Contesting the past on the Chinese Internet: Han-centrism and mnemonic practices

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Digital technology has brought critical changes to mnemonic practices in China, such as the empowerment of social groups to discover previously underrepresented historical accounts and produce alternative historical narratives. This article examines the mnemonic practices of Han-centrism, a type of ethnic and cultural nationalist movement based on the Chinese Internet. It analyzes how Han-centrist netizens reinterpret national history through their efforts to rediscover forgotten historical narratives of glory and trauma. It suggests that digital technology in China facilitates the emergence of online groups that are dedicated to the struggle for “historical truth” and social-cultural changes, motivated by a crisis of identity. Their mnemonic practices may be partly tolerated by the authoritarian state under some conditions. However, given China’s complicated and conflictual history, such online groups can easily turn the Internet into a battlefield of nationalism. This article highlights the confusion and contestation of memory and identity in contemporary China and the role of digital technology in the long battle.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMemory Studies
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chinese Internet
  • collective memory
  • digital memory
  • Han-centrism
  • identity
  • nationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Contesting the past on the Chinese Internet: Han-centrism and mnemonic practices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this