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Popular Magazines and the Making of a Nation: The Healthy Baby Contest Organized by The Young Companion in 1926–27

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The Young Companion, an important representative of Republican Shanghai’s popular magazines, organized a Healthy Baby Contest from August 1926 to March 1927. Though its slogan, “Strong babies promise strong people, strong people guarantee a strong nation” expressed a nationalistic spirit, this contest was rather a commercial activity organized by a popular magazine and its commercial sponsor exploiting nationalistic discourse. Such an integration of nationalistic discourse and commercial interests profoundly influenced mass culture and ultimately promoted China’s modernization and its development as a nation. With this contest as an example, this paper sheds light on the relationship between popular journals and the making of a nation.


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