Dr Lewis Mayo1, Liang Qichao2, Justin Tighe3, Jack Moloney4, Richard Lee1
1Asia Institute, University Of Melbourne, , Australia, 2Chinese Settler Cultures and the History of the Chinese Future, 3History of Ideas, Pathways School, Trinity College, University of Melbourne, , Australia, 4History Department, University of Melbourne, Australia
Chair: Dr Lewis Mayo
For a long time, the rhetoric of modernising change in China was affiliated with the idea of revolution and its capacity to create a radiant future for Chinese people and for the world at large. To understand modern Chinese historical experience we need to look at how conceptions of China’s future have shifted in line with changes in configurations of power in different Chinese societies, in both revolutionary and non-revolutionary contexts. How have different visions of the Chinese future displaced each other in the course of China’s modern history? How does the pursuit of individual and familial betterment link with ideas of the collective betterment of classes, regions or nations? How far has disillusionment with the failure of projected futures to come into being created a sense of cultural malaise and how far has it spurred people to come up with alternative visions of what the Chinese future might be? This panel will pursue these questions through a combination of historical comparisons between competing narratives of the future in China and in other parts of the world, and through reflection on how accounts of the past produced by Chinese writers might arise from and entail particular visions of the future.