Northeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

4 - Capitalism, Territory, and Material Order: Modern China’s Commodity Exhibitions, 1873-1929

Saturday, July 7
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Silveroak II, Ground Floor

In China’s historical transition from isolation to international engagement, it participated in international expositions overseas and initiated national exhibitions at home, including the Nanyang Industrial Exposition (1908) and the West Lake Exposition (1929). This experience of representing and facilitating exchange was an integral part and driver of the formation of systematic social and political processes linking between China’s national and international social ecologies. The exhibitions nurtured a complex interrelationship between locality, national territory, and the global capitalist system of production. There were two phases: By the end of the nineteenth century, the exhibitions specialized local manufacturers and merchants’ products within the global division of labor; later on, under the social Darwinist doctrine of group survival, they sought to nationalize production and consumption through displaying national products against foreign ones.

This study examines exhibition as a process synthesizing the material order and the human order; economic relationships among producer groups were part of the world of commodity objects and bound to its laws (i.e., narratives of history and progress). Its approach is to trace how the spatial frame of displays changed over time and show how this enabled the existence of individuals and groups to be created and recreated in relation to material substances. Notably, this study considers exhibitionary collections to be produced through a network of ideas and actions, theories and empirical evidence, field collectors and centers of calculation. It thus seeks to depict situated collecting practices and their geographical connections by using a variety of published and archival resources.

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4 - Capitalism, Territory, and Material Order: Modern China’s Commodity Exhibitions, 1873-1929



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Send Email for Capitalism, Territory, and Material Order: Modern China’s Commodity Exhibitions, 1873-1929