of society at the beginning of the twentieth century, as work-based inclusion gave way to charitable inclusion as an outcome of shifting social attitudes toward the employment of women with disabilities.
Late nineteenth and early twentieth century China faced a grave national crisis resulting from intense foreign pressure and a rigid political system that was incapable of adapting to the challenges of the modern world. China’s decline did, however, lead to a wave of nationalism that swept across Chinese society. Set against this backdrop, a new generation of patriotically minded intellectuals, one with relatively broad exposure to Western thinking and academic methods, turned its focus to enlightening the oppressed masses as a means of bringing about national salvation. These intellectuals pursued this forward-looking aim by looking to the past for inspiration. More specifically, they looked to folk culture as a means of connecting with the common people and weaving together a new discourse that promoted national unity. Under these circumstances, a group of professors at Peking University, including Zhou Zuoren, Liu Fu, and Gu Jiegang, began to search for vernacular works in folk culture. This article examines folklore studies at Peking University expanding from folksongs to folk customs and other forms of folk literature. It focuses on early folklorists’ activities, folklore organizations, and primary publications. Under the university’s influence, folklore studies appeared in various newspapers and other research institutions in Beijing and Shanghai in rapid succession.
This article serves to analyze the role and history of philology within modern Chinese humanities-based scholarship, using the work of Fu Sinian and the establishment of the Institute of History and Philology as a framework with which to observe the changing status of philology as a practice within contemporary Chinese humanities. Despite its critical function within the Western scholarship and cultural development that inspired modern Chinese scholars as well as its centrality to Fu Sinian’s groundbreaking efforts, philology has been all but ignored in recent years, and its purpose has been rendered niche and peripheral. Additionally, the ambiguity that has surrounded the term “philology” itself since its earliest days within the Chinese academic world has only intensified over time, thereby exacerbating the field’s marginalized status. The author’s goal is to call attention to the complexity and importance of philology that has been so critically overlooked in recent times by outlining six distinct yet interrelated categories of philology/philological study, ranging from a basic academic “love of words, text, and learning” to a broad life view. By providing a detailed, segmented glimpse into the otherwise vaguely-defined phenomenon of philology, its vital function as mankind’s sole means of comprehending the past is made clear, and a “return to philology” is advocated in order to preserve those specific academic fields that draw their origins from philology and avoid a collapse of scholarly humanities study as a whole.