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Inventing China Through History: The May Fourth Approach to by Q. Edward Wang

By Q. Edward Wang

This e-book describes the increase of nationwide historical past in early-twentieth-century China. It reports the careers of a bunch of liberal historians together with famous figures equivalent to Liang Qichao and Hu Shi and lesser recognized figures equivalent to He Bingsong, Fu Sinian, Yao Congwu, and Chen Yinke. Buoyed through the search for "Mr. technology" and "Mr. Democracy" through the may perhaps Fourth stream of 1919, those historians looked for a systematic presentation of China's nationwide previous, encouraged via the Western and eastern perform of clinical historical past. Their efforts to bridge the perceived hole among culture and modernity, local and international, previous and current, created a brand new, clinical version of historical past in China. The e-book additionally discusses the importance of this historiographical event in late-twentieth-century China and Taiwan.

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Extra info for Inventing China Through History: The May Fourth Approach to Historiography (S U N Y Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture)

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9 Gong was attractive to this cyclical view of history because it emphasized the need for change and forecasted the coming of a new age. His use of this ancient Confucian theory proved to be very influential. A few reformers later followed his example. Kang Youwei (1858–1927), for instance, used the three-age theory to attest to the urgency of political reform. 10 Interestingly, when these Qing intellectuals used the three-age theory, they often emphasized the importance and necessity of making the transition from a chaotic age to a better age through reform and change, and were less interested in the cyclical interpretation of historical movement per se.

These discoveries also helped to renew China’s historical tradition and reinforce China’s historical identity. So if the “Ancient History Discussion” launched by Hu Shi and Gu Jiegang had undermined China’s antiquity, Fu’s archaeological findings helped reconstruct it on a new ground. Accordingly, this search for identity in history was bound up with the readily perceived influence of nationalism, which had encouraged historians to ascertain the validity of their national past, as shown in chapter 5.

In China. In this comparison, Russia was supposedly playing the role of the State of Qin, which, as happened in China two millennia earlier, would eventually take control of Europe and dominate the rest of the countries. Yet what really concerned Wang was the threat of this stronger and ambitious Russia to China. In analyzing the consequence of the Franco-Prussia War, Wang wasted no time to caution his readers about Russia’s ambition in Asia. All these predictions were based on his theory that the Franco-Prussia War changed the balance of power that would affect both Europe and Asia.

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