China Seminar | 12 May 2011

Reformers in Sandalwood Mountain: Sun Yat-sen, Liang Qichao, and the Significance of Hawaii in Revolutionary China

Shana J. Brown Shana J. Brown

China’s revolution of 1911 was in many respects a global revolution whose impact was felt keenly in Hawaii. Not only did it affect overseas Chinese communities worldwide, but many of the key historical figures of the revolutionary era were one-time Hawaii residents, like Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Or like Liang Qichao, they were noted commentators on the global diaspora in places like San Francisco and Honolulu. For these reformers and revolutionaries, Hawaii and other areas of the Chinese diaspora provided support but also prompted their debates on modern society, politics, and economy. What was the view among early twentieth-century Chinese of diasporic and Hawaiian culture and society, and how did these visions influence the long-term direction of the revolution?

Shana Brown is Assistant Professor of History at UH-Manoa, where she recently helped organize the Centennial Conference of the 1911 Chinese Revolution. A B.A. from Amherst College and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, she has studied, worked, and traveled extensively in China and Asia. Her area of expertise is modern Chinese intellectual and cultural history, with a special focus on visual culture in its global context. Current research projects include the history of photography in China and the contributions of modern Chinese women as artists, art collectors, and scholars.