Elites, Networks and Power in Modern China

The ENP-China Project invites scholars, researchers, and graduate students from various disciplines to submit their original research papers for presentation at our upcoming event. The conference aims to provide a platform for intellectual exchange and collaboration, fostering innovative ideas and discussions on “Rethinking Modern Chinese Elites”.

We encourage submissions that explore diverse perspectives, methodologies, and empirical approaches related to the conference theme. This interdisciplinary gathering offers a unique opportunity to engage with scholars from around the world and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the China field.

From the mid-nineteenth century to the early 1950s, Chinese society underwent rapid and unprecedented changes. How did these transformations differ from the social movements and dynastic changes in its imperial past? Why emphasize a specific period when some historians consider it part of a broader continuum from the eighteenth century to the present day? Does this periodization reinforce the idea that change in China was the result of Western influence? Our proposal is to examine the social transformation in China through the lens of the nature and role of elites over the long century (1830s to 1950s), characterized by significant political and cultural overhauls: the abolition of the imperial examination system, the rise of modern schools and universities, the abdication of the Qing Dynasty and the birth of the Republic, Western intrusion and the opening of treaty ports, the Taiping Civil War, the Sino-Japanese wars, and the collapse of the Nationalist republican regime, and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

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