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Grant number like: FT-55911-08

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Gang Zhou
Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA 70808-4600)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2008 – 8/31/2008

Language, Myth, Identity: The Chinese Vernacular Movement in a Comparative Perspective

This book examines a historical moment in Chinese literary history--when baihua (the vernacular) was elevated to become the national language, and wenyan (classical Chinese) was attacked and eliminated from many literary practices, thus overturning the long-established linguistic hierarchy. My principal argument is that the inauguration of the vernacular in early twentieth-century China embodies a monolingual ideal actively endorsed by an emerging nation-state. Imagining modern Chinese literature as strictly in the vernacular further enhances and institutionalizes the vernacular as the ideal while suppressing China's multilingual past and present.