The Modern Chinese Folklore Movement coalesced at National Peking University between 1918 and 1926. A group of academics, inspired by Western thought, tried to revitalize the study of folklore to stave off postwar disillusionment with Chinese elite culture. By documenting this phenomenon’s origins and evolution, Jie Gao opens a new chapter in the world history of the Folklore Movement. Largely unknown in the West and underappreciated in China, the Chinese branch failed to achieve its goal of reinvigorating the nation. But it helped establish a modern discipline, promoting a spirit of academic independence that continues to influence Chinese intellectuals today.
Jie Gao is an assistant professor of history at Murray State University in Kentucky. Her work has appeared in several journals and books in Canada, China, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.