Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Conflict and Compromise: An Interpretation of the Cultural Identity of Westernized Chinese in Western Concessions
by Dai, Le, M.A., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2018, 85; 10817632
Abstract (Summary)

Pratt’s contact zone theory draws researchers’ attention to the initiative and creativity of local cultures in colonized areas. Such features make Pratt’s theory productive in dealing with cultural issues in modern China. Heretofore, people in the process of cultural contact, for instance, Westernized Chinese in concessions, have not been discussed in detail. The concession is a contact zone. The history of the concession in modern China started in the 1840s and ended in the 1940s. The concession is a particular social space for Chinese and Western cultures to meet; in which Western colonizers and Chinese local citizens have direct cultural contact. As products of the contact zone, many Westernized Chinese in concessions actually have dual cultural status. They are both a part of the local culture and a part of the foreign culture. Their unique cultural status is worthy of further analysis. “Fake foreign devil” is a title local Chinese used to describe their Westernized fellows in concessions, suggesting a contradictory attitude the local Chinese held towards these foreignized fellows in the contact zone. The Chinese local community admitted the cultural heterogeneity of those Westernized Chinese, which is the reason those people had been called “foreign.” Meanwhile, their Chinese cultural identity had never been denied, hence the necessity of the “fake” prefix. “Devil” implies the unpleasant relations between these two groups of people. This thesis will use the concept of fake foreign devils as examples to analyze the reaction of local cultural communities when faced with cultural products associated with a bicultural identity from the contact zone. Textual analysis will be the main method utilized. An important result of the cultural contact between Western and Chinese cultures, the Westernized Chinese in concessions and their relative cultural experience will provide a valuable research case for post-colonial theory regarding the intercultural communication that occurred in modern China.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tan, Eng Kiong
Commitee: August, Tim, Kalinowska-Blackwood, Izabela
School: State University of New York at Stony Brook
Department: Comparative Literature
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: MAI 58/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Comparative literature
Keywords: Concessions, Contact zone, Cultural contact, Fake foreign devils, Westernized Chinese
Publication Number: 10817632
ISBN: 978-0-438-32973-7
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