Living on Borrowed Time

Living on Borrowed Time

Opium in Canton, 1906–1936 (CRM 74)

Xavier Paulès, Noel Castelino, trans.

Publication date: 2017
ISBN-13 (print): 978-1-55729-174-5
ISBN-10 (print): 1-55729-174-8
ISBN-13 (e-book): 978-1-55729-175-2

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This comprehensive microhistory of opium in Canton from the late Qing to Republican period examines the infamous drug from the perspective of material, political, economic, and social history. Paulès traces the transformation of the drug from elite habit to national shame. Translated from the original French, Histoire d'une drogue en sursis: L'opium à Canton, 19061936 (EHESS, 2010).

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Title information

This comprehensive microhistory of opium in Canton from the late Qing to Republican period examines the infamous drug from the perspective of material, political, economic, and social history. Paulès traces the transformation of the drug from elite habit to national shame, arguing that the marginalization of opium occurred well before 1949. This monograph covers the drug's material history and practices, the contradictory politics and economics of opium revenue, the spaces of consumption, and anti-opium propanganda that created the image of the degenerate opium smoker. Translated from the original French, Histoire d'une drogue en sursis: L'opium à Canton, 19061936 (EHESS, 2010).

Pages: 334
Language: English
Publisher: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Xavier Paulès

Xavier Paulès is the director of the Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine (CECMC) at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, France. His research focuses on the urban history of contemporary China and the history of opium and gambling. He has published in French, English, and Chinese.

Noel Castelino, trans.

Noel Castelino specializes in translations from French to English for academic publications relating to Chinese studies. His translations include Christian Henriot's Shanghai, 1927-1937 (UC Press, 1993) and Prostitution and Sexuality in Shanghai (Cambridge UP, 2001).

Website:

Living on Borrowed Time: Opium in Canton, 1906-1936 (CRM 74)

Acknowledgements
Romanization
Currency and Weights

Introduction
1. The Material and Structural History
2. Opium Eradication as a Feasible Goal, 1906-1923
3. An Indispensable Source of Revenue, 1923–1936
4. The Geography of Consumption
5. Life in the Opium Houses
6. Opium in the Collective Mind during the Republican Period: The Imperfect Victory of Propaganda
7. An X-ray of the Opium Smoker
Conclusion

Biographies
Sources and Bibliography
Index of Names and Glossary

JOURNAL REVIEWS

“Paulès’ monograph is the most comprehensive study we have of opium’s use and meaning in a single place. It challenges our conceptual and historiographical stereotypes.” ~Blaine Chiasson, Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, in Twentieth-Century China 39, no. 3 (2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/1521538514Z.00000000049

"This book by Xavier Paulès is written in a way to somewhat revise the history of the Republican era along three original lines....[U]nlike all his predecessors, Xavier Paulès is not content to study the supply of opium. He seeks to explore the demand for opium. His first chapter...contains a veritable anthropological survey of the preparation of the drug, as well as the tools used in the smoking houses, the modes of consumption, and the effects of the drug.”
~Alain Roux, in Revue historique, vol. 663 (July 2012). [orig. French]. https://www.cairn.info/article.php?ID_ARTICLE=RHIS_123_0727&DocId=262017

“The diversity of sources used, from archives to periodicals and yearbooks of Canton, permits Xavier Paulès to propose a detailed study of both the supply and demand of opium during the period studied and to provide a very innovative vision of diverse aspects of the drug.”
~Frédéric Obringer, Etudes Chinoises, vol. 30 (2011) [orig. French].