Bard News & Events

Press Release


Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Saturday, April 26, 2003, Bard in China will host a workshop exploring the emergence of new modes of civility and public decorum in Republican China and their relationship to the nation's government and institutions. The workshop, "Civility and Governmentality in Republican China (1912–1949)," will feature two panels of noted Chinese and Asian studies scholars from across the country. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in room 214 of the Bertelsmann Campus Center on the Bard College campus and is free and open to the public. The workshop is cosponsored by the History and Asian Studies programs at Bard, with support from the Freeman Foundation.

During the time of transition in China between the fall of the last dynastic state in 1911 and the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, China's social and political elites experimented with a wide spectrum of theories and institutions for transforming the people. The papers in this workshop together reconstruct a genealogy of civility, decorum, public order, and civic morality in Republican China.

What attitudes and patterns of etiquette, physical bearing, hygiene, and dress came to mark modernity in China? Where did those patterns originate, and why did they emerge so powerfully in the early 20th century? Were state institutions and "governmentalized" civic associations the main forces instilling new modes of civility, or did they emerge from more organic processes of social change? This workshop will explore these questions by focusing on the many movements intended to make China modern by reforming the bodily practices and most basic attitudes of individual citizens.


"Civility and Governmentality in Republican China (1912–1949)"

Bard College, April 26, 2003

Civilizational Discourse and China's New Moral Order

9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

"Prison Teachings of Public Morality: Jiangsu Number Two Prison Instructor Shao Zhenji's Vision of Society in the 1920s"

Jan Kiely, Furman University "The Gender of Superstition: Medicine, Magic, and the Chinese Nationalist State" Rebecca Nedostup, Purdue University "Experimenting with the Family: Family Education during the Sino-Japanese War" Helen Schneider, University of Washington Discussant: Kristin Stapleton, University of Kentucky

Disciplining Bodies, Managing Populations

1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

"Vagrancy in Republican China"

Janet Chen, Yale University "Military Training and Martial Citizenship in Lower Yangzi Region Secondary Schools on the Eve of the Sino-Japanese War" Robert Culp, Bard College "National Skills: Guoshu Martial Arts and the Nanjing State, 1928–1937" Andrew Morris, California Polytechnic State University Discussant: Rebecca Karl, New York University

The full text of all papers will be available prior to the conference at the events page of the Bard in China program: For further information about the workshop or Bard in China, call 845-758-7388 or e-mail

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This event was last updated on 04-17-2003