IIAS Newsletter 48 Summer 2008

Modern times: the meaning of dates and calendars in Modern China, 1895-1935

Lane J. Harris

In late Qing and Republican China controversy arose over the name of the year and calendrical basis of the date. For more than two millennia, years were calculated eponymously in accordance with the emperor’s reign, but in the late Qing reformers and revolutionaries began proposing alternatives. The Republicans adopted the solar calendar, resulting in a series of clashes with the lunar calendar-loving public. The ensuing battle over the calendar became entangled with a host of issues concerning national identity, cultural traditions and the meaning of modernity.

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