The invention of the ‘Han race’

Posted by on Oct 20, 2020 in Invention of China | No Comments

9 November 2020 It is a commonplace to talk about the ‘Han race’ as if it is self-evident fact. In this talk I will explain how the idea of a Han Race was constructed at the beginning of the twentieth century as a political strategy to support the arguments of revolutionary Chinese nationalism. I will show how the ‘Han Race’ idea was created as a rival to ‘Yellow Race’ ideas common among political reformers. I will then trace the origins of this racial thinking to translations of Social Darwinist ideas from Britain by, in particular, the writer Yan Fu. Arguments about the exact definition of the Han race in the 1900s reveal how it was constructed for political expediency. Register here: