This dissertation examines the discourses of race, nation and ethnicity in late Qing and early republican China, focusing primarily on representations of the Han. It argues that the competing and changing representations of the Han in this period formed an integral part of the process of modern Chinese nation
The empirical basis of the dissertation consists of three layers: intellectuals discourses, school textbooks and dictionaries. These layers constituted interconnected layers of discourses that were involved in the broader process of Chinese nation-building. The dissertation demonstrates that intellectuals
discourses played a central role in constructing new notions of Chinese identity and the role of the Han, and thereby also in producing different templates or for Chinese nation-building during the late Qing and early republican period. After the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1911, these modern perceptions of
Chinese national identity were endorsed by the ruling elites and were gradually
disseminated and popularised further by means of school textbooks and
dictionaries. Taken together, the examination of discourses on the Han in these three types of sources therefore offers an account of how early Chinese
nationalist ideas were produced among the elites and then disseminated among
the broader population.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.