“Some Live in Darkness, Some Live in Light”: China and Elsewhere in 1900

“Some Live in Darkness, Some Live in Light”: China and Elsewhere in 1900


(elegant music) – I’m Sophie Vulp. I’m Chair of the Center
for Chinese Studies and I’m pleased to welcome you all to this year’s Elvera Kwang
Siam Lim Memorial Lecture in Chinese studies. This endowed lecture
series was made possible through a generous gift to the center, by Mrs. Lim’s family, to honor her dedication
to scholarly exchange. With this endowment, we
bring one eminent scholar to Berkeley each fall, to present a public lecture, and to meet with faculty, grad students, and debate among colleagues. The namesakes of this series, Elvera Lim was born in
Guangdong province in 1928. She was sent to Hong Kong
to attend high school and later received her
undergraduate degree from the University of Hong Kong. After receiving her PhD from the University of Hawaii, Mrs. Lim took a position
in the biology department of the newly established
Chinese University of Hong Kong where she remained until
her retirement in 1989. We are thrilled that her
nephews Richard and Ulysses, can be with us today, and Richard actually just shared a memory of going to visit her labs
in the Chinese University, and also of her collaborating with colleagues here at Berkeley. It’s very very special, that we can do this here today. I’d like to introduce today’s speaker, Peter Perdue of Yale. Peter’s research covers modern Chinese and Japanese social and economic history. The history of frontiers
and world history. He’s also written on
grain markets in China, agricultural development,
and environmental history. Peter is the author of
Exhausting the Earth, State and Peasant in
Hunan, 1800 to 1850 A.D., and China Marches West, the Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia, which won the 2006 Joseph Levinson Prize from The Association for Asian Studies, which is given to the best book each year in pre-modern Chinese studies. Peter was elected to the American Academy of
Arts and Sciences in 2007. He’s the co-editor of
two books on empires. Imperial Formations, and Shared Histories of Modernity. He’s also the co-author
of Global Connections. A World History textbook, and Asia Inside Out, Three
Volumes on InterAsian Connections and he has also recently
published lectures, on Chinese environmental
history in Chinese. His current research focuses
on Chinese frontiers, Chinese environmental history, and the history of tea. Thank you very much Peter
for joining us today. (audience applause) – Thank you Wensing and Sophie for the invitation to be here. It’s wonderful to be in
California this time of year, and thank you all for
coming to listen to this somewhat new experimental topic that I’ve been looking into recently. Most of my previous work has been on the Qing dynasty in the
17th and 18th centuries, but now I’ve become
interested in the last decade of the Qing dynasty, from 1900 to 1912, which was also of course the first decade of the 20th century. How did Qing China and the Chinese people participate actively in the shaping of the 20th century? Qing China lasted into the 20th century. Some people need to be reminded of that. Sometimes we only see China as just a victim of imperialism,
in this whole period, of the so called period of humiliation, in the 19th and early 20th century, but there’s a lot more
to this story than that, and that’s part of what I’ve
been exploring recently. This is a kind of new topic for me, but I thought you might find some interesting insights in it. This is just a rough outline of what I was talking about quickly today. The global moment of 1900 and why I think it
mattered around the world and why China was important in it. The Paris Exposition, which occurred in the
early part of the year. They gathered imperial powers together in a glittering display. The anarchist response to
the dark side of the story which also occurred around the same time in Paris and China and many
other cities around the world and then Beijing in 1900, the later part of the year, when the eight imperial armies invaded the city and
repressed the Boxer uprising and lifted the siege of
the foreign legations and looting and confinement
and repression followed and then debates over
these issues and events that occurred both in
Europe and America and Asia around the same time. There are many different
threads to this story and many different voices, and these are only just a few of them, but that’s a brief sketch of what I’ll be talking about today. I want to begin with a song, that introduces one of the
main themes of this talk. (foreign language singing) Many of you probably know that song. Maybe in different versions. Max the Knife as it’s known in English, and the last stanza. It was composed by Kurt Weill the song who was actually born in the year 1900. The words were written by. It appears in 1928, and there are three penny opera, it describes an entire
series of grotesque crimes, of murder and arson and rape, in which Mack, Mack the Knife, is often implicated,
but never gets caught, and in the last stanza of the song, it goes like this. There are some who are in darkness, and others who are in light, and you see the ones in brightness, and those in darkness drop from sight. (foreign language speaking) Light and darkness is part
of the theme of this story. Weill was born in 1900, lived through the early 20th century, in Weimar and exposed this contrast between the glittering spectacles of industrial and imperial capitalism that he saw around him and the grinding misery of people who lived in the darkness
of poverty and colonialism, and the activists who
are trying to end it. We can also not, a different standpoint, a statistical standpoint, what inequality was like
in this period of 1900. This is a graph of roughly calculating the inequality, economic
inequality in Europe, all the way from the end of
the Roman empire, as you see, to the year 2000, and as
you can see on this map, inequality rises and reaches a peak just about around 1900 right here, and then what’s called the
great compression occurs, inequality drops radically,
after the Great Depression, and the post war years, of welfare states, and I think as you’re
aware, since 1980 and 2000, inequality has been very
rapid and on the rise. Anyone who knows San
Francisco Real Estate prices, is aware of that I’m sure, but this is true everywhere, and some people even think
our rates of inequality are back to where they were
in the guilded age of 1900. This is partly a lecture about inequality, about some people who live
in glittering spectacles, and other people who live in misery and how the Chinese are
connected to all of this. In the two big contrasts of 1900 that reveal this very starkly are the Paris Exposition
of the early part of 1900, and the Boxer Expedition
in Beijing later on. In the Paris Exposition, which was held from April
14th to November 12th, the major powers, the
imperial powers led by France, celebrated their economic, technological, and cultural achievements, and boasted about their
colonial possessions. In Beijing from June 20 to August 15th, eight of these same
powers mobilized armies to lift the siege of the foreign legations violently repressing the
resistance of the Qing Army and its mobilized peasant
militia, so called Boxers. Executions, rapes, and looting followed. Both attracted great global
media attention at the time. Dominating much of the news for that year and then faded away, and they both left a significant legacy and they really symbolize
the chief phenomenon of the coming century, the 20th century, the first imperialist violence, and second the spectacles
of global capitalism. Shifting a bit to methodology quickly, many historians have argued, that we shift the focus of our research away from just a single nation state, we should try to
construct other narratives that try to engage with
a globalizing world. Many people have advocated this. Many people have written
world histories about this, but one other way to do it. There are many different ways
to approach this question is to focus on the events of a single year or a short period of time, and try to track the threads, that link the events in one place, to events in some other
places around the world. This is a quotation here, of what I would like
to do from a great book by a Dutch historian who
wrote about Europe in 1900. Look at this infinite
series of micro processes that prompt the macro-processes that give this great historical drama and how traditional forms of domination transformed into modern imperialism. Classical capitalism became
banking and monopoly capitalism and the masses for the first time joined in with national movements to play an active role
in world developments. That’s a brief sketch of how he tries to connect at least Europe in this year, and I think we can extend that, to other parts of the world. We have tried to do a bit of this, in a series of volumes
called Asia Inside Out. Three volume series, that tries to connect different
parts of Asia together, in many different time periods, in the first volume Changing Times, we had a series of authors, and we asked them to pick a crucial year that they though mattered
for their part of the world. Whether it was India or the Middle East or China or Japan. They all picked some
very interesting years. We had them pick a place
in the second volume and people in the third volume, so this sort of approach of picking a particular focus through a
year, a place, or a person, is something that I think
can be usefully extended and used to write these new transnational and global history narratives. Well the year 1900 had significance not just in Paris and Beijing, but in much of the rest of the world, the great major imperial powers gathered together in
these two places in 1900, but many other people
gathered there alongside them. There were anarchists. There were militarists. There were business men. There were political activists. There were intellectuals, who all went off to change the world, in many other places, and this was the same
year, around this time, that the British were
combating the Boer farmers, the Dutch farmers in South Africa. The U.S. was repressing
the Guerrilla movement, resisting the U.S. takeover
of the Philippines. Anarchists who ranged all the way from peaceful dreamers to
violent revolutionaries were a constant threat, and inspiration around the world. They had assassinated
the president of France, Sadi Carnot in 1894. King Umberto of Italy in 1900. President McKinley in 1901, and over 30 high Russian
officials from 1881 to 1911. The anarchists were this other side, of the glittering spectacle. This loose network of people, spanning Eurasia and the Americas, the terrifying threat
of the year, of the age, that ruling elites and other
talked about incessantly, as well as oppressed
peoples who were inspired by anarchist activities in
many parts of the world, everywhere from Spain to China. The other side you had global
arms salesman for example, fueling the arms race by the great powers. Germany was trying to
find a place in the sun. Germany was the rising power of the time. Germany was also spurred on by by the rise of Japan in the East. You may have heard of Kaiser Wilhelm and his fantasies and predictions about the yellow peril of that time. The country had in mind at the time as the rise in yellow
peril was in fact Japan. Later this was attached to China. These ideas of oriental racism and the ideas of rising powers in the East combated by rising powers in the west were all part of the
discourse of the time. Chinese who were immigrants in the U.S. Particularly in San Francisco, were victims of much of this
racist discourse as well. I’m showing a few rather
upsetting pictures about that just so you are aware that they were part of this whole story, and the imagery of
Christian martyrdom in China generated these calls for violent acts of repression and
revenge against the Chinese, but on the other side of the story, we flip back from dark to light, this was also a period of
holding great peace conferences. The Hague peace conference, that tried to establish treaty
regimes to replace warfare. It was the holding of the
second Olympics in Paris after the first one in Athens
four years before that. The creation of international time zones is a very interesting product
of this period as well to standardize and globalize the way people think about time, and other appeals to international cooperation of many kinds. We have contrasting trends throughout running through this whole period. The global media exposed all
of these threads at the time, so mostly what I’ve been doing is reading a lot of the
global media of the time and particularly the illustrated media, and how the imagery of the time has spread many of these ideas, which of course spread well beyond the literate public into other aspects of public opinion throughout the world. This is a time of explosion
of global media really and this is a website we’ve done at MIT to track many developments,
East, West, contact, by looking at specific
events through visual imagery when we use global media,
photography, paintings, and other things to portray
these important events in Asia through visual means. Here I’ll just give you a few slides to give you an example of
this dazzling kaleidoscope that you’ve got when
you track those clashing and connection of many
different illustrated media following these events around the world. Well how did China figure in these events, but briefly there are three different ways I’ll talk about how China was involved. First China, particularly
Beijing, is this massive site. It plays some imperial
and national contestation. The home of the great empire that all of the great powers are competing to gain influence on. Second, the Chinese people themselves, who are located not just
in China itself of course, but as migrants, have been established in many parts of the world,
particularly Southeast Asia and the Americas. Third, China as a sign. China as a traveling signifier for general concerns of
other nations of the world. Often the actual China on the ground or in real Chinese people becomes detached from what they really were, and traveled around the world, in this stereotypical kind of depiction, that then affects the
way other people look at the Chinese in many places. There are many works on
global history this period. You might even go back to Lenin and the writers on imperialism of the early 20th century, but they mostly have in common the fact that they
stress almost exclusively the domination of Europe, and then the U.S. in driving
events of the period, and I think it’s time that we
recenter the story somewhat and pay more attention
to developments in Asia. Beginning with the Paris Exposition, which ran from April to November. (speaking foreign language) It was the fifth of the
expositions held in Paris. The fifth and the last one, and it was designed to celebrate the advance of human civilization and the unity of nations. These expositions have been held in a whole series of European cities. These were kind of fleeting cities, that began with the great
London Exhibition of 1851, which was the Great Crystal Palace, the exposure of the achievements
of Victorian Britain. That was followed by the French, who wanted to celebrate their achievements under Louis Napoleon the second in 1855. Others followed in other countries. The most famous one in the U.S. was in Philadelphia in 1876. The Great Columbian
Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and not to be outdone the Germans had their first in Berlin in 1896. Often these expositions were held on a canonical date, an anniversary of the nation that held it. The hundredth anniversary
of the American revolution. The 400th anniversary, one year late, of Columbus’s so called
discovery of America. The hundredth anniversary of
the French revolution in 1889. They’re not just celebrating
international achievement. They actually are closely
tied to the celebration of a nation state, and the place that they are located. The international Olympics today as well is still the classic kind of example of a place that purports
and does in some way celebrate international cooperation but at the same time is of course intensely nationalistic, when all the competitors are
identified by their nation. That’s where this whole phenomenon began. The 1900 Expo stands
out really as the peak for attendance at these expositions. Something like 50 million people attended, and for that population at that time, it was enormous and
that actual total figure was not surpassed until the 1960s, but these have gone on
ever since of course in the great Shanghai expo of 2010, which followed the
Beijing Olympics of 2008, really follows in the same tradition of, on the one hand putting on a display of international achievement, alongside the celebration
of a rising new power. Well France however, was not actually a rising power in 1900, and there’s another side to the exposition that’s in the commentary at the time. Many people saw it as a nation in decline. Its population had hardly grown. It had about 40 million people. Germany had about 70 million
after unification in 1870. Germany was growing at
double the rate of France, and France had lost the
war to Germany in 1870. Germany was rising. France seemed to be
stagnating or declining. Germany was turning
towards arms manufacturers and major industrial
production around this time at a major naval building campaign, trying to rival that of Britain, and meanwhile in France, the Dreyfus Affair was
tearing the country apart. This is an American cartoon that says will she be rescued? She is the woman draped in the rope that says the French Republic here held in this beast who has the cap that says, “Militarism” and Jacques here the famous article by Emile Zola here, and forgery here and blackmail here and sort of polarized French society about this case of the
Jewish officer Dreyfus and whether or not he
was guilty or innocent. He had been in prison for life since 1894. Emile Zola published
this declaration in 1898 to launch this campaign
to all the second trial. The military, the aristocracy, and the church lined up against Dreyfus, and the intelligencia, and the liberal secular
Bourgeoisie supported him. France was torn apart by this. A second trial was held in 1899. Dreyfus was found guilty again but his sentence was reduced
to 10 years in prison, but planning the global
exposition of 1900, the French realized they
would face a global boycott if they didn’t do something
about this Dreyfus case, so they actually pressed the
French president to pardon him and they got most of the French media to agree to not mention the Dreyfus Affair during the time of the exposition. The media was more under control of the state in those days, than it is these days, clearly. They got the major nations of the world to stake out territory and Dreyfus was declared innocent eventually in 1906. They could move on to the exposition and this was where it was held 550 acres along the sand was French pavilions devoted to the advance
of industry and the arts. 47 nations had their own pavilions. Big holes celebrating industry technology and communication. There were new technological marvels which included early motion pictures, electric lighting, moving sidewalks, the ferris wheel, diesel engines, and the first audio recorder. The great symbolic
center of the exhibition was the Pale de Electricity. This was the Age of Electricity. Which lit up this enormous building with all sorts of lights. A cathedral in honor of
electric power really. The lights run all along the
length of the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower had been built for the previous exposition in 1899, but without lights. Now you could light the whole thing up. There were palaces of education. Science, letters. They lit up an Egyptian
temple, Japanese gardens, models of great lighthouses of the world. 5,000 light bulbs in the
palace of electricity alone. 10,000 more in the buildings around it. The scale is colossal and exceeds everything that had been done before. Americans went to France to
be part of the exposition celebrated all of this as
being great for business, a way to overcome all the
animosities of the world and collect all the peoples
of the world together to do peaceful business. It was still a time when
Paris nominated world culture. The style of art nouveau
was introduced here, and it became this universal form. Something else I’d like
to track at some time, how art nouveau and these artistic styles spread all the way around the world to U.S., to Japan, and as far as Shanghai. A great excuse to go to cities and museums and track down all the
art nouveau interests. Which if you’ve been to Shanghai you can find traces being restored. In fact today. But there’s all sorts
of interesting styles mixed together at the exposition. Not really a consistent one. The person who designed
these pavilions for example, the Bosnian pavilions was
named Al France Muche. He was a Czech graphic artist. He had made the posters
that I showed you before as a great exhibit of his work in Prague. He was an international artist, celebrating here ominously,
the city of Serahevo, which later became
famous for other things, but Muche was not only an
international graphic artist but a fervent Czech nationalist, so he also combines it himself, and in his art these dual aspects of the international exposition display as well as the dedication
to nationalistic production. However, if you look at critics and discussion of the exposition, there were many people disappointed with the technology on display. The Eiffel Tower was certainly there. It was still very impressive, but Germany seemed to
have surpassed France in its technology, even in the arts, it looked like Japanese craftsmanship was really advancing and
becoming more interesting and developed than France. The American historian Henry Adams, who was impressed by
the power of the dynamo, that he had seen in
the Chicago exposition, it was really the key
foundation of the exposition, where the actual dynamos, the machines, that drove the electric power, that powered the entire exhibition, and you could go visit them and hear them thrumming along producing all this great power. Adams visited us and concluded that this was impressive technologically but morally, empty. He would sit by the hour
over the great dynamos, watching them run noiselessly
and smoothly as planets and asking them with infinite courtesy where the hell they are going. They are marvelous. The Gods are not in it. Chiefly, the Germans. This had technology. It had industry. It had its products. For middle class consumers, but not necessarily progress
morally or aesthetically and there were premonitions of decline and loss of purpose. It seemed like France had
a weakened decadent culture while Germany and America
had power without culture. But the imperial powers were celebrating the productions and control
over their colonies, so this was the colonial district where the French featured very heavily, with their entire Indo
China exhibition over here. The British get their colonies up there. The Netherlands have theirs here, and China is here, interesting, in the colonial exhibition
next to Siberia here, Portugal, up here, and the
transpo of South Africa up here. Interesting juxtaposition there. France is able to show off a plaster model of Angkor Wat the great
temple of Cambodia, to show that they have preserved and dominated Asian culture here. Japan can show off the great exhibition of its newly acquired quasi colony, Korea, and you could go to places like the Mak Tunesian Bazaar where you could smoke the pipe, and watch the belly dances
in Tonkanese villages. You can watch women chewing the beetle nut in an African village,
quote from one observer. Great negroes, still savages, strode bare foot with
proud and rhythmic bearing while their wives pounded
millet and peanuts and there you heard the
scraping of Chinese violins, the click of castagnettes,
the thin wail of flutes, and the mystic screeches of. The racist writing of this period, is quite extraordinary, and perhaps I should deliver
trigger warnings to people that this indeed offensive
from our point of view, but this is how things
were portrayed at the time. The Chinese buildings were as I said, in the colonial district over there. Within this area next to Siberia, and the transpo, as a quasi
colony, you could say. Not a true colony, but not truly independent either. The main building is a great pavilion and imperial style which
says according to this guide, it reproduces the well known monuments of the Celestial Empire
with pavilions and pagodas, a Chinese restaurant, a
theater, a famous gate, of the temple of Confucious, the humpback bridge of the summer palace, the Russian gate with the
inscription in 10 languages. One of which has never been
deciphered until this day. That is the mystery and exoticism that impressive imperial China. The ideal is China of splendor, and refined postures, in this picture you can see the fake Chinese people down here, including the Sudan chairs, and the robes and the cue and the Buddha. Buddhists Gods. They’ve got everything in there. This is a photograph of
the great imperial pavilion that was there. This is the gate that’s set up in front of the exhibit, and here you can see a 3-D version of this that’s been done in this project in Paris. (oriental music) That comes from an amazing French project that is tracking Paris
in 3-D over the history and they’ve done an amazing job of reconstructing through old maps the buildings of the time, and everything that was
built for the exposition, was done in plaster and wood and torn down when it was all over, so now even though the exposition is gone, you can virtually reconstruct basically all the buildings that were there all throughout Paris at the time. It’s all about prosperity. It’s about capitalism. In American writing, it’s certainly all about the great abundance
of American agriculture that can feed the world, and how the U.S. is rising, as this great capitalist production area and that in turn will
bring peace to the world, but there were also real
Chinese at the exposition and were a little more troublesome, because the large French
Indo China exhibit which had this replica of Angkor also brought in artisans
from their colonies and among there were 53 Indo Chinese masons, painters, and sculptors, and among them were several Han Chinese. They protested the level of their wages and the length of their working hours. The French regarded the
Indo Chinese natives, the Laotians, Cambodians, and Vietnamese, as very naive and simple and docile, but they were very
suspicious of the Chinese. The Chinese had this
reputation for being unruly and quarrelsome and in
the French newspaper, the time there’s a report that these Chinese had mutinied, staged a work stoppage,
17 of them had tied the manager to a pole in order to beat him and the Chinese were sent home. This all happened before
the Boxer uprising but it already, the French had already had in their mind this idea that Chinese labor is somehow not being as docile as they are supposed to
be as colonial people. We can move on to some other not so docile responses, to the capitalism of this time, which eventually China, is also involved. In 1894, this man Emile Henry, set off a bomb at the Cafe Terminus, killing one person and wounding 20, and in the words of John
Merriman my colleague at Yale, he ignited the modern age of terror, and from the 1880s through the 1914, anarchists conducted violent attacks in at least 16 countries, from Europe, North and
South America and Asia, with this global vision, that’s transcended national boundaries. They weren’t part of a
single revolutionary party but they responded to many of the same conditions everywhere. The deep poverty and despair
of workers and farmers who were barely eeking
out a living, in squalor, so for most French people, the Belle was not very belle. It was very filled with
misery, unemployment, and disease in the slums that surrounded the glittering areas of downtown Paris. There were shocking inequalities there, and in his speech, when Henry
was brought before the court, he openly denounced the frauds, the lies, and imposters, the manufacturers who
created colossal fortunes out of the toil of workers. The deputies and the ministers who are ever open for bribes. It all revolted him. This is what attracted him to become a critic of the
existing social organization. I became an enemy of the society that I judged to be criminal This is typical and widespread sentiment of the people who are trying to attack the inequality and fraudulence and corruption of their time, through violence or not through violence. This man has an interesting
story to tell also, and this is in the issue
of the revolutionary Chinese journal called Minbau, which is published by
Chinese exiles in Japan. In 1907 is a picture of this man. This comes from an American journal, but the same picture was taken from the American magazine and reprinted in Minbau, and his name was Gregory Gershuni. He was in 1901 the founder, one of them of the Russian
social revolutionary party which had dedicated itself
to violent overthrow of the Zaras regime. It had assassinated two high ranking Russian officials, then he was sent to
prison in Siberia in 1903 He escaped by concealing himself in a barrel of saurkraut, after which he made his way
across Manchuria to Japan. In Japan he met Sonya Tsen, who had also fled to
exile, from the Qing state, and from Japan he made
it to the United States where he gave lectures about
his revolutionary life, and then this photo which was put up to advertise his lectures, made its way back to Minbau
on the telegraph wires and in Minbau there’s a
whole series of photos, and articles celebrating the great revolutionaries of the world and they extend all the way
from the French revolutionaries, the Jackabins to the Filipino rebels. To anarchists of all kinds. This is the discourse of
the Chinese revolutionaries in exile in Japan, which makes its way back
through student circles and military circles, into China. That’s just one more example
of how this anarchist movement also has a global reach. Like the exposition of the other side, and people were spread all over the world. One more example, of
interlocking connections here comes from these two men. It’s kind of hard to
tell them apart actually. They almost look the same. Okakura Tenshin on the left, and Kotoku Shusui on the right, as you see lived roughly
about the same time. They were both Japanese
intellectuals and writers with very different experiences. You may know Okakura Tenshin, or is the author of the very famous book of tea who argued
for the unity of Asia and the cultural achievements of Japan, but Kotoku Shusui on the
right is less well known. He was an anarchist. Radical who translated
the communist manifesto into Japanese and founded the Japanese social democratic party, published a book in 1901, entitled Imperialism, which is a systematic denunciation of Western Imperialism as the monster of the 20th century, and this tract was published in 1901 came one year before the most famous book on imperialism of the time, that is by Hobson a British writer, also entitled Imperialism, and about 10 years before Lenin, who really copied from Hobson published the classic
Marxist Leninist analysis of imperialism so Kotoku was the first really to publish this systematic
analysis of imperialism as a social and political form. He portrayed. He was at first a Japanese nationalist and he had praised Japan’s participation in the suppression of the boxers. He thought the Chinese
were primitive bandits and thought that Japan was the most westernized power in Asia and it could be a model for China, but later, he denounced
the Japanese government for joining with Western powers and looting, raping, and killing Chinese, and embraced a much more cosmopolitan anti-imperialist view, and openly denounced this scandal of the looting of China by
Japanese and foreign troops and attached the corruption
of the Japanese military and explicitly referred
to the Dreyfus Affair as a compelling example of
the corruption of the military and interference in politics, causes in the life of civil society. The public could hardly help but wonder whether the top command of the French army was filled with knaves and fools. The Dreyfus Affair has
implications globally for other analysts of the world. This was not really an analysis of the economic structure of capitalism, unlike Hobson and Lenin. It’s really a moral critique, that blames imperialist war on animalistic primitivism and it really is echoed more by Joseph who wrote on imperialism in 1919 as an atavistic primitivistic urge rather than a rational economic analysis. Yet, Kotoku was remarkably insightful that this whole imperialist competition was a fundamental threat to world peace and he had seen it
happen in Beijing in 1900 and other places in South Africa in the Philippines, Germany, and Shandong, Russia, France, Italy, and predicted world
war would come in 1902. Okakura Tenshin only briefly mentioned him who became famous with his
idea of Pan Asianism in 1903, as the light of civilization. Had a much lighter view of the world, a more sunny optimistic view. He said Asia is one. The Himalayas divide only to accentuate, two mighty civilizations. The Chinese with its
communism of Confucious and the Indians with its
individualism of the vedas but there is a broad expansive love for the ultimate and universal which is the common thought inheritance of every Asiatic race, enabling them to produce
all the great religions of the world. His even more famous book
of Tea written in 1906 advocates teaism, as a
philosophy of purity and harmony. The mystery of mutual charity, and the romanticism of the social order. This is the other side
of the Pan Asian vision where Okakura shared the great deal and had conversations with in India, that there would be this common ground between the Asian peoples who lead the way to a peaceful world order, but clearly Japan would be at the top. Japan would be the leading civilization, than this pan Asian vision. Kotuku didn’t give, by contrast his counter part gave Japan no special credit. It was just as much a corrupt
militaristic dictatorship as anywhere else, but they shared actually certain things in common. They both believed that Asians and mobilized masses of Asians would somehow become the decisive players in the future of the world. They would be shaping the future of the 20th century,
either as militarists, or as Pan Asianists, or
as civilizational leaders, or as economic domination. That’s a few thoughts, a few threads how anarchism leads to this sort of global critique and inspires Asian writers
in many different places to try to grasp and predict how Asia will figure in
the global world order. Let’s go to Beijing now in 1900 briefly. Mostly probably familiar with this story but I will just show you
a few images about it. The Boxers, who were they? Well they were a kind of
peasant militia group, who had flourished in China, for a long long time, and came from Northwestern Shandong, and this was a village culture, that celebrated through local folk operas through martial artists, through celebration of local
heroes, victories of the past, and local in theater performances. At the same time the people themselves, suffered from poverty and famine. In these village faires, you can see martial artists, portraying their physical prowess here fighting with each other, as well as you have gymnasts, performing on tight ropes, and so it’s all part
of the village culture of Shandong as the time. Christian missionaries intrude into the Chinese countryside. The local Confucian elites get very upset about the presence of the Confucians. Here are some of the so
called Punch and Judy Shows. Theaters performed in Chinese cities in the missionaries point of view. Boxers inciting the people to insurrection by Punch and Judy shows, and the missionary is
represented by a pig. Of course in Chinese, the idea of Tanjue that is Lord of Heaven,
is a pun, a hominum, which Tanjue heavenly pig. There was often this
combination of the pig with Jesus, in these anti Christian tracts that are put out by local gentry in opposition to Christian missionaries in the countryside, and we’ve collected a bunch of these and put them on a website, and there are all sorts of interesting things in here, but you see the sacrificed pig up here, in front of an altar on the cross. You see the color green here, in Chinese, green is
a symbol of cuckoldry, so you see these improper
sexual relations going on between Western man and Chinese women here and Chinese men all
instigated by Christians in this kind of anti Christian literature. This war broke out with
what portrayed as something of a war between
civilization and barbarism, and as the Confucian pamphleteers argue, who are the real savages here? Missionaries treat the Chinese as being unenlightened savages, but what about the missionaries and their Christian mass which relies on consuming the blood of their God and the blood libel spreads among the Chinese population that actually Western missionaries are using the blood of Chinese children for
their religious rituals. Once this spread around the countryside, these groups that call themselves the Righteous and Harmonious Fists start to combine these martial artists with these specialists
in spirit possession with these anti Christian mobilizers and wage this war against Christians who had disturbed the
harmony of Heaven and Earth and the main target is, mainly is actually Chinese Christians who have converted. They take the mass brunt of the targetry of the Boxer militia. Foreign powers of course insisted that the Qing repress these groups but court eventually
decides to endorse them as legitimate militia, and they rename the Righteous Fists, as Righteous Militia, and enroll them in effect in the Qing Army and then the Boxers converge on Beijing and begin the siege of
the foreign legations in June 20th and the Empress declares war on the foreign powers, and the siege lasts the famous 55 days. There’s a film about that
with Charlton Heston. Must viewing if you’re
interested in this topic. Nothing about the Chinese
view in it though, and during 55 days, the
foreigners are besieged in these sites and legation in the Northern Cathedral. This is when imperial powers don’t have Asian peoples under their control as they did in the Paris Exposition. They’re in China, coming into direct
contact with Asian peoples where they don’t control the government and they don’t have military force. They’ve lost control, and they lack information and horror stories are generated in the foreign press about
victims of massacres. Especially young children, who of course are the key way that the media whips up excitement about what’s happening
to foreigners in China, so there are these great
fears of alien forces attacking the civilized West. There are heroic women
prisoners, confined women. This is also a common trope in Western commentary on China, that I’d like to show this kind of thing, ever since the Opium war days, that women under Chinese law are arrested and carried around in cages so they think and can find these images in lots of the Western illustrated press. Boxers however, did much the same thing, you could say the New Years prints, where they celebrate a
captured foreign officer here whom they have hogtied and
hanging from a pole here and Boxer peasantry are
stabbing this guy here and carrying this guy to
judgment under their flags to be brought before a local magistrate, and a foreigner here tied, bowing down, begging before
the panel of judges here. This is the boxer view of
what you do with foreigners through illegal means. By confining them and
bringing them before a court. How did people talk about all this? There are many many images of this. We collected something like 2,500 images and there are far far even more available and so this is a very small selection of only a few types of
this explosion of imagery that occurred at the time. How did people talk about it? For Europeans and Americans, this was a defense of civilization. It was savagery versus civilization. You have Uncle Sam, with his machine gun, representing force if
necessary it says here, Progress it says here. The Chinese dragon here. Barbarians on the flag. China there. Someone must back up. That’s the idea. There’s this irresistible clash between progress and civilization. Here is the other side of the story, commerce and trade. Why the U.S. have to take the Philippines. It’s a stepping stone to China. The U.S. is bringing all
of this industrial product plus education and religion up there along with steel rails and everything else to these very happy Chinese wanted 50 million sewing machines. 50,000 weeping machines. Wanted water works, sewers, stoves, lamps, petroleum. This is the other side
of the Chinese market. We can sell things to them. It will be great, and that’s why we need the
Philippines to get into China. They all debate about why or whether the U.S. should take
the Philippines or not is very closely tied to
access to the China market and the main argument is that by holding these colonies, the U.S. will be able to feed its hungry children here. That says Pacific coast right there and it’s bringing babies bags from Cuba up here for example. An American eagle bringing
these resources back to America from the trade with the new colonial possessions. Another example of why
the U.S. can’t let go of the Philippines, has to rescue it from the tigers. He was the Filipino Guerrilla leader, and this native looking person is being rescued in effect by U.S. victorious colonialism, and then the tie is
made between the Boxers and the Philippines and
the presidential election that McKinley ran against Brian. William Jennings Brian, I know as this populist candidate who runs on a platform both of free silver that is providing more monetary aid to farmers and others who are in debt, across the middle west,
and anti imperialism, but then the pro imperialist
press supporting McKinley, you have Brian depicted
as this idol, silver idol, being worshiped by these
oriental looking people and here it says, Our Democratic Boxers, Chinese are not the only barbarians who worship and fight for a false God. Again, the interconnection
of the all these imagery at the time is really quite remarkable and quite obvious, once
you start looking at it. You don’t need to divide up history by national boundaries and just follow that they
say in the press at the time. The Democratic Boxers again, in a bad fix, eventually Brian lost
the election of course. McKinley was elected, and was assassinated one year later. Other side of however, and this was a critical
side to all of this. Which brings us to the confinement
side of the story again exemplified by the use of barbed wires. Another thread, wire
thread we could follow. Barbed wire is first invented in the U.S. As a remarkably efficient
way of confining animals, because once animals
are pricked by the barbs they don’t go near the fence again. This is what makes possible, the occupation of the American range lands in the 19th century, but the British fighting the farmers in South Africa discover you can also use it to
fight and confine humans, and this is how the
progress of science works from a French point of view, is the British moving in
and using these fences, fencing in other human beings. Then the confinement is turned around against the British, when there is commentary even in America about the British being
tied down in South Africa, and these battles that they fought lost, that is the pore lilicucians and the British Gulliver, turns the whole story around as a critique of British
engagement in South Africa. Colonial Dreams: When The War Is Over. I bring great prosperity
in the rising sun. You often see the goddess Athena there representing Britain and the Americans. The Chinese Kopje, another mixture of the Chinese and the imagery. The hill in South Africa, where the battles were fought, but here it’s the Chinese question. The Chinese Kopje. Not so easy as it looked from a distance. The foreign powers
after 1900 got entangled and bound down into the mysteries and entanglements and chaos of China just the way the British got themselves entangled in South Africa. Colonial Quagmire in
both cases, as it were. Who is the Barbarian? From French point of view. This is one of my favorites, of the French critical magazine, which is Barbarian, and which is civilization? Chinese coolie strikes a French soldier, people cry barbarity. When a French soldier strikes a coolie, its a necessary blow for civilization, and finally my all time favorite by this very brilliant German illustrator for this satirical magazine, Simplissimus that was published in Germany, who people who detested Kaiser Wilhelm and the imperialist rhetoric of the time has this brilliant imagery. The Europeans pour the
blessings of their culture over the world. You have the jack booted soldier, Cornucopia prosperity, dumping blood, and tromping exactly on Indo
China and China right here. The anti imperialist
imagery, also mobilizes, the same imagery as the imperialists do. Finally, Victor Gilam over
the brilliant illustrators for this journal, portrays
this massive slaughter and all the wars that are
happening around this time. Transpo, Philippines, Austria. Franco Prussian, and says think about it. Is civilization advancing? Chinese immigrants. Flip the story back briefly, and then try to finish up. In the U.S. face many
of these same attitudes and they are unfortunately
all too familiar today. They were seen as threats
to the economic security of the working class white populations especially San Francisco,
and people noticed, that this anti Chinese wall, was going up with the exclusion acts, and the racial laws being passed here, as the U.S. was also breaking down the walls to trade in China. Walls and their paradoxes, was part of the discussion at the time. The wasp was really the most offensive, racist journal of the time published in San Francisco, and very much reflected the attitudes of the anti Chinese
attitudes of that period with this picture of the multi
arm demonic Chinese Gods, somehow has its fingers in everything and competing with American
working men everywhere. It has reached out for
trade that it can master. Crushes its oppositions. Crunches out an existence, in an interest hostile to its monopoly and so on and so forth, and trigger warning on there. Bubonic plague, so it was called broke out in San Francisco, around 1900, and quarantine measures were imposed, and there were picture of these dark confined Chinese cooking under quarantine, in these very implied diseased
and unhealthy quarters, and even worse, Chinese
food ways portrayed again as savage on the left, but the contradiction again appears with capitalism and
consumption on the right if the Chinese man can
be induced to consume this healthy pot of meet cooked beef well then America will
have civilized the Chinese and turned him into this consumer of American industrial products. Asian Voices. That was the European side. I’ll quickly run through a few of the Asian voices and
illustrations of this period. Chinese were very
concerned with the carving of the cake, the carving up of the pie, by the imperial powers. They also used this kind
of animal imagery a lot in maps at the time. Chinese see this encroaching imperialist danger coming at them from all sides. Of course, the Russian
bear, the American eagle, the French frog, the British tiger, all moving in on the sleeping
Chinaman in the center who is, this is the birth
of Chinese nationalism. The Chinese are asleep, and need to be awakened
to the imperial danger. This was also portrayed
in the boxer prints victories of Chinese militia troops, against foreign troops, so in the Boxer prints,
these are Chinese victories. Not defeats by foreign armies. Pitch battles are featured,
celebrating the victories of the great Qing generals and his braves over western forces. These are very idealized version but simplifications if the Chinese people can be mobilized and can be led properly, they can fight and stand up against western imperial powers. Holding out at the Dagu Forts, shooting down the Western Ships. Finally, bring us back
to exhibitions quickly. Liang QiChao, the
greatest political writer of the time, the founders
of the Chinese nationalist ideology writes these remarkable things, in the form of science fiction at the time which flourished greatly among Chinese writers at the time. The great French science fantasy writer who had published Five
Weeks in Balloon in 1863, Around the World in 80 Days in 1873. He was translated into Chinese and widely read around this time, and Chinese have lots
of pictures of balloons and their potential both for military and travel experiences. They imagine people flying to the moon, and Bau the hero of the great Chinese dream of the red chamber story in one of these fantasies
he wake up 150 years later and travels around the
world in a great balloon that’s been created by Chinese. Ghost of Shanghai, he finds that the city has become a major metropolis. China has a constitutional government that’s eliminated the extratorial rights of the foreigners and is
now holding a world’s fair attended by any nations in
their world peace summit and the nations of the world have selected the Chinese emperor to be its chair, and the new civilized world will be ruled by an updated version of
Confucian benevolence. Bau wakes up and discovers
this was all a dream of course, but of course this fantasy reappears in a sketch by Yung Ti Xiao mimicking this utopian
novel of Edward Belamy called Looking Backwards, where after 2,500 years
after the birth of Confucious at a world exposition, thousands of people from around the world, have now recognized the
great advances of China, they have learned Chinese. They have gathered to hear lectures on the new political philosophy, and the cultural advances that occurred in the 60 years since 1902, and well Ti Xiao’s dream is here. In Chinese eyes. The Chinese pavilion. The great Shanghai exposition of 2010 which covered 1,300 acres, 246 countries, of international organizations, and 73 million people attending outstripping the Paris exhibition. When we come back to this
world exposition idea of technological and cultural wonders, but now China at the center, instead of China at
end, as it was in 1900, but once more back to the dark side, the awakening of China, and how it was seen as a threat, around 1900, a threat over
these victorious powers, and though they’ve defeated China, China they know predict, will once awake and take its revenge or take its place in the world. Finally, most ominous picture of the time are the great imperial powers. The animals, the British
here, the Russians, the Japanese jackal, the American eagle, Germany in the back
clustered around the dead, Chinese dragon with the Q saying the real trouble will come with the wake. The wake is of course a play on words. It’s the Irish term for a funeral, but it also invokes the future awakening of China and imperial
geopolitical conflict, so this gives us from the year 1901, kind of ironic and troubling commentary on what was to come in the new century. Thank you. (audience applause) – Thank you so much Peter. Our discussion is the Richard H. And Laurie Morrison Professor of Chinese History at Berkeley. – Well first of all, I’d like to say that
this is a very big paper and then also it’s a wonderful paper. It’s simply pure pleasure to
follow Peter’s presentation. My chore then is an easy one. Mainly, that I would make
a couple of observations, sharing with you my observation about the way that he
puts the paper together and then beyond that,
it’s entirely up to you, that is you get to have the time to ask him many questions, which I am sure would be
forthcoming about the specifics. This is a big paper about a
global moment which is 1900. My first observation about this, is this is a project in global history. It’s a narrative about the
interconnectedness of events across a wide range of
sites, Paris and Beijing and elsewhere all around the world. These connections are made on the basis of the movement of people, the circulation of goods and ideas, and the fashioning of new
patterns of relationships, large and small that brought these sites, increasingly into relationships, which might be characterized, either as mutual dependency, or coproduction,
minimally, in conversation. Then the sites connect. It’s a modern phenomena. The site connect in modern days at an accelerated pace. Because there were
globally shared processes, which were mediated by
infrastructures of transportation and then also of communication. Meanwhile of course,
culture, history, language, local politics, et cetera, all of those continue to matter. There were as Peter puts it, entanglements of local circumstances, within the context of these
processes of global connection. In some ways I thought, if we are going to dissect, the way that he puts the paper together, element number one,
this is a global history about a single moment mainly 1900, and then about 1900 then, how does he present this moment? Well, in this paper, he uses
a wealth of visual materials collected from global media, to tell this story of global connections at a given moment in a global time. Now images travel through means such as telegraphs, trains,
ships, in printed forms, as books, as photographs, as
posters, so on and so forth. They go with. They get carried along
in somebody’s pocket. They travel, and then these images were mass produced by and large. They involve the use of things such as camera and printing press, and then also their production, was buttressed by industry and technology for the production as well as the distribution of such images so in other words we are talking about the global phenomenon, as Peter puts it, global media of global print culture, which has a pronounced visual dimension, and then the production
and the consumption of these images as they circulated out of the immediate
contexts of their production, or as they become detached
from the sources of production they contributed to the
synergystic co production of new images at sites, from
which they were detached, and these processes of reading, and reproduction opened up, many interpretive opportunities and certainly opportunities
for engagement, for conversation, for talking back, for redistribution, you name it. Whatever that reading and
reproduction would do. That’s my observation, number two. Mainly this is a project put together on the basis of a very
sophisticated appreciation of global media and the whole
phenomenon of visual culture. The third point here is, I think it’s the argument of this paper. Namely, what is this moment, 1900? 1900 is a moment then, that is between Paris and Beijing, this is a moment when efforts were made to define civilization and barbarism. To differentiate between
enlightenment and backwardness, to deploy such
constructions in the context of the deployment of means
of violence and coercion. In other words, these
are not innocent terms, neither innocent constructions. At sites, such as Paris or Beijing, images in categories were embedded and deployed in context and structures which were hierarchical, local structures, such as nation states, or capitalist system
of industrial society. In other words, they have
their internal structures of hierarchy, of those between
capitalists and workers, between the aristocracy
and people on the street, and so forth. So with tools such as
comparison, contrast, and juxtaposition of things across space, by looking both at local entanglements, and at globally shared processes, Professor Perdue finds ways
to destabilize the hierarchy that is grounded in local circumstances. By elevating the visibility of
the globally shared processes and by stressing the simultanaity and the interconnectedness of the localized articulations, we find a way to dislodge the letter from its localized hierarchy. As in this paper, we then open up a venue to question locally established constructs, such as barbarism versus civilization, or the barbarian versus the civilized, and he gives us several
examples of paradoxical usages of means of confinement, versus means of mobility. That is, things such as walls and fences on the one hand, versus palaces of light, roads of connection, 80 days around the world in a balloon. Fantasy flight into
realms beyond imagination. These are, he played up the contrasts, as well as the paradoxical deployment, of these devices, and then what purpose does this serve? These are usages or paradoxical usages of means and confinement and mobility, contributing to the paradoxical usage of power and technology on the one hand, and the deployment of
arguments about morality, and ethics on the other. All in all, those were my observations, about how he puts the paper together, and what is the benefit then, of reading historical moments the way that he does, within the context of the global. Well, obviously it contributes to the destabilization of local frameworks of interpretation. That is it contributes
to the destabilization of local structures, which
are implicitly hierarchical rooted in the past, and shall we say hegemonic of its on sort, and then at the same time, another benefit coming
out of this approach it seems to me, is that it contributes to a better understanding of the broader patterns of human events especially in late modern times of advanced technology and organization of communication and transportation. In other words, after all, as humankind become more and more connected with each other, it’s about time for us
to ask this question. Is there a human story for us to tell above and beyond the
localized embedded ones, about systems of political economy, or systems of nation state. Those are some of my
observations and reflections. I thought I take this as an opportunity to share them with you, and I very much appreciate it, and enjoyed this wonderful paper. Thank you. (audience applause) – Well thank you for
the very nice comments. I don’t feel I need to respond right now. If others have questions, I’d be happy to answer them. Yes. – [Woman] Wonderful. Just a very quick question. I love these images. I think they are really
telling lot of stories, but I wonder if you
spend some energy or time on the audience side. Who are, or the producer side, so who are producing? Matchbox commercial advertisements. Other political satire magazines. I would imagine that imagined audience for these two types of images, probably are not the same, and the people produce those are probably not in the same category of cultural production. I would like to hear if, what should we think about? Those categories. – That’s a very good question. I could look into that a lot more. Broadly speaking, I think my impression is particularly looking
at the American imagery. They overlap a lot. It really is. If you look at the trade cars, did quite a bit of research
on American trade cars anyway and on the political journals, they are the imagery
in them is very simple. Certainly the racism is against Chinese is quite similar, and the duality of the Chinese as being of alien savage on one hand, but also an eager consumer on the other. That is really shared by
both the political cartoons, the whole discussion about
colonialism and America, and the takeover of the
Philippines in particular is really polarized
around this same issue, if the U.S. becomes an empire, it will be ruling foreign alien peoples and that will compromise
purity of its ideals but on the other hand this will create new products and new consumers, so it is also portrayed as a way of extending American prosperity, and the same is true with
the commercial trade car, so at least in the U.S. That’s why compared to the written word, you could say that most
of the written text certainly are aimed at a literate elite, but the visual record I
think is very blurred. Appeal to all sorts of levels. It’s shared among many different classes. Yes. – [Man] Joseph Levinson. – Oh you knew Joseph Levinson. Did you? – [Man] I have a question
about this historiography and it’s almost an unfair one. Is there a central question, that this is designed to answer? I mean it’s a beautiful historiography, because you link together so many different things, as professor said the topic is gigantic. State politics, arts, technology, morals, anarchists, wealth and inequality, racism. We heard Kurt Weill and we heard in Arkhum and we saw wonderful visuals. You give us a 1900 zeitgeist, that was somewhat altered by
the terrible war of 1914 plus I think of other historiographies. Carl Schwarzky also previously Berkeley. Wrote his book on fantasy at Vienna and he linked the substantive material that he had from there to historiography, especially a few more
psychological factors. In a nice way, though dealing with urban planning and arts and the same range of
topics really that you did. In your material, is there also a general substantive, not just methodological topic, and is it, this is a question. I really don’t know the answer. Is it really the rise
of violent nationalism in an age when western powers for technological reasons imposed terrible imperialisms
on lots of countries, and tried to were violent
against each other. Have I got that right? To some extent these problems, since 1900 still exist. Is part of your question, how can we do better now? Or is that beyond the job of a historian? – Yeah, thanks for all of that. Well, I’m very inspired
by Carl Schwarzsky, but I am no Carl to be sure, and I think he did a brilliant job in his book on fantasy at Vienna and somehow I have to bring Vienna into this story just because
it’s such a fascinating place. There may be a Chinese angle to it, but part of my I guess general thinking is we have these great
cultural interconnections being developed for Europe, and they are still Euro-centric. Asia plays a major role in all of this and that has really been neglected to a certain extent, so to just hardly do the similar strategy for a world that makes
Asia takes Asia seriously, that’s part of the goal. It does have the respond to the rise of China today, and that is something that was not in Schwarzsky and other
people’s work at the time. Nobody imagined that China we have today and the issues that it
raises for world power and world commerce. I think yeah what you say about racism, nationalism, and violence,
is not going away. I think we unfortunately know that. I think historians in general, they don’t want to predict the future. We do have anyway some bad
news and some good news. The bad news is this
stuff has happened before. It’s part of the human condition. It’s unlikely that it’s
going to disappear. That’s the bad side of our story, but then the good side
of the story might be, there might be it happens in certain ways in certain places, back at that time, and if we try to do things a little bit differently, maybe it won’t be as bad this time. This time around. I always have this feeling. Looking at this really
offensive open racist writing of the time, the 1900s, and I do believe we can’t ignore it. We can’t suppress it. We can’t evade it. This is offensive in every respect, but we hope even though it exists today, that it receives more criticism today. More opposition than it
used to back in the past, but I like to highlight
contradictions and dichotomies rather than make one single story. There were critics of imperialism. Mark Twain was one of the great critics of American imperialism of course. There were other people
like the German writers who were opposed to all of this, and worry the dialogue
with the pro imperialist pro racist of their time, and we have the same dialogue today, but different in certain ways. When people talk about media also we should get a
perspective on modern media if you want to blame everything on modern social media, well the social media of the time were these illustrated newspapers, the tabloids, and all of these things, and they were producing many similar effects back then. There was no golden age. Yes. – [Man] I have an off beat question, and I’ll ask the question, and I’ll explain why I ask it. My question is were you
at one time a scientist? – Oh, I’m flattered that you might ask. No. – [Man] My reason for
asking it is that for years, for decades as I taught here, I wondered why some students had a great deal of difficulty understanding science or
technology, mathematics. What we call the STEM, and finally after I retired, I moved into a dorm, and started living with students who were not scientists, and then I realized that in the sciences, everybody in the sciences
or what we call the STEM thinks visually. It’s absolutely essential for anybody who wants
to master the sciences or mathematics or technology, have to do visual thinking, and what I’ve seen you present to us, I was astonished. I would call it a scientific lecture, because you’ve used visual images to give us a kind of texture and depth of understanding very much the same way a scientist uses visual models to create some sort of models of the universe and I’m just amazed and
astonished at this lecture and thank you very much. – Thank you. I did study science in
college, way way back, and at that time there was
very little visualization. I can tell you. That was before the days of computers and data visualization. Things were written out in equations. I think a big change has occurred, and actually that allows for convergence, between humanity’s visually oriented types of humanistic discourse, and scientific visualization. Yes. – [Man] One comment there. There was visualization, but nobody ever told us. – I guess not. I guess not. – [Man] I taught for a decade. They never told us. You absolutely have to think in pictures, or you cannot master the STEM. – Yeah okay. Thank you. Great. – [Woman] Could I have the mic? Sorry. Can I have the mic. Ask a question. The images of the Boxer rebellion made me think of the Boxer
indemnity scholarship whereby about 1,300 Chinese scholars studied in the U.S. from 1909 to 1929 and I’m just curious if there’s any kind of visual record, of this cultural, educational cultural exchange, that was really the first of its kind in a really massive and systematic and significant way, to potentially break down all of these stereotypes
of these two cultures, nationalities, et cetera. Just curious how wide
spread that was known in either American or
Chinese visual culture, and if there’s any record
and documentation with that. – Yeah, well really Wensing is more of an expert
on this sort of thing. Of course it wasn’t the first time the Chinese had come to the U.S. At Yale we always like to refer to a well known Yung Wayne who came as part of a
group of Chinese students early on and from the 19th century froward there were many other cultural exchanges at the academic level and student level. The U.S. saw itself as
continuing on this tradition, unlike the Japanese, who invested their Boxer indemnity and further industry and military growth, so that we said, we invested ours in education. As a matter of fact, many more Chinese went to Japan and actually came to the U.S. So we weren’t unique in this but there are certainly studies and photographs and other
records of universities that certainly could be used to give us more of a visual picture of how they were affected
by foreign experience. – This is sort of a broader question but in terms of this
idea of light and dark and hierarchies, it seems
to me might have relevance, but in discussions of racism, not just in your talk,
but broadly speaking, it seems to me there’s a failure to make a very important distinction between racism in the sense of having very negative beliefs about another racial or ethnic group, versus racism in the sense that one cultural universal, is that parents always discriminate in favor of their children. Of course, their relatives, and their friends and their tribe, so it seems to be the real
challenge in the world, is how do ethnic groups, or groups of any kind
find a way to share wealth that seems acceptably just to each other so they can avoid a self destructive war, but by failing to clearly distinguish ethnic conflict from racism in the sense of negative beliefs about is that it avoids the real problems, because when it comes to negative beliefs about other people, when
you get to know people, in another racial or ethnic group, you find they’re really good people, and that’s a solvable problem, but the other one I’m
not sure is solvable, but we might muddle through. – I see. Well what could a historian say about these sort of
generic human tendencies. Certainly, there’s the
tendency to prefer the family over the wider community, is something that Confucious and the Chinese political theorists were quite aware of
when they built society on the idea of the family
as the primary goal. Opponents of Confucious, like the Moas and others however, espoused ideas of universal love and somehow you should embrace
your moral understanding beyond your own family and treat others like yourself. Maoists are often cited by Christians as the origin of the idea of treating others all equally and the Christian ideal at any rate, the people are supposed
to be treated equal. In fact, in practice they aren’t, but what you raise is
clearly a crucial issue. How do you get people who naturally be loyal to their own ethnic familial and nation if it’s built on this sort of familial principle, to be loyal to that personal familial unit without looking down on others, who are equally loyal to
their personal mission. That was perhaps we could give credit for Pan Asianists of that time. Tigor and others announcing
these kinds of ideals. But who would really be more convincing? Okakura or Totoku, because it’s gonna lead to
violent conflict or peace. The historical record is mixed. Yes. – I was wondering, did you get a sense of how, when we talk about 1900, first year 20th century, and when you were doing the research, did you get a sense of how maybe the Chinese or the
Japanese intelligencia, began to share that expectations that we see often in European writings when you get to Thursday afternoon, Have that large of
expectations, projections. Do you see similar things going on for parts of non European settings? – Maybe Europeans, it’s often characterized for European thinkers. They had a consciousness of this being the end of a century, and becoming a turning point in our minds. Did the Chinese have a similar, feeling about that? Well I think they really did think there was an existential threat to Chinese civilization by this point, from the Japanese forward, it was not just a foreign defeat. Not just a penetration of markets. Not just violence against some Chinese, but really they fear the
end of China entirely as a civilization that
could survive in the world. Picked up the same Western discourse, used Darwinism social Darwinism and the struggle of the fittest and they were using it
as a way to awaken China, to awaken a sleeping China. In that sense they had this same kind of shared idea, which again would be worth tracing. French had a very similar idea in that way that the French nation they felt was being weakened, was being decadent, was being softened. Americans as well. There are Americans, I have to say, who felt that the white race was being weakened by
the influx of immigrants. This is a very common
discourse of the time among very distinguished people, in the American elite, so there are many ways
of using this discourse in different ways of course. – You mentioned that Okokura Tenshin talked about the romanticism
of the social order, and the word romanticism
caught my attention. I just wondered what you
think he might have meant by using romanticism in that way. – Well, I suppose he’s
not my favorite writer and he’s not noted for his clarity because uses a lot of
grandiloquent phrases which actually I’m
afraid don’t sound better in Japanese than in English but he was equally
fluent in both languages and he knew what he was doing. This was a kind of discourse. A rhetoric that appealed
to people at the time. What is the romanticism
of the social order? Yeah, well probably he
has the idea I guess, that the great religions of Asia, create an emotional commitment, a spirituality that leads people to be fundamentally attached to their particular
version of civilization and this is what creates
a great social order. A great solidarity and
cultural achievement and to give him fair credit, he puts Japan and China and India on more or less the same level. The Indian civilization, is in its own way just as powerful and as important as Chinese
and Japanese civilization are. Probably referring to something like that spiritual commitment, which is extremely attractive to the Boston Braham
elite, in the Northeast. He was a close friend of
Isabela Stuart Gardner, for example and the aesthetic circles including Henry James and others, that admired this Japanese
aesthetic approach to society. – [Woman] Different subject. Maybe appears in your book, and that is women’s movements. Certainly in England, America, Russia, the advancement of women
was very very important, and you mention the appearance of these elegant stores for women, but there are lots of other stores, and in England women were agitating to get into the best
colleges to go to law school, medical school and so on, and I don’t know whether that appears in your book or? – It will have to. I haven’t developed a
gender aspect very much, but we’ve been doing a seminar. My colleague in literature and I at Yale about these years, and early feminist writings
are also date from this period in journals, and people have
rediscovered and translated some of the first women radical activist writers of the time. At the same time missionaries
at missionary schools have also been admitting women. In fact, education within
China, around the time, and Japan, there’s been a much more active and more radical women’s
movement going on. The Russian populace you may know featured some important
women, Sophia Petrovna was it, who was part of the assassination plot and the name Sophia actually
becomes a popular name in China as an imitation of her model as a radical Russian feminist. There are many other
interesting threads there that we can follow up. Yes. – Hi, thank you for sharing
this wonderful project with us and I have a question about the methods. This kind of panoramic overview of this historical moment, and I was thinking about professor yes, we’re dislodging and I think it’s a kind of a double edged sword
if you may think that way. It’s potentially it’s liberating, because you can dismantle
the local hierarchies, but on the other hand, there’s probably a price
to pay as well, right, and another earlier question mentioned, the visual sources that you’re using too. They’re agencies in the
production and consumption and also different medium or material you used in this project and then you have to do a
dislodging in that sense as well, so I just want to ask you the question, what are the prices that you think paid, and do you think it’s worth it? – Yes, good. Well, begin at the end, yes,
it’s worth it, in my mind, but there is a price to be paid in the sense we lose simple coherence of a national narrative, so that is what most still true, most historians are most comfortable with and certainly the public, when it mostly thinks about history, thinks about it as a national history that has clear boundaries, that tells the growth of a nation, and the form of the growth
of a human individual, biography of a nation as it were. That’s certainly very familiar and comfortable way of telling, and there’s nothing
wrong with the narrative. It’s engaging and informative, doesn’t reflect everything
that goes on in the world, so once you dislodge that, and look for other trends, that go beyond the nation state, I believe we are sort of like, in the uncomfortable but exciting position of modernist literature, which also really dates to 20th century. It was dislodging the
more comfortably inherited narratives of the novels and dissolving it into style, or Prustin styles that flow all around in many different directions. The danger is you could collapse and complete incoherence of course and just have nothing but random events. That’s one danger. The danger with visual materials is something also that’s quite, it’s also new for most historians. We are much more comfortable with text, with visual materials, and visuals have their
own interpretive issues, and they strike people emotionally, more than rationally I think. We can sometimes tease
out the rational content but not so easily the emotional content of the visuals. In both cases, it does upset things, but I think generates
new ways and new insights in the end that make the cost worth it. Yes okay. Well those I don’t see as contradictory. I mean you can tell a local history that it also deeply entangled and embedded with larger
transnational histories. The micro histories I like best, if you know this field of micro histories, you know Robert Darnton’s work on France, is actually not just about, say a massacre in one factory. It’s all about French history as a whole. kInd of as one event
representing the larger whole. That’s what I think the
best microhistories do. You can have a micro history that doesn’t just represent
a national culture but a global more transnational international culture in
a similar way I think. I think those could be seen, local and small scale can
be seen, is compatible. The global is in the local. As the local is in the global. For example. Yes, on the left. – Hi, thank you so much
for such a great talk. Last year your colleague
Denise Ho visited us to talk about her book,
Curating Revolution and someone inspired by her. I wanted to ask about
the expositions to us in the present they seem
like very clear symbols of the contradictions between opulence and the subjugated peoples outside of the European metropol, but do you think the contemporary
curators and visitors, those contradictions
were also somewhat clear or starting to emerge, and did that fuel some
of the other developments that you talked about in your? – Yeah well, through some
of the critical debate around the French exposition, by French writers at the time. There definitely, there
is a giant six volume official report by Mr. Picard, which Library in Yale
holds a few copies of it and that sort of gives
you the official overview of the entire planning of the exhibit, and then the other side, you have the contemporary press, and writers and others and visitors, who express different points of view from this meticulously
planned bureaucratic style. One of the complaints is, one of the issues is, will the exhibition make money or not? This is true for every
world’s fair actually an issue for all of them. There are people who want to charge prices to the visitors to make money off it are the commercial exhibitors of course, who are expecting to contribute, but the others who object will say poor ordinary citizens
won’t have access to this. Is this really intended
for the ordinary people or it this just a celebration of wealth or international and national elites, and then others who will say, all this money and attention being paid to the glittering policies, is completely diverted attention away from the miserable slums in the urban development, that the city really needs. The same arguments were made about the Beijing
Olympics you might recall, and the critics of the
Olympics in Beijing, taken away from retention
to local urban development. These critiques are still
apparent at the time. – I wanted to share in the
1915 international exhibition, the PPIE, here in San Francisco, that the exhibit on China and Chinatown was actually an opium den, where they had all the stereotypes and put real people in with wax figures and the rats and the opium
pipes and opium balls and the local Chinatown
leaders wrote a protest letter which was exhibited at Chinese
Historical Society here and they built a pagoda which the visitors weren’t interested in. They wanted to go to the opium den. So since that is such a strong stereotype that was established in
the turn of the century, I would like to point
out as a Yalee alumna of the first class of
girls, it was Harvard. Harvard was the base for scientific racism and produced the eugenic studies with the diagrams and the books of the skulls and the brains and the shapes of your head, and we’ve come a little bit of a way since then but those attitudes, were also documented in Ron’s work, about the Iron Cages. How the U.S. Navy went across the Pacific and it was the white man’s burden to civilize these little brown yellow men in the Pacific and in Asia, and those things still
kind of cling on to us, and I think until we raise a generation maybe the millennials
have broken through that where we can have more equal interactions but I think the value of your work is to bring out all
those political cartoons. Phil had a book Becoming Man. The Filipinos have a
book, the Forbidden Race and we’re still living with
some of that paternalism. – Yes, thank you for that. No, I mean I really appreciate a lot of what Asian American
historians have done to expose all of this, but I only would was trying to do here which I link that a little bit more with the larger international processes and it wasn’t just an American
phenomenon in many ways, Also I’m sorry to say that Yale is also complicit in some other ways. Fascinating person I’d
like to look into more is Elsworth Huntington who
was a geographer traveler historian who Chair of
Geography department at Yale who traveled to China and
central Asia many times and espoused a kind of
environmental determinism with racism combined. In some ways still shadows the field of environmental history. The idea that say the
iridity of central Asia caused the nomads to
become violent and invasive and this was an essential
character of the nomads and the environment of China made people docile and so forth. These crude generalizations
about how climate is connected to racial character. That was I have to say a Yalee. Louis Agasee at Harvard was yes, has a lot of blame to take too, but it wasn’t just Harvard. Yeah, okay. – Thank you so much. – Thank you. – Thank you also to Wengshin for bringing us this session. (audience applause) (upbeat music)

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