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Culture as history: envisioning change across and beyond "eastern" and "western" civilizations in the May Fourth era

Jenco, Leigh (2013) Culture as history: envisioning change across and beyond "eastern" and "western" civilizations in the May Fourth era. Twentieth Century China, 38 (1). pp. 34-52. ISSN 1521-5385

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Identification Number: 10.1179/1521538512Z.00000000017

Abstract

This essay examines an influential debate that took place during China’sMay Fourth era (circa 1915–1927) concerning the character of ‘‘Eastern’’ and ‘‘Western’’ civilizations. In this debate, both moderates and radicals wrestle with a growing awareness that cultures have not only a spatial existence but also a historical career, which has encouraged the development of certain institutions and attitudes and discouraged others. Spatial terms mark not only the places where knowledge circulates, but also the particular pasts-and thus futures-toward which Chinese thinkers align themselves. This way of figuring ‘‘East’’ and ‘‘West’’ enables May Fourth thinkers to do more than sort civilizational characteristics into categories of the inevitably universal and the irredeemably particular, as many commentators have assumed. It also facilitates the travel of cultural products and practices across the spatial as well as temporal boundaries originally seen to contain them.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://maneypublishing.com/index.php/journals/tcc/
Additional Information: © 2013 Twentieth Century China
Divisions: Government
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Sets: Departments > Government
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2013 16:14
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2019 10:30
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/48341

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