In Touring China: A History of Travel Culture, 1912-1949 (Cornell University Press, 2021), BC Assistant Professor of History Yajun Mo explores how early 20th century Chinese sightseers described the destinations that they visited, and how their travel accounts gave Chinese readers a means to imagine their vast country. When railroad and steamship networks expanded into the coastal regions of China, it propelled many Chinese from the eastern seaboard to its peripheries and beyond. In her book, Mo considers not only overseas travel and voyages across borderlands, but also trips within China. According to the author: On the one hand, via travel and travel writing, the unity of China’s coastal regions, inland provinces, and western frontiers was experienced and reinforced. On the other, travel literature revealed a persistent tension between the aspiration for national unity and the anxiety that China might fall apart. Mo teaches courses on modern China and women’s and gender history. Her research focuses on China’s production of its national image.
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