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Life of PaperLetters and a Poetics of Living Beyond Captivity$
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Sharon Luk

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520296237

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520296237.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 31 July 2021

The Inventions of China

The Inventions of China

(p.33) One The Inventions of China
Life of Paper

Sharon Luk

University of California Press

Chapter One first elaborates the significance of letters to constitute racial capitalism and dominant forms of nation, state, and empire on both sides of the East Asian and North American Pacific. As battles over international infrastructures of letter conveyance and circulation mediated global wars to secure territorial domination, the practice of letter writing itself also played a central role in these struggles: serving as the standard medium of both government and business administration throughout the modernizing world as well as the primary mode of training modern subjectivity and proper citizenship. In this context, and amidst the globalization of colonial and civil warfare, this chapter examines how engagements with paper, print, and postal technologies thus significantly shaped forms of both U.S. white supremacist and incipient Chinese nationalisms as well as evolving forms of Chinese and U.S. imperialisms in this period.

Keywords:   Infrastructure, Globalization, Racial capitalism, Imperialisms, Nation-state, China, Postal System

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