Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China

Thomas Mullaney, Assistant Professor of History,Stanford University



RSVP REQUIRED  < > by Wednesday, December 15 if you are attending and would like the workshop to purchase a copy of the book on your behalf for the subsidized cost of $10.  Otherwise, please RSVP by January 31 if you are attending. Dinner will be provided in the second half of the workshop.


China is a vast nation composed of hundreds of distinct ethnic communities, each with its own language, history, and culture. Today the government of China recognizes just 56 ethnic nationalities, or minzu, as groups entitled to representation. This controversial new book recounts the history of the most sweeping attempt to sort and categorize the nation's enormous population: the 1954 Ethnic Classification project (minzu shibie). Thomas S. Mullaney draws on recently declassified material and extensive oral histories to describe how the communist government, in power less than a decade, launched this process in ethnically diverse Yunnan. Mullaney shows how the government drew on Republican-era scholarship for conceptual and methodological inspiration as it developed a strategy for identifying minzu and how non-Party-member Chinese ethnologists produced a "scientific" survey that would become the basis for a policy on nationalities.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011 | 4:30 pm — 6:30 pm
Building 250 - Room 101, EALC Library

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures