China On Display – Alan Baumler

Playfairlogo From The China History Group Blog – Frog in a Well:

Historians have been very interested in World’s Fairs, international exhibitions and such for a while now. This is in part because of Gellner and Anderson’s ideas about nationalism, and above all the idea of a nation as an imagined community. Looking at a country’s exhibit at some sort of international do is a quick and easy way to figure out what their imagined community is, or at least what the people responsible would like to claim that it is to an audience of foreigners.

We are in the run-up to one of these events now, the Beijing Olympics. Lots of people (including lots of people in the Chinese government) are aware that this will be China’s big moment of exposure, and they are trying to spin how China will be seen long before the first shot is put. [Full Text]

Read also: 2008 Games a Priority for China’s Leadership by Reuters.

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