New Culture in a New World: The May Fourth Movement and the Chinese Diaspora in Singapore, 1919-1932

New Culture in a New World: The May Fourth Movement and the Chinese Diaspora in Singapore, 1919-1932

New Culture in a New World: The May Fourth Movement and the Chinese Diaspora in Singapore, 1919-1932

New Culture in a New World: The May Fourth Movement and the Chinese Diaspora in Singapore, 1919-1932

Synopsis

During the 1920s, China's intellectuals called for a new literature, a new system of thought, and a new orientation toward modern life. This work furthers our understanding of trans-nationalism and reminds us that in our rush to deconstruct the nation we should remember the discursive power of nationalism.

Excerpt

In 1915, China's students and scholars ushered in a vibrant, new intellectual era. These individuals wanted to reevaluate China's cultural practices, discard those elements that were outdated, and bring about a more modern worldview. Unless China underwent a rapid cultural-intellectual reorientation, they claimed, the twin acids of warlordism and imperialism would continue eating away at the Chinese nation. Over the course of the next decade, many of China's literary, social, and philosophical traditions were held up to close scrutiny, and eventually discarded for being backward, regressive, and unenlightened.

Commonly known as either the May Fourth Movement or the New Culture Movement, this intellectual momentum spilled beyond China into the overseas Chinese communities. In Singapore in particular, individuals discussed New Culture concepts and ideologies. As the movement's core ideas traveled to Southeast Asia, local intellectuals deciphered, digested, and eventually reinterpreted them. In this work I analyze the New Culture Movement as defined and rejoined by the Chinese community in Singapore. Specifically, I seek to answer the question: "How was this movement, which was so imbued with the concept of nationalism, interpreted and defined by those Chinese living in the diaspora, especially those living in Singapore?"

INTERPRETING THE NEW CULTURE MOVEMENT

This work provides many important answers to this question. As such, it adds another perspective, an overseas perspective, to the already impressive body of New Culture literature. Many individuals have attempted to analyze and assess the importance of the New Culture Movement in Chinese

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