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Chinese Walls in Time and Space: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

144 Chinese Walls
Roger DES FORGES, GAO Minglu, LIU Chiao-mei, Haun SAUSSY with Thomas BURKMAN, editors
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Are walls remnants of ancient and medieval societies, destined to become anachronistic in modern and post-modern times? Or will they persist, shaping as well as adjusting to new conditions? Do walls necessarily constrain and even isolate those who live within them, or can they act as a medium of support and communication for people on both sides?This volume addresses these questions. Authors from seven disciplines - history, art, law, medicine, communication, and film - provide multiple perspectives on various kinds of walls: material ones around and within states, cities, and towns, as well as virtual ones regulating the administration of justice, the flow of pathogens, and the transmission of information. | 496 pages


  • List of Illustrations
  • List of Major Chinese Polities
  • Preface
  • Introduction

Part One: The Building and Unbuilding of Walls

  • 1. Long Walls | The "Great Wall of China": An Author's Reflections after Twenty Years Arthur Waldron
  • 2. City Walls | Tales of Three City Walls in China's Central Plain Roger Des Forges
  • 3. Town Walls | Chinese County Walls between the Central State and Local Society: Evidence from Henan Province during the Ming Dynasty Desmond Cheung

Part Two: Walls Within Cities

  • 4. Ward Walls | The Ward Walls and Gates of Tang Chang'an as Seen in "The Tale of Li Wa" Keyang Tang
  • 5 Legal Walls | A Maze of Jurisdictional Walls: Conflict and Cooperation Among the Courts in Republican-Era Shanghai Tahirih V. Lee

Part Three: Containment and Breaches

  • 6. Cartoons | Walls as Multivalent Icons in the Early People's Republican Political Cartoons, 1946-1951 Adam Cathcart
  • 7. Quarantines | Pathogen Traffic: Walls and Apertures Richard V. Lee and Roger Des Forges
  • 8. Firewalls | Realizing the Four Modernizations with a New "Long Wall": China's Effort to Use a "Big Fire Wall" to Control the Internet Junhao Hon

Part Four: China in the World

  • 9. Poetry | Breaking Down the Wall between East and West in the "Daoist Poetics" of Wai-lim Yip Jonathan Stalling
  • 10. Art | Near Far: The Dispersion, Relocation, and Mobility of Contemporary Chinese Artists Millie Chen
  • 11. Historiography | Confronting the Walls: Efforts at Reconstructing World History in China at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century Luo Xu

Part Five: Walls in Cinema and Painting

  • 12. Film | Amid Crumbling Chinese Walls: The Changing Roles of Family and Women as Revealed in Wang Chao's Anyang Orphan Xiaoping Lin
  • 13. Paintings | Writing on the Wall: Brice Marden's Chinese Work and Modernism Liu Chiao-mei
  • Conclusion: Bricks and Tiles
  • Glossary
  • Contributors
  • Index


  • Thomas W. BURKMAN is Director of Asian Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
  • Roger DES FORGES is Professor of History at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
  • Minglu GAO is a curator and scholar of contemporary Chinese art at University of Pittsburgh.
  • LIU Chiao-mei is in the Department of History at Taiwan University.
  • Haun SAUSSY is Bird White Housum Professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Languages at Yale University. 

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