Chinese by Definition: Bloodline, Nationality Law, and State Succession, 1909-1997


American Research in the Humanities in China


East Asian Languages and Cultures


Bloodline has been conceptualized as a biogenetic substance, used for nationalistic or racist rhetoric, and codified in laws in human societies past and present. When using the bloodline principle to define one’s nationality, questions arise concerning how powerful bloodline could be in defining national identity and political allegiance when national borders are shifting. This project provides a humanistic perspective to the studies on legal borders. Through archive-based and cross-disciplinary research, the project examines the cultural idioms and the social implications of the making and implementation of the first Chinese nationality law, and discusses the paradoxes that arise from transplanting nationality law to China during the years of regime changes.