The Chinese Factory Project: A Digital-History and Data Project

Zhaojin Zeng, Duke Kunshan University

This paper presentation is to introduce an innovative digital-history and data project, the Chinese Factory Project ( Drawing on newly discovered factory archives collected in China, Taiwan, Japan, Sweden, and the United States, this project provides scholars with new databases and digital tools to analyze the changing institutions, practices, and discourses of China’s industrialization from the late imperial Qing to the post-Mao era. It will also provide an online learning platform for students to visualize China’s economic and industrial landscape. Currently, the Chinese Factory Project contains two major parts: the digitization of the 30,000-page Baojin Iron Company Archive (1907-2004), one of the most complete company archives in modern Chinese history, and a large-scale geospatial database based upon 6,000-volume Chinese industrial factory and enterprise gazetteers. It thus offers both a micro prism through which to investigate the internal dynamics of the Chinese factory and a macro-level observation of China’s rise and fall as the world factory. By reimaging the Chinese industrial factory as history and data, this project aims to make a unique contribution to reconsidering the importance of industrial history and its role in fostering the capitalist economic order of the twenty-first century.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 138. Emerging Methods: Project Reflections