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Download China from Empire to Nation-State by Hui Wang PDF

By Hui Wang

This translation of the creation to Wang Hui’s Rise of recent chinese language Thought (2004) makes a part of his four-volume masterwork to be had to English readers for the 1st time. a number one public highbrow in China, Wang charts the ancient currents that experience formed chinese language modernity from the track Dynasty to the current day, and alongside the way in which demanding situations the West to reconsider a few of its most elementary assumptions approximately what it skill to be modern.

China from Empire to Nation-State exposes oversimplifications and distortions implicit in Western reviews of chinese language heritage, which lengthy held that China was once culturally proof against modernization, in basic terms in a position to subscribe to the group of recent countries whilst the Qing Empire eventually collapsed in 1912. Noting that Western principles have did not keep in mind the range of chinese language event, Wang recovers very important lines of premodern idea. chinese language thinkers theorized politics in ways in which don't line up well with political inspiration within the West—for instance, the thought of a “Heavenly precept” that ruled every thing from the ordering of the cosmos to the constitution of society and rationality itself. usually pushed aside as facts of imperial China’s irredeemably backward tradition, many Neo-Confucian innovations reemerged in twentieth-century chinese language political discourse, as thinkers and activists from around the ideological spectrum appealed to historic precedents and rules in help in their political and cultural agendas. Wang hence allows us to work out what number facets of premodern idea contributed to a extraordinarily chinese language imaginative and prescient of modernity.

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It is with a view to the future that efforts are made to examine Two Narratives of China and Their Derivative Forms the transformation of the nation-state system in the nineteenth century, to reflect on this history that has been concealed by narratives of the nation-state, and to seek out historical possibilities from it. For example, in the dialectical relationship between universality and diversity held within the concept of empire, what is the relationship between the preservation of social customs, habits, and locality, and the inevitable violence and logic of control associated with any historical empire?

Within these historical processes, then, the question of how to understand “China” becomes extremely pressing. First, when compared with all other premodern empires, the scale and stability of the Chinese empire (Zhonghua diguo) are quite uncommon. ”36 This “exception” is as follows: Over such a long period of time, how is the Chinese empire able to maintain the stability of its territory, population, and political unity? Second, the status of this “exception” is not limited to the “premodern world”: in the twenty-first century, China is the only society in the world that, as a sovereign state and nation, has retained the territorial area, population, and political culture that it inherited from an empire that existed before the nineteenth century.

Is China an empire or a nation-state, or an empire merely passing itself off as a nation-state? Is “China” a political concept or a civilizational or cultural concept? How are we to understand Chinese nationalism and Chinese national identity? Amid theories of Orientalism and postcolonialism, concepts such as “interaction” (hudong), “interconnectedness” (xianghu lianjie), and “hybridity” (hunzaxing) have inspired peoples’ imaginations, just as many other phenomena related to modernity have been gathered into blended categories, providing people with new ways of thinking about and describing a society and its identity.

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