China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Literati attachment and dedication to the home locale that the recent “localist turn” scholarship has demonstrated did not disappear in the modern age, despite dramatic changes in Chinese intellectuals’ understanding of China’s position in the world, and in the nature of the polity. For example, Ma Peiyao 馬丕瑤(1831-1895), the Qing governor of Guangxi in the 1890s who supervised the joint project with France to demarcate the Sino-Vietnamese boundary, certainly understood the international politics of the late 19th century and viewed the Qing as a bounded state on equal footing with France. On the other hand, Ma's view of his home county Anyang, Henan and its relationship to the dynastic/nation’s polity, as well as the way his social life was embedded in his home locale, shared many commonalities with Cui Xian崔銑(1478-1541), the prominent scholar-official, also a native from Anyang in the mid-Ming. Similar ties to the home county can be seen in Zhang Jinjian 張金鑑(1902-1989), the GMD politician and scholar from Anyang, who viewed himself as a local man despite his political career in the center (as high level party official) and his education at Stanford in the US. Through these cases I demonstrate that the human-place tie in Anyang County had a clear continuity from the late imperial era all the way to the mid-20thcentury. This type of nationally famous statesman attached to his hometown, the statesman on the one hand and local gentleman on the other, was prevalent in the late empire, and persisted until the communist takeover.