Knowledge and Power in the Discourse of Modernity: The Campaigns against Popular Religion in Early Twentieth-Century China


Journal Article

Ever since the enlightenment—the dawn of the modern era—historical understanding has been much concerned with the passage to modernity. In our present century, questions and dilemmas of the transition to modernity and the evaluation of “tradition” in the non-Western world have been central to the historical problematique the world over. I have chosen to analyze the modernist understanding of this historical transition in China not only among professional historians in the West, but among Chinese advocates of modernity. Specifically, I will examine the campaigns attacking popular religion during the first three decades of this century. As a movement advocating the establishment of a rational society, these campaigns offer a view of the understanding of this transition, not just in theory and historiography, but in practice.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Duara, P

Published Date

  • February 1991

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 67 - 83

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1752-0401

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-9118

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2307/2057476


  • en