Rethinking Urbanization in Modern Chinese History

J. Brooks Jessup


Lincoln, Toby. Urbanizing China in War and Peace: The Case of Wuxi County. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2015. 280 pp. $55.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8248-4100-3 .

Republic of China today. As the chief beneficiaries of rising prosperity, urban communities have grown rapidly to now hold more than half of the country’s overall population. Meanwhile, those left behind as registered residents of the countryside continue to receive dramatically lower levels of income and public services. Historians have long traced the origins of this rural-urban divide back to at least the early twentieth century, when the growing influence of global capitalism and modern state-building was disproportionately concentrated in China’s treaty ports and other urban centers. A concomitant deepening of impoverishment in rural areas helped set the stage for the Communist revolution that eventually engulfed the cities and swept Mao to power by mid-century. However, a new study by Toby Lincoln of urbanization in the first half of the twentieth century challenges this conventional narrative of divergence and dichotomization in rural-urban relations...


China; Urban studies; Chinese history

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.