University of Toronto, Scarborough Department of Historical and Cultural Studies
GASD58/HISD58 – Culture, Politics, and Society in Late Imperial China
Reading Response 3
Due 16. March 2018 at 23:59
In his seminal text The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Jürgen Habermas wrote that with the emergence of the public sphere, there emerged a political confrontation brought on by “people’s public use of their reason (öffentliches Räsonnement)” (Habermas 27).
Your response should outline how the various authors we have read this week approach the concepts of the public sphere, civil society, and human rights in late imperial China. Some of the questions which you should seek to address are: What marks the distinction between public and private? What was the role of human rights discourse in relation to late Qing reforms? Through what intellectual lineage did the notion of civic participation and engagement emerge in China? Can we even speak of the concept of the public sphere in relation to the late Qing? How was the concept of feudalism utilised by late Qing intellectuals, and what was the role of nationalism in fomenting class consciousness? In the absence of modern nation states, or at least a developed, capitalist, and sufficiently bourgeois society, can the concept of the public sphere be said to exist?
Please be sure to upload your reading response to Portal and Turnitin. The class ID and password for Turnitin are listed on the syllabus. Please also be sure to cut and paste your response on Portal, as well as uploading the file.
Your response should be 4 double spaced pages, size 12 font. Late penalty: 5% per day References:
Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Trans. Thomas Burger and Frederick Lawrence. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1991.