Constructing the Chinese: Paleoanthropology and Anthropology in the Chinese Frontier, 1920-1951


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines the intellectual oeuvre and varied expeditions of foreign and Chinese scientists who researched the geology, paleontology, anthropology, and archaeology of China’s northwestern and southwestern frontiers from 1911 to 1951. It explores how concerns with human civilization, the individual search for intellectual identity, and national interests motivated these scientists to inquire into the Chinese frontier, and how ideas were exchanged and shared among scientists in certain intellectual networks. Ultimately, it highlights the tensions between participating in global scientific community and the desire for the indigenization of imported knowledge systems experienced by Chinese scientists.