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Claiming the South China Sea with a New National Mythology: Hainan Island in China’s History, Pop Culture, and Current Geopolitics

In this project, Jeremy Murray will explore the shifting role of Hainan Island in contemporary Chinese cultural and political identity. Long an imperial backwater and destination for banished officials of the Chinese court, Hainan has emerged in recent decades as a tropical luxury destination for Chinese mainlanders, as well as being a strategic watchtower over the South China Sea. In official and popular depictions, Hainan is a window on the changing national mythologies of China. This project will examine the rapid transformations at the southern Chinese margins of Hainan and the South China Sea, considering how modern mythologies are constructed and how they take root.

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Jeremy Murray

Jeremy Murray is Professor of History at California State University, San Bernardino, and received his PhD in History from UC San Diego. He teaches and writes about modern China, and has published books and articles on the place of Hainan Island in China’s revolutionary history. Murray has also written and edited books on pop culture in Asia and Asian cultural traditions. In his teaching and research, he is interested in exploring marginalized histories and how margins are created and patrolled with methods ranging from language and pop culture to state violence. He is co-organizer of the CSUSB Modern China Lecture Series, and the CSUSB Conversations on Race and Policing.