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Copyright 2011. The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except fair uses permitted under U.S. or applicable copyright law.

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Transforming History

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Titles in The Formation and Development of Academic Disciplines in Twentieth-Century China Series Learning to Emulate the Wise: The Genesis of Chinese Philosophy as an Academic Discipline in Twentieth-Century China Edited by John Makeham

Sociology and Anthropology in Twentieth-Century China: Between Universalism and Indigenism Edited by Arif Dirlik with Guannan Li and Hsiao-pei Yen

Transforming History: The Making of a Modern Academic Discipline in Twentieth-Century China Edited by Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

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Transforming History: The Making of a Modern Academic Discipline in Twentieth-Century China

Edited by Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

The Chinese University Press

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Transforming History: The Making of a Modern Academic Discipline in Twentieth-Century China Edited by Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow © The Chinese University of Hong Kong 2011 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. ISBN: 978-962-996-479-5 THE CHINESE UNIVERSITY PRESS The Chinese University of Hong Kong SHA TIN, N.T., HONG KONG Fax: +852 2603 6692 Fax: +852 2603 7355 E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.chineseupress.com Printed in Hong Kong

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Contents

About the Series

vii

List of Contributors

ix

1. Making History Modern: The Transformation of Chinese Historiography, 1895–1937

1

Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow 2. The Marginalization of Classical Studies and the Rising Prominence of Historical Studies during the Late Qing and Early Republic: A Reappraisal

47

Luo Zhitian 3. Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge in the Late Qing Examination System

75

Liu Long-hsin 4. Narrating the Nation: Meiji Historiography, New History Textbooks, and the Disciplinarization of History in China

103

Q. Edward Wang 5. The Impact of the Linear Model of History on Modern Chinese Historiography

135

Wang Fan-sen 6. Discipline and Narrative: Chinese History Textbooks in the Early Twentieth Century

169

Peter Zarrow 7. Creating Academic Qing History: Xiao Yishan and Meng Sen Madeleine Yue Dong

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209

vi · Contents 8. Myth and the Making of History: Gu Jiegang and the Gushi bian Debates

241

Brian Moloughney 9. Nation, History, and Ethics: The Choices of Post-imperial Historiography in China

271

Axel Schneider 10. Marking the Boundaries: The Rise of Historical Geography in Republican China

303

Tze-ki Hon 11. Filling in the Nation: The Spatial Trajectory of Prehistoric Archaeology in Twentieth-Century China

335

James Leibold 12. Marxism and Social History

375

Arif Dirlik Index

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403

About the Series

The Formation and Development of Academic Disciplines in Twentieth-Century China John Makeham, Series Editor

The series is the principal outcome of three annual workshops held in Canberra, Beijing and Hong Kong between 2007 and 2009 on the topic of “the Formation and Development of Academic Disciplines in TwentiethCentury China.” Our aim in these workshops was to construct a historically informed multidisciplinary framework to examine the complex processes by which traditional Chinese knowledge systems and indigenous grammars of knowledge construction interacted with Western paradigms to shape the formation and development of modern academic disciplines in China. The modern disciplines were formed as intellectuals sought new roles for themselves in the context of dramatic political change. New institutions—above all academic (schools, universities) and media (newspapers, book publishing)—provided the social basis for much work on specialized disciplines from the late Qing through the Republican period. The mutual interaction of traditional Chinese and modern Western knowledge paradigms and institutional practices shaped the formation and development of modern academic disciplines in China. Modern scholarship remains largely silent about how different domains of traditional knowledge practice responded to common challenges and the consequences of this for subsequent disciplinary developments. To what extent were new knowledge systems viewed as tools in the recovery of tradition rather than its abandonment? What were the thematics, conversations, controversies, and dominant modes of argument across these domains as they responded to the new challenges? To what extent and under what conditions did practitioners of traditional forms of learning concede authority to Western knowledge paradigms?

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viii · About the Series

Specifically, we have sought to understand and analyze how traditional forms of Chinese scholarship were adapted to new knowledge paradigms; to identify the role played by indigenous “grammars” (inherited problematics and standards of rational justification) in shaping the formation of academic disciplines, and the concrete forms in which these grammars interacted with Western paradigms and concepts; to demonstrate how indigenous grammars of knowledge construction, and their ongoing complex interaction with Western paradigms, decisively influenced the formation and development of individual academic disciplines; and to examine the significance of the growing trend toward the indigenization (bentuhua) of knowledge systems and how it relates to broader contemporary concerns about the indigenization of knowledge in many social science and humanities disciplines.

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List of Contributors

Arif Dirlik lives in semi-retirement in Eugene, Oregon, USA. He was most recently the Liang Qichao Memorial Visiting Professor at Tsinghua (Qinghua) University, Beijing. His publications include Revolution and History: Origins of Marxist Historiography in China, 1919–1937 (University of California Press, 1978), and Postmodernity’s Histories: The Past as Legacy and Project (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000). His most recent book-length publication is Global Modernity: Modernity in the Age of Global Capitalism (Paradigm Publishers, 2001). Madeleine Yue Dong is Associate Professor of History in the Department of History and the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is the author of Republican Beijing: The City and Its Histories (University of California Press, 2003), co-editor of Everyday Modernity in China (University of Washington Press, 2006), and The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity, and Globalization (Duke University Press, 2008). She is currently writing a book on “popular history” of the Qing dynasty in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Tze-ki Hon is Professor of History at State University of New York at Geneseo. He authored The Yijing and Chinese Politics: Classical Commentary and Literati Activism in the Northern Song Period, 960–1127 (SUNY Press, 2005). He edited two volumes of essays on modern Chinese cultural history: The Politics of Historical Production in Late Qing and Republican China (with Robert J. Culp) (Brill, 2007) and Beyond the May Fourth Paradigm: In Search of Chinese Modernity (With Kai-wing Chow, Hung-yok Ip, and Don C. Price) (Lexington Books, 2008). He is finishing a book manuscript on Guocui xuebao (Journal of Nation Essence, 1905– 1911) and a collection of essays on modern Chinese cultural conservatism. James Leibold is a Senior Lecturer in Politics and Asian Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. His research interest includes the role of ethnicity, race and national identity in modern Chinese history and society, and the intersections between historical memory and ethnic identity in contemporary China. He is the author of Reconfiguring Chinese Nationalism: How the Qing

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x · List of Contributors Frontier and its Indigenes Became Chinese (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and co-editor of the forthcoming volume Critical Han Studies: The History, Representation and Identity of China’s Majority (University of California Press, 2012). His current research includes a critical analysis of the category of “Han” identity in modern China and an exploration of how the Chinese Internet is reshaping identity politics, practice and discourse in contemporary Chinese society. Long-hsin Liu (劉龍心), Associate Professor of history at Soochow University in Taipei, received her Ph.D. in history from National Chengchi University, Taiwan. She works on historiography and on modern Chinese intellectual and cultural history. Her most recent monograph is Academy and Institution: The Disciplinary Process and the Foundation of Modern Chinese Historiography (2002, and revised to simplified Chinese version in 2007). She is currently working on a new booklength project on modern Chinese history and historiography within the context of “knowledge transformation” and national identity. Zhitian Luo (羅志田) is professor of history at Peking (Beijing) University and distinguished professor of history at Sichuan University. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and is author of a number of books on nationalism, intellectual history and scholarship in modern China, including Zaizao wenming de changshi: Hu Shi zhuan, 1891–1929 (Zhonghua shuju, 2006), Guojia yu xueshu: Qingji-Minchu guanyu “Guoxue” de sixiang lunzheng (Sanlian shudian, 2003) and Liebian zhong de chuancheng: 20 shiji qianqi de Zhongguo wenhua yu xueshu (Zhonghua shuju, 2003/2009). Brian Moloughney is Pro-Vice-Chancellor Humanities at the University of Otago. His research focuses on Chinese biographical writing, Chinese historiography and the Chinese diaspora. His recent publications include Disputed Histories: Reimagining New Zealand’s Past (with Tony Ballantyne) (Otago University Press, 2006) and Asia in the Making of New Zealand (with Henry Johnson) (Auckland University Press, 2007). Axel Schneider studied Sinology, Chinese History and Political Science in Germany and Taiwan. In 1994 he received his Ph.D. from Bochum University with a dissertation on modern Chinese historiography. He worked as Assistant Professor at the University of Heidelberg (1989–2000), as Professor of Modern China Studies at Leiden University (2000–2009), and is currently Professor of Modern China Studies and Director of the Centre for Modern East Asian Studies at Göttingen University, Germany.

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List of Contributors · xi Q. Edward Wang (王晴佳) is professor of history and coordinator of Asian Studies at Rowan University, USA and Changjiang Visiting Professor at Peking University, China. He is also editor of Chinese Studies in History (M.E. Sharpe) and Secretary General of the International Commission for the History and Theory of Historiography. His publications include A Global History of Modern Historiography (coauthored with Georg Iggers, 2008) and Inventing China through History: The May Fourth Approach to Historiography (SUNY Press, 2001). Fan-sen Wang (王汎森) is Vice-President of Academia Sinica and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute of History and Philosophy there. He is the author of intellectual biographies of Zhang Binglin and Fu Sinian and numerous studies of the intellectual, cultural, and academic history of late imperial and modern China. Wang is on the faculties of National Taiwan, Tsing Hua, and Chung Hsing universities and is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society of the United Kingdom. Peter Zarrow is Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica. His research focuses on intellectuals of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has recently edited Creating Chinese Modernity: Knowledge and Everyday Life, 1900–1940 (Peter Lang Publishing, 2006) and authored China in War and Revolution, 1895–1949 (Routledge, 2005), and is currently working on a monograph on the reconceptualization of the Chinese state and a project on Chinese textbooks.

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Chapter 1

Making History Modern: The Transformation of Chinese Historiography, 1895–1937 Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

The transformation that led to the establishment of a modern historical discipline in China took place in the forty-year period following the SinoJapanese War of 1894–95. It was the product of the fusion of inherited practice and global developments in historiography. The new ideas injected into the Chinese cultural sphere through persistent Western imperialism during the nineteenth century provoked the collapse of the imperial order and, in turn, the transformation in Chinese historiography, but they also stimulated an internal dialogue with the indigenous historiographical tradition that was crucial in determining how the modern discipline developed. History helped Chinese people negotiate the “trauma of accommodation” produced by imperialism and war, but in order for it to be useful they had to refashion historical knowledge so that it could help produce the sense of coherence and identity essential for nation building.1 Thus one aspect of the transformation in Chinese historical thought and writing during this period was the shift toward an increasingly national focus, which involved, at least to some extent, a democratizing process, as more people were brought into an engagement with the past and with the process of producing knowledge about the past. At the same time, there was also a professionalizing process at work, which saw the creation of new institutions and new codes of practice. During the imperial era Chinese historical thought and writing had developed in rich and complex ways, but they were dominated by official historiography, particularly the imperial diaries (qiju zhu 起居注), veritable records (shilu 實錄), and dynastic histories (zhengshi 正史) produced by the state’s official historians.2 The collapse of the imperial state saw the demise of these central pillars of imperial historiography. Instead,

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2 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

state support for the cultivation of historical knowledge shifted to educational institutions. The new school system provided a forum in which history could be used to cultivate a sense of national identity, while the universities became the home of professional historians, specialists who conducted research and provided training in the methodologies advanced to distinguish history from other academic disciplines. Academic professionalization had its origins in nineteenth-century Germany, but it soon filtered out to much of the rest of the world, in part because of the influence of Western colonialism but also due to the global span of Western cultural, linguistic, and economic influences during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 3 Chinese historians drew extensively on these developments in their attempts to establish modern historical practice, but this was always done in relation to the rich indigenous tradition of historical research and writing. The essays in this volume focus on the intellectual aspects involved in “history” becoming a modern academic discipline in China, with some consideration of the social and institutional background that led to the emergence of a group of professional historians. This is one of the outcomes of a series of annual workshops held in Canberra, Beijing, and Hong Kong between 2007 and 2009 on the broader topic of “The Formation and Development of Academic Disciplines in Twentieth-Century China.” The various academic disciplines were shaped by similar factors: the influence of Japanese scholarship, overseas study in Japan and the West, the appreciation but also critical appraisal of Western intellectual models, and the like. Some of the same intellectual leaders and institution builders were involved in the formation of several distinct disciplines. Indeed, through the first decades of the twentieth century, academic professionalization did not mean narrow specialization. Intellectuals were still, to some degree at least, generalists. This was certainly true of a late Qing figure like Liang Qichao 梁啟超 (1873–1929) and still true of early Republican intellectuals like Hu Shi 胡適 (1891–1962), to name two particularly prominent examples. They were deeply interested, if not equally interested, in history, philosophy, literary studies, and sociology, to name just a few fields. However, history was unique among the other modern disciplines in at least one respect. History had long been a clearly defined and integral part of the traditional cultural fabric. Most academic disciplines were creations of the modern era, without the deep cultural reservoir that historians could draw on.4 But as the pioneering journalist-intellectual

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Making History Modern · 3

Liang Qichao noted in 1902, at the beginning of his famous polemic about the need for a new history, “of all the disciplines that have recently come from the West, the only one already present in China is history.” 5 Despite this, Liang believed the nature of the inherited tradition meant it would not survive unless it underwent a transformation. In his most radical mood, Liang argued that the traditional historiography focused on emperors and dynasties had entirely neglected the story of the “nation” and was worthless. However, Liang also saw some use in the insights and methodologies of traditional historiography and argued that it could and must be remade; China’s survival depended on this. Others saw the process differently, believing it was these inherited cultural traditions that gave meaning to the Chinese community and therefore they needed to be maintained, albeit in a modified form. Despite the existence of such divergent views about the worth of traditional historiography, even those who argued the need for radical change believed that they were working with a well-established field of learning. In other words, it was not necessary to create a historical discipline; rather, through an engagement with global developments historians could refashion inherited practice into a modern discipline. The essays in this book are about this process of transformation that led to the formation of modern professional historiography. While this subject has received some attention in Western scholarship, there has been a tendency to focus on those historians most closely associated with the May Fourth Movement.6 The essays in this volume range more broadly, giving a better indication of the multifaceted nature of the development of modern Chinese historiography. Our aim in this introductory essay is to provide an overview of the processes at work in order to establish a context for the essays that follow.7 We first explore the new ideas about the purpose of history and its place in the wider society, ideas that culminated in calls for the establishment of a “new historical studies” (xin shixue 新史學) around the turn of twentieth century. We then turn to examine the institutional foundation that enabled the implementation of the new history. The new schools facilitated the dissemination of historical knowledge to an ever-increasing number of students, while the new universities provided a forum to inculcate practitioners with disciplinary norms that could be transferred from one generation to the next. Establishing these norms required the articulation of research methodologies that distinguished history from other academic disciplines, as well as the

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4 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

development of new ways of conveying historical knowledge, both among practitioners and to a wider audience. At all stages of this process historians argued about the extent to which inherited practice could contribute to the modern discipline. This was a volatile process, marked by considerable division and debate. Thus, we also explore the multiple strands that contributed to the development of the discipline, arguing that from its inception modern Chinese historiography was a pluralistic endeavor.

Toward the New Historical Studies Even before the demise of imperial historiography, new conceptions about the nature and purpose of historical knowledge had begun to take root in Chinese soil. Indeed, these new ideas contributed to the collapse of imperial authority. As Chinese learned more about the way that Western imperialism was helping to entrench the nation-state system around the globe they were forced to rethink their own political systems and the place of historical knowledge within those systems.8 In conjunction with this, the belief that social cohesion was critical both for national progress and for success in the competitive global environment gained increasing support. As these ideas about social and political evolution took hold people began to question beliefs central to the Confucian worldview and the imperial order, including the notion of historical atrophy (lishi tuihua 歷史退化), or the falling away from the great achievements of the Golden Age, and the view that the distant past provided the ideal model for the present.9 Within this worldview, history had served as a moral lodestone, providing the evidential foundation to support the moral principles enshrined in the classical texts that conveyed the principles of the Golden Age. But if China was entering a new world order, then historical knowledge needed to be reoriented so that it might be of more use in confronting current challenges.10 By the mid- to late nineteenth century, as the chapters by Luo Zhitian 羅志田 and Liu Long-hsin 劉龍心 indicate, these pressures had already led to the reassertion of a statecraft scholarship (jingshi 經世) that emphasized the usefulness of historical knowledge (tongshi zhi yong 通史之用). Confronted by a series of escalating conflicts with foreign powers, the intensification of imperialism, and massive internal rebellions, it is no surprise that Chinese scholars sought to understand what had caused this turmoil. As a result, a great deal of nineteenth-century historical scholarship was focused on border

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Making History Modern · 5

problems and contemporary issues such as the Taiping Rebellion, as well as on developing a better understanding of the new international environment in which China found itself.11 Scholars and scholar-officials like Wei Yuan 魏源 (1794–1856), Xu Jiyu 徐繼畬 (1795–1873), Xue Fucheng 薛 福成 (1838–99), and Wang Tao 王韜 (1828–97), among others, turned their attention to understanding the West and its historical development, and influenced the statecraft-based reform programs of the 1860s and 1870s. But this statecraft scholarship remained largely within the wellestablished parameters of imperial historiography. Indeed, statecraft scholarship was not new; the experience of the Song dynasty shows it was common in times when both state and society were under acute stress.12 Thus, while this nineteenth-century statecraft scholarship was important in helping Chinese come to terms with the challenges they faced, in itself it did not mark the radical break with tradition that signaled the onset of the new historical studies. Statecraft ideas were pushed to their extreme— including not only a fundamental reorganization of the bureaucracy and official recruitment but also a tendency toward democratization—by Kang Youwei 康有為 (1858–1927), who was attempting a radical reinterpretation of Confucianism that would support reformism. Kang preached a linear, progressive sense of time, but his vision was perhaps more millennial and religious than historical and secular. It was the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95 that sparked the real transformation in Chinese historical writing. As Q. Edward Wang argues in his chapter, the primary stimulus for the new history came directly from the encounter with Meiji Japan that came in the wake of that war. One indication of the radical change that followed is the volume of foreign historical texts translated into Chinese. In the five-year period following the onset of the first Opium War, from 1840 to 1844, there were only three works translated. By the first five years of the 1880s, there were seven translations, indicating the gradual increase in interest in Western scholarship that had occurred through the middle of nineteenth century. But following the Sino-Japanese War, in the five years from 1896 to 1900, there were thirty translations published.13 That number would rise even more dramatically in the first decade of the twentieth century, by which time many scholars were openly proclaiming the need for a new historical studies. The polemical arguments in favor of a new historical studies that began to appear in China in the early twentieth century need to be seen in the context of this increased exposure to Japanese attempts to establish

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6 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

a modern historical discipline, or at least to Japanese interpretations of German ideas about the place of historical knowledge in a modern society. In the wake of the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Japanese historians had been quick to absorb these German developments, and thus the first significant works in Chinese about modern historical methodology were translations of Japanese texts, especially the work of Tsuboi Kumez¯o 坪井 久馬三 (1858–1936) and Ukita Kazutami 浮田和民 (1859–1946). During the Meiji period, historical writing in Japan became both more scientific and more social, which in turn reflected contemporary European debates about the nature and function of historical knowledge.14 Through the translation of Japanese texts on historical methodology, Chinese historians were exposed to these debates and stimulated to rethink the place of history in their own society. Tsuboi Kumez¯o and Ukita Kazutami were only two of the more prominent of Japanese scholars to have an impact in China; the influence from Meiji Japan was much wider than this. For instance, in 1901 the Chinese Ministry of Education sent a delegation to Japan to study the compilation of historical textbooks, and when in 1903 it published a list of texts deemed suitable for use in schools, eight of the ten books listed were translations of Japanese works.15 In 1903, Wang Rongbao 汪榮寶 (1873–1933), a Qing official who had gone to Japan to pursue further studies, published a translation of Tsuboi Kumez¯o’s 1893 textbook Shigaku kenky¯u h¯o 史學研究法. This work introduced Chinese readers to the way that German historical methods were being interpreted in Japan.16 After advanced study in Germany, Tsuboi returned to Japan in 1891 and, along with Ludwig Riess (1861–1928), the German scholar hired to help reshape Japanese historical practice, he played a major role in entrenching German historical methods in Japanese universities. Other translations of this work, or at least partial translations, would appear over the next few years, and many of the ideas it promoted, such as the belief that history was about the development of the whole of a society, not just the ruling elite, were reflected in Liang Qichao’s influential 1902 proposal for a new history. While Tsuboi draws on Chinese as well as Japanese and Western examples to illustrate the points he makes about the development of historical thought and writing, when he turns to defining the constitutive features of modern historical practice his focus is very much on the scientific nature of the discipline as articulated in recent Western handbooks on methodology, especially Ernst Bernheim’s Lehrbuch der historischen Methode und der Geschichtsphilosophie.17 Like Bernheim, Tsuboi argued that it was the scientific

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Making History Modern · 7

examination of evidence that distinguished modern historical practice, especially the systematic collection and analysis of source materials. But he also acknowledged that there were “Japanese” traditions, such as evidential research (k¯osh¯o gaku, Ch. kaozhengxue 考證學), which could be built upon in order to develop a modern historical profession.18 For Chinese scholars, invariably trained in the late Qing forms of evidential research—a Confucian hermeneutics based on critical philological re-reexaminations of standard texts—Tsuboi Kumez o¯ ’s main contribution was in providing a clear exposition of the positivism expressed in Bernheim’s Lehrbuch. But it was Tsuboi’s colleague, Ukita Kazutami, who was to have the most inf luence over Chinese debates about the nature and function of history during the first decade of the twentieth century. Ukita taught historical methodology at T¯oky¯o senmon gakk¯o (which later became Waseda University), and used his lectures as the basis for his 1898 book Shigaku ts¯u ron 史學通論 (also known as Shigaku genron 史學原論). This text became the most popular work on historical methodology in China during the first decade of the twentieth century. By 1903 there were at least four full Chinese translations of it, as well as numerous translations of individual chapters.19 Liang Qichao was one of those who borrowed extensively from Ukita, basing much of his proposal for a new history on various chapters in Shigaku ts¯uron. For instance, Liang’s discussion of the way geography influences historical developments is largely a translation of the fifth chapter of Shigaku Ts¯uron, which was in turn based on Ukita’s reading of Hegel’s (1770–1831) argument about the geographical basis of world history and the introduction to Henry Thomas Buckle’s (1821–62) History of Civilization in England, where Buckle discusses how climate and geography influence the development of civilization. 20 With chapters on “history and the nation,” “history and ethnicity,” and “the motive force of history,” Ukita introduced Chinese readers to a range of contemporary views about the need for history to be concerned with developments that affected the whole of society, not just with the world of politics and the elite. Liang Qichao’s argument about the need to rethink the place of historical knowledge in the construction of a new society was deeply indebted to his exposure to the work of Japanese scholars like Ukita Kazutami, and in his writing he domesticated these issues for a Chinese audience in a powerfully persuasive way. But Liang would leave it to others to transform these ideas into practice; his was a clarion call for change, a manifesto, but not a demonstration itself of what the new history might be.21

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8 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

In conjunction with this new emphasis on the scientific nature of historical research and its social implications, the first years of the twentieth century also saw a wave of translations of sociological and anthropological works that reinforced the idea that history was about the whole of society, that it was a “people’s history,” and that human society was a living organism that gradually evolved into more complex forms.22 Much of this work also came to Chinese scholars via Japan, but it was Yan Fu’s 嚴復 (1854–1921) translations of Herbert Spencer’s A Study of Sociology (1883) and Edward Jenks’s History of Politics (1900), published in 1903 and 1904, respectively, as well as Ma Junwu’s 馬君武 (1881–1940) 1903 translation of Spencer’s Principles of Sociology (1884), that were to be particularly influential.23 As Wang Fan-sen notes in his chapter on linearity in historical narrative, these new ideas stimulated a number of scholars to produce evolutionary accounts of the development of Chinese society. By focusing on such things as developments in language, property relations, and changing patterns of land use and food consumption, scholars like Zhang Binglin 章炳麟 (zi Taiyan 太炎, 1868–1936) and Liu Shipei 劉師培 (1884– 1919) sought to demonstrate the evolution of Chinese society toward increasing levels of social, economic, and political complexity.24 In the early 1900s Zhang, like Liang, criticized the form of the dynastic history, though Zhang did not dismiss traditional historiography so vehemently on political grounds. Like Liu Shipei, Zhang never abandoned textual (kaozheng 考證) methodologies. Rather, Zhang’s emphasis was on the need to discern both the larger patterns and smaller details that traditional historiography obscured.25 Carefully using extant records, Zhang thought it possible to put together a comprehensive picture of the development of Chinese psychology, society, religion, and scholarship, focusing on questions of cause and effect instead of the explicit moral judgments of traditional historiographers. Zhang criticized Japanese general histories of China for their superficiality, but in fact these formed models for late Qing efforts to move away from constructing the past around dynastic change and toward broader systems of periodization that reflected significant social and economic developments. This was particularly evident in the new textbooks, as the chapters by Q. Edward Wang and Peter Zarrow indicate. Some of these schemata for reconceptualizing Chinese history drew on European models, particularly the division of the past into ancient, medieval, and modern periods, but not all did, and there was no clear consensus on how to move away from the traditional focus on dynastic periodization. Nevertheless, their interest in long-term

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Making History Modern · 9

social and economic change provoked historians into developing entirely new conceptions of the Chinese past. Benjamin Schwartz argues that for Yan Fu, who was “groping towards the notion of China as a society-nation,” Spencer’s vision of the social organism provided “the most vivid possible image of the nation.” 26 Indeed, these sociological ideas played a crucial role in helping Chinese historians negotiate the transition from an imperial to a national history. Prasenjit Duara suggests this was a consequence of the desire to emplot the Chinese experience in the narrative mode of Enlightenment history and that Liang Qichao took the lead in this endeavor. Such a history, Duara writes, “secures for the contested and contingent nation the false unity of a self-same, national subject evolving through time,” and “involves not only reading in a dynamic of progress to modernity, but also a reverse project of recovering the primordial subject, of rejoining the present to the past through some essentializing strategy.” The historian is required to “produce the people,” to show how the nation is the historical product of a cohesive society and how that society evolves into the modern nation-state. 27 These themes are indeed clear in Liang Qichao’s 1902 essay, where he argued China had no real historical writing, hence modern historians needed to create a new history in order to help construct the new nation. “The most important thing in history,” he wrote, “is to narrate the interaction, competition and unification amongst people and the circumstances of their lives and development, so that readers can feel affection and admiration for them. Nowadays historians are as plentiful as fish but not one of them has the ability to understand this. This is why in China the power, intelligence and morality of the nation’s people cannot be unleashed and the people are still not united.” 28 Liang argued that a people’s history, a history of China’s march to modernity, had to be created out of the debris of the fracturing empire in order to secure the foundations of the nation. But we must be careful not to reduce the diverse expressions of the new history to Liang Qichao’s particular articulation of it in this famous but highly polemical essay; others were developing a rather different understanding of the new history. For instance, historical scholarship was an integral part of the National Essence (guocui 國粹) movement, and the associated debates over “National Studies” (guoxue 國學), during the first decade of the twentieth century.29 People like Liu Shipei, Deng Shi 鄧實 (1877–1941), and Ma Xulun 馬敘倫 (1884–1970) believed that studying the

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10 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

past critically but appreciatively was a crucial aspect of engaging with what was essential to the nation. They did not interpret the preservation of this national essence in a static way; it was not meant to imply some kind of ossification or stasis. Rather, it meant engagement with the past as a means of constructing the future. That future must emerge from the past, thus preserving the national essence meant holding on to, and building upon, what was essential for the nation, for its survival and future. While National Essence scholars supported calls for a new history, their conception of that new history was not as radical as that put forward by Liang Qichao. And unlike Liang, they moved beyond the polemical and began to actually produce new narrative accounts of the Chinese past.30 They emphasized the quality of previous historical writing, and argued that in many areas it provided both detailed and reliable accounts of the past. To claim that China had no real historical writing, as Liang did, was entirely wrong. Instead, they argued that previous historical writing had its own rationality, a rationality related to the social dynamics of the era in which it was produced, and just as a new society would be an organic development, emerging out of the old, so too the new history should grow from the old. Constructing a new and modern China involved a reimagining of the past, but they believed this had to be done in a way that maintained the integrity of the inherited cultural traditions, because without those traditions there would be no community, no nation.31 If the National Essence “school” of the late Qing was historiographically less radical than Liang, it was by and large politically more radical, with many of its leaders working toward a revolution against the Manchu Qing. More clearly than Liang, they were devoted to a sense of the Chinese nation as the accumulated accomplishments of the Han 漢 people or race. While we do not have the space here to examine the political polemics of the day, they were fueled by competing definitions of the “nation” based on differing historical visions. History never lacks political significance, yet no matter how scholars were prompted by a sense of crisis, historical studies also developed through its own internal logic. The agenda for the new historical studies had been laid down during the period from the end of Sino-Japanese War through to the establishment of the new Republic in 1912. New concepts like evolution (jinhua 進化), progress (jinbu 進步), and national heritage (guogu 國故) were introduced into debates over the nature of historical knowledge. But much of the discussion and debate about the new history

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Making History Modern · 11

remained focused on identifying the problems with imperial historiography. Some went beyond this to set out the contours for the new discipline, but few actually attempted to put these into practice. No great historical works were produced that developed these ideas, although the new general histories written for use in the new schools represent the first attempts in this direction. Indeed, the establishment of new institutions dominated the next phase in the development of the new historical studies. It was only once these institutions were in place that the aims set out in this first period could begin to be realized.

Institutional Foundations History played a major role in traditional schooling. It was a distinct category in taxonomies of knowledge and formed part of the common cultural capital of educated men. Indeed, knowledge of popularized historical tales was widespread across the classes (and genders). Nonetheless, the interdisciplinary nature of traditional schooling, as well as its emphasis on the Classics, suggests that any clear-cut sense of history as a distinct discipline emerged only with the modernization of education that began around the turn of the twentieth century. The New Policy (xinzheng 新政) reforms of 1902 signaled the first efforts to build a state school system. Under the general direction of Zhang Zhidong 張之洞 (1837–1909), the first plans envisioned a process leading eventually to universal, compulsory education, and the educational regulations of 1904 stipulated that each prefecture needed a middle school and each county a primary school.32 Quite a number of schools were established in the wake of these regulations, even if only a relatively small percentage of the school-age population was reached. Still, a functioning state school system could be found in China’s cities by the time of the 1911 Revolution. In the countryside, as is well known, building local schools by confiscating temple lands and raising taxes provoked protests; however, there were also quiet successes that historians have perhaps underestimated.33 And a large number of private academies taught history in both traditional ways and modern ways (sometimes using state-approved textbooks). Official planning for education reveals two aspects of the acute political changes under way in the late Qing: the nationalist and modernizing goals of elites and the exposure to those goals through the new curriculum of that portion of the school-age population, generally of elite

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12 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

background, able to attend state schools. In this growing school system, students were required to take history classes at every grade level. History thus emerged as an officially sanctioned field of knowledge, if not precisely as a discipline defined by academic standards, guarded by professional gatekeepers, and maintaining a degree of autonomy. Still, at the very least, history in the schools both reflected and ratified the disciplinization of history being discussed in intellectual circles. It demarcated what counted as history for educational purposes, it required teachers and textbook writers with a degree of expertise in this given subject, and it brought history into relationship with other fields defined by their place in the curriculum. The promulgations and regulations of 1902, 1904, and 1906 reflected the evolution of state schooling from a gleam in the eyes of reformist officials to a set of institutions of growing complexity. Late Qing officials shared a basic vision of the purpose of education: to produce good and useful subjects of the emperor. The official vision of “subjects” was not of abject servants but essentially citizens of a modernizing state. The purpose of schooling was simultaneously to socialize boys into their local and national communities and mobilize them for state service, and to produce men who would be knowledgeable, active, and even entrepreneurial. Provision was made for girls in the 1906 regulations, but a large majority of students remained boys.34 For the very youngest students, the 1902 regulations defined their more important class, “self-cultivation” (xiushen 修身), in terms of filial piety, loyalty and trustworthiness, ritual etiquette and shame, respect for elders and teachers, loyalty to the monarch, and love of country. 35 Patriotic unity, the new Ministry of Education explicitly noted, should be rooted in childhood, just as Confucius taught that universal benevolence was the extension of more particularistic filiality.36 Central to this process would be the revival of “national learning.” The didactic purposes of education, including the moral lessons to be derived from history, were clear from the beginning. History was to play a special role in fostering identification with the state and the nation.37 The Ministry of Education wanted history classes to highlight the origins of China, its development over the centuries, recent events, the worries of the emperor, and the problems stemming from foreign pressures and domestic issues. Knowledge of history would foster loyalty to the emperor, while knowledge of the great deeds of heroes and the blessings of the cosmos would inoculate students against revolutionary heresies. 38 In another formulation, the aim of history was to

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Making History Modern · 13

convey the “great and virtuous deeds of the sage rulers” (shengzhu xianjun 聖主賢君); thus students learned the origins of Chinese culture and the sacred governance (shengde zheng 聖德政) of the “present dynasty” in order to nurture the wellsprings of national loyalty (guomin zhongai 國民 忠愛).39 Loyalty to ruler and love of nation were to be combined: “The knowledge of love of the same kind [of people] (ai tonglei 愛同類) at this time [in youth] is the basis for the patriotism (ai guojia 愛國家) of adults.” 40 The 1904 educational plans stipulated that history classes in the first two years of primary school were to focus on local history and the stories of the virtuous men of the locality for students to emulate.41 The local thus provided a source of identity beyond the family for the youngest children, and served as synecdoche for the state whose history they would begin studying in year 3. The early history of China was taught through year 4, while year 5 students turned to the Qing. The Ministry wanted students to learn of the good government of the Qing’s own sage rulers (renzheng liesheng 仁政列聖). Similarly, geography classes began with the local, years 1 and 2 emphasizing local roads, villages, mountains, rivers, and temples to worthies, while year 3 students went on to their county and prefecture and something of China. In year 4 students concentrated on Chinese territory, mountains, and rivers, and in year 5 looked at both China and its neighboring countries.42 Students were thus to understand China’s place in the world, which was pictured as primarily constituted of borders. It is as if the Ministry assumed modern patriotism rested on the extension of a concrete sense of locality to the more abstract sense of a territory defined historically and represented by lines on a map. Indeed, as the chapter by Tze-ki Hon demonstrates, debates about geographical issues were central to the shaping of modern Chinese historiography, in both the schools and the universities. In contrast to world geography classes already taught in primary school, world history was not to be taught until middle school. Middle school history was taught two to three hours per week. In Chinese history classes, students were to learn of the “great achievements of dynasties and reigns” and understand the Qing’s own “royal sacred government and inexhaustible virtue,” as well as the basic progress of the previous century: its great events; the stories of loyal and good scholars; the flourishing of scholarship and technical skills; the renewal of the military; changes in government; the progress of agriculture, industry, and commerce; changes in customs; and so forth.43 Then, students were to be

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14 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

introduced to the histories of the Asian countries, starting with Japan and emphasizing the modern period—and the Western imperialist threat. Finally, students would move on to European and American history, again emphasizing the modern histories of the major countries.44 By middle school, then, students had an extensive exposure not merely to Western history but geography and a language as well. Thus by the end of the Qing, history had already become a required school subject, generally taught two or three hours per week at all grade levels. It was a field of knowledge, a source of citizenship training, an inherently didactic set of narratives about China and other nations. Students coming upon history as a field of knowledge were exposed to a certain degree to the “disciplinarity” of history. As we have noted above, the professionalization, specialization, and autonomy of history had yet to be worked out during the Republican period. But even primary school students in the Qing were being taught that history was a particular mode of knowing. The new school system required numerous textbooks, which further defined the disciplinarity of particular subjects.45 As Edward Wang and Peter Zarrow show in the following chapters, history textbooks were often written by scholarly generalists. They were concerned both with socializing children and with those features that made history a distinct mode or form of knowledge. History in the schools primarily dealt with the “rise and fall” of nations. True, the “nation” was an ambiguous and floating thing, easily confused with the state and with races, but already by the late Qing, officials designing the history curriculum were as clearly devoted to national narrative as were scholars ranging from Liang Qichao to the National Essence intellectuals who advocated the need for a new history. In the first years of the Republic, few substantive changes were made to the educational system or the curriculum. History continued to be a required class, meeting, on average, two times per week. “Loyalty to the emperor” naturally disappeared from the lists of approved virtues, and “self-cultivation” gradually evolved into “civics.” But along with patriotism, devotion to community, and duty to country, traditional virtues such as filial piety, honesty, respect, diligence, and so forth were all to be maintained. History classes were also reoriented toward producing citizens (guomin 國民). Of course, history celebrated the establishment of the Republic as well as previous accomplishments of the Chinese, and trusted this would help train modern citizens. The regulations of 1912 spoke of the goals of history classes in terms of clarifying the “progress of the

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Making History Modern · 15

nation” (minzu zhi jinhua 民族之進化), social change, and the rise and fall of countries, as well as significant events. “The core purpose of Chinese history classes lies in teaching students the basis of government and fostering good citizens.” 46 But efforts to focus students’ attention on the nation and progress were not new to history teaching. It was only with the “partification” (danghua 黨化) of schools under the Guomindang after 1928 that course content was really affected, with new controls imposed over students and teachers. The Nanjing government had the power and the will to shape educational policy in ways unavailable to previous regimes.47 The “Three People’s Principles” were to be integrated into the curriculum at all possible opportunities. In practice, the Guomindang faced considerable resistance, and partification on paper did not necessarily translate into radical reforms. And while outright “liberal” voices, much less Communist ones, were silenced at least temporarily, the Guomindang continued to respect and even augment professionalization and professional autonomy. Yet autonomy was a two-way street: professionals agreed not to interfere in politics while politicians agreed not to interfere in the development of the profession. It may be that the growing patriotism of the period—a response to Japanese control of Manchuria (after 1931), ongoing incursions, and invasion (after 1937)—led critics of the Nanjing government to search for common ground. The Ministry of Education tightened standards for the approval of textbooks, but research was seldom censored. Indeed, professional historians were increasingly brought into curriculum planning. Thus from the last years of the Qing to the 1930s, history was established as a subject in the growing state school system. As Li Xiaoqian points out, from the turn of the twentieth century, the flood of textbooks, translations, and compilations established the basis on which it could mature into an academic discipline.48 But it was in the new universities that this maturation occurred. They offered more specialized attention to Chinese and foreign (Western-Japanese) history, and, at the better universities, there were scholars engaged in original research. Most of the historians whose work is discussed in the following chapters held university positions at one point, if not for their entire careers. The number of modern universities in China grew rapidly from virtually none at the turn of the century to several dozen national, provincial, and private (including missionary) universities and colleges by the 1920s. Professional schools, especially in law and politics, also proliferated. But as Wen-hsin Yeh demonstrates, humanities and classical studies were marginalized in

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16 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

these new institutions, finding support in just a few major universities. Most students were, as always, career minded.49 Nonetheless, a love of literature, history, and philosophy still encouraged many scholars to continue to conduct research in these subjects. At the same time, a new generation of scholars was intent on following the call for a new history in order to rethink China. Governments were also aware of history’s didactic utility, as we have seen above. The “humanities” in this sense referred essentially to the development of knowledge about China’s past that would foster pride and identity among its citizens, define China’s place among world-historical civilizations, and even, perhaps, offer contributions to world culture. In the history of Chinese university education, the Imperial University, which later became Peking (Beijing) University (“Beida” 北大), occupied a special position. Beida was officially founded as part of the Reform Movement of 1898, but it is best seen as a product of the New Policy reforms that also inaugurated the state school system discussed above.50 In 1904, Zhang Zhidong led a reorganization of the university, roughly based on the model of Imperial Tokyo University, into eight divisions: Classics, Politics and Law, Arts, Medicine, Science, Agriculture, Engineering, and Commerce. 51 History was included in the Arts division, along with geography and foreign literature. This restructuring effectively reduced the role of the Classics in the curriculum. Institutionally, then, history was breaking free of Confucian cosmological and moral hermeneutics. As the chapters by Luo Zhitian and Liu Long-hsin demonstrate, Zhang’s understanding of the purpose of history was undoubtedly informed by the statecraft tradition of the late Qing that emphasized practical knowledge of tax policies, military systems, infrastructure, and the like. But while history had begun to acquire its own intellectual space within the tertiary sphere, it was far from an autonomous discipline, and it was certainly not seen as essential for students. When Xu Ziming 徐子 明 returned to Beijing University in 1915 after obtaining a doctorate in history at Heidelberg, he was involved in teaching foreign languages, not history, because the acquisition of a foreign language was believed to be of more use to students.52 It was only in 1917 that a separate Department of History was established at Beida. Zhu Xizu 朱希祖 (1879–1944) took over as chair of the new department in 1918, a position he held until 1930, and it was during this period that history became firmly established as an autonomous discipline. Zhu had studied history and geography at Waseda University

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Making History Modern · 17

in Tokyo, and as department chair he encouraged Beida staff and students to see history as a modern social science. From 1924, all history majors were required to incorporate courses in sociology, political science, or economics into their programs. Zhu also encouraged students to explore the methodological issues that underlay historical research and writing. He himself taught a course on the development of historiography in China, but he encouraged Li Dazhao 李大釗 (1888–1927) to teach historical materialism and appointed He Bingsong 何炳松 (1890–1946) to teach non-Marxist Western historiography.53 At the same time, Qing traditions of philological and evidential studies continued to flourish at Beida, as they did at all Chinese universities throughout this period, and overseastrained scholars like the Columbia-educated Hu Shi actively promoted the continued relevance of evidential learning to modern scholarship. As is well known, these new appointments were encouraged by Cai Yuanpei 蔡元培 (1868–1940), who had assumed the presidency of Beida in 1917 and was committed to reviving student life, emphasizing scholarly standards, and hiring outstanding professors in all fields regardless of their personal, political, or academic approach. Cai Yuanpei also hired China’s first female professional historian, Chen Hengzhe 陳衡哲 (1893–1976), known in the West as Sophie H. Chen Zen, who had studied at Vassar College and the University of Chicago. While in America she met Hu Shi, and in the 1920s he encouraged Cai to recruit her to teach European history.54 Under Cai Yuanpei’s leadership, both staff and students experienced a period of relative intellectual freedom. Students were often treated to the spectacle of their professors attacking each other’s work in class. This environment was crucial for the establishment of history as a modern academic discipline, and not only at Beida. A similar process was at work at Tsinghua (Qinghua) University, where Jiang Tingfu 蔣廷黻 (1895–1965) provided the same kind of leadership and direction as Zhu Xizu did at Beida.55 Jiang had studied in North America for ten years, graduating from Columbia with a Ph.D. in modern European history, and in 1928 he was recruited to establish the new history department at Qinghua. Jiang also directed history students to incorporate social science subjects like sociology, economics, or anthropology into their programs and encouraged them to study at least one foreign language.56 In just a few years Jiang turned the Qinghua department into the best history department in the country, recruiting a cohort of scholars who would emerge as the leading historians of the time. Jiang taught modern diplomatic history and international relations. Lei

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18 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

Haizong 雷海宗 (1902–62) taught historical methodology, as well as a course on early China. One of the pioneers of Qing history, Xiao Yishan 簫一山 (1902–78), whom Madeleine Dong discusses in her chapter below, also taught at Qinghua, while Jiang recruited Wu Han 吳唅 (1909–69) to teach the Ming period.57 Zhang Yinlin 張蔭鱗 (1905–42) returned from Stanford to teach intellectual history and a course on the Song period, while Chen Yinke 陳寅恪 (1890–1969) taught courses on the Six Dynasties era and the Sui and Tang periods.58 This list of teaching specializations indicates that, despite the claims made back at the beginning of the century for the new history to move beyond such a framework, dynastic periodization (duandai shi 斷代史) remained integral to the academic approach to the Chinese past. This was true not just at Qinghua; as new history departments were established throughout the country in the 1920s and 1930s, they employed historians whose research was primarily dynastic in focus and who offered courses similar to those taught at Qinghua. 59 Western ideas about social evolution and linearity did produce a more integrated approach to the past, especially in the new general histories (tongshi 通史) discussed in some of the chapters in this volume, but Western ideas about periodization had little long-term impact on both teaching and research. With a few notable exceptions, such as Chen Yinke, Chinese historians did not become specialists in the “medieval” or “early modern” periods.60 In terms of both teaching and research, their focus remained primarily dynastic. This was the case because it made sense in intellectual terms. The particular social and political dynamics of European history that produced the tripartite “ancient, medieval and modern” periodization did not translate well into the Chinese context. Different social and political dynamics were at work in China, and modern academic specialization reflected this.61 The professionalization that was integral to the formation of modern academic disciplines also altered the way knowledge was transmitted. The master-pupil relationship that was such a key feature of scholarship in the academies (xuetang 學堂) and traditional scholarly communities was gradually undermined, replaced by the broader and less personal networks of association that characterize modern academic life.62 To be sure, teachers continued to play significant roles in the lives of their students, but as the focus of teaching and research shifted into the modern universities, the scholarly lineages that defined traditional knowledge production, and which were built up over generations through the master-pupil relationship, slowly disappeared. This was a gradual

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Making History Modern · 19

process, and the status attached to individual master scholars (dashi 大師) like Wang Guowei 王國維 (1877–1927) and Liang Qichao did reflect the lingering inf luence of traditional scholarly lineages. Similarly, the creation of a center like the Research Institute for National Learning (Guoxue yanjiu yuan 國學研究院) within Qinghua University, which lasted from 1925 until 1929 and included prominent scholars like Wang and Liang on its staff, ref lected the desire to keep something of the xuetang culture alive in the modern university. But the fact that the institute did not survive following the death of two of its “master scholars,” Wang in 1927 and then Liang in 1929, indicated that the influence of this earlier scholarly culture was fading.63 By the 1930s the professionalized modern disciplinary culture had come to the fore.64 When the Nationalists came to power in 1928, their joint interest in Chinese culture and modern science led to the founding of a new research institute modeled on French and German examples, the Academia Sinica (Zhongyang yanjiuyuan 中央研究院), under the direction of Cai Yuanpei. The original plan was to support research solely in the natural sciences, and it was only after pressure from historians like Fu Sinian 傅斯年 (1896–1950) that it expanded to include an Institute of Social Sciences and an Institute of History and Philology (IHP). Ever since his return from study in Europe in 1926 Fu had been promoting the idea of a research institute dedicated to the study of Chinese history and textual analysis, as well as linguistics and folk culture, and archaeology and anthropology, so he jumped at the opportunity provided by the establishment of IHP within Academia Sinica. As IHP director, Fu Sinian promoted collective projects using material objects as well as written sources, ranging from folk songs to soil samples. The name of the institute reveals its roots in the philological pursuits of Qing evidential studies, but the aim was to align this tradition with the scientific approach to historical research that Fu had absorbed during his studies in Germany. In his statement of purpose for the institute he outlined his belief that, in the hands of properly trained professionals, history could be made objective and scientific: “Our common goal is to construct history and linguistics into something like biology or geology.” 65 Perhaps for this reason, the major achievements of the institute in its early years were to come not so much in the field of mainstream historical research but rather in archaeology, although, as James Leibold’s chapter in this volume indicates, there has been constant debate about the interrelationship of these two disciplines, with archaeology often being seen simply as

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20 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

an aspect of the broader field of historical research.66 Nevertheless, the archaeological work undertaken at sites like Anyang 安陽 and Chengziya 城子崖 transformed understandings of ancient China and demonstrated the enormous value that could come from a dedicated research institute like Academia Sinica. While the new universities and research centers provided the crucial institutional foundation for the establishment of history as an independent discipline, there were other developments that contributed to the disciplinization of historical research and writing.67 For instance, historians formed alliances, associations, and societies as they sought to define themselves as practitioners of a distinctive modern discipline. While initially these societies were confined to particular institutions, in 1929 Zhu Xizu and his colleagues in Beijing organized the first meeting of the national Chinese Historical Society (Zhongguo shixue hui 中國史學會). The goals of the society were similar to those of any professional academic body: to publish a journal (shixue zazhi 史學雜誌), to hold regular meetings, to help with the collection of historical materials and the compiling of regional gazetteers, to promote specialized research, and to help reform the teaching of history in schools. This national initiative was soon followed by the formation of a raft of other provincial and regional historical societies, all seeking to promote the discipline and solidify its presence within the academic community.68 In conjunction with these developments, historians also began to publish their research in specialized academic journals. To begin with, new work appeared in the academic supplements published by major newspapers and magazines like Dagong bao 大公報 (L’Impartial) and Dongfang zazhi 東方雜誌 (Eastern Miscellany), as well as in the various “national studies” (guoxue 國學) magazines and journals published during the first two decades of the twentieth century. By the 1920s the new institution-based academic journals, such as Qinghua xuebao 清華學報, were providing an important forum for the publication of original historical research. But by the late 1920s there were an increasing number of specialized historical journals being published, where historians could be assured that their work would be read by other members of the historical community. As Ping-Kuen Yu has argued, the large number of specialist periodicals produced by the late 1920s is “evidence enough of the flowering of historical studies.” 69 In conjunction with the new history departments and historical societies, these specialized journals marked the third aspect of the institutional

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Making History Modern · 21

foundation of the discipline. But the developments of both new ideas about the nature of historical knowledge and new methodological approaches to historical research were just as significant in the formation of a modern historical discipline as these institutions, a subject to which we now return.

Establishing the Discipline The profusion of texts on various aspects of methodology during the early twentieth century provides clear evidence of a persistent interest in redefining the nature of historical research and writing. It was the product of the highly political late-Qing manifestos for a “new history” and actual attempts to write such histories. It was also part of the process of establishing new codes of practice that would distinguish history from classical studies and other forms of intellectual inquiry, and thereby establish it as an autonomous discipline. There was little argument about the practical value of history, particularly in building a sense of national consciousness and thus helping people negotiate the trauma produced by imperialism and war. The entrenchment of history in the new school curriculum during the first decade of the twentieth century attests to this. But if history was to stake a claim as an academic field in the modern university it needed to demonstrate an epistemological foundation that distinguished it from other forms of learning. One manifestation of such a foundation was methodological distinctiveness, hence the sustained interest in trying to articulate what that distinctiveness might be. For this reason, courses on historiography and methodology were integral to the process of establishing history in the new university system. This focus on methodological issues was not unique to historians in China: indeed, it was a common feature of the professionalization of the discipline throughout the world, something that was occurring at roughly the same time in Europe, America, and Asia.70 And while no clear consensus was achieved regarding the foundations of the discipline, the persistence of the debate about such issues attests to the dynamic nature of the transition to modern disciplinary practice. We have seen already how Meiji historiography provided much of the initial stimulus for the conceptualization of the new historical studies in China, especially in terms of conceiving of historical research as a scientific endeavor with broad social implications. These ideas continued to reverberate throughout the first decade of the twentieth century, but their

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22 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

most direct impact was felt in the political rather than the scholarly arena. The proponents of these ideas were reformers or revolutionaries, and their energy was directed into the many political programs that fed into the revolution of 1911.71 It was only after the 1911 revolution, with the onset of the New Culture Movement, that interest was refocused on establishing the new historical studies. By this time, the new universities were at the center of such activity, and scholars returning from study in North America and Europe provided much of the intellectual energy and direction.72 Hu Shi was the most influential of these scholars, and the publication in 1919 of his Outline History of Philosophy (Zhongguo zhexueshi dagang 中國哲學史大綱) is widely recognized as marking a watershed in modern Chinese scholarship.73 Hu’s primary aim with this work was not so much to set out the philosophical achievements of the Chinese tradition, but rather to demonstrate the appropriate methodological approach for modern scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. He emphasized the importance of scientifically examining sources in order to verify their authenticity, arguing that only once this was done was it possible to proceed to analyze the contents of those sources.74 In developing these ideas, Hu was indebted to what was probably the most popular work of historical methodology throughout the world in the early twentieth century, Introduction aux études historiques by Langlois and Seignobos, a work that drew on Ernst Bernheim’s earlier Lehrbuch but that developed its arguments in a more accessible manner. Hu supported the translation of the Introduction, and it soon became as popular in China as it was elsewhere, being reprinted ten times within a few years of its initial publication.75 Like Tsuboi Kumez¯o, who was also inf luenced by this scientific strand of modern Western historiography, Hu Shi believed that the philological methods that were at the heart of source criticism were not unfamiliar to Japanese and Chinese scholars. Indeed, these had been fundamental to Qing evidential scholarship; the task for modern scholars was to build on the solid foundation provided by this inherited tradition. As Edward Wang argues, one of Hu Shi’s aims with this book was to use these Western ideas to stimulate “a renovation of the Chinese tradition,” to show that the foundation of modern scholarship was indeed intercultural.76 But he recognized that kaozheng scholarship was limited, that it needed to be developed through an engagement with modern Western scientific methodology: “During the past three hundred years there were only classicists but no thinkers, only editors of historical texts, but no

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Making History Modern · 23

historians. . . . Qing scholars only learnt to embroider stitch-by-stitch, but were never able to complete the whole duck. Therefore, although they worked hard, they had almost no impact on the life and thought of society.” 77 In order to promote this renovation of the Chinese tradition, in the early 1920s Hu Shi initiated a program to “put in order the nation’s past” (zhengli guogu 整理國故), a proposal that was taken up with enthusiasm by many younger historians. This involved organizing the vast body of historical material handed down from the past into logical sequences so that the causal relationships that led to the production of these materials were made evident. In conjunction with this, renewed effort was directed toward the task of determining the authenticity of historical materials. Hu Shi argued that this work was foundational; without it, there could be no reliable analysis or interpretation of the Chinese past, nor any assessment of its significance for the present.78 Hu Shi exerted considerable influence over the generation of scholars who established history departments in the new universities in the 1920s and 1930s.79 Even those who disagreed with him found that they could not ignore his influence, and much discussion and debate of historical issues during this period were generated by Hu Shi himself or by those influenced by him. Indeed, as Brian Moloughney shows in his chapter, the most prominent academic debate of the 1920s, the Disputing Antiquity movement (Gushi bian 古史辨), was initiated by Hu Shi’s students. But Hu would not have had the same impact on the transformation of Chinese historical studies if his initiatives had not been reinforced by the wave of scholars returning to China from study overseas. They returned intent on using their knowledge of Western historiography to help establish modern historical practice in China, and to that end many taught courses on historiography and methodology in the newly established history departments in the 1920s and 1930s. At Beijing University, Hu Shi was joined by He Bingsong, who was an advocate of the progressive historiography associated most strongly with James Harvey Robinson (1863– 1936) and his colleagues at Columbia University. He Bingsong translated Robinson’s The New History (1912) for use in lectures at Beijing University, and it circulated among students for a number of years before it was eventually published in 1924.80 Robinson was well known for promoting a shift away from the almost exclusive concentration on political and military affairs that had dominated nineteenth-century historiography, proposing that historians put greater emphasis on social and economic issues. Robinson also advocated a more problem-centered approach to

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24 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

the past, so that historians could use the experience of the past to contribute toward a better understanding of contemporary problems. Apart from The New History, He Bingsong translated a number of other Western texts on historiography and historical methodology, and in these, as well in his own writing, he argued that history was a social science, and that historians therefore needed a good grounding in social science methodologies.81 But it was his translation of The New History that had the greatest impact. It was widely used in historiography and methodology courses, especially by those such as Hong Ye 洪業 (William Hung, 1893–1980), who had studied in North America and returned to teach in Chinese universities.82 Developments in European historiography also became a prominent part of the historical landscape in China during the 1920s and 1930s, and once again it was the scholars who had studied in Europe who took the lead in promoting these debates and arguments to their students. The most prominent of these were Fu Sinian and Yao Congwu 姚從五 (1894– 1970), both of whom had studied for an extended period in Germany. As was noted above, Fu Sinian’s greatest contribution was as an institution builder and academic administrator, but he was also a forceful proponent of the view that history was a scientific discipline and thus the primary task in historical research was the collection of historical materials. He believed history was akin to biology and geology, and the creation of a modern historical discipline in China depended on historians “moving from subjective philosophy and morality to objective historical science.” 83 While very few historians shared his belief that history was essentially the same as the physical sciences, Fu nonetheless remained committed to the positivism that he had absorbed between 1919 and 1926 during his studies in London and Berlin. But as Edward Wang has noted, it was really Fu’s colleague Yao Congwu who did most to promote mainstream German historical methodology in China. In 1934, after eleven years in Germany, Yao returned to Beijing University and began teaching an inf luential course on historiography and historical methodology, something that became a “a trademark of Yao’s forty year teaching career,” in which he devoted more than half the course to “discussing the works of German historians from Ranke to Bernheim.” 84 Yao’s empiricism was a product of his training in Germany, but in his teaching he encouraged students to see the German emphasis on source criticism, or Quellenkritik, as aligned to the Chinese philological method (xungu 訓詁), and thus as something that enhanced the indigenous tradition rather than overturning it. This

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Making History Modern · 25

was an increasingly common view among Chinese historians by the 1920s and 1930s. By this time even Liang Qichao had abandoned his earlier iconoclasm. In lectures on historical methodology delivered at Nankai University in the early 1920s, Liang sought to align his earlier conversion to an evolutionary perspective on the past with the need for the systematic ordering and assessment of source material. He was now much more receptive to the value of the kaozheng approach to textual analysis, and, like many others, he argued that recent Western scholarship simply reinforced this indigenous tradition of evidential research. He went even further a few years later. In lectures delivered at Qinghua University in 1927, Liang emphasized the importance of the role of the individual in history. This was the very feature of the Chinese tradition of historical writing that Liang had been so critical of in his 1902 polemic on the new historical studies. 85 Indeed, as exposure to Western historiography increased, Chinese scholars developed a richer appreciation of the strengths of traditional Chinese historiography. For most, being a “modern” historian involved integrating the new knowledge that came from the West with aspects of the inherited Chinese tradition. But there were also those who sought to reassert the strengths of the indigenous tradition over and above the new practices that came from the West. As Axel Schneider notes in his chapter, Liu Yizheng 柳詒徵 (1880–1956) was perhaps the most prominent example of this. Both in his inf luential cultural history of China, Zhongguo wenhua shi 中國文化史 (1932), and then in his last major work, The Essentials of National History (Guoshi yaoyi 國史要義), Liu sought to demonstrate that the Chinese past and its cultural traditions, including its historiographical traditions, provided the most important foundation for the future. 86 In Guoshi yaoyi, Liu quotes extensively from early Chinese texts to demonstrate how historical knowledge came to have such a central position in Chinese culture, and to reassert the fundamentally moral nature of that knowledge. The value of history, he argued, lay in what it had to say about the ethical foundation of a society, as manifested in the ritual codes that governed behavior and interpersonal relationships. Thus, rather than concentrate on the collation and criticism of source material, Liu directed his readers to questions of historical judgment and the cultural significance of historical knowledge, suggesting that these issues remained as important in the present as they were in the past. For these reasons, Guoshi yaoyi represents a

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26 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

powerful reassertion of the continuing value of the inherited historiographical tradition. The volume of publications on historiography and historical methodology increased dramatically during the 1930s and 1940s. Historians felt the need for such texts in order to train students in professional skills, but they also reflected the considerable debate about exactly what those skills were.87 While it is not possible to deal with the range and complexity of the issues raised in these texts here, there is one development that is worthy of mention, particularly as it would lay the foundations for Chinese historiography in the post-1949 period. This is the rise to prominence of social history. As has been noted above, an increasing emphasis on the need to account for developments in the whole of a society and not just the lives of the ruling elite had been an integral part of the refashioning of Japanese historiography during the Meiji period, and this was carried over into early debates about the new historical studies in China. By the 1930s, social and economic history had emerged as a significant strand within the developing discipline; indeed, it was probably the first “subdiscipline” in modern Chinese historiography. In part, this was a product of the richness of resources available to scholars. The institutional nature of much imperial historiography, both the treatises (zhi 志) in the standard dynastic histories (zhengshi 正史) and the specialized compendiums like Ma Duanlin’s 馬端臨 (1245–1322) Wenxian tongkao 文 獻通考, had produced an enormous amount of information on such topics as taxation, land ownership, water management, and social welfare, and this provided a rich foundation for this strand of modern scholarship. But as John DeFrancis and E-tu Zen Sun note, the inf luence of liberal Western historiography, with its strong emphasis on social history, also contributed to this orientation in the development of the discipline in China.88 One other manifestation of this was the first tentative foray into women’s history, although, like elsewhere, it would be much later in the century before this generated enough interest to be considered a separate field within the discipline. 89 There was as much diversity in the new social and economic history as in all other aspects of pre-1949 Chinese historical writing, with work ranging from the nontheoretical collection, organization, and presentation of data to the explicitly materialist arguments advanced by those influenced by Marxism. This stimulus from Marxism produced the most prominent historical debate of the 1903s. As Arif Dirlik argues in his chapter here, the desire to produce history that was more ref lective of the whole of society was in part a

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Making History Modern · 27

product of the social upheaval that China underwent during the late Qing and early Republic. New definitions of political community grew out of this social turmoil, and the past was used to reinforce claims for particular political programs. Marxism was a beneficiary of the social turmoil. Li Da 李達 (1890–1966) played a major role in popularizing the materialist view of history in China, particularly with his 1921 translation of Herman Gorter’s (1864–1927) An Explanation of the Materialist Conception of History.90 But as Dirlik notes, it was only after the Guomindang purge of Communists in 1927 that Marxist interpretations of Chinese history began to have a significant impact: “[T]he turn to history was the result of serious disagreements over revolutionary strategy and its social basis.” 91 These disagreements erupted in the social history debate of the early 1930s. Largely driven by the desire to use the Russian revolutionary experience to assess the Chinese situation, and inspired by arguments advanced by Karl Radek (1885–1939) and Alexander Bogdanov (1873– 1928), the contributions to this debate generally lacked historical specificity. For this reason, academic historians sought to distance themselves from the overtly political nature of the debate, labeling most of the contributions as “sociology,” a standard term of abuse that historians everywhere use to dismiss overtly theoretical, nonempirical arguments. But the best work produced during this period, such as Guo Moruo’s 郭沫 若 (1892–1978) Research on Ancient Chinese Society, did have a lasting influence, generating support from non-Marxist historians such as Gu Jiegang 顧頡剛 (1893–1980) and Zhang Yinlin 張蔭鱗 (1905–42).92 With the social history debate, and then with the increasing turmoil produced by the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, Marxist or Marxist-inspired interpretations of the past grew more common. Indeed, Marxist history now emerged as a prominent component of modern Chinese historiography. It would not gain ascendancy until the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949, but by the 1930s it had become an integral part of Chinese historical scholarship.93

The Plurality of Modern Chinese Historiography By the time of the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, history had been transformed from a branch of traditional scholarship, basically subsumed into statecraft concerns, into a modern—and professionally autonomous—academic discipline. This transformation was a product of the

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28 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

massive social, political, and economic changes that China had undergone during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In a 1939 preface to a new book on disasters in Chinese history, He Bingsong reflected on this transformation, noting that while history had been an integral part of traditional Chinese scholarship, it had undergone dramatic change since the late nineteenth century, first under the influence of Japanese scholarship and then from modern Western historiography, and the result of this was that history had become a completely new form of knowledge: The new discipline of historical studies is the product of a fusion between Chinese and Western culture, and while the discipline is still taking shape it is clearly quite distinct from the historiography of the past. There is no getting away from the fact that in terms of philosophy, methodology, and narrative form . . . the new discipline (what is commonly known as new historical studies) is completely different from what went before (what is commonly known as old historical studies). While it is difficult to elaborate on the differences between the new and the old in such a short preface, in general we can say that although the new discipline shares some similarities with philological research, it has now escaped the fetters of classical studies and has attained independent status. At the same time it has moved on from a concern with a few prominent individuals to focus on the whole of society, and from a concern with politics and military affairs to a focus on the complete culture of the nation. The ultimate aim of the new historical studies is to produce a truly comprehensive history (tongshi 通史) of the country and its people, a history that speaks to all and is able to be read by everyone.94

He Bingsong went on to suggest that while this is not something that can be achieved in a short period of time, the results of the work put into building the foundations for a modern historical discipline “were not inconsiderable.” Indeed, over the past quarter century or so, the foundations for the new discipline had been laid. As has been noted above, the collapse of imperial authority following the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95 and the associated turmoil of the late Qing years provided the crucial stimulus for the transformation of historical studies. But the specific course taken by the modern historical discipline resulted from other, less dramatic factors. In the long run, these would be just as important as the sense of urgency generated by the rapidly changing social and political environment in which scholars worked, although of course the new historians, like the old, sought to

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Making History Modern · 29

understand, explain, and improve contemporary conditions. The institutional foundation provided by the new universities enabled the concentration of researchers and allowed a degree of separation from the state, although this was never total. These universities fostered modern disciplinary practice and enabled historical research and writing to be seen as the domain of specialists.95 As the same time, the new specialists promoted the methodological practices they believed defined history and distinguished it from other academic disciplines. While these methodological practices were often termed “scientific,” most understood that term in such a way as to incorporate aspects of inherited practice, such as kaozheng scholarship. Indeed, the rich tradition of Chinese historical thought and writing meant that in order to succeed, the shaping of the new discipline required a synthesis of indigenous and imported methodologies.96 While the degree of synthesis varied from scholar to scholar, by the 1920s virtually all historians were engaged in the process of integrating global developments with inherited historiographical traditions.97 At the same time, and in conjunction with the introduction of new ideas about the nature and purpose of historical research, the discovery of new archaeological and documentary materials greatly expanded the scope of historical knowledge. These new materials not only produced new insights into Chinese history but also led to the development of new methods of research and analysis, which in turn transformed people’s understanding of the nature of history. This was a gradual process, but by the 1930s the source materials available to historians were completely different from those that scholars had been focused on prior to the twentieth century. Reflecting on this issue in 1925, Wang Guowei, who himself played a major role in revealing the value of these materials for enhancing understanding of the Chinese past, identified five main areas in which advances had been made: (1) the oracle bones and turtle plastrons uncovered from the last Shang capital at Anyang, which were first published in 1903 and provided the basis for completely new insights into early Chinese history; (2) the bamboo and wooden tablets from the Qin and Han periods, which were enriching understandings of early imperial history; (3) the huge volume of materials uncovered at Dunhuang in Gansu, which would provide the foundation for the completely new field of Dunhuang studies (and for new views of the Tang and Song dynasties); (4) the state papers that were made available with the opening up of the imperial archives; and (5) the new material on the Western border regions that provided

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30 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

completely new insights into China’s relations with the peoples of Inner Asia.98 To Wang’s list we can add the increasing amount of bronze and stone inscription material uncovered in the twentieth century, as well as the archaeological work that led to the discovery in 1929 of Sinanthropus pekinensis, or Peking Man, and all the associated material objects uncovered at Zhoukoudian. Taken together, these materials greatly enriched the resources available to historians.99 They also enhanced the development of new methodological approaches to the study of Chinese history and, in turn, provoked debates about the boundaries of the discipline and the proper nature of historical research. It is no surprise that the two great scholarly debates of the twenties and thirties, the Disputing Antiquity movement and the social history controversy, were both focused on developing new understandings about early China in the light of what these new materials revealed. At no stage during this process of establishing a modern historical discipline was any clear consensus reached about the essential features of the discipline. This was subject to constant discussion and debate, and individual historians often changed their own positions on fundamental issues.100 The Disputing Antiquity movement and the social history controversy were prominent debates that spilled over into the public arena, but the vigorous discussion that characterized these debates was not unusual. It reflected the dynamic nature of the process of discipline formation. From its beginnings in the late nineteenth century, the modern historical discipline in China was a pluralistic enterprise. As the chapters in this book indicate, while there was a general commitment to the transformation of historical thought and writing, there was no consensus on what the new historical studies should be. In order to bring some order and pattern to this pluralism, various attempts have been made to group historians into separate schools, each defined by the distinctive positions from which they approached the business of researching and writing about the past.101 Some follow the suggestion of Feng Youlan 馮友蘭 (1895–1990) and argue that there were three main groups: those who believed the inherited accounts of the past and saw the modern discipline simply as an extension of past practice (xingu 信古); those who doubted the validity of those accounts and who argued that establishing the modern discipline required completely overturning inherited beliefs and practices (yigu 疑古); and those who sought to explain the past through whatever means proved most effective, whether

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Making History Modern · 31

that be Chinese or Western in origin (shigu 釋古).102 Others prefer a more institutional approach, aligning historians with Beijing University (by which they mean Hu Shi and his students), Qinghua University (Wang Guowei and those influenced by him), or those attracted to the various strands of Marxism that gained influence from the late 1920s onward.103 In other recent approaches historians are defined as liberals, conservatives, and Marxists; or positivists (including both Wang Guowei and Hu Shi), relativists (including Liang Qichao and He Bingsong), and Marxists (Guo Moruo et al.).104 Then there are those who see historians as primarily focused around particular concerns: methodology, Qing evidential scholarship, or the collection and ordering of historical materials.105 The problem with all these approaches, however, is that the divisions between schools, and between various groups of historians, are never clear. The diversity of historical writing of the period undermines such divisions. In one schema a historian can be placed in one particular school, while in another the same historian is placed in a different group representing a contradictory position. For instance, for some Wang Guowei was the leader of a so-called Qinghua group which retained a greater commitment to inherited practice than the liberal historians at Beijing University, yet for others he should be seen as a positivist, intent on the pursuit of a scientific approach to the past. At the same time, the liberal historians at Beijing University are considered the primary advocates of a scientific approach to the past, pursuing this in the face of opposition from “conservatives” like Wang Guowei. In other words, attempts to explain the development of the modern historical discipline in terms of competing schools have not been very successful. There is no consensus about what these schools were, or how they shaped the discipline. Rather than reduce the plurality integral to the emergence of modern historical practice to some imagined order, as in these various contradictory schemata, it is perhaps more productive to recognize the diversity as in itself clear evidence of the dynamic nature of the transformation that was under way. The Japanese invasion of China in 1937 produced new imperatives for historians, but it did not derail the establishment of the modern discipline. Indeed, by the time of the invasion the basic contours of the new discipline were in place. But Japanese imperialism threatened the very existence of the nation, and thus Chinese historians inevitably found themselves reorienting their work in order to help confront this crisis.

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32 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

While the nation had become the primary subject of history much earlier in the century, following the Japanese occupation of Manchuria in 1931 historical research and writing began to display a much more pronounced nationalist character as both the government and publishers encouraged historians to produce work that demonstrated the historical integrity of the nation state. Inevitably, then, the Anti-Japanese War, and the subsequent civil war, produced a much more politicized environment for historical scholarship. Some historians embraced this and worked with the Nationalist government or the Chinese Communist Party, while others tried to maintain some independence within academic institutions. But this was difficult, as those very institutions could not escape the turmoil caused by invasion and war. The pluralism evident in historical thought and writing in the early 1930s was subsumed by the rising nationalist imperative of the war years, but it did not disappear. It even survived the monoculture of the early years of the People’s Republic, when only a certain variant of Marxist history was permitted. But with the opening up of China following the Cultural Revolution, something of that earlier debate and diversity was allowed to return to Chinese historiography. Indeed, in recent years Chinese historians have turned back to the scholarship of the Republican period in order to revive the discipline after the stagnation of the 1960s and 1970s. This was possible because the establishment of the modern historical discipline was largely complete by the 1930s.

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Making History Modern · 33

Notes 1

2

3

4

5 6

7

Theodore Huters, Bringing the World Home: Appropriating the West in Late Qing and Early Republican China (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005), p. 3. For a detailed discussion of the development of this official historiography, including the establishment in 629 of the History Office (shiguan 史官), see Denis Twitchett, The Writing of Official History under the T’ang (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992). Daniel Woolf, “Historiography,” in New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, ed. Maryanne Cline Horowitz (New York: Thomson Gale, 2005), p. xxxv. See also Eckhardt Fuchs, “Provincializing Europe: Historiography as a Transcultural Concept,” in Across Cultural Borders: Historiography in Global Perspective, ed. Eckhardt Fuchs and Benedikt Stuchley (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), pp. 1–26; and Georg Iggers and Q. Edward Wang, with Supriya Mukherjee, A Global History of Modern Historiography (Harlow, UK: Longman, 2008), esp. pp. 117–56. For a discussion of the formation of modern academic disciplines in China see Luo Zhitian 羅志田, “Xixue chongji xia jindai Zhongguo xueshu fenke de yanbian” 西學沖擊下近代中國學術分科的演變, Jindai Zongguo shixue shilun 近 代中國史學十論 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe, 2003), pp. 1–23. And for studies focused on the development of history as an academic discipline see Hou Yunhao 侯云灝, “20 Shiji Zhongguo shixue de xuekehua jincheng” 20世 紀中國史學的學科化進程, Shixue yuekan 史學月刊 2 (1999): pp. 90–97; Liu Longxin (Liu Lung-hsin) 劉龍心, Xueshu yu zhidu: xueke tizhi yu xiandai Zhongguo shixue de jianli 學術與制度︰學科體制與現代中國史學的建立 (Taibei: Yuanliu, 2002); and Li Xiaoqian 李孝遷, Xifang shixue zai Zhongguo de chuanbo (1882–1949) 西方史學在中國的傳播 (1882–1949) (Shanghai: Huadong shifan daxue chubanshe, 2007). Liang Qichao 梁啟超, “Xin shixue” 新史學, in Yinbingshi heji 飲冰室合集 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju reprint, 1989), vol. 1, wenji 文集 9, p. 1. The most significant study of May Fourth historiography is Q. Edward Wang, Inventing China through History: The May Fourth Approach to Historiography (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001). For a discussion of recent scholarship that opens up the discussion of Chinese modernity beyond developments associated with the May Fourth Movement see Hungyok Ip, Tze-ki Hon, and Chiu-chun Lee, “The Plurality of Chinese Modernity: A Review of Recent Scholarship on the May Fourth Movement,” Modern China 29.4 (October 2003): pp. 490–509. The notes throughout this essay give an indication of the range of scholarship devoted to the development of modern historical discipline in China. Some general studies not mentioned elsewhere in the notes include Chen Qitai 陳其泰, Zhongguo jindai shixue de licheng 中國近代史學的歷程 (Zhengzhou: Henan renmin chubanshe, 1994); Wang Xuedian 王學典, 20 shiji

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34 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

8

9

10

11

12

13

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Zhongguo shixue pinglun 20 世紀中國史學評論 (Jinan: Shangdong renmin chubanshe, 2002); Wang Fansen 王汎森, Jindai Zhongguo de shijia yu shixue 近代中國的史家與史學 (Hong Kong: Sanlian, 2008); and the edited volumes Zhang Qizhi 張豈之, ed., Zhongguo jindai shixue xueshu shi 中國近代史學學術 史 (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1996); Yang Nianqun 楊念群, Huang Xingtao 黃興濤, and Mao Dan 毛丹, eds., Xin shixue: duo xueke duihua de tujing 新史學:多學科對話的圖景, 2 vols. (Beijing: Zhongguo remin daxue chubanshe, 2003); and Luo Zhitian, ed., 20 shiji de Zhongguo: xueshu yu shehui, shixue juan 20 世 䲨的中囯:學術與社會.史學卷, 2 vols. (Ji’nan: Shandong renmin chubanshe, 2001). An interesting comparison with China is provided by Egypt, where many of the same issues had to be confronted: see Jack A. Crabbs, Jr., The Writing of History in Nineteenth-Century Egypt: A Study in National Transformation (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1984). Du Weiyun 杜維運, “Xifang shixue shuru Zhongguo kao” 西方史學輸入中國 考, in Yu xifang shijia lun Zhongguo shixue 與西方史家論中國史學 (Taibei: Dongda reprint, 1988), pp. 287–335; and Sat¯o Shin’ichi 佐藤慎一, “Ten’en ron izen ni shinkaron: shinmatsu chishikilin no rekishi ishiki o megutte” 天演論 以前に進化論:清末知識人の歴史意識おめぐって, Shis¯o 思想 6 (1990): pp. 241–54. A useful discussion of these issues can be found in Achim Mittag, “Chinas Modernisierung und die Transformation des chinesischen Geschichtesdenkens unter westlichem Kultureinfluß,” in Geschichtsdiskurs: vol. 4: Krisenbeweßtsein, Katasrophenerfahrungen und Innovationen 1880 –1945, ed. Wolfgang Kuttler, Jörn Rüsen, and Ernst Schulin (Frankfurt: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1997), pp. 355–79. Peng Minghui 澎明輝, Wan-Qing de jingshi shixue 晚清的經世史學 (Taibei: Maitian chuban, 2002); and Yu Danchu 俞旦初, Aiguo zhuyi yu Zhongguo jindai shixue 愛國主義與中國近代史學 (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1996), pp. 1–17. Robert P. Hymes and Conrad Schirokauer, eds., Ordering the World: Approaches to State and Society in Sung Dynasty China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993). Zou Zhenhuan 鄒振環, Xifang chuanjiaoshi yu wan-Qing xishi dongjian: yi 1815 zhi 1900 nian xifang lishi yizhu de chuanbo yu yingxiang wei zhongxin 西 方傳教士與晚清西史東漸:以1815至 1900 年西方歷史譯著的傳播與影響為中心 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2007), pp. 397–401. For the transformation of Japanese historical writing during the Meiji ¯ period see Okubo Toshiaki 大久保利謙, Nihon kindai shigaku no seiritsu 日本 近代史學の成立 (Tokyo: Yoshikawa k¯obunkan, 1988); and Margaret Mehl, History and the State in Nineteenth-Century Japan (London: Macmillan, 1998). Wong Kam Cheong, “Chinese History Textbook Writing in Late Ch’ing China” (M.Phil. thesis, University of Hong Kong, 1986), p. 49. See also Yu

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Making History Modern · 35

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Danchu, Aiguo zhuyi, pp. 45–46; and Q. Edward Wang’s chapter in this volume. Tsuboi Kumez¯o 坪井久馬三, Shigaku kenky¯u h¯o 史學研究法, rev. ed. (Tokyo: Kyobunsha shuppan, 1926). In the previous year, under the pseudonym Gun Fu 袞甫, Wang Rongbao published a review of recent Japanese debates about historical method: see “Shixue gailun” 史學概論, in Yishu huibian 譯書匯編 9 (12 December 1902) and 10 (27 December 1902). Yu Danchu provides a list of Western works on historical methodology translated into Japanese, and those then translated into Chinese, in Aiguo zhuyi, pp. 51–56. See also Q. Edward Wang, “German Historicism and Scientific History in China, 1900– 1940,” in Fuchs and Stuchley, Across Cultural Borders, pp. 141–61. Ernst Bernheim, Lehrbuch der historischen Methode und der Geschichtsphilosophie (Leipzig: Duncker and Humbolt, 1889). Tsuboi based his work on Bernheim’s, and it covers many of the same issues, with chapters on the nature and role of history, the classification and analysis of historical materials, interpretation and synthesis, and supporting disciplines, such as linguistics, archaeology, numismatics, and geography. A full Chinese translation of Bernheim’s book was not available until 1937, although it was influential on Chinese scholars well before then through the translation of excerpts and through works such as Tsuboi’s Shigaku kenky¯u h¯o that incorporated many of its ideas. The translation of the Lehrbuch was by Chen Tao 陳韜 and was published under the title Lishi yanjiu fa jiaoben 歷史研究法教本 (Shanghai: Commercial Press, 1937). ¯ Tsuboi, Shigaku kenky¯u h¯o, pp. 232–33; and Okubo, Nihon kindai shigaku no seiritsu, pp. 54–55, 98–104. Evidential research had its origins in China, but had developed in distinctive ways in Tokugawa scholarship. Four full Chinese translations are included in Ukita Kazutami et al., Shixue tonglun sizhong 史學通論四種 (Shanghai: Huadong shifan daxue chubanshe, 2006), which also includes an introductory essay by Wu Guoyi 鄔國義 on Ukita’s influence over Liang Qichao. The translations are Shixue tonglun 史 學通論, by Li Haosheng 李浩生 (Shanghai Zuoxinshe, 1903); Xin shixue 新史 學, by Hou Shiwan 侯士綰 (Shanghai wenming shuju, 1903); Shixue yuanlun 史學原論, by Liu Congjie 劉崇杰 (Minxuehui, 1903); and Shixue tonglun 史學 通論, by Luo Dawei 羅大維 (Shanghai Zuoxinshe, 1903). See also the discussion of Ukita’s influence on Chinese historians in Zhang Shuxue 張書學, Zhongguo xiandai shixue sichao yanjiu 中國現代史學思潮研究 (Changsha: Hunan jiaoyu chubanshe, 1998), pp. 21–22. Ishikawa Yoshihiro, “Liang Qichao, the Field of Geography in Meiji Japan, and Geographical Determinism,” trans. Lori Watt, in The Role of Japan in Liang Qichao’s Introduction of Modern Western Civilization to China, ed. Joshua Fogel (Berkeley: Center for Chinese Studies, 2004), pp. 160–63. An extended discussion of the significance of Liang Qichao’s “manifesto” can be found in Xiaobing Tang, Global Space and the National Discourse of

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36 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

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Modernity: The Historical Thinking of Liang Qichao (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), pp. 46–79. But see also Peter Zarrow’s discussion of the tensions within Liang’s historiographical project: “Old Myth into New History: The Building Blocks of Liang Qichao’s ‘New History,’” Historiography East & West 1.2 (2003): pp. 204–41. For a discussion of this concept of a “people’s history,” especially in terms of how the concept was promoted through magazines and periodicals, see Liu Lanxiao 劉蘭肖, Wan-Qing baokan yu jindai shixue 晚清報刊與近代史學 (Beijing: Zhonghua renmin chubanshe, 2007), pp. 73–99. Zheng Shiqu 鄭師渠, Guocui, guoxue, guohun: wan-Qing guocuipai wenhua sixiang yanjiu 國粹.國學.國魂:晚清國粹派文化思想研究 (Taibei: Wenjin chubanshe, 1992), p. 81. Ibid., pp. 81–106. See Zhang Binglin’s 1900 “Zhongguo tongshi lüeli” 中國通史略例, in Xu Fu 徐復, annot., Qiushu xiangzhu 訄書詳注 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe 2000), pp. 857–70, and his 1902 letter to Liang Qichao (dated fifth month) in Xinmin congbao 新民叢報 13 (July 1902): pp. 57–58. Benjamin Schwartz, In Search of Wealth and Power: Yan Fu and the West (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964), p. 56. Prasenjit Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), pp. 4, 25. While stimulating, Duara’s argument about the nature of modern Chinese historical writing is based primarily on an engagement with polemical essays like Liang Qichao’s “Xin shixue,” rather than detailed analysis of the actual work of historians. For this reason, as Q. Edward Wang notes, Duara’s argument “is relatively thin.” There was a distance between such proclamations for change and the type of historical narratives actually produced, which were not as reductive as Duara implies. See Wang, Inventing China. Liang Qichao, “Xin shixue,” p. 3. For a discussion that places Liang’s contribution to the development of the new historical studies within the context of other developments during the first decade of the twentieth century, see Yu Danchu, Aiguo zhuyi, esp. pp. 44–106. Luo Zhitian, Guojia yu xueshu: Qingji, Minchu, guanyu “guoxue” de sixiang lunzheng 國家輿學術:清季民初關於「國學」的思想論爭 (Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 2003); Zheng Shiqu, Guocui, guoxue, guohun, pp. 175–260; and Hu Fengxiang 胡逢祥 and Zhang Jianwen 張建文, Zhongguo jindai shixue sixiang yu liupai 中國近代史學思想輿流派 (Shanghai: Huadong shifan da xue chubanshe, 1991), pp. 272–308. Perhaps the most prominent example is Liu Shipei’s 1904 history of early China, “Zhongguo lishi jiaokeshu” 中國歷史教科書, in Liu Shipei quanji 劉師 培全集, ed. Wang Caijin 王彩琴 and Wu Ke 吳可 (Beijing: Zhonggong zhongyang dangxiao chubanshe, 1997), vol. 4, pp. 276–370. But this is just one example of many that could be given. For recent studies that place Liu Shipei’s history in the context of historical writing during the late Qing, see

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Making History Modern · 37

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Peter Zarrow, “The New Schools and National Identity: Chinese History Textbooks in the Late Qing,” in The Politics of Historical Production in Late Qing and Republican China, ed. Robert J. Culp and Tze-ki Hon (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 21–54; and Tze-ki Hon, “Educating the Citizens: Visions of China in Late Qing History Textbooks,” in Culp and Hon, Politics of Historical Production, pp. 79–105. For more detailed accounts of the historical writing produced during the first decade of the twentieth century by National Essence scholars see Zheng Shiqu, Guocui, guoxue, guohun, pp. 175–260; Q. Edward Wang, “China’s Search for National History,” in Turning Points in Historiography: A CrossCultural Perspective, ed. Q. Edward Wang and Georg G. Iggers (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2002), pp. 185–207; and Song Xueqin 宋學 勤, Shanbian zhong de jinxiandai shixue: yi xueke hushe wei shidian de kaocha 嬗變中的近現代史學:以學科互涉為視點的考察 (Beijing: Xueyuan chubanshe, 2008), pp. 41–64. In 1902 the official vision was of eventual universal education for boys. By the last years of the Qing, girls’ schools were being built as well; however, the goal of universal education was not reached until after the founding of the People’s Republic in the 1950s. For estimates of the reach of state schooling see Sally Borthwick, Education and Social Change in China: The Beginnings of the Modern Era (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1983), pp. 105–14; and Thomas D. Curran, Educational Reform in Republican China: The Failure of Educators to Create a Modern Nation (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2005), pp. 224–25. Elizabeth VanderVen, “Village-State Cooperation: Modern Community Schools and Their Funding, Haicheng County, Fengtian, 1905–1931,” Modern China 31.2 (April 2005): pp. 204–35. A recent overview of the resistance to modern schools is Curran, Educational Reform, pp. 235–51. Girls’ education was to emphasize womanly virtues and household management and skills, along with academic subjects and physical education. See Paul Bailey, “‘Modernising Conservatism’ in Early Twentieth-Century China: The Discourse and Practice of Women’s Education,” European Journal of East Asian Studies 3.2 (2004): pp. 217–41; Weikun Cheng, “Going Public through Education: Female Reformers and Girls’ Schools in Late Qing Beijing,” Late Imperial China 21.1 (June 2000): pp. 107–44; and Joan Judge, “Between Nei and Wai: Chinese Women Students in Japan in the Early Twentieth Century,” in Gender in Motion: Divisions of Labor and Cultural Change in Late Imperial and Modern China, ed. Bryna Goodman and Wendy Larson (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), pp. 121–43. Kecheng jiaocai yanjiusuo 課程教材研究所, ed., 20 shiji Zhongguo zhongxiaoxue kecheng biaozhun: jiaoxue dagang huibian 20世紀中國中小學課程標準:教 學大綱彙編, vol. 1, “Kecheng (jiaoxue) jihuajuan” 課程(教學)計劃卷 (Beijing: Renmin jiaoyu chubanshe, 2001), p. 2.

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38 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow 36

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Qu Xingui 璩鑫圭 and Tang Liangyan 唐良炎, eds., Zhongguo jindai jiaoyushi ziliao huibian: xuezhi yanbian 中國近代教育史資料彙編:學制演變 (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe, 1991), p. 535. See Liu Longxin, Xueshu yu zhidu; and Li Xiaoqian, Xifang shixue, esp. chaps. 1–2. As proclaimed in 1906: Qu Xingui and Tang Liangyan, Zhongguo jindai jiaoyushi ziliao huibian, vol. 1, pp. 534–39. Chen et al., Zhongguo jindai jiaoyushi ziliao huibian, vol. 1, p. 295. Ibid., vol. 1, p. 294. The difficulties in practice of combining loyalism and patriotism are highlighted in Zarrow, “New Schools and National Identity,” from which some of the background material in this section is also taken. Mei-Bo Ching (Cheng Meibao 程美寶), “Classifying Peoples: Ethnic Politics in Late Qing Native-Place Textbooks and Gazetteers,” in Culp and Hon, Politics of Historical Production, pp. 55–77; also see Cheng Meibao, “You aixiang er aiguo: Qingmo Guangdong xiangtu jiaocai de guojia huayu” 由愛 鄉而愛國:清末廣東省鄉土教材的國家話語, Lishi yanjiu 歷史研究 4 (2003): pp. 68–84; and Diyu wenhua yu guojia rentong: wan-Qing yilai Guangdong wenhuaguan de xingcheng 地域文化與國家認同:晚清以來廣東文化觀的形成 (Beijing: Sanlian, 2006). The 1902 plans had not spoken of local history but envisioned, over a six-year lower and upper primary school system, a single Chinese national history course beginning with ancient history in the first year, while moving on to Qin-Han, the post-Han dynasties, the Tang, the Song-Yuan, and finally the Ming. See Kecheng jiaocai yanjiusuo, ed., 20 shiji Zhongguo zhongxiaoxue kecheng biaozhun, vol. 12, “Lishi juan” 歷史卷, p. 2. Shangwu yinshuguan 商務印書館, ed., “Diqilei mulu” 第七類目錄, in Da Qing xin faling 大清新法令 (Beijing: Shangwu, 1909), p. 7:2:5a–6a. Ibid., p. 7:1:73. Ibid., p. 7:1:74; Kecheng jiaocai yanjiusuo, ed., 20 shiji Zhongguo zhongxiaoxue kecheng biaozhun, vol. 1, “Kecheng (jiaoxue) jihua juan,” p. 42; vol. 12, “Lishi juan,” pp. 7–8. In 1909 the Ministry proposed a plan for vocational middle schools that would put less emphasis on the humanities, but the fundamentals of their curriculum remained the same (e.g., history would still be taught, but only one hour per week). Textbooks used in state schools had to be submitted to the Ministry of Education for vetting. Although the censors of both the Qing and Republican administrations often demanded changes in manuscripts before granting approval, relatively few were banned outright. But the Ministry did in effect establish no-go areas. The origins of the censorship system are described in Guan Xiaohong 關曉紅, Wan-Qing xuebu yanjiu 晚清學部研究 (Guangzhou: Guangdong jiaoyu chubanshe, 2000). Kecheng jiaocai yanjiusuo, ed., “Kecheng jiaoxue jihua juan,” p. 69; Kecheng jiaocai yanjiusuo, “Lishi juan,” pp. 10, 11, 13. For a careful analysis of the formation of Nationalist educational policy, see Chiu-chun Lee, “Liberalism and Nationalism at a Crossroads: The

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Making History Modern · 39

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Guomindang’s Educational Policies, 1927–1930,” trans. Tze-ki Hon, in Culp and Hon, Politics of Historical Production, pp. 295–315. Li Xiaoqian, Xifang shixue, chap. 1. Wen-Hsin Yeh, The Alienated Academy: Culture and Politics in Republican China, 1919–1937 (Cambridge, MA: CEAS, Harvard University Press, 1990), pp. 22–48. A general history of Peking University, focusing on its political role, is Timothy B. Weston, The Power of Position: Beijing University, Intellectuals, and Chinese Political Culture, 1898–1929 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), while accounts emphasizing academic and curricula issues include Xiaoqing Diana Lin, Peking University: Chinese Scholarship and Intellectuals, 1898–1937 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005); and Chaohua Wang, Cai Yuanpei and the Origins of the May Fourth Movement: Modern Intellectual Transformations (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2008), pp. 351–99. Lin, Peking University, pp. 10–24. Wang Rongzu 汪榮祖, “Wusi yu Minguo shixue zhi fazhan” 五四與民國史學 之發展, in Zhongguo shixueshi lunwen xuanji 中國史學史論文選集, ed. Du Weiyun and Chen Jinzhong 陳錦忠 (Taibei: Huashi chubanshe, 1970), vol. 3, pp. 507–8. Lin, Peking University, p. 99. Zhu Xizu later published the lectures for his course under the title Zhongguo shixue tonglun 中國史學通論 (Chongqing: Duli chubanshe, 1943). Chen, who also wrote fiction and poetry, produced a very popular history of the West, Xiyang shi 西洋史, which was reprinted several times after its first publication in 1926. For more on Chen see Katrina Gulliver, “Sophia Chen Zen and Westernized Chinese Feminism,” Journal of Chinese Overseas 4.2 (November 2008): pp. 258–74; and Ouyang Zhesheng 歐陽哲生, “Hu Shi and Beijing University,” Chinese Studies in History 42.2 (Winter 2008–9): p. 41. Charles Ronald Lilley, Tsiang T’ing-fu: Between Two Worlds, 1895–1935 (Ph.D. diss., University of Maryland, 1979); and Shen Weibin 沈渭濱, “Jiang Tingfu yu Zhongguo jindai shi yanjiu” 蔣廷黻與中國近代史研究, Fudan xuebao (shehui kexue ban) 4 (1999): pp. 72–79. Lilley, Tsiang T’ing-fu, p. 265. For a broader discussion of the impact of “social science” on the development of modern historical practice in China see Sang Bing 桑兵, Wan-Qing Minguo de xueren yu xueshu 晚清民國的學人輿 學術 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2008), pp. 103–28. Mary G. Mazur, Wu Han, Historian: Son of China’s Times (Lanham, MD: Roman & Litttlefield, 2009), pp. 187–89. See also Qi Jiaying 齊家瑩, ed., Qinghua renwen xueke nianpu 清華人文學科年譜 (Beijing: Qinghua daxue chubanshe, 1998). Brian Moloughney, “Zhang Yinlin’s Early China,” in Culp and Hon, Politics of Historical Production, pp. 143–67; Wang Rongzu, Shijia Chen Yinke zhuan 史家陳寅恪傳 (Taibei: Liangjing, 1984); and Sang Bing, “Chen Yinke yu

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40 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow Qinghua yanjiu yuan” 陳寅恪輿清華研究院, Lishi yanjiu 4 (1998): pp. 129–43. For an assessment of the ways in which these processes played out at another university, see Wu Zhongliang 吳忠良, Chuantong yu xiandai zhi jian: Nangao shidi xuepai yanjiu 傳統與現代之間:南高史地學派研究 (Shanghai: Hualing chubanshe, 2006). 60 While it is possible to conceive of Chen as a “medievalist,” the term does not really make any sense in the Chinese context. There has been a f lood of publications relating to Chen’s life and work in recent years. For two recent examples see Li Yumei 李玉梅, Chen Yinke yu shixue 陳寅恪輿史學 (Hong Kong: Sanlian shudian, 1997); and Hu Shouwei 胡壽為, ed., Chen Yinke yu ershi shiji Zhongguo xueshu 陳寅恪輿二十世紀中國學術 (Guangzhou: Zhongshan daxue chubanshe, 2000). 61 See Zhou Liangkai 周樑楷, “Bugu bujin de shidai: xifang shixue ‘zhonggu shi’ de gainian dui jindai Zhongguo shixue de yingxiang” 不古不近的時代︰ 西方史學〈中古史〉的概念對近代中國史學的影響, in Jiegang bian 結綱編, ed. Huang Qinglian 黃清連 (Taibei: Daoxiang, 2007), pp. 101–28; and Timothy Brook, “Medievality and the Chinese Sense of History,” Medieval History Journal 1.1 (1998): pp. 145–64. Alexander Woodside notes how, in grappling with this issue, Liang Shuming 粱漱溟 (1893–1988) came to the conclusion that China was “outside historical time, as Western thinkers defined it.” See “Territorial Order and Collective-Identity Tensions in Confucian Asia: China, Vietnam, Korea,” Daedalus 127.3 (Summer 1998): p. 192. 62 For discussion of the role of xuetang in late imperial scholarship see Sang Bing 桑兵, Wan-Qing xuetang: xuesheng yu shehui bianqian 晚清學堂:學生與 社會變遷 (Shanghai: Xuelin chubanshe, 1995); Barry C. Keenan, Imperial China’s Last Classical Academies: Social Change in the Lower Yangzi, 1864– 1911 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994); and Steven B. Miles, The Sea of Learning: Mobility and Identity in Nineteenth-Century Guangzhou (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006). 63 Su Yunfeng 蘇雲峰, “Qinghua de renwen jiaoyu chuantong” 清華的人文教育 傳統, Zhongyang yanjiu yuan jindaishi yanjiusuo jikan 中央研究院近代史研究 所集刊 20 (June 1991): pp. 131–51; and “Qinghua guoxue yanjiu yuan shulüe” 清華國學研究院述略, Qinghua hanxue yanjiu 清華漢學研究 2 (1997): pp. 289–337. 64 For a slightly different interpretation of the role of traditional scholarly lineages, but with regard to Chinese philosophy, see Mathew Chew, “Academic Boundary Work in Non-Western Academies: A Comparative Analysis of the Philosophy Discipline in Modern China and Japan,” International Sociology 20.4 (December 2005): pp. 530–59. 65 Fu Sinian 傅斯年, “Lishi yuyan yanjiu suo gongzuo zhi zhiqu” 歷史語言研究 所工作之旨趣 , in Fu Sinian quanji 傅斯年全集 , ed. Ouyang Zhesheng (Changsha: Hunan jiaoyu chubanshe, 2003), vol. 3, pp. 3–13. See also Sang Bing, “Jindai xueshu zhuancheng: cong guoxue dao dongfangxue—Fu Sinian ‘Lishi yuyan yanjiusuo gongzuo zhi zhiqu’ jiexi” 近代學術轉乘:從國學 59

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Making History Modern · 41 到東方學— 傅斯年《歷史語言研究所工作之旨趣》解析, Lishi yanjiu 3 (2001):

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pp. 29–44; and Fan-sen Wang, Fu Ssu-nien: A Life in Chinese History and Politics (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 73–81. The relationship between archaeology and history remains highly contested in Chinese studies. For different perspectives on this see Lothar von Falkenhausen, “On the Historiographical Orientation of Chinese Archaeology,” Antiquity 67.257 (1993): pp. 839–49; and Edward L. Shaughnessy’s review of Falkenhausen’s book Chinese Society in the Age of Confucius (100–250 BC): The Archaeological Evidence in Journal of Asian Studies 66.4 (2007): pp. 1129–32. See also the older but still useful K. C. Chang, “Archaeology and Chinese Historiography,” World Archaeology 13.2 (October 1981): pp. 156–69. For a comparative perspective on the important role that the university plays in the modern historical discipline, see Dipesh Chakrabarty, “A Global and Multicultural ‘Discipline’ of History?” History and Theory 45 (February 2006): pp. 101–9. For the first meeting of the Chinese Historical Society, see Qi Jiaying, Qinghua renwen xueke nianpu, p. 78; and for a broader discussion of these new historical societies see Sang Bing, Wan-Qing Minguo de xueren yu xuexhu, pp. 131–82. Ping-Kuen Yu, “A Note on Historical Periodicals of Twentieth-Century China,” Journal of Asian Studies 23.4 (August 1964): p. 585. But see also Li Chunlei 李春雷, “Shixue qikan yu Zhongguo shixue de xiandai zhuanxing” 史學期刊與中國史學的現代轉型, Shixue lilun yanjiu 史學理論研究 1 (2005): pp. 97–109; Qi Sihe 齊思和, “Jinbainian lai Zhongguo shixue de fazhan” 近百年來 中國史學發展, Yanjing shehui kexue 燕京社會科學 2 (1949): pp. 33–34; and E-tu Zen Sun and John DeFrancis, Chinese Social History (Washington, DC: American Council of Learned Societies, 1952), pp. 125–30. For analysis of the way these developments played out in France and the United States, see William R. Keylor, Academy and Community: The Foundation of the French Historical Profession (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1975); Pim Ben Boer, History as a Profession: The Study of History in France, 1818–1914, trans. Arnold J. Pomerans (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998); and Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The “Objectivity Question” and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988). George Iggers discusses the German origins of many of these developments in The German Conception of History: The National Tradition of Historical Thought from Herder to the Present (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1968). Wang Fan-sen, “Wan-Qing de zhengzhi gainian yu xinshixue” 晚清的政治概 念輿新史學, in his Zhongguo jindai sixiang yu xueshu de xipu 中國近代思想輿 學術的系譜 (Taibei: Lianjing chubanshe, 2003), pp. 165–96. For an overview of the impact on Western historiography during this period see Li Chunlei, Chuancheng yu gengxin: Liu-Mei sheng yu Minguo shiqi de

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42 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

73

74

75

76 77

78

79 80

shixue 傳承與更新︰留美生與民國時期的史學 (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 2007). Originally published under the title Zhongguo zhexueshi dagang, this was later republished as Zhongguo gudai zhexueshi 中國古代哲學史, the title under which it appears in Hu Shi wenji 胡適文集, ed. Ouyang Zhesheng (Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe, 1998), vol. 6, pp. 155–419. For an assessment of the significance of this work for the development of Chinese philosophy, see John Makeham, “Hu Shi and the Search for System,” in Transforming Hundun: The Genesis of Chinese Philosophy as an Academic Discipline in Twentieth-Century China (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2012). And on its significance for the development of historical studies see Yu Yingshi 余英時, “‘Zhongguo zhexueshi dagang’ yu shixue geming”《中國哲學史大綱》 輿史學革命, in Zhongguo jindai sixiangshi shang de Hu Shi 中國近代思想史上 的胡適 (Taibei: Lianjing chubanshe, 1984), pp. 77–91; Luo Zhitian, “Dagang yu shi: Minguo xueshu guannian de dianfan zhuanyi” 大綱與史︰民國學術觀 念的典範轉移, in his Jindai Zhongguo shixue shilun 近代中國史學十論 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe, 2003), pp. 67–82; and Sang Bing, WanQing Minguo de xueren yu xuexhu, pp. 253–303. Hu Shi, Zhongguo gudai zhexueshi, pp. 163–84. Edward Wang discusses the significance of Hu Shi’s scholarship for May Fourth historiography in Inventing China, pp. 53–67. Charles V. Langlois and Charles Seignobos, Introduction aux études historiques (Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1898). For a study of the significance of this work see Rolf Torstendahl, “Fact, Truth, and Text: The Quest for a Firm Basis for Historical Knowledge around 1900,” History and Theory 42 (October 2003): pp. 305–31. The first edition of Li Situn’s 李思純 Chinese translation appeared in 1926 under the title Shixue yuanlun 史學原論. For discussion of the impact of this work see Qi Sihe, “Jinbainian lai Zhongguo shixue de fazhan,” p. 22. Wang, Inventing China, p. 59. Hu Shi, “‘Guoxue jikan’ fakan xuanyan”《國學季刊》發刊宣言, in Hu Shi wenji, vol. 3, p. 8. See also Zhang Yue’s 張越 discussion of the issues Hu Shi raised in Xinjiu Zhong-Xi zhi jian: Wusi shiqi de Zhongguo shixue 新舊中西之 間:五四時期的中國史學 (Beijing: Beijing tushuguan chubanshe, 2007), esp. chaps. 2–5. For discussion of zhengli guogu and its place in the national studies movement of the 1920s, see Luo Zhitian, Liebian zhong de chuancheng: 20 shiji qianqi de Zhongguo wenhua yu xueshu 裂變中的傳承:20世紀前期的中國文化與 學術 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2003), pp. 225–38; and Irene Eber, “Hu Shih and Chinese History: The Problem of cheng-li kuo-ku,” Monumenta Serica 27 (1968): pp. 169–207. See Sang Bing, Wan-Qing Minguo de xueren yu xueshu, pp. 24–34. He Bingsong 何炳松, Xin shixue 新史學, in He Bingsong wenji 何炳松文集 (Beijing: Commercial Press, 1996), vol. 3, pp. 1–228. For an assessment of He

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Making History Modern · 43 Bingsong’s contribution to the establishment of modern historical practice in China, see Wang, Inventing China, pp. 67–73, and for a good discussion of the American historiographical context for Robinson’s The New History, see Novick, That Noble Dream, pp. 89–108. 81 See, e.g., Tongshi xinyi 通史新義, originally published by the Commercial Press in 1930 and reprinted in He Bingsong wenji, vol. 4, pp. 75–302. In this book, He Bingsong drew much from Charles Seignobos’ Le Méthode historique appliquée aux sciences sociales. See Qi Sihe, “Jinbainian lai Zhongguo shixue de fazhan,” pp. 23–25. 82 Robinson had supervised Hong’s M.A. thesis at Columbia, and after his appointment to Yanjing University in 1922 Hong taught a popular methodology course in which he introduced students to Robinson’s views on the nature and function of historical research. See Susan Chan Egan, A Latterday Confucian: Reminiscences of William Hung (1893–1980) (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987), pp. 68–69, 91–92. 83 Fu Sinian, “Shixue fangfa daolun” 史學方法導論, in Fu Sinian quanji, vol. 2, p. 308. 84 Wang, Inventing China, p. 95. 85 Both these sets of lectures were published as books: Liang Qichao, Zhongguo lishi yanjiu fa 中國歷史研究法 (1922) and Zhongguo lishi yanjiu fa bubian 中國 歷史研究法補編 (1927), in Zhongguo lishi yanjiu fa 中國歷史研究法 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1987). 86 Liu Yizheng 柳詒徵, Zhongguo wenhua shi 中國文化史 (Nanjing: Zhongshan shuju, 1932), and Guoshi yaoyi 國史要義 (1948; repr., Shanghai: Shanghai shiji chuban jituan, 2007). 87 For a list of some of these texts, as well as a brief description of their contents, see Zhu Zhongyu 朱仲玉, “Zhongguo shixueshi shulu” 中國史學史 書錄, Shixueshi yanjiu 2 (1981): pp. 62–67, and for a more detailed analysis of the issue see Song Xi 宋晞, “Qishinian lai de Zhongguo shixueshi yu shixue fangfa” 七十年來的中國史學史與史學方法, in Zhongguo zhi wenhua fuxing 中國 之文化復興, ed. Zhu Zhongsheng 朱重聖 (Taibei: Zhongguo wenhua daxue chubanshe, 1981), pp. 261–76. 88 E-tu Zen Sun and John DeFrancis, Chinese Social History, p. v. 89 Chen Dong y uan 陳東原 , Zhongguo funü shenghuo shi 中國婦女生活史 (Shanghai: Commercial Press, 1928). 90 Guo Tai 郭泰, Weiwu shiguan jieshuo 唯物史觀解說 , trans. Li Da 李達 (Shanghai: Zhonghua shuju, 1921). For an assessment of the significance of this work, and of Li Da’s contribution to the development of Marxist history in China, see Nick Knight, “Herman Gorter and the Origins of Marxism in China,” China Information 19.3 (November 2005): pp. 381–412; and Nick Knight, Li Da and Marxist Philosophy in China (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1996). 91 Arif Dirlik, “Mirror to Revolution: Early Marxist Images of Chinese History,” Journal of Asian Studies 33.2 (February 1974): p. 196. See also

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44 · Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow

92

93 94

95 96

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Dirlik’s monograph Revolution and History: Origins of Marxist Historiography in China, 1919–1937 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978). Guo Moruo 郭沫若, Zhongguo gudai shehui yanjiu 中國古代社會研究 (1930; repr., Shanghai: Shanghai xiandai shuju, 1932). For Gu Jiegang’s positive assessment of this work see Dangdai Zhongguo shixue 當代中國史學 (1947; repr., Hong Kong: Longmen shudian, 1964), pp. 100–102; and for Zhang Yinlin’s more qualified support see Moloughney, “Zhang Yinlin’s Early China,” pp. 159–60. For an assessment of the Marxist historical scholarship of this period see Zhang Shuxue, Zhongguo xiandai, pp. 367–489. He Bingsong, “‘Zhongguo lishi tianzai renhuo biao’ xu” (1939)《中國歷史天 災人禍表》序, in He Bingsong wenji (Beijing: Commercial Press, 1997), vol. 2, pp. 703–4. For a similar argument that the modern discipline in China was the product of a distinctive fusion of the Chinese and Western traditions of historical thought and writing, see Zhang Shuxue, Zhongguo xiandai, pp. 51–54. Wang Rongzu, “Wusi yu Minguo,” pp. 505–16. Assessments of the extent of integration vary considerably, but Ying-shih Yü 余英時 certainly overstates the case when he claims that historians in the early twentieth century were “still largely following their own research tradition with only limited innovations and modifications of Western origins.” In the same essay he states that in the post–May Fourth period, when Chinese historians turned increasingly to Western theories and practices, “the quality of historical research and writing in China began to deteriorate markedly.” See “Ref lections on Chinese Historical Thinking,” in Western Historical Thinking: An Intercultural Debate, ed. Jörn Rüsen (New York: Berghahn Books, 2002), pp. 153–55. Yü presents an equally negative assessment of modern Chinese historiography in “Zhongguo shixue de xian jieduan: fanxing yu zhanwang” 中國史學的現階段︰反省輿展望, in his Shixue yu chuantong 史學輿傳統 (Taibei: Shibao wenhua, 1992), pp. 1–29. An indication of the extent to which some Chinese scholars were linked into global developments comes from Hu Shi’s diary, where he records a meeting on 19 October 1930 with a number of others to discuss works of Western history that would be worth getting translated into Chinese. Suggestions ranged from Gibbon to the Cambridge Medieval History: see Cao Boyan 曹伯 言, ed., Hu Shi riji quanji 胡適日記全集 (Taibei: Lianjing chuban gongsi, 2004), vol. 6, pp. 340–41. Wang Guowei 王國維, “Zuijin ersanshi nian zhong Zhongguo xin faxian zhi xuewen” 最近二三十年中中國新發見之學問, in Xueheng 學衡 45 (September 1925): pp. 1–13. But see also S. Y. Teng, “Chinese Historiography in the Last Fifty Years,” Far Eastern Quarterly 8.2 (1949): pp. 131–56; and Gu Jiegang, Dangdai Zhongguo shixue, pp. 44–82. As subsequent developments have shown, perhaps the most important advances came in archaeology. For assessment of the archaeological work

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Making History Modern · 45

100

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from the early twentieth century see Chen Xingcan 陳星燦, Zhongguo shiqian kaoguxue shi yanjiu, 1895–1949 中國史前考古學史研究, 1895–1949 (Beijing: Sanlian, 1997); and Edward L. Shaughnessy, Sources of Western Zhou History: Inscribed Bronze Vessels (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), pp. 5–19. For instance, during the 1920s He Bingsong believed the work of the American progressive historians was of crucial importance, but by the 1930s he was drawing more on European scholarship and focused on integrating Western historiography with aspects of the Chinese tradition. See Q. Edward Wang, Inventing China, pp. 118–19. Sang Bing has been the most prominent advocate of this approach in recent years. See, for instance, “Jindai Zhongguo xueshu de diyuan yu liupai” 近代 中國學術的地緣與流派, Lishi yanjiu 3 (1999): pp. 24–41; and his introductory essay “Zhongguo sixiang xueshu shi shang de daotong yu paifen” 中國思想學 術史上的道統與派分, in Xianyin houchuang yu bupo buli: jindai Zhongguo xueshu liupai yanjiu 先因後創與不破不立:近代中國學術流派研究, ed. Sang Bing and Guan Xiaohong (Beijing: Shenghuo dushu xinzhi Sanlian, 2007), pp. 1–42. This argument was originally presented in “Zhongguo jindai yanjiu shixue zhi xin qushi” 中國近代研究史學之新趨勢, Shijie ribao 世界日報 (14 May 1935), which is reprinted in Feng Youlan 馮友蘭, Sansongtang quanji 三松堂全集 (Zhengzhou: Henan renmin chubanshe, 1994), juan 14, pp. 255–57. See, e.g., Sun Hongyun 孫宏雲, “‘Qinghua xuepai’ de yuanyuan yu jian’gou” 《清華學派》的淵源與建構 , in Xianyin houchuang yu bupo buli: jindai Zhongguo xueshu liupai yanjiu, pp. 431–506. For the first position (liberals, conservatives, and Marxists) see Wang, Inventing China, and for the second (positivists, relativists, and Marxists) see Zhang Shuxue, Zhongguo xiandai. This is the approach taken by Xu Guansan 許冠三 in his two-volume study Xin shixue jiushinian 新史學九十年 (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1986, 1988). But see also Zhou Yutong, 周予同 “Wushinian lai Zhongguo zhi xinshixue,” 五十年來中國之新史學 Xuelin yuekan 學林月刊 4 (February 1941): pp. 1–36.

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Chapter 2

The Marginalization of Classical Studies and the Rising Prominence of Historical Studies during the Late Qing and Early Republic: A Reappraisal* Luo Zhitian

In both the wider society and the intellectual world, traditional Chinese orthodoxies went into decline in the modern period. At the same time, that which had been marginal rose to greater prominence. When discussing this aspect of Chinese intellectual history of the late Qing and early Republican periods Hu Shi 胡適 (1891–1962) noted how the “orthodox tradition had collapsed and the forces of heterodoxy revived.” 1 I have previously discussed the logic of the transposition that saw classical scholarship retreat from a central position in intellectual discourse to the margins and the progression of historical studies to the center. The center and the margins should, of course, be understood as relative to each other. 2 Here, I reexamine how the modern discipline of history emerged, in effect, through its replacement of classical studies as representative of authoritative and useful knowledge in the Chinese scholarly and official worlds. The “rise” of history was shaped both by the implosion of traditional classicism and by the impact of so-called Western Learning. The political implications of the rise of history were clear and unavoidable by the late Qing; the new historians of the time understood history to be integral to national salvation. Yet only when history became less central to political discourse could it be treated more clearly as an academic subject, as one discipline among others.

*

I am grateful to Hu Baoguo 胡寶國, Peter Zarrow, Brian Moloughney, and Xiaobin Ji, all of whom provided feedback on draft versions of this chapter.

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48 · Luo Zhitian

To conceptualize the center I have generally drawn on the notion of a “dictatorship of Han Learning” (Hanxue zhuanzhi 漢學專制) as formulated by Liang Qichao 梁啟超 (1873–1929).3 During the Qing dynasty, Han Learning flourished under the reign of both the Qianlong (r. 1736– 95) and Jiaqing (r. 1796–1820) emperors, and it continued to have an inf luence down into the early years of the Republic.4 Because of the “dictatorship” of Han Learning, other forms of scholarship occupied marginal positions. However, different forms of learning were not rigidly categorized in China. For two thousand years, scholars had paid attention to a broad spectrum of learning, typically devoting most attention to classical studies. Despite this situation, other forms of scholarship were still considered an indispensable part of learning, and those who pursued these forms often displayed an independent consciousness. Historical study occupied a particularly prominent position within the Chinese scholastic system. Its origins predated classical studies, hence the claim that “the Six Classics are all history.” The formation of the classics was a developmental process: after the elevation of Confucianism to its dominant position in the Western Han, and the state recognition of the status of the classics, history and the classics parted ways.5 History slowly came to occupy a lower position than classical studies, a situation that persisted until the modern period. But of all forms of scholarship, history was closest to classical studies; it retained a special place, although it could never attain equality with classical studies. Because of this, scholars have repeatedly sought to clarify the relationship between them. For instance, Su Xun 蘇洵 (1009–66) argued that history and classical studies both had their origins in the sages’ fear of the immoral actions of “petty men,” thus “the two kinds of learning have the same significance,” although “their forms are different.” The two complemented each other: “The classics are superior for discussions of the Way and its laws, history for understanding the words and deeds” of our predecessors. And when it came to the actual matter of undertaking study, it was also the case that history should only be properly studied in conjunction with the classics, for without history the classics would be obscure and difficult to penetrate. Neither form of scholarship could be practiced on its own 6 In contrast, Tang Bin 湯斌 (1627–87) argued they were identical in nature: “The Book of Documents covers the achievements of monarchs; it is a classic and yet also a comprehensive history. The Spring and Autumn Annals establishes the laws for myriad generations; it is a history, and yet also a classic.” Both were foundational for historians, and in their writing

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The Marginalization of Classical Studies · 49

they always paid attention to the Way and its laws as well as the words and deeds of historical figures.7 While Tang Bin’s labeling of the Book of Documents and the Spring and Autumn Annals as, respectively, a classical comprehensive history and history serving as a classic did not always meet with agreement, his statement that both works were foundational for historians is undeniable. Because of this long hierarchical relationship between classical studies and history, which was especially pronounced during the Qing, the struggle between the two was essentially unequal. Amidst the tremendous changes that the Chinese intellectual world underwent during the modern era, historical study experienced a dramatic rise in status, and for a time during the early Republican period it constituted the mainstream of learning, almost eclipsing all other forms of traditional knowledge. While the rise of history was related to the decline in the status of classical studies, it did not cause this decline. If classical studies had not given way, history could not have moved toward the center, but the rise of history was not necessarily the principal reason for the decline of classical studies.

Methodology as a Discipline Evidential learning (kaoju 考據) arose in the early Qing dynasty and was directly related to the broad interest in moving away from metaphysical speculation to more objective, grounded study. At that time scholars generally regarded the superficial philosophizing of Song Learning as a source of weakness and argued instead for a return to the kind of study pursued by Confucian scholars during the Han dynasty. For that, they believed it was necessary first to establish versions of texts that were correct and properly ordered, and then closely read them in order to grasp the true meaning of key terms. Only thus could one arrive at an understanding of the real meaning of the classics. This resulted in a form of scholarship founded on philological study (xiaoxue 小學), focusing on phonetics (yinyun 音韻) and etymology (xungu 訓詁), with attention also paid to textual criticism (jiaokan 校勘), the gathering together of sources (zhishi 摭拾), the collation of fragmentary material (jiyi 輯逸), and the study of bronze and stone inscriptions (jinshi 金石). Its general character was the use of evidential methods (kaobian 考辨) to examine and analyze evidence in order to grasp the original meanings of the classics (as well as

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50 · Luo Zhitian

works of history), and therefore it came to be known as evidential learning (kaoju or kaozheng 考證). Although similar research methods had existed before, this was the first time in the history of Chinese scholarship that this became a widely shared orientation, gaining independent recognition and even becoming a term that could potentially encompass the entirety of learning. Although evidential learning was regarded as Han Learning, scholars during the Han dynasty had never used the term kaoju in this way. And while some aspects of Qing evidential learning originated in the Song dynasty (particularly in the thought associated with Zhu Xi 朱熹, 1130– 1200), these had never been given a high priority. The significance of the evidential learning of the Qing was that it took several preexisting trends and developed them so that the effect was transformative. In terms of development and content, kaoju and Qing Han Learning were two aspects of the same phenomenon. Scholars working in both movements aimed to illustrate the Way by becoming properly versed in the classics. Thus, it is appropriate to see the classics, kaoju scholarship and Qing Han Learning as forming a kind of trinity. Names for this movement derived from all three aspects of the phenomenon: its object of research; its methodology; or the dynasty whose supposed tradition it aimed to revive. Contemporary use of any given name sometimes indicates a desire to emphasize one aspect of the trinity over the others. In many cases, however, no such intent was obvious, and in fact the casual use of names was common. This is indicative of a tradition of not stressing distinctions between different forms of learning. This has, however, created great confusion, for both Qing scholars and their successors. Because Qing Han Learning arose as a challenge to the orthodoxy of Song and Ming Neo-Confucianism, when it became the orthodoxy its proponents displayed a relatively strong degree of intolerance toward other schools of scholarship. And because it always sought to maintain a dominant position, Liang Qichao labeled it a “dictatorship.” The paramount position of classical studies was long established and essentially unassailable before the great transformations of modernity. However, the “dictatorship” of Han Learning resulted from the efforts of ordinary Qing scholars, not a single academic “dictator.” Indeed, Song Learning retained official approval and served as the foundation of the examination system. In contrast, evidential learning lacked the legitimacy needed for complete dominance. Thus, for a long time, many scholars regarded it as just one

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The Marginalization of Classical Studies · 51

discipline among others, such as philosophy (or meaning and principle, yili 義理) and literature (or language and exposition, cizhang 辭章). This prompted two kinds of effort, one positive and the other negative. The positive orientation was manifested in attempts to confirm the existence of evidential learning as a discipline, and to clarify the boundaries separating it from other forms of learning. The negative orientation resulted in claims that all aspects of evidential learning already existed, and thus it was unnecessary to crown these with a new name and define them as a separate discipline; the existing term “classical studies” (jingxue 經學) remained appropriate. This negative orientation reflected a concern that learning was being reduced to methodology. After all, kaoju was a method or tool; if it were to replace the term classical studies, the result might be that the method of study would overshadow the objects of study. This kind of effort to rectify terminology was most clearly embodied by Jiao Xun 焦循 (1763–1820). As he strove to prove that kaoju was an inappropriate name for learning, he shed light on the tensions between the name of the form of learning and its object of study. We can label this “Jiao Xun-ist doubt.” While evidential learning rose to prominence during the eighteenth century, a range of different terms was used to refer to it; terms like kaoju and kaozheng were still in the process of being established. It was only when Jiao Xun argued that “in recent times scholars have suddenly adopted the term kaoju” that we find clear evidence of the term’s widespread usage.8 Jiao was especially vigorous in arguing that kaoju should not be used as a term to describe scholarship. Yet despite Jiao’s arguments to the contrary, in the eyes of most Qing scholars kaoju was already established as a form of learning; moreover, for some it was a form that should eclipse all others. Indeed, it is likely that it was precisely Jiao’s attempt to foist the name “classical studies” onto what most people thought of as kaoju, and his efforts to point out that kaoju, classical studies and Qing Han Learning formed a kind of trinity, that raised the status of evidential learning above that of philosophy (yili) and literature (cizhang) and into a position from which it could dominate other forms of learning. If kaoju could be equated with classical studies, and the latter was, in most people’s minds, equivalent to the Qing dynasty Han Learning, then kaoju could begin to share in the “dictatorial” position enjoyed by Han Learning at this time. This entailed an expansion of what was covered by the term kaoju; it could no longer be understood simply as a technique (jishu 技術).

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52 · Luo Zhitian

Later in the nineteenth century, Zeng Guofan 曾國藩 (1811–72) directly equated kaoju with Han Learning and yili with Song Learning. Zeng still spoke of three main strands of learning. He told his followers: “From the Western Han to this day, literate Confucians have followed three paths of learning: yili, kaoju, and cizhang.” Previous scholars “all followed one path and slandered those who followed the others.” Zeng himself believed yili to be of most significance, noting he “did not have much to do with kaoju scholarship.” 9 A little later, however, Zeng’s view of kaoju studies changed. In 1851 he argued that a scholar could not afford to neglect any branch of learning.10 Then, in 1869, he wrote the following: There are four kinds of scholarship: yili, kaoju, cizhang, jingji 經濟 (statecraft). Yili is what the followers of Confucius called the practice of moral cultivation (dexing 德行) and what today is known as Song Learning. Kaoju is what the followers of Confucius called literary studies (wenxue 文學), and today is known as Han Learning. Cizhang was known to the followers of Confucius as language and oratory (yanyu 言語), and includes everything from the ancient arts and literature to today’s exam essays and poetry. Jingji was known to the followers of Confucius as political affairs (zhengshi 政事), and incorporates the study of statutes, rites, political manuals and historical records.11

It is possible that Jiao Xun may have been the inspiration for Zeng Guofan’s notion of a fourfold division of learning. When discussing kaoju as an inappropriate term for learning, Jiao had pointed out that Confucianism in action manifests itself as “moral cultivation (dexing), language and oratory (yanyu), and political affairs (zhengshi),” and in written expression, “literary studies (wenxue).” Jiao argued that in the preimperial period these four disciplines (ke 科) constituted learning.12 Jiao Xun had used the notion that Confucius’s followers practiced four disciplines to reject kaoju, and of course he also rejected the idea of a threefold division of learning that included kaoju. For Zeng Guofan, however, a fourfold division of learning was the result of an affirmation and extension of the notion of a threefold division. Zeng Guofan not only enlarged the threefold division to include a fourth discipline, but, more importantly, he connected his four fields to the four disciplines of Confucius’s followers. Zeng Guofan’s notion of a correspondence between the classical and the current, between the endeavors of Confucius’s disciples and the practices of Qing scholars, was somewhat problematic. For instance, the language and oratory of the early Confucians was closer to what we would

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The Marginalization of Classical Studies · 53

call diplomacy and was very different from the cizhang of later ages. However, this problematic notion of a correspondence between ancient and modern was transmitted to later scholars. In 1927, Liang Qichao still maintained, The followers of Confucius had four disciplines: one was moral cultivation (dexing), which focused on self-cultivation and was called the study of meaning and principle (yili) in later ages. The second was language and oratory (yanyu), which focused on expressing things and was later known as the study of language and exposition (cizhang). The third was political affairs (zhengshi), which concentrated on politics, and was later called statecraft (jingji). The fourth was literary studies (wenxue), which focused on the study of texts and was later called evidential learning (kaoju).13

Although Liang was unwittingly continuing a distortion, he revealed that notions such as the threefold and the fourfold divisions of scholarship not only were long established but also continued from the mid-Qing period down into Republican China. Zeng Guofan and Liang Qichao were equally influential within the intellectual world of their respective times. If both of them articulated such ideas, then it is certain many others would have shared their views. Not everyone elided the differences between ancient and contemporary understandings. Xiong Shili 熊十力 (1885–1968), for instance, knew that for the early Confucians “language and oratory” (yanyu) was akin to what would later be called diplomacy, thus he argued that the Qing discipline of jingji combined “political affairs” (zhengshi) and yanyu, while “meaning and principle” (yili) was the equivalent of “moral cultivation” (dexing), and “language and exposition” (cizhang) was the equivalent of “literary studies” (wenxue). The problem was that making associations between the ancient and the modern in this manner left no place for evidential learning (kaoju). In response, Xiong argued that the early Confucians “did not have a separate discipline for kaoju because it was a part of all forms of scholarship; none of them neglected the Six Arts, nor did any neglect kaoju.” 14 In this way, Xiong emphasized the methodological aspect of evidential learning. The traditional belief that there were “no fixed rules for good scholarship” (wen wu ding fa 文無定法) meant that methodology was very seldom isolated for separate discussion. When Chinese intellectuals began to be influenced by Western scholarship they often noticed the similarity between kaoju and what Westerners referred to as method. For instance, Fu Sinian 傅斯年 (1896–1950), who had studied for an extended

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54 · Luo Zhitian

period in Europe, argued that “kaozheng is only a method, not a goal” of scholarship.15 But this perception came with the benefit of hindsight, and throughout the Qing period the majority of scholars involved in evidential learning did not see things this way. For them, kaoju was a field of scholarship, the object of their study, and not simply a methodology. Liang Qichao would later argue that certain philosophies were emblematic of their age: classical studies during the Han, Buddhist scholarship during the Sui and Tang, Neo-Confucianism in the Song and Ming, and evidential learning in the Qing. In doing so, he emphasized the way that the scholastic movement of the Qing was a “methodological movement” and not an ideological one.16 This perceptive comment has been little noticed, but it would become one of the key points in Lu Baoqian’s 陸寶千 discussion of Qing scholarship. Lu proclaimed that “Qing Confucian scholarship was characterized by [its engagement] in small, often trivial detail. There were no broad aims or principles to speak of. Examining its nature, it is more appropriate to call it a technique (shu 術) than a kind of learning.” 17 Whereas Liang Qichao regarded evidential learning as representative of Qing scholarship, which was broader in nature, Lu Baoqian equated Qing Confucianism with kaoju and believed it was the totality of Qing scholarship.18 But there is a clear internal tension here. How is it that what was nothing more than a methodological movement could become emblematic of the thought of its age? Furthermore, as Xiong Shili has revealed, if kaoju was only a methodology, and could not be traced back to one of the four disciplines of the early Confucians, then it is hard to put it on the same level as “meaning and principle” (yili) and “language and exposition” (cizhang). By modern standards, kaoju was primarily a research method and not a “scholastic discipline” (xueke 學科). It is also difficult to view it as representative of the scholarship of its age, let alone the totality of three hundred years of learning. It is evident that Jiao Xun failed in his efforts to rectify names and undermine the idea that kaoju was an appropriate name for scholarship. Contrary to his hopes, it did indeed become a widely used and fairly uncontroversial name for a form of scholarship. However, even though Jiao’s efforts were not successful, his observation still rang true: most scholars who described what they did as kaoju or evidential learning focused mainly on the classics. Later when Liang Qichao and Lu Baoqian referred to kaoju as something that could represent or encapsulate Qing scholarship, they based their views on this point. Jiao Xun’s attempt to

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The Marginalization of Classical Studies · 55

rectify names illustrated the tensions between kaoju as a name for a scholarly method and the content of research. During the late Qing and early Republic, many scholars still harbored such “Jiao Xun-esque doubts,” and in reality there was a constant return to the problems raised by Jiao. For instance, Liu Shipei 劉師培 (1884–1919) argued that it was not appropriate to categorize kaoju as classical studies because most Qing scholars were also engaged in philosophical and historical studies.19 Liu maintained that it was more appropriate to use kaoju as a general name for Qing scholarship. In contrast, Deng Shi 鄧實 (1877–1951) believed classical studies was the primary form of scholarship in the Qing.20 Then, during the Republican period, Shen Jianshi 沈兼士 (1887–1947) suggested that evidential learning, or solid studies (puxue 樸學), was the beginning and end of Qing scholarship.21 As these comments from different scholars indicate, classical studies had an uncontested position in the mainstream. But the use of different terms to express this demonstrates that the combination of kaoju and classical studies, as two aspects of a single entity, was a source of confusion through the late Qing and early Republic. It is clear that Liu Shipei, in particular, felt the tension between the two. He believed that classical studies, under the general category of kaoju, was of equal status to the disciplines of philosophy and history. In other words, the unassailable position of the classics as sanctified texts had imperceptibly been substantially weakened. In contrast, Shen Jianshi almost went so far as to refuse to acknowledge the existence of any other disciplines apart from evidential learning. But this “discipline” was named after a methodology, and his conception of “methodology as discipline” demonstrated the transcendent characteristics of kaoju. From the Ming-Qing transition to the early Republican period, the basic methodology of study—usually known as kaoju—had not changed. A key characteristic of Qing scholarship was the adoption of a methodology as the name for the subject of learning. In part, kaoju elicited less controversy than either Han Learning or Song Learning because it did not emphasize the period in which it had arisen or the object of research; in this sense it occupied a relatively transcendent position. When the name of a form of scholarship did not refer to any defined content, it could encompass anything and everything. And because evidential learning was thought to encompass everything, it was only natural that there would be a reaction against it. It is to the internal and external forces that shaped this development that we now turn.

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56 · Luo Zhitian

The Rise of the Forces of Heterodoxy By the mid-nineteenth century, internal developments within classical studies and kaoju had led to a revival of New Text Learning and the study of pre-Qin philosophical schools. Buddhist studies also gained ground, as did Western Learning. Wang Guowei 王國維 (1877–1927) labeled this phenomenon the New Learning of the Dao-Xian era—that is, the reign periods of emperors Daoguang (1821–50) and Xianfeng (1851–61). One of the main reasons for the decline of Han Learning during this period was its lack of emphasis on “meaning and principle,” which made it difficult for it to encompass all scholarship. And because of the “hegemonic” position that Han Learning had enjoyed up to this time, the competing schools unwittingly formed an alliance and worked together to hasten its decline. Wang Guowei suggests that the New Learning also saw greater attention given to the neglected Liao, Jin and Yuan dynasties and an expansion of inquiry to encompass “the farthest corners of the earth.” This broadening of scholarship was related to changes in the social and political culture, as well as to the general malaise engulfing the nation, which prompted a desire to “transform everything.” Scholars “abandoned the established methods of scholarship of the early Qing and the Qian-Jia reigns”—that is, the reigns of emperors Qianlong (1735–96) and Jiaqing (1796–1820)—and “put their efforts into things that their predecessors had neglected.” 22 The decline of Han Learning represented a decline of orthodoxy in general, and corresponded to the rise of the forces of heterodoxy. But as these multiple forms of learning advanced and gained influence, scholars gradually stopped talking about orthodoxy and heterodoxy, and undertook the study of all forms of learning. Within this broad trend, the existing divides between Old and New Text Learning and between Han and Song Learning lost their restrictive meanings. However, by the 1830s, the desire to put effort into what had previously been neglected began to be expressed in two main ways. The first was the rise of New Text Learning, and the second was the renewed respect for Song Learning. There has already been quite a lot of discussion of New Text Learning, therefore I concentrate here on the revival of Song Learning instead. The Song Learning that mainstream scholars rejected during the eighteenth century was somewhat different from the Song Learning that revived during the nineteenth. The earlier form of Song Learning drew mostly on the idealistic interpretations of Lu Xiangshan 陸象山 (1139–92),

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Wang Yangming 王陽明 (1472–1529), and their followers. The later, revived, Song Learning drew more on Cheng Yi 程頤 (1033–1107), Zhu Xi, and their followers. Moreover, as the revival advanced, the focus turned more and more from Cheng Yi to Zhu Xi. Those who made peace between Han and Song Learning during the late Qing, and those who in the Republican period believed that Qing Han Learning was a continuation of Song Learning, mostly had the Zhu Xi form of scholarship in mind.23 As Qian Mu 錢穆 (1895–1990) once observed, “After the Dao-Xian era [1820–50s], the notion of harvesting the fruit of both Han and Song Learning gradually gained ground. Moreover, there was a greater respect for Song Learning and a devaluation of Han Learning, which was a redress of the situation during the Qian-Jia [1730s–1810s] era.” 24 In fact, all branches of Song Learning enjoyed a revival, albeit to varying degrees. The Neo-Confucianism that had been muscled out in the Qian-Jia era enjoyed a clear recovery in the mid-nineteenth century, during the Xianfeng and Tongzhi (r. 1862–74) reigns. At the same time, the Tongcheng 桐 城 school propagated the work of the Eight Masters of the Tang and Song, and although this cannot properly be labeled Song Learning, it was much closer to it than to the literature of the Han dynasty. Furthermore, within poetry the key characteristic of the new Tongguang style (Tongguang ti 同 光體) was its respect for Song poetry, which was continued by Qian Zhongshu 錢鐘書 (1910–98) in recent times. In sum, the promotion of the cultural legacy of the Song dynasty was one of the fundamental trends from the 1820s onward. It was also the case that all Han Learning scholars had undergone, to varying extents, a period of “Song Learning” because the classical texts used in the examinations during the Qing dynasty all came from the tradition of Song Learning. The preparation for the imperial civil service examination was an important step toward social recognition as a scholar, and examination preparation obviously had an influence over later scholarship. Dai Zhen 戴震 (1724–77) is probably one of the best examples of this. Dai is recognized as one of the leading figures of Qing Han Learning, but he is also recognized as the kaoju scholar (Han Learning) who did most work on “meaning and principle” (Song Learning). Ye Dehui 葉德輝 (1864–1927), for instance, argued that the conflict between Han Learning and Song Learning began with Dai Zhen, and that like other kaoju scholars Dai “ostensibly avoided the path of Song Learning, while surreptitiously appropriating its seat.” 25 Prior to the late Qing, the common understanding was that Dai Zhen was a Han

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58 · Luo Zhitian

Learning scholar in the full contemporary sense of the term. However, after the 1820s popular typologies increasingly placed Dai Zhen somewhere between the schools of Han and Song Learning. Scholars in the Republican period were even more inclined to “discover” Dai’s work on “meaning and principle,” work that had been neglected by his contemporaries.26 While Ye Dehui believed Dai Zhen moved from Song Learning toward Han Learning, Wang Guowei argued that a scholar as knowledgeable as Dai would certainly have realized that the kaoju of his day was a “confused mish-mash of trivia,” that it was not really scholarship at all, and thus he would have gone “beyond the rigid boundaries of Han Learning to follow the path of Song Learning.” 27 While Ye was focused more on describing the change he saw in Dai Zhen’s work, Wang sought to explain it by arguing that Dai deliberately went beyond Han Learning and moved toward Song Learning. However, if the best aspect of Dai’s philosophy was, as Wang Guowei argued, that which tended toward Song Learning, then what was the significance of Han Learning? Meng Wentong 蒙文通 (1894–1964) later identified the lack of theoretical orientation in kaoju scholarship as a major problem. He believed “all schools of thought have their own characteristic theories.” For instance, Han dynasty scholarship, “whether it be Old Text or New Text scholarship, always had its own theoretical content.” But what, he asked, “are the theories of Qing dynasty Han Learning?” While both Dai Zhen and Jiao Xun produced theoretical work, “it was unrelated to the main body of their scholarship.” 28 This was a perceptive comment, and the lack of theoretical weight was indeed one of the causes of the decline of Qing Han Learning. It was precisely in the area of “theoretical” or “philosophical” matters that Song Learning was richer than Han Learning. Indeed, it had been a similar deficiency in theory in the classical studies of the Han dynasty that had forced Song scholars to surreptitiously borrow from Buddhism. Although Dai Zhen and others struggled hard to establish a theory for evidential learning, to do so they had to borrow from Song Learning, even while ostensibly shunning it. The result was that the theory was at odds with the mainstream scholarship of the day. This was a key reason for the decline of Qing dynasty Han Learning. The changes that occurred in Qing scholarship in the nineteenth century were, to a large extent, due to this problem not being resolved. Although the conflict between Han and Song Learning involved a fair amount of partisanship, scholars could never neglect the basic

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problem dear to all Confucian hearts: what means could be used to “apprehend the Way” (jiandao 見道). Increasingly, scholars came to believe that Han Learning could not help with this fundamental issue. For instance, Xia Jiong 夏炯 (1795–1846) argued that the philological orientation of kaoju scholarship could not lead to apprehension of meaning and principle; if one wanted to understand the yili of the classics, he argued, “one absolutely had to begin with the work of the Song Confucians.” 29 While Xia’s opinion was somewhat extreme, it revealed the same concern that Jiao Xun and others expressed about the possibility of the goal of scholarship being overwhelmed by its method, and that complete immersion in kaoju scholarship would render scholars incapable of apprehending meaning and principle. Thus, by the mid-nineteenth century, even model Han Learning scholars paid attention to yili. Zhang Binglin 章炳麟 (zi Taiyan 太炎, 1868–1936), for instance, believed “language was the foundation of learning” and that it was essential to stress philological study. However, he criticized Qing scholars for only studying etymology, and not apprehending meaning and principle.30 Similarly, Meng Wentong questioned the wisdom of using kaoju methodology to study pre-Qin philosophical texts, arguing that this approach was inferior to the “alternative Confucians” of the mid-Tang and after, who had applied their methods for studying the pre-Qin philosophers to their research in the Six Classics, and had been able to see the meaning and principle within those works.31 Zhang was primarily influenced by the Old Text school and Meng by the New Text school, yet independently both developed the same view that the importance of yili was greater than that of language-focused study. This was indeed the key to the problem: philological study was the strongest point of Qing Confucianism, and was the most obvious characteristic of Qing Han Learning. But when yili was considered more important, the Han Learning that used the etymology of written characters to apprehend the Way was inevitably pushed into a more marginal position. On this basis, several scholars in the modern period began to look at the Song dynasty and Song Learning from a broader perspective. Wang Guowei, for instance, believed “Song dynasty scholars were the progenitors of most modern scholarship.” Their studies of bronze and stone inscriptions were still highly respected, and the “focus on the examination and correction of textual records,” which characterized Qing scholarship, was “originally a Song methodology.”32 Indeed, Wang argued that kaoju scholarship, the specialty of the Qing Confucians, was

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60 · Luo Zhitian

inferior to the Song Learning version of evidential research. Similarly, Yan Fu 嚴復 (1854–1921) believed the Song dynasty was the watershed that divided ancient and modern times, and that it was the Song that provided the greatest legacy for modern China.33 It is uncertain whether Qian Mu was influenced by Yan Fu in this, but he similarly argued that “without understanding Song Learning, one cannot understand Han Learning,” and “without understanding Song Learning, one cannot understand the history of modern times.” 34 In Qian’s view, Song Learning marked the watershed separating ancient and modern, and it was crucial in order to comprehend the subsequent development of Chinese scholarship. Chen Yinke 陳寅恪 (1890–1969) developed this further, arguing, Due to the turbulence of the times and the influence of foreign ideas, Chinese scholarly disciplines, such as archeology, history, literature and the arts, as well as the history of thought, have all undergone very obvious changes. It is still not possible to say whither this will lead in the future, but one may venture to suggest that there will be a revival of Song Learning, or the establishment of a New Song Learning.35

From Yan Fu and Wang Guowei to Qian Mu and Chen Yinke, we can see this common promotion of the Song dynasty and the continual influence of the New Learning of the mid-nineteenth century. Furthermore, they all placed the Song dynasty in the broad context of Chinese history, and in doing so argued that Song scholarship represented the apex of China’s intellectual achievement. The multiple forms of learning that arose after 1800, including New Text Learning, the study of pre-Qin philosophical schools, Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism, and Western Learning, all held “meaning and principle” in high regard, which was a common point of differentiation from the previous Qing Han Learning. Thus the decline of Han Learning was a result of developments internal to the scholastic world. However, because of the previous “dictatorship” of Han Learning, when kaoju did decline and oppositional schools rose, these schools were in an undeclared alliance against the dominance of Han Learning. Thus it is worth noting the social context for their emergence to a more prominent position. The rise of Han Learning during the early and high Qing had seen the displacement of a multiplicity of other forms of learning. During the late Qing, however, Han Learning was increasingly considered insufficient to meet the challenges of an era in which the quest for national

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strength became the primary intellectual aim. But if Han Learning was inadequate, what type of scholarship would serve best in resisting the encroachment of foreign theory? 36 It was in this context that the study of pre-Qin philosophical schools and Western Learning both emerged. As Deng Shi pointed out, Western Learning actually assisted the renewal of interest in the pre-Qin philosophical schools, and many scholars of Western Learning were involved in the study of pre-Qin philosophy.37 As Western Learning gained recognition, it stimulated the reexamination of non-Confucian learning, and thus the dominance of Confucian scholarship that had existed since the Han dynasty was broken.38 In conjunction with the growth of interest in Western Learning and the pre-Qin philosophical schools there was a rise of statecraft scholarship (jingshi 經世), which in turn fostered a renewed interest in the value of historical scholarship. Statecraft scholars argued that history was more “practical” and thus more useful than classical studies. Zhang Binglin argued that in the preimperial period the study of history and the classics was not separated; they were seen as the source of all learning and were used in both self-cultivation and governing the realm. Later, self-cultivation became the territory of Confucianism, while governance became the concern of historians; thus “history and the classics seemed to have been separated into different paths.” Because of this, “Confucian scholars were considered more important in times of peace and stability, whereas historians were considered more useful in times of turmoil.” 39 This movement of historical scholarship to the center of intellectual discourse in the modern period was influenced considerably by wider sociopolitical developments. The rise of interest in statecraft during the late Qing naturally led many people to take a greater interest in history. Furthermore, the reform of the Qing examination system, which saw a shift away from the eight-legged essay to more emphasis on policy questions, also directly encouraged the rise of historical study. Because of the alliance of the forms of learning that stood outside the mainstream of classical scholarship, the popularization of Western Learning also aided the rise of history. Moreover, because of a long-term division of labor that had assigned to history a concern with matters of governance, the status of history rose markedly in the modern period. The traditional notion of “mastering the classics for practical ends” (tongjing zhiyong 通經致用) was replaced by “mastering history for practical ends” (tongshi zhiyong 通史致 用).

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62 · Luo Zhitian

From Classics to History During the late Qing enthusiasm for statecraft, Long Qirui 龍啟瑞 (1814– 58) wrote that while study of the classics was the most essential task for scholars, historical works offered more practical benefits. He argued that a focus on philology and etymology resulted in superficial learning, so that those who talk emptily of the classics were just like antique pots with no practical use. Instead, he argued that today’s scholars ought “first to study that which is useful.” 40 And as Liu Long-hsin argues in her chapter, the shift away from “eight-legged essays” to more policy questions in the late Qing examinations also encouraged the rise of history. The relationship between scholarship and the examinations was extremely subtle. In the past those who opposed the civil service examinations were fond of saying that the exams did not necessarily test genuine knowledge, and that this frequently influenced the development of scholarship. In reality, the relationship between the examinations and scholarship was not that simple. While the examinations allowed the state to authorize a particular interpretation of what constituted “learning,” intellectual trends still constituted an alternate form of “authority.” For instance, after they had completed their examinations the educated elite of the eighteenthcentury era abandoned Song Learning for Han Learning because of the existence of an intellectual world that was separate from their official careers.41 Even though there had previously been efforts to establish statecraft issues as a regular component of the examinations, formal efforts to enact broad revisions to the examination curriculum began only with the 1898 reform proposals.42 In early May that year, an edict declared that while the classical texts should remain the foundation for candidates in their preparations, policy questions would replace those based on the Four Books.43 Customarily, the first part of the examinations dealt with the Four Books, the second dealt with the Five Classics, and the third consisted of policy questions. Greatest importance was placed on the first part. After the 1898 edict, Zhang Zhidong 張之洞 (1837–1909) and Chen Baozhen 陳寶箴 (1831–1900) both memorialized the throne to request that the original Four Books and the Five Classics sections be retained, but that the order be transposed, so that the first part would consist of questions on historical events (shishi 史事), the second part would consist of policy questions relating to world politics, and the third section would consist of two essay questions on the Four Books and the Five Classics.44

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Although the memorial emphasized that the three parts should be of equal importance, Zhang and Chen argued that only those who “understood the problems of our times and had delved deeply into the New Learning” would be able to go on to the third part; only such people were properly qualified to take the Four Books and Five Classics part of the examination. The court accepted this sequence and promulgated an edict with orders that this proposal be implemented.45 While most discussion of these reforms has tended to focus on the abolition of eight-legged essay, Zhang Zhidong’s emphasis on the transposition of the sections of the examination gives a clear indication of the changes in relative authority of the different intellectual sources covered by the examinations. The positioning of questions on Chinese historical events in the first section and contemporary policy issues in the second, with the relegation of questions on the Four Books and Five Classics to the third section, reveals—in highly symbolic fashion—the broader transposition of history and the classics. Because the questions on the history of Chinese politics became the core of the policy questions in the examinations, the notion of “the utility of classical knowledge” that had persisted for two thousand years was now replaced with “the utility of historical knowledge.” 46 Even though this policy stalled with the failure of the 1898 Reform Movement, it was proposed again after 1900. In 1901, another edict stated that in the provincial and metropolitan examinations the first section would contain five questions on governance issues, particularly on the history of Chinese politics; the second section would contain five questions on governance in other countries; and the third section would contain two questions on the Four Books and one on the Five Classics. Examinations at other levels would also include questions on governance, but would contain no questions on the Four Books or the Five Classics. The court decreed, “[W]ith the Four Books and Five Classics as a foundation, efforts should be concentrated on statecraft.” 47 Although these reforms were halted midstream, with the complete abolition of the examination system in 1905, the transposition of history and the classics continued. Furthermore, study of the classics retreated steadily further into obscurity. With the change in emphasis to issues of governance and policy, other texts such as Sima Guang’s 司馬光 (1019–86) Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government (Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑒) became more important

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64 · Luo Zhitian

intellectual resources. Examination aids and reference works focusing on these historical texts appeared and sold in great numbers. Some scholars gradually moved in the direction of historical study, having read the reference works and then moved on to the original texts. One example is Lü Simian 呂思勉 (1884–1957), who embarked on specialized study of history only after his interest in the subject was sparked by the newly revised aids for exam preparation.48 Similarly, Liang Qichao argued that the examination reform opened people’s eyes to a whole new world of knowledge, from which there was no going back.49 And the increased sense of urgency due to the enormous challenges facing the Chinese state and society meant that most scholars prioritized statecraft study because they believed it would be of most use. The examination reform thus lent systemic support to the wider conviction about the utility of historical knowledge. A crucial transition that occurred in the early and mid-nineteenth century, albeit one that only became obvious afterward, was the transformation of theoretical understandings of statecraft, or “ordering the world” (jingshi). With such great changes taking place in the broader sociopolitical context, the “world” (shi 世) was now utterly different from that of former generations. Understandings of what was required to “govern the world” were obviously affected by these dramatic changes. In the past, what had been called statecraft scholarship had concentrated on matters such as the organization of water transport, the salt industry, currency legislation, and other practical matters of domestic administration. By the mid-nineteenth century, attention had clearly turned toward new challenges, such the quest for national wealth and power, which was increasingly seen as key to China’s place in the international arena.50 But because these issues had not been of major significance before, some strands of new scholarship were seen as unrelated to contemporary problems, as was Han Learning. If such new forms of learning could not provide practical knowledge, if they were not adaptable to statecraft, they soon followed Han Learning by falling into decline. With the fading of the Old Text tradition, the subsequent inability of New Text learning to satisfy the aspirations of the statecraft movement led to the complete decline of classical studies. Later, other forms of traditional Chinese scholarship were also shown to be unable to respond to the challenges of the times, and most Chinese scholars turned their attention to Western Learning. 51 Historical study enjoyed a brief period of prosperity during this time when much of the rest of Chinese learning

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The Marginalization of Classical Studies · 65

came to be regarded as “useless.” With the growing inf luence of the Western nation-state system throughout the world, and the concomitant rise of nationalism, the broader social and political functions of historical knowledge were emphasized, and for a time history was regarded as a key component of the “national essence” (guocui 國粹). This was another important external factor in the modern rise of history. From the perspective of the late nineteenth century, this could be seen as the promotion of a moral order, but it was manifested more in what would be called today the level of politics.

History in the Modern Moral Order Since the Zhou era, scholastic traditions sought to apprehend the true Way (dao 道) and use it as a compass to set the world to right. What appears to us as “politics” was to the scholars of the past a moral responsibility. The reason that classical studies was raised to such a high position was because the majority of scholars believed that one could apprehend the Way through study of the classics (although people were much divided as to how exactly this was done). Furthermore, only if the true Way was respected and implemented could proper order be achieved in the world. In terms of politics and governance, however, it was possible, indeed obligatory, to use history as an intellectual resource to aid in government. One of the great changes that occurred in the modern period was the transformation of the basic principle of the Way and approaches to its apprehension. The belief that the Way did not necessarily have to be sought in the classics furthered the decline of the prestige of classical studies. After history replaced the classics as a primary source of practical knowledge, many of the functions that were previously undertaken by classical studies fell upon the shoulders of historians. History was now inexorably connected to the new Way that was developing, which was based on modern Western “-isms” and the nation-state. This raised history to a level where it was connected to the very survival of the nation, its people, and their culture. History assumed an unprecedented position as the repository of the moral order, a role previously reserved for the classics, but which the latter were now powerless to perform. It is common for nationalisms to ground cultural identity in a glorified history. China followed a unique path in modern times, distinct both from the Euro-American West and from those regions of the world that

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66 · Luo Zhitian

had been colonized by imperial powers, and the search for a common cultural identity in a glorious history was not a mainstream concern of the Chinese intellectual world at the beginning of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, some scholars argued that this undertaking was one of the fundamental functions of history. In fact, this was part of a relatively long tradition in China. The notion that, as Chen Yinke put it, “states can fall, but history cannot be erased,” was proposed by many who lived through times of transition, and the faith of late Qing intellectuals in this proposition is clear.52 Gong Zizhen 龔自珍 (1792–1841), for instance, believed that the role of history was both thoroughly moral and thoroughly political. History, he argued, should “honor our nation and ancestors and provide lessons for rulers and ministers.” Furthermore, he suggested that if invaders wanted to obliterate a people’s state, one must first eradicate their history. To overthrow their homes and destroy their social fabric one must first eliminate their history. To extinguish their capabilities and obliterate their teachings, one must first eliminate their history. To extinguish [the memory of] their ancestors, one must first eliminate their history.53

In other words, invaders would only be able to solidify their rule if they rewrote the history of the conquered peoples. The annexation of territory is only one means by which an imperialist power can establish comprehensive control over another state. Because imperialist powers did not directly occupy China’s territory, they did not exert the kind of direct political control that existed in colonies. Therefore, Western powers needed to demonstrate their authority at a cultural level as well as a material one. They sought to use cultural infiltration in order to pave the road to future economic benefit, thus the struggle between Chinese and Western cultures became especially important. 54 Along with other contributors to the National Essence Journal (Guocui xuebao 國粹學報), Zhang Binglin recognized the significance of the culture war between China and the West. Having observed the South Asian experience, where Indians had lost control of their state to an imperial power, Zhang realized that in order to prevent this from happening in China it was necessary to first study the national essence— the core of which was history.55 He argued that for the promotion of the national essence, “it is not necessary for people to respect and believe in Confucianism, it is only necessary that they cherish the history of the Han race.” 56 Furthermore, only history could be the nation’s unique

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The Marginalization of Classical Studies · 67

special property: “[A]ll other forms of scholarship, like philosophy, politics and science might share common grounds with their counterparts in other nations,” whereas most of Chinese history in no way shared any commonality with that of other nations. 57 No other discipline could substitute for historical study as a means of enabling the continuation of Chinese culture.58 There was obviously a continuous line of intellectual development from Gong Zizhen’s argument that historical study should honor the nation and its ancestors to Zhang Binglin’s emphasis that historical study should serve the purpose of promoting racial solidarity. Nevertheless, the influence of Western nationalism on such discourse was increasingly clear.59 While Liang Qichao’s political views were somewhat different from Zhang Binglin’s, his opinion on the role of history and historical study was roughly the same. Liang recalled that as a child he studied with his grandfather during the day, and at night sat by his bed listening to his accounts of the “wise words and noble deeds of heroes and philosophers from history.” His grandfather spoke with particular passion about people who rose to prominence during the times “when the nation faced great disasters, as in the fall of the Song and Ming.” While he was not aware of it at the time, Liang later realized that such historical knowledge had planted within him the seeds of nationalism. Later, when he came into contact with Japanese writing, he more clearly recognized that “[n]othing is of greater importance to the spirit of our national education than the history of our nation.” 60 In his famous 1902 essay on the “New Historical Studies” Liang argued that historical study was “the broadest form of learning and the most urgent.” Furthermore, he believed that it was “the bright mirror of the people” and the “wellspring of their patriotic spirit.” Part of the reason European states were strong, he argued, was their developed sense of national identity, based on a strong foundation in historical knowledge. He regretted that in China historical study had not had the same effect of “stirring up the people’s patriotic spirit.” “Without a revolution in the study of history,” he argued, “our country cannot be saved.” 61 Unlike Zhang Binglin and Liang Qichao, Hu Shi would later firmly reject the idea that “Chinese scholarship had an intimate connection with nationalism,” yet prior to the 1911 Revolution he had promoted Zhang’s ideas, and went even further than Liang Qichao in the depiction of a radiant Chinese past. 62 At that time, when Hu Shi was still a young secondary school student, he emphasized that

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68 · Luo Zhitian [a]bove everything else, patriots must protect the memory of the glorious history of their motherland—and must not forget. Those who forget the history of their motherland are debased and will willingly become beasts and slaves to others. Look how people today forget the glorious history of their motherland, so they willingly flatter foreigners, and say that foreigners are good and Chinese bad in everything. They have no idea that their motherland was once a great and glorious country, but has been brought down by such useless children of hers.63

When Hu Shi went abroad after the 1911 revolution he was ashamed that so few of the Chinese students he encountered understood their traditional culture. Thus when such students witnessed the material advancement of other countries, they would inevitably “cry out in wonder, and believe that the difference between other countries and China is like the difference between Heaven and Hell. Thus they go from gasping in wonder to admiration, and from admiration to the rejection of their own country: they thus pass into the condition of slaves.” When such people return, they would naturally “desire to sweep aside” thousands of years of Chinese ethical teaching, literature, and customs, “believing that without doing so reform is impossible.” 64 In 1918, Zhang Binglin still explained the Republic’s lack of a social center of gravity on the grounds that in modern times Chinese people had not studied history, and hence traditional culture had been lost. This was a particular problem with modern leaders, whose selfishness was due to their limited knowledge of the past: “[H]istory is to the art of governance what chess manuals are to chess.” Because Republican-era leaders did not study history their “aspirations were meager and crude.” 65 The “history” that Zhang Binglin was referring to here was a much broader concept than what most people understood the term to imply. For Zhang, history encapsulated what in earlier periods he had referred to as the “essence of national culture.” Therefore his notion of history was closer to what most people would conceive of as traditional “culture.” By the May Fourth period, others began to use the term “culture” to refer to what Zhang Binglin meant by “history.” As the enlarged concept of culture spread and was accepted by a majority, the social role that had been bestowed on historical study gradually shifted onto “culture.” The significance of the substitution of “culture” for “history” was much greater than just a change in vocabulary. The later discussion of culture had a fundamental difference from the earlier discussion of

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The Marginalization of Classical Studies · 69

history: the advocacy of historical study in the promotion of the moral order was the last time that modern Chinese scholars looked to tradition in search of intellectual sources for the revival of the nation. Developments seemed increasingly to demonstrate that historical study was unable to undertake the task of revitalizing the nation, and more and more scholars concluded that it was necessary to “learn from the West” (xiang xifang xuexi 向西方學習). The key intellectual sources for those who discussed culture in the May Fourth period came from the West. The actual disciplines they became interested in were the more practical ones, and tended also to be those that had never been part of Chinese scholarship (and thus were of course seen as more Western), such as sociology, economics, and military science. At the same time, the social significance of historical study declined, and its content narrowed. Historians gradually surrendered their prominence in national intellectual discourse. The focus on historical study in the promotion of the moral order had passed, and although it was not noticed at the time, the return journey of history back to the margins of intellectual discourse had begun.

Conclusion Following the marginalization of classical studies, history flourished for a brief time, but ultimately, like all other forms of traditional Chinese knowledge, it was not able to meet the demands of the national quest for wealth and strength in the modern age, and went into decline. But because of its brief prosperity, historical study retained a kind of lingering prestige. This was partly due to the fact that it enjoyed an influential position in Western scholarship. As Liang Qichao had observed in 1902, “[O]f all of the disciplines of learning that are current in the West, the only one that China has always had is history.” 66 Thus even though historical study could make little direct contribution to the pursuit of wealth and strength, for scholars who found themselves forced to learn from the West, what could be more attractive than this one branch of Western Learning that China already possessed? Not only that, the methodology of historical research was familiar; it did not require the learning of foreign languages and alien intellectual grammars. This produced a paradoxical effect: on the one hand historical scholarship was supposed to help awaken the Chinese people, but in order to secure their intellectual status historians plunged headfirst into the embrace of Western style

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70 · Luo Zhitian

scholarship. Thus historical scholarship followed a winding and tortuous path through the Republican period. The movement of historical research toward the center of intellectual discourse was, to a large extent, the result of external political influences. And once it became central to intellectual discourse history was bestowed with a much greater sociopolitical significance, thus it was difficult to engage in purely at a scholarly level. For students of history, their subject meant much more to them than any particular sociopolitical significance. For instance, even though Zhang Binglin believed that in tumultuous times historians were more useful than Confucian scholars, he hoped historians would continue to stress the evidential foundation of historical research and not be distracted by the potential practical applications of their research. Living in a tumultuous age and thus forced to sacrifice academic values, Zhang struggled with this tension between the intellectual and the practical aspects of historical research. The experience of many other scholars was similar. But as the social significance of historical study declined, its scope narrowed. In terms of academic scholarship, this meant a return to a position of being one of many academic disciplines, rather than the preeminent discipline, and this was probably beneficial for development of the discipline. Thus, in the post–May Fourth era, historical study was influenced more by the development of new paradigms within intellectual discourse than by the external sociopolitical context. Translated by Joe Lawson and Brian Moloughney

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The Marginalization of Classical Studies · 71

Notes 1

2

3 4

5 6

7 8 9 10

11 12 13 14

“Hu Shi zhi Qian Xuantong” 胡適致錢玄同 (10 May 1932), in Geng Yunzhi 耿雲志, Hu Shi nianpu 胡適年譜 (Chengdu: Sichuan renmin chubanshe, 1989), p. 198. Luo Zhitian 羅志田, “Qingji Minchu jingxue de bianyuanhua yu shixue de zouxiang zhongxin” 清季民初經學的邊緣化與史學的走向中心, Hanxue yanjiu 漢學研究 15.2 (December 1997): pp. 1–35. See Liang Qichao 梁啟超, Qingdai xueshu gailun 清代學術概論, ed. Zhu Weizheng 朱維錚 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1998), p. 71. In this article, I follow the custom of using the term “Hanxue” 漢學 to refer to the solid scholarship (puxue 樸學) and Old Text Learning from the early eighteenth through the early nineteenth centuries (although these two things were not identical). And while the later New Text Learning is strictly speaking also “Hanxue,” unless specifically indicated it is not what is meant when the term is used here. Zhang Taiyan 章太炎, “Lun jing shi ru zhi fenhe” 論經史儒之分合, Guofeng 國 風 8.5 (May 1936): pp. 187–91. Su Xun 蘇洵, “Shi lun” 史論, in Meng Wentong 蒙文通, “Jingshi jueyuan: Zhongguo shixue shi” 經史抉原:中國史學史, Meng Wentong wenji 蒙文通文集 (Chengdu: Bashu shushe, 1995), vol. 3, p. 318. See also Cai Congbang 蔡崇榜, Songdai xiushi zhidu yanjiu 宋代修史制度研究 (Taibei: Wenjin chubanshe, 1991), pp. 118, 192–99. Tang Bin 湯斌 , “Ershiyi shi lun” 二十一史論, in Tangzi yishu 湯子遺書 (Wenyuange siku quanshu edition 文淵閣四庫全書本), juan 6, p. 23a. Jiao Xun 焦循, “Yu Liu Duanlin shu” 與劉端臨書, Diao gu ji 雕菰集 (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, n.d.), juan 13, p. 215. Zeng Guofan 曾國藩, “Zhi zhu di” 致諸弟 (1843), Zeng Guofan quanji 曾國藩 全集 (Changsha: Yuelu shushe, 1986), ce 19, p. 55. Zeng Guofan, Qiuque zhai riji leichao 求闕齋日記類鈔, ed. Wang Qiyuan 王啟 原 (Changsha: Chuanzhong shuju keben 傳忠書局刻本, 1876), upper juan, p. 8a. See also Yu Yingshi 余英時 (Ying-shih Yü), “Zeng Guofan yu ‘Shidafu zhi xue’” 曾國藩輿「士大夫之學」in his Xiandai ruxue de huigu yu zhanwang 現代 儒學的回顧輿展望 (Beijing: Sanlian, 2004), pp. 310–13. Zeng Guofan, “Quanxue pian shi zhilu shizi” 勸學篇示直錄士子 (1869), Zeng Guofan quanji, ce 14, p. 442. Jiao Xun, “Yu Sun Yuanru guancha lun kaoju zhuzuo shu” 輿孫淵如觀察論考 據著作書, Diao gu ji, juan 13, p. 212. Liang Qichao, Rulin zhexue 儒林哲學, in Yinbingshi heji 飲冰室合集 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1989), zhuanji 專集 103, p. 21. Xiong Shili 熊十力, “Shili yuyao: da Deng Ziqin” 十力語要:答鄧子琴, Xiong Shili quanji 熊十力全集 (Wuhan: Hubei jiaoyu chubanshe, 2001), juan 4, pp. 282, 285.

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72 · Luo Zhitian 15

16 17 18

19

20 21

22

23

24 25

26

27 28 29 30

Fu Sinian 傅斯年, “Taida ‘Shehui kexue luncong’ fakan ci” 臺大《社會科學論 叢》發刊詞 (1950), Fu Sinian quanji 傅斯年全集 (Changsha: Hunan jiaoyu chubanshe, 2003), vol. 3, p. 367. Liang Qichao, Qingdai xueshu gailun, p. 43. Lu Baoqian 陸寶千, Qingdai sixiang shi 清代思想史 (Taibei: Guangwen shuju, 1983), pp. 163, 191. In a similar way, following Michel Foucault, Benjamin Elman described evidential learning as a discourse, “a system of scholarly articulation and meaning”: see From Philosophy to Philology, Intellectual and Social Aspects of Change in Late Imperial China (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), p. xx. Liu Shipei 劉師培, “Nan-Bei xuepai butong lun—Nan-Bei kaozheng butong lun” 南北學派不同論—南北考證不同論 (1905), in Zhongguo jin sanbai nian xueshu shilun 中國近三百年學術史論, ed. Zhang Taiyan and Liu Shipei (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2006), p. 195. Deng Shi 鄧實, “Guoxue jinlun” 國學今論 (1905), in Zhongguo jin sanbai nian xueshu shilun, pp. 343–44. Shen Jianshi 沈兼士, “Jin sanshinian lai Zhongguo shixue zhi qushi” 近三十 年來中國史學之趨勢, in Shen Jianshi xueshu lunwenji 沈兼士學術論文集 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1986), p. 372. Wang Guowei 王國維, “Shen Yi’an xiansheng qishi shou xu” 沈乙庵先生七十 壽序, Wang Guowei yishu 王國維遺書 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1983), in Guantang jilin 觀堂集林, juan 23, pp. 26–27. On this see Luo Zhitian, “Dao-Xian ‘Xinxue’ yu Qingdai xueshu shi yanjiu” 道咸「新學」與清代學術史研究, Sichuan daxue xuebao 四川大學學報 5 (2006): pp. 5–15. Qian Mu 錢穆 , Zhongguo jin sanbai nian xueshu shi 中國近三百年學術史 (Taibei: Shangwu, 1964), p. 1. Ye Dehui 葉德輝, “Xiyuan shuzha—yu Dai Xuanqiao shu” 郋園書札—與戴 宣翹書, in Xiyuan quanshu 郋園全書 (Changsha: Zhongguo gushu kanyinshe, 1935), pp. 19b–20a. See also Zhang Ertian 張爾田, “Yu Wu Mi lun xueshu” 與 吳宓論學書, Guofeng 7.1 (August 1935): pp. 50–51. See Hu Shi 胡適, Dai Dongyuan de zhexue 戴東原的哲學 (Taibei: Shangwu, 1968), and Yu Yingshi, Lun Dai Zhen yu Zhang Xuecheng 論戴震與章學誠 (Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 2005), chap. 8. Wang Guowei, “Guochao hanxue pai Dai Ruan erjia zhi zhexue shuo” 國朝漢 學派戴阮二家之哲學說, in Wang Guowei yishu (Jing’an wenji 靜庵文集), p. 102. Meng Wentong, “Zhixue zayu” 治學雜語, in Meng Wentong xueji 蒙文通學記, rev. ed., ed. Meng Mo 蒙默 (Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 2006), p. 7. Xia Jiong 夏炯, “Shu ‘Dai shi yishu’ hou” 書《戴氏遺書》後, in Xia Zhongzi ji 夏仲子集 (Nanjing: Jinling yichunge, 1925), juan 3, pp. 11a–b. Zhang Taiyan, “Zhi Guocui xuebao shu” 致國粹學報書, in Zhang Taiyan zhenglun xuanji 章太炎政論選集, ed. Tang Zhijun 湯志鈞 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1977), p. 497.

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The Marginalization of Classical Studies · 73 31 32 33 34 35

36

37 38

39 40

41 42

43 44

45 46 47 48 49

Meng Wentong, Zhong guo shixueshi 中國史學史 (Shanghai: Renmin chubanshe, 2006), pp. 304–5. Wang Guowei, “Songdai zhi jinshixue” 宋代之金石學, in Wang Guowei yishu (Jing’an wenji xubian 靜庵文集續編), pp. 70–75. Yan Fu 嚴復, “Yu Xiong Chunru shu” 與熊純如書 (26 April 1917), in Yan Fu ji 嚴復集 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1986), ce 3, p. 668. Qian Mu, Zhongguo jin sanbai nian xueshu shi, zixu 中國近三百年學術史.自序 (Taibei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan, 1964), p. 1. Chen Yinke 陳寅恪, “Deng Guangming ‘Songshi zhiguan zhi kaozheng’ xu” 鄧廣銘《宋史職官志考證》序, in Jinmingguan conggao erbian 金明館叢稿二編 (Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 2001), p. 277. For discussion of this dilemma, see Chen Fuchen 陳黻宸, “Jingshu datong shuo” 經術大同說 (1902–3), in Chen Fuchen ji 陳黻宸集 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1995), shangce, p. 539. Deng Shi, “Guxue fuxing lun” 古學復興論, Guocui xuebao 國粹學報 1.9 (1905): pp. 3a–b. See Luo Zhitian, Quanshi zhuanyi: Jindai Zhongguo de sixiang, shehui yu xueshu 權勢轉移:近代中國的思想、社會與學術 (Wuha n: Hubei renmin chubanshe, 1999), pp. 20–48. Zhang Taiyan, “Lun jing shi ru zhi fenhe,” pp. 187, 191–93. Long Qirui 龍啟瑞, “Zhi Feng Zhanyun shidu shu” 致馮展云侍讀書, Jingde tang wenji 經德堂文集 (Long ji chen jing shi edition 龍繼陳京師刻本, 1824), neiji 內集, juan 3, p. 14a. Elman, Philosophy to Philology, pp. 95–100. For more on this issue see the chapter by Liu Long-hsin in this volume, below. On these earlier initiatives see Benjamin Elman, Classicism, Politics, and Kinship: The Ch’ang-chou School of New Text Confucianism in Late Imperial China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), pp. 275–306; and for the 1898 proposals see his A Cultural History of Civil Examinations in Late Imperial China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), pp. 585–94. “Dezong jing huangdi shilu: liu” 德宗景皇帝實錄:六, in Qing shilu 清實錄 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1987), ce 57, pp. 490–91. Zhang Zhidong 張之洞 and Chen Baozhen 陳寶箴, “Tuoyi keju xinzhang zhe” 妥議科舉新章折, in Zhang Wenxiang gong quanji 張文襄公全集 (Beijing: Zhonguo shudian, 1990), ce 1, pp. 849–53. “Dezong jing huangdi shilu: liu,” p. 513. For use of these terms see Zhang Taiyan, “Lun dushi zhi liyi” 論讀史之利益, Zhiyan 制言 52 (May 1939): p. 2. “Dezong jing huangdi shilu: qi” 德宗景皇帝實錄:七, in Qing shilu, ce 58, p. 412. See Li Yongqi 李永圻, Lü Simian xiansheng biannian shiji 呂思勉先生編年事輯 (Shanghai: Shanghai shudian chubanshe, 1992), pp. 11–35. Liang Qichao, “Wuxu zhengbian ji” 戊戌政變記, in Yinbingshi heji, zhuanji 1, p. 26.

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74 · Luo Zhitian 50

Benjamin Schwartz, In Search of Wealth and Power: Yen Fu and the West (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964). 51 Luo Zhitian, “Xichao yu jindai Zhongguo sixiang yanbian zaisi” 西潮與近代 中國思想演變再思, Jindai shi yanjiu 近代史研究 3 (1995): pp. 1–23. 52 Chen Yinke, “Wuguo xueshu zhi xianzhuang ji Qinghua zhi zhize” 吾國學術 之現狀及清華之職責, in Jinmingguan conggao erbian, p. 362. 53 Gong Zizhen 龔自珍, “Gushi gouchen lun si” 古史鉤沉論四, in Gong Zizhen quanji 龔自珍全集, ed. Wang Peizheng 王佩諍 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1975), pp. 22, 28. 54 See Luo Zhitian, “Chuanjiaoshi yu jindai Zhong-Xi wenhua jingzheng” 傳教 士與近代中西文化競爭, Lishi yanjiu 歷史研究 6 (1996): pp. 77–94, as well as his Guojia yu xueshu: Qingji Minchu guanyu “guoxue” de sixiang lunzheng 國家 與學術:清季民初關於「國學」的思想論爭 (Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 2003). 55 Zhang Taiyan, “Yindu ren lun guocui” 印度人論國粹, in Zhang Taiyan quanji (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 1986), ce 4, p. 366. 56 Zhang Taiyan, “Dongjing liuxuesheng huanying hui yanshuo ci” 東京留學生 歡迎會演說詞, in Zhang Taiyan zhenglun xuanji, p. 276. 57 Zhang Taiyan, “Chunqiu Zuoshi yiyi dawen” 春秋左氏疑義答問, in Zhang Taiyan quanji, ce 6, p. 249; and “Lun jing shi ru zhi fenhe,” p. 193. 58 Zhang Taiyan, Guogu lunheng: yuanjing 國故論衡:原經 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2003), p. 64. 59 Zhang Taiyan, “Zhongguo wenhua de genyuan he jindai xuewen de fada” 中 國文化的根源和近代學問的發達, in Zhang Taiyan de baihua wen 章太炎的白話 文, ed. Chen Pingyuan 陳平原 (Guiyang: Guizhou jiaoyu chubanshe, 2001), p. 67; and “Yindu ren lun guocui,” ce 4, p. 367. 60 Liang Qichao, “Sanshi zishu” 三十自述, in Yinbingshi heji, wenji 11, pp. 15–16, and “Dong jie yuedan” 東藉月旦, in Yinbingshi heji, wenji 文集 4, p. 101. 61 Liang Qichao, “Xin shixue” 新史學, in Yinbingshi heji, wenji 9, pp. 1–7. 62 Hu Shi, “Hu Shi zhi Hu Pu’an (gao)” 胡適致胡朴安(稿) (November 1928), in Hu Shi lai wang shuxin xuan 胡適來往書信選 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1979), vol. 1, p. 497. 63 Hu Shi, “Ai guo” 愛國, originally published in Jingye xunbao 竟業旬報 34, reprinted in Hu Shi zaonian wencun 胡適早年文存, ed. Zhou Zhiping 周質平 (Taibei: Yuanliu chuban gongsi, 1995), p. 177. 64 Hu Shi, “Fei liuxue pian” 非留學篇, in Hu Shi zaonian wencun, pp. 360–76. 65 Zhang Taiyan, “Dui Chongqing xuejie yanshuo” 對重慶學界演說, Lishi zhishi 歷史知識 1 (1984): p. 44. 66 Liang Qichao, “Xin shixue,” p. 1.

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Chapter 3

Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge in the Late Qing Examination System Liu Long-hsin

Following reforms introduced by the Qing government, in 1902 the eightlegged essay (bagu wen 八股文) examination format that had been employed for almost six hundred years was officially abolished. The government had announced in 1901 that, from the following year, examinations would use a new format, called “policy and discourse” (celun 策 論).1 Although the celun was not an invention of the Qing dynasty, this was a significant victory for reformers who had been calling for changes to the examination system over the previous decades. The examination system had long been a target of reformers, as it was the key means of official recruitment and indeed formed the basis of the elite educational system. The change from the eight-legged essay to the celun exam format marked a significant break with the long-established standardized examination system based on questions taken from The Four Books, The Five Classics, and Zhu Xi’s 朱熹 (1130–1200) Collected Commentaries on the Four Books. The reform altered the traditional study habits of candidates, which previously focused on memorizing the canonical texts and commentaries that were required for the civil service examination. Reformers argued that the change allowed scholars to shift their attention to a diverse range of topics that were more closely related to the real world, and to make good use of their knowledge to focus on global changes and on the crisis China was facing at the time. The most important transformation brought about by the celun examination was the addition of two new sections, titled Discourses on Chinese History and Politics (Zhongguo zhengzhi shishi lun 中國政治史事論) and Policy Questions on World Politics and Technology (Geguo zhengzhi yixue ce 各國政治藝學策). These now came before what had previously

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76 · Liu Long-hsin

been the most important part of the examination, the section devoted to the Four Books and Five Classics, thereby reducing their significance. From the perspective of institutional history, the 1902 reform of the examination system can be interpreted as the result of the calls for reform that had been persistently raised by late Qing scholars. From the perspective of history of knowledge, it can also be seen as a reflection of modern knowledge patterns and changes in the perception of knowledge. Generally speaking, examinations are merely a means of evaluating learning, and their content and structure scarcely represent the entirety of modern knowledge in all its complex relationships; however, the cultural significance of the Chinese examination system meant that the reform significantly altered the way candidates understood the world. The inclusion of new branches of knowledge into the examinations, still virtually the sole means of selecting candidates for government service, reflected changing official valuations of that knowledge at the time, as well as its importance within social networks. When the civil service examinations began to include subjects like history, dynastic historical records, agricultural and industrial administration, military affairs, acoustics, optics, chemistry, and electrical engineering in the first and second sessions of the exam, it indicated that late Qing academic circles considered these fields of knowledge to be central. Indeed, the large number of translated books compiled and published during the late Qing period, along with various anthologies of Western learning, writings on statecraft, reference books, and collections devoted to “policy and discourse” essays, as well as the examination questions themselves, indicates the great emphasis placed on contemporary knowledge.2 This new knowledge had diffused throughout Chinese society after the opening of treaty ports in the mid-nineteenth century, and in this sense the celun reform was simply official recognition and systematization of knowledge that was already spreading through China. 3 As a consequence, if we analyze the questions posed in the celun civil examination, we can appraise shifts in the perceptions about what constituted knowledge. In addition, the examination questions themselves indicate the social conditions and cultural patterns that lay behind the construction of this knowledge. In this chapter, I discuss how scholars dealt with the celun examination and the transformation and reorientation of knowledge during the late Qing period. I utilize collections of “policy and discourse”

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Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge · 77

examinations that circulated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as the Records of Provincial Examinations (Xianshi lu 鄉 試錄), the Records of Metropolitan Examinations (Huishi lu 會試錄), and the Lists of Successful Candidates in the Provincial Examinations (Xiangshi timing lu 鄉試題名錄). If we look at those candidates who successfully adjusted to the civil examination reforms, we can see that virtually all scholars began placing much greater emphasis on the pragmatic functions of knowledge. Moreover, it became common practice for scholars in the late Qing period to resort to a more utilitarian interpretation to the Confucian classics. In this chapter, I focus on the question of how a certain kind of historical consciousness—a way of thinking about history—influenced discussions of contemporary problems and policy issues. Students of the history of modern thought and of academic history who have analyzed these issues have generally paid attention to only a few representative figures and have ignored or downplayed the so-called “midlevel intellectuals.” These generally younger scholars, eager for official careers, may not have been particularly sensitive to the changes happening in the rest of the world, and they may not have had particularly innovative minds, yet their role in the formation of modern discourse reflects certain “mainstream values” of the era in which they lived. As treated in the “policy and discourse” books and examination papers, historical understanding was generally conceived as the best path for knowledge. The late Qing saw a flourishing of historicist assumptions that lay behind efforts to understand new knowledge by understanding its histories, which in turn shaped the development of history as a discrete discipline. Scholars sought to discover the position of each branch of knowledge in the course of historical transformation, and to ascertain the value of knowledge while bearing in mind the passing of time. In this sense, I ask, first, what did “knowledge” mean exactly to late Qing scholars when they were comparing past and modern historical experiences, or using history as a starting point for their research? And second, since at the turn of the century, in the incessant process of opening the boundaries of historiography to different branches of knowledge, the idea of “discovering knowledge from history” finally acquired recognition, what impact did this notion have on the development of academic disciplines in the twentieth century, on the search of historiography for its

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78 · Liu Long-hsin

own definition, its scope of writing, and its angle of analysis? These are the core questions that are discussed in this chapter.

Politics: From Imperial Genealogy to History of the Common People In 1901 the Ministry of Rites, having listened to critics of the examination system and reexamining the proposals mooted during the aborted 1898 Reform Movement, proposed the new “policy and discourse” examination format. The term for this format was based on the new examination sessions, the Discourse Questions on Chinese History and Politics (lun 論); the second session was the Policy Questions on World Politics and Technology (ce 策). The first and second sessions of the exam were clearly meant to be the core of the reformed examination, with classical learning relegated to secondary status. In the first session, candidates were required to answer five questions on Chinese dynastic history, the history and development of institutions and decrees, and the study of the annals of the Qing dynasty. In respect to Chinese dynastic history, the Ministry of Rites recommended examinees study the official histories of each dynasty that had been compiled by their successors (zhengshi 正史). And in respect to the history and development of institutions and decrees, the Ministry recommended the vast compilations of official documents in the Imperially Sanctioned Outline of the “Comprehensive Mirror” (Yupi tongjian gangmu 御批通鑑綱目), the Imperially Sanctioned Compilation of the “Comprehensive Mirror” (Yupi tongjian jilan 御批通鑑輯覽), and the Three Comprehensive Encyclopedias (San tong 三通) and their supplement the Xu san tong (續三通). The Ministry did not, however, recommend any specific reading for the preparation of questions on the Qing’s own annals; it gave only general guidelines and emphasized that it expected candidates to demonstrate how past experience could be applied to the present. The second session of the exam was also divided into five questions, which were grouped into two subcategories: “politics” and “technology.” The questions about politics dealt with schooling, finance, business, military affairs, international law, penal law, astronomy, and geography of various countries. The questions about technology dealt with sciences including mathematics, acoustics, optics, chemistry, and electricity, as well as manufacturing. For this session, the Ministry of Rites did not recommend any bibliography or reference books: it only vaguely stated

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Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge · 79

that the candidates had to answer the questions by making use of the practical knowledge they possessed about world politics.4 The first two sessions thus embraced almost the whole scope of Chinese and Western learning: roughly speaking, session 1 was based on historical analysis while session 2 focused on current affairs. Although exam questions about politics appeared in both sessions, they do not seem correlated in terms of content and categorization. This lack of correlation poses a series of questions: Did the term “politics” have the same meaning in the Chinese and Western thought? How can we explain why most of the questions on Chinese politics were oriented toward historiography? What was the conception of “politics” among late Qing scholars and officials? In order to answer these questions, it is helpful to take a look at the definitions that were given to the terms “politics” and “technology.” The amalgamated term “Western politics and Western technology” began to be used regularly from the mid-1880s by reform-minded scholars intent on making a clear separation between Western and Chinese learning. 5 Sometimes scholars used the term “Western learning” to specify the (Western) sciences. In his Bibliography of Western Learning, for instance, Liang Qichao 梁啟超 (1873–1929) categorized Western books into three types: namely, Western learning, Western politics, and Western religion.6 “Western learning” here referred to arithmetic, mechanics, electricity, chemistry, acoustics, optics, dynamics, astronomy, geography, anatomy, zoology, botany, medicine, and cartography. History was included in the category of “Western politics,” along with state administration, educational systems, jurisprudence, agriculture, mining, industry, commerce, military affairs, and maritime administration. When discussing the establishment of new schools in his Exhortation to Learning (Quanxuepian 勸學篇) of 1898, Zhang Zhidong 張之洞 (1837– 1909) advocated “simultaneously studying new and old learning,” together with the idea of “studying both politics and technology.” The term “new learning” referred to Western politics, technology, and history, while “old learning” comprised the Four Books, the Five Classics, and Chinese history, political treatises, and cartography. In Zhang’s view, “Western politics” included educational systems, geography, state finance and fiscal systems, military affairs, industry, trade, and commerce, while “Western technology” referred to arithmetic, fine arts, mining, medicine, acoustics, optics, chemistry, and electricity.7 For Zhang the two terms

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80 · Liu Long-hsin

“Western politics” and “Western technology” were clearly defined, while, like Liang, he basically understood “Western learning” to refer to technology. Zhang was in effect bracketing off traditional learning precisely by creating a specific sphere of Western politics and technology. Zhang did not explain whether he regarded Chinese history and political treatises as fully part of Chinese politics. And yet, in his chapter on “Maintaining Frugality” (Shouyue pian 守約篇), he stated that “historiography has two ultimate functions: one is to present facts and evidence, and the other is to provide regulations and institutions.” 8 Zhang seemed to differentiate between facts or evidence, which could be gathered through the study the historical cycles of, on the one hand, order and chaos as described in the Comprehensive Mirror, and, on the other, the regulations and institutions of the state, which could be gleaned from essays focused on the transition of world orders, such as the Encyclopedia (Tongdian 通典), the Comprehensive Analysis of Civil Institutions (Tongkao 通考), and the treatises (zhi 志) and memorials (zouyi 奏議) in the standard dynastic histories on the other. In fact, the “facts and evidence” and “regulations and institutions” discussed by Zhang seem together to correspond to the Discourse of Chinese Politics and History, the first session of the celun examination format. In this sense, then, Zhang’s so-called “historiography” precisely coincided with “Chinese politics.” However, when considering Zhang’s principle of “studying both politics and technology,” we cannot think that he was simply referring to the scope of Western learning, because this would oversimplify the issues he sought to clarify. As is well known, Zhang was seeking a way to combine Chinese and Western learning. Few have noticed specifically how Zhang’s idea of “studying both politics and technology” also raised the question of how Chinese learning should relate to its Western counterpart. There was nothing new in the notion of making use of history in order to find solutions for current problems, a practice that was almost as old as historiography itself in China. But now the question was, could late Qing scholars utilize the experiences of Chinese history in order to acquire knowledge sufficient for them to understand Western politics? It seems that the complexity of this problem was beyond the comprehension of the scholars of the time. As Liang Qichao disconsolately noted, There is no difference between Chinese and Western politics. The needs of different countries to constrain each other leads to the creation of international law. The territory and people need to be governed, and this

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Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge · 81 calls for the establishment of a bureaucratic system. Rulers will not be able to control the people if they lack prosperity, and hence the administration of agriculture, mining, industry, and commerce is developed. Uneducated people are no different than animals; and this is why schools are created. If officials and the common people coexist peacefully, inequalities tend to disappear; and thus the legal system is promulgated. [But] mutual suspicion and desire for protection give rise to military administration. This is the universal law of all times and of all countries.9

Although there may have been no differences between China and the West in the fundamentals of politics, the problem for Liang was that the Chinese people and the elite of the time still did not identify their country as a nation-state. In Liang’s opinion, the entire set of laws and institutions in China derived from the emperor and his sovereign power, and paid no attention to the common people. In this sense, it did not seem exaggerated to claim that China had been a country with “no politics” for the previous two thousand years. Liang then took a further step in his criticism of Chinese culture, stating that most historical records, such as the standard dynastic histories, chronicles, records, biographies, mandates, memorials, and even histories of Chinese institutions, were nothing more than imperial genealogy. Even treatises like the Three Comprehensive Encyclopedias and the Collected Statutes, although similar to a national history in their scope, could still not be considered as true and ordered histories of the common people, and thus did not constitute national histories.10 Liang argued that China’s failure to develop what he called politics as well as its failure to produce genuine histories both stemmed from China’s lack of a sentiment of citizenship and national belonging. In his view, the conception of “politics” that focused on the doings of Chinese rulers was equivalent to “state administration”: the excessive focus on statesmanship had led to a total disregard for the life of commoners and, as a result, to the absence of popular history and of related records. In Liang’s analysis of China’s lack of politics and histories, we can see his view of the fundamental difference in the concept of “politics” in China and the West. For the Chinese, politics referred to the various political strategies pursued by monarchs and their courts in order to maintain social order; in this sense, political practice was intimately linked with traditional values and ethical concepts. But the modern idea of “politics” as developed in Western countries seemed to originate in sentiments of citizenship, which in ancient times led the citizens of a polis

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82 · Liu Long-hsin

to participate in the politics and administration of their city. Being fully aware of this difference, Liang argued, History has the function of understanding both the past and present and, in this sense, the comprehension of history presents us with various lessons. Chinese historiography is more prone to narrative description, while Western historiography to political analyses. We may define narrative history as “imperial genealogy,” a description of the rise and fall of a certain dynasty. Instead, the history of politics is a history of the common people, focusing on the development of knowledge that derives from the daily life of the people. Therefore, foreign history—comprising agricultural history, commercial history, industrial history, mining history, diplomatic history and science history—is the most appropriate form of historical narration.11

The emphasis placed by Western historians on everyday customs also led to the recording and preserving of the diverse activities of the people, while histories of Chinese politics concentrated only on narrating the ebb and flow of a particular dynasty. As a result, scholars who attempted to create histories of the Chinese common people were hindered not only by the lack of previous works that could serve as an example but also by the scarcity of references to the populace in the ancient classics.12 According to Liang, from the Qin and Han dynasties on, intellectuals became increasingly distant from the other social groups of farmers, craftsmen, and merchants, and their knowledge became useless; this was the reason that lay behind the lack of practical knowledge in the Chinese literary tradition.13 Given the lack of history of the common people in Chinese ancient records and books, the incorporation of Western political analysis into Chinese politics was an extremely thorny problem; in this regard, Liang’s idea of “combining Chinese and Western political analyses” proved to be just an illusion. Nevertheless, the priority of more and more late Qing scholars, apart from urging the court to promote the translation of Western books on practical knowledge, still remained the discovery of traces of popular history in ancient records.14 If we analyze the various provincial and metropolitan examination papers after the new celun format was promulgated, we can appreciate the considerable effort of late Qing scholars to search in every possible historical record for material that could be compared to Western learning. The explanation and diffusion of the idea of the “popular” (min 民) illustrates this approach. For instance, during the Hubei provincial

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Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge · 83

examination in 1903, the question posed to the candidates was, “When Guan Zhong 管仲 governed the State of Qi, he ordered placement of the different groups of society—farmers, craftsmen, merchants, and soldiers—in different zones in the city. Explain Guan Zhong’s policy.” Zhang Jichuan 張濟川 (1870–1940), the candidate who came first in the exam, ingeniously answered the question by referring to the concept of “group” (qun 群), which dominated political discourse at the turn of the century.15 He argued that, according to the principle of the division of society, Guan Zhong comprehended the interests of all social groups. Zhang Jichuan paid little attention to the social and economic reasons lying behind such social divisions, or to the importance of social divisions in commercial life; rather, he focused on interpreting the meaning of “the interests of all groups.” Zhang suggested that social divisions had four beneficial effects: namely, increasing people’s wisdom, strengthening their will, promoting good customs, and promoting professional careers. It is noteworthy that Zhang emphasized the concept of “survival of the fittest” when analyzing the competitive relationships among different groups: in his words, without a sense of the “struggle for survival,” “foreign groups would be superior and powerful, and ours inferior and feeble.” 16 In his analysis, Zhang clearly expanded the definition of “group” from the four social divisions of the people—farmers, craftsmen, merchants, and soldiers—to the broader concept of the “nation-state.” His intent was to appeal to politicians to support the wisdom, strength, and wealth of all social groups, in order to benefit the Chinese nationstate as a whole. The emergence of a consciousness of citizenship encouraged late Qing scholars to rediscover references, no matter how sparse, to the common people and their activities in the ancient classics, and to reinterpret and reflect upon the notion of the “people.” At the same time, this reworking of classical knowledge also generated a great demand for the publication of exam handbooks and mock exams for celun candidates. These exam materials show how the concept of knowledge was changing. In the Great Compendium of Policy Questions on Chinese and Foreign Affairs Classified Topically (Zhongwai cewen leibian dacheng 中外策問類編 大成), an exam companion published in 1903, the author posed a controversial topic: “As portrayed in The Zuo Commentary (Zuozhuan 左傳), the skilled tactician Pichen 裨諶 was always full of inspiration when residing in the peaceful countryside, but lost his political skills when he moved to

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84 · Liu Long-hsin

the city.” 17 Facing this question, Chu Guishan 儲桂山 claimed that it was first necessary to define what exactly “the city” and “the countryside” referred to. In his interpretation, the city referred to the court, while the countryside referred to the world of the common people; in this sense, the reason why Pichen could manage state affairs only among the common people was that decision making could not rely on merely a single policy maker, and even the most informed courtiers and officials had to consult with the common people and investigate the condition of their citizens. Only in the serene countryside could Pichen thrive by collecting opinions and consulting all social groups. Politicians should thus follow the example of Pichen, aiming at increasing the wealth of the people and at promoting good policies. Chu reinforced his argument with a citation from the Rites of Zhou (Zhouli 周禮) concerning the separation of official posts. Chu believed that regardless of eras and country, official posts should always be separated. This was why Western countries had envisaged bodies like parliaments and the press in order to represent the people and inf luence the political agenda, and this was why the East should follow the example of the West. The unprecedented attention that late Qing scholars paid to every historical source that could throw light on the lives of common people was basically aimed at demonstrating the universal values that China shared with the West. In this respect, their main effort was directed at proving that some focus on the common people, and theories related to them, had always been present in traditional Chinese politics. It is not necessary to consider whether the arguments of these scholars actually conformed to historical evidence here; rather, the point is how their arguments bespoke a new vision of history and the role it should play in society.18 Their arguments not only appeared in examination essays (zhujuan 硃卷, weimo 闈墨) but could also be seen on practice booklets for the celun; as a result, both examiners and candidates participated in the construction of a mainstream concept of the “people,” as I discuss further in the next section. Largely inf luenced by the Western interpretations of the term “people,” and by the idea of political participation of commoners, the Chinese concept of “politics” gradually abandoned its traditional emperor-centrism, and started inclining to a more people-oriented conception. Such change of perspective created new opportunities for scholars to recategorize all those fields of knowledge that were previously digested into traditional subjects such as dynastic histories, political

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Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge · 85

treatises, or even the “hundred schools of thought”: this generated new branches of knowledge such as education, finance, legal systems, agriculture, and technology. As a consequence, scholars could also develop new methods to discover reliable and useable knowledge from history. And yet, since historiography was still in the process of being defined and its disciplinary boundaries remained vague, would the effect of this discovery expand or limit the scope of historiography? What kinds of views about knowledge were ref lected in the search for the Western concept of “people”?

Finding Knowledge in History: The History of Knowledge As we have seen, late Qing scholars commonly used the practice of discovering knowledge from history when they were seeking solutions to problems they were familiar with. But how did they apply this practice when coming to the completely different world of Western politics? If we analyze the Collected Writings on Statecraft from the Qing Dynasty (Huangchao jingshi wenbian 皇朝經世文編), or other popular companion books for the celun exam compiled in the late Qing period, we can clearly see that late Qing scholars tried to comprehend Western learning by using a historical perspective. In other words, they did not necessarily pay much attention to the specific content of Western learning, but rather examined the way the disciplines of the West spread, how they developed, and their practical usage. This use of historical perspective can be seen not only in the questions posed by the examiners for the celun exam but also in the answers the candidates gave to their questions. But why did late Qing scholars use a historical approach in order to access different cultures and knowledge systems? What new perspective on knowledge did they derive from this approach? Chinese scholars found it very challenging to understand the completely new Western learning, even after the introduction of the new celun exam format. Although they could consult translated versions of Western books regarding this new knowledge, the easiest way to approach these texts was to try to understand the evolution of that knowledge, or to compare the differences between past and present, between Chinese and Western learning. For instance, a question from the 1902 Zhejiang provincial examination is, “Please explain with examples the financial policies of Western countries, in order to demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of

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86 · Liu Long-hsin

the economic principles lying behind them. In a situation of deficits of financial support and resources, what would be the most appropriate policy that our country should adopt so as to recover from the economic crisis? Please indicate the priorities of your policy when presenting your proposal.” 19 When asking such questions, the examiners expected the examinees to respond merely by analyzing different Western financial policies and proposing solutions to current problems; a historical approach was not necessarily required. Nevertheless, candidate Wu Daojin 吳道晉 spontaneously replied to the question by listing the different financial management strategies adopted by prominent historical figures. In Wu’s account, the Han dynasty historian Sima Qian 司馬 遷 (145–87 BC) and Adam Smith (1723–90) were both specialists in economics; moreover, the economic doctrines they advocated were also rather similar. Their only real difference lay in the fact that Sima’s ideas about economics failed to find followers among his contemporaries, and this brought the Chinese economy to stagnation, while Adam Smith’s doctrines were highly prized, and this eventually led to a prosperous and powerful West. Wu believed that, despite the two thousand years dividing the two thinkers, Sima Qian could be associated with Adam Smith because they both advocated the importance of agriculture, industry, and commerce for the finances of a state. It is not hard to spot a flaw in Wu’s argument: in fact, at the time of Sima Qian the phenomena analyzed by Adam Smith, such as the market economy and labor imbalances, had not yet emerged, but Wu seems to ignore the fundamental historical context in his argument. This is because Wu was using Sima Qian merely as a means to understand Western economics. In effect, Wu focused on the history of ideas to find commonalities between Chinese and Western learning. Wu’s real concern was the decline of China, and how Western concepts might be used for reform.20 In this sense, the flaws in his historical comparison are of no importance. The following example from the Great Compendium of Policy Questions on Chinese and Foreign Affairs Classified Topically also illustrates the tendency that intellectuals at the time instinctively used historical comparisons to approach current issues. In a simulation test the examiner posed the question, “In the various Western election systems, there are several restrictions and requisites for candidates to parliament, such as age, profession, nationality, and personal property. What is opinion of

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Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge · 87

the candidate on electoral restrictions based on property?” 21 One candidate, Lu Zhongwei 陸鍾渭, noted how all Western countries had property restrictions in their electoral systems, and hence concluded that such restrictions were legitimate. He argued that in Western industrial and commercial countries, poor people not only could not earn a living but also lacked the wisdom to gain respect and support from society. Lu cited the Book of Documents (Shangshu 尚書), stating that “only wealthy families can bear in mind moral lessons,” and used a passage from the Guanzi 管子 to the effect that “only people living above the level of primary needs can comprehend decorum and righteousness,” with which he intended to demonstrate that wealthy people were necessarily more patriotic than poor people.22 Actually, the original version of the text from the Book of Documents cited by Lu proclaimed that “only those wealthy families who bear in mind moral lessons will be able to maintain their wealth.”22 This was a reprimand by King Kang 康王 of the Zhou dynasty admonishing the Yin people from the previous dynasty and was aimed at keeping the class of merchants under control. However, in his efforts to underline the importance of commerce for a state, Lu not only simply imagined the rich to be uncorrupted and even generous but also employed the citation out of context, completely distorting its original meaning. In his argument, the Book of Documents and Guanzi served as support for a specific version of the Western idea of political participation and how elections could be institutionalized. Again, the point here is not historical accuracy but how late Qing intellectuals used or transformed historical sources for their own purposes. To a certain extent, late Qing scholars used history as a metaphor, which they exploited when they needed examples of the past to comprehend an unfamiliar concept or a new cultural experience. As George Lakoff and Mark Johnson note, “[A] metaphor sometimes creates a new reality”; that is to say, when a metaphor is used for the comprehension of a different experience or culture, it has the power to create a new reality.23 When late Qing scholars started to make use of Chinese history to unravel Western learning, they were concurrently creating a new type of knowledge and constructing a new past. This is the reason why Pichen could turn into a courtier sensitive to the opinions of the common people and Sima Qian could be decontextualized from his era and become a visionary thinker specializing in economics, just like Adam Smith. Through the metaphors created by late Qing scholars, the Book of Documents, Guanzi, and other Confucian classics radically changed their

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88 · Liu Long-hsin

original meanings and were reinterpreted in completely new ways. This is not surprising because the recognition that we have of the past is often the result of a continuous accumulation of different interpretations. Late Qing scholars also used Western history to cast light on unsolved problems that had long existed in China. In this sense, they proved the effectiveness of knowledge by using historical facts and formulating laws from a historical precedent. During the 1902 provincial exam of Jiangxi province, the following question was posed to the candidates: “In Western countries, the tax burden is extremely heavy, and the national debt is excessive too; why do people not express discontent or doubts about their governments?” 25 To Chinese officials of the time, this was a rather perplexing question. Indeed, according to the traditional Chinese political view, heavy taxation of the population and even contracting debt from private sources were considered unethical practices for a government. Long Yuanxun 龍元勛, who came first in the exams, 26 ascribed the behavior of Western peoples to the principle “what is taken from the people is used for the interests of the people.” He began by establishing credibility for his argument by precisely indicating the volume of the British national debt and annual revenue in the 1860s, which he claimed to have gleaned from the Series of Wealth and Power and the Lieguo suiji zhengyao 列國歲計政要.27 He then illustrated how in a Western sovereign state, taxes levied on the people were redistributed to the people through investments in basic infrastructural and economic projects, such as mines, construction, steamships, and railroads, and not just accumulated for the emperor’s own wealth. In this way, people obtained a return for the money they had given to the state, and for this reason they accepted taxation without discontent. In every Western nation, regardless of its political form (absolute monarchy, democracy, or constitutional monarchy), the main political rights were bestowed on the people, and this reinforced the ties between the state and its population. As a consequence, even in wartime, the population was eager to lend money to the state by buying government bonds; paradoxically, the higher the national debt was, the stronger the national spirit in the populace was.28 In order to fully comprehend the problems of governmental finances, Long Yuanxun based his analysis on concrete examples of every Western nation, and on the relations of rights and duties between these states and their populations. To a certain extent, at least, Long’s approach was historical as well as comparative. For Long, Western history, the past

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Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge · 89

conduct of its states and their future prospects, not only provided a basis of comparison with China, but more importantly served as a kind of meter to verify the effectiveness of knowledge. History, then, was believed to produce universal knowledge that was not only effective in the past but also valid in the present world. To most late Qing scholars, the validity and legitimacy of knowledge were often judged by its effectiveness; and, as I demonstrated above, the effectiveness of knowledge had to be proven by historical facts. This helps us understand why questions in the celun exams were answered from a historical perspective. Thinking historically, scholars found a connection between Western political thought and the Chinese classics and, at the same time, widened their horizons toward a broader range of different fields of knowledge. Late Qing scholars were practicing the “history of knowledge” insofar as they instinctively took the attitude of perceiving different knowledge systems from a historical perspective. This new scholarly attitude was a very important tool allowing late Qing scholars to assess Western learning. Using a historical perspective, they reorganized the categories of knowledge and redefined what counted as knowledge. But it was only due to historical experience that knowledge could acquire a real and practical value. In other words, what late Qing scholars most valued was practical knowledge, or the relationship between knowledge and its practical social utilization, and not abstract questions about knowledge. This pragmatic viewpoint is seen in the use of the term “administration” (zheng 政). In the disciplinary classification used by late Qing scholars, various aspects of Western learning—such as commerce, engineering, agriculture, mineralogy, law, and economics—were not regarded as “sciences,” but rather as “administrations”: thus, “law” came to be defined as “legal administration,” “economics” as “financial administration,” and so forth. Such terminology clearly shows how contemporaries mostly focused on the way in which state administrators could manage this knowledge, and its pragmatic implications for the welfare of their nation. The emergence of the “history of knowledge” extended the scope of historical writing, gradually eroding the power of the traditional, emperor-centered historiography. However, it is important to clarify that what we here call “history of knowledge” is different from the concept of “specialized” fields of history, which emerged only later. In his earlytwentieth-century treatise “New History,” Liang Qichao declared that “the most important thing in history and historical writing is the people.” 29

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90 · Liu Long-hsin

And yet to Liang and his contemporaries, the meaning of the term “people” was still vague and abstract. Not surprisingly, then, Liang himself once sighed, “Scholars who try to study Chinese history always have a hard time, because it is quite difficult for them to decide where to begin their studies.” 30 He noted that traditional historians paid too much attention to isolated parts of history, ignoring general historical processes.31 He also criticized historical works written by late Qing scholars, on the basis that they neglected the activities of what he called “legal organizations,” namely groups such as schools, private companies, professional guilds, and the like. For this reason, he exhorted scholars to use the Cases in Ming Confucianism (Mingru xuean 明儒學案) as a model when treating issues like Chinese ethnic history, economic history, or religious history.32 Yet the notion of specialized fields of history was still undeveloped at the turn of the century. The absence of disciplinary specialization impeded late Qing scholars both in their efforts to study the history of the people and in their efforts to transform the history of knowledge into a specialized field. Only later was it possible to focus on defining history more precisely, including then its appropriate subfields. In 1921, “condensing the scope of historiography in order to expand it” was advocated by Liang Qichao. In ancient China, all disciplines were but sub-branches of historiography; in fact, all records that concerning the knowledge of humankind—such as astronomy, chronology, bureaucratic administration, rituals, musicology, and the legal system and so on—were always included within the scope of historiography. After two thousand years of disciplinary development and differentiation, all these disciplines previously regarded as important parts in historiography have all gradually separated from it.33

Liang was not making outlandish claims for the omnipotence of historiography in traditional China but referring to the intertwining of history and politics through, and perhaps especially in, the late Qing. Nonetheless, the knowledge based on history at the time could not actually be defined as a “specialized history” for three main reasons. First, although late Qing scholars made an effort to conjoin the Chinese and Western concepts of politics and thereby obtain a new perception of knowledge, they did not clearly distinguish the “history of knowledge” from traditional Chinese historiography. Second, the emergence of popular history as a bra nch of histor y rei nforced a nd broadened t he scope of

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Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge · 91

historiography. And third, the concept of “total history” that Liang proposed—intended to be the history of all human activities and of the development of all nations—was still not gaining recognition. In sum, under these circumstances it seems too precipitous to claim that a real “condensing of the scope of historiography in order to expand it” had actually occurred, or that specialized history had already emerged in China by the beginning of the twentieth century. In my view, the history of knowledge, although practiced in the rough and ready ways that we have seen above, was not transformed into a true “specialized history” until a full-fledged system of the academic disciplines took root in the 1930s.34 In his Preface and Guide to the Bibliography of Western Learning, Liang complained that it was difficult to categorize all the different branches of Western learning. In his personal classification, Liang classified Western historiography under politics, which shows that in his mind Western historiography was still to be considered as the study of governing and administration, just like law, economic administration, or military affairs. In other words, for Liang, history was merely a part of politics. Only when scholars became conscious of disciplinary boundaries in the 1930s did subfields of specialized history emerge, such as political history, legal history, agricultural history, and the like. These subdisciplines, although clearly distinguished, were still regarded as all falling within the scope of historiography. In this sense, if we analyze the evolution of the scope of historiography during the late Qing period, we can see how it actually expanded rather than condensed. The phenomenon of “condensing in order to expand” envisaged by Liang Qichao could not take place as long as history was a tool for both understanding the foreign and promoting reform.

The “Chinese Origins of Western Learning” and New Concepts of Time As is well known, answers in civil examinations were restrained and influenced by the dominant official ideology. Although the new format of celun had introduced new subjects like Western politics and technology, some restrictions still remained. The Ministry of Rites clearly stated in the exam regulations that candidates were forbidden to answer the question with “absurd theories taken from diverse writers, Buddhism or Taoism, foreign dialects and scraps of information taken from newspapers. Violators shall be excluded from the exam.”35 This is why virtually

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92 · Liu Long-hsin

no positive references to democracy or equality appeared in the answers to the actual examinations, although they appeared extensively in exercise books and mock tests. 36 Whether forbidding the use of these terms in the exams actually affected the opinions of scholars and candidates remains a disputed issue.37 It is clear, however, that the celun exams encouraged the use of new theories that were widespread in late Qing intellectual circles. Two of the most popular of these were that of the “Chinese origins of Western learning” (xixue zhongyuan lun 西學中源論) and “using Chinese learning as the foundation, and Western learning for its practical application” (zhongti xiyong lun 中體西用論). 38 Moreover, in the context of political pragmatism and restoration of national pride, the discursive format of these theories was transformed in ways that had enormous implications for Chinese conceptions of time. On numerous occasions celun exam questions cited the discussions on the origins of Western learning, especially in regard to the origins of parliamentary systems. For example, one examiner asked, “In order to implement a parliamentary and electoral system, China could pay attention to the attempts made in this regard during the Han dynasty, and at the same time look at the contemporary Western experience. Please explicate your viewpoint in this regard.” 39 Trying to interpret the examiner’s criteria of evaluation, one candidate, Fei Tinghuang 費廷璜, responded that traces of parliamentary systems could be found in China since ancient times. To prove his point, he quoted the principle of “coincidence between counsel and the result of its discussion” expounded in the Book of Documents, and claimed that during the Han dynasty certain parliament-like institutions were used for debating and expressing public opinion. Fei thus concluded that the political system of the Han dynasty was roughly similar to contemporary Western systems. Further, he emphasized that parliamentary systems originated in the Han dynasty, and that the West had merely refined parliamentary practice. The method adopted by Fei of using Western experiences to justify the Chinese tradition was very typical at the time, and reflected the search of scholars for lost rituals in peripheral cultures (lishi qiuzhu ye 禮失求諸野). Moreover, mentioning the example of the Han dynasty in order to demonstrate the legitimacy of present institutions was motivated by the belief that extensive and thorough knowledge of the past could help in understanding the present (buogu tongjin 博古通 今).40

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Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge · 93

Nevertheless, we need to keep in mind that these practices—using the West to justify Chinese institutions, and using the Han dynasty to justify present-day institutions—were actually based on a strong sense of the present. In this sense, Fei differed from his predecessors, who lingered in nostalgic memories of the “golden age” of the past, and longed for a return to moral purity. Although Western learning and experience still needed justification on the basis of models putatively existing in ancient China, the purpose of that justification was in fact to explain the realities of the present. Western modernity became merely a term of comparison for assessing contemporary China. If Chinese history was used as a tool to understand the West, growing knowledge of Western institutions was used to understand contemporary China. For late Qing scholars, the present counted more than the past, and it was not going too far to say that the traditional sense of temporal direction was eventually reversed. The Sino-Japanese War in 1894–95 and the Boxer Uprising in 1900 aggravated the foreign and domestic crises facing the court, and sharpened demands for systemic change. In this context, the theory of the “Chinese origins of Western learning” and the faith in the restoration of antiquity gradually evolved from their original purpose of defending Chinese learning to an awareness of the necessity of keeping pace with the West. A distinct example of this evolution can be shown in the following examination question: Giulio Aleni introduced the classification of Western learning in six disciplines: literature, philosophy, medicine, law, canons, and theology. Nowadays, some of these disciplines have disappeared, or have been condensed, extended, or integrated together according to their similarities and dissimilarities. Please explain the meaning of this evolution.41

The candidate Yin Zhiluo 殷之輅 responded to the question by claiming that the evolution of knowledge always corresponds to changes in reality, and that such correspondence is always valid, both in China and in the West. And yet, whereas Western learning has in the time shifted from abstract to concrete, therefore improving its status, Chinese learning has instead shifted from concrete to abstract, and its status has consequently decayed. As a consequence, for Chinese who cherish the past and distain the present, ancestors are superior to their descendants; on the contrary, Westerners prefer the new to the ancient, and therefore descendants are superior to their ancestors. Yin suggested that until the Ming dynasty, Chinese learning was similar to its Western counterpart. After the Ming

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94 · Liu Long-hsin

dynasty, though, Western science expanded its scope, and new disciplines such as astronomy, mathematics, physics, and surveying emerged. This development inevitably created a gap between Western learning and Ming learning, which remained within the traditional scope of its disciplines. Yin’s argument that Western thinking moved “from abstract to concrete” was based on this historical interpretation. He then suggested that if Chinese abandoned the abstract approach to knowledge and redeveloped concrete sciences, they could “get back to the past through Western learning,” thus recovering from the crisis China found itself in.42 The answer given by Yin represents the widespread belief in the “Chinese origins of Western learning” that we have referred to above. In taking a utilitarian stance, many late Qing scholars believed that Western learning had f lourished because of its pragmatic orientation, whereas Chinese learning had declined because it had become increasingly abstract and speculative. In this view, the key difference between Chinese and Western learning was its practical application, and only thanks to its greater pragmatism could the latter prevail. With his idea of “getting back to the past through Western learning” and his emphasis on pragmatism, Yin appeared to be advocating a nostalgic return to the past; in fact, however, he was supporting a shift toward Westernization. The categories of ancient and modern, like Western and Chinese, became dichotomies that represented the two extremes of national prosperity or national decadence. In his answer, Yin did not explain why Chinese learning evolved from its original pragmatism into abstraction, nor did he demonstrate to what extent modern Western learning was similar to ancient Chinese learning. Nevertheless, he celebrated the progressive penetration of the Western concept of knowledge into Chinese learning, and in this sense he finally substituted a vague allegiance to ancient Chinese learning with unequivocal support for Western learning. Yin, although in a tortuous way, exhorted his fellow countrymen to follow a tangible, concrete West, instead of seeking nostalgic return to a vague Chinese past. Apart from the “Chinese origins of Western learning” theory, after the Sino-Japanese War the theory of “using Chinese learning as the foundation, and Western learning for its practical application” also became very popular,43 and was even adopted as the official ideology for newly opened state schools.44 Generally speaking, the idea of “using Chinese learning as the foundation, and Western learning for its practical application” defined Chinese knowledge, in particular the classical canon, as the

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Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge · 95

primary form of knowledge and, although recognizing the supplementary role Western learning should play, still deemed Western learning as secondary and essentially a matter of technology. Because of its conformity to official ideology, such a theory was widely welcomed within scholarly circles and extensively quoted by celun candidates. During the Shanxi provincial exam of 1902, the following topic was posed: “Clarif y whether the thoughts of Francis Bacon and René Descartes have common features with Chinese learning, and how Chinese people could profit from West in order to make up for their weakness.” 45 Di Louhai 狄樓海, the candidate who obtained the jinshi 進士 degree in the examinations that year and later became a lecturer at Shanxi University, answered this question by combining the theories of “Chinese origin of Western learning” and “Chinese learning as the foundation, and Western learning for its practical application.” He stated that from Aristotle through to Bacon and Descartes, Western philosophy had conformed to the essence of Chinese learning. Modern Western science was thus to be regarded as nothing but the practical application of Chinese learning.46 Di further argued that Western learning in its entirety was one part of Chinese learning. Nevertheless, while the Chinese had failed to profit from the superiority of their knowledge, the West expanded and strengthened the sciences and China was now forced to compensate for its shortcomings. For this reason, China should emulate the West by establishing new schools according to Western scientific standards, capture the core of Western culture and knowledge, and thereby mold a new generation of Chinese talents. Analyzed superficially, Di’s argument could be regarded as extremely conservative, at least in his claim that Western learning was fully derived from China. And yet, in a more subtle way, Di not only recognized that Western learning had its own structure, but more importantly he suggested that Western learning could be an example for Chinese scholars to follow. According to Di, the original features of Chinese learning had become increasingly blurred, and there was no need to look back to the past. Di argued that although China lost its scientific learning, this could be attributed to Emperor Qin Shihuang’s burning of books about astronomy, geodesy, manufacturing, physics, and chemistry, but the vanished learning was spread, enhanced, and glorified by Westerners and then fed back to China. In this circumstance, the practical value of Chinese learning could not but be replaced by Western learning, which fully combined practice and essence. By affirming that Western learning

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96 · Liu Long-hsin

could complement not only the practice but also the very essence of Chinese learning, Di actually admitted that Chinese learning had decayed over time, even while the West had risen thanks to its knowledge. The examples cited above also demonstrate a transformation in the concept of time, among late Qing scholars. In a time of crisis, whether to change was no longer an issue; how to change became the focus of their attention. The future—or more precisely the imagining of the future based on interpretation of the past—was increasingly shaped according to the Western model: a Western orientation of linear time thus silently substituted for the traditional Chinese temporality, which was regarded as cyclic, regressive, and nondifferentiating between ancient or modern.47 Late Qing scholars gradually believed that the brave and nostalgic golden ancient was gone; the ancient was no longer the shortcut to reach civilization. Only by going straight toward Western civilization could China conform to the evolutionary axiom. In this circumstance, even those scholars who sought refuge in the most conservative positions started using “Western” terms like “civilization,” “axiom” (gongli 公理), and “universal postulate” (gongli 公例). This indicates how the Qing government no longer had the power to oppose the transformation of language and concepts of time. The situation can be illustrated well by the following example. A question posed in the Zhejiang provincial exam of 1902 was, “An important branch of geography is surveying. What are the most important instruments and methods of surveying? The different environments of the five continents host different customs and political systems; please discuss the relationship between culture and geography.” 48 Hu Renyuan 胡仁源, a candidate in this exam who would later become the dean of Peking University, responded in terms of how civilizational differences emerged over time. He argued that the development of geography, and especially of knowledge regarding navigation, water basins, and climate, had a profound impact on the development of civilization in particular areas. Europe, encircled by seas, had developed maritime transportation since ancient times, and for this reason it had become the most civilized continent; Japan, which had a similar environment, logically ranked as second. India and China, despite featuring geographic characteristics that could facilitate transportation on water, failed to develop maritime technology and consequently ranked below Europe and Japan. At the bottom of this ideal ranking of civilizations was Africa. Hu wholeheartedly

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Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge · 97

applied evolutionary theory to the development of civilizations in various parts of the globe and in his discussions of the geographical bases and ethnic competition. The greatest proof of the theory of evolution was precisely the staggering development of the West in the modern era. And to a great extent the West’s development stemmed directly from its maritime knowledge and open borders. Countries like China, however, which closed their borders and segregated themselves from the rest of the world, remained at a backward stage of civilization and could only harm themselves with their reactionary policy. In Hu’s answer, the two extremes of the development of civilization—Europe and Africa—serve merely as terms of comparison for China’s development. By creating an invariable order of civilizational progress, Hu showed his acceptance of the theory of social Darwinism that explained how progress occurred, and specifically the linear concept of progressive time that stipulated a single route into the future. He placed his country at a definite point on this line of progress, indicating that China could no longer deviate from it. Once Hu and his contemporaries started believing in the idea of progress, their concept of time and historical awareness changed completely and was replaced by Western criteria. New and completely different standards of historical writing were emerging.49

Epilogue As a system of recruiting officials and a distinct genre of exams, practice exams, and handbooks, the celun can offer only limited insights into the reshaping of politics, history, and knowledge that was occurring among late Qing scholars. Candidates taking part in the exams, seeking official careers, knew they had to shape their answers to meet the viewpoints of the examiners. The examiners, for their part, wanted to recruit qualified and capable officials, and wanted to test the capability of candidates to make use of their knowledge to solve practical problems regarding the administration of the state. 50 For these reasons, both candidates and examiners were concerned with the practical value and application of knowledge, rather than more abstract questions about its nature and ultimate significance. However, despite such limitations, we can see in the formal celun’s questions and answers, and in the exercise books for exam preparation, how the thought of “ordinary” literati—and not merely the most outspoken intellectuals—was reflecting the broader changes of the

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98 · Liu Long-hsin

late Qing. This particular genre of official recruitment reveals both how fast ideas were changing and the limits that still applied, at least from the viewpoint of the court and bureaucracy. In both the extent of the changes and the limits placed on them, the exams reveal the centrality of historical consciousness in efforts to understand and to use Western learning. Before the twentieth century, the availability of Western learning in China was primarily restricted to a relatively small number of translations, and to the effort of a few reformist scholars like Liang Qichao, who occasionally and unsystematically compiled their own bibliographies. As Western learning became more widely accessible and Western disciplines like politics and technology became subjects on the civil services examinations, however, Western learning was inevitably pushed into the mainstream. Candidates and scholars had no choice but to reconsider Chinese traditional knowledge and integrate it with what they were learning about the rest of the world. The civil service examinations mandated new criteria for scholars to construct knowledge. Knowledge itself may have been neutral in value, yet the perspective of knowledge that the civil examination helped to construct was inevitably value oriented, and susceptible to political manipulation. Given its relationship to power, the new celun examinations led to the proliferation of reference books, sample answers from successful candidates, and mock tests. The models of discourse and the analysis they provided helped construct the discursive formation of modern knowledge. In addition, the questions raised in the examinations not only provided guidelines for candidates to meet the official criteria of selection but also offered an opportunity for examinees and scholars to reconsider the value of knowledge, or what kinds of knowledge could contribute to political reform and administration. In order to verify the value and the effectiveness of knowledge, late Qing scholars adopted what I call a “history of knowledge” approach, a historical perspective that made use of information about the past from both China and the West. The valuable knowledge that came out of this process, in a sense, had an inf luence on knowledge itself. Before the emergence of academic disciplinary divisions, the “history of knowledge,” even though not named as such at the time, played an important role in the process of the transformation of knowledge. In fact, it not only broadened the scope of historical writing but also helped every branch of academic research consolidate its legitimacy within the new edifice of modern knowledge.

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Notes 1

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In an imperial edict in the name of the Guangxu Emperor, 29 August 1901 (光 緒27年7月16日) Shangyu 上諭, in Zhu Youxian 朱有瓛 , ed., Zhongguo jindai xuezhi shiliao 中國近代學制史料 (Shanghai: Huadong shifan daxue chubanshe, 1985), series 1, vol. 2, p. 129. Zhang Qing 章清, “Zhong-Xi lishi zhi ‘huitong’ yu Zhongguo shixue de zhuanxiang” 中西歷史之「會通」與中國史學的轉向, Lishi yanjiu 歴史研究 2 (2005): pp. 75–95, and “‘Celun’ zhong de ‘lishi’: wan-Qing Zhongguo ‘lishi jiyi’ yanxu de yige cemian” 「策論」中的「歷史」:晚清中國「歷史記憶」延續的 一個側面, Fudan xuebao 復旦學報 5 (2005): pp. 53–62. The celun reform was, in my opinion, the result of a need for practical knowledge generated both among court officials and among scholars. Furthermore, the knowledge that was tested in the celun sections of the examination was already circulating in areas more open to Western influence such as the treaty ports, but it was not developed in a systematic manner. See my article “Cong keju dao xuetang: celun yu wan-Qing de zhishi zhuanxing (1901–1905)” 從科舉到學堂:策論與晚清的知識轉型(1901– 1905), Bulletin of the Institute of Modern History Academia Sinica 中央研究院 近代史研究所集刊 58 (December 2007): pp. 105–39. “Guangxu 27 nian 11 yue chuyiri Libu zhengwuchu huizou biantong keju shiyi zhe (fu zhangcheng)” 光緒27年11月初一日禮部政務處會奏變通科舉事宜摺 (附章程), in Zhongguo jindai xuezhi shiliao, series 1, vol. 2, p. 131. Wang Tao suggested a rather different classification. He categorized traditional academic knowledge into literature and technology. His position is in fact very close to my argument in this chapter. See Wang Tao 王韜, “Bianfa ziqiang: zhong” 變法自強:中, in Taoyuan wen xinbian 弢園文新編 (Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 1998), p. 36. Liang Qichao 梁啟超, “Xixue shumubiao” 西學書目表, in Shenshijizhai congshu 慎始基齋叢書 (n.p., 1897), pp. 2–3. Zhang Zhidong 張之洞, “Shexue disan” 設學第三, Quanxuepian: waipian 勸 學篇:外篇 (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe, 1998), p. 121. Zhang Zhidong, “Shouyue diba” 守約第八, Quanxuepian: neipian 勸學篇:內 篇 (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe, 1998), p. 95. Liang Qichao, “Xizheng congshu xu” 西政叢書敘 (1897), in Yinbingshi wenji 飲冰室文集 (Taipei: Taiwan zhonghua shuju, 1983), vol. 2, pp. 62–63. Liang Qichao, “Xuyi lieguo suiji zhengyao xu” 續譯列國歲計政要敘 (1897), Yinbingshi wenji, vol. 2, pp. 59–60. Lia ng Qichao, “Bia nfa tong y i—lun y ishu” 變法通議:論譯書 (1896), Yinbingshi wenji, vol. 1, p. 70. Liang Qichao, “Zhongguoshi xulun” 中國史敘論 (1901), Yinbingshi wenji, vol. 6, pp. 1–2.

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21 22

23 24

Liang Qichao, “Nonghui xuebao xu” 農會學報序 (1896), Yinbingshi wenji, vol. 1, p. 131; and “Datong yishuju xuli” 大同譯書局敘例 (1897), Yinbingshi wenji, vol. 2, p. 57. Xie Enhao 謝恩灝 , “Wen yishu yi helei weixian” 問譯書宜何類為先 , in Zhongwai cewen leibian dacheng 中外策問類編大成, ed. Qiushizhai zhuren 求 是齋主人 (hereafter ZCLD) (Shanghai: Qiushizhai shiyiben, 1903), vol. 2, pp. 12–13. In his “Bianfa tongyi,” Liang Qichao advocated that translations of Western books should first focus on texts about constitutional law, together with civil and criminal law; then, translation should, in the following order, focus on historical records, official annual reports, agricultural administration, mining, and technology and science. See Liang Qichao, “Bianfa tongyi—lun yishu,” pp. 68–72. For an overview on the emergence of the concept of qun in the late Qing period and its relations to the new historiography movement, see Wang Fan-sen 王汎森, “Wan-Qing de zhengzhi gainian yu ‘xin shixue’” 晚清的政治 概念與「新史學」, in Zhongguo jindai sixiang yu xueshu de xipu 中國近代思想 與學術的系譜 (Taipei: Lianjing chuban shiye gongsi, 2003), pp. 195–220; and Wang Fan-sen, “Qingmo Minchu de shehuiguan yu Fu Sinian” 清末民初的社 會觀與傅斯年, Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies 清華學報 25.4 (December 1995): pp. 325–43. Hubei xiangshilu 湖北鄉試錄 (Guangxu guimao enke 光緒癸卯恩科, 1903), pp. 23–24. ZCLD, vol. 31, pp. 1–2. Zhang Zhidong, “Huitong dishisan” 會通第十三, Quanxuepian: neipian, p. 161. ZCLD, Vol. 20, p.2. Wu Daojin’s main concern was similar to the aims of Yan Fu 嚴復, the translator of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. Wu was aware that Yan once had claimed, “In a narrow sense, economics are of great importance for Chinese rich and poor people; in a broader sense, though, economics are the key to the prosperity or decline of Chinese people on a whole.” See Yan Fu, Yuanfu 原富 (Taipei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan, 1977), vol. 1, p. 7. ZCLD, vol. 9, pp. 9–10. The original phrase in the Guanzi 管子 states, “People can comprehend decorum and righteousness only if the granary is filled with grain, and only people living in aff luence could understand honor and disgrace.” Guanzhong 管仲, Guanzi: Mumin 管子.牧民, annot. Fan Xuanling 房玄齡 (Taipei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan, 1981), p. 1. Lu not only misreported the source, claiming that the quotation was taken from The Zuo Commentary instead of the Guanzi, but also misquoted the original phrase. Shang shu: Biming 尚書.畢命, in Shisanjing zhushu 十三經注疏 (Taipei: Yiwen yinshuguan, 1989), vol. 1, p. 292. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), pp. 143–46.

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Historical Lessons and the History of Knowledge · 101 25 26

27

28 29 30

31 32

33 34

35 36

ZCLD, vol. 20, p. 5. Xu Yuan 徐沅 and Qi Songwei 祁頌威, Qingmi shuwen zaixu 清秘述聞再續, in Qingmi shuwen sanzhong 清秘述聞三種 , comp. Fa Shishan 法式善 et al. (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1997), vol. 3, p. 993. Lieguo suiji zhengyao 列國歲計政要 was compiled by a Briton (whose original name is unknown to me), who collected various statistical data made available by various ambassadors and consuls in Beijing. The book contains the annual revenue and population statistics from various countries, and includes classifications according to parliament, religion, education, revenue, military, famine relief, irrigation, commerce, population, national debt, and dependents and colonies. The book was published in 1875. See Maidinfudeli 麥丁富得力, Lieguo suiji zhengyao, trans. Young John Allen and Zheng Changyan 鄭昌棪 (1875; repr., Taipei: Xinwenfeng chubanshe, 1989). ZCLD, vol. 20, p. 5. Liang Qichao, “Xin shixue” 新史學 (1902), Yinbingshi wenji, vol. 9, p. 8. Liang complained that works like the standard dynastic histories, Comprehensive Mirror, The Collected Statutes of the Great Qing Dynasty (大清會典), and their ilk were important to read, yet he needed at least thirty years to read them all. He thus concluded that it is more useful to read texts like miscellaneous histories, biographies, and gazettes, which contain extensive descriptions of popular costumes and events, than to read the dynastic histories, which merely record the imperial genealogy. “Xin shixue,” p. 5. Ibid., pp. 10–11. Ibid., p. 6. The Mingru xuean was a large but incisive discussion of major figures and schools in Ming Confucianism written by Huang Zongxi 黃宗羲 (1605–95). Liang Qichao, Zhongguo lishi yanjiufa: fububian 中國歴史研究法.附補編 (Taipei: Taiwan zhonghua shuju, 1981), pp. 29–30. On the theme of the emergence of “specialized history” and its relationship with academic discipline, see my monograph Liu Long-hsin 劉龍心, Xueshu yu zhidu: xueke tizhi yu jindai Zhongguo shixue de jianli 學術與制度:學科體制 與近代中國史學的建立 (Taipei: Yuanliu, 2002), pp. 151–261. “Libu zhengwuchu huizou biantong keju shiyi zhe,” p. 131. Cao Fuyuan 曹福元 , the examiner of the 1902 Shanxi provincial exam, emphasized, “Regardless of his qualities, a candidate without clear moral sense is unsuitable and even dangerous, because his absurd manners and opinions could corrupt the moral order. Those who refute principles like popular rights and equality, and instead highlight the major principles of morality and righteousness will always pass the examination.” See “Shanxi xiangshi timinlu qianxu” 山西鄉試題名錄前序, in Shanxi xiangshi timinlu 山 西鄉試題名錄 (Guangxu renyin buxing gengzi enzheng bingke 光緒壬寅補行 庚子恩正併科, 1902), pp. 1–5.

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102 · Liu Long-hsin 37

38

39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47

48 49 50

Wang Fan-sen, “‘Sixiang ziyuan’ yu ‘gainian gongju’: wuxu qianhou de jizhong riben yinsu”「思想資源」與「概念工具」:戊戌前後的幾種日本因素, in Zhongguo jindai sixiang yu xueshu de xipu, p. 189. According to Wang Ermin 王爾敏, the theory of “Chinese origins of Western learning” emerged roughly around the 1840s, or even can be traced back to the “Chinese origins of Buddha dharma,” which was circulated around the second and third centuries. See Wang Ermin, “Shijiu shiji Zhongguo shidafu dui Zhong-Xi guanxi zhi lijie ji yiansheng zhi xinguannian” 十九世紀中國士 大夫對中西關係之理解及衍生之新觀念, in Zhongguo jindai sixiangshi lun 中國 近代思想史論 (Taipei: Huashi chubanshe, 1978), pp. 50–51. ZCLD, vol. 9, pp. 7–8. ZCLD, vol. 9, p. 8. ZCLD, vol. 9, pp. 14–15. Giulio Aleni or Alenio (1582–1649) was an Italian Jesuit missionary who worked extensively in China. ZCLD, vol. 9, pp. 14–15. Sun Jianai 孫家鼐, “Yifu kaiban jingshi daxuetang zhe” 議覆開辦京師大學堂 摺, in Zhongguo jindai xuezhi shiliao, series 1, vol. 2, p. 624. For more information on the theory of the “Chinese origins of Western learning” in the late Qing, see Liu Long-hsin, Xueshu yu zhidu, pp. 26–48. Shanxi xiangshi timinlu, pp. 14–15. ZCLD, vol. 2, pp. 4–5. According to Wang Fan-sen, the concept of linear time, which is usually compared to a cyclical or regressive historical concept, assumes that time is linear, purposeful, directional, and progressive and that it never repeats or reverses: “Jindai Zhongguo de xianxing lishiguan: yi shehui jinhualun wei zhongxin de taolun” 近代中國的線性歷史觀 — 以社會進化論為中心的討論, Xin shixue 新史學 19.2 (June 2008): pp. 1–46. Zhejiang xiangshilu 浙江鄉試錄 (Guangxu renyin buxing gengzi xinchou enzheng bingke 光緒壬寅補行庚子辛丑恩正併科, 1902), n.p. See further Wang Fan-sen, “The Impact of the Linear Model of History,” in this volume. Shuntian xiangshilu 順天鄉試錄 (Guangxu guimao enke 光緒癸卯恩科, 1903), pp. 42–43, 45–46.

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Chapter 4

Narrating the Nation: Meiji Historiography, New History Textbooks, and the Disciplinarization of History in China* Q. Edward Wang

It goes without saying that how history is written today in China differs markedly from how it was in its long imperial period. When did this change happen? What were the sources for the change? And, how did this stylistic, or historiographic, alteration influence the formation of history as an academic discipline in China? These are the questions this chapter hopes to answer. Scholars of Chinese historiography in the past have identified two events which they believe were associated with the transformation of historical writing in China. One was the Opium War of 1839–42 and the other was Liang Qichao’s 梁啟超 (1873–1929) publication of the “New Historiography” (“Xinshixue” 新史學) in 1902. After the reigning Qing dynasty (1644–1911) was defeated by Great Britain, these scholars maintain, the Opium War ushered China in a new direction of historical development, which reoriented the way in which the Chinese wrote history. If the Opium War forced them to change their outlook on history, Liang’s “New Historiography” represented a conscientious effort by a member of the literati to embrace new ideas and methods in history

*

The author wishes to express his gratitude to Rowan University for research support of this project. At the beginning stage when he conducted the research, he also received Grant for Short-term Research in Japan from Association for Asian Studies (NEAC), for which he is grateful. An early version of this article was presented at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in Spring 2010 when he was a research fellow. The author would like to thank Nicola Di Cosmo, Daniel Botsman, Daniel Woolf, and the two editors of this volume for reading and commenting on the early versions of this chapter.

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104 · Q. Edward Wang

writing. This effort eventually led to a sweeping reform, or a “historiographic revolution” (shijie geming 史界革命) in Liang’s term, of the Chinese historiographic tradition, which the Chinese had cherished for centuries. Focusing on the second half of the nineteenth century, or the interval period between the occurrence of the Opium War and the publication of Liang’s seminal work, this chapter aims to discuss the historiographic changes in the period, which have hitherto received less attention in current scholarship, and argues that these changes paved the way for introducing the ideas of the “New Historiography” and exerted a great impact on the initial disciplinarization of history in late Qing and Republican China. Over a decade ago, Robert Darnton noted that it is difficult to analyze the readers’ experience because it “lies beyond the range of historical research.” 1 Indeed, though Liang Qichao left with us voluminous work, it remains unclear exactly how he was inspired to compose the “New Historiography.” Yet one thing does seem clear: he wrote the work during his exile in Japan after the 1898 Reform. In his exile and after acquiring a reading knowledge of Japanese, Liang read avidly a good number of Japanese books, especially Japanese translations of Western works.2 By his own admission, for Liang this reading experience was like a person who “was seeing sunshine in the dark, or drinking wine on an empty stomach.” 3 If this was eye-opening experience for him, this feeling was shared by many other Chinese studying and sojourning in Japan, whose number, according to some estimates, reached hundreds and thousands in the early twentieth century.4 It seems that these students were also the most receptive audience of Liang’s work. His “New Historiography” was serialized in the New Citizen’s Journal (Xinmin congbao 新民叢報), a newspaper Liang edited and published while in Japan. In response to Liang’s call for a “historiographical revolution,” Deng Shi 鄧實 (1877–1951), who also studied in Japan, explained that this “revolution” was crucial for the survival of the Chinese nation because “if there were no such a revolution, then there would be no history in China thenceforth. If there was no history, then there would be no nation.” 5 In 1905, after his return from Japan, Deng went on to co-edit, along with others from the same group, the National Essence Journal (Guocui xuebao 國粹學報), aiming to recover and revive the cultural essence in the Chinese tradition for the nation-building

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Narrating the Nation · 105

project.6 All this suggests that if Liang’s “New Historiography” signaled the transformation of Chinese historical writing, this transformation had a “Japanese nexus,” which prepared not only Liang’s writing but also its audience. To study this “Japanese nexus” is not the same as to study the readership of Liang’s “New Historiography” per se, but to the extent that those who shared Liang’s idea about the “historiographical revolution” were his readers, his cohorts, and his acquaintances and friends, this investigation may enable us to probe and explain the far-reaching impact his work had on the transformation of historical study in twentiethcentury China. Japan’s mediating role in facilitating China’s search for modernity, and its cultural influence in China via Liang Qichao’s work in particular, has attracted great attention from scholars of many disciplines across North America and East Asia.7 This article hopes to add to the current scholarship by examining both the writings of historians and the dissemination of historical knowledge at the school level, namely the writing and publication of history textbooks in both countries during the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. Indeed, not only did Japanese historical writing exert its influence in China through the history textbooks written by its China scholars, but the ideas of nationalist historiography also, I argue, took deep root in both countries via the adoption of a new narrative style in history textbooks. In history writing, “style is not the dress of thought but part of its essence.” 8 Liang’s “New Historiography” has had a seminal influence in modern China because it inspired its Japan-educated readers to espouse and expound nationalism and progressive history in textbook writing. The writing of these new style textbooks was part and parcel of the educational reform, citizenship education, and nation building in the two countries.9 Moreover, the adoption of a new narrative style in writing history textbooks was significant because it also, invariably, exerted an influence in changing the way history was written in the Republican era (1912–49).

Changes of Meiji Historiography: The Official versus the “Civilizational” If the Qing defeat by the English in the Opium War constituted a watershed in Chinese history, then Commodore Matthew Perry’s visit to Japan in 1853, which resulted in the opening of Japan a year after, seemed to

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106 · Q. Edward Wang

have had an even greater impact. For though teetering on the edge of collapse, the Qing dynasty lasted until 1911, whereas the reigning Tokugawa government fell in the Meiji Restoration of 1868, resulting in the emperor’s nominal return to power in Japan. However, insofar as its impact on Japan’s historical practice is concerned, neither Perry’s visit nor the establishment of the Meiji government had an epoch-making significance. Tokugawa Japan had its window on the West, or “Dutch Learning” (Rangaku 蘭学), which had kept some Japanese abreast of what was happening outside their world. If Japan was the mediator for China to gain knowledge about Western history, Holland had been Japan’s mediator, only several decades earlier.10 According to one estimate, during the first decade of the Meiji reign, fifty-four titles in history, many by Dutch scholars, were rendered into Japanese.11 Needless to say, most of the translators had been schooled by the Dutch Learning tradition. Dutch Learning thus nurtured the first generation of Japanese “experts” on Western culture and history, or the careers of Nishimura Shigeki 西村重 樹 (1828–1902), Mitsukuri Rinsh¯o 萁作麟祥 (1846–97), and, to a lesser extent, Fukuzawa Yukichi 福澤諭吉 (1835–1901). At the onset of the Meiji era, all of them had become well poised to offer advice and guidance for the Westernization movement launched by the new government. Of the Western histories translated in Japan at the time, Henry Buckle’s History of Civilization in England and François Guizot’s Histoire de la civilization en Europe were particularly inf luential, whereas the surveys of world history compiled by two lesser-known American authors, William Swinton and Peter Parley (pen name for Samuel G. Goodrich), also had a wide appeal in Japanese schools.12 Buckle and Guizot’s histories were influential because Fukuzawa Yukichi, an intellectual leader of the time, considered their approach to historical writing, which he called “civilizational history” (bunmeishi 文明史), the antithesis of the monarch-centered historiographical tradition established by the Confucian scholars during the Tokugawa period. In his 1875 Outline of a Theory of Civilization (Bunmeiron no gairyaku 文明論の概略), a political pamphlet that had a far-reaching influence in changing the historical mind of modern Japan, Fukuzawa enjoined his readers to shift their interest in history from the rise and fall of imperial power to the ebb and flow of civilizational development in the nation. In response to Fukuzawa’s advocacy of “civilizational history,” Taguchi Ukichi 田口卯吉 (1855– 1905) embarked on the writing of his inf luential A Short History of Japanese Civilization (Nihon kaika sh¯oshi 日本開化小史) in 1877, patterning

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Narrating the Nation · 107

on Guizot and Buckle and propagating the ideas of social Darwinism à la Herbert Spencer. Thanks to their effort and inf luence, “civilizational history” emerged as a new genre in historical writing. Tracing Japan’s history in a continuous and coherent narrative structure, it jettisoned, though not completely, the traditional monarch-centered framework and expanded the historian’s scope from imperial successions to a wide array of aspects (social customs, economic development, religious beliefs, cultural and intellectual advances, etc.) in order to demonstrate the progress of Japanese civilization.13 This new style was to exert a tremendous impact on the history textbook writing in Meiji Japan. Despite its apparent public appeal, however, the “civilizational history” remained on the periphery of the mainstream historical practice in the early Meiji era. While maintaining a high public profile, both Fukuzawa and Taguchi were mainly known as “journalist historians” at the time, no match for the stature of their official counterparts.14 In other words, though the Meiji leaders exhibited a penchant for Western culture, insofar as their interest in history was concerned, it remained anchored on the traditional model, or the paradigm of dynastic historiography established in ancient China and exported to Japan from the eighth century on. In 1869, when the Meiji government was barely one year old, it promulgated an imperial decree that it was to establish a History Bureau whose objective was to compile a “national history” (kokushi 国史). The meaning of this “national history” was defined in the tradition of the Six National Histories (Rikkokushi 六国史) from the ninth century. Pursuant to the model of official history writing established during the Tang period in China, it was a contemporary history of the incumbent regime, serving a twofold goal—to legitimate its rule on the one hand and preserve its historical records on the other.15 According to the Meiji imperial decree, as a sequel to the Six National Histories, this “national history” was launched by the government to “affirm the prince-minister hierarchy, distinguish the foreign and the native, and promote the cardinal [moral] principle in the country.” 16 Not only was the project’s goal described in traditional idiom, but its execution was also carried out by a group of China scholars steeped in classical Confucian learning because, among other reasons, the “national history” was to be written in Chinese.17 Shigeno Yasutsugu 重野安驛 (1827–1910), a deputy director of the History Bureau, for example, received his education in Sh¯oheik¯o, a famous Confucian academy in the Tokugawa period; so did Kume Kunitake 久米邦武 (1839–1931), Shigeno’s

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108 · Q. Edward Wang

right arm in the Bureau. During the Tokugawa period, Confucian learning, or “Neo-Confucianism,” a somewhat inaccurate label for its development from the eleventh century on, had not only taken root in Japan but also divided into several factions. By the nineteenth century, though the Neo-Confucian orthodoxy remained favored by the Tokugawa family, it had faced the challenge of several new schools, of which the “evidential school” (J. k¯o sh¯o gaku; C. kaozhengxue 考證學) was most important. Having risen first in Qing China and spread to Japan toward the end of the eighteenth century, the school was known for its empirical interest in textual and historical criticism and its disdain for the NeoConfucian metaphysics and intuitive reading of the ancient Classics and texts.18 The factionalism within the Japanese Confucian tradition was well present in the Historiography Bureau; though in the end, the evidential school, represented by Shigeno and Kume, gained the upper hand over their Neo-Confucian adversaries.19 Their victory meant that the Bureau was to focus its work on culling and criticizing historical sources, including examining the extant historiographical corpus. This essentially evidential project led its staff to discover the value of Western historical works. Having read Augustus Mounsey’s The Satsuma Rebellion: An Episode of Modern Japanese History, for example, Shigeno Yasutsugu appeared quite impressed by the Western historians’ narrative style and their effort at causal explanation.20 In other words, Shigeno and his colleagues at the Bureau were curious about the development of Western historiography. But unlike their amateur counterparts, or the advocates of the EnglishFrench model of “civilizational history,” they were more intrigued by the state-oriented and conservative German/Rankean historiography. 21 Perhaps owing to their effort, the newly founded Tokyo Imperial University offered its first history professorship to Ludwig Riess (1861–1928), a distant disciple of Ranke, in 1887. A year later, the Bureau also transferred to the university, turning Shigeno, Kume, and Hoshino Hisashi 星野恒 (1839–1917), another compiler at the Bureau, into Riess’s colleagues at the university. Together with Riess, they founded the Japanese Historical Association in 1889 and published the History Journal (Rekishi zasshi 歷史 雜誌), Japan’s first professional journal in historical study.22 Thus, by following the German model, Japan established its profession of history in tandem with that in France, England, and the United States. But this quick metamorphosis tended to belie the fact that historical practice in the Meiji period remained by and large in the grip of

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Narrating the Nation · 109

tradition. That Shigeno and his colleagues at the History Bureau chose Rankean historiography over other European competitors was a telling example, for the Rankean emphasis on source criticism (Quellenkritik) as the basis for historical study was the best foil for them to pursue evidential interest in examining historical sources via textual and historical criticism. 23 Indeed, there were comparable elements in the historical cultures of the Sinitic and the Western worlds; these historians were enthralled by Rankean historiography because it enabled them to expand on the indigenous tradition.24 Nor did the Meiji government ever forsake its goal to make history useful for political legitimacy and moral suasion. In addition to compiling a “national history,” the History Bureau, as a government office, extended control of the country’s history education. Kimura Masakoto 木材正辭 (1827–1913), a compiler at the Bureau, coauthored the Outline of History (Shiryaku 史略), the first official textbook issued by the Meiji government in 1872.25 Consisting of four volumes, the Outline of History sold over 130,000 copies within the first five years after its publication.26 Kimura wrote its first two volumes on Japanese and Chinese history, and Uchida Masao 內田正雄 (1838–76) wrote the third and fourth volumes on Western history. That Western history received more coverage ref lected the zest for knowing the West in the early Meiji period.27 However, insofar as Kimura’s writing is concerned, it remains conventional both in style and content. His survey of Japanese history, for example, begins with the “age of gods” (kamiyo 神代) and proceeds to the Jinmu Emperor, reiterating and confirming the legend that Jinmu, the putative progenitor of the Japanese royal line, was of divine descent. Following this fictitious line of imperial succession, he traces the course of Japanese history all the way to the Meiji era. His writing of Chinese history adopts a similar approach; it begins with mythic emperors and kings in the time of yore and then charts the rise and fall of dynasties in the subsequent ages.28 The Outline of History’s section on Western history also centers on political history. Yet it adopts a twofold periodization—ancient and modern—and organizes its content both horizontally, moving from country to country, and linearly, tracing one country’s history from the ancient to the modern. Drawing on Western sources, Uchida in 1874 had written a gazetteer on world history and geography. His approach to the Outline of History thus extended the influence of Western historiography. But different from Taguchi’s “civilizational history,” his writing was far

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110 · Q. Edward Wang

from a deliberate attempt to develop a coherent narrative structure. Though comprehensive, his coverage of Western history is more like a hotchpotch of disparate records than a fluent and well-organized narrative.29 Despite the Western influence and Fukuzawa’s call for a reform in historical writing, Japanese textbook writers at the time remained uninterested in experimenting with the narrative style in dealing with Western history, let alone Japanese and Chinese history. Thus, there were two tracks of development in modern Japanese historiography. One represented a private initiative by such “journalist historians” as Fukuzawa and Taguchi to advance “civilizational history,” or Enlightenment historiography (keim¯o shigaku 蒙史学), and the other was embodied by the development of “academic historiography” (akademizumu shigaku アカデミズム史学), whose leaders were either appointed government officials or officials-turned-professors at the Tokyo Imperial University.30 On the private side, Taguchi was committed to promoting “civilizational history.” The new narrative style, he reasoned, was not entirely “new” because it was also found in the Chinese tradition of historical writing. In addition to annals biography and chronicle, Chinese historians had invented what Taguchi called the “historical discussion style” (shirontai 史論橼), with which the historians explored the causal relations embedded in the change of history, much like what he did in writing A Short History of Japanese Civilization.31 By editing the journal Shikai (Sea of History 史海), he propagated this interpretive and narrative approach to history writing and the idea of progressive history.32 But on the other side, during the 1870s and the 1890s, the Ministry of Education continued to exercise its control over textbook compilation by developing many regulations and policies. None of them however represented a serious attempt to introduce substantial changes to the content and style of history textbooks. For about a decade, Kimura Masakoto remained a chief compiler of Japanese history textbooks in the Ministry of Education, as was Uchida Masao of Western/world history. Japanese students still learned, quite deliberately on the part of the government, that their emperor was the most recent successor to the unbroken line of imperial succession beginning in Emperor Jinmu spanning over the past two millennia. And this Bansei itsukei 萬世一系 (lit., ten thousand thrones from one pedigree) tradition not only proved the sacrosanctity of Japan’s imperial power but also laid the foundation for its unique “national polity” (kokutai 国体).33

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Narrating the Nation · 111

The publication of A Brief History of Japan for Elementary Schools (Sh¯ogaku Nihon Shiryaku 小学日本史略), compiled by Ijichi Sadaka 伊地知 貞馨 (1826–87) under Shigeno Yasutsugu’s supervision in 1879, was a telling example. Despite Shigeno’s well-known bias for source verification and historical factuality, he apparently did not advise Ijichi to leave out the “age of gods” in the book, even though the Ministry of Education at the time had recommended that textbook writers begin Japanese history by description of the archipelago’s geography and early residents. The book’s preface explains that the age of gods was an important stage because from which Japan’s kokutai or “national polity” and agricultural and loom/weaving techniques had originated.34 But the fact that Ijichi Sadaka had to explain why he included the age of gods suggests that change did come, if slowly. Kimura Masakoto’s Japanese Historical Case (Kokushian 国史案, 1877), provides another interesting instance of this. In its preface, Kimura also argued though his book remained monarch centered, he had no intention of exalting the feats of the imperial courts. Instead, perhaps influenced by the “civilizational history,” he said he was interested in presenting the vicissitudes of zeitgeist (jisei 時勢) in history. For that purpose, he divided Japanese history into several periods, though this periodization was still based on the much-vaunted “unbroken” line of royal succession. Interestingly, Shigeno Yasutsugu, while retaining his interest in the age of gods, seemed quite unimpressed by Kimura’s effort. In an article published at the time, he stated that there was now a need to expand the scope and coverage of history study and writing.35 All this suggests that toward the 1880s, the influence of “civilizational history” had begun to infiltrate into the writing of history textbooks. Kasama Masuz¯o’s 笠間益三 (1844–97) revision of his A Brief History of Japan (Nihon ryakushi 日本略史), originally published in 1873, was a good illustration. In this 1880 revised version, A New Brief History of Japan (Shinhen Nihon ryakushi 新編日本略史), Kasama not only left out the age of gods, tracing the royal succession directly to Emperor Jinmu, but also, by dividing his book into eight sections, spread over three fascicles, made a crude yet valiant attempt at progressive history through this division. At the end of every fascicle, he also attached a commentary, summarizing the general historical change in the given period. It commented not only on political and military events but also on social, economic, and cultural development.36

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112 · Q. Edward Wang

If Kasama used commentary (a well-established form in East Asian historiography going back to Sima Qian [ca. 145–75 BCE]) to expand the coverage of his book from the imperial succession to sociocultural ¯ aspects, Tsubaki Tokinaka 椿時中 and Otsuki Fumihiko 大摫文彥 (1847– 1928) revived the style of “narratives from beginning to end” (J. kiji honmatsu; C. jishi benmo 記事本末) in their writing. Invented by Yuan Shu 袁樞 (1131–1205) in China to facilitate the reading of Sima Guang’s 司 馬光 (1019–86) Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government (Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑑), this style offered a continuous narrative for an event that had appeared disjointedly in Sima Guang’s massive chronicle. Since both authors intended their texts for elementary school pupils, Tsubaki ¯ and Otsuki deemed Yuan Shu’s style a better choice for both pedagogical and historiographical reasons. Tsubaki’s National History from Beginning to End (Kokushi kiji honmatsu 国史記事本末) offers, chronologically, interesting stories from the country’s past, though most of them are about emperors, empresses, and their able ministers and associates. Nevertheless, having jettisoned the tedious chronicle of imperial succession, it is def initely a better read for school pupils. Though the word “kiji ¯ honmatsu” 記事本末 does not appear in its title, Otsuki’s A Revised Short History of Japan (K¯osei Nihon sh¯oshi 更正日本小史) narrates stories drawn ¯ from an even broader range. Having adopted a periodization, Otsuki clearly intends to expand his book’s coverage from the imperial succession to civilizational progress in the nation.37 ¯ Both Tsubaki’s and Otsuki’s texts were published in 1882. This suggested that by then, history textbook writing in Japan had experienced a new turn—narrative history had gained more popularity over the conventional chronicle and annals biography. This stylistic preference reflected and registered the change of historical consciousness via the influence of nationalism and evolutionism. By broadening the coverage of their writings, historians were now seeking to delineate the evolution of Japanese civilization, or the national progress, in a continuous narrative, peppered at times also with causal analyses. However, while a viable alternative to traditional historiography, this new, narrative history retained the traditional interest in celebrating the sanctity of Japan’s imperial throne and the significance of its national polity. After the promulgation of the Imperial Rescript on Education in 1890, this interest was to gain a greater momentum in history and history textbook writing.38

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From Japan to China: The Ascendance of “Civilizational History” Through narration and periodization, Japanese historians reconstructed their country’s past. They also extended the same effort to the writing of Chinese history. Beginning in 1883, Taguchi Ukichi took the initiative by writing A Short History of Chinese Civilization (Shina kaika sh¯oshi 支那開 化小史), aiming clearly to replicate the success of his A Short History of Japanese Civilization. As befits the first narrative history of Chinese civilization, Taguchi’s book represents a gallant attempt to describe the progress of the Chinese civilization while circumventing the conventional focus on the imperium. Its reception, however, was far less positive than that of A Short History of Japanese Civilization. Notwithstanding his advocacy of “civilizational history,” Taguchi’s narrative remained an adumbration of the dynastic changes through the ages. Facing his critics, Taguchi offered a feeble defense. He acknowledged that the writing of “civilizational history” ought to describe “major social events” (shakai daiji 社会大事). But in ancient China, he contended, these events happened at the court.39 This statement is obviously not convincing, for if dynastic changes still monopolized the historian’s attention, then “civilizational history” would obviously lose its essential efficacy. If Taguchi’s attempt at a “civilizational history” of China was unsuccessful, this might have resulted from his lack of research on the subject. As a thirty-threeyear-old young scholar, he might not have had the time to update his knowledge about Chinese history, obtained most likely in his early years from traditional sources. But his experiment proved to be influential at the time, inspiring others to emulate.40 In 1888 Naka Michiyo 那珂通世 (1851–1908), a trained sinologist, began publishing his A General History of China (Shina tsushi ¯ 支那通史); and by 1890, he had completed five fascicles, offering a narrative account of Chinese history from its legendary antiquity to the Song period of the thirteenth century.41 While incomplete, A General History of China was a more serious and successful attempt to rewrite Chinese history in the genre of “civilizational history.” It adopted a scheme of periodization, dividing Chinese history into three periods: ancient, middle, and modern (j¯osei 上世, chusei ¯ 中世, kinsei 近世). It also extended its coverage from political events to religious life, intellectual culture, and social institutions. In its wake, more Japanese sinologists published textbooks on Chinese history in the same narrative form, such as Ichimura Sanjir¯o’s 市

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114 · Q. Edward Wang 村 次郎 (1864–1947) A History of China (Shina shi 支那史, 1891) and An Essential History of China (Shina shiy¯o 支那史要, 1894) and Kuwabara Jitsuz¯o’s 桑原騖藏 (1870–1931) Middle School Eastern History (Ch¯u t¯o t¯oy¯oshi 中等東洋史, 1898). Varied in form and focus, these books helped

introduce narrative history, qua “civilizational history,” into the writing of Chinese history. The publication of these new histories of China during the 1890s has a twofold importance. It shows, on the one hand, that the integrated narrative style had become the new form in history and history textbook writing. On the other hand, it suggests that the Japanese had renewed and increased their interest in China. Indeed, having experienced two decades of fierce Westernization, there had emerged a new generation of intellectual leaders, such as Shiga Shigetaka 志賀重昂 (1863–1927), Miyake Setsurei 三宅雪嶺 (1860–1945), and Kuga Katsunan 陸褐南 (1857–1907), who, in the 1890s, launched the search for a distinct Japanese cultural identity against the runaway trend of Westernization.42 Given Japan’s historical ties with China, this search naturally involved the study of China, though not merely for scholarly or cultural reasons. In 1894, when Naka Michiyo suggested the teaching of “Eastern history” (t¯oy¯oshi 東洋史) in middle schools, the Sino-Japanese War erupted. Thus, Japan’s “return” to the East, or “(re)discovery” of its “Orient” (t¯oy¯o 東洋), at this juncture invariably helped justify the country’s imperialistic expansion in the region.43 After the Sino-Japanese War, Eastern history joined national history and Western history (seiy¯oshi 西洋史) to form the triumvirate that dominated the teaching of history in Japanese schools at all levels through World War II.44 It was also after the Sino-Japanese War that some members of China’s educated class began to make serious attempt at introducing changes to Chinese historiography. Since its defeat by the British in the Opium War of 1939–1942, the reigning Qing dynasty in China had suffered several losses in its confrontation with foreign powers. These losses prompted the government to seek to improve the country’s military force and update its armaments. Around the same time that the Japanese embarked on the course of Westernization in the early Meiji era, the Chinese government also launched its own Self-Strengthening Movement. Its main purpose, as Wei Yuan 魏源 (1794–1857) pithily put it, was to “learn about the barbarians’ knack in order to reign in them” (shiyi zhiyi 師夷制夷). That is, military modernization was its principal goal. At the same time, however, other attempts were also made to gain knowledge about the “barbarians.”

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Assisted by Western missionaries, the government set up language schools and sent students overseas to train them as naval officers. Yan Fu 嚴復 (1853–1921), a member of this group, for example, later became an “expert” on and exponent of Western thought, especially evolutionary thought, or social Darwinism à la T. H. Huxley and Herbert Spencer. In the aftermath of the Sino-Japanese War, his translations of their works would cause a profound change in the worldview and historical outlook of his compatriots. Indeed, the Qing’s shattering defeat by Japan in 1895 had made the idea of survival of the fittest, the Spencerian interpretation of Darwinism, particularly popular among the Chinese. The haunting question to them then was this: If China could not even fend off Japan’s aggression, a land which was not only much smaller but was indebted to China for its cultural development in the past, how could it ever hope to survive the competition of powers in the modern world? Yan Fu’s translation of Huxley’s Evolution and Ethics, in 1896, offered a timely explanation to them that evolution was now the law governing the course of human history: If China hoped to survive, it had to evolve, which meant departing from its tradition, not only in military but also in political and cultural terms. The central difference between China and the West, as perceived by Yan Fu, Liang Qichao, and others at the time, was its monarch-centered dynastic system. Worse still, this monarchism was buttressed by the tradition of dynastic historiography. Thus, in the late 1890s, both Yan Fu and Liang Qichao pitted traditional Chinese dynastic historiography against nationalist historiography in the modern West, much like what Fukuzawa Yukichi had attempted in his Outline of a Theory of Civilization. Propitiously, John R. Green’s History of the English People was made available to them by Western missionaries at the time, as was Robert Mackenzie’s The Nineteenth Century: A History. Regarded as examples of “people’s history” (minshi 民史), or the counterexample of dynastic historiography, these histories inspired Chinese historians, either by their focus on the people or for their espousal of linear progress in history.45 But interestingly, despite their popularity, their narrative approach to history writing seemed to go unnoticed among their Chinese readers. If evolutionary theory advocated the idea of change, it also appealed to the Qing Emperor Guangxu. Assisted and advised by Kang Youwei 康 有為 (1858–1927) and Liang Qichao, the emperor spearheaded the 1898 Reform, which, unfortunately, ended in a bloody coup d’état after mere

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116 · Q. Edward Wang

hundred days. But the reform agenda did not die completely. For example, Peking University, established in 1898, was kept intact thenceforth, suggesting that the government remained interested in reforming the country’s schooling system. To carry out this project, Zhang Zhidong 張 之洞 (1837–1909), the ranking official, advocated that Chinese students go to Japan to receive a modern education because, he reasoned, Japan had succeeded in modernizing its country, and because it was closer to China (than Western countries) in both geographical and cultural and linguistic terms. A close watcher of Japan’s rapid transformation, Zhang apparently was also impressed by the effort by Shiga Shigetaka, Miyake Setsurei, and Kuga Katsunan to retain an Asian identity amid overwhelming Western influence. In his own proposal, which held considerable sway in the Qing court, Zhang defined China’s relation with the West as that of “foundation” (ti 體) and “utility” (yong 用); or culturally speaking, Chinese learning was the foundation and Western learning the utility. This encapsulation pointed to the same direction in which the new Meiji generation had headed. In other words, Japan became the model for China’s pursuit of (educational) modernization because after the 1880s, it had made a conscientious effort to form its own cultural identity by reviving, partially and selectively, its cultural roots in East Asia.46 As Zhang Zhidong hoped, Japan became the favorite destination among the Chinese students eager to receive a modern education at the turn of the twentieth century. In addition to Qing government sponsorship, the Japanese government and Japanese educators provided various incentives to attract these students, both male and female.47 H¯o sei University, K¯obun College, and Waseda University, for instance, became popular among the Chinese students because all these schools had set up special programs to accommodate their needs.48 Insofar as historical education was concerned, Waseda University was obviously their favorite choice, for its history department housed some of Japan’s best-known historians of the time: Kume Kunitake, Ukita Kazutami 浮田和民 (1859– 1946), Naka Michiyo, Tsuboi Kumez¯o 坪井九馬三 (1858–1936), and Shigeno Yasutsugu.49 Little wonder that when Chinese students decided to translate Japanese historical books into Chinese, they first selected the works written by these historians. The best example perhaps was Ukita Kazutami’s Introduction to Historical Study (Shigaku genron 史学原論 or Shigaku ts¯uron 史学通論), which had been circulated on campus before it was formally published by the university. During 1902 and 1903, or the

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peak time of Chinese students studying in Japan, this book was translated into Chinese in six different versions (some were partial translations).50 It also played a noticeable role in helping Liang Qichao conceptualize his ideas of modern historiography in writing the New Historiography.51 Having received some of his education in the United States, Ukita Kazutami had established himself in Japan as an expert on Western history and historiography. At Waseda, he regularly taught such courses on Western history, the philosophy of history, and the history of Western historiography. 52 Written as his lecture notes, Ukita’s Introduction to Historical Study manifested his knowledge of all these subjects. Drawing on a variety of opinions by historians and historical thinkers in the West, including Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Thomas Macaulay, Edward Freeman, Matthew Arnold, Herbert Spencer, and G. W. F. Hegel, Ukita opens his book by discussing the definition of history and the nature of historical study. He proclaims that the purpose of historical writing is to adumbrate the evolution of civilization in a nation or a culture.53 In so doing, he not only acquainted his Chinese readers with current scholarship of Western historiography but also propagated the model of national and civilizational history advanced by his predecessors Fukuzawa Yukichi and Taguchi Ukichi. Ukita’s discussion of Western historiography and historical thinking is most likely a rehash of an introductory American college textbook from the time. But to the Chinese students, the book opened up new vistas of adopting an alternative approach to the tradition of dynastic historiography. While the Chinese continued to believe that history provided wisdom to help solve present problems, they began to feel at the time that the extant historiographical corpus had become woefully inadequate. This realization is best illustrated by Liang Qichao’s “New Historiography,” especially in Liang’s contrast between the practice of the “old historian” and that of the “new historian.” If the “old historian” focuses on rectifying moral lessons for the monarch, Liang argues, the “new historian” should describe the “phenomena of evolution,” especially the “phenomena of human evolution,” and search for a “common law and/or rule” of evolution in history. Historical evolution, or national progress, thus is the center of his “new historiography.” Dynastic histories have become obsolete because they misplaced their focus on the “monarch” (jun 君), rather than on the “people” (min 民).54 There is no gainsaying that Ukita Kazutami’s Introduction to Historical Study influenced Liang’s New Historiography; scholars have pointed

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118 · Q. Edward Wang

out that many passages in these two texts are virtually identical.55 This should not be so surprising, given the popularity of Ukita’s book among the Chinese. Zhang Taiyan 章太炎 (1868–1936) recalled that in his attempt to write a general history of China he had also consulted Ukita’s work. 56 The Introduction to Historical Study was so instrumental in changing the historical mind of these Chinese intellectuals because, in its succinct account, one finds a distilled form of the ideas of Fukuzawa Yukichi, Taguchi Ukichi, and other “civilizational historians” from the previous age. Without doubt, Liang Qichao’s criticism of dynastic historiography and his call for national history bear the imprints of Ukita’s influence. But a closer look reveals that his many ideas are also comparable to Fukuzawa’s in the Outline of a Theory of Civilization. In short, Liang’s advocacy of national history, or “people’s history” (minshi 民史), was not indebted solely to Ukita’s stimulus but was inspired and influenced by the entire “civilizational history” project of the early Meiji era.57 The year 1902 was an opportune time for the Chinese to introduce new ideas about historical writing from the West and Japan into China, for a year earlier, the Qing dynasty had formally launched the “New Policy” (Xinzheng 新政); one of its foci was to introduce modern education, including the introduction of such new subjects as foreign languages, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, and adoption of new approaches to teaching such traditional subjects as history, the Classics, ethics, and philosophy. 58 As new schools opened across China, the demand for new textbooks also grew dramatically. For want of Chinese ones, Japanese textbooks thus became the best substitute for two main reasons. 59 One was that there had been a great number of Chinese students studying in Japan who could quickly produce translations of the Japanese textbooks they had put their hands on. The other was that the cultural and linguistic similarities between China and Japan made the translation fairly easy, a point made by Zhang Zhidong a decade or so earlier. In teaching Chinese history, the textbooks written by Japanese sinologists had a greater appeal, not only because they presented a new, evolutionary outlook on Chinese history but also because their authors boasted a good knowledge of the Chinese language and history. Naka Michiyo’s A General History of China was a prime example, partly because it was written in Chinese and partly because of its innovative approach. In developing this approach, Naka had consulted European historiography,

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which made him attentive to sociocultural change and inquisitive about their causes.60 This cognitive approach intrigued the Chinese. Although incomplete, Naka’s book was adopted by Chinese schools in 1899, one of the first of its kind. It received accolades from Luo Zhenyu 羅振玉 (1866– 1940) and Wang Guowei 王國維 (1877–1927), two distinguished “Japan hands” in late Qing China, for its concise re-presentation of Chinese history. In addition to their knowledge of Japan, Luo and Wang were well-respected scholars, famous for their successful attempt at using oracle bone inscriptions to study ancient Chinese history. Around 1902 Liu Yizheng 柳詒徵 (1880–1956), another acclaimed scholar, revised Naka’s text and extended its coverage to the Ming. Both Naka’s original work and its revised edition by Liu Yizheng, titled A Historical Outline of Various Dynasties (Lidai shilüe 歷代史略), were widely adopted by schools in the late Qing, as were the textbooks by Ichimura Sanjir¯o and Kuwabara Jitsuz¯o, Naka’s fellow sinologists. Like Naka’s, these texts also received endorsement from such leading Chinese scholars as Liang Qichao.61 Although Chinese scholars welcomed the attempt by Japanese sinologists to narrate China’s history, they were also anxious, even distressed, about having to use their texts. After all, the Qing educational reform was launched not only in the wake of its cataclysmic defeat by Japan but also of the devastation that followed the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. Nationalist sentiment was on the rise among Chinese, precipitated by the reports about China’s defeat in these conf licts that circulated in the budding news media, and by the havoc wrecked by the Boxers and the Western coalition forces’ occupation of the country’s capital.62 The Chinese attitude toward Japanese textbooks reflected this growing nationalist sentiment. Although they were drawn to Japanese works, the translators, or the Chinese students studying in Japan, expressed frustration and anger at the fact that China was so weak and backward that it could not even publish adequate textbooks to educate its children. In 1905, for example, Cai Huidong 蔡惠東, a student in Tokyo, made a decision to translate Kubo Tenzui’s 久保天隨 (1875–1934) General History of the East (T¯o y¯o tsushi ¯ 東洋通史). He explained his decision in the preface, stating that while China was the largest country in East Asia and had played a leadership role in the region’s cultural development, it has not yet produced a comprehensive history of the region. Although he did the translation, Cai hastened to add that he felt a sense of shame about his own country.63 Cai Huidong’s sense of shame was shared by many others. While commending Naka Michiyo’s A General History of China, Luo Zhenyu

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120 · Q. Edward Wang

also lamented that no Chinese scholar had been able to write it.64 The contemplative Wang Guowei raised a poignant question: “[I]f it is shameful [to use Japanese textbooks], then whose fault is that?” Obviously, Wang was pained by China’s inadequacy in modern education.65 Incidentally, the Qing government, too, considered the use of Japanese textbooks a temporary policy. In its “Approved Memorial of School Regulations” (Zouding xuetang zhangcheng 奏定學堂章程, 1904), one of the key directives for the reform, the government stipulated that while Japanese textbooks are needed in such new academic studies as politics and law, this is only intended to be provisional and that the Chinese scholars “should still compile their own ones.” 66 If Chinese textbook writers were pressured to compile their own texts, this pressure was felt most acutely among history textbook writers, for, as Liang Qichao proclaimed at the outset of his “New Historiography,” history had been the only autochthonous (guyou 固有) form of learning in China.67 Though interested in the fresh outlook exhibited in Japanese textbooks on Chinese history, the Chinese translators had no intention of placing Japanese sinology on the pedestal. On the contrary, whenever possible, they made conscientious efforts to revise, even alter, the original text, either out of a political interest or for a scholarly or pedagogical reasons. Liu Yizheng’s revision and expansion of Naka Michiyo’s A General History of China is a case in point; by extending its coverage to the Yuan and Ming periods, Liu enhanced the book’s pedagogical value. Pedagogy and politics could also work hand in hand in motivating the Chinese to revise the Japanese textbooks. In 1906, for example, Shao Xi 邵曦, another Japan-educated student, compiled a Q and A in Chinese History (Zhongguo lishi wenda 中國歷史問答), which was essentially a translation of a similarly titled Japanese book, published originally by Fuzanb¯o 富山房, a noted Japanese publisher, in 1894. Shao’s translation extended the book’s coverage to the aftermath of the Qing’s defeat in the Boxer Rebellion. By his own admission, Shao added this part not only to keep the book up to date, but also to remind his readers of the weakness of the Qing dynasty, a major cause, he argued, of humiliation for the Chinese people.68 Aside from his nationalist overtone, Shao’s revision actually follows the general practice of Japanese textbook writing—most Japanese textbooks are quite up to date with regard to their coverage. Kuwabara Jitsuz¯o’s Preliminary Eastern History (Shot¯o T¯o y¯oshi 初等東洋史) is an

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example. Published in 1900, it covers events as recent as the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95. Its Chinese translation, appearing in 1904 under the title Textbook of East Asian History (Dongyashi keben 東亞史課本), included an additional chapter that covered the aftermath of the war. In addition to changing terminology, as with “Shina” to “China” and “Qing dynasty” to “our dynasty,” the Chinese translation is peppered with emotional, nationalistic expressions. In discussing the aftermath of the war, for instance, the anonymous translator(s) angrily wrote that “our country is a great country in territory and population, [but] because of apathy and anemia, it has now been preyed on by many powers. This is truly deplorable!” 69 All this suggests that though the demand for new textbooks was generated by the Qing government project on establishing modern schools, the Chinese translators who turned to the translation of Japanese textbooks to fulfill this need were not necessarily sympathizers of the reigning regime. To be sure, like Liang Qichao, they hoped to see the success of the reforms. But their main interest was to make China a strong nation. One ought not forget that it was among these Japaneseeducated youth that Sun Yat-sen 孫中山 (1866–1925), the revolutionary committed to overthrowing the Qing, found his most devoted followers. If Chinese translators appeared offended by some of the terminology and content in these Japanese texts, these things also stirred up their nationalist sentiment and made them more committed to China’s nationbuilding project. Historiographically speaking, the Japanese history textbooks were attractive to the Chinese because they are nationalistic. As discussed earlier, Fukuzawa Yukichi and Taguchi Ukichi advocated “civilizational history” in opposition to traditional Confucian historiography because the latter, in their opinion, had become inadequate to delineate the progress of the nation. Liang Qichao’s “New Historiography” reiterated the same position. Though the Japanese textbooks were sketchy, which was one of the complaints made by Chinese translators and readers, their Japanese authors intended to present changes in Chinese history from an evolutionary perspective and on a national scale. This intention resulted in two noticeable changes in historiography. In order to expand the coverage from dynastic succession to “national” progress, the Japanese historians chose to compose their accounts in an integrated narrative style, and in order to present an evolutionary account of history they

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122 · Q. Edward Wang

adopted a scheme of periodization that usually divided the past into ¯ 中古), and “modern” (kinko 近古) “ancient” (j¯oko 上古), “medieval” (chuko periods, clearly drawing on the Western historical experience. These historiographical changes exemplify the idea of a “new historiography,” or “people’s history,” propounded by Liang Qichao, Deng Shi, and others at the time.70 In a word, translating the Japanese history textbooks was part and parcel of the “historiographical revolution” in late Qing China.

“The Birth of Chinese Historiography”: New History Textbooks in China If nationalism was a primary reason for the Chinese to revise Japanese textbooks on Chinese history, it also prompted them to compile their own. As noted earlier, Deng Shi had emphatically declared, “If there was no history, then there would be no nation.” Exemplary as they might appear, the Japanese textbooks were regarded by the Chinese as transitional, to be superseded by texts authored by Chinese historians themselves. Indeed, the writing project began simultaneously with the translation project. In 1902, when Liang Qichao was writing his “New Historiography,” he exchanged his ideas about launching the “historiographical revolution” with Zhang Taiyan because Zhang then was also planning to write a new history of China, one that, in his own words, would “illustrate the rule of human civilization.” Perhaps also inspired by Ukita’s Introduction to Historical Study, Zhang stated that his history was not only going to eschew the moralistic approach but also use the methods of sociology, psychology, and religious studies to examine and explain historical causation.71 In addition to his “New Historiography,” Liang Qichao had planned to survey the history of China. But because of their political involvement, neither Zhang nor Liang brought their plans to fruition. Liang only finished the preface, whereas Zhang’s project never went beyond the proposal stage.72 In 1903–4, a two-volume history, titled History of China (Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史), appeared in Tokyo. It was written by Zeng Kunhua 曾坤化, under the pen name Hengyang Yitianshi 衡陽翼天氏 (which suggests that Zeng might have been a student from the Hunan Province). Though not equal to Liang Qichao in stature, Zeng was no less iconoclastic in his criticism of traditional Chinese historiography. The book’s introduction has a sensational heading—“The Declaration of the Birth of Chinese History”

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(Zhongguo lishi chushici 中國歷史出世辭). According to Zeng, since China in its past never produced a “social, civilizational history,” thus China hitherto had no history; its extant body of historical literature only recorded bloody struggles among military generals, which Zeng deemed of no use for demonstrating the country’s civilizational progress.73 In this regard, he was more radical than Liang, because Liang had stated in the “New Historiography” that historical study was indigenous to China. Zeng argued that not only was it the case that China had no history, but it had not even had a name, before—people in China only knew dynastic names, not their country’s name—which Zeng regarded as the “greatest shame” for China. Thus, he asserted that his work represented the birth of Chinese historiography because it is a “real” history and it is written for China—Zhongguo 中國 (lit., Central Country or Middle Kingdom). The use of Zhongguo as the country’s name, Zeng asserted, would “assist the nationalist cause,” as would the writing of a national history for China.74 To be sure, Zeng Kunhua did not coin the toponym Zhongguo, nor was he the first to use it to refer to China. Both Zhang Taiyan and Liang Qichao had used it in their unfinished projects. But Zeng certainly propagated Zhongguo in history writing, for although other translators had began to use Zhongguo to translate Shina, a Japanese reference to China commonly adopted by Japanese historians and textbooks writers at the time, few had insisted, as Zeng did, on using this new toponym to refer to China. In 1903, a year before Zeng published his work, Ichimura Sanjir¯o’s A History of China (Shina shi 支那史) appeared in Chinese and its translator did not replace “Shina” with “China” in the title. At least at that time, the two toponyms appeared interchangeable—“Shina” was not necessarily a derogatory word.75 But Zhongguo certainly had a better appeal to the Chinese, not only because it was a historical term (Shina was a Japanese transliteration of “China”), but also because its connotation—Central Country—was much desired for boosting the self-esteem of the Chinese. Indeed, by the 1910s, “Shina” had disappeared all together from Chinese books. As the first Chinese attempt at narrative history, Zeng Kunhua’s History of China also extended the influence of “civilizational history.” His book, Zeng stated, was intended to explain the “formation of great social trends” and describe “the phenomena of social evolution,” rather than the rise and fall of dynasties.76 To demonstrate historical evolution, he eschewed the traditional dynastic framework. He also described a wide array of historical phenomena, ranging from various branches of the

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124 · Q. Edward Wang

government bureaucracy, different stands of religious activity, as well as scholarly and artistic accomplishment, social customs, and economic development. To explain the cause of sociocultural change, he emphasized the way geography influences human development. All this reminds us of Taguchi Ukichi’s experiment. Perhaps aware of the criticism of Taguchi’s A Short History of Chinese Civilization, Zeng showed a strong commitment to delineating national progress; in every historical period he created new chapters on “society” and “people.” 77 Although it was a two-volume history, Zeng’s did not provide a complete account of Chinese history; it ends abruptly in the eleventh century, or the post-Tang period. In contrast, as mentioned before, Japanese textbooks were known for their comprehensiveness and timeliness. Though incomplete, Zeng’s book received much praise in the Chinese press.78 This was in part because it was the first new style history written by a Chinese person. But the praise perhaps also reveals something of the mindset of those reading Chinese history at the time. While intrigued by the Japanese approach to history writing, Chinese readers complained about the sketchy and superficial treatment of their country’s rich and glorious history by Japanese authors. That is to say, though the new style textbooks were written primarily for school pupils, they were read and reviewed by adult scholars of much higher education. And some of the readers and reviewers were, possibly, also textbook writers. Textbook writing was (and still is) a “product of elite intellectual discourse.” 79 Xia Zengyou’s 夏曾佑 (1863–1924) The Newest Middle School Textbook of Chinese History (Zuixin zhongxue Zhongguo lish jiaokeshu 最新中學中國 歷史教科書), published in 1904–6, sheds more light on the intricate dynamics between the authorship and readership of history textbooks at the time. In contrary to Zeng Kunhua’s obscurity, Xia was a noted scholar and a close friend of both Liang Qichao and Yan Fu. A convert to the idea of evolution, Xia supported the Qing reform and believed in its necessity. However, he was also vexed by the fact that Chinese teachers had to rely on Japanese textbooks, even in teaching Chinese history.80 By narrating Chinese history from an evolutionary perspective, his Middle School Textbook of Chinese History represented an attempt to compete with his Japanese counterparts. Judging from its structure and style, Xia’s Middle School Textbook of Chinese History differs little from Zeng Kunhua’s History of China, which was written a year or so earlier. Xia’s book, for example, also adopts a nondynastic scheme of periodization as a mechanism for delineating the evolution of Chinese history. Like its predecessor,

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Narrating the Nation · 125

he also fails to bring his account up to the present; in fact, though longer than Zeng’s, Xia’s Middle School Textbook of Chinese History ends around the fifth century, even before the rise of the Tang. And both authors seem to believe that prior to the Tang, Chinese history remained in its ancient period (gudai 古代). Their in-depth description and care for detail meant that they divided this early period further: in Zeng’s case into “grand antiquity” (taigu 太古), “early antiquity” (shanggu 上古), and “middle antiquity” (zhonggu 中古), and in Xia’s case into “early antiquity” and “middle antiquity.” 81 Since both authors failed to complete their survey, they also failed to demonstrate, comprehensively, how Chinese history had evolved linearly from its “uncivilized” past to the more “civilized” present. In fact, both authors seem quite enthralled by the accomplishments of ancient China. The real significance of both books lies in their historiographical experiment. To be sure, this integrated narrative style was not totally alien to the traditional historians in East Asia—Taguchi Ukichi had claimed that his “civilizational history” revived the “historical discussion style” in the past. But undoubtedly, the annals biography and chronicle were the two styles that dominated the historical writing in East Asia. If this dominance was first eroded by the experiment of “civilizational history” by Meiji historians, its coup de grâce was now administered by Zeng and Xia, two authors from China, where the annals biography and chronicle were first invented and adopted in historiography.82 The demise of these two styles also put an official end to the tradition of dynastic historiography, which had been used to emphasize political order and execute moral didacticism in historical writing. Chinese historians nowadays tend to call the new style piloted by Zeng and Xia in the early-twentieth-century “chapter-section style” (zhangjieti 章節體), emphasizing its integrated narrative structure. Yet since the style was first used in the writing of history textbooks, it was also known as the “textbook style.” In addition, to stress its cognitive approach to historical change, Chen Qitai 陳其泰 proposed to call this the “new synthesis style,” which is more in tune with Taguchi’s “historical discussion style.” But whatever name we choose to call it by, this new style has now become the style in history and history textbook writing in China today, and also throughout East Asia.83 Though published earlier, Zeng Kunhua’s History of China has not received the credit as the “first” history written in the “chapter-section style.” 84 Instead, the credit has been commonly given to Xia Zengyou’s Middle School Textbook of Chinese

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126 · Q. Edward Wang

History.85 Aside from Xia’s reputation as an established scholar, his book was more notable because it was commissioned and published by the Commercial Press, a budding publisher specializing in textbook publication.86 Though more influential, Xia’s Middle School Textbook of Chinese History is not necessarily better than its predecessor, at least with respect to its coverage. By creating the chapters on “society” and “people,” Zeng’s History of China demonstrates a more committed effort to broaden the scope of historical writing. Unfortunately, Zeng often fails to deliver much information about key topics, which makes his approach appear dogmatic and inconsistent. By comparison, Xia Zengyou takes a more flexible approach. Whenever necessary and appropriate, he incorporates intellectual and religious activities in delineating the historical change during each time period. He also makes an effort to broaden the historical outlook by including China’s neighbors, such as the Huns (Xiongnu 匈奴), Korea, and Japan. If his book is a more successful model, the success stems from Xia’s ability to synthesize information from the extant historical corpus and re-present that knowledge through the new narrative style, in order to demonstrate manifestly historical evolution. The fact that his book won high praise at the time suggests that the amount of information he offered matched the level of education of his readers, most of whom were his fellow literati. They probably thought that Xia’s book had made up for the sketchy treatment of Chinese history by Japanese authors. With his seminal essay “New Historiography,” Liang Qichao had introduced a “historiographical revolution” to the writing of history in early-twentieth-century China. In response to his call for change, and in accordance with the Japanese model of “civilizational history,” other scholars experimented with a new, narrative genre of historiography. And in both Japan and China, this new style first appealed to those members of the elite who were drawn into the writing of textbooks. In addition to Zeng Kunhua and Xia Zengyou, Liu Shipei 劉師培 (1884–1919) also wrote A Textbook of Chinese History (Zhongguo lishi jiaokeshu 中國歷史教科書, 1905–6), which became an acclaimed exemplar of this new style of historical narrative. 87 In no time at all, others adopted this narrative form, including the members of the emergent group of professional historians, or college professors. The “chapter-section style,” or integrated narrative history, thus became the dominant style in Chinese historical writing. This stylistic switch serves as a good illustration of a key aspect of the

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creation of a modern historical discipline in China. By explaining historical change from a linear and progressive perspective, this new style of historical narrative fostered a new form of historical consciousness that has underpinned the historical profession from the turn of the twentieth century to the present. This historical consciousness is anchored in and amplifies the national imaginary. 88 Endorsed and promoted by the government through its control of historical education, nationalist historical thinking became an overriding force in shaping the history discipline across East Asia, and elsewhere in the world, despite the mounting criticisms it has faced among academics in recent years.89

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128 · Q. Edward Wang

Notes 1 2

3

4

5 6

7

8

9

Robert Darnton, The Kiss of Lamourette: Reflections in Cultural History (New York: Norton, 1991), p. 212. Naoki Hazama 間直樹, ed., Ky¯od¯o kenky¯u Ry¯o Keich¯o: seiy¯o kindai shis¯o juy¯o to Meiji Nihon 共同研究梁 超:西洋近代思想受容と明治日本 (Tokyo: Misuzu shob¯o, 1999); Joshua A. Fogel, ed., The Role of Japan in Liang Qichao’s Introduction of Modern Western Civilization to China (Berkeley: Center for Chinese Studies, University of California, 2004). Sang Bing, “Japan and Liang Qichao’s Research in the Field of National Learning,” trans. Minghui Hu and Joshua Fogel, in Fogel, Role of Japan, p. 184. Sanet¯o Keish¯u 実藤恵秀, Ch¯ugoku jin Nihon ry¯ugaku shi 中国人日本留学史稿 (Tokyo: Kuro shio shuppan, 1970); Paula Harrell, Sowing the Seeds of Change: Chinese Students, Japanese Teachers, 1895–1905 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992); Douglas Reynolds, China, 1898–1912: The Xinzheng Revolution and Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993). Deng Shi 鄧實, “Shixue tonglun” 史學通論, Zhengyi tongbao 政藝通報 12 (18 August 1902): pp. 133–44, 135. Zheng Shiqu 鄭師渠, Wan-Qing guocuipai: wenhua sixiang yanjiu 晚清國粹派: 文化思想研究 (Beijing: Beijing shifan daxue chubanshe, 1993); Q. Edward Wang, “China’s Search for National History,” in Turning Points in Historiography: A Cross-Cultural Comparison, ed. Q. Edward Wang and Georg Iggers (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2002), pp. 185–208. In addition to the works cited in notes 2 and 4, see Joshua A. Fogel, “The Sino-Japanese Controversy over Shina as a Toponym for China,” in The Cultural Dimension of Sino-Japanese Relations: Essays on the 19th and 20th Centuries (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1995); Prasenjit Duara, “The Discourse of Civilization and Pan-Asianism,” Journal of World History 12 (2001): pp. 99–130; Joan Judge, “Talent, Virtue, and the Nation: Chinese Nationalisms and Female Subjectivities in the Early Twentieth Century,” American Historical Review 106.3 (2001): pp. 765–803; Yan Lu, Re-Understanding Japan: Chinese Perspectives, 1895–1945 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004); and Aida Yuen Wong, Parting the Mists: Discovering Japan and the Rise of National-Style Painting in Modern China (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2006). Peter Gay, Style in History (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974), p. 189. And for a study t hat looks at t hese issues in t he Chinese contex t, see Brian Moloughney, “Derivation, Intertextuality and Authority: Narrative and the Problem of Historical Coherence,” East Asian History 23 (June 2002): pp. 129–48. Wang Jianjun 王建軍, Zhongguo jindai jiaokeshu fazhan yanjiu 中國近代教科 書發展研究 (Guangzhou: Guangdong jiaoyu chubanshe, 1996); Kaigo

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10

11 12

13

14 15 16

17 18

19

20

Tokiomi 海後宗臣, Naka Arata 仲新, and Terasaki Masao 寺崎昌男, Ky¯okasho de miru kin-gendai Nihon no ky¯oiku 教科書でみる近現代日本の教育 (Tokyo: Tokyo shoseki, 1999); Joan Judge, “Meng Mu Meets the Modern: Female Exemplars in Early-Twentieth-Century Textbooks for Girls and Women,” Jindai Zhongguo funüshi yanjiu 近代中國婦女史研究 8 (2000): pp. 129–77; Judge, “Talent, Virtue, and the Nation”; Peter Zarrow, “The New Schools and National Identity: Chinese History Textbooks in the Late Qing,” in The Politics of Historical Production in Late Qing and Republican China, ed. Tze-ki Hon and Robert Culp (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 25–32. Leonard Blussé, “Japanese Historiography and European Sources,” in Reappraisals in Overseas History, ed. P. C. Emmer and H. L. Wesseling (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 1979), pp. 98–99. Sakai Sabur¯o 酒井三郎, Nihon seiy¯o shigaku hattatsushi 日本西洋史学発達史 (Tokyo: Yoshikawa k¯obunkan, 1969), pp. 44–47. Ibid., pp. 38–39; Ozawa Eichi 小沢栄一, ed., Kindai Nihon shigakushi no kenky¯u : Bakumatsu hen 近代日本史学史の 究.幕末編 (Tokyo: Yoshikawa k¯obunkan, 1968), pp. 105–6; Q. Edward Wang, “Zhongguo jindai xinshixue de Riben beijing: Qingmo de ‘shijie geming’ he Riben de ‘wenming shixue’” 中國近代新史學的日本背景:清末的「世界革命」和日本的「文明史學」, Taiwan daxue lishi xuebao 臺灣大學歷史學報 32 (2003): p. 208. Ukichi 小沢栄一 Taguchi 田口卯吉, Nihon kaika sh¯oshi, 6 vols. (Tokyo: n.p., 1881–84); Ozawa Eichi, ed., Kindai Nihon shigakushi no kenky¯u: Meiji hen 近 代日本史学史の䟷究.明治編 (Tokyo: Yoshikawa k¯obunkan, 1968), pp. 205–7. ¯ kubo Toshiaki 大久保利謙, Nihon kindai shigaku no seiritsu 日本近代史学の O 成立 (Tokyo: Yoshikawa k¯obunkan, 1988), p. 95. Denis Twitchett, The Writing of Official History under the T’ang (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992). Sakamoto Tar¯o 坂本太郎, Riben de xiushi yu shixue 日本的修史與史學, trans. Shen Ren’an 沈仁安 and Lin Tiesen 林鐵森 (Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe, 1991), p. 166. Margaret Mehl, History and the State in Nineteenth Century Japan (New York: St. Martin’s, 1998), pp. 36–39. Benjamin A. Elman, From Philosophy to Philology: Intellectual and Social Aspects of Change in Late Imperial China (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984); Benjamin A. Elman, “The Search for Evidence from China: Qing Learning and K¯osh¯ogaku in Tokugawa Japan,” in Sagacious Monks and Bloodthirsty Warriors: Chinese Views of Japan in the Ming-Qing Period, ed. Joshua A. Fogel (Norwalk, CT: Eastbridge, 2002). Mehl, History and the State, pp. 35ff; Nagahara Keiji 永原慶二, 20 seiki Nihon no rekishigaku 20世紀日本の歷史学 (Tokyo: Yoshikawa k¯obunkan, 2005), pp. 10–16. Jiro Numata, “Shigeno Yasutsugu and the Modern Tokyo Tradition of Historical Writing,” in Historians of China and Japan, ed. W. G. Beasley and E. G. Pulleybank (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961), pp. 274–75.

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130 · Q. Edward Wang 21

22 23

24

25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

36 37 38 39 40 41

Georg G. Iggers, The German Conception of History: The National Tradition of Historical Thought from Herder to the Present (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1984). Mehl, History and the State, pp. 87ff. Numata, “Shigeno Yasutsugu and the Modern Tokyo Tradition”; John Brownlee, Japanese Historians and the National Myths, 1600–1945 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1997), pp. 77–80; Mehl, History and the State, pp. 87ff; Nagahara, 20 seiki Nihon no rekishigaku, pp. 34–35. Q. Edward Wang, “Adoption, Appropriation and Adaptation: The German Nexus in the East Asian Project on Modern Historiography,” Berliner ChinaHefte 26 (2004): pp. 3–20. Mehl, History and the State, p. 54. Kaigo Tokiomi, ed., Nihon ky¯okasho taikei: kindai hen 日本教科書大系:近代 編, vol. 18 (Tokyo: K¯odansha, 1963), p. 722. Kaigo, Naka, and Terasaki, Ky¯okasho de miru kin-gendai Nihon no ky¯oiku, p. 44. Kaigo, Nihon ky¯okasho taikei, pp. 8–24. Ibid., pp. 25–57. Ienaga Sabur¯o 家永三郎, Nihon no kindai shigaku 日本の近代史學 (Tokyo: Nihon hy¯oron shinsha, 1957). Taguchi Ukichi 田口卯吉, Shina kaika sh¯oshi 支那開化小史 (Tokyo: Keizai zasshi sha, 1887). Ozawa, Kindai Nihon shigakushi no kenky¯u: Meiji hen. Kaigo, Nihon ky¯okasho taikei, pp. 727–28; Brownlee, Japanese Historians and the National Myths. Kaigo, Nihon ky¯okasho taikei, pp. 261, 728. Yasutsugu Shigeno 重野安驛, “Kokushi hensan no h¯oh¯o o ronzu” 国史編纂の 方法お論ず, in Rekishi ninshiki 歴史認識 , ed. Tanaka Akira 田中彰 and Miyachi Masato 宮地正人 (Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1991); Stefan Tanaka, New Times in Modern Japan (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004), pp. 78–79. Kaigo, Nihon ky¯okasho taikei, pp. 319–524. Ibid., pp. 525–721. Brownlee, Japanese Historians and the National Myths, pp. 92ff; Mehl, History and the State, pp. 113ff. Taguchi, Shina kaika sh¯oshi, p. 286. Izu Kimio 伊豆公夫, Nihon shigakushi 日本史学史 (Tokyo: Azekura shob¯o, 1972), p. 67. According to Yamada Toshiaki 山田利明, Naka Michiyo ended his book in the Song because although he adopted a new style, he relied mostly on the extant body of Chinese dynastic historiography. He did not cover his book of the Chinese history after the Song because the dynastic histories of the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368) were not regarded as of high quality. See Ch¯ugokugaku

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42

43 44 45

46

47 48 49

50 51

52 53 54 55

no ayumi: 20 seiki no shinoroji 中国学の㬑み:20 世紀のシノロジー (Tokyo: Taishukan shoten, 1999), pp. 12–13. Carol Gluck, Japan’s Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985); Kenneth Pyle, The New Generation in Meiji Japan: Problems of Cultural Identity, 1885–1895 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1969). Stefan Tanaka, Japan’s Orient: Rendering Past into History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995). Nagahara, 20 seiki Nihon no rekishigaku, pp. 43–45. Yu Danchu 俞旦初, Aiguo zhuyi yu Zhongguo jindai shixue 愛國主義與中國近 代史學 (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1996), pp. 63–65; Zou Zhenhuan 鄒振環, Yingxiang Zhongguo jindai shehui de yibaizhong yizuo 影響 中國近代社會的一百種譯作 (Beijing: Zhongguo duiwai fanyi chuban gongsi, 1996), pp. 101–5; Luke Kwong, “The Rise of the Linear Perspective on History and Time in Late Qing China c. 1860–1911,” Past and Present 173 (2001): pp. 157–90; and Wang Fan-sen, “The Impact of the Linear Model of History,” in this volume. Pyle, New Generation in Meiji Japan; Abe Hiroshi 阿部洋, Ch¯ugoku no kindai ky¯oiku to Meiji Nihon 中国の近代教育と明治日本 (Toyko: Kukumura shuppan, 1990); Harrell, Sowing the Seeds of Change; Reynolds, China, 1898–1912. Sanet¯o Keish¯u , Ch¯u goku jin Nihon ry¯u gaku shi; Abe, Ch¯u goku no kindai ky¯oiku to Meiji Nihon; Judge, “Talent, Virtue, and the Nation.” Abe, Ch¯ugoku no kindai ky¯oiku to Meiji Nihon, pp. 68–88. Sat¯o Yoshimaru 佐藤能丸 , “Nihon kindai shigakushi ni okeru Waseda daigaku Nihon shigaku: Meiji ki o ch¯ushin ni”日本近代史学史における早䧚田 大学日本史学:明治期お中心に, Waseda daigakushi kiy¯o 早 田大学史紀要 33 (2001): pp. 67–97. Yu Danchu, Aiguo zhuyi yu Zhongguo jindai shixue, pp. 49–56; and Brian Moloughney and Peter Zarrow, “Making History Modern,” in this volume. Jiang Jun 蔣俊, “Liang Qichao zaoqi shixue sixiang yu Futian Hemin de Shixue tonglun” 梁啟超早期史學思想與浮田和民的《史學通論》, Wenshizhe 文史 哲 5 (1993): pp. 28–32; Shang Xiaoming 尚小明, “Lun Futian Hemin Shixue tonglun yu Liang Qichao xinshixue sixiang de guanxi” 論浮田和民《史學通 論》與梁啟超新史學思想的關係, Shixue yuekan 史學月刊 5 (2003): pp. 5–112; Yoshihiro Ishikawa 石川禎浩, “Liang Qichao yu wenming de guandian” 梁啟 超與文明的觀點, in Liang Qichao, Mingzhi Riben, Xifang 梁啟超.明治日本.西 方, ed. Naoki Hazama (Beijing: Shehui kexue chubanshe, 2001), pp. 100–109. Sat¯o, “Nihon kindai shigakushi ni okeru Waseda daigaku Nihon shigaku.” Kazutami Ukita, Shigaku ts¯uron (Tokyo: Waseda University Press, 1898), pp. 10–20. Liang Qichao 梁啟超, “Xin shixue” 新史學, in Liang Qichao shixue lunzhu sanzhong 梁啟超史學論著三種 (Hong Kong: Sanlian shudian, 1980), pp. 3–15. Jiang Jun, “Liang Qichao zaoqi shixue sixiang yu Futian Hemin de Shixue tonglun,” and Shang Xiaoming, “Lun Futian Hemin Shixue tonglun yu Liang

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132 · Q. Edward Wang Qichao xinshixue sixiang de guanxi,” and Moloughney and Zarrow, “Making History Modern,” in this volume. 56 Zhang Taiyan 章太炎, Zhang Taiyan shengping yu xueshu zishu 章太炎生平輿 學術自述 (Nanjing: Jiangsu renmin chubanshe, 1999), pp. 47–48. 57 Wang, “Zhongguo jindai xinshixue de Riben beijing.” 58 Ruth Hayhoe and Marianne Bastid, eds., China’s Education and the Industrial World (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1987). 59 Wang Jianjun, Zhongguo jindai jiaokeshu fazhan yanjiu, pp. 79–80. 60 Yamada Toshiaki, Ch¯ugokugaku no ayumi, p. 12. 61 Li Xiaoqian 李孝遷, “Qingji zhinashi, dongyangshi jiaokeshu jieyi chutan” 清季 支那史、東洋史教科書介譯初探, Shixue yuekan 史學月刊 9 (2003): pp. 104–5; Zheng Zhishu 鄭之書, “Qingmo Minchu de lishi jiaoyu, 1902–17” 清末民初的歷 史教育, 1902–17 (M.A. thesis, National Taiwan Normal University, 1991), p. 183. 62 Joan Judge, Print and Politics: “Shibao” and the Culture of Reform in Late Qing China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996); James Hevia, English Lessons: The Pedagogy of Imperialism in Nineteenth-Century China (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), pp. 185ff. 63 Kubo Tenzui 久保天隨, T¯oy¯o ts¯u shi (Dongyang tongshi) 東洋通史, trans. Cai Huidong 蔡惠東 (Shanghai: Changming gongxi, 1905), pp. 1–2. 64 Naka Michiyo 那珂通世, Zhina tongshi 支那通史 (Shanghai: Dongwen xueshi, 1899), p. 4; Zheng Zhishu, “Qingmo Minchu de lishi jiaoyu, 1902–17,” p. 195n31. 65 Li Xiaoqian, “Qingji zhinashi, dongyangshi jiaokeshu jieyi chutan,” pp. 107–9. 66 Wang Jianjun, Zhongguo jindai jiaokeshu fazhan yanjiu, pp. 80–82. 67 Liang Qichao, “Xin shixue,” p. 3. 68 Shao Xi 邵曦, Zhongguo lishi wenda 中國歷史問答 (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1906). 69 Kuwabara Jitsuz¯o 桑原騖藏, Shot¯o T¯oy¯oshi (Tokyo: Dainihon tosho kabushikigaishi, 1900), p. 298. 70 Yu Danchu, Aiguo zhuyi yu Zhongguo jindai shixue; Zheng Shiqu, Wan-Qing guocuipai, pp. 162–238. 71 Zhang Taiyan, Zhang Taiyan shengping yu xueshu zishu, p. 47. 72 Yu Danchu, Aiguo zhuyi yu Zhongguo jindai shixue, pp. 71–72. 73 Zeng Kunhua 曾坤化, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Shanghai: Dongxin yishe, 1903–4), pp. 1–5. 74 Ibid. 75 Fogel, “Sino-Japanese Controversy,” pp. 66–67. 76 Zeng Kunhua, Zhongguo lishi, p. 5. 77 Ibid. 78 Yu Danchu, Aiguo zhuyi yu Zhongguo jindai shixue, pp. 78–79. 79 Robert Culp, “‘China—The Land and Its People’: Fashioning Identity in Secondary School History Textbooks, 1911–37,” Twentieth-Century China 26.2 (April 2001): p. 17.

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Narrating the Nation · 133 80 81 82

83

84 85

86

87 88 89

Yu Danchu, Aiguo zhuyi yu Zhongguo jindai shixue, pp. 79–80. Zeng Kunhua, Zhongguo lishi; Xia Zengyou 夏曾佑, Zhongguo gudaishi 中國 古代史 (1904–6; repr., Shijiazhuang: Hebei jiaoyu chubanshe, 2000). Brian Moloughney, “Nation, Narrative, and China’s New History,” in Asian Nationalism in an Age of Globalization, ed. Roy Starrs (London: Curzon, 2001), pp. 205–22. Chen Qitai 陳其泰, “Jin sanbainian lishi bianzuan shangde yizhong zhongyao qushi: zi Ma Su zhi Liang Qichao dui xin zongheti de tansuo” 近三 百年歷史編纂上的一種重要趨勢:自馬驌至梁啟超對新綜合體的探索, Shixueshi yanjiu 史學史研究 2 (1984): pp. 10–19. But see also Hu Fengxiang 胡逢祥 and Zhang Wenjian 張文建, Zhongguo jindai shixue sichao yu liupai 中國近代史學 思潮與流派 (Shanghai: Huadong shifan daxue chubanshe, 1993), pp. 270–72, and Wong, Parting the Mists, pp. 41–48. Yu Danchu, Aiguo zhuyi yu Zhongguo jindai shixue, p. 76. Wu Ze 吳澤, ed., Zhongguo jindai shixueshi 中國近代史學史 (Nanjing: Jiangsu guji chubanshe, 1989), vol. 2, p. 150; Wu Huaiqi 吳懷祺, “Qianyan” 前言, in Xia Zengyou, Zhongguo gudaishi, pp. 3–4. Christopher Reed, Gutenberg in Shanghai: Chinese Print Capitalism, 1876– 1937 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2004); Yue Meng, Shanghai and the Edge of Empires (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006), pp. 31–51. Hu Fengxiang and Zhang Wenjian, Zhongguo jindai shixue sichao yu liupai, pp. 267–71. Kwong, “Rise of the Linear Perspective”; Moloughney, “Nation, Narrative, and China’s New History.” For examples of such criticism see Prasenjit Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995); Stefan Berger, Mark Donovan, and Kevin Passmore, Writing National Histories: Western Europe since 1800 (London: Routledge, 1999); Laura Hein and Mark Selden, eds., Censoring History: Citizenship and Memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2000); Yoshiko Nozaki, War Memory, Nationalism and History in Japan: Ienaga Saburo and the History Textbook Controversy, 1945–2005 (London: Routledge, 2005); Edward Vickers and Alisa Jones, History Education and National Identity in East Asia (New York: Routledge, 2005).

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Chapter 5

The Impact of the Linear Model of History on Modern Chinese Historiography Wang Fan-sen

Since the late nineteenth century, the language, methods, and theoretical underpinnings of Chinese historiography have undergone dramatic change. The rise of the linear model of history was an extremely significant aspect of this development, one that rendered it impossible for historians to continue to write history in the traditional manner. The “linear model of history” was a Western concept, and difficult to define precisely. In a sense, a linear model of history had already existed within Chinese traditions of history writing.1 However, the occasional unconscious appearance of a linear model of history was quite different from making deliberate use of this model in writing history. As used here, the “linear model of history” is a relatively broad concept that can be contrasted with cyclical or degenerative models of history. It holds that historical development is linear, purposeful, progressive, and irreversible—history advances but never regresses. Even though multifarious versions of linear history emerged in the late Qing, in complex relation to each other, we can simplify them as follows. First, Kang Youwei’s 康有為 (1858–1927) Three Ages Theory, based on New Text Confucianism, interpreted history as a progression from “the age of disunity” (juluan shi 據亂世), through “the age of rising peace” (shengping shi 昇平世), to “the age of great peace” (taiping shi 太平世). This was a relatively early example of a historical theory based on a model of linear development. However, Kang’s Three Ages Theory was really part of a political debate, and its inf luence on historiography was relatively limited.2 Second, a wide variety of teleological schemes offered appraisals of historical periods, such as ancient, medieval, and modern. 3 Third, there was the “civilizational history” (wenming shi 文明史) that had its

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136 · Wang Fan-sen

origins in the work of François Guizot (1787–1871) and Henry Buckle (1821–61) and which entered China via Japan. Fourth and finally, there were theories of social evolution in a progressive mode. Kang’s views are well treated in the existing scholarship, so this chapter will briefly discuss the next two views of linear history, before focusing on theories of social evolution.4 In an article on modern linear historical models in China, Kuang Zhaojiang (Luke Kwong) points out that even before Yan Fu’s 嚴復 (1854– 1921) translation of Evolution and Ethics and Liang Qichao’s 梁啟超 (1873–1929) famous advocacy of a “new historiography” (xin shixue 新史 學), scholars such as Xue Fucheng 薛福成 (1838–94), Wang Tao 王韜 (1828–97), Zheng Guanying 鄭觀應 (1842–1922), and Chen Zhi 陳熾 (1855–1900) had all adopted different approaches to the periodization of Chinese history. These historians proposed frameworks within which the past, present, and future could be arranged to demonstrate that China was progressing from one historical stage to another.5 It is still difficult to judge how much inf luence these scholars actually had on the history writing of their time. The Japanese historian Kuwabara Jitsuz¯o’s 桑原騭藏 (1873–1931) Essentials of Oriental History (T¯oy¯o shiy¯o 東洋史要) divided Chinese history into four stages: high antiquity, middle antiquity, recent antiquity, and modern. Since it served as the basis for Chinese history textbooks of the late Qing, we can conclude it was extremely influential.6 However, we cannot ignore the work of other Japanese historians who adopted a range of roughly similar periodization schemes, which were also influential in translation.

Civilizational History Civilizational histories were very influential in Meiji Japan and then in late Qing China. In the 1870s several Western historical works had been translated into Japanese, including François Guizot’s Histoire générale de la civilisation en Europe (translated in 1872) and Henry Buckle’s History of Civilization in England (translated in 1875). Their style of historical writing was very different from preexisting Chinese and Japanese historiographical forms, and they had an enormous influence in Japan, where this form was called “civilizational history.” Fukuzawa Yukichi 福澤諭吉 (1835–1901) and Taguchi Ukichi 田口卯吉 (1855–1905) were among the leaders of this scholarly movement in Japan. Civilizational history emphasized a historical narrative that highlighted cause-and-effect

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The Impact of the Linear Model of History · 137

relations. It was critical of past historical studies that focused mostly on monarchs and neglected the rest of society, or emphasized political and military history to the exclusion of economics, religion, arts, and culture. These Japanese historians believed that Western history was like a rearview mirror that countries deemed to be behind the West could study in order to see the road ahead, one that all human races were destined to take. Evaluating Japan in relation to what they saw in Western civilization’s rearview mirror, they came to the conclusion that Japan was only “half civilized.” Taguchi Ukichi used the civilizational history form to write A Brief History of Japanese Civilization (Nihon kaika sh¯oshi 日本開化小史) between 1877 and 1882, the arrangement of which was greatly inf luenced by Guizot and Buckle. The work was a milestone in the development of this genre in Japan.7 However, if they had not hoped so intensely to catch up with the Western countries, Japanese and Chinese historians would probably not have taken so readily to evaluating their own countries in relation to what they saw in the Western rearview mirror. Nor perhaps would they have taken the modern West to represent the end goal of historical development. However, in the fifteen years in which civilizational history was most popular, many works that claimed this label were in reality merely compilations of the bits from older history books that had to do with culture. The origins of civilizational histories in late Qing China were quite diverse. The work of Yu Danchu 俞旦初 (1928–93) and others on modern Chinese civilizational history has shown that many scholars in addition to Liang Qichao did translations and introductions of the work of Guizot and Buckle, and that other foreign historians working in this genre were also translated. In the late Qing, there was a common understanding that civilization history entailed a “science of history” (shili xue 史理學), which involved knowledge of both results and causes. To elucidate the general laws and principles of human historical development, it was necessary to study how world religions, politics, arts, institutions, customs, and social relations “changed and improved, as well as the causes of the overall progress of the nations of the world.” 8 The abovementioned intellectual sources all made some impression on Liang Qichao. In his early life Liang had been influenced by the Three Ages Theory of his teacher, Kang Youwei, and he was later inspired by the theories of social evolution that were popular in the Meiji intellectual world.9 In the late 1890s his writing made such profuse use of the term

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138 · Wang Fan-sen

“civilization” (wenming 文明) that contemporaries associated that term, along with “freedom” (ziyou 自由), almost exclusively with Liang and Kang. An example of Liang’s work from this period is the 1899 On Freedom (Ziyou shu 自由書), which divided the history of human civilization into a three-stage progression from “barbarism” to “semi-enlightened” to civilized.10 In the early 1900s, Liang Qichao wrote several seminal essays on the new historiography, including “An Introduction to Chinese History” (“Zhongguo shixulun” 中國史敘論) and “New History” (“Xin shixue” 新史學), which sketched a theory of history in which society progressed from lower to higher stages. Liang’s 1902 “New History” stated that “history describes the phenomena of human progress.” He added, “In its whole history, China has not had any really good historians, because none clearly understood the phenomena of progress,” and “history narrates the phenomena of the progress of human societies, seeking its laws and general principles.” 11 In his “An Introduction to Chinese History,” Liang divided history into ancient, medieval, and modern eras and conceptualized history as a great line, leading from the ancient past over the medieval and into the modern world.12 In his “General Trends of Chinese Scholarship” (“Lun Zhongguo xueshu sixiang bianqian zhi dashi” 論中國學術思想變遷之大勢), also from 1902, Liang elucidated “universal patterns of progress” and used them to explain the rise and fall of different forms of scholarship. For example, the dominance of Confucianism was a result of “competition among different forms of teaching for the patronage of sovereigns, in which only the fittest survived, thus here also the universal patterns of evolution are inescapable.” This work also stated that “from the dawn of humankind, all societies have evolved from the primitive toward splendor and civilization” (guanghua 光華), and that “in the first phase of their evolution, all societies inevitably pass through a theocratic stage.” It was as if everything in human society and history could be arranged on a single upward sloping line.13 Liang’s essays were extremely important in the dissemination of the new historical studies, and were also key texts that shaped the linear historical model (discussed below). However, in examining the paradigmatic transformation of modern historical writing, we should distinguish between ideas and actual practice. For the former, we may concentrate on those few milestone essays like Liang’s “New History.” For the latter, however, it is necessary to pay attention to the many works that, while not necessarily famous, had a certain degree of inf luence. The transformation of actual practice in

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The Impact of the Linear Model of History · 139

historical writing was clearly not a matter of everything changing in unison upon the appearance of a few milestone works. Those key works sparked attention and interest, but to explain the transformation of actual practice we need to also pay attention to the way that in different contexts scholars were influenced by different works and models. Thus, our attention must be directed at both the milestone works of theory and the different processes of imitation, copying, and simply translating, through which the new models of writing were actually spread. From the turn of the twentieth century, “evolutionary theory” became a common slogan in history writing.14 Even intellectual conservatives announced their aspiration to explain history with evolutionary theory, and included some evolutionary ideas in their work.15 However, while it was easy to assert that this was what one was doing, actually using evolutionary concepts to write history was more difficult.16 Many scholars depended on analogies and the mechanical copying of models to successfully position themselves in the new explanatory framework. This chapter focuses on theories of social evolution and linear models of history in late Qing and Republican China. I begin with Yan Fu’s translation of Edward Jenks’s A History of Politics (Shehui tongquan 社會通詮) as an example of a work that served as a model for the actual practice of historical writing.17

A History of Politics and the Theory of Social Evolution Generally speaking, works containing some elements of evolutionary thought had already been translated into Chinese before Yan Fu’s translation of Evolution and Ethics. For example, the 1870s saw the publication of a translation of Charles Lyell’s (1797–1875) Principles of Geology, a work in which evolutionary ideas were fairly prominent. A number of articles that aimed to introduce readers to Western thought in the late Qing also typically gave a brief introduction to evolutionary theory. The application of evolutionary theory to nature even appeared in an examination that Li Hongzhang 李鴻章 (1823–1901) conducted. One answer paper, that of Zhong Tianwei 鍾天緯 (1840–1900), still extant, received praise from Li for its understanding of evolutionary theory.18 However, at that time evolution was considered applicable only to natural history, rather than society and politics, and therefore was not seen as a threat. Indeed, Yan Fu’s translation of Evolution and Ethics gave rise to an unprecedented storm primarily because the work did not confine itself to natural history.

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140 · Wang Fan-sen

It applied evolutionary theory to social phenomena and politics, and even touched on the national crisis through its clear watchwords “natural selection” and “the survival of the fittest.” However, the direct influence of Evolution and Ethics on history writing was relatively limited. This was primarily because of the initial difficulty of using abstract theoretical principles to interpret history, even though natural selection and the survival of the fittest and other concepts were later frequently used by historians. At first, historians were more likely to be influenced by works like Lyell’s Principles of Geology, which divided ancient historical development into a stone age, bronze age, and iron age; the Works of Herbert Spencer; Yan’s translations of Spencer’s The Study of Sociology and Jenks’s A History of Politics; and numerous other late-nineteenth- and earlytwentieth-century translations of sociology.19 The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the translation of a corpus of sociology imbued with social evolutionary theory, which, particularly in the case of Herbert Spencer (1820–1903), exercised a considerable inf luence on Chinese historiography. Key works in this corpus included the translation by Zhang Binglin 章炳麟 (zi Taiyan, 1869–1936) and Zeng Guangquan 曾廣銓 (1871–1930) of the Works of Herbert Spencer, published serially in Changyan bao 昌言報; Zhang Binglin’s translation of Kishimoto Nobuta’s 岸本能武太 (1866–1928) Sociology (Shehuixue 社會學); Mai Dinghua’s 麥鼎華 (1876?–1915) translation of Ariga Nagao’s 有賀長雄 (1860–1921) Social Evolution (Shehui jinhua lun 社 會進化論), and Yan Fu’s translation of Spencer’s The Study of Sociology. To some extent these works all examined society, history, and other facets of human existence from the perspective of social evolution. 20 As other scholars have pointed out, these translations were inspirational for many historians. However, what has largely gone unnoticed in the existing literature is that, of all of translated texts, A History of Politics was the most influential on historians. Benjamin Schwartz described this monograph, written by Edward Jenks (1861–1939), as an “obscure little work,” giving the impression that the content of the book was quite superficial.21 In fact, Jenks, a close contemporary of Yan Fu, was not unknown in his day.22 When A History of Politics was published, Jenks was a reader at Oxford University, and in 1930 he was selected as a fellow of the British Academy.23 Granted, in comparison with some of the other authors Yan Fu translated, such as Thomas Huxley (1825–95), Montesquieu (1689– 1755), and Adam Smith (1723–90), Jenks was indeed only a talented scholar, rather than one of the great thinkers of his day. Nevertheless, in

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The Impact of the Linear Model of History · 141

the late Qing, A History of Politics excited great political debate.24 It was quite possibly the success of the book in Japan that led Yan Fu to decide to translate it. Jenks’s work provided a framework consisting of a series of periods proceeding in linear progression that was extremely easy to adapt to other historical contexts and could be applied to Chinese history without much effort. The model of progression from “totem society” to “clan society” and finally to “militaristic society,” which was later widely used by Chinese historians, was basically taken from this book. In fact, stages similar to these had been proposed by many French and English works since the seventeenth century; and there was nothing original about Jenks’s text (nor did he claim that there was). In the eighteenth century, Western historians such as the Marquis de Condorcet (1743–94), followed by Auguste Comte (1798–1857), had formulated progressive models of history, constructing stages of linear progress such as hunter-gatherer, nomadic pastoralism, and agriculture.25 The famous scholar of progressive history John Bagnell Bury (1861–1927) pointed out in The Idea of Progress: An Inquiry into Its Origins and Growth that it was in the third phase of the development of the concept of progress—the later part of the nineteenth century, when the theory of evolution was popularized—that the development model described above combined with evolutionary theory, as exemplified by Spencer, for example.26 As noted above, A History of Politics did not profess any new theoretical content; it was in fact only a textbook of political history that sold very well. A review pointed out that the part of the book that left the greatest impression was the demarcation of stages of evolution from totem, to clan, to militaristic societies. The reviewer argued that though its argument was forced in places, it was in general still a good work.27 What made the greatest impression on Chinese readers was the work’s use of social evolutionary theory. In Dongfang zazhi 東方雜誌 it was claimed that it “investigates the stages of human society according to the universal principles of evolution. The book examines strange customs in order to demonstrate the principles governing human societies.” 28 In fact, the original did not emphasize progress, and made quite sparse use of the word “evolution.” However, Yan Fu’s translation frequently used the notion of “evolution” (tianyan 天演) and related concepts, which gave Chinese readers the impression that the theory of social evolution lay at the core of the book.29 Yan Fu’s approach can be considered justified insofar as A History of Politics was indeed based on an interpretation of Western history as a progression through a series of stages, from “totem”

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and “clan,” and on to the “militaristic.” Because it was clearly organized and well written, the generation of historians that emerged in the late Qing and early Republic often referred to it.

“Universal Patterns” and Linear Models of History The formation of the modern Chinese linear model of history was based on putting the facts of Chinese history into the model of Western history, which Chinese writers saw as representing “universal patterns” (gongli 公 例). However, the passion to fit Chinese history into these universal patterns did not only arise from historical studies themselves, but was largely due to a much more practical yearning. Because of their desire for China to become a powerful country, like the states of the modern West, scholars tended to agree that Western historical development embodied “universal patterns.” They concluded that if only China followed these “universal patterns,” it would ultimately become as strong as the Western powers. With external factors driving this intellectual transformation, scholars inserted Chinese history into the framework of a Western linear historical model (or “universal pattern”). Through imitation, they forced Chinese history onto a linear track, upending the age-old commitment to recreating an idealized “ancient” order, and for the first time drawing a radical distinction between “past” (gu 古) and “present” (jin 今). They thus created a great gulf between past and present that entailed the formation of a new understanding of time, opening up the possibility of multiple new ways of imagining and explaining history. In this section, I detail how some early-twentieth-century historians embraced the notion of “universal patterns” and applied Western linear models of history to China. In this process, books like A History of Politics undoubtedly served as models that revealed the “universal patterns” of human development, turning history into a way to measure a given society’s progress. The historian’s task was merely to fill in the blanks. Using the framework of linear history from the West to reinterpret Chinese history—fitting the Chinese data into a scale of development—created a new historical map. In China there were several dimensions to this blankfilling exercise. First, history as a straight line from primitive to civilized society was conceptually new. It was the theory of evolution that took what had been a winding line and pulled it straight and, above all, fostered a dramatic change in how scholars imagined the past and the future. Second, all things had a developmental course, so as Franklin

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Baumer (1913–90) observed, there was a transition from “being” to “becoming.” 30 The past was seen as a fixed entity, like a tangle in a ball of thread, which could be unraveled to reveal a single linear development. All the political and social practices of the Three Dynasties of the pre-Qin period, for example, were transformed from more or less sacred Classics into histories. Third, the process of Western historical development reflected a “universal pattern.” Since all the world’s civilizations followed this same course, Western civilization became a measuring stick that could be used to clearly identify the stage of development that any particular society had reached. Even if a given historical process was still unclear, it could be illuminated by examining the development of Western civilization. Fourth, historical progress was conceptualized as a great chain that inexorably linked different time periods in a process of gradual change that operated on multiple layers in each age.31 In other words, history was understood not so much as the product of human design, but rather as the consequence of the interaction of various kinds of “forces.” Concepts such as “universal patterns” and “universal axioms” (gongli 公理) played an enormously important role in the late Qing intellectual world. They forced a reexamination of the vague yet powerful traditional assumption that Chinese history and culture was unique. Caught up in these notions of universal patterns and axioms, scholars began to believe that Western historical culture represented a universality to which not even China was exceptional. The terms “universal axiom” and “universal pattern” became powerful weapons in scholarly debates, and these terms were commonly used in late Qing historical works. In this view, all things had their own patterns of development, but these patterns were based on principles derived from the experience of the modern West, experience that was believed to have a universal applicability.32 In the field of historical research, “universal patterns” sometimes referred to principles taken from evolutionary development (for example the principle that things evolve from simple to complex). In other cases it meant “the great law of evolution” (jinhua zhi da li 進化之大理)—meaning the process according to which every human culture, without exception, would ultimately develop. In the early twentieth century, the “universal pattern” of evolution provided a convenient model to a generation of new historians. They found that by arranging Chinese history in the blank spaces of this linear frame, many previously disconnected historical events and facts could be

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144 · Wang Fan-sen

made to form a clear path. Historians frequently used the following historical sequences of progress: stone age, bronze age, and iron age; totem society, clan society, and militaristic society; nomadic society and settled society; and hunter-gatherer, nomadic-pastoral, and agricultural. 33 In addition, Comte’s Law of Three Stages from the theocratic through the metaphysical to the positivist was also quite popular. Liang Qichao, for one, argued that the formation of a “state” (guojia 國家) was a sequence with four stages: primitive freedom, aristocratic monarchy, absolutist monarchy, and civilized freedom. “It is a natural law (tianze 天則) that all countries and races must pass through each of these stages in turn.”34 And, “In the first phase of social evolution, all societies pass through a theocratic stage.” 35 There were, it is true, local variations in these universal patterns of development. For example, the rule “from isolation to interaction” was regarded as a universal pattern of social evolution. 36 However, on the basis of the proposition that competition leads to advancement, it could be argued that it was not advantageous for a country to be united too early.37 That is, “grouping” (qun 群) by itself did not necessarily lead to progress. As well, different authors cited different universal patterns, some of which contradicted one another. Some scholars argued that “society evolves from simple to complex,” while others proposed that “the trend towards simplification of scripts demonstrates one of the patterns of social evolution.” 38 Despite this, scholars believed that the “universal patterns” that they themselves recognized, had an incontestable truth value. Above all, they believed that such “patterns” were universally applicable to all societies. As Liang Qichao put it, “This is the pattern shaping all societies, past and present,” 39 and, “Past or present, nothing can escape the universal pattern of evolution.” 40 Xia Zengyou 夏曾佑 (1863–1924) wrote that “this is the inevitable development course of all nations and races, although some proceed faster or slower than others.” 41 Chen Jieshi 陳介石 (1859–1917) wrote, “This is the unalterable universal pattern governing all nations and ages.” 42 And Lü Simian 呂思勉 (1884–1917) noted, “The account above is accepted theory among sociologists, and applies equally to the events of ancient China.” 43 Because there were “patterns” governing the development of every society, and because the developmental process was universal, fixed, and separable into distinct “stages” or “steps” through which every civilization inevitably passed, the main job of historians was to classify the contents of history into the right “stage” or “step” and add an appropriate explanation.

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Furthermore, it was believed that it was impossible to leap over any particular historical stage. As Liang Qichao stated at one point, “[T]his is a necessary stage of progress.” 44 He also noted, “[P]rogress is a sequential transformation. The development of human societies is the same type of phenomenon as the growth of biological organisms,” 45 and, “All human societies are always in transition, evolving and changing.” 46 In sum, “The stages of social progress are fixed. All countries progress through the same stages [of primitive freedom, aristocratic feudalism, absolutist monarchy, and civilized freedom] according to natural laws. . . . Only when a state has passed through each of these stages is it complete, and never can a stage be skipped.” 47 Zhang Binglin’s “Basic Guidelines to Chinese History” (Zhongguo tongshi lüeli 中國通史 䔍ἳ) published in 1900 in his Qiushu 訄書 was similar in tone, although with reservations. According to Zhang, “Primitive societies in the East and the West were relatively similar, but as culture developed, the Yellow and the White races diverged and as they did so, the stronger and the weaker revealed themselves [in evolutionary terms].” However, he also wrote that “in matters of psychology, society, and region, the natural laws of development are the same for different societies, and so are especially crucial for historians.” 48 Thus, Zhang Binglin still believed that in terms of psychology, society, and religion, all humanity followed the same laws of progress. When Zhang revised Qiushu under the title of Jianlun 檢論 in 1913, however, he omitted this essay, demonstrating that his views had changed. Because all humanity followed the same path of historical development, one could explain the history of one country using analogies from another’s. For example, in the field of prehistory, Chinese archeology was still in an embryonic state in the early twentieth century. However, scholars still interpreted Chinese prehistory on the basis of analogies from Western prehistory. The same method was applied to historical periods. Liang Qichao believed that “[r]esearch on China is not yet very advanced, and all the material evidence remains buried underground. However, the patterns governing the material development of societies operate universally in all places. Therefore, it is perfectly appropriate to use this theory to explain Chinese history by analogy.” 49 And Liu Shipei ∱師培 (1884–1919) wrote, “In recent times there have been new discoveries clarifying the study of society, which suggest the fixed patterns that shape its development. . . . These are the basis for the interpretation given

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146 · Wang Fan-sen

in my Origins of Ancient Governance.” 50 On the basis of “universal patterns” and “cases by analogy,” a new generation of historians was able to use the blank-filling method to produce a great amount of new historical research. A few examples will suffice. In the early twentieth century, Liu Shipei wrote several very well-received works, including A Chinese History Textbook (Zhongguo lishi jiaokeshu 中國歷史教科書) and The Origins of Ancient Governance. These books interpreted ancient customs and rites (such as the rituals of capping, marriage, funerals, and sacrifices) in terms of the new linear evolutionary frameworks, such as the progression from “hunter-gatherer” to “nomadic” and to “agricultural” societies, or from “totemic” to “clan” to “militarist” societies. Liang Qichao argued that the reason the Shang dynasty had apparently moved so often was because the settled agricultural state had not yet emerged at that time.51 Xia Zengyou concluded that the Yellow Emperor had lived during the wooden tool age and Chi You 蚩尤 during the bronze age.52 Liu Yizheng 柳詒徵 (1879–1956) referred to the “universal patterns” of evolution, arguing that “according to the rules of evolution, the society of the Xia dynasty must have been more advanced than that of the time of the Emperors Yao and Shun.” 53 Other commonly used terms in the new scholarship included “transition,” “change,” “alternation,” “replacement,” and “cause and effect.” Such terms indicated the links in the evolutionary chain between the earlier and later phases. Later developments showed their superiority by replacing earlier institutions, ultimately forming a linear development path.

The Transformation of the Classics into History New historical imaginaries emerged in China with the adoption of the theory of social evolution and a new sense of enormous distance from the past. It was clear that considerable amounts of time were required for the human species to develop from apes or for civilized societies to develop from primitive ones. The “line” of historical evolution was extraordinarily long. Ancient myths and incredible stories that previous Confucian historians had to bracket off as unreliable were now amenable to reinterpretation as reflections of prehistorical, primitive social development. Stories that blurred the boundaries between human and animal began to make a kind of sense, and fabulist texts such as the Classic of Mountains and Seas (Shanhai jing 山海經) achieved new respectability. The “Western

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origins” theory of the Chinese or Huaxia 華夏 achieved popularity partly because it seemed to explain a long period of prehistory, albeit in Central Asia, before the development of the Central Plains of contemporary China in the time of the legendary sage emperors of a mere five thousand years ago.54 Most startling of all aspects of evolutionary theory was the notion that humans evolved out of apes. Nonetheless, the idea was largely—with some exceptions—accepted, and scholars found evidence in ancient stories of “monsters” or half-human, half-animal creatures whom they took to be the original ancestors of the Chinese. Some scholars remained skeptical of the “Western origins” theory, much less of evidence from texts purporting to describe conditions of tens of thousands of years before the sage kings even appeared. Still, most of these skeptics believed that societies progressed through discrete stages of technology (stone, bronze, iron) and organizational form (totemic, clan, militarist). Indeed, from the perspective of social evolution, everything had a long-term evolutionary history. Liang Qichao noted, “For this reason, one can use the theory of evolution to understand anything that human knowledge is capable of grasping. Changes in government and legal systems are a matter of evolution; as are the development of religion and ethics; and so too are shifts in social customs and habits.”55 This view was very influential in the early twentieth century. Things that had previously been explained as the result of specific individuals’ actions at particular times were reconceptualized as the products of a long evolutionary chain. Attention shifted from discreet temporal moments to linear historical development. It is difficult to imagine the enormity of this transition for scholars who were accustomed to the belief that the institutions of the Three Dynasties period were the creation of sages. When Liu Shipei wrote A Chinese History Textbook, he stressed that what made his book different from others was that it would clarify “the stages of social evolution” and “go some way to providing a theory to explain the evolution of human societies.” 56 When discussing customs or religious and ethical teachings, Liu did not analyze them merely as the creations of the sages of a particular era, but examined their evolution against a background of long-term historical change. We must note that historians originally found it difficult to forge new interpretations on the basis of the theory of social evolution alone. The intervention of A History of Politics and other translated works of sociology was crucial, because they provided “universal patterns” in the

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form of “totem-clan-militaristic” narrative frameworks (that is, evolutionary stages) that could be easily adapted. Since these “universal patterns” applied equally to “all countries and races,” noted Xia Zengyou, “today’s civilized nations must, early in their development, have passed from hunter-gatherer societies into nomadic pastoral societies.” Thus “the evolution of all societies has been the same, although some have progressed faster or slower than others,” and “all must pass through the same stages.” 57 The institutions described in the Classics could also be reinterpreted in this light; historians could use the blank-filling method to place the content of the Chinese Classics into the different stages of the new historical narrative.58 Indeed, the most prominent aspect of this effort was research on the institutions, rituals, and customs described in the Classics. In his The Origins of Governance and also in his Ethics Textbook (Lunli jiaokeshu 倫理 教科書) and other works, Liu Shipei devoted much attention to evolutionary interpretations of the rituals of capping, marriage, burial, sacrifices, and greetings, as well as script, religion, and the clan and family systems. In sketching a process of historical transformation—finding stages of historical progression from “hunter-gatherer” to “nomadic” to “agricultural” and to “clan” societies—Liu generally showed how China’s strict ritual system had emerged out of primitive conditions. Even analyzing the Confucian morality of the proper relationships among ruler-subject, husband-wife, elder-younger brother, and friends, Liu placed these notions into the evolutionary narrative that stretched from primitive society to civilization. The effort to transform “Classics” into “history” was complete. The traditional mode of using the Classics to understand ethics, rites, and institutions was fundamentally different from the evolutionary mode of historical understanding. In the traditional mode, ethics, rites, and institutions were the deliberate creations of the ancient sages. From an evolutionary perspective, however, these things were the products of a developmental process shaped by a complex historical background and the interaction of various forces. Furthermore, they were often the result of irrational social forces, were historically inevitable, and did not necessarily bear any positive moral significance. In his account of the formation of Chinese ritual etiquette, Xia Zengyou found customary practices to be the products of irrational racial divisions of ancient times, and lamented that “later the races mixed together, but the ritual etiquette was maintained, and constitutes a great obstacle for society today.” 59

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Huang Jie 黃節 (1873–1935), Liu Shipei, Xia Zengyou, and others delved enthusiastically into the possibilities offered by the new method of interpreting history. Liu Shipei’s discussion of marriage rites in The Origins of Governance is one example. In his analysis of the Ceremonies and Rituals classic (Yili 儀禮), Liu borrowed heavily from Jenks’s account of ancient European customs associated with plundering brides from foreign tribes. He argued that in ancient China brides had been plundered from outside the clan. Later, the targets were more often from inside the clan, and then, by the time of Fuxi 伏羲, the first of the Three Sovereigns, the lipi 儷皮 ritual, which involved the gift of two pieces of deerskin from the groom’s side to the bride’s side, emerged to stem the conflicts that arose from bride plundering. According to Liu, one could see evidence for this in the chapter on “Nuptial Rites for Officers” (Shihun li 士昏禮) in the Yili. “Confucian scholars regarded ‘financial marriages’ as a barbarian custom. Little do they know that ancient Chinese people also practiced this type of marriage.” Thus, ritual experts used “gifts” (lit., objects of ritual, liwu 禮物) to carry out the rituals of lipi (bride purchase). The character for “marriage” (hun 婚) contains the character for “dusk” (hun 昏), so it seems that marriage ceremonies were conducted at dusk. Liu reasoned that “the ceremony had to be performed at dusk [. . . because] plundering of wives had to take place at dusk.” 60 “Furthermore, a careful reading of the ‘Nuptial Rites for Officers’ shows that ancient wife-plundering still had a ritual presence in the Zhou dynasty. For when the sonin-law goes forth to meet his intended bride, he takes a chariot with his attendants, which ref lected the ancient practice of using helpers to plunder a bride.” Significantly, at this point Liu added a note explaining, “A History of Politics tells us that in ancient European marriage custom, the attendants of the groom (or ‘best men’), would have assisted the groom in stealing his bride. The attendants of the bride, the bridesmaids, in ancient times would have been those who attempted to defend against the bride-thieves. This evidence from Europe proves our interpretation of the Zhou marriage rituals in the Yili.” Originally, “ceremonies were held at dusk because, before fire had been mastered, bride-plundering had to take place in twilight, in order to catch the woman’s family unprepared and prevent them from distinguishing clearly who the attackers were.” 61 The Origins of Governance analyzed all kinds of social systems in terms of their assigned place on an evolutionary line. For example, Liu argued that there were two stages of “clan society.” First was a “racial clan society,” which was the system of the nomadic age. Then came “kin-based

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clan society,” which was the system of the agricultural age.” 62 Liu argued that the character for “surname” (xing 姓), which contains the “female” radical, indicated that in ancient times, monarchs used their mother’s surnames. At some point during the Xia or Shang dynasty, the matriarchal tradition transformed into a patriarchal one. Furthermore, since the matriarchal system meant that they did not know their fathers or their paternal ancestors, imperial sacrifices treated Heaven as ancestor.63 In the ancient tribal chieftain system, Liu argued, shamans, rather than chiefs, had governed totem societies. Sovereigns then also became religious hierarchs, meaning that secular and spiritual authority were combined. However, “after the primordial era, there was a transition from shamanic to chiefly power.” Liu claimed that the characters for “chieftain” (qiu 酋) and “wine” (jiu 酒) had a common origin, arguing that this was because “the chieftains entertained their subjects with wine.” In Liu’s view, traditional scholars were wrong to assume that the ancient term for “chieftain” (qiuhao 酋豪) applied only to barbarian rulers. China’s monarchical system gradually formed out of the system of chieftains, and the term for monarch (jun 君) represented the power derived from combining law making and administration, according to Liu.64 These examples demonstrate that historians’ views of the ancient period changed dramatically as an anthropological gaze swept across the discursive terrain of “shaman,” “chieftain,” “dance,” and “wine.” Similar interpretations were given in the Republican period by Liu Yizheng and Xia Zengyou. In A History of Chinese Culture (Zhongguo wenhua shi 中國文化史), Liu sought to trace the evolution of the manufacture of official clothing.65 He also pointed out that the descriptions of tools in the “manufacturing” chapter of the Warring States text, the Shiben 世本, sometimes noted their earlier and later forms, revealing the step-by-step process of their evolution. 66 And when Xia Zengyou discussed the controversy over the New and Old Texts during the Han dynasty, he proclaimed that his methodology was different from that of the Qing classical studies scholars. Discussing the rise of the New Text school in the nineteenth century, Xia wrote that his History of Ancient Culture basically followed the New Text view of the Classics, but the significance of his work differed from the Qing scholars because of his use evolutionary concepts to analyze history. In Xia’s words, “I explain the evolution of the Classics entirely as a consequence of historical factors, and do not confine myself solely to the discourse on the Sacred Classics.” 67

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History and Ethics We cannot ignore the ethical implications of the theory of social evolution and linear models of history. First, late Qing scholars thought that because in the linear model history was understood as a measuring stick, and every nation had to pass through each of the “stages” marked on it, it seemed that evolution itself had a will and a purpose. Liang Qichao, for one, suggested that he was not sure if this was the case, but in general late Qing views of historical process were teleological. Evolutionary progress was measurable, and the historical evolution of the West provided the measuring stick. Moreover, since to be more evolved was better than to be less evolved, historical interpretations of the day often used terms such as “highly evolved” or “low on the evolutionary scale.” Moral questions were thus turned into questions of evolutionary progress. Evolution was directed by the logic of power; it was violent and selfish. In A History of Politics, all evolutionary improvement had resulted from war and advances in weapons technology, thus “in all its awfulness, weaponry . . . arises for good reasons, for it inevitably determines social evolution.” 68 Second, although the morality of the will and objectives of historical persons could be in accord with the will and purpose of history, the two were clearly distinct and did not necessarily coincide. This entailed what Liang Qichao termed a “duality,” which had paradoxical implications for the ways historians thought about morality. Historians had long been accustomed to pronouncing moral judgments on persons and events, but the assessment of right and wrong produced within a narrative of grand evolutionary progress was new to them. From the evolutionary point of view, people’s behavior may have been absolutely repugnant, and yet if their behavior had played a role in the evolution of their society, their value had to be assessed positively. In his translator’s notes to A History of Politics, Yan Fu often emphasized this kind of moral “dualism.” For example, he wrote that “in light of this, we understand that Shang Yang and Li Si brought immeasurable benefits to the Chinese people.” 69 Similarly, Xia Zengyou wrote approvingly of King Yu’s establishment of hereditary rule in founding the Xia dynasty, explaining that “the consolidation of autocratic authority was brought by the march of progress, and had nothing to do with moral decency.” 70 Xia’s judgment was based on an understanding that according to the laws of evolution, humanity progressed from totem society, through clan society, and into autocratic militaristic society. Thus “the march of progress” and “moral decency”

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were two separate standards that ruptured traditional moral judgment. Accordingly, Xia gave two distinct assessments of Qin Shihuang. On the personal level, he castigated the First Emperor’s violent disregard for morality.71 However, on the broader evolutionary progress, Xia credited Qin Shihuang with sweeping away obsolescent customs and establishing a new art of ruling in only fifteen years. Therefore, while the Teaching (jiao 教) of China was established by Confucius, “[t]he governance (zheng 政) of China was executed by Qin Shihuang.” 72 Xia’s work demonstrated the same kind of moral dualism as Yan Fu’s. The same dualism appeared in Liang Qichao’s historical works as well. Liang consistently held that from a contemporary perspective, the aristocracy and autocracy were to be disdained. However, they were a necessary stage in the transition from primitive society to civilization; since the development of aristocracy and autocracy spurred progress they were necessary. For example, Liang’s essay “A Study of Yao and Shun in the Formation of Central Monarchic Rule in China” (“Yao Shun wei Zhong-guo zhongyang junquan lanshang kao” 堯舜為中國中央君權濫觴考) implied precisely such a dualistic historical assessment. Liang presented both an evaluation of aristocracy and autocracy in their own terms, and an assessment based on the role they played in the course of historical progress. The first verdict was negative, the second positive. Liang almost always demonstrated this kind of dualism when he discussed notions like “civilization” and “international law.” His evaluation of civilization (that is, Western civilization) in isolation was quite different from his assessment of it in the context of the greater evolutionary frame, which was dominated by the principle of “survival of the fittest.” The former evaluation was rather critical, on the grounds that since one of modern Western civilization’s characteristics was the use of power to vanquish other countries, it was a highly barbarous form of civilization. The latter evaluation, however, produced a positive view, on the grounds that this “civilization” was the inevitable result of the evolutionary process. Putting the two evaluations together resulted in a sense of impotence. In his essay “New Ways to Destroy Nations” (“Mieguo xinfa lun” 滅國新法論), Liang betrayed his sense of helplessness in describing the tactics and methods used by modern Western civilization to vanquish other nations.73 “The vanquishing of nations is simply a universal pattern of evolution,” he noted. “The development of new methods to vanquish nations is also simply a product of evolution.” Liang did not sanction the destruction of other

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countries, but seen in the context of social evolution, the appalling modern might-makes-right politics “although unjust, inevitably becomes just.” 74 Under the influence of social evolutionary theory, modern Chinese historians made broad use of principles such as “the survival of the fittest” or “victory of the strongest” to interpret history. “The fittest” did not necessarily embody any kind of moral superiority; on the contrary it was strong, barbaric, and thoroughly amoral. Historical winners were inevitably savage and shameless, but in the ethical framework of evolutionary progress, they played a positive role.75 Much of the historical writing of this period demonstrated this kind of moral dualism.

China: Unique or Backward? As suggested above, the concept of social evolution constituted an attack on China’s “golden age,” which had also served as an important part of traditional morality and ethics. Scholars had long been at least partially conscious of the contrast between the institutional and ritual perfection associated with the sages of the golden age on the one hand, and its material backwardness on the other, though they might explain this in terms of the “natural simplicity” of the past. Here, space limitations prevent a discussion of this complex topic.76 But it should be noted that the evolutionary theory of the late Qing destroyed any vision of a golden age in both material and moral terms. This marked the single greatest difference between the new generation of historians and traditional scholars. Even among the new generation, however, not everyone was equally rigorous as, say, Yan Fu and Liu Shipei, in seeing the “golden age” as primitive and backward. Hu Shi 胡適 (1891–1962), for example, rigorously used evolutionary theory to interpret the history of Chinese philosophy, but he still once remarked that Zhuangzi’s thought had anticipated evolutionary theory itself.77 Other scholars directly opposed the application of evolutionary thought to historical data, even while to some extent making use of it themselves. Opponents of the theory of social evolution typically believed that excessive use of evolutionary thought obscured the “special character” of Chinese history. This conviction led to a prominent ongoing historical debate on the question of whether China, the West, and their respective histories were different by nature, or different by their position

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on the evolutionary scale. The notion that Chinese and Western history progressed through the same stages was both encouraging and depressing, encouraging because China would eventually reach the same level of development as the West, and the only problem was determining what stage China was currently at, but depressing because it would be impossible for China to catch up to the West in one stroke. Others saw these issues from a different perspective. For instance, Du Yaquan 杜亞泉 (1873–1933), a conservative intellectual of the May Fourth period, believed that Chinese and Western cultures were different by nature rather than evolutionary stage.78 He was therefore dissatisfied with a universal linear model of history that was based on the historical experience of the West. In Liang Qichao’s later work, some of his earlier convictions also softened somewhat. For example, in his 1925 work The Cultural History of China, he began by asking, “Is it inevitable that all societies pass through this phase [of originating as matriarchies]? . . . There is still a lack of evidence on the matter.” 79 Qian Mu 錢穆 (1895– 1990) stressed that China was different from the West both by nature and by historical stage. In the preface to his Outline of Chinese History he used the metaphor of a concert and a tennis match to argue that Chinese and Western history had followed different courses and were different by nature. Therefore, it was inappropriate to use a single linear model of history to measure the difference of their progress. He emphasized that “[t]hose who write national history must have a thorough understanding of what constitutes the particular nature of their nation’s cultural development.” Just as “the lives of tennis players cannot be interpreted using the history of music. Unfortunately, however, this is exactly what those who write national history today are doing.” The Outline of Chinese History discussed “change” and “development,” but did not say much about “evolution” and even less about the “universal patterns of history.” Qian was critical of those who were “cursory in their treatment of the development of Chinese culture, rashly comparing it to the West in the Middle Ages; and who claim that unless traditional Chinese scholarship is uprooted, it will be impossible for modern science to sprout.” Qian argued, “Historically, Chinese society was neither feudal nor based on commerce and industry; rather, it was in a category of its own.” He also believed that “human historical development followed more of a wave action than a straight line.” He opposed “the evaluation of the overall history of different societies on the basis of their degree of progress in one particular era.” 80 Qian forcefully argued that Chinese culture had its own

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material and scientific development, but it would always be different from Western civilization. This view followed naturally from his understanding that Chinese development was unique by both nature and historical stage.81 The Outline of Chinese History was essentially Qian’s attempt to write history on this theoretical foundation. Liu Yizheng’s views represent something of a compromise between the two positions: he accepted aspects of social evolutionary thought while combining it with a belief that China had its own evolutionary path. Thus, while committed to the theory of social evolution, Liu also emphasized that “there is one important caveat that scholars need to be aware of, and that is that China has its own unique character, which cannot be compared with that of any other nation on earth.” He added, “To understand which aspects of historical development are universal, it is necessary to carefully consider the history of every country and race to see what they have in common. However, to understand their unique historical development, one must delve separately into the history of each country and its race or constituent races.” Thereby, “we can apprehend the principles of evolution that are common to all human societies, and also know the uniqueness of our own country.” 82 Liu’s cultural history of China represents an effort to mediate between the two positions outlined above, and thereby develop a new theoretical perspective on both the Chinese past and historical development more generally.

Coda: The Influence of Linear History As we have seen, the rise of the linear model of history had to do with the broader historical context. From the late Qing, China suffered immense setbacks and the encroachment from the imperial powers. At the same time, Chinese people began to develop an unprecedented admiration for Western civilization. This created extremely fertile ground for Western ideas, making the linear historical framework highly attractive within the Chinese political world. In this historical framework the present and future course of history was fixed, illuminating a way forward for those who admired Western civilization and urgently sought a solution for their nation’s calamitous situation. In particular, this view of history caused revolutionary changes to the idea of “the future.” The future became “knowable” or even “already known.” It was clearly mapped out; the important question was how to get there. Historians readily formulated a positive role for themselves in this great endeavor. Below I will

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give some examples of the influence of the linear model of history on politics, scholarship, culture, and society. The linear model of history is the key to understanding the modern transformation of Chinese politics. Its direct effect was to convince people that development followed a fixed course, through fixed stages, and presented fixed tasks. One had to advance unhesitatingly according to this course. History itself had a will, a force, and a current. Excessive conservatism would “block the forward momentum of history.” 83 Therefore, the question that people most frequently asked themselves was which point China had reached in the scale of evolutionary progression.84 In the late Qing, the most influential historical development schema was the “totemic” to “clan” to “militaristic” progression. 85 People believed China had become a clan society at an extremely early date, but was also departing from it much later than the more advanced countries. Thus the task of their age was to break away from clan society and march into militaristic society. Time and again, Liang Qichao emphasized that “nationalism” and “national imperialism” (minzu diguozhuyi 民族帝國主義) were the great aims of social progress. In contrast to the developed nations of the West, “those countries that have not passed through the stage of nationalism cannot even be properly called countries,” Liang proclaimed. “The transformation of nationalism into national imperialism is necessary for guaranteeing a country’s livelihood and the development of its industry.” 86 Because “national imperialism” was part of a universal pattern of historical growth that could not be defied, the task of historians was to guide their compatriots towards this goal. Otherwise, “this good will become the monopoly of the white race.” 87 Liang viewed the evolutionary process as akin to the growth of a child into an adult, and argued that countries could not be considered “adults” before the development of a nationalism comparable to that of Prussia. Because this framework been imported from the West, whenever mainstream Western thought changed, Chinese intellectuals were thrown into confusion. When socialism became popular around the time of the May Fourth movement, “militaristic” society became an object of criticism. In this changing context, Liu Yizheng’s 1925 work Chinese Cultural History (Zhongguo wenhua shi 中國文化史) noted that “militarism is no longer esteemed.” 88 The implication of this statement was that the aim of “evolution” had to be adjusted correspondingly. Around the time of the May Fourth movement, writers frequently proclaimed that the new “wave” or “trend”—the most highly evolved state—was anarchism or socialism.

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Many articles made this kind of argument. For instance, in an article on the Russian Revolution as a social revolution written in 1919, Fu Sinian 傅斯年 (1896–1950) argued that freedom of thought defined the spirit of modern times. This freedom of thought first appeared in the German states during the religious ferment of the Reformation and again in France during the political ferment of the French Revolution. “These two movements were both necessary stages in the history of civilization. By their experiments, these countries served as the vanguard of evolution. Now, after these two movements, what is the object of the next great transformation? It is society.” And the vessel of the third revolution, the next evolutionary step, was Russian-style revolution. “The French-style revolution—political revolution—has for the most part become something of the past. Russian-style revolution—social revolution—will define our own time.” 89 This kind of progressive stage-based theory provided fertile ground for the later popularization of the five-stage theory of Marxism-Leninism. Indeed, at the beginning of A History of Politics, Jenks had acknowledged the influence of Lewis Morgan’s (1818– 81) Ancient Society.90 From the 1920s and 1930s on, the five-stage theory (a progression from primitive Communism to slavery to feudalism to capitalism to socialism) gathered momentum in China. The question of whether or not this theory was suitable for China elicited no small amount of debate. Nevertheless, it emerged as an unparalleled force within politics and scholarship.91 As we have seen, the linear model of history shifted the “future” from the realm of the “unknowable” to that of the “knowable,” or even “the already known.” The nature of the task facing historians changed as a result. Liang Qichao began both “An Introduction to Chinese History” and “New History” with a reevaluation of the role of historians. On the one hand, historians had to rewrite history according to evolutionary theory, and on the other hand, they had to discover in it the “universal principles” and “universal patterns” that could guide the Chinese people forward.92 Historians were simultaneously researchers and explorers, and also guides, and none of these critical roles could be neglected. As Liang stressed time and again, “unless there is a revolution in the field of historiography, our nation cannot be saved.” 93 History carried with it a “duty,” and the important task of historians was to elucidate what this “duty” was. “The duty to history cannot be fulfilled unless historians have illuminated the patterns of evolution.” 94

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Historians had to shine light on these “patterns,” and promote development that was in accordance with them. “Although we speak of the principle of steady evolution as inevitable, the process of seeking and promoting development according to this universal pattern cannot be delayed.” 95 This was the common task of all researchers. In A History of Vernacular Literature (Baihua wenxue shi 白話文學史), Hu Shi also stated this “duty” of historians very clearly: “I want everyone to know that vernacular literature is the product of more than a thousand years of history.” His account of the history of vernacular literature aimed to make clear “the overarching trend within this history.” The task of the age was to continue the unfinished endeavors of the vanguard that had opened a path in the past, and moreover to do so “purposefully.” Hu Shi believed that there were “two kinds of historical evolution. The first is completely natural evolution (wanquan ziran de yanhua 完全自然的演化). The second is evolution that follows the natural course, but is accelerated by human agency.” And a critical task facing historians was to ensure that the human agency was added after the historical patterns had been discovered.96 The linear model of history had several effects on the way people thought. Analyzing the political situation of their age, they asked questions such as the following: Which stages have we passed through already? Which stage are we in now? What is the next phase likely to be? And, what is the highest point? Evaluations of the key political tasks often had a dualistic quality. On the one hand, climbing the evolutionary ladder, there was the final, ideal goal of evolution to consider. On the other hand, there were the goals to be achieved in the here and now. What had to be done in the present age? What would the ideal social and political order be like? These two levels often existed side by side in the minds of many. The manner in which they were articulated differed between individuals, and bore the influence of each individual’s environment, so there was no standard formulation or answer. To an extent, this explains why so many people were simultaneously nationalists and socialist internationalists. For such people, the former was the present-day objective, while the latter represented the highest plane of evolution. However, because China could not leap over its present stage of development, all efforts had to be made to foster nationalism precisely so that in the future the more advanced states of socialism and internationalism could be pursued. This “dualism” was also sometimes manifest as a division between “the will of history” and “individual will,” or as a style of thought that I

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call “doubled consciousness.” For example, it was common to come across a kind of stereotypical narration: some person or group of people quietly observes the great force of human evolution and then decides to undertake some kind of action to further the progress of their native land. It also evident in the following form of condemnation: “Churchill worked for the good of his country out of loyalty, but he was ignorant of the broader global situation, and was in the end an obstacle for human progress.” 97 This kind of “double consciousness” occurred not only in politics but also was manifest, subtly and often subconsciously, in cultural and scholarly movements. For example Chen Duxiu 陳獨秀 (1879–1942) said, “People are shocked when they first hear Wu [Zhihui]’s 吳稚暉 (1864–1953) idea that Chinese characters will sooner or later inevitably be abandoned. But in light of the patterns of evolution, this may be inevitable.” 98 Many more examples could be given. In this period, the linear model of history was an effective research tool, and whether a work was considered original and interesting had a lot to do with whether or not it used a linear framework. Yet it also produced blind spots. Writers often began by choosing an attractive highest evolutionary state, and then worked backward, selecting related historical material to form an evolutionary history. Hu Shi’s A History of Vernacular Literature is an example. Promoting the vernacular language, Hu fixed it as the pinnacle of the evolution of literary form, and worked backward, highlighting just the data that fit into an evolutionary genealogy. One of the effects of the linear model of history was the semiconscious understanding that only the things that could be appropriately positioned on the main line of historical progress had value and were worthy of being recorded and discussed. Therefore it neglected the existence of all sorts of phenomena that did not clearly fit in the main narrative of progress. Because there was only one “most evolved” state, there was a strong tendency to reject everything that did not seem to fit its development. Discussing the long-term evolution of Chinese literature, Hu Shi simply asserted that the more highly evolved vernacular language would supersede other literary forms and become the only form of literature. One of Hu Shi’s contemporary critics, Mei Guangdi 梅光迪 (1890– 1945), perceptively argued that Hu Shi’s views on the development of literature were characterized by narrowness, intolerance of difference, and the notion that the rising of the new meant the extinction of the old.99 As Mei pointed out, Hu Shi did not believe that the vernacular language would become a new addition to a multiplicity of literary forms

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but that the rise of the vernacular language heralded the extinction of all other forms. This narrowness was thoroughly manifest in the articles that Hu Shi wrote during the New Culture Movement on improving language. For example, in “Views on the Evolution of Literature and the Improvement of Drama” (“Wenxue jinhua guannian yu xiju gailiang” 文學進化觀念與 戲劇改良) he stated that drama also had an evolutionary course, and the modern age was witness to the rise of “the most evolved” form of drama, which dispensed with musical scores. Hu claimed that “Western drama is the result of free and natural evolution. Chinese drama is the product of only partially free development,” and “the lesson from history is that for a thousand years Chinese drama has struggled to free itself from the many constraints imposed by musical scores.” Thus, he argued, “the progress of Chinese drama requires that musical scores be gradually dispensed with.” 100 The notion of the more evolved irrevocably replacing the previous rungs on the ladder was influential in almost every field. As Fu Sinian argued in 1928 in his statement of purpose for the newly established Institute of History and Philology, “In the evolution of Chinese linguistics, as research on the Shuowen 說文 rendered the Hanjian 汗簡 obsolete, so the work of Ruan Yuan 阮元 and Wu Dacheng 吳大澂 and others on bronze inscriptions undermined the Shuowen; and the recent research of Sun Yirang 孫詒讓, Wang Guowei 王國維, and others on oracle bones will develop knowledge of ancient writing to the next stage.” 101 Fu implied that the scholarship that had been rendered obsolete no longer had any explanatory power. However, much recent research on the writing tablets and silks excavated from archaeological sites has been conducted with the aid of the “obsolete” Hanjian. The mono-linear view of history stipulated a “universal pattern” and “stages” of evolutionary progress, and thus seemed to posit that all countries had to pass through each stage in turn, skipping none. This entailed what Isaiah Berlin called “the inevitability of history.” As a result, the focus of historians tended to be focused only on these inevitable “stages,” and they neglected the way in which history could develop in multiple, unimagined directions. On the basis of the preordained principle that the more highly evolved replaces the less evolved, historians came up with new chains of connections in which later phenomena superseded earlier phenomena. But they neglected instances in which there was no chain of

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relationships between earlier and later phenomena, or cases in which many forms of a phenomenon coexisted, linked by a diverse array of relationships. Historians also ignored instances in which earlier and later phenomena might not have been related at all, and the way that historical development can take the form of progress and regression, regression and readvance, and other more complex patterns. In a word, the linear model of history had a huge inf luence on modern China. In many different fields it left both deep and subtle traces that have taken a diverse array of forms, which this chapter has been unable to cover completely. A more detailed discussion of them is a task that still awaits us. Translated by Joe Lawson and Peter Zarrow

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An example is the Three Age Theory of New Text Confucianism. Joseph Needham (1900–1995) even believed that ancient Chinese models of history were essentially linear—see Luke S. K. Kwong, “The Rise of the Linear Perspective on History and Time in Late Qing China c. 1860–1911,” Past and Present 173 (November 2001): pp. 165–66. See Wu Ze 吳澤, “Kang Youwei gongyang sanshi shuo de lishi jinhua guandian yanjiu: Kang Youwei shixue yanjiu zhi yi” 康有為公羊三世說的歷史進化 觀點研究:康有為史學研究之一, in Zhonghua wenshi lun cong 中華文史論叢 (Shanghai: Zhonghua shuju, 1962), vol. 1, pp. 229–74. For instance, Zhang Binglin noted that Western history writing was usually structured around a division between different ages. Zhang was primarily influenced by the Japanese historian Kuwabara Jitsuz¯o. See Zhang Taiyan 章 太炎, “Zhongguo tongshi lüe li” 中國通史略例, in Qiushu 訄書 (repr., Taibei: Shijie shuju, 1963), p. 198. For Kang’s historical-political views, the most extensive discussion in English remains Kung-chuan Hsiao, A Modern China and a New World: K‘ang Yu-wei, Reformer and Utopian, 1858–1927 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1975), chaps. 3–4. Kwong, “Rise of the Linear Perspective,” pp. 157–90. See Q. Edward Wang, “Narrating the Nation: Meiji Historiography,” in this volume. See E. G. Pulleyblank and W. G. Beasley, “Introduction,” in Historians of China and Japan (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1971), p. 15. Yu Danchu 俞旦初, “Ershi shiji chunian Zhongguo de xin shixue” 二十世紀初 年中國的新史學, in Aiguo zhuyi yu Zhongguo jindai shixue 愛國主義與中國近代 史學 (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1996), pp. 56–61; and Li Xiaoqian 李孝遷, Xifang shixue zai Zhongguo de chuanbo 西方史學在中國的傳 播 (Shanghai: Huadong shifan daxue chubanshe, 2007), chap. 2. There has been much discussion of this. See, for example, Zhang Pengyuan 張朋園, “Shehui Da’erwen zhuyi yu xiandai hua—Yan Fu, Liang Qichao de jinhua guan” 社會達爾文主義與現代化— 嚴復、梁啟超的進化觀 , in Tao Xisheng xiansheng bazhi rongqing lunwen ji 陶希聖先生八秩榮慶論文集 (Taibei: Shihuo chubanshi, 1979), pp. 187–230; and Teshirogi Yuji 手代木有 , “Ry¯o Keich¯o —shigaku kakumei to Meiji no rekishi gaku,” 梁 超—史 学革命と明治の歴史学, in Kindai Chugoku no shisakusha tachi 近代中国の思索 者たち, ed. Sat¯o Shin’ichi 佐藤慎一 (Tokyo: Taishukan, 1998), pp. 80–88. For this point, see Ishikawa Yoshihiro, “Liang Qichao yu wenming de guandian” 梁啟超與文明的視點, in Liang Qichao, Mingzhi riben, Xifang: Riben jingdu daxue renwen kexue yanjiusuo gongtong yanjiu baogao 梁啟超.明治日 本.西方—日本京都大學人文科學研究所共同研究報告, ed. Hazama Naoki 間直樹 (Beijing: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe, 2001), pp. 95–119.

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Liang Qichao 梁啟超, “Xin Shixue” 新史學, in Yinbingshi wenji 飲冰室文集 [hereafter YBSWJ] (Taibei: Taiwan Zhonghua shuju, 1960), vol. 4, pp. 7, 8, 10. Liang Qichao, “Zhongguo shi xulun” 中國史敘論, in YBSWJ, vol. 3, p. 11. Liang Qichao, “Lun Zhongguo xueshu sixiang bianqian zhi dashi,” 論中國學 術思想變遷之大勢, in YBSWJ, vol. 3, pp. 6, 11, 12, 40. A representative case is Zhang Binglin’s call for understanding the path of progressive developments, in his discussion of the need to write comprehensive (rather than dynastic) histories of China. See his “Zhongguo tongshi lüeli” 中國通史略例, in his Qiushu 訄書 (Taibei: Shijie shuju, 1971). For example, see one of the first modern histories of Chinese literature: Lin Chuanjia 林傳甲, Zhongguo wenxue shi 中國文學史, in Zaoqi Beida wenxue shi jiangyi sanzhong 早期北大文學史講義三種, ed. Chen Pingyuan 陳平原 (Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe, 2005), pp. 1–238. Lin Chuanjia’s Zhongguo wenxue shi, for example, used the term “evolution” (jinhua 進化), but in fact there is very little that is “evolutionary” about this work. Edward Jenks [Ch. Zhen Kesi 甄克思], Shehui tongquan 社會通詮, trans. Yan Fu 嚴復 (Taibei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan, 1977). James R. Pusey, China and Charles Darwin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983); Zou Zhenhuan 鄒振環, Yingxiang Zhongguo jindai shehui de yibai zhong yizuo 影響中國近代社會的一百種譯作 (Beijing: Zhongguo duiwaiyi chubanshe, 1996), pp. 70–74, 116–20; Wang Zichun 汪子春, “Daerwen xueshuo zai Zhongguo chuqi de chuanbo yu yingxiang” 達爾文學 說在中國初期的傳播與影響, in Zhongguo zhexue 中國哲學 (Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 1983), vol. 9, pp. 365–87. For example, Liu Shipei, who wrote several historical works that made use of evolutionary theory, often proclaimed that sociology (shehui xue 社會學) had the greatest influence on him, typically referring to A History of Politics and Works of Herbert Spencer. See, e.g., “Jinjing zhi li” 進境之理, in Sibinsaier wenji 斯賓塞爾文集, Chang yan bao 昌言報 1 (July 1897): pp. 1–3. Benjamin Schwartz, In Search of Wealth and Power: Yen Fu and the West (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1964), p. 157. For a detailed account of his life, see Wang Xianming 王憲明, Yuyan, fanyi yu zhengzhi—Yan Fu yi “Shehui tongquan” yanjiu 語言、翻譯與政治—嚴復譯 《社會通詮》研究 (Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe, 2005), pp. 34–35. After Jenks’s death, Robert Warden Lee delivered a lecture on Jenks’s life at the British Academy, which was published in 1941 as a twenty-seven-page booklet. Robert Warden Lee, Edward Jenks, 1861–1939: Proceedings of the British Academy (London: Humphrey Milford, 1941), pp. 399–423. I thank David McMullen of Cambridge University for a copy of this booklet. For example, in the late Qing opponents of those who advocated a racial revolution drew strongly on A History of Politics. For this debate see Wang Xianming, Yuyan, fanyi yu zhengzhi, pp. 190–207.

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164 · Wang Fan-sen 25 26 27 28 29

30 31

32 33 34 35 36 37 38

39 40 41 42

43 44 45 46 47 48

Jean Starobinski, “The World Civilization,” in Blessings in Disguise, or, The Morality of Evil (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), pp. 4–5. J. B. Bury, The Idea of Progress: An Inquiry into Its Origin and Growth (London: Macmillan, 1920), pp. 334–49. W. F. Trotter, “Review on Edward Jenks, A History of Politics,” International Journal of Ethics 12.2 (January 1902): p. 269. Dongfang zazhi 東方雜誌, no. 1, cited in Wang Xianming, Yuyan, fanyi yu zhengzhi, p. 187. For example, Yan translated “the result of historical growth” as “the result of gradual evolution (zhidu jie tianyan jiancheng 制度皆天演漸成)” (p. 96). Yan’s text has “the clan system and the rules that governed it (zongfa zhidu 宗法制度) was the greatest driver of progress,” though this was preceded by “a theory grew up that” in the original (A History of Politics, pp. 96, 111). Franklin L. Baumer, Modern European Thought: Continuity and Change in Ideas, 1600–1950 (New York: Macmillan, 1977), pp. 140–59. This vision is found in the writing of Wang Guowei. See Yuan Yingguang 袁 英光 and Liu Yinsheng 劉寅生, Wang Guowei nianpu changbian (1877–1927) 王國維年譜長編 (1877–1927) (Tianjin: Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1996), p. 91. For example, Lin Chuanjia, Zhongguo wenxue shi, pp. 125, 137, 141. Liang Qichao, “Lun Zhongguo xueshu sixiang bianqian zhi dashi,” p. 12. Liang Qichao, “Yao Shun wei Zhongguo zhongyang junquan lanshang kao” 堯舜為中國中央君權濫觴考, in YBSWJ, vol. 3, pp. 25–26. Liang Qichao, “Lun Zhongguo xueshu sixiang bianqian zhi dashi,” p. 6. Lü Simian 呂思勉, “Zhongguo tongshi” 中國通史 (unpublished material), p. 5. Liang Qichao, “Lun Zhongguo xueshu sixiang bianqian zhi dashi,” p. 39. Ibid., p. 14. Liang also wrote, “There is a universal pattern to the fitness of symbols. . . . Symbols used in the savage age were complicated and diverse, while those used in civilized ages are simple and uniform.” See Liang Qichao, “Zhongguo shi xulun,” p. 7. Liang Qichao, “Zhongguo shi xulun,” p. 10. Liang Qichao, “Zhongguo zhuanzhi zhengzhi jinhua shilun,” 中國專制政治 進化史論, in YBSWJ, vol. 4, p. 59. Xia Zengyou 夏曾佑, Zhongguo gudai shi 中國古代史 (Taibei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan reprint, 1994), p. 8. Chen Jieshi 陳介石, “Jing shi daxuetang Zhongguo shi jiangyi” 京師大學堂中 國史講義, in Chen Fuchen ji 陳黻宸集, ed. Chen Depu 陳德溥 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1995), p. 679. Lü Simian, “Zhongguo tongshi,” p. 11. Liang Qichao, “Zhongguo shi xulun,” p. 9. Liang Qichao, “Xin shixue,” p. 7. Liang Qichao, “Guodu shidai lun” 過渡時代論, in YBSWJ, vol. 3, p. 27. Liang Qichao, “Yao Shun wei Zhongguo zhongyang junquan lanshang kao,” pp. 25–27. Zhang Binglin, “Zhongguo tongshi lüeli,” p. 201.

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The Impact of the Linear Model of History · 165 49 50

Liang Qichao, “Zhongguo shi xulun,” p. 9. Liu Shipei 劉師培, “Guzheng yuanshi lun” 古政原始論, in Liu Shenshu xiansheng yishu 劉申叔先生遺書 (Taibei: Huashi chubanshe, 1975), vol. 2, p. 793. 51 Liang Qichao, “Lun Zhongguo xueshu sixiang bianqian zhi dashi,” p. 12. 52 Xia Zengyou, Zhongguo gudai shi, p. 14. 53 Liu Yizheng 柳詒徵, Zhongguo wenhua shi 中國文化史 (repr., Taibei: Zhengzhong shuju, 1964), vol. 1, p. 99. 54 See, e.g., Liu Shipei, “Zhongguo lishi jiaokeshu” 中國歷史教科書, in Liu Shenshu xiansheng yishu, vol. 4, pp. 2465–74. For the Western origins theory, see also James Leibold, “Filling in the Nation,” and Peter Zarrow, “Discipline and Narrative,” in this volume. 55 Liang Qichao, “Lun xueshu zhi shili zuoyou shijie” 論學術之勢力左右世界, in YBSWJ, vol. 3, p. 114. 56 Liu Shipei, “Fan li” 凡例, in “Zhongguo lishi jiaokeshu,” p. 2463. 57 Xia Zengyou, Zhongguo gudai shi, pp. 8–11. 58 Ibid., p. 8. 59 See ibid., p. 18. 60 Liu Shipei, “Guzheng yuanshi lun,” p. 810. 61 Ibid., p. 809–10. 62 Ibid., p. 797. 63 Ibid., pp. 794–95. 64 Ibid., pp. 795–96. 65 Liu Yizheng’s Zhongguo wenhua shi was first serially published as lecture notes in 1925 in the journal Xueheng 學衡, and then published as a book in 1926. 66 Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 26, 57–61. 67 Xia Zengyou, Zhongguo gudai shi, p. 340. 68 Jenks, Shehui tongquan, p. 60. 69 Ibid., p. 91. 70 Xia Zengyou, Zhongguo gudai shi, p. 24. 71 Ibid., p. 234. 72 Ibid., pp. 232, 225. 73 Liang Qichao, “Mieguo xinfa lun” 滅國新法論, in YBSWJ, vol. 3, p. 32. 74 Liang Qichao, “Guojia sixiang bianqian yitong lun” 國家思想變遷異同論, in YBSWJ, vol. 3, p. 20. Liang Qichao wrote, “In the last twenty years we have seen something of the techniques used by the so called superior races to vanquish other nations. . . . In all this, where is the evidence of their so-called civilization? Where is the evidence of so-called international law? Or of humanitarianism and loving one’s enemies? . . . Power is the common way of the world; this is a consequence of evolution and the competition for survival. Is this so very strange, or detestable?” See “Mieguo xinfa lun,” YBSWJ, vol. 3, p. 39. 75 This was extremely detrimental not only to traditional Chinese ethics but also to modern Western political thought such as “natural rights.” In the

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166 · Wang Fan-sen

76

77

78

79 80 81 82

context of principles such as “natural selection” and “the survival of the fittest,” ethics became mere wishful thinking. For instance, Liang Qichao argued, “Since the publication of Darwin’s work, we have known that mankind’s development follows evolutionary patterns that gradually lead towards civilization. In the past people believed in natural rights; namely, that every person is naturally endowed with certain rights. However since Darwin, we know about natural selection and the survival of the fittest, and that it is necessary to pursue strength in order to guarantee one’s existence.” See Liang Qichao, “Lun xueshu zhi shili zuoyou shijie,” p. 114. When Yan Fu’s translation of A History of Politics was published it was widely seen as a powerful challenge to the natural rights theory in Rousseau’s Social Contract, which had been popular in the late Qing—a view that was, of course, not without merit. For a fuller discussion see Wang Fan-sen 王汎森 , “Jindai Zhongguo de xianxing lishiguan—yi shehui jinhualun wei zhongxin de taolun” 近代中國 的線性歷史觀—以社會進化論為中心的討論, Xin shixue 新史學 19.2 (June 2008): pp. 30–34. Hu Shi 胡適, “Xian-Qin zhuzi jinhualun” 先秦諸子進化論, in Hu Shi quanji 胡適全集, ed. Ji Xianlin 季羨林 (Kexue 科學 3.1, 1917; repr., Hefei: Anhui jiaoyu chubanshe, 2003), vol. 7, pp. 8–30. Republican period debates over how to interpret ancient history are discussed in Brian Moloughney, “Myth and the Making of History,” in this volume. Du Yaquan 杜亞泉, “Jing de wenming yu dong de wenming” 靜的文明與動的 文明, in Du Yaquan wenxuan 杜亞泉文選 , ed. Tian Jianye 田建業 et al. (Shanghai: Huadong shifan daxue chubanshe, 1993), p. 242. Liang Qichao, Zhongguo wenhua shi 中國文化史 (repr., Taibei: Taiwan zhonghua shuju, 1976), p. 1. See Qian Mu, “Yin lun” 引論, in Guoshi dagang 國史大綱 (repr., Taibei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan, 1984), vol. 1, pp. 9, 20, 21, 24. Wang Fansen, “Qian Mu yu Minguo xuefeng” 錢穆與民國學風 , Yanjing xuebao 燕京學報 21 (November 2006): pp. 253–87. Liu Yizheng, “Xu lun” 緒論, in Zhongguo wenhua shi, vol. 1, pp. 1–2. As a work that combined the two positions, Zhongguo wenhua shi agreed with aspects of Liu Shipei’s and Xia Zengyou’s discussion of ancient history, but also had some criticisms of them. Liu Yizheng generally accepted the accounts of the deeds of the sages of the three pre-Qin dynasties, though he viewed them as the results of a range of different forces working in combination. Liu frequently reminded readers that certain events that occurred in antiquity, such as the Yu’s controlling of the flood, “were in reality the work of the people of the whole country . . . not the achievements of one or two people” (vol. 1, p. 81). As regards the people of ancient times, Liu took the view that “the communal took precedence over the individual; people were by nature unsophisticated and honest” (vol. 1, p. 102).

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The Impact of the Linear Model of History · 167 83 84 85

Lü Simian, “Zhongguo tongshi,” p. 8. Liang Qichao, “Xin shixue,” p. 10. Interestingly, Jenks’s original text referred to “savage society,” “patriarchal society,” and “modern (political) society.” However, Yan Fu translated “modern society” as “militaristic society” (junguo shehui 軍國社會), clearly wishing to emphasize that in Jenks’s vision of human social evolution, the best state was indeed “militaristic.” 86 Liang Qichao, “Yao Shun wei Zhongguo zhongyang junquan lanshang kao,” p. 22. 87 Liang Qichao, “Guojia sixiang bianqian yitong lun,” p. 22; “Yao Shun wei Zhongguo zhongyang junquan lanshang kao,” p. 25. 88 Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhua shi, vol. 1, p. 114. 89 Fu Sinian, “Shehui geming—Eguo shi de geming” 社會革命—俄國式的革命, Xinchao 新潮 1.1 (1 January 1919): pp. 128–29. 90 Edward Jenks, A History of Politics (London: J. M. Dent, 1900), p. 7; Shehui tongquan, p. 6. 91 See Arif Dirlik, Revolution and History: The Origins of Marxist Historiography in China, 1919–1937 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), chap. 6. 92 Liang Qichao, “Zhongguo shi xulun,” pp. 1–12; “Yao Shun wei Zhongguo zhongyang junquan lanshang kao,” p. 25; “Xin shixue,” pp. 1–32. 93 Liang Qichao, “Xin shixue,” p. 7. One of the distinctions that Liang made between “new” and “old” historiography was that old historians were unable to discover “universal patterns” that could guide the Chinese people. “In the past, historians merely recorded facts. Modern historians must demonstrate causal connections.” See Liang Qichao, “Zhongguo shi xulun,” p. 1. 94 Liang Qichao, “Yao Shun wei Zhongguo zhongyang junquan lanshang kao,” p. 23. 95 Liang Qichao, “Guojia sixiang bianqian yitong lun,” p. 12. 96 Hu Shi, Baihua wenxue shi 白話文學史 (Taibei: Xinjiang chubanshe, 1974), pp. 1–5. 97 Xia Chengtao 夏承燾, Tianfengge xueci riji 天風閣學詞日記 (Hangzhou: Zhejiang guji chubanshe, 1992), vol. 2, p. 695. 98 Chen Duxiu 陳獨秀, Duxiu wencun 獨秀文存 (Shanghai: Yadong tushuguan, 1924), vol. 3, p. 177. 99 In “Ping tichang xinwenhua zhe” 評提倡新文化者, Mei Guangdi 梅光迪 wrote, “If the literary language and the vernacular have risen in succession, then we are witness to the addition of a new form to the existing corpus rather than a complete transformation. It is certainly not a revolution.” He also noted, “It is difficult to say whether literature follows an evolutionary pattern. Western countries have by and large rejected this once-fashionable but deeply flawed idea.” See Mei Guangdi, Mei Guangdi wenlu 梅光迪文錄 (Taibei: Zhonghua congshu weiyuanhui, 1956), pp. 1–2.

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168 · Wang Fan-sen 100 Hu Shi, Hu Shi wenji 胡適文集 , ed. Ji Xianlin (Hefei: Anhui jiaoy u chubanshe, 2003), vol. 1, pp. 137–50. 101 Fu Sinian, “Lishi yuyan yanjiusuo gongzuo zhi zhiqu” 歷史語言研究所工作之 旨趣, in Fu Sinian quanji 傅斯年全集 (repr., Taibei: Lianjing chuban shiye gongsi, 1980), vol. 4, p. 306.

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Chapter 6

Discipline and Narrative: Chinese History Textbooks in the Early Twentieth Century* Peter Zarrow

The history of China is a most glorious history. Since the Yellow Emperor, all the things we rely on—from articles of daily use to the highest forms of culture—have progressed with time. Since the Qin and the Han dynasties created unity on a vast scale, the basis of the state has become ever more stable, displaying China’s prominence in East Asia. Although there have been periods of discord and disunity, and occasions when outside forces have oppressed the country, restoration always soon followed. And precisely because the frontiers were absorbed into the unity of China, foreign groups were assimilated. Does not the constant development of the frontiers show how the beneficence bequeathed us from our ancestors exemplifies the glory of our history? It is a matter of regret that foreign insults have mounted over the last several decades, and records of China’s national humiliation are numerous. However, that which is not forgotten from the past, may teach us for the future. Only if the all people living in China love and respect our past history and do their utmost to maintain its honor, will the nation be formed out of adversity, as we have seen numerous times in the past. Readers of history know that their responsibility lies here.

—Conclusion to New Style History Textbook, 19201 *

I am grateful for suggestions for improvement of earlier versions of this chapter as presented at workshops of the Formation and Development of Academic Disciplines in China project of the Australian National University, as well as the 2009 annual meeting of the Association of Asian Studies; in particular Brian Moloughney, Tze-ki Hon, Arif Dirlik, and Leigh Kathryn Jenco. This chapter gives the Chinese characters for terms and for the names of writers discussed, but not for the numerous premodern historical references. Research for this chapter was aided by grants from the National Science Council (Taiwan) (NSC 93-2411-H-001-059; NSC 94-2411-H-001-047; and NSC 94-2411-H-001-026).

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170 · Peter Zarrow What, in the end, is the point of studying history? People generally think that history is written to provide moral lessons or mirrors to see our behavior. They think that we will be moved to vigilance by examining the causes and effects of the good and evil in the past and that we will strive for good and avoid evil. But they don’t realize that this is merely an extra benefit from studying history and has nothing to do with its true value. If the purpose of histories merely lay in encouraging good and abjuring evil, their function would be no different from that of morality books or respectable fiction. The purpose of histories lies in enabling people to trace their origins and to predict the future. This is where its value lies as well. For example, geographers who want to know how plains and deserts were formed, or how mountains and valleys were formed, must use historical methods to find the answers. Or those who want to know about modern Chinese society in order to find out why society is not at peace also must carry out their investigations with the help of history. The practical use of history lies in giving us an understanding of origins of all the phenomena of the present day; once we understand those origins, then we are in a position to analyze and resolve future problems. “Written history” is thus an academic field necessary for life itself.

—General preface to Chinese History for Middle Schools, 19362 If we grant that two of the characteristics of modern historiography include treating the nation as the main historical subject and narrating a story in the form of more or less linear, progressive time, then history textbooks were the chief means of disseminating modern historical approaches. This is not to say that only nations served as historical agents or subjects: individuals, dynasties, regions (the “West”), localities, civilizations, religions, and institutions could all be treated as historical subjects. But the majority of historical work focused on the nation. Nor is it to say that time was uniformly linear: there could also be stagnation, reversals, and cycles, but the majority of historical work was presented in a linear framework. Thus traditional historical forms such as chronicles, moral fables, “mirrors for kings,” and mythical stories were replaced by careful narrativization.3 By narrativization here, I mean simply telling stories or the emplotment of the events that had occurred (in a given account) to historical subjects—stories of birth, tribulation, growth, and decline. The link between the nation as the primary historical subject and narrative as the primary disciplinary form was clearly made in the late Qing.4 Not alone, but perhaps most famously, in 1902 Liang Qichao 梁啟 超 (1873–1929) sharply criticized traditional histories as merely dynastic

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Discipline and Narrative · 171

“genealogies” or the personal histories of emperors rather than collective histories of the nation.5 He demanded that history focus on the evolution of the nation, paying attention to current affairs and speaking to the future. There were limits to the program of the new history movement. Its rejection of all traditional historiography was to be modified in practice. It was to prove difficult to take the nation as the prime historical subject when the historical evidence of the very existence of the nation still had to be established. What, after all, was the “Chinese nation”? Narrativization could lead the unwary into bogs of detail. Yet it is clear that the central concern of the modern discipline of history in China was the search for the progress of the nation. In the West, the construction of history as a discipline was a largely conservative phenomenon ref lecting the establishment of the modern secular states of Europe and the United States.6 History was thus seen as objective—interpretive but empirical, not prescriptive—and this was key to its disciplinary style. Essential was a tone of objectivity or detachment, and making source materials visible, mostly through footnotes. An emphasis on primary sources and the avoidance of anachronism highlighted the distinction between history as a more or less scientific understanding of the past, and history as things of the past (that may be sources of historical understanding but are not themselves history). Sharing source materials also highlighted the social nature of historical scholarship (notwithstanding the antisocial natures of many scholars). The modern discipline of history glorified the nation. The core function of history as a discipline, indeed, became the tracing of national progress— as opposed to enjoying anachronism, celebrating localism, passing moral judgment, or aestheticizing experience of the past. History thus had a prominent social function in the training of citizens. From the early nineteenth century, for example, the textbooks used in the common schools of the United States were self-avowedly devoted to teaching love of country, which was the very basis for citizenship. Professional historians across the Western world were by and large an optimistic lot who thought their countries were good and getting better. Conditions were very different in China, where every effort at statebuilding seemed only to provoke greater crisis. Adopting the style of Western historiography, late Qing histories were similarly anti-metaphysical and secular, and their tone was objective. But they were not necessarily conservative. Discussions of ancient China revolved around a

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172 · Peter Zarrow

palpable if implicit tension: the greatness of the founding civilization and political order on the one hand, and centuries of apparent stagnation and despotism on the other. And in discussing modern history, writers built narratives around rebellion and invasion—thus themes of domestic anarchy and foreign disaster strained against progress and national development. National history textbooks were a key part of the process by which history was turned into a modern discipline in China in the early twentieth century. They rested on a hidden normative structure, abandoning the traditional conf lation of history with the cosmic, moral Dao but implicitly or explicitly praising that which contributed to China’s growth.7 Scholars and educators saw modern schools as the key to creating an enlightened citizenry that was progressive but still rooted in its great cultural traditions. In this educational project, the discipline of history was designed to foster a sense of shared identity and certain values. 8 The study of history thus revealed both objective forces and heroes and villains. The normative structure implicit in national history was a key element in the modernization of the discipline, determining much of its content and shaping the narrative structure of historical works. History textbooks sometimes looked a little like chronicles in their emphasis on facticity and devotion to chronological order, but in fact they were the most concentrated form of the modern narrative structure. They moved from birth and development to, it was stated or implied, triumph. The national story was one of promised fulfillment, although possibly delayed fulfillment. Not all history courses dealt with China. Local history was taught at the lowest levels and world history in middle schools.9 Yet the point of local history ultimately was to foster identity with the nation, while world history textbooks still revolved around the nation-state, which remained the key subject of the historical narrative. Textbooks distilled new historiographical knowledge and trends, not incidentally commodifying history into a product that proved the commercial mainstay of several publishing companies. The textbook industry exploded with the establishment of a modern state school system in 1902.10 With the abolition of the traditional civil service exams after 1905, rural and urban elites were encouraged to build new schools, the numbers of which rose from a few thousand to some 30,000 by 1909. One count found less than 7,000 “new school” students in 1902, jumping to 1.6 million in 1909 and nearly 3 million by 1912.11 No doubt small private schools continued to outnumber the official schools well into the

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Discipline and Narrative · 173

Republic, but if many small school teachers continued to use traditional primers, they also increasingly turned to textbooks that were written according to official guidelines.12 Nor were the new official schools the first to use modern textbooks. Under the auspices of the “Self-Strengthening” program (ziqiang yundong 自強運動) of the 1870s, progressive gentry in established schools with Westernized or Japanized curriculums—one count finds 107 privately established schools by 1900.13 And missionary schools expanded much more dramatically, totaling almost 2,000 by 1890 (including perhaps 300 girls’ schools) with some 40,000 students.14 Possibly the first recognizably modern national histories of China—from its origins to the present—were the products of missionary schools.15 The American missionary Davello Z. Sheffield wrote a number of textbooks, including a world history in 1882. History textbooks of whatever provenance focused on facts, or events, with little effort to explicitly analyze their significance. But they did so in a larger framework of what it means to be Chinese. A captive market of schoolchildren and their teachers did not necessarily absorb every lesson textbooks wanted to convey, but textbooks written according to government guidelines presented variations on common themes— themes that were as important for the construction of the modern historical discipline as were extrinsic factors such as specialization and institutionalization. These themes included love of nation, a sense of its roots, awareness of the foreign threat it faced, and the need to strengthen it. The past was not a foreign country. This was especially true in the late Qing and early years of the Republic, when history textbooks, roughly speaking, emphasized continuity. A sharper sense of distance from the past arose only in the 1930s, after the Nationalist government was able to insist on a narrative break between the empire of the foreign Qing and the Republic of the Han 漢 people.

Patterns of the Past: Periodization For the most part, early Republican history textbooks read much like the Qing textbooks that started appearing in the early 1900s. Indeed, in many cases, old histories were simply put out in a new edition with an additional chapter or two at the end. Late Qing history textbooks revolved around the familiar dynastic cycle, though the term was not used, to tell the story—or, better, stories—of the rise and fall of the various dynasties since the very first transition from the Xia to the Shang (traditionally

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174 · Peter Zarrow

dated about 1600 BCE). Modern Chinese identity was thus tied to the dynastic cycle, and early Republican history textbooks, like late Qing textbooks, based their narrative template on the dynastic cycle.16 These textbooks treated the founding of civilization by the sage-kings long before the Xia; then chronologically ordered a long series of dynasties during which little long-term change was noted; and finally concluded with an in-depth account of the Qing. If, presumably, the Qing too would fall one day, this went tactfully unmentioned. Even unnamed, the dynastic cycle provided textbooks with a schematic narrative template into which historical data could be fit.17 Some textbooks made some effort to provide analyses of culture, religion, and thought that covered several dynasties, but the emphasis remained on political developments: the actions of emperors and generals. But with the establishment of the Republic, there was a new ending to the account of Chinese history: now the national story had a real teleology. Chinese history culminated in the Republic. It is true that the matter-of-factness of textbook accounts acted to downplay the sharpness of the discontinuity. The founding of the Republic was thus but the last of a long series of chapters—in the very first years of the Republic, literally the last one or two chapters of what might be four or five volumes mostly focusing on dynastic history.18 And it may be that by the 1920s, disillusionment with the political fractiousness of the Republic led some textbook authors to treat the Republic not unlike a dynasty beset with problems— at any rate, not a matter for glory and celebration. Other authors, however, especially in the 1910s, were more hopeful and more alert to the unprecedented nature of the Republic. Textbooks then changed again in the late 1920s when the Nationalists established a new government in 1928, and a clearer narrative arc was standardized. Late Qing and early Republican histories had shared a sense of “China” as a multiethnic project: politically unified (except when it wasn’t) but ethnically diverse. Nationalist history textbooks instead stressed Han ethnic identity of China, and the “foreignness” and oppressive rule of both the Manchu-Qing and the Mongol-Yuan. In this view, the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368) represented the first case of foreign control of China, and the anti-Yuan uprisings of the fourteenth century were a reaction against racial oppression: nothing less than a “national revolution” (minzu geming 民族革命).19 The Ming “recovered” China from the Mongols, but eventually lost it again to another set of foreigners (yizu 異 族). 20 Nationalist-period textbooks thus equated Mongol and Manchu:

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Discipline and Narrative · 175

the Chinese (i.e., Han) had historically suffered two great defeats that had led to their oppression by outsiders. All the same, the traditional historiographical notion of “orthodox succession” was maintained, even if only implicitly, in the recognition of the strength and successes of the Yuan and Qing, especially the latter.21 The Nationalists’ claims to legitimacy in the 1930s rested on their links to the 1911 Revolution, which in turn rested on the righteousness of the overthrow of the Qing on both racial and political grounds. In this sense, the failures of republican government in its first years were but a lesson for how to create the new China under the Nationalists.22 Nationalist ideology lies beyond the scope of this chapter, which focuses on the 1910s and 1920s. However, we need to note a paradox: in the mainstream politics of the entire Republican period from 1912 to 1949, the legitimacy of the Republic rested simultaneously on the evils of the Qing and on claims to inheritance from the Qing. Thus the “unity of the five races” formed the ideological grounding for the Republic’s claims to the Qing’s territory—which with Mongolia, Inner Asia (Xinjiang), and Tibet, as well as Manchuria—was nearly twice as large as the Ming or Song dynasties. The “five races” mapped approximately along the lines of Qing conquest: Han, Manchu, Mongol, Tibetan, and Hui. Even the Nationalists had to grant the Qing credit for its conquests of the frontiers and laying the basis for the mingling of the great races of China.23 Ultimately, republicanism, not racialism, legitimated the state. A progressive view of history, then, was incorporated into early Republican textbooks through periodization. The 1911 Revolution marked the beginning of “contemporary history” (xiandaishi 現代史). True, teleology was blunted by several factors. The steady pace of lesson after lesson over the course of several semesters before the final burst of Republican glory diminished any sense of climax. Textbooks, in their different ways, vacillated between stressing the continuities of Chinese history and the glories of the past on the one hand, and the distinctive achievements of Republican state-building on the other. All the same, the mere fact of ending the story with the revolution and the new Chinese state suggested that this was the point at which earlier history had been aiming. What happened before was ancient or modern, as the case may be, but distinctly in the past. It should be noted that late Qing textbooks had also tended to conclude on an optimistic note with the rise of reform, self-strengthening, and constitutionalism. In narrative terms, the revolutionary teleology of Republican-period textbooks had inherited the thesis

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176 · Peter Zarrow

of progress and renewal. Republican-period textbooks simply had an easier time finding progress in recent history. They treated the imperial past as a distinct set of values and behaviors different from those suitable for the contemporary Republic. Still, the imperial-republic break was only one of several moments full-scale periodization schemes marked. Several of the earliest textbooks, though written for advanced students, used a tripartite division of time adapted from Japanese scholars writing about China and ultimately, of course, from the West. “Ancient,” “medieval” (or middle period), and “modern” thus began to be applied to China in the late Qing. One scheme was to take the ancient period (shangshi 上世) from the Xia to the Qin (221–206 BCE), the medieval period (zhongshi 中世) from the Han to the Tang (i.e., 206 BCE–AD 907), and the modern (jinshi 近世) from the Song (960–1279) to the Ming (1368–1644) or Qing (1644–1912). This scheme was followed by Liu Yizheng’s 柳詒徵 (1880–1956) Historical Outline of Various Dynasties (Lidai shilüe 歷代史略) of 1902 and Xia Zengyou’s 夏曾 佑 (1861–1924) Newest Middle School Textbook of Chinese History (Zuixin zhongxue Zhongguo lishi jiaokeshu 最新中學中國歷史教科書) of 1904. 24 Periodization was not innocent of value judgment, nor was it necessarily progressive. Tze-ki Hon emphasizes that both Liu and Xia saw the ancient period as a golden age and later history as deviation and decline. Xia, however, saw his own Qing period as a return to foundations, not unlike the Renaissance. Any periodization scheme establishes a temporal classification of stages (not necessarily progressive) of civilization. But combined with a theory of progress, periodization suggests that time is not “empty” or homogenous but rather possesses distinct meanings. The problem was to find the appropriate grounds of classifying Chinese historical time. The variation among the periodizations of textbooks is remarkable. A significant number of late Qing textbooks did not periodize at all, beyond generally devoting a chapter or two to each dynasty. For the predynastic period, there might be a chapter each on the major sage-kings (usually, Fuxi, Shennong, the Yellow Emperor, Yao, Shun, and Yu). In emphasizing the creation of the first dynasty, the Xia, when Yu passed the throne to his son and created the hereditary monarchy, textbooks implied a watershed, but not in a way that amounted to explicit periodization. The Qin unification of 221 BCE, as with Liu Yizheng and Xia Zengyou, provided an explicit turning point, marking the beginning of the medieval or the end of the ancient period.

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Discipline and Narrative · 177

However, periodization grew more complex in the Republic, perhaps as writers became better acquainted with Japanese and Western periodization schemes.25 The Chinese History compiled by Zhao Yusen 趙玉森 (1868–1945) and Jiang Weiqiao 蔣維喬 (1873–1958) suggested that the major point of periodizing Chinese history was to enable comparisons with the West. 26 A periodization that purely followed the internal dynamic of Chinese history would be less useful. They did not, therefore, treat the Warring States-Qin as a watershed. Rather, if China’s ancient period was made to correspond to the end of the Western Roman empire, then it would last until Cangwu of the Liu Song (c. 470s). This undoubtedly seemed rather strange, and as a kind of compromise, then, Zhao and Jiang proposed the following periodization in somewhat better accord with Chinese historical changes: high antiquity (shanggu shi 上古史) through the end of the Eastern Jin (317–420), in other words, the fall of the Western Roman Empire; and middle antiquity (zhonggu shi 中古史) from the Northern and Southern dynasties to the end of the Yuan (i.e., 420–1368; perhaps referring to the Renaissance); while late antiquity (jingu shi 近古史) then equated with the Ming, modern history (jinshi shi 近世史) with the Qing, and contemporary history (xiandai shi 現代史) with the Republic. This fivefold division, with three periods of “antiquity” (gu 古), highlighted the distinctiveness of both the Qing and the Republic. However, the question of transition to modernity was obscured in this periodization since it lacked a “medieval” period to bridge the ancient and modern. Perhaps more to the point, broad historical narratives in effect continued to treat the supposedly modern Qing as part of the ancient dynastic pattern. Nonetheless, Zhao and Jiang differentiated the fundamental trends of each period in terms of China’s own history. High antiquity saw the creation of the Chinese people out of various tribes and clans, creating a large and complex, basically unified state, increasingly defined vis-à-vis the outside Xiongnu.27 The authors did not explicitly state what distinguished middle antiquity but suggested this period saw renewed mixing of various races, which the Sui-Tang unification essentially incorporated, using the best qualities of each group for the benefit of the whole.28 Late antiquity—that is, the Ming—was distinguished from earlier periods on account of China’s new contacts with other peoples of the world.29 Such contacts were crucial for bringing China out of a kind of quasi-isolation. Ming engagement with missionaries and merchants from around the

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178 · Peter Zarrow

world encouraged progress; indeed, intercultural communication is one of the roots of civilization. This was even better exemplified in the modern period: the Qing. Zhao and Jiang concluded the Qing was a period of progress because of China’s ability to absorb new ideas from around the world, which, however also spelled the end for the Qing.30 For once the level of civilization had risen to the point that the people could resist autocracy and oppression, the old system could not survive. Zhao and Jiang were using a terminology already quite common, though most textbooks worried less about synchronization with Western history and regarded the Qin as the pivot away from the ancient period. Thus it became common to take high antiquity from the very origins of the Chinese through the Qin unification; middle antiquity from the Qin-Han through the fall of the Tang; late antiquity from the Five Dynasties through the Ming; and then equate the modern with the Qing.31 Another variation was to delete late antiquity into a single era. Thus one textbook from 1930 treated the most ancient period to the Qin as early antiquity, the entire period from the Qin to the sixteenth-century Ming as middle antiquity, the Ming (from the sixteenth century) to the Qing of the early twentieth century as modern, and the period from 1905 through the Republic as contemporary history. 32 Dynastic boundaries were finally breached! In this account, sociopolitical formations mattered more than particular ruling families. Early antiquity was marked by the spread of agriculture, state formation, and the development of Han culture,33 middle antiquity by racial struggles and power struggles until power was gradually monopolized by the imperial house. And the authors rooted the modern in the Ming due to the arrival of European Jesuits.34 Christianity was not perhaps so influential, but science and technology, including modern firearms, were to have great importance. The implication was that sustained contact with Europe marked the modern in China. The contemporary, then (again by narrative implication), could be traced to the urgent desire for reform—not the republic of 1912 but the ferment that preceded it from about the turn of the century.35 The authors also linked the contemporary period to internationalization and the creation of a new Chinese culture. Yet another variation of the four-periods scheme used purely political standards: first, the development of civilization, up to the Xia dynasty; second, the period of kingly rule, namely the Three Dynasties through the Zhou; third, the period of imperial rule, from the Qin through the Qing; and fourth, the period of democracy.36 This periodization scheme

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Discipline and Narrative · 179

ignored the question of not only the “medieval” but also the “modern,” at least as distinct from the Westernization that lay behind democracy. Warnings against periodization were also heard. In their lower middle school textbook, Gu Jiegang 顧頡剛 (1893–1980) and Wang Zhongqi 王鐘麒 (zi Boxiang 伯祥, 1890–1975) pointed out that efforts to divide history into periods were always artificial.37 Cause and effect were ongoing processes, and attempts to trace the causes of any historical phenomenon always keep receding into the past. Doubly mistaken is the attempt to link periodization to dynasties rather than more fundamental changes in peoples (such as the country’s racial makeup), political forms, society, and scholarship. Nonetheless, Gu and Wang concluded that particular periods did possess their own spirit, a spirit that differentiated them from other ages. Following the zeitgeist, then, Gu and Wang divided China’s history into the familiar five periods. Early antiquity they took to the Qin: though much was shrouded in unverifiable legend, it was clearly a period of great advances ending in the concentration of power.38 Middle antiquity, from the Qin to the Five Dynasties, saw political weakening of the center, but without fundamental change (it would appear Gu and Wang chiefly meant that changes in political conditions had little effect on imperial ideology), amid invasions from the north and the move of the cultural center southward. The themes of the assimilation of various peoples and the spread of Buddhism seem to slip into late antiquity, from the Song to the Ming. The modern period of the Qing was marked by its openness to foreigners: it was an age of contacts between the East and the West. The contemporary period is an age of “internationalization” and the democratic spirit. One external factor inf luencing periodization may have been a history curriculum based on a four-semester sequence.39 The first official standards for periodization that I have seen, for middle schools in 1913, stipulated two years of Chinese history, the first year covering early, middle, and late antiquity, and the second year covering modern and contemporary history.40 The 1929 standards dropped late antiquity. Furthermore, the exact parameters of each period were discussed in more detail, in what might have served as chapters, or at least topics to be covered.41 Early antiquity was to cover the primitive period and ancient legends up to the Spring and Autumn period; middle antiquity from the Qin unification to the sixteenth century, or the Ming; modern history from the late Ming (with its contacts with the West) and the rise of the Qing to the beginning of the twentieth century; and contemporary

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180 · Peter Zarrow

history from about 1905 or the Russo-Japanese War and renewed imperialist threats to China through the Revolution of 1911 and “the fate of new China.” 42 While lower middle school topics for the period of high antiquity included the establishment of a state by the “Chinese people” (Zhonghua minzu 中華民族), upper middle school topics included the origins of the Han.43 Upper middle school classes also covered the contemporary period in much greater detail. For the most part periodization referred neither to linear progress nor to a kind of grand rise-fall-rise narrative arc. Rather, it served as a way of sorting out political change and fitting it into a series of lessons marching in chronological procession. The Qin-Han world was certainly very different from the Zhou, and while it proved difficult to agree on precise moments of transition, certainly the Qing was different in many respects than anything that had gone before. Perhaps the roots of periodizing the Qing as “modern” lay in the late Qing curriculum guidelines that stressed a special focus on the Qing period, though it was not termed “modern” at the time. Then, in Republican eyes, the vastness of the Qing polity and its multiethnic administration, then the imperialist onslaught and forced opening of the country—all these features established the critical nature of the Qing. Problems and challenges of periodization lie at the core of the modern discipline of history. For Chinese intellectuals, including or especially historians, periodization at least provided a shorthand for discussing change, if not necessarily progress. Above all, by treating the Republic as “contemporary,” textbooks not only highlighted its temporal position but also suggested it was in greater accord with world trends, a clear sign of progress, and even the culmination of China’s history, as we will see further below. Many textbooks did not problematize periodization in any theoretical way, and students were given few tools that they could use to think through the question of what made different periods actually different. However, middle school textbooks by the 1920s were using periodization to suggest how Chinese nationhood developed. The Nationalist textbook writer Luo Xianglin 羅香林 (1905–78) cited the Ministry of Education standards while pointing out that different historians nonetheless followed different periodization standards.44 In his notes, Luo referred to the two “unifications” of the Qin and of the Nationalists. As we will see below, the important theme of unification was also associated anciently with the Yellow Emperor and the Xia dynasty.

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Discipline and Narrative · 181

Unlike the periodization schemes that dominated Marxist and Western histories alike in the second half of the twentieth century, Republican histories did not treat the Opium War as the pivot of modernity. Indeed, their association of modernity with the Ming-Qing might seem more in accord with present thinking, if less for the socioeconomic changes of the sixteenth century than for a certain degree of internationalization. It was not that Republican historians ignored the Opium War: on the contrary, but it was important as an event, not a turning point. The rise of corruption and rebellion in the late Qianlong period was at least as important in their eyes.

Patterns of the Past: The Qing and the Problem of Race The Qing’s place in Chinese history, its modernity, lay in its ambiguity in the narrative of the nation: the last and perhaps greatest moment of the old autocracy, and the nursery of a revolutionary new future; a foreign conquest, yet one that turned China into the greatest of Asian powers. During the last years of the Qing, anti-Manchu revolutionaries had regarded the dynasty as totally illegitimate. In their view, the 1911 Revolution represented a restoration of Han rule: this was comparable to the Ming’s expulsion of the Mongol-Yuan, but also an unprecedented political innovation that was not comparable to the autocracy of Ming Taizu. Early Republican histories, however, emphasized the political interpretation at the expense of the racial.45 Textbooks thus treated the Qing as legitimate for its time and place. That is, textbooks taught that the overthrow of the Qing was of course justified, but that the Qing’s conquest of the Ming was equally justified or at any rate not particularly surprising. To an extent, textbooks taught that the entire dynastic system was illegitimate, but in that case the Qing was no worse than any other dynasty. Indeed, echoing late Qing textbooks, early Republic histories stressed both the Qing’s accomplishments through the eighteenth century and its problems in the nineteenth, all described matter-of-factly. In the late Qing, the distinguished scholar-official Wang Rongbao 汪 榮寶 (1878–1933), in his thorough study of Qing history, claimed that Manchuria was an ancient state that had paid tribute to the Zhou.46 Such ties did not make a Tungusic race into the Han race, but they at least made the Manchus less foreign; ironically, the revolutionaries pointed to ancient ties to Manchuria to justify Han incorporation of the territory into the new Republic under Han control. But the point here is that the

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182 · Peter Zarrow

fundamental legitimacy of the Qing conquest was seldom challenged. A textbook published by the Zhonghua Bookstore 中華書局, which was formed by more radical employees of the Commercial Press in the immediate wake of the 1911 Revolution, spoke of the Qing conquest more critically than had previous textbooks. 47 But even Zhonghua textbooks regarded the Taipings and other rebellions of the mid-nineteenth century as a source of “chaos” (luan 亂); in other words, however corrupt the Qing regime had become by this time, rebellion was not justified. Perhaps more Han centric was a lower primary textbook by Hu Chaoyang 胡朝陽. Hu treated the Yuan as a foreign conquest dynasty. He further noted that the Mongols founded a state that conquered most of Asia—a feat “Chinese” (woguo 我國) emperors had never achieved.48 The foreignness of the Yuan was also accentuated by referring to their “taking command of China” (zhu woguo 主我國). And as the Yuan collapsed from its overextension and internal tensions, heroes of the Han people (Hanzu qunxiong 漢族群雄) rose up and contested for power; Zhu Yuanzhang’s Ming dynasty represented the “restoration of the Han” (Hanzu fuxing 漢族復 興).49 On the other hand, Hu also pointed out that the Yuan largely adopted Chinese administrative techniques; as well, its fall fit the usual pattern of the dynastic cycle. Emperors were incompetent (this was a special problem for the Yuan since the dynasty lacked an orderly rule of succession); there was corruption and cruelty; and taxes were too high and so the people restless. As the Chinese History of the Commercial Press noted, Zhu Yuanzhang early on began establishing “the basis for unification” (tongyi zhi ji 統一之基).50 Even Hu Chaoyang did not blame the Manchus for the fall of the Ming, which was mostly due to internal breakdown and, while certainly not downplaying the Manchu identity of the Qing, largely treated them as a normal dynasty that—in the usual trope—“unified China” (tongyi wo Zhongguo 統一我中國).51 True, textbooks noted that the Tartars (Dada 韃 靼) were one of the problems facing the Ming.52 However, the Ming basically collapsed due to its own incompetence, and the Qing conquest came after its collapse. Hu Chaoyang also spoke of the popular roots of the 1911 Revolution and the process of provincial secession as “restoration” (guangfu 光復). But he did not mention race—he neither glorified the Han nor extolled the “unity of the five races” but rather focused on political events. For Zhao Yusen and Jiang Weiqiao, the question was precisely one of matching political form and the time: the problem with the Qing was that

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Discipline and Narrative · 183

autocracy was not suitable for the twentieth century.53 Essentially, ideas about political reform had spread more quickly than the Qing were able or willing to react to them. Zhao Yusen and Jiang Weiqiao were unusual in criticizing the “literary inquisition” of the Qianlong period, which, they charged, “bound and gagged” the Chinese people, with possibly deleterious consequences for the nation.54 But most textbooks employed a narrative arc that emphasized Qianlong’s achievements, especially territorial expansion, and found that problems began only at the end of his reign with popular rebellion and the corruption of high officials. History textbooks consistently paid a great deal of attention to borders; here, the Qing (seen as a Chinese dynasty), got high marks for territorial expansion, though, again, perhaps a little less credit in Zhonghua Bookstore accounts than others. Maps were of course a useful way to give a quick sense of Qing China’s vastness. Maps showed borders but did not necessarily delineate clearly what lay inside and outside the nation. 55 Yunnan and Vietnam had their own borders, but both might appear to lie within the Qing, along with, say, Korea, Tibet, and today’s Kazakhstan. Numerous nationalities were all considered to be Chinese as the Republic laid claim to the frontier lands of the Qing. According to Zhao Yusen and Jiang Weiqiao, “China” was dominated by a particular core group, the Han. But the Chinese, including the Han, were also products of racial and cultural mixing. The Chinese race (Zhongguo renzhong 中國人種) was “united into a great national grouping through all sorts of relationships and all sorts of associations since the beginning of history.” 56 This historical process of the melding of the races took place in stages. First, in the time of Emperor Yao, tribes joined together to enhance cooperation. Second, the warfare of the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period resulted in interbreeding; this in turn gave rise to a “new organization of society” that was based on hybrid cultures. In the third stage, the struggles between the Xiongnu and the Han further encouraged the different peoples within China to unite to face the outside threat; then, as China’s borders were expanded, the Xiongnu were gradually assimilated (tonghua 同化) as well. Finally, in the fourth stage after the Han dynasty, invasions from the north threatened Chinese culture, but even more stimulated it.57 And now, “Since the Founding of the Republic, all of the peoples within the borders are equal. There are no differences based on race, class, or religion, and from this point on, all will be blended together, sharing the capacities of citizens in order to strengthen this great

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184 · Peter Zarrow

grouping.” 58 Or in another formula, one that linked territorial unity with racial harmony: “The founding of the Republic has melded the five great races into a single family.” 59 Generally, then, Han was defined not in terms of biological purity but as a historically constructed group essentially defined by a common culture. However, like late Qing textbooks, early Republican textbooks still insisted on the importance of the ancient origins of the Chinese in order to define the identity of contemporary Chinese.

Patterns of the Past: Origins and Continuities The modern discipline of history is not concerned with fragments of stories that can teach moral lessons but with narratives, the individual elements of which derive their meaning from the larger emplotment in which they are embedded. The notion of “origins” is thus central to modern historical concerns. The story must have a beginning. The popularity of the “Western origins” theory in the late Qing and into the Republic, though it rested on rather forced readings of comparative philology, can largely be explained in terms of the use of racial and geographical factors in historical thinking. In the late nineteenth century a French scholar, Terrien de Lacouperie, proposed that the Chinese, or actually the “Han,” originated in Mesopotamia as a wandering tribe called the Bak. Lacouperie claimed that the Chinese myth of the “Yellow Emperor” was derived from a Mesopotamian god. This theory was quickly taken up by revolutionary intellectuals such Zhang Binglin 章炳 麟 (zi Taiyan 太炎, 1868–1936) and Liu Shipei 劉師培 (1884–1919), who claimed that the Yellow Emperor had led the Bak/Han into the Yellow River region, defeating indigenous inhabitants such as the Miao, establishing a powerful state, and becoming literally the progenitors of the Chinese (Han) people.60 As an unintended contribution to the development of history in China as a modern discipline, the theory of Western origins was invaluable. Scientific history of the day treated races as a fundamental unit of analysis, so the theory allowed Chinese historians to slot themselves into a scheme that pictured distinct peoples moving about the globe through the centuries and millennia (as well as claiming common ancestry with the successful Europeans). As well, the theory allowed Chinese historians to make scientific claims about the meanings of ancient texts and stories, particularly those concerning the Yellow Emperor. The quickness with

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Discipline and Narrative · 185

which the theory of Western origins entered Chinese historical consciousness suggests it filled a gap, meeting narrative needs for origins that were previously neglected. In a more sophisticated form, the theory posited that over a long period of time the Yellow River Valley was developed by clans and tribes that had come out of somewhere in Central Asia, nomadic pastoralists perhaps from the Pamir Mountain plateaus. Having begun to practice agriculture, the tribes were formed into a larger and more complex state or proto-state under a figure or figures called the Yellow Emperor, and then expelled or enslaved the less advanced Miao tribes. For the Han revolutionaries in the late Qing, this theory might have seemed a twoedged sword—claiming a superior racial lineage on the one hand but acknowledging they were not the original inhabitants of China and that China was in fact a multinational state on the other. Yet the theory appealed not only to revolutionaries but also to the intelligentsia generally. The Yellow Emperor and his tribes represented virile martial values and in effect legitimated Chinese domination through right of conquest and superior civilization. Given the intellectual hegemony of social Darwinism in the late Qing, this was a more powerful logic than indigenous claims to the land. At the same time, the millennia-long racial continuity since the Yellow Emperor came close to an assertion of indigenous or “timeless” rights. Fu Xi, Shennong, and other predecessors may have invented fire, clothing, shelter, herding, fishing, hunting, and the like, but these were general contributions to humanity, not specifically Chinese. The Yellow Emperor was credited with the creation of China as a polity—the first man to be called Son of Heaven (tianzi 天子).61 He founded a kingdom with a new tradition of rulership and even bureaucracy. The Chinese nation was thus founded in an act of violence: the expulsion or enslavement of the Miao. The narrative power of the theory of Western origins, then, perhaps lay in the link between violence and beginnings.62 Mythical violence and anachronistic racial profiling may seem to be a theme far from the fact-based narratives of modern histories, but the notion of the founding of the polity through violence became a powerful, possibly universal feature of the modern nation-state and was thus central to the emergence of the modern discipline of history. The Yellow Emperor further represented, at least in some hands, a primordialist view of the nation. It was thus not necessary for historical accounts to offer much information on the common people, because national

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186 · Peter Zarrow

integration and organic solidarity were already assumed. 63 What was necessary was a biocultural genealogy. Late Qing history textbooks thus spoke of the “amalgamated” nature of the “Chinese people” or race (Zhonghua minzu 中華民族), and this was even more the case for histories written in the early Republic. The Yellow Emperor of textbooks was both a political symbol and a racial symbol. Indeed, he became part of the official history teaching standards in 1916, at the height of the “unity of the five races” ideology, under the rubric of “founding the state” (kaiguo 開國). 64 Genealogy in this sense was a doubled concept: a Han core surrounded by peripheral groups that together formed Chinese people (Zhonghua minzu)—along with, less certainly, minority groups like the Miao, the Zhuang, and others. The f uture promised continued amalgamation. Yet histories of China ultimately based national identity on the state, not race. The state, traced back to the Yellow Emperor or some other founding sage figure, transcended both races and dynasties. For historical narratives that aspired to trace the progress of the nation, the real problem lay not in origins but in what came after: the seemingly stagnant dynastic cycle.65 Even while some textbooks converted the sage-founders into myth—or, more precisely, into symbolic representations of collective historic achievements—the factuality of ancient origins was never challenged. This meant that challenges to the theme of development, or at least continuity, were literally unimaginable. Early Republican textbooks sometimes called stories of the earliest period “legends” (chuanshuo 傳說) and cited the lack of evidence for the period preceding the Yellow Emperor, or even Yu the Great, and they generally implied that the legends of prehistory traced the evolution of civilization from the most primitive conditions.66 Gu Jiegang’s iconoclastic attacks on the historicity of the ancient legends certainly infiltrated the middle school textbook that he cowrote.67 Yet the fundamental goal of the Gu and Wang Chinese History was to illustrate the complex, multiethnic evolution of the Chinese. The textbook began by stating that the familiar “legends” should be read as a mythologized record of social developments from the most primitive state.68 What actually occurred were not the great accomplishments of a few individuals but countless achievements of anonymous people over thousands of years. The Chinese History was not entirely immune from the appeal of the “Yellow Emperor,” who did possibly represent in some way an actual ruler of the ancient period. In this light, it is interesting that the preface did not refer to historical facts but stated that the central

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Discipline and Narrative · 187

task of teaching history was about arousing the imagination of the students.69 This Chinese History may have been banned by the Nationalists in 1929, but its basic approach—taking the legends of the sage-kings as symbolic representation of social development—was widely shared.70 As I noted above, if one of the tasks of history as a modern discipline was to prove the ancient origins of the state, equally important was to convey a sense of continuity: some essence surviving the various political ruptures. The evolutionary framework was eminently suitable not only to a belief in progress but to defining continuity through accretion and refinement. In this sense, Gu’s iconoclasm was actually no more threatening to the Nationalist political project than the most hidebound textbook narratives. Textbooks not only assumed the continuity they had no need to prove, they took special pride in the putatively unique ancientness of China. Aside from the Yellow Emperor, the equally legendary and virtually mystical political accomplishments of Yao and Shun—representing “humane virtue” (rende 仁德) and the peaceful ordering of the world—were no less appealing to the Republican imagination than they had been in the imperial era.71

Teaching the Meaning of History If history textbooks spoke to larger questions about national identity and citizenship, they did so in large part indirectly. History offered discrete lessons.72 But narrative itself seldom made these clear. We can, however, see some of the fundamental lessons Republican history writers sought to convey in the teacher’s manual to a popular textbook published by the Commercial Press for upper primary schools. With Zhao Yusen as chief editor, the tenth edition was published in 1913 under the title of New History as part of a series of Republican Textbooks.73 The New History teacher’s manual was not necessarily typical of the genre, but it is worth examining because the textbook was apparently in widespread use and because Zhao was quite explicit about drawing lessons from the past that would be relevant to the present. Zhao insistently linked past to present, using republican standards to critique imperial despotism but also finding examples of good conduct in the imperial past. Each of the textbook’s brief lessons was supplemented by suggestions for questions and answers, materials to be drawn on the blackboard such as maps and charts, voluminous reference matter explaining names, places, and terms, and a few fundamental points that students should draw from the lesson.

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188 · Peter Zarrow

In a sense, the New History teacher’s manual highlights moral lessons and the use of history as a “mirror,” and issues judgments not unlike traditional “praise and blame” (baobian 褒貶) style of history writing. These are entirely missing in the textbook itself, however, which remains a dry and seemingly objective account of political events. The New History’s set of lessons was fairly standard. Zhao followed the “Western origins” theory. The teacher was to point out that this tribe from the West, called Hua or Han, was victorious due to its superior culture, a culture that was then perfected over thousands of years and thus can represent the entire country.74 The notion of cultural superiority was not explained, but the importance of continued progress was emphasized. The lesson of the past—victory of the superior—was still applicable today.75 More notably, Zhao charged that China’s failure to further progress lay in the institutionalization of the hereditary monarchy in the Xia dynasty under King Yu. Stagnation was the result this “privatization” of the empire.76 And naturally in turn evil rulers gave rise to revolts and eventually new dynasties. For Zhao, the rise of the Shang under Tangwu was a kind of foreshadowing of the righteous Revolution of 1911: “Question: What is revolution? Answer: The people eliminating that which harms them. Question: What harms the people? Answer: Autocratic rulers.” 77 Since the monarchy is inherently autocratic and inevitably gives rise to harms, it can never be allowed to reestablish itself. Still, Zhao found potential models for strengthening and enriching the nation in the struggles of states in the Spring and Autumn period. If the relevance of hegemons (ba 霸) for the young citizens of a republic was not entirely clear, there could be no doubt of the importance of “martial spirit.” 78 The collapse of the Zhou “feudal” system allowed Zhao to celebrate progress in the form of the death of the aristocracy.79 This interpretation of the Zhou was a further sign of the demise of any notion of a golden age, even one updated to fit modern sensibilities. Zhao thus ignored late Qing efforts to find the roots of democracy in Western Zhou institutions. Zhao found much to admire in Qin Shihuang, who defeated quarreling feudal lords in the third century BCE and enabled a unified China to face internal and external threats. If readers might have asked whether Qin Shihuang was not a good example of the evils of autocracy, Zhao was prepared to regard autocracy as the price necessary to buy unity. Zhao’s historical revisionism—reversing centuries of Confucian condemnation of the Qin—was often seen in the twentieth century, not least by Mao Zedong, represented the militarization of modern Chinese culture. Zhao

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Discipline and Narrative · 189

argues that just as siblings in a family should get along, so too the citizens of a state. “Ubiquitous warfare and the slaughter of people, compatriots killing compatriots: this is the same as suicide. The unification of the state is thus of the greatest benefit.” 80 Zhao was simply not able to imagine an alternative to Qin Shihuang in the form of a multi-state system in a “China” that he took for granted was defined in terms of political unity. On the other hand, Zhao did not deny the evils of autocracy in Qin Shihuang. The great tragedy (at least by implication) was that while Mencius had already showed the way toward democracy, Qin Shihuang blocked it. The final lesson, then, given the premise of political unity: autocracy was unnatural and students needed to maintain the Republic.81 Zhao valued the Han dynasty for expanding Chinese territory and reestablishing unity—a unity that today’s students needed to preserve.82 As the collapse of the Han demonstrated, disunity provokes outside attack—so the five races of the Republic need to be harmonious.83 The motor of history for Zhao, though not a metaphor he employed, was plainly not racial struggle but political decay and resurgence: hence the twinned cycles of unity-disunity and dynastic change. For Zhao, both the Ming loyalists and the Qing founding emperors displayed admirable qualities.84 But from the perspective of historical utility, Kangxi not only completed the conquest and provided order but also gave China the allimportant unity. 85 Yongzheng and especially Qianlong continued the conquest, establishing the territory of today’s Republic. “The citizens of the Republic must always preserve this perfected territory.” 86 Zhao also praised the Qing’s policies of racial equality, which laid the basis of the unity of the five races of the Republic. (Zhao ignored the privileges reserved for Manchus under the Qing, but he criticized Qianlong’s faults, in particular the limits on freedom typical of autocracy.) The decline of the Qing made for painful reading, with plenty of blame to go around. Opium and the incursions of the Western powers were all matters of national humiliation (guochi 國恥), shaming both the rulers and the people.87 At the same time, Zhao essentially blamed Qing misrule for the Taipings, the Nian, the Hui, and other rebellions, though the lesson he drew was not that rebellion was justified but rather than unity was necessary. The humiliation continued, according to Zhao, as the Qing leaders were unable to pursue fundamental solutions that had become obvious to many: institutional reform and self-strengthening (bianfa ziqiang 變法自 強)—self-strengthening not just for the government but all citizens, and

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190 · Peter Zarrow

not just military reform but reforms in scholarship, agriculture, industry, and commerce. For Chinese to erase their shame, they needed to learn self-strengthening from Japan.88 The Qing’s failure to absorb this lesson led to the revolutionary movement.89 In the final chapter, Zhao spoke of “unifying” rather than founding the Republic, emphasizing the north-south agreement and the unity (he 合) of the five races in the Republic. Zhao compared the relationship of the races to brothers in a family, and while previously under autocracy the races were unequal and each out for itself, today they share the burden of state, cooperating with one another as equals and all Chinese (wo minzu 我民族).90 For Zhao, the 1911 Revolution had nothing to do with race or Han-Manchu antagonisms but was purely about political change. Zhao’s denial of ethnic tensions perhaps reflected a fear that China was going to be dismembered or fall apart. As he noted, while the Han dominated the heartland, it was precisely the peripheral areas that were dominated by non-Han. On the one hand, he insisted, racial mixing was a longstanding historical feature that stemmed from conquest, conquest that was essentially self-legitimating. On the other hand, amalgamation and cooperation were really brought to fruition only with the coming of the Republic. Zhao also stressed that involvement of citizens in the state made for a stronger state. Imperial China had depended on heroes but a Republican is based on the whole people, which is ultimately more reliable—as long as the people do their duty.91 In a democratic republic (minzhu gonghe 民主共和), the people elect good and competent officials, all matters are decided by the masses and carried out by popular will, and the people benefit.92 But New History stressed one lesson even more important than the beauties of republicanism: the sacredness of Chinese territory and unity, and the responsibility of all Chinese to defend it. Territorial integrity, strong governance, good government, and unity were all linked. Just as a body becomes strong through exercise, so a country becomes strong through the wealth and power that stem from unity.93 “Disunity leads to disaster, and unity to order.” And republicanism, with its emphasis on equality, encourages unity.94

Discipline and Message: Form and Content One of the key forms of the modern discipline of history is the national history or “general history” (tongshi 通史), which in early-twentiethcentury China represented a break from the standard dynastic histories.95

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General histories, often in the form of textbooks, reflected a historiographical change that took the nation as subject and met the new educational needs of a rapidly modernizing society. They were not meant to be objective in the sense of value-free. They had a particularistic rather than a universalistic morality to convey, but a species of morality it was: patriotism.96 Robert Culp has pointed out that history and geography textbooks in modern China shared an emphasis on imperialist threats, as well as an emphasis on unity. This fostered an image of horizontally connected citizens.97 In a sense, citizenship trumped “racial” or ethnic distinctions, regardless of whether such groups were seen in essentialist terms or as undergoing amalgamation and assimilation. Culp suggests that geography textbooks taught a territorial sense of “China” as a cohesive geo-body that could be clarified—and the threats to it clarified— through maps. Territorial claims were, in turn, justified historically, as a legacy of the dynasts. Here, I want to suggest that these claims also stemmed naturally from the narrative form that modern historiography generally adopted: the general history of the nation. As we have seen, textbooks traced the original formation of “China” and its early development; the waxing and waning of discrete political orders or dynasties within a larger normative framework of a continuous Chinese state ideal; and finally the reversal of political decadence through the efforts of reformers and revolutionaries by the turn the early twentieth century. What mattered most in this approach were political events, and one effect of the general history was to convey the point of view of the center. Textbooks used crudely drawn maps gave a bird’s-eye sense of expanding borders (as well as the positions of competing Chinese states in periods of disunion). The dynastic cycle did not merely mark one damn thing after another: it occurred within a larger narrative arc of the development of China, no matter how halting that development may have been at times. This was to systematize history as scientific knowledge. In a later edition of his New History teacher’s manual, Zhao Yusen contrasted history textbooks to the random history lessons contained in Chinese readers. In effect, he claimed that history as a discipline was more systematic, clearer, and broader (and more interesting).98 First, “historical stories” (shitan ti 史談體) can sum up the essence of events in a way that makes a sharp impression and provides models to follow or avoid. Then, “historical development” (kaihua shiti 開化史體) reveals how history has a definite order, like water flowing out of a spring or branches and leaves

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192 · Peter Zarrow

growing out of a stem. Zhao claimed that historical development also teaches specific lessons, but in a broader, evolutionary framework. This framework required a new moral interpretation of historical events. As Wang Fansen points out, linear narratives implied a new standard whereby bad things (wars, revolution, brutal leaders) could be praised for pushing history forward even though they could not be seen as good in themselves (or as experienced at the time).99 Transition is necessary to progress, and the violence associated with transitions is part of a process that is ultimately for the better. One might also point to the violence of the founding of the state itself, as well as its subsequent conquests. The general history of the nation required a narrative that excluded or marginalized the parts of history that did not fit. The political history that textbooks focused on was not merely a useful framework but the very essence of national development, or at least the site where national development could be seen. The result was to gloss over certain narrative tensions: issues that the story of the nation raised, but perhaps the storytellers did not want to face. Given China’s strong and early advance from the primitive to civilization, whence its later stagnation? And even disregarding their particular cruelties, if we grant that the despotic autocrats of the past had at least made the state strong and unified, were they not also responsible for China’s overall failure to progress? Such were the dilemmas of linear history. Another such tension lay between the racial thinking based on the new science of ethnology and the ethnic politicization of the late Qing on the one hand, and rhetoric of assimilation and harmony on the other. The tension in late Qing textbooks between loyalty to dynasty and loyalty to the nation disappeared with the advent of the Republic, but how well the new republican state represented the interests of the nation soon became an urgent issue. For educators, since loyalty to the nation-state was an abstract value, symbols like the f lag became central. There was also a tension between the goal of the “new history” project to focus on the nation on the one hand, and historical practice on the other. Oddly, what was lacking in textbook accounts of Chinese history was precisely the nation, or the people in their everyday lives. There was much about the state and its leaders; there were briefer sections on major intellectual and cultural trends like Confucianism and Buddhism, and there might be very brief accounts of popular customs. But actually to concretize the national collectivity was harder than

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Discipline and Narrative · 193

climbing to Heaven. All the same, the nation was central to national histories that revolved around dynastic change if only because it was assumed. Different political permutations were merely signs of the evolving Chinese state, governing over the evolving Chinese society and culture. Students found that as they advanced into upper grade levels, increasing attention was paid to the historical development of thought, scholarship, and religion. That China might have seen stagnation rather than progress was an issue that the form of the national history tended to obscure. Intellectuals faced a dilemma: to choose between the newness of a modern nation (and the shame of the corruption, decadence, failures of the past) on the one hand, and pride in a long and continuous historical civilization on the other.100 To some extent, this is the nationalist’s universal dilemma, but it was of special concern to Chinese historians writing in a time of enormous change.

Conclusion If history does not have goals, historians certainly do. Modern historical writing in the West came to center around the nation-state in the late eighteenth century: and soon other kinds of history-writing did not count as history. Japanese historians adopted this approach in the late nineteenth century and it soon came to China. In Dipesh Chakrabarty’s words, history as institutionalized today represents “the universalization of the nation-state as the most desirable form of political community.” There is “deep collusion between ‘history’ and the modernizing narrative(s) of citizenship, bourgeois public and private and the nationstate.” 101 History is taught in schools because children must be turned into citizens of the modern bureaucratic state. History textbooks represent the modern discipline of history in its purest, stripped down form. Nowhere is the connection between the past and national identity more clearly drawn. In China’s modern educational system, the emphasis on citizenship training, broadly speaking, dominated the official view of schools from the beginning. The central goals promulgated in the 1906 Ministry of Education regulations were “loyalty to the monarch” and “patriotism.” 102 The history curriculum was to offer exemplars of moral rectitude as well as instill national consciousness.103 Late Qing teacher’s manuals spread the word. Through familiarity with their nation’s history, students would develop into loyal citizens.104 The implication was that

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194 · Peter Zarrow

since each country possessed its unique character (J. kokutai, Ch. guoti 國 體), it was the history teacher’s responsibility to make sure students understood their own country’s national character, which was based on its historical experiences. The national character was not only a product of historical development but also learned through study of the past. Official curriculum standards of the new Republic in 1912 stated that history should convey the “progress of the nation,” social change, the rise and fall of the state(s) (bangguo 邦國), and above all the development of political forms and the roots of republican government.105 The regulations of the progressive twenties placed more emphasis on humanity rather than any particular branch of humanity, and on developing students’ sense of empathy, fraternity (boai 博愛), and mutual aid.106 Then under the Nationalists’ prescriptions of 1929, nation returned with a vengeance: history was to be “study of the conditions of the changes of Chinese political and economics, and explanation of the course of the invasion of the Chinese nation in modern times by the Powers, in order to instill national consciousness among students and awaken them to a sense of their responsibilities in the Chinese nationalist movement.” 107 Still, this was not to be a narrow or xenophobic nationalism, but one compatible with a kind of cosmopolitanism, as long as that cosmopolitanism made room for Chinese self-respect. Students at upper levels were to understand more precisely how the Chinese nation was formed historically, as well as modern imperialism, the Three People’s Principles, and the revolution.108 Early Republican teacher’s manuals regarded children as objects to be molded. Teaching history—an understanding of the continuous development of society—would develop the social function of children, enabling them to contribute to the nation and the world.109 In the progressive atmosphere of the 1920s, a moderate patriotism was seen to be healthy. This should not be a narrow or imperialistic nationalism, but would contribute to international peace and cooperation.110 In effect, then, history was to mold responsible citizens loyal to their own country and respectful of others. The Republic did not reject the dynastic past but attempted to transcend and incorporate it. For all the condemnations of despotism, the past was to be a repository of usable models. Zhang Binglin famously criticized Confucianism but found much to value in Buddhism and the various ancient schools of thought. Zhang also did much to create a primordialist understanding of the Han nation. Liang

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Qichao came to selectively endorse Confucianism, perhaps distantly prefiguring the late-twentieth-century revival of Confucianism, and supporting a multiethnic vision of the nation. And among the avowed progressives of the 1920s, Hu Shi led the way to rediscover a popular past freed to a degree from the high culture. Even for the most iconoclastic of intellectuals there was no way to untangle China’s present from the dynastic past. Thus history textbooks before and after the 1911 Revolution sought both to define the Chinese nation and to find “progress.” The Chinese History took “accounting the conditions of the progress of civilization” as one of its main goals.111 It sought to convey “the capability to progress of all of the peoples of China.”112 If the dynastic cycle was based on a nonprogressive sense of time, it could still allow for progress in political institutions. Indeed, premodern historians had often noted as much, but textbooks—with their emphasis on political events, names, and battles— were ill suited to convey this idea. Rather, it was easier to convey the cumulative progress of thought and the arts. Indeed, the Chinese History gave extensive attention to thought and philosophy, the arts, religion and customs, and crafts, agriculture, and the economy. My preliminary impression is that Republican-period textbooks gave greater attention to cultural history than did late Qing textbooks, and certainly higher-level textbooks gave greater attention to developments of culture and popular customs than did lower-level textbooks. All the same, the focus remained on political events framed by a rough narrative arc from origins and early development of the state through the dynastic cycle to, finally, the Republic. The break between “traditional” and “modern” history writing was not absolute, if only because the new textbook authors did not find it easy to make the “Chinese nation” into the subject of history. Nor did they find it easy to highlight “progress,” nor did they find it easy to define the relationship between history and citizenship. History teachers did try to define history. They taught the difference between primary and secondary sources.113 And clearly there were different kinds of each: artifacts as well as texts could be primary sources; specialized studies and general histories as well as the orthodox dynastic histories were all secondary sources. Aside from the distinction between primary and secondary sources, official histories (guoshi 國史) and private historical writings (yeshi 野史) were traditionally separate genres. Textbooks occasionally noted that these genres had to be combined to

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196 · Peter Zarrow

produce balanced, objective history.114 Official histories had the advantage of being based on documents, but were simply not always accurate. Private histories could be biased, but, used carefully, they supplemented and corrected official history so that the final product was verifiable. Above all, history did not lie in random facts but was a single continuous process; the historian’s job was to analyze cause and effect.115 It was easier to say what history was not, than to define precisely what it was, or should be. History was not about astounding people or displaying literary qualities. Nor did it provide a “mirror” of moral lessons for emperors, officials, or filial sons.116 Perhaps historical examples in a general way could, as the Nationalists’ standards insisted, encourage good behavior and instill students with the desire to serve the people.117 Still, as we have seen, the dynastic age offered few examples of persons who offered more than a partial model for the new republican citizen to emulate. Civics textbooks and especially reading textbooks might offer historical figures for emulation, but only divorced from their historical context.118 What history did uniquely was to explain changes over time.119 Changes in what? Again, not the lives of kings and heroes but of society as a whole, of the common people; of particular societies or of humanity as a whole. As Gu Jiegang and Wang Zhongqi insisted in the 1920s, history was the histories of races, politics, society, and scholarship.120 Already in the late Qing, teacher’s manuals emphasized the centrality of cause and effect to the discipline of history, even to the point history could be regarded as training children in logic.121 History was thus not about memorizing facts but learning how to think properly. History thus could be claimed as a science: the science devoted to the understanding of the progress of society and politics.122 In their teacher’s manual of 1929, Wu Yanyin 吳研因 and Wang Zhirui 王志瑞 emphasized that textbooks were not tantamount to history but only convenient aids for memory.123 That actually seems to sell textbooks short. In the early years of the twentieth century, history textbooks in China helped to internalize a narrative; that is, to cement an identity that was based on a modern need for a shared past. China was a place (territory, geo-body), a culture, a member of international state systems, and perhaps above all a subject of historical consciousness posited on universal progress. The narrative strategies implied by the national imaginary also helped to secularize time. Late Qing textbooks counted and dated in dynasties and reign periods, but the putatively universal metric

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of the Gregorian calendar was increasingly used after the revolution (only to be superseded by counting in Republican years). The concern with periodization and comparability to Europe, whatever its limitations, situated China in a global context. Time was the only means by which comparison could be made meaningful. Thus France had its Revolution—while China lived through the complacent peace of Qianlong.124 Now, however, China’s own revolution demonstrated its historical modernity.

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Notes 1 2

3

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Zhuang Qichuan 莊啟傳 and Lü Simian 呂思勉, Xinshi lishi jiaokeshu 新式歷 史教科書 (1917; repr., Shanghai: Zhonghua shuju, 1920), vol. 6, p. 16a. Luo Xianglin 羅香林 , Gaozhong benguo shi 高中本國史 (also titled Gaoji zhongxue benguo shi 高級中學本國史; Nanjing: Zhengzhong shuju, 1936), vol. 1, p. 3. Hayden White, “The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality,” in White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), pp. 1–25; and “The Politics of Historical Interpretation: Discipline and De-Sublimation,” in White, Content of the Form, p. 60. See Prasenjit Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995); Q. Edward Wang on “Narrating the Nation,” in this volume; and the following note. Liang Qichao 梁啟超, “Xin shixue” 新史學, in Yinbingshi heji 飲冰室合集 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1996), wenji, vol. 9, pp. 1–32. For Liang’s views, see inter alia Huang Jinxing 黃進興, “Zhongguo jindai shixue de shuangchong weiji: shilun ‘xinshixue’ de dansheng ji qisuo mianlin de kunjing” 中 國近代史學的雙重危機:試論「新史學」的誕生及其所面臨的困境 , Zhong guo wenhua yanjiu xuebao 中國文化研究學報 6 (1997): pp. 263–85; Tang Xiaobing, Global Space and the Nationalist Discourse of Modernity: The Historical Thinking of Liang Qichao (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996); and Peter Zarrow, “Old Myth into New History: The Building Blocks of Liang Qichao’s ‘New History,’” Historiography East & West, 1.2 (2003): pp. 204–41. White, “Politics of Historical Interpretation,” pp. 60–65; Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The “Objectivity Question” and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988). History, like other disciplines, soon became surrounded by scholarly rituals that claimed to guarantee verification (Novick, That Noble Dream, pp. 3–5). In circular fashion, professionalization was based on claims to authority that were in turn based on “the norm of objectivity” and the tone of the disinterested and impassive truth-seeker (ibid., p. 53). “Professionalism, as an ideology in its own right, has prospered in times of stability and self-confidence; is called into question in periods of crisis and uncertainty” (ibid., p. 205). For the centrality of ethics to traditional Chinese historiography, see Axel Schneider 施耐德, “Minzu, lishi yu lunli: Zhongguo houdizhi shiqi (postimperial) shixue zhi jueze” 民族、歷史與倫理:中國後帝制時期(post-imperial) 史學之抉擇 , Xinshixue 19.2 (June 2008): pp. 47–83; On-cho Ng and Q. Edward Wang, Mirroring the Past: The Writing and Use of History in Imperial China (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005), pp. x–xii. See Robert Culp, Articulating Citizenship: Civic Education and Student Politics in Southeastern China, 1912–1940 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, Harvard University Press, 2007), esp. chap. 2.

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10

11

12

13

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Cheng Meibao 程美寶, “You aixiang er aiguo: Qingmo Guangdong xiangtu jiaocai de guojia huayu” 由愛鄉而愛國:清末廣東鄉土教材的國家話語, Lishi yanjiu 歷史研究 4 (2003): pp. 68–84; Robert J. Culp, “‘Weak and Small Peoples’ in a ‘Europeanizing World’: World History Textbooks and Chinese Intellectuals’ Perspectives on Global Modernity,” in The Politics of Historical Production in Late Qing and Republican China, ed. Tze-ki Hon and Robert J. Culp (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 211–45. History in the schools of the late Qing is discussed in Li Xiaoqian 李孝遷, Xifang shixue zai Zhongguo de chuanbo (1882–1949) 西方史學在中國的傳播 (1882–1949) (Shanghai: Huadong shifan daxue chubanshe, 2007), chap. 1. Li stresses the Japanese influence on early Chinese textbooks, for which also see his “Qingji Zhinashi, dongyanshi jiaokeshu jieyi chutan” 清季支那史、東 洋史教科書介譯初探, Shixue yuekan 史學月刊 9 (2003): pp. 101–10; and Q. Edward Wang, “Narrating the Nation” in this volume. For a general introduction to the beginnings of this educational system, see Sally Borthwick, Education and Social Change in China: The Beginnings of the Modern Era (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1983), pp. 93–95, 131–32; Hiroshi Abe, “Borrowing from Japan: China’s First Modern Educational System,” in China’s Education and the Industrialized World: Studies in Cultural Transfer, ed. Ruth Hayhoe and Marianne Bastid (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1987), pp. 57–80. Sang Bing 桑兵, Wan-Qing xuetang xuesheng yu shehui bianqian 晚清學堂學生 與社會變遷(Taibei: Daohe, 1991), p. 2–4. These figures do not include missionary or military schools, or of course the growing number of students at higher levels studying abroad, but do include girls’ schools being established on a semiofficial basis (some 78,000 female students were attending schools in 1909). While anyone could write a textbook, the Ministry of Education had to approve textbooks for state schools; private schools could use whatever materials they wished. This resulted in a great deal of competition, and the system remained reasonably loose until the Nationalist imposition of stricter guidelines in 1928. The Qing’s establishment of a new school system is discussed, with reference to history, in Peter Zarrow, “The New Schools and National Identity: Chinese History Textbooks in the Late Qing,” in Hon and Culp, Politics of Historical Production, pp. 25–32. For the approval system of the late Qing, see Guan Xiaohong 關曉紅, Wan-Qing xuebu yanjiu 晚清學部 研究 (Guangzhou: Guangdong jiaoyu chubanshe, 2000), esp. pp. 382–85. Li Huaxing 李華興, ed., Minguo jiaoyu shi 民國教育史 (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe, 1997), p. 55. Such privately established schools might have received support from local officials. Marianne Bastid, “Servitude or Liberation: The Introduction of Foreign Educational Practices and Systems to China from 1840 to the Present,” in Hayhoe and Bastid, China’s Education and the Industrialized World, p. 9.

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200 · Peter Zarrow 15

16

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19 20 21

22 23

24

Scholars have yet to explore the possible influence of missionary-inspired history textbooks on later textbooks, in addition to the influence on the early histories of China written by Japanese scholars (see note 10 above); but see Wang Jianjun 王建軍, Zhongguo jindai jiaokeshu fazhan yanjiu 中國近代教 科書發展研究 (Guangzhou: Guangzhou jiaoyu chubanshe, 1996), pp. 14–18; Li Xiaoqian, Xifang shixue, p. 9. See, e.g., Hu Chaoyang 胡朝陽, Di yi jianming lishi qimeng 第一簡明歷史 蒙 (1908; repr., Shanghai: Xinxue huishe, 1923), p. 1a: “This text focuses on the rise and fall of past dynasties.” The Soviet historian James Wertsch developed the notion of “schematic narrative template”—a generalized narrative form or repeated plot elements—that underlies specific stories told in a given cultural milieu. See James Wertsch, Voices of Collective Remembering (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 60–62. I applied this notion to late Qing history textbooks in “New Schools and National Identity,” pp. 21–54. For an excellent discussion of periodization in Republican-period textbooks, see Robert Culp, “‘China—The Land and Its People’: Fashioning Identity in Secondary School History Textbooks, 1911–37,” Twentieth-Century China 26.2 (April 2001): pp. 22–28. The immensely successful Commercial Press faced crisis in 1912—its textbooks, all products of the late Qing, were proscribed. See Christopher A. Reed, Gutenberg in Shanghai: Chinese Print Capitalism, 1876–1937 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004), pp. 215–16, 229–30. However, the publishing house, though facing new competition, was soon able to repackage its textbooks in a “Republican textbooks” series and recovered. Zhu Yixin 朱翊新, Huang Renji 黃人濟, and Lu Bingqian 陸並謙, Chuzhong benguo shi 初中本國史 (Shanghai: Shijie shuju, 1930), vol. 2, pp. 49, 60–62. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 20. Zhu Yixin, Lishi keben jiaoxuefa 歷史課本教學法 (1928; repr., Shanghai: Shijie shuju, 1932), vol. 2, p. 29; Zhou Chuangui 周傳珪, Minzhong lishi keben jiaoxuefa 民眾歷史課本教學法 (Shanghai: Shijie shuju, 1930), pp. 64–68. The latter work was part of a series for “mass schooling (Minzhong xuexiao 民眾 學校)” under the rubric of Three People’s Principles education. Zhu Yixin, Lishi keben jiaoxuefa, vol. 3, pp. 56–57. Zhu Yixin, Huang Renji, and Lu Bingqian, Chuzhong benguo shi, vol. 3, pp. 25–26. The “five races” were Han, Manchu, Mongol, Tibetan, and Hui, while ethnically China also included numerous smaller minority groups. Overall, history textbooks tended to downplay ethnic issues in the broad sweep of Chinese history, though a number of textbooks started with chapters on basic geography and race by way of introductory material. Liu and Xia were following or translating Japanese works on China. See Tze-ki Hon, “Educating the Citizens: Visions of China in Late Qing History Textbooks,” in Hon and Culp, Politics of Historical Production, pp. 84–95; as well as Q. Edward Wang on “Narrating the Nation,” in this volume.

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26 27 28 29 30 31

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35 36

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40

41

There were exceptions to this generalization. Like quite a few late Qing textbooks, some Republican textbooks ignored periodization altogether. See Fu Yunsen 傅運森, Xin lishi 新歷史 (1913; repr., Shanghai: Shangwu, 1919), a text for upper primary schools that was part of the “Republican textbook” series. Zhao Yusen 趙玉森 and Jiang Weiqiao 蔣維喬, eds., Benguo shi 本國史 (1913; repr., Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1926), vol. 1, p. 2. Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 48–50. Ibid., vol. 1, p. 107. Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 140–42. Ibid., vol. 2, pp. 98–99. E.g., Chen Qingnian 陳慶年, Zhongguo lishi jiaokeshu 中國歷史教科書 (1910; repr., Shanghai: Shangwu, 1913), 2 vols.; Hu Chaoyang, Di yi jianming lishi qimeng. Zhu Yixin, Huang Renji, and Lu Bingqian, Chuzhong benguo shi (4 vols.). Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 94–95. Ibid., vol. 3, pp. 1–11. However, in their concluding remarks, the authors also linked this Ming-Qing period to continued racial struggle, the florescence of scholarship, and territorial gains, adding that imperial power expanded to the point it became unstable: ibid., vol. 4, p. 96. Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 1–3, 96–97. Wang Zhijiu 王芝九 , “Xiaoxue dili jiaoxuefa” 小學地理教學法, in Huang Jingbai 黃競白, Xu Yingchuan 徐映川, and Ji Yujiu 季禹九 , Xiaoxue shidi jiaoxuefa 小學史地教學法 (Shanghai: Shangwu, 1925), p. 55. Gu Jiegang 顧頡剛 and Wang Zhongqi 王鐘麒, Benguo shi 本國史 (1923–24; repr., Shanghai: Shangwu, 1926–27), vol. 1, pp. 1, 16–22. On the one hand, then, Gu’s famous “doubting antiquity” (see Brian Moloughney, “Myth and the Making of History” in this volume) was amenable to treating legends of the pre-Qin as in some sense representative of real developments; on the other, he denied we could know much about the ancient period with any certainty (see below for further discussion of this issue). The official curriculum underwent repeated changes or tweaking, but a four-semester sequence for Chinese history or Chinese history and geography was generally suggested at each level of lower primary, upper primary, and middle school. World history—or the histories of the various countries of East Asia and the West—was to be covered in the third year, and Western history in the fourth. See Kecheng jiaocai yanjiusuo 課程教材研究所, ed., 20 shiji Zhongguo zhongxiaoxue kecheng biaozhun, jiaoxue dagang huibian: lishi juan 20世紀中 國中小學課程標準.教學大綱彙編:歷史卷, vol. 12 (Beijing: Renmin jiaoyu chubanshe, 2001), p. 12. For lower middle school, ibid., pp. 22–24. Topics included, e.g., the establishment of the Zhou state in early antiquity, the introduction of Buddhism

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202 · Peter Zarrow

42

43 44 45

46 47

48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55

in middle antiquity, the Opium War in the modern, and “Sun Yat-sen and the revolution movement” in contemporary history. The 1932 standards emphasized the rise of revolutionary thought and Sun Yat-sen in defining the contemporary period. Ibid., pp. 45, 54; the topic of the origins of the Han people was also dropped. Ibid., pp. 22, 31. Luo Xianglin, Gaozhong benguo shi, vol. 1, pp. 31–36. As noted above, this changed when the Nationalists came to power in the late 1920s, revived the old revolutionary views, and imposed them on the school system. Arguably, the Nationalists’ denial of the legitimacy of the Qing was an ideological anachronism at odds with the modern disciplinization of history, not only because it represented outside political interference but also because it mandated a racial essentialism that the modern discipline, while making full use of racial categories, found ahistorical. Wang Rongbao, Qingshi jiangyi 清史講義 (repr., Taibei: Wenhai chubanshe, 1982 [preface dated 1908]), vol. 1, p. 1. By 1911, the future founders of Zhonghua were already preparing anti-Qing textbooks in secret and in disregard of the internal regulations of the Commercial Press. With the Revolution of 1911, they were able to establish the new company at the beginning of 1912 and immediately begin production of “Republican textbooks.” See Reed, Gutenberg in Shanghai, pp. 225–31. Zhonghua Bookstore’s Xinshi lishi jiaokeshu, by Zhuang Qichuan and Lü Simian, presented the Qing as an outside conquest and highlighted its oppressive policies, such as the forced adoption of the Manchu male hairstyle (pp. 11b, 12b). Hu Chaoyang, Di yi jianming lishi qimeng, 39a. Ibid., 39b–40a. Zhao Yusen and Jiang Weiqiao, Benguo shi, vol. 1, p. 90. Hu Chaoyang, Di yi jianming lishi qimeng, 44b. Zhao Yusen and Jiang Weiqiao, Benguo shi, vol. 1, p. 117; they introduced the Tartars in a section titled “bandit invasions.” Ibid., vol. 2, p. 79. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 35. Advanced textbooks often noted the antiliterati bias of Ming Taizu, however, as well. For example, ibid., between vol. 2, pp. 34–35; on the other hand, their map of the Ming showed a clearly delineated space (that included Korea) (ibid., vol. 1, pp. 108–9). Other examples may be found in Zhu Yixin, Huang Renji, and Lu Bingqian, Chuzhong benguo shi, 4 vols. The map in Hu Chaoyang, Di yi jianming lishi qimeng is particularly ambiguous as to borders (the symbols for “foreign borders” and “internal borders” are indistinguishable), p. 46a. At least one Zhonghua Bookstore account failed to map the Qing at its fullest extent. See Zhuang Qichuan and Lü Simian, Xinshi lishi jiaokeshu, vol. 6, p. 10b for the early Qing, which would appear to include Korea but not Vietnam or other parts of Southeast Asia, and vol. 6, p. 12b for the late

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Discipline and Narrative · 203 Qing, which is somewhat shrunken, especially to the north and west. Other textbooks marked borders more clearly with the use of color (see Gu Jiegang and Wang Zhongqi, Benguo shi, 3 vols.). 56 Zhao Yusen and Jiang Weiqiao, Benguo shi, vol. 1, p 2. 57 Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 48–50. 58 Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 2–3. 59 Fu Yunsen, Xin lishi, p. 1a. 60 Shen Songqiao 沈松僑, “Wo yi woxie jian Xuanyuan: Huangdi shenhua yu wan Qing de guozu jiangou” 我以我血薦軒轅—黃帝神話與晚清的國族建構, Taiwan shehui yanjiu jikan 28 (December 1997): pp. 1–77; and Luo Zhitian 羅志田, “Baorong ruxue, zhuzi yu Huangdi de guoxue: Qingji shiren xunqiu minzu rentong xiangzheng de nuli” 包容儒學、諸子與黃帝的國學:清季士人尋 求民族認同象徵的努力, Taida lishi xuebao 29 (June 2002): pp. 87–105; though it should be remembered that the Yellow Emperor was also used to symbolize a broader cultural sense of Chinese identity—see Marc Andre Matten, “The Yellow Emperor and His Ritual Worship: Change and Continuity of an Imperial Icon in Modern China” (paper, International Symposium on Rituals and Imperial Symbols, Taipei University, 17–18 January 2009). 61 The Yellow Emperor was one of a series of culture heroes beginning with Fuxi or even Pangu, but the first clearly historical figure. See Zhao Yusen and Jiang Weiqiao, Benguo shi, vol. 1, p. 4. This, I think, can be considered mainstream view. However, there were certainly variations of the Western origins theory that downplayed the role of the Yellow Emperor. Hu Chaoyang suggested, for example, it was Pangu who led the people out of the West five thousand years previously, and the Yellow Emperor was but one of a series of great leaders who built the foundations of a Chinese state finally put together by Yao. See Di yi jianming lishi qimeng, pp. 4–5. Zhu Yixin, Huang Renji, and Lu Bingqian, Chuzhong benguo shi, pp. 24–25, credit Shennong with unifying the tribes to make the first Chinese state. All the same, it was always the Yellow Emperor who defeated the Miao and extended the territory. 62 Hannah Arendt suggested this linkage might be universal, or at the least, “[t]hat such a beginning must be intimately connected with violence seems to be vouched for by the legendary beginnings of our [Western] history as both biblical and classical antiquity report it: Cain slew Abel, and Romulus slew Remus; violence was the beginning and, by the same token, no beginning could be made without using violence, without violating. . . . The tale spoke clearly: whatever brotherhood human beings may be capable of has grown out of fratricide, whatever political organization men may have achieved has its origin in crime.” See On Revolution (New York: Viking, 1975), pp. 10–11. Michael Puett has suggested that in Warring States discourse the sage-kings were conceived as founding the state less by original acts of violence than the natural organization of violence. See his “Sages,

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63

64 65

66

67

68

69 70

71 72

73

Ministers and Rebels: Narrative from Early China Concerning the Creation of the State,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 58.2 (December 1998): pp. 425–79; but the connection between violence and state founding remains. Lim Jie-Hyun, “The Antagonistic Complicity of Nationalisms—On ‘Nationalist Phenomenology’ in East Asian History Textbooks,” in Contested Views of a Common Past: Revisions of History in Contemporary East Asia, ed. Steffi Richter (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2008), pp. 212–13. Kecheng jiaocai yanjiusuo, 20 shiji Zhongguo zhongxiaoxue kecheng, p. 13. See Peter Zarrow, “New Schools and National Identity,” pp. 21–54. One significant tension in late Qing textbooks did not apply to Republican textbooks: that between loyalty to the dynasty and loyalty to some higher collectivity, whether seen as nation or state. Perhaps the more elementary textbooks tended to stick to the traditional stories. But the Chinese History of Zhao Yusen and Jiang Weiqiao, for example, emphasized that while North China had been populated for five thousand years and we have “legends” of that period, reliable evidence of specific persons and events only exists from the Yellow Emperor onward. See Zhao Yusen and Jiang Weiqiao, Benguo shi, vol. 1, p. 4. See Mary Mazur, “Discontinuous Continuity: The Beginnings of a New Synthesis of ‘General History’ in 20th-Century China,” in Hon and Culp, Politics of Historical Production, pp. 131–36. Gu Jiegang and Wang Zhongqi, Benguo shi, vol. 1, p. 23–24. At the same time, Gu and Wang did not hesitate to call a foreigner a foreigner (waizu 外族): namely, the Wu Hu, Liao, Jin, Yuan, and Qing. And while they never claimed the Manchus were evil as a race, they did term the 1911 Revolution a “restoration” (guangfu 光復). Ibid., vol. 3, p. 29, vol. 3, p. 109 (for the Yuan’s discriminatory practices, see vol. 2, pp. 50–53). Ibid., vol. 1 (preface), p. 2. See, e.g., Zhu Yixin, Huang Renji, and Lu Bingqian, Chuzhong benguo shi, vol. 1, pp. 19–21. Indeed, official curriculum standards for upper middle school students emphasized the importance of empirical proof—see Kecheng jiaocai yanjiusuo, 20 shiji Zhongguo zhongxiaoxue kecheng, p. 30. Conversely, for skepticism of skepticism (amounting to agnosticism on the question of the historicality of sage-kings), see Luo Xianglin, Gaozhong benguo shi, vol. 1, pp. 57–60. The Nationalists’ banning of Gu and Wang is briefly summarized in Laurence A. Schneider, Ku Chih-kang and China’s New Hsitory: Nationalism and the Quest for Alternative Traditions (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971), pp. 107–8. For example, Zhao Yusen and Jiang Weiqiao, Benguo shi, vol. 1, p. 4. See Liu Longxin 劉龍心 [Liu Long-hsin], Xueshu yu zhidu: xueke tizhi yu xiandai Zhongguo shixue de jianli 學術與制度:學科體制與現代中國史學的建立 (Taibei: Yuanliu, 2002), pp. 49–52, 62–66. Zhao Yusen, Xin lishi jiaoshoufa 新歷史教授法, 10th ed. (Shanghai: Shangwu, 1913–14), 4 vols.

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Discipline and Narrative · 205 74 75 76

Ibid., vol. 1, p. 2a. Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 4a–b. Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 6b–7a. Criticism of the hereditary monarchy and of autocracy had become widespread by the late Qing but was only implied in textbooks until the establishment of the Republic. Arguably, the anachronistic use of republicanism for “praise and blame” in this text represented the Commercial Press’s efforts to meet the demands of the new Republic’s educational system. See note 17 above. 77 Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 8a–b. 78 Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 12a–b. 79 Ibid., vol. 1, p. 13b. 80 Zhao Yusen, Xin lishi jiaoshoufa, vol. 1, pp. 20a, 30b. 81 Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 22b–24b, 27b, 30b. 82 Ibid., vol. 2, pp. 5b–6a. 83 Ibid., vol. 2, pp. 9a–b. 84 Ibid., vol. 2, p. 25a. 85 Zhao implied but did not pursue the bifurcation between personal morality and historical necessity. He did find historical value in the former, insofar as it was tied to values useful to contemporary citizens. Thus he praised not only Ming loyalists but standard loyal ministers like Yue Fei and Fan Zhongyan as well. And he presented essentially heroic images of such standard conquerors as Han Wudi, Sui Wendi, Tang Taizong, and Song Taizu, even if they were also responsible for some crimes. Zhao also praised those who pushed the borders outward like Ban Chao and Zhang Qian. Men like these provide models for modern republican citizens. “Loyalty refers not only to loyalty to a particular dynast, but you should know that what is precious are the people who are loyal to their country.” Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 7a–b. 86 Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 19a, 21a, 22b. 87 Ibid., vol. 4, p. 30b. Like the critique of autocracy and the rise of militaristic values, a keen sense of “national humiliation” had become widespread by the late Qing. See Paul A. Cohen, “Remembering and Forgetting National Humiliation in Twentieth-Century China,” Twentieth-Century China 27.2 (April 2002): pp. 1–39. 88 Zhao Yusen, Xin lishi jiaoshoufa, vol. 4, p. 42b. 89 Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 49a–51b. 90 Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 56a–57a. 91 Ibid., vol. 2, p. 36a, vol. 4, p. 4b. 92 Ibid., vol. 4, p. 51b. 93 Ibid., vol. 2, p. 35b, vol. 2, p. 17b. 94 Ibid., vol. 4, p. 7b, vol. 2, pp. 15a–b. 95 Mazur, “Discontinuous Continuity,” pp. 109–43. 96 See also Luo Zhitian, “Marginalization of Classical Studies,” in this volume. 97 Culp, Articulating Citizenship, chap. 2. Culp also rightly highlights the variety of historical interpretations of the Chinese nation within a shared

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98 99

100

101 102

103 104

105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113

114

115

framework or “paradigm of modern historical writing” of Republicanperiod textbooks in “‘China—The Land and Its People,” pp. 17–20. Culp’s discussion includes the important area of world history, while I here focus solely on national history. Zhao Yusen, Xin lishi jiaoshoufa, vol. 5, p. 2a. Wang Fan-sen 王汎森, “Jindai Zhongguo de xianxing lishiguan: yi shehui jinhualun wei zhongxin de taolun” 近代中國的線性歷史觀:以社會進化論為中 心的討論, Xin Shixue 新史學 19.2 (June 2008): pp. 1–46; and the author’s “The Impact of the Linear Model of History on Modern Chinese Historiography” in this volume. This dilemma is concisely outlined in Prasenjit Duara, “Historical Consciousness and National Identity,” in The Cambridge Companion to Modern Chinese Culture, ed. Kam Louie (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 46–67. Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), p. 41. Qu Xingui 璩鑫圭 and Tang Liangyan 唐良炎, eds., Zhongguo jindai jiaoyushi ziliao huibian: xuezhi yanbian 中國近代教育史資料彙編:學制演變 (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe, 1991), pp. 534–39. Ibid., pp. 294–95. See, e.g., Bai Zuolin 白作林, trans., Xiaoxue geke jiaoshoufa 小學各科教授法 [orig. authors Terauchi Ei 寺內穎 and Kosaki Biitsuchi 兒崎為槌?] (Shanghai? Wenming shuju? 1902), vol. 4, pp. 1a–b; and Xiaoxue geke jiaoshoufa 小學各 科教授法 (1908; author and publishing details obscured; copy in the possession of the National Central Library, Beijing), vol. 1, p. 75, which cited the Ministry’s regulations. Kecheng jiaocai yanjiusuo, 20 shiji Zhongguo zhongxiaoxue kecheng, p. 11. Ibid., p. 15. Ibid., p. 21. Ibid., pp. 30, 43, 50. Huang Jingbai, Xu Yingchuan, and Ji Yujiu, Xiaoxue shidi jiaoxuefa, pp. 1–2. Ibid., pp. 6–8. Zhao Yusen and Jiang Weiqiao, Benguo shi, vol. 1, pp. 1–2. Ibid., vol. 1, p. 106. Luo Xianglin, Gaozhong benguo shi, vol. 1, pp. 4–5; Wu Yanyin 吳研因 and Wang Zhirui 王志瑞, Xiaoxue lishi jiaoxuefa 小學歷史教學法 (1929; repr., Shanghai: Shangwu, 1934), pp. 3–4. Chen Ruyu 陳汝玉, preface 1, in Sun Jiahui 孫嘉會, Zhonghua minguo shi 中華 民國史 (1927; repr., Taibei: Wenhai chubanshe, 1987), pp. 1–2. See also Madeleine Yue Dong, “Creating Academic Qing History,” in this volume for debates over yeshi. Wu Yanyin and Wang Zhirui, Xiaoxue lishi jiaoxuefa, pp. 5–6; see also Gu Jiegang and Wang Zhongqi, Benguo shi, vol. 1, pp. 16–17.

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Discipline and Narrative · 207 116 Or were at best incomplete history. Wu Yanyin and Wang Zhirui, Xiaoxue lishi jiaoxuefa, pp. 1–2. The usefulness of history as a “mirror” continued to have advocates, though perhaps in the sense of providing general lessons rather than specific training for elites—see Huang Jingbai, Xu Yingchuan, and Ji Yujiu, Xiaoxue shidi jiaoxuefa, p. 1. 117 Kecheng jiaocai yanjiusuo, 20 shiji Zhongguo zhongxiaoxue kecheng, p. 21. 118 Girl students were offered their own models of heroines, and women in the past became a major part of discussions about women in the present. See Joan Judge, The Precious Raft of History: The Past, the West, and the Woman Question in China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008). 119 Wu Yanyin and Wang Zhirui, Xiaoxue lishi jiaoxuefa, pp. 3–7. 120 Gu Jiegang and Wang Zhongqi, Benguo shi, vol. 1 (preface), p. 1. 121 Bai Zuolin, Xiaoxue geke jiaoshoufa, vol. 1, pp. 81, 83 (though in this view, attention to larger questions did not negate the value of moral exemplars). 122 Wu Yanyin and Wang Zhirui, Xiaoxue lishi jiaoxuefa, pp. 9–11. 123 Ibid., pp. 50–51. 124 Zhao Yusen, Xin lishi jiaoshoufa, 15th ed. (1914), vol. 6, pp. 56b–57a.

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Chapter 7

Creating Academic Qing History: Xiao Yishan and Meng Sen* Madeleine Yue Dong

The remembering of the Qing has been a struggle no less political than the overthrow of the dynasty itself in 1911. A large amount of narratives of Qing history began to emerge, often in the form of personal accounts and miscellaneous essays, when the imperial state, faced with domestic and international crises, lost some of its abilities to impose censorship in the late nineteenth century. Such narratives were then adopted as propaganda tools by the anti-Manchu revolutionaries in their agitation for the 1911 Revolution. When the Republic was established, a number of books of Qing history were quickly published to satisfy demands from the general public and the new school system. However, it was not until the publication of works by Xiao Yishan 蕭一山 (1902–78) and Meng Sen 孟森 (1868–1938), who were both associated with universities in the late 1920s and 1930s, that an academic field of modern history of the Qing is considered to have come into existence.1 The establishment of Qing history as an academic field was part of the creation and development of professionalized, institutionalized, and disciplined modern academic research in the humanities and social sciences concentrated at newly founded universities in the early twentieth century. By the mid-1930s, professional historians were researching and

*

I am grateful to Alys E. Weinbaum, Mark C. Elliot, Peter G. Zarrow, James A. Mill-ward, Brian Moloughney, R. Kent Guy, Joseph Esherick, Michael Chang, Tze-ki Hon, On-cho Ng, and Ping Zhang whose comments, suggestions, and help were crucial to the completion of this chapter. Due to space limitations in this chapter, some of the important questions that they recommended I examine will be addressed in my book on a related topic.

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210 · Madeleine Yue Dong

teaching Qing history in universities and writing textbooks in a commonly accepted format for high school and college students. In other words, new conventions had been established by then in the writing of Qing history and history in general. At a time when duandai shi 斷代史 (dynastic history) was out of fashion and the rage was to write tongshi 通 史 (comprehensive history), the strong interest in Qing history was an exception. This can be explained partly by the Qing’s temporal proximity to the Republican period, but more importantly, by the political, cultural, and racial implications of Manchu rule in a time of imperialism, colonialism, and the struggle for national independence. Together with tongshi, Qing history was a locus for those attempting to put into practice the principles of “new history” promoted by people such as Liang Qichao 梁啟超 (1873–1929). With history being an element central to the creation of a national identity and a new citizenry, fundamental issues of historiography were debated intensely in the early twentieth century in China. In the case of Qing history, issues debated include the following: What are the functions and objectives of history? What is, and how to seek, historical truth? What constitutes a reliable archive for history? And what format should Qing history take? Who should be the protagonist of this history? And from whose perspective should this history be written? In short, what should modern, disciplined Qing history look like? 2 Following a brief account of the development of Qing history in the twentieth century, I investigate the contemporary understandings of these issues and their implications by examining some of the debates Xiao Yishan and Meng Sen engaged in, focusing on how this first generation of academic Qing historians used concepts and practices from earlier Chinese historiography in the process of modern disciplinization. In short, I explore how they tried to create a professional history within the constraints of having to be both scientific and national at this moment of political and cultural breakdown and transformation. Furthermore, I suggest that the differences among these historians revealed sometimes conflicting national thoughts during China’s transition from an empire to a nation-state.

The Emergence of Qing History Political needs pushed Qing history into the limelight at the beginning of the twentieth century. When signs of Qing decline became evident in the late nineteenth century, scandalous popular histories of the Qing, yeshi

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Creating Academic Qing History · 211 野史 (unofficial histories) and yanyi 演義 (historical legends), began to

circulate.3 Before the 1911 Revolution, such books were reprinted by the revolutionaries, together with Yangzhou shiri ji 揚州十日記 (Ten Days in Yangzhou) by Wang Xiuchu 王秀楚 (late Ming–early Qing) and Jiading yiqiu jishi 嘉定乙酉紀事 (or Jiading tucheng jilüe 嘉定屠城記略 [A Record of the Massacre of Jiading]) by Zhu Zisu 朱子素 (late Ming–early Qing). As part of their anti-Manchu mobilization efforts, the revolutionaries also published articles on Qing history in magazines printed in Japan and China. Representative of such activities was Zhang Binglin 章炳麟 (zi Taiyan 太炎, 1868–1936), whose scholarship emphasized the distinction between hua 華 (Chinese) and yi 夷 (foreign) as the most important criterion to judge historical figures and events. Very often demonizing the Manchus as savage, morally loose, and decadent, yeshi and yanyi served as effective propaganda tools for the revolutionaries, and they were published continuously before and after the 1911 Revolution. Somewhat different is Cai Dongfan’s 蔡東藩 (1877–1945) Qingshi yanyi 清史演義, a book-length account of the history of the Qing finished in 1916. Cai asserts that he was motivated to write the volumes to correct the tendency of using court stories to distort the history of the Qing, and that he was committed to base his yanyi on historical facts. But he in fact adopted many of the popular stories circulating around 1911, which is typical of this type of narrative in which one can easily recognize familiar tropes of popular stories about the imperial court. Book-length Qing histories, as school textbooks and general readings for the public, began to appear at the end of the Qing and the beginning of the Republic.4 The authors of these volumes, born in the late Qing and educated before the age of modern schools, had not been trained as professional historians for there was obviously no such curriculum available to them, and being a “professional historian” was not an option for anyone—no one would even have recognized this as a career type. They all passed through the civil service examination system, and many worked in the governments of late Qing and early Republic. For instance, Wang Rongbao 汪榮寶 (1878–1933) took the civil service examinations and worked for the Board of War. He enrolled in the Nanyang gongxuetang 南洋公学堂 in 1900 and later went to study in Japan. He continued to work in the Board of War after returning to China. In 1906, he was appointed an instructor at the Jingshi Translation Program (Jingshi yixue guan 京師譯學館). After two years there, he went on to work in many positions for both the Qing and later the Republic, primarily in

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212 · Madeleine Yue Dong

diplomacy. Qingshi jiangyi 清史講義 was the textbook he wrote when teaching at the Translation Program.5 They did not tend to be cultural radicals,6 but instead continued the racialized radicalism of the era of the 1911 Revolution, focusing primarily on recent and contemporary political concerns, such as constitutional monarchy, which was still a threat as embodied by Yuan Shikai’s 袁世凱 (1859–1916) attempt to restore the throne in 1915–16. To legitimize the 1911 Revolution as a necessary step for the survival of China, Chen Huai 陳懷 (1877–1922) and Liu Fazeng 劉法曾 (late nineteenth–early twentieth century) both argued that the so-called “constitution” was nominal, and that the New Policy Reform failed to make any fundamental change. The purpose of both, in their views, was to extend the life of the Manchu Qing dynasty, and the constitutional monarchy proposed by the Qing court was designed to keep the power of ruling the country to one family.7 Huang Hongshou 黄鴻壽 (late nineteenth–early twentieth century) argued that the Qing court never really planned to share power with the public.8 These authors’ purpose, therefore, was primarily to understand the immediate background of recent events. The concept of “evolution” began to appear in these early Qing history books. Four years after Yan Fu 嚴復 (1854–1921) introduced this concept into China through his translation of Thomas Henry Huxley’s Evolution and Ethics, Liang Qichao published his “New History” (“Xin shixue” 新史學) in 1902. Liang criticized “old history” for its six shortcomings and problems: knowing the court but not the nation/country, knowing individuals but not the group, knowing the past but not its current significance, knowing facts but not the ideas behind them, being able to describe an event but not to evaluate it, and being able to inherit conventions but not to renovate. Liang called for a “revolution in history” and defined new objectives and set out a new methodology for this “new history.” In his view, history should discuss “evolution,” by which he meant “changes that represent an order (cixu 次序), growth (shengzhang 生長), and progress (fada 發達).” History’s goal should be to examine the evolution of groups and to demonstrate its law and pattern in order to guide future evolution with past experiences.9 These early Qing historians’ usage of “evolution,” however, might have indicated a hybridization of Western understandings of the concept and notions indigenous to Chinese historiography. They became critical of older historiographic practices, arguing that those lacked any systematic analysis and could only be seen as sources, suggesting, as Wang

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Rongbao did, that real history should aim at discovering the “order of evolution.” Huang Hongshou argued that the Chinese mind had been under constraint for thousands of years, until Gong Zizhen 龔自珍 (1792–1841) and Wei Yuan 魏源 (1794–1856) opened up some freedom in thinking; and “Yan Fu’s introduction of Western thought into China led to major transformations.”10 In order to mark changes, they commonly divided Qing history into four periods: the beginning, the peak, the decline, and the fall, which form an unmistakably natural life-like cycle. Such periodization, while demonstrating an intention to highlight historical change, implied that a dynasty passed through a cycle encompassing rise, peak, decline, and fall. This somewhat cyclical view was an understanding of “evolution” that was rather different from visions of a linear, progressive history, which Wang Rongbao hinted at in his Qingshi jiangyi, citing Kuwabara Jitsuz¯o 桑原 藏 (1871–1931), and locating the Qing within the context of the whole of Chinese history and treating it as “recent history” (jinshi shi 近世史), a direct adoption of a Japanese term.11 This period in the development of Qing history also witnessed experiments with new formats for writing history. All major conventional formats were still being practiced: Wu Zengqi 增祺 (1852–1929) wrote a chronicle; Xu Guoying 許國英 (fl. 1913–40) used the gangjian style 綱鑒 體;12 and Huang Hongshou wrote in the jishi benmo ti 紀事本末體 (narratives from beginning to end; emphasis on sequence of events often in the form of a general history), which was created by Yuan Shu 袁樞 (1131– 1205) but became particularly popular in the late Qing following the example of Zhang Xuecheng 章學誠 (1738–1801), its most important practitioner. But Hua Pengfei 華鵬飛, Chen Huai, and Liu Fazeng adopted the new chapter-section format (zhangjie ti 章節體). Written as high school and college textbooks, they all followed the example set by Xia Zengyou 夏曾佑 (1861–1924), whose three-volume Newest Middle School Textbook of Chinese History (Zuixin zhongxue Zhongguo lishi jiaokeshu 最新中學中國歷 史教科書) is regarded as the first work to employ the chapter-section format in the writing of Chinese history and thus marks a major development in Chinese historiography.13 Following his Japanese model, Xia adopted the new format in order to present the pattern of Chinese historical development. Instead of a dynastic history of emperors and kings, his objective was to write a history of social evolution. Xu Guoying’s Qingshi jiangyi, following Liang Qichao, argues that the annals and biography format (jizhuan ti 紀傳體) employed in the standard dynastic histories

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214 · Madeleine Yue Dong

stresses individuals but ignores the group. Similarly, the chronicle, although useful for checking dates, does not provide the reader with the whole process of events.14 The advantage of the chapter-section format is, purportedly, that it allows the historian to organize topics into a hierarchical order and yet leaves f lexibility for highlighting the process of change and the correlation between causation and consequence. In other words, it gives historians more freedom to insert their own voices into the history they write. While emperors and the imperial court had been the subject of the biographical format that was at the heart of Chinese historiography, the new chapter-section format, one could argue, is necessary for shifting the focus of history to the nation, which requires the invention of a collective voice expressed through the historian. The adoption of a new format itself, however, does not automatically transform the writing of history or create a new subjectivity. Qing history in the early twentieth century emerged simultaneously with the call for new history, but in practice it was closer to Wei Yuan’s combination of the historical commentary (shilun 史論) and jishi benmo format, as seen in his influential work History of Military Campaigns of the Qing (Shengwu ji 聖 武記), than to the new history proposed by Liang Qichao. Because of this only limited departure from the practices of “old history,” these early Qing historians did not gain much respect from later generations. Many of the major issues that came up for heated debate in the next stage of the development of Qing history did emerge during this time, but the full development of a linear, unified, and often chronologically organized narrative that best suited the needs of national history would be accomplished by the first generation of scholars of Qing history associated closely with the modern universities. One fundamental difference between this earlier generation and academic historians like Xiao Yishan and Meng Sen is in the use of primary sources. These early Qing history books were compiled based on existing texts, such as Donghua lu 東華錄 (Records from Within the Eastern Gate), while the new generation of Qing historians began to conduct research based on primary documents and debated issues related to this new practice.

Xiao Yishan and Qingdai tongshi The first Qing history that differed radically from any previous work was the General History of the Qing (Qingdai tongshi 清代通史) by Xiao Yishan.15 Xiao explained that he was first motivated to write such a

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history when he read Shincho¯ zenshi 清朝全史 by Inaba Iwakichi 稻葉岩吉 (1876–1940) in high school and felt it a shame that a serious history of the Qing of China had to be written by a foreigner.16 The first two volumes of Xiao’s Qing history were published from 1923 to 1925, when Xiao was a student at Beijing University; the third volume was informally circulated in 1926 for courses he taught. From 1932 to 1934, Xiao engaged in a twoyear-long heated open debate with Chen Gonglu 陳恭祿 (1900–1966), another young scholar of Chinese history, which was triggered by Chen’s review of Xiao’s unpublished third volume.17 The debates were published in the Literature Supplement of Dagong bao 大公報, as well as in the Guofeng biweekly (Guofeng banyuekan 國風半月刊), and were later published by Xiao himself as a collection.18 The explosive language Chen and Xiao used in this exchange spilled over from the academic to the personal. Much of the debate involved a back-and-forth about who had read, or failed to read, which books or documents, especially regarding the calendar of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and the burning of the Summer Palace (Yuanming yuan 圓明園). To some extent this part of the debate ref lects the reality of the limitation in the availability of both primary and secondary materials on Qing history, but it also indicates that research based on primary sources had gradually become a fundamental, dominant, and exclusive principle in academic history, an important step in the modern disciplinization of historiography. I will not focus on sorting out who was right or wrong on particular issues, but instead will explore elements within the debate that reflect on the development of modern historiography, and on those issues where Xiao and his contemporaries agreed and disagreed. One central issue in the debate was the purpose of history. Chen maintained, “History should be distinguished from propaganda.” The objective of history, he argued, was to “understand contemporary political, social, and economic conditions, and the stances of important historical figures.” Historians should not judge historical figures based on their own political preferences. Chen questioned Xiao’s argument that the leaders of the Taiping army were more outstanding historical figures than their opponents, the Qing officials Zeng Guofan 曾國藩 (1811–72), Hu Linyi 胡林翼 (1812–61), Zuo Zongtang 左宗棠 (1812–85), and Li Hongzhang 李鴻章 (1823–1901).19 Chen suspected that Xiao made this claim because of his bias toward the leaders of the Taiping. Chen also challenged Xiao’s elevation of the Taiping calendar to a more sophisticated level by adding to it characteristics that it in fact lacked.

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216 · Madeleine Yue Dong

In his short introduction to the debate, Wu Mi 宓 (1894–1978), editor of the Literature Supplement of Dagong bao, also suggested that Xiao’s volumes were too “revolutionary”: As for the shortcoming of the book, it seems to be in its heavy revolutionary flavor. For example, firstly, it claims that Li Zicheng 李自成 (1606–45) should become the emperor had he succeeded; and secondly, it overly praises the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. Another example is that the volumes do not call Qing emperors by the names Shizu 世祖 and Shizong 世宗, but rather Fulin 福臨 and Xuanye 玄燁. If one uses Tang Taizong 唐太宗 and Ming Taizu 明太 祖, then one should not make an exception with the Qing and disorient the readers with such confusions.20

To these criticisms that his books were too revolutionary, Xiao simply responded, “If we do not treat the Taiping as a revolution, we will not understand where Sun Zhongshan’s 孫中山 (Sun Yat-sen 1866–1925) ideas have come from; neither will we be able to reveal the pain suffered by the Ming loyalists during the early Qing.” But he denied that he was biased and argued that he was objective in evaluating the Qing emperors and did not discriminate against them because of their “race.” Xiao went into great detail to demonstrate that his explanation of the Taiping calendar was accurate, and he insisted that he was fully aware of all the sources available regarding the burning of Yuanming yuan.21 Regarding Chen’s criticism of his judgment of the officials responsible for the Tongzhi Restoration, Xiao argued that there would be no point to write history if one does not make judgments on historical figures.22 The issue of reliability of historical sources was another focus of debate. Chen maintained that “the value of a history book depends on the materials it uses and its methodology.” Historical materials can be divided into “primary source of material” and “secondary source of material” (original in English). Primary sources include memorials, edicts, official communications, letters and diaries of contemporary people who were involved in the events under discussion. Chen criticizes Xiao for failing to utilize sufficient primary sources, instead relying too heavily on secondary materials akin to legends and rumors, such as Qingchao quanshi, Li Taifen’s 李泰棻 (1896–1972) Jin bainian shi 近百年史, Xue Fucheng’s 薛福成 (1834–94) Yongan biji 庸庵筆記, and a large number of baishi 稗史 (popular unofficial historical narratives). Xiao “does not ask where the information he cites comes from,” but simply copies it, and “makes no arguments” with the sources. Chen charges that Xiao’s

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discussions of the Taiping systems were mostly based on Taiping tianguo yeshi 太平天國野史, which in turn were copied from Zeiqing huibian 賊情 彙編 (Collected Information on the Rebels), edited by Zhang Dejian 張德 堅 and others. Such misuse of sources, in Chen’s view, enabled Xiao’s biased evaluation of the Taiping. For example, Xiao never questioned whether the Taiping’s plans were enacted or not, but simply copied them into his book, giving the false impression that the Taiping really carried out fair trials, abolished cruel punishments, etc.23 Wu Mi also noted Xiao’s use of yeshi: The private affairs of the Qing court, such as the [Xiaozhuang] Taihou [孝 庄]太后 (1613–88) marrying the Regent Dorgon 多爾袞, and Shunzhi’s 順 治 joining a monastery, have been discussed in Qingshi houfei zhuangao 清 史后妃傳稿 by Zhang Ertian 張爾田 (1874–1945) and in other books. In his

Preface for Wang Kaiyun’s 王 運 (1833–1916) poem on Yuanming yuan, Zhang Binglin writes, “I have seen that some people in the Qing take pleasure in talking about obscene affairs of the court in language that is extremely repulsive. I have a strong aversion to this kind of talk.” I must agree with [Zhang] on this. Many of us feel that Zhang normally has too strong a zeal for revolution, which hurts his work, but these comments by him are very fair. I have seen that famous Western historians hold an extremely serious attitude in their arguments and work, and never distort ancient history according to current political needs. They do not blame a nation’s rise or fall on women or individual moral flaws; neither do they criticize [historical figures for their] failure to achieve perfection or make comments for the sake of entertaining. All these are examples that we can follow.24

In return, Xiao charges that Chen trusted official documents too readily and did not give enough credit to private materials. He argued that the convention of history was that “official documents are more important for ancient history, and oral history is more crucial for recent times.”25 Xiao believed that official and unofficial materials should all be considered when writing history: “Official documents, biographies, baishi, and oral history, are all history,” and scrutinizing for embellishments, fabrications, hidden meanings in them is exactly the historian’s duty.26 If private records are totally unreliable, Xiao questions, then “[w]hat is the purpose of yeshi? Why have historians been against officially compiled histories? Can a historian write a book relying only on official documents?”27 Even diaries were not always reliable either, and as an example he refers to what Weng Tonghe 翁同龢 (1830–1904) recorded on Kang Youwei 康有為

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218 · Madeleine Yue Dong

(1858–1927). Historians need to be cautious in “telling about the affairs of the men of the past [since] they are often fooled by them (shu guren shi er bei guren qi 述古人事而被古人欺).” 28 If Mr. Chen thinks that all private records are secondary sources like legends (chuanshuo 傳說), and are all fictions (xiaoshuo 小說), then what is the point for us to write books and compile history? Why do not people just read primary sources and official documents instead of history? . . . Primary and secondary sources are relative but not absolute; they are not divided by being official records (guanshu 官書) or unofficial historical narratives (baishi 稗 史), but should be determined by the source of their information. Official documents can also be secondary, and unofficial histories can sometimes be primary sources.29

Xiao defends himself by arguing that even if he had used official documents, his conclusions would have been the same as those based on unofficial materials. Besides, it is unavoidable that “[i]n writing a history one can only approach truth, but not attain full truth.”30 Questioning the nature of sources led to challenging certain stylistic elements in older forms of history. In addition to debating the usefulness of the extensive use of charts, Chen also criticized Xiao’s frequent inclusion of imagined conversations between historical figures. Chen admitted that it was a style that had been commonly used in history, but argued that it had no value: How can a conversation between two people be known by others? How could the official historian (shiguan 史官) know it? It will be impossible to know whether there are guesses, embellishment, and exaggerations; it is also hard to distinguish truth from fabrication. Historians of the present, except paraphrasing trustworthy original texts, rarely use these in their books.

Chen refers to examples from Xiao’s book of conversations between Hong Xiuquan 洪秀全 (1814–64) and others, and argues that these were either secret conversations, or issues of major significance to the Taiping, or carried out in private between two people. Chen suggested an answer to his own question of how Xiao learned about them by implying that Xiao must have used baishi as his sources and questioned pungently, “Does he [Xiao] treat history as fiction?”31 Xiao refuted Chen, stating, “If one cannot know words, how can one know events?”32 And he attacked Chen for citing “the good new terms from the New Culture Movement, such as ‘scientific method, objective attitude, scrutinizing historical sources, truthful history,’” without really

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Creating Academic Qing History · 219

understanding them—and “even those who advocated them did not understand them.” If one wanted to understand these terms, Xiao suggested, one needed to read the latest work on how to write general history of China and Liang Qichao’s proposal for new historical methodology.33 Such recommendations by Xiao that stressed adopting the new principles for writing general history of China in Qing history, of course, remind us of the deep divide among historians at the time, as seen by Xiao: Nowadays people are influenced by those who advocate sorting out the national cultural heritage (zhengli guogu 整理國故). They take examining and determining fragmented pieces [of materials] as scholarship, and laugh at those who attempt to become broad and general as rough and negligent. This is why Mr. Liang Qichao is not taken seriously, which pains me deeply. . . . If Han Studies was enough to make the Qing fall, guogu will be enough to make China fall as well (漢學足以亡清,國故足以亡中國).34

Xiao apparently considered the National Heritage Movement (“zhengli guogu” yundong 「整理國故」運動) as one that put too much emphasis on the details of historical materials, and not enough on creating a coherent narrative of Chinese history. Yet the National Heritage Movement was an effort at restructuring the knowledge system of China that to some extent broke up the four-fold division of knowledge (jing 經, shi 史, zi 子, ji 集) and adopted Western categories to Chinese scholarly traditions. In many ways, it was a movement to standardize Chinese scholarship into a Western system, including the separation of history and literature, and history and mythology. Writing at the moment when such disciplinization was occurring, Xiao felt these new constraints. As useful as yeshi were for his narrative—in fact more useful than Qing court documents— he could no longer use them freely. The excessive revolutionary zeal of Xiao’s book might only be the surface of the issue. In his short introduction to the debate between Xiao and Chen, Wu Mi stresses that general history should take priority over histories of particular dynasties, which indicates that it was considered a compromise to write a history of the Qing dynasty, instead of one of China. In 1900, Zhang Taiyan had declared in his Outline for a General History of China (Zhongguo tongshi lüeli 中國通史略例) the objectives of such history: to learn the track of “evolution” and mobilize the spirit of the nation. Zhang’s proposal was soon followed by Liang Qichao’s “On

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Chinese History” (“Zhongguo shi xulun” 中國史敘論). Liang argued that a national history should be called Chinese history, and he laid out a plan for such a history. 35 He contrasts old and modern historians in the following way: instead of simply recording facts, modern historians must explain the relationship among events, causation, and consequences; modern historians must write about the whole nation’s experiences, not just those of a few power holders. According to this standard, Liang argued, China never had history. Liang continued this discussion in his six articles on “New History” published in 1902. Xiao was deeply influenced by Liang Qichao’s call for general history, and Liang, in an enthusiastic preface, praised Xiao highly for his effort in trying to implement his vision for this kind of new history. Xiao specifically named his book on the Qing a “general history” (tongshi); in other words, this is a Qing history with the logic of a general history of China. To further justify his writing the history of a dynasty instead of a general Chinese history, Xiao argued that it is crucial to study recent history if people want to understand the origin of contemporary changes and the trend of social transformation. By prioritizing modern history over ancient history, he believed people could develop the kind of knowledge necessary “for adapting to change and for practical purposes.”36 Writing about a specific dynasty does not have to be an obstacle to constructing a coherent narrative of the whole of Chinese history, Xiao argued, because periodization depends on the criterion a historian adopts, such as the rise and fall of a race, cultural transformation, political change, and economic trends. Xiao uses the first criterion, “the rise and fall of a race,” to divide Chinese history into five stages: 1. The ancient period (“high antiquity,” yuangu 古): from antiquity to the Qin unification) when the Han nationality (hanzu 漢族) was born 2. The medieval period (“middle antiquity,” zhonggu 中古): from the Qin unification to the end of Tang, when the Han nationality reached its peak of glory 3. The recent-ancient period (“recent antiquity,” jinshi 近世): from the Five Dynasties to the end of Ming, when Mongol power peaked 4. The recent period (“modern,” xiandai 現代): from the beginning to the end of the Qing, when the Manchu ruled and Western powers came to the East 5. The present (“contemporary history,” dangdai 當代): from the founding of the Republic in 1912 onwards; a time of unity of the five nationalities and of Eastern and Western interaction37

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By organizing Chinese history around the experiences of the Han people, Xiao essentially developed a new historical subject for his narrative. The Han collective became the owner and subject of this history. This history of the Qing is one in which the Manchu invaded central China and ruled the Han Chinese; and it is also one of nationalist revolutions by the Han Chinese. In Xiao’s own words, “What I narrate here is the history of the Qing state (Qing guo 清國) which means Chinese history during the Qing Dynasty, but not a history of the Qing Dynasty or the Qing court.” 38 He prioritizes Han national revolutions, and gives detailed descriptions and mostly positive evaluations of secret societies, such as Sandian hui 三點會, Tiandi hui 天地會, and Hongmen hui 洪門會, that were related to nationalist revolutions. If the historians before him were first enticed by the idea of creating a national historical narrative, Xiao was the one who practiced it. This is the most fundamental difference between Xiao’s history and those before him: national history demanded a particularly coherent narrative, and Xiao was creating one. The disagreements between Xiao and Chen, and between Xiao and the National Heritage Movement, focused on what constituted an acceptable archive and its proper use by modern historians, or, in other words, different understandings of China’s historiographic past and the relationship between various forms of historiographical formats. What was really at stake, however, was the issue of what a truth claim is, or what a higher truth is, in writing history. Does such historical truth lie in the reliability of sources? Or is it located in a coherent interpretation of collective experience? To Xiao, historical truth only exists through a new national subjectivity. But he faced a contradiction: he agreed that this new history, with clear subjectivity, needs to be objective in the new age of disciplined, “scientific” history. This is not a contradiction that Xiao or any modern historian could have resolved: while historical narrative “proceeds from empirically validated facts or events, it necessarily requires imaginative steps to place them in a coherent story. Therefore a fictional element enters into all historical discourse.”39 The reconciliation reached was thus a political one during the national crisis in the late 1930s: the debates stopped, and writing general history was considered to be more important than reorganizing the national heritage when the most urgent task was to save the country. It is important for us to see through the language of fierce criticism and defense and recognize that in spite of Xiao’s and Chen’s emphasis on their differences in their heated debate, they in fact accepted the same

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222 · Madeleine Yue Dong

basic premise for historiography, that historians should conduct research using original sources, that they need to provide the reader with objective and unbiased evaluation of historical figures as well as a coherent narrative and interpretation of historical events. The unresolved difference between them related to the value and use of unofficial, popular historical narratives—yeshi or baishi. This leads us to Meng Sen, who started his career as a historian of the Qing with an investigation of exactly this form of popular history.

Meng Sen on Yeshi and Historical Sources40 Meng Sen is commonly regarded today as one of the founders of academic field of Qing history.41 Without formal training in history, and after a disillusioning career in politics and the publishing industry, Meng taught as an academic historian at Nanjing Central University (1929) and then Beijing University (1930–37). In terms of both his political evaluation of the Qing and the Manchus, and his approach to historical materials, Meng Sen differed significantly from Xiao Yishan. In Meng’s opinion, the Qing stood out as one of the best among all dynasties in Chinese history in terms of military and civilian affairs. 42 Meng was critical of the inability of the Qing to sustain its strength and also of its failure in dealing with Manchu-Han relations, but treated these as political problems instead of racial ones. He argued, “In its true nature, Nüzhen is an outstanding nationality.” 43 Meng criticized the revolutionaries for treating the Manchus as enemies; consequently “they do not feel any responsibility to compile a history for the Qing.” 44 What their attitude indicated to Meng was a lack of proper understanding of the relationship between the Republic and the Chinese past.45 As mentioned in the earlier part of this chapter, Xiao Yishan directly used widely circulating popular stories of the Qing. We examine here three examples of such stories that were also studied in detail by Meng Sen: Empress Xiaozhuang’s (1613–88) relationship to Dorgon, the Shunzhi Emperor’s escape into a Buddhist monastery, and the Yongzheng Emperor’s 雍正 (r. 1722–35) illegitimate inheritance of the throne. Empress Xiaozhuang was the wife of Taizong and mother of the Shunzhi Emperor. A Mongol princess descended from Chinggis Khan, Xiaozhuang became a powerful figure during the first three reigns of the Qing. She oversaw the Kangxi Emperor’s 康熙 (r. 1662–1722) early education and remained influential during his reign.46 In the late nineteenth

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and early twentieth centuries, stories circulated widely that she married her brother-in-law, the regent Dorgon, in order to protect her young son, the Shunzhi Emperor, who ascended the throne at the tender age of six. These stories were included in popular publications such as Qingchao yeshi daguan 清朝野史大觀, Qingshi yanyi, and Qinggong yiwen 清宮軼聞. Shunzhi, the ninth son of Hong Taiji 洪太極, was the first Qing emperor after the Manchu conquered China. He reigned for seven years under the regency of his uncle Dorgon. He was considered an effective ruler, but possessed a somewhat sensitive personality. He was devoted to religions, first Catholicism in his childhood, following the German missionary Johann Adam Schall von Bell (1591–1666), and then Buddhism at age twenty. He called several of the eminent monks of the time to his palace, and became close to them. When he was twenty-three years old, his favorite imperial concubine, Donggo 董鄂 (1639–60), died of illness. What happened after this point was a matter of great speculation in popular stories. Some have it that he was so deeply saddened by the death of his concubine that he shaved his head and entered a Buddhist monastery in the Wutai Mountains. At the urging of the Empress Dowager Xiaozhuang, he returned to the palace, but never recovered from the experience emotionally or physically. He died of smallpox at the age of twenty-four, passing the throne to his eight-year-old son, who became the Kangxi Emperor. Some other versions claim that the Shunzhi Emperor did not die at that age, but became a monk in the Wutai Mountains and lived there for the rest of his life. The earliest written record of this story is Wu Meicun’s 梅村 (hao Weiye 偉業, 1609–72) “Qingliang si zan fo shi” 清涼寺贊佛詩 in the early Qing, a poem with vague references that were interpreted as referring to Donggo and the Shunzhi Emperor. Following Wu’s poem, Shunzhi’s retreat into Buddhism was gradually elaborated into a detailed yet mysterious event. The Yongzheng Emperor was the fourth son of the Kangxi Emperor. He inherited the throne when he was over forty years old and became one of the greatest rulers of the Qing Dynasty, connecting the prosperous times of the Kangxi and Qianlong 乾隆 (r. 1736–95) reigns. But many remained doubtful of the legitimacy of his succession. This resulted from ambiguities in the Kangxi Emperor’s plan for an heir to his throne, as well as attempts to interpret Yongzheng’s brutality in purging his enemies, which included other princes and officials such as Nian Gengyao 年羹堯. Popular stories describe the Yongzheng Emperor as someone who usurped the throne from his fourteenth brother by

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224 · Madeleine Yue Dong

fabricating the will of his father, forcing his mother to support him, killing his older brother, and assassinating his younger brother. In contrast to Xiao Yishan’s approach to yeshi, Meng Sen started his career as a historian by proving the mendacity of these narratives. The first two published collections of Meng’s work were both analyses of such yeshi stories. He adopted a method that he named kaoshi 考實 (examination and verification) to prove that these narratives were fabricated. Xinshi congkan 心史叢刊 includes fifteen of his kaoshi studies of such stories,47 and his Qingchu sanda yi’an kaoshi 清初三大疑案考實 (Examinations of the Three Big Mysteries of Early Qing) focuses on exactly these three popular stories.48 He later also wrote about the popular stories of Qianlong Emperor’s Muslim concubine Xiangfei 香妃 and of Qianlong as a son of the Chen family in Haining.49 It is almost as if Meng Sen was trying to clear up the weeds in the wild field of Qing history before he could start writing a “reliable” and “evidence-based” history of the last dynasty. The following discussion of Meng Sen’s examination of these cases does not aim at contributing to the ongoing debates on what was true in these cases, but is meant to summarize Meng Sen’s methodological approach. Meng Sen maintained that Empress Xiaozhuang’s marriage to Dorgon was but a rumor, and so was the Shunzhi Emperor’s life in the monastery. But he might have been the first Qing historian to argue that the Yongzheng Emperor’s inheriting the throne was illegitimate. In spite of the difference in his conclusions in relation to the yeshi stories, Meng Sen was consistent in his methodology. His kaoshi method includes the following elements: the use of official documents, examination of the background of documents, and cross-examination and comparison of sources. In the case of Empress Xiaozhuang, Meng Sen argued that the poem of Zhang Huangyan 張煌言 (zi Cangshui 蒼水, 1620–64), which might have been the first written reference to the affair, was not reliable because Zhang was a Ming loyalist living in the south who could not possibly have known events in the palace. Although Zhang was a contemporary of Dorgon, his poem could not be taken as evidence for the affair. Meng Sen used the Qing shilu 清實錄, Donghua lu, Qingshi gao 清史稿, and Chaoxian shilu 朝鮮實錄 to prove that there was no official record of such a marriage—and he believed that there should be such record if the marriage indeed occurred. And he explained Dorgon’s title, Imperial Father Prince Regent, as the adoption of an ancient convention.

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With regard to the second case, Meng Sen argues that although Shunzhi was devoted to Buddhism, he indeed died of smallpox in the palace and did not enter a monastery. He based his arguments on Wang Xi’s 王熙 (1628–1703) Wang Wenjing gong zizhuan nianpu 王文靖公自撰年 譜. Wang was a vice minister of the Ministry of Rites, with a concurrent appointment as chancellor of the Hanlin Academy, during the Shunzhi reign, and a favored minister who drafted Shunzhi’s last edict. Wang recorded the details of events in the palace and Shunzhi’s condition on the emperor’s last days. Meng also used Zhang Chen’s 張宸 Qing diao ji 青 琱集 to support his argument. Zhang Chen was a member of the Hanlin Academy and official in the Household Administration of the Heir Apparent during the Shunzhi reign. Like Wang, Zhang described in detail Shunzhi’s last days in the palace and his funeral preparations. Meng Sen considered these documents to be reliable sources to prove that the Shunzhi Emperor in fact died of smallpox in the palace. Regarding the Yongzheng case, Meng Sen cross-examined records in Qing shilu, both Jiang Liangqi’s 蔣良騏 (1723–89) and Wang Xianqian’s 王 先謙 (1842–1918) versions of the Donghua lu, the Dayi juemi lu 大義覺迷 錄 compiled during the Yongzheng reign, Shangyu baqi 上諭八旗, Shangyu neige 上諭內閣, and Chaoxian shilu. By close comparisons of the documents for information such as the exact time when an event occurred, who knew what at which point, and so on, Meng Sen reached the conclusion that “[t]he popular stories of how Shizong gained the throne . . . are not retrospective speculations from the wilderness, but what were well known in the court at the time.” He argued that the Yongzheng Emperor himself contributed to the wide circulation of these stories by publishing and widely distributing Dayi juemi lu, a document that was meant to be apologetic but ended up confirming and incriminating himself.50 In none of these cases were Meng Sen’s final conclusions accepted by all historians of the Qing Dynasty. Regarding the case of Empress Xiaozhuang, questions remain about Dorgon’s title, his posthumous punishment, and Xiaozhuang’s burial site being isolated from those of the rest of the royal family at the Eastern Tombs of the Qing court. Whether Shunzhi indeed entered a monastery has also been left a mystery: there were reasons to suspect that he did so, but no decisive evidence to prove it. As for the legitimacy of the Yongzheng reign, historians remain divided in their views about it. Meng Sen saw the proliferation of yeshi partly as a result of the lack of an official history, and believed that yeshi would lose ground once

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reliable history of the Qing was produced.51 Reliability can be established by using appropriate documents, which, in his opinion, were formal official sources. Such views were clearly expressed in the stance he took in the debate on the validity of the Qingshi gao. Compilation of the Qingshi gao began in 1914, by an editorial group composed of mostly ex–Qing court officials led by Zhao Erxun 趙爾巽 (1844–1927), and the volumes were completed in a rush as the Revolutionary Army of the Northern Expedition approached Beijing in 1928. The new government immediately placed a ban on the Qingshi gao arguing that it had been sponsored by Yuan Shikai and supported by warlords; and the compilers were Qing loyalists, led by “the most ignorant Qing official Zhao Erxun.” The biggest problems with the Qingshi gao were that it was considered antirevolutionary and anti-Republican, and that it insulted revolutionary martyrs. Nineteen problems were pointed out in the volumes, eight of which were political, and most of the rest were about its format and technical errors.52 Many scholars demanded that the ban be lifted, and Meng Sen represented a strong voice among them. He argued that the Qing, according to Chinese historical convention, deserved to have a history, and the Qingshi gao should be given the status of a dynastic history, or zhengshi 正史. Every time a dynasty fell, the succeeding one would compile a history for its predecessor in order to preserve the documents about it, to explain its rise and fall, to clarify its achievements and failures, and to learn lessons from it. Meng argued, if a dynasty was able to unify the country, govern in an orderly manner, and last for ages, it should occupy a position in the dynastic zhengshi (in the tradition of the twenty-four histories). 53 Following these criteria, the Qing dynasty had impressive achievements in its military and civil affairs; it expanded its territory and possessed many achievements. The Qing, thus, should be considered one of the greatest dynasties in Chinese history and deserved to be given an official dynastic history. 54 The Qingshi gao, Meng argued, was the first step toward such an official history and should be recognized as such. In Meng Sen’s view, during imperial times two conditions need to be fulfilled for a history to be recognized as zhengshi. The compilers must have the permission of the emperor, as had been the case since the Tang Dynasty. Only histories that were written with the permission of the emperor, called shezhuan 赦撰, could count as an official dynasty history. Such histories were not compiled by private individuals, but through the collaboration of many, because such projects were beyond the ability of

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individual historians, and the state archives were beyond the reach of private authors. The Qingshi gao, based on official Qing court archives, and compiled by an editorial group organized by the early Republican state, qualified as zhengshi.55 Meng Sen further defined the archive for official history: the documents for zhengshi must grow out of the “historical structure” of a dynasty itself: “All true historical materials were created by a dynasty itself. Rumors and anecdotes can be referenced, but they are not what those who compile zhengshi should rely on.” 56 In the Chinese historical system, the state’s motivation would have already been entered into records before it took an action; the court historians would not have waited until the action had occurred before recording it. When describing events that have already happened, no matter how fair one tries to be, it is inevitable that one is subjective. If an event was recorded from the very beginning, every stage would leave a trace, from when it was initiated in response to certain needs, to when a plan was decided upon and to when that plan enacted. When such a system is followed, even if one wants to be unjust, it is not possible to manufacture the facts. Except for those who forge facts for particular reasons, national affairs . . . cannot be hidden. The Manchus had no problem with this historical system and this kind of historical organization was not stopped when the Qing replaced the Ming. . . . The Qing practiced on a daily basis a system of “having a history” (youshi 有史). [This system included materials] from kechao 科鈔 to shishu 史 書, to rilu 日錄, to qijuzhu 起居注, to silunbu 絲綸簿, and the Qing also had junjichu archives 軍機處檔.57

The Qingshi gao took its materials from this “structure of history” and organized a large amount of historical material into a history of the Qing, and thus “should be considered the zhengshi of the Qing.” 58 Together with the use of official documents as the proper materials for historical studies, Meng demanded his fellow historians to develop a “scholarly attitude.” The problems in the Qingshi gao should be evaluated on a scholarly basis, and should not be dealt with by political means.59 In response to criticism that the Qingshi gao was anti-Republican, Meng argued, “Historical material is historical material. Even if there are conflicts with the Republic, we should let people correct them [when reading them]; we should not erase such texts.” 60 Meng pointed out that “[t]he use of race to fan hatred during the revolution was a military matter, not a scholarly one. The Qing should occupy one of the most

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important positions in China’s dynastic history. We should not intentionally debase the Qing dynasty, compromising our scholarly attitude.” 61 Meng believed that banning the Qingshi gao was purely a political action that resulted from the Nationalist government’s misconception of its relationship with China’s past. The revolutionaries worried that if the Republic ordered the compilation of a history for the Qing, then this would imply that the new regime was a successor to the previous one. “Recently some ignorant men have inherited an attitude from the revolutionary period and talk about the Qing as the enemy. Since they treat the Qing as an enemy, they do not feel any responsibility to compile a history of it.” This had not been China’s practice in the past, Meng pointed out. Although “people hated the Hu customs,” when the Ming replaced the Yuan and peace was achieved, “the Ming praised Yuan Shizu’s 元世祖 (r. 1279–95) achievements, and lamented that his descendants did not follow his example. Future generations evaluate the political gains and losses of the past dynasty and use them as their own lessons; this is what is called history.” 62 Although Meng recognizes the political changes from the Qing to the Republic, he obviously endorsed a degree of continuity with past practice.

Academic Qing History: Between Narrativity and Objectivity Although Xiao Yishan and Meng Sen have both been seen as founders of modern historical studies of the Qing, their approaches to history appear to have been marked by important differences. The issues of concern lie at the heart of modern historiography. How to make truth claims in historical studies? Who has the authority to make truth claims, and how are they to be made? The various debates in which Xiao and Meng engaged focused on two main issues: the objectivity of the historian’s approach and the materials a historian can legitimately use. Xiao and Meng both endorsed professional history. There was no disagreement among these Qing historians, from the earliest ones (who have mostly been neglected by their later colleagues) to Xiao Yishan and Meng Sen, on the chapter-section format, or zhangjie ti, which allowed more space for the historian’s voice. Neither did it appear to be a problem for Xiao and Meng to let go of older historic forms. In addition, they both worked within modern educational institutions, particularly the specialized “departments” that distinguished history from other disciplines

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such as literature, philosophy, and political science that were also being established and defined during this time. In fact, both Xiao and Meng gained their reputations and authority through their affiliation with such institutions and through their status as professional historians. The importance of the chapter-section format, which on the surface only concerns how materials are organized, is that it serves as a vessel for coherent narratives that require stable subjectivity. One could argue that the obsession with this format itself reveals the value attached to narrativity. While the Qing histories of both Xiao and Meng are narrated through the voice of the historian, this voice supposedly represents a larger historical subjectivity—the collective community of the Chinese nationals (although they probably differed in their definition of this community). Xiao openly stated that his history was one of the Han people, and that he was replacing a chronological and biographical account of the Manchu with a coherent narrative that showed processes of change not as a consequence of natural dynastic decline but as a result of active resistance by the Han toward Manchu rule. Xiao Yishan’s complaint regarding the Movement to Reorganize the National Heritage (zhengli guogu) focused exactly on its Rankean stress on the “scientific,” “objective” presentation of “historical documents,” which in Xiao’s view indicated a lack of subjectivity and a failure of narrativity. To Xiao, all the fragments of national culture were treated as simply single pieces of information that were in themselves incapable of telling a coherent national story. This also explains the consensus among many of Xiao’s contemporaries, with whom Xiao agreed, that it was more important to produce a general history of China than specific histories of individual dynasties.63 In contrast to Xiao Yishan’s work, what underlies Meng Sen’s Qing history is a less direct yet clearly discernable, continuous, and inclusive China that was being created in the early twentieth century, as his arguments in the debate on the ban of Qingshi gao demonstrate. This difference between them reflects the contradictions that China faced in its transformation from a premodern empire to a modern nation-state.64 Contemporary critics saw excessive revolutionary zealotry in Xiao’s work; this, however, should not prevent us from realizing that Meng’s history was not beyond the realm of politics either. In both Xiao’s and Meng’s academic Qing history, truth claims are made through new, albeit different, subjectivities, which were conveyed via the voice of the professional historian.

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While this Qing history displayed a new subjectivity, it also needed to be objective. Chen Gonglu, Meng Sen, and Xiao Yishan all claimed to be objective, despite the differences in their views. Their disagreements appear to focus on what constitutes the acceptable archive for modern historical studies, and the related issue of the relationship between this new historical narrative and China’s historiographic past, in particular the yeshi. Meng Sen’s position was clear: only official documents were acceptable to the modern professional historian. But he was not unaware of the issue of reliability relating to Qing court documents. He pointed out that enhancing the virtues and achievements of one’s ancestors by modifying historical records was a particularly strong tendency during the Qing: “Altering the shilu was as a family rule throughout the generations,” and everything known about the Qing court by historians was what had been left after the cleansing and filtering. Such constant revisions of the shilu continued into the Guangxu 光緒 reign (r. 1875–1908) and left visible traces. For instance, the documents in Jiang Liangqi’s Donghua lu differed from those in Wang Xianqian’s Donghua lu. Furthermore, when Meng compared Wang’s Donghua lu, which was completed in 1886, with the palace version of the Qing shilu, still more information appeared to be missing in the shilu. Meng found it puzzling that even some of the information that did not appear important was doctored or eliminated. 65 It is curious, then, that Meng Sen was critical in his approach to yeshi and in his analysis of the material such texts contained, but that he accepted (supposedly) official documents at face value, as for example in his study of the case of Empress Xiaozhuang. Xiao Yishan also pondered over the same issues, but he prioritized the construction of a Han national narrative of history. He was suspicious of the Qing court documents produced by the Manchu, whom he viewed as the enemy of the Han Republican revolution. And he placed more trust in unofficial sources, such as yeshi produced by the Han, particularly during moments of resistance against the Manchu. Different from court documents and even the Qingshi gao, yeshi were clearly narratives with a political agenda. In other words, yeshi narratives of the Qing formed a political discourse that built in large part on Han ethnic identity. The subjectivity in such yeshi narratives agreed completely with the one Xiao attempted to construct. Such unofficial materials, thus, held important truth value for Xiao. Yet, on the other hand, Xiao needed to show deference to “scientific history,” which was built on the foundation of “objectivity.” Xiao thus justified his adoption of yeshi with another kind of

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“objectivity,” in terms of an older historical convention of “recording all that exists,” which included not only the “facts” of events and historical figures but also comments about them. Both Xiao and Meng, apparently, recognized the importance of dealing with yeshi in order for them to establish a modern historiography. In spite of their opposite approaches to yeshi texts, I would argue that they both contributed to the invalidation of yeshi as a form of history. The relationship between yeshi and official dynastic history had been a symbiotic one. The two narratives shared, for example, the same chronology, and biographical narratives featured heavily in both. Official court documents and dynastic histories were not taken at face value; and yeshi were not necessarily mistaken for facts; the two genres supplemented each other and together helped shape the historical consciousness of the population. As Harold Kahn insightfully points out, when “there was no room in the official record for personal opinion, [o]bjectivity came to mean acquiescence in the imperial will or, more decorously, adherence to the ‘collective, impartial judgment of the empire.’” 66 In these circumstances, “private compilations sometimes surpassed the official record in completeness and reliability and came to represent the more ‘primary’ of the two sources,” or they “complemented the official record through the added dimension of personal experience of informed hindsight.” 67 Furthermore, yeshi could provide “a deeper penetration into the personality.” 68 While Xiao distrusted the official wing of this symbiotic relationship, Meng invalidated the unofficial side. Neither Xiao nor Meng were willing to recognize what yeshi really were. When Meng used official documents to prove yeshi false, Xiao adopted yeshi to reconstruct historical facts—which were not what such narratives were intended for. The irony in the contrast between Xiao, with his political radicalism coupled with a linkage to an older historic form, and Meng, with his politically more “neutral” position and rigorous practice of academic standards, turned out not to be the key issue when the fate of yeshi was concerned. The end result was that in the age of academic disciplinization, yeshi were no longer considered history, and its function in carrying truth value was questioned, although they have remained popular among the general population and continue to play a greater role in the formation of historical consciousness than either official dynastic history or modern professional, academic history. The invalidation of yeshi was based on a distinction between the real and the imaginary. Such a distinction, however, was not totally new. The

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Siku quanshu 四庫全書 contains fifteen categories of history, arranged partly according to their level of factual and imaginary elements. If we consider the Sui shu 隨書, the Xin Tang shu 新唐書, the Songshi yiwen zhi 宋史藝文志, and the Siku quanshu zongmu 四庫全書總目, we find that many of these texts were moved from one category to another, from dili 地理, to xiaoshuo, to zazhuan 雜傳, to zhuanji 傳記, to zajia 雜家, to shiwen ping 詩文評, at different points in history.69 This means that throughout Chinese history, the effort to sort out whether a text contains a factual or imaginary account has never stopped. But a certain level of flexibility was allowed in these categorizations, and reality was not considered the only site where truth could be found. But Xiao and Meng witnessed the onset of modernity, and of modern historiography. As Hayden White argues, narrativity is a constituent element of modern historiography, for “[t]he very distinction between real and imaginary events that is basic to modern discussions of both history and fiction presupposes a notion of reality in which ‘the true’ is identified with ‘the real’ only insofar as it can be shown to possess the character of narrativity.” 70 In the twentieth century, when “truth” began to be located in reality, insistence on empirically provable fact intensified and led to a reconfiguration of the structure for knowledge creation and truth claims. If today’s historians were to recategorize the fifteen kinds of history in Siku quanshu, many of them would probably not now be considered history at all. In his discussion of the development of modern Western historiography, Hayden White argues that the modern academic historians have made distinctions among annals, chronicles, and other historical texts “on the basis of their attainment of narrative fullness”: And this same scholarly community has yet to account for the fact that just when, by its own account, historiography was transformed into an “objective” discipline, it was the narrativity of the historical discourse that was celebrated as one of the signs of its maturation as a fully “objective” discipline—a science of a special sort but a science nonetheless. It is historians themselves who have transformed narrativity from a manner of speaking into a paradigm of the form that reality itself displays to a “realistic” consciousness. It is they who have made narrativity into a value, the presence of which in a discourse having to do with “real” events signals at once its objectivity, its seriousness, and its realism.71

Did modern Chinese historiography in general and Qing history in particular go through such a process of narrativization?72 With regard to

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the new academic Qing history that became focused around a coherent narrative by the time of Xiao Yishan and Meng Sen, the answer is yes. Events were not only registered within the chronological framework of their original occurrence but narrated as well, and were revealed as possessing a structure, an order or meaning, that they did not possess as mere sequence.73 The answer is also positive in the sense that, in the case of Xiao Yishan and many after him, this coherent narrative was created around the unified subject of the Han Chinese nation; in other words, historians submerged their subjectivity with that of the nation. I am not arguing that traditional Chinese historiography lacked subjectivity, but simply stressing a shift in the nature of this subjectivity that came with transition to modernity. The traditional official historian of China, believing that a primary function of history was to provide political and moral lessons to the rulers, assumed a perspective that history was a vessel for carrying the quintessential values of Chinese society. The authority of history came from those values. In such a historiography, the historian stood above the imperial court, and history enjoyed a moral position higher than politics, although this ideal conception was often compromised under political pressure.74 Consequently, although the progenitors of China’s official dynastic history tended to be emperors and ministers, the historian claimed authority and subjectivity by identifying with this historiographical ideal. This sense of subjectivity and authority of the historian continued throughout Chinese history. In terms of the subjectivity of the historian, then, Meng Sen demonstrated more of the belief of the traditional historian, that history is beyond politics, while Xiao Yishan represented a twentieth-century shift to a “history for politics.” For Xiao, history was not above the nation, and the historian was not separable from the nation. Many of the questions first raised and debated during this time remained in the minds of Chinese historians throughout the twentieth century. Because of this, in the mid-twentieth century, Qian Mu 錢穆 (1895–1990), in his comments on Yuan Shu’s Tongjian jishi benmo 通 紀 事本末, was still pondering the format of history and pointing out the strength of the traditional biographical format of the dynastic histories. He argued that overemphasizing the course of an event, from its origin to its ending, tends to leave out figures and forces that contradicted its development and consequences. In other words, such history tends to be teleological and linear; it tends to focus on interruptions and ignores

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peaceful times and daily lives; it stresses external threats and ignores internal changes. Qian Mu argued that the jishi benmo format in many ways resembles Western historiography, and it shares the same shortcoming of stressing change at the expense of seeking significance in that which was “constant.” In contrast, the jizhuan ti allows the historian to write about people who did not contribute to the victorious forces but represented opposing opinions, people who would have no position in history if the focus were on only the teleological development of events: “This is where the greatness of Chinese history resides.” 75 Ref lection on historical format continues into the twenty-first century, as exemplified by one of the initial steps taken at the beginning of the large official Qing history project: how to treat the fact that the Qing was a Manchu-ruled dynasty, and what format this history would take.76 The debate continues, and one can sound only a cautionary note that, as the case of the development of academic Qing history has demonstrated, the practice of history during the early twentieth century cannot be categorized clearly as modern or traditional, or judged simply with the victory of one form over another.

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Notes 1 2

3

4

5

Bai Shouyi 白壽彝, Zhongguo tongshi 中國通史 (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 1996), vol. 10, pp. 65–66. These debates on and experiments with Qing histor y writing were happening in the larger context of transformations in historical writing under way at this time, personified by such figures as Gu Jiegang 顧頡剛, Fu Sinian 傅斯年, Chen Yinke 陳寅恪, and Li Ji 李濟 in archaeology. Examples of studies on these transformations include Laurence Schneider, Ku Chiehkang and China’s New History: Nationalism and the Quest for Alternative Traditions (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971); Wang Fan-sen, Fu Ssu-nien: A Life in Chinese History and Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Prasenjit Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997); and Q. Edward Wang, Inventing China through History: The May Fourth Approach to Historiography (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001). It is difficult to find exact translations in Western languages for the many types of unofficial and popular narratives of history. They all usually adopt some elements from the chronology of the official dynastic history, but are marked by different levels of fictionalized elaborations and commentaries on historical events and figures. They share certain common traits with what are considered “historical fictions,” but there are also fundamental differences between these two genres, because for the readers of these narratives, the primary objective is to gain knowledge of history, even though these texts tend to be entertaining as well. These popular narratives of history often serve as the foundation for stage plays, TV dramas, film adaptations, and storytelling. Some examples of these early-twentieth-century Qing history books are Hua Pengfei 華鵬飛 , Qing shi 清史 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1912); Wang Rongbao 汪榮寶, Qing shi jiangyi 清史講義 (Original title Benchao shi jiangyi 本朝史講義, in the series Jindai Zhongguo shiliao congkan xubian 近代中國史 料叢刊續編 (Shangwu yinshuguan, 1913; repr., Taipei: Wenhai chubanshe, 1974); Wu Zengqi 吳增祺, Qing shi gangyao 清史綱要 (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1913); Liu Fazeng 劉法曾, Qing shi zuanyao 清史纂要 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1914); Huang Hongshou 黄鴻壽, Qing shi jishi benmo 清史 紀事本末 (lithograph, 1914); Xu Guoying 許國英, Qing jian yizhi lu 清鑒易知 錄 (1918); and Chen Huai 陳懷, Qing shi yaolüe 清史要略 (Beijing: Beijing daxue chuban bu, 1920). As the only institution that survived from the 1898 Hundred Days’ Reform, the Jingshi daxuetang 京師大學堂 absorbed the Tongwen guan 同文館 in 1903 to establish the Yixue guan 譯學館. It ran five sessions in total, and each session included programs in English, French, German, and Russian. The program ended in 1903, and was later merged into Beijing University.

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7

8 9

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11 12

13

14

For example, Wu Zengqi studied at the Zhengyi Academy 正誼書院, which was established by Zuo Zongtang 左宗棠 (1812–85) in 1866, first as Zhengyi shuju 正誼書局, to publish a collection of lixue 理學 books (Neo-Confucian primers) and was changed to an academy in 1870. For the series published by the Commercial Press at the end of the Qing entitled Old Fictions 舊小說, likely intended to contrast with or even rebut Liang Qichao’s “new fiction” 新小說, Wu wrote a preface, “On Old Fiction,” arguing that old fictions could help people learn classical Chinese. Chen Huai, Qing shi yaolüe 清史要略 (1920; repr., Shanghai: Zhonghua shuju, 1931), pp. 218–19; Liu Fazeng, Qing shi zuanyao (1914; repr., Shanghai: Zhonghua shuju, 1940), pp. 163–65. Huang Hongshou, Qing shi jishi benmo (1914; repr., Taipei: Sanmin shuju, 1973). Liang Qichao 梁啟超, “Xin shixue” 新史學, in Liang Qichao shixue lunzhu sizhong 梁啟超史學論著四種 (Changsha: Yuelu shushe, 1998), pp. 241–52. Older studies of Liang’s work include Joseph Levenson, Liang Ch’i-ch’ao and the Mind of Modern China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967); Hao Chang, Liang Ch’i-ch’ao and Intellectual Transition in China, 1890–1907 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971); Philip Huang, Liang Ch’i-ch’ao and Modern Chinese Liberalism (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1973). More recent studies include Xiaobing Tang, Global Space and the Nationalist Discourse of Modernity: The Historical Thinking of Liang Qichao (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996); and Peter Zarrow’s edited volumes and papers, such as “Liang Qichao and the Conceptualization of ‘Race’ in Late Qing China,” Zhongyang yanjiuyuan jindaishi yanjiusuo jikan 中央研究院近代史研究所集刊 52 (June 2006): pp. 113–64. Huang Hongshou, Qing shi jishi benmo, p. 169. For a detailed study of Yan Fu’s work and influences, see Benjamin Schwartz, In Search of Wealth and Power: Yen Fu and the West (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964). Wang Rongbao, “Xulun” 序論, in Qing shi jiangyi. Kuwabara Jitsuz¯o studied in China in 1907–9. History books written in the ganjian style include definitive statements about historical figures and events, followed by elaborations on them. They usually include the whole of Chinese history as their subject. Scholars often adopted these books, instead of the Twenty Four Histories, to learn history. This book was republished under the title Zhongguo gudai shi 中國古代史. The original three volumes were published between 1904 and 1906 by the Commercial Press. For a discussion of history textbooks published during this period, see Tze-ki Hon, “Educating the Citizens: Visions of China in Late Qing History Textbooks,” in The Politics of Historical Production in Late Qing and Republican China, ed. Robert J. Culp and Tze-ki Hon (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 79–105. Wang Rongbao, “Xulun.”

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Creating Academic Qing History · 237 15

16 17

18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33

34

Xiao wrote the book when he was a student at Beijing University, and the first volume was published by Zhonghua yinshuaju in December 1923. In December 1925, the same publisher printed the second volume. In 1927–28, the Commercial Press in Shanghai published these volumes again. They were reprinted four times during the 1930s and 1940s by the Shanghai-based Commercial Press. In 1962, the relocated Commercial Press in Taibei published a revised version of the work. Xiao completed the third volume before 1926, and a small number of volumes were printed unofficially for use by Beijing University and Beijing Normal University students; some of these circulated outside of the universities. In 1963, the third volume was finally completed and officially published by the Commercial Press. Inaba Iwakichi 稻葉岩吉, Qingchao quanshi 清朝全史, trans. Dan Tao 但濤 (Shanghai: Zhonghua shuju, 1915). Chen graduated from the History Department of Jinling University in 1926 and taught in the same department. He moved to Wuhan University in 1933 and taught general Chinese history, modern Chinese history, Japanese history, and Indian history. In 1936, he became a professor at Jinling University. After 1949, he was a professor at Nanjing University, focusing on modern Chinese history. Chen died in 1966. The debates between Xiao and Chen were published in Guofeng banyuekan 國風半月刊 (1 June 1934). Xiao Yishan 蕭一山, ed., Qingdai tongshi juanxia jianggao bianlun ji 清代通史 卷下講稿辯論集 (Beijing: Zhonghua yinshu ju, 1934). Ibid., p. 17. Ibid., p. 25. Ibid., p. 28. Ibid., p. 11. Ibid., p. 19. Ibid., p. 25. Ibid., p. 39. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., p. 18. Ibid., p. 20. Ibid., p. 18. Ibid. Ibid., p. 48. Ibid. Xiao suggested his own Zhongguo tongshi jiangyi dagang 中國通史講義 大綱 (written in 1926 as lecture notes), in Feiyuguan wencun 飛宇錧文存, vol. 5 (Taibei: Wenhai chubanshe, 1973), Miao Fenglin’s 繆鳳林 Zhongguo tongshi gangyao (1932) 中國通史綱要 (Taibei: Taiwan xuesheng shuju, 1972), and Liang Qichao’s Zhongguo lishi yanjiu fa (1922) 中國歷史研究法, Liang Qichao shixue lunzhu sizhong, pp. 105–210. Xiao Yishan, Qingdai tongshi juanxia jianggao bianlun ji, p. 29.

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238 · Madeleine Yue Dong 35 36 37 38 39

40

41 42

43 44 45 46

47

48 49

50 51 52

53 54 55 56 57 58

Zhang and Liang were never able to write these historical accounts that they proposed; it was up to the people discussed in this chapter to do so. Xiao Yishan, “Daoyan” 導言, in Qingdai tongshi 清代通史 (Shanghai: Huadong shifan daxue chubanshe, 2005), vol. 1, p. 3. Ibid. Xiao Yishan, “Xuli” 序例, in Qingdai tongshi, vol. 1, p. 2. George G. Iggers, Historiography in the Twentieth Century: From Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2005), p. 2. I have examined Meng Sen’s work in more detail in “How to Remember the Qing Dynasty: The Case of Meng Sen,” in Culp and Hon, Politics of Historical Production, pp. 271–94. Bai Shouyi, Zhongguo tongshi, vol. 10, pp. 65–66. Meng Sen 孟森, Qingdai shi 清代史 (originally published as Lectures on Qing History in 1934 by Beijing University; repr., Taibei: Zhengzhong shuju, 1960), p. 2. Meng Sen, Meng Sen jiang Qing shi 孟森講清史 (Beijing: Dong fa ng chubanshe, 2007), p. 107. Zhu Shizhe 朱師轍, Qingshi shuwen 清史述聞 (Taibei: Yuetian chubanshe, 1971), p. 397. Meng Sen, Qingdai shi, p. 2. Frederic Wakeman Jr., The Great Enterprise: The Manchu Reconstruction of Imperial Order in Seventeenth-Century China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), vol. 2, p. 897. Meng Sen, Xinshi congkan 心史叢刊, in Jindai Zhongguo shiliao congkan xubian 近代中國史料叢刊續編, ed. Shen Yunlong 沈雲龍 , vol. 94 (Taibei: Wenhai chubanshe, 1983). Meng Sen’s studies of these cases are all included in Qingdai shi. James A. Millward, “A Uyghur Muslim in Qianlong’s Court: The Meaning of the Fragrant Concubine,” Journal of Asian Studies 53.2 (May 1994): pp. 427–58. Meng Sen, Qingdai shi, p. 477. Meng Sen, “Xu” 序, in his Xinshi congkan, p. 1. “Gugong bowuyuan chengqing yanjin Qingshi gao faxing wen” 故宮博物院呈 請嚴禁《清史稿》發行文, in Qingshi shuwen, pp. 418–24. A classical work in English on the Qingshi gao is Thurston Griggs, “The Ch’ing Shih Kao: A Bibliographical Summary,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 18.1–2 (June 1955): pp. 105–23. Meng Sen, Qingdai shi, p. 2. Ibid., p. 2. Meng Sen, Mingdai shi 明代史 (Taibei: Jicheng tushu gongsi, 1957), p. 2. Meng Sen, Qingdai shi, p. 1. Ibid., pp. 1–2. Ibid., p. 2.

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Creating Academic Qing History · 239 59 60 61 62 63 64

65 66 67 68 69

70 71 72

73 74

75 76

Zhu Shizhe, Qingshi shuwen, p. 397. Ibid., 397–98. Meng Sen, Qingdai shi, p. 2. Ibid., p. 2. See related discussions in Fan-sen Wang, Fu Ssu-nien: A Life in Chinese History and Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Joseph Esherick, “How the Qing Became China,” in Empire to Nation: Historical Perspective on the Making of the Modern World, ed. Joseph Esherick, Hasan Kayali, and Eric van Young (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), pp. 229–59. Meng Sen, “Du Qing shilu shangque” 讀《清實錄》商榷, in Ming Qing shi lunzhu jikan 明清史論著集刊 (Taibei: Shijie shuju, 1961), p. 619. Harold L. Kahn, Monarchy in the Emperor’s Eyes: Image and Reality in the Ch’ien-lung Reign (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), p. 13. Ibid., pp. 47–48. Ibid., p. 51. Weng Xiaoman 翁筱曼, “Muluxue shiye xia de sikuquan shu zongmu: xiaoshuojia” 目錄學視野下的《四庫全書總目:小說家》(Master’s thesis, Guangzhou, Zhongshan University, 2002). Hayden White, The Content of Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), p. 6. Ibid., p. 24. For a discussion of these issues with regard to modern Chinese historiography see Brian Moloughney, “Derivation, Intertextuality and Authority: Narrative and the Problem of Historical Coherence,” East Asian History 23 (June 2002): pp. 129–48. White, Content of Form, p. 6. For related discussions, see On Cho Ng and Edward Wang, Mirroring the Past: The Writing and Use of History in Imperial China (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005). For earlier studies, see Charles Gardner, Chinese Traditional Historiography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1961); W. G. Beasley and E. G. Pulleyblank, Historians of China and Japan (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 1961). Qian Mu 錢穆 , Zhongguo shixue mingzhu 中國史學名著 (Beijing: Sanlian chubanshe, 2005), pp. 232–39. For a more detailed study of this issue, see Zhao Ma, “Writing History in a Prosperous Age: The New Qing History Project,” Late Imperial China 29.1 (June 2008): pp. 12–45.

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Chapter 8

Myth and the Making of History: Gu Jiegang and Debates* the Brian Moloughney

曰:遂古之初誰傳道之?

Who passed down the story of the far-off, ancient beginning of things?1

For most of Chinese history, the received wisdom was that Confucius was the one who had done this; he had transmitted the literary legacy of that “far-off, ancient beginning of things,” and in doing so he created the body of texts that became the canon—the classics. But this received wisdom came under concerted attack in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It began with the work of the New Text critics, particularly Kang Youwei 康有為 (1858–1927), but reached its peak with the iconoclasm of Gu Jiegang 顧頡剛 (1893–1980) and his colleagues involved in the Gushi bian 古史辨, or Disputing Antiquity movement. Not only did they seek to deny the role of Confucius in the transmission of the literary legacy of the past, they also sought to prove that these texts were not in fact a product of that earlier “far-off, ancient beginning of things,” but rather that they were created, not transmitted, a product of the Warring States period (c. 463–221 BCE) or later. This revisionism was part of a wider process of trying to rethink the inherited body of theory and practice relating to the construction of

*

I would like to thank those involved in the project on the formation and development of academic disciplines in China for feedback on various versions of this chapter, and especially John Makeham for initiating the project.

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242 · Brian Moloughney

historical knowledge and thereby to lay the foundations for a new form of disciplinary practice. Critiquing these inherited beliefs about the nature of antiquity was an integral part of the process of establishing history as an academic discipline. For Gu Jiegang, the methodological approach that appeared to be most fruitful in order to achieve this was summed up by the phrase “scientific method” (kexue fangfa 科學方法), and an important component of this was the task of “putting in order the nation’s past” (zhengli guoguo 整理國故). By examining the inherited textual tradition, sifting out the authentic from the inauthentic, Gu and his colleagues sought to place the study of Chinese history on a more reliable foundation. This idea that the creation of modern historical practice was conditional on putting in order the nation’s past was something that Gu Jiegang had taken from Hu Shi 胡適 (1891–1962), who had returned to China from Columbia University and was by the early 1920s the leading figure in the National Studies (guoxue 國學) movement.2 Hu Shi was primarily focused on rethinking the philosophical and literary aspects of the textual tradition, whereas Gu Jiegang sought to explore what these ideas and methodologies might mean for those who were trying to help shape the “new historical studies” (xin shixue 新史學).3 For Gu Jiegang, putting in order the nation’s past meant overcoming the powerful historicizing tendency that had dominated Chinese thought for centuries. He argued that through a process of reverse euhemerization, legends and myths had been transformed into history.4 In introducing the Gushi bian collection, Gu made this very clear: The reader must not imagine that I have a special predilection for mythological interpretations, that in our ancient history there was originally nothing of a mythological character, or that mythology is restricted solely to short stories and other uncanonical literature. He must realize that if these mythological features have not survived in our ancient history, it is because those elements have long ago been stripped from them.5

To put in order the nation’s past, and in the process to help construct a new, scientific form of historical practice, Gu argued that it was necessary to recognize this tendency to historicize the mythical and to reexamine the textual basis of Chinese knowledge in order to reveal the mythical nature of stories that had long been held to be historical, stories that were at the heart of received understandings about the origins of the Chinese people. Only when this was done, he argued, would it be possible to get at the “true face” of the past.

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Myth and the Making of History · 243

Discourse about myth had emerged in China at the same time as ideas about history as a scientific discipline began to take root. To begin with there was some linguistic confusion, with the terms “myth” and “legend” often being used interchangeably. The term for legend, chuanshuo 傳說 (literally “hearsay”), had been in use since at least Han times, and possibly earlier. In contrast, the term for myth, shenhua 神話 (literally “divine speech”), was of much more recent origin. But once shenhua had entered the discourse it transformed the way chuanshuo was understood and used, and for some time the two terms tended to be employed to refer to much the same thing.6 Shenhua was a modern neologism, coined in Japan by Takagi Toshio 高木敏雄 (1876–1922) and, as would be the case in China, soon deployed to advance the development of the modern discipline of folklore studies, especially through the work of Yanagita Kunio 柳田國男 (1875–1962). Having gained currency in Meiji scholarship, the concept then began to interest Chinese scholars.7 The first recorded use of the term myth in a Chinese text was by Liang Qichao 梁啟超 (1873–1929), in his 1902 essay on a “new historical studies,” where in the section on history and race he discusses ancient Greek culture.8 Myth was also a subject in many of the Japanese “civilization histories” (bummei shi 文明史) published in China during the first decade of the twentieth century.9 Writers and literary scholars found the idea an extremely attractive one, and it was soon picked up by Lu Xun 魯 迅 (1881–1936), Zhou Zuoren 周作人 (1885–1967), Mao Dun 矛盾 (1896– 1981), and others who used it in their explorations of the origins and development of Chinese literature.10 But historians were less enthusiastic about myth, seeing it as indicative of something that should be avoided, not embraced. Gu Jiegang was different. One of the things that distinguished him was his ability to see how this concept might be employed to further his iconoclasm.11 If it could be shown that the canonical texts were riddled with mythical elements, then the received understandings about the origins of Chinese society that were based on these would be shattered. In setting the agenda for the Gushi bian movement, Gu Jiegang argued that the stripping of mythical elements from ancient history was deliberate, and that it was politically inspired.12 He developed this argument with particular reference to the figure of Yu the Great 大禹, long held to be the founder of the Xia dynasty (c. 2200–c. 1700 BCE). As we will see, the methods he employed to advance this position generated much debate and criticism, yet it was this very debate that provided the

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244 · Brian Moloughney

momentum for the movement. Once under way, the focus shifted to the canonical texts, first the Book of Changes (Yijing 易經) and the Book of Songs (Shijing 詩經), then expanding to encompass much of the other textual material from the classical period that had been at the heart of Chinese scholarship for centuries. The purpose of these debates was to try to distinguish what was true and thus reliable from what was fabricated and spurious. This was an almost impossible task, yet the very attempt to construct an index of authenticity in relation to the canon tells us much about the positivist nature of these attempts to establish the boundaries for new forms of disciplinary practice.13 It was at the very beginning of the Gushi bian movement, in responding to his earliest critics, Hu Jinren 胡堇人 (1886–1935) and Liu Shanli 劉掞藜 (1899–1935), that Gu Jiegang had initially developed his argument about the way an historical record for early China had been created from earlier mythical accounts.14 But it was only in the last and largest volume of essays that attention returned explicitly to these issues about the relationship between myth and history. Stimulated by these debates, Yang Kuan 楊寬 (1914–2005) produced a book-length study of the stories that survived about antiquity, and this study was then reprinted at the beginning of the last volume in the collection.15 Much of the remainder of this volume was taken up with Gu Jiegang’s own attempts to respond to his critics and to elaborate in much greater detail upon the ideas he had only been able to sketch out when developing his theory about the fabrication of the Chinese past. In what follows I concentrate on these discussions about the relationship between history and myth that formed the beginning and the culmination of the Gushi bian movement. I will focus in particular on Gu Jiegang’s and Yang Kuan’s deployment of the mythical in order to undermine received understandings about ancient Chinese history, especially those focused on Yu the Great. In doing so, I will argue that for Gu Jiegang, disputing antiquity meant consigning much that was thought to be historical to the “wastelands of Prehistory,” thus allowing the time of myth to (re)surface and capture back a space before the onset of historical time.16

Wrestling with Yu the Great The initial stimulus for the Gushi bian movement came with the publication of Gu Jiegang’s famous Stratification Thesis, or the theory of the “layered creation of ancient Chinese history”—cengleidi zaocheng de

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Myth and the Making of History · 245

Zhongguo gushi 層累地造成的中國古史.17 This theory was Gu Jiegang’s attempt to explain what he believed was the widespread fabrication of an ancient history during the Warring States period and the Qin (221–206 BCE) and Han dynasties (206 BCE–220 CE). There were three aspects to the thesis. Firstly, Gu argued that the later an individual figure appears in the textual record, the earlier that individual is placed in the ancient period. Thus, in early Zhou documents (Western Zhou 1046–771 BCE), the most ancient ruler mentioned is Yu the Great, whereas by the Spring and Autumn period (c. 770–476 BCE) Yu’s predecessors Yao 堯 and Shun 舜 have appeared. Similarly, in Warring States texts the Yellow Emperor, who was believed to precede Yao and Shun, is mentioned. The second point is that the later an account of an individual appears in the textual record, the more detailed and awe inspiring the lore surrounding that individual becomes. Gu argued that the origins of Chinese history were repeatedly dated earlier and earlier in successively later renditions not because of the discovery of new historical records but because, as Hon Tze-ki notes, “a more remote origin gave later generations additional room for imagining a link with the ancient past,” and the individuals became more heroic “because larger-than-life mythological figures gave later generations greater reason to identify with them.”18 The third aspect to the Stratification Thesis was Gu’s claim that it was not possible to use this textual archive to gain insight into the past it purports to describe, only to give insight into the mind-set of people at the time it was produced.19 Thus, Gu argued that there was no transmission going on here at all, just creation, and the creation, or the fabrication, occurred primarily for political reasons. The motive for it was to support dynastic claims to power and the increasing orthodoxy about the singular origin of the Chinese people and their cultural institutions (yiyuanlun 一元論). 20 He argued that the scholar elite of the Warring States period fabricated and manipulated texts in order to verify this view of the past and thus “curry favour with political authority.”21 In order to deconstruct this imagined antiquity, Gu wanted historians to attack its central features, particularly the notion of a unified origin for Chinese culture and institutions and the idea that the ancient past represented a “golden age” for Chinese civilization. In order to begin this deconstruction of the received version of ancient Chinese history, Gu turned to consider Yu the Great, a central figure in ancient Chinese history. Of the many stories and legends concerning Yu that survive, most emphasize his role in taming the flood,

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246 · Brian Moloughney

thereby establishing the possibility for the restoration of settled life and the flourishing of the agricultural system that would provide the foundation for Chinese civilization. 22 Yu was also believed to have been the founder of the Xia dynasty, the first of the three great dynasties of the ancient period (Xia, Shang, and Zhou). Gu Jiegang questioned this association, suggesting that the relation between Yu the Great and the Xia was simply a fabrication of the Warring States period; indeed, he argued that in the early Zhou dynasty Yu the Great was believed to be divine, a god or a deity, and not a human. It was only much later that this deity was reconstructed as a cultural hero and the founder of the Xia dynasty.23 Gu Jiegang’s arguments about Yu the Great generated much discussion and debate. One of the most effective challenges came from Liu Yizheng 柳詒徵 (1880–1956). It is a short, cogent and extremely powerful critique of Gu Jiegang’s methodology and conclusions.24 Liu was one of the central figures behind the journal Xueheng 學衡 (Critical Review), which came out of the Nanjing-based Southeastern University. This journal served as a major counter to the predominantly Beijing-based New Culture Movement. Because of this, Liu is considered a conservative historian, someone who consciously resisted many of the new historiographical developments of the time. While this reading of Liu is common, it is flawed. He was an advocate for a new history; it is just that he saw this in different terms from people like Gu Jiegang and Hu Shi.25 Liu agreed that reimagining the past was an integral part of the process of constructing a new and modern China, but he believed that this had to be done in a way that maintained the integrity of an inherited cultural tradition that gave both significance and meaning to the Chinese community. In his essay, Liu Yizheng concentrates his response on Gu Jiegang’s use of the Shuowen jiezi 說文解字, the first comprehensive dictionary of Chinese characters, to reinforce his argument that people before the Warring States period believed Yu the Great was a deity.26 Gu isolates one entry from the dictionary to suggest that Yu was a deity related to the reptilian motifs, or lizard-like figures, on bronze cauldrons (ding 鼎). Liu begins his article thus: Modern scholars like to use philology to explain history. From the earliest inscriptions on oracle bones and bronze ding to the seal characters of the Qin, they split hairs in their efforts to analyze these in order to come up with novel ideas. While the study of ancient inscriptions is one way of examining the past, such research needs to be grounded in historical analysis. It is not

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Myth and the Making of History · 247 possible to rely solely on the analysis of characters and completely ignore historical texts that have been seen as authentic for generations. With regard to the analysis of characters, it is also necessary to base this on commonly accepted etymological and lexical explanations. Even if only one character is singled out for analysis, the explanation of this character cannot be accepted until it is proven to be true for all the textual evidence. This was the common practice among Qing scholars in their evidential study of the preQin classics and philosophical writings. To not understand this, and then claim proudly to have made original contributions to scholarship simply through an analysis of one character in isolation, would be to leave oneself open to ridicule.27

Liu Yizheng argued that the Shuowen was designed to explicate terms; it was not a manual for people seeking to understand the meaning of names. Moreover, he emphasized that it was necessary to understand the principles underlying the compilation of the dictionary in order to make use of it. He then goes on to show that throughout the Shuowen the character yu 禹 was primarily associated with human attributes and meanings, not with reptilian ones, and he suggests that it was hard to comprehend how Gu Jiegang could not have been aware of this. Liu argues that if Gu had made use of the extensive commentaries on the Shuowen, particularly Qing dynasty (1644–1911) scholarship, he would not have made such a mistake. Liu Yizheng then ends his essay with a suggestion about how Gu Jiegang might place his scholarship on firmer ground: “Modern scholars seek to study ancient history from the perspective of philology; would it not be better to first read widely in authentic literature, and intensively in Qing scholarship, and only then, on that basis, discuss and critique that past.”28 In his response, Gu Jiegang basically sidesteps Liu’s critique and simply restates the broader issues that concern him, his doubts over the received accounts of ancient Chinese history and the representation of Yu the Great in these accounts. He accepted that his reading of the Shuowen was misguided, but suggested that this was really a peripheral issue and did not detract from his main argument that Yu should be seen as a mythical figure not as an historical individual.29 Moreover, he rejected Liu’s suggestion that he should develop a better appreciation of the sophisticated nature of the textual tradition, and a better understanding of Qing period kaozheng 考證 scholarship (evidential research). He argued that this would be fruitless, “like climbing a tree to catch a fish” (yuan mu qiu yu 緣木求魚). Instead, scholars should use the perspective of the

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248 · Brian Moloughney

present to study these texts so as not to be deceived by the traps they held in store.30 This difference of opinion over the value of kaozheng scholarship ref lects quite distinct interpretations of the relationship between the Chinese intellectual tradition and the new historical practice that was being developed in the early twentieth century. For Gu Jiegang, the Confucian worldview placed constraints on all earlier scholarship, and thus he argued real history began to emerge only after the collapse of the imperial order. This was the case even with regard to the Qing scholars he had most admiration for, like Cui Shu 崔述 (1740–1816). At the very beginning of the letter to Qian Xuantong 錢玄同 (1887–1939) that launched the Gushi bian movement, Gu Jiegang identifies this distinction as crucial. Whereas Cui Shu had done valuable work in identifying the problematic nature of early textual material, he continued to view these texts from the perspective of someone firmly rooted within a Confucian worldview. He “was only a Confucian critic,” Gu argues, “not a true historian.” Gu Jiegang drew a sharp distinction between past and present, between Confucian scholarship and historical research; true historical scholarship began only in the twentieth century with the erosion of the authority of Confucianism.31 In contrast, Liu Yizheng did not see Confucian scholarship and historical research as contradictory. He saw such a distinction as specious and ill founded: “[T]he reason why Qian-Jia Confucian scholarship excelled is actually not because it was classical learning, but rather because it was historical research (kaoshi zhi xue 考史之學).”32 To not understand this, and not benefit from this work, meant falling prey to the kind of shoddy scholarship that Gu Jiegang had displayed in his use of the Shuowen to support his hypothesis about Yu the Great. Liu Yizheng was not alone in indicating the problems with Gu Jiegang’s attempts to reread the textual evidence relating to Yu the Great. Many other scholars expressed concerns about Gu’s motivation and methodology. Critiques of this nature lay behind the most famous and the most scathing attack on Gu Jiegang and the Gushi bian movement. This came from Lu Xun in his story “Curbing the Flood,” where he portrays Gu as “Mr. Bird-Head” (niaotou xiansheng 鳥頭先生), a stuttering, red-nosed fool, one of a group of scholars isolated on the Mount of Culture (Beijing) debating the existence of Yu the Great while the world about them was in great turmoil. Following the method Gu Jiegang had employed to suggest Yu the Great must have been a reptile—because the

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Myth and the Making of History · 249

character for his name had within it the marker for insect or creature (chong 蟲)—Lu Xun has a peasant (a fool, yu 愚) stand up and challenge the scholars, suggesting that, according to his own logic, Gu himself must be a bird’s head, as the character for his name (gu 顧) depicts the head of a bird. In the end, Yu the Great turns up, proving he does exist, and Mr. Bird-Head is forced to relinquish his views, retreating into the wilds to collect folk ballads.33 Over a number of years Lu Xun had developed an intense dislike for Gu Jiegang, and in this satirical story he gives full reign to it. 34 Zhao Bingbo suggests that much of the dialogue given to Mr. Bird-Head in the story is taken directly from Gu Jiegang’s letters threatening Lu Xun with legal action for his continued public attacks on him.35 Gu Jiegang was generous enough to include most of the scholarly critiques of his arguments within the Gushi bian volumes, but there would be no place for this story by Lu Xun. Nevertheless, in constructing the character Mr. Bird-Head, Lu Xun captured much that had been stated in a less satirical manner through the many scholarly critiques directed at Gu Jiegang’s early contributions to the Gushi bian movement. Perhaps the most powerful critique of Gu Jiegang’s methodology came from Zhang Yinlin 張蔭麟 (1905–42). Unlike Liu Yizheng and some of the early critics of Gu, there is no way that Zhang Yinlin could be considered conservative; indeed, he was just the opposite—thoroughly modern.36 Along with Fu Sinian 傅斯年 (1896–1950), he probably had one of the most sophisticated understandings of Western historical thought and practice of all historians in early-twentieth-century China. He studied philosophy and sociology at Stanford before returning to teach history and philosophy at Qinghua University. His work can be best described as eclectic: he wrote on many different topics and covered many different fields—history, the philosophy of history, philosophy, and literature. He also translated English-language work into Chinese, including poetry, and articles on culture, education, politics, and language.37 But he is perhaps best known for his general history of early China, Zhongguo shigang 中國史綱, which he wrote just before his death in 1942. This book was immediately received with acclaim. It is one of the finest examples of the new general histories, or tongshi 通史, produced in China during the twentieth century.38 Zhang Yinlin’s critique of Gu Jiegang is of a very different nature from that of Liu Yizheng. It is wide-ranging, confronting each and every aspect of Gu’s argument, yet grounded in a single methodological

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perspective. Zhang argues that Gu Jiegang relies on a particular form of historical argument, the argument from silence (mozheng 默證), to develop his analysis, but that he does not understand the limits of this form of argument. It is this lack of awareness of the very limited value of the argument from silence that leads Gu Jiegang into problems. Zhang notes that many things do not survive in the textual record, but because of this we do not simply claim they did not exist, yet this is exactly the way Gu Jiegang builds his arguments. 39 For example, Gu argues that while Yu the Great appears in the Book of Songs (Shijing 詩經) and the Book of Documents (Shujing 書經), Yao and Shun do not. Thus, the obvious meaning to be derived from this is that in the traditions regarding Yao, Shun, and Yu, those relating to Yu the Great appeared first, while those relating to Yao and Shun were constructed later. Zhang’s response to this is as follows: This argument completely contravenes the limits of the suitability of the argument from silence. We should ask ourselves whether or not the Shijing and the Shujing . . . . provide a comprehensive record of the historical perspectives of this period, and whether or not the writings from that time contain a systematic account of all events of the time of Tang 唐 [Yao] and Yu 虞 [Shun]. We should also ask whether or not it was necessary for these texts to be concerned with events relating to Yao and Shun. The answer to such questions is obvious to those with any common sense. Suppose there was the unfortunate situation in which all records of the pre-Tang periods [i.e., before the seventh century] were lost. If we relied on Gu Jiegang’s methodology and tried to ascertain the historical reality of the pre-Tang period from the textual legacy of the Tang, the poems, the prose and the court diaries, we can only hope that the achievements of the great Guangwu period [Eastern Han, r. 25–57] would not be seen simply as a “layered creation” by people in later times.40

Zhang Yinlin systematically confronts each aspect of Gu Jiegang’s argument in this way, arguing that the misguided use of inappropriate methodology leads Gu to conclusions that cannot be sustained. Moreover, he shows that Gu continually misreads the textual archive, expecting it to provide evidence for things that cannot reasonably be expected from it. Another example of this relates to Gu Jiegang’s attempts to contest claims that Yu the Great was the founding emperor of the Xia dynasty. Gu argued that if Yu was indeed the founder of the Xia, the textual record would provide evidence of this. In particular, he argued that in the Book of Songs or in the Book of Documents we would expect to find the two

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characters together, as Xia Yu 夏禹, thus indicating that Yu was of Xia, the founder of the Xia dynasty. But no such combination of characters can be found in these texts. In fact, it is not until much later, during the Warring States period and the Qin and Han dynasties, that we begin to see this combination of characters, such as in the “Basic Annals of the Xia” 夏本 紀 in Sima Qian’s 司馬遷 (c. 145–90 BCE) Shiji 史記 . Thus, Gu Jiegang argues that the linking of Yu the Great with the Xia dynasty was a deliberate fabrication of this later period, from the Warring States onward. In earlier times, during the Western Zhou, people did not link Yu with the Xia dynasty; indeed, they believed Yu was a deity, not a human being.41 In response, Zhang Yinlin returns to the same point he made earlier. Neither the Songs nor the Documents were intended as comprehensive records of either the Xia dynasty or of Yu the Great, so we should not expect that the relationship of the two should inevitably have been a concern of their many different authors, as Gu claims. If we follow Gu Jiegang’s reasoning, are we to conclude that because, in poetry collections from the Han and the Ming dynasties, we do not find phrases like Emperor Liu Bang (Di Liu Bang 帝劉邦) or Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang (Di Zhu Yuanzhang 帝朱元璋), or Han Liu Bang and Ming Zhu Yuanzhang, that there was no Han emperor called Liu Bang nor a Ming emperor called Zhu Yuanzhang.42 As these examples demonstrate, Zhang Yinlin was so astounded at the nature of Gu Jiegang’s arguments that his response nearly becomes a form of ridicule. This was not because he was fundamentally opposed to attempts to reexamine China’s ancient past—he was not. On many of the issues raised by Gu Jiegang he remained agnostic. He did try to show, however, that Gu Jiegang could not prove either that Yu the Great was a deity later transformed into a human figure, nor that Yu was not the founder of the Xia. He demonstrated that Gu Jiegang provided no evidence to support these claims, and his arguments were spurious. But most importantly, Zhang Yinlin wanted to show that this kind of scholarship did not provide a good foundation on which to build new forms historical practice.43 In a recent study of some of the same textual material that Gu Jiegang concentrated most of his scholarly attention on, in particular Guoyu 國語 and Zuozhuan 左傳, David Schaberg makes a very similar point to that made by Zhang Yinlin. Schaberg casts his attention more broadly, reviewing not just Gu’s work but the general thrust of late-nineteenthand early-twentieth-century scholarship, from the New Text criticism of

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Kang Youwei and his followers onward. He argues that the claims made in much of this work could not have been made if there were not “certain opportune silences” in the texts themselves. “Our age,” he suggests, “has asked most intensely the questions that the texts, by their very nature, answer poorly or not at all.” 44 There is no doubting the passion with which Gu Jiegang pursued Hu Shi’s call for “boldness in hypothesis, care in research” (dadan de jiashe, xiaoxin de qiuzheng 大膽的假設,小心的求證), or at least his pursuit of the first part of that phrase. His ideological commitment to the destruction of the classical canon meant that he was much more enthusiastic about formulating hypotheses than he was about carefully testing them.45 Establishing new forms of historical practice was a much more difficult process than Gu Jiegang had imagined. The criticisms directed at him by Liu Yizheng, Zhang Yinlin, and others indicated that not all scholars shared his belief that the formation of a new scientific historical discipline was contingent on the eradication of all inherited understandings about the past. Nevertheless, Gu Jiegang was undeterred. The iconoclastic mood of the May Fourth era reinforced his belief in the validity of the enterprise, and encouraged in others a sense of mission that no amount of criticism could dislodge. Each time Gu’s critics indicated the evidential problems with an hypothesis, he would sidestep the criticism, reformulate the hypothesis, and move ahead with trying to prove the validity of his underlying thesis.46 This passion for hypothesis was infectious, and it provided much of the energy that drove forward the debates that became the Gushi bian movement. In the long run it was perhaps this demonstration of the development of historical knowledge through collective debate, the focus on history as argument, that would be the most significant legacy of the movement for the modern historical profession.

Myth and Fabrication The accumulated weight of criticism directed at the suppositions underlying Gu Jiegang’s hypotheses, and at the methodology he employed to prove these, eventually persuaded many of his associates of the need to revise the basic tenets of the Stratification Thesis. In particular, Gu’s unwillingness to distinguish between myth and legend on the one hand and deliberately forged accounts on the other troubled many of his colleagues. As Wang Fan-sen has argued, Gu’s approach to the textual

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evidence about early China was that of a conspiracy theorist. Suspicious of everything, he saw the inherited traditions and stories about early China as the product of deliberate fabrication, and the purpose of modern scientific scholarship was to reveal this. Putting this into practice was to prove more difficult than he imagined, yet he remained committed to the idea that the knowledge that had come down to the present about early China was an invention of the Warring States and Han periods, that it told us nothing about early China, only about the period in which it was created.47 This was a simple-minded response to an intractable problem, the result of a naïve faith in the efficacy of scientific method. Much of the fascination in the study of early China lies in the complexity of the issues and the nature of the material upon which we must rely for any kind of understanding. Neither the issues nor the materials fit neatly within the boundaries of any one modern disciplinary approach, and a positivist historical method seems particularly ill suited to dealing with the challenges associated with the study of the origins of China. Wang Guowei 王 國維 (1877–1927) captured this dilemma in a lecture he gave at Qinghua University in 1927, where he set out clearly the problem with Gu Jiegang’s attempt to make distinctions where they could not easily be made. Research into the ancient history of China is a most vexatious problem. In the case of the events of the most ancient period, legend and historical fact are intertwined and inseparable. Much that pretends to be historical fact has undoubtedly been embellished, while much that appears legendary is grounded in historical fact.48

Others went further, suggesting that it is precisely because these materials resist confinement within the boundaries of modern disciplinary practice, because myth cannot easily be distinguished from history, that we can be more confident that they reflect ancient realities. This was the position taken by Xu Xusheng 徐旭生 (1888–1976), who argued that myth provides an excellent window into life in early China, and especially into the way that people of these times made sense of their lives. Moreover, Xu suggests that the discrepancies between various versions of mythical stories were a product of their plural origins and constant reshaping through transmission, not, as Gu Jiegang would have it, evidence of deliberate fabrication by those of a later age intent on creating an imagined past for themselves.49

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254 · Brian Moloughney

While this notion that all accounts of early China, whether historical or mythical, were the product of deliberate fabrication troubled both colleagues and critics of Gu Jiegang, it was one of his critics, Qian Mu 錢 穆 (1895–1990), who articulated best these concerns about the way he tried to discredit the entire corpus of textual material relating to early China. The differences between the creation of forgeries and the nature of legends are twofold. Legends develop over a long period of time, while forgeries are the handiwork of an individual or group. Legends form naturally, while forgeries are the creation of a specific person. Legends develop continuously, and while forgeries involve deliberate change, legends evolve gradually, so the creation of forgeries is truly distinct.50

Part of the motivation to revisit the relationship between myth and history in the final volume in the Gushi bian collection came from a desire to engage with this kind of criticism. While Gu Jiegang himself refused such concessions, others attempted to refine the Stratification Thesis so that it did not depend on a commitment to the idea that all stories about the ancient period, whether mythical, legendary or historical (if, indeed, it was possible to distinguish between them) were simply a product of deliberate fabrication and bore no relationship to ancient realities. Yang Kuan’s main contribution to the Gushi bian movement was to suggest a way beyond the constraints of the Stratification Thesis, and it was for this reason that the editor of the final volume of essays in the collection, Tong Shuye 童書業 (1908–69), chose to begin the volume with Yang’s Introduction to the History of Early China (Zhongguo shanggu shi daolun 中國上古史導論). Tong argued that Yang’s work was of most value because of his more sophisticated understanding of the relationship between myth and history. He also noted that while many would agree with the claim that much of the inherited record about the ancient past was unconvincing, it was hard to believe that this was the result of deliberate fabrication. But if it was not fabricated then how did the “layered creation of ancient history” occur? Tong suggests that through his elaboration of the theory of the “evolution and diversification of myth” (shenhua yanbian fenhua shuo 神話演變分化說) Yang provides a more convincing explanation of this process. 51 According to this theory, through a gradual process of development and transmission, stories of people and events change naturally over time, and as they become more complex they divide into a number of related but distinct versions. This

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is, Yang suggests, part of the very nature of storytelling.52 This does not mean that he accepts all stories about early China as factually correct, far from it. But it does indicate a more sophisticated appreciation of the complex interrelationship between myth, legend and history than that of Gu Jiegang. Indeed, while Yang acknowledges the significance of Gu’s research, he connects his own work more to that of Wang Guowei and other scholars interested in myth, like Wen Yiduo 聞一多 (1899–1946).53 Yang Kuan did agree with Gu Jiegang about one significant point, however, and that was the idea that many of the cultural heroes that figure in early Chinese legends can be traced back to the birds and animals that feature in the oldest mythical accounts of the origins of Chinese culture and civilization. For instance, he interprets legendary accounts of the cruelty of Shun’s younger brother Xiang 象 as a reflection of the fear of elephants expressed in mythical stories, suggesting that this is one case among many of the anthropomorphization of deities.54 The heart of Yang’s contribution to the Gushi bian debates consists of an elaboration of this basic process with regard to a wide range of legendary figures, from the Five Sovereigns (wudi 五帝) to Yu the Great. 55 Thus, both Yang Kuan and Gu Jiegang agree that the historical record about early China developed through a process of reverse euhemerization, where deities were transformed into historical figures, but where they differ, and it is a significant difference, is in how they understood the process that led from myth to history. Yang Kuan’s theory of the evolution and diversification of myth helped scholars begin to overcome Gu Jiegang’s insistence that the historical record was nothing more than deliberate fabrication, engineered for purely political reasons during the Warring States, Qin, and Han periods. As Joseph Mali has argued, “[H]owever legendary a myth may be, it does not signify fabrication or pure fiction, because it usually contains or refers to certain crucial issues in the history of the community, such as those that concern the common ancestry or territory of the community.” And it is because such stories “retain their original narrative force and essential meaning from generation to generation” that they are seen to be foundational.56 Instead of seeing myth as simply a convenient tool that could be employed to excise a whole body of textual material from consideration by historians, Yang’s exploration served to remind historians of the complex nature of historical narrative and the challenges involved in developing and enriching any understanding of the origins of Chinese culture.57 Indeed, by the 1940s Gu Jiegang himself was retreating

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somewhat from his earlier iconoclasm and coming to accept that there was some validity to the arguments advanced by Wang Guowei, Qian Mu, and Yang Kuan. In 1941 he was even persuaded to write a brief essay to mark the supposed birth date of Yu the Great.58

Mythistory and Gu Jiegang’s Iconoclasm As William McNeill reminds us, “Myth and History are close kin inasmuch as both explain how things got to be the way they are by telling some sort of story. But our common parlance reckons myth to be false while history is, or aspires to be, true.” But, of course, “what seems true to one historian will seem false to another, so one historian’s truth becomes another historian’s myth.” 59 In the Western tradition, this contrast between myth and history was often personalized, with Herodotus exemplifying gullibility to myth because of his interest in storytelling, whereas Thucydides demonstrated the virtues of history through his insistence on recording only what he had seen or heard. Herodotus, of course, understood only too well the role of story in human societies, and the way that facts are given a “supervening shape” through this storytelling so that they come to influence the way people think and behave.60 But as the efforts to ground historical practice on a scientific footing gained increasing support in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this antithesis between myth and history was reinforced. Training and research methodologies were based on the belief that it was possible to reach firm knowledge about the past, and methodological manuals guided practitioners toward this end. These manuals were just as popular and influential in Japan and China as they were in the West, and they helped shape the emerging disciplinary practice of historians, providing guidelines on where boundaries should be drawn.61 While the mythical might be attractive to writers because of the potential it offered for an imaginative engagement with the textual tradition, historians sought to distance themselves from it for the very same reason. The construction of history in relation to and over against myth also involved an understanding of the temporal relationship between them. Mythical time was believed to be antecedent to historical time. It was grounded in the divine and concerned with questions of origin, whereas the historical sense of time was related to temporal change in the human world. Historical understanding emerged only when human societies

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overcame the temptation of myth. To be sure, historians understood that the attraction of myth continued on after the establishment of historical time, but the manifestations of this were not the concern of historians. But as Ashis Nandy reminds us, there were also other factors at work in this deployment of myth in the construction of a new sense of history: Much of the hostility of the historically minded towards the ahistorical can be traced to the way the myths, legends, and epics of the latter are intertwined with what look like transcendental theories of the past. Historians have cultivated over the last two hundred and fifty years a fear of theories of transcendence.62

This secularizing tendency was also part and parcel of the process of establishing history as a professional, scientific discipline in China, and the deployment of the analytical category “myth” enabled much that was problematic for such a project to be consigned to the prehistorical, and thus removed from the concern of the historian. Stefan Tanaka has explored the ways in which this secularizing process was played out in Japan in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In his analysis of this process he examines attempts to bring the abstract world of rationality and science to bear on understandings of the interrelation of ghosts, spirits, and humans and on the place of the past in the present. He notes how this involved placing the human apprehension of the external world in a developmental framework rather than an eschatological one, so that people’s knowledge of ghosts was read as a sign that their knowledge of the natural world had not progressed enough to understand their causes; the ghosts would disappear once that knowledge developed.63 Tanaka argues that a similar transformation occurred with history, as attempts were made to exorcise aspects of the past through the establishment of history as a scientific discipline. In the process, some inherited knowledge was discarded and some recategorized as literature, folklore, or myth. Tanaka interprets this division of human sensibilities into categories such as religion, folklore, mythology, psychology, and so on as part of the fragmentation that emerged with the onset of modernity: “[T]hese disciplines are new categories that reinscribe meaning onto the abstract time of modern societies.” 64 I would argue that in emphasizing the rupture of modernity Tanaka elides the many ways in which the past survives into and shapes the present and thus ignores the ways in which inherited knowledge and practice condition the modern. He sees power as situated

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solely on one side of a bifurcated past/present and reduces history to nothing more than a technology of modernity.65 In other words, if we transplant Tanaka’s arguments to the Chinese context, he would be seen to be listening closely to the arguments of someone like Gu Jiegang, but not to those of Gu’s many critics. Nevertheless, Tanaka captures the forces at work that encouraged Gu Jiegang to deploy the concept myth in an attempt to “secularize” the Chinese past and, in doing so, to try to consign much that was thought to be historical to the wastelands of Prehistory. Gu Jiegang consistently argued “there was nothing mysterious or sacred about the thirteen classics.” 66 There is a revealing passage in his introduction to volume three in the Gushi bian collection, the volume devoted to assessing the Book of Songs and the Book of Change, where he states that the work he and his colleagues were engaged in was deliberately iconoclastic and destructive, but he argued that this was necessary for the restoration of Chinese culture. For the Songs, he states, “we destroy its status as sacred scripture . . . and establish it as a book of musical songs. But I ask readers not to mistake this position for an act of creativity on our part. The Change was originally divination; the Poetry originally musical songs, and what we are doing is washing them clean to reveal their original faces.” In other words, Gu Jiegang believed there was a true reading for these texts, but that this had become submerged by centuries of misreading and it was necessary to eradicate that (what he called “the accumulated dust and dirt” of misunderstanding) in order to get at this truth.67 Elsewhere, he emphasized that it was impossible to have any faith at all in the textual tradition: “[T]he history of ancient China is a complete mess. Mindlessly created for over two thousand years, it is impossible to determine how much is flawed, but it is clear that it is a fabrication.” 68 Gu Jiegang sought not just to critique the classical texts of Confucianism but also to eradicate their canonical or scriptural status. In doing this he was moving beyond the claim that the “six classics are all history” and on to a position that reduced them to mere “small talk” or fiction (xiaoshuo 小說).69 It is partly for this reason that Yu Yingshi 余英時 believes Gu Jiegang’s efforts to seek the true face of history through an iconoclastic revaluation of traditional readings of the canon and its commentaries represent “the first systematic embodiment of the modern concept of historiography” in China, the establishment of a new paradigm in historical thought and

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writing.70 While such a claim is not unusual, I suggest that it is difficult to sustain if we concentrate on Gu Jiegang’s contributions to the Gushi bian movement. He certainly brought new conceptual insights to bear on his readings of the past, but in terms of both his subject and his methodology there was nothing really new about his work, despite the claims to be employing a scientific method. His subject matter was the body of textual material that had been at the heart of Chinese scholarship for over two thousand years. And the methodology, the type of reading, he brought to bear on that textual material was almost as old. He tells us so himself in that wonderful autobiographical preface with which he introduces the Gushi bian volumes. Gu clearly associates himself with a tradition of critical reading (bianwei chuantong de yigu sixiang 辨偽傳統的疑古 思想) that dates back to Tang and Song times, including scholars such as Liu Zhiji 劉知幾 (661–721), Zheng Qiao 鄭樵 (1104–62), Yao Jiheng 姚際恆 (1647–1715?), Zhang Xuecheng 章學誠 (1738–1801), and Cui Shu.71 The difference, some argue, is that whereas all those earlier scholars maintained a commitment to the Confucian worldview, and to the notion of a classical canon, Gu Jiegang did not. But was this really what we should call “new history”? At its best, it sought to clear something of the clutter of inherited practice so that there might be the space to build some new foundations. But in and of itself it did not provide those foundations. It was deliberately destructive, not generative. This was clear from Gu Jiegang’s response to the new work that was actually being done in fields like archaeology. Of this he stated, I knew that the approach toward a genuine conception of ancient history must necessarily lead to the study of actual objects, whereas I myself had been primarily engaged in the annihilation of the structure that had been built upon spurious documents. I, too, had a strong desire to follow this road, because it promised valuable arguments for my own theories, and because, after the work of destructive criticism is accomplished, this is the foundation upon which creative history must be built. But I could not be satisfied with the lack of boldness of the abovementioned scholars [Luo Zhenyu 羅振玉 (1866–1940) and Wang Guowei], in differentiating genuine from spurious documents.72

Wang Guowei’s methodological approach came to be known as the “dual evidence method” (erchong zhengju fa 二重証据法), which involved using the newly uncovered material evidence in conjunction with the textual traces of the past, but Gu Jiegang’s iconoclastic attitude meant that he

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could not endorse any attempt to relate archaeological evidence to that textual material.73 The irony, as Edward Shaughnessy notes, is that this very archaeological work, which was genuinely new and “scientific,” has actually “served to restore much of the antiquity of the classical tradition,” the very tradition Gu was trying to eradicate.74 Indeed, as the material evidence from archaeological work accumulated some of Gu’s early supporters abandoned their commitment to the iconoclastic position. In 1929, when Gu was still working on the second volume of the Gushi bian collection, Hu Shi wrote to tell him that the archaeological work at Anyang 安陽, the site of the Shang capital, had convinced him that there was no point in pursuing this extreme iconoclasm any further.75 Despite the fact that the Gushi bian movement continued on for another decade, it was no longer seen to be at the forefront of efforts to establish a modern historical discipline in China. During the 1930s the earlier iconoclastic spirit that had seemed so liberating was increasingly replaced by an emphasis on solid scholarship, scholarship that was produced in the history departments of the new universities and published in academic journals.76 But by provoking others to think more seriously about what constituted good historical practice, Gu Jiegang’s iconoclasm had played a part in facilitating the emergence of this new scholarship.

Conclusion For Gu Jiegang and his colleagues, developing new forms of disciplinary practice was part and parcel of the business of refashioning Chinese culture so as to help in the process of building new foundations for the Chinese state and for Chinese society. In such circumstances the appeal of concepts like “science” and “myth” was obvious. The first suggested a methodology that offered the potential for greater certainty, while the second provided a tool with which to implement the first, a means to eradicate the inauthentic and place the history of the Chinese people on a firmer footing. But not all were persuaded by the claim that these new disciplinary practices were the only means to achieve this goal. Zhang Yinlin was one of those who opposed Gu Jiegang’s attempts to construct the new history as a scientific discipline. He maintained the long held notion that literature and history were inseparable (wen shi bufen 文史不分), arguing strongly that history was both a science and an art.77 In this regard, it is interesting to compare Gu’s reading of the Songs

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Myth and the Making of History · 261

with that of his contemporary and fellow myth scholar Wen Yiduo 聞一 多.78 Wen developed strikingly innovative readings of the poems in the Songs, but he did so from a close engagement with the texts themselves. In each of his essays he takes a term or a phrase and explores the way it is used throughout the many different poems—and different voices— contained in the Songs. He works outward from the text itself. In contrast, Gu Jiegang approaches the Songs as a repository of information, an archive from which he seeks to extract information to support an hypothesis. If the Songs contain information that doesn’t support his thesis he tends to ignore it, honing in only on that which will reinforce the argument he is trying to develop. This brings to mind the critiques of the historian’s approach to texts that began to emerge after the so-called linguistic turn. Dominick LaCapra, for instance, argued that, in a sense, “historians are professionally trained not to read. Instead they are taught to use texts in rather narrow, utilitarian ways—to ‘strip mine’ or ‘gut’ them for documentary information.” 79 Gu Jiegang’s way of reading texts would tend to reinforce LaCapra’s critique, suggesting that the new history that was developing in early-twentieth-century China was encouraging historians to see texts simply as archives of information. But the criticisms directed at Gu Jiegang from scholars like Liu Yizheng and Zhang Yinlin would suggest otherwise, that many historians continued to read texts as more than simply an archive, and that much could be learnt from the way that scholars from throughout the Chinese tradition had grappled with the process of reading. Even those closely involved in the Gushi bian movement acknowledged that little consensus had emerged from the debates, that there was some validity to the criticism that each scholar seemed to pursue a different methodology and that as a consequence no systematic results had emerged from their work. It was no wonder people were confused.80 This is not to suggest that the debates have been without influence. They have, particularly for scholars working on early Chinese mythology, although it is the later contributions to the collection that have been of most importance here.81 It might also be argued that in using the concept myth to call into question received accounts of early Chinese history, Gu Jiegang helped open up a space for other “new” disciplines like anthropology, ethnography, and religious studies to develop. With regard to Chinese historiography itself, the main legacy of the Gushi bian movement was in stimulating debate over long-established

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262 · Brian Moloughney

notions about Chinese antiquity and in demonstrating how historical knowledge might be advanced through hypothesis and argument. These are significant achievements, yet in acknowledging them we should also recognize that the iconoclastic fervor that Gu Jiegang brought to the movement was combined with a lack of historical imagination. Myth was deployed simply in opposition to history, and evidence was useful only insofar as it supported an hypothesis. There was a naïve commitment to scientific method but without any sensitivity to the role of imagination and story in both history and myth. In contrast, many of his critics drew on the rich reservoir of inherited scholarship that was more attentive to the complimentary and interrelated nature of history and literature, of the ways in which mythical time intersected with historical time, and of the difficulties involved in trying to separate one from the other. Yet Gu’s generosity toward his critics, his willingness to include the contributions of all but the satirical Lu Xun in the Gushi bian volumes, provided a model on how an open and engaged scholarship could advance historical understanding. In the long run, this may have been the greatest contribution of the Gushi bian debates to the formation of modern historical practice in China.

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Myth and the Making of History · 263

Notes 1

2

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4 5

6

7

These are the very first lines in the “Heavenly Questions” or “Tianwen” 天問, a text of unknown date and authorship included in the Chuci 楚辭 or Songs of the South. The translation is by David Hawkes, The Songs of the South: An Ancient Chinese Anthology of Poems by Qu Yuan and Other Poets (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985), p. 127. For Hu Shi’s use of zhengli guogu, see “Lun guogu xue” 論國故學, in Hu Shi wenji 胡適文集, ed. Ouyang zhesheng 歐陽哲生 (Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe, 1998), vol. 2, pp. 327–28; “Zhixue de fangfa yu cailiao” 治學的方 法與材料, in Hu Shi wenji, vol. 3, pp. 105–14; and “Zhengli guogu yu ‘dagui’” 整理國故與「打鬼」, in Hu Shi wenji, vol. 3, pp. 115–22. For a broader reflection on the place of history in the National Studies movement, see Q. Edward Wang, Inventing China through History: The May Fourth Approach to Historiography (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001). Lu Yaotong 逯耀東 explores the way that Gu Jiegang developed the significance of this idea of “putting in order the nation’s past” in Hu Shi yu dangdai shixuejia 胡適與當代史學家 (Taibei: Dongda, 1998), pp. 78–86. See also Zhang Longxi, Allegoresis: Reading Canonical Literature East and West (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), pp. 142–49. On this terminology see William G. Boltz, “Kung Kung and the Flood: Reverse Euhemerism in the ‘Yao tien,’” T’oung Pao 67 (1981): pp. 141–53. Ku Chieh-kang, The Autobiography of a Chinese Historian: Being the Preface to a Symposium on Ancient Chinese History (Ku Shih Pien), trans. and annotated by Arthur William Hummel (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1931), p. 130. For the original, see Gushi bian 古史辨, ed. Gu Jiegang 顧頡剛 (Shanghai: Shanghai shudian [facsimile reprint of the Pushe 樸社 edition], n.d.), vol. 1, zixu 自序, p. 69 [hereafter GSB]. Liu Cunren 柳存仁 discusses the confusion surrounding the use of these terms, and their origins, in “Shenhua yu Zhongguo shenhua jieshou wailai yinsu de xiandu he liyou” 神話與中國神話接受外來因素的限度和理由, in Zhongguo shenhua yu chuanshuo xueshu yantaohui lunwenji 中國神話與傳說 學術研討會論文集 (Taibei: Hanxue yanjiu zhongxin, 1996), vol. 1, esp. pp. 1–3. Mori K¯oichi, “Yanagita Kunio: An Interpretative Study,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 7.2–3 (June–September 1980): pp. 83–115. In neither of the two main studies of this process of the development of new terminology in Meiji Japan and its subsequent adoption in China is there any discussion of “myth.” Both deal primarily with political and technical terms. See Feng Tianyu 馮天瑜, Xinyu tanyuan: Zhong-Xi-Ri wenhua hudong yu jindai hanzi shuyu shengcheng 新語探源:中西日文化互動與近代漢字術語生成 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2004) and Lydia H. Liu, Translingual Practice: Literature, National Culture, and Translated Modernity—China, 1900–1937 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995).

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264 · Brian Moloughney 8

9 10

11

12

13

14

15

16

Liang Qichao 梁啟超, “Lishi yu renzhong zhi guanxi” 歷史與人種之關係, in Yinbinshi heji 飲冰室合集 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1989), wenji 文集 9, p. 16. See, e.g., Takashi Rinjir¯o 高山林次郎, Seiy¯o bummei shi 西洋文明史 (Shanghai: Shanghai wenming shuju, 1903). See Lu Hsun, A Brief History of Chinese Fiction, trans. Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang (1924; repr., Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1959), pp. 8–26; Mao Dun 矛盾, Shenhua yanjiu 神話研究 (1926; repr., Tianjin: Baihua wenyi chubanshe, 1981); C. H. Wang, “Chou Tso-jen’s Hellenism,” Renditions 7 (Spring 1977): pp. 5–28; and Li Ningyi, Mythic and Folk Elements in Modern Chinese Literature: A Study of Six Writers (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2008). “In recent years I have felt that in order to study ancient history it is necessary to study myth at the same time.” Gu Jiegang, “Dong yue miao youji” 東 岳廟游記 , quoted in Zhao Peilin 趙沛霖, “Gu Jiegang xiansheng dui shenhuaxue de juda gongxian” 顧頡剛先生對中國神話學的巨大貢獻, Guizhou shehui kexue 貴州社會科學 75 (2002): p. 67. See also Mitarai Masaru 御手洗勝, Kodai Ch¯ugoku no kamigami: kodai densetsu no kenkyu 古代中国の神々:古代 傅說の研究 (Tokyo: S¯obunasha, 1984), pp. 13–40. This case, for Gu Jiegang as iconoclast, is made forcefully by Laurence Schneider in “From Textual Criticism to Social Criticism: The Historiography of Ku Chieh-kang,” Journal of Asian Studies 28.4 (August 1969): pp. 771–88, and Ku Chieh-kang and China’s New History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971). But see also Zhang Jinghua 張京華, Gushi bian pai yu Zhongguo xiandai xueshu zouxiang 古史辨派與中國現代學術走向 (Xiamen: Xiamen daxue chubanshe, 2009), and Frederick W. Mote, China and the Vocation of History in the Twentieth Century: A Personal Memoir (Princeton, NJ: East Asian Library Journal and Princeton University Press, 2010), pp. 87–106 and 169–74. The essays on the Change and the Songs are in GSB, vol. 3, and in both cases the debate begins with an exposition by Gu Jiegang of his views of each text, and is then followed with essays by other scholars who contest or develop aspects of Gu’s arguments. In GSB, vols. 4–6, essays explore these issues of authenticity in relation of many of the other “hundred schools” texts. “Taolun gushi da Liu-Hu er xiansheng” 討論古史答劉胡二先生, in GSB, vol. 1, pp. 105–50. Relevant extracts are included in Gu Chao 顧潮, Gu Jiegang nianpu 顧頡剛年譜 (Beijing: Beijing shehui kexue chubanshe, 1993), pp. 79–88. Yang Kuan 楊寬, “Zhongguo shanggu shi daolun” 中國上古史導論, in GSB, vol. 7, ed. Lü Simian 呂思勉 and Tong Shuye 童書業, pp. 65–421. This was originally published in 1938, before its reprint in GSB, vol. 7, in 1941. For a powerful exposition of the distinctions made between Prehistory and History, or in Hegel’s terms between Prehistory and World-History, see Ranajit Guha, History at the Limit of World-History (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), quote on p. 49.

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Myth and the Making of History · 265 17

18 19 20

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23 24

25

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27 28 29

“Yu Qian Xuantong xiansheng lun gu shi shu” 與錢玄同先生論古史書, in GSB, vol. 1, pp. 59–66. For a discussion that places this letter in the context of Gu Jiegang’s increasing skepticism, not just about the authenticity of particular texts but about all early history, see Liu Qiding 劉起釘, Gu Jiegang xiansheng xueshu 顧頡剛先生學述 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1986), pp. 95–113. The best contextual study of the Gushi bian movement remains Wang Fansen 王汎森, Gushi bian yundong de xingqi 古史辨運動的興起 (Taibei: Yunchen wenhua chubanshe, 1987). Hon Tze-ki, “Ethnic and Cultural Pluralism: Gu Jiegang’s Vision of a New China in His Studies of Ancient History,” Modern China 22.3 (July 1996): p. 324. See “Da Liu-Hu liang xiansheng shu” 答劉胡兩先生書, GSB, vol. 1, pp. 96–102. James Leibold explores debates about the Chinese “geo-body,” including arguments about the singular origin of the Chinese people, in Reconfiguring Chinese Nationalism: How the Qing Frontier and Its Indigenes Became Chinese (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), esp. pp. 113–46. Ursula Richter, “Historical Scepticism in the New Culture Era: Gu Jiegang and the ‘Debate on Ancient History,’” Zhongyang yanjiu yuan jindai shi yanjiu suo jikan 中央研究院近代史研究所集刊 23.2 (June 1994): p. 369. Gu continued to insist throughout his career on the political reasons behind the “fabrication” of ancient Chinese history. See Gu Jiegang, “Wo shi zenyang bianxie ‘Gushi bian’ de” 我是怎樣編寫「古史辨」的, Zhongguo zhexue 中國哲學 1 (March 1980): pp. 340–42 and 6 (May 1981): pp. 387–400. See Mark Edward Lewis, The Flood Myths of Early China (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006) and Bruce Gordon Doar, “Chinese Myths of the Deluge,” China Heritage Quarterly 9 (March 2007), http://www. chinaheritagequarterly.org. GSB, vol. 1, pp. 105–50. Liu Yimou 柳翼謀 (Liu Yizheng 柳詒徵), “Lun yi Shuowen zheng shi bi xian zhi Shuowen zhi yili” 論以說文證史必先知說文之誼例, Shidi xuebao 史地學報 3.1–2 (June 1924), reprinted in GSB, vol. 1, pp. 217–22. Liu Yizheng’s most well-known work was his cultural history of China, Zhongguo wenhua shi 中國文化史, which even his critics, such as Hu Shi, acknowledged as a path-breaking work. On Liu Yizheng, see Ni Laien 倪來恩 (Brian Moloughney), “Liu Yizheng shixue zhuzuo zhong de wenhua yu rentong” 柳詒徵史學著作中的文化與認同, Renwen luncong 人文論叢 (2000): pp. 114–19, and the essay by Axel Schneider in this volume. On the Shuowen jiezi see the entry by William G. Boltz in Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide, ed. Michael Loewe (Berkeley: Society for the Study of Early China and Institute of East Asian Studies, 1993), pp. 429–42. GSB, vol. 1, pp. 217–18. Ibid., p. 222. GSB, vol. 1, pp. 223–31, and vol. 2, pp. 2–7. For a brief discussion of Gu Jiegang’s response to the issues raised by Liu Yizheng see Liu Lina 劉俐娜, Gu

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266 · Brian Moloughney

30 31

32 33

34

35 36

37

38

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40 41 42 43

Jiegang xueshu sixiang pingzhuan 顧頡剛學術思想評傳 (Beijing: Beijing tushuguan chubanshe, 1999), pp. 73–74. GSB, vol. 1, pp. 227–28. GSB, vol. 1, p. 59. See also Wang Fansen, Gushi bian yundong, pp. 37–39, and Shao Dongfang 邵東方, Cui Shu yu Zhongguo xueshu shi yanjiu 崔述與中國學 術史研究 (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1998), pp. 205–92. Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhua shi (1932; repr., Shanghai: Dongfang chuban zhongxin, 1988), pp. 747–48. See “Li Shui” 理水, in Gushi xinbian 故事新編, Lu Xun sanshi nian ji 魯迅三十 年集 (Beijing: Xinyi chubanshe, 1968), vol. 4, pp. 40–61, and Old Tales Retold, trans. Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1972), pp. 30–50. This story was written in 1935. It seems that the central factor in this dislike was Gu’s accusation that Lu Xun had plagiarized much of his history of Chinese literature from the work of Japanese scholars. Zhao Bingbo 趙冰波, “Lu Xun yu Gu Jiegang jiaowu zhi wojian” 魯迅與顧頡 剛交惡之我見, Henan jiaoyu xueyuan xuebao 河南教育學院學報 1 (1999): p. 34. Chen Zhiming 陳志明 groups the responses to Gu Jiegang into those from “old scholars” 舊學者 and “new historians” 新史家, with Zhang Yinlin the only one to fall into the latter group: see Gu Jiegang de yigu shixue: jiqi zai Zhongguo xiandai sixiang shi shang de yiyi 顧頡剛的疑古史學:及其在中國現代 思想史上的意義 (Taiwan: Shangding wenhua chubanshe, 1993), pp. 34–39. For a complete list of Zhang’s publications see Zhou Chen 周忱, “Zhang Yinlin xiansheng zhushu xinian” 張蔭麟先生著述系年, in Zhang Yinlin xiansheng jinian wenji 張蔭麟先生紀念文集, ed. Zhou Chen (Dongguan: Hanyu dacidian chubanshe, 2002), pp. 344–60. For an assessment of the significance of this text, see Brian Moloughney, “Zhang Yinlin’s Early China,” in The Politics of Historical Production in Late Qing and Republican China, ed. Robert Culp and Hon Tze-ki (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 143–67. Zhang Yinlin 張蔭麟, “Ping jinren Gu Jiegang duiyu Zhongguo gushi zhi taolun” 評近人顧頡剛對於中國古史之討論, Xueheng 學衡 40 (April 1925): pp. 1–18, reprinted in GSB, vol. 2, pp. 271–88. GSB, vol. 2, p. 273. GSB, vol. 1, pp. 115–18. GSB, vol. 2, p. 275. For a recent reassessment of the validity of Zhang’s critique of Gu Jiegang see Peng Guoliang 彭國良, “Yige liuxingle bashi yu nian de weimingti: dui Zhang Yinlin ‘mozheng’ shuo de chongxin shenshi” 一個流行了八十年餘年的 偽命題: 對張蔭麟「默証」說的重新審視, originally published in Wen shi zhe 文 史哲 1 (2007), and reprinted in Wenshizhe bianjibu 文史哲編輯部, ed., “Yigu” yu “zouchu yigu”「疑古」與「走出疑古」(Beijing: Commercial Press, 2010), pp. 186–209.

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Myth and the Making of History · 267 44 45

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54 55

56 57

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David Schaberg, A Patterned Past: Form and Thought in Early Chinese Historiography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), p. 317. Hu Shi 胡適, “Qingdai xuezhe de zhixue fangfa” 清代學者的治學方法, originally published in seriatim in Beijing daxue yuekan 北京大學月刊 5, 7, and 9 (1919, 1920, and 1921) and reprinted in Hu Shi wenji, vol. 2, p. 302. Further discussion of Hu Shi’s inf luence over Gu Jiegang can be found in Wang Fansen, Gushi bian yundong, pp. 40–45, and Peng Minghui 彭明輝 , Yigu sixiang yu xiandai Zhongguo shixue de fazhan 疑古思想與現代中國史學的發展 (Taiwan: Commercial Press, 1991), pp. 140–49. In his introduction to Gu Jiegang’s diary, Yu Yingshi 余英時 notes that despite the fact that Hu Shi was intellectually closer to Fu Sinian, he regretted the fact that Fu did not bring the same energy and vigor to his scholarship that Gu Jiegang did. See “Wejin de caiqing—cong ‘riji’ kan Gu Jiegang de neixin shijie” 未盡的才情—從《日記》看顧頡剛的內心世界, in Gu Jiegang riji 顧頡剛日記 (Taipei: Liangjing, 2007), vol. 1, p. 28. Wang Fansen, Gushi bian yundong, pp. 35–36. Wang Guowei 王國維, Gushi xinzheng 古史新證 (1927) reprinted GSB, vol. 1, p. 264. For the full text of the lectures see Gushi xinzheng: Wang Guowei zuihou de jiangyi 古史新證:王國維最後的講義 (Beijing: Qinghua daxue chubanshe, 1994). Xu Xusheng 徐旭生, Zhongguo gushi de chuanshuo shidai 中國古史的傳說時代 (Beijing: Kexue chuanbanshe, 1960), pp. 303–5. While published in 1960, Xu developed these ideas in the early 1940s. Qian Mu 錢穆, “Ping Gu Jiegang ‘Wude zhongshi shuo xia de zhengzhi yu lishi’” 評顧頡剛《五德終始說下的政治與歷史》, in GSB, vol. 5, p. 620. Tong Shuye, Preface, GSB, vol. 7, pp. 1–14. GSB, vol. 7, pp. 65–70. Yang Kuan, GSB, vol. 7, p. 117. For Yang’s comments on the work of Wen Yiduo, see Yang’s preface to GSB, vol. 7, p. 3, and also GSB, vol. 7, p. 401. Joseph Roe Allen provides an appreciation of Wen Yiduo’s work on myth in “The Myth Studies of Wen I-to: A Question of Methodology,” Tamkang Review 8.2 (1982): pp. 137–60. GSB, vol. 7, pp. 3–4. For a summary of these various transformations that Yang explores see GSB, vol. 7, pp. 399–400. And for an analysis of Yang’s work see Mitarai, Kodai Ch¯ugoku no kamigami, pp. 52–97. Joseph Mali, Mythistory: The Making of a Modern Historiography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), pp. 4–5. For an example of the way in which later scholars have developed this idea of the evolution and diversification of myth, see Mitarai, Kodai Ch¯ugoku no kamigami. Yu Yingshi has recently argued that Gu Jiegang’s scholarly career was divided into two phases. The first period, up until the late 1930s, was dominated by

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268 · Brian Moloughney the enthusiastic iconoclasm that drove forward the Gushi bian movement and demonstrates the influence of Hu Shi. The second period was characterized by an increasing judiciousness in Gu’s scholarship that Yu attributes to the growing influence of Wang Guowei’s legacy. See “Wejin de caiqing,” pp. 24–25. Gu Jiegang mentions the essay he wrote to mark Yu the Great’s birth date in his diary: see Gu Jiegang riji, vol. 4, p. 592. 59 William H. McNeill, “Mythistory, or Truth, Myth, History, and Historians,” in Mythistory and Other Essays (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 3. Also of interest, although more general in nature, are Marcel Detienne, The Creation of Mythology, trans. Margaret Cook (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), and Andrew von Hendy, The Modern Construction of Myth (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002). 60 On this, see David Grene’s wonderful introduction to his translation of Herodotus, The History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), p. 6. 61 Rolf Torstendahl, “Fact, Truth, and Text: The Quest for a Firm Basis for Historical Knowledge Around 1900,” History and Theory 42 (October 2003): pp. 305–31. Torstendahl compares methodological manuals by Droysen (Grundriss der Historik), Bernheim (Lehrbuch der historischen Methode), and Langlois and Seignobos (Introduction aux études historiques), the last two of which were extremely influential in Japan and China. See the introduction to this volume for more on this issue. 62 Ashis Nandy, “History’s Forgotten Doubles,” History and Theory 34.2 (May 1995): p. 51. 63 Stefan Tanaka, New Times in Modern Japan (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004), pp. 69–76. In a manner very similar to that of Gu Jiegang, the historian Kume Kunitake 久米国武 (1839–1931) argued that the role of the modern historian lay in “correcting mistakes and eliminating falsehoods” in earlier histories, which were “no more than 20–30 percent” reliable. See Tanaka, New Times, p. 79. And as Margaret Mehl notes, Kume’s colleague in the Office of Historiography, Shigeno Yasutsugu 重野安繹 (1827–1910), was known as “Dr. Obliterator” for his attacks on traditional understandings of the past: see History and the State in Nineteenth-Century Japan (New York: St. Martin’s, 1998), p. 12. 64 Ibid., p. 56. 65 See my review of Tanaka’s book in the New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 8.1 (June 2006): pp. 148–51. 66 Gu Chao, Gu Jiegang nianpu, pp. 96–97. 67 GSB, vol. 3, p. 1. 68 GSB, vol. 1, p. 187. 69 The claim that “the six classics are all history” was famously made by Zhang Xuecheng (1738–1801), for which see Zhang Xuecheng 章學誠, “Yijiao shang” 易教上, in Wen shi tongyi jiaozhu 文史通義校注, ed. Ye Ying 葉瑛 (Beijing: Guji chubanshe reprint, 1985), p. 1.

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Myth and the Making of History · 269 70

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75 76 77 78

79 80 81

Yu Yingshi 余英時, “Gu Jiegang, Hong Ye yu Zhongguo xiandai shixue” 顧頡 剛,洪業與中國現代史學, in Shixue yu chuantong 史學與傳統 (Taibei: Shibao wenhua chubanshe, 1982), p. 274. Following the publication of the first volume in the Gushi bian collection, Hu Shi argued that it was “a revolutionary book in Chinese historical studies”: see GSB, vol. 2, p. 334. The term yigu 疑古 “doubting antiquity,” which Gu Jiegang used to describe his methodology for reading the past, came from a chapter title in Liu Zhiji’s eighth-century historiographical work Shitong 史通. Ursula Richter argues that this critical tradition of Chinese scholarship was far more important for Gu Jiegang than anything he learnt about Western “scientific” history. See “Historical Scepticism in the New Culture Era,” and Zweifel am altertum: Gu Jiegang und die discussion über Chinas alte geschichte als konsequenz der “nuen kulturbewegung’ ca. 1915–1923 (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1992), pp. 34–68. GSB, vol. 1, zixu, pp. 50–51. This translation is from Hummel, p. 94. For a detailed comparison of the different approaches to the evidence about ancient China of Gu Jiegang and Wang Guowei see Tian Xudong 田旭東, Ershi shiji Zhongguo gushi yanjiu zhuyao sichao gailun 二十世紀中國古史研究 主要思潮概論 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2003). And for an interesting discussion of this tension between iconoclasm and the new sources for historical understanding that were emerging in the early twentieth century, and Gu Jiegang’s role in this, see Luo Zhitian 羅志田, “Shiliao de jinliang kuochong yu bukan ershisi shi: Minguo xinshixue de yige guilun xianxiang” 史料的盡 量擴充與不看二十四史—民國新史學的一個詭論現象, in his Jindai Zhongguo shixue shilun 近代中國史學十論 (Shanghai: Fudan chubanshe, 2003), pp. 83–125. Edward L. Shaughnessy, Before Confucius: Studies in the Creation of the Chinese Classics (New York: State University of New York Press, 1997), p. 10n2. Luo Qiding, Gu Jiegang xiansheng xueshu, pp. 262–63. This is a point made by S. Y. Teng in “Chinese Historiography in the Last Fifty Years,” Far Eastern Quarterly 8.2 (1949): pp. 137–38. Moloughney, “Zhang Yinlin’s Early China,” p. 148. Wen Yiduo 聞一多, “Shijing xinyi” 詩經新義, in Wen Yiduo quanji 聞一多全集, ed. Zhu Ziqing 朱自清 et al., rev. ed. (Hong Kong: Nam Tung, n.d.), vol. 2, pp. 67–108. For an essay that considers the problems with Gu Jiegang’s reading of the Songs, see Wong Siu-kit and Lee Kar-shui, “Ideology with a Vengeance: The Gushi bian Interpretation of the Shijing,” Journal of Oriental Studies 31 (1993): pp. 28–37. Dominick LaCapra, Rethinking Intellectual History: Texts, Contexts, Language (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983), p. 339. See, e.g., Yang Kuan’s Preface to GSB, vol. 7, p. 1. For recent examples of the continuing influence of Gu Jiegang and the Gushi bian movement, each stimulated in quite distinctive ways, see Mitarai, Kodai

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270 · Brian Moloughney Chugoku ¯ no kamigami; Sarah Allan, The Shape of the Turtle: Myth, Art, and Cosmos in Early China (New York: State University of New York Press, 1991); and Lewis, Flood Myths of Early China.

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Chapter 9

Nation, History, and Ethics: The Choices of Post-imperial Historiography in China* Axel Schneider

The history of modern Chinese historical thought and writing is characterized by a close interaction between indigenous traditions and the modern Western post-Enlightenment views of history and historiography. In this process of interaction, a progressive, often also teleological view of history was dominant, in combination with modern, professional institutions and approaches to the writing of history aiming at understanding “what actually had happened.” Although modern Chinese historiography is divided into many different academic and political camps, and is influenced in varying ways by premodern traditions, there were few attempts to resist these dominant trends. Liu Yizheng 柳詒徵 (1880–1956) in his later years was one of those historians, who, after initially wholeheartedly adopting modern views of history, began to voice doubts about progress, causality in history, and the objectivity of historical research. Situated within a dual horizon of modern Western theories of history and Chinese historiographical traditions, Liu struggled to find a consistent position. His attempts to overcome the contradiction between modern claims to objectivity and his profound ethical concerns and how he first doubts and then discards notions of progress and causality help us to understand the complicated process of interaction.

*

I would like to thank Hon Tze-ki, Kuo Ya-pei, Luo Zhitian, Brian Moloughney, Viren Murthy, Wang Fansen, Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, and Daniel Woolf for their stimulating comments on earlier versions of this article.

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272 · Axel Schneider

A Dual Horizon Modern Western theories of history are closely connected to the project of nation building.1 Nation-states needed a past supporting their claims to legitimacy and loyalty. In order to foster national consciousness, newly forming nation-states invested heavily in the establishment of a national educational system, including the development of the modern academic discipline of history. In Germany the Historical School of Law around Friedrich Karl von Savigny and the historiography of Leopold von Ranke and of Heinrich von Treitschke are situated within this new approach to history focusing on the nation-state and with a concomitant concept of world history.2 In this process of nation building and the related development of modern historical research the concept of history underwent a fundamental shift.3 The premodern notion of history as one story among others—history hence always understood in the plural as histories—told by a writer in order to exemplify moral lessons taken from somewhere else, mostly from moral philosophy or cosmological speculations, was replaced during the Enlightenment by a notion of history as denoting singular facts. Time was quantified and transformed into a quasi-mechanical, abstract time of experience as opposed to the qualitative time of a normative order. In the West coherence and hence the meaning of history were conceptualized as being ascribed to historical facts by the historian from a position outside of history. Before long this mechanical and rational notion of time and history underwent further change, leading to a concept of history in the singular. History became the sum of all individual (hi)stories encompassing all that ever happened; and what once was divine history (providence) now was desacralized and became universal history. History thus acquired the status of an actor, of a process external to human beings influencing if not determining their fate. Meaning, previously ascribed to history in a rational, constructive act (as typical for the Enlightenment), was now thought to be immanent in history. Although in this speculative version of history reason manifested itself in history,4 it was not yet historicized and particularized. Toward the middle of the nineteenth century this speculative concept of history was severely criticized by a burgeoning academic discipline of history. Be it the positivism and naturalism of a Comte or Henry Thomas Buckle, 5 or be it the idealistic, religious historicism (Historismus) of a

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Ranke,6 both attacked the philosophy of history for its speculative violation of facts. Whereas positivists modeled history after the natural sciences, historicists stipulated that history is man-made and has to be understood as the expression of ideas. Positivistic history was explicitly universalistic in its approach to and understanding of history, that is, positivists saw universal laws of nature at work in history, a view that later was combined with notions of linear time and concepts of biological evolution. Historicists, however, saw history as the unique expression of ideas and conceptualized every historical epoch as individual and ultimately incomparable. They condemned attempts to subjugate history under a speculative universal reason or under universal laws of progress, and demanded that the historian should abstract from his or her own personality. Only then would the historian be able to let the facts speak for themselves. The decline of notions of history as the progress of reason, or whatever other absolute, contributed to the historicization of norms and values once conceived as both timeless and universal. As a result of this process, Western historiography and philosophizing about history in the modern period came to be characterized by a tension between, on the one hand, rationalistic or naturalistic concepts such as the notion of history as the progress of reason or as characterized by linear time, and, on the other, the breakdown of metaphysical or theological certainty caused by thorough historicization, here understood not as integration into and determination by a historical time line, but understood as thorough historical relativization.7 Whatever the vision of history was, the biggest change of all was the central position history as such now acquired. History became one of the main modes, if not the mode, of interpreting human life. Human existence in all its facets was increasingly seen as historical, albeit with different meanings. It is this feature of the modern period that marks it off from preceding periods, when history was nothing but a private pastime for personal edification far removed from the centers of political power or the temples of philosophical and cultural authority. It is this relative irrelevance of premodern Western historiography that marks it off from the Chinese tradition.8 Regardless of whether we see traditional Chinese views of history as cyclical, linear, or regressive,9 the recording of history always occupied a central position in the Chinese cosmic and sociopolitical order.10 The belief in this order centered around the ruling clan and the worship of its ancestors, the ritual enactment of

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274 · Axel Schneider

which served as the paradigmatic expression of this order. The legitimacy of the ruling clan, rationalized as the Mandate of Heaven (tianming 天命), consisted of religious and political elements that were closely intertwined (zheng jiao heyi 政教合一). The predecessors of the later historiographer (shi 史), whose early function can best be described as scribe or archivist, recorded the words and deeds of the rulers and thus served as witnesses to the ritual enactment and re-presentation of the cosmic order. This order was not conceptualized as a preordained given, but rather had to be actualized through the performance of sacred rituals and via moral example. The Mandate of Heaven thus provided legitimacy for the ruling clan, but also the rationale for a change of dynasty. It stands for the conviction that men can and do deviate from the moral principles of the cosmic order (dao 道), and that the gap between what is and what ought to be is part of the human condition. To bridge this gap through establishing and maintaining a polity as close as possible to the normative order is the mission of the ruling clan and the political elite, and it is the task of the historiographer to keep a record of these attempts for posterity.11 It is whence the historiographer derives his or her eminently powerful ethico-political position. This position was further reinforced by the fact that in Chinese culture the normative order was not perceived as accessible to humans through divine revelation, but was posited as once having been realized during the Three Dynasties in actual history. History thus acquired a quasi-absolute status as the field of human activity providing privileged if not exclusive access to heavenly truth.12 This “heavenly” sanctioned centrality of the recording of history in Chinese culture translated into the institutionalization of historiography within the imperial bureaucracy,13 a process that culminated during the Tang dynasty in the establishment of the History Office (Shiguan 史官).14 Ultimately the shi thus fulfilled two complementary functions, closely linked but not without internal tension: the shi recorded history in a historiographical mode leaving behind a record of the past as truthful as possible, yet also manifested the cosmic order (dao) by expressing praise and blame (baobian 褒貶) and thus fulfilling a pivotal role in the aforementioned mission of bridging the gap between the is and the ought. In having the power to laud or to condemn, the historiographer found himself or herself in an exposed position sometimes risking his or her life in fulfilling this15 —what Yves Chevrier calls—historiological duty.16

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When this tradition of thinking about and writing of history was challenged in the nineteenth century, the Western views of history initially having the profoundest impact were not those linked to the aforementioned crisis of historicism, but rather the evolutionary, Darwinian view of history and its linear, mechanical concept of time.17 This notion of time, which severely limited if not removed the human factor from history, either was combined with demands to modernize the discipline of history along the lines of the natural sciences,18 or went hand in hand with the methodology of history as pronounced by Ranke in the understanding of Bernheim or Langlois and Seignobos.19 This late historicism had discarded all notions of ideas at work in particular historical epochs, and had limited itself to the positivistic, evidential side of Ranke’s methodology as expressed in his dictum that the task of history is “to show what actually happened.” 20 Facing the desperate historical situation of imperialistic aggression during the late nineteenth century and under the influence of these new theories, Chinese intellectuals and historians faced formidable challenges. They had a. to develop a new understanding of Chinese history as part of a coherent vision of world history, thus making it possible b. to envision China as an at least equal member in the international community. At the same time they had c. to safeguard, if necessary to create some sort of continuity with the past in order to provide a basis for a Chinese identity. They also had d. to conceptualize history in a way that would make it possible for China to catch up if not surpass the West, and, last but not least, this had e. to be achieved in the context of a tradition placing the historian in an elevated political position, thus putting the historian under considerable pressure to come up with a viable solution.

Nation, History, and Ethics: The Complexities of Post-imperial Chinese Historiography In their research on modern Chinese views of history and historiography scholars have hitherto focused on a range of topics directly related to the aforementioned challenges: China’s national identity and its position in world history, issues of historical continuity, developments in historical

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276 · Axel Schneider

methodology, the institutionalization of modern history, and the political functions of historiography. However, the question of the ethical function of the writing of history—a central if not the core aspect of traditional Chinese historiography—has conspicuously been ignored. This lacuna is all the more astonishing if we consider that ethics were central for historiography not only from a traditional Chinese perspective. Even from a purely Western perspective the crisis of late historicism positioned the question of ethics right at the center of twentieth-century Western doubts about modernity. What has happened to the centrality of ethics? How did modern Chinese historians reposition ethics as such (1) vis-à-vis a concept of linear, mechanical progress that did not leave much space for human agency or (2) vis-à-vis a relativist notion of history devoid of overarching, eternal principles? What sort of ethics did they, if at all, argue for? What happened to traditional Confucian ethics? What role did it play in the definition of Chinese national identity? And what were the implications of that for the sort of polity these historians imagined? A survey of the names of those historians well researched by Western scholars reveals an additional blind spot. Most historians who in one way or the other argued for substantial continuity with orthodox tradition and who hence were opposed to far-reaching modernization have hardly been researched: Wang Guowei 王國維 (1877–1927),21 Chen Yinke 陳寅恪 (1890 –1969), 22 Qian Mu 錢穆 (1895–1990), 23 and Liu Yizheng, 24 to mention just a few. Why are these allegedly “conservative” 25 historians— many of whom have made important, widely acknowledged contributions to modern Chinese scholarship—not as well researched as their more “liberal” or “leftist” colleagues? A very concise, purely exemplar y overview of a few selected approaches to the relationship between history and ethics in modern China reveals how difficult it seems to have been to combine an orthodox Confucian notion of a universal ethical core of history with a modern linear concept of time. Kang Youwei 康有為 (1858–1927) still inherited some aspects of this traditional view of history by substantially reinterpreting it under Buddhist and Western influence. He postulated a linear and teleological view of history based on the New Text theory of the Three Ages (sanshi 三 世) ultimately aiming at an ethically defined telos (the Datong 大同), that is, with history still structured around a given ethical core. However, his position already indicated a major departure from the orthodox view

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insofar as he postulated a quasi-necessary, linear development toward a goal that, once mankind has reached it, also represents the end of history. Besides, the concrete goal he advocated was incompatible with the ethics of orthodox Confucians.26 With Liang Qichao’s 梁啟超 (1873–1929) early evolutionary and nationalist history, the full impact of a linear and in his case also nonteleological view of history becomes obvious. Devoid of ethical lessons that go much beyond the citizen’s loyalty to the nation, time becomes the abstract and empty flow of linear progress. The historical process is ruled by cause and effect and thus is much less subject to the inf luence of human agency. Ethics is neither part of a larger cosmic process nor embedded in history through human agency. There is no resemblance left with orthodox Confucian ethics. However, while this concept allows him to integrate China into world history and envision a path to wealth and power, the price he pays for this concept of history is considerable: for one reason, because in such a universal historical progress particular national identity is defined in relation to the allegedly universal Western model, for another reason, because lacking behind in a linear and seemingly necessary historical process carries the risk of never being able to catch up.27 With Marxism entering China in the early 1920s a view of history developed that again reintegrated ethics into history by defining a telos that embodied ethical aspects and gave some room to human agency. However, the process toward this telos ultimately is predetermined and scientifically verified, leaving only limited space for human agency. And as with Kang Youwei, the ethical vision inspiring Marxism was not in line with Confucian ethics. These examples suggest that a modern linear view of history in China is incompatible if not with ethics as such, then at least with traditional Confucian ethics. History is envisioned as either devoid of moral lessons and meaning or leading toward a utopian goal defined in ethical terms at odds with Confucian orthodoxy. Human agency is either negated or substantially reduced, and Chinese identity is defined primarily as the particular manifestation of an allegedly universal model of development that de facto is—at least with Liang Qichao and the Marxists—to a considerable extent of Western origins. A first step toward answering the aforementioned questions on history and ethics is to investigate the views and theories of history of those hitherto neglected historians who were skeptical of modernization.

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278 · Axel Schneider

How did they relate history and ethics? Which concrete ethical values did they advocate? What theory of historiography did they put forward, and how did they deal with the challenge posed by notions of progress, causality, and linear time? How did they try to establish continuity with the past and thus provide a basis for a Chinese national and/or cultural identity? What view of politics was linked to that?

The Case of Liu Yizheng28 Liu Yizheng, who belongs to this group of hitherto neglected historians, was affiliated with the Critical Review Group (Xueheng pai 學衡派). He wrote one of the first histories of Chinese culture in the form of a modern narrative and comprehensive history.29 Liu was born in 1880 in Dantu county, Jiangsu province, to a family and cultural context where the examination system still was the main ladder to success. Liu thus received a thorough classical education and, in 1900, at age twenty, started working for the philologist Miao Quansun 繆荃孫 (1844–1919) in the compilation and translation bureau of Jiangsu and Hubei provinces. After a short mission to Japan in 1902, his only visit abroad, Liu returned to China deeply influenced by the new, Western-inspired way of writing history in Japan. He participated in the development of the new educational system and published in 1902 a history textbook under the title A Brief Historical Account of Different Periods (Lidai shilüe 歷代史略), 30 which was an adaptation of Naka Michiyo’s 那珂通世 (1851–1908) A General History of China (Shina tsushi ¯ 支那通史) of 1899.31 In the following years Liu Yizheng’s participation in educational reform provided him with an opportunity to witness the debates on the introduction of local representative government during the late Qing period. Inspired by these debates he later researched the history of local self-rule in China, using this opportunity to express his views on a variety of political issues pertaining to China’s modernization. In 1922 he participated in the establishment of the Critical Review Journal, in which he published numerous articles. Besides, he founded the Journal for Historical Geography (Shidi xuebao 史地學報)32 and was a leading figure in the Journal for National Customs (Guofeng banyuekan 國 風半月刊).33 His History of Chinese Culture (Zhongguo wenhuashi 中國文化 史) was a major success and became a textbook used at universities. After having appeared in the Critical Review, it was published in 1932, and had to be reprinted in 1935 and again during the 1940s. Since 1949 it has been

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reprinted several times in Taiwan and recently also in mainland China.34 Beginning in the 1920s Liu taught mainly at National Southeastern University (Guoli dongnan daxue 國立東南大學) in Nanjing. From 1927 until 1937 he was director of the Jiangsu Library for National Studies (Guoxue tushuguan 國學圖書館), a position he reassumed in 1945. In 1948 he was elected academician of the prestigious Academia Sinica. And from 1949 until his death in 1956, he was a member of the Shanghai Committee Overseeing Historical Artifacts (Shanghai shi wenwu guanli weiyuanhui 上海市文物管理委員會). To date the evaluation of Liu Yizheng’s historiography has been ambivalent.35 He is often classified as a cultural conservative, 36 yet he is also described as a nationalist and even as a modernizer, at least with regard to his ideas on history and historical methodology.37 In the introduction to his influential History of Chinese Culture he states that his aim is to expound the differences between China’s culture and that of Europe and India.38 He sees the Chinese nation as defined by its particular culture and history, thus deviating from the at that time still dominant racial definition. 39 Chinese culture is characterized by a cohesion that, given its internal, especially racial diversity, is amazing. It is distinguished by its assimilative (tonghua 同化)40 powers and longevity (niansi zhi jiuyuan 年禩之久遠).41 Liu wants to understand why this is so.42 In addressing these issues he seems to fit our image of a modern, nationalist historian. He speaks about the particularity of China,43 as expressed by its culture and embodied in what he calls the national spirit or national psyche,44 thus providing a basis for a Chinese national identity. He presents an interpretation of the Golden Age of the Three Dynasties that is thoroughly demythologizing and historicizing this crucial period of Chinese history, which stood at the center of historiographical debates during the 1920s.45 Rather than ascribing the cultural advances of that period to mythological sage kings as had been characteristic for most traditional Chinese views of history, he interprets them as the product of collective and accumulative efforts of the people. These advances have then via a process of sedimentation become part of the Chinese national spirit.46 Last but not least, he addresses issues akin to modern Western notions of popular sovereignty.47 However, Liu Yizheng is not putting forward a view of Chinese history as the unified, glorious progress of the Han nation. On the contrary, he is well aware of the internal contradictions, ruptures, and

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280 · Axel Schneider

constant intermingling with and assimilation of external influences.48 Moreover, in spite of historicizing the Golden Age and its sage kings and in spite of providing a national history centered around China’s culture and its people, he defines that culture with the help of traditional ethical ideals such as the Golden Mean (zhongyong 中庸), loyalty, and piety. He thus seems to turn them into national characteristics.49 On top of that, he juxtaposes this ethical vision of Chinese culture with a picture of a morally degenerate, individualistic West that can be saved only with the help of Chinese ethical values.50 In describing the tasks of the historian he operates with a terminology that appears to be modern too. The historian has to uncover general laws of human development while at the same time understanding national particularity.51 The historian has to discern causality52 in order to expound evolution53 and progress.54 History is conceptualized as being a universal, law-like process, in which cultures differ only insofar as they are positioned at distinct points within the time line of universal progress.55 The impression emanating is that of a historian adopting core notions of the modern academic discipline of history. He rewrites the Chinese past into a modern, national (hi)story of progress modeled in structure,56 with core assumptions along Western lines, albeit combined with a substantial definition of Chinese culture that in some aspects appears to be rather traditional and anti-Western.57 However, when going beyond these historiographical texts and including more theoretical treatises and his expositions on ethics,58 he hints at a different vision. This vision is developed over the years into a new, coherent theory of historiography, and a view of history and politics that, while much more indebted to traditional Chinese notions of the connection between history and ethics, does not simply represent a return to the past. Already as early as 1922–23 we can find indications of a view of history that contradicts the aforementioned impression of a modern nationalist promulgating a linear, causal view of history. The view Liu expounds is that of a bifurcated history. On the one hand, China’s history is characterized by progress. However, this progress seems to be limited to the material and organizational side of life,59 and is far from homogeneous. In some fields progress can be observed, in others stagnation or even regression is characteristic.60 On the other side, Liu’s view of history is one of decline.61 Ethical ideals define China’s culture, give meaning to

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history ever since they have been formulated, and provide practical guidance.62 However, Chinese history since the Qin dynasty is a history of the gradual decline of these core ideals culminating in the centralized, bureaucratic state of the late imperial period.63 But his questioning of key assumptions of a modern, nationalist view of history goes even further. He directly criticizes the notion of progress as such and redefines history as not primarily being characterized by causality. In a review of Lu Maode’s History of the Philosophy of the Zhou and Qin Dynasties 64 (Zhou Qin zhexueshi 周秦哲學史), written in 1923, Liu Yizheng directly attacks the author and, among others, Hu Shi 胡適 (1891–1962) for their naïve belief in teleological progress as the constant improvement of life until a final, almost utopian stage of utmost perfection has been reached. 65 Referring to the cosmology of the Book of Changes (Yijing 易經), Liu Yizheng calls this attitude wishful thinking, oblivious of the fact that with all the progress in modern times, evil and suffering have progressed correspondingly: [T]o claim that today we see civilization, and that the past was barbaric, that civilized people are happy, and that barbarians suffer, all this is utter nonsense. During barbarian times we saw the most civilized spirit, and during civilized times the most barbaric actions were committed. Human suffering and happiness come and go without [us being able] to discuss this in one comprehensive [manner].66

According to Liu, the Book of Changes captures this principle best with its notion of the constant change and interaction of yin and yang, a cosmology that Confucianism transformed into the notion of the Golden Mean.67 In a text published in 1925 this critique of progressivism is further underpinned by a careful redefinition of the nature of history. He begins his History of Chinese Culture by claiming, The science of history most cherishes causality. Human affairs can not have a cause and yet no effect. . . . [O]n the one side, we are striving [to uncover] the general laws of human progressive development, on the other side we want to understand the reality of our nation’s unique creations.68

Yet around the same time he proclaimed in a text discussing the nature of historical knowledge that some aspects of history underlie causality, whereas others are characterized by contingency. This culminates in him concluding that humans should try to influence only those aspects of life

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that do not underlie the laws of causality in order to adapt to the environment and to history: “Therefore history ultimately is without causality; one has to rely on oneself to create causality.” 69 While it remains unclear what exactly he has in mind,70 it is obvious that he opposes any notion of history as a linear, progressive, and teleological development. These doubts about causality and his ultimately ethical definition of the core of Chinese culture develop in the following years into a view of history and ethics that cannot simply be described as either “conservative” or “nationalistic.” In the following years Liu Yizheng develops a more detailed elaboration of the relationship between history and ethics, which integrates earlier positions into a larger, more coherent whole.71 Liu’s concept of an all-encompassing heavenly order72 as the foundation for historical and cultural particularity73 is the key to his theory of ethics and history. This heavenly order is the basis from which ethics (lunli 倫理), human relations (renlun 人倫), and human nature (ren zhi xing 人之性)74 arise. Human relations,75 however, is still a rather abstract notion. These relations find their particular expression in the Five Relations (wulun 五 倫), the rituals (li 禮), and, even more concretely, in the ceremonies (yijie 儀節) and folk customs (minsu 民俗) that are historically constituted and hence the particular expression of the heavenly order.76 From here Liu proceeds in two closely interlinked directions. Firstly, he develops a theory and methodology of history that grants the researcher access to historical phenomena and human thought vastly different from his or her own world, while at the same time empowering him or her to reach via history beyond the particular and back to the universal heavenly order. Secondly, he unfolds a vision of ethics that is firmly rooted in the abstract, universal notion of human relations, while at the same time providing a basis for a particular Chinese identity. The habitual character is, in contrast to the heavenly nature of mankind, the product of history,77 that is, it is particular in time and space. However, as it is the expression of a heavenly order, in which all humans partake, it must be accessible to the historian. Liu thus posits a methodology of research that is based on human empathy (renlei de tongqingxin 人類的同情心) and human rationality of self-understanding (renlei you liaojie ziji de lixing 人類有瞭解自己的理性). However, actual understanding still is understanding of particular habitual character. Pointing beyond theory, Liu adds that respect for each country’s distinct national character (minxing 民性), which can be discerned only via

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historical research, is the basis for mutual understanding and fruitful exchange between cultures.78 But Liu Yizheng reaches beyond the particular. The link back from history to the heavenly order, implicit in his ideas about their relationship, is made explicit by stating that the heavenly order is not directly discernable, but can be perceived only via expressions in the people and their folk customs.79 The close interconnection between a timeless, ethical heavenly order and particular history reveals how we have to understand Liu Yizheng’s aforementioned partial rejection of causality. Liu Yizheng emphasizes that history is characterized by causality (yinguo 因果) and contingency (ouran 偶然). However, the ultimately defining characteristic is contingency, which he identifies as the point of entry for human influence on the course of history, that is, human actions (causes) and their effects in time.80 Causality is thus not an impersonal, quasi-mechanical principle postulating that “whenever A then B.” Liu thus conceptualizes history as the interplay between aspects of human life that are subject to causality and human actions, which in themselves should ref lect the heavenly order. In other words, China’s national culture is the particular manifestation of the heavenly order under the conditions of partial causality, and human actions and their effects. Given this conception of history, it comes as no surprise that Liu Yizheng puts the historian firmly back into a central sociopolitical position. It is the historian who records the words and deeds of human beings and thus provides testimony of human efforts to actualize the heavenly order. The historian focuses on the concrete rites and customs of the people, 81 yet through them he or she gets a glimpse of that order. No wonder then that, according to Liu, the writing of history is always highly political and geared toward application in life.82 Liu embeds this vision of history and the historian’s ethico-political responsibility in the orthodox Song Neo-Confucian interpretation of the Great Learning chapter (daxue 大學) of the Liji 禮記, thus ultimately anchoring it in a concept of personal self-cultivation that goes far beyond the confines of the pure recording of past events. 83 Accordingly, he opposes the pedantry of a purely factoriented, ivory-tower academe,84 and admonishes the historian to engage in moral self-education (xiushen 修身)85 and to contribute to the moral transformation (hua 化)86 of society.87 Turning to ethics and to Liu Yizheng’s more historically concrete references to it reveals how he intends to establish national identity and what vision of politics and modernization he advocates. He claims that

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the Five Relationships and the Three Bonds and Five Constants are, quite in contrast to Western individualism, characterized by cooperation (huzhu 互助).88 They give expression to the core ethical values of moderation (zhong 中), 89 yielding (rang 讓), loyalty (zhong 忠), and piety (xiao 孝).90 It is through rituals (li 禮) as the concrete sociopolitical embodiment of these values that order is established.91 These values and the rituals embodying them constitute the spirit of Chinese culture, and it is their continuity and strength that help to answer the questions concerning the cohesion, assimilative powers, and longevity of Chinese culture that Liu Yizheng had asked.92 Ethics are thus timeless and rooted in a heavenly order, and yet they are also embedded in the national psyche through a long process of sedimentation. They are manifest in Chinese history in a paradigmatic way, constitutive for a particular Chinese identity, and they ultimately even justify Liu’s claims to superiority over the West.93 Liu Yizheng’s peculiar position on ethics and national identity can be further clarified by comparison to Chen Yinke, a contemporary historian, who like Liu defined Confucian ethics as the Chinese national spirit. Chen’s reference to the Three Bonds and Five Constants is thoroughly particularizing them as the heart of Chinese national culture. He makes no attempt to link them back to universal ethics. While he refers to the universality of abstract ideals (chouxiang lixiang zhi tongxing 抽象理想之 通性), these remain vague and abstract. In my interpretation this reference means nothing else but that each culture is committed to abstract ideals, which in substance differ from culture to culture. In contrast to Chen, Liu sees the substance of ethics (lunli) paradigmatically expressed in China in the Five Relations (wulun), which ultimately enables him to take them as a standard to judge other cultures.94 These conceptions are most clearly expressed in Liu’s texts on ethics,95 and it is especially in his research on the history of local selfgovernment in China that the political implications for his own times are disclosed.96 He anchors his analysis in the notion of the rule by virtue (dezhi 德治), a concept he juxtaposes to the rule of law (fazhi 法治), which is characteristic for the individualistic, utilitarian, and egoistic West.97 He clearly acknowledges that China had too little rule by law and now has to adopt some of its aspects, but the basis should remain the rule by virtue. He situates the rule by virtue in the long Chinese tradition of local selfgovernment (xiangzhi 鄉治) starting during high antiquity. Admittedly,

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this tradition was later pushed into the background and sometimes even lost, but it remained the ethical and political standard throughout Chinese history and served as the basis for Liu to relate to modern challenges such as democracy and individualism. Liu refutes the claim that China’s ethical tradition and its emphasis on hierarchical relations are incompatible with the spirit of democracy. He claims that integration into hierarchies takes place in any political system and is part and parcel of human nature.98 Besides, the principle of moderation will make sure that mutual yielding and the spirit of compromise will predominate.99 Addressing criticism of Confucian family ethics by protagonists of the May Fourth Movement, Liu Yizheng claims that ideals such as piety (xiao) have been misinterpreted throughout Chinese history as pertaining only to the family. Rather than limiting piety to the family, Liu wants it to be understood as extending to all of society and serving as the basis for solidarity and the willingness to make sacrifices for the larger collective.100 Contrary to the protagonists of the May Fourth Movement Liu clearly does not see China’s tradition as an obstacle to new political forms.101 He emphasizes that the basis of the polity must remain in the rule by virtue, amended by some elements of the rule by law.102 In fact, he admits that China needs to learn from the West how to strengthen the legal aspects of rule to avoid overly personalistic power relations. All of that, however, has to happen in the localities and should not come from the central modernizing nation-state.103 It is a bottom-up process rooted in a local moral community that very much reminds us of the traditional Confucian ideal of the local covenant and its rule by virtue, an ideal that during the twentieth century also inspired, for example, Liang Shuming 梁漱溟 (1893–1988). Besides, next to adopting some elements of the rule of law, China’s tradition offers sufficient resources akin if not superior to Western models. One example Liu mentions is the control powers of the traditional historiographer, who by recording the words and deeds of the ruler, can counterbalance the emperor’s powers, comparable to the modern Western notion of a division of powers.104

Liu Yizheng: Nation, History, and Ethics A reading of Liu Yizheng in light of the dual horizon as outlined at the beginning of this article will help us to understand his peculiar position. It will enable us to move toward an interpretation of modern Chinese historiography that goes beyond the hitherto well-established patterns of

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286 · Axel Schneider

seeing it in terms of nationalism, professionalization, and modernization under the influence of Western examples. Liu Yizheng’s theory of history reminds us of the long tradition of writing history in China and the ways this tradition has shaped the modern transformation. This process of shaping has to be understood not only in terms of methodological models, such as the tradition of evidential scholarship (kaozheng 考證), but also as ref lecting fundamental assumptions about the nature of history and its position in the larger Chinese cultural framework. It seems to me that one of the, if not the, most fundamental differences between the development of history as a discipline in the modern West and in China is the position of ethics. In the West, historicism drew reason and ethics into history, thus relativizing and undermining them, ultimately leading to a fundamental epistemological and moral crisis, which is in a way at the root of current postmodern concerns. In premodern China, ethics were central to history and history was central to ethics, because it was through history that ethical principles could be grasped. In modern China, ethics were either driven out of history, with the result that modern Chinese understandings of history were comparable to a positivist understanding of history in the West in that all normative judgments were to be excluded from history,105 or, alternately, ethical ideals were conceived of as the final point of a teleological and rather deterministic historical process, thus depriving them of much of their potential for practical guidance, because only in a situation of choice106 can ethical ideals fully unfold this potential.107 It is precisely this elimination or transformation of ethics that Liu Yizheng refuses to accept, a decision that shapes his view and theory of history. Neither a linear history à la Liang Qichao, devoid of ethical value, nor a teleological history that due to the necessity of the envisioned process ultimately seems to deprive human beings of their moral responsibility was acceptable to him. Fully aware of human propensity to evil, he insists that historians have to rely on historically “revealed” standards of the Good to counter what he identifies as the evil trends of (Western) modernity: individualism, utilitarianism, hedonism.108 Does this justify classifying Liu as conservative? Using a concept of classicist conservatism,109 I argue that on the level of basic assumptions about human life Liu Yizheng was a conservative. He opposed the ethical relativism typical for the modern liberal society of the West and its tendency to privatize the Good, as a yardstick for gauging conservatism in the realm of thought and especially ethics.110 Ethics for Liu are rooted

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in the heavenly order and are fundamental to history and historiography. The ethical crisis of late historicism does not play a role for him. He is concerned with timeless ethics. In this, he is similar to modern Western conservatives such as Leo Strauss, yet his position is also fundamentally different in that he does not rely on divine revelation to become aware of the right ethical principles.111 He links back to a tradition of reasoning that assumes that eternal ethical principles are manifested in history and thus accessible to human understanding. Therefore, while Liu does not believe that ethics are drawn into history and hence subverted, they nonetheless continue to reside in history and are thus confirmed. Yet, this conservative resistance does not lead to an outright rejection of all things new and modern, nor does it mean that he returns to a prenationalist approach to writing history. Liu Yizheng departs in many ways from a traditional view of history. He historicizes the Golden Age and turns his attention to the people and the nation as the main protagonists of Chinese history. He relies on the concrete embodiment of ethics in Chinese culture to ground a particular national identity, which at the same time is firmly anchored in universal ideals that are not of Western origin.112 Liu Yizheng writes a new type of history of the culture of the nation using modern concepts such as historical particularity, causality, and progress, albeit at times in a rather truncated way. He also argues in favor of history as a professional, modern academic discipline going beyond traditional distinctions (such as that between Han- and Song learning).113And, last but not least, he is influenced by Western notions of the rule by law and popular sovereignty, albeit projecting these back into the Chinese past and, again, subordinating them to the higher ethical ideal of the rule by virtue.114 In Liu Yizheng’s thought history and ethics are not the same; they have to be carefully distinguished, and yet they are inseparable. Ethics constitute the human condition, but they can be apprehended only via history. History is thus both a gateway to the human condition and the foundation for a particular national identity. It is true and mine, verum and meum. For this reason, I argue that Levenson was wrong in postulating that history is nothing but the locus of an emotional commitment to what happens to be one’s particular life story, while commitment to values ref lects a rational search for truth. Here he might have fallen victim to his Neo-Kantian inspirations, arguing that history is meaningless and value is transcendental. While this Neo-Kantian position might make sense against the background of the profound crisis of historicism

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288 · Axel Schneider

in late-nineteenth-century Europe, which it is supposed to solve, in China it is out of place, because here history had, and for Liu Yizheng continues to have, a different status.115 And what about the nation? Liu writes a national history, but not one of a unified national subject progressing through time. His delineation of the borders of the nation relies on historically manifested culture and yet also points beyond it to a vision of the human condition. He rejects the modern West on the basis of this vision, and yet he also demands respect for the particularity of other cultures. He clearly is trying to strike a balance between his universalistic ethical convictions and his awareness of historically grown particularity. It is thus obvious that Liu’s concept of history does not have to be rescued from the nation.116

EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) - printed on 3/27/2020 11:30 AM via TOWSON UNIVERSITY AN: 2171714 ; Zarrow, Peter Gue, Moloughney, Brian.; Transforming History : The Making of a Modern Academic Discipline in Twentieth-century China Account: towson.main.eds

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Notes 1 2

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Lloyd Kramer, “Historical Narratives and the Meaning of Nationalism,” Journal of the History of Ideas 58.3 (1997): p. 520. Ernst Breisach, Historiography: Ancient, Medieval & Modern, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), chaps. 15 and 16; Donald R. Kelley, Fortunes of History: Historical Inquiry from Herder to Huizinga (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), chap. 7; Jörn Rüsen, Konfigurationen des Historismus, Studien zur deutschen Wissenschaftskultur (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Taschenbuch, 1993); Georg G. Iggers, The German Conception of History; The National Tradition of Historical Thought from Herder to the Present (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1968). For Japan and China during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries see Stefan Tanaka, “Imaging History: Inscribing Belief in the Nation,” Journal of Asian Studies 53.1 (1994): pp. 24–44; Axel Schneider, Wahrheit und Geschichte: Zwei chinesische Historiker auf der Suche nach einer modernen Identität für China (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1997); and Edward Q. Wang, Inventing China through History: The May Fourth Approach to Historiography (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001). The following summary is based on Reinhart Koselleck, “Geschichte, Historie,” in Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe, Historisches Lexikon zur politischsozialen Sprache in Deutschland, ed. Otto Brunner, Werner Conze, and Reinhar t Kosel leck (Stuttgar t: K lett-Cotta, 1975), pp. 593 –717; Rüsen, Konfigurationen des Historismus; Friedrich Jaeger and Jörn Rüsen, Geschichte des Historismus. Eine Einführung (Munich: C.H. Beck, 1992); and Herbert Schnädelbach, Geschichtsphilosophie nach Hegel, Die Probleme des Historismus (Freiburg: Verlag Alber, 1974). Such as philosophy of history in the style of Hegel. On Hegel’s philosophy of history see Otto Pöggeler, Eine Ende der Geschichte? Von Hegel zu Fukuyama (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1995); Otto Pöggeler, Hegels Idee einer Phänomenologie des Geistes (Freiburg: Alber, 1973); Joe McCarney, Hegel on History (London: Routledge, 2000); and Jörg Baberowski, Der Sinn der Geschichte. Geschichtstheorien von Hegel bis Foucault (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 2005), chap. 2. Kelley, Fortunes of History, chap. 9. For Ranke’s historiography see Rüsen, Konfigurationen des Historismus, pp. 18–113; Leonard Krieger, Ranke: The Meaning of History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977); and Georg G. Iggers and James M. Powell, Leopold von Ranke and the Shaping of the Historical Discipline (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1990). Donald R. Kelley, Faces of History: Historical Inquiry from Herodotus to Herder (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), chaps. 9 and 10. Charles R. Bambach, Heidegger, Dilthey, and the Crisis of Historicism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995).

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For a brilliant analysis of Chinese historiography see Yves Chevrier, “La servante-maîtresse: condition de la référence à l’histoire dans l’espace intellectuel chinois,” Extrême-Orient, extrême-occident, Cahiers de recherches comparatives IX no. La référence à l’histoire (1987): pp. 117–44. Chun-chieh Huang, “‘Time’ and ‘Supertime’ in Chinese Historical Thinking,” in Notions of Time in Chinese Historical Thinking, eds. Chunchieh Huang and John Henderson (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2006), pp. 19–41. Evidence for all three positions can be found depending on what we look at. For a strong argument favoring an understanding of traditional Chinese historiography as cyclical see Luke S. K. Kwong, “The Rise of the Linear Perspective on History and Time in Late Qing China c.1860–1911,” Past and Present 173 (2001): pp. 160–65. For discussions of Chinese concepts of time see Chi-yun Chen, “Immanental Human Beings in Transcendent Time: Epistemological Basis of Pristine Chinese Historical Consciousness,” in Huang and Henderson, Notions of Time, pp. 45–73; Julius T. Fraser and Francis C. Haber, eds., Time, Science, and Society in China and the West (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1986); Huang, “‘Time’ and ‘Supertime’”; Chun-chieh Huang and Erik Zürcher, “Cultural Notions of Time and Space in China,” in Time and Space in Chinese Culture, ed. Chun-chieh Huang and Erik Zürcher (Leiden: Brill, 1995), pp. 3–16; Liu Shu-hsien, “Time and Temporality: The Chinese Perspective,” Philosophy East and West 24.2 (1974): pp. 145–53; Liu Shuhsien, “On the Formation of a Philosophy of Time and History through the Yijing,” in Huang and Henderson, Notions of Time, pp. 75–94; Nathan Sivin, “Chinese Conceptions of Time,” Earlham Review 1 (1966): pp. 82–92; Edward Q. Wang, “Time Perception in Ancient Chinese Historiography,” Storia della Storiografia 28 (1995): pp. 69–86. Benjamin I. Schwartz, “History in Chinese Culture—Some Comparative Reflections,” History and Theory, Theme Issue 35, Chinese Historiography in Comparative Perspective (1996): pp. 23–33. See also On Cho Ng and Edward Q. Wang, Mirroring the Past: The Writing and Use of History in Imperial China (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005), esp. chap. 4. Benjamin I. Schwartz, The World of Thought in Ancient China (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1985), esp. chaps. 1 and 2. Sato Masayuki, “The Archetype of History in the Confucian Ecumene,” History & Theory 46 (2007): pp. 218–32. For recent discussions of the nature of Chinese historical thinking see Huang Chun-chieh, “The Defining Character of Chinese Historical Thinking,” History & Theory 46 (2007): pp. 180–88; Jörn Rüsen, “Crossing Cultural Borders: How to Understand Historical Thinking in China and the West,” History & Theory 46 (2007): pp. 189–93; and Q. Edward Wang, “Is There a Chinese Mode of Historical Thinking? A Cross-Cultural Analysis,” History & Theory 46 (2007): pp. 201–9. Given this constitution of the shi 史 it becomes clear that strictly speaking we should not speak of the writing of history or historiography in early

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China, which would imply a somehow subjectivist, auctorial view of the shi, but rather of the recording of history in its process of unfolding. For the History Office see Denis C. Twitchett, The Writing of Official History under the T’ang (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992). See, e.g., the famous story from the Spring and Autumn Annals of Cui Shu killing the grand historiographer for having recorded his assassination of King Zhuang of Qi. See Burton Watson, trans., The Tso Chuan: Selections from China’s Oldest Narrative History, Translations from the Oriental Classics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), p. 147. Chevrier, “La servante-maîtresse.” Given this centrality of history in China it comes as no surprise that quite in contrast to their Western counterparts many modern Chinese intellectuals had a very strong interest in history or even did research in history, such as, e.g., Kang Youwei, Liang Qichao, Zhang Taiyan, Liu Shipei, Hu Shi, Fu Sinian, Gu Jiegang, Chen Duxiu, Li Dazhao, Lu Xun, and Mao Zedong, to mention just a few. History in China was and still is a type of discourse the larger importance of which reaches far beyond the confines it is subject to in a Western context. As a consequence many important debates in China during the 1980s and 1990s were conducted by discussing history or by reevaluating previous historical judgments. See Jonathan Unger, Using the Past to Serve the Present: Historiography and Politics in Contemporary China (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1993). For a recent example see my analysis of the New Guoxue discourse, Axel Schneider, “Bridging the Gap: Attempts at Constructing a ‘New’ HistoricalCultural Identity in the PRC,” East Asian History 22 (2001): pp. 129–44. On the reception of linear time in China see Kwong, “Rise of the Linear Perspective”; Wang Fansen 王汎森, “Jindai Zhonggo de xianxing lishiguan— yi shehui jinhualun wei zhongxin de taolun” 近代中國的線性歷史觀─以社 會進化論為中心的討論, Xin shixue 新史學 19.2 (June 2008): pp. 1–46; Yu Nan 于楠, “Shilun ‘Wusi’ qianhou xueshujie dui ‘jinhua shiguan’ de fanxing—yi Zhang Taiyan, Liang Qichao, Liu Yizheng de shixue sixiang wei li” 試論 「五四」前后學術界對「進化史觀」的反省─以章太炎、梁啟超、柳詒 ⽝的史學思 想為例, Shoudu shifan daxue xuebao (shehui kexueban) 首都師范大學學報 (社 會科學版) 2 (2006): pp. 65–71; Zhang Ying 張英, “Zhongguo jindai jinhua shiguan tanjiu” 中國近代進化史觀探究, Lilun tantao 理論探討 2 (2003): pp. 38–40; Zhang Yue 張越, “Jinhua shiguan dui Zhongguo shixue zhuanxing de cujin he yingxiang” 進化史觀對中國史學轉型的促進和影響, Qiushi xuekan 求是學刊 1 (2003): pp. 111–15.

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Especially influential for this view was the translation of Henry T. Buckle, History of Civilization in England (London: J. W. Parker, 1857). On the influence of this book in China see Li Xiaoqian 李孝遷, Xifang shixue zai Zhongguo de chuanbo (1882–1949) 西方史學在中國的傳播 (1882–1949) (Shanghai: Huadong shifan daxue chubanshe, 2007), chaps. 2 and 3. On the influence of Buckle on Fu Sinian, see Schneider Wahrheit und Geschichte and

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Wang Fansen, Fu Ssu-nien: A Life in Chinese History and Politics (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Ernst Bernheim, Lehrbuch der historischen Methode und der Geschichtsphilosophie (Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1908); Charles Langlois and Charles Seignobos, Introduction aux études historiques (Paris, 1898). For the Chinese translations see Ernst Bernheim and Chen Tao 陳韜, trans., Shixue fangfalun 史學方法論 (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1937), and Charles Langlois, Charles Seignobos, and Li Sichun 李思純, trans., Shixue yuanlun 史學原論 (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1926). On the reception of German historiography in China see Li Xiaoqian, Xifang shixue, chap. 7. On this influential image of Ranke and the extent to which it misrepresents his historiography see Georg G. Iggers, “The Image of Ranke in American and German Historical Thought,” History and Theory 2 (1962): pp. 17–40. On the reception of Ranke in Japan see Stefan Tanaka, Japan’s Orient: Rendering Pasts into History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993) and Margaret Mehl, History and the State in Nineteenth-Century Japan (New York: St. Martin’s, 1998). On Ranke in China see Axel Schneider, “Reconciling History with the Nation?—Historicity, National Particularity, and the Question of Universals,” in Asian Nationalism in an Age of Globalization, ed. Roy Starrs (Surrey: Curzon, 2001), pp. 223–33; and Yi Lan 易蘭, Lanke shixue yanjiu 蘭克史學研究 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe, 2006). Joey Bonner, Wang Kuo-wei: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986); Hermann Kogelschatz, Wang Kuo-wei und Schopenhauer: eine philosophische Begegnung. Wandlung des Selbstverständnisses der chinesischen Literatur unter dem Einfluß der klassischen deutschen Ästhetik (Stuttgart: Steiner Verlag, 1986). Kogelschatz’s monograph hardly touches upon Wang’s historiography; Bonner’s monograph is more of a general intellectual biography. Schneider, Wahrheit und Geschichte. For a Chinese translation see Axel Schneider, Zhenli yu lishi: liang wei Zhongguo shijia dui Zhongguo xiandai rentong de qiusuo 真理與歷史:兩位中國史家對中國現代認同的求索 (Beijing: Shehuikexue wenxian chubanshe, 2008). Jerry Dennerline, Qian Mu and the World of Seven Mansions (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989). This monograph does not delve deeply into Qian’s view and methodology of history. So far only two articles on Liu Yizheng have been published: Brian Moloughney, “Nation, Narrative and China’s New History,” in Starrs, Asian Nationalism in an Age of Globalization, pp. 205–22; Hon Tze-ki, “Cultural Identity and Local Self-Government, a Study of Liu Yizheng’s History of Chinese Culture,” Modern China 30.4 (2004): pp. 506–42. The dissertation by Kuo Ya-pei, “The Crisis of Culture in Modern Chinese Conservatism: The Case of the Critical Review” (Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2002) is still unpublished. For an overview of the historians linked to the school of historical geography under Liu Yizheng see Peng Minghui 彭明輝,

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Lishi dilixue yu xiandai Zhongguo shixue 歷史地理學與現代中國史學 (Taibei: Dongda, 1995). The number of Chinese publications on these historians is substantial; however, even here it is telling that the bulk of publications on them has appeared only since 1992–93. The term conservatism is often used in vague and politicized ways denoting not much more than an ideologically motivated rejection of what is dear to those who use this term to classify others. Many modern Chinese intellectuals that have been labeled as conservative share not much more than a critical attitude toward the May Fourth iconoclasts or—later—the politically dominant revolutionary forces. Any serious use of the concept of conservatism must proceed from a strict definition that is then adjusted in the course of ongoing research. Laurence G. Thompson, Ta T’ung Shu: The One-World Philosophy of K’ang Yu-wei (London: Allen & Unwin, 1958), pp. 37–57; Hsiao Kung-chuan, A Modern China and a New World: K’ang Yu-wei, Reformer and Utopian, 1858 –1927 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1975). Axel Schneider, “Shijie lishi yu lishi xiangdui zhuyi de wenti—1919 nian yihou Liang Qichao de shixue”世界歷史與歷史相對主義的問題─1919年以后 梁啟超的史學, in Schneider, Zhenli yu lishi, pp. 238–59. For an overview of Liu’s life see Sun Yongru 孫永如, Liu Yizheng pingzhuan 柳詒徵評傳 (Nanchang: Baihuazhou wenyi chubanshe, 1993); Wang Xintian 王新田, “Liu Yizheng xiansheng nianpu jianbian” 柳詒徵先生年譜簡編, Zhongguo wenzhe yanjiu tongxun 中國文哲研究通訊 9.4 (1999): pp. 147–55; “Liu Yizheng nianpu jianbian” 柳詒徵年譜簡編, in Qutang xue ji 劬堂學記, ed. Liu Zengfu 柳曾符 and Liu Jia 柳佳 (Shanghai: Shanghai shudian chubanshe, 2002), pp. 346–72; and Hon, “Cultural Identity and Local Self-Government,” pp. 510–15. See Liu Yizheng 柳詒徵, “Zhongguo wenhuashi” 中國文化史, Xueheng zazhi 學 衡雜誌 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, 58, 61, 63, 64, 67, 70, 72, 75 (1926–31). For a summary of the views of this group see Schneider, “Bridging the Gap.” For longer studies see Richard B. Rosen, “The National Heritage Opposition to the New Literature and New Culture Movements of China in the 1920s” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1969); Hou Jian, “Irving Babbitt in China” (Ph.D. diss., State University of New York, 1980); Shen Songqiao 沈松 僑, Xuehengpai yu wusi xin wenhua yundong 學衡派與五四新文化運動 (Taibei: Taida wenshi congkan, 1985); Kuo, “Crisis of Culture.” Liu Yizheng, Lidai shilüe 歷代史略 (Nanjing: Zhongxin shuju, 1902, 1905). ¯ Naka Michiyo 那珂通世, Shina tsushi 支那通史 (Shanghai: Zhongxi shiyin shuju, 1899). Shidi xuebao 史地學報 (Nanjing 1921–26). Guofeng banyuekan 國風半月刊, ed. Liu Yizheng (Nanjing 1932–36). Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, 17th ed., 3 vols. (Taibei: Zhengzhong shuju, 1990); and Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, 2 vols. (Shanghai:

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Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2001). In the following I use the edition in three volumes published in Taiwan in 1990. In the following pages I limit myself due to restrictions of space to an analysis of Liu Yizheng’s theory of history, ethics, and the implications for his vision of Chinese identity and his political ideals. For Liu’s concrete interpretation of Chinese history see in more detail Hon, “Cultural Identity and Local Self-Government”; Kuo, “Crisis of Culture”; and Peng, Lishi dilixue. Collected writings used for his article are Qiao Yanguan 喬衍琯 ed., Liu Yimou xiansheng wenlu 柳翼謀先生文錄 (Taibei: Guangwen shuju, 1970); Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng 柳定生, eds., Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen ji 柳詒徵 史學論文集 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1991); and Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, eds., Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen xuji 柳詒徵史學論文續集 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1991). See e.g. Lawrence A. Schneider, “National Essence and the New Intelligentsia,” in The Limits of Change: Essays on Conservative Alternatives in Republican China, ed. Charlotte Furth (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976), pp. 73–89; Charlotte Furth, “Intellectual Change: From the Reform Movement to the May Fourth Movement, 1895–1920,” in The Cambridge History of China, vol. 12, Part I, Republican China, 1912–1949, ed. John K. Fairbank (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 322–405; Liu Lihong 劉黎紅, “‘Wusi’ shiqi liang zhong zhengli guogu huodong de bijiao”「五四」時期兩種整理國故活動的比較 , Dong fang luntan 東方論壇 3 (2006): pp. 102–7; Bian Xiaoxuan 卞孝萱 and Sun Yongru, “Shixuejia Liu Yizheng de xueshu gongxian yu daode fengfan” 史學家柳詒徵的學術貢獻與道 德風范, Ningbo daxue xuebao (Renwen kexueban) 寧波大學學報 (人文科學版) 3 (1999): pp. 69–74; Wang Xinkai 王信凱, “‘Xueheng’ zhong de ‘Liu Yizheng’” 《學衡》中的「柳詒徵」, Zhongguo lishi xuehui shixue jikan 中國歷史學會史學 集刊 35 (2004): pp. 251–94; for a critique of this classification see Wang Jiafan 王家范, “Liu Yizheng Guoshi yaoyi tanjin” 柳詒徵《國史要義》探津, Shilin 史林 6 (2006): pp. 169–76, 191; and Kuo, “Crisis of Culture,” who puts him in the context of the May Fourth Movement. See Peng, Lishi dilixue; Tian Liang 田亮, “Liu Yizheng de minzu zhuyi shixue sixiang” 柳詒徵的民族主義史學思想, Shixueshi yanjiu 史學史研究 2 (2004): pp. 16–21. For an analysis of Liu’s historiography criticizing the classification as a nationalist without reverting to a interpretation of him as conservative see Hon, “Cultural Identity and Local Self-Government.” Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, p. 13. Hon, “Cultural Identity and Local Self-Government,” pp. 508–9. For Liu’s criticism of a racist, statist, or economist view of history and his definition of China as a civilized (wenming 文明) nation emphasizing justice (zhengyi 正 義) and humanity (rendao 人道), see Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, p. 48. Ibid., vol. 1, p. 13.

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Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 3–9. Liu substantiates this feature of assimilative powers across his monograph by pointing out that Chinese history during the “Medieval Ages” (zhonggu 中古) is a history of the close exchange and mutually enriching interaction between the China and foreign nations (see Hon, “Cultural Identity and Local Self-Government,” pp. 518–20). In this respect his position is close to that of Chen Yinke (see Schneider, Wahrheit und Geschichte). See below for a comparison between Liu and Chen. It is important to keep in mind that while the book was published in serialized form between 1926 and 1931 and then as a monograph in 1928 and 1932, it is based on and goes back to lectures Liu Yizheng gave at National Southeastern University between 1919 and 1921, which were then revised for publication. Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, p. 2; here he uses the expression wu Zhongguo juyou teshu zhi xingzhi 吾中國具有特殊之性質. Other terms used are character of the nation/the people (guominxing 國民性, Zhongguo minxing 中國民性) and character of the nation/the state (guoxing 國性). See Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, pp. 48–50. Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo xiangzhi zhi shangde zhuyi” 中國鄉治之尚德主義, Xueheng zazhi 17, 21, 36, reprinted in Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen xuji, p. 178. He uses the terms minzu jingshen 民族精 神 and minzu xinli 民族心理. See Lawrence A. Schneider, Ku Chieh-kang and China’s New History, Nationalism and the Quest for Alternative Traditions (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971); Wang Fansen, Gushibian yundong de xingqi—yi ge sixsiangshi de fenxi 古史辨運動的興起─一個思想史的分析 (Taibei: Yunchen, 1987); and Peng Minghui, Yigu sixsiang yu xiandai Zhongguo shixue de fazhan 疑古 思想與現代中國史學的發展 (Taibei: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1991) for an analysis of the Gushibian Movement (gushibian yundong 古史辨運動) and the varying interpretations of the history of the Three Dynasties. For descriptions of the debate on the interpretation of the Great Yu between Liu Yizheng and Gu Jiegang, whom Liu criticized for his iconoclastic exaggerations, see Hon Tze-Ki, “Ethnic and Cultural Pluralism: Gu Jiegang’s Vision of a New China in His Studies of Ancient History,” Modern China 22.3 (1996): pp. 315–39, and Hon, “Cultural Identity and Local Self-Government,” pp. 513–14. Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, pp. 26–27; he uses the terms min 民, renmin 人民, and minzu 民族. Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo xiangzhi zhi shangde zhuyi,” pp. 179, 194. He uses terms such as minquan 民權 and minzhi 民治 in the context of discussing local rule. See below for a more detailed discussion. See, e.g., his characterization of the Three Dynasties in Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, p. 110 and note 13. Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 110–16; he uses terms such as zhong 中, zhongdao 中道, zhong 忠, and xiao 孝. Liu also uses the notion of the Golden Mean (zhongyong 中庸)

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296 · Axel Schneider

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for criticizing modern notions of historical progress (see below and Hon, “Cultural Identity and Local Self-Government,” p. 524). Liu Yizheng, “Ming lun” 明倫, Xueheng zazhi 26 (1924): pp. 1–5; Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo wenhua xibei zhi shangque” 中國文化西被之商榷, Xueheng zazhi 27 (1924), reprinted in Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen xuji, pp. 224–30, 228. This position very much seems to be in line with common conservative stock of the early 1920s; see Guy Alitto, The Last Confucian: Liang Shu-ming and the Chinese Dilemma of Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979); Guy Alitto, Wenhua shoucheng zhuyi lun 文化守成主義論 (Taibei: Shibao wenhua chuban shiye youxian gongsi, 1986); Furth, Limits of Change. There is by now a plethora of Chinese publications on conservatism. See, e.g., Zheng Dahua 鄭大華, Liang Shuming yu Hu Shi: wenhua baoshou zhuyi yu xihua sichao de bijiao 梁漱溟与胡適:文化保 守主義與西化思潮的比較 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1994); Yu Dahua 喻大華, Wan-Qing wenhua baoshou sichao yanjiu 晚清文化保守思潮研究 (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 2001); Liao Mei 廖梅, Wang Kangnian: cong minquanlun dao wenhua baoshou zhuyi 汪康年:從民權論到文化保守主義 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2001); He Xiaoming 何曉明, Fanben yu kaixin: jindai Zhongguo wenhua baoshou zhuyi xinlun 反本與開新:近代中國文化保守 主義新論 (Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 2006); Liu Lihong, Wusi wenhua baoshou zhuyi sichao yanjiu 五四文化保守主義研究 (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 2006). Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, Xulun 1; he uses the expressions renlei yanjin zhi tongze 人類演進之通則 and ming wu min duzao zhi zhenji 明 吾民獨造之真際. Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 1 and 97 (yinguo 因果). Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 27, 36, 41, etc. (jinhua 進化). Ibid., vol. 1, p. 423 (jinbu 進步) and vol. 1, p. 421 (yanjin 演進). Ibid., vol. 1, p. 41, on p. 99 he uses the term jinhua zhi lü 進化之律. Liu Yizheng employs the typically modern, Western tripartite division of history, which he had adopted from his early Japanese models (shanggu 上古, zhonggu 中古, jinshi 近世). On this topic see, e.g., Moloughney, “Nation, Narrative and China’s New History,” Hon, “Cultural Identity and Local SelfGovernment,” p. 516. Together with his classical style of writing this is probably the main reason why he often is classified as “conservative.” See e.g. Liu Yizheng, “Xiushi siyi” 修史私議 , Shidi xuebao 1.4 (1922), reprinted in Qiao Yanguan, Liu Yimou xiansheng wenlu, pp. 191–96; Liu Yizheng, “Ping Lu Maode Zhou-Qin zhexueshi” 評陸懋德周秦哲學史, Xueheng zazhi 29 (1924), reprinted in Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen xuji, pp. 231–42; Liu Yizheng, “Lishi zhi zhishi” 歷史 之知識, Shidi xuebao 3.7 (1925): pp. 19–21, reprinted in Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen ji, pp. 80–84; Liu Yizheng, Shixue gailun 史學概論, reprinted in Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, Liu Yizheng

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Nation, History, and Ethics · 297 shixue lunwen ji, pp. 97–117; Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo shixue zhi shuanggui” 中國史學之雙軌, Shixue yu dixue 史學與地學 1 (1926): pp. 3–6, reprinted in Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen ji, pp. 92–96; Liu Yizheng, “Kongxue guanjian” 孔學管見, Guofeng banyuekan 1.3 (1932): pp. 11–19; Liu Yizheng, “Duiyu Zhongguo wenhua zhi guanjian” 對于中國文化之 管見, Guofeng banyuekan 4.7 (1934): pp. 1–9; Liu Yizheng, “Jiang guoxue yi xian jiang shixue” 講國學宜先講史學, Guangbo zhoukan 廣播周刊 25 (1935), reprinted in Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen ji, pp. 492–503; Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo lisushi fafan” 中國禮俗史發凡 , Xueyuan 學原 1.1 (1947), reprinted in Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen xuji, pp. 610–51; Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi 國史要義 (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1948); Liu Yizheng, “Yu qingnian lun dushi” 與青年論讀史, reprinted in Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen ji, pp. 549–59. 59 I.e., material improvements and changes as well as sociopolitical structures getting more and more complicated. Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, pp. 57, 59. For a later repetition of this view see Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, p. 35. 60 Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, p. 2. 61 Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo xiangzhi zhi shangde zhuyi,” esp. p. 198. 62 Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, p. 50. Liu speaks of the sedimentation of these ideals in the national psyche (minzu xinli 民族心理), national spirit (minzu jingshen 民族精神; Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo xiangzhi zhi shangde zhuyi,” p. 178), or the character of the people (minxing 民性; Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, p. 48). 63 Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo xiangzhi zhi shangde zhuyi,” p. 198. He identifies these as the rule by virtue (dezhi 德治) realized in the tradition of local selfgovernment (xiangzhi 鄉治) as opposed to the rule by law (fazhi 法治) typical for Western countries. For more details see below. 64 Lu Maode 陸懋德, Zhou-Qin zhexueshi 周秦哲學史 (n.p., Jinghua yinshuju, 1923), reviewed by Liu Yizheng, “Ping Lu Maode Zhou-Qin zhexueshi”, reprinted in Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen xuji, pp. 231–42. 65 Liu Yizheng, “Ping Lu Maode Zhou-Qin zhexueshi,” pp. 233, 236, 239–42; see also Yu Nan, “Shilun ‘Wusi,’” pp. 69–71. 66 Liu Yizheng, “Ping Lu Maode Zhou-Qin zhexueshi,” p. 240. In another text from 1924 Liu links this reasoning directly to his evaluation of the West, its individualistic culture, and the theory of evolution, which fosters competition and fight for naked survival, ultimately leading to Word War I. See Liu Yizheng, “Ming lun,” pp. 1–5. 67 Liu Yizheng, “Ping Lu Maode Zhou-Qin zhexueshi,” pp. 240–41. 68 Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, p. 1. 69 Liu Yizheng, “Lishi zhi zhishi,” p. 84. 70 For a concluding appraisal of his notion of causality see below.

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Relevant texts are Liu Yizheng, “Kongxue guanjian”; Liu Yizheng, “Duiyu Zhongguo wenhua zhi guanjian”; Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo lisushi fafan”; Liu Yizheng, “Yu qingnian lun dushi”; and his late magnum opus Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi. For reasons of space in the following I present a systematic picture of Liu’s final position abstracting from the development over time of this position starting in the mid- to late 1920s and culminating in the publication of his Main Principles of National History (Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi). The terms that belong to the wider field of terms denoting universal features are heavenly nature (tianxing 天性; Liu Yizheng, “Lishi zhi zhishi,” p. 81, Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, p. 10), heavenly order (tianxu 天序 or tianran zhi zhixu 天然之秩序 also equated to tianli 天理; Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, pp. 10–11; and Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo lisushi fafan,” p. 624), and, applied to the issue of human nature, fundamental character (benxing 本性; Liu Yizheng, “Lishi zhi zhishi,” p. 81). The terms that belong to the wider field of terms denoting particularity (texing 特性; Liu Yizheng, “Lishi zhi zhishi,” p. 81) are particular character (teshu zhi xingzhi 特殊之性質; Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, p. 2), distinct character (biexing 別性), habitual character (xixing 習性; Liu Yizheng, “Lishi zhi zhishi,” p. 81), folk custom (minsu 民俗; Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, p. 10), character of the people/national character (minxing; Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, p. 50), and character of the nation (guominxing 國民性; Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, p. 48). Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, Bianyan, p. 2. Interchangeably he uses the terms Five Relationships (wulun 五倫) and at times the already more concrete Three Bonds and Five Constants (sangang wuchang 三綱五常 or gangchang 綱常; see Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, p. 11). Liu Yizheng, “Duiyu Zhongguo wenhua zhi guanjian,” p. 8, Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, pp. 10–11; see also Zheng Shiqu 鄭師渠, “‘Gujin shi wu shu, dongxi ji qi liang’—lun Xuehengpai de wenhuaguan”「古今事無殊,東西迹豈 兩」─ 論學衡派的文化觀 , Jindaishi yanjiu 近代史研究 4 (1998): pp. 55–88, esp. p. 62. Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo xiangzhi zhi shangde zhuyi”; Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, chap. 10; see also Wang Jiafan, “Liu Yizheng Guoshi yaoyi tanlü,” p. 175. Liu Yizheng, “Lishi zhi zhishi,” pp. 80–81. Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, p. 10. Liu Yizheng, “Lishi zhi zhishi,” p. 83. Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, pp. 9, 218; see also Wang Jiafan, “Liu Yizheng Guoshi yaoyi tanlü,” p. 174 Liu Yizheng, “Lishi zhi zhishi,” p. 83; Liu Yizheng, “Shu she” 述社, Xueheng zazhi 54 (1926), reprinted in Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen xuji, pp. 273–89; Liu Yizheng, “Yu mou jun lun yanjiu Zhongguo jingjishi zhi fangfa” 與某君論研究中國經濟史之方法, Shixue zazhi

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Nation, History, and Ethics · 299 史學雜誌 1.4 (1929): pp. 1–6, reprinted in Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen xuji, pp. 335–43; Liu Yizheng, “Yu qingnian lun dushi,” esp. pp. 558–59; see also Wang Jiafan, “Liu Yizheng Guoshi yaoyi tanlü,” p. 171. 83 Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, Bianyan, pp. 1–3. The Bianyan was added to the 1947 edition, but from other texts of the 1920s we can see that he advocated similar positions already during the 1920s; see, e.g., Liu Yizheng, “Ming lun.” 84 Liu thus argues against pure evidential scholarship (kaoju 考據); see Liu Yizheng, “Gu shi xueshu, fu Chen Di ‘Maoshi guyin kaoxue,’” Xueheng zazhi e5 (1922), reprinted in Liu Zengfu and Liu Dingsheng, Liu Yizheng shixue lunwen xuji, pp. 20–34, 22. 85 Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, chap. 5; see also Wang Jiafan, “Liu Yizheng Guoshi yaoyi tanlü,” p. 172. 86 On Liu Yizheng’s transformative notion of “culture” (wenhua 文化) see Hon, “Cultural Identity and Local Self-Government,” pp. 518–20. 87 Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo xiangzhi zhi shangde zhuyi”; Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, Bianyan, pp. 2–3; Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, chap. 7; see also Wang Jiafan, “Liu Yizheng Guoshi yaoyi tanlü,” p. 175. 88 Liu Yizheng, “Ming lun.” 89 He defines “China” Zhongguo 中國 as wenming zhi guo 文明之國, i.e., as country that is civilized because of zhong; see Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, p. 50. 90 Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 109–16. 91 Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, p. 18, see Hon, “Cultural Identity and Local SelfGovernment,” pp. 524, 528–29. On the importance of rituals in the Confucian concept of society see Patricia Buckley Ebrey, Confucianism and Family Rituals in Imperial China: A Social History of Writing about Rites (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991). This once again reveals why for Liu Yizheng rituals are at the heart of Chinese historiography. See Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, p. 5. 92 Liu Yizheng, “Kongxue guanjian”; Zheng Shiqu, “Xuehengpai shixue sixiang chutan” 學衡派史學思想初探, Beijing shifan daxue xuebao (shehui kexueban) 北京師范大學學報 (社會科學版) 4 (1998): pp. 31–38. 93 Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo xiangzhi zhi shangde zhuyi,” pp. 228–29. 94 For a detailed analysis of Chen Yinke’s historiography see Axel Schneider, “Between Dao and History: Two Chinese Historians in Search of a Modern Identity for China,” History and Theory Theme Issue 35, Chinese Historiography in Comparative Perspective (1996): pp. 54–73; Schneider, Wahrheit und Geschichte. 95 Liu Yizheng, “Ming lun.” 96 Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo xiangzhi zhi shangde zhuyi”; Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 3, pp. 229–45; Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo lisushi fafan.”

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102 103 104 105 106 107

108 109

Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo wenhua xibei zhi shangque,” pp. 224–30, 228–29; see also Wang Jiafan, “Liu Yizheng Guoshi yaoyi tanlü,” p. 174. Liu Yizheng, “Ming lun.” On Liu’s notion of China as a culture of moderation as contrasted to the West as a culture of extremes, see Hon, “Cultural Identity and Local SelfGovernment,” pp. 523–25. Liu Yizheng, Zhongguo wenhuashi, vol. 1, pp. 114–15. He contrasts popular rule (minzhi 民治) to bureaucratic rule (guanzhi 官制), which according to Liu is at the root of China’s moral decline. See Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo xiangzhi zhi shangde zhuyi,” p. 194. Liu uses in other places the term popular rights (minquan 民權) with a negative connotation as opposed to the positive popular rule; see Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo xiangzhi zhi shangde zhuyi,” p. 179. On his experience in village self-government during the New Policy period of the last decade of the Qing dynasty, see Hon, “Cultural Identity and Local Self-Government,” pp. 527–31. Liu Yizheng, “Zhongguo xiangzhi zhi shangde zhuyi,” pp. 202–3. Ibid., pp. 222–23. Liu Yizheng, Guoshi yaoyi, chaps. 2 and 7; see also Wang Jiafan, “Liu Yizheng Guoshi yaoyi tanlü,” p. 174. An example of such exclusion is Fu Sinian’s theory of history during the 1920s and 30s; see Schneider, “Between Dao and History.” Choice presupposes the acknowledgment that humans are capable of both, acting good and evil. This tension, already encapsulated in Marx’s view of history, became even more obvious in the way Chinese Marxists appropriated it. See Frederic E. Wakeman, History and Will: Philosophical Perspectives of Mao Tse-tung’s Thought (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973). See Alitto, Wenhua shoucheng zhuyi lun for an analysis of the binary logic of many cultural conservatives. As stated above conservatism is a concept notoriously difficult to define. As a historian of ideas I operate with a distinction of two types of conservatism: classicist and historicist conservatism. Classicist conservatives argue that there exists a set of timeless and universal moral standards that although can be apprehended, cannot be altered and adjusted to human needs or desires. On the contrary, the human condition is defined by these standards. They point out that the essence of these ethical standards is to exert selfcontrol, to control one’s desires, to value duty, and to act in such a way as to further the interests of the collective and not of the individual. However, these aims cannot be enforced or ensured via some grand sociopolitical design. The most human beings can do is to set up sociopolitical structures that are to a certain extent conducive to the realization of these standards. However, due to the limitations of the human mind and the inherent fallibility of human beings, this is facing serious limitations and will time and

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Nation, History, and Ethics · 301 again face failure. Historicist conservatives, however, start out from the assumption that all human institutions are historically relative. They argue that universal standards such as those proclaimed by their classicist contemporaries may perhaps exist; however, they cannot be apprehended. Human beings should thus rather rely on particular, historically grown traditions. They should inherit, continue, and further develop tradition, i.e., the wisdom of the forefathers. For a more detailed analysis see Axel Schneider, “The One and the Many: A Classicist Reading of China’s Tradition and Its Role in the Modern World,” in Zhongguo wenxue lishi yu sixiang zhong de guannian bianqian guoji xueshu yantaohui lunwenji 中國文學歷史與思想中的 觀念變遷國際學術研討會論文集 (Taibei: Taiwan daxue wenxueyuan, 2005), pp. 311–73. On conservatism in general see Karl Mannheim, Strukturen des Denkens Karl Mannheim, ed. David Kettler and Volker Meja (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1980); Karl Mannheim, Konservatismus: ein Beitrag zur Soziologie des Wissens, ed. David Kettler and Volker Meja (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1984); Karl Mannheim, Conservatism, a Contribution to the Sociology of Knowledge by Karl Mannheim, ed. David Kettler (London: Routledge Kegan Paul, 1986); David Y. Allen, “Modern Conservatism: The Problem of Definition,” Review of Politics 43.4 (1981): pp. 582–603; Jerry Z. Muller, “What Is Conservative Social and Political Thought?” in Conservatism, An Anthology of Social and Political Thought from David Hume to the Present, ed. Jerry Z. Muller (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), pp. 3–31; John Kekes, “What Is Conservatism?” Philosophy 72 (1997): pp. 351–74; Martin Greiffenhagen, “Das Dilemma des Konservatismus,” in Konservatismus, ed. H. G. Schumann (Köln, 1974), pp. 156–98; Isaiah Berlin, “The CounterEnlightenment,” in The Proper Study of Mankind: An Anthology of Essays, ed. Isaiah Berlin (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998), pp. 243–68. For good overviews of American and German conservatism see Clinton Lawrence Rossiter, Conservatism in America, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982) and Klaus Epstein, The Genesis of German Conservatism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1966). 110 To use an expression and concept coined by Alistair MacIntyre. See Alasdair MacIntyre, Donald P. Kommers, and W. David Solomon, “The Privatization of Good: An Inaugural Lecture,” Review of Politics 52.3 (1990): pp. 344–77. 111 Ted V. McAllister, Revolt against Modernity: Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, and the Search for a Postliberal Order (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006). 112 Naoki Sakai has convincingly argued that for late-developing nations emphasizing national particularity more often than not means subjecting oneself to Western universality; see Naoki Sakai, “Modernity and Its Critique: The Problem of Universalism and Particularism,” in Translation & Subjectivity: On “Japan” and Cultural Nationalism, ed. Naoki Sakai (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), pp. 153–76.

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302 · Axel Schneider 113 Luo Zhitian 羅志田, Guojia yu xueshu: Qing ji Min chu guanyu ‘guoxue’ de sixiang lunzheng 國家與學術:清季民初關于「國學」的思想論證 (Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 2003), p. 376. 114 Whether these modern elements, some of which are clearly influenced by nationalism, whereas others ref lect the changed thinking about politics, would have been adequate for solving China’s problems in case Liu would have had a chance to put them into practice, is a question that is beyond the scope of this article. 115 For Levenson’s position on history and value see Joseph R. Levenson, “‘History’ and ‘Value’: The Tensions of Intellectual Choice in Modern China,” in Studies in Chinese Thought, ed. Arthur F. Wright (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), pp. 146–94; Joseph R. Levenson, Liang Ch’ i-ch’ao and the Mind of Modern China (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953). For an analysis of the Neo-Kantian position on history in the context of the crisis of historicism see Bambach, Heidegger, Dilthey, and the Crisis of Historicism. For the potential Neo-Kantian background of Levenson’s thought see Axel Schneider 施耐德, “Shijie lishi yu lishi xiangdui zhuyi de wenti—1919 nian yihou Liang Qichao de shixue” 世界歷 史與歷史相對主義的問題─1919年以后梁啟超的史學, in Schneider, Zhenli yu lishi, pp. 238–59. 116 Cf. the position of Prasenjit Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995) on this issue, who presents a rather one-sided picture of modern Chinese historical thinking.

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Chapter 10

Marking the Boundaries: The Rise of Historical Geography in Republican China Tze-ki Hon

In current scholarship, the founding of academic disciplines is widely accepted as a benchmark for Chinese modernity. For many scholars, the specialization in the academy is a potent symbol of China being connected to the global network of scientific and scholarly research.1 Yet, until today, there has been no agreement on when, how, and under what circumstances historical geography was established. Part of the disagreement is the meaning of “historical geography” (lishi dili 歷史地理). It is unclear whether historical geography is a continuation of traditional cartography and ethnography, or whether it is a new concept completely different from “chronological geography” (yange dili 沿革地理) of the dynastic periods. Another controversy centers on the relationship between historical geography and “geography” (dili 地理). In the early twentieth century, geography was understood as a broad system of learning including a variety of subfields such as geology, meteorology, mining, oceanography, population studies, seismology, transportation, and topography. It is unclear how history—a discipline in humanity— can be linked to these natural scientific inquiries. Thus, two different views emerge in dating the founding of historical geography. One view focuses on the “New Policy” period (1901–11) when the late Qing government established a national school system that included historical geography as an academic discipline. 2 Stressing the continuity between tradition and modernity, the supporters of this view share Laura Hostetler’s view that the Qing geographical studies were sufficiently modern because “the techniques of expansion that the Qing employed, and the epistemology behind these techniques, were similar to those that shaped early modern European expansion.”3 As a result, these scholars find nothing new in modern Chinese historical geography except

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that it created a collective identity among scholars who study historical geography.4 Seen in this light, the founding of historical geography is primarily an institutional innovation. Specifically it involves three institutional changes: (1) the recognition of historical geography as an independent academic discipline in the national school system, (2) the professionalization of historical geographers in the academy, and (3) the standardization of methods and skills in studying historical geography.5 Together, these institutional changes create “a community of geographers” (dilixue gongtong ti 地理學共同體) who strive to preserve and protect their professional interests by organizing academic societies, publishing journals, and hosting conferences.6 Whereas in the first view the founding of historical geography was closely tied to the establishment of the national school system, in the second view it was the immediate product of the May Fourth New Culture Movement. Focusing on the 1920s and 1930s, the supporters of the second view consider tradition and modernity as a dichotomy. In the field of historical geography, the dichotomy manifests in the division between chronological geography and historical geography.7 For them, chronological geography serves the dynastic rulers through “the reconstruction of historical conditions, as described in the geographical treatises sponsored by past dynasties.”8 It concerns the changes of national territories and administrative divisions through philological studies of texts.9 In contrast, historical geography is “a science, and in some cases, a natural science.”10 On the one hand, it is “the search for alternative interpretations about China’s past” based on Western scientific theories and methods; on the other hand, it is “the preservation of China’s cultural heritage” based on critical examinations of Chinese historical data and documents.11 Described by Tang Xiaofeng as “from dynastic geography to historical geography,” the scientific approach represents a paradigmatic change in perspective toward geography.12

Historical Geography and the System of Nation-States Inspiring as they are, these two views—one emphasizing institutional innovation and the other intellectual transformation—ignore one important aspect of modern Chinese historical geography. As Marwyn Samuels points out, historical geography is a form of human self-definition

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“mediated through time (history) and defined in space (geography).”13 The purpose of this self-definition, Samuels continues, is to delineate “our place in the world,” showing an image of what we want ourselves to be known to people around the globe.14 Understanding historical geography this way, the founding of the discipline in modern China was more than satisfying the needs for the national school system, creating a collective identity among geographers, or introducing modern scientific skills and methods. It was an attempt to present a self-image of China to the world. Since the seventeenth century, the world has been shaped by a nationstate system. A defining characteristic of this system is that it is driven by the twin logics of territorialism and capitalism.15 When a nation-state pursues land, it is also looking for ways to accumulate capital. Conversely, when a nation-state is intended to accumulate capital, acquiring land is an effective way to amass a large amount of wealth swiftly. As a mode of learning about the intersection of time and space, historical geography is especially effective in addressing the twin logics of territorialism and capitalism. On the one hand, historical geography explains how a nationstate evolves in time as a collective entity of wealth and power; on the other hand, it defines the sovereignty of a nation-state by mapping its boundaries in space.16 In the former, historical geography infuses a sense of historical necessity into the formation and expansion of the nationstate, identifying the nation-state as the legitimate “container of power” over its people and land. In the latter, historical geography delineates what Thongchai Winichakul calls “the geo-body” of the nation-state, validating its boundary, territorial sovereignty, and margin with a vision of the past.17 Similar in other countries, the founding of historical geography in China occurred during the time when the country was incorporated into the nation-state system, namely, the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century.18 Its rise in the academy coincided with the Chinese struggle in defining their position in a world dominated by Western powers such as Britain, France, and the United States. Above all, it became a prominent academic discipline when the Chinese were desperately defending their country from the Japanese invasion. In short, throughout the first four decades of the twentieth century, historical geography was part and parcel of China’s self-definition in the world system of nation-states undergirded by the twin logics of territorialism and capitalism. In what follows, I will trace the development of historical geography in modern China by comparing three journals: Dixue zazhi 地學雜誌

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306 · Tze-ki Hon

(Journal of Geographical Studies, 1910–37), Shidi xuebao 史地學報 (Journal of Historical Geography, 1921–26), and Yugong banyuekan 禹貢半月刊 (Chinese Historical Geography, 1934–37). The comparison will show that, among other things, the three journals represent three important moments in China’s self-definition in the nation-state system. In the 1910s when Zhang Xiangwen 張相文 (1866–1933) founded the first Chinese geographic organization, Zhongguo dixue hui 中國地學會 (Chinese Geographical Society) in Beijing, and published the first Chinese geographical journal, Dixue zazhi, China was in the process of adopting what Martin W. Lewis and Kären E. Wigen called “the myth of the nation-state.” It is a myth because it assumes that “cultural identities (nations) coincide with political sovereign entities (states) to create a series of internally unified and essentially equal units.”19 However, having suffered many foreign defeats since the Opium War, many Chinese concluded that forming a nation-state was the only way for China to survive in the age of imperialism and colonialism. Its shortcomings notwithstanding, nation-state was a “measurement of civilization” in the early twentieth century, and China had no choice but to adopt the political form in order to join the “civilized community.”20 In the 1920s, disillusioned by the Versailles Settlement of 1919, which gave the former German colonies in Shandong to the Japanese, the Chinese ended what Xu Guoqi calls “an age of innocence” in international relations.21 Rather than aspiring to be a member of the “civilized community” by adopting Western political and social systems, the Chinese discovered that the nation-state system was an exclusive club dominated by Western imperialist powers eager to protect their own interests at all costs. During the five years (1921–26) when Shidi xuebao was published in Nanjing, the Chinese realized that Westernization alone would not win them recognition in international affairs. Instead, they focused on recovering national sovereignty through diplomatic maneuvers and treaty negotiations. 22 They knew that the nation-state system was controlled by a small number of Western powers, but they still believed that the system was legally fair when dealing with questions of national sovereignty. In the 1930s, as the threat of the Japanese encroachment intensified, the Chinese changed yet again their perspective on the nation-state system. Instead of viewing the nation-state system as an advanced stage of human evolution, they saw it as the tool of imperialist powers to dominate the world. As Prasenjit Duara points out, this shift from evolution to

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geo-body in the Chinese view of the world fueled an anti-imperialist nationalism in China, giving rise to fervent calls to protect Chinese territorial sovereignty.23 In the 1930s, no other academic journal expressed the anti-imperialist nationalism more clearly and forcefully than Yugong banyuekan, which publicly condemned the Japanese occupation of Manchuria and urged the Chinese to protect their country with blood. As we shall see, the founding of historical geography in early-twentieth-century China was closely related to the Chinese changing perceptions of the nation-state system. When the Chinese understood the nation-state system as a hierarchy in time for human evolution, historical geography was a study of how China would join the community of nation-states by catching up with the West politically, socially, and culturally. When the Chinese understood the nation-state system as a hierarchy in space for acquiring wealth and land, historical geography became a study of territorial sovereignty and the nation’s resources. Certainly, similar to the twin logics of territorialism and capitalism, these two views of historical geography were not mutually exclusive, and in many instances they overlapped, coexisted, and were interdependent. However, at a given moment, the relationship between the two views varied due to domestic political concerns and international relations. Sometimes, one view was dominant over the other; at other times, the two views appeared together in a locked conflict. Yet, despite the different relationships between a hierarchy in time and a hierarchy in space, the changes to the Chinese view demonstrate that historical geography in Republican China was not only an academic discipline or a professional identity but also a Chinese self-definition in the nation-state system.

The Age of Imperialism and Colonialism When the compound noun lishi dili (historical geography) first appeared in China in the early 1900s, it was already a product of what Lydia Liu calls a “translingual practice.”24 Both lishi (history) and dili (geography) appeared in ancient Chinese texts, meaning, respectively, the chronicle of the past and an account of administrative regions and waterways. During the Qing, the two terms were used separately in government-sponsored collections such as the Siku quanshu 四庫全書 (The Complete Collection of the Four Treasuries), with dili being subsumed under lishi.25 But in Meiji Japan, the two Chinese terms were joined together to denote a

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308 · Tze-ki Hon

modern academic discipline, rikishi chiri, that delineated the boundary and sovereignty of the nascent Japanese nation.26 The new term gained currency in China when the late Qing government adopted it to refer to an academic subject in the new national school system. In two official documents that spelled out the details of the school system—Qinding xuetang zhangcheng 欽定學堂章程 (School Regulations by Imperial Order, 1902) and Zouding xuetang zhangcheng 奏定學堂章程 (Approved School Regulations, 1904)—historical geography was listed as a required course in primary schools, secondary schools, and universities. The goal of the course was to instill among students “a sense of identity with the nation” and to transform them into “citizens of the nation.”27 Thus, from the beginning, historical geography was closely linked to state making and nation building. Unlike its dynastic predecessors, historical geography was not aimed at a small group of government officials who needed information to carry out their administrative duties. Instead, it targeted millions of students in the national school system who received training to be responsible citizens of the nation. As a new form of knowledge in the age of nationalism, historical geography was a tool for an expansion of state power into the sphere of education. As a new academic discipline in the national school system, it narrated the nation, mapped the nation’s geo-body, and promoted a national identity among young students.28 In one of the early textbooks, Zhongguo dili jiaokeshu 中國地理教科書 (Textbook for Chinese Geography, 1905) of Liu Shipei 劉師培 (1884–1919), we have a clear example of how historical geography helped to promote nationalism. Written for upper classmen in primary schools and firstyear students in secondary schools, Liu’s textbook began with a discussion of China’s location. China is located in the southeast of Asia. In the south it begins at latitude 18° 13' N, and in the north at latitude 53° 50' N. In the east it starts at longitude 18° 15' E measured from the east of Beijing, and in the west longitude 42° 11' E. From north to south, its length is more than 7,100 li. From east to west, its length is more than 8,800 li. Its total size is 3,262,882 square li. It is indeed the biggest country in Asia.29

Although ending with a self-congratulatory note about China being the “biggest country in Asia,” Liu’s discussion of China’s location was a sharp break from the imperial tianxia 天下 world order. Rather than presenting China as the center of a multileveled tributary system and the protector

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of its dependent states,30 Liu employed standard geographic coordinates to locate his country, implying that China’s location is relative to that of others. As a nation, Liu suggested, China is not superior to any country. To further clarify his point, Liu continued with a detailed description of China’s boundaries and its neighbors: In the east, China is surrounded by Bo Hai, the Yellow Sea and the Eastern Sea, facing Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. In the southeast, China is surrounded by the Southern Sea. In the south, it is connected with Annam, Laos, and Burma. In the southwest, it is linked to India. . . . In the west, it is joined with the Himalayas and Russian Central Asia. In the north, it is linked to the Russian Siberia. In the northeast, it is connected with the Russian Eastern Sea region and Korea.31

Using deserts, mountains, and oceans as natural markers, Liu located China’s boundaries in all directions. But unlike the previous paragraph, the purpose of this mapping of boundary was not to show the huge size of China, but to describe the location of sovereign countries surrounding the Chinese borders. On the list of sovereign countries, Liu included former Chinese territory (e.g., Taiwan) and erstwhile tributary states (e.g., Korea and Annam). Although not explicitly stated, Liu accepted the Westphalia sovereign-state system wherein autonomy and territory are based on mutual recognition and legal agreements among states.32 Five years later, in 1910, it was this Westphalia sovereign-state system that was the main focus of the journal Dixue zazhi. The journal was published by the Chinese Geographical Society, and its goal was to address China’s problems in the nation-state system. In their pronouncement of publishing the journal, the leaders of the Chinese Geographical Society explained their position toward the nation-state system, which had become competitive and unequal.33 Human beings make a living from the land, and continue on from generation to generation by creating a nation-state. With the intensification in competition, [many nation-states] have no choice but to expand their territories by invading others. As a result, a nation gains and loses its lands as a result of the rise and fall of its power. Depending on its efforts and achievements, a nation would gain a hundred li in a day, or lose a hundred li in a day. . . . It is part of the universal principle (gongli 公理) of the natural selection of the fittest.34

While the leaders of the Chinese Geographical Society plainly admitted that the expansion of territory had been a common practice among

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powerful nation-states to acquire resources, they saw the expansion of territory as a “universal principle” that ref lected the rise and fall of nations’ power. Seen in this light, the territorial boundary of a nationstate is never fixed, and it changes in accordance with the rise and fall of national power. For strong nations, they will expand their territory by invading others. For less weak nations, they will lose territory because of their lack of power to protect their lands. Thus, for leaders of the Chinese Geographical Society, imperialist expansion and colonial rule are reflections of the power of advanced nations, rather than unfair violations of others’ territory sovereignty.35 Viewing imperialism and colonialism from the perspective of power relations, the leaders of the Chinese Geographical Society had a unique view of China’s problems since the Opium War. In recent decades, imperialist powers crossed the oceans to acquire new territories and to expand their races. Despite China’s huge size and its rich natural resources, we have suffered setbacks in diplomacy in facing the strong enemies and have had numerous problems on the border. At this time, even if we decide to clearly mark our boundaries and vigorously defend them, we will not be able to do so. Alas, when a lazy farmer does not work on his lands, his neighbors will come to use them; when an old fisherman falls asleep after a drink, other fishermen will come to steal his nets. In our time, all of us are in a sinking ship and gathered under a fallen roof. Without choice, we must take action to respond to our times.36

Instead of condemning the Western imperialist powers for aggression and expansion, the leaders of the Chinese Geographical Society put the blame on the Chinese. They criticized them for not knowing the fierce competition that characterized the modern age. Likening the Chinese to a lazy farmer and a drunken fisherman, they admonished them for failing to compete with Western powers. Living in an age of imperialism and colonialism, they asserted, the Chinese had no other alternative but to join the global competition for lands and resources by modernizing their political and social systems.

The Study of the Earth To call on the Chinese to join the global competition, the leaders of the Chinese Geographical Society described the goals of their journal as follows:

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Marking the Boundaries · 311 The journal will focus on the rise and fall of the level of production in China, the increase and decrease in the amount of goods it produces, and the continuity and changes in its territorial boundaries. It will put emphasis on international relations, followed by satisfying the pedagogical needs in school.37

It is interesting to note that the leaders of the Chinese Geographical Society saw territorial boundaries as only one of the three foci of the journal. Equally important to them were the level of production in the country and the amount of goods produced. For them, the size of national boundary was certainly important, for it showed the amount and variety of resources that were available to the nation. However, a large territory did not always produce a strong nation because the power of a nation came directly from the organization of the people, the efficiency of their work, and their competitiveness in facing domestic and foreign challenges. Thus, for them, history (lishi 歷史) and geography (dili) were intertwined. The former explains the formation of the nation and what it took to make the nation a unified whole. The latter explains the natural resources that were available to the nation and what should be done to empower the nation. Although not used here in this 1910 document, the three goals of Dixue zazhi anticipated a popular saying among Chinese historical geographers of the 1930s: history is “the drama” (juben 劇本) of the Chinese nation, and geography is “the stage” (wutai 舞臺) where the drama of the Chinese nation unfolds.38 Like other journals at the time, Dixue zazhi participated in building the national school system. In the quote above, the leaders of the Chinese Geographical Society were explicit in expressing their intention to use Dixue zazhi as a forum for discussing the curriculum of the national school system. As the journal needed subscriptions and donations to support its publication, it was not surprising that its editors linked the journal to the national school system. As an important component of the “New Policies,” the building of the school system involved tens of thousands of government officials, local gentry, and educated elites. All of them would have an interest in subscribing to or supporting the journal if it covered the school system. Furthermore, similar to other journals at the time, many contributors to Dixue zazhi were teachers in primary and secondary schools, authors of textbooks, and administrators in the school system. Since they were serving in the national school system anyway, it was not surprising to find them having a fervent interest in discussing the school system in public.

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However, what is intriguing about the pronouncement is that the leaders of the Chinese Geographical Society envisioned their journal to be a lot more than a collection of pedagogical essays. While they would certainly discussed the curriculum of the school system, it was at best their secondary goal. Their primary goal was to examine the nature and characteristics of the nation-state system. Using their terms, they would unravel the “relationships among the nation-states” (guoji 國際). For this reason, in Dixue zazhi the term dixue 地學 literally meant the studies (xue 學) of the earth (di 地). It included the geological studies of rock formation and the location of mountain ranges, maps of countries and cities, meteorological studies of weather patterns, new mining techniques, and global systems of commerce, communication, and cultural exchange.39 In short, the scope of dixue is the globe, and its content is how the globe is connected through various physical and human networks. This global scope of dixue is clearly shown in Xiong Bingsui’s 熊秉穗 article, “Zhongguo zhongzu kao” 中國種族考 (“A Study of the Chinese Race”). On the surface, the article appears to be another attempt to support the alleged migration of the Chinese from Mesopotamia. Commonly known as “Sino-Babylonianism” or “Xilai shuo” 西來說, the theory promoted by Terrien de Lacouperie (1845–94) in the 1890s argued that the Chinese were descendants of the Bak tribe who migrated to China from Mesopotamia in prehistoric time.40 Textual support of his argument was from the Yijing 易經 (Book of Changes), the first classic of the Confucian Five Classics (wujing 五經). Based on a meticulous comparison of the Yijing hexagrams and the cuneiform writings of Mesopotamia, he concluded that the Yijing was a Babylonian dictionary, containing the hidden code of an advanced civilization outside China.41 In the early 1900s, Lacouperie’s argument was introduced to the Chinese through the summaries of Shirakawa Jir¯o 白河次郎 and Kokubu Tanenori 國府種德 in Shina bunmei shi 支那文明史 (History of Chinese Civilization, 1900). Preposterous as it may seem from today’s perspective, Lacouperie’s argument was warmly accepted by cultural nationalists such as Deng Shi 鄧實 (1877–1951), Huang Jie 黃節 (1873–1935), Liu Shipei, and Zhang Taiyan 章太炎 (1869–1936), who promoted Sino-Babylonianism in Guocui xuebao 國粹學報 (Journal of National Essence, 1905–11) in support of an anti-Manchu revolution. Their fervent nationalism and nativism notwithstanding, they saw Sino-Babylonianism as an effective weapon in mobilizing the Han Chinese to topple the Manchu government.42

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Contrary to writers of Guocui xuebao, Xiong Bingsui did not use Sino-Babylonianism as a political weapon. To make his point, he flatly rejected Deng Shi and Huang Jie’s argument that the Han Chinese were “descendants of the Yellow Emperor” (Huangdi zisun 黃帝子孫).43 Instead, Xiong saw a deeper meaning in Lacouperie’s Sino-Babylonianism. Rather than proving an unbroken racial genealogy from the Yellow Emperor to contemporary Han Chinese, Sino-Babylonianism revealed the complex networks of human migration that began in prehistoric times and continued to the present. For Xiong, the migration of the Bak tribe to China was merely an example of the constant movement of people across Eurasia. “All major races in Asia,” Xiong wrote, “were originally migrants from other places; it is a universal law that migrants create strong races.”44 For Xiong, what the “universal law” (gongli) shows is that migrants are much more determined to succeed in difficult conditions. Not only do they have to adapt and adjust to the new environment, they also have to compete with local natives in controlling lands and resources. It was therefore their will to succeed that explained why the Bak tribe could settle in China. Similar to the Aryans in India, Xiong suggested, the Bak tribe became rulers of China because of their competitiveness and military prowess, clearly shown in their historic defeat of the tribe of Chi You 蚩尤 in Banquan 板泉.45 Thus, for Xiong, the migration of the Bak tribe to China was an episode of global significance. First, it demonstrated that since prehistoric times there had been constant movement of people from continent to continent, forming multiethnic communities in various parts of the world. Because of the high volume of migration, racial mixing amid racial competition had been the driving force of history. Second, for contemporary Chinese, the migration of the Bak tribe underscored the importance of coming to terms with the age of imperialism and colonialism. As Europeans were migrating to Asia in droves through imperialist expansion and colonial rule, they would soon be the new rulers of Asia if the natives could not match their competitiveness and military prowess. On this score, Xiong saw a direct parallel between the migration of the Bak tribe in the past and the migration of Europeans in the present. What is in common between the major races in Asia and the white race in Europe is that they are all migrants. They move to a better place and prosper under new circumstances. On this note, it is reasonable to accept that the Yellow Emperor moved from the west. For those who take the challenge to

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314 · Tze-ki Hon move to a new place, they must be strong and full of energy. As a result, most of them defeat the natives [and control their lands]. For those who cannot defeat the natives, they will not have the lands to continue their race.46

Here, Xiong makes a subtle reference to the age of imperialism and colonialism when referring to the European migration to Asia. For him, imperialism and colonialism are part of a global network of political domination determined by wars, conquests, and coercion. It is also, in effect, a network of migration where the stronger and powerful people take lands from the weak and powerless. Brutal and vicious as they may seem, imperialism and colonialism reward the winners and punish the losers. Through wars, those who can adjust successfully to the environment will be winners, and those who fail to adjust will be losers. In Xiong’s mind, the lesson of the Yellow Emperor is clear: the Chinese have to face the challenge of the “universal law” of the survival of the fittest; if not they will soon be defeated and expunged like the tribe of Chi You in prehistoric times. The same global scope is also found in Bai Yueheng’s 白月恆 article “Liding xingzheng qu beikao” 釐定行政區備考 (“Notes on Dividing the Administrative Districts,” 1912). At first glance, the article appears to offer historical information on dividing Chinese districts (xingzheng qu 行 政區). It seems to address the pressing needs of the new Chinese Republic to redesign its administrative system. Yet, contrary to conventional political essays, Bai approached the question of political administration from a theoretical perspective. He opened the article in the following manner: Human beings create nation-states on this earth by marking boundaries of different shapes. Within a country, the rule of the nation-state is established by creating provinces with marked boundaries of different shapes. This is the way by which human beings rule themselves. Yet, is there a standard rule behind marking boundary? The answer is positive. It is the natural environment (tian 天).47

On the one hand, Bai accepted that marking boundary is indeed an important part of state making. On the other hand, he warned that marking boundary is not simply a political decision; in many respects, it is an effort to match the geo-body of a nation-state with the natural environment. By natural environment or tian, Bai meant mountains, rivers, and oceans that “inscribe a region, an area, or a river valley, millions of years prior to the existence of human beings.” 48 And it is to this natural geography, according to Bai, that human beings must respond, such that

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their political division of land follows the geographical characteristics of nature. Throughout human history, Bai saw constant attempts being made to match natural geography with human geography. From tribes to imperial states to nation-states, Bai found continuous efforts to make political boundaries mirror natural boundaries. When a political boundary follows “the division in mountains and the unity in rivers” (shanli shuihe 山 離水合), he said, it renders what is invisible visible, making the natural boundary clear and concrete. When a political boundary allows an effective use of natural resources, he asserted, it creates “peace to the country and prosperity to the people” (guotai min’an 國泰民安).49 In China, Bai argued, throughout history Chinese political leaders had made many attempts to match human geography with natural geography. From the “Nine Provinces” (jiu zhou 九州) in ancient antiquity through the prefectures-counties (jun xian 郡縣) in Qin-Han China to provinces (sheng 省) in Ming-Qing China, different systems of political division were created to cope with the changing size of the Chinese territory and the different demands for natural resources. Apparently, some systems were more effective than others, but none was totally successfully in matching human geography with natural geography. For this reason, Bai considered the success of the 1911 Revolution as an important opportunity for rethinking and remaking the political divisions of China. “After the momentous change in the political system [after the 1911 Revolution],” Bai wrote, “we now have to pay attention to restructuring the administrative districts.”50 But unlike in the past, the goal of restructuring administrative districts was not to give the central government more control over the country. Rather, it was to make certain that political divisions would reflect the characteristics of natural geography and thereby contribute to a more effective use of natural resources. The new political system, Bai suggested, should “model after nature” (biaozhun zai hu tian 標準在乎天), with due consideration of what nature could or could not offer.51

The Unjust World after World War I A decade later, in 1921, this awareness of how human decisions are largely conditioned by the physical environment became the main theme of another journal, Shidi xuebao. Based in Nanjing, Shidi xuebao was jointly published by the History and Geography Departments of Southeastern University (Dongnan daxue 東南大學). Led by an eclectic group of

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scholars including foreign-trained scientists (e.g., Xu Zeling 徐則陵 and Zhu Kezhen 竺可楨), late-Qing philologists (e.g., Liu Yizheng 柳詒徵), and graduates of Southeastern University (e.g., Miao Fenglin 繆鳳林 and Zhang Qiyun 張其昀), Shidi xuebao was a professional journal aimed at scholars in the academy and the educated elites in society. Much more than Dixue zazhi, Shidi xuebao represented the institutionalization of historical geography in high education of China, and it was clearly shown in the title of the journal. Instead of referring to historical geography with the broad term dixue (the study of the earth), the editors employed a much refined category shidi to denote the intricate relationships between two academic disciplines, history (shi) and geography (di). As suggested by the term shidi, the goal of Shidi xuebao was to create an interdisciplinary approach to examining the relationship between time and space, when academic disciplines tended to be highly specialized in the modern academy. Often divided into sciences and humanities, academic disciplines were seen as discrete entities, each serving a special function to the totality of knowledge. For the editors of Shidi xuebao, the specialization in the academy did not help to solve the pressing problems of post-WWI China. Coined by Liu Yizheng, the motto for Shidi xuebao was to fathom “the extensive space and the long duration” (guang yu chang zhou 廣宇長宙).52 What the motto meant was that the journal would break down the disciplinary boundaries of sciences and humanities in understanding past and present. As the journal editors explained, There are two parts in the studies of historical geography. On the one hand, we show the continuity in time, revealing the development of humankinds. On the other hand, we demonstrate the extensive scope in space, elucidating the links between nature and man. Because it covers such a vast amount of knowledge, it goes beyond other scientific disciplines.53

By combining history with geography, the editors of Shidi xuebao claimed that they were creating a hybrid discipline that would give a comprehensive account of “human development” (renshi zhi tuibian 人事之蛻變).54 This hybrid discipline of historical geography, as Miao Fenglin elaborated later, would “free readers from contemporary prejudices by linking past and present, and broaden readers’ perspectives by not confining to one corner of the globe.” 55 The calm and measured tone notwithstanding, the editors of Shidi xuebao were deeply worried about China’s role after WWI. Disillusioned

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by the decision of the Alliance powers to transfer the German colonies in Shandong to Japan, they saw the Versailles Settlement of 1919 as an attempt by Britain, France, and Italy to preserve their power. Despite the promise of national liberation and national sovereignty in Wilson’s Fourteen Points, they saw the creation of the League of Nations as a ploy of the Western imperial powers to stop non-Western countries from gaining national independence. For these reasons, they argued that historical geography was not only an academic pursuit but also a forum for public debate on “contemporary problems” (xiandai wenti 現代問題).56 As the editors of Shidi xuebao point out, historical geography would “expand the horizons of the readers” (hongwo xinliang 宏我心量) and “provide training to public-minded citizens” (taoyang gongmin 陶養公民).57 Thus, in relating natural geography with political geography, history, and the environment, the writers of Shidi xuebao had a different goal in mind. They were not just concerned with “the division in mountains and the unity in rivers” as Bai Yueheng suggested in the 1910s, but also interested in maximizing the national interests in geographical divisions for the pursuit of territorialism and capitalism. Of the writers of Shidi xuebao, the meteorologist Zhu Kezhen was the most vocal in explaining the contemporary relevance of historical geography. In an article reporting the development in post-WWI Europe, Zhu condemned the Versailles Settlement. Since the three powers [i.e., Britain, France, and Italy] that control Europe do not share common interests, Europe will never have peace. Furthermore, the promise of national independence has not been completely fulfilled, and nations in the League of Nations are treated differently. . . . The hope for world peace has been dashed.58

To drive home his point, Zhu wrote another article detailing the transfer of power from Germany to Japan in Qingdao, Shandong. In the article, he showed how a decision that was made behind closed doors in Versailles had disastrous consequences for the Chinese people. By revealing how unjust the world had become after WWI, Zhu underscored the importance of studying historical geography. He argued that with better knowledge of the territorial boundaries of the country, the Chinese diplomats would not have committed careless mistakes in signing international treaties, such as Li Hongzhang did in ceding Taiwan to Japan in 1895. Nor would Chinese people be misinformed about their own country when Western scholars deliberately spread erroneous information about their

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country. 59 This concern with how historical geography would help China protect its national sovereignty from Western imperialist powers was common among many Chinese scholars after 1919. For instance, contributors to Dixue zazhi also changed their view of the global system. They publicly condemned the Versailles Settlement and constantly encouraged the Chinese to be aggressive in demanding their lost territories. In the early 1920s, Zhu Kezhen’s second point was particularly poignant when misinformation was indeed a means of winning political gain. A case in point was the Washington Conference of 1921, where nine nations, including Japan, met in Washington, D.C., to negotiate their interests in the Pacific and East Asia. In addition to naval treaties signed among the United States, Britain, and Japan, the status of Manchuria was discussed as part of the sphere of influence of Japan in East Asia. Not being given a prominent role at the Washington Conference, the Chinese saw a repeat of the Versailles Settlement where decisions were made about China without consulting them. In responding to what appeared to be another loss of territorial sovereignty, Miao Fenglin wrote an article discussing the political uses of historical geography. In the article, he devoted an entire section to discussing the Chinese sovereignty over Manchuria. Using historical documents such as the Yugong (Tribute to Yu), Miao asserted that Manchuria had been part of Chinese territory for thousands of years. At the Washington Conference, various nations determined that our sovereignty over Manchuria began in the Qing Dynasty, thereby allowing the Japanese to take over the territory. In fact, Liaodong was part of Qingzhou in the “nine provinces” of Yugong. Thus, it had been part of the Chinese territory for four thousand years. Even if we would date Chinese sovereignty with the establishment of prefectures in the Qin-Han period, Liaodong would have been part of China for more than two thousand years. In this day and age, we have to make these historical facts clear to the Westerners, so that they cannot act openly to support the Japanese.60

Here, we see a change in the focus of historical geography. In the 1910s, historical geography was “the study of the earth,” which dealt with the global networks of physical and human connections. It showed how different peoples were joined together in global progress through migration, cultural diffusion, and technological transfer. It viewed imperial expansion and colonial rule as the “universal principle” of the survival of the fittest. In the 1920s, however, historical geography became a weapon

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of defending Chinese sovereignty. As Chinese territorial sovereignty was under threat, historical geography was closely linked to the preservation of China’s sovereign power. Its mission was to use historical documents to delineate the boundaries of the Chinese nation and to use geographical knowledge to identify the natural resources for the nation.

Chinese Land and Chinese People Two examples clearly show this change of focus in historical geography. One is Zhao Xiangyuan’s 趙祥瑗 article “Pianma wenti de yanjiu” 片馬問 題的研究 (“A Study of the Question of Pianma,” 1922). 61 In the article, Zhao traced the complicated history between the Chinese southwest and Burma. Particularly he centered on the relations between Yunnan and Burma, including migration, trade, and cultural links. But Zhao’s goal was not to retell the past but to use the past to define China’s interest in Indo-China, where Britain and France were major foreign players. With respect to Burma, the question was China’s stance regarding the British influence on that country and what the Chinese government could do to forestall further British expansion into Chinese territory such as Yunnan.62 Similarly, in Miao Fenglin’s article “Zhongguo shi zhi xuanchuan” 中國史之宣傳 (The Propaganda of Chinese History, 1921), he was deeply concerned with Westerners’ use of history in advancing their interests in China. Besides a discussion of the Washington Conference as mentioned earlier, he wrote at great length on the alleged north-south division in Chinese history. He linked the discussion to Westerners’ plans for dividing China into two halves along the Yangzi River and supporting the status quo of two Chinese governments based in Beijing and Nanjing. In the article, he used historical evidence to prove that the north-south division was temporary throughout Chinese history. It appeared only twice, during the Age of Division (316–589) and the Southern Song period (1127–1279), and in both instances the division ushered in a long period of unification in the country.63 Again, similar to what he did in discussing the Washington Conference, Miao directly addressed the Western audience. “If westerners know about these facts,” he wrote, “even if they will not do anything substantially in helping to unify the north and south, they will modify their view of China.” 64 A result of this shift of focus was the emphasis on how the Chinese land produced the Chinese people. Described by Xu Zeling as the “naturalistic-materialistic interpretation of history” (ziran wuzhi lishi guan 自

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320 · Tze-ki Hon 然物質歷史觀), the new approach had two goals. First, it highlighted the

characteristics of the Chinese geographical environment, explaining how Chinese mountains, rivers, plains, seashores, and waterways were different from those of other countries. Second, it underscored the uniqueness of the Chinese people, who grew up on a land that was so different from other places.65 Ultimately this stress on environmental determinism was to underscore the integrity of the Chinese territory and the distinctiveness of the Chinese, thereby producing an image of a bound China with a homogeneous people. Trained as a meteorologist at Harvard, Zhu Kezhen was most articulate in spelling out the significance of environmental determinism. When summarizing the work of the German geographer Fredrick Ratzel, Zhu wrote, There are different landscape and different weather patterns on this earth. Regardless of the landscape and weather pattern, environment has a direct impact on people’s lives. Because of different environment, peoples in different places have to adapt, and thereby have developed different characters and body shapes. Consequently, they have differences in their cultural achievements.66

Here, we see a drastic difference between the historical geography of the 1910s and the historical geography of the 1920s. In the former, historical geographers explained human differences based on a hierarchy in time in which peoples were ranked by a common standard of social evolution or a universal “measurement of civilization.” Those who were in a tribal society were ranked the lowest, those in imperial states were ranked in the middle, and those who were in nation-states were ranked the highest. Measuring peoples by how they organized themselves sociopolitically, the “universal principle” of evolution put the emphasis on when peoples reached a particular stage of progress, rather than the size of the territory or the number of the people. Of course, a bigger territory and a large population would yield more power and resources, and territorial expansion was no doubt a driving force of imperialistic expansion and colonial rule. Yet, as understood in the 1910s, the twin logics of territorialism and capitalism were to explain the stages in global progress, rather than the territorial boundary of a particular nation-state. In the 1920s, however, the twin logics were understood differently. They were not only about the stages of human evolution, but also about how a particular land produced a particular kind of people.

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Consequently, as shown in Zhu Kezhen’s writing, cultural differences were understood not in terms of the “universal principle” of social evolution, but in terms of geographical differences. By stressing the direct link between land (di 地) and people (ren 人), historical geography became a nationalistic affirmation of a unique Chinese nation grown from a circumscribed territory. A result of this environmental determinism was that it privileged geography over history. Instead of a balanced approach to studying “the expansive space and the long duration” as Liu Yizheng proclaimed, shidi of Shidi xuebao actually meant an understanding of how the Chinese land (di) has shaped the Chinese people over time (shi). As we will see, this displacement of time by space would have significant consequences for the discipline of historical geography as it continued to evolve in the 1930s and the 1940s.

Marking the Nation’s Territory If indeed the Chinese people are shaped by the Chinese land, one question that remained unanswered in Shidi xuebao was the exact extent of the Chinese territorial boundary. On the one hand, the writers of Shidi xuebao knew that China was much bigger than where the Han Chinese lived. For example, Zhang Qiyun introduced readers to northwestern China by translating Aurel Stein’s The Ruins of the Cathay. In the article, he highlighted the close relations of the “Chinese” in northwestern China with the Muslim communities in Central Asia.67 On the other hand, from historical texts, the writers of Shidi xuebao knew that the territorial boundary of China had changed over time. It began in the Yellow River Valley in ancient antiquity, expanded to the Yangzi River and Pearl River Valleys during the Qin-Han period, and reached its present size (including Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet, and Xinjiang) during the Qing period.68 Then, which “China” in the past would be the basis for the territorial boundary of modern China? Would it be the cultural homeland in the ancient past or the multiethnic empire of the Qing? If one adopted the former, China would be smaller, confined to the Yellow River basin, the Yangzi River basin, and the Pearl River basin. If one adopted the latter, China would be bigger in territory but much more complex and complicated in terms of race and culture. Founded in 1934, Yugong Banyuekan attempted to define Chinese territorial boundaries when they were under threat. Penned by Tan

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Qixiang 譚其驤, the journal’s “Statement of Publication” (fakan ci 發刊詞) clearly spelled out its goal. History gives a record of past activities of human societies, and all human activities took place on a land. History is therefore closely tied to geography. History is like a performance of a drama (yanxi 演戲), and geography is the stage (wutai). Without the stage, the play can never be performed.69

At first glance, Tan Qixiang appeared to be mediating the relationship between history and geography, something similar to what we have seen in Dixue zazhi and Shidi xuebao. But upon closer examination, Tan’s mediation was substantively different. Equating geography with the stage, he privileged land because he believed human beings were conditioned by the environment. Certainly Tan’s environmental determinism was not new, as already seen in Zhu Kezhen’s writings. What was new, however, was the clarity and explicitness with which Tan expressed his belief. Likening history to drama, Zhu formally declared the dependence of history on geography because human history would not and could not exist if there was not any land in the first place. In 1934, Tan Qixiang had reason to be explicit in declaring the dependence of history on geography. Witnessing both the loss of Manchuria and the gradual expansion of Japanese influence on the North China Plain, Tan saw the possibility of the end of Chinese history. He believed that China would soon be turned into a colony of Japan, as Korea and Manchuria had in 1910 and 1931, respectively. Under these circumstances, geography was indeed indispensable because it would tell the Chinese people how much land had they lost and how much land they needed to defend. He wrote, Nation (minzu 民族) and geography are not separable. Because of the lack of interest in geographical studies in our country, we cannot develop a firm basis for the history of the nation. Take, for instance, our eastern neighbors make plans for invading our territory by calling our eighteen provinces the “China Proper.” The term implies that the peripheral lands do not belong to us. Unfortunately, many of us are fooled by this trick and adopted the term in our geography textbooks. Isn’t it shameful!70

Compared with the writings of Miao Fenglin and Zhu Kezhen of the early 1920s, Tan’s passage reveals further politicization of historical geography. In the 1920s, although there was already nascent interest in environmental determinism, the discussion of the “link between land and people” was still academic, focusing on the ancient concepts of the “nine

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provinces,” the historical unity of Northern and Southern China, and the development of cities and rivers. Certainly Miao Fenglin and Zhu Kezhen were not shy of relating their discussions of geography to contemporary political affairs such as the Versailles Settlement and the Washington Conference. Nonetheless, there was no fervent call to protect the national territory nor emotive exhortation for mapping the national boundary. On the contrary, Tan Qixiang was deeply concerned with the security of China. He was worried that the Chinese nation would soon be absorbed into the rapidly expanding Japanese Empire as Korea and Manchuria had been. By calling attention to the political implications of the term “China Proper,” he cautioned his fellow countrymen that the Japanese were making plans to annex Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Tibet, where few Han Chinese lived. Although the Qing government had fallen, he asserted, its territories belonged to the Chinese legally and historically.

The Study of the Borders What was implied in Tan Qixiang’s “Statement of Publication” was that historical geographers should turn their attention to the study of national defense. Of the writers in Yugong Banyuekan, Feng Jiasheng 馮家昇 (1904– 70) was most articulate in spelling out the strategic values and political implications of historical geography in the time of national crisis. In a series of essays on the historical geography of Manchuria, Feng underscored the importance of “the study of the borders” (bianjiang zhi xue 邊 疆之學). Take, for example, the four provinces in the northeast. Historically, geographically and legally, the four provinces are Chinese territories. A few years ago, the Japanese circulated the “thesis on Manchuria and Mongolia not being Chinese territories” to justify their territorial expansion. It is a pity that none of our scholars stood up to argue against the Japanese. In our country, before the September 18th [Mukden Incident], no one cared about the history of the northeast. After the September 18th incident, many historians rushed to write articles to prove that the northeastern [four provinces] were Chinese territories. I used to say, with Japanese splendid achievements in the study of the northeast, they could take away our four provinces without firing a shot.71

In discussing the loss of Manchuria to the Japanese, Feng put the blame on the Chinese. It was their ignorance of their national boundaries, Feng

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insisted, that led to the loss of the territories. On the surface, Feng’s argument seems to hearken back to the old theme of social evolution of the 1910s, where knowledge and cultural achievements determined the rise and fall of a nation’s power. However, Feng’s argument differed from the turn-of-the-century social evolution in one area. Rather than equating knowledge to the sociopolitical system of the nation-state, Feng understood knowledge as the learning of the geo-body of the Chinese nation. For this reason, Feng was explicit in linking historical geography to national defense. Understood as “the study of the borders,” he saw historical geography as a tool of defending Chinese territorial sovereignty and countering hostile imperialist expansion. For a long time, our scholars have not paid any attention to the study of the borders. They don’t know that what they neglect is exactly where foreign scholars are spending all their energies. Foreign scholars are so eager to study our nation’s borders because of geopolitics. The prime examples are the studies of Manchuria in Japan and Russia, the studies of Mongolia and Xinjiang in Russia, the studies of Xinjiang and Central Asia in Britain, and the studies of Yunnan and Guangdong in France. In each of their specialized areas, foreign scholars have made important contributions. Yet, their studies ultimately serve the interests of their nations, preparing for an expansion into our country. Therefore we will continue to suffer if we depend on their scholarship in resolving the border problems.72

In Feng’s eyes, historical geography was a national strategic study. It was not merely about rock formation, mountain ranges, weather patterns, or waterways. Rather, it was at the center of the political struggle between the imperialists and the nationalists. Whereas the imperialists deployed historical geography as a pretext to intrude into others’ territories, the nationalists mobilized historical geography to defend their nation’s territorial sovereignty and national interest. Like guns and tanks in battle, historical geography provided ammunition for both sides to win the war on claiming lands. In the hostile world of imperialism and colonialism, the ones who produced better results in historical geography would be the ones who controlled more lands.73 If indeed the Chinese had lost the battle over Manchuria, Feng warned his countrymen that they should focus their attention on the next round of battle—the struggle over East Asia. Before the Sino-Japanese War [of 1894–95], the Japanese scholars created a learning called the “Korean Studies.” Shortly afterward, Korea was annexed [to

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Marking the Boundaries · 325 the Japanese Empire in 1910]. Before the Russo-Japanese War [in 1904–5], the Japanese scholars created a learning called the “Manchuria and Korean Studies.” Shortly afterward, the Liaodong province was fallen. Before the September 18th event, the Japanese scholars created a learning called the “Manchurian and Mongolian Studies.” Shortly afterward, the four provinces [in Manchuria] were annexed. Nowadays, the Japanese are energetically promoting the East Asian Studies. Looking at the direction of their sword, it is clear our country is in grave danger. Let’s see who will be the rulers of East Asia. Countrymen, it is time to wake up! 74

Partly a heuristic device to mobilize the readers, the last sentence in the quote (“Countrymen, it is time to wake up!”) encapsulated the new role of historical geography in the 1930s. By 1931, historical geography was no longer a new discipline to include China in the world system of nationstates (as in Dixue zazhi in the 1910s), nor was it a Western science that would explain the relationships between land and people (as in Shidi xuebao in the 1920s). At a time when the nation-state system was unable to resolve the contradiction between national independence and imperialist expansion, and between national sovereignty and the domination of colonial powers, historical geography became a strategic study of national defense. In international relationship, it provided the legal ground for defining national territory and the justification for protecting territorial sovereignty. Within the country, it offered the raison d’être for mobilizing citizens to defend the nation and to make self less sacrifice. Eloquently expressed by Gu Jiegang and Shi Nianhai in their account of Chinese boundaries, the purpose of historical geography now became “not to let the enemies take away an inch of our land.” 75

Conclusion The story of the rise of Chinese nationalism is familiar to us. In the past two decades, we have seen many insightful studies showing how the Chinese turned from being cosmopolitan to being fervently nationalistic and racially prejudicial.76 And the rise of Chinese nationalism is vividly summarized by John Fitzgerald as a process of narrowing the horizon: reducing “one China” to “one state,” and equating “one state” to “one party.” 77 A result of this narrowing of the horizon is the creation of a nationalist historiography that does not give a full account of the diversity, complexity, and multiplicity of the Chinese people. As Peter Perdue points out, the blindness of Chinese nationalist historiography is that it

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stresses China’s differences from the rest of the world only by discussing “its vast size and population, and its long continuous recorded history, epitomized in the Chinese phrase dida, renduo, and lishichang (large country, many people, long history).” 78 Furthermore, to explain away Chinese problems in the twentieth century, Chinese historians focus on China being a victim—the victim of feudalism, of Confucian orthodoxy, and, above all, of Western colonialism.79 In many respects, the founding of the discipline of historical geography appears to ref lect the same narrowing of horizon and the self-inflicted victim mentality in Chinese nationalist historiography. When it was first introduced into China in the 1900s, historical geography was deemed a new discipline that helped China to join the global process of social evolution. In the 1930s, it was turned into a study of territorial sovereignty and national defense. However, as recent studies have shown, the trajectory of Chinese nationalism has to be understood in the broader context of the transformation of the world system of nation-states. For some scholars, imperialism and colonialism are responsible for the narrowing of the Chinese horizon and the ensuing victim mentality. 80 And it is in this broader context of linking Chinese nationalism to imperialism and colonialism that I compare the three historical geography journals. Of course, my study only scratches the surface of the momentous changes in modern Chinese historical geography, and much more work has to be done to fully sort out the dual role of historical geography as an academic discipline in the national school system and a venue for public discussion in a time of national crisis. Yet, what this study shows is that for many Chinese of the early twentieth century, the nation-state system was full of contradictions and incongruities. On the one hand, it presented itself as a “measurement of civilization” in a hierarchy in time denoting human progress from barbarism to civilization. As a measurement of civilization, it invites everyone—Africans, Asians, Europeans, Muslims—to join the global march for “liberty, fraternity, and equality.” On the other hand, especially after WWI, the nation-state system promoted a hierarchy in space in which strong nations were allowed to acquire lands and resources without regard to the territorial sovereignty of weak nations. It created a contradiction between the lofty goal of safeguarding the national independence of all legitimate nations and the harsh (if not dark) reality of the imperialist powers continuing to invade and occupy the lands of weak nations.

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Marking the Boundaries · 327

As shown in this study, it was this tension between a hierarchy in time and a hierarchy in space of the nation-state system that was central to the changes in modern Chinese historical geography. When the Chinese understood the nation-state system as a hierarchy in time for human evolution, historical geography was a study of how China could join the community of nation-states and catch up with the West politically, socially, and culturally. When the Chinese understood the nation-state system as a hierarchy in space for acquiring wealth and land, historical geography became a study of territorial sovereignty and the nation’s resources. With this understanding, we must look at Chinese nationalism more carefully. Before we blame the Chinese for narrowing their horizon and adopting a victim mentality, we should first examine the nation-state system, which is still going strong and is still vibrant despite predictions of its demise after the cold war.

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328 · Tze-ki Hon

Notes 1

2

3 4 5 6 7

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

16 17 18

Glen Peterson, Ruth Hayhoe, and Yongling Liu, eds., Education, Culture, and Identity in Twentieth-Century China (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001), pp. 161–92. Hu Xin 胡欣 and Jiang Xiaoqun 江小群, Zhongguo dilixue shi 中國地理學史 (Taipei: Wenjin chubanshe, 1995), pp. 238–69; Guo Shuanglin 郭雙林 , Xichao jidang xia de wan-Qing dilixue 西潮激盪下的晚清地理學 (Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe, 2000), pp. 129–50; Zou Zhenhuan 鄒振環, WanQing xifang dilixue zai Zhongguo: yi 1815 zhi 1911 nian xifang dilixue yizhu de chuanbo yu yingxiang wei zhongxin 晚清西方地理學在中國:以1815至1911年西 方地理學譯著的傳播輿影響為中心 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2000), pp. 309–52. Laura Hostetler, Qing Colonial Enterprise: Ethnography and Cartography in Early Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), pp. 2–3. Zou Zhenhuan, Wan-Qing xifang dilixue zai Zhongguo, pp. 309–11. Hu Xin and Jiang Xiaoqun, Zhongguo dilixue shi, p. 238; Zou Zhenhuan, Wan-Qing xifang dilixue zai Zhongguo, p. 310. Zou Zhenhuan, Wan-Qing xifang dilixue zai Zhongguo, p. 311. Chiang Tao-chang, “Historical Geography in China,” Progress in Human Geography 29.2 (2005): p. 150; Tang Xiaofeng, From Dynastic Geography to Historical Geography: A Change in Perspective towards the Geographical Past of China (Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 2000), pp. 1–23; Wang Yong 王庸, Zhongguo dilixue shi 中國地理學史 (1938; repr., Shanghai: Shanghai shudian, 1984), pp. 261–62; Zou Yilin 鄒逸麟, Zhongguo lishi dili gaishu 中國歷史地理 概述 (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe, 2005), pp. 2–3. Tang, From Dynastic Geography to Historical Geography, p. 14. Chiang, “Historical Geography in China,” p. 149. Tang, From Dynastic Geography to Historical Geography, p. 19. Ibid., p. 20. Ibid., pp. 1–5. See Marwyn Samuels’s introduction to ibid., p. i. Ibid., p. i. Giovanni Arrighi, The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Times (London: Verso, 1994), pp. 33–43; Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital, and European States, AD 990–1990 (Cambridge, UK: Basil Blackwell, 1990), pp. 1–37. David Hoosen, ed., Geography and National Identity (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994), pp. 71–91, 104–11. Tongchai Winichakul, Siam Mapped: A History of Geo-Body of a Nation (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1994), pp. ix–xi, 37–61. Guo Shuanglin, Xichao jidang xia de wan-Qing dilixue, pp. 239–343; Zou Zhenhuan, Wan-Qing xifang dilixue zai Zhongguo, pp. 158–233.

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Marking the Boundaries · 329 19 20

21

22

23

24

25

26 27 28

29

30

Martin W. Lewis and Kären E. Wigen, The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), p. 8. Han Ziqi 韓子奇 (Hon Tze-ki), “Jinru shijie de cuozhe yu ziyou—Ershi shiji chu de Dixue zazhi” 進入世界的挫折與自由—二十世紀初的《地學雜誌》, Xin Shixue 新史學 19.2 (June 2008): pp. 156–66. Xu Guoqi, China and the Great War: China’s Pursuit of a New National Identity and Internationalization (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 15–16. William C. Kirby, “The Internationalization of China: Foreign Relations at Home and Abroad in the Republican Era,” China Quarterly 150.2 (1997): pp. 439–41. Prasenjit Duara, “Transnationalism and the Predicament of Sovereignty: China, 1900–1945,” American Historical Review 102.4 (October 1997): pp. 1030–51; Prasenjit Duara, Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), pp. 1–40. By “translingual practice,” Lydia Liu does not mean the history of translation. Rather, she means the discursive practice that allows words to be transposed, transplanted, and transformed from a guest language into a host language. See Lydia Liu, Translingual Practice: Literature, National Culture, and Translated Modernity—China, 1900–1937 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), pp. 1–44. In my discussion of the translingual practice of historical geography, I focus on the transformation of the meaning of lishi dili in China. For a discussion of the meanings of lishi and dili, see Ge Jianxiong 葛劍雄, “Shijian he kongjian zhijian de qiusuo” 時間和空間之間的求索, in Tan Qixiang 譚其驤, Qiusuo shikong 求索時空 (Tianjin: Baihua wenyi chubanshe, 2000), p. 5. Hou Yongjian 侯甬堅, Lishi dili xue tansuo 歷史地理學探索 (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 2004), pp. 145–78. Ibid., pp. 164–65. As will be shown, my understanding of the change in historical geography is different from Tang Xiaofeng’s. Rather than a methodological change from “dynastic geography” to “scientific geography,” I see the change as one of worldview, i.e., China’s position in the global system of nation-states. For Tang Xiaofeng’s view, see From Dynastic Geography to Historical Geography, pp. 1–22. In this article, I use the version of Zhongguo dili jiaokeshu 中國地理教科書 found in Liu Shenshu yishu 劉申叔遺書 (1936; repr., Hangzhou: Jiangsu guji chubanshe, 1997). The quotation appears on p. 2276 of Liu Shenshu yishu. For a discussion of the Chinese tributary system as a multilayered and multifaceted structure of diplomatic and trade relations, see Takeshi Hamashita, “The Tribute Trade System and Modern Asia,” in Japanese Industrialization and the Asian Economy, ed. A. J. H. Latham and Heita Kawakatsu (London: Routledge, 1994), pp. 91–107; Takeshi Hamashita,

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330 · Tze-ki Hon

31 32

33

34 35

36 37 38 39

“Tribute and Treaties: Maritime Asia and Treaty Port Network in the Era of Negotiations, 1800–1900,” in The Resurgence of East Asia: 500, 150, 50 Years Perspective, ed. Giovanni Arrighi, Takeshi Hamashita, and Mark Selden (London: Routledge, 2003), pp. 17–50. Liu Shipei, Zhongguo dili jiaokeshu, p. 2276. In the study of international relations, the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 is considered the beginning of the sovereign-state system in which states guarantee one another their exclusive authority within their own geographic boundaries. For a summary and a critical analysis of the Westphalia sovereign-state system, see Stephen D. Krasner, “Rethinking the Sovereign State Model,” in Empires, Systems and States: Great Transformations in International Politics, ed. Michael Cox, Tim Dunne, and Ken Booth (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 17–42. Two years earlier than the publication of Liu Shipei’s Zhongguo dili jiaokeshu, Liu Yizheng 柳詒徵 (1880–1956) wrote Lidai shilüe 歷代史略 based on Shina tsushi ¯ 支那通史 of Naka Michiyo 那珂通世 (1851–1908). In the first chapter of Lidai shilüe, Liu Yizheng also situated China in East Asia and discussed its boundaries with its neighbors. See Lidai shilüe (Nanjing: Jiangchu shuji, 1902), juan 1, pp. 1–3. The author of the pronouncement is not known. But there were five founding members of Chinese Geographical Society: Zhang Xiangwen 張相 文, Bai Yukun 白毓崑, Tao Maoli 陶懋立, Han Huaili 韓懷禮, and Zhang Boling 張伯苓. Of the five founding members, Zhang Xiangwen was most active in editing the journal and seeking financial support. See Zhang Xinglang 張星烺, “Siyang Zhang Dungu jushi nianpu” 四陽張沌谷居士年譜, in vol. 5 of Zhang X ia ng wen, Nanyuan cong gao 南園叢稿 (Taipei: Wenhai chubanshe, 1968), p. 17a. Zhang Xiangwen et al., “Zhongguo dixue hui qi” 中國地學會 , Dixue zazhi 1.1 (1910): p. 1. This view of imperial expansion caused problems to Zhang Xiangwen later. In 1936, when students put up posters to protest Japanese expansion in Manchuria and Northern China, Zhang scolded students for agitating the “stronger” and “more powerful” Japanese. He was immediately condemned as “anti-revolutionary.” See Zhang Xinglang, “Siyang Zhang Dungu jushi nianpu,” p. 33a. Zhang Xiangwen et al., “Zhongguo dixue hui qi,” p. 1. Ibid., p. 1. Tan Qixiang, “Fa kan ci” 發刊詞, Yu Gong banyuekan 禹貢半月刊 1.1 (1934): pp. 1–5. This is also in Tan Qixiang, Qiusuo shikong, pp. 77–82. In the first year of its publication, Dixue zazhi carried a large variety of articles including articles about rock formation, weather patterns, mining technology, the opening of the Suez Canal, and the railroad system. See especially Dixue zazhi 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, and 1.4.

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Marking the Boundaries · 331 40 41 42

43 44 45 46 47

48 49 50 51 52 53 54

55 56 57

Terrien de Lacourperie, Western Origin of the Western Early Chinese Civilisation (London: Asher, 1893), pp. 1–8. Terrien de Lacourperie, The Yh-king and Its Author (London: D. Nutt, 1892), pp. v–xix; Western Origin, pp. 16–19. Kai-wing Chow, “Imagining Boundaries of Blood: Zhang Binglin and the Invention of the Han ‘Race’ in Modern China,” in The Construction of Racial Identities in China and Japan, ed. Frank Dikötter (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997), pp. 34–52; Frank Dikötter, The Discourse of Race in Modern China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992), pp. 116–23; John Fitzgerald, Awakening China: Politics, Culture, and Class in the Nationalist Revolution (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), pp. 67–88; Shen Songqiao 沈松橋, “Wo yi wo xue jian xuan yuan: Huangdi shenhua yu wanQing de guozu jian’gou” 我以我血荐軒轅—黄帝神 与晚清的國族建構 , Taiwan shehui yanjiu jikan 台灣社會研究季刊 28.2 (1997): pp. 1–77; Tze-ki Hon, “From a Hierarchy in Time to a Hierarchy in Space: Meanings of SinoBabylonianism in Early 20th Century China,” Modern China 36.2 (2010): pp. 139–69. Xiong Bingsui, “Zhongguo zhongzu kao” 中國種族考, Dixue zazhi 18 (1911): pp. 1a–12b; 3–4 (1912): p. 1a. Xiong Bingsui, “Zhongguo zhongzu kao,” Dixue zazhi 18 (1911): p. 3b. Xiong Bingsui, “Zhongguo zhongzu kao,” Dixue zazhi 3.3–4 (1912): p. 10a. Ibid. Bai Yueheng 白月恆, “Liding xingzheng qu beikao” 釐定行政區備考, Dixue zazhi 7–8 (1912): p. 1a. Bai Yueheng, also known as Bai Meichu 白眉初, was a regular writer for Dixue zazhi from the 1910s to 1930s. Ibid., p. 1a. Ibid., p. 1b. Ibid., p. 1b. Ibid., p. 1b. Liu Yizheng, “Xu” 序, Shidi xuebao 1.1 (1921): p. 1. Shidi xuebao editors, “Bianji yaoze” 編輯要則, Shidi xuebao 1.3 (1922): pp. 1–2. In referring to human development, the writers of Shidi xuebao deliberately avoided using terms that implied linear progression (e.g., jinhua 進化). Instead, they used terms such as tuibian 蛻變 (transform and change) and yanhua 演化 (evolve and change) to stress the continuity in change in human civilization. For the meaning of yanhua, see Miao Fenglin, “Zhongguo shi zhi xuanchuan” 中國史之宣傳, Shidi xuebao 1.2 (1921): pp. 209–13. Miao Fenglin, “Lishi zhi yiyi yu yanjiu” 歷史之意義與研究, Shidi xuebao 2.7 (1923): p. 27. Shidi xuebao editors, “Bianji daoyan” 編輯導言, Shidi xuebao 2.1 (1922): pp. 1–2. Ibid., pp. 1–2.

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332 · Tze-ki Hon 58

Zhu Kezhen 竺可楨, “Ouzhou zhanhou zhi xin xingshi” 歐洲戰後之新形勢, Shidi xuebao 1.1 (1921): p. 163. 59 Zhu Kezhen, “Qingdao jieshou zhi qingxing” 青島接受之情形, Shidi xuebao 2.2 (1922): p. 90. 60 Miao Fenglin, “Zhongguo shi zhi xuanchuan,” p. 212. 61 Showing how greatly territorial boundary had dominated the discussion of historical geography, Dixue zazhi also gave prominent coverage to the historical significance and national interest in the “Pianma Question.” See Wang Longzhang 王龍章, “Pianma wenti” 片馬問題, Dixue zazhi 1–2 (1923): pp. 147–55; “Pianma jiaoshe zhong zhi Yunnan tongdian” 片馬交涉中之雲南 通電, Dixue zazhi 3–4 (1923): pp. 3–4; 1 (1929): pp. 16–28; 2 (1929): pp. 153–70. On the Pianma controversy, see also Bai Meichu, “Pianma kao” 片馬 考, Dixue zazhi 2 (1928): pp. 161–82; 1 (1929): pp. 16–28; 2 (1929): pp. 153–70; 1 (1930): pp. 35–50; 2 (1930): pp. 162–81. 62 Zhao Xiangyuan 趙祥瑗, “Pianma wenti de yanjiu” 片馬問題的研究, Shidi xuebao 2.4 (1922): pp. 109–21. See also Peng Minghui 彭明輝, Lishi dili yu xiandai Zhongguo shixue 歷史地理與現代中國史學 (Taipei: Tongdai tushu gufen youxian gongsi, 1995), p. 131. 63 Miao Fenglin, “Zhongguo shi zhi xuanchuan,” p. 212. 64 Ibid., p. 212. For similar reasons, Liu Yizheng criticized Liang Qichao for discussing the north-south division in Chinese history. See Liu Yizheng, “Xu.” 65 Xu Zeling 徐則陵, “Shi zhi yizhong jieshi” 史之一種解釋, Shidi xuebao 1.1 (1921): pp. 1–7. 66 Zhu Kezhen, “Dili duiyu rensheng zhi yingxiang” 地理對於人生之影響, Shidi xuebao 2.1 (1922): p. 1. 67 Zhang Qiyun 張其昀, “Xiling diya Xiyu xintu zhi” 西靈地雅《西域新圖誌》, Shida xuebao 2.3 (1923): pp. 109–12. 68 Lu Weizhao 陸惟昭, “Zhongdeng Zhongguo lishi jiaokeshu bianji shangli” 中 等中國歷史教科書編輯商例, Shidi xuebao 1.3 (1922): pp. 21–41. 69 Tan Qixiang, “Fa kan ci,” p. 2. 70 Ibid., p. 2. 71 Feng Jiasheng 馮家昇, “Wode yanjiu dongbei shidi de jihua” 我的研究東北史 地的計劃, Yu Gong banyuekan 1.10 (1934): p. 2. 72 Feng Jiasheng, “Dongbei shidi yanjiu zhi yiyou chengji” 東北史地研究之已有 成績, Yu Gong banyuekan 2.10 (1935): p. 2. 73 A similar trend is found in Dixue zazhi, which, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, became militant and passionately nationalistic. For instance, Bai Meichu concluded in his study of the “Pianma question” that the Chinese should counter the aggression of the imperialist with violence and battle. In his terms, the only way to protect Chinese national sovereignty was by “countering force with force” (yi li zhi li 以力制力). See Bai Meichu, “Pianma Kao,” Dixue zazhi 2 (1929): pp. 167–68.

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Marking the Boundaries · 333 74 75

76

77 78 79 80

Feng Jiasheng, “Riren duiyu wo dongbei de yanjiu jinkuang” 日人對於我東北 的研究近況, Yu Gong banyuekan 5.6 (1936): p. 6. Gu Jiegang 顧頡剛 and Shi Nianhai 史念海, Zhongguo jiangyu yange shi 中國 疆域沿革史 (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1938), p. 4. The original line is, “雖一寸山河,亦不當輕易付諸敵人.” See Dikötter, Discourse of Race in Modern China; Dikötter, Construction of Racial Identities in China and Japan; Prasenjit Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995). John Fitzgerald, Awakening China: Politics, Culture, and Class in the Nationalist Revolution (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), pp. 1–22. Peter C. Perdue, “A Frontier View of Chineseness,” in Arrighi, Hamashita, and Selden, Resurgence of East Asia (London: Routledge, 2003), p. 52. Ibid. Arif Dirlik, Global Modernity: Modernity in the Age of Global Capitalism (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2007); Rebecca E. Karl, Staging the World: Chinese Nationalism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002); Ban Wang, Illuminations from the Past: Trauma, Memory, and History in Modern China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004).

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Chapter 11

Filling in the Nation: The Spatial Trajectory of Prehistoric Archaeology in Twentieth-Century China* James Leibold

The link between the modern science of archaeology and political nationalism has been well established within the academic literature, with a number of studies demonstrating how “archaeologists in the service of the state frequently have manipulated archaeological remains to justify the ownership of land claimed to have been held ‘from time immemorial’ or to support polices of domination and control over neighbouring peoples.” 1 Perhaps less understood is the way in which prehistoric archaeology—and its related subdisciplines of paleontology, paleoanthropology, ethnoarchaeology, paleography, and others—are predicated on an epistemic revolution in time and space. Archaeology as a modern discipline came of age alongside the nationstate system: a global system of fully bounded and competing nationstates that serves as the only legitimate expression of political sovereignty. With the enclosure of space, borderlands were bordered and minorities were nationalized, as state elites set about constructing new narratives of national unfolding. Here archaeology had an important role to play, tracing the roots and origins of national cultures and peoples while weaving together intricate ethnogenealogies of shared descent and national belonging. Similarly, archaeology was born out of a revolution in time, as geologists pushed the frontiers of human history back into the miasma of

*

The author would like to thank Brian Moloughney, Peter Zarrow, Hon Tze-ki, Axel Schneider, and Tim Murray for their helpful suggestions and comments on earlier versions of this chapter, and Brian Moloughney and John Makeham for inviting me to participate in this project.

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336 · James Leibold

“deep time.” 2 When James Hutton and Charles Lyell argued that the earth was much older than the creationists would have us believe and Charles Darwin suggested in 1859 that man evolved from apes some hundreds of millions of years ago, Western archaeologists were called on to fill in the gaps between prehistoric remains and modern civilization, stitching together a linear narrative of human progress free from the hands of God, while explaining the varied pace of different “races” toward the single light of modernity. 3 As several have noted, in its modernist guise, prehistoric archaeology is essentially a form of historical ethnology—tracing the course of human development within the confines of bounded ethnic and cultural spaces.4 The intimate link among archaeology, space, and time is on display in Chinese classrooms today, where children are instructed in the prehistoric roots of their “ancestors.” Take for example the story of the nation included in a new history textbook recently trialled in Shanghai secondary schools. Here, fossil remains are used to authenticate both the temporal antiquity and spatial unity of the Chinese race/nation, or what the Chinese commonly refer to as the Zhonghua minzu 中華民族. The textbook begins by stating that China possesses the world’s greatest store of prehistoric fossils and lists the 1.7-million-year-old Yuanmou Man 元 謀人 , 700,000- to 200,000-year-old Peking Man 北京猿人 , and the 18,000-year-old Upper Cave Man 山頂洞人 as evidence of the antiquity and linear evolution of the Chinese people. A map (see figure 1) demonstrating the physical distribution of these prehistoric remains provides a powerful semiotic of the nation as bounded and singular. A colored box beside the map asks students: “What historical information can be drawn from the distribution of prehistoric human and major historical relics in China represented on the map to the right?” The answer is clear: the spatial and temporal unity of the Chinese geo-body.5 Much of the scholarship on the history and development of archaeology as an academic discipline in China has focused on its relationship to the writing of national history. Building on the rich tradition of Song antiquarianism, the 1910 discovery of “dragon bones” (longgu 龍骨) in the fields of Henan farmers allowed Chinese scholars to literally piece together the scrambled and incomplete narrative of the past contained in the ancient Chinese classics. In the hands of Luo Zhenyu 羅振玉 (1866– 1940), Wang Guowei 王國維 (1877–1927), and other classically trained scholars, the material remains dug out of the ground were used to empirically validate the linear chronology of national belonging first sketched

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Filling in the Nation · 337

Figure 1. “Map of the distribution of primitive man and major cultural relics in China.” Source: Shanghai shi zhongxiaoxue (youeryuan) kecheng gaige weiyuanhui 上海 市中小學(幼兒園)課程改革委員會, ed., Zhongguo lishi (qinianji diyi xueqi— shiyongben) 中國歷史(七年級第一學期─試用本)[Chinese history: 7th grade, 1st semester (experimental text)] (Shanghai: Huadong shifan daxue chubanshe, 2007), p. 3.

out by Sima Qian 司馬遷 in the Shiji 史記 (Records of the Historian), while also shifting its focus from the political and moral transmission of dynastic ruler to the evolutionary struggle of a single Zhonghua nation/ race. Liang Qichao 梁啟超 (1873–1929) was perhaps the first to call for the writing of a new type of national historiography, one that would take the minzu 民族 (race/nation) and its guomin 國民 (citizens) as the subject of historical development rather than the genealogies of individual families contained in the biographies (liezhuan 列傳) and chronicles (nianbiao 年 表) of the twenty-four standard histories.6 Liang, like other turn-of-thecentury Chinese scholars, chose to start this new type of history with the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi 黃帝), the “first ancestor” (chuzu 初族) of the Chinese people.7 Liang was convinced that archaeological research had an

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338 · James Leibold

important role to play in validating the legendary stories about the Yellow Emperor, Shennong 神農, Chiyou 蚩尤, and other mythical ancestors contained in the historical canon while charting the evolution of their descendents.8 Thus, for Liang Qichao and others, the discovery of ancient oracle bones was heralded as a major turning point in the development of Chinese historiography, for it allowed historians to correct past mistakes while filling in gaps within the historical record—a problem made all the more difficult and urgent following Gu Jiegang’s 顧頡剛 (1893–1980) iconoclastic “doubting of antiquity” (Gushi bian 古史辨) (see Moloughney’s chapter). “Now that we can read the language before the period of Confucius,” Liang declared in a 1926 address on the significance of archaeological research in China, “we can correct many mistakes that occur in the history before his time and we can insert many historical events that are not recorded in histories in antiquity.” 9 This context has led the doyen of modern Chinese archaeology, K. C. Chang 張光直 (1931– 2001), to argue that “archaeology in China remains a tool—albeit a much more powerful tool than ever before—of Chinese historiography,” whose goals and structures remain essentially the same as the rich and long tradition of the study of history in China.10 What is distinctive about modern archaeology for these scholars is the adoption of new scientific methods and techniques from Japan and the West—chiefly field excavation, soil stratigraphy, the use of index fossils, and more recently radiocarbon dating—which has allowed the Chinese to authenticate their history while cultivating a sense of patriotic national pride.11 To date, less attention has been paid to the way in which modern archaeology in China helped to, and continues to help, fill in the nation. As K. C. Chang also notes, the focus on traditional Chinese historiography was always on “the center of Chinese civilization, the so-called China proper,” but archaeology has allowed scholars to push the boundaries of Chinese history “outward to include the non-center areas of China, areas that were referred to as barbarous but are now classifiable as part of Chinese civilization or at least within the Chinese sphere.” 12 As a new discipline in China, prehistoric archaeology and its evolving methodologies were greatly influenced by geology, paleontology, and anthropology, in particular. Many of the first excavations were carried out under the auspices of the Geology Survey of China (Zhongguo dizhi diaochaju 中國地質調查局), which was established in Beijing in 1916 and along with the Rockefeller Foundation helped fund the systematic excavation of the

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Peking Man sites at Zhoukoudian 周口店, while the “father of modern Chinese archaeology,” Li Ji 李濟, received a Ph.D. in physical anthropology from Harvard University in 1923. The cross-fertilization and imprecise boundaries between early scientific disciplines in China not only revitalized and reconfigured traditional forms of knowledge, such as antiquarianism (kaogu 考古), epigraphy (jinshi 金石), and evidential research (kaozheng 考證), but also opened up new lines of inquiry, such as the search for Chinese origins and its relationship to Chinese territory.13 In short, the fossils unearthed by prehistoric archaeologists in China proved extremely useful in the state’s desire to bound and enclose the nation. By rooting the past in the physical remains of “national soil” and then linking contemporary peoples back to these ancient fossils, scientists help to delineate and legitimize, either wittingly or unwittingly, the spatial boundaries of the nation-state—nationalizing all its inhabitants regardless of ethnic or cultural difference into a single ethnoscape. In fact, as I will argue in this chapter, archaeology ultimately proved more innovative in modern China as a spatial rather than a temporal tool of nation building. In the case of the latter, archaeology was employed to validate the chronologies of the ancient historians like Sima Qian, while in the former, it pioneered a new map of the nation—one that both bound and continues to bind the peoples of the nation together into a single, organic whole.

Space and the Mapping of the Nation The transition from premodern empires to modern nation-states reconfigured the world’s political geography into finite and bounded sovereignties. Around the sixteenth century, premodern systems of political space started to give way to the modern nation-state system, as the new technologies of “territoriality” led to the gradual mapping and filling in of national space. While in the past authority radiated outward from imperial centers and faded into elastic and imprecise borderlands, state sovereignty was now “fully, flatly, and evenly operative over each square centimeter of a legally demarcated territory.” 14 Here, archaeologists were called on to historicize and nationalize the peoples of the frontier, mapping a set of physical (cultural, biological, and morphological) connections, which projected the current geo-body backward in time to naturalize and authenticate the organic and spatial unity of the nation.

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In sharp contrast, ritualized political space in premodern China was geometric, concentric, and hierarchical yet also f luid and dynamic depending on vantage point and time sequence. In this spatial realm, there was no room for “minorities,” “frontiers,” or “borders” in their modern sense. Rather everyone, barbarian and Chinese alike, was assigned an appropriate place within the social order. And one’s location from the center was determined by various cultural, ecological, and political factors. Thanks to their proximity to Heaven (tian 天), the political elite of the central state(s) of Zhongguo 中國 saw themselves as culturally superior, living in the land of a heavenly empire (tianguo 天國) ruled over by a heavenly sovereign (tianzi 天子). Surrounding states and peoples, in contrast, were organized into five zones (wufu 五服) and nine realms (jiuzhou 九州) of decreasing civility and loyalty as the distance from the center increased before finally fading and falling from the four ends of the earth.15 Although space was defined more by level of civility than ethnic identity (with Sinic political dissidents sharing the margins of heaven with non-Sinic barbarian tribes), it also marked an important ecological boundary. Zhongguo was fixed sedentary space (fields, ramparts, and towns), while the outer realms represented fluid nomadic space, where people wandered aimlessly like animals on the grassland steppes and desert sands.16 This concentric episteme of space was first articulated in the ninthor tenth-century BCE Yugong 禹貢 (Tribute to Yu) and the first-century BCE Shanhaijing 山海經 (The Classic of Mountains and Seas), which provided the first Chinese “cosmograms” of the world: “all under heaven” (tianxia 天下). By the Han dynasty, these cosmograms became an integral part of court history, with Sima Qian’s Shiji outlining the nine realms of Xia brought into harmony by Yu the Great 大禹.17 The other great Han dynasty historian, Ban Gu 班固, is credited with the birth of the discipline of historical geography (yange dili 沿革地理) in China, as his “Dilizhi” 地 理志 (Treatise on Geography) in the Hanshu 漢書 (Han History) marked political and geographic space as a key mediator of historical time.18 By the Song dynasty, China had a rich and sophisticated tradition of mapmaking, with this notion of concentric and hierarchical space perhaps best represented in the 1040 Huayi tu 華夷圖 (Map of China and the Barbarians), where the geographic and cultural knowledge of the surrounding barbarians literally fades from the centralizing gaze of the emperor in the capital of Hangzhou.19

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The march of modernity and global capital lead to the gradual crowding of China’s political space, marking what Charles Maier has termed the “epoch of enclosure.” Following the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, an international system of fully bounded and sovereign states took hold in Europe and then spread around the globe. Here, state elites drew on the new technologies of steam, rail, post, telegraph, electricity, and bureaucracy to “saturate,” “enclose,” and “energize” national space. The filling in of space required the increased mobilization, homogenization, and control of its populace, as “identity space” was brought in line with “decision space,” and allegiance to a bounded geographic community replaced premodern social hierarchies and vertical forms of group identity. 20 In Qing China, the 1689 Treaty of Nerchinsk took on a similar significance to the Treaty of Westphalia, as Qing officials and soldiers sought to more clearly delineate the confines of their empire and more fully incorporate their subjects (Han 漢 and non-Han alike) into a new cosmology of shared belonging. Here, Qing officials used imperial inspection tours and ethnographic observations; inscribed stelae and boundary markers; and diplomatic treaties and detailed maps to mark out, fill in, and domesticate space, gradually transforming it into the bounded and enclosed place of Zhongguo/China, as the territory of the Qing empire became known both inside and outside of China. 21 The boundaries of this new Chinese geo-body continued to harden over the course of the twentieth century, despite the ongoing meddling of foreign imperialists, as first the Republic of China (1912–49) and then its successor state, the People’s Republic of China (1949–), laid claim to the territorial boundaries of the Qing empire.

Mapping Chinese Indigenality Chinese archaeologists, paleoanthropologists, and ethnologists came to play a central role in mapping the boundaries and contours of the new Chinese geo-body. The enclosure of national space required the weaving together of new narratives of belonging and inclusiveness, ones that scientifically demonstrated the cultural and racial unity of those peoples who now found themselves “trapped” within national space. For those once marginal borderlands, this represented a shift from spatial marginality—those distant and barbaric lands—to temporal primordium—our backward and childlike minority nationals22—but the new nation-state was also premised on a shared spatial and temporal imaginary that

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sought to naturalize all its inhabitants as “Chinese” (Zhongguoren 中國人 or Zhonghua minzu). As such, one finds a marked trajectory in the development of prehistoric archaeology and its related subdisciplines in twentieth-century China: from a foreign-dominated profession tracing the migration, diffusion, and Darwinian struggle of transnational cultures and races to a native discipline focused almost exclusively on the organic evolution and centripetal/centrifugal fusion of an indigenous Chinese culture and race set firmly within the borders of the present-day Chinese state. Yet, this trajectory was not without its political, empirical, and personal diversions, as Chinese scientists struggled to reconcile the contradictions of different ideologies and articulations of modernity in China, and the larger tension between scientific internationalism and a more patriotic, yet equally scientific, nationalism.23 Prior to the development of indigenous archaeology in China, most Han elite believed that both the “Chinese” and their culture originated outside of the modern state of China in some distant, Western land (Egypt, Babylonia, Palmirs, or India). According to this narrative, Chinese history commences with the epic hegira of its people into the Yellow River Valley where they defeated the indigenous Miao people in an intense and violent struggle for survival. Under the influence of the globally circulating discourse of race and its related Darwinian concept of the “survival of the fittest,” Han intellectuals followed their counterparts in the West in charting the origin, evolution, and conf lict of transnational races. Theories about the foreign origins of Chinese culture can be traced back to early Renaissance thinkers and the emerging discourse of Orientalism in Europe, but in China it was the works of the obscure French sinologist Albert Terrien de Lacouperie and their translation into Japanese and then Chinese that helped to popularize the “Western origin thesis” (xilaishuo 西來說) of Chinese civilization.24 Lacouperie’s rereading of the Chinese classics resonated with the desire of many Chinese intellectuals to reconcile Western notions of race with the Golden Age chronology of Sima Qian’s Shiji. Where Sima Qian identified the Yellow Emperor only as the son of Shaodian 少典, Lacouperie depicted him as the progenitor of a race. And by locating the prehistoric origins of this race alongside the White race in the West, the Chinese could assert equivalence with the perceived dynamism and superiority of Western civilization, while distancing themselves from what they saw as the backward and savage practices of the Manchu, Mongol, Miao, and other non-Han peoples who were thought to be indigenous to Chinese

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territory.25 Although some sought to reincorporate the non-Han peoples into the patrimony of the Yellow Emperor after the 1911 Revolution, the Western origin thesis remained the dominant paradigm of Han/Chinese origins well into the 1930s, with even Sun Yat-sen 孫中山, the so-called father of the nation (guofu 國父), admitting in his famous Three Principles of the People lectures that the ancestors of the majestic Three Sovereigns (sanhuang 三皇) and the Five Kings (wudi 五帝) were emigrants from Mesopotamia.26 During the early twentieth century, foreign archaeologists operating in China reinvigorated the thesis through their discovery and analysis of Neolithic remains in China. When Japanese archaeologists Torii Ryûzô 鳥居龍藏 and Hamada Kosaku 濱田耕作 unearthed stone artifacts in northwest China, most agreed that these represented the primitive remains of a non-Chinese people. Under the influence of crude evolutionary models, the Chinese, as a more advanced race, were said to be associated with bronze-age culture. Under this logic, German American anthropologist Berthold Laufer declared in 1912 that there was no Chinese stone age: “It is therefore safe only to speak of stone implements of China, whereas it is not warranted to speak of Chinese stone implements.” 27 The discovery of Neolithic remains at Yangshao 仰韶 and Shaguotun 沙鍋屯 by Johan Gunnar Andersson during the early 1920s seemed to confirm that elements of Chinese culture, such as animal domestication, grain cultivation, and funeral practices, could be traced back to at least 3000 BCE. But Andersson’s discovery of similar “painted pottery” in Gansu and its comparison to pottery unearthed in Anau and Tripolje in Central Asia led him and others to suggest the nonindigenous origin of this early Chinese culture, or at the very least, its foreign foundations. Throughout the 1920s and well into the 1930s, a consensus existed among most foreign and Chinese scientists that Yangshao culture was somehow carried into the Yellow River Valley by an alien agricultural group where it clashed, defeated, and eventually merged with the indigenous race in forming “Chinese civilization.” 28 The popularity and durability of the Western origin thesis reflected in part the privileged position of cultural diffusion as an explanatory paradigm among late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century scientists. Archaeologists, in particular, attempted to link prehistoric assemblages with specific modern cultures and races and then trace their influence and movement on neighboring communities across time and space. Unlike the German model, which stressed racial purity and the outward

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344 · James Leibold

migration of the Aryan race, Chinese archaeology developed out of the American and British paradigm of diffusionism, which asserted that the hybrid synthesis produced from the biological and cultural fusion of different migrating populations resulted in a more robust and evolutionary dynamic civilization.29 Yet, the boundaries of this “melting pot” became increasingly salient as the Chinese nation-state came under attack from foreign imperialism and its elites searched with increasing urgency for new evidence of the historic unity of its peoples. In short, the development and institutionalization of archaeology as an academic discipline in China paralled the rise of Chinese nationalism and the spatial bounding of its geo-body. Following the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and China proper in 1937, Chinese scholars came under increasing pressure to demonstrate the autochthonous origin and unity of the disparate peoples of the new Republican state, and these pangs of patriotism intensified following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 and Mao’s growing emphasis on selfreliance and ideological purity. Even outside the PRC, the psychological wounds of foreign imperialism continued to inspire resistance, with University of Chicago historian Ho Ping-ti (He Bingdi 何炳棣) beginning his 1975 book about the indigenous origins of Chinese civilization with a revealing confession: “Should this book appear to some to smack somewhat of Chinese chauvinism, it can only be accounted for by the fact that for decades I was an unknowing victim of certain forms of Western intellectual chauvinism, of which, as I now look back, the most subtle and effective was the theory of the monogenesis of Old World civilizations.” 30 In this context, we find a subtle and gradual shift in the discursive framing of Chinese origins among its scientists and intellectuals. Fossil remains started to be interpreted as empirical evidence of the indigenous origin, outward migration, and inward fusion of a single national people: the Zhonghua minzu. Here cultural and racial f lows are increasingly nationalized and bounded, and the story of national unfolding begins to read like the organic growth and development of a finite geo-body. In China, different academic disciplines came to specialize in legitimating specific aspects of this national story, with paleoanthropologists focusing on the origins of the Chinese “race” (zhongzu 種族 or renzhong 人種), archaeologists on the birth of Chinese “culture” (wenhua 文化), and ethnohistorians (synthesizing and interpreting the fossil record unearthed by the former two groups) on charting the natural fusion of different “nationalities” (minzu) in forging the pluralistic unity of the

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Chinese nation/race. It is important to stress, however, the gradual and piecemeal nature of this transition. That said, the conversion is stark when one contrasts Sun Yat-sen’s 1924 claim about the inward migration of Chinese civilization with the 2005 assertion by the former director of the Institute of Archaeology Xu Pingfang 徐蘋芳: “Chinese civilization was an independent and aboriginal civilization, born and bred on its native land.” 31

The Origins of the Chinese Race The discovery of a nearly intact, half-a-million-year-old cranium in a Zhoukoudian cave in December 1929 sent shock waves around the world’s scientific community. Early analysis on these and other Peking Man (Sinanthropus pekinensis) remains seemed to suggest to some Darwin’s “missing link” between ape and man. Over the course of the 1920s and 30s, the directors of the Cenozoic Research Lab (Xinshengdai dizhi yu huanjing yanjiushi 新生代地質與環境研究室) in Beijing, first Canadian scientist Davidson Black and then his successor German scientist Franz Weidenreich, claimed to have identified a series of unique morphological features in these fossils that suggested that Peking Man was the direct ancestor of modern Chinese if not all mankind.32 Yet, others within the international scientific community were more cautious, as these bones joined other potential claimants (Java Man, Heidelberg Man, Neanderthal Man, and Piltdown Man) to the title of man’s first ancestor. Among Chinese scientists, the discovery of Peking Man was widely heralded as scientific evidence of the indigenous origins of the Chinese race. A number of scientists working inside Academia Sinica, such as Lin Huixiang 林惠祥 (1901–58) and Li Ji, used the discovery of Peking Man to directly challenge the authority of Lacouperie, Andersson, and others about the non-autochthonous provenance of the Chinese people, while others, such as Qian Mu 錢穆 (1895–1990), Xiong Shili 熊十力 (1885–1968), and Lü Zhenyu 呂振羽 (1900–80), went so far as to suggest that Peking Man was the actual progenitor of the entire Zhonghua minzu.33 Yet, for much of the 1930s and 1940s, the scientific community both inside China and internationally remained divided on the significance of the Peking Man fossil for human evolution. Leading Chinese scientists, such as the director of the Geology Survey of China, Weng Wenhao 翁文灝 (1889– 1971), and one of the leaders of the Zhoukoudian dig, Yang Zhongjian 楊 鍾健 (1897–1979), rejected any direct link between Peking Man and

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346 · James Leibold

modern man, following foreign scientists like Grafton Elliot Smith in suggesting that Sinanthropus represented a now extinct offshoot of the main branch of the evolutionary tree (see figure 2). While Weng claimed that Peking Man was a “very, very distant younger cousin sharing the same father” as modern Homo sapiens, Yang used a detailed discussion of fossil morphology to suggest that the three Pleistocene hominids Java Man, Peking Man, and Piltdown Man each represented separate detours away from the main line of human evolution.34

Figure 2. “A tentative scheme of the relationships of the different genera, species and races of the Human Family (G. E. Smith).” Source: Yang Zhongjian 楊鍾健, “Zhongguo yuanren yu renlei jinhua wenti” 中國 猿人與人類進化問題 [The problem of Peking Man and human evolution], Kexue 科學 15.9 (1931): p. 1398.

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This early caution and skepticism reflected not only a cultural cringe against the barbarian-like morphology of these ape-men (yuanren 猿人),35 but also the dominance of evolutionary diffusionism among the scientific community in Republican China. In his 1935 investigation into the origins of Chinese civilization, Xiamen academic Zeng Songyou 曾松友 argued that the diffusion and dispersal of fossil assemblages provided a clear footprint of the migration of racially distinct groups across the globe. In accepting Andersson’s hypothesis that Yangshao culture represented the inward migration of the Chinese race, Zeng unequivocally declared that “Peking Man is absolutely not the direct ancestor of the Han race.”36 In fact, most Chinese scientists during the 1930s and early 1940s rejected the monogenism of the Chinese race, arguing that the Chinese represented a racial composite. Even those who believed that Peking Man was the ancestor of the Mongoloid race continued to assert that the Zhonghua minzu included Malay, Caucasoid, and other racial elements. 37 Despite claiming that the discovery of Peking Man was evidence of the “independent development” of the Chinese race (Zhongguo renzhong 中國人種), and thus invalidated the “absurd myth” of its foreign origins, Jian Bozan 翦伯贊 (1898–1968) used the discovery of other fossil remains in Southern China to reconstruct the plural origins of the Chinese race from the biological fusion of the “Mongolian Steppe” and “South Pacific” racial branches of mankind. 38 As the archaeologist Yin Da 尹達 (1906–83) concluded in 1940, “Of course, the Zhonghua minzu is not an isolated thing. Chinese society is only one part of the entire world’s structure . . . a portion of the Zhonghua minzu migrated outward while portions of other races (zhongzu) and nationalities (minzu) have migrated into China throughout the entire length of Chinese history. Races and nationalities have mixed and the cultures of other races and nationalities have fused together. This is something which cannot be avoided.” 39 Yet, by the 1950s, Chinese paleoanthropologists had all but rejected this diffusionist model of Chinese origins. In part, at least, this reflected the increasing enclosure of the Chinese geo-body following the establishment of the PRC and the CCP’s growing focus on demonstrating the organic unity of the various nationalities (minzu) of the new nation-state. It also represented a growing acceptance of Franz Weidenreich’s theory of orthogenesis, which suggested that Homo erectus evolved independently under different environmental conditions toward Homo sapiens. Gene flow between different Homo erectus populations ensured man’s evolution toward a common species while the independent development of different

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348 · James Leibold

Homo erectus communities was said to have contributed to the unique physical features of different human races.40 In his 1950 book on Peking Man, Jia Lanpo 賈蘭坡 (1908–2001), a former director of the Zhoukoudian excavation and emerging doyen of PRC paleoanthropology, drew extensively on Weidenreich’s research to demonstrate the morphological continuity between Peking Man and the Mongoloid race. In sharp contrast to the previous generation of Chinese scientists, he placed Peking Man at the very center of the story of human origins while also suggesting the polygenic evolution of human races (see figure 3). Peking Man was now clearly positioned as the direct, linear ancestor of Homo sapiens, the yellow race, and the Zhonghua minzu.41 During the 1950s and 60s, Weidenreich’s theory of orthogenesis as well as theories of polygenism came under temporary attack in the PRC as Communist scientists followed Soviet intellectuals in criticizing the “racist” theories of human evolution perpetuated by “European and American capitalist-class pseudo-scholars.” 42 Yet, throughout the 1950s and 60s, Chinese scientists on both sides of the Taiwan Strait continued to make reference to the common morphological features (viz. a thickening of the jaw and a shovel-shaped incisors) shared by Peking Man and modern-day Chinese, while downplaying the flow of other racial elements into the Chinese gene pool.43 And despite the fact that Weidenreich’s name was never mentioned, they continued to proclaim Peking Man as the ancestor of the Zhonghua minzu throughout the messy process of political revolution.44 Peking Man and the Yellow Emperor were routinely declared the “progenitors of the Zhonghua minzu,” as the elite establishment stressed the biological and cultural unity of the various Chinese nationalities. Even China’s physically distinct Sino-Muslim population was now declared indigenous, with the young Hui scholar Luo Lan 羅籃 rejecting the “foreign origin thesis” in 1958 and instead declaring that “racially speaking, the Han people comprise more [of the Huihui minzu] than any single Central Asian, Persian, Arab or other [foreign] element.” 45 Today, most Chinese paleoanthropologists reject the widely accepted “recent out-of-Africa” or “recent single-origin” theory of human origin, advocating instead a multiregional model that contends that human evolution split around one million to five hundred million years ago and then evolved separately under different regional environments.46 The result, it is suggested, is an independent yet hybridized continuity of racial evolution within the confines of at least the Chinese geo-body or possibly the entire Asian continent, what Wu Xinzhi 吳新智 has termed

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Figure 3. “The tree of human evolution.” Source: Jia Lanpo 賈蘭坡, Zhongguo yuanren 中國猿人 [Peking Man] (Shanghai: Longmen lianhe shuju, 1950), p. 138.

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“evolutionary continuity with incidental hybridization” (lianxu jinhua bing fudai zajiao 連續進化併附帶雜交).47 Here Chinese scientists trace a distinct course of evolution through a series of ancient hominids—from the 1.7-million-year-old Yuanmou Man, 700,000-year-old Lantian Man 藍田人, and 500,000-year-old Peking Man Homo sapiens erectus fossils through to the 10,000-year-old Homo sapiens sapiens fossils of Hetao Man 河套人, Upper Cave Man, and others—right through to the modern residents of Beijing.48 This model is used to “prove” both the indigenous origins of the Chinese race and its unique yet shared morphological and genetic features. Rejecting the findings of modern geneticists who date the divergence of the gene pool to no earlier than 100,000 years ago, these Chinese scientists argue that “man developed independently in Asia” with all the inhabitants of the modern Chinese state sharing a similar genetic makeup with only a “small amount of gene f low” outside the Zhonghua minzu.49 In the words of Xu Pingfang: “The fossils discovered at present of Homo erectus, early Homo sapiens, and Homo sapiens sapiens in China all indicate characteristics that suggest a physical continuity with modern Chinese.” 50

The Origins of Chinese Culture In setting the priorities for Academia Sinica’s Archaeology Unit, Fu Sinian 傅斯年 (1896–1950) and Li Ji chose to focus on demonstrating the indigenous origin and development of Chinese culture. Drawing on Wang Guowei’s pioneering reconstruction of the Shiji’s chronology from the inscribed oracle bones unearthed around Anyang 安陽 in Henan province, the unit initiated a full-scale archaeological dig at what was thought to be the last capital of the Shang dynasty in 1928. Before long, Chinese archaeologists unearthed a rich treasure trove at Yinxu 殷墟— intricately carved bronze, bone, and pottery ritual items—which looked remarkably distinct from the Yangshao culture discovered by Andersson. This led them to begin to speculate that a yet undiscovered, autochthonous cultural assemblage might have given rise to Shang culture. Both skeptical and uneasy about Andersson’s suggestion that Yangshao culture migrated into China from the West, Academia Sinica scientists concentrated their efforts on finding evidence of the indigenous origins of Chinese culture.51 By the 1930s most Chinese scholars came to support a plural origins theory of Chinese civilization. They began to hypothesize about the

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existence of a number of distinct ethnic groups in ancient China, arguing that the diverse geography of China helped shape at least three distinct Neolithic cultures: one located on the Western Loess Steppe, another along the Bohai Sea of the northeast, and finally a third located either in the Yangtze River Valley or further south. 52 While some argued that Chinese culture originated in the west or south, the discovery of a new monochromatic pottery in the Shandong village of Longshan 龍山 in 1928 shifted scholarly attention to the northwest. And when Academia Sinica researchers excavated stratified layers of Yangshao, Longshan, and Shang culture at Anyang in 1931, a number of scholars began to speak of the northeast as the birthplace of Chinese culture, suggesting that an indigenous Longshan culture was responsible for begetting Shang and, in turn, Chinese civilization.53 This plural origins thesis was most clearly articulated by Fu Sinian in his 1935 “East Yi West Xia” theory (yixia dongxi shuo 夷夏東西說), which argued that the Xiazu 夏族 (represented by its Yangshao culture) and the Yizu 夷族 (represented by its Longshan culture) had a horizontal interrelationship in prehistoric China. While Fu’s theory did not explicitly reject the possibility that Xiazu culture might have originated outside of China, the focus of attention shifted to the autochthonous Yi people and their Longshan assemblage. 54 In China, Fu’s thesis remained the dominant paradigm of Chinese origins until after the 1949 Revolution, when new discoveries rendered it “obsolete” in K. C. Chang’s words. 55 In reality, however, the theory of an indigenous “Chinese” culture and people located in northwest China was always complicated by the claims of Japanese scientists that the ancient peoples of this region belong to a distinctly non-Sinic Tungus race, whom archaeologist Torii Ryûzô and historian Shiratori Kurakichi 白鳥庫吉 claimed were the common ancestors of the Turk, Mongol, Manchu, Korean, and Japanese peoples.56 Following the 1949 Revolution, China’s scientific community closed inward on itself. Despite some limited cooperation with scientists from the Soviet Union during the 1950s, archaeology in China retreated into a realm of political dogmatism as evidence was pigeonholed into explaining the origins and development of Chinese culture according to the rigid paradigm of Marxist social evolutionism. Yet the highly political nature of PRC archaeology ensured that Chinese scientists continued to insist on the indigenous origins of Chinese culture, rejecting any notion of transnational cultural diffusion (such as the spread of bronze and iron casting from Central Asia) as a form of bourgeois, imperialist aggression. As the

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352 · James Leibold

PRC archaeologist An Zhimin 安志敏 declared in 1987: “As it stands, the fact that Chinese civilization developed independently is accepted by all academics.” 57 Building on the solid scientific and institutional basis of Republicanera archaeology, PRC scientists pioneered a string of important new discoveries, even during the height of the Cultural Revolution. These included the Neolithic sites at Miaodigou 底溝 in Henan and Banpo 半 坡 in Shaanxi during the 1950s, the unearthing of Erlitou culture 二里頭 文化 in 1959, and the subsequent exploration of what Chinese scientists believe to be the capital of the Xia dynasty.58 The great bend in the Yellow River Valley was the focus of much of the archaeological research in Maoist China as this region was thought to be the centrifugal core from which cultural and social development emanated. 59 In 1943, historian Jian Bozan located this Chinese “Garden of Eden” along the banks of a great inland lake that covered much of what is today the Gobi Desert during the retreat of the last Ice Age (see figure 4). From here, the descendents of Peking Man spread in all directions as the lake began to dry up, carrying China’s prehistoric culture to the four corners of the current Chinese state.60 Among those Chinese scientists working outside the ideological dogmatism of the mainland, one finds a similar focus on the indigenous origin of Chinese culture. For Li Ji, who moved to Taiwan in 1949 with Academia Sinica and the Guomindang 國民黨 (GMD), cultural diffusion continued to play a role, albeit a minor one, in the formation of Chinese culture. He freely points to a number of ancient Chinese motifs that have distinct parallels in Western civilization. Yet, these are considered only peripheral contributions to what is otherwise considered the autochthonic development of Chinese civilization. While he describes Shang culture excavated at Anyang as a “very composite affair,” the emphasis was on the fusion of cultural assemblage inside the borders of the current Chinese geo-body rather than the diffusion of foreign elements.61 Li Ji’s most famous student, K. C. Chang, pushed this logic further with his 1986 theory of the prehistoric Chinese geo-body as an “interaction sphere.” Here, a number of regionally distinct yet culturally interlinked assemblages “set the geographic stage” for the formation of Chinese civilization. Chang described the convergence of as many as nine indigenous cultures around 4000 BCE that came to share similar archaeological and cultural elements, stating: “By this time we see why these cultures are described together: not just because they are located within

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Filling in the Nation · 353

Figure 4. “Map of China during the Age of Barbarism.” Source: Jian Bozan 翦伯贊, Zhongguo shigang 中國史綱 [An outline of Chinese history] (1943; repr., Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 1950), vol. 1, p. 13.

the borders of the present-day China, but because they were the initial China.” 62 On the mainland, the ideological and administrative changes that accompanied the end of the Mao era helped transform this once heterodoxical “regionalist paradigm” into the dominant model of interpretation, with first the centripetal fusion of these regional clusters and then their natural, centrifugal expansion outward helping to delineate and reify the spatial and cultural boundaries of the modern Chinese nation-state.63 The origin of Chinese culture is now likened to “a multipetaled f lower” (chongban huaduo shi 重瓣花朵式) or a “starry sky” (mantian xingdou 滿天星斗) which, due to the bounded and unique environmental conditions of China, continuously drew the surrounding cultures and peoples together into a single, organic mélange.64 For Yan Wenming 嚴文

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354 · James Leibold 明, the former director of the archaeology department at Beijing Univer-

sity, the influence of this civilization is felt well beyond the present-day boundaries of the PRC: “Although the structure of ancient Chinese civilization was centripetal and inwardly focused, and thus non-expansive, elements of its culture were nonetheless widely and actively disseminated throughout the continent.” 65 The excavation work of most Chinese archaeologists remains inside the current boundaries of the nation-state; yet Yan’s notion of a unique and dynamic “Eastern cultural sphere (or cultural system)” with China at its core seems to suggest the possibility of a wider field of vision for future generations of Chinese scholars, one that might rediscover the flow of prehistoric cultures across contemporary national boundaries and open the door for a more comparative focus.

The Fusion of Minzu(s) For most Chinese ethnologists and ethnohistorians, the development of the Chinese race and culture over the past five millennia represents the biological and cultural fusion (ronghe 融合) of different historicized nationalities (minzu) around a single Han “coagulate core” (ningju hexin 凝聚核心). The eminent Chinese ethnologist and former deputy-chair of the National People’s Congress, Fei Xiaotong 費孝通 (1910–2005), once described the formation of today’s unitary yet multiethnic Zhonghua minzu as a rolling “snowball” (xueqiu 雪球). Starting from a single Huaxia-cum-Han cultural nucleus, around 5000 BCE, this snowball expanded and consolidated as it rolled across “this piece of land,” which was the “bounded and structurally complete geographic entity” of China, and continues to “serve as the living space for the Chinese people.” 66 Here the focus is on the inward assimilation of regionally distinct cultures and peoples set within the current borders of the Chinese geo-body in the formation of today’s Chinese race, culture, and nation. As early as the 1930s, ethnohistorians in China began assembling the disparate archaeological and historical record into intricately woven enthogenealogies of shared descent and belonging. Since the time of Confucius, historians in China have engaged in the “rectification of names” (zhengming 正名), ensuring that each social phenomenon has an appropriate label. Nowhere was this task more difficult and important than in making sense of the myriad of “strange” peoples that surrounded the central states of Zhongguo. One of Sima Qian’s historical innovations was the writing of liezhuan (biographies/genealogies) of barbarian tribes,

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Filling in the Nation · 355

which came to be traced from dynasty to dynasty. The enclosure of the Chinese geo-body and the continual threat of foreign dismemberment during the twentieth century encouraged Chinese historians to piece together the plethora of ethnonyms scattered throughout the literary canon in order to construct a linear and bounded narrative of national unfolding. In his 1934 History of the Chinese Race/Nation (Zhongguo minzu shi 中國民族史), the classically trained historian Lü Simian 呂思勉 (1884– 1957) painstakingly traced the twelve major minzus living in China backward in time through the various historical ethnonyms to the very roots of Chinese civilization.67 Two years later the Academia Sinica historian Lin Huixiang sketched a visual diagram of this biological and cultural union in his own version of the History of the Chinese Race/Nation (see figure 5).68 While neither Lü nor Lin postulated any single thread or common point of origin among this complex web of biological and cultural connections, others such as Xiong Shili and Dai Jitao 戴季陶 (1891–1949) argued that all the peoples of China either shared a common ancestor or were interrelated through marriage.69 When GMD historian Tao Xisheng 陶希聖 (1899–1988) helped draft the party’s political program, China’s Destiny (Zhongguo zhi mingyun 中國之命運), this myth of consanguinity became political orthodoxy among Nationalist Party members, with the 1943 manifesto published in Chiang Kai-shek’s 蔣介石 name claiming that “the main and branch lineages [of the Zhonghua minzu] all belong to the same bloodline.” 70 Communist historians, in contrast, came to reject the notion of common descent from a single progenitor following Mao’s denunciation of China’s Destiny. Rather, they marshaled the available archaeological evidence to demonstrate the plural origins of the Zhonghua minzu.71 But as Jian Bozan’s 1943 “Chinese Racial Tree” (“Zhongguo renzhong xitong” 中國人種系統) clearly indicates (see figure 6), this did not preclude a shared history and physical makeup. Jian simply replaced the single progenitor (either Yellow Emperor or Peking Man) in the GMD ethnogenealogies with two distinct branches of the Chinese race, the “Mongolian Steppe” and “South Pacific” branches, and then wove them together through a string of historical ethnonyms.72 In his pioneering 1950 Concise History of the Chinese Race/Nation (Zhongguo minzu jianshi 中國民族簡史), Lü Zhenyu found both the monogenesis and polygenesis theories of the foreign imperialists wanting: the former because it claimed that Chinese culture and civilization originated in the West and the latter because it

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356 · James Leibold

Figure 5. “Genealogy of the Chinese minzu.” Source: Lin Huixiang 林惠祥, Zhongguo minzushi 中國民族史 [History of the Chinese race/nation] (1936; repr., Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1996), vol. 1, p. 9.

argued that the white races descended from black chimpanzees while the yellow races came from yellow chimpanzees. Instead, he argued for an indigenous, independent, and centripetal story of Chinese development. Like Jian Bozan, Lü claimed that all the “fraternal nationalities” shared a “common blood lineage” (tongyi xuetong 同一血統) despite not sharing a single, common ancestor. Due to its “superior force and strength,” the Han majority drew the surrounding minzus together—like bees attracted

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Filling in the Nation · 357

to honey in Jian Bozan’s words—through several waves of assimilation.73 Thus, while the Han were the “leading component” (lingdao chengfen 領 導成分) or “backbone” (gugan 骨幹) of this multiethnic Zhonghua minzu, the history of its development revealed the organic “fusion” (ronghe) and “interlocking” (jiaocuo 交錯) relationship of its various minzu components.74 The director of the PRC’s new Institute of Modern History (Zhongguo jindai shi yanjiusuo 中国近代史研究所), Fan Wenlan 范文瀾 (1893–1969), claimed that the widespread distribution of Neolithic remains in China represented “the ancestors of each of the nationalities of the Zhonghua minzu, or in other words, they were the common ancestry of the Zhonghua minzu.” 75 With a massive territory like China, Fan claimed it was impossible for a single minzu to open up and develop this vast land; rather “it was collectively developed by many different minzus, some who have already disappeared and others that continue this process of development today.” 76 While crediting the Han nationality with being the first to develop the central plains region along the Yellow River Valley, he maintained that the ancestors of today’s minority nationals were chiefly responsible for pioneering China’s vast frontier regions: the Dongyizu 東 夷族 developed the Bohai coastal regions; the Miaozu 苗族 and Yaozu 瑤 族 opened up the Yangtze, Min, and Pearl River Valleys; the Zangzu 藏族 were the first to exploit Qinghai and Tibet; the Yizu 族 and other southwest lineages opened up the southwestern frontier; the Donghuzu 東胡族 took care of Manchuria; the Xiongnu 匈奴 and other proto-Mongolian peoples opened the Mongolian Steppe; the Huizu 回族 and other northwest lineages were the first to explore the northwest; and so on. In his narrative, Fan projected the ethnic diversity of twentieth-century China onto the imagined spatial unity of an ancient “fatherland.” 77 Writing from Taiwan in 1959, K. C. Chang stressed the importance of distinguishing among the concepts of Zhongguo, Zhongguo minzu 中國 民族, and Zhonghua minzu 中華民族. Zhongguo (China) is a historical term for the political and territorial domain of the Chinese state and includes both China proper and the outlying regions of Manchuria, Mongolia, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Tibet, and the islands of Taiwan and Hainan. Zhongguo minzu (Chinese nationalities) refers to all the minzus living within Chinese territory including the Han, Manchu, Mongol, Uyghur, Tibetan, Miao, and other peoples. And finally, Zhonghua minzu (Zhonghua nation) is a historical and cultural term that points to the absolute majority and intrinsic unity of the people who identif y

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358 · James Leibold

Figure 6. “Systematic chart of the Chinese racial family.” Source: Jian Bozan, Zhongguo shigang [An outline of Chinese history] (1943; repr., Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 1950), vol. 1, appendix, p. 3

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themselves as belonging to and practicing Chinese culture. For Chang, Zhonghua minzu was an “elastic concept” (tanxing zhi gainian 彈性之概念) whose scope waxed and waned at different times and today has come to overlap with the spatial boundaries of the Zhongguo minzu.78 While neither K. C. Chang nor other Taiwan-based scientists explicitly denied the inflow of other cultural and racial elements, the focus in their works, until recently at least, remained on tracing an arabesque of spatial and temporal connections between the current nationalities of China and their historical ancestors along very similar lines to their Communist counterparts on the mainland, creating a web of interconnections that bound the peoples of China together in a shared myth of consanguineous kinship.79 Like Fan Wenlan, Fei Xiaotong used the scattered location of Palaeolithic and Neolithic fossils in “China” as scientific evidence “to disprove the singular and immigrant theories of Chinese origins while confirming its pluralistic and indigenous origins.” 80 For Fei Xiaotong, the Sinic culture of the Huaxia-cum-Han people served as the “nucleus” (hexin 核 心) around which the ancestors of today’s minority nationalities merged and fused. “The Han people radiated in all directions into the areas around them and, centripetally, absorbed those people into their own group and made them a part of themselves.” 81 This organic and natural process of assimilation produced what Lü Simian first termed the “integrated ethnic heterogeneity” (heji cuoza zhi zu 合極錯雜之族) of the Chinese minzu in 1934, or what Taiwan-based anthropologist Rui Yifu 芮 逸夫 called the “singular” (yige 一個) yet “multiple” (duoge 多個) component of the Chinese minzu in 1953. More recently on the mainland, Yan Wenming put forward his theory of the “unitary yet multiple nature” (tongyixing yu duoyangxing 同一性與多樣性) of China’s prehistoric culture in an often cited 1987 essay, while Fei Xiaotong spoke about the “plurality and organic unity structure” (duoyuan yiti geju 多元一體格局) of the Zhonghua minzu in his 1988 Tanner Lectures at Hong Kong University.82 In short, the new scientific disciplines involved in the study of prehistoric China have been closely involved in the mapping and filling in of the nation throughout the course of their modern development. The growth of indigenous paleoanthropology, prehistoric archaeology, and ethnology disciplines in China was predicated on a firmly bounded notion of Chinese space—one that charted the autochthonous origins, outward migration, and inward fusion of a unitary yet pluralistic Chinese race, nation, and culture.

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360 · James Leibold

Toward a Conclusion: Redrawing the Map? In this chapter, I have argued that the birth and development of prehistoric archaeology as an academic discipline in twentieth-century China were predicated more on a revolution in space than time. Unlike in the West, Chinese archaeologists did not inherit the task of disproving a narrative of sacred time while filling in the chasm of deep, geological time. Rather, archaeology in modern China served as the handmaiden of history. In the face of the “doubting of antiquity movement” and larger methodological issues concerning the historians’ craft, prehistoric remains seemed to provide concrete, scientific evidence confirming the Golden Age chronology outlined by China’s first court historian Sima Qian. Throughout the Maoist years, Chinese archaeologists and prehistorians dutifully assembled data to prove the development of China in accordance with each of Engels’ evolutionary stages. In doing so, however, they simply superimposed Marxist categories on the Golden Age chronology, so that Engels’ period of “savagery” (mengmei 蒙昧) covered the time of the first three Sovereigns (Youchao 有巢, Suiren 燧人, and Fuxi 伏 羲) while the early stages of “barbarism” (yeman 野蠻) and matriarchal clan society corresponded with the time of Yandi 炎帝 and Huangdi and its latter stages with the rule of Yu 禹, Yao 堯, Shun 舜 before arriving at the Xia dynasty and the birth of patriarchal clan society.83 More recently, archaeologists like Yan Wenming contend that the late Neolithic Longshan culture provides concrete scientific evidence of the legendary five emperors and thus should mark the origins of civilization in China, 84 while others have argued that the recent excavation of bear-like jade dragons from the Neolithic Hongshan culture 紅山文化 in Liaoning and Inner Mongolia “provide[s] the first hard archaeological evidence to add credence to the much-told story of Huangdi” and thus confirms the late archaeologist Su Bingqi’s 蘇秉琦 speculation about the link between Hongshan culture and the story of the Yellow Emperor.85 This virtual obsession with the Golden Age chronology is reflected in the massive Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project 夏商周斷代工程 initiated by the Chinese government in 1996. With over two hundred experts and millions of dollars at its disposal, the project aims to validate and complete the exact historical dates for each of the imperial reigns as far back as the Xia dynasty. While Sima Qian began the chronology section of the Shiji with the Yellow Emperor, he admitted that a precise chronology was possible only from the Western Zhou dynasty (starting with

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Filling in the Nation · 361

the emperor Gonghe’s reign in 841 BCE) and thus provided only a list of kings for the remainder of the three dynasties. Instead of extending the duration of Chinese history, the Chronology Project has been focused on providing hard evidence from the modern disciplines of archaeology, history, radiocarbon dating, and astronomy to verify, correct, and adjust Sima Qian’s existing chronology. Casting aside lingering questions about the relationship between the early Chinese states and widespread skepticism about the existence of the Xia dynasty outside China, the project team claimed to have provided a “scientific and dependable” chronology stretching from the first year of Yu the Great’s reign in 2070 BCE to the last years of the Western Zhou dynasty in 771 BCE when they published their preliminary findings in November 2000.86 Despite a number of significant Palaeolithic finds, the Archaeology Unit at Academia Sinica and the Institute of Archaeology (Kaogu yanjiusuo 考古研究所) that replaced it on the mainland in 1950 have remained focused on Stone and Bronze Age discoveries, meaning temporally, it is largely limited to the “verification of the classics and the supplementing of history” (zhengjing bushi 証經補史) rather than the pioneering of new chronologies. Chinese archaeologists have not sought to push back the arrow of time or fill in geological time like their Western counterparts; rather, they have tended to focus on scientifically substantiating textbased knowledge while shoring up existing temporal narratives from the iconoclasm of Gu Jiegang and other doubters of antiquity. While the shift from empire to nation-state in China helped to institutionalize a linear, progressive view of history with the nation as its only subject, it was not without precedent in imperial historiography. 87 Enlightenment time represented less a “total repudiation of traditional Chinese historiography” 88 than the closure and enclosure of alternative narratives of time and political community, authenticating the antiquity and unity of an evolving and fully bounded Zhonghua minzu. It was the simultaneous enclosure of political space that nationalized once marginal peoples and cultures, meaning that prehistoric remains were now interpreted as evidence of a primordial unity as modern categories of identity were read backward in time. Although most foreign scholars look at ancient China as a f luid “cultural mosaic,” the Chinese academy continues to insist that it represents a bounded cultural arabesque. In response to Judith Treistman’s claim that Chinese archaeology lacks any sense of cultural relativism or appreciation for the “fragmented nature of China’s cultural past,” 89 K. C.

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362 · James Leibold

Chang insists that the geographically and ecologically diverse local cultures of Neolithic China were nonetheless still spatially and temporally Chinese. He writes: “I believe all local cultures in prehistoric China that, in their entirety or in large part, became part of the historical Chinese civilization must be referred to as Chinese or proto-Chinese.” In other words, prehistoric China did not represent a colorful mosaic of fragmented and unconnected cultures but rather “a picture with continuously intergrading tones” spread over the current Chinese geo-body.90 In his now classic yet still controversial book The Cradle of the East, Ho Ping-ti bends over backward to demonstrate the indigenous origins of Chinese civilization; in a visceral (if understandable) reaction to past theories of grand-scale diffusion from the West, he describes Shang civilization as “pristine” and “marked at once by a regionally distinctive Sinitic character and a pattern of centrifugal geographic spread.” 91 Where does this leave Chinese archaeology in the new millennium? Charles Maier and others have argued that with the passing of the twentieth century, the notion of “territoriality” on which it was premised is beginning to unravel as people, cultures, and economies transcend national boundaries with increasing ease.92 Yet others have argued that it is premature to write a requiem for the nation-state, as national cultures remain meaningful to many, state governments continue to dominate global politics, and the bounded, territorial state remains the only legitimate form of sovereignty in the world today.93 In the field of Chinese archaeology one can find signs of both trends: a group of younger, often Western-educated archaeologists who are increasingly interested in the relationship between the development of Chinese culture and its neighbors and a highly nationalistic, state-dominated academic establishment that continues to police the boundaries of culture and race. Take, as just one example of the former, the gathering of Chinese archaeologists at the “Symposium on the Archaeology of China’s Borderlands” 中國邊疆考古學術討論會 held in Chengdu during November 2005. Taking their cue from the late Su Bingqi’s call for a global perspective in the study of Chinese prehistory and Owen Lattimore’s observations about the fluid nature of China’s inner Asian frontiers,94 these scholars call for an expansion of the field of vision of Chinese archaeology to include not only the once marginal borderlands but also their history of connections with those regions outside the current boundaries of China.95 In sharp contrast, the latter perspective is reflected in the continued controversy surrounding the 3000-year-old Tarim mummies first introduced to the

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Filling in the Nation · 363

world by Victor Mair in 1988. When Mair and his Chinese colleagues suggested that the DNA of these blond-haired, long-nosed corpses be examined, the Chinese government dithered for nearly a decade. Fearing both the threat of transnational Uyghur separatism and a return to the Orientalist Western origin thesis of Lacouperie and Andersson, Chinese authorities resisted the attempts by Mair and others to demonstrate the rich f low of people, goods, and ideas across the ancient Silk Route.96 Following pressure from respected academics like Ji Xianlin 季羡林 (1911–2009)and Han Kangxin 韓康信, fifty-two samples were finally tested in Sweden in 2004 and revealed the Caucasoid nature of their genetic makeup; yet other academics in China continue to challenge these findings while insisting that the chariot, bronze metallurgy, and other elements of ancient “Chinese” civilization had indigenous origins, and the Neolithic remains discovered in Xinjiang reflect the close ties between this frontier region and the rest of China rather than transnational flows across Central Asia.97 Regardless of the effects of globalization, the reform and opening up process unleashed by Deng Xiaoping 鄧小平 (1904–1997) in 1979 has fundamentally altered the nature of scientific disciplines in China, providing new opportunities for both Chinese and foreign archaeologists to work and think outside of the rigid confines of the nationstate. But whether they choose to do so—due to state or community pressures, personal or career ambition, or some deep-seated psychological impulse—is another matter entirely.

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364 · James Leibold

Notes 1

2

3

4

5

6

7 8 9 10

11

Philip Kohl and Clare Fawcett, “Archaeology in the Service of the State: Theoretical Consideration,” in Nationalism, Politics, and the Practice of Archaeology, ed. Philip Kohl and Clare Fawcett (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 5. Regarding the link between Chinese archaeology and nationalism see Barry Sautman, “Peking Man and the Politics of Paleoanthropological Nationalism in China,” Journal of Asian Studies 60.1 (February 2001): pp. 95–124; Tong Enzheng, “Thirty Years of Chinese Archaeology (1949–1979),” in Kohl and Fawcett, Nationalism, Politics, and the Practice of Archaeology, pp. 179–83; Lothar von Falkenhausen, “On the Historiographical Orientation of Chinese Archaeology,” Antiquity 67.257 (December 1993): pp. 839–50. Tim Murray, “Archaeology and the Threat of the Past: Sir Henry Rider Haggard and the Acquisition of Time,” W