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Exhibiting the PastHistorical Memory and the Politics of Museums in Postsocialist China$
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Kirk A. Denton

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836870

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836870.001.0001

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National Origins and Local Identity

National Origins and Local Identity

Museums of Premodern History

(p.27) Chapter 1 National Origins and Local Identity
Exhibiting the Past

Kirk A. Denton

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter begins with a brief overview of the emergence of modern conceptions of history from the late Qing to the 1950s. It then investigates how in some museums in China the ancient past serves national narratives, and how those narratives are beginning to change with the rise of an interest in local identity and the proliferation of local culture museums. In the past two decades, local culture museums, and the archaeological excavations upon which these museums rely for their collections, have contributed to the breakdown of the conventional view of the origins of Chinese civilization in the Central Plains and to a new narrative centered around the idea of multiple points of origin, one that sits nicely with the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) discourse of China as a multiethnic nation-state.

Keywords:   Chinese history, local culture museums, Chinese civilization, Chinese Communist Party, multiethnic nation-state, late Qing

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