Unity and Diversity
Local Cultures and Identities in China
ISBN : 978-962-209-402-4
224 pages, 6.5″ x 9.5″
This book examines the evolution of the local identity in China from historical times to the present day. It traces the expression of local identity in religion and myth, in the construction of the provincial character, in the growth of cities, in literature, in economic development and in the expansion of the Chinese state. It argues that the growth of a local identity was part and parcel of the evolution of a national character. But, it notes also that the transforming of the local identity with the extension of the state has often come with a sense of nostalgia, a yearning for a world that has perhaps never been.
“These eleven essays explore the art and practice of establishing, modifying and changing identities among various kinds of Chinese and not-yet-Chinese during the past half-millenium. They are as rich in imagery and imagination as any one interested in Chineseness would want. In the midst of unique cultural exchanges between what is central and what is local in China, one finds much that conforms to the dialogue between cosmopolitan and provincial the whole world over.” —Professor Wang Gungwu, Former Vice-Chancellor, The University of Hong Kong