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Title: Aspiration for a New Fuzhou: Local Print and Urban Changes, 1927-1937
Keywords: Fuzhou, Local Print, Urban Changes
Issue Date: 18-Jan-2010
Citation: ZHANG JING (2010-01-18). Aspiration for a New Fuzhou: Local Print and Urban Changes, 1927-1937. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This study examines the interactions between local print and urban changes in the city of Fuzhou during the Nanjing Decade (1927-1937) of modern Chinese history. Specifically, it explores how local print sought to promote and implement a wide range of urban reforms. In doing so, these local publications played a crucial and multi-faceted role as propagator, coordinator and overall facilitator in the urban transformation of Fuzhou. The ¿local print¿ in this thesis follows the practice as used in the scholarly works of Barbara Mittler and Joan Judge to refer to ¿Western-style¿ publications which had emerged in the locality and which came to play the role of a ¿middle realm¿ between the power holder and the masses. However, the ¿print¿ here will not be confined exclusively to the newspapers and will instead be extended to cover periodicals, private publications, and a small number of government gazettes. During the Republican era, Fuzhou¿s local print appears to have succeeded in breaking the firm hold of centralized government agencies over the Chinese public sphere and become a channel for Fuzhounese to express their independent voices. The administrative chaos of Fuzhou had posed serious obstacles to urban development in this city during the Nanjing Decade. With the failure of early Republican municipal reforms and of attempts at establishing an independent municipal government, local print took up the responsibility and burden of drawing comprehensive blueprints for the urbanization of Fuzhou. Despite the impracticality of some of their utopian visions, they nevertheless provided new directions for urban reforms in the city. The twin pillars of these urbanization blueprints were the reorganization of urban space and the reforming of urban culture. The former entailed the construction of modern roads and launching of public facilities, while the latter involved campaigns and movements embedded within the broader trend of building a new, modern Chinese nation, such as the anti-superstition movement, the launch of ¿Hygienic Modernity¿ and the promotion of a ¿civilized community¿ in the city. In conjunction with the newly painted visions for the city, Fuzhou¿s local print also advocated the emancipation and liberation of women. Moreover, they tapped into Fuzhou¿s long history of migration by emphasizing how Fuzhou¿s longstanding overseas connections with the Chinese diasporic community could bring enormous benefits to its urban development. By demonstrating how local print in Fuzhou became an influential voice in the urban transformation of the city, this dissertation highlights the emergence of new-style print as a significant force in the shaping of China¿s urban modernity. Local print functioned as a platform for uniting the wisdom and passion of citizens from various segments of society and turning their aspirations for the new city into reality. Moreover, this case study on Fuzhou will hopefully serve as an effort in shifting the attention of history scholarship on urban modernization in China away from its overt focus on great metropolises to the smaller cities. Exploring the developmental experiences of these smaller cities will help in bringing about a fuller picture of historical urban development in Modern China.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D Theses (Open)

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