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How should we use the Chinese past? Contemporary Confucianism, the 'reorganization of the national heritage,' and non-western histories of thought in a global age

Jenco, Leigh (2017) How should we use the Chinese past? Contemporary Confucianism, the 'reorganization of the national heritage,' and non-western histories of thought in a global age. European Journal of Political Theory, 16 (4). pp. 450-469. ISSN 1474-8851

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1474885117703768

Abstract

In this essay I argue that recent philosophical attempts to ‘modernise’ Confucianism rehearse problematic relationships to the past that – far from broadening Confucianism’s appeal beyond its typical borders – end up narrowing its scope as a source of scholarly knowledge. This is because the very attempt to modernise assumes a rupture with a past in which Confucianism was once alive and relevant, fixing its identity to a static historical place disconnected from the present. I go on to explore alternative means of situating past thought to present inquiry, by examining a debate among early 20th-century Chinese intellectuals over the value of their past heritage in a modern age. Their diverse responses undermine the certainty of a singular or persistent Chinese past, enabling a creative presentism that encourages deliberate filiation with alternative ‘tracks’ of past practice and thought.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://journals.sagepub.com/toc/EPT/current
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Sets: Departments > Government
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2017 13:59
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2019 02:37
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/72832

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