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Making Chengdu “The Kingdom of God as Jesus Conceived It”: The Urban Work of West China Union University's Sociology Department

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This paper uses the case of West China Union University's Sociology Department as an example to study the mutually beneficial relationships that generally prevailed between Protestant colleges in China and local governments during the Republican era (1912-1949). In most cases, Protestant colleges and local administrations shared a vision of modern urban society that led quite naturally to collaboration. Drawing from modernist theologizing about the city, West China's Sociology Department played an important role both in research on and social work in Chengdu. To theorize this cooperative relationship, this paper takes West China's sociological work as an instrument of globalizing modernity, which was changing the West in many of the same ways as the East. Cet article se penche sur le département de sociologie de la West China Union University afin d'étudier les relations mutuellement bénéfique qui se tissèrent entre les instituts de formation supérieure protestants et les gouvernements locaux en Chine durant la période républicaine (1912-1949). Dans la majorité des cas, les instituts protestants et les administrations locales avaient des vues convergentes sur la société moderne, ce qui entraina une collaboration naturelle entre les deux. S'inspirant de la pensée théologique moderniste sur les villes, le département de sociologie de l'université de la West China Union joua un rôle crucial aussi bien en termes de recherche que de travail social à Chengdu. Afin de théoriser cette relation de coopération, l'article considère le travail sociologique de l'université de la West China Union comme un instrument d'une modernité globalisante qui était en train de transformer le monde occidental de manière similaire à l'Asie.

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