From 1832, when British ships sailed into forbidden Chinese waters, China suffered a century of national humiliation. It is a grand narrative of infamy, in which China’s development was skewed by impositions from foreign imperialists, craven collaborators, decadent, feudal Manchu emperors, warlords and bureaucratic capitalists, and it is a story repeatedly told in modern China. Yet for the outside world, this traumatic period is a matter of history, done and dusted.
In an illustrated talk, Robert Bickers will discuss The Scramble for China, an epic account of a century of Sino-foreign interactions, confrontation and confusion. His new book examines how events such as the opium wars or the Boxer uprising have impacted upon China’s relations with the world. For, as China resumes its central place on the world stage, we cannot understand the country’s resurgence and its sometimes quiet, sometimes raucous anger at the world unless we understand first this dark, complex phase of its modern history, the memory of which is embedded in the state’s very articulation of itself.
DATE: May 23, 2011
VENUE: “Kubrick” MOMA Bookstore, Grand MOMA, Tower 2, Xiangheyuan Road, Dongcheng District
Tel: (86) 10 6559 6891
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robert Bickers is the author of the highly-acclaimed Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai. He has written extensively on Chinese history and is currently Professor of History at the University of Bristol. To write The Scramble for China he travelled at length, visiting many of the haunting sites scattered across China that feature in the book.