ENP-China Web Platform

Susanne Auerbach's picture

Repost from H-Asia.

 

We are pleased to announce today the launching of the ENP-China web platform.

ENP-China stands for Elites, Networks, and Power in Modern Urban China. This is an on-going Advanced Grant project funded by the European Research Council.

In this project, we study the process of transformation of elites over the long century  that saw the rise of modern China — between 1830 and 1949. During this period, Chinese society transformed to a degree hardly seen in any other country. Elites, which include a wide array of individuals and groups, both Chinese and foreigners, were the prime actors of this transformation.

History generally presents China as a country  subject to brutal interventions and unequal treatises that contemporaries indeed found demeaning, and even humiliating. This perspective has become the new mantra —the infamous “century of national humiliation” — in political discourse in China today.

Yet, this a very biased and incomplete view that does not do justice to the amazing vibrancy that permeated Chinese society. If we look beneath the macroscopic layer of politics, we see elites who brought China back on world stage, almost at par with Western countries, not as a « power »  as such, but as myriads of individuals who reached the highest levels in all the fields of knowledge and who strove to share this knowledge at all levels of society.

China was on a ramp for a fast take off, that only wars, especially the Sino-Japanese war, eventually derailed.

We have been working for two years now and we believe it is time to share our directions of research, our methods, and of course the resources we have been using and creating. We rely on massive digital textual corpora for which we are developing methods and tools tailored for historians and humanists.

This is just the beginning of the ENP-China web platform. Over the next few months, we shall made public the resources presented heree.

Please visit us and feel free to get in touch with us. We hope to initiate — and we are calling for — collaborative work in research and resource-building about elites in modern China.