Di Luo

Apr 16, 2023

Beyond Citizenship

Literacy and Personhood in Everyday China, 1900-1945

Brill 2022

Beyond Citizenship: Literacy and Personhood in Everyday China, 1900-1945 (Brill, 2022) focuses on the role of literacy in building a modern nation-state by examining the government provision of adult literacy training in early twentieth-century China. Based on untapped archives and diaries, Di Luo uncovers people’s strategic use of literacy and illiteracy in social interactions and explores the impact of daily experiences on the expansion of state power. Highlighting interpersonal and intergroup relations, Beyond Citizenship suggests a new methodology of studying literacy which foregrounds the agentive role of historical actors and so moves away from a more traditional approach that treats literacy itself as the key factor enabling social change.

Dr. Yi Ren is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania.

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