This paper examines changes to the portrayal of ethnic minorities in Chinese history textbooks published since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. It finds that ideological shifts in Beijing have led to ethnic minorities being portrayed in changing and even contradictory ways in textbooks. However, what remains unchanged throughout PRC history is the representation of the “backwardness” of the ethnic minorities in relation to the majority Han group, which has always been portrayed as “advanced.” Based on this analysis, this paper concludes that while underlying conceptions of Chinese nationhood (as constructed in the textbooks) have been rather fluid, there has been no consistent progress towards a more inclusive notion of “Chinese-ness” (Chinese identity or essence). Copyright © 2022 AERA.
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2022|