Cosmopolitanism in China, 1600–1950

Cambria Press is pleased to announce a new publication Cosmopolitanism in China, 1600–1950 by Professors Minghui Hu (University of California Santa Cruz) and Johan Elverskog (Southern Methodist University) . This book is in the Cambria Sinophone World Series headed by Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania).

This book will be launched at the upcoming 2016 Association of Asian Studies (AAS) conference in Seattle.

Cosmopolitanism China

The following are excerpts from the book.

Chapter 1: Introduction


“When Confucianism was vital, it was cosmopolitan…. But when China ceased to be the world and became a nation, or struggled to become one, Confucianism was provincial in that larger world that contained the Chinese nation.” – Joseph R. Levenson

“Levenson was clearly on to something important—this volume explores the implications and possibilities of his potent observation regarding China in relation to the growing scholarship on cosmopolitanism around the world.” – Minghu Ju and Johan Elverskog, pp. 1–2

Chapter 2: Making Manchus and Muslims7c055f6c314a75a379d4188997b0cbe4
“The vicissitudes of the Qing political climate intermittently permitted and forced Chinese Muslims to express their beliefs and collective identity as being not only unthreatening to Chinese culture and society, but, moreover, completely consonant with mainstream Confucian values. The resulting hybrid cultural, religious, and intellectual identity cultivated by the Han Kitab scholars parallels in many ways the multivalent imperial identity promoted by the Qing imperium. In the communal histories of the Manchus and Chinese Muslims, one can observe patterns of development that mirror those of other ethnoreligious communities throughout Chinese history.” —James Frankel, pp. 24–25

Chapter 3: Quotidian Cosmopolitanism in Qing Provincial GovernmentPortrait_of_the_Yongzheng_Emperor_in_Court_Dress
“The imperial responses to the 1723 floods revealed much about the assumptions and traditions of the court and province in river management. The Yongzheng emperor responded to the situation in Henan with a series of new appointments, bringing individuals of different backgrounds and expertise on board —a strategy that captured well the quotidian cosmopolitanism of  Qing rule in that it threw into relief the competing claims of universalism within a local context.” — R. Kent Guy, p. 58

Chapter 4: From Specialized Methodologies to Cosmopolitan Vision450px-Lunyu
“All the basic labels used in the Sinophone world [to denote Qianjia scholarship] are actually misnomers […] Eighteenth-century High Qing scholarship must therefore not simply be characterized as kaojuxue 考據學 (textual methodologies) but rather as the rise of various specialized methodologies encompassed by a coherent cosmopolitan vision.” — Chang So-An and Minghui Hu, pp. 90, 110


Chapter 5: Toward a Buddhist Cosmopolitanism Gong Zizhen Memorial

“Gong Zizhen—famous for his New Text classical scholarship, his poetic oeuvre, and his advocacy for the establishment of the province of Xinjiang —was also a devout and erudite Buddhist. […] Given his ardent faith, paying tribute to Sakyamuni in extravagant terms such as [in Ti Fance] hardly sounds exceptional. Nonetheless, it was bold, even a bit cheeky, for a member of the highest stratum of literati society to so explicitly and categorically denigrate native sages in favor of foreigners. […] Gong displays a remarkably even-handed, largely neutral appraisal of China’s place among its neighbors, and an enthusiasm toward the cultivation of what could be loosely called a cosmopolitan sensibility. Key to the emergence of this approach was Gong’s eclectic tendency to cross various cultural and intellectual boundaries, as well as his oft-expressed disdain for ethnic or cultural provincialism.” — Stephen Roddy, pp. 121–123

Chapter 6: A Late Chosŏn Korean Polymath in the Cosmopolitan World of Qing ChinaKim_Jeong-hui
“The story of Kim Chŏng-hŭi provides a view into what can be understood as the East Asian Confucian cosmopolis. Korean translators, as well as their overseas Hokkien, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Siamese counterparts, played an essential role as go-betweens between China and the broader East Asian Confucian world.  [… These interactions] suggest that a loosely interconnected but very cosmopolitan East Asian sociocultural world of classical learning, literary writings, and political statecraft existed and was powered by the early modern East Asian commercial world during the ‘silver age.’”— Benjamin Elman, pp. 160, 180

Chapter 7: Cultural Solidarity in Troubled TimesN09124_featured_fig28
“Yu Yue used the word ‘people from faraway places’ (yuanren 遠人) to refer only to Europeans and their colonial (or in this case quite possibly enslaved) subjects. […] He often complained that the inventions brought to China by these distasteful, unsightly foreigners were either superfluous or unsettling, and often both. 187-188 [… However, later in life] While falling into a deep gloom over the violence that raged both within and outside of China (Yu Yue expressed a wish to end his life in several poems of 1900–1906), Yu also began in this period to speak of a shared humanity with those people of more distant lands, the so-called ‘yuanren’ that he had dismissed so disparagingly earlier in life.” — Stephen Roddy, pp. 189, 187-188, 201

Chapter 8: Did the Yellow Emperor Come from Babylonia?

“According to Albert Étienne Jean Baptiste Terrien de Lacouperie, Nakhunte (also romanized as Nai Hwangti) was the legendary Yellow Emperor in Chinese history, and the Bak tribes were derived from the first phonetic unit of Baixing 百姓 meaning the “peasants” or general population. Therefore, the Yellow Emperor—who was widely considered the symbolic beginning of Chinese civilization and the starting point of the Chinese imperial genealogy—actually came from Babylonia. The ancient Chinese were in fact Babylonians. Lacouperie’s argument later became known as Sino-Babylonianism (Xilaishuo). […] In 1903, when Sino-Babylonianism was first introduced to the Sinophone world, the anti-Manchu revolutionary elites in Shanghai and Tokyo took strong political positions in reaction to it. Although some initially supported the theory, when they realized that Sino-Babylonianism implied the foreign origins of Chinese civilization and thereby contradicted their political purpose in mobilizing an anti-Manchu revolution, they quickly shifted positions to oppose it.— Sun Jiang and Minghui Hu, pp. 221–222

Chapter 9: Why Culture? The Great War and Du Yaquan’s Civilizational DiscourseUnknown
“The prominent intellectuals of China’s new Republic identified culture as the primary cause of political change. This remarkable belief in how culture (wenhua) could alter the course of history resurfaced again in the 1960s; however, in the 1910s there were two distinct discourses on the issue. On the more politically moderate side of these debates was Du Yaquan (1873–1933), the editor of the flagship journal Eastern Miscellany (Dongfang zazhi) […] Du Yaquan strove to provide a cosmopolitan perspective in observing and conceiving the political and social problems of China.” — Wang Hui and Minghui Hu, pp. 265, 285

Learn more about the book and recommend it.

Cosmopolitanism in China

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