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Guoshi or National History in Modern Chinese Historiography: From Zhang Taiyan to Qian Mu

Vol. 49 No. 4  12/2019

Title

Guoshi or National History in Modern Chinese Historiography: From Zhang Taiyan to Qian Mu

Author

Sung Chia-fu

Genre

Article

Pages

651-681

DOI

10.6503/THJCS.201912_49(4).0003

Download

PDF

Language

Chinese

Key words

national history, war of recognition, transference, totalization, general history of China, historiography

Abstract

This article focuses on a conversation that took place in the 1930s between Zhang Taiyan章太炎 (1869-1936) and Qian Mu錢穆 (1895-1990), two intellectuals who had become known as Masters of National Learning in their long-lasting and outstanding academic careers. They did not meet each other either before or after this event. Despite the fact that both shared a concern for the future of China’s historiography, they differed greatly on their idea of what guoshi 國史ought to be as well as how it should be practiced. Their different views can be attributed to their ages, career paths, and the dramatic change in cultural atmosphere lying between their generations. Most importantly, their divergent conceptions reflect their diversified view of Chinese national history and its relationship to its non-Chinese others. A more complicated comparative perspective between not only China and the West but also ancient versus modern has quietly emerged (and is also submerged) in the discourse and practice of writing national history in modern China. The traditional struggle with the governmental sanction of Standard History has been transformed into a war of recognition that is at once both domestic and foreign.

 

Author: Sung Chia-fu
Genre: Article
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