Purpose

This is a blog about the changing status of history in China today.

After a century of the dominance of “scientific” history as a modern academic discipline, the decline of both, historical materialism and the modernization paradigm, as well as the rise of market-oriented forms of historical representation (historical short stories, TV soaps, popular historiography) have left many disoriented, which is why Chinese historians and intellectuals start to question notions of objective knowledge about progressive history. The transition from pre-modern to these now increasingly discredited modern notions of time and history has thus become a focus of interest.

Why the title “history, ethics and faith”?

Pre-modern Chinese historiography was closely linked to and embedded in a Confucian ethico-political framework, based on assumptions about the cosmos, a specific understanding of human nature, the nature of change and the role of human agency in history. Modern (Western) notions of history on their part are rooted in Christian eschatological traditions that have deeply influenced modern notions of history, progress and teleology. Against both backgrounds, modern views of history and recent trends to question and even discard them have to be put into a larger context going beyond the narrower academic categories of theory and method. Thus the title “History, Ethics and Faith in China”.

This blog sets itself the task to trace and later also comment upon these developments covering a wide range of media and texts, from academic discussions on the theory of history, philosophical reflections on the nature of time, history and ethics, to personal remarks by historians, religious reflections on the temporal aspects of human existence and ultimately also covering popular and commercial forms of engagement with the past.

 

The blog is bilingual in English and Chinese. Translations are not provided.

In case you have general suggestions about this blog, please use the contact form below.


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