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From Miao to Miaozu- Alterity in the Formation of Modern Ethnic Groups

Author(s): Zhiqiang Yang

Journal: Hmong Studies Journal
ISSN 1091-1774

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Miao | Hmong Studies | Hmong History | Asian Studies | China Ethnic Minority Groups

In China, the Miao ethnic group has been known for its long and tragic history. This image, however, was formed only during the modern era. Using a historiographical approach, this paper reviews and analyzes the process through which the Chinese Miaoemerged as a modern ethnic group. Specifically, it focuses on the transition from Miao as a blanket term for non-Han ethnic groups in southern China during the pre-modern period to Miaozu as a modern ethnic group, originally constructed in the context of theemergence of Chinese nationalism at the beginning of the 20th century in the context of the domineering Other of Han culture and eventuating in the official recognition of fifty-six minority nationalities (shaoshu minzu) in the 1950s. Based on this study, thispaper then goes on to a theoretical discussion on the question of alterity in the formation of ethnic groups.
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