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Writing City History at the Grassroots Level: Jiedaozhi and Their Research Value

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image of Frontiers of History in China

Chinese local gazetteers (difangzhi) have been long recognized as an important primary source for the study of local history. Since the 1990s, in addition to projects to publish provincial, city, and county gazetteers, local gazetteers for villages, city districts, and city neighborhoods and streets (jiedao) have also been compiled. This paper focuses on one particular genre of these newly emerged local gazetteers, the city sub-district gazetteer or street gazetteers (jiedaozhi). We track their development, and discuss their characteristics and their research value for Chinese studies. We show that jiedaozhi open windows into grassroots society in urban areas, which may stimulate new research directions in Chinese studies.


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