The Business of Culture examines the rise of Chinese “cultural entrepreneurs,” businesspeople who risked financial well-being and reputation by investing in multiple cultural enterprises in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Rich in biographical detail, the interlinked case studies featured in this volume introduce three distinct archetypes: the cultural personality, the tycoon, and the collective enterprise. These portraits reveal how rapidly evolving technologies and growing transregional ties created fertile conditions for business success in the cultural sphere. They also highlight strategies used by cultural entrepreneurs around the world today.
Foreword by Wang Gungwu
Introduction / Christopher Rea and Nicolai Volland
1 Enter the Cultural Entrepreneur / Christopher Rea
Part 1: Cultural Personalities
2 Between the Literata and the New Woman: Lü Bicheng as Cultural Entrepreneur / Grace Fong
3The Butterfly Mark: Chen Diexian, His Brand, and Cultural Entrepreneurism in Republican China / Eugenia Lean
4 Culture by Post: Correspondence Schools in Early Republican China / Michael Gibbs Hill
Part 2: Tycoons
5 Aw Boon Haw, the Tiger from Nanyang: Social Entrepreneurship, Transregional Journalism, and Public Culture / Sin Yee Theng and Nicolai Volland
6 One Chicken, Three Dishes: The Cultural Enterprises of Law Bun / Sai-Shing Yung and Christopher Rea
Part 3: Collective Enterprises
7 Local Entrepreneurs, Transnational Networks: Publishing Markets and Cantonese Communities within and across National Borders / Robert Culp
8 Cultural Consumption and Cosmopolitan Connections: Chinese Cinema Entrepreneurs in 1920s and 1930s Singapore / Chua Ai Lin
9 Cultural Entrepreneurship in the Twilight: The Shanghai Book Trade Association, 1945-57 / Nicolai Volland
Epilogue: Beyond the Age of Cultural Entrepreneurship, 1949-Present / Christopher A. Reed and Nicolai Volland
Glossary; Bibliography; List of Contributors; Index
The Business of Culture guides readers through the historical transition of the late imperial “man of letters,” to the “cultural entrepreneur” enabled by new technologies, followed by the PRC’s "worker in the arts," and concluding with the reemergence in China of the kinds of cultural entrepreneurship that had developed in other sinophone countries. Edited by two distinguished scholars, this volume will be essential to those studying the history of culture and commerce in China and Southeast Asia.
Richard King, author of Milestones on a Golden Road: Writing for Chinese Socialism, 1945-80
The voices, lives, and enterprises that emerge from this delightful volume are vivid and illuminating – a captivating read.
Thomas Mullaney, author of Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China
This collection of essays represents a new period in the historiography of China, and the vantage point, that of capitalist China revived and flourishing, fits well with the analyses presented in the volume. Indeed, as Rea’s theoretical chapter on the concept of cultural entrepreneurship notes, this offers a new approach to "pluralism and mobility in the cultural sphere" (27) beyond the categories imposed by a political analysis.
Anna Belogurova, Georg-August Universitat Gottingen, Germany