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By Tong Lam

During this path-breaking e-book, Tong Lam examines the emergence of the "culture of truth" in smooth China, exhibiting how elites and intellectuals sought to remodel the dynastic empire right into a countryside, thereby making sure its survival. Lam argues that an epistemological break free from conventional modes of realizing the observable international started round the flip of the 20 th century. Tracing the Neo-Confucian university of evidentiary examine and the fashionable departure from it, Lam indicates how, in the course of the upward thrust of the social survey, "the truth" turned a simple conceptual medium and resource of fact. In targeting China's social survey stream, a fondness for evidence analyzes how details generated through more than a few learn practices--census, sociological research, and ethnography--was mobilized by means of competing political factions to visualize, deal with, and remake the state.

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Extra resources for A Passion for Facts: Social Surveys and the Construction of the Chinese Nation-State, 1900-1949 (Asia Pacific Modern)

Sample text

It was through the development of natural philosophy in the seventeenth century, she argues, that facts were gradually naturalized and emptied of their marvelous connotations. 9 Similarly, Mary Poovey has traced the history of the fact in a wide-ranging survey of cultural practices from the first manual on double-entry bookkeeping to economic writings and statistical discourses in early modern England. 10 The development of the category of the fact from its specific medieval and early modern meanings into an instrument for a broad range of cultural practices such as news reportage, travel writing, history, ethnography, science, and even fiction in the eighteenth century marked the beginning of a fact-based culture.

23 After World War I (1914–18), American social scientists further distanced themselves from what they regarded as the ideology- and conflict-imbued Old World. 24 In many ways, the development of American social sciences early in the Lam, A Passion for Facts 28 / 8/18/11 12:58 PM Page 28 The Rise of the Fact twentieth century has to be understood against the larger backdrop of the era’s unprecedented expansion of industrial capitalism. The intensification of industrialization as well as the rise of liberal activism during the American Progressive era (1890s to 1920s) led to a demand for a new way of governing the population and new applicable social knowledge.

They therefore set out to educate the people, making them use social facts to reimagine their social and political existence in order to convert them into collective national subjects and patriotic citizens. The focus of chapter 2 is on the hitherto neglected national census that took place between 1909 and 1911, which, in many ways, marked the beginning of the movement to produce facts about the social world. In order to show the novelty of this census, this chapter first examines the old census system and analyzes how the Qing empire was capable of deploying multiple systems of census according to the ideological and political structure of the empire in order to keep track of its vast and diverse population.

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