Article by Mu Duosheng (慕朵生) critical of the current “Jonathan Spence” hype in China

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慕朵生  2014-3-25

For the original website see here.

日前,美国著名汉学家史景迁(Jonathan D. Spence)携带《曹寅与康熙》等新书来华举办首发式,并在多所高校进行讲座,所到处既有诸多学者为其站台,更有大批学生前来听讲,在学界和媒体引发新一轮“汉学热”。但笔者以为,“汉学”当热,然不可将之混同为“国学”。

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Report on a lecture by Jonathan Spence at Fudan University

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Last month famous Sino-historian Jonathan Spence visited China and gave a series of lectures triggering an avalanche of reports far too numerous to be covered here and not all relevant for this blog. Below a text summarizing his impact discussing the reasons for the hype (information provided by Liang Xin).


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“Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future”: Interview with Jonathan Spence on his understanding of Chinese history

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Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future

China’s history is not a thing of the past and eminent historian Jonathan Spence explains why
By staff reporters Huang Shan and Long Zhouyuan

(Beijing) –British-born public intellectual, Jonathan Spence, has just released the 3rd edition of his most acclaimed work, “The Search for Modern China,” in the United States. This book, a survey of Chinese history spanning from the dawn of the Qing dynasty to the present day, emerged from his introductory courses given at Yale University, where Spence served as Sterling Professor of History for 15 years.

Taking aim at the prevalent idea of Chinese history which begins with the collapse of the dynastic political structure, Spence provides a view in which the country’s periods of weakness can be understood as part of a larger process in its development. China has absorbed many ideas from abroad and in some instances this emerged from both imperial weakness and imperial pressure, said Spence.

In a recent interview with Caixin, Spence talked about his understanding of Chinese history and the modern China. Excerpts of the interview follow.

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